*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***
In Your House #4: It’s the End of the World As We Know It…
October 22, 1995
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler, and Jim Ross
1) Bob Holly beat Rad Radford
2) Henry Godwinn beat Sid
3) Bret Hart beat Isaac Yankem
4) Owen Hart & Yokozuna beat Savio Vega & Bam Bam Bigelow
Pay Per View
*** Gorilla Monsoon regretfully informs the audience that due to Shawn Michaels’ injuries, he will not be able to compete on tonight’s show. As a result, Michaels will be forced to forfeit the Intercontinental Title to Dean Douglas. However, Douglas will have to defend the title against Razor Ramon tonight instead. ***
1) Hunter Hearst-Helmsley defeats Fatu with the Pedigree at 8:00
Fun Fact: Solofa Fatu Jr., a member of the famous Anoa’i Samoan wrestling family, began his wrestling career in 1985 as part of the International Wrestling promotion in Montreal. He began under the name Prince Alofa. He later was joined by his cousin Samula Anoa’i in Puerto Rico and formed the Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu). The duo made their way through WCCW, the AWA and then into WCW by the late 80s, winning numerous tag team championships along the way. The team left WCW in 1990 and worked the independent scene in the US and Europe, Puerto Rico and Japan for the next couple of years. During this period, the SST would also team up with their cousin, Kokina Maximus, who would later sign with the WWF and would be sold to fans as the Japanese sumo wrestler, Yokozuna. In 1992, the team signed with the WWF and was rebranded as The Headshrinkers. From 92-94, the team would be challengers in the WWF tag team title hunt, winning the belts once. After SummerSlam in 94, Samu left the WWF to heal from injuries and Fatu was joined by the Barbarian (renamed Sione during this run) to form the New Headshrinkers, a team that only lasted until the end of 94. Fatu began a singles run in 1995, changing from the savage character he had portrayed in the SST and Headshrinkers to one that spoke English and told of his real-life growing up in the ghetto and being shot in a drive-by. During this period of time, Fatu’s gimmick was one of giving back to the community and making a difference. Fatu would undergo further character changes during his run in WWF/E, so stay tuned to see the many faces of Fatu.
Scott: Our opener pits a worker with a new persona against an up and coming rookie. Fatu was a former Headshrinker who needed to “make a difference”. It seemed like a very generic gimmick to add a babyface to the mix. I’ve been saying that the mid-card was in desperate need of some fresh bodies, and both these guys seem to be it. Helmsley has really worked hard throughout the summer on Raw and Superstars working his craft and slowly moving up the ladder. Western Canada is a wrestling hotbed thanks to Stu Hart’s legacy so we have another crowd that will know when you’re handing them a solid product or a piece of junk. We have a solid, basic opener with Helmsley using his basic heel offense to dictate the tempo. Helmsley’s offense at this point in his career is pretty nondescript but with the right babyface it can be good enough to engage the audience. Helmsley does have pretty good heel heat from the crowd and his curtsies and posturing does infuriate the crowd. Fatu is a sympathetic babyface, battling back from various attacks and kicking out of the pinfall attempts. Fatu was making a big comeback and went for the super Samoa Splash, but Helmsley ducked out of the way and hit the Pedigree for the win. During the post-match interview with Lawler, Henry Godwinn chases Helmsley off with the slop bucket. That feud continues. Helmsley and Fatu worked pretty hard and it was a solid enough opener to our evening. Grade: **
Justin: And for the first time in company history we have back to back In Your House offerings with multiple months to fill between major PPVs. Coming out of September’s show, we seemingly had a little shakeup at the top of the card, but as we will see shortly things ended up taking a different twist in the month leading to this show. For this outing, we head to the Great White North, visiting Manitoba for the first time in PPV history. We can also say that we are coming off two solid offerings and the WWF seemed to have bounced back a little bit with a little harder edged booking, a resharpened focus on in ring action and an influx of younger talent. We will see if that carries over into this outing. And right out of the gate, we feature one of those young talents in Hunter Hearst-Helmsley. After debuting in July, Helmsley has been rolling along, picking up wins left and right in the lower end of the card while remaining undefeated. His opponent is the recently returned Fatu, working a pretty different gimmick than when we last saw him as one half of the Headshrinkers. He now speaks English and dresses like a background dancer from New Edition and his main focus is cleaning up the streets and making a difference in downtrodden communities. It was a noble effort, I will give him that. I also though Fatu was good enough in the ring to give him a singles run like this, so I am glad they made the effort. On a recent Superstars, the prim Helmsley sprayed Fatu with some cologne, which triggered their issues. Helmsley would try to spray Fatu again here but the Samoan slugged him and beat him around the ring off the bell, not even giving the Blueblood a moment to take his coat and shirt off. The crowd was fired up and counting along with Fatu as he clubbed away and knocked Helmsley to the floor. Back inside, Helmsley tried to fire back but when he attacked Fatu’s head, it backfired, natch. I mean, Vince did note that Fatu “has a really hard head” so there you go. Helmsley would finally duck a charge, causing Fatu to get tangled and hung in between the ropes. Helmsley was aggressive and hammered away at him and then dumped Fatu with a piledriver. He kept pouring on the offense, burying a knee to the midsection and continuously going for pin covers, which was a nice touch. Helmsley worked a chinlock for a bit before clocking Fatu with a clothesline for another near fall. Fatu rebounded and was able to whip Helmsley into the ropes but he ducked and gave the Blueblood an opening for the Pedigree, which he was then able to counter. The crowd was rallying as Fatu cracked Helmsley with a side kick and planted him with a backbreaker, capped with a headbutt off the middle rope for a two count. These guys are putting together a decent little match. Basic, but effective. Fatu crunched Helmsley with a bulldog and then headed to the top rope but Helmsley avoided his splash and drilled the Pedigree for the victory. That was perfectly acceptable wrestling and some fans in the front few rows were really pumped that Helmsley grabbed that win. This is a good role for Fatu because he is good at selling and has enough offense to make strong comebacks. Having him put over guys on their way up made perfect sense. Helmsley remains undefeated and then rips Fatu’s hygiene in a post match chat with the King. Unfortunately for him, Henry Godwinn showed up and tried to slop him, but he was able to hide behind Lawler and then scoot off unscathed. Grade: **
2) Smokin’ Gunns defeat 1-2-3 Kid & Razor Ramon to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Billy Gunn pins Kid with a roll-up at 12:44
Fun Fact: Leading into this match, the Kid and Razor were definitely not on the same page as a team. On the 10/2 episode of Action Zone, the two faced off on each other. Razor won the match, but Kid demanded that the match continue. Ramon won a second time, but again Kid wanted the match to continue. A third time Kid was pinned. The team finally walked away from ringside together after working out their differences…or did they?
Scott: This match is more about continuing the Kid/Razor storyline that an actual title defense. The Gunns were chasing Owen Hart and Yokozuna all summer, and then after the shenanigans at last month’s PPV they won the titles on Raw and are back at the top of the mountain. This storyline mirrors the Bret Hart/Owen Hart storyline of late 1993/early 1994. Some jealousy between the two as Kid’s tired of being Razor’s “little buddy” and wants to be treated like an equal to him. After some matches and tension during Raw, and miscommunication that led to Razor’s loss to Dean Douglas at last month’s PPV both guys seemed to have worked out their differences and (like Owen & Bret against the Quebecers at the 1994 Royal Rumble) the best friends get a shot at the tag straps. Maybe the only difference is that the Gunns are babyfaces and the Quebecers were heels. Lawler wasn’t totally defending anybody here and instead of egging Kid on to turn heel on Razor (like he did with Owen), he’s just making fun of all four good guys. However, as the match is progressing Kid is doing some subtle heel maneuvers a tag match would show, like pulling the top rope down and hitting a cheap shot on the opponent on the apron. Jim Ross has joined Vince and Lawler on commentary and although he still uses his southern-style of dishing stats and histories of wrestlers (like the fact the Gunns went to college on a rodeo scholarship), his detail-oriented commentary adds a lot to this match. The match was full of energy on both sides and the crowd was really into it (mostly because of Razor’s chance to win two titles on this night). In the climax, Razor hits the Razor’s Edge on Billy Gunn, but Kid wants to get in the match and get the coveted pin, but instead Billy Gunn reverses the pin attempt and gets the victory. You probably could see that coming but it needed to be done. The Kid then throws a temper tantrum, attacks Billy Gunn after the match and then steals the belts. Cooler heads prevailed and everyone leaves, but you can slowly see the turn that’s happening to the 1-2-3 Kid. Grade: **1/2
Justin: In an effort to appease his little buddy and held mend some fences, Razor Ramon agreed to team up with the 1-2-3 Kid in an attempt to pick up some gold. The Smoking Gunns regained their tag team titles the night after IYH3 and are back on top of the division after some time meandering around. In a prematch promo, Ramon and Kid vow that they are on the same page, right down to their color coordinated tights. As they enter, Jim Ross ponders if Ramon is truly now focused on this match now that he has that IC Title match looming for later in the night. Kid and Billy kicked things off with a basic back and forth, with neither man gaining an advantage before both tagging out. The crowd was super hot for Ramon as he and Bart tangled up with a similar trade off of holds. The match finally got going when Kid yanked the top rope down as Bart was whipped in, sending him crashing to the floor to a rowdy reaction. That was cool, like the fans were surprised Ramon & Kid would get a little dirty first. Ramon stomped away before tagging in Kid, who cracked Bart with a jump kick and a spin wheel kick before smacking Billy on the apron. I like this angry, aggressive Kid as it plays into the story perfectly. The challengers quick tagged (Ross noted six tags at this point) and worked in a nice double team spot when Ramon hoisted Kid up and threw him into Bart with a fallaway slam. They continued to work this way, really pounding on Bart with a mix of effective strikes until Ramon ducked his head and got spiked back to the mat. As Bart mounted a comeback, we saw Dean Douglas backstage, studying the action. Both men would make tags, but Billy was more aggressive and ran right through id and Ramon. He slammed Kid hard to the mat and dropped a big leaping elbow for a near fall. Vince noted here how both teams have been aggressive and bent the rules a bit and the ref has allowed it. I agree and it has made for a really fun match. Bart hit a series of backbreakers for a near fall and after a double team, Billy missed a charge to give Kid new life. After some shenanigans behind the ref’s back by Ramon and Bart, the match was effectively reset and on an even level. Ramon got the tag and pegged both champs with right hands and then dropped Billy with the Razor’s Edge. Before Ramon could cover, Kid begged him for the tag and the Bad Guy obliged. Kid confidently came over and laid on top of Gunn, but Billy quickly ruled him into a crucifix pin and got the victory to retain. I really enjoyed that match. It was hard hitting, aggressive, well worked and had a strong story woven in. The crowd loved it too. After the match, Kid snapped and took out both Gunns, leading to staredown between all four men. Vince really laid into Kid here, saying he blew his chance and shouldn’t be angry at the Gunns. The champs retain and Kid’s frustration continues to grow while Ramon has other business to now focus on. Grade: ***
3) Goldust defeats Marty Jannetty with a gourdbuster at 11:14
Fun Fact: Dustin Runnels’ wrestling career began in September 1988 in Championship Wrestling of Florida, based out of Tampa. In just over eight months, Dustin captured the Florida Heavyweight Championship for his first title reign, which lasted one month. He also moved around to WCW and Memphis in the first couple of years of his career. In late 1990, Dustin signed on with the WWF where he wrestled under the name Dustin Rhodes. His father, Dusty, was in the Federation as well and the two tagged together at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Dustin’s run in the WWF was short as he and his father both left the promotion shortly after this event. Dustin moved back to wrestling with the WCW where he had a four year run into 1995. During his time in WCW, he held the World Tag Team Championship with Barry Windham and the US title, however he was still in the shadow of his father, who was also with the company. In early 1995, he was fired from WCW because he and Blacktop Bully (Barry Darsow a/k/a Smash) both bladed during their “King of the Road” match at Uncensored (wrestling in the back of a moving flatbed truck). At this time, both WCW and WWF were trying to avoid blood on camera. Blading was against company policy, so they were both fired. When Dustin signed back on with the WWF, he was presented with a new character that was vastly different from what he has portrayed in the past. In fact, it was different from any character anyone had portrayed before. McMahon presented Dustin with the role of an androgynous character who dressed in a gold body suit and gold face paint, similar to an Academy award statue. He intentionally played mind games with other wrestlers through blatant sexual advances. The character was quite edgy for the time. The first Goldust vignette was on the July 24 edition of Raw. He wrestled a dark match at the IYH 3 PPV with Bob Holly, but this would be his debut television match. Shortly afterward, he would begin a program with Razor Ramon as his first feud in the Federation.
Fun Fact II: Marty Jannetty had just made yet another return to the company, as he had been gone since early 1994. He would stay a singles competitor until January before picking up a new tag team partner.
Scott: We have one of the most anticipated debuts in quite some time. Mostly because everyone knows who the person playing the character is, it’s just a question of how this person executes the gimmick and if he puts it over. Dustin Rhodes, for the majority of his career, worked as “The Natural” and wrestled like his dad, Dusty Rhodes. Lots of elbows and clotheslines and cowboy boots. Now he has to bring a special something to this character or else it will go the way of Phantasio earlier in the year. Remember Phantasio? You’re not the only one who doesn’t. His opponent has bounced around the business since his feud with former tag team partner Shawn Michaels in 1993, then briefly being tag team champions in 1994. Ross actually acknowledges his “personal demons” on commentary as Marty comes to the ring. Goldust’s entrance has incredible pomp and circumstance to it, concluding with gold confetti coming from the rafters. The “Ziggy Stardust” aspect of the character really doesn’t come out here until Vince says this Goldust is “androgynous”. I’m perplexed why Vince would say that since Dustin doesn’t take the character down that road for a few months. I mentioned cowboy boots earlier, and looking closer Goldust’s boots actually look close to gold cowboy boots. I never noticed that before. The match itself is pretty basic and Goldust’s offense is Dustin Rhodes with face paint. That’s fine with me as I always thought Dustin was a great worker who could go with anybody in any type of match. Jannetty tries to make the big comeback but in the end Marty is cut off by a boot to the face after trying a fist drop for the second time. Goldust hits what looks like a modified gourdbuster for the win. The match itself was pretty average but the character is fascinating and one that Vince can really push the envelope with, which during this creative time probably isn’t a bad thing. Grade: **
Justin: So, we have some stuff to discuss here. Marty Jannetty is back on the scene after having been turfed in early 1994. He was (relatively) cleaned back up and ready for another run through the midcard. And I liked the move a lot, just like Fatu, he was worth slotting into a role like this. His opponent is…interesting. Back in March, Dustin Rhodes was fired from WCW for blading without permission. The WWF scooped him up and decided to give him a whole new look to sever the ties to his family name, giving him a chance to make it out on his own. The gimmick was very, very unique and different than you would usually see in the company. An avid and obsessive movie lover and Hollywood star, Goldust was decked out in golden tights, facepaint, robe and a long, flowing wig. He moved methodically, constantly spoke in movie quotes and acted ambiguously and early reports about the gimmick assumed he wrestled with the wig on, which would have been interesting to say the least. He really took his time as he shimmied to the ring and out of his robe and wig while gold glitter fell all around him. His infamous thumping theme song echoed throughout the arena as the crowd sat in stunned silence. As soon as the lights came up, his charged Jannetty but the Rocker dodged him and hammered away. Jannetty knocked him to the floor as Ross noted Marty’s best offense is the hit and run style. Goldust started stalling a bit, avoiding all contact and meandering around on the floor to boos. Marty continued to keep Goldust off balance, taking him over with a head scissors, but each time Goldust popped up and shoved or smacked Marty, trying to bait him into losing his cool. After more of that hit and run offense, Goldust finally stopped Marty cold with a big clothesline. The crowd still seemed a bit unsure as Goldust went to work, dropping a forearm to the chest before hooking a chinlock. It is interesting that they went this route instead of a squash for Goldust’s first big match. A slow match with restholds and equal offense made him look a bit weaker than he should have out of the gate. Goldust continued to use his punches before dumping Marty outside, where he followed and rammed the Rocker into the steps. Marty turned the ride out there, using the steps as well but Goldust shoved him hard into the ring post to cut that short.
Goldust would take Marty back into the ring with a suplex and go back to the chinlock as Vince notes that there is a 100 year old woman in attendance tonight. After surviving multiple near falls, Jannetty was able to catch the bizarre one with a Rocker Dropper but Goldust avoided the top rope fist drop. Jannetty maintained control and again tried to come off the top rope, but this time Goldust caught him with a boot to the face and then finished him off with a gourdbuster. So, Goldust wins his first match and it was hard fought and worked fine, but it dragged on too long and Marty got far too much offense in while Goldust’s mainly consisted of chinlocks. The presence and aura is there but the rest of the package is still a bit rough around the edges. Goldust saunters to the back and for now we say…welp, see you later (Dumb & Dumber, 1994). Grade: *1/2
4) Mabel and Yokozuna wrestle to a double countout at 5:12
Fun Fact: Gorilla Monsoon forced these two to fight after they crushed the Undertaker’s face on the 10/9 Raw. In the match, Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, & Yokozuna defeated Diesel, Shawn Michaels, & the Undertaker. After the match, Diesel, Michaels, and Taker suffered a brutal beat down by their opponents, as well as King Mabel and Dean Douglas who joined in. As the brawl continued, the Undertaker sustained a broken eye socket at the hands of King Mabel which took him out of action for two months. The heat here also stems back to a Raw in September where MOM and Yoko & Owen battled over the tag belts on back to back weeks. Undertaker and Mabel were slated to battle here before the injury occurred.
Scott: This was an audible called by Gorilla Monsoon after Undertaker’s orbital bone was broken during the heel beatdown on RAW a couple weeks ago. So two big time heels (and we mean BIG time) meet here to fill the PPV slot. I really don’t know what you can really make of this match. Two big mammoth guys with almost no workrate, but I will always give the nod to Yoko because of his experience and that he is a former two-time WWF Champion. The announcers do their best with a combination of historical facts about past WWF big men to humorous quips about eating at buffets. Otherwise it’s a very slow, plodding mess. The five minutes go by very slowly as both men miss move after move and the crowd is pretty quiet watching two heels battle in an unwatchable mess. Honestly it’s more Mabel as he is just a trainwreck in the ring. Both men end up brawling around the ring and mercifully get counted out. This experiment (or place holder) failed and we can move on. Nothing more to see here. Grade: 1/2*
Justin: In what was originally supposed to be a King of the Ring rematch between King Mabel and Undertaker, we now have a battle of the very big men on tap. On Raw a couple weeks before this, there was a massive massacre of Diesel, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker and as part of that, Mabel accidentally busted Taker’s orbital bone with a legdrop, knocking him out of action. In his place is Yokozuna and conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Jim Cornette opined that Gorilla Monsoon was hoping these two would wipe each other out to help out the fan favorites. It wasn’t the worst idea in the world from a visual point of view. King Mabel’s suave swaying and dancing while being carried on his sedan made me laugh, I’ll admit it. We got the requisite staredown before the two behemoths started trading big right hands. After some regrouping, Mabel struck first with a big shoulder tackle that rocked the ring and got the crowd to gasp. Yoko would get knocked to the floor as Mabel has really dominating the early action. Back inside, Yoko was able to splash Mabel but missed a legdrop, followed by Mabel missing an elbow. Watching the ring shake each time they land has been cool and the crowd is buying into the spectacle as well. After a really badly missed bulldog by Mabel, Yoko again tumbled outside. This time Mabel followed him outside and all hell broke loose. Sir Mo would shove down Cornette and a moment later, Yoko lost his balance and fell on top of manager. With Yoko down and Mabel trying to catch his breath, the bell sounded to signify a double countout. Whatever. After the match, the beasts embraced in the ring, reigniting their partnership and metaphorically sticking the finger up at Monsoon. This…was…well, just about what you expected it to be. Grade: 1/2*
*** Shawn Michaels had been beaten down by a group of Marines in Syracuse. There are many conflicting stories as to what happened, but here is some of the background. On October 13, Michaels, Davey Boy Smith and Sean Waltman made the trip from a house show in Binghamton, NY to Syracuse where their next live show would be the next day. The three went to Club 37 and got drunk, at which point Michaels started hitting on a girl at the club. At this point the details start getting sketchy from the numerous stories. Michaels is approached by a group of Marines, with numbers ranging from two to double digits. Regardless of which version you choose to believe, the end result is the same. Michaels ends up getting the shit kicked out of him, putting out of action and resulting in him having to forfeit the IC title. Many people claim that if Shawn was healthy enough to walk to the ring and forfeit his title, he was healthy enough to job it out. This was not the first time Shawn gave up a title, and it would not be the last. ***
*** Dok Hendrix and Gorilla Monsoon are in the ring for our next segment. Dean Douglas comes out to the ring first, arrogantly smirking and ready to become a champion. Shawn Michaels made his way out next, decked out in some abhorrent street clothes and looking much more subdued than normal. As he slowly and sadly climbed in the ring, Ross notes that Michaels was advised by the Dallas Cowboys team doctor not to compete tonight due to his concussion and other injuries sustained during the Syracuse attack. Michaels was very slow in relinquishing, so the Dean finally walked over and yanked the title away, officially making him champion. As Douglas celebrated, Michaels walked off, forlorn and dejected, his title reign officially over. ***
5) Razor Ramon defeats Dean Douglas to win WWF Intercontinental Title with a back suplex at 10:59
Fun Fact: This win added fuel to the 1-2-3 Kid/Razor Ramon fire. Kid was pissed that Ramon didn’t care about losing the tag title match because he won the I-C Title later in the night. Kid claimed Ramon was selfish and didn’t care about him.
Scott: Well this match ties up a myriad of loose ends. First, after the beatdown in Syracuse (or whatever happened), Shawn Michaels had to forfeit the IC title to the Dean instead of being able to properly defend it. Now many consider this a Clique tactic so that A) Shawn gets the night off, and B) doesn’t actually have to job to a guy he didn’t like. So Dean Douglas is the new IC champion for about eleven minutes. It would be the last time Michaels would be the IC Champion and you could say on this night his true ascent to the top begins. Now Dean must defend the title against a man trying to make history. Earlier in the night Razor Ramon failed (thanks to his partner) to win his first Tag Team Championship but now can accomplish two things: First get revenge on Douglas for the loss at IYH #3, but also to become the first four-time IC Champion. They had good chemistry in their first encounter and here it was just as solid, with Douglas adapting to being a heel champion trying to avoid any of Razor’s big moves. Razor changed up the way he worked too, being more deliberate in the match with headlocks and other grappling holds. The match isn’t spectacular since they were probably winging it and it definitely should have been better than it was. We do get some controversy at the end where both men’s shoulders were down as well as each other’s arms on their chest, but Dean’s leg was underneath the rope during the count. Razor wins his fourth IC title, but Dean Douglas gets cheated. The match was fun but that ending kind of made no sense. Why would they hose a heel like Douglas? Well the title gets transferred from one Clique member to the next with Dean as nothing more than a conduit in a match. I am honestly perplexed why the match ended like that. Was that a backstage deal so the Clique could make Douglas (a vocal Clique detractor backstage) look like a schmuck? We will never know I guess. Razor Ramon is IC Champion again and we may have seen the last of a credible Dean Douglas character. Grade: **1/2
Justin: With our new champion officially crowned, he gets very little time to celebrate the moment as Razor Ramon saunters to the ring for his second attempt at winning some gold tonight. I actually didn’t mind Douglas getting handed the strap as it built up some good heat for him and he was the exact type of heel that could make it work. I think him sneaking out a cheap win here would build it up even more so, but we will see. Razor slid in the ring and went right at the Dean, smacking him with right hands and knocking the Dean to the floor to regroup. Back inside, Razor worked the arm a bit as Lawler went right to the “Ramon is an idiot” jokes in support of the Dean. Douglas was completely trapped as Ramon continued to hook the arm and wrist, in no rush to pick up the pace at all. Vince even notes that Ramon seems to not want to make any mistakes while King just assumes he is tired from his earlier bout. Douglas wriggled free but wildly charged at the challenger, who caught him and sent him flying with a fallaway slam. Ramon would clothesline the Dean to floor as the crowd erupted for the Bad Guy. Razor kept working the back now, setting up for the Edge as Douglas has gotten zero offense in at all. Weird booking for your new champion, essentially squashing him to this point, including Razor dumping water all over his head on the floor, Dean finally found an opening buy blocking an Edge with a backdrop to the floor. After a brief spurt on the floor, Dean tossed Razor inside and tried to come off the top rope, but Ramon caught him and dropped him with a chokeslam. Douglas again rebounded and tried a blind cross body but Razor rolled through for a near fall. The champ got a close two count off a dropkick, but Razor saved himself with the ropes. Ramon was definitely a bit gassed as Dean shot him into the corner. However, a moment later, Dean whiffed on a right hand and Razor took him over with a back suplex. With both men down, Ramon draped his arm over Dean. As the referee counted, Dean slid his leg under the ropes, but the ref missed it and counted to three. After some confusion, Ramon was announced as the new champion. What a debacle. The match was really sluggish and I have no clue why they thought this helped either guy. Douglas looked like a clown that couldn’t land any offense in on a guy that was wrestling his second match of the night. Ramon completely dominated him and then we get the stupid finish that just adds more cloudiness to an already shaky title picture that was coming off a forfeiture. It also hurt Ramon’s pop when he won as the crowd didn’t seem to understand what went down. Last month’s match was better and I still believe Dean should have just retained here and had a tight little run over the next month or so. Grade: *
*** Bret Hart chases off Jerry Lawler and takes over on commentary for the final match, as he had already been named #1 Contender for Survivor Series. ***
6) British Bulldog defeats Diesel by disqualification at 18:13; Diesel retains WWF World Title
Fun Fact: Bulldog received this title match as a result of attacking and turning his back on Diesel way back in August, when he solidified his heel turn.
Scott: I had high hopes for this match, for a few reasons. After some real stinkers during the summer, the WWF Champion seemed rejuvenated in the ring at the previous month’s PPV. The tag team main event preserved his energy and made him look cool and dominant again. Also, Bulldog is an experienced worker who could perhaps keep Diesel at bay and work to his strengths. Thirdly, it was announced that Bret Hart would face the winner of this match at Survivor Series, and Diesel has had a couple of his best matches against Bret, and we can’t forget SummerSlam 1992 either, in case Bulldog happened to win this match. In fact Hart mentions the 1992 match (and the family connection) at the announce table as he chased Lawler off and sat with Ross and Vince. Early on, Bulldog tries to lower Diesel down by working on the leg. Jim Cornette involves himself often by attacking Diesel’s leg on the outside of the ring. The match seems to lose its way about a third of the way in and turns into a slow, boring battle of restholds. Bulldog tries a Boston Crab as he tries to still work the legs over. Bret’s doing his best to analyze the match but his dry delivery is not helping the stagnant energy the match has. I understood the strategy of the more experienced Bulldog keeping Diesel grounded but it’s just not projecting to an exciting match. There’s no real story being told in the ring, other than Diesel lying around and not doing much of anything. Diesel’s character has always been the kind of guy who can’t survive a match with long rest segments, giving or receiving. He needs to continue to make great comebacks and then get caught in a cheating predicament. Instead Bulldog’s long, dull restholds and Diesel selling them like he’s taking a nap just killed the crowd. Perhaps this is finally the end of the line for Diesel as champion and they are prepping for Bret to take the mantle back as champion, something he hasn’t even sniffed since January. The worst thing is when Bulldog tries to put the Sharpshooter on Diesel but he fails miserably and it becomes a sloppy mess, falling all over the place. We get some shenanigans with Cornette late in the match, but Diesel’s pronounced limping from the leg work earlier slows things to a crawl again. Then out of nowhere while Bulldog is outside he slaps Bret in the face. Bret throws Bulldog into the ring and starts beating on him, which leads to a merciful disqualification. This entire match is a mess and the crowd couldn’t care less. Diesel and Bret start brawling as Diesel is pissed he lost the match. The crowd honestly doesn’t care, and they shouldn’t. We have another botched, messy main event and Vince finally realized it. Officials and babyfaces start trying to break the fight up. Bulldog is forgotten but apparently Vince didn’t forget. After the match Vince allegedly lambasted Diesel at the announce table for another stinker of a main event. He should have, because it was. Grade: *
Justin: For the first time in his extensive career, the British Bulldog is slated for a WWF Title match. After turning heel on Diesel back in August, Bulldog has really gained steam and reestablished himself as a player in the company. Diesel’s reign is limping along but he did get some juice back since IYH3 thanks to a stronger alignment of faces and heel at the top of the card. If he had this mix of talent back in May, maybe things would have gone differently. Bret Hart comes out to join on commentary as he would be facing the winner at Survivor Series, which was another positive development as it signaled the Hitman was finally moving out of the midcard and back into the main event scene. Again, more bolstering around the title. But was it too late? On paper, this was a good matchup and you would expect Diesel to get further back on track with it as he inches upon his one year anniversary as Champion. As Bulldog shouted at the crowd, Ross notes that some Native Canadians were bussed in from 1,000 miles away to watch the show. Poor bastards. Diesel was all over the Bulldog to start, rattling the challenger, who had attempted to attack the legs of the champ. Bulldog was able to land his first big shot in, a dropkick that sent Diesel crashing to the floor. When he landed, Diesel stumbled into the announce table, where Hart tried to assist but Diesel got pissed and pie faced the Hitman instead. As they jawed, Bulldog slid outside and cranked Diesel’s knee with a chop block, severely twisting momentum for the challenger. Back inside, Bulldog locked in a leg lace, which earned Bret’s approval as the Hitman noted the only way to beat the champ was to bust him down. The crowd burst into a loud “Diesel” chant as Bulldog slammed down on Diesel’s knee. Bulldog shrugged off a punch and kicked Diesel to the floor, where Cornette dropped an elbow and stomped on the champ’s knee, angering Hart. Back in the ring, Bulldog went right back to the same attack, mixing submission attempts with targeted strikes. That was bland, but Hart breaking down his family dynamics on commentary was interesting. Diesel would eventually hook a Boston Crab but Diesel powered out after a lengthy battle. Bulldog went right back to work though, stomping away and hooking the leg lace back on. Diesel started to figure ways out, clocking Bulldog across the head with a stiff leg, doing whatever he could to break the control. He would fend off the challenger but Bulldog booted him back down and locked in the Sharpshooter. It was a weak attempt and Hart calls him out for the sloppy application right away. Bulldog tried for a bodyslam but Diesel shifted his weight for a near fall. Bulldog then went for a powerslam but Diesel slipped out and caught him with a big boot. As Diesel rallied, the crowd heated up. Cornette ended up in the ring but he and Bulldog collided, leading to Diesel hobbling his way to slamming on Bulldog’s back, knocking him to the floor. Outside the ring, Bulldog spiked Diesel into the ring post and then smacked the headset off Hart. That drew Bret into the ring, triggering a DQ finish. Eh, I guess they had to do it. Bulldog couldn’t take the loss just yet and Diesel obviously wasn’t going to job the strap here. Still, another non finish to a Diesel title match doesn’t exactly give you warm and fuzzy feelings. It does set Bulldog up to have a claim to the title though. Diesel and Bret would brawl in the ring in a big pull apart fiasco as the show came to a fairly hot close. This was a frustrating match. It wasn’t actively bad and both guys kept working and didn’t get lazy despite the submission based work. The problem is the company, show and Diesel all needed something much hotter. This show was screaming for a wild main event and not a match based around leg work for 20 minutes. That was the real issue. Diesel’s reign was on life support and instead of a hot, wild match, we got this. A match that was just there and completely unmemorable. If this happened earlier in the year, it may not have hurt as badly. But happening now? Not good. Bulldog’s stock takes a bit of a hit but not enough to derail him. Diesel needs a miracle though. The product was picking up some steam, but like I mentioned above, was it too little, too late? Grade: **
Scott: This was another show that when I started watching it I wanted to really like it, like I did with last month’s show. The undercard is fun but nothing overwhelming. The matches were solid and much more hard hitting than earlier in the year, which shows Bill Watts’ influence during his short tenure booking. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley keeps his heat building with another PPV win. We had a fun tag title match that was probably better than it should have been. The entire Shawn/Dean/Razor situation was a mess, and it led to a slapped together Clique squash that effectively led Shane Douglas to leave the WWE and head back to the land of Extreme. Our main event could have saved the show and given Diesel his first great main event since April, but instead we get another slow, plodding affair with interference and a strange ending with Bret Hart interfering and costing Diesel the match, leading to a brawl at the end of the show. Bulldog felt forgotten at the end, making this match feel like a placeholder more than anything else. That’s kind of a raw deal for Bulldog, but he could have delivered something better and he didn’t. Diesel has been champion for just under a year and it’s had its highs, and most definitely its lows. Vince McMahon may feel it’s time for a change and looks to an established veteran to stem the bad tides. This show is not memorable and other than the surprisingly fun tag title match, there’s not much to see here. Final Grade: D
Justin: This show started off pretty well. The opener was solid and the tag title match was really good. And then the cliff came. And then we fell off it. Goldust/Jannetty was ok on the surface but nothing worth writing home about. Mabel/Yokozuna was nothing. Ramon/Douglas was a major disappointment and exercise in poor booking. The main event was fine in a vacuum but from a big picture point of view, it was a real letdown. If they had worked a different style and had a wild brawling type war, I think we all feel a bit differently about Diesel’s reign in these last few months. Since SummerSlam, it has been better and with stronger booking and talent in the main event scene, things could have been salvaged. Instead, we get a plodding, limb work based outing with a non finish. The crowd was great on this night, cheering for everything and even fighting through the slow spots to stay invested. They likely deserved more. Especially those poor natives that travelled the 1,000 miles. With the on screen product experiencing a little bounce back, we head into Survivor Series with a strong main event already locked in. Will Diesel’s reign finally come to an end? Or will the Hitman once again be shuttled out of the title picture heading into 1996? See you in DC. Final Grade: D