This was my first pay-per-view, so it stands to reason that it’d be my first review/recap. Watching this one back, as I have, the opinion I had in 1995 is significantly different from the one I have now.
I’d mentioned the Undertaker/Mable match from this show in my bio:
I thought it was the coolest fucking shit I had ever seen.
At this point in my life, wherein I have seen:
- Cody Rhodes win the NWA title
- Mankind fall through the roof of a cell
- Sting rappel down from the rafters to make Hulk Hogan shit himself (Fun Bonus Fact: as a shoot, I do not like Hulk Hogan, brother.)
- The Young Bucks superkick the tits off of literally anyone
- Madison Square Garden erupt for Marty Scurll
…that match was so far from cool, or even good. It was flat-out hard to watch. Overall though, even today, the entire show was decent. I may be adding credence to its worth because of its meaning in my life as a fan, but I’m allowed to do that.
This is all opinion.
In Your House 5 took place on December 17, 1995. It drew 7,289 fans to the Hershey Park Arena in Hershey, PA. Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Todd Pettengill worked the sticks, with Jeff Jarrett providing special commentary for the Ahmed Johnson/Buddy Landel match. Earl Hebner & Tim White were your referees.
1.) Tag-Team Match: Marty Jannetty & Razor Ramon defeat Sycho Sid & 1-2-3 Kid (w/ Ted DiBiase Sr.) via pinfall
Sycho Sid and Sean Waltman teamed up after an episode of Raw wherein Sid faced Razor Ramon. Waltman was the special guest referee (a sorely missed gimmick in the modern wrasslin’ world) and cost Razor the match. After, Waltman joined Sid & Ted DiBiase Sr. in the Million Dollar Corporation. That aside, Sid & the Kid was a pretty catchy tag-team name, and Sean Waltman could make anyone look good in the ring. The two never won the tag belts, but that could have worked, and I think it may have if Sid hadn’t gotten injured.
This was a solid mid-level feud, and a solid opening match. The crowd responded well to both teams’ entrances. The match itself was not earth-shattering, but not terrible either. It started with Waltman and Jannetty. Given the back story here, you can see the angst in Waltman every time Jannetty seems to almost tag in Razor. When that time comes, Razor proceeds to hit Waltman with a toothpick flick and a slap. Sid tags himself in, and quickly gains the upper hand. You see some pop-worthy stuff in a fairly crisp double-clothesline. When the next tags are made, the screen goes split as Todd Pettengill interviews a Razor-stalking Goldust. This is very clearly leading to a feud between the two of Razor and Goldust. Even at the tender age of 6, I could tell they either had heat or were about to. As an aside, Dustin Rhodes is – even to this day – a criminally underrated worker. To be given such an odd and clearly unappealing (to the 90s wrestling crowd) gimmick and make a twenty-plus year career out of it shows an unparalleled level of professionalism and talent. Coming out of that split-screen interview, Sid catches Jannetty with a powerslam. Razor winds up getting the hot tag, but fails to hit Sid with the Razor’s Edge. A failed leg-drop from Sid leads to a bulldog from Razor. Razor Ramon and Marty Jannetty go over via pinfall on the heels representing the Million Dollar Corporation. (Match time: 12 minutes, 22 seconds)
Match rating: 5.47/10 – Average
2.) Ahmed Johnson defeats Buddy Landel (w/ Dean Douglas) via pinfall
Prior to the next match, Jerry Lawler climbs into the ring with a returning J – E – DOUBLE F! J – A – DOUBLE R – E – DOUBLE T!! King explains Jarrett’s recent absence away by telling the fans he was promoting a world tour, and then presenting Jarrett with a gold album. Double J then declares himself the first participant in the 1996 Royal Rumble, before sitting with the commentary team.
This match was supposed to be Douglas vs. Johnson, but Douglas was out of action with a back injury. After his entrance, Douglas tells the fans he can’t wrestle, and introduces Buddy Landel – his graduate student. Landel is very evidently emulating Ric Flair, who was employed at the time by Dubya-C-Dubya. Landel’s entrance music is even from Flair’s WWF run.
It took me about 42 minutes to write this whole piece, but this particular match was over in 42 seconds. Johnson quickly hits Landel with the Pearl River Plunge – a criminally underrated finisher, and one of my favorites. When Johnson was on, which wasn’t often, that finisher was cool as fuck. For reference:
King interviews Johnson after the match, which leads to both this heinous insult…
Let me tell you something, you Achy Breaky Heart wannabe.. you’re a fake!
…as well as the two men mixing it up a bit before Jarrett hits Johnson with his gold album.
When grading this one, I took into consideration the entire segment, which – full disclosure: I enjoyed more than most people seemed to. (Match time: 42 seconds)
Match rating: 2.26/10 – Awful
3.) Arkansas Hog Pen Match: Triple H defeats Henry O. Godwinn
I am a fan of gimmick matches, so long as the gimmick makes sense. To be fair, the Godwinns being rancid hicks from Arkansas sets up use of this particular gimmick very well. However, I am not a fan. I get it… I understand the rules: first man to dump his opponent into the hog pen wins. I see the relevancy given Henry O’s backstory. I get the irony in a blue blood like Triple H being involved in this kind of match. I’m just not a fan. That’s how this works sometimes.
Two things in particular irked me about this match: 1.) Hillbilly Jim, the special guest referee, never called for the bell to start the match. 2.) 77% of the match went by before anyone on commentary laid out the rules.
But I digress.
Triple H responds to getting slopped by taking Godwinn out to the hog pen, which was situated off to the side of the entrance ramp. Triple H goes for a semi-early pedigree, which is reversed into a backdrop. Hunter is then forced to cling to the hog pen fence for dear life, before succeeding in fighting off Godwinn – who receives an elbow drop for his troubles. The action heads back to the ring briefly before coming back to the pen. Godwinn attempts a reverse DDT on Triple H, who fights it off once but not twice. Godwinn then charges at Triple H, but gets body-dropped into the pen to take the L.
It’s not enough for Triple H to get the win, because he mixes it up with Hillbilly Jim, which winds up being a mistake after he himself winds up in the pen. Seeing Triple H slip and slide around in (working) pig shit is almost heart-warming to me. Watching this one back, I think I liked it more than I wanted to. (Match time: 8 minutes, 58 seconds)
Match rating: 4.35/10 – Below Average
3.5) Things get mildly *wEiRd* between Razor & Goldust ft. Todd Pettengill.
4.) Owen Hart w/ James E. Cornette defeats Diesel by disqualification
Kevin Nash was one of my favorites growing up. When I played WCW/nWo Revenge on my old N64, I was always him. Always. He was to that game what Michael Vick was to Madden 2004. Having said that, Nash wasn’t a good worker in real life, I know that now. Plus Owen Hart is my all-time favorite, so this match tasted real different this time around.
The lead-up to this match was fairly decent. Owen and Shawn Michaels worked to a referee stoppage on the Raw after Survivor Series due to an injury Owen inflicted on HBK. Nash and HBK were Kliq-mates, so inserting him into a program with Owen made sense.
The match itself did not. Owen deserved allot more than a 4-plus minute squash, and I’d even venture to say that Nash did as well. And Owen had every bit of the talent needed to make Nash look for a longer period of time.
But lo, ’twas a squash.
Both guys did get some moves in. Then Owen took a big boot (another move I really like) from Nash, then the jackknife powerbomb prior to an insulting foot-first, intentional two-count. Nash pulls Owen up and in for a second powerbomb, shoves the referee, and then finishes the move.
Owen took the L in getting his ass beat, but he technically won the match by DQ. As far as squash matches go, this was alright. It worked with storyline, Nash being an angry behemoth exacting revenge and all. But the match is not what it could have been had they put real solid work in. Owen was a phenomenal worker by anyone’s standards, & Nash had just been the WWF Champion (and yes he was the worst-drawing champ in modern history – but his run also came at a time when business was documented to be on the down-swing, so that couldn’t have been his fault.) This one does get some points back because of how well it tied into the back story, but there is no doubt in my mind if this one went 15 minutes that Owen could have given Nash a good or even great match. (Match time: 4 minutes, 34 seconds)
Match rating: 3.44/10 – Bad
4.5) Savio Vega and Santa Claus hand out presents before being rudely interrupted by Ted DiBiase Sr. Vega and DiBiase have an exchange, and then Santa turns on Vega because everyone has a price. Santa and Vega brawl up the entrance ramp where it is revealed Santa isn’t Santa – he’s eventual ECW legend Balls Mahoney, though his identity is not referenced on the pay-per-view.
5.) Casket Match: The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer defeats King Mable w/ Sir Mo
I really like the Undertaker, and I really appreciate Mabel’s body of work. That sounds odd, but from a human standpoint, there was a place in wrestling for Mabel. He was as charismatic as a dude that large could be. However, he worked stiff and at (most) times, sloppy – ie: Undertaker’s mask here was needed due to an orbital bone broken by Mabel months prior to this show.
I appreciate how this match unfolded in theory, if not in practice. Both Mo and Mabel were involved in the match, with Mabel fruitlessly attempting to wear Undertaker down. Mo distracts Taker a couple of times, which leads to Mabel being in a position to get ahead. The second time, Mabel is set up to hit Taker with a leg drop. Mo is then successful in putting Taker’s unconscious body into the casket, but for whatEVER reason neither of the Mabel nor Mo think to close the casket. That fact bothers me to this day. You had one job..
Quite expectedly, Taker finds his way out of the open casket to hit Mabel with a clothesline, a chokeslam, and a big boot into the casket. Mo tries to intervene and gets a chokeslam and spot in the casket as well for his troubles. Taker takes back the urn that Mabel and Mo had smelted down to a chain and secures the win.
Overall, a semi-entertaining match but piss-poor work rate. It really could have been worse though, which I took into consideration in my rating, kind of like a grading curve. (Match time: 6 minutes, 11 seconds)
Match rating: 3.02/10 – Bad
6.) WWF World Title Match: Bret Hart defeats Davey Boy Smith w/ James E. Cornette & Diana Smith
Playing Pokémon back in the day, there was always a period in the game where the player had to grind for a few hours, days, and/or weeks to progress. Level-grinding, the youths call it these days. Watching this pay-per-view is kind of akin to level-grinding. We just waded through some riff-raff, not all terrible, but still riff-raff. And now, the pay off.
The main motherfucking event.
AND. IT. DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT.
The crowd is into it, and even busts out an “E-C-Dub” chant at one point.
I’m letting you know now, I too am into it. I adore Bret and Davey Boy so my rating my be mildly inflated by the end of this.
Bret started the match with the upper hand, but Bulldog quickly gained control and puts Bret into the tree-of-woe. With the referee’s back to him, Jim Cornette hits Bret with that goddamned tennis racket, which set up a near fall. And then another. Then Bret counters Bulldog for a piledriver for yet another near fall. started off hot, and eventually busts Bret open on the ring steps. When the action winds up outside the ring, Davey busts Bret open on the ring steps. Taking advantage of this, Davey hits Bret with a piledriver himself, and another near fall.
It’s real tough trying to cram all this action into word form, there’s allot of counters, reversals, and near-falls.
Davey shoves off a sharpshooter, and both go down after dual clotheslines. Upon recovery, Davey winds up outside the ring. Bret attempts a springboard splash, which Davey counters into his powerslam. When the action gets back to the ring, we see another two-count. Then a superplex by Bret, and another near fall that Bret did not take kindly to. Davey takes advantage of Bret disputing the count with a roll-up, which Bret reverses for another near fall. The match ends after with Bret gets Davey in a magistral cradle for the pinfall. (Match time: 21 minutes, 9 seconds)
Match rating: 8.89/10 – Good
6.5) The show closes with Undertaker and Nash mixing it up over who’s the rightful top contender for the WWF title belt that Nash had JUST lost in the month prior.
This was a solid pay-per-view. I look back on it allot more fondly than I probably should though, because it was my first. It’s like the first set of boobs I’d ever seen. Were they great? No, but at the time I wasn’t sure if it got any better.
And it did get better. At this point in time, we are only a few short years away from the irrefutable Golden Age™ of wrasslin’.
In Your House 5 settled in at a 4.57/10 for me, which is allot better than it seems. The final rating is a tad misleading though, because the main event alone made the show watchable. If for any reason that match missed, this could have easily been a 2/10 or 3/10 situation. The consensus on this one is that it was a very good show, and I can see why other people rate it so highly. I think allot of that lies in the quality of the main event. Which I appreciate and respect, but what I’m going for here is an all-encompassing grade for the entire show from start to finish.
Event rating: 4.57/10 – Below Average
- Bret/Bulldog was enjoyable and re-watchable for both casual fans and the Smarks.
- Taker/Mabel was watchable if you can stomach solid gimmicks paired with a bad work rate.
- Triple H/Henry O was watchable if you can stomach bad gimmicks paired with solid work rate.
- The tag match opening the show was good enough to warrant an average rating, which is saying something considering Sid was involved.
- You could fast forward through everything else and not miss a beat.