To celebrate 25 years since the first In Your House PPV, WWE recently revealed that NXT will bring back the show name next month.
Last week say Matthew Roberts hop into the TWM Time Machine™ and look for the most memorable moments from the In Your House series…both good and bad, so let’s revisit his retrospective on the cusp on the Attitude era.
Shawn Loses His Smile, Four Men Battle For His Gold (In Your House 13 :Final Four)
Sometimes, when a promotion is backed into a corner and has to come up with solutions on the fly, magic can happen. HBK famously losing his smile and being forced into possible retirement due to a knee injury (only to come back three months later moonsaulting off the top turnbuckle) threw booking plans for WrestleMania season into disarray.
The solution was to put the now vacated World Title on the line in a four way match between Bret Hart, Vader, The Undertaker and Steve Austin.
The Best ‘B’ Show Ever (In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede)
For the main event alone this would be a memorable show.
Hometown advantage for the Hart Foundation (consisting of Bret Hart, Brian Pillman, The British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart) against Ken Shamrock, Goldust, The Legion of Doom and Steve Austin meant that their match unfolded in front of one of the hottest crowds in WWE history.
The action matched the atmosphere too. If you’re having a discussion about the greatest WWE bouts you have to take this one into consideration.
But that’s not all we got here.
There was a riotous HHH/Mankind match that may have technically ended in a double countout but carried on long after the bell had rung. The Great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku started off wrestling to a wall of silence but within ten minutes had won the crowd over and gave brief hope that a WWE Light Heavyweight Division could actually work.
Throw in arguably Vader’s best singles match in WWE opposite The Undertaker and you have a four match mini-card that is more comparable to more recent NXT Takeover events than it was to your typical WWE show of the time.
JR Gets Stunned (In Your House 17: Ground Zero)
Due to the serious injury Steve Austin got at Summerslam 1997, he and Dude Love had to forfeit their World Tag Team Titles.
Naturally, Stone Cold wasn’t best pleased about this and he threw his belt down at the feet of then-WWE Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter.
When Jim Ross, who was in the ring to mediate proceedings, said that he felt that while he wished Austin could wrestle he understood the WWE making the decision for Austin’s society, he received a Stunner.
This was, let’s not forget, two weeks before that famous first stunner on Vince McMahon in Madison Square Gardens. It was clear that the direction of the WWE was changing forever…
The First (And Best) Hell In A Cell Match (In Your House 18: Badd Blood)
Some people will no doubt be saying “but Undertaker vs. Mankind was at King of The Ring”.
But, while that was and will no doubt forever remain the most FAMOUS Hell In A Cell Match, the original one took place at In Your House Badd Blood and remains the best in-ring one we’ve ever seen.
It made logical sense (the two had gone to a chaotic no contest the previous month) to have the two locked in the Cell with no means of escape and no means of anyone else entering.
In true wrestling fashion that didn’t prove to be true as the two battled in and out of the structure. We also had the other memorable moment of the end of the match featuring the debut of The Undertaker’s Brother, Kane. He made an immediate impact (not least, thanks to Taker’s selling of the sight of him) and, although no-one would have guessed at the time, it was the beginning of one of the WWE’s most enduring characters of the last 25 years.
When Savio Vega Replaced Shawn Michaels (In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas)
Ok, so there is an argument that Shawn Michaels is irreplaceable.
And pretty much anything the WWE could have done to take his place in the eight man match that headlined this show would have been a disappointment of sorts.
But it still seems some form of rib that they would choose Savio Vega.
Regardless, the non-sanctioned tag match that pitted Vega, The New Age Outlaws and Triple H against Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie was a riot and is worth a watch in it’s own right.
The Inferno Match (In Your House 21: Unforgiven)
It might be lost to history that this night also saw the first ever WWE Evening Gown match.
But it would take something special to overshadow Sable and Luna Vachon tearing at, and ripping apart, each other clothes. And the WWE’s first ever Inferno match certainly fits the bill.
Admittedly as a “match” it was hardly Flair/Steamboat, but the cool visuals of the fire around the ring made for a unique atmosphere and you couldn’t pay me enough to wrestle in this kind of match where one wrong move could have had serious consequences.
The Dungeon Match (In Your House 23: Fully Loaded)
Thinking outside the box, a la the Boneyard Match, is nothing new for the WWE.
In 1998, they took Ken Shamrock and Owen Hart (alongside guest referee Dan Severn) to the Hart Family Dungeon in Calgary for a match. While it may have seemed a little incongruous for Owen to be going toe-to-toe with Shamrock in “MMA” style, hometown advantage played into things and the two assembled a good little match given the obvious limitations of the gimmick setting.
A Catchphrase Is Born (In Your House 25: Judgment Day)
The main event of this show, which pitted Kane against The Undertaker in a match for the vacant World Title wasn’t very good to be honest.
It was very much smoke and mirrors with the addition of Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee, with the stipulation from Vince McMahon that if Austin didn’t crown a new champion he would be fired.
Naturally he didn’t.
Instead he refused to count a Taker pin after a tombstone on Kane, hit a stunner and counted a double pinfall on both by himself and declared him the winner.
I guess as a microcosm of the ills of the Attitude Era, this would cover a lot of bases. And yet, it was memorable for one thing in a good way.
As a result of this mess of a main event, for the first time ever Vince uttered that small phrase that would become one of his most well know catchphrases…”You’re Fired!”
McMahon Faces Austin In A Cage (In Your House 27: St Valentines Day Massacre)
Although some would say the true days of In Your House ended earlier, this was the last ever PPV, until NXT Takeover resurrected it, that bore the strap line of “In Your House”.
And what a way to finish it, with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon finally meeting one-on-one in a proper match; a Steel Cage match nonetheless.
Of course the finish where new WWE signing Paul “The Giant” Wight tore a hole in the canvas to make his way into the match for his WWE debut was nothing new (see above), and it seemed a let down that it was his interference that ending up costing Vince the match as he threw Austin through the cage meaning Austin’s feet touched the floor and he won.
Still, it was a moment to remember…
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON. Thanks for reading!