The final WWE PPV of 1996 was an In Your House event titled “It’s Time.” In other words, WWE’s creative team really had a tough time coming up with a name for the show, so they used a very basic term. One of Vader’s famous phrases was to say “It’s time, it’s Vader time” yet he wasn’t even on the show.
The original plans in late 1996 were for Shawn Michaels to drop the WWE Title to Vader at Survivor Series, but Shawn didn’t like working with Vader since he was too stiff in the ring, so they with softball man Sycho Sid in that spot instead. Maybe WWE trademarked “It’s Time” months earlier for Vader and figured they might as well use it.
Some of the best wrestlers in WWE weren’t wrestling on this show like the former WWE Champion Shawn Michaels, who was on commentary for the main event. Steve Austin also didn’t wrestle after having his breakout match with Bret Hart at Survivor Series 1996 one month earlier. No Mankind in action either. They wrestled in dark matches on this night. Do you know who was featured in matches? Legends like fake Razor Ramon, fake Diesel and The Executioner! Thrilling. I may need some adult beverages to get through this one, my friends.
The show was not a big success for WWE since it did about 90,000 PPV buys, which made it tied for the worst of 1996 only one In Your House did worse in December 1995. They also didn’t have a big crowd since it was about 5,700 people in attendance in West Palm Beach, Florida at this show, but it was a sellout in a smaller building.
Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:
“In Your House 12: It’s Time: The new WWE Champion Sycho Sid defends the WWE Championship against Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart. The Undertaker faces The Executioner in an Armageddon Rules Match. Marc Mero challenges Hunter Hearst Helmsley for the Intercontinental Championship. Razor Ramon and Diesel challenge for the Tag Team Championship. Much more.” PG (V)
Here is what the poster looked like.
Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.
WWE In Your House #12 – It’s Time
West Palm Beach Auditorium in West Palm Beach, Florida
December 15, 1996
The opening video package featured Bret “Hitman” Hart talking about how he wants that WWE Title again, but Sycho Sid is standing in his way.
The show began with some pyro in the arena with Vince McMahon welcoming us to the show with Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross on commentary. They introduced us to the Spanish announcers at ringside as well.
Flash Funk danced with the Funkettes on his way to the ring. Even Vince McMahon joined in on some dancing, so Jim Ross criticized Vince for it. That was funny.
Leif Cassidy vs. Flash Funk
Pre-match notes: This is a case of a match where both guys were known as other names for most of their careers. Cassidy was a heel while Funk was a face. Cassidy was better known as Al Snow in his career while Funk was called 2 Cold Scorpio for most of his career.
They spent about a minute battling over armbars, Funk with a snapmare and he used his legs for a takedown into an armdrag takedown. Funk avoided a charging Cassidy and then he hit a springboard cross body block that mostly missed Cassidy. Funk applied another armbar. Funk went for a headscissors takedown, but Cassidy got a hold of him and slammed him hard, face first into the mat. They went towards the ropes where Cassidy delivered a belly-to-belly suplex over the top to the floor. Vince delivered his classic line: “What a maneuver!” Cassidy with a springboard dive over the top onto Funk. Cassidy with a running clothesline on the floor. They went back into the ring with Cassidy hit a dropkick to the back for a two count. Funk with punches, Cassidy tried a Powerbomb, Funk landed on his feet and decked Cassidy with a punch. Funk with a dropkick, but then Cassidy caught him with a sitout spinebuster. Cassidy with a body slam. Cassidy went for a moonsault off the middle rope, but Funk moved and hit an uppercut punch. Cassidy went for a kick, Funk moved and did a handspring into a jumping kick to the head. Funk followed that with a running dive over the top onto Cassidy on the floor. Back in the ring, Funk with a body slam, then he went up top and hit an impressive moonsault for two. Cassidy avoided a kick and hit a clothesline. They exchanged pinfall attempts about six times, then Funk broke free and hit an enziguri kick to the head. Funk with a corner splash and a belly-to-back suplex. Funk went up top and hit a 450 Splash where it looked like his knees hit the upper body of Cassidy. Ouch. Funk covered for the pinfall win at 10:34. Vince: “Unbelievable! Yes!”
Winner by pinfall: Flash Funk
Analysis: *** It was an entertaining opening match with Funk showing off his athleticism at times. It was also slow at times. I liked some of the aerial spots that they did with Funk showing off his aerial skills while Cassidy was able to do a lot in the air as well. They messed up a few spots in the match, so I can’t rate it higher than that. However, I thought it was fine for an opener because it’s smart to put a high-flier like Funk in the match.
It was tag team championship time with Jim Ross ranting about how the fans booed Fake Diesel and Fake Razor Ramon during their entrance. If you weren’t watching at the time, JR was like a heel manager for them.
Owen Hart and The British Bulldog with manager Clarence Mason were interviewed by Kevin Kelly. Bulldog said if Steve Austin is anywhere around, he’s going to get him. Owen told Kevin to quit trying to make trouble because they are worried about Razor and Diesel. Owen and Bulldog made their entrance after that.
WWE Tag Team Championships: Owen Hart & British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Fake Diesel & Fake Razor Ramon
Pre-match notes: Owen and Bulldog were heels. Razor and Diesel were also heels. Diesel would go on to have a lot more success in his career as Kane starting in October 1997.
Owen started with Diesel, who did a press slam while Cibernetico and Pierroth from AAA were at ringside since they are in the Royal Rumble as well. Diesel clotheslined Owen over the top to the floor. Bulldog battled Razor with punches, then the crowd was standing and Steve Austin walked out to ringside because he had issues with Bulldog. Bulldog hit a cross body block on Razor. Bulldog saw Austin at ringside, so Bulldog got into a brawl with Austin. There were WWE officials that showed up at ringside to break it up and several of them made Austin got to the back. Bulldog was back in the ring with Razor working him over with punches. Owens tagged back in with an elbow smash off the top rope. Razor came back with a clothesline. Owen avoided a charging Razor, Owen up top and he hit a missile dropkick for two. Owen ran the ropes with Diesel pulling down the top rope and Owen bumped over the top to the floor. Razor grounded Owen with an armbar in the ring and Diesel was back in with a sidewalk slam. JR was shouting: “You gotta cover him!” No cover. Razor was back in with a pumphandle fallaway slam for a two count. Diesel back in with the boot to the face leading to the “Fugettaboutit” line from Vince. The fans chanted “Diesel sucks” briefly. Owen was double teamed by the challengers, Owen was sent into the turnbuckle and Owen hit an enziguri kick leading to Bulldog getting the hot tag against Razor. Bulldog with two clotheslines, then a clothesline on Diesel and a double noggin knocker. Bulldog with a body slam into a leg drop for two. Bulldog with a vertical suplex for two as Diesel made the save for his team. They did a spot where Owen jumped into Diesel’s arms with Bulldog hitting a dropkick to send Owen and Diesel over the top to the floor. Razor battled Bulldog in the ring, Razor missed a running charge when Bulldog moved, Bulldog wanted a Powerslam, but Razor slipped out. Owen sent Diesel into the ring post. Owen hit a spinning heel kick on Razor and Bulldog did a jackknife pin on Razor for the pinfall win at 10:45.
Winners by pinfall: Owen Hart & British Bulldog
Analysis: *3/4 A slow-paced tag team match that wasn’t that exciting at all. Two heel teams were not a good mix. Owen and Bulldog wrestled more like the faces because Owen was isolated most of the match leading to Bulldog getting the hot tag, but they were both heels at the time. The finish was well done at least with Owen sending Diesel into the ring post and then hitting the spin kick on Razor leading to Bulldog getting the win.
After the match, Razor was up right away, so he barely sold the kick. The camera was on JR on commentary with Jim complaining about the referee missing the double team move by the champions.
Steve Austin showed up at ringside again with Austin doing a chop block to the back of Bulldog’s left knee. Referees held Austin back while Austin smiled about his actions.
Analysis: Austin’s main feud was with Bret Hart at the time, but they had him start an issue with Bulldog as well. Austin’s rivalry with Bret continued at the next four PPVs after this including WrestleMania 13. I don’t remember Austin and Bulldog having a significant rivalry at this time.
They showed the WWF on AOL superstar chat with the Nation of Domination on hand talking to fans.
Let’s Hear from Ahmed Johnson
Vince McMahon was in the ring and he called out Ahmed Johnson for an interview. Johnson was in street clothes complete with a fanny pack around his waist. Johnson was a babyface, so he got a decent pop. Vince brought up the Royal Rumble saying that the leader of the Nation of Domination, Faarooq, will face Ahmed Johnson. Ahmed said that he’s lost his girlfriend, his car, his house and the only thing he’s got now are his fans. Ahmed said that Faarooq is going to pay. Vince noted that Ahmed almost lost his career and mentioned the injured kidney. Ahmed said that all he lives for are these people out here.
Faarooq and The Nation of Domination made their entrance for the interruption. They were in the concourse in the crowd. Faarooq said Ahmed preached about what he wants to do and he called Ahmed an Uncle Tom. Faarooq threatened Ahmed saying he’s going to beat him at SummerSlam. Faarooq ended it with the catchphrase: “By any means necessary.”
Ahmed said that they don’t have to wait until Royal Rumble and he said they can do it right now. Ahmed said: “You’re going down.” He said it repeatedly, so the crowd joined in as well. Vince just said “Ahmed Johnson” to end it.
Analysis: Ahmed Johnson was not a great promo. This was not that good at all, but the crowd liked the guy. If you’re wondering about that Ahmed/Faarooq match at Royal Rumble 1997, it sucked (I rated it 1/2*) and had a lame DQ finish. This feud wasn’t interesting at all.
There was a video package about Hunter Hearst Helmsley’s feud with Marc Mero. After Marc Mero won the Intercontinental Title, Mr. Perfect turned on him and helped Hunter win the Intercontinental Title. Hunter also beat up Mr. Perfect after that. Todd Pettengill called Hunter “Triple H” in the video, but they were still going with the full Hunter Hearst Helmsley name at this point.
“Wildman” Marc Mero made his entrance with the lovely Sable, who was his wife at the time. Hunter Hearst Helmsley entered with the Intercontinental Title around his waist with the fans booing him.
Analysis: A lot of people think that Hunter was buried for a whole year after the “MSG Incident” in May of 1996, but it really wasn’t that long. The fact that WWE put the IC Title on him before year’s end showed they really believed in him.
Intercontinental Championship: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable)
Pre-match notes: Hunter Hearst Helmsley was the heel Intercontinental Champion. Mero was the former champion that was a face.
Hunter and Mero had a staredown leading to JR making a joke about Hunter’s nose: “They’re nose to nose, that gives Helmsley the advantage.” Vince: “I’ll say.” Mero got the first takedown with a shoulder tackle. Mero with an armdrag, dropkick and clothesline over the top to the floor. Mero jumped on Hunter with a double axehandle on the floor. Back in the ring, Mero hit a back body drop for two, but then Hunter managed to counter some punches by driving Mero face first into the top turnbuckle. Hunter set up for a move, but Mero countered with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Hunter hid behind Sable and punched Mero. Hunter with a hard whip that sent Mero back first into the steel steps. Hunter sent Mero into the steps again. Helmsley delivered a backbreaker. Vince said that they had a transmission issue and were trying to fix the satellite problem. Hunter with a backbreaker for two followed by the abdominal stretch for over a minute, then referee Earl Hebner caught him cheating and they got into a shoving match. Mero with a corner whip, but Hunter came back with a boot to the face. Hunter jumped off the middle rope with nothing while Mero got the boot up to block. Mero with an atomic drop, then running the ropes and Mero hit a leaping clothesline. Mero with a hard whip into the corner followed by a knee lift. Mero with a headscissors takedown for a two count. Mero went up top and delivered a hurricanrana (Frankensteiner) off the top. Mero went up top, so Hunter shoved referee Earl Hebner into the ropes to knock Mero down. After a delay, Hunter crawled over to get a two count. Mero countered a Pedigree attempt into a catapult into the turnbuckle with Hunter’s hand hitting the ring post, but JR said that it was Hunter’s head (it was not). Mero crawled over for a two count.
Mero went up top again hit a Merosault off the top rope. Mero charged off the ropes, Hunter moved and Mero hit Hebner with a clothesline. Hunter hit a neckbreaker. Hunter grabbed the IC Title and went into the ring with it. Hunter charged, Mero with kicks and punches along with a move where Mero used his legs to try to pin Hunter, but the referee was slow to count and it only got a two count. Mero with a corner whip leading to Hunter doing his bump where he pulls the rope down to go over the top to the floor. Mero with a somersault dive over the top on Hunter. Goldust showed up with the IC Title going for Hunter, then he swung it, Hunter moved and Goldust hit Mero with it although it was a very light touch, yet Mero had to sell it. Goldust hit Hunter with the IC Title as well. They said that Hunter had a segment with Marlena earlier, so Goldust was getting payback. The referee Hebner woke up, he counted both guys down while they were out on the floor and Mero was back in right before the ten count. That meant Mero won by countout at 13:12.
Winner by countout: Marc Mero (Hunter Hearst Helmsley remained the Intercontinental Champion)
Analysis: *** A good match until the lame finish. I get why they did that kind of finish to keep the title on Hunter in a cheap manner, but I think it hurt a good match. They probably should have done something where Hunter cheated to win or maybe Goldust could accidentally hit Mero leading to Hunter getting the pin that way. I just think that what they did was a weak ending.
Post match, Mero was frustrated that he wasn’t able to win the title. Mero brought Hunter into the ring. Mero went up top and hit the Wild Thing (Shooting Star Press). Mero was angry about failing to win the title, but he did pose with the title. The announcers pushed the idea that the rivalry was far from over.
Hunter was in the aisle going to the back, but Goldust was there to beat him up some more. Hunter was down in the aisle.
Analysis: They were doing a nice job of making Hunter a guy that was easy to hate with numerous rivals like Mero and Goldust at the same time.
Sycho Sid, the WWE Champion, was interviewed in the locker room by Dok Hendrix. They showed earlier in the morning when Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart got into a brawl with eachother along with Sid, who knocked down Bret with a double axehandle to the back. Sid warned people to not put their nose in his business and you can ask Jose (Lothario). Sid pointed out that Shawn beat Bret while Sid beat Shawn and Sid did his line about being the master and ruler of the world.
Analysis: Sid promos were intense, but sometimes he spoke too quietly like he did here at the end.
There was a video about how The Undertaker nearly beat Mankind in the Buried Alive match in October, but The Executioner showed up to attack Undertaker and that meant that Taker was Buried Alive. At Survivor Series, The Executioner attacked The Undertaker again.
There was a graphic on the screen telling us the Armageddon Rules for this Undertaker match against The Executioner.
Analysis: Those rules sucked. This is not a match type that I can remember WWE doing again. In a few years after this, they did the Last Man Standing match, but those rules are different. That match is simply knock the guy down and keep them down for a ten count. In this case, you had to do a pinfall or submission before the ten count.
The Undertaker made his entrance as the lights went out. The Undertaker got a big ovation from the crowd as usual.
Armageddon Rules Match: The Undertaker vs. The Executioner (w/Paul Bearer)
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face while The Executioner was the heel. The Executioner was Terry Gordy with a mask on. Terry was a pretty good wrestler in his own right, but as The Executioner he wasn’t as good.
Taker with a corner whip followed by a clothesline and a back body drop. Taker with a whip into the ropes leading to a boot to the face. Taker with a corner whip leading to Executioner doing an upside-down bump. Executioner avoided an elbow drop and Executioner clotheslined Taker over the top to the floor. Taker pulled Executioner out of the ring leading to Bearer hitting Taker in the back. Executioner tossed Taker into the ring post and announce table. Taker came back with a lefty short arm clothesline. Mankind made his way down to ringside, he actually tripped because the mat at ringside was pulled up and exposed concrete. Mankind and Executioner beat up Taker with a double clothesline. Taker was right back up with punches on both guys as they left the ring. They went fighting up the aisle towards the back. Taker threw Executioner into a barricade. Taker threw Mankind into a screen or some sort of poster board that was part of the In Your House set. Taker tossed Mankind into the IYH door. Undertaker tackled Executioner into the house set. Taker brought Executioner back to ringside, but Mankind was back up with punches.
They were back in the ring with fans chanting “Rest in Peace” in support of Undertaker. There were security guys that showed up in the ring to spray mace at Mankind to get him out of there. That led to Undertaker walking Executioner back to the IYH set. They went brawling into the backstage area, then up some stairs and out one of the doors in the building. Fans were following them. In the ring, they showed security guys putting a straitjacket on Mankind to restrain him. There was a shot of Undertaker and Executioner outside the building with Taker sending Executioner into some water outside the arena. Taker beat up Mankind (in the straitjacket) with punches and stomps on the throat.
Taker went back into the ring when he saw The Executioner, so the match continued. Taker with a clothesline. Taker hit the Tombstone in the ring for the pinfall. That led to referee Jimmy Korderas starting the ten count. The Executioner stayed down, so that was the end of the match with The Undertaker as the winner at 11:32. Vince: “The Executioner has been executed.”
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: * A boring match with stupid rules and a lot of ridiculous that showed off the goofy side of Undertaker matches that I didn’t enjoy very much. I think it’s fair to assume that WWE didn’t believe much in The Executioner gimmick or that he could have a competitive match with Undertaker, so they had to do all of these other things to keep it going. It was just lame to have all of the interference of Mankind, then they put him in the straitjacket, then it had the silliness of Taker/Executioner fighting outside the ring and what was the point of the water bump for Executioner? It was silly more than anything. It did provide fans with the satisfaction of Undertaker beating The Executioner to put an end to that story, but the match was poor.
Bret Hart was interviewed by mustache man Dok Hendrix, who said he admired Bret for how cool and calm he is. They showed a clip from earlier in the day when Shawn Michaels and Sid got into a fight while Bret Hart joined the fight as well. They were separated by WWE officials with Sid knocking Bret down. Bret said that he’s waited to get back the WWE Title after eight months. Shawn Michaels’ music hit since he was going to be on commentary, so Bret said he was sick of Shawn. Bret kept on talking, but it was hard to hear because of Shawn’s music playing.
Analysis: You could tell from Bret’s promo here that he was getting sick of the attention Shawn Michaels was getting. Whether in character or not, we know that would become a major issue between them over the next year.
Shawn Michaels was in street clothes and did his usual in-ring poses as the pyro went off behind him. Shawn joined the commentary team for the main event. The fans at ringside were excited that Shawn was so close to them.
Bret “Hitman” Hart made his entrance to a good pop from the crowd. Bret put his shades on a kid at ringside. Michaels sarcastically talked about Bret saying that he does his best to be obnoxious, but Bret has become a bitter jerk. JR said he knows what it’s like working with people that are pompous. Sycho Sid was up next as the WWE Champion with the title around his waist. Sid was fist-bumping fans on his way down to the ring. Sid posed in the ring with Shawn saying that what Sid did to Jose Lothario was wrong because he was a 62-year-old man. Lawler said that if Lothario wasn’t at ringside then Shawn might still be the champion. Shawn said he was giving back to a superstar of yesterday. Shawn said he’s going to be himself whether they like it or not.
WWE Championship: Sycho Sid vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
Pre-match notes: Sid was the heel WWE Champion while Bret was the face. Sid won the WWE Championship for the first time one month earlier at Survivor Series.
Bret jumped Sid from behind with punches to the back. Sid with a hard whip into the corner leading to a clothesline and a body slam. Sid with a running kick that led to Bret rolling to the apron. Bret with punches followed by some eye-gouging across the top rope. Bret hit an elbow drop followed along with a headbutt to the stomach. Shawn ripped on Bret for not smiling or showing emotion, so Vince said Shawn was always going to say what was on his mind. Sid with punches, Bret to the floor and Sid followed with more punches. Sid with a kick to the ribs and tossing Bret into the ring. Shawn said Bret has changed because he has become a bitter man. Sid with a back body drop that sent Bret over the top to the floor. Sid sent Bret into the apron. Sid exposed the mat outside the ring, so the cement floor was exposed. Bret drove Sid back first into the ring post two times in a row followed by another slam into the ring post. Bret worked over the lower back with knees as well as punches. Bret hit a backbreaker, elbow drops and applied a chinlock. After Bret did a headbutt to the back, he whipped Sid into the turnbuckle with Sid taking a back bump. Bret applied a chinlock while driving his knee into the back. Bret worked over Sid some more by shoving his boot into Sid’s threat. Bret pulled off a turnbuckle pad to expose the steel. Sid blocked an attempted whip into the steel turnbuckle, so Bret came back with a back suplex for two. Bret with a Russian legsweep for two followed by a suplex. Bret applied the diving forearm off the middle rope that Bret loved to do. Bret was up top, Sid with a punch and a slam into the ring. Sid with two punches, then a boot to the face and Sid hit a powerslam for a two count. Sid hit a clothesline for two. The fans were not into this. Sid went for a leg drop, Bret moved and wanted a Sharpshooter, but Sid kicked Bret out of the ring. The referee made Sid move back, but Steve Austin showed up and did a chop block to Bret’s left knee. British Bulldog and Owen Hart went to ringside to go after Austin to force him to the back.
Sid was looking around asking what happened while Bret was favoring the left leg injury. Sid stomped on the upper body of Bret. Sid picked up Bret on the shoulder, then Bret slipped off and Bret avoided going into the corner. Sid picked up Bret again near the exposed turnbuckle, Sid dropped down and Bret went face first into the steel turnbuckle. They messed up the spot the first time, so they did it again and got it right. Sid hit a Chokeslam for a two count. Sid charged at Bret by the ropes, Bret moved and Bret took out Sid with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Bret went over to where Shawn Michaels was sitting, Bret got a chair and Sid hit Bret in the back. Sid sent Bret back into the ring, and then Sid shoved Shawn in the face like a “pieface” thing. Shawn went on the apron, Sid reversed a whip and Bret went running into Michaels, so Bret was stunned (selling as if they hit heads) while Michaels bumped to the floor. Sid hit a Powerbomb on Bret for the pinfall win at 17:04.
Winner by pinfall: Sycho Sid
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a solid match although nothing that special. Sid’s match with Shawn at Survivor Series was definitely better than this, so at least Shawn can say he did a better job against Sid than Bret did. Bret carried a lot of big men wrestlers in his career, but I don’t remember a classic match with Sid. The ending was controversial with Michaels getting involved after Sid shoved him and that led to Shawn costing Bret even though it was unintentional. This would play a part in Bret becoming a wrestler that whined, complained and bitched a lot. I assume most people watching this figured Sid would win the match so that it could set up a Sid/Shawn rematch at Royal Rumble because it made sense to do it again to have Shawn get his revenge after Sid cheated to win at Survivor Series.
After the match, Bret punched Shawn and they got into a brawl. Bret pulled Shawn’s shirt over his head like a hockey fight and Bret punched Shawn repeatedly, so Shawn bumped to the floor. Bret was going to the back while Sid posed in the ring and Michaels was angry at ringside. They showed a replay of the controversial finish. Shawn spoke on the headset saying Shawn was a punk and he’s going to kick his teeth down his throat. Sid was shown one more time with the WWE Title and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: This would set up Sid vs. Michaels in the WWE Title rematch at Royal Rumble while the Bret/Shawn story was around for all of 1997 as I’m sure most of you know.
This event had a runtime of 1:48:01 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 5.5
It’s just an average show with a couple of decent matches, but nothing really stood out here. As I noted in the opening of this review, a lot of great wrestlers were not on this card while some bad gimmicks were on the show. That hurt the card for sure.
Anyway, the Bret/Sid match was decent in the main event although there are plenty of better Bret matches worth checking out. The Hunter/Mero match probably could have been the best of the night, but I thought the finish was lame. As for The Undertaker’s match, he had worse matches in his career although I would say this was one of the more forgettable wins he ever had.
- Bret Hart
- Hunter Hearst Helmsley
- Marc Mero
- Flash Funk
- Sycho Sid
Best Match: Sycho Sid vs. Bret Hart (***1/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: The Undertaker vs. The Executioner (*)
Most Memorable Moment: Bret Hart getting whipped into Shawn Michaels on the apron and then Sycho Sid hitting Bret with a Powerbomb to retain the WWE Title.
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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