Sunday, February 6, 2011

WWF In Your House #2: The Lumberjacks

WWF In Your House #2: The Lumberjacks
July 23rd, 1995
Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Attendance: 6,482

We're one month removed from the disastrous King of the Ring PPV that Mabel (yes, Mabel) won and show is basically just a stopgap to Summerslam. Tonight we've got Shawn Michaels taking on Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title, Owen Hart & Yokozuna defending their tag belts against Lex Luger and the Bulldog, and a rematch from the first In Your House as Diesel takes on Sycho Sid in a Lumberjack match in the main event for the WWF title. Off we are!

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King" Lawler

We get a brief opening package with some terrible mid-90s country music song apparently made exclusively for this show with lyrics about Jarrett and "In Your House". Really dated stuff, but that's part of the nostalgic fun of watching these old shows isn't it?

1-2-3 Kid vs. The Roadie

Roadie was starting to be used more frequently at this point as a wrestler, while the Kid is coming back from a neck injury. It's strange to think these two would be allies and tag partners for many years later on, but here they're just two young, motivated wrestlers. Kid attacks Roadie on his way to the ring and we're off, back inside Roadie knocks Kid down and they do an exchange of leap-frogs sequence. Big kicks from the Kid send Roadie into the corner, and then Kid takes Roadie out with a flying headscissors! Kid was so awesome around this time. Back inside Roadie hits a big powerslam while we cut to Double J back in the locker room, completely ignoring the Roadie's match on the TV. The seeds are being laid here for the Roadie to split. Roadie takes Kid out with the clothesline and then racks him crotch-first on the steel post outside, slamming his head in the process. Back in the ring the Kid gets pancaked and takes a pair of legdrops from the future Road Dogg. Big back body drop from the Roadie and he taunts the crowd, only scoring a two count because of it. Roadie slaps on a chinlock as the crowd starts a "1-2-3!" chant. Roadie misses a splash off the top and the Kid starts the comeback, hitting a big roundhouse kick for a two count. He follows it up with a dropkick and a bodyslam, going to the top for a big frog splash! 1-2--NOO! the Roadie kicks out. Kid tries for a headscissors but gets a sitdown power-bomb from Roadie instead, but only for two! Roadie knocks the Kid's balance and hits a PILEDRIVER from the second rope for the 3 count at 7:26. Great opener here as both guys were really motivated around this time and they worked well together. Throw in a hot crowd and the sickening finish and you've got a perfect opening contest. ***

After the match the Roadie does a mic check for Double J's performance later. Backstage Todd Pettingill gets a few words with Ted DiBiase and his Million Dollar Corporation.

King Mabel/Sir Mo vs. Razor Ramon/Savio Vega

And we go from a hot opener to the brainfart that was King Mabel. Razor gets a nice pop but he's really being wasted here in an awful tag match with Savio Vega. Razor has taped-up ribs by the way. DDT from Razor on Mo to start and he tags Savio in to show off some offense. Mabel tags in but eats a superkick from Vega, but he reverses a DDT (sort of) and tosses him to the outside. Mabel hits a dropkick surprisingly and he and Mo work over Vega for a bit. Savio tries a bodyslam but Mabel just sits on him for two. Dull stuff here with Vega playing the punching bag for Men on a Mission. Mo goes for a quasi-moonsault off the top but Vega rolls out of the way and gets the hot tag to Razor. He dominates Mo for a bit and back-suplexes him off the top rope. He signals for the Razor's Edge but Mabel tags back in and heads to the top, but Razor tosses him off for a two count. Crowd is really into Razor as always. Big DDT from Mabel, but he misses the splash. Mabel recovers and slams Razor for the clean pinfall win at 10:09. Wow, no wonder Scott Hall left for WCW, there is ZERO reason he should've jobbed cleanly here to Mabel of all people. Dull match that picked up slightly towards the end, but what a bogus finish.

Todd Pettingill makes a fool out of himself with Double J's backing band for a bit, mimicking drum solos with his mouth. It's even worse than it sounds.

Backstage Dok Hendrix gets a few words with some of the Lumberjacks for tonight's main event. It's Bam Bam and a crew of jobbers including Billy Gunn, Adam Bomb and the short-lived Man Mountain Rock, better known as Maxx Payne from his WCW run in the early 90s.

Double J comes out and does his performance of "With My Baby Tonight", which we would of course discover later was really sung by the Roadie as Jarrett is lip-syncing, and rather badly. Roadie's not a half-bad singer though.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Henry O. Godwinn

This was before they introduced Phineas as Henry's brother, when Henry was getting a bizarre singles push as some kind of evil heel hog-farmer. Bigelow is coming to the end of his last WWF run as backstage disagreements with the Kliq would send him packing soon enough. Now why in the world didn't that catch on? Bigelow starts the match with a series of back-suplexes and then sends Godwinn to the outside. Godwinn returns the favor and they brawl outside for a bit. Crowd is dead here. Back inside Godwinn gets a clothesline for two. Bodyslam and an elbow drop gets him another two. Bigelow misses a diving headbutt off the top and Godwinn tries for a diving elbow drop, but Bam Bam kind of just rolls his leg up for the awkward pin at 5:02. Short filler match, but better than you'd expect from two guys this size.

After the match we pan to Bob Backlund in the crowd, trying to win over some voters. Or something.

Backstage Todd Pettingill gets a few words with Shawn Michaels about his upcoming IC title match with Jeff Jarrett.

WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Jeff Jarrett (C) vs. Shawn Michaels

And now we arrive at the main reason you want to check this show out, Jarrett putting his IC title on the line against a newly-babyface Shawn Michaels. Roadie comes out first to put over Jarrett, until Shawn comes out and blows the (admittedly small for the WWF) roof off. Jarrett taunts the crowd for a bit, which is ironic considering he's the hometown boy here. Shawn grabs the IC belt and checks out his hair in the reflection. Lockup to start which Shawn quickly wins. Armdrag from Double J and a chorus of boos ring out. Crowd is really hot for this match. They trade wristlocks and Shawn eats a right hand and bails to the outside for a breather. Weird thing for the babyface to do honestly. Headlock back inside and they do a hip-toss reversal sequence but Shawn just pokes Double J in the eyes, delivers a hiptoss, and then clotheslines Jarrett up and over the ring, skinning the cat on his way back in. Jarrett teases walking out and then fakes coming back in the ring a few times, breaking the count in the process and getting big time heat from Nashville. Back inside Shawn misses an axe handle, but Jarrett misses a dropkick. Roadie tries to get a cheap shot but Shawn knocks him off the apron and sends Double J flying out after him, taking both men out in a heap on the floor. Shawn's not done though and leaps off the top with a big cross-body block that takes both men out again on the floor! Back inside Shawn attempts a sunset flip off the top but only gets two. He runs at Jarrett but Double J simply tosses him over his back, over the top turnbuckle all the way directly to the floor! DAMN that was a big bump from Michaels there, he got huge air straight to the floor. Jarrett follows it up by slamming HBK's face into the steps. Back inside Double J hits a gourdbuster for two. Jarrett slaps on an abdominal stretch, wrenching away on Michaels back. Big DDT gets Jarrett a two count as Vince's mic is having technical difficulties, leaving The King delighted to do his own version of play-by-play. Jarrett distracts the ref while the Roadie chokes Shawn but Michaels moves before Jarrett can hit the leg, knocking out Roadie instead. Jarrett tosses Michaels into the corner and he does his signature spot flipping upside down over the turnbuckle and tumbling to the floor. Roadie comes off the apron with a big clothesline while the ref argues with Double J for a bit. HBK just barely makes it back in before the ten count, where he's met with a cross-body off the top from Jarrett, but HBK rolls through for a near fall. Great pinfalls exchange sequence here with both men trading sunset flips and rollups. Big dropkick gets Jarrett a two. Double J slaps on a chinlock for a bit, wearing down Michaels. HBK comes back with a big back suplex and both men are out for a nine count from the ref. Shawn drapes his arm over Jarrett meekly for another close two count. BIG elbow off the ropes and Shawn is fired up now, nailing Jarrett with flying forearms and a twisting-double axe handle off the top. 1-2--NOO! Jarrett gets racked on the turnbuckle and Shawn attempts to climb the ropes, but Roadie knocks him down. Suplex off the second rope from Jarrett and he calls for the figure four, but Shawn counters with a rollup for two. Jarrett goes for the figure four again but Shawn kicks Jarrett right into the ref. Shawn looks to hit the Sweet Chin Music but the Roadie takes his knee out with a chop-block. Big cross-body off the top from Jarrett! 1-2--NOO! Shawn is still alive. Roadie goes to trip Shawn off the ropes but ends up tripping Jarrett, who turns around just in time for the Sweet Chin Music to give Michaels the win and his 3rd Intercontinental title at 20:01. Phew, incredible match here with incredible heat and it's probably Jarrett's best singles match in any of his WWF runs. Shawn was in the zone out there but Jarrett wasn't carried here despite some views at the time. A great blend of the traditional Southern style from Jarrett and Shawn's high-risk offense. Serious candidate for WWF Match of the Year in 1995. ****½

After the match Dok Hendrix gives one of the most erratic, over-the-top rants I've ever seen, talking 100MPH about the Roadie and Jarrett arguing backstage like a six year old on coke. Serious holy shit moment, what the fuck was Hayes on here?

WWF Tag Team Title Match
Owen Hart/Yokozuna (C) vs. Lex Luger/British Bulldog

Luger and Bulldog were just thrown together around this time simply because they had no clue what to do with either of them. They were both still over big as faces, but both had suffered setbacks after Bulldog lost the Rumble and Luger finished his feud with Tatanka and were pretty useless at this particular point in time. Yoko and Luger start things off, prompting McMahon to give a history lesson about Luger body-slamming Yokozuna on the deck of the uSS Intrepid during the summer of 1993. They go at it for a bit and then Owen tags in. Davey Boy tags in quickly and the match instantly improves. Nice wristlock-counter sequence from the brothers-in-law. Owen gets pancaked and Bulldog catapults him into the corner, where Luger gets a few shots in. Yoko tags back in and works an armbar on Davey for a bit while Fuji waves the Japanese flag outside the ring. Owen tags back in and hits his trademark spinning heel kick for a two count. Davey gets a sunset flip for two and then eats a stiff enziguri for another near-fall. Just keep these two guys in the ring, please. Hot tag to Luger ends that of course as he takes out both Owen and Yoko for a bit. Luger and Bulldog get a double-back suplex on Yoko but Owen breaks it up and brawls with Bulldog on the outside while Yoko finishes Luger with the big legdrop to retain at 10:54. The parts with Owen and Bulldog were excellent and the crowd was hot, but Luger and Yokozuna kept messing things up with their typically awful in-ring work. Half a good match really. **

WWF Title Lumberjack Match
Diesel (C) vs. Sid

This is a rematch from the first In Your House, which was an absolutely terrible match in every sense of the word. So of course we have to do it again, but this time with the ring surrounded by jobbers. Yay! Typical Lumberjack setup here with all of the heels on one side supporting Sid and all of the faces on the other, supporting Diesel. Shawn Michaels suddenly pops up out of nowhere to fight off some lumberjacks attacking Diesel. Hey, look, someone who ISN'T a jobber! Sid gets a two count back in the ring. This is just as boring as a Nash-Sid match sounds, consisting mostly of the two men exchanging punches and kicks. Diesel drives a few elbows into Sid and then leaps over the top rope, taking out the heel lumberjacks! Woah, that was actually pretty impressive there Kevin. Mabel grabs Diesel and pulls him out, laying him out with Mo, setting up the dreadful Mabel-Nash feud for Summerslam. Sid gets a few near falls back inside. Suddenly Sid dives off the apron and starts battling babyfaces, but Shawn Michaels comes off the top and takes Sid out with a double-axe handle. Diesel (kind of) hits a big boot and finishes the match at 10:06, thankfully. Not as awful as their first match, but certainly nothing you want to actively seek out and watch. Shawn and the lumberjacks made it slightly entertaining atleast.

After the match Diesel celebrates with the face lumberjacks in the ring as we head off the air for the live PPV.


This is the Coliseum Home Video version of the show, so we get two bonus dark matches that were filmed after the PPV went off the air. Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane of all people are our commentary team.

Bret Hart vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte

Lafitte had been repackaged recently with some kind of outlaw French-Canadian pirate gimmick and was stuck immediately into a feud with the Hitman. Lockup to start and Lafitte overpower Bret, tossing him into the corner only to be met with a few armdrags and an armbar from the Hitman. Lafitte get's tossed to the outside and he teases walking out on the match, but makes it back before the 10 count. He get's shot back in by Bret who goes back to working on the arm. Crucifix by Bret gets two and right back to the arm. Lafitte sends Bret to the outside and slams him into the steel guardrail. Double axe-handle off the apron and Lafitte tosses the Hitman back into the ring. Big legdrop off the top rope gets Lafitte two. Pierre locks on a chinlock on the mat as a small "Go Bret Go!" chant almost starts. Rollup gets Bret two but he eats a big splash in the corner and a neckbreaker for a two count of his own. Big DDT from Pierre and he follows it up with the Cannonball somersault, but Bret moves out of the way! Bret starts the comeback now, slamming Lafitte into the corners and delivering the Russian leg sweep for two. Cradle gets Bret another two, and he follows it up with a backbreaker and a diving knee from the second rope, but Lafitte gets the leg up at the last moment. Stan Lane says we're approaching the 20 minute mark when in reality it's only been a little over 10 as Bret and Jean trade rollups, which Bret gets the upper hand of and gets a victory roll for the win at 13:26. Definitely not as good as their PPV match at the next In Your House event, but still a solid contest that definitely would have been a better choice for the live PPV than filler like Bigelow-Godwinn. ***

Casket Match
Undertaker vs. Kama

These guys wrestled quite a bit in the summer of 95 and I can't recall it ever being good. Taker quickly knocks Kama out of the ring and chases him around for a bit. Back inside Kama gets thrown around the ring a bit and choked in the corner. Big suplex from Kama but Taker sits right up. Taker walks the rope but Kama comes back with a sort of stunner over the top rope. Big axe kick knocks Taker down again. Stan Lane talks some bullshit about Kama's Muay Thai training (mispronouncing it in the process) while Taker gets knocked to the outside. Crowd is pretty dead for an Undertaker match here, I guess they're just burnt out by this point, though it's only been a little over 2 hours for the entire show. They brawl outside for a bit and Taker slams the casket lid into Kama's face. Back inside Kama locks on a weak half-Boston crab for a bit. Kama works a bearhug for a bit longer but eventually Taker counters with a back-suplex. Kama sort-of botches a piledriver and tries rolling Taker into the open casket but to no avail. Taker pummels him for a bit and then hits the big boot and chokeslams Kama into the casket for the win at 14:50. Really dull casket match, much worse than their last dark match at the previous IYH event. *

Bottom Line:
Definitely a step up from the first In Your House event as we've actually got a few matches worth checking out, the main one being the fantastic IC title match of the year candidate between Shawn Michaels and Jeff Jarrett. The Roadie and the 1-2-3 Kid also put on a great opener, and if you've got the Coliseum Home Video version the Bret Hart-Jean Pierre Lafitte match is worth a look as well. By 1995's standards, a pretty damn good show, if only for the HBK-Jarrett match. Thumbs Up for the second In Your House event.

Score: 7/10

No comments: