The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF In Your House IV
- Originally aired October 22, 1995, this show not only was so humdrum that they couldn’t think of a witty subtitle, but it also has the distinction of earning the lowest buyrate ever for a WWF PPV, at 0.4. Kevin Nash, just call him “Money”. (Actually, on the RAW shows building this up, they were trying to make “Great White North” into a thing as the subtitle, but it didn’t happen. I’d like to go with Davey Boy’s summation from one of his promos as a subtitle: “That 50 below hellhole Winnipeg” Spoken like someone who spent years touring the Prairies.
- By the way, thank you to the Russians for inventing vodka, so I was able to make it through this one. On a related note, thank you to the makers of ibuprofen. (I’ve heard conflicting reports over the years about my roommate’s patented “take three Tylenol and a giant glass of water before bed to prevent a hangover” advice. At the time this rant was originally posted on the blog, it triggered a firestorm of discussion about the merits of Tylenol v. Advil for booze-related headaches, with each side saying that the other is the one that will cause your liver to implode. That being said, even though I don’t really drink any more because I’m old as fuck, I did partake recently at my work conference and found that cheap pizza at 3 in the morning works remarkably well to prevent barfing and headaches as well.)
- Live from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
- Your hosts are Vince, Jerry & JR.
- In a pretaped segment, President Gorilla strips Shawn Michaels of the IC title because he has a boo-boo and is incapable of laying down for Dean Douglas. If you want to stop and get some Kleenex in case of bursts of tears now, I’ll wait for you.
- Okay, all done? On with the show…
- Opening match: Makin’ a Difference Fatu v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
Welcome to Gimmick Hell, as Fatu gets repackaged in one of the dorkiest gimmicks in history – The Caring Samoan. See, the WWF was then gonna bring in his evil cousins, the Samoan Gangsta Party, who were kinda streetwise, rappin’ samoan with attitudez. They’d try to corrupt him like D-Von Dudley did with Buh Buh Ray in ECW, but they’d probably fail because he’s Makin’ a Difference for the kids on the streeet. Sadly, Fatu’s career collapsed in on itself when everyone released what a moron he must have been for taking this gimmick, and the Gangsta Party never saw the light of day. (Those guys are like the lost Samoans or something. They spent FOREVER in developmental and then just vanished.) More’s the pity. I’m not sure if Wrestlecrap has a section for Fatu, but they really should. Fatu gets a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack bodydrop to start (ah, Vince McMahon, play-by-play guy, those were the days). They brawl outside, and back in where Hunter stalls. Fatu does this horrible leapfrog out of the corner, but gets hung up in the ropes, and Hunter pounds on him. He hits a piledriver, which is no-sold by Fatu. They slug it out, but Hunter hits a neckbreaker for two. Kneelift gets two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Vince notes Hunter’s undefeated record. Oh man, even back in 1995 that guy wouldn’t job. Lariat leads to the 360 clothesline sell by Fatu, although with Marty Jannetty on this card he might have competition later. Hunter gets two, but Fatu rolls him up for two. Pedigree is reversed, and a superkick cues the comeback. A pair of clotheslines and a backbreaker for Fatu set up the flying headbutt, which gets a one count. Running Diamond Cutter out of the corner sets up a flying splash, which misses. Pedigree finishes at 8:00. As blueblood snob v. streetwise samoan matches go, this was pretty decent. ** (Meltzer’s note on HHH at the time: “They’re clearly protecting and building him for the future.” You don’t say?)
- The drama continues as Henry O Godwinn stalks Hunter with a bucket of slop, setting up the allegory for the Monday Night Wars that was the Hogpen Match at In Your House V.
- WWF tag team title match: The Smoking Gunns v. 1-2-3 Kid & Razor Ramon.
This was to set up the heel turn that would turn Sean Waltman into the character that eventually became X-Pac. So think about that – he’s essentially been playing the same annoying little creep heel for 6 years, and people wonder why the gimmick’s stale? Anyway, the Cliquesters have matching lavender tights here. Both teams were ostensibly babyfaces, although the crowd likes Ramon the best. Kid & Billy start, as Billy debuts the short hair look that remains to this day. (Even shorter on top these days, if you know what I mean. Unintentionally short. HE’S FUCKING BALD, OK?) Billy wins a hiptoss sequence, so Razor tries next with Bart. Bart holds him off pretty well, and stalling follows. Kid cheapshots Bart, and the Red Eye Express takes over. Ramon pounds on Bart in full heel mode, but still draws mad face heat. Kid hits his kick combo and a pair of snap legdrops, then Razor suplexes him onto Bart for two. Beating continues, but Bart gets a hair takedown for a double KO. Taggery abounds. Billy cleans house and drops an elbow on Kid for two. Bart comes in and kills him with backbreakers for two, and the Gunns hit their suplex/dropkick combo for two. Billy misses a blind charge, but Kid is still out and Bart rolls Billy on top of him, and then Razor sneaks in and reverses that for two. Hot tag Razor, and he cleans house. Razor’s Edge for Billy, but the Kid wants the tag. Razor obliges, and Kid promptly gets pinned at 12:44. D’oh! Kid heels on the Gunns and steals the belts, but Razor makes peace. How sweet. **1/4 (And then they all went out and did a shitload of pot together to celebrate.)
- Marty Jannetty v. Goldust.
This is Goldust’s in-ring debut after months of bizarre promos. The morality factor is somewhat in question here, as you’ve got your alcoholic drug addict taking on the sexual deviant son of Dusty Rhodes. However, the presence of Rhodes DNA swings things to Marty’s side by my count. I’m shocked Jannetty didn’t try to snort the gold confetti that fell from the ceiling during the entrances. (High five! Anyone?) Jannetty attacks and dumps Goldust, who takes a walk up the aisle. Back in, he bails again. Stalling follows. Goldust gets a rollup for two, but Marty comes back with a rana, and you guessed it, Goldust stalls again. They exchange leapfrogs and Goldie gets a lariat (allowing Marty to work the 450 clothesline sell in) and chokes him out. That goes on for a while, then he changes things up with a chinlock. Backdrop gets one as the match drags JUST A BIT. Marty gets dumped and they brawl for a bit, then he hits the post. Suplex back in gets two for Dustin. Back to that thar chinlock. Jannetty escapes and fucks up a backdrop reversal spot, then hits the post again. Goldust DDTs him for two. Jannetty gets a Rocker Dropper and goes up, but misses the fistdrop. However, in the most intelligent spot of the show, he doesn’t sell it because it wouldn’t actually hurt to miss that move. He goes up again and this time Goldust holds up his foot, and that gets sold. Front suplex finishes for Goldust at 11:12. Amazingly, his push actually continued after that performance. ¼* (You have to give Vince some credit for patience here, because the Goldust gimmick was flopping on every level during the buildup and this debut, but he stuck with it when normal modus operandi would be to cut him loose.)
- Yokozuna v. King Mabel.
Yes, you read that right. Just accept it. Both guys were still heels, but were being punished for putting Undertaker out of action for three months. That’s all well and good, but there’s no need to cause misery for the poor fanbase, too. Slugfest to start, and Mabel bails. Back in, he gets a lariat and now Yoko bails. Back in again, Mabelanche hits and he takes over. Mabelanche #2 misses, but Yoko misses the Hulkbuster. Mabel misses an elbow as I’m having trouble keeping up with the torrid pace. They brawl outside for the merciful double countout at 5:12. And the fans actually BOOED the end of the match. As if they wanted it to continue. Well, that’s Winnipeg for ya. -**
- We get our Heartfelt Moment as Shawn Michaels comes out to surrender the Intercontinental title to Dean Douglas, due to his being horsewhipped by 12 guys in a bar in Syracuse. (FIFTEEN!) My heart bleeds. Here’s a hint on Wrestling Ethics and why Shawn isn’t in the WON Hall of Fame: If you’re healthy enough to WALK, you’re healthy enough to do the right thing. (Well, Shawn at least is in the Hall of Fame now.) On the other hand, if anyone deserved to get screwed over this badly, it’s Shane Douglas, so really it’s just funny on all sides.
- Oh, and since the fans DEMAND a title match tonight, Douglas has to defend against Razor Ramon. But the Clique didn’t have any backstage power, nope.
- Intercontinental title: Dean Douglas v. Razor Ramon.
Douglas bails early. Back in, Ramon works the arm. That lasts a while. Dean comes back and stomps Ramon, but walks into a blockbuster suplex and gets dumped. Stalling follows. Suplex back in and Ramon stomps him. Douglas bails again to keep up the excitement level. Back in, Ramon goes back to that arm. Razor’s Edge is reversed, and they brawl outside. Back in, Douglas goes upstairs and gets caught with a chokeslam. Slugfest is won by Ramon, and he goes for a superplex, which is blocked. Bodypress by Douglas is rolled through for two. Douglas takes over, but gets suplexed and pinned out of nowhere at 11:00, despite having his feet in the ropes. Nice of Ramon to basically give him no offense and then pin him with a transition move. No wonder Douglas is so bitter. This, by the way, is the shortest IC title reign ever. ½* (Ramon was a total shithead here, as he barely even sold anything for Douglas and looked like he wanted to be somewhere else, while winning his fourth IC title.)
- WWF World title: Diesel v. The British Bulldog.
Yes, kids, this is actually the main event of a PPV. To spite Lex Luger, Vince McMahon actually pushed his partner to the main event for three PPVs to end 1995 (In Your Houses 3,4 and 5). Bret Hart joins us for commentary, replacing Jerry Lawler. Diesel hits an elbow and Bulldog bails. Stalling follows. Back in, but Diesel bails and jaws with Bret. Back in, Bulldog works the leg. That lasts a while. They head outside and Cornette pounds on Diesel’s leg. Back in, Bulldog gets a half-crab to work on it. Diesel uses his POOCHIE POWER to escape, but Bulldog goes back to it. Legdrop gets two. Diesel fights back, but Bulldog goes back to the leg. IT JUST KEEPS GOING. Diesel reverses a suplex for the double KO. Bulldog goes to a bad-looking Sharpshooter, but Diesel powers out. Powerslam is escaped and Diesel gets the big boot, but Cornette comes in and gets tossed, as does Bulldog. They brawl outside and Diesel eats post, drawing Bret into the ring for the DQ at 18:13. The crowd just boos that finish out of the building, and after the show went off the air Vince threw his headset down in disgust and chewed Diesel out right at ringside, basically sealing his fate then and there. He jobbed the title to Bret Hart at the very next PPV and was gone to WCW six months later. *
The Bottom Line: Aside from the Shawn Michaels farce and the seeds of the 1-2-3 Kid’s heel turn, this may be quite possibly the most unremarkable show in the history of WWF PPV. Several horrible matches on top of the card didn’t help matters, either. But hey, if you like that early Goldust stuff, this is the show for you!
Strong recommendation to avoid. (STRONGEST recommendation to avoid. This one is legendarily bad. I think the Jets left because they were so ashamed of playing hockey in the same arena that hosted this show.)