In Your House #1
Bret The Hitman Hart pulls Double Duty
For my very first Throwback Thursday article, I wasn’t sure what I should cover. There were so many options, but this is the first of the series. I wanted it to be telling. I landed on the first In Your House Pay-per-view that was ever held. It was back on May 14th, 1995 and it took place at the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse, New York. The card was interesting, to say the least.
Starting the event off was one of two matches that Bret Hart would wrestle on that night. First, he went up against a guy I had absolutely no memory of. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I was five years old at the time, but still. It’s always surprising to me when I don’t recognize a wrestler from this period. Anyway, Bret’s opponent was The Modern Day Kamikaze, Hakushi, a character that took issue with Bret Hart after Jerry The King Lawler got in his ear. You see, Bret had won the WWF Magazine’s Award of the People, but Jerry was on commentary saying that Hart was a racist and purposely excluded Japanese votes. This, of course, led to Jerry convincing Hakushi to join in the King’s vendetta against The Hitman.
Bret picked up the win here, giving him a boost for his second match against Jerry Lawler, later in the night. After Bret and Hakushi, however, it came time for Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie in a special, handicapped match. For those who don’t know, Jarrett’s Roadie at the time was none other than the Road Dogg Jesse James, one half of the New Age Outlaws. That makes three big names in the business, all in the ring together at the same time. This was before any of them saw the type of success they would. They were still young and hungry, doing their best to make an impression every night.
The Bad Guy got the win over the Southern-fried team, sending both men home as losers. After the handicapped match, Mabel and Adam Bomb took center stage with their King of the Ring qualifying match. This was less than two minutes long. How much can I really say about Mabel squashing Adam Bomb in minutes? It happened, let’s move past it.
Next up were The Smokin’ Gunns (Billy and Bart Gunn) vs. Owen Hart and Yokozuna for Hart and Yoko’s WWF/E Tag Team Championships. Owen and Yokozuna were always a great team. They made for such an interesting watch, with their clearly defined and vastly different in-ring style. The Smokin’ Gunns, however, were not always that interesting a watch. This is still the “cartoon” era of Vince McMahon’s company. Sort of like what we’re getting today, except amplified by about three hundred percent. The 1980’s left one hell of an imprint on the company, leaving behind over the top characters and fairly terrible story-telling in its wake.
It would be a few more years before they’d begin The Attitude Era. Of all the men in the ring for the Tag Title match, only one was able to adjust when that new era hit: Billy Gunn. Bart Gunn tried, but he got as far as getting knocked the f–k out by Eric “Butterbean” Esch at WrestleMania 15. We lost Yokozuna and Owen Hart before they really could. Owen was around for a bit into The Attitude Era, but he was taken way before his time back at the Over the Edge Pay-per-view, 1999. He never got to blow up, but he would have during wrestling’s biggest time in the history of Sports Entertainment.
Hart and Yokozuna picked up a W over the Smokin’ Gunns and left the building with their belts still fastened around their waists. Next up was match number two for the Best There is, the Best There Was, and the Best There Ever Will Be. Jerry The King Lawler and Bret had a tremendous rivalry around this time. The King was one of the best heels in the history of the business, and Bret was one of the biggest faces. Both men knew how to work their match and inject the right amount of psychology.
The match started off by revealing that Bret Hart faked an injury at the end of his match with Hakushi, in order to throw Lawler off his game. He went into the match confident that he would destroy the battered and bruised Hart, but quickly found out something that every one learns…you can’t always get what you want. The King picked up a victory over The Excellence of Execution after some interference from Hakushi.
Finally, it came time for the Main Event of the evening: Diesel vs. Sycho Sid for Diesel’s WWF/E Championship. This was just a month after WrestleMania 11, and the match was supposed to be The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel in a WrestleMania rematch, but Sid legitimately injured HBK on Monday Night Raw after delivering three power bombs to the show stopper.
So it became a battle of HBK’s former bodyguards. I always liked Sid as a villain, but felt like he was a bit out of place as Shawn’s bodyguard, to be honest. Diesel fit in more with HBK because he had, arguably, as much charisma. Sycho Sid did not. He had nowhere near as much charisma. Letting that monster speak for more than a few minutes, more often than not, led to Sid tripping over numerous words and sounding like a nutcase. It worked for his character, but not for someone who was guarding Mr. WrestleMania. Thankfully, Diesel retained his belt after Sid got disqualified. That concluded the event.
As this “Throwback Thursday” column continues, I will be going further and further back. The Attitude Era will have it’s own slot on Fridays. This segment, on the other hand, will be reserved for 1995 and earlier.
Up next week: SummerSlam 1989. The Main Event of that evening was Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake vs. Macho Man Randy Savage and Zeus. For those of you who don’t know about Zeus, it’s ok. You would have had to seen the film, “No Holds Barred,” starring Hulk Hogan. Therefore, accompanying the SummerSlam piece will be an “Outside the Ring” article covering that fantastically awful film.