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In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies
April 28, 1996
Omaha Civic Auditorium
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry "The King" Lawler
This is the post-Wrestlemania XII PPV which really proved to be quite the transition show. After Bret Hart dropped the WWF Title to Shawn Michaels, he decided to take a lengthy sabattical, and Diesel and Razor Ramon were set to leave the WWF for more money and an easier schedule in WCW. So as a result, we have Shawn Michaels as the WWF Champion and not much else. At least with Shawn, Bret, Razor, and Diesel, they had some significant star power and could at least put together some worthwhile cards at the end of 1995, but without three of their top stars, their cards really started to suffer in quality throughout the middle portion of 1996. Shawn Michaels did an awesome job in the main events, but it was clear that he didn't have any real top notch competition, and only when Bret Hart returned to give the rub to a rising star in "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, did business begin to pick up ever so slightly again.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts & Ahmed Johnson vs. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog
The referee forces Jake to take the snake to the back at the request of Clarence Mason since Jim Cornette faints at the mere sight of the thing. When Jake returns he brings Ahmed Johnson with him (for no real reason) and since Owen is already out there on behalf of the Bulldog, it turns into a tag team match just like that. The Bulldog wusses out whenever Ahmed tags in to establish Ahmed as a badass without him having to do anything. The heels work on Jake in the usual formula. Ahmed cleans house after the hot tag but the Bulldog nails Jake in the knee with Jim Cornette's loaded tennis racket and gets the submission victory with a half Crab that he never even really turned at 13:44. **1/4 Too long for what it was, but in hindsight I'm glad they made it a tag match because fourteen minutes of Jake and the Bulldog one-on-one would've been hard to stomach. Something tells me they knew this and the original match wasn't originally slated to last as long, causing them to turn this into a tag match. My guess is they had to fill some of the time that the next match would have done had it gone on as planned…
The Superstar Line has Marc Mero with Sable and the 1-2-3 Kid. Sable is nothing more than a regular valet at this point, so Lawler, being the heel, tries to rip on her. It's strange hearing the King say, "Do you really think Sable is pretty?"
Intercontinental Title: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Goldust (Champion)
I'm sure fans were anticipating a Warrior squash here. Goldust refuses to fight and does a lot of stalling after the bell rings, so the Warrior swipes Marlena's cigar and takes a puff. See, smoking is good, kids. Goldust, with an obvious legitimate injury, limps around the whole time with a big bandage around his knee. The crowd gets antsy, so Goldust eventually takes the microphone and says, "If you people don't shut up right now, I'm going to come out there and personally kiss each and every one of you!" Good heat drawing tactic, Goldie, but the match has been going on for five minutes now and you still haven't done anything. Goldust finally gets back in the ring and the Warrior hands Marlena her cigar back. Goldust puts his robe back on, then the Warrior takes Marlena's cigar again and decides to burn Goldust's hand with it. Then, seven and a half minutes in, the Warrior clotheslines Goldust for the first contact of the match. So Goldust decides to take a hike down the aisle, and the ref counts him out at 7:47 to give the Ultimate Warrior the countout win. Yep, in 7:47 we saw exactly one clothesline… and that's it. I would be nice and give this a DUD since it was, in fact, worthless, but this was a tremendous insult to whoever bought this show waiting to see this match, especially considering this was a nothing show to begin with and this was really the second biggest attraction behind the main event. So I think I'll bust out the old -***** I mean one clothesline in eight minutes; how much worse can you get? How hard would it have been for them to have Goldust pull a Lawler, claim an injury and throw the Warrior in there with a different opponent instead before having Goldust step in and get counted out or disqualified or whatever?
Dok Hendrix is backstage with a breaking story. The British Bulldog is furious and wants in Shawn Michaels' locker room for some unknown reason, and officials end up restraining him.
Razor Ramon vs. Vader
This is Scott Hall's last match of note in the WWF, as he and Kevin Nash would make their famous jump to WCW a few weeks later. It's basically a Vader squash as a result. Vader dominates most of the match, then hits the Vaderbomb to finish it… no, wait, Razor kicks out at two, then manages a suplex to boot. Um, why allow someone who's on their way out to kill the finisher of a rising star you're trying to push? Vader comes off the second rope, right into a Ramon powerslam for two. Razor hits his second rope bulldog for two but Vader puts him down with a clothesline. Vader heads up for another Vaderbomb, but this time Razor gets up and tries to position him for the Razor's Edge. Of course he can't do that to a 400 pounder, and Vader smacks him around and heads up top for the moonsault that will surely finish Ramon once and for all. But no, Razor gets up again and slams him off the top. He sets up for the Edge, but Vader backdrops out and sits on him for three to finally take the match at 14:51. Lawler: "I'll bet he gets a squeegie." There are lots of better and more decisive ways that could've ended that would've made Vader look a lot better. And who the hell decided to give them fifteen minutes? Maybe this was the match that got extended because of Goldust's injury. *1/2 After the match, Dok Hendrix catches up to Vader and Jim Cornette to inform them that Gorilla Monsoon has penciled Vader in for a match against Cornette's former protégé, Yokozuna, at the next In Your House in May.
Mr. Perfect talks to the Bodydonnas.
Tag Team Titles: The Godwinns vs. The Bodydonnas (Champions)
Welcome to 1996, as the tag team division hits rock bottom, months before Owen and Davey Boy would prevent the Titles from becoming total jokes. This match is completely formulaic, as Henry hits the Slop Drop, but the Bodydonnas pull the old switcheroo and he covers the fresh man as a result. He kicks out and small packages a surprised H.O.G. to retain at 7:17. *1/4
May 26, 1996 will be the date of the next In Your House PPV. We already know some of the matches: the aforementioned Vader vs. Yokozuna, Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Marc Mero, and Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega. It's also announced that the "Championship will be decided".
Dok Hendrix interviews Marc Mero and Sable. They say nothing of note.
Todd Pettengill narrates a spectacular Shawn Michaels/Diesel package. Diesel debuted in the WWF as Shawn's bodyguard in May 1993 and for the next three years they were always involved in each others' careers in some way, first as friends, then as enemies, then as friends again, and now as enemies again. Hence the subtitle of this PPV; Good Friends, Better Enemies.
WWF Title, No Holds Barred Match: Shawn Michaels (Champion) vs. Diesel
Diesel throws his vest on Vince at ringside, probably just to stir stuff up among the small population of "smart" fans that knew Nash was on his way out. Or maybe he was just trying to be cool; I don't know. Shawn enters to a major pop, and we get underway. They slug it out from the bell and Diesel ends up on the outside where Shawn follows with a sweet moonsault from the top rope all the way to the floor. Diesel rolls in and Shawn grabs the Title belt, jumps off the top rope and nails him with it. That gets the match's first two count. Shawn Flair Flips off a corner whip, then Diesel waffles him and sends him flying off the apron into the guardrail. In, Diesel dismantles Shawn and stares a hole through Vince the whole time. He hits a side suplex, then decides to choke the ref out with his wrist tape just for the hell of it. He undoes the ref's belt and whips the tar out of Shawn with it. He grabs a chair and goes to work, but Shawn dodges the second attempt, and it hits the ropes and backfires right back in Diesel's face. Shawn now grabs the chair, but Diesel thinks quickly and low blows him, then backdrops him onto the floor. Shawn is an absolute bumping machine here. Diesel follows him to the outside and powerbombs him through the announce table(!), which is a much different type of table than they use today. It's basically a regular table but with a cover and monitors and stuff on top of it. The monitors immediately collapse on top of Shawn despite Vince trying to move them away at the last second. Ouch. Shawn is out. Diesel grabs the Title and starts a premature celebration. Shawn struggles up to his feet, more pissed off than hurt, and clobbers him with a fire extinguisher. Shawn fights back in the ring with his flying forearm, then kips up and smacks Diesel with a chair twice. Diesel retaliates with a big boot, but Shawn punches out of a Jackknife attempt and hits his flying elbow off the top rope. Diesel ducks the superkick and hits a clothesline. They go to the floor where Diesel hotshots him on the rail and decides to talk trash with the legendary Mad Dog Vachon who just happens to be sitting at ringside. Diesel swipes his articificial leg in a move that's so wrong and typical of a dickish heel action, yet outlandishly hilarious at the same time. He tries to use it on Shawn, but Michaels connects with a low blow, takes the leg, winds up, and nails Diesel with it instead. Shawn warms up the band and hits the Superkick for three at 17:56 to retain the WWF Title to a monster pop. ****1/4
I've had people ask me why the WWF chose to put Hall and Nash in such high profile matches just weeks before they showed up in WCW, as the consensus is that this led to the initial NWO invasion having a much greater impact since it was still easy to believe that they were still very much a part of the WWF when they showed up on Nitro. To that, I say the following: hindsight is 20/20. Had the WWF known WCW was going to use them in the manner that they did, they probably would've taken a different approach and merely kept them off television for the final month of their contracts. But at the time, this way probably seemed much smarter. Have two of their top guys, Vader and Shawn Michaels, beat them in convincing fashion, hopefully leading to the perception among fans that the WWF's stars could easily defeat WCW's new stars. It didn't quite pan out that way, but it's unfair to attribute all of the NWO's success to the way Vince and company decided to utilize a departing Hall and Nash on this show.
Dok gets a word with the Undertaker and Paul Bearer, and we find out that Undie will be taking on Goldust next month at In Your House.
Mr. Perfect interviews Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Who would've thought then that Hunter would end up becoming a bigger star than Hennig ever was?
Dok talks to WWF President Gorilla Monsoon and the British Bulldog storms in, launching a verbal tirade against Shawn Michaels. Davey Boy more or less accuses Michaels of having made inappropriate advances towards his wife Diana, and thus the "Shawn's a pervert" angle is launched.
In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies Key Stats
Total Wrestling: 61:31
Average Match: 12:18
Average Match Rating: *
Top Moments: Shawn's big win against Diesel and that's about it
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