Date: February 18, 1996
Venue: Louisville Gardens (Louisville, KY)
Commentators: Vince McMahon & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
The 6th installment of In Your House features the baby blue cage of doom as Bret Hart defends the WWF Championship against the man he defeated for it back at Survivor Series, and soon to be WCW-bound, Diesel. Also on the show Shawn Michaels puts his WrestleMania XII title shot on the line against Owen Hart,the feud between former best friends Razor Ramon and The 1-2-3 Kid ends with a friggin’ Crybaby Match, and Yokozuna…speaks?!?
- WWF CHAMPION: Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart
- WWF INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Goldust
- WWF TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: VACANT
- CRYBABY MATCH: Razor Ramon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (**1/2)
- Duke Droese vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (**)
- Yokozuna vs. Davey Boy Smith (1/4*)
- Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart (***3/4)
- STEEL CAGE MATCH: Bret Hart [c] vs. Diesel for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/2)
-The opening video focuses not only on Bret Hart defending his WWF Championship against Diesel but also Diesel’s issue with The Undertaker. Actually more so on Diesel/Undertaker. Poor Bret.
‘The Bad Guy’ Razor Ramon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid [w/ ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase]
Ramon and Kid used to be friends but then Kid turned on him, joined the Million Dollar Corporation, and most importantly caused Ramon to lose his Intercontinental Championship to Goldust the month prior at Royal Rumble. This has led to the culmination of their feud, a crybaby match in which the loser has to…wear a diaper and fed a baby bottle? Well then.
Kid comes out with a Razor Ramon teddy bear in a stroller to PLAY THOSE MIND GAMES. Kid and Ramon trade slaps, Ramon drops Kid with a series of right hands and a clothesline out to the floor. Kid snaps Ramon’s neck across the top rope and follows up with a springboard clothesline for a one-count. A whole lot of faux-karate from the Kid fells The Bad Guy as DiBiase cheers at ringside. Ramon catches a flying crossbody attempt and counters with his patented fallaway slam. Kid escapes the Razor’s Edge by bailing to the apron but gets dropped with a right hand. DiBiase takes some BABY POWDER and gives it to Kid, who throws it in his eyes behind the ref’s back. Kid hits the blinded Ramon with a missile dropkick but still can’t get the pin. Kid hits a FROG SPLASH but Ramon once again gets his shoulder up in time so he tries to knock him out with a sleeperhold. Razor escapes but Kid keeps at it, this time with a backpack sleeper. Ramon breaks it by squashing Kid in the corner but Kid immediately slaps it back on. Kid brings the near-conscious Ramon to the mat, the ref checking his arm.
SHOCK AND AWE Ramon wakes up thanks to the crowd and escapes by dropping Kid crotch-first on the top rope. That’ll do it. Razor is still out of it though and Kid manages to cover for the 1…2…NOPE. Ramon mounts his comeback with a series of jabs. Razor crotches Kid on the top turnbuckle but gets kicked away, Kid with a flying crossbody but Ramon rolls through for the 1…2…kickout! Ramon catches another crossbody attempt and hits a fallaway slam from the middle turnbuckle! DiBiase leaves the baby powder on the apron and distracts the ref. Kid gets a handful, Razor kicks it into Kid’s own face then hits the Razor’s Edge for the 1…2…RAMON PULLS HIM UP. HE AIN’T DONE YET. Ramon jaws at DiBiase and hits a second Razor’s Edge, this time covering for the victory.
Razor Ramon defeated The 1-2-3 Kid via pinfall (12:00)
- Good match and a solid exclamation point at the end with Razor hitting the second Razor’s Edge on his former best friend. The stipulation that hung over this one is real dumb making the commentary dumb because of their constant references to this, but Ramon and Kid were two of WWF’s better workers at the time so there was no way this was going to suck. It’s pretty crazy that Kid was the heel in this feud given how much smaller he was than Ramon; normally they do the opposite for the ‘David vs. Goliath’ effect but I respect the switch here. This concludes Razor’s final WWF program and second-to-last appearance on WWF PPV as he would be WCW-bound come May. (**1/2)
After the match Ramon covers Kid in the baby bottle milk then puts Kid in a diaper, hitting DiBiase with baby powder for extra oomph. He shrugs, knowing how dumb this whole thing is, and dumps more baby powder before leaving to the back. Oh maaaan you can tell how much he didn’t like this stipulation and it’s beautiful. Kid comes to and DiBiase gives him the bad news. Kid throws a tantrum and cries a little bit to sell it. YIIIIIKES.
-Cut to the WWF Superstar Line set with Ray Rougeau and Sunny and we cut to Free For All footage of Jake Roberts terrorizing Sunny with his snake Revelations. Man I miss the Free For All. WWE technically does a better job with their ‘Kickoff’ shows nowadays but the Free For All just felt more fun. Who didn’t love watching a pre-show in a tiny corner of the screen while the TV Guide Channel gave you a rundown of what was on TV?
Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley [w/ Elizabeth Hilton]
No clue who Elizabeth Hilton is but Vinnie Mac name-dropped her so I might as well do the same. Lawler obviously drools over her. During his entrance we cut backstage to Todd Pettengill who’s with Duke. Duke will be taking Helmsley out like yesterday’s garbage. We see footage from three weeks ago where Helmsley cut Duke’s hair forcing him to shave it down. Duke also beat Helmsley at the Free For All before the Royal Rumble forcing the aristocrat to enter first in the Rumble so this has been brewing for awhile.
Duke and Helmsley immediately attack each other at the bell, Duke winning the shootout and throwing his opponent around by the hair and hitting a nice gorilla press slam. Helmsley begs off in the corner and Duke shows no mercy, slapping him across the face and hitting him with his weight belt. Helmsley goes for the Pedigree, Duke counters with an inverted atomic drop followed by a hard clothesline. Duke charges at Helmsley, who ducks and backdrops him to the floor, turning the tide and adding insult to injury by whipping him into the ring steps. Helmsley belts Duke with a couple of European uppercuts (HOW EUROPEEEEAN) and follows up with a kneedrop for two. Helmsley continues the punishment but can’t put the garbage man away and starts getting frustrated. Duke counters a charging Helmsley with a big boot and they take one another to the mat with a double clothesline. Duke mounts his babyface comeback, backdrops and clotheslines and whatnot. He hits the Trash Compactor but doesn’t go for the pin, instead throwing his trash can in the ring to use. The ref obviously throws the can out but not the lid and Helmsley belts Duke VERY LOUDLY with it and covers for the pinfall. You deaf, ref? Come on.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Duke Droese via pinfall (9:38)
- Not terrible but not all that interesting as well. Droese is a better worker than I think people remember him as, certainly better than I was expecting. Too bad he was saddled with one of those ‘wrestling is my second job’ gimmicks the WWF loved so much in 1995-1996. I believe this is Duke’s final WWF PPV appearance as he’s gone from the company come summer. Oh well. Helmsley on the other hand…he does some stuff. He certainly does some stuff. It’s kinda crazy how skinny and healthy he looks here in comparison to BODYBUILDER TRIPLE H we get in the 2000s. (**)
-After some merch shilling we cut to footage from RAW two weeks ago where Yokozuna turned face for the first time in his WWF career, leaving Camp Cornette. We go live to Dok Hendrix whose guest is Yokozuna, talking for himself for the first time EVER. Yoko vows to burn Camp Cornette to the ground. For a “Japanese” dude he’s got a helluva Hawaiian accent. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. At least they didn’t have Slick teach him how to be American or some sh*t.
Yokozuna vs. ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith [w/ Jim Cornette]
Yoko with the early offense, hitting a back bodydrop and a couple of clotheslines. MAN HE’S HUUUUUGE. Smith tries to beg off, Yoko don’t play that and hits a scoop slam. Yoko misses an elbowdrop and Smith hits three clotheslines to take the big man off his feet. Smith distracts the ref, Cornette gets in a tennis racket shot and celebrates. Yoko reverses a corner Irish whip and splashes Smith, then takes him to the mat with a clothesline. Yoko sets up for the Banzai Drop but Cornette pulls Smith to the floor. Yoko whips Smith into the ringpost but misses a splash and his head hits nothing but steel. OUCH. Yoko manages to get back into the ring though and Smith hits him with an axhandle from the top for the 1…2…Yoko throws Smith off of him. Smith tries another axhandle but Yoko catches him with a chop to the midsection. Yoko no sells Smith’s various clotheslines and hits a Samoan drop that almost turns the Bulldog into a grease spot on the canvas. Yoko with a belly-to-belly suplex and Smith sells it with a shaky leg. Cornette comes in and whacks Yoko with the tennis racket, forcing the ref to call for the bell. Oh.
Yokozuna defeated Davey Boy Smith via DQ (5:02)
- Y’all couldn’t give Yoko a pinfall victory in his first match as a babyface? Okay then. Match wasn’t all that great but honestly what could you do with a man as huge and plodding as Yoko was at the time? Guy could still sorta move but not enough to make anything exciting and it’s not like Smith was the man who could have gotten something exciting to begin with. Was what it was, and a dumb finish to boot. (1/4*)
Cornette keeps whacking Yoko with his tennis racket to absolutely no effect. Yoko stalks Cornette but before he can do anything in comes Vader to make the save for his manager. Vader and Smith double-team Yoko and cuff him to the top rope. Officials try to break up this real weak-looking attack to little avail. Yoko tries to fight back but you know THAT DAMNED NUMBERS GAME and all. Cornette even throws in some loud ass racket shots. Lawyer at large Clarence Mason finally convinces Camp Cornette, and Vader in particular, to stop the attack to avoid legal repercussions.
-Cut to the America Online set where Intercontinental Champion Goldust is making the man typing his responses in the chat room very uncomfortable with a hug from behind. Marlena is also hanging out with her unlit cigar. I can’t really hear what he’s saying but it’s probably unsettling. Apparently Goldust is defending against Razor Ramon tomorrow on RAW.
-Cut to footage recapping the feud between Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart. Let’s summarize: Michaels got shoot beat up by Marines (called ‘thugs’ in the video) resulting in having to forfeit the Intercontinental Championship to Dean Douglas (who immediately lost it to Razor Ramon because The Kliq). HBK returned to action against Hart but an enzuigiri during a match on RAW caused him to collapse in the middle of the ring, leading to one of the WWF’s pre-Attitude Era attempts at ‘realism’ as the show ended with everyone attending to the downed hero (certainly freaked me out when I was a kid). Michaels eventually recovered, won the 1996 Royal Rumble, and now he’s putting his title shot on the line against the man who almost ended his career and bragged about doing so. Pretty compelling stuff honestly, one of the better storylines in the WWF at the time that did wonders at making HBK a sympathetic babyface.
WRESTLEMANIA XII TITLE SHOT ON THE LINE
‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels vs. ‘The King of Harts’ Owen Hart [w/ Jim Cornette]
During Hart’s entrance we cut backstage where Pettengill is standing by with HBK. HBK says this is the biggest match of his life and guarantees victory. I forgot he called his fans ‘The Kliq’. Meta stuff. Also I forgot how crazy generic Owen’s music was. HBK’s entrance involves him dancing atop the roof of the In Your House, uh, house and swinging to the floor like Tarzan. HBK hits the ring and tosses Hart out so he can continue his pyro-laden routine. Something (BESIDES HISTORICAL RECORD) tells me this man may win the match.
HBK slides under Hart’s legs and slaps the hands with his ‘Kliq’ fans, showboating and annoying the King of Harts. He even plants a kiss on one of the female fans, who has hair like Spike from Degrassi Junior High. Hart tries to do the same thing but no one slaps hands with him and HBK flattens him with a plancha from the top turnbuckle. HBK rolls Hart in and follows up with a flying axhandle for an early two-count. Hart tries to escape a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex but HBK flips out, drops him to the mat, and literally walks all over him. SOMETHING SOMETHING METAPHOR. HBK goes back to the standing side headlock and messes with Hart’s hair behind the ref’s back to the joy of the crowd. Hart with a hip toss, HBK kicks him off, and both kip back up. HBK connects with a Frankensteiner and pummels Hart with rights. Hart misses a clothesline but hits a release belly-to-belly suplex to take control of the contest. Nice. Hart follows up with a backbreaker as a ‘GO SHAWN GO’ chant breaks out in the Louisville crowd, Sportatorium style. Hart connects with a reverse neckbreaker and covers but only gets a two-count. Hart goes for the Sharpshooter, HBK kicks out but gets a knee to the back for his troubles. Hart with a Camel Clutch, Lawler says Hart invented it. Actually Jericho invented that but that’s neither here nor there (NOTE TO FUTURE READERS: THAT’S A MEME JOKE, I DON’T THINK HE ACTUALLY INVENTED IT).
After another near-fall Hart takes HBK to chinlock city. HBK escapes, HBK gets belted with a spinning a heel kick and rolls out to the floor. NICE. Cornette almost gets a cheap shot in but the ref catches him in time. Hart tries to suplex HBK back in, HBK blocks it and SUPLEXES HART TO THE FLOOR. HBK tries to follows up with a splash, Hart counters with a powerslam on the protective mats. Hart measures HBK and connects with a missile dropkick for the 1…2…nope! European uppercuts by the King of Harts in the corner, HBK escapes a slam and rolls him up for the 1…2…Hart kicks out. Hart reverses a corner Irish whip, HBK goes flipping into the buckles then almost has his head taken off with a clothesline. Hart locks in the Sharpshooter, HBK almost gets to the ropes so Hart pulls him closer to the center of the ring but eventually a rope break occurs. Hart blows a little snot rocket on HBK, HBK catches Hart with a roll-up for the 1…2…Hart kicks out. HBK catches a kick, Hart hits him with the same enzuigiri that put him out of action and HBK rolls to the floor unconscious. The ref begins his count: 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…Hart breaks the count (?!?!?!!!) and rolls him back in, covering for the 1…2…HBK KICKS OUT. Owen Hart done messed up.
Hart whips HBK into the corner but misses a splash, going crotch-first into the middle buckle. HBK catches Hart with a flying forearm and both men are down. Hart gets to his feet first but HBK kips up and hits a comeback string of offense. HBK hits Hart with a flying elbowdrop and knocks Cornette off the apron. Hart ducks Sweet Chin Music, HBK ducks the enzuigiri and hits Sweet Chin Music on his second attempt for the 1…2…3! SHAWN MICHAELS IS GOING TO WRESTLEMANIAAAA.
Shawn Michaels defeated Owen Hart via pinfall (15:57)
- To the shock of absolutely no one this is a great match. No wasted motions here, and the callback to the enzuigiri was tremendous. Hart opting for a pinfall attempt rather than a countout victory was a nice touch with a good moral: don’t let dumb stuff like pride and ego get in the way of an easy victory. HBK has yet another strong win under his belt as he heads into WrestleMania XII and the chance to fulfill his childhood dream. (***3/4)
After the match HBK celebrates by dancing with one of his little girl fans. IN A NICE WAY NOT IN A PERVY WAY DON’T WORRY.
We cut to Todd Pettengill on the arena interview stage who introduces his guest, Interim WWF President ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper. Piper says he takes his job extremely seriously and he ain’t afraid of no damn Boogerman! This Boogerman? Piper makes HBK’s #1 contendership official then turns his attention to Yokozuna, calling him dumb for getting handcuffed earlier. He then throws shade at Vader calling him ‘inbred’ and mocks his jockstrap-looking mask. WHY?!? Piper isn’t here to suspend Vader and books him against Yokozuna for WrestleMania XII. This doesn’t end up happening and it’s changed into a six-man tag team match instead, mostly to make sure the then-injured Vader didn’t get hurt any more than he already was. BUT WE DON’T KNOW THAT YET so out come Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason to protest. Cornette recaps Vader’s story, with everyone being so scared of him that he was suspended by the WWF Board of Directors until Mason used his lawyer powers to overturn it. Cornette tells Piper that whatever Vader ends up doing will be on him. Piper threatens Cornette that he may come cheek to cheek with Yoko at WrestleMania XII. Well this segment certainly happened and considering the match never happens it ended up being pointless.
STEEL CAGE MATCH
Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart [c] vs. ‘Big Daddy Cool’ Diesel for the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP
Hart ended Diesel’s year-long reign at Survivor Series 1995, prompting a soft heel turn from Big Daddy Cool where he would only slap hands with fans that wore his brand of black leather gloves (a BRILLIANT merchandising tactic that I fell for as a kid). This is their big return match and the winner of this one will be defending the WWF Championship against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII. Diesel can touch the top of the cage while standing flat-footed on the canvas. That’s a little intimidating but that also shows just how small the baby blue cage really was.
Hart and Diesel slug it out to start, the latter easily winning that fight due to his size. Hart goes after Diesel’s knee, Diesel peppers him with rights to stop that nonsense. Diesel throws Hart so hard into the corner it sounds like a car crash. Yikes. Hart kicks at Diesel’s knee some more, Diesel responds with a buckle shot. Hart sends Diesel head-first into the cage, reeling the big man for the first time in the contest. Hart does it once more and Diesel falls to the mat. Hart tries to escape the cage, Diesel pulls him back in then rams him back-first into the cage repeatedly. Diesel heads for the door, climbing over the top rope, but Hart stops him by sending said rope into the crotch. That’ll do it. Hart headbutts the midsection and starts crawling for the door. He gets a hand out but that doesn’t count and Diesel pulls him back in by the legs. Diesel tries to crawl out immediately after, Hart grabs the legs to prevent it and stomps him in the midsection. Hart works over Diesel’s left knee, weakening it and diminishing his escape chances. Diesel fights back and connects with a sidewalk slam, weakening the champ’s back. Hart dodges an elbowdrop and goes to climb out but notices Diesel is heading toward the door so he pulls him back in instead. Smart move. Back to the knee Hart goes, McMahon name-drops The Undertaker as one of the men keeping an eye on this match. Diesel cost Undertaker his chance at the WWF Championship last month at the Royal Rumble, creating a side feud that I’M SURE won’t factor into the finish of this one. Nope. Uh-uh. Hart climbs up and over the cage, Diesel grabs him by the hair and slams him to the mat. Hart fights back and connects with a Bulldog, and both men are down.
Hart climbs the cage and gets one leg over but Diesel prevents the escape and connects with a belly-to-back suplex. Diesel charges at Hart in the corner, Hart dodges and he goes knee-first into the buckles hurting the leg even more. More leg work, including an elbowdrop from the middle buckle. Diesel sends Hart into the buckles chest-first then collapses to the mat, his knee still bothering him. Hart kicks at the knee some more and makes it over the cage but Diesel grabs him by the hair and pulls him back in, then sends him face-first into the blue steel. Hart takes another corner chest bump and Diesel tries to lawn dart him into the corner, but Hart escapes and sends him into the steel. Hart goes for the Sharpshooter but Diesel escapes with a thumb to the eye. Not that it would have mattered anyway, this isn’t one of those ‘pinfalls and submissions count’ sorta cage matches. Sadly. Hart connects with a series of shots to the kidneys and follows up with a side Russian legsweep. Hart climbs the buckles, kicks Diesel away, and hits his patented elbow drop this time from the top rope. Hart smartly tries to escape the cage on the opposite side but Diesel stops him. Hart knocks him away but drops crotch-first on the top rope so nobody wins. Diesel slides towards the cage door, but Hart lunges and grabs his ankle. Diesel manages to kick him off and gets closer to leaving until THE UNDERTAKER rips through the canvas and pulls Diesel in with him. Smoke billows from the hole in the ring and Hart climbs out and touches the floor to win.
Bret Hart [c] defeated Diesel via escape to retain the WWF CHAMPIONSHIP (19:14)
- Diesel technically touched the ground first when The Undertaker pulled him under but I guess mystical dead man magic doesn’t count so Hart got the victory. Was it a ridiculous moment? Of course. Did I think it was the coolest thing ever when I was a kid? Of course. Unfortunately it puts all of the focus on Diesel and not the champ who just won the match but that was par for the course and Bret himself said enough about it in his autobiography for the both of us. As for the match…it was okay. Felt like it went on a little too long and the cage felt like a useless gimmick tacked on because no one wanted to be pinned. I hate cage matches that are just about escaping, takes away from the kind of drama I like. They can be done well but this wasn’t a great example of it. I do appreciate the pyschology of Hart working over Diesel’s knee though. Anyway this match is okay but definitely more dull than I would have liked. (**1/2)
Hart is announced as the victor but it doesn’t matter as we go back to the ring. Diesel escapes the hole, and The Undertaker continues to pursue him. Diesel forgets all about his injured knee and climbs over the cage to avoid The Dead Man. Undertaker’s music hits as the arena goes purple, Undertaker staring a hole through Big Daddy Cool.
FINAL THOUGHTS: HBK/Owen is great but that’s about all that you would need to see from this show, unless the idea of a ‘Crybaby Match’ fascinates you. Disappointing main event plus a weak undercard make this one skippable.