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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House – ‘Rage in The Cage’

February 20, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Diesel WWE In Your House Rage in the Cage Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WWF In Your House – ‘Rage in The Cage’  

-The subtitle was applied after the fact, but I like including them as it distinguishes the first six shows of the In Your House series. Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler (Get Well King)
-Louisville Gardens, Louisville, KY
-Date: Feb 20, 1996
-Attendance: 5,500
-PPV Buys: 150,000

-So, yeah, the show opens with Sunny on the beach in a bikini telling us “the following program has material too hot for some. Viewer discretion is advised.” I mean, yeah…that’s cool! No complaints here!

-Opening video package all about Bret/Diesel and how The Undertaker fits into the scenario.

Crybaby Match: Razor Remon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted Dibiase)

-So the stip here is that the loser gets a bottle, and a diaper. I mean, if you are going to do this kind of match Louisville is a good place. Memphis would work too! Kid brings a stroller and Razor teddy bear to the ring. He tosses the bear at Razor, who throws his toothpick at Kid. Razor lands a bunch of right hands and dumps Kid to the floor with a clothesline. Kid drapes Razor throat first over the top rope and comes in with a springboard dropkick for two. It just dawned on me we have 3 nWo members here and they would all be in WCW within 7 months. Razor blocks a whip in the corner and lands a heavy chop. He tosses Kid across the ring and hits a running clothesline. Kid ducks a clothesline, but gets caught and Razor tosses him with the SOS Slam. Kid tries to escape to the apron, but eats a right hand as Dibiase loads his hands up with baby powder. He tosses it at Razor’s face and that lets Kid come off the top with a dropkick for two. Lightning Leg drop and another from Kid. The crowd is way into this one as you would expect. Lawler is also very much into the idea of Razor having to walk around in a diaper. Kid comes off top with a splash for another two count. Spinning kick in the corner followed by a sleeper. Lawler: “All little babies have to have a nap.” Razor escapes (as I nearly type Hall) and tries a choke slam, but Kid escapes that and goes back to the sleeper. Razor runs Kid into the corner to break, but Kid jumps right back on to regain the hold. Razor struggles for the rope to break, but starts to fade as Kid takes the hold to the mat. Tim White checks the arm as Lawler wonders if Razor is a bed wetter. The crowd rallies Razor and he breaks by dropping Kid balls first on the top rope to leave both men down. Both men up and Razor wins a punching contest. He preps Kid up top, but an elbow stuns Razor. Kid gets the moonsault that got him the famous upset of Razor, but this time Razor rolls through and gets a two count. Kid gets caught trying a crossbody, so Razor takes him up and hits The SOS Slam off the middle rope. Razor calls for The Razor’s Edge, but Dibiase is on the apron to distract while Kid gets more baby powder. This time Razor kicks it back in Kid’s face and he plants Kid with The Razor’s Edge. He pulls Kidd up at two though because he wants to teach him a lesson. Kid eats another Razor’s Edge and this time Razor covers for the win at 12:01.

Winner: Razor Ramon via pin at 12:01
-This was fun. These two have good chemistry and they knew the audience with this one. The heel gets his comeuppance in the end and everyone cheers and laughs at Kid. ***

-Razor uses the giant baby bottle to wake Kid up. He then tosses powder into Ted’s face as he tried to run interference. The giant diaper gets applied as Vince notes Razor has done this before and then some powder gets dumped on Kid’s face to finish the humiliation. Well, you can’t say they didn’t deliver on what was promised. Kid wakes up and throws a tantrum as he rips the diaper off.

-Sunny and Ray Rougeau are backstage with Superstar Line duty. They flashback to the pre-show where Jake tormented Sunny with his snake.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Elizabeth Hilton) vs. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese

-These two had been feuding for some time and the latest chapter was Hunter cutting the hair of Droese. Garbage man vs. Aristocrat is a tale as old as time! Right up there with Beauty and The Beast! Duke rushes the ring and the fight is on. Duke wins the first exchange and sends Hunter across the ring by his hair. Hunter takes a Flair bump in the corner and gets caught coming out with a Gorilla Press Slam. Duke with a big boot and then he poses as he apparently thinks he is Hogan. He slaps Hunter around in the corner and goes for the corner punches, but Hunter walks out and drops Duke face first on the top buckle. Lawler interviews Hilton at the commentary table while Hunter preps for The Pedigree. Duke escapes with an atomic drop and hits a clothesline. He rakes the back as I guess he is Hulk Hogan tonight. He charges and gets backdropped to the floor as we get more from Lawler and Hilton. Hunter follows out to the floor and sends Duke into the steps as Lawler makes McMahon toupee jokes. Back in the ring Hunter lands some European Uppercuts and then drops a knee. Hunter goes to the eyes to cut off a comeback and delivers a high knee for a two count. Snap suplex gets two for Hunter as he is getting frustrated with the ref. Duke blocks a charge in the corner that leaves both men down. Duke lands a nice spinebuster and follows with a backdrop. He mows Hunter down with right hands and lands a power slam. He lets the crowd know it’s time to take out the trash. He connects with The Trash Compactor, but doesn’t go for the pin like an idiot. Instead he goes outside for his trash can and the ref, rightly, puts it on the floor. He misses the lid though, so Hunter uses that to blast Duke in the face and gets the win at 9:39.

Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley via pin at 9:39
-Crowd just went dead silent when Hunter got the win. Match was fine as they hit the right notes and the crowd was kind of into Duke. *1/2

-WWF Store commercial! Phone Number No Longer Active! I hated that nearly every wrestling shirt was in black. I hate wearing black.

-Video package detailing Yokozuna’s fall out of the good graces of Camp Cornette.

-Yoko cuts a fired up, angry promo backstage which is weird to hear.

The British Bulldog (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Yokozuna

-The brawl is on before the bell and Yoko sends Bulldog flying with a backdrop. He follows with two clotheslines and Bulldog decides it’s best to back off. Yoko is having none of that as he gets a slam, but misses an elbow drop. Bulldog goes to work with a clothesline and finally a third one gets Yoko off his feet. He uses the middle ropes to choke and pulls the ref to the side so Cornette can get in a cheap shot with the tennis racket. Yoko reverses a whip and gets a running splash in the corner followed by another clothesline. Yoko drags Bulldog to the corner to set up The Banzai Drop, but Cornette pull Bulldog to the floor. Yoko gives chase and ends up going face first into the post. He heads back in the ring, so Bulldog goes up top and comes off with a weak double axe. Yoko kicks out with force at two. Bulldog heads up again, but gets caught on the way down with a shot to the gut. Yoko no sells some punches and then no sells three clotheslines to pop the crowd. Yoko with a Samoan Drop that looked like it sucked to take. The reaction the crowd gave when Yoko hit moves like that was always great. Belly to belly suplex and there’s that crowd reaction again. Cornette decks Yoko with the racket for the DQ at 5:02.

Winner: Yokozuna via DQ at 5:02
-Yoko should have gone over here if the plan was to get to a match with Vader. Not a good match either. 1/2*

-Yoko corners Cornette, but Vader is out and decks Yoko from behind. Yoko can’t fight off two men and Vader produces handcuffs as Cornette holds the ref back. Yoko gets cuffed to the top rope and it’s a beat down by Bulldog and Vader. He fights back to give the crowd hope, but the numbers are too much as officials pour into the ring. Yoko fights back, but Cornette lands more shots with the racket. Clarence Mason is out to talk sense into Vader as everyone separates.

-Back with AOL, Goldust feels up the tech typing on the computer while Marlena smokes a cigar.

-Video package on Shawn Michaels/Owen Hart as it focuses on Shawn’s passing out after Owen hit him with an enziguiri. Oh man, I forgot about the “Tell Me A Lie,” video. Shawn returns at The Rumble and gets the win. He wants a match with Owen and has to put his spot in Mania’s Main Event on the line here.

Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart (w/ Jim Cornette)

-As mentioned, If Owen wins he gets the WWF Title Match at WrestleMania. Shawn dances on top of the In Your House set as pyro goes off. Shawn can’t dance and he has said as much in interviews. He swings down and rushes the ring as it common tonight. He sends Owen to the floor as he music continues to play. Shawn strips out of his outer gear much to the shrieks of joy from the women in the crowd. My sister was one of those (Well, she watched from home) as this was the time period she was into wrestling and it was all because of Shawn. She had a Shawn cut-out in her bedroom and my mom actually took her to a show. She eventually grew out of it and I never did. I get paid to write about it now and she doesn’t so I guess I won in the end. Owen shoves Shawn, who is too busy waving at the crowd. Owen misses a clothesline and Shawn slides to the floor and does a lap around the ring while giving fans high fives. He gives a woman a kiss as well. Shawn heads back in and now Owen slides to the floor and mocks the fans. Shawn comes off the top with a crossbody to the floor as Vince is losing it on commentary putting Shawn over here. Back in the ring Shawn comes off with a double axe for two. Standing side headlock from Shawn and he escapes a back suplex by flipping out and then walks over Owen’s back. Shawn uses the hair to maintain a headlock and pulls the hair behind the refs back in a comedy spot. You know for a blood feud over a guy that nearly ended my career, Shawn is taking this rather lightly. I mean, I guess that’s his character. Shawn gets a rana and hammers down with right hands. Owen has had enough and gets a sick belly to belly suplex and just stomps the crap out of Shawn. Backbreaker follows as the fun and games are over. Neckbreaker from Owen gets two. Shawn kicks Owen off as he tries The Sharpshooter, so Owen goes to work with a knee buried in the back and transitions into a camel clutch. Lawler lets us know that Owen invented The Camel Clutch! Owen gets a roll-up for two and goes to a chinlock. Shawn punches his way out, but runs into a spinning heel kick that sends Shawn to the floor. Cornette tries to get in a cheap shot, but stops as the ref actually turns around to see what is happening. Shawn blocks a suplex on the apron and suplexes Owen to the floor. It sounds more impressive than it ended up being as Owen basically landed on his feet and Shawn held on to the top rope. Shawn tries to come off the top and gets caught with a power slam on the floor. Back inside Owen comes off the top and gets a two count. Shawn reverses a hold and gets a roll-up for two. Shawn gets sent into the corner and takes his crazy flipping bump and gets mowed down with a clothesline as he staggered back across the ring. Owen hooks the Sharpshooter, but Shawn fights long enough to get to the bottom rope to force a break. Owen continues the back work with another power slam and nearly gets caught with a roll-up for two. Shawn blocks a kick, but Owen hits the Enziguiri that knocks Shawn out to the floor as a hush comes across the crowd. The ref starts the count and Owen apparently wants to a definitive win as he brings Shawn into the ring. That probably won’t work out well for him as Shawn kicks out at two. Lawler questions Owen’s strategy there and I agree. Owen misses a charge in the corner and gets crotched. Shawn follows with an reverse atomic drop and then hits the flying forearm. Kip up as Shawn comes alive with another flying forearm. Shawn gets a slam and comes off the top with a flying elbow. Cornette gets decked for good measure. Sweet Chin Music is ducked, but Shawn also ducks the enziguiri and then Sweet Chin Music connects to give Shawn the pin at 15:57.

Winner: Shawn Michaels via pin at 15:57
-Fun match though there was no real drama as there was no way Shawn was losing this one. They did a solid job of the crowd buying the enziguiri as a killer though. This gave Shawn something to do on his march to WrestleMani and he got a win over the man that has tormented Bret for years. ***1/2

-Shawn dances with a little girl after the match and then shakes hands with Vince and everyone in the front row. Vince was smitten with Shawn and Bret was toast as a lame duck champion.

-WrestleMania XII commercial!

-Todd Pettengill brings out WWF President, Roddy Piper. Piper tells us he can’t be bought, “doesn’t think Michael Jackson is innocent, and isn’t afraid of no damn booger man.” Okay then! He officially announces that Shawn Michaels will face the WWF Champion at WrestleMania XII and won’t stop the match until there is a winner. Piper then books Vader vs. Yokozuna for WrestleMania, which makes sense, but didn’t happen for whatever reason. If you are wondering the point of all this, it’s filling time while they build the steel cage. I have no clue what it took them so long to realize they could just hang it from the ceiling and lower it. 

-Jim Cornette comes out with Clarence Mason and Piper is in no mood. Cornette has no problem going toe to toe verbally with Piper as he talks about how everyone in the WWF is afraid of Vader. Piper gets the last word as Cornette yells at Mason.

WWF Championship: Bret Hart (c) vs. Diesel

-Diesel had transitioned away from the happy, smiling Diesel and is back to being the cocky bad ass, which suits him so much better. I miss the blue bar steel cage! I forgot how short that cage was as Diesel can reach up and grab the top of it. Again, poor Bret was a lame duck Champion here as nothing he did during this run really mattered as he was just there to start the Shawn era. Nothing wrong with that though as Vince felt he had his new star and it was time to pull the trigger. Diesel mauls Bret to start and promises him it will be a long night. He uses his boot to choke Bret in the corner. Bret gets fired into the buckle and it sounds even more painful thanks to the cage walls rattling. Bret tries to go after Diesel’s chronically bad knees, but Diesel cuts him off with an elbow. Bret blocks a trip into the cage and sends Diesel into the steel. He does it again and lays the boots in to a grounded Diesel. Bret starts to climb out, but gets caught by Diesel and they battle on the top rope. Seeing Diesel up top is rather impressive. You forget something how monstrous that man is. Diesel rams Bret into the cage and looks to walk out the door, but Bret crotches him on the top rope. Bret drops a headbutt to the abdominal area and tries to crawl out, but Diesel pulls him back in. Now Diesel tries to crawl out and Bret makes the save. The crowd is dead by the way! Bret goes to work on the knee and Diesel responds with forearms and a short arm clothesline. Sidewalk slam as the crowd starts a Diesel chant. Elbow misses and Bret looks to climb while Diesel crawls to the door. Bret realizes he is going to lose that race and pulls Diesel back into the ring to work over the knee some more. Bret climbs again and gets over the top, but Diesel pulls him back in and gets a slam off the top rope. Bret gets a boot up to block a charge and comes of the middle rope with a bulldog. He makes the climb again and again, Diesel stops him. Belly to back suplex from Diesel as this match continues to drag. I appreciate the hard work, but this is just boring as the crowd doesn’t care. Bret crawls and Diesel lunges to stop that attempt. Diesel drops an elbow, but them misses a running boot in the corner. That damages the knee some more and Bret goes right after it with some stomps. Bret sends Diesel into the buckle and them more kicking and punching at the knee. Bret takes his impressive sternum first bump in the corner. That bump always looked killer and it woke the crowd up here. Diesel clubs down Bret and taunts him for good measure. He buries some knees in the corner and follows with the corner elbows. Bret goes back at the knee and tries to climb out quickly. I mean, Bret is all the way over and could easily drop, but doesn’t and Diesel is able to pull him back up the cage and back inside. That was silly as Bret was completely out of the cage. Diesel sends Bret into the cage and poses which draws an actual response from this crowd. Another sternum first bump into the corner and now Diesel looks like an idiot as he just stands around instead of going out the door. He drops his weight on Bret’s back as he was hung up on the ropes and then tries Snake Eyes, but Bret slides out, shoves Diesel into the cage. Sharpshooter is blocked with a rake of the eyes and a loud “Diesel” chant breaks out. Bret tries to climb, but Diesel saves so Bret kicks him off and comes off the top with the elbow. He tries to climb again and again, Diesel stops that noise with an impressive low blow. Bret falls balls first on the top rope to sell it even more. A lot of groans from the males in the crowd on that one. Diesel crawls for the door and now the crowd is finally into this one. Bret gets kicked away and it seems Diesel has a clear path, but The Undertakes comes up through the ring and pulls Diesel to hell as Bret climbs and gets out for the win at 19:13.

Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret Hart via cage escape at 19:13
-The final 3 minutes or so got pretty good, but the sixteen minutes before were a bore with a crowd that didn’t care. These two usually kill it, but the escape rules hurt this one. It also didn’t do Bret any favors heading into Mania as he looked like a loser that was only saved by The Undertaker. Kind of like the previous month. No wonder Bret was bitter about this run. **

-Diesel escapes the hole and climbs out of the cage as Taker stalks him. Meanwhile, WWF Champion Bret Hart is nowhere to be found as he is the 4th most important person heading into WrestleMania apparently. Taker and Diesel stare at each other as Taker’s music plays to end the show.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Average
The 411
The opener and Shawn/Owen was enough to save this show. The Main Event isn't bad as much as it is just boring and did no favors for Bret's Title run. The other two matches were no good, but were relatively short. There is nothing recommended to see here, but these shows are an easy watch at just under two hours.