It's Time: In Your House
December 15, 1996
Memorial Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FL
Its our final PPV of the year as the WWF once again comes In Your House. The tagline for this show is obviously a spin off of Vader's catchphrase, leading you to believe that the Mastodon was supposed to have a prominent role on this PPV. However he was out with an injury at this point, and the main event for this show sees Sycho Sid defending his WWF title against Bret Hart. Also tonight the Undertaker faces the masked Executioner under Armageddon rules.
The video package to kick off the show focuses on our championship match tonight. Once we head into the arena we send it to our announce team of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler who kick the night off with our first match.
Flash Funk vs Leif Cassidy Very strange little match to kick off the show here, as the relatively new Flash Funk battles the floundering New Rocker Leif Cassidy. I'm not sure but I have a feeling Marty Jannetty is gone from the company again as there is no sight of him at ringside for this one. Flash is out with his Funkettes and gets a nice enough response from the crowd. I don't think there is much in the way of storyline here, as this really seems like a match you would expect to see on the Free for All. Its really just here to get Flash over with another win. Having said that, the match is actually quite good so I'm nit about to complain about it. In fact its very different to the type of match you would expect to see in this timeframe, as Flash busts out a few high flying manoeuvres. In the end, he goes over by connecting with a 450 splash on Cassidy for the victory at 10:35. He celebrates his victory with the Funkettes. Very solid opener, even if it was totally random. It showed that Flash really had the goods, although this would pretty much be his biggest match on PPV with the WWF.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
Owen Hart & British Bulldog (c) w/Clarence Mason vs 'Diesel' & 'Razor Ramon' Yep its the impostors again since the real ones are over in WCW changing the wrestling world in the nWo at this point in time. You would think that after the impressive showing Furnas & Lafon had pinning the tag champs at Survivor Series that they would get the title shot against Bulldog & Owen here, but no, we are stuck with this instead. Once again we have a weird situation in a tag title match as both teams are heels. Couldn't they give the champs a team of challengers that the fans could get behind? Then again the division was pretty depleted at this point. The match is below average and for the most part pretty heatless as the crowd don't have anyone to cheer for. During the match we see Cibernetico & Pierroth, two athletes from the AAA that Vince recently had signed a working agreement with that wouldn't last for long. They get into a little confrontation with Owen and Bulldog as Ross tells us they will be a part of the Royal Rumble next month. How exciting. After some more basic action we finally get something of note going on when Steve Austin makes his way to ringside. As soon as Bulldog sees him they get into a brawl as Austin had attacked him in recent weeks. They are eventually separated and Austin is sent to the locker room, allowing the match to continue. In the end, Owen hits a spinning heel kick on the Razor impostor, allowing Bulldog to score the pinfall to retain the belts at 10:46. The champs don't celebrate for long though as Austin makes his way back to ringside and takes out Bulldog again. Owen escapes unscathed and lets it happen, potentially teasing some dissension between our champs.
Before we go to our next match, Vince McMahon gets in the ring for a special interview with Ahmed Johnson who is still out of action due to his kidney injury back in the summer. Ahmed says that whilst he has lost everything, he is coming back at the Royal Rumble to take out Faarooq. This draws out the Nation of Domination, along with their leader. From the crowd, Faarooq accepts Ahmed's challenge and that's that.
We now get a brief recap of the Helmsley/Mero feud, then its time for our next match.
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) vs Marc Mero w/Sable After eliminating Helmsley in the elimination tag match last month at Survivor Series, Mero gets his rematch with the I.C champion that defeated him for the belt back in October. This has developed into a nice little midcard feud over the past few months. Helmsley makes his way out to the ring with his new Ode to Joy entrance music which was always neat. Pretty good match as you come to expect between these guys, with Helmsley continuing to play the role of a dickhead heel to perfection, even using Sable as a shield to get in a few cheap shots on his opponent in the course of this one. The two men go at it and eventually the ref gets bumped. With no official in sight, Helmsley brings his championship belt into play, but Mero ducks it and the two spill to the outside. Eventually Goldust makes his way down to ringside and nails both men with the title belt. He hadn't completely turned face by this point, but he had started to have some issues with Helmsley, after the reigning champion made a pass on Marlena during the Free for All. Wow, its shades of grey all around tonight! The bizarre one leaves ringside as the ref recovers and begins to count. Mero makes it back into the ring in time, whilst Helmsley is counted out at 13:10. Of course, Mero does not win the title, and he's none too happy about it. Post-match Mero hits the Wild Thing on Helmsley. As the champion leaves, he gets jumped by Goldust in the aisle as well. Decent enough match, but with Helmsley transitioning from Mero to Goldust I'm not quite sure why he couldn't have got the clean victory here.
Dok Hendrix is in the back with WWF Champion Sycho Sid. We go back to a recent episode of Superstars, where he and Bret got into a brawl before being separated by security. After being separated however, Sid would nail Bret from behind. We follow up with a recap of the Undertaker/Executioner feud, and their match is up next.
Armageddon Rules Match:
Undertaker vs The Executioner w/Paul Bearer The Executioner made his first appearance back at Buried Alive, where he assaulted the Undertaker moments after he had dispatched of Mankind in the first ever Buried Alive match, which led to the Phenom being buried under a pile of dirt. He would make his presence felt yet again last month at Survivor Series, getting into a brawl with the Undertaker, allowing Paul Bearer to escape the grasp of the Deadman. And so the two men will battle here under Armageddon rules. That essentially means a last man standing match, although in this one you have to pin your opponent before the referee will begin the ten count. Sadly this is a major step down from Taker's battles with Mankind over the past six months, as Terry Gordy has clearly seen better days. Taker starts out totally in control of his opponent, but a short way into the match Mankind makes his way to ringside. We now basically have a two on one handicap match, with Taker fighting both men off up the aisle and eventually trashing the giant house set making its last appearance on this night, as Taker sends Mankind crashing through the window. Officials eventually head out to subdue Mankind and get him into a straightjacket so that this thing can continue as a one on one match. Taker easily beats up the Executioner before going for some shots on the defenceless Mankind. We finally end this thing as the Executioner returns to the ring, only to be hit with the tombstone piledriver, to give Taker the win at 11:32. Pretty much a glorified squash that meant the end of the Executioner character.
Dok is now with Bret Hart, who isn't the clean cut face we are used to hearing from. He says that he is sick of Shawn Michaels having the spotlight and that tonight its time for him to take it back when he beats Sid to become the new WWF Champion.
Speaking of Shawn, he heads out to ringside to do commentary on our main event. He immediately fires back by ripping on Bret before calling Sid the most expensive piece of luggage in the world due to all the guys having to carry him everywhere. I have to give it to Shawn on that second one.
Sycho Sid (c) vs Bret Hart Again, the shades of grey are truly in play here, although Sid is technically the heel champion defending against the face Bret Hart. Then you have Michaels on commentary ripping into both guys. Its a weird period that the company is in here. As the match gets under way Bret takes Sid down from behind as a bit of payback for the assault on Superstars that I mentioned earlier. Bret is pretty much working as the heel in this match which is really weird as he's definitely still a face at this point. As far as the match goes, we saw Shawn carry Sid to a passable match last month, so you would expect Bret would be able to do the same here. For some reason nothing seems to work here though and the match is below average which is never a good sign for a PPV main event. During the match, Austin once again heads down to ringside, this time to get his hands on Bret, whom he still had ongoing business with from Survivor Series. He knocks Bret down from behind, but the British Bulldog heads out as well, with Owen in toe. Bulldog brawls with Austin whilst Owen tries to hold his partner off of him as they head to the back. After all that chaos, Sid beats on Bret a bit before the action spills to the outside. Bret ends up grabbing Shawn's chair from under him. Sid ends up taking this out on Shawn, knocking him to the floor. Sid heads back to the ring, but Michaels recovers and returns the favour by getting up on the apron, looking to pick a fight, chair in hand. Sid whips Bret right into the chair, and then follows up with the powerbomb on the Hitman to retain the title via pinfall at 17:04. Post-match, Bret is pissed that Shawn indadvertedly cost him the title and he brawls with the Heartbreak Kid as we go off the air.
FINAL THOUGHTS: After a solid PPV outing last month, this was a definite step down for the company. A lacklustre main event is never something you want for a show, and Bret just couldn't get anything out of Sid on this one. Pretty much the only interesting part of the match was the continuance of the Bret/Austin feud and the ending issues between Bret and Shawn. Sid just really is not working for me as WWF Champion, and had Vader not been injured I really think he would have done a much better job, and probably not faded out so quickly either. As far as the rest of the show goes, the I.C title match was pretty good, as was the opener, but the Taker match and the tag titles match were nothing special either. Austin?s involvement was fun, but since we were pretty much throwing the face/heel dynamic out the window for this one I would have liked to see a match between him and Bulldog rather than the lacklustre tag match. Overall a below average show as we close out what has been a decent year for the most part.
Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin
2. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
3. Flash Funk