WWE In Your House 4 – Great White North (Oct. 1995) Review
The WWE October 1995 event was called In Your House 4 – Great White North. It was the first October PPV in WWE history.
It also has the reputation for being one of the worst WWE PPVs of all time. It also was largely an uneventful show, but at least there is an interesting story related to it.
Shawn Michaels was the Intercontinental Champion that won that title at the WWE In Your House event in July 1995. Michaels was scheduled to defend the IC Title against Dean Douglas on this show. However, on October 13, 1995 (nine days before In Your House), Michaels was at a bar in Syracuse, New York after they had a show in Binghamton. The October 14 event was in Syracuse. Michaels went to the bar with The 1-2-3 Kid and The British Bulldog. Apparently, something happened at the bar, which led to Michaels getting into a fight and he got beat up pretty bad. There are a lot of stories out there about how many beat him up. Some people have said it was about a dozen people while others have said it was just a few guys. There have also been stories that the guys were Marines. I’ve seen people talk about it saying that Shawn was hitting on a guy’s girlfriend, so that’s what started it. Other stories say that it simply started because the guys at the bar saw three wrestlers walk in and wanted to see how tough they were. We also don’t know if any of them were drunk or on drugs or anything like that, but certainly possible. Anyway, some of the friends involved kept Bulldog and Kid from interfering in the beating was going on, so Shawn got beat up by at least one person and was left with some heavy bruising on his face. Shawn missed the October 14 live event with Marty Jannetty taking his place against Bulldog – that was the main event of that show. Michaels usually traveled with his Kliq buddies Diesel, Razor Ramon & Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but they were in Europe working shows that weekend.
Anyway, here’s what Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription) wrote about it:
“As for the incident on the WWF’s bad luck Friday the 13th in Syracuse, NY, the police reports of the incident only slightly differed with the account given to us by as reliable a source as would be possible given the circumstances. Despite it being said on Raw the past two weeks about a police investigation, the case was already closed at the time they made that statement the first time since both Michaels and WWF agent Dave Hebner refused to press charges the day after the incident took place.”
“The slight differences in last week’s Observer and the police report were that in the police report, apparently largely derived from Waltman, the men who instigated the incident were yelling insults at the driver of the car, Donna Jones, and not at Michaels. The police report stated that Michaels was in the front seat, but was intoxicated and had passed out and was actually asleep when he was pulled out of the car and mercilessly pummeled and had no chance to defend himself. It stated that there were three people in the back seat of the two-door car, Waltman, Smith, and a third person named Robert Jones, with Smith in the middle between the two which because of his size and being in a two-door car, compounded the time before he was able to get out of the car and basically pull the perpetrators off Michaels. The police reported ten assailants, not nine, and said the fight was broken up when Donna Jones, who was apparently the girlfriend of a bouncer at the Club 37 in the Ponderosa Plaza in Syracuse where this was taking place in front of, ran into the club and two bouncers came out (not an undercover officer as was reported here) and the perpetrators escaped in two white Ford Broncos. One of the Broncos turned around and attempted to run over one of the bouncers, Tony Alberti. The police report stated nothing about the perpetrators being Marines or servicemen, although the entire group had short crew-cut haircuts similar to Smith.”
“The police report stated Michaels suffered a laceration of the right eyelid and right cheek below the eye, two black eyes, swelling and blood coming from the ears and right eye.”
Since Meltzer cited the police report a lot there, he clearly did his research into the incident. Whether what was told to the police was true, who knows?
Here’s an article from the Syracuse Post Standard writing about Michaels getting beat up.
I was nearly 15 years old at the time and had no idea about this because I wasn’t reading about wrestling on the internet yet. I only heard about it when it was mentioned on WWE TV.
This show bombed big time in terms of PPV business with 90,000 buys, which is the worst of all-time along with that awful ECW December to Dismember 2006 show. Business was down after Diesel’s nearly year-long reign as the WWE Champion and this was a low point.
This show followed In Your House 3 – Triple Header and led into Survivor Series 1995 in November.
Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:
“In Your House 4 The Great White North: Diesel defends the WWE Championship against the British Bulldog. Razor Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid challenge the Smokin’ Gunns for the WWE Tag Team Title. Goldust makes his WWE ring debut vs Marty Jannetty. Plus, tough decisions are made concerning Shawn Michaels and the Intercontinental Title.” PG (L, V)
Here’s what the VHS 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 4 – Great White North
Winnipeg Arena in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
October 22, 1995
A woman named Toni Wilson sang the Canadian National Anthem to start the show. I’m a Canadian and I like the song, but I don’t know why that this needed to be shown on the PPV broadcast.
The WWE President Gorilla Monsoon was shown saying that he is not allowing Shawn Michaels to compete due to a concussion. Monsoon said he asked Michaels to forfeit the Intercontinental Title to Monsoon, who will present the title to Dean Douglas, who will defend that title against Razor Ramon. Gorilla said it was a difficult decision.
The commentary of Vince “What a Maneuver” McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim Ross were at ringside to call the action.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Fatu
Pre-match notes: Hunter was the heel while Fatu was the face in the “Making a Difference” phase of his career. JR tried to tell us that Fatu was making his PPV debut, which is not true, but it was the first time under this gimmick.
Hunter had a perfume bottle as part of his entrance, Fatu got it from him and hit him with punches followed by a back body drop. Fatu with a whip into the turnbuckle with Hunter bumping over the top to the floor, which is a spot Hunter did a lot in his career. Fatu sent Hunter into the steel steps followed by punches. Back in the ring, Hunter went to send Fatu into the turnbuckle, which had no effect and Fatu hit a headbutt. Hunter whipped Fatu into the ropes with Fatu getting his head stuck leading to Hunter punching him. Fatu broke free and Hunter hit a piledriver. Hunter with an eye rake leading to a neckbreaker for two. Hunter with a knee to the ribs. Hunter applied a chinlock for over a minute. Hunter with a whip into the corner followed by a clothesline and Fatu did an impressive flip bump. Both guys got two counts after that. Hunter wanted a Pedigree, Fatu with back body drop and Hunter with a DDT, but Fatu no sold it. Fatu with a superkick followed by a back body drop. Fatu with a running clothesline and backbreaker. Fatu with a headbutt off the turnbuckle. Fatu with a running Cutter (like a Diamond Cutter) before that became a devastating finishing move. Fatu went up top, he jumped off with a splash and Fatu hit the mat. Hunter with a Pedigree for the pinfall win at 8:06.
Winner by pinfall: Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match for this era. Fatu’s comeback near the end of the match got the crowd going, so that helped. Since Hunter was pushed more out of these two guys at this point, it was no surprise that Hunter got the win.
Hunter was interviewed after the match with Hunter speaking in a bad accent saying that Fatu smelled. Henry O. Godwinn showed up behind Hunter with a bucket of slop. Hunter managed to run away and Godwinn wasn’t able to slop him.
British Bulldog and Jim Cornette were interviewed by Dok Hendrix, who noted it was Bulldog’s first WWE Title match. They showed when Bulldog turned on Diesel two months ago and then Bulldog pinned Diesel in a tag team match. Cornette said that Bulldog is going to become the WWE Champion. Bulldog simply said he’s beaten Diesel before and he’ll beat him again.
Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid were interviewed before their tag team title match. Razor said that they are on the same page and they are going to give the champions a fight.
WWE Tag Team Championships: Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn) vs. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid
Pre-match notes: Smoking Gunns were babyface champions that were fake brothers. Razor and Kid were also babyfaces.
Kid with a takedown on Billy with Lawler laughing at how bad Kid’s hair looked. Billy hit an armdrag takedown sending Kid across the ring. Bart tagged in against Razor with a fireman’s carry takedown. Razor connected with some punches, Bart ran the ropes, Kid pulled the top rope down and Bart went flying over the top to the floor. Razor worked over Bart with punches, Kid tagged in and hit a spin kick to the head. Kid with a spinning heel kick along with two leg drops. Razor back in with a fallaway slam on Bart and then Razor did a fallaway slam to Kid onto Bart leading to Kid getting a two count. Razor and Kid kept on making quick tags leading to a double team elbow. Razor went for a back body drop, so Bart got a hair whip takedown. Razor ran the ropes leading to a collision spot to knock Razor and Bart down on the mat. Billy with a back body drop on Kid, then a dropkick to Razor and Billy hit an elbow drop for two. Bart back in with a backbreaker on Kid three times. Billy back in for a double team kick into a suplex for two. Gunn missed a corner charge when Kid moved and Gunn did a comedic bump out of the corner. They did a spot where the referee didn’t see Razor put Kid on Billy and when the referee Jimmy Korderas turned around, Kid got a two count. The fans bought that as a nearfall. Razor tagged in with punches on both Gunns. Razor teased a Razor’s Edge, the fans went crazy and Razor connected with the Razor’s Edge on Billy. Kid wanted the tag, so Razor decided to bring him in even though Razor normally won matches with that move. Kid covered Billy, then Billy turned it over into a crucifix pin for the pinfall win at 12:46.
Winners by pinfall: The Smoking Gunns
Analysis: *** This was a pretty good match between four talented workers with Kid showing some heelish behavior here. There were a couple of well-booked nearfalls in the match where it looked like the match might end earlier, so that’s a positive. The finish worked in terms of putting over the story of Kid being selfish and wanting to tag in even though Razor could have Billy to win the match. Kid wanting to be the glory hog ended up costing his team the win.
After the match, Kid was throwing a temper tantrum about the loss. Kid knocked Bart out of the ring and hit a spin kick on Billy to send him out of the ring. Kid picked up both tag team titles, but Razor went back and took the titles from Kid to give the titles to the Gunns.
There was a video with Dok Hendrix shilling life-sized wrestler standups of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. They were $25 at the time.
Goldust did pre-match comments ahead of his match against Marty Jannetty. Goldust said he was ready for his closeup and did his “remember the name Goldust” bit to end it.
Goldust vs. Marty Jannetty
Pre-match notes: Goldust was the heel while Marty was the face. This was Goldust’s debut match.
Jannetty started with a back body drop followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Jannetty with a running clothesline while on the floor as Goldust tried to regroup on the floor. Goldust got a rollup followed by a punch to the head leading to Vince’s classic “forget about it” line. Jannetty with a hurricanrana leading to Goldust coming back with a shove to the chest. Jannetty with punches, Goldust tried a leapfrog and Jannetty punched him. Goldust with a clothesline leading to a flip bump from Marty. Goldust worked over Marty with punches followed by a hard whip into the corner. Goldust with a fist drop leading to a chinlock. Goldust sent Jannetty out of the ring followed by a whip into the steel steps. After Goldust went into the ring, Jannetty did a snapmare over the top rope to bring Goldust out of the ring. Goldust shoved Jannetty into the ring post. Goldust went back to a chinlock while the crowd was quiet. They did this spot running the ropes where Marty was trying to jump over Goldust, but then Goldust collapsed to the mat. That was dumb. Jannetty went for a corner attack, Goldust moved and Jannetty hit the turnbuckle hard. Goldust hit a DDT for two. Jannetty hit the Rocker Dropper leg drop to the back of the head. Jannetty jumped off the top rope with nothing and Marty delivered an elbow to the back. Jannetty with three straight clothesline while the crowd was dead quiet. Jannetty jumped off the top with a fist drop, but Goldust got his boot up to block the attack. Goldust hit a front suplex into the mat for the pinfall win at 11:15.
Winner by pinfall: Goldust
Analysis: *1/2 Bad match that was very slow-paced and boring at times. A decisive win for Goldust in his debut match. Jannetty had some good bumps in the match. I think they probably could have had a shorter match instead of going more than ten minutes to put Goldust over better. It’s not like they were going to push Jannetty at this point, so Goldust should have been more dominant.
Goldust celebrated the win while the announcers said that Goldust gets a gold spotlight after he is done a match, so the spotlight was on Goldust walking to the back.
Analysis: This was in the early stages of the character. He evolved a lot more in the coming months with more unique mannerisms and some different taunting actions in the ring.
They showed highlights from Raw two weeks earlier when Yokozuna and King Mabel attacked Undertaker, who was out with a “crushed face.” Now those two men had to face off in a match.
Yokozuna was backstage with Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji. Cornette said that Gorilla Monsoon wants to cause trouble between Yokozuna and Mabel because he’s too scared to see them on the same team.
King Mabel (w/Sir Mo) vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette)
Pre-match notes: King Mabel was a heel and Yokozuna was also a heel although Yokozuna was mildly cheered for his entrance.
They started out doing a slugfest with Yokozuna punching Mabel repeatedly to knock him out of the ring. Mabel was back in the ring with punches and Mabel hit a jumping clothesline. Mabel with a punch led to Yoko going to the floor for a break. When Yoko went back in, Mabel hit a corner splash. Mabel with a whip into the corner and he charged in with Yoko hitting a clothesline. Yoko’s leg drop missed because Mabel moved and then Mabel went for an elbow drop, but Yoko moved. Mabel went for a bulldog off the ropes, Yoko didn’t sell that and then Yoko went out of the ring. Vince: “What was that?” No idea, boss. Mabel followed Yoko on the floor, so then Yoko shoved Mabel into the ring post. Yoko tripped over Cornette on the floor. The bell rang for a double countout and the fans booed. I don’t know if they booed that the match was done or because it was so bad. It went 5:12.
Match Result: Double Countout
Analysis: -* This was brutal to watch. Most of the match was spent with guys on the floor with poor Yoko looking exhausted since he was so big going into this match. I’m sure it entertained Vince McMahon since he loves the big man wrestlers, but this was not a good idea. I guess they booked a double countout because they didn’t want either guy to lose. That decision made the match even worse. The match was rated -** by Dave Meltzer, so he hated it more than I did when it happened.
After the match, Vince said it was “less than a stellar matchup.” That is Vince’s way of saying it was an awful match, which it was. Yoko and Mabel faced off in the ring again, but this time it was just a staredown. Yokozuna and Mabel hugged. The fans booed.
Analysis: I will give credit for WWE making the decision to make Yokozuna/Mabel as allies rather than making them opponents again.
There was a commercial for Survivor Series 1995.
Shawn Michaels Forfeits Intercontinental Championship
The WWE President Gorilla Monsoon was in the ring with Dok Hendrix, who introduced Dean Douglas. There was barely a reaction for Douglas.
Shawn Michaels was up next with the Intercontinental Title in his hands. Vince said Shawn suffered a concussion eight days earlier. You could see visible bruising on Shawn’s face as he slowly got into the ring. Vince put over Shawn for being a great competitor. Michaels looked at the IC Title in his hands, took his time thinking about it and Michaels reluctantly handed the IC Title to Monsoon, but before Gorilla got it, Douglas grabbed it. Douglas posed with the IC Title. Douglas: “That was easy.” The fans booed. Douglas put the IC Title around his waist while Michaels looked at Douglas doing it. Hendrix announced Douglas as the new Intercontinental Champion while Michaels left.
Analysis: I already covered the reasons for the title forfeiture earlier in the review. It was sad to see Shawn like that, but he obviously did get better and come back better than ever with 1996 being the best year of his career. I know critics of Michaels think that he should have tried to have a match and lost it in the ring, but this is the decision that WWE made.
Razor Ramon made his entrance as the challenger for his second match of the night.
Intercontinental Championship: Dean Douglas vs. Razor Ramon
Pre-match notes: Douglas was a heel known as Shane Douglas in other wrestling companies. Ramon was a face that was a three-time Intercontinental Champion going into this match.
Razor was aggressive right off the bat with punches, a whip into the turnbuckle, more punches and Douglas bailed to the floor. Razor with shoulder tackles leading to an armbar. This armbar took nearly two minutes. Douglas came back with elbows, then he missed a corner charge and Razor applied an armbar again for another minute or two. Douglas finally broke free with punches and kicks to stomp Razor down to the mat. Douglas ran the ropes, Razor caught him and Razor hit the patented fallaway slam followed by a clothesline over the top to the floor. Razor drove Douglas’ throat into the top rope. Douglas with a blatant eye poke, but Razor came back with a whip into the turnbuckle and Razor punched Douglas off the apron to the floor. Razor suplexed Douglas from the apron into the ring. Razor whipped Douglas into the turnbuckle and Dean bumped to the floor again. Razor got a bottle of water, poured it on Douglas and punched Dean again. Back in the ring, Razor with an atomic drop, but then Douglas countered a Razor’s Edge with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Douglas drove Razor’s back into the apron. Douglas jumped off the top, Razor avoided that attempt at a bad move and Razor hit a Chokeslam leading to both guys going down to the mat. Razor setup Douglas on the top rope, Douglas with a back elbow and Douglas a hit a cross body block off the top, but Razor turned it over for a two count. Douglas with a dropkick for two with Razor getting his foot on the bottom rope. Razor with a whip into the turnbuckle and Razor hit a belly to back suplex near the ropes. Douglas had his right foot under the bottom rope, it was obvious, but the referee Tim White counted the pin. Razor was the winner at 11:03.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon
Analysis: *1/2 A slow-paced match with a weak finish. I’m not sure why it ended the way it did because it was a flat finish. I get that Dean’s foot was under the bottom rope, but it just looked too ridiculous with Razor hitting back suplex and then laying an arm on top like that. Douglas barely got any offense and there was a lack of nearfalls.
Post match, Douglas complained about what happened and tried to explain it to referee Tim White. They replayed the finish with the referee clearly looking at the shoulders, but he didn’t look at Dean’s right leg under the bottom rope. Vince made it clear that the referee’s decision was final and Razor left as the Intercontinental Champion for the fourth time.
Analysis: Dean Douglas didn’t get used much after this. It just didn’t work out for him in WWE. Douglas would go on to complain about Michaels and The Kliq a lot in many interviews over the years after this. It’s weird that WWE just gave up on Douglas after they put the title on him (at least briefly), but he just never got going in WWE.
It was time for the main event with Bret “Hitman” Hart making his entrance as a guest commentator for this match. Great ovation for Bret in Canada. When Bret got out there, Lawler got up and tried to run away. Bret punched Lawler a few times, so Lawler went to the back. Bret gets the winner of this match for the WWE Title at Survivor Series.
Analysis: I find it strange that they didn’t book Bret in a match on this show. Bret did wrestle in a dark match against Isaac Yankem (that’s gotta be Kane), but that was it. I don’t really get it considering it was a PPV in Bret’s home country of Canada where he is beloved. They should have found a spot for Bret on this show.
The British Bulldog made his entrance with manager Jim Cornette for the main event.
They showed a clip of Dok Hendrix shilling some Diesel/Shawn Michaels merchandise.
Diesel, the WWE Champion, was asked by Dok how he feels. Diesel: “Dok, I’m feeling funky.” That was it.
Diesel made his entrance as the WWE Champion and he got a good reaction from the crowd as a long-term babyface champion. It was not a huge pop by any means, but most of the fans liked him.
WWE Championship: Diesel vs. British Bulldog
Pre-match notes: Diesel was the babyface WWE Champion while Bulldog was the heel challenger.
Bulldog ran the ropes, ducked Diesel and Diesel hit a forearm. Diesel with two body slams. Bulldog left the ring, he grabbed Diesel’s legs and Diesel sent Bulldog into the ring post. Diesel with two running clotheslines against the turnbuckle. Bulldog went for a rollup pin, Diesel held onto the rope and Bulldog dropkicked Diesel over the top to the floor. Bret put his hands up to keep Diesel’s balance, so Diesel got in Bret’s face and pie-faced (shove to the face) Bret to knock him down in his chair. Bulldog attacked Diesel with a chop block to the back of the knee. Back in the ring, Bulldog wrenched on the left leg with the fans chanting “Diesel” for the champion. Bulldog jumped on the left leg against the ropes followed by a leg drop to the left leg. Bulldog tried a submission on the left leg, but Diesel elbowed his way out of it. Diesel went to the floor where Cornette elbowed the left knee followed by stomps on the left knee. Bulldog sent Diesel into the steel steps. Cornette attacked the left knee of Diesel again while Bulldog distracted the referee Earl Hebner. Bulldog worked on the left leg with a single leg crab. Bulldog applied a Boston Crab submission on Diesel, who was right by the ropes and Diesel powered out to break the hold. Bulldog with a single leg crab submission along with a leg drop to the face for a two count. Bulldog wrenched on the left leg again. Diesel with elbows to break the hold and then Bulldog hit a chop block to the back of Diesel’s left leg. Bulldog went back to wrenching on the left leg. Diesel connected with a couple of forearms and Bulldog went to another move where he wrenched on the left leg. When Bulldog tried jumping on the leg again, Diesel kicked him out of the ring.
Diesel went for a forearm to the back, Bulldog moved and Bulldog hit a forearm to the back. Bulldog wrenched on the left leg of Diesel again. Diesel used his right leg to kick himself free. Bulldog tried a suplex, but then Diesel came back with a suplex of his own. Diesel hit a belly to back suplex. Bulldog went for the Sharpshooter, but it looked terrible, so Bret said that he should learn how to put it on right. Bulldog had it on in a sloppy way, so Diesel kicked him off easily. Bulldog tired a suplex with Diesel landing on top. Bulldog managed to get Diesel up for a powerslam, but then Diesel broke free and hit a boot in the face. Cornette to the apron, Diesel brought him in the ring and Bulldog charged with Diesel moving, so Cornette bailed to the floor. Diesel hit a slow walking splash on Bulldog against the ropes. Bulldog sent Diesel face first into the ring post. Bulldog slapped Bret in the head, so Bret went into the ring, punched Bret and that was enough for a DQ ending at 18:14.
Winner by disqualification: British Bulldog (Diesel remained WWE Champion)
Analysis: * This was a terrible match. It went on way too long, the crowd was dead for most of it because it was so boring and then the finish was one of the worst PPV main event finishes that I have ever seen. The story of Bulldog working on the left knee killed some time, but it’s not like it was fun to watch.
Diesel went over to Bret and pulled him off Bulldog with Diesel getting mad that he wasn’t the winner.
Diesel and Bret exchanged punches in the ring. There were referees and officials that went into the ring to try to break up the fight. The bell was ringing repeatedly. There were wrestlers that came out from the back to try to break up the fight. It worked a bit, but Diesel and Bret did a nice job of making it look like they hated eachother. Vince plugged Survivor Series and thanked us for watching.
It was the last PPV that ended with Diesel as the WWE Champion.
BONUS Analysis: Let’s go back to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for Vince McMahon’s reaction to the match: “Just as the cameras faded to black signifying the end of the In Your House PPV show on 10/22 in Winnipeg, a disgusted Vince McMahon threw down his glasses and his headset and said the words, ‘horrible’ as he started to walk to the back with Jim Ross while a pull-apart brawl with Bret Hart and Diesel was still going on in the ring.”
Analysis: Ouch. Clearly, Vince hated the Diesel/Bulldog match as much as anybody. There are all these stories about Vince’s reaction after this match and how much he hated it. It’s no surprise then that Diesel dropped the title to Bret Hart at the next PPV, Survivor Series 1995.
This event had a runtime of 1:54:54 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 3
A bad show. I think rating it a 3 out of 10 might be generous by me. The finishes of the last two matches were awful. This truly was one of the worst WWE PPVs of all time. I’m trying to think of what I could recommend to you to check out and really there’s not much on here. If you really like Goldust then maybe check out that match, but I mean it’s one of the worst matches he ever had.
I guess if there’s a positive to it then I could say it’s a good thing that it was only two hours instead of three hours.
I’ll skip the five stars for this show.
Best Match: Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn) vs. Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid (*** out of 5)
Worst Match: King Mabel vs. Yokozuna (-*)
Most Memorable Moment: Shawn Michaels forfeiting the Intercontinental 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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