In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies
Date: April 28, 1996
Location: Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon
So Wrestlemania has come and gone, and of course the big deal is that Shawn Michaels, the undisputed king of the midcard has broken through the glass ceiling and defeated Bret Hart to become the world champion, ushering in the new era of the company. No one knew what that era was, but I guarantee you no one knew about the juggernaut that was about to steamroll both Vince and the WWF that July when the NWO would form.
Shawn would continue to be the face of the company until around November when a new star would emerge. Little did the company know (whenever I type that I always hear the voice from Stranger Than Fiction which always creeps me out) that by putting the title on Shawn, they ultimately made the move that would save them in the long run, but I’ll remain cryptic and explain that concept for later on for those of you that don’t get the historical aspect which would be impressive as it’s very indirect.
Anyway, as for tonight, the title of our show refers to Shawn and Diesel, who are going to have their big match that would end their feud once and for all: a No Holds Barred match for the title. The most important thing about tonight though was very simple: it was Hall and Nash’s last televised appearances with the company.
These departures, the so called Curtain Call incident, next months’ In Your House, and Bash at the Beach which was held in July of that year, are four nights that shaped the business as a whole and may be four of the 5 nights that are the reason the WWE won the Monday Night Wars. Explanations coming later including one in this review, but for now let’s start the show! Oh yeah and Foley is here now also.
Standard recap video package to open as it once again tries to play this off as equal to Mania but no one really buys that. No one gave Diesel a chance as no one believed that Shawn was going to lose in his first title defense. It was simply not going to happen after the amount of time and effort he had put into his buildup.
Diesel had turned on him at a house show which prompted Shawn to say what the company tried to build up as a famous line “I’m going to kick his 7ft face.” Yeah that really isn’t that famous. Time for the first match.
Owen Hart/British Bulldog vs. Jake Roberts/Ahmed Johnson
This is kind of a rematch from Mania, minus Vader and Yoko per team. The whole showdown with Vader and Yoko never happened as someone woke up and realized that match would just bomb so they turned it into a 6 man by adding these guys. Owen and Bulldog were by far and away the best tag team around this time but they didn’t get the tag titles until September and they held them until May which was some kind of a record or something that I don’t feel like looking up right now.
They were kind of emulating the original Hart Foundation with the power/speed and while it wasn’t as effective, it was good enough to dominate the tag division for about 9 months. Anyway, here we go in a rather pointless tag match.
We get a pre match interview from Jake but Vince of course cuts off one of the best promo men of all time to push some stupid story, as Vince has to be the center of attention. Before the match, Cornette’s annoying lawyer has a court order banning Jake’s snake from being used. Jake of course rips it up and throws the snake on the heels. Why is it that every heel has a horrible fear of snakes? WWE needs a psychologist on staff to help deal with this.
Apparently Johnson was a surprise partner, even though he was Jake’s partner last month. Part of the story is that Bulldog is worried he’s not as strong as Johnson based on arm wrestling or something. Oh and he broke Johnson’s thumb. So far this is a pretty formula based match with Jake and Owen doing most of the heavy lifting. Whenever Johnson is in, Bulldog runs to tag in Owen to avoid the confrontation.
Johnson is over as we have a very hot crowd. Johnson somehow botches a clothesline. That’s like the most simplistic move of all time. DONALD FREAKING TRUMP did a decent one. Apparently this was supposed to be Bulldog vs. Jake. Vince of course says Owen would be nothing without Bret, even though Bret wouldn’t be around for about 6 months at this point.
Jake is in the ring far more than Johnson as the company knew that Ahmed just flat out sucked in the ring but he was over and had a great look. We go to the rest holds as you can tell this isn’t going to be over anytime soon. This should sum up things very well for you: Jake is in the ring for about seven minutes straight, taking most of the offense.
He finally makes the tag to Ahmed, and Johnson is literally in the ring 30 seconds before tagging back out. That’s how much faith they had in him. Ending comes when everyone is brawling and Bulldog hits Jake in the knee with Cornette’s tennis racket a few times and puts him in a leg lock for the submission.
Rating: C. This isn’t a bad match. Ahmed had no business being on live PPV, but it’s not bad. It was decent for an opener and that’s about all you can ask for here. Jake shows he still has it and he would get a decent little push in the next few months. Nothing special really, but just a little something to keep the fans happy.
Intercontinental Title: Ultimate Warrior vs. Goldust
Yes that Ultimate Warrior and that Goldust had a match. Warrior had made a return at Mania, squashing HHH in less than two minutes and taking a Pedigree, yet being on his feet before HHH was. Goldust is accompanied by Marlena, who was supposed to be really sexy I guess, but she never did it for me at all.
He’s also accompanied by his bodyguard Brusier Mastino. Earlier tonight….wait a second. Brusier Mastino? That’s the name that Kane used when he was a jobber in WCW back in the early 90s. That’s clearly not Kane here as he was playing Isaac Yankem at the time. What the heck? Why use the name of a guy that did absolutely nothing in WCW as a character here?
According to Wikipedia, the man with Goldust is the same one that played Mantaur a year ago. Huh? That’s really weird. Anyway, earlier tonight, Warrior was giving an interview when Marlena blew cigar smoke in his face and Goldust threw gold dust into his eyes. Why would you want to tick him off? GOldust ran away and fell, apparently hurting his knee. Goldust is coming off a mini feud with Savio, and McMahon says that he hopes that feud isn’t over. What is Vince on anyway?
The music hits, the crowd pops, Vince screams, and Warrior jogs to the ring. The massive pyro display is kind of a cool touch for him. We haven’t started the match yet and Lawler is up to two movie references. Make that three, and there’s the bell. Goldust starts our epic showdown by hobbling to the back and apparently leaving.
Then, in something you can tell Vince is furious over, the Warrior picks up Marlena’s cigar from the aisle and starts smoking it. The fans have no idea what to think of this, especially after those Warrior PSAs from the late 80s about not smoking.
Movie reference #5 by King. The bodyguard leaves as Warrior gets Marlena’s director’s chair and sits it in the middle of the ring. Mastino comes back with Goldust and Marlena, screaming “HE’S GOT THE CHAIR!!!”, like it’s the end of the world or something. As Lawler makes his seventh movie reference, Warrior is sitting in the chair, smoking the cigar, as the trio leaves to Lawler’s ninth movie title joke.
Warrior keeps messing with his hair as Lawler calls him a Rebel Without a Clue for number 10. Goldust gets on the mic to say something but the fans boo him. He threatens to come out there and kiss every person if they don’t shut up as this continues to be the weirdest match of all time and we haven’t even started yet. Number thirteen hits as Goldust and Marlena get into the ring, while the cameraman keeps getting shots of her back.
Warrior holds up Goldust’s robe like a bullfighter. Warrior gives Marelena her cigar back which she pops right into her mouth like it’s no big deal at all. In what takes another full minute, Warrior gives Goldust his robe back, accompanied by the fifteenth movie pun by Lawler. I know you might be getting sick of my counting them, but seriously, they’re the most entertaining thing going on right now.
This is at 10 minutes and counting so far and they haven’t even touched each other. Apparently Goldust being outside the ring for seven minutes isn’t enough for a countout either. McMahon says Warrior will do whatever it takes to get the match started. I’m not even going to acknowledge that with a joke or an insult. Goldust sits in the chair and rubs his chest as Marlena…does something.
Even Vince is sick of the jokes at #18. Warrior takes the cigar again and puffs away as King is starting to repeat jokes. Vince asks what everyone is wondering: what is going on? Goldust sticks out his hand which Warrior puts the cigar into before clotheslining him to the floor. Goldust walks to the back for the count out. Are you kidding me? THAT’S IT? The bodyguard takes some clotheslines and a slam as Warrior is announced as the winner.
Vince and Lawler both say something to the effect of the winner of what contest? There was a match here? Post match, Lawler breaks into the twenties in jokes as Warrior puts Goldust’s wig on with the bodyguard’s hat over top of that and climbs the ropes to end this.
Rating: G-. This is so bad it’s below an F. This went on nearly 15 minutes and the contact between the two was a cigar to the hand and a clothesline. The crowd was on fire before the “match” and then we get this? This is why Warrior is blacklisted in wrestling forever. Not this particular thing, but the full thing of shenanigans like this. This was a total waste of time, there was no match, and the fans had no idea what was going on. Easily the worst segment of all time.
We cut to the back to see Bulldog FREAKING out about something as he tries desperately to get into Shawn’s dressing room, saying something about his wife Diana. This turned out to be the start of Shawn’s next storyline and his first real feud. The story would go on to be that allegedly Shawn either hit on or attempted to rape Diana backstage, which would turn out to be false and just a way to get Bulldog a title shot. This would lead to a match at the next In Your House.
We come back to the arena with Warrior’s music still playing and you can see that Vince is ticked at what just happened in the “match.” Vince attempts to play off his anger by saying that he’s mad that Goldust was such a coward. While that’s at least somewhat plausible for the time being, knowing that Vince was the boss the whole time makes it laughable. As he and King talk, apparently, IT’S TIME, IT’S TIME, IT’S VADER TIME!!!
Vader vs. Razor Ramon
And it’s official: Razor is jobbing on his way out. Since no one knew he was leaving though, this wasn’t a given domination by Vader at the time. This is an interesting pairing here, as Razor usually does a lot of power moves but in this case, he’s having to do more hit and run stuff.
His size makes this plausible though, so it’s an interesting match. Vader of course dominates most of the match with Razor getting in some shots here and there, but ultimately getting knocked right back down by Vader. In an odd scene, Razor kicks out of the Vader Bomb. Razor amazes me by hitting a standard suplex on Vader after ten minutes have gone by. The more I see of his stuff, the more Razor impresses me.
Razor hits his big man finisher with the second rope bulldog but that doesn’t work. He almost gets Vader in the Razor’s Edge following a missed Vader Bomb but he can’t do it. He does however hit an electric chair drop on him which is quite impressive. Finish sees Razor set him for the Edge but getting backdropped and Vader just sits on his chest for the pin.
Rating: B. This was a very solid match. Razor made Vader look like a million bucks here, just like he should have. Razor’s last night would be three weeks away, but for all intents and purposes he was done after this match. Vader was going to be the top heel over the summer as he would eventually challenge Shawn for the title at Summerslam. I think Vince knew what he had with Vader, but Vader was too much of a business risk with how insane he was.
After the match, Doc Hendrix shows up and says that President Monsoon has determined that based on Vader’s victory here, he’ll be on the next In Your House, facing Yoko. Vader had injured Yoko on Raw by breaking his leg, resulting in a very funny scene where they had to bring a forklift to carry Yoko out of the arena, but apparently it has healed.
Cornette goes into one of his legendary rants, talking about how Yoko is a dead man. He says that Razor is the example of what Vader does to people in the ring. Razor came into this match as a handsome man and left looking like Margot Kidder.
For those of you that don’t know, that’s the woman that played Lois Lane in the Superman movies. What that has to do with anything is beyond me, but it’s Cornette doing what he does best: ranting and raving like a crazy man.
Tag Titles: Bodydonnas vs. Godwinns
Ok, there’s actually a somewhat lengthy backstory here. The Smoking Guns had vacated the tag titles because Billy hurt his neck, leading to a tag title tournament. The finals were held on the preshow of Mania 12. Prior to that, Sunny, the Bodydonnas manager and the woman that I think was most of our first fantasies, won the Slammy for best buns.
At the end of the match, Phineas had the match won and Sunny allegedly flashes him, which is stupid because you can clearly see she’s covered up, but man it was 1996 so it was shocking at the time. This led to the Godwinns losing the match.
This is the rematch, but earlier in the night, once again on the preshow, the cameras saw Phineas and Sunny off in the back of the building and Sunny flashes her chest at him. Another thing, the Godwinns have comical nicknames. Henry O. Godwinn (HOG) and Phineas I. Godwinn (PIG). They have Hillbilly Jim as a manager now, meaning they can use his old music, Don’t Go Messin With a Country Boy, meaning they get huge pops.
We cut to the back where Mr. Perfect, absolutely rocking the suit he’s in, is with Sunny and the champions. Sunny, looking instant orgasm hot, says that she showed PIG a thing or two and hits on Perfect, before saying that tonight the Donnas are going to outwrestle them. Perfect has a great line by saying that Sunny certainly has the greatest, most amazing pair of…….tag team wrestlers he’s seen in quite some time.
Ok it was funnier when he said it.
Anyway, on with the match. Of course, we have the biggest sex symbol in the history of the company on the way to the ring so we stay on a wide shot of the crowd the whole duration of their entrance. This is another standard though not bad tag match which really is a tale of two halves: to begin with the Godwinns just beat the living tar out of the champions before PIG gets beaten down in the other corner.
This is what you would expect from two such teams. The big guys overpower the smaller ones as the smaller heels do what they can to hang in there until they finally get the advantage. This eventually leads to the power guys making their comeback. Anyway, that eventually happens and Sunny runs to the back, drawing all the attention with her. She returns with a signed photo of herself, autographed to Phineas.
This distracts him as Jim is about to throw the slop onto Sunny. In the ring, Henry hits the reverse DDT on one of them, but he’s distracted by what’s going on outside. The BodyDonnas switch and Henry gets rolled up for the pin. After the match, the losers console their love struck partner, but as they leave he hides the picture in his overalls.
Rating: B-. This wasn’t a bad match. It was standard formula stuff which is what most good tag matches are. The main focus was on Sunny which makes sense as she was the biggest star of all these people. There were some great theme-based tag teams back in this era and these were two of the most memorable.
We cut to the back with Mark Mero apparently ticked off at HHH over being jumped earlier tonight on the preshow. Sable is jaw droppingly hot at this point and somehow people care even less about Mero than they would later on.
Time for your main event recap. They screw up by saying No Holds Barred Championship, implying it’s a new title or something. You know what they meant, but it was written poorly. How sad is it that I rented this tape so many times that I haven’t seen this recap in years yet I know the narration word for word? You know, the build up for this is making it feel pretty epic. At the time, this was a big match as Shawn had never beaten Diesel.
Shawn promises the Kliq a party tonight no matter what. Diesel says he’s got a surprise planned. I know what it is, but I won’t spoil it for you.
WWF Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel
JR is an interviewer. That’s just a shame. Maurice Mad Dog Vachon is in the front row. Shawn’s entrance is cool. He throws up a hand sign, power walks down the aisle, and takes off the vest and the belt before sliding in to start the slug fest. This is very fast paced and it’s working really well. We’re a minute into this and Shawn has come off the top rope twice.
Once for a twisting moonsault and the other to hit Diesel in the head with the boot he stole from the Spanish announcer. Diesel gets the best snake eyes I’ve ever seen as he throws Shawn up into the air to smash him down into the buckle. Diesel is just beating Shawn up at the moment but for some reason, considering it’s no holds barred, Diesel takes the tape off his wrist and chokes out the referee.
Then he whips Shawn with the referee’s belt. Diesel hangs Shawn over the ropes, which is pointless as Shawn can clearly touch the floor which would just make him uncomfortable and not unconscious. This is getting very violent. Not as bad as some of the future stuff, but at the time this was big stuff. Momentum swings when Diesel does the classic chair to the top rope spot to hit himself in the head.
Shawn is doing the Ricky Steamboat method of getting the heck beaten out of him then doing something big to win. He’s getting the tar beaten out of him and having him kick out time after time makes him look strong. Diesel was leaving so it wasn’t a big issue at all. Diesel jackknifes Shawn threw the announce table, which was a new thing at the time so there’s no joke to it. Shawn looks dead after this, and rightfully so.
Diesel goes into the ring with the title which is a nice touch. Vince screaming at Shawn to let it be over is so melodramatic it’s funny. Shawn of course doesn’t listen and is up on his feet like the true no seller he is. Shawn starts his comeback and we have no commentary which I really like. We all know Shawn’s moveset down to the letter when he’s making his comeback but it’s nice to just see it.
It gives the sequence the feeling of a house show and it’s a very nice little break from the norm. Of course Vince can’t let us have something cool for awhile without him so he’s back. He hits some of the most wicked chair shots to Diesel I’ve ever seen. These two are putting on a heck of a show out there as you can really feel like they hate each other.
While they were very close in real life, seeing them beat on each other like this is nothing but great as you can feel the natural chemistry that they share. This is great. Shawn hits the screw you elbow after a brief Diesel comeback but the kick is blocked, despite Vince screaming give it to him Shawn give it to him! Now we get the famous part of the match.
Diesel goes over to Vachon, the guy from earlier, and attacks him. He chokes him to the ground and RIPS HIS PROSTHETIC LEG OFF. I don’t care how scripted it was, that was sick. There’s nothing at all that makes you a bigger heel than that.
He attacked an old man and literally ripped his body apart. Shawn low blows him to stop him before hitting him with the leg, then hitting the chin music, after stomping loudly on the mat about 12 times. Seriously, if you hear the stomping, WHY WOULD YOU TURN AROUND? Also, the genius cameramen has the cameras on Shawn’s feet so you see Diesel fly back from the kick but not the impact of it. The pin ends the show.
Rating: A+. I absolutely loved this match when I was a kid and I still love it to this day. It had the big match feel and it never lets up. These two had mad chemistry together and this is probably their best match ever. They don’t use a ton of weapons which is what makes this good. There are indeed a few good things in there but it never overshadows things to become stupid like a hardcore match.
They use a chair, a rope, a boot (one time), and a prosthetic leg. The fire extinguisher and the table are semi weapons as it wasn’t the table that hurt but the power bomb through it, and the extinguisher is more of an annoyance than pain. Even with 6 weapons, it never gets old or boring as they’re well spaced out.
This is just a fun match and a great way to make Shawn look incredibly strong in his first title defense. People still use this as a reference for Shawn’s ability in no rules matches, and it holds up today with ease. Great match and one you should all see.
Overall Rating: C-. The main event is amazing, but the middle is killed worse than Mania 25 was by Kid Rock. It just sucks the life out of the show and it never recovers until the main event. However, I’d recommend that segment just to see how out there it is. Overall, this show is somewhere between good and bizarre.
The main event is a great match and probably somewhere on my list of favorite matches of all time, but nothing else here is really good at all. There’s some ok stuff, but nothing ever rises above that. Avoid the show, watch the main event.