On This Day: February 18, 1996 – In Your House #6: Rage in the Cage: Not A Lot Of Rage In That Cage

In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage
Date: February 18, 1996
Location: Louisville Gardens, Louisville, Kentucky
Attendance: 5.500
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler

This show took place an hour away from me, and somehow I never heard about it once. I didn’t know it was in Louisville until I rented the tape in May. That’s how great the advertising was. Anyway, this was the follow up show to the Royal Rumble and the build up for Wrestlemania 12. At the previous show, the winner of the Rumble was Shawn Michaels as he was finally launched into the main event scene which he has never really left.

Also on the card, Goldust got the IC Title from Razor in what was supposed to be culminated in a street fight at Mania in March, but Razor was suspended for drug issues. He was gone in May and 8 days after his last match he was on Nitro, officially beginning the NWO angle which changed wrestling forever.

The other big match was Taker vs. Hart for the world title, which Taker won by DQ when Diesel interfered at the end and was caught. Since Taker had his shot already, Diesel was named the new #1 contender, which is your main event tonight: Diesel vs. Bret in a cage match. Taker, for some reason, is YET AGAIN in the dark match, this time continuing his completely forgotten IC Title feud with Goldust.

However, he’s featured prominently in the recap video at the beginning, so him doing something in the main event is pretty much a given at this point. In what I am completely stunned by, we start with that age old struggle of good vs. evil: Razor Ramon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid!

Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid

This is a crybaby match, meaning the loser is put in a diaper.  Ok, let me make sure I’ve got this straight. The Kid got his first win over Razor in May of 1993, and now, THREE YEARS LATER they’re still in the same program? My goodness this is absurd. You have one of the most over faces on the roster and you stick him with the exact same guy for this long? Seriously, no program goes that long. Even Austin and Vince had some time apart in their epic feud and I don’t think that went three years did it?

Good grief no wonder Razor bailed as soon as he could. In this brilliant idea, they have a standard match and the loser is put in a diaper. As I’m writing this review, I’ve got my eyes closed and am shaking my head. This is mind numbingly stupid. Did Razor light Stephanie’s dog on fire or something one day?

Fink is announcing tonight, so this show just went way up in value. They do us the favor of showing us the “in depth” history of these two, which apparently goes back 4 weeks instead of three years. Kid cost Razor the IC Title at the Rumble in case you were interested. The Kid brings out a stroller with a Razor teddy bear in it as my intelligence is withering away at this. Yes kids, the WWF can actually make you stupid.

Oh and Kid’s face and heel music are still the same, which is never a good idea. Are you listening Jericho? Change your freaking music already. Hokey soke the Kid used a springboard move. THAT’S WHAT HE SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE DONE! No one would buy the Kid, a guy that weighs about 210 being able to go toe to toe with anyone. Him using the ropes made sense, but I don’t ever remember him doing it other than right there, and so far he hasn’t done it again in this match. In a really dumb spot, DiBiase throws baby powder in Razor’s eyes. Ok, that makes sense.

However, the referee is looking RIGHT AT HIM when he does it and says nothing at all. Kid is slowly starting to incorporate the crotch chop. The awfulness of that gimmick was apparently long standing. Oh great, it’s a sleeper. Oh sweet he’s not in it long. They botch……something. Not sure what that was supposed to be, and they end up in yet another sleeper, this time with Kid on Razor’s back. Oh the symbolism in that.

The Kid, hanging on to Razor, forcing Razor to carry the Kid, yet at the same time cutting off Razor’s life and making him drowsy and boring. I’ve been watching WAY too much wrestling lately. Vince actually says Razor is going nighty night. My life is now complete. Eventually the powder trick backfires as the Kid takes it in the eyes, Razor’s Edge, 1, 2, Razor picks him up. I want to hurt that man severely.

What have I done to deserve such torment? Why does this have to continue? Another Edge, and that ends it……please? THANK GOODNESS. Post match….blast it, the Kid is put into a diaper and fed a bottle as I could go for a bottle myself, but I’d like something with massive amounts of either alcohol or drugs mixed in so I can hopefully forget this match happened.

Rating: D. The wrestling is ok I guess, but dear lord these guys have been either teaming or feuding for almost three full years. What’s the point anymore? No one wanted to see this match again. Razor would have drug issues soon thereafter and not get to have his blowoff match with Goldust at Mania. He would come back to job to Vader and he would be in WCW within a month. He’s a lucky man indeed.

HHH vs. Duke Droese

Droese is a wrestling garbage man. I wish I was making that up, and that’s all there really is to say about that. Duke says he’ll take HHH out like yesterday’s garbage. Duke’s nickname is the Dumpster. Who in the world thought that would be a good nickname? Anyway, this started because HHH cut Duke’s hair on Superstars a few weeks ago.

They had a one on one match before the Rumble with the winner getting the 30 spot and the loser getting the 1 spot. Duke of all people wound up getting the 30 spot and of course, he was gone in about a minute. This match is just hard to comment on as absolutely no one cares at all. The crowd is so dead that it’s pitiful. The biggest problem here is that no one, and I mean no one cares about Duke.

I mean really, a freaking garbage collector? He has his name across his shirt. Is that in case he gets lost or something? They keep cutting to a split screen with HHH’s date and Lawler. No one cares. The hype for the Superstar line is never ending. It was a thing where you could talk to the wrestlers in the previous matches. Cool idea, but it was a one in a million shot of getting through. Either that or it was likely prerecorded comments.

The crowd is so dead it’s pathetic. They were somewhat hot for the last match so it can’t be the crowd as a whole. This match is just awful in general. Duke hits his finisher but of course doesn’t cover. He instead goes and gets his garbage can, but the referee throws it out. HHH hits him with the lid and pins him.

Rating: C-. Simply put, no one wanted to watch this and it was obvious. You could see that there were big plans for HHH, but no one knew how big. I’ll get to what the full extent of those plans were as well as how they inadvertently saved the company in our next review. Also, the next woman that HHH had with him will be known as Sable, at Wrestlemania.

We see a recap of two weeks ago when Yoko turned face by attacking his manager Jim Cornette. That leads us to this match.

For the first time, Yoko cuts his own promo, with no Japanese accent at all. He says he’s tired of Cornette taking all the credit for the work he did. Makes sense actually. Michael Hayes being taller than Yoko makes me laugh. Hayes saying get ready for a train wreck makes me laugh even harder.

Yokozuna vs. British Bulldog

Oh this isn’t going to be pleasant at all. Yoko at this point was just too fat to do anything with. He was nearing seven hundred pounds and was on his last legs in the company as well as in his career. They figured that the best way to do anything with him would be to put him with a power guy so they put him with Bulldog. It is failing miserably. Yoko is dominating at the beginning but after that it’s just bad.

More or less Yoko destroys Smith and goes to set up for the Banzai but Cornette hits him in the back with the racket for the DQ. Post match Yoko stalks Cornette but Vader runs out to save him. He and Smith beat down Yoko after handcuffing him to the ropes. Suits and officials run in to break it up.

Rating: F. This was five minutes of clotheslines, punches and forearms. Total waste of time and just a way to get Vader to look dominant as he was being pushed as the monster heel. Yoko’s size is just sad to look at by this point.

We see a recap of Owen and Shawn’s rivalry, mainly focusing on Owen injuring Shawn to the point where he had to release the IC Title. Since then, Owen had been bragging about putting Shawn out of action etc. That brings us here, as Shawn had already won the Rumble and the guaranteed title shot. He puts it on the line for a chance at retribution with Owen.

Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels

As I’ve said many times, this should have been your main event at Royal Rumble 1998 instead of Shawn vs. Taker or whatever. Owen did the run in at the end of DX IYH, yet Shawn was afraid Owen would shoot on him and humiliate him, so instead we got Shawn vs. Taker where Shawn hurt his back.

 

Tell me Shawn vs. Owen after Montreal wouldn’t have been straight MONEY. A guy like Owen that could keep up with a guy like Shawn? How could that not just be sweet, factoring in the Montreal aspect? Oh well at least we get it one time. Here you are. Note the foreshadowing of the legendary WM 12 entrance by how he comes to the ring here.

 

Shawn says he’ll win tonight and that’s a guarantee. He comes in off the roof of the In Your House set which is kind of cool. Owen bails as we fill in even more time here. We get fireworks before the match starts. The ending is pretty clear here but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a good match. Can’t beat that.

 

Technical stuff to start which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Shawn is showboating already so at least he’s not wasting time in that regard. Owen heads to the floor and Shawn hits a huge dive to take him out. Nothing serious at all so far but it’s all Shawn. Both guys nip up and Shawn gets a Frankensteiner to continue his dominance.

 

Big old belly to belly catches Shawn and Owen takes over. Jerry begs Owen to kick him in the head. You can’t say he’s not violent. Camel clutch goes on as Shawn is in trouble. Shawn has a bad head and neck so Owen goes on his back. Jerry gives Owen credit for the camel clutch. As in saying Owen invented it.

 

After some brief comeback attempts by Shawn he gets a suplex over the ropes to the floor. There’s a different look here as it looks less professional which isn’t something you often have to say about a WWF show. And then Owen catches him in a powerslam from the apron to the floor which looked painful.

 

Back in the ring and Owen takes his head off with a running clothesline but doesn’t cover. Even Lawler thinks that’s a bad idea. Sharpshooter goes on but you can tell it’s not a Bret one as the bell hasn’t rung yet and we’ve had it on for more than 2 seconds. Ropes are grabbed shortly thereafter.

 

I forgot how annoying Vince’s “HE GOT HIM! NO HE DIDN’T” stuff was. The head killing enziguri hits and Shawn goes to the floor. This only gets two though and the fans are happy. Or maybe they found pennies. Forearm and nip up follow but oddly enough Owen gets up first. How often do you see that?

 

Big elbows hits and Shawn drills Cornette for general purposes. Enziguri #2 misses and Sweet Chin Music sends Shawn to Mania, which I’m sure he would have been at anyway but since that’s a common expression we’ll say it anyway. Solid match as you would expect. He dances with a little girl in the ring too.

Rating: A-. This match made the show. Up until now it was one of the worst shows I’d ever seen but then we get to this. While it’s not a classic or really anything close to it, this is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. You have two guys that could go in the ring, a good storyline, and while it was fairly obvious Shawn would win, it was fun to see. Good match and light years ahead of everything else so far tonight.

Next up we have an interview with the interim president of the company: Roddy Piper. At the time, Vince hadn’t been revealed as the owner of the company. He was just the commentator and nothing more than that. So, we had a guy that would be called the President. For years and years it was this guy named Jack Tunney (Santino referenced him before WM this year in case you were wondering where you had heard that name before).

Once Tunney retired, Gorilla Monsoon took over. However, the night after the Rumble, Vader beat the heck out of him, so while he’s on the shelf, Piper is in charge. His run ends at WM 12. He starts off by saying that HBK better be ready because he’ll be in for the fight of his life no matter what and there must be a winner, which is foreshadowing the overtime in the Iron Man Match.

He says he has no sympathy for Yoko getting beaten down earlier because Yoko is too big to be attacked like that. He insults Vader. Piper cracking jokes about Mr. T. is funny stuff. Piper makes Yoko vs. Vader for WM 12. That becomes a 6 man tag. Cornette and Vader interrupt but Piper shouts Cornette down which is just hilarious.

Ladies and Gentlemen, take notes: these are two of the greatest, if not the two greatest talkers of all time in this business. More or less, Cornette says that Vader will crush everyone. Piper says that there’s going to be a fight at Mania. COrnette and his lawyer argue as Piper leaves.

WWF Title: Diesel vs. Bret Hart

As we’ve already established, this is a cage match and the rematch from the Survivor Series. They’re using the old school blue cage so this should be good indeed. Bret’s always had good cage matches and this was when Nash was still solid in the ring. Pretty slow start but that’s fine here. Right now it’s just a match with walls around them. Not bad by any means though. Bret works on Diesel’s knee for most of the match for your psychology aspect.

This really is more of just a one on one match with the cage as a small element, which is workable. It’s been a good match thus far with a story to it. That story being that Bret is trying to incapacitate Diesel so his size can’t help him out of the cage. We also get some good false finishes as both get close to escape but the other makes a last second save. The way the commentators are talking, Bret is retiring after this match.

I especially love how they talk about what a great champion Bret has been, when he’s been world champion less than three months at this point. Based on that commentary alone and knowing the hidden messages that come from commentators, it was obvious that Bret was winning here. The crowd is really into this so it’s going well at least. After nearly twenty minutes, Diesel is crawling for the door and he kicks Bret off of him so he’s all alone.

As he’s about to get out, the mat splits open and the Undertaker rises through the hole, pulling Diesel down into it screaming. Smoke flies out of it as Bret climbs out of the cage to keep the title, setting up the famous Mania main event. Post match Diesel comes out of the hole and runs from Taker who climbs to the top of the cage to stare Diesel down as Paul Bearer arrives with a new urn.

Rating: B+. Very solid stuff here. No one really expected Diesel to win but they made it entertaining anyway. Everyone knew Taker was going to get involved, but these two managed to make us forget about that. That is great work as they got our attention away so the ending was surprising. Solid stuff here and by far the best main event in the series’ history.

In the back, Piper makes the obvious match for Mania: Diesel vs. Taker, to close the show.

Overall Rating: C. There are only 5 matches so we have very little to grade. The first three matches absolutely sucked. There’s no other way to describe them. They were boring, uninteresting and just a waste of time. The other two matches however, the ones used to set up Mania which was the point of the show, were both very good if not great.

It finished strong which was what it was supposed to do so it redeems a lot of the mistakes it made earlier. Not really recommended, but not recommended to avoid either.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

7 comments

  1. chris says:

    Why should jericho change his song? it’s great, If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    When you have a popular song and turn heel, you should change it to avoid the fans liking the song.

    chris Reply:

    That is ridiculous. Triple H One of the biggest heels of all time has Motorhead play him to the ring. Jericho’s theme suits him. People will boo you if you have a good theme song.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    You’re missing the point.

    HHH didn’t debut that song as a face. Once he turned face it was still fine, but if it was reversed he would need to change it. You wouldn’t have Hogan come out to Real American after he turned heel would you?

    chris Reply:

    He Started using the theme as a heel. Continues using it with his dx face turn. It can used for both. As for hogan he should have to rub it in people’s faces. Hell in 2000 wcw “yes I watched it” he was using the nwo theme as a face. … At least I think he was supposed to be a face it was hard to tell.

    Jericho has one of those theme’s that can be used for both heel and face runs “like cm punk, d-bry, Cena, etc.

  2. Redsox4life says:

    This show perfectly summed up the difference between the WWF and WCW: The WWF would have horrible undercards followed by great main events while WCW would have great undercards followed by horrible main events.

  3. klunderbunker says:

    One thing that I should note: this was written nearly five years ago during Jericho’s heel run.