|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Here are the matches...
Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs Tatanka: What a difference a few years makes as Jake returned to the WWF ring in late 1995/1996, looking out of shape and not so over with the crowd. Roberts is usually spot on with his psychology but attempting his DDT half a minute into the match shows his complete dependence on it. Jake eventually lands the DDT after reversing Tatanka's fall-away slam move, pinning him surprisingly easy. I was looking forward to this match the most, lol. 3/10
Monster heel Vader gets interviewed, after power-bombing a referee and squashing poor Gorilla Monsoon (who seemed to sell it very well in the replay).
Razor Ramon vs 1-2-3 Kid Crybaby match: Humiliation stipulations were popular in 1995/1996 WWF and this one means the loser has to wear a nappy. Despite most of his offence being kicks, 1-2-3 Kid does it very well, The Kid's manager Ted Dibiase throws talcum powder in Ramon's eyes giving 1-2-3 Kid the advantage which culminates in a sleeper-hold. 1-2-3 Kid looks too light for Razor to sell the submission but he goes down regardless and hulks up to crotch Kid on the top rope, both dropping to the floor to a referee 10 count. Razor completes his signature throwaway slam off the top rope and Ted tries to interfere again with talcum powder but Razor kicks it in his face and Ted sells it well. Ramon hits The Razor's Edge twice before pinning The Kid. He puts the nappy on 1-2-3 Kid and 1-2-3 Kid does an amiable job of looking peeved off. Okay, has it's slow moments but features some nice booking towards the end. 6/10
Duke 'The Dumpster' Droese vs HHH: A slug-fest starts and Droese looks pretty aggressive, throwing Helmsley around using his hair. Helmsley does a great job bumping around for people at the start of his career, doing the Shawn Michaels flip over the turnbuckles stuff! Both men brawl for a short while outside after Helmsley attempts his Pedigree, hitting steel steps. Droese eventually gets 'The Trash Compactor' but fails to pin HHH, preferring to get his trashcan and lid instead. The referee blocks Droese from bringing his trashcan into the ring but HHH gets hold of the lid and belts Droese over the head with it, almost botching as the lid flings out of HHH's hand almost in view of the ref. HHH gets the pin. Not bad as these things go and pretty aggressive for two gimmick wrestlers. Unintelligent booking ruined things but I am going for a 5/10.
Yokozuna has his first interview since coming to the WWF and nobody seems surprised that he has developed a solid American accent within 3 years...
Yokozuna vs British Bulldog: In all honesty, these big men matches are tough to watch as Bulldog spends a lot of time trying to clothesline the Sumo giant down. Yokozuna teases a Banzai drop but Cornette moves Bulldog to safety (quite funny to see Bulldog helping Yoko along with his feet as Yokozuna drags him to the turnbuckles). Yokozuna has reasonable offence, hitting a nice fall-away slam and a belly-to-belly suplex but it all ends when Bulldog's manager Jim Cornette enters the ring and tries to hit Yokozuna with his redundant tennis racket causing disqualification to Bulldog. Vader comes to the ring, handcuffs Yokozuna and both he and Bulldog beat helpless Yokozuna. Loads of officials come to the ring to make the scene look busy until Yokozuna gets convincingly crazy and clears the ring. 3/10
Shawn Michaels vs Owen Hart: The winner gets to fight Bret Hart or Diesel at Wrestlemania. This I can't quite fathom because Shawn already won his spot for Wrestlemania by winning The Royal Rumble...Oh hum...A nice tag segment starts things off but Shawn gains control attempting some various roll-ups and a nice huricanrana. Owen turns the tables with a belly-to-belly suplex, back-breaker and a neck-breaker for the 2 count. During the match, the chant 'Go Shawn Go' is heard and very cheesy for a match of this calibre. This is because Kentucky was USWA territory and that chant was made in that promotion's matches. Some near falls occur including a lovely landslide cradle type move but only gets a 2. Owen applies the sharpshooter but Michaels struggles and gets to the ropes. Shawn and Owen miss their signature kicks but Shawn lands a super-kick for the pin. After his win, Shawn dances with a little girl in the ring, similar to Springsteen dancing with Courtney Cox in the 'Dancing in the Dark' video. 7/10
Roddy Piper gets interview time being the president while Gorilla Monsoon is recovering and basically states his match decisions for Wrestlemania. Cornette comes to the ring and has a right go at Piper who in turn emphatically tells Cornette to shut up. As these promos go, not bad.
Bret Hart vs Diesel Steel cage match: This is pretty much a slug-fest with Diesel putting his impact moves on Hart (side slam etc...) and Hart attacking Diesel's knees, confirming exactly what I said previously about working with big men. Both Hart and Diesel try to get out of the ring at various points, towards the end it looks like Diesel is going to win but Undertaker bursts through the ring canvas and takes Diesel into the ring, allowing Bret Hart to escape. The synopsis here is short because that is pretty much it. The pace of the match is leaden slow and it all follows a typical steel cage formula. Ironically, I think Diesel produces most of the wrestling moves in the match. Fortunately, the Undertaker ending was still a novelty back before these theatrics became commonplace so it gets over. 6/10
Overall, an innocuous PPV but the average main event drags it down a little. The Michaels and Hart match is a highlight.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bret Hart got a helping hand from the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels put
his Wrestlemania title shot on the line against Owen Hart and the
Hunter Hearst Helmsley/ Duke Droese rivalry raged on at another
satisfying In Your House PPV.
The night started off with Razor Ramon getting some revenge on his former ally the 1-2-3 Kid in a decent opener, sullied slightly by a rather silly stipulation, that being the 1-2-3 Kid being put in a nappy after taking the loss. Little wonder that 1-2-3 Kid (better known as X-Pac) headed off to the NWO later on in the year.
Our next match saw another rather dire entry into the far longer than necessary rivalry between Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Duke Droese. Triple H had gotten himself disqualified in their pre-show match at the Royal Rumble, but picked up a win here after a spinebuster.
Next we saw Jim Cornette seeking revenge on Yokozuna, who had recently turned on him. The instrument of his revenge would be the British Bulldog, taking a break from the main event after headlining the final three in Your House PPVs of 1995. Cornette tried to take his vengeance, smashing Yokozuna with his tennis racket, but all it actually achieved was to make Yokozuna very angry and give him a DQ victory.
The next match, which was somewhere between decent and good saw Shawn Michaels officially book his spot in the main event at Wrestlemania 12, defeating Owen Hart with some sweet chin music. Hart had a tremendous year in 1994, but never achieved that consistency again. He'd have average nights and good nights, and this fell somewhere in the middle.
Which brings us to the main event, Bret Hart defending the WWE Title against Diesel in a steel cage, Diesel had interfered in Hart's previous title defence, knocking out his opponent the Undertaker to cost him the title. Taker would get his revenge on this night though, coming from under the ring to attack Diesel, allowing Hart to climb out of the cage and keep his title.
Well it looks like the rematch five years in the making, that most WWE fans at the time wanted to see, Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels, would be headlining Wrestlemania 12. Surely we haven't heard the last of the Unbdertaker and Diesel either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Live from Louisville, Kentucky
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Razor Ramon Vs The 1-2-3 Kid (W/Ted Dibiase)
The winner of this match gets to diaper their opponent, then powder him with a baby bottle. Razor wins with the Razor's Edge, after hitting the move twice. Razor diapers The Kid and sprinkles baby powder over him after the match. This was an above average opener to start the show. It's nothing great, but these two know what they're doing together and produced a very watchable match. The antics after the match were harmless fun and made the crowd happy, despite how silly it is.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs Duke "The Dumpster" Droese
Helmsley wins after waffling Droese with a trash can lid. To be honest, I wasn't that invested in this match. I've never been a big Triple H fan, nor could I ever take Droese seriously. Both had their working boots on, but the match was nothing special.
The British Bulldog (W/Jim Cornette) Vs Yokozuna
Yokozuna cuts a really effective promo before the match. It's funny how there is no trace of his Japanese accent, though. He's also fresh off a face turn. Yokozuna wins by DQ because Cornette stopped Yokozuna from winning the match by nailing him with his tennis racket. Yokozuna goes to get Cornette, but Vader runs down and attacks Yokozuna. Yokozuna and The Bulldog handcuff Yokozuna to the ropes and beat him senseless. Yokozuna tries to fend them off with one hand, but it begins to become too much for him. Officials run in and finally stop it.
Thoughts: Yokozuna looked reinvigorated in there as a face. He was way overweight, but the motivation was clearly there and the fans were reacting to him. It was smart to have Yokozuna fight back with one hand to show his resiliency as well. The match wasn't that good, but it did the job of making Yokozuna into a sympathetic babyface.
Wrestlemania 12 Title Shot
Owen Hart (W/Jim Cornette) Vs Shawn Michaels
Shawn won the Royal Rumble to earn the right to face the champion at Wrestlemania 12. Owen Hart put Shawn out of action with an enziguri to the back of the head and almost ended his career. Shawn put his title shot on the line just to try to get revenge on Owen Hart. If Owen wins, he faces the champion at Wrestlemania in lieu of Shawn. This is the reason I was looking forward to this show. Shawn literally dances on top of the house of the In Your House set and comes down with a rope. As deplorable as his behavior could be in those days, this is one of the many reasons why Shawn is such a legend. Shawn wins with Sweet Chin Music.
Thoughts: Well, this wasn't quite as good as I was hoping for. That being said, it's still a terrific match with plenty of stuff to make wrestling fans drool over. It has near-falls, drama, excitement, and solid storytelling. I especially liked how Owen's cockiness ended up backfiring on him. He had the match won by countout with an enziguri, the same move that put Shawn on the shelf, but he wanted to pin him instead. That is great storytelling and continuity.
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper comes out for an interview with Todd Pettengill. Piper says he takes his job as WWF President very seriously. He pulls no punches, he can't be bought, he doesn't think Michael Jackson is innocent (Ouch) , and he's not afraid of the boogeyman. He informs us of what we already know, that being Shawn Michaels is the number one contender. He'll face Bret Hart or Diesel at Wrestlemania 12 for the WWF title. He says he doesn't feel sorry for Yokozuna and calls him dumb for getting himself handcuffed to the ring. He says somebody should tell Vader that the mask on his face isn't wear his jockstrap goes. That was a good one. He announces Yokozuna vs Vader at Wrestlemania. Jim Cornette shows up, but Piper tells him to shut up and covers Clarence Mason's mouth. Cornette says Piper and everybody else is scared of Vader, which is why WWE tried to banish him. Piper says if Yokozuna wins, Yokozuna gets time alone with Cornette.
Thoughts: Piper is one of the best talkers ever. It's almost unfair how his mic skills dwarfed everybody else's at this point, and Piper wasn't even a wrestler here. Vader vs Yokozuna would end up being a six man tag team match.
WWF Championship (Steel Cage Match)
Bret Hart (C) Vs Diesel
Diesel had the match won, but The Undertaker comes up out of nowhere through the ring and pulls Diesel down with him into this big hole in the ring. Bret takes advantage and climbs down the cage to win the match. Diesel manages to escape Undertaker's wrath, but he's scared to death. I don't know how other wrestling fans rate this, but I really enjoyed this cage match. Bret and Diesel just seem to click together when they wrestle, no matter the stipulation. Diesel is protected in defeat because The Undertaker cost him. It comes across as corny these days, but back then, The Undertaker coming up through the ring was pretty badass. This would setup a match between Diesel and Taker at Wrestlemania 12.
This is a decent PPV overall. There is nothing truly horrible about this show what so ever. I was too over-hyped when it came to Shawn and Owen, but they still delivered in a big way. The main event is also pretty damn good. Things were setting up for Wrestlemania 12 quite nicely.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
1. Jake Roberts Vs. Tatanka - Reunion of the legend Jake Roberts, I'm
glad. But match was average. 6/10
2. Razor Ramon Vs. 1-2-3 Kid - Solid Match 6.5/10
3. Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs. - Another victory in a row for HHH. 6/10
4. British Bulldog Vs. Yokozuna - Average match with terrible DQ ending. Works for Vader/Yoko feud. 5.5/10
5. Owen Hart Vs. Shawn Michaels - Classic good match but nothing special. I expected more from these legends. 7/10
6. WWF Championship: Diesel Vs. Champ-Bret Hart - Lol, RAGE in the cage? Really RAGE? That wasn't right word when you have cage bout with Diesel. Long boring title match about nothing. (Allegedly rage.) 5/10
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