IN YOUR HOUSE III
September 24, 1995
Waylon Mercy . . . rolls out suplexes like he thinks that he’s still partners with Stan Hansen.
Bret Hart . . . goes out of his way to help give Jean Pierre Laffite as much credibility as possible.
Shawn Michaels . . . steals the show in a very fun main event.
SAVIO VEGA vs. WAYLON MERCY
It’s no surprise that Spivey retired afterwards, watching him here shows just how bad shape he was in. He moves noticeably slowly, he badly botches the hotshot, and he was barely able to take any real bumps. Luckily, Savio is able to pick up the pieces and keep things together. Savio does a great job at putting over the idea that the sleeper is bleeding him dry, and he does all that he can to put over the effects of Spivey’s strikes and lariats. The finish is odd, with Spivey using several suplexes for near falls, only for Savio to come back with an ugly German (due to Spivey’s inability to bump), and his spinning kick for the win. It’s fine that Savio goes over with his finisher, but, there wasn’t any need to trot out a brainbuster and backdrop suplex, just to make them seem like afterthoughts.
PSYCHO SID vs. HENRY GODWIN
Who says the events of a match need to matter? After a brief brawl, for Henry to get the upper hand, he tweaks his back on a suplex and Sid takes over. Nobody will ever confuse Sid for any sort of great worker, but he’s perfectly watchable while he’s working over the back. He doesn’t do anything that he normally wouldn’t do, and his camel clutch looks awful, but, it’s nice to see that the work is supposed to serve a purpose. But, it doesn’t. Henry makes his comeback, including forgetting about his back being hurt, and DiBiase has to interfere twice, before Sid does the powerbomb for the win. Why Sid couldn’t have gone over clean is beyond me.
DAVEY BOY SMITH vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW
Somehow, despite having better workers, and also having a clean finish, this is actually worse than Sid/Godwin. It’s the same basic premise, of the heel working over a body part. But, at least the Sid match had something of a payoff when Sid hit the powerbomb, even if the setup for it was unnecessary. This doesn’t even get that far. Aside from the chop blocks, Bulldog’s work on Bigelow’s knee is about as pedestrian as it gets. Davey’s half crab looks worse than Sid’s camel clutch. Just like Godwin, Bigelow forgets about the knee when he makes his comeback, and even busts out a moonsault for no good reason. Bulldog gets the win with his powerslam after Bigelow misses a charge into the corner. It’d have been just as easy for Bigelow to climb up for his headbutt, with his bad knee causing him to move too slowly, allowing Davey time to recover, and use Bam Bam’s position to get him into the powerslam.
RAZOR RAMON vs. DEAN DOUGLAS
Even though this is yet another match where the work doesn’t factor into the finish, it’s more forgivable since it serves the purpose of furthering the dissension between Razor and Kid. The work is much better, with Dean and Razor having several nice wrestling exchanges, and Dean is much better at working over Razor’s midsection than both Sid and Bulldog, including him using the ringside steps before it became a regular thing. The match is an improvement over what it preceded, but, its still got issues. There had to have been a better way for Razor to make his comeback than by powering out of the camel clutch and doing an electric chair drop. Continuing to sell after the spot was nice, but, considering how much Dean had already worked him over, he shouldn’t have been able to do something like that, let alone get Douglas up for the Razor’s Edge after the fact. Again, the interference and cheap finish work here, since it’s going somewhere. Unlike Razor, Dean is smart enough to leave his finisher in the bag.
BRET HART vs. JEAN PIERRE LAFFITE
Despite the goofiness of the angle that led to this match (Laffite has been stealing from the other wrestlers, including Bret’s jacket, because he’s a pirate), this is easily the best match of the undercard, and the first match that genuinely feels like a contest. Aside from Laffite’s lone attempt to use the ropes for a pin, this is rather honestly contested, and both Bret and Laffite get ahead by outsmarting their opponent. A good example of this is when Laffite charges at Bret and gets back dropped over the top. He lands on his feet, drags Bret to the floor with him, and then runs him into the steps. Bret’s attempt to cut off Laffite’s control segment only makes things worse for him.
It also helps that Bret doesn’t mind doing a few foolish things in order to help Laffite look better. Bret first attempts the Sharpshooter afer Laffite misses the cannonball senton. But, Laffite is still too strong, and easily escapes by kicking Bret off him. Bret also lets Laffite show off his power, by doing a crucifix, and getting countered into a Finlay roll, and late into the match, Laffite escapes Bret’s bulldog and throws him into the corner so that Bret can take his turnbuckle bump. But, Bret still wins in the end, and he does it in a way that doesn’t make Laffite look bad. Bret having already had the sharpshooter countered once, and being even more worn down now, applies it when both of them are flat on their backs, so that Laffite has no leverage to kick him off. Once Bret gets him turned over, he only has to get himself to his feet to get the hold cinched in. And when Bret gets it, Laffite has to give it up.
There are still some things that hold the match back. The main one is that Laffite doesn’t take advantage of the openings Bret gives him. Bret charges into the post for a shoulder bump, Laffite throws him in for a second one, and Bret also takes a shoulder first bump into the stairs on the floor. But, Laffite doesn’t do anything else to work over Bret’s arm, even though a bad arm would help cause doubt about Bret’s ability to put on the sharpshooter. Laffite’s bump from Bret sidestepping Laffite’s somersault plancha is rendered an afterthought. It’s a nice idea for Bret to avenge Laffite outsmarting him when he got pulled to the floor, but, there had to have been a better thing for him to do than a flat bump. It’d have been just as easy to land on his feet, and show off his agility once again, and then turn into a lariat from Bret. Bret gets his revenge spot, and Laffite doesn’t take an unnecessary, and ultimately meaningless, big bump. However, these few shortcomings aren’t nearly enough to tank the match, and this is a great example of Bret using his clout to give his opponent some extra rub. ***1/4
DIESEL/SHAWN MICHAELS vs. YOKOZUNA/DAVEY BOY SMITH (Winner Take All Match for the WWF World, Intercontinental, and World Tag Team Titles)
The bait and switch finish shouldn’t really be a surprise. The WWF only had three titles at this point, and dual champions had never been a part of their booking (see Backlund and Morales winning and forfeiting the Tag Team Titles in 1980, and Warrior being IC Champion and winning the World Title in 1990). It wasn’t until 2001 and 2002 that they started unifying titles, and that was for the purpose of retiring the inherited titles from WCW and getting rid of their own low level titles. Not to mention that anyone familiar with how All Japan booked matches that would have unified titles in the 80's would immediately know that something was going to happen to ensure that nothing was unified. Owen Hart getting pinned is a creative loophole to get out of the match, and not switch any titles. WCW had already set the precedent for booking finishes with persons not involved in the match get pinned, although even they hadn’t used it to switch a title.
As far as the work goes, this is pretty good from bell to bell, although it’d have been nice to see it go a bit longer to stretch out the heat segment on Shawn a little more. It helps that Shawn busts his ass in every way possible. He and Davey work a very good wrestling exchange to start the match. He sells like death during his heat segment, even though it doesn’t go all that long. Shawn also has a good knack for coming up with crowd pleasing spots, like the splash off of Diesel’s shoulders and his pseudo sumo standoff with Yoko. The interesting aspect that isn’t really played up, is the possible dissension between Yoko and Davey over who gets the pin. The announcers bring it up, but it never works its way into the actual match. Considering that Davey would be challenging Diesel the next month, Davey could have give him the powerslam only for Yoko to distract the ref, blind tag, or break up the pin, so that he can try to win the title for himself.
It wouldn’t be quite fair to label this as a carry job by Shawn, even though he’s the best performer by a big margin. Yoko is good about selling and stooging for the babyfaces, Davey brings the power moves for the heel control segment, and Diesel is a great fired up hot tag, and he also takes a couple of uncharacteristic bumps to put over Davey’s strength. The match doesn’t hit the same level as Bret’s match, because the work isn’t nearly as deep. But, between Shawn’s creativity, and the tag match dynamic, it’s a lot more exciting overall. ***1/4
Conclusion: The undercard is easily skippable, but the last two matches are definitely worth a look.