Reviews

TJR Retro: WWE In Your House 1 (May 14, 1995) Review (Diesel vs. Sid, Bret Hart vs. Hakushi)

The first-ever In Your House pay-per-view is not a good show. Let’s get that out of the way first. However, it’s historic because it came at a time when WWE felt like they needed to expand their business with monthly PPVs instead of just the big four PPVs (plus King of the Ring in 1993). Maybe if it was in another year it would be remembered better, but 1995 was one of WWE’s worst years ever in terms of nearly every metric you want to look at. You may recall last year when the WWE NXT brand brought back In Your House as a Takeover event for the 25-year celebration for the IYH concept. That was well-received because nostalgia usually is.

In Your House was going to be different from the other PPVs, though. Instead of running three hours (or 2 hours, 45 minutes as the standard), they were going to be two-hour PPVs. This show did very well in terms of PPV business with 324,000 buys. It had more buys than any In Your house event in WWE history. Part of the reason for that is because they were giving away a house during the show, so I’m sure a lot of fans were tuned in to see if they won the house. Plus, it also had a cheaper price point at around $14.95 rather than $29.95 that most PPVs were in the US. My family had an illegal cable box through the 1990s, so I got them all free anyway.

This show followed WrestleMania 11.

Here’s the synopsis on WWE Network:

“The 1st in WWE In Your House Pay Per View series. WWE Champion Diesel defends the title against Sycho Sid. Razor Ramon faces Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie in a handicap match. Bret Hart in action twice and much more!” PG (V)

The VHS looks like this:

On WWE Network, it looks like this.

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE In Your House 1
From Onondaga County War Memorial in Syracuse, New York
May 14, 1995

The opening video featured some comments from the wrestlers in the big matches while Todd Pettengill narrated the key stories going into the show. Plus, they were also going to give away a house in Orlando, Florida.

Vince McMahon welcomed us to the first-ever WWF In Your House. Vince was on commentary with Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes) for this show. It was noted by Vince it was Mother’s Day while Doc was very over the top in his commentary.

Hakushi made his entrance with his manager known as Shinja. The story was that Bret Hart was given some award by Japanese media, Hakushi didn’t like that and Hakushi attacked Bret.

Bret “Hitman” Hart was interviewed by Todd Pettengill and his mullet. Bret said that Hakushi is undefeated, so he’s a great wrestler, but he’s never faced anybody like Bret. Hart dedicated this match to his mother while talking trash to Jerry Lawler, who Bret faces later in the show. Bret got a nice ovation from the crowd.

Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (w/Shinja)

Pre-match notes: Bret was the face while Hakushi was a heel.

Hakushi did a cartwheel to avoid Bret doing a move, so Bret gave him some light applause. Hakushi did a hair pull to take Bret down. Hakushi ran the ropes leading to the shoulder tackle. The fans were chanting “USA” for Canadian Bret or maybe against Hakushi. There was an armbar by Hakushi, Bret ran the ropes and got a rollup for two. Bret with an armbar, then a whip into the corner and elbow smash to the head. Bret with three arm drags in a row leading to Hakushi leaving the ring for a break. Hakushi with chops, Bret sent him into the turnbuckle and then Hakushi did a hard whip that sent Bret sternum first into the turnbuckle. Hakushi hit a splash off the ropes for two as Jerry Lawler was shown watching on a TV backstage since Lawler faces Bret later. Hakushi hit a running splash against the ropes like a bronco buster before that was a regular thing. The fans booed as Hakushi posed. Bret tried a waistlock takedown, but Hakushi managed to send Bret out of the ring. Shinja stopped on Bret on the floor. Back in the ring, Hakushi sent Bret into the turnbuckle leading to Hakushi choking Bret while Shinja distracted the referee. Shinja got in some more cheap shots while choking Bret on the rope when the referee didn’t see it. Hakushi with another whip into the turnbuckle followed by a handspring back elbow that Vince called a “tremendous maneuver,” which it was. Hakushi with an eye gouge, Hakushi avoided a slam and hit a backbreaker. Vince busted out his “fugetaboutit” (forget about it) phrase for that. Hakushi went up top and jumped off with a headbutt for two. Hakushi went for a top rope splash, but Bret was able to avoid that. Bret hit the side Russian legsweep for two and a bulldog for two. That was followed by the backbreaker from Bret, which led to the elbow drop off the middle rope. Those were the familiar moves for Bret going for a Sharpshooter, but Shinja was on the apron, so Bret looked at him. Bret came back with an atomic drop followed by a running clothesline with Hakushi doing a flip bump. Bret tied up Hakushi ropes, Bret went across the ring, Shinja grabbed Bret’s foot, so Bret did a suicide dive onto Shinja on the floor. The fans popped big for that. Back in the ring, Hakushi hit a dropkick for two. They did a crazy spot with Bret hitting a suplex leading to both guys tumbling over the top to the floor. That’s always a risky spot, but they did it well.

Bret tried to get on the apron, Shinja grabbed the foot and then Bret headbutted Shinja. Hakushi hit an incredible springboard moonsault off the middle ropes onto Bret on the floor. That’s such an amazing move especially in 1995 at a time when very few wrestlers did those kinds of moves. When I watched the spot again, what I also noticed was Bret’s left foot gets caught underneath his body and twists a bit, but he was able to get out of that without an injury. It looked scary, though. Hakushi followed that with a suplex into the ring, Bret held on and then Bret leaned forward with a victory roll for the pinfall win at 14:39.

Winner by pinfall: Bret Hart

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a very good match especially in the final few minutes. I think they were a bit off on some stuff early, which is understandable, but then it looked like Hakushi got more comfortable and he was hitting his aerial moves with ease. That moonsault off the middle ropes to the floor was amazing especially because, as I said, there weren’t a lot of guys doing those moves in 1995. Bret was his usual awesome, technical self with great counters when needed including when he hit that victory roll into the pin. There was no Sharpshooter needed by Bret since he found a way to win without it.

Bret Hart celebrated the win while the announcers put it over as a great match, which it was. When Bret left the ring, he started selling a right knee or ankle injury. Hart faces Lawler later in the show.

The WWF Superstar Line was shown with Todd Pettengill joined by Alundra Blayze on the phone. Jerry Lawler said that he wanted to face Bret Hart right now, then Pettengill said Bret was going to be there, so Lawler bailed.

A woman named Stephanie Wiand talked about all the applications for the entries for the house that will be given away later in the show. Stephanie said that over 340,000 entries were received.

Jeff Jarrett, the Intercontinental Champion, made his entrance with The Roadie. They talked to 1-2-3 Kid on the phone, who was injured, so he couldn’t team up with Razor Ramon in this match. Razor Ramon got a good pop from the crowd for his entrance.

Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie

Pre-match notes: Razor Ramon was the babyface while Jarrett and Roadie were the heels. It was noted by Dok Hendrix that this is the first Handicap Match on a WWE PPV. Jarrett’s IC Title was not on the line. Roadie would later be known as Road Dogg.

Razor was ready to go with Vince noting that it was one wrestler at a time on the other team. Dok had a great line telling Vince “you don’t make the rules” which is funny because it is true. Razor was aggressive with punches that knocked Jarrett out of the ring. Jarrett sent Razor into multiple turnbuckles, Razor avoided a dropkick and hit a clothesline that sent Jarrett over the top to the floor. Razor sent Jarrett into the ring apron, but then Roadie hit a forearm to the back to knock Razor down. Back in the ring, Razor caught Jarrett’s foot going for a kick and then Jarrett hit an enziguri kick to the head. Razor caught a running Jarrett and hit a fallaway slam for two with Roadie breaking up the pin. Roadie with a jumping clothesline, then a headbutt to the ribs and a head whip. Roadie with three elbow drops with Jarrett celebrating those moves. Jarrett was back in and they each got pinfall attempts followed by Jarrett hitting an elbow to knock Razor down. Razor countered a suplex into an inside cradle for two and then Jarrett hit a clothesline. Roadie was back in, Razor with punches and then Jarrett went in illegally to knock Razor down with a punch. Jarrett tagged back in, Razor greeted him with a punch to the ribs, an atomic drop and Jarrett gave Razor a back body drop over the top to the floor. Roadie jumped off the turnbuckle with clothesline that Vince called “what a devastating maneuver” so he added “devastating” to his favorite phrase. Razor got back into the ring before the ten count.

Jarrett hit a cross body block off the top, Razor rolled over and got a two count. Jarrett hit a dropkick for two. Jarrett with a swinging neckbreaker. Jarrett went for a running splash by the ropes, Razor moved and Jarrett did a splash where he crotched himself on the middle ropes. Razor ran the ropes, he was going really fast and then they did a collision spot where they hit heads to knock eachother down. Razor hit a belly to back suplex. Roadie tagged back in with a knee drop off the ropes for a two count. Roadie slapped on a headlock, Razor broke free and sent Roadie face first into the mat. Jarrett was back in, Razor blocked a punch and connected with several punches. Razor whipped Jarrett into Roadie followed by Razor setting up Roadie on the turnbuckle. Razor hit a belly to back suplex off the turnbuckle, which was a regular move for him. Jarrett kicked the left leg of Razor, but Razor kicked Jarrett into Roadie on the apron to knock Roadie down. Razor hit the Razor’s Edge on Jarrett for the pinfall win at 12:36. Vince said Razor “accomplished the impossible” by winning the match.

Winner by pinfall: Razor Ramon

Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match with the “rookie” Roadie taking the loss here to make Razor look impressive as a guy that managed to win a handicap match. The Razor’s Edge was always one of my favorite finishing moves in wrestling. The pacing was slow early on, then it picked up and the fans got more into it. Since Jarrett was the IC Champion at the time, I thought he would have pinned Roadie here, but it meant more when Razor pinned Jarrett in a match like this.

Post match, The Roadie went for Razor’s left knee, but Razor avoided it. Razor set up for the Razor’s Edge on Roadie and then Jarrett did a chop block to the left knee. Jarrett slapped on the Figure Four Leglock on Razor as the bell rang to put a stop to this. Aldo Montoya ran out for the save, he attacked Roadie with a clothesline, but then Jarrett easily tossed Montoya out of there ring. There was an unknown guy that ran into the ring (it was Savio Vega) and he kicked some ass by sending Roadie into Jarrett for a double noggin knocker. Vega with a clothesline on Roadie to send him out of the ring and then he punched Jarrett repeatedly. The referees filled the ring to break it up. There were police officers that showed up to escort Savio to the back.

Analysis: It was a way to debut Savio Vega. I had no idea who he was at the time while the announcers made it seem like he was some random dude that was helping Razor. They would end up doing a backstory letting us know that Vega was friends with Razor, so that led to Vega becoming a regular in WWE for the next several years.

There was a commercial for King of the Ring 1995 on June 25. That was one of the worst King of the Ring PPVs ever. One day I’ll review it, but I haven’t done it yet.

There was a backstage scene with Jerry King arguing with WWF President Jack Tunney because he wants his match with Bret Hart right now since Bret was dealing with a knee injury.

There was a video package about Sycho Sid that showed his destruction in recent weeks and months. That included Sid turning on Shawn Michaels after WrestleMania 11 leading to Shawn doing a stretcher job after multiple Powerbombs. Sid did a nice job of making faces to look like a crazy man. Sid faces Diesel in the main event.

A brand-new Bret Hart t-shirt was promoted. Call 1-800-TITAN-91 to get it now! (The number won’t work now. Sorry pal.)

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Mabel (w/Mo) vs. Adam Bomb

Pre-match notes: Mabel was a heel while Bomb was the face.

Mabel attacked with punches before the bell because of a distraction from Mo. Mabel with a running splash. Bomb avoided a second running splash. Bomb ran the ropes and hit a jumping shoulder tackle to the back of Mabel to the floor. Bomb did a slingshot dive over the top onto Mabel on the floor. Back in the ring, Bomb with a slingshot clothesline for just a one count. Bomb went up top and hit an impressive clothesline for two. Mabel with a whip into the corner leading to a spin kick and Vince’s “fuggetaboutit” call for it. Bomb ran the ropes, Mable caught him and Mabel dropped him with a forward body slam that would become Mark Henry’s finisher many years later. Mabel won at 1:54.

Winner by pinfall: Mabel

Analysis: 1/2* A bad match. No surprise considering the wrestlers. Adam Bomb did have some cool-looking moves for a taller guy. The best part of the match was that it was kept short. Mabel winning in dominant fashion made sense since he was the eventual winner of the tournament.

Razor Ramon was interviewed by Todd Pettengill in the Superstar Line room. Razor was there as he introduced us to his friend Savio Vega. That led to Savio saying nobody is going to mess with him. Razor put over Savio as a tough guy to fight, but he’s glad to have him on his side.

The Smoking Gunns were in the ring for a match while Jerry Lawler was out at ringside wanting to start his match with Bret Hart, but Lawler was told to got to the back. They showed Bret Hart in the locker room with an ice pack on his right knee.

WWF Tag Team Championships: Yokozuna and Owen Hart (w/Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji) vs. The Smoking Gunns (Billy and Bart Gunn)

Pre-match notes: Yoko and Owen were the heel champions while The Smoking Gunns were babyfaces. Nice mustaches by the Smoking Gunns.

The big man Yoko was looking huge as he hit Billy with a shoulder tackle. Billy came back with two dropkicks on Yoko, Bart got the tag and jumped into the ring with a double axe. Yoko with a headbutt leading to Owen taking over for his team. Owen whipped Bart into the turnbuckle, but Bart came back with a press slam followed by a dropkick. Billy was back in with a dropkick into a suplex by Bart. Billy was distracted by Fuji with the Japanese flag, so Owen hit an enziguri kick to Billy’s head. Yoko was back in with a clothesline. Yoko grounded Billy with the dreaded vice grip on the trapezius and Owen was back in with a neckbreaker. Billy got a sunset flip for two and then Owen came back with a spin kick on Billy. Yoko charged at Billy on the floor, Billy moved and Yoko hit the ring post. Owen charged at Billy, who moved and Owen hit the turnbuckle. Bart got the hot tag with an elbow drop and body slam for two. Bart sent Owen into the turnbuckle followed by a belly to back suplex. Bart brought in Billy for a double team neckbreaker into a suplex for two. Bart went for a running attack, Owen ducked and Bart landed out of the ring. Yoko hit a leg drop on Bart on the floor. Back in the ring, Owen pinned Bart for the win at 5:44.

Winners by pinfall: Yokozuna and Owen Hart

Analysis: *1/2 It felt like a rushed match. Yokozuna looked absolutely exhausted and he was barely in the ring. He was just really out of shape here. Owen did terrific work as usual, the Gunns worked well together, but it just felt like they could have built up to the finish better and instead they ended the match suddenly. Yoko hitting a leg drop on Bart on the floor sounds like a good finisher. It just didn’t seem like a big deal when they did it.

Diesel was interviewed by Todd Pettengill and his mullet. Diesel wished a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there while noting his mom died the previous year, so it was a tough day for him. Diesel said he was feeling 100% healthy. Diesel said that Sid has to be stopped after what he did to Shawn. Diesel warned Sid that he’s never seen anything compared to what he’ll see tonight.

Jerry “The King” Lawler was in the ring with a beautiful woman. Lawler said it was his mother even though she was obviously younger than him. Vince: “That’s not his mother!” What an observant man he is. The woman said that after Jerry beats Bret Hart, she wants to face Helen Hart. “Mom” gave Lawler a good luck kiss on the cheek. Vince: “That can’t be his mother.” Another genius comment, pal.

Bret Hart was interviewed backstage by Todd Pettengill. Bret was hopping around on his right leg and claimed he was feeling 100% to show that he was faking the injury.

Bret Hart made his entrance with a bit of a limp, but then he showed that he was walking just fine. Lawler realized Bret was fine after all, so Lawler was furious about it.

Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Bret Hart

Pre-match notes: Lawler was the heel here while Bret was the face.

Bret with a punch that sent Lawler out of the ring and Bret sent Lawler into the guard rail as well as the steel steps. Bret with a leg drop followed by a back body drop. Lawler came back with a piledriver with Jerry’s “mom” looking happy about that. Bret got back into it with punches, so he didn’t sell it that much. Bret hit a bulldog. Bret hit a piledriver of his own along with an elbow drop. Lawler with an eye gouge followed by a body slam. Lawler went up top, jumped off with nothing and Bret punched him in the ribs. Back elbow by Bret followed by a headbutt to the ribs. Bret with punches to the head of Lawler. Shinja (Hakushi’s manager) showed up at ringside, referee Earl Hebner looked at him and Bret whipped Lawler into the turnbuckle with Hebner getting his foot tied between the ropes. On replay, you could see Hebner intentionally set up his foot there so that his foot was tied up in the ropes. Nice job by Earl. Bret hit a diving elbow drop off the middle ropes. That led to Hakushi going to the top rope and Hakushi jumped off the top with a double axehandle to the back of Bret. Hakushi went up top again, Lawler put Bret in position and Hakushi hit a headbutt to the chest. Hakushi jumped off the top again with another headbutt to the chest. Lawler flipped over with a jackknife pin on Bret for the pinfall win at 5:01.

Winner by pinfall: Jerry “The King” Lawler

Analysis: *1/4 It was bad for a Bret Hart match, but it was also short with a cheap finish. It was more about the storyline with Lawler getting help from Hakushi to win the match. The bump by Hebner was good at least. Lawler beating Bret sounds like a horrible idea in theory since Lawler was only a part-time wrestler, but it was so cheap that it didn’t hurt Bret that much.

Post match, Hakushi ran the ropes and clotheslined Lawler by accident when Bret moved. Bret punched Shinja out of the ring while Lawler left with his “mom” to the back. Bret was frustrated in the ring.

Analysis: Bret would get his revenge against Hakushi on Raw two months after this. This was a weird year for Bret where he was out of the WWE Title picture for most of the year until Survivor Series in November, so the company kept him busy with some midcard guys. While Bret was still able to put on consistently good matches, it wasn’t as strong of a year as his best years.

There was a promo from Sycho Sid telling Diesel that his reign is over. They zoomed in on Sid’s face very closely because they liked to focus on the crazy faces that he would make. Sid told Diesel that he would become a victim, there was no one to help him and now he had to meet the master, the ruler of the world.

They did the house giveaway with Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wiand. I really don’t feel like recapping this part of the show. It’s not a big deal. The winner was an 11-year-old kid named Matthew Pomposelli. If you want more info, here’s a WWE.com article about it.

Sycho Sid made his entrance for the main event with Ted Dibiase as his manager. The announcers kept calling him Sycho Sid, but when he was introduced by Howard Finkel, The Fink just said “Sid” and so did the graphic on the screen.

Diesel made his entrance as the WWE Champion with Vince screaming: “Turn on that engine! Crank it up!” Vince was really pushing the idea that Diesel was exciting because Diesel was the babyface champion with Vince putting over the “unbelievable reaction” from the crowd. It wasn’t that loud, but it was a solid pop for Diesel. Nice fireworks display in the ring. Sid intimidated Vince at ringside.

WWE Championship: Diesel vs. Sycho Sid (w/Ted Dibiase)

Pre-match notes: Diesel was the babyface WWE Champion that held the title for about six months going into this match. Sid was the heel challenger. Diesel was seven feet tall while Sid was close to that.

Diesel shoved Sid on his ass followed by two running clotheslines. Diesel with elbow smashes to the face, so Sid bailed to the floor. Diesel with a double axehandle off the middle ropes onto Sid on the floor. Back in the ring, it took Diesel three clothesline to knock Sid down for a one count. Diesel rocked Sid with forearms again as the fans chanted for Diesel. Dibiase distracted Diesel, so Sid hit a running knee to the back that sent Diesel out of the ring. Sid drove Diesel face first into the ring apron along with some kicks to the ribs. Side rammed Diesel’s back into the ring post. Sid with a running kick to the face that kept Diesel down outside the ring. Sid broke the referee’s count to prevent a countout. Sid with forearms to the back, Diesel tried to fight back, but Sid got a knee up to block and Sid hit a clothesline. Sid celebrated with some posing on the ropes. Sid with some more strikes to the back. Sid slapped on a chinlock that was more like a Camel Clutch although it looked very loose rather than aggressive submission hold. When Diesel tried to get up, Sid splashed the back. Sid with a running legdrop that was only good for a two count. Sid went back to the chinlock for a couple of minutes, Diesel powered out of that and hit elbows to the chest. Sid came back with a Chokeslam although it wasn’t like the traditional Chokeslam we have gotten used to seeing over the years. Sid signaled for the Powerbomb and he connected with it with Vince calling it a “devastating maneuver.” Instead of covering right away, Sid did some posing and did a slow cover with Diesel kicking out at two. Sid charged, Diesel moved and Diesel sent him into the top rope. Diesel with a boot to the face. Diesel with the Jackknife Powerbomb for the cover, but Tatanka attacked Diesel with kicks, so it was a DQ finish at 11:31.

Winner by disqualification: Diesel

Analysis: * A bad match that was boring from the moment the bell rang. I thought Diesel did a decent job of selling the back injury before making the big comeback, but it was still a match without many highlights. The longer it went on, the more boring it got. Sid looked foolish after hitting a Powerbomb and not pinning right away. These guys were better working with smaller wrestlers, but we all know Vince McMahon loved booking big guys in matches together.

There were a few minutes left in the show as Sid and Tatanka beat up Diesel as Dibiase urged them on. Sid set up for another Powerbomb, but then Bam Bam Bigelow ran out for the save. Sid bailed while Bigelow tossed Tatanka out of the ring.

Diesel’s music played as he celebrated in the ring with Bigelow while the heels left. There were some fireworks as Diesel celebrated the win. Vince claimed that the first In Your House was “out of this world” which led to a commercial that WWE aired at this time with “aliens’ watching WWF programming. That was the end of the broadcast.

Analysis: This would set up the main event of King of the Ring 1995 with Diesel teaming with Bigelow against Sid and Tatanka. That is a bad PPV although I don’t remember that main event very well.

This event had a runtime of 1:40:20 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 4

It’s not a good show, but a historic event as the first In Your House PPV in WWE history. The best match was by far Bret Hart vs. Hakushi and I thought Razor Ramon vs. Jarrett/Roadie was okay too. Those were the first two matches. Everything else that followed was bad. It was a reminder of why 1995 might have been the worst year in WWE history. Diesel vs. Sid was boring with a bad finish while other matches were short to prevent them from being really bad too.

As I noted earlier in the review, it did great in terms of PPV buys probably because they gave away a house, so there was a lot of fan interest in that. In terms of in-ring action, I’d only recommend Bret vs. Hakushi if you’ve never seen it. The rest of it is skippable.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Bret Hart
  2. Hakushi
  3. Razor Ramon
  4. Diesel
  5. Jeff Jarrett

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Bret Hart vs. Hakushi (***3/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: Mabel vs. Adam Bomb (*1/2)

Most Memorable Moment: Nothing really sticks out, but guess I would go with the finish of the Bret/Hakushi match.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport