On This Day: December 15, 1996 – In Your House #12: Back When Sid Was Awesome

In Your House #12: It’s Time
Date: December 15, 1996
Location: West Palm Beach Auditorium, West Palm Beach, Florida
Attendance: 5,708
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon


The title of this show was odd and a good example of how fast things can change in wrestling. It’s Time was Vader’s catchphrase and tonight was supposed to be a showcase of him as the new WWF Champion, but obviously that didn’t happen. Actually Vader isn’t even on the card due to an injury, making the title all the more inappropriate.  Let’s get to it.


The opening video shows quick clips of Bret and Sid with the words IT’S TIME in between.


Lawler promises to knock Shawn out if he comes out for commentary.


Leif Cassidy vs. Flash Funk


Cassidy is more famous as Al Snow but is one half of the New Rockers here. Funk is more famous as 2 Cold Scorpio and is basically a pimp without calling him as much. He has Funkettes and funk music, basically making him the original Brodus Clay. Even Vince dances to the theme song a bit. After a long dance sequence by Funk and his girls we’re ready to go. Funk shoves Cassidy into the ropes to start and dances a bit, only angering Leif as a result.


They trade wristlocks until Flash spins around and grabs an armbar on the mat. Cassidy spins up but a flying snap mare takes him right back down. Funk flips out of a Boston crab attempt and takes Leif down into a headlock. Back up and Flash tries to go up but slips off the ropes, only to pop back up and hit a cross body to set up another armbar. A headscissors out of the corner is countered into a reverse powerbomb by Cassidy and the Rocker takes over.


Cassidy blocks a right hand and traps Funk’s arms for some headbutts, followed by a belly to belly over the top and out to the floor. Leif follows it up with a springboard moonsault to the floor in a great looking dive. Back in and we hit the chinlock but Flash fights up and dances a bit more. Another powerbomb attempt by Cassidy is countered and Flash lands on his feet, dancing again. Leif comes back with a sitout spinebuster for a very delayed two count. Off to a modified dragon sleeper but Leif lets him go very quickly for some reason.


Funk avoids a middle rope moonsault as you can see a lot of empty seats not that far from the ring. Funk hits the ropes and cartwheels into a spinning enziguri, sending Leif out tot he floor. Another big dive takes Cassidy down before a gorgeous top rope moonsault gets two for Funk. They trade some quick rollups for two each until Flash scores with an enziguri and the Funky Flash Splash (450 and yes that’s the real name) gets the pin. We even get a rare error from JR who calls it a Shooting Star Press.


Rating: B-. This took awhile to get going but for its time, this was pretty awesome. Funk is a personal favorite of mine who could fly like few other mainstream guys at this time. Cassidy was no slouch either but it would take an absurd gimmick to get him noticed, which is a shame at the end of the day.


Tag Titles: Diesel/Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart/British Bulldog


This is the story that I didn’t want to get to earlier on but I’m stuck with it now. No these aren’t the real Hall and Nash returning, but rather people that JR brought in and who are being used as something resembling a parody of the guys who were on top of the wrestling world at this point.


Originally JR talked about how the person didn’t actually matter and the gimmicks were what got Hall and Nash over, which is actually a nice jab at them. That didn’t last long though and eventually became a basic parody, though Rick Bogner (Fake Razor) looks like he’s wearing a Razor Ramon costume and mask. Glenn Jacobs (Fake Diesel) actually looks like the real thing from behind and when he’s wearing sunglasses, making him far more bearable in the costume. We’ll be hearing from Jacobs again in a few months.


As for the match, the idea is that the champions are having problems because Steve Austin has been messing with their heads. Diesel starts with Owen as JR gets into full analytical mode now that some of his buddies are in there. Diesel drives Owen into the corner and fires off some elbows before shoving Owen off the ropes. Owen comes back with some right hands but gets slammed down with ease. Two guys from Mexican wrestling company AAA named Pierroth and Cibernetico are in the aisle to distract the Bulldog for some reason.


Off to Bulldog vs. Razor with the latter doing a pretty decent imitation of the real Razor’s mannerisms, but the whole thing falls apart as soon as you see his face. Bulldog fires off some forearms as the AAA guys leave, only to be replaced by Austin. Bulldog hits a quick cross body but goes to the floor to get in a fight with Austin. Steve is taken to the back but the distraction allows Razor to hit a spinning right hand, sending Bulldog into the corner for a tag off to Owen.


Hart gets a quick two off a missile dropkick but Diesel pulls the top rope down to send him out to the floor. Diesel rams Owen back first into the post before sending him back in for an armbar from Razor. Off to Diesel for a sidewalk slam but he stomps away instead of covering. Ramon comes back in and hits a pumphandle fall away slam for two before grabbing a reverse chinlock. The fans are almost entirely behind the champions, despite them being huge heels at this point.


Diesel gets two off a big boot (which clearly missed by several inches) but the fans all think he sucks. Owen gets a boot of his own up in the corner and takes Diesel down with a nice enziguri. There’s the hot tag off to Bulldog who cleans house with clotheslines and forearms all around. A quick vertical suplex gets two on Razor as everything breaks down. Owen is whipped into Diesel who catches him in midair but Bulldog dropkicks his partner in the back, sending them both to the floor. Owen slides back in to spinwheel kick Razor in the face to break up a Razor’s Edge attempt and score a quick pin to retain.


Rating: C-. As stupid as the gimmick was, the match wasn’t too bad at all. Diesel was actually very solid in the ring and would be around for many more years under a different gimmick. Razor was just kind of there though and the match was definitely weaker when he was in the ring. Not bad stuff for the most part though.


Post match Austin immediately hits the ring for some cheap shots on the Bulldog, possibly injuring his knee.


Here’s Ahmed Johnson for an interview. He’s looking forward to the Royal Rumble for his shot at Faarooq because he’s lost everything due to the injury Faarooq caused. Johnson has lost his car, his girlfriend and his house so now it’s time for revenge. All he has left are the people, but before he can go into that here’s the Nation of Domination, Faarooq’s semi-militant black power group. Faarooq goes into a rant about how Johnson’s people have no future but everyone is looking to Faarooq for their hope. Johnson wants to fight right now and starts his trademark YOU’RE GOING DOWN chant.


We recap Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero for the Intercontinental title. Helmsley took the title from Mero the night after Buried Alive with Mero replacing Mr. Perfect. It turns out that Perfect had been grooming Helmsley to steal the title from Mero and their rift from a few months ago was all a ruse. Helmsley won the title and threw Perfect out of the WWF, leading to a rematch tonight.


Intercontinental Title: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero


Thankfully Helmsley has officially been nicknamed HHH by this point, making my typing far easier. The champion grabs a hammerlock and takes Mero down to the mat, only to be countered into a hammerlock as well. Back up and they fight over a top wristlock before Mero scores with a hiptoss. A dropkick and clothesline put Helmsley on the floor and Mero hits a nice dive to take him out again.


Back in and Mero keeps the pressure on with a backdrop and some right hands in the corner, only to have HHH drop him face first on the buckle to take over. That doesn’t last long either though as a Pedigree attempt is countered into a backdrop over the top rope, sending HHH back to the floor. Mero gives chase but HHH hides behind Sable like the coward that he is. It’s Mero being sent into the steps now with the champion firmly in control.


Helmsley grabs a chair but the referee takes it away, only to allow Helmsley to send Mero into the steps again. Back in and a backbreaker puts Mero down again as Vince apologizes for satellite transmission problems. Another backbreaker gets two and we hit the abdominal stretch. It’s nice to see a basic story here and it’s working quite well. Things don’t have to be complicated to work which is a lesson so many wrestling companies and wrestlers in general can’t understand.


The referee catches HHH using the ropes for additional leverage and breaks up the hold, triggering a shoving match between referee Earl Hebner and the champion. This would actually become a recurring bit between the two of them over the years. Mero tries to speed things up but charges into a boot in the corner to put him down again. HHH goes up but dives into a boot to the face as well, giving Mero the breather he needed. A hard whip turns HHH upside down in the corner and a knee to the ribs puts him down again.


Mero gets two off a headscissors and a top rope hurricanrana looks to set up the Wild Thing. Helmsley is nothing if not resourceful though and sends Hebner into the ropes, crotching Mero down onto the buckle. The Pedigree is countered into a slingshot which sends Helmsley head first into the post but only gets a two count. A moonsault press (the Merosault) gets another two but Marc clotheslines the referee down.


Helmsley scores with a neckbreaker but there’s no one to count. The title belt is brought in but Mero avoids a shot to the head and gets a rolling cradle but there’s still no referee. Helmsley is whipped int the corner and goes flying to the outside where Mero scores with another dive. Cue Goldust for no apparent reason to swing another Intercontinental Title at HHH but hitting Mero by mistake. The referee is back up to count and only Mero gets back in to beat the count, earning a countout win. No title change though.


Rating: C. Again not a bad match at all with Mero still being great in the air and Helmsley really starting to get into the heel mode that would make him a legend. The Goldust stuff didn’t do much for me but he would be feuding with Helmsley more extensively soon enough. Good stuff here though.


Post match Mero hits the Wild Thing on HHH for fun. Goldust gets in some cheap shots in the aisle as his face push continues.


Sid is very happy to be here even though he and Shawn got in a brawl earlier this morning. Bret tried to intervene and took a beating from Sid as well. Sid whispers a lot, saying that he beat Shawn and Shawn beat Bret, ergo he can beat Bret.


We recap the Executioner vs. Undertaker, which should be obvious if you read the previous show. Undertaker was back at Survivor Series, basically looking like Batman and wearing a better looking outfit. The guy in the executioner’s mask is now known as Executioner if that wasn’t clear. He attacked Undertaker at Survivor Series but tonight it’s one on one.


Executioner vs. Undertaker


This is an Armageddon match, meaning after a fall the person who was pinned or submitted has a ten count to get to his feet. Basically it’s a last man standing match but the counts don’t start until after a fall. Executioner is former Freebird (legendary 80s team) Terry Gordy who was about ten miles past his prime here. Undertaker runs him over to start and backdrops Executioner before booting him in the face. A whip into the corner gets Executioner tied up in the Tree of Woe so Undertaker can stomp away even more.


He takes too much time glaring at Paul Bearer though and misses a splash in the corner. It doesn’t seem to affect Undertaker that much though as he’s right back up, only to miss an elbow drop. A clothesline puts Undertaker over the top but he lands on his feet and pulls Executioner to the floor. Paul blasts him with the urn to little effect but being sent into the post works a bit better. A clothesline puts Executioner back down though and Undertaker peels the mats back, only to have Mankind roll out from under the announce table to double team Undertaker down.


They head inside but Undertaker clotheslines both of them out to the floor and fights them up the aisle. Undertaker throws Mankind through the In Your House set window, punches him around the back and knocks him through the door as well. Executioner gets back up and they head back to ringside with Undertaker being caught by the numbers game again. Security comes out and spray mace at Mankind to little effect as the other two head back to the set. They brawl backstage and outside as Mankind has been put in a straitjacket.


The camera only shows us the steps and never goes outside with Undertaker and Executioner, so we cut back to the arena to see Mankind in the jacket stumbling around ringside. We finally get a camera outside and see a wide shot of Undertaker knocking Executioner into the water. He heads back inside to get some more of Mankind who charges at him while still in the straitjacket. Eventually a dry Executioner comes back to the ring and gets tombstoned for the easy pin and ten count.


Rating: D-. To call this a mess is an insult to messes. The Armageddon stuff was worthless because there wasn’t even a fall attempted until the very end. This was also the last major appearance for Executioner and I can’t say I’m surprised. He was just a generic big guy that never did anything of note. Terrible match here that was trying WAY too hard.


Bret looks at the video from earlier today with the three way fight between himself, Shawn and Sid, saying he wouldn’t put anything past Shawn. He gets cut off by Shawn’s music and is even more ticked off.


WWF World Title: Sycho Sid vs. Bret Hart


Shawn is on commentary due to getting the winner at the Royal Rumble and immediately jumps on Bret (verbally), blasting him for not putting people over and making it all about himself. Bret jumps Sid from behind and pounds away with Shawn still getting in jab after jab at him. A hard whip into the corner and a clothesline put Bret down though as the champion takes over. Sid hits a running kick to the side of the head before stomping away in the corner. Bret comes back with a shot to the ribs and drops some elbows as Shawn rips into Bret for his lack of emotion.


Sid punches him to the floor for nothing of note before going back inside where Bret gets backdropped right back to the floor. The mats are peeled back again but Bret pushes Sid into the post to break up an attempted powerbomb. Bret picks him up and rams him back first into the post before heading back inside for some kicks to the spine. Off to a reverse chinlock which is usually a heel move but Bret is a face, despite wrestling a heel style here. Sid is allegedly a heel but the fans like him, though not as much as Bret. 1996 was weird.


Bret stomps away in the corner but uses the referee’s break to untie a turnbuckle pad. Sid blocks a ram into the buckle but gets suplexed down for two. The Russian legsweep gets the same and Bret follows up with a snap suplex for no cover. A middle rope elbow to the back gets two more as Bret isn’t hooking the leg for some reason as per his custom, but for once the announcers are calling him out on it.


Bret goes up but gets slammed off and punched HARD in the face. There’s a big boot for two and Shawn makes sure to point out Sid hooking the leg. Sid misses an elbow drop but kicks Bret to the floor to break up the Sharpshooter. Cue Steve Austin out of nowhere with a chop block to take Bret’s knee out. This brings out the Bulldog and Owen to take out Austin but the damage has been done. Bret gets back in with a bad limp but Sid is tentative to go after him, possibly due to Bret’s history of goldbricking but I don’t think Sid is that bright.


The champion finally pounds Bret down into the corner and stomps away with pure power. Bret escapes Snake Eyes onto the exposed buckle but gets sent chest first into it instead which suits him very well. A big chokeslam gets two for the Sycho (yes that’s how it’s spelled in the WWF) but Sid misses a charge, allowing Bret to hit a Cactus Clothesline and send both guys to the floor. Bret grabs a chair (Shawn: “There’s your role model!) but Sid takes it away with ease. Sid shoves Shawn down, bringing Michaels to the apron. Bret is sent into Shawn to stun the Canadian, allowing Sid to powerbomb him and retain.


Rating: C+. Much like the rest of the show, this wasn’t all that bad. The face/heel dynamic here was very strange to say the least but it actually worked in the end. Bret is the kind of guy that can work with any style and bouncing around for a monster is one of his specialties. Good main event here though not great. In an impressive note, Sid has now pinned Shawn and Bret at consecutive PPVs, which is quite the feat.


Post match Shawn is injured from being knocked off the apron and Bret pounds away on him. Bret leaves in a huff and Shawn promises to kick Bret’s teeth down his throat to end the show.


Overall Rating: C+. For a two hour show at a cost of $20, this was actually pretty solid stuff. The Undertaker match was dreadful but other than that there isn’t anything bad on the card. We’re definitely past the worst point and things should start going up from here. The threeway feud over the world title is interesting stuff and the promos that built it up were even better. There’s nothing groundbreaking or worth going out of your way to see here, but it was a pleasant surprise after so many awful shows so far.


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