IN YOUR HOUSE V: SEASON’S BEATINGS
December 17, 1995
Psycho Sid . . . digs out his work boots and sells surprisingly well for a former member of the Rockers.
Triple H . . . bumps around like a pinball, and somehow manages to lose even when he wins.
Bret Hart . . . overcomes several forms of adversity to prove exactly why he’s the excellence of execution.
RAZOR RAMON/MARTY JANNETTY vs. PSYCHO SID/1-2-3 KID
Considering the participants, more accurately the reputation of Hall and Sid, this is worlds better than it has any right to be. Jannetty and Kid have some good exchanges and Sid is game for stooging and selling, even for Jannetty. Jannetty does a good job as face in peril, building up anticipation for Razor’s hot tag, and Razor gets a few shots in on Kid, which is who he has the beef with anyway, before they go to the finish. Razor pinning Sid with an ugly bulldog, seems odd, but there wasn’t anyone else who could lay down. Razor was IC Champion (and about to start a program with Goldust for the title while chasing Kid), Jannetty laying down doesn’t accomplish anything, and the storyline is that Kid is ducking Razor, so that leaves Sid to take the fall. It might have been better for a DQ finish, with Kid laying out Razor with a chair (or Sid laying him out before he gives Kid the Razor’s Edge) and heating up their eventual showdown.
AHMED JOHNSON vs. BUDDY LANDELL
This wouldn’t be worth mentioning, if not for the fact that Buddy is supposed to be a surprise substitution for Dean Douglas, but the ring announcer introduces him before Douglas even comes out to announce that he won’t be wrestling tonight. Ahmed sells nothing and quickly finishes off Buddy with the Pearl River Plunge.
HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY vs. HENRY GODWIN (Arkansas Hogpen Match)
Well you can’t say that HHH didn’t pay any dues before he became a top guy. He bounces like an absolute pinball for Godwin including a couple of corner flips, one of which sends him to the floor. He takes a bump against the wooden pen and cuts open his back. HHH gets a scant few chances to look good himself, he gets fired up after getting slop thrown in his face and starts taking the fight to Godwin. He smartly blocks the Slop drop on the floor and lets Godwin take the bump, and he wins when he back drops a charging Godwin into the pen. Even after winning, he still gets tossed into the pen to drunkenly stumble around.
DIESEL vs. OWEN HART
There really isn’t much to speak of as far as the actual work goes, except for the fact that Nash doesn’t completely hog the offense, and he sells pretty well when Owen is trying to work over his legs for the Sharpshooter. But this is more about furthering the storyline of Diesel’s newfound bad attitude than it is about wrestling. Diesel wants retribution for Shawn getting put on the shelf and he gets it. Diesel yelling out “This is for you, Shawn!” before the powerbomb was a great babyface moment, and then he decides to shove the ref and continue beating on Owen and gets himself disqualified. Too bad Nash would be gone within six months, because Nash’s character doesn’t look too far removed from Steve Austin.
THE UNDERTAKER vs. KING MABEL (Casket Match)
Seeing as there’s precious little that UT can actually do to Mabel, it no surprise that Mabel carries the offense here. Mabel throws everything he has at UT, but he just keeps sitting up and coming at him. All UT really has at his disposal are a boatload of strikes and the chokeslam (which looks awful). Mabel has the match won, but stops to celebrate, and UT makes the big comeback and sends both Mabel and Mo packing.
BRET HART © vs. DAVEY BOY SMITH (WWF World Heavyweight Title)
From the point when Bret gets crotched on the ropes up until the finish, this is insanely good. Bret is behind the eightball in just about every way possible. He's bloody and battered, he's wrestling someone who'd previously taken a title from him, and Davey smells the blood in the water. Before the crotch spot, this isn't bad, but it's far from interesting. There's some OK work from Bret that focuses on Davey's arm, but it's clear that they're trying to kill time rather than take the match anywhere.
Once Bret gets crotched and then busted open, things really pick up. Davey sees that Bret is hurt and takes the fight to him with the press slam and a big vertical suplex, and Bret's selling makes things look as hopeless as possible for him. Bret knows he's a better technical wrestler, despite Davey getting a fluke pin on him once, and he uses that to get ahead in the match. He outwrestles Davey and almost gets the Sharpshooter, and there's a smart moment when Davey does an O'Connor roll and Bret easily reverses to his own cradle. Bret gets the win by introducing the WWF (and maybe even the U.S.) to La Magistral. There is a handful of other smart touches as well. Bret gets some revenge on Davey by crotching him on the guardrail, and just like Davey's attempt to outwrestle Bret backfired, Bret tries to play Davey's game by with a dive, and Davey catches Bret and does the powerslam on the floor. There's also a nice throwback to their Summerslam '92 match, with Bret trying the crucifix and Davey having the same counter ready.
The finish is a bit out of nowhere and not exactly in a good way. Yes, La Magistral is certainly unique for the WWF, and it speaks of Bret's ability to outwrestle Davey, but there's no real setup to it. Bret just gets the boot up on Davey's charge and cradles him. It'd have come off much better if Bret had blocked or countered something to get the hold. Escaping Davey's powerslam, and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, would have been cool but probably wasn't something Bret could pull off, but countering Davey's charging lariat or his vertical suplex would have worked well. If the first stretch was as smart and intense as the rest of the match, then it might not seem so out of place to think of this as a match of the year candidate. At best, this could be argued as the best WWF match of the year, but only because it stands out amongst such a weak field. ***1/2
Conclusion: The really bad things, namely the Ahmed squash and the casket match, are kept short. That still leaves a darn good main event, a surprisingly good opener, and some fun angle advancement in Nash/Owen, so I can
recommend this show as a whole in good conscience.