WWF In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage
Louisville Gardens – Louisville, Kentucky
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler
Match 1: “Cry Baby” Match
* The loser will be diapered and fed a baby bottle. *
“The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon vs. The 1-2-3 Kid w/ “The Million-Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Result/Analysis: Ramon via pinfall (12:02) following successive executions of the Razor’s Edge. These two were friends backstage as members of The Kliq. The other thing they had in common was that they were both soon ex-WWF employees. But first, to blow-off an on-again / off-again three-year feud, the bookmakers gave us the “Cry Baby” match. No wonder each wanted to exit the company, and fast. Lawler’s baby euphemisms, mostly about Ramon, are the comedy component. The match is solid despite the stipulation. Baby powder is used as the foreign substance of choice, with DiBiase falling victim to it as does Ramon and The Kid. Both guys were good soldiers and worked the angle through but what must they have been thinking? Ramon was planned to continue on with Goldust leading into WrestleMania XII with the Intercontinental Championship at stake in a “Miami Street Fight” but he received a drug-related suspension for six weeks after IYH. Ramon briefly resurfaced but his career wouldn’t officially kickstart again until joining WCW in May.
Vince tosses it to Raymond Rougeau and Sunny, who was looking her hottest, to promote the WWF SuperStar line. Did anyone ever actually call that thing? Nah, WCW had the Hotline / inside scoop.
Todd Pettengill is with Duke “The Dumpster” Droese as Hunter Hearst Helmsley is being introduced for their match. Droese is furious after Helmsley’s recent sneak attack on WWF SuperStars left him with a new haircut. Thankfully, the blow-off match to this feud is next. Droese agrees, “It’s time. It’s absolutely time!” To think that Helmsley went from Hog Farmer Henry O. Godwinn to Garbage Man Duke Droese bridging 1995 and 1996 and then went on to have a Hall of Fame career afterward is something impressive. It pays to have the right friends (The Kliq) during such bottomless feuds, no?
Match 2: Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Elizabeth Tilden vs. Duke “The Dumpster” Droese
Result/Analysis: Helmsley via pinfall (9:40) after hitting Droese with the trash can lid to his garbage can. Lawler spent the duration of the match hitting on Tilden. Classic. McMahon promotes sanitation as a good, honest day’s work to defend an awful gimmick he dreamt up. Droese was an OK wrestler but his gimmick destroyed what small chance he did have. Helmsley had the Connecticut Blueblood gimmick for himself, and that, too, nearly stalled his career. Being associated with The Kliq prevented that, however. The feud was pointless and no one cared. The real question is how this match made the pay-per-view instead of Goldust versus The Undertaker, with the Intercontinental Championship at stake, going as “dark” after the event.
Yokozuna’s face turn from Monday Night Raw back on February 5 is highlighted. That has led to a match versus The British Bulldog here at IYH as Yokozuna aims at payback against the members of Camp Cornette. Dok Hendrix interviews Yokozuna beforehand as The British Bulldog is being introduced and Yokozuna cuts an American style promo after three years of mostly saying BONZAI during any mic time. What in the actual H?!? You see, Yokozuna had won titles yet he wasn’t allowed to talk the entire time while managed by Cornette with Yokozuna claiming Cornette received all the credit for his success. On the surface that makes sense but a fan favorite run in the mid-card?
Match 3: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith w/ Jim Cornette vs. Yokozuna
Result/Analysis: Yokozuna via DQ (5:03) following outside interference by Cornette. The match is a snooze and it’s only fueled by the aftermath. Vader, reinstated from his indefinite suspension, comes out to handcuff Yokozuna to the top rope so he and The British Bulldog could double team. Their barage lasts several minutes. The likely plan heading into WrestleMania XII was for Vader to face Yokozuna until it was realized the match would suck? I’m not sure. The feud continued with their matches occurring on TV or the house show circuit until a blow-off ppv bout at IYH 8 in May.
Goldust, with Marlena, is present for an AOL live chat. He basically has foreplay with the poor sap there to transcribe his oozing machismo for Razor Ramon. Goldust is to defend the Intercontinental Title against Ramon on Monday Night Raw.
Shawn Michaels’ comeback is chronicled along with his feud with Owen Hart. Michaels was assaulted by nine thugs outside of a Syracuse, New York bar in October 1995. Then, to sell his injuries, Owen kicked Michaels in the back of the head on an episode of Raw during a match in November whereby Michaels collapsed in the ring so as to be written off as someone suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Michaels returned at the Royal Rumble in January and outlasted 29 other SuperStars to win the WrestleMania XII title shot against the reigning WWF Champion only to be goated into a match with Hart with his title shot at stake. Alas, we all know who is winning.
Match 4: Shawn Michaels’ WrestleMania XII Title Shot At Stake
“The King of Hearts” Owen Hart w/ Jim Cornette vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels
Result/Analysis: Michaels via pinfall (15:58) following sweet chin music. With Michaels as the winner not in doubt, the art form here was to construct a match around the obvious result. Mission Accomplished. Aside from the dicking around in the initial stages by Michaels, a touch of not taking it serious, there’s a solid 12/13 minutes of wrestling as Owen dictates the action to thereby play up his chances for a shocking upset. The match is also a reminder of how good Owen was, especially when getting to work with a top guy. Michaels wrestles the “underdog” role as he stems off all Owen dishes out, enzuigiri, sharpshooter, etc. to still overcome the odds and secure his WrestleMania WWF Title shot. I loathed Michaels’ ego in the Kliq years, you could tell he was the biggest Vince McMahon ass kisser, but this was one of the better constructed pay-per-view matches he was in either before winning the WWF Championship or while he was defending the belt, and thus, carrying the torch. Owen deserves 60/40 on the credit ledger for this one, however.
WrestleMania XII promo whereby it’s reiterated just how great WrestleMania XI was. Say what?!?
Back live, McMahon tries to goat Lawler into admitting Michaels is the greatest and well, that Owen isn’t too shabby, either. Please just stop Vince.
Todd Pettengill brings out Acting WWF President “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the old interview stage is brought back to use. Piper takes the job seriously yada, yada. He announces Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart/Diesel at WrestleMania for the WWF Championship. Second, Vader, after Piper makes jokes about his head gear, that maybe he’s an imbred (yes, really), and how he’s not foolish enough to suspend him like was already done, will face Yokozuna at WrestleMania. That news brings out Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason. Cornette blabs about how Vader has struck fear into everyone, including Piper, and not even a 640-pound Yokozuna will scare him. Piper, ever the comic, retorts by guessing that each butt cheek on Yokozuna probably weighs approx. 300 pounds and should Vader lose to him at WrestleMania, Cornette will likely be experiencing Yokozuna’s cheeks for himself. Piper exits stage right after grabbing Cornette’s butt cheeks while riles up James E. The steel cage was being assembled by the ring crew for the Main Event, thus, this colossal waste of time. I thought Piper vs. Vader for WrestleMania made logical sense at the time, especially with “Hot Rod” never backing down from anyone. Plus, he’d be defending the honor of Gorilla Monsoon. Whi knows, maybe that was a thought-about option before Razor Ramon got himself drug suspended and Goldust needed a WrestleMania opponent. All the WWF did in 1996 was scramble creatively.
Match 5: Steel Cage Match for WWF Championship
“Big Daddy Cool” Diesel vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart (c)
Result/Analysis: Hart via escape (19:15). The Undertaker pops through the ring mat to drag Diesel down with him to the proverbial depths of hell. The ending is memorable but it renders Hart’s successful title defense as a mere afterthought. That’s not exactly how you book your top dog and the standard-bearer of your company. Then again, Bret’s entire title reign for this particular run as WWF Champion was filled with screwy endings as he failed to go over any of the big names clean. As for Diesel, his tweener days were done as soon as he entered the cage but moreso with The Undertaker as whom he was paired with for WrestleMania. “Heel” Diesel was always more natural. As for the quality of the match, I saw better and I saw worse to that point. The finish was the only purpose to the cage stipulation because it allowed for the surprise Undertaker involvement. Bret’s work is solid. Diesel whips Hart from pillar to post, and back again. The escape attempts were frequent but that was needed. I find the match passable despite its laggard pace. My takeaway: Diesel, even as a heel, received 50/50 fan support with the live crowd. McMahon had to take note of that with Michaels, and WrestleMania in mind, though the title change decision had been made.
The Verdict: This was a bridge show if there ever was one. In the 1980’s/early 1990’s, a “Saturday Night’s Main Event” would have done the trick. The card revolved around the Owen/HBK and Bret/Diesel matches but the Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart WrestleMania WWF Title match was a formality making the event mere storyline fodder. Still, the WrestleMania XII card took its initital shape at IYH 6. It’s final look come March 31st was Plan C. Michaels, with his Kliq, the fans in this case, solely kept the Federation afloat in the ever-changing and highly-competitve wrasslin’ wars yet to come.