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. 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 #7: Good Friends, Better Enemies
Date: April 26, 1997
Location: Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler
This one is all about the main event of WWF Champion Shawn Michaels defending against Diesel in a No Holds Barred match. Diesel turned on him and it was time to fight, as Michaels needed a first big time title defense. Other than the world title match, there really isn’t much to talk about on this show. There are some Wrestlemania rematches and a few thrown together matches, with the biggest being the Intercontinental Title match. Champion Goldust will be defending against the returning Ultimate Warrior, a former star of the 1980s who hasn’t been a regular competitor since 1992. He returned at Wrestlemania and beat Hunter Hearst Helmsley in about a minute, which apparently is enough to earn a title match tonight. Let’s get to it.
The opening video sums up the main event and highlights Diesel running over everyone in sight on the path back to the title.
Owen Hart/British Bulldog vs. Jake Roberts/Ahmed Johnson
This is a rematch from Wrestlemania minus Vader and Yokozuna on the respective teams. Apparently Davey Boy Smith has a horrible fear of snakes as learned on a recent tour of Germany. Naturally Jake the Snake Roberts has a snake with him, but Camp Cornette’s attorney Clarence Mason has an injunction to prevent him from bringing it out. Jake responds by pulling the snake out and throwing it on Cornette, who faints as a result. The snake has to be taken to the back but the damage has been done.
Jake pounds away on Owen as Ahmed, a VERY muscular and intimidating looking strongman, is still making his entrance. Owen bails to the corner and brings in Smith to face Johnson. The Bulldog sees him come in and immediately tags back out to Hart in a funny bit. Ahmed easily launches Owen into the corner because he wants the Bulldog one on one. He still doesn’t get his wish though as Hart grabs a headlock and is against tossed across the ring.
Here’s Roberts again but Owen is quickly out the back door to avoid a DDT. Owen bails to the corner to avoid another attempt and now it’s off to Bulldog to slam Roberts down. Smith runs from Johnson again with Hart getting annoyed at having to fight the monster over and over again. A test of strength goes badly for Owen and Johnson clotheslines him down with ease. Owen gets in a shot tot he ribs to take Johnson down and it’s finally off to Smith for some cheap shots.
Ahmed shrugs off all of the offense and scares Bulldog into the corner for yet another tag off to Owen. Johnson easily slams the Canadian down and it’s off to Jake who gets dropkicked in the face to give the villains control again. Smith comes back in to stomp Jake down, allowing Owen to get in some extra choking on the side. Jake avoids a charge in the corner to send Owen chest first into the buckle ala his big brother. Roberts gets poked in the eyes to stop his hot tag bid and it’s back to Owen with a top rope elbow to the face for two.
We hit the chinlock as the match slows down a bit with Owen still in full control. A jumping back elbow to the face looks to set up the Sharpshooter but Jake kicks him away. Bulldog cheats from the apron and comes back in for another chinlock. The fans are staying into the match with their cheering for Jake but this time Owen cheats from the apron to keep him in the ring.
Jake gets caught in a sleeper but he suplexes Hart down to escape. Now we get the hot tag off to Ahmed who cleans house before everything breaks down. Owen and Bulldog are sent to the floor but Smith gets in a tennis racket shot to Jake’s knee. A simple leg lock is enough to make Roberts submit.
Rating: D+. WAY too long here and it dragged the match down a lot. The match wasn’t going to be much to see in the first place but this should have been about five minutes shorter. Bulldog and Owen are becoming one of the longest running tag teams in the 90s and they’re reaching a fairly high level in a hurry. Match was still too long though.
Intercontinental Title: Goldust vs. Ultimate Warrior
Goldust has an unnamed bodyguard here and is defending. This match basically becomes a game to see how many movie references Jerry Lawler can make in under ten minutes. He makes so many that I can’t even keep track of them but I’d say it’s at least twenty of them. Now here’s the problem with the match: Goldust has a legitimate knee injury and can’t have a match, but we’re going to have a “match” anyway. Warrior’s entrance is enough to fire up the crowd (Lawler: “He’s like a raging bull.” Just picture about 25 of those kind of lines and you’ll get the idea.) but that’s about all of the good.
Goldust (“He’s got such a brave heart.”) limps into the ring but hides back on the floor before trying to leave with his lady Marlena. Warrior takes Goldust’s cigar and puffs away like a real hero does. He brings Goldust’s director’s chair into the ring while wearing the champion’s blonde wig and robe because a replacement wrestler was too complicated I suppose. Goldust is walking up and down the aisle while this is going on and I’m not even sure the match has started yet.
After walking around for about five minutes Goldust grabs a mic and threatens to come into the crowd and kiss everyone in the audience if they don’t shut up. Warrior holds up the rope like a bullfighter’s cape as Marlena gets in the ring for some reason. There’s been no contact at all so far.
Goldust gets in the ring behind Marlena and Warrior holds up the robe so the champion can put it on. This has been going on for nearly eight minutes now. Now he’s sitting in the chair with his legs crossed as Warrior puffs on the cigar. Goldust holds out his hand and gets burned, earning himself a clothesline. That’s enough to send him to the floor and there’s a countout to FINALLY end this.
Rating: N/A. I can’t rate this because it wasn’t a match. This was some bizarre performance piece and I have no idea who thought this was the best idea. There was nothing here for the fans to watch and it was basically a way to rip them off while knowing that there was nothing to offer them at all. This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen in wrestling which covers a lot of ground.
Post match Warrior beats up the bodyguard which would have made for a much better match.
British Bulldog is ranting and raving about something while trying to get into Shawn Michaels’ dressing room. We’ll come back to that later.
Razor Ramon vs. Vader
Vader recently broke Yokozuna’s leg so Ramon is here as his next target. Cornette also manages Vader so Razor has someone else to worry about. Razor is easily launched over the top and out to the floor before being shoved down in the ring. Vader is tired of throwing him around now though so here are some hard punches to the ribs. A hard shot puts Razor down onto his knees and there are some heavy punches to the head as well.
Razor comes back with some rights of his own but gets easily clotheslined down by the monster. Ramon hits a running right hand but a Razor’s Edge attempt is easily blocked with a backdrop out to the floor. Back in and Razor pounds Vader down in the corner for his first real advantage and a discus punch drops Vader. A clothesline does it again and a second clothesline puts Vader to the floor. Razor is WAY over with the crowd here.
Vader slides in to break a few near countouts as the match slows way down. A Cornette distraction lets Vader come back in but Razor catches him with another right hand to the jaw. Vader is tired of this being on defense stuff though and takes Razor down with another stiff clothesline. Razor ducks another clothesline and hits a nice belly to back suplex for two but can’t follow up.
The monster drags Razor over to the corner and hits his Vader Bomb but Ramon somehow kicks out at two. That’s a very rare sight to see. A belly to back puts Razor down this time but Vader just takes him into the corner and pounds away to bust up Razor’s insides even more. Razor actually comes back with a vertical suplex for two but Vader snapmares him back down. A middle rope clothesline is caught in a powerslam for two by Razor but he still can’t follow up because of the punishment.
Razor gets two off a middle rope bulldog but a shoulder block puts him right back down. Another Vader Bomb is countered into a Razor’s Edge attempt but the bad ribs give out to stop Razor in his tracks. Vader loads up the moonsault but Razor pulls him down in a nice looking electric chair drop. Razor tries the Edge again but Vader backdrops him down and drops down onto the bad ribs for the pin.
Rating: B-. This was a fun match as Razor was the perfect choice to put Vader over. He’s very popular but at the same time he’s big and strong enough to be able to throw Vader around and make it look good. Vader was definitely a monster though and was on for bigger and better things in the near future.
The match however is more important for being Razor’s last significant match in the WWF until 2002, as he was wooed away by millions of dollars to WCW. This would be a huge blow to the company and we’ll get into how big of a deal it was in a little while. Razor wouldn’t be the only one to take off after this show.
Doc Hendrix tells Vader and Cornette that Vader will face Yokozuna at the next In Your House. Cornette freaks.
Tag Titles: Godwinns vs. Body Donnas
The Body Donnas, the champions, are fitness enthusiasts Skip and Zip and managed by the absolutely gorgeous Sunny. The Godwinns are Henry and his cousin Phineas (Middle initials O and I respectively, meaning their full initials are H.O.G. And P.I.G.) with the latter having a big crush on Phineas. The Body Donnas won the titles in a tournament final at Wrestlemania so this is a rematch.
Henry throws Zip around to start but has to double clothesline both Donnas down. Off to Phineas who bites Zip’s arm and cranks on it a bit before tagging Henry back in. Skip, the more talented of the champions, comes in and jumps into something vaguely resembling John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment (fireman’s carry slam). A nice wheelbarrow suplex sends Skip out to the floor as this is one sided so far. Zip tries to sneak in but the referee catches them since the Body Donnas aren’t exactly twins.
Back in and it’s Phineas vs. Zip with Phineas getting some kicks to the head and grabbing a headlock. Skip low bridges the hog farmer to the floor and the champions take over for the first time. The Donnas get two off a slingshot suplex as the camera keeps looking at Sunny but I can’t say I blame them much this time around. Off to a chinlock from Skip followed by a standing hurricanrana for two.
Phineas gets all riled up (Vince’s words) and cleans house as everything breaks down. Sunny runs to the back and comes back with a framed photo of herself to give to Phineas. Why he’s fascinated by the photo when the real thing is right in front of him isn’t explained but Phineas wasn’t all that bright. Henry hits the Slop Drop on Zip but the distraction at ringside allows Skip to sneak in and small package Henry to retain the titles.
Rating: D. Much like most of the Body Donnas’ matches, Sunny was the best thing going on. She was just so good at being evil and the looks didn’t hurt anything at all. The tag division was just such a mess at this point though and this didn’t do it a lot of favors. The division wouldn’t be fixed for years to come either.
Marc Mero wants a piece of Hunter Hearst Helmsley over Helmsley mistreating one of his valets named Sable. Helmsley interfered in Mero’s match on the preshow and laid Mero out with a Pedigree. Mero says Helmsley unleashed the wild man.
We recap Shawn vs. Diesel. The idea is simple: they used to be friends but now Diesel wants the title and will do whatever it takes to get it back. Shawn is in WAY over his head in a no holds barred match because it’s not his forte, but he’s got a big heart and won’t back down no matter what.
Shawn guaranteed a win earlier tonight.
WWF World Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel
Remember this is no holds barred so anything goes. We see Omaha resident and legendary wrestler Mad Dog Vachon at ringside who will become important later. No flashy entrance from Shawn as he just power walks to the ring and takes the belt off on the way. He pounds away on the much bigger Diesel but a knee to the ribs puts the champion down. A big dropkick sends Diesel to the floor and a moonsault press takes him down onto the concrete.
Shawn steals a boot from the Spanish’s announcer and lays out Diesel back inside for two. Back up and Diesel whips Shawn up and over the corner before hammering him off the apron and face first into the barricade with a nasty bump. Back in and Diesel runs Shawn over again before walking around very slowly. Snake Eyes (a face first drop onto the buckle) drops Michaels again and Diesel yells at Shawn’s trainer Jose Lothario that this is how we do it in the 90s.
A big side slam drops Shawn again and Diesel chokes the referee with his wrist tape for no apparent reason other than evil. Diesel steals the referee’s belt to whip Shawn even more before wrapping it around Shawn’s neck and hanging him over the top rope. He even ties the belt around the middle rope so he can grab a chair to blast Shawn in the back. They get back in the ring and another chair shot to the back puts Shawn down yet again. A third shot hits the top rope, sending the chair bouncing back into Diesel’s head.
Now Shawn grabs the chair but Diesel hits him low before Shawn can swing it. A BIG backdrop keeps the pressure on Shawn’s back and gets a two count. Diesel cranks on Shawn’s neck but Michaels fights up, only to be dropped with a series of forearms, knocking him out to the floor. In the big spot of the match, Diesel Jackknifes Shawn through the announce table (big deal back then), further destroying his back. That looked AWESOME and Vince begging Shawn to “just let it be over” makes it even better.
Diesel tries to pull Shawn back in but Michaels finds a fire extinguisher under the ring and blinds the big man so he can pound away. The fans are going NUTS over this comeback. Shawn pulls in a chair and goes to town on Diesel but lets Diesel get back up for a clothesline and a big boot to the jaw. Diesel loads up another Jackknife but Shawn punches his way out of it and drops a top rope elbow to the big man’s chest. Shawn tunes up the band for the superkick but Diesel blocks the boot and clotheslines Shawn down again.
A third clothesline puts Shawn on the floor as Vince gets in the very almost famous line of “We said it would be no holds barred but we didn’t expect this.” Diesel drops Shawn throat first on the barricade before going over to Mad Dog Vachon. He chokes Vachon down and RIPS OFF HIS PROSTHETIC LEG. Back in and Shawn hits Diesel low, blasts him in the face with the leg and hits Sweet Chin Music to retain the title and blow the roof off the place.
Rating: A+. This was a WAR and one of the best brawls you’ll ever see. They were beating the tar out of each other out there with Shawn bumping around like a maniac and making Diesel’s offense look great. This gave Shawn the credibility that he needed as champion to show he could fight as well as wrestle and it was a great performance to boot. It’s one of my all time personal favorite matches and still more than holds up over seventeen years later. Probably the best In Your House match to this point.
Unfortunately for the WWF, this was also Nash’s swan song as he and Razor were the two that left for WCW less than a month later. We’ll be talking about that in much greater detail soon.
Shawn poses with an awesome look on his face that says he can take on the world.
Overall Rating: C+. The rest of the show isn’t great but the main event more than makes up for it. That’s a major perk of having shows under two hours: a match that runs about fifteen to twenty minutes like Shawn vs. Diesel can save a bad card and this one saves it in a big way. The only other good match on here is Vader vs. Ramon and even that’s just ok. Shawn vs. Diesel however is a classic and bordering on a masterpiece, making it well worth seeing if you haven’t before.
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.
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