Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
In Your House #5: Seasons Beatings
Date: December 17, 1995
Location: Hersheypark Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler
In addition to the main event, this is the first In Your House to feature the Undertaker on the pay per view (he had wrestled in several post PPV dark matches already). It’s rather interesting that one of the biggest and certainly most unique stars in the company hadn’t appeared in the first four editions of a PPV series and I’m not sure why he hadn’t. Anyway tonight he faces King Mabel in his signature match: the casket match. Let’s get to it.
The opening video starts with various symbols of Christmas before transitioning to shots of the Hart Family splitting apart as well as the Bulldog pinning Bret Hart at Summerslam 1992 in a masterpiece.
Santa Claus is here handing out presents.
Jerry Lawler promises us a big surprise.
Razor Ramon/Marty Jannetty vs. Sycho Sid/1-2-3 Kid
The Kid is full heel now and a part of the Million Dollar Team. Goldust rubs his chest while watching Razor come to the ring. Marty and the Kid start things off with Jannetty scoring with an enziguri for two. Some shoulder blocks and a clothesline get the same on the Kid and Marty goes over for the tag, freaking the Kid out. An atomic drop has Kid in trouble and now it’s off to Razor for the showdown. The Kid bails to the floor for a second but gets a toothpick in his face back inside.
Razor is having a good time but a blind tag brings in Sid to take over for the Million Dollar Team. Back to the Kid for a kick to the face but Razor glares at him after some chops. Sid comes back in to pound Ramon down and get cheered by the crowd in a surprising reaction. Razor comes back with some right hands and a double clothesline puts both guys down. A double tag brings in Marty to run over the Kid again and a powerslam is good for two.
A front flip facebuster out of the corner gets two on the Kid and it’s off to a camel clutch of all things. We go to Todd Petingill in the crowd with Goldust who quotes movie lines and expresses his lust for Ramon. This goes on for several minutes but at least we’re on split screen. Goldust asks Todd to give Razor a letter. Back to the match and Marty punches his way out of the corner but his cross body is caught in a powerslam for two.
Back to the Kid for a bad looking slam and a better looking guillotine legdrop for two before it’s back to Sid. Ramon gets suckered into the ring but gets in a right hand to the Kid. Marty is turned inside out by a clothesline and it’s off to a chinlock. Kid comes back in to drop a leg and then bring Sid back inside for some shots to the back.
It’s the Kid in again but he misses a charge in the corner, allowing for the tag off to Razor as things speed up. The fallaway slam puts Kid on the floor but Sid breaks up the Razor’s Edge. Not that it matters as Razor hits a quick middle rope bulldog (his finisher before he was in the WWF) for the pin.
Rating: D+. Not a terrible match but it went on too long for what they were going for. Jannetty was an odd choice as Razor’s partner against DiBiase’s boys as he was basically fighting everyone himself, but it was all about the him vs. the Kid anyway. Nothing much to see here and not the best choice for an opening match.
Here’s Jerry Lawler in the ring with a present for the returning Jeff Jarrett. After sucking up to Jeff for awhile, the present is opened to reveal a gold record of Ain’t I Great, Jeff’s single from six months earlier. Jarrett brags about how great he is and it doesn’t make anything more interesting. The only thing of note is he enters himself in the Royal Rumble.
Dean Douglas vs. Ahmed Johnson
Douglas says he has a back injury and can’t wrestle, so here’s his prized student Buddy Landell.
Buddy Landell vs. Ahmed Johnson
This is actually a joke, as Buddy Landell is a Ric Flair ripoff and comes to the ring to Flair’s WWF music in a Flair style robe. Douglas hates Flair in real life (never mentioned here of course), so it’s supposed to be funny that Douglas is Flair’s teacher or something like that. Not that it matters as Ahmed, a muscular monster with one of the most intimidating looks ever, destroys Landell and beats him with a Pearl River Plunge (double underhook powerbomb) in 32 seconds.
Post match Johnson paddles Douglas with the Board of Education. This would be Douglas’ last appearance. Lawler interviews Johnson and calls him stupid, allowing Jarrett to break the gold record over Johnson’s head. Jeff also gets in a few chair shots and rams Ahmed into the steps a couple of times, but Ahmed no sells them and chases Jarrett off.
Todd gives Razor the letter from Goldust and Ramon is disgusted, because it’s 1995 and anyone gay has to be a heel right?
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Henry Godwinn
This is a hogpen match, meaning there’s an actual hog pen with pigs and mud near the entrance and the winner is the first man to send his opponent into said pin. Why is this match happening you ask? Simply put it’s because Godwinn is a hog farmer so he associates with hogs. One note characters like him had a lot to do with the downfall of the WWF at this point, as there’s no interest to such characters, meaning there’s no reason to stick around and watch them. The guest referee is 1980s crowd favorite Hillbilly Jim.
Godwinn slops the ring announcer before the match starts for no apparent reason. Helmsley jumps Godwinn but is quickly sent to the floor for his efforts. Back in and Henry ties him in the ropes so he can rub more slop in Helmsley’s face. After nearly retching, Helmsley takes it back to the floor, only to be bulldogged face first into the steps.
They head up the pen with Henry being whipped into the gate but still managing to block a Pedigree attempt with a backdrop. Helmsley lands on the edge of the pen and kicks Henry down before dropping an elbow to the chest. Lawler makes Jeff Foxworthy style jokes about being from Arkansas as they head back inside where Godwinn hits a big wheelbarrow slam. Helmsley is whipped to two corners and out to the floor for another handful of slop. Henry hits the Slop Drop up by the pen but can’t follow up. Instead he charges at Helmsley and gets backdropped into the slop to end things.
Rating: C-. This actually wasn’t that bad as it was a regular match until the ending. Again though, why am I supposed to care? It’s the lowest level of comedy and storytelling possible, which doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad, but we have no reason to care about either of these guys so why should I be interested in the match?
Post match Henry slams Helmsley into the pen for fun. That’s a nice idea as at least the fans get the (limited) payoff.
We recap Diesel’s change of attitude since he lost the world title at Survivor Series, which has seen him act much more aggressive. This was what he should have been doing as champion.
Diesel vs. Owen Hart
This is a revenge match for Diesel as Owen kicked Shawn Michaels in the head and put him on the shelf as a result. Diesel launches Owen into the corner to start and hits a big side slam for no cover. The arena is full of smoke from Diesel’s entrance. Owen comes back with some right hands but Diesel easily throws him to the outside for a meeting with Cornette.
Back in and Owen scores with a missile dropkick before going after Diesel’s knee to take him down. A spinwheel kick gets two on Diesel but he easily kicks Hart away to break up a spinning toe hold. Diesel comes back with a big boot and the Jackknife (“This is for you Shawn!”) but he takes his foot off Owen’s chest at two. The referee begs him to let it end so Diesel shoves him down for the DQ.
Rating: D+. The match was going along pretty well until the stupid ending. I understand that they’re trying to push Diesel as being more aggressive, but having him lose isn’t the way to go about doing that. This is Diesel’s third straight PPV loss which doesn’t make me think he’s a monster but rather a guy who can’t finish his opponents.
Here are Savio Vega and Santa Claus to hand out presents to the fans, but Ted DiBiase interrupts them. He says everyone has a price and calls them both into the ring. DiBiase doesn’t believe Santa can make it around the world in one night but he knows someone who can. Savio says he doesn’t have a price and says he believes in Santa.
However, this isn’t the real Santa. It’s really…..XANTA CLAUS, Santa’s evil brother from the south pole who steals presents from children. I wish I was making this up but I promise you it’s real. Xanta lays out Savio and leaves with DiBiase but Savio chases after them, only to get beaten up again. Vince: “SAY IT’S NOT SO!!!” Xanta is played by future ECW mainstay Balls Mahoney.
Mabel says he isn’t scared of the Undertaker, who has returned after having his face crushed by Mabel and Yokozuna. Tonight it’s a casket match, meaning you have to put your opponent in a casket and close the lid to win.
King Mabel vs. Undertaker
Mable now has a very stupid looking mohawk to go with his stupid looking gold and purple pajamas. He jumps Undertaker to start but Undertaker comes back with rights and lefts in the corner. Mabel takes him down with a Boss Man Slam but Undertaker pops right back up. A clothesline gets the same result but a slam keeps Undertaker down for a bit. Mabel goes up for a middle rope splash but Taker moves to avoid probably death. Instead a belly to belly and legdrop keep Undertaker down and there’s a splash for good measure.
Mabel and Sir Mo roll Taker into the casket but don’t shut the lid because they’re not that bright. Undertaker blocks the eventual lid closure as Mabel is dancing in the ring with his crown. Back in and Taker pounds away before kicking Mabel into the casket. Mo’s save is easily thwarted with a chokeslam and he gets thrown in as well. Undertaker takes back the necklace made from the Urn (don’t ask) and slams the lid shut for the win.
Rating: D+. This was about as perfect as you could get to end the Undertaker vs. Mabel feud but it doesn’t help that we had to sit through it for so many months. Thankfully Mabel was gone soon after this with his last notable appearance coming in January. Undertaker is a good force to have back in the company as he was probably the third most popular guy in the company at this point.
Post match Undertaker motions that he wants the WWF Title.
Jim Cornette walks us through Bret’s history with the Bulldog, who is married to Bret’s sister. Unlike in 1992 where the sister Diana was split on who to cheer for, she’s firmly in her husband’s corner tonight.
Bret says he’s making up for 1992 tonight.
WWF World Title: Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog
The much stronger Bulldog shoves the champion into the corner to start but Bret grabs an armbar to take over. Davey flips around a lot but ultimately takes Bret down by the hair like a true villain should. Back to the armbar by Bret as we take a look at Cornette’s tennis racket cover which looks like Santa Claus’ face. Bret gets two off a cross body and goes right back to the arm. Smith comes back with another hair pull before tying Bret up in the Tree of Woe (hanging him upside down in the corner) to stomp away.
Off to the chinlock as the fans are solidly behind Bret. They soon get bored of cheering for him though and start chanting for the then upstart promotion ECW. Vince informs us that the Undertaker has challenged the winner of this match for the Royal Rumble. After a Cornette tennis racket shot we’re in the third chinlock less than ten minutes into the match before the required chest first bump into the buckle gets two on Hart.
A backdrop puts Bret down for two more and we hit the chinlock again. At least this time he makes it a headlock as the fans chant USA, in theory for the Canadian champion. Bret comes back with a monkey flip and a bulldog to the Bulldog for two. A piledriver lays Smith out for two more but Bulldog crotches Bret on the ropes to break up a superplex. Bret falls to the floor and the fans want a table. Instead they get the champion being sent into the steps as Bulldog is in control.
Smith sends him hard into the barricade and Bret is busted wide open. Back in and Bulldog piledrives Bret down for a near fall before pounding at the cut on the forehead. The delayed vertical suplex gets the same and there’s a gorilla press slam for good measure. Bulldog channels his former partner the Dynamite Kid with a headbutt to the back for two. Smith seems to have hurt his knee though so Bret tries a quick Sharpshooter, only to have Smith break it up just as easily.
A hard shoulder puts Bret onto the floor so Smith can try to get some feeling back into his knee. Bret counters a suplex back inside into a rollup for yet another near fall before a double clothesline puts both guys down. They’re quickly back up and a backdrop puts Smith on the floor. Bret is ticked off now and dives over the top to pound away on Smith even more. Davey will have none of that though and powerslams Bret down on the floor to suck the life out of the crowd.
The protective mats are peeled back but Bret blocks a suplex by crotching Davey on the barricade in a nice callback to earlier in the match. Bret clotheslines him off the barricade and heads back inside where a backbreaker gets two. Now the superplex connects for two and an O’Connor Roll gets the same. In a really sudden finish, Bulldog charges into a boot in the corner and Bret cradles him for the pin. The look on Diana’s face makes the ending even better as it almost says “HOW DARE YOU KEEP THE TITLE!”
Rating: B-. This got WAY better in the end but the first ten minutes or so of this were pretty dreadful. Also the ending didn’t do it any favors as I was expecting a callback to the Summerslam 1992 match but we didn’t get anything close to it. Still though, good match and by far the best thing we’ve had on one of these shows in the last two shows.
Paul Bearer (Undertaker’s odd manager) and Undertaker are pleased that they get a title shot at the Royal Rumble. Diesel comes in and says it’s his shot. The giants stare each other down to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. While this isn’t a good show, it’s WAY better than the previous two entries in the series. Bret is just better as champion as he can work with almost any style and get a better match out of most people. The rest of the card was pretty horrible, but things would be changing quickly around here which is the best thing that could have happened for the WWF.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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