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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House: “Good Friends, Better Enemies”

April 22, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWF In Your House: Good Friends Bitter Enemies Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House: “Good Friends, Better Enemies”  

-Since we last left the WWF, Shawn Michaels had won The Royal Rumble, gotten revenge on Owen Hart and then made his dream come true by winning The WWF Title at WrestleMania XII. I did a review for that show many years ago, and I didn’t want to do it again. You can find the review of WrestleMania XII here. Now we are up the PPV after WrestleMania where Shawn is the top guy in the company and working the Main Event with his best friend. I am sure Shawn’s Title Reign will be all sunshine and roses and cement him as the top guy in the top company in the world with no signs of anything revolutionary or industry changing on the horizon. Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler 
-Date: April 28, 1996
-Omaha Civic Auditorium, Ohama, NE
-Attendance: 9563
-PPV Buys: 150,000

The British Bulldog (w/ Owen Hart, James Cornette, and Clarence Mason) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

-No match as Cornette and Mason give the ref some legal document barring the snake I assume.  Jake takes the snake out and Cornette passes out.  Ahmed Johnson heads down as backup for Jake and we now have a tag match.  These four men (plus Vader and Yoko) were part of a 6 Man Tag at Mania a month earlier.

The British Bulldog and Owen Hart (w/ James Cornette and Clarence Mason) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Ahmed Johnson

-Jake blitzes Owen to start with short right hands and yanks him down to the mat by his arm.  Cornette gets carried out which leaves Bulldog and Owen on there own.  Owen tags in Bulldog and then he sees Ahmed also got the tag, so Bulldog tags back to Owen.  This crowd is way into this one.  That’s a good sign for the rest of the show.  Ahmed tosses Owen into the corner and Bulldog walks away from the tag.  Bulldog gives Owen a pep talk, but Ahmed just shoves him down again.  Owen tries a side headlock and Ahmed just tosses him across the ring as we see Diana (Bulldog’s wife) sitting in the crowd.  Tag back to Jake and he goes for a DDT, but Owen slips out of the way.  Jake lands a back elbow and again goes for the DDT, but again Owen slips out just in time.  Owen finally gets in a shot and makes the tag to Bulldog.  He gets a slam, but misses the elbow and Ahmed gets the tag.  Bulldog bails again and tags Owen.  Not Lex Luger level stuff, but good stuff from Bulldog here.  Owen tries a test of strength which is rather dumb and he pays for it.  Ahmed with a clothesline and then he just beats the hell out of Owen in the corner which draws Bulldog into the ring for the save.  Now Bulldog wants the tag and he clubs away.  He connects with a scoop slam, but Ahmed no sells some right hands.  Ahmed goes to a choke, but Owen gets in a cheap shot from the apron.  Owen tries a slam, but no dice as Ahmed gets a delayed Gorilla Press Slam.  Tag back to Jake and he works Owen over in the corner with some elbows.  Owen misses a charge in the corner, but Jake charges and gets caught with a knee.  Missile dropkick from the middle ropes from Owen.  He tags Bulldog and they double team Jake with some stomps.  Bulldog distracts the ref which lets Owen choke from the apron.  A fan invites Owen to fight him which is pretty cool!  This is going to be a great crowd.  Jake fights back but the tag gets cut off with a poke to the eyes.  Bulldog drops a leg and makes the tag to Owen, who heads up and comes off with a forearm for two.  Owen hooks a side headlock and Jakes elbows his way out but gets caught with an elbow.  Sharpshooter is blocked, but Jake can’t make the tag.  Bulldog gets the tag and they make a wish with Jake’s legs.  Bulldog hooks a chinlock as the crowd continues to be hot for this one.  They are doing super, basic tag wrestling here and the crowd is loving it.  Jake elbows his way out again, but Owen gets in a kick from the apron.  Bulldog distracts the ref again which legs Owen use the top rope top choke.  Owen gets the tag and sets to early on a backdrop and eats a boot to the face.  Owen tries a sleeper, but Jake breaks with a jawbreaker and now it’s a race to the corners.  Both men make the tag and Ahmed runs wild as the crowd explodes.  Spinebuster to Bulldog and a clothesline to Owen.  He makes the tag back to Jake which seems to be a dumb choice considering the ass beating he just took.  Bulldog avoids the DDT, but Owen eats a backdrop.  Bulldog gets dumped to the floor, and find Cornette’s tennis racket out there.  He hammers Jake in the knee several times while the ref deals with Owen and Ahmed on the floor.  Bulldog hooks a half crab and Jake quits before he is even turned over into the hold at 13:47.

Winners: The British Bulldog and Owen Hart

-Again, just a super basic tag match with a hot crowd.  This was Jake taking a beating and Ahmed getting to show off his intensity and some power moves.  Owen and Bulldog winning was the correct choice and why not cheat to do it.  **

-Marc Mero (w/ Sable) and The 1-2-3 Kid are on the Superstar Line.  Lawler asks if anyone really thinks Sable is pretty?  Man, his view there would change quickly as he became Uncle Jerry and a lover of puppies.  Also, he better hope Brock never invents time travel. 

WWF Intercontinental Title: Goldust(c) (w/ Marlena) vs. The Ultimate Warrior

-Goldust also has someone with him dressed like a gangster out of an bad Al Capone movie.  A quick google tells me that Mantaur was repackaged as Goldust’s bodyguard.  I don’t remember a single thing about that.  Goldust has a damaged knee coming into this one that is heavily wrapped.  Props to the kid in the front row sporting a Niners hat.  The bodyguard tries to distract Warrior.  It doesn’t work, so Goldust hobbles back to the entrance ramp.  Warrior takes a puff off Marlena’s cigar as Vince tells us that to his knowledge Warrior doesn’t smoke.  Warrior continues to smoke the cigar and takes a seat in Marlena’s director chair.  He also puts on Goldust’s wig and robe.  We are two minutes into this one by the way as they have nothing to offer thanks to Goldust’s injury.  Goldust takes the mic and tells the fans to shut up or he will come out and kiss everyone one of them.  We just went over four minutes with no contact in this one.  The crowd is into this for whatever reason.  Marlena and Goldust get into the ring at just over five minutes.  Warrior offers the cigar back to Marlena and she takes a drag off it.  Warrior puts the robe back on Goldust and lets him take a seat in the chair.  He seems much more comfortable now though there is still nothing happening in this “match.”  Marlena passes the cigar back to Goldust and now the crowd is just confused by all of this.  Warrior puts the cigar out on Goldust’s hand which should be a DQ.  Warrior clotheslines Goldust out of the chair and he bails which leads to a count-out at 7:46.

Winner: The Ultimate Warrior via DQ at 7:46
-I don’t give negative stars, but this doesn’t even qualify for a match.  The Doomsday Cage may have had it’s issues, but at least there was a semblance of a match in there.  DUD

-After the match the bodyguard gets involved and Warrior runs through his offense to give the fans the illusion that they saw a Warrior match.  The crowd cheers as they bought this.  

-To the back where Bulldog and Owen are trying to get into Shawn’s dressing room.  That would be setting up Shawn’s program for the next two months.  

Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Razor Ramon

-Of course, this would be Hall’s last WWE PPV for nearly six years.  Lockup and Vader just tosses Razor over the top rope to the floor in a nice show of strength.  Razor tries another lockup and gets shoved on his ass, so Vader poses over him.  Another lockup and Vader backs Razor into the corner, but Razor is aware that’s a bad spot to be, and quickly slips out.  Vader lands a few shots to the kidney and ribs followed by a headbutt.  Vince continues to hype Vader as a Mastodon which has Lawler wondering if that’s a Nebraska cheerleader.  Razor starts firing back and a thumb to the eye stops that rally.  Short arm clothesline and the crowd is stunned by the ass kicking to this point.  Razor ducks multiple clotheslines and lands a few punches before trying for The Razor’s Edge.  Yeah, that’s not happening as Vader backdrops Razor to the floor.  Razor rushes back in and starts firing off right hands and gets the discus punch to finally drop Vader.  Razor gets a series of running clotheslines with the last one sending Vader over the top to the floor.  Vader beats the count and then rolls back out to by some more time.  Vader repeats to piss off the crowd as Vince wonders what kind of competitor Vader is and calls him yellow.  Cornette tries to distract Razor, but he is hip to their game and lands a right hand.  A whip to the corner is reversed and Vader gets a splash in the corner and then a clothesline.  Vader drops an elbow which looked kind of ugly as Razor tried to roll away.  Splash from Vader gets two!  To the corner for some boxing as Vader starts to maul Razor.  Another short arm clothesline is ducked and Razor gets a belly to back suplex for two.  Vader goes back to the kidney punches and gets a slam to set up for The Vader Bomb.  It connects but Razor is out at two.  Weird choice there as they knew Razor was WCW bound in a few weeks.  I mean I guess it wasn’t the powerbomb, but even just a foot on the rope would have been better.  Vader with his own belly to back suplex and then a knee to the kidney.  Vader takes it back to the corner for some more boxing and then another kidney shot.  Razor blocks a suplex attempt and gets one of his own to pop the crowd.  Razor covers, but Vader is out at two.  Razor doesn’t have much left though and gets run down with another clothesline.  Vader up to the middle rope, but gets caught coming off with a powerslam for two.  Running corner clothesline from Razor and then he catches Vader with a boot.  Bulldog gets two.  Vader cuts off the rally and preps for another Vader Bomb.  Razor up and tries to get a Razor’s Edge from there, but he has nothing left and collapses.  Vader throws some more punches and gets another slam.  Vader heads all the way up and Razor stops that again.  He brings Vader down with an Electric Chair Drop to put both men down.  Razor is up first and signals for another Razor’s Edge.  Vader backdrops out and just sits down with all his weight on Razor’s chest to get the pin at 14:49.

Winner: Vader via pin at 14:49
-Fun match though Razor getting in so much offense and kicking out of a lot of Vader’s offense was kind of weird.  Good match for Razor to go out on and it was a big name for Vader to run through on his way up the card to his Title Match with Shawn in August.  ***1/2

-Dok is down to let Vader and Cornette know that Vader will face Yokozuna at the next In Your House PPV in May.

WWF Tag Team Titles: The Bodydonnas (c) (w/ Sunny) vs. The Godwins

-Again, Sunny was an absolute smoke show in 1996.  Zip starts with Henry as JR notes that Phineas couldn’t get a date on a tombstone.  I laughed!  Henry gets a bearhug, but Skip is. In to stop that.  Henry drops both with a double clothesline and then goes to work on the arm of Zip.  Tag to Phineas and he teases using the slop bucket.  Phineas bites the arm as I guess that’s one way to continue the arm work.  Henry back in and Skip gets the tag as well.  He lands a boot, but gets mowed down with a shoulder.  Henry catches Skip in the air and slams him down.  Lawler screws up one of his jokes and even Vince catches him.  Henry gets another slam, so Skip bails to the floor and switches out with Zip as the ref is confused by two non identical people switching places.  Phineas in and he gets low bridged and ends up on the floor where Skip beats on him for a bit.  That gets a two count back in the ring.  Tag to Skip and the Donnas hit a slingshot suplex for two.  Lawler makes more jokes at the expense of Nebraska and Vince is just ignoring him at this point.  We get a cleavage shot of Sunny which gets a “whoa” out of Lawler.  We are getting closer to full blown Attitude Era Uncle Jerry!  Phineas makes the comeback and throws mule kicks while Sunny pulls out a framed, autographed photo of herself.  She gives it to Phineas as Henry dominates in the ring.  Henry with a Slop Drop, but the ref is too busy with Phineas and Sunny.  Hillbilly Jim gets Phineas back on track and puts the photo in the slop bucket.  The Donnas switch out behind the ref’s back and a small package retains the Titles at 7:18.

Winner and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Bodydonnas via pin at 7:18
-I liked the early tag match better, this was okay. It’s no shock they got Sunny away from all these teams eventually as they could see was a bigger star than anyone involved in the match. That kind of ended up being a problem though as they didn’t know what they do with her. *1/2

-WWF In Your House returns May 26.  I hope nothing business changing happens the next night with the opposition on Turner.

-Marc Mero gets interview time and he cuts a promo on Hunter.  We see what happened between the two on Free For All.

-Video package on the long history between Shawn Michaels and Diesel!  Good stuff! 

-We get Shawn and Diesel comments from Free For All.  Diesel promises he will have something for Vince out there tonight.  Bad ass, no shits given Diesel was awesome! 

WWF Championship: No Holds Barred: Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Diesel

-Much like Hall, this was Nash’s last WWE PPV for nearly 6 years. As mentioned, Shawn had just won the WWF Title, for the first time, from Bret at Mania XII and this is his first defense. Diesel throws his jacket at Vince sitting at the announce desk. Lawler is loving it and cracks laughing. They show Mad Dog Vachon in the front row and Vince notes his career was cut short in a car accident. Shawn flashes the kliq/wolfpack sign as he makes his entrance just to signify his love for his best friend in the ring. All that went over my head back in 1996 as I had yet to start reading online wrestling reports. Actually, I didn’t even have the internet in my house until Jan of 1997. My son is going to read that one day and think I lived like a caveman. Shawn rushes to the ring, ducks a clothesline, and starts firing off punches, but one shot from Diesel snuffs out that run. Shawn floats over in the corner and hits a dropkick that sends Diesel to the floor. That lets Shawn take off his outer ring gear and then he hits a baseball slide. He comes off the top with a moonsault and then pulls the boot off Hugo at the Spanish Announce Table. He blasts Diesel with it and gets a two count. Diesel reverses a whip and Shawn bumps like someone on cocaine as he flips to the apron. Diesel knocks him off there and Shawn goes flying into the guard rail. Good stuff from Shawn there as he has no problem bumping his ass off for his best friend who is out the door. Short arm clothesline and while some of the crowd is pissed, others (with deeper voices) are thrilled with what Diesel is doing. Snake Eyes and Shawn goes flopping all over the place. Again, Shawn was truthful when he mentioned that when he faced bigger guys he would bounce around like a ball. Now, he may have went a little heavy with it against Hogan, but it wasn’t that unusual. Diesel talks trash to Jose and then hits an impressive jumping sidewalk slam. He put some STANK on that one! Diesel removes his wrist tape and you assume he is going to choke Shawn out, but instead he chokes out the ref. That allows him to take the ref’s belt and he lays into Shawn with it. That’s not a wide belt either, so that had to suck! Diesel uses the belt to strangle Shawn and even hangs him with it on the middle rope. Diesel tosses The Fink out of his chair, because screw him too and he hammers Shawn in the back with the chair. I love this version of Diesel! The cheers for Diesel are getting a little louder as he blasts Shawn again. He tries for another blow, but Shawn ducks and the chair bounces off the top rope and back into Diesel’s face. Now Shawn gets the chair, but Diesel gets in a low blow to Shawn’s little boy toys which gets a groan from the crowd. Massive backdrop from Diesel as Shawn just soared into the lights. That gets two as Vince just wants this one to end out of fear for Shawn’s safety. Diesel hooks a neck crank to slow things down a bit and let the crowd get behind Shawn to make a comeback. Shawn tries but Diesel just keeps knocking him down with forearms and Shawn keeps popping back up. One last one sends Shawn to the floor and Diesel follows as they are near the announce tables. DIESEL THEN POWERBOMBS SHAWN THROUGH LAWLER AND VINCE’S ANNOUNCE TABLE! SHAWN IS DEAD! Remember this is 1996 and for people not familiar with ECW this was heavy stuff. Bret got put through a table, but this was a POWERBOMB THROUGH A TABLE. Funny enough, about two months later Nash would hit a more famous one on Eric Bischoff of all people. Vince begs Shawn to just let it be over, but he is pissed and crawls out of the wreckage. He sets a fire extinguisher off in Diesel’s face and starts making his comeback. He connects with the flying forearm and then finds a chair and puts it to good use. Vince is begging Shawn to cover Diesel as we get a replay of the powerbomb. Diesel gets in a clubbing blow to the back as Shawn set too early on a backdrop. Diesel hits a big boot and signals for the powerbomb. A Diesel chant breaks out, but Shawn punches his way out of the powerbomb. He heads up top and drops the elbow and now he signals for Sweet Chin Music. Diesel catches the kick and tears Shawn’s head off with a clothesline to leave both men down. This crowd is rocking with them as there is a clear divide. Clothesline sends Shawn over the top and to the floor and again, Diesel gives chase. He drops Shawn throat first on the railing and rolls him back into the ring. Diesel then heads over to Mad Dog and ATTACKS HIM SO HE CAN REMOVE HIS PROSTHETIC LEG! Yes, this happened and it’s AWESOME! Now they are more boos for Diesel and all it took was him attacking someone who is handicapped. He goes to use the leg, but Shawn hits one of the best ball shots you will ever see. He just swung for the fences on that one! Damn! Shawn, babyface hero, uses a cripple’s prosthetic leg to deck Diesel (also treating the leg like a baseball bat) and then gets Sweet Chin Music for the pin at 18:35.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels via pin at 18:35
-I reviewed this match years ago as part of a Shawn DVD collection and even at **** I short changed it. I chalk that up to watching three discs full of ****+ matches. This was a war and Diesel went out of his way to put over his friend on his way out of the promotion. With that said, Diesel also looked like a monster here which is better than what a lot of people get when they leave for the competition. There will always be a debate between this match and Bret/Diesel at Survivor Series over which one is better and I will take this one. It wasn’t a really long match but even at 18 minutes it flew by and the crowd was into it the whole way. Some brilliant spots and Shawn taking a beating for a monster will always work. *****

-Shawn then gets an all time in your face celebration as he mocks Hogan’s posing and then mouths “you want a real big boy to play with?” Someone is a little bitter that his friends are leaving for the competition while he is the Champion. It would only get worse for Shawn when his best friends joined up with Hogan and became the #1 wrestling company in the world and then poor Shawn destroyed his back just before the tide turned, but there are casualties with every war.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
-Shawn doing all he could in The Main Event to save the show would become a theme in 1996 for the WWF until Bret returned and Austin ascended the card. Shawn/Diesel is a must see and Vader/Razor is a real good match as well. Those two are enough to pull this show into good territory because at just under two hours it's an easy show to watch. The only thing actively bad on the show is Warrior/Goldust and they probably should have figured out something else because of Goldust's injury.