In Your House #14 – Revenge of the Taker: The Forgotten Austin vs. Bret Match

In Your House 14: Revenge of the Taker
Date: April 20, 1997
Location: War Memorial Auditorium, Rochester, New York
Attendance: 6,477
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon

So we’re now a month removed from Wrestlemania 13. Your biggest stories are of course Taker beating Sid for the world title and the legendary Submission match with Bret and Austin. Therefore Bret now looks like a jerk while Austin is a walking deity. Your big matches here are Taker vs. Mankind for the title and then the real main event is Austin vs. Bret all over again, but this time there are no gimmicks.

Aside from that it’s a pretty run of the mill show. Both of the other titles are on the line and we have a bad midcard match. This is really an odd time for the company as they were trying to start a new year for lack of a better term but they were kind of stuck in one place. That would change fast though, just not in the near future. Let’s get to it.

Much darker music for the main theme as they’re actually trying to play off the name of the show for a change. What a novel idea! Anyway, that’s quickly cut off by LOD’s music which will always rock. A bad angle was coming for these two but I’ll get to that later on if I can avoid it for tonight’s show.

Tag Titles: Legion of Doom vs. British Bulldog/Owen Hart

Short recap video showing how the champions have been messing with the LOD and costing them some issues with the Godwinns. They come out to Bret’s music which is a bit odd and not addressed. LOD is mad over in this match as the chants are ECW level. Bulldog is European Champion and Owen has two Slammys to go with the tag titles.

As I watch this match, I start to notice a few things about the LOD. The first is I have never seen a tag team more over in my life, and that includes the Harts in Canada. The place is popping like crazy for every single thing they do. The other thing I notice is they really do nothing. The most complicated move either has done in five minutes was a powerslam. That’s actually quite impressive.

Their appearance and personas have gotten them so over that the fans are either too impressed or too stupid to get how limited they were in the ring. I’m leaning towards the second actually. During the match, Austin gets to the arena late which is yet another instance of this happening.

Someone give him a stern lecture and a firm finger shaking! JR and King are just ripping the heck out of each other in this match and it’s absolutely great. Oddly enough, JR is winning the battle of one line insults. Vince says that even King Kong would go down from Owen’s enziguri. No Vince, he wouldn’t.

Eventually the LOD beat the living tar out of both guys and hit a powerslam (go figure) from the middle rope to pin Bulldog and win the belts. Post match the celebration is on, but apparently it isn’t. Bulldog wasn’t the legal man, so this match must continue.

The champions take over, with Smith in the ring which again screws things up as Owen was the legal man that caused all the issues. Once again though the LOD takes over and this time hits the Doomsday Device but Bret runs in and causes the DQ to end this.

Rating: B-. This was a good match that did exactly what it was supposed to do: make LOD look dominant and let the heels keep their belts. It sets up a rematch as well so we have another month covered. The false finish kept things interesting enough to overlook the LOD’s, ahem, limited offensive skills. They were big, strong and cool looking and sometimes that’s all it takes.

In the back Owen and Bulldog are interviewed by Doc. Bret is going to beat Austin apparently. Thank you for that insight.

We go back to Sunny and Brian Pillman on the Superstar Line, costing only 1.50 a minute. They of course imply that that want to screw each others’ brains out without ever saying it.

Intercontinental Title: Savio Vega vs. Rocky Maivia

The Nation’s entrance is still awesome. No Faroorq that I can see though which is most weird. We see a recap of last week’s Raw where the Nation beat up Rocky after Savio cheated to pin him. Doc is with Rocky who says he’s been lucky so far in the WWF but Savio is in for a heck of a fight if he wants the title. Short but very sweet actually.

Rocky is still coming out to generic rock song #87 at this point. Farrooq comes out about 20 seconds into the match because apparently that’s 20 seconds too much work for him. He has a shoulder injury but joins for commentary.

After some difficulties with the audio, JR gives up his headset to Farrooq, who says that the black commentator is always getting held back. Not true as there never has been a black commentator at that point. Dang there really hadn’t been had there? Anyway, the match is boring but Farrooq says that he’s challenged Ahmed to a gauntlet match. If Ahmed wins the Nation disbands.

This match is just not that interesting. It’s mainly Savio on offense with a few comebacks by Rocky here or there. Eventually they go on the floor but Crush hits his finisher on Rocky and he gets counted out. You can see the finish yourself. Post match Savio is ticked off and rightly so. They take their anger out on Rocky but Ahmed runs out for the save. He accepts the challenge Farrooq made.

Rating: C. This was just there. It wasn’t interesting it wasn’t particularly good, just there. It was two guys wrestling but nothing at all was interesting about it. Farroq’s commentary was interesting and funny at least and it allowed the main storyline, NOD vs. Ahmed, to be continued. That’s all it got right though.

Ken Shamrock is chatting on AOL with the fans. Two things strike me as odd here. AOL used to be a big deal. What in the world happened to it? And Ken Shamrock on a computer is just an amusing sight.

In the back still we see Sable and Marc Mero talking to Doc. Mero says his knee injury is going fine and he’ll be back in the summer. Just a causal interview until Steve Austin walks into the men’s room behind them. Mero getting interviewed near a bathroom just makes me laugh. You hear a loud commotion from inside it though and Owen and Bulldog run out, each carrying weapons. Earl Hebner runs out as well saying Austin got jumped.

Jesse James vs. Rockabilly

Oh blast it. Blast it blast it blast it. It’s freaking Rockabilly. I hate Rockabilly almost as much as I hate Illinois Nazis, and I hate Illinois Nazis. Ok, let’s get this over with. Jesse James will become known as Road Dogg. He used to be the Roadie so now he comes out to the song he sang and Jeff Jarrett pretended to perform at the second In Your House. He’s actually decent in this role as it just fits him well.

He’s somewhat over because of the song too which is a nice little tune. Out next we have the Honky Tonk Man. He’s been looking for a protégé lately which makes me think he should join WrestleZone where everyone has a protégé, and in some cases many of them (I’m talking to you Norcal). Anyway, he says he’s found the perfect man: the artist formerly known as Billy Gunn, Rockabilly.

You know, Monty Sopp should be commended. First off, he’s gone through life with the name Monty Sopp. Secondly, he has had some of the worst gimmicks in the history of wrestling. He’s been a cowboy, Rockabilly who I’ll get to in a minute, his most famous gimmick, a gay man and now Cute Kip. The guy is annoying, but he’s had nothing to work with over the years.

Rockabilly was a country/rock singer that danced badly but thought he was awesome. Absolutely no one cared at all, period. This went on for almost 5 months before on Shotgun Saturday Night (which needs a review of its own as the concept at first was great) these two were having a match and actually said that their careers sucked because of their gimmicks so they should team up.

That’s just not something you hear that often. Road Dogg goes on this huge offensive streak to start. You know, he really was pretty good in the ring. He’s overlooked because of his antics in DX but he really was good in the ring. However, absolutely no one cared about either guy. They just weren’t interesting characters and felt like archetypes. However, at the end of the offensive rush which ends up on the floor, Dogg knocks Billy down with a clothesline from the apron.

He then points at Honky and yells You’re Next! That’s fine and good and makes sense. However, the funny part is Honky’s response. After about 5 seconds of staring blankly, he shouts you’re a goof! And this guy was one of the top heels of the late 80s?

You can clearly see a huge space of open area that doesn’t even have chairs in it. That means either ticket sales were awful or the place just didn’t make enough tickets available. There’s room for at least 400 more seats in there, and they’re right by the aisle.

I can’t imagine seats in that location at a reasonable price wouldn’t sell. It’s not like the place is empty. Anyway, the match ends when Billy has him set for a DDT but walks slowly towards the corner and Roadie rolls him up to pin him. Post match HTM tries to hit him with the guitar but he bails.

Rating: D. I hate to grade it so low because Road Dogg was really good in this match, but it comes down to one thing: absolutely no one was interested in this match at all. The gimmicks were WAY too similar and both men had to stop and dance between each move. It was just complete overkill for a match that no one wanted to see.

This would have been boring at a house show, let alone a Raw or a PPV like this one. There’s nothing here at all. There was no story, no buildup, no angle or anything like that. It just wasn’t needed and it was awful, but that shouldn’t be blamed on Road Dogg at all. He was out there working himself to death.

We go to the back for Doc to sell the Undertaker door cover. That’s a sign of the times in WWE I think as you can tell they were running low on money. They’re actually selling stuff in the middle of the show and it’s the middle of April. Cool idea actually but way overpriced for just a big poster.

Kevin Kelly is with Austin and Monsoon in the locker room. Austin says that he’s fighting tonight no matter what. Austin’s line of “Bret  is going to need medical attention after I get done with him. I don’t care how many people, even Owen, Bulldog, Stu Hart or all of Bret’s brothers want a piece of Steve Austin…” could have been worded MUCH better.

Some douche named Lance Wright is with the Hart Foundation. Bulldog says Austin started it and that he and Owen were in the bathroom celebrating their victory. Good night there are a lot of gay overtones on this segment. All three say Austin is going down tonight.

We see a nice recap of Mankind vs. Taker’s feud. The editing on this is great as it’s just really strange with all of the cuts it does. It looks like something from the mind of a crazy man. Nicely done indeed. This feud was reignited by mankind throwing a fireball at Taker’s face and blinding him.

Mankind is with Bearer and Doc and they say Taker will lose tonight.

WWF Title: Undertaker vs. Mankind

For Taker’s entrance we get the always cool shot of his gloved hand as he balls it into a fist. This is kind of the token first defense for Taker but it’s against someone that you could see beating him for the belt which gives it a very nice change of pace than most defenses like this. Of course this is a hard hitting fight to begin with them fighting all over the place and into the crowd for a bit.

They hammer on each other until Taker goes for Old School but instead stands on the rope and dives off with a clothesline. Taker almost gets Bearer but Mankind makes the save. This is the same kind of match that they’ve had time and time again which means that it’s really quite good in all respects. Your main story here is that Taker’s forehead is burned and his eyesight isn’t perfect in this.

Mankind uses a few weapons on him but for some reason there’s not a DQ over it which the announcers don’t understand. Taker has had mostly the same offense for years but it never has gotten old, at least not in my eyes. It’s as exciting today as it ever was. That’s part of the beauty of his character: it doesn’t get stale and if it starts to, he changes something so small that it reinvents him completely.

We get a ref bump, after which the Claw takes out Taker. We get weapons introduced but the highlight is Taker throwing a dropkick into the stairs. Is there anything this guy can’t do? After this we have the big spot for the match which I think was planned but might not have been.

Mankind is on the apron and Taker hits him with the stairs. Somehow, Mankind goes through the table head first. As in there’s a hole in the table and he’s down in it. It looked sick and painful at the same time. After that Taker lands a chokeslam and tombstone for the pin. He chases Paul around and catches him in the ring. He sits him in the corner and throws a fireball in his face which the announcers condemn but the audience loves.

Rating: B. This was fine. It was two guys with a history fighting for the title. The chemistry was clear and the feud was well established. This saves about five minutes in the beginning because there wasn’t a feeling out process. I don’t recall a bad match from these two and this was good as well. There was good action, a bit of drama, and it continued the feud by allowing Taker to get some revenge on Paul. This was perfectly acceptable.

The Hart Foundation are in the back and say that no matter what they won’t forgive the fans. Tonight it’s war: America vs. Canada, and so begins the final storyline for Bret in the WWF.

Bret Hartvs. Steve Austin

Before the match Owen and Bulldog are sent to the back. Austin comes out, still a bit shaky from getting beaten up and the fight is on immediately. Rattlesnake dominates the early part here, sending Bret into the steps time and time again. All of a sudden I have French commentary. Ok then. Austin imitating Bret signature pose is quite good indeed. American commentary back now.

For the most part of this short match (12 minutes as compared to 17 for the previous one) it’s back and forth with Bret having a slight advantage. Bret works on Austin’s knee for the majority of the match which is standard operating procedure for him. That’s your main match: Austin fights, Bret kicks the knee, lather, rinse, repeat.

The main stuff doesn’t really come into play until the end when Austin hits Bret in the head with the knee brace and puts him in the Sharpshooter, prompting Smith to come in and blast him with a chair. Post match, Austin destroys Bret’s knee with a chair. This would lead to a rematch either the next night or a week later where he would completely destroy it and Bret would miss some time with the injury.

Rating: B-. The problem here is this match was a month after the Submission Match. That simply was not going to be topped and no matter what they did that’s what it was going to be compared to. It’s a good match, but by comparison it’s average at best. It’s not fair to make that comparison but that’s just the way people think.

Overall Rating: B-. There’s one truly bad match on this show and it was easily the shortest as well. Definitely an ok show. It’s not bad but it’s not great either. It was coming off of Mania which is always hard to do so what can you really ask for? There’s enough decent stuff here to make it watchable but not enough to make it worth going out of your way to see so we’ll call it mildly recommended.


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  1. $Mr. 100% says:

    Lmao at billy gunn line!!! Some of yo remarks n yo reviews b funny as hell i gotta tell u.

  2. Marky-Marc says:

    I remember enjoying this show as a kid and it popped up on the random review so I figured I’d take a look at it. Two things here:

    1. I always found Bulldog and Owen’s reactions to Doc telling them Austin arrived hilarious. Owen’s little line of “Are you sure it was him? There’s a lot of bald people walking around here.” cracks me up

    2. Any thought to re-reviewing these?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I have rereviewed them in an e-book.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Owen and Bulldog were great here and even the next night on RAW when Bret is getting carried out following the Street Fight with Austin. Owen yells at someone WATCH HIS KNEE YOU IDIOT.