In 1995, the WWF was a weird place.
A ‘New Generation’ was taking place- with the bravado and panache of the 1980s, moving away but not yet being replaced with the edgy, grungy content of the Attitude Era.
There were a lot of gimmicks centered around occupations, Bret Hart ran roughshot…and the company had it’s most infamous year to date.
James Dixon detailed all this in his book Titan Sinking: The Decline of the WWF in 1995, and In Your House 4 was part of said entity.
And it is absolutely no surprise that this show is known as the worst In Your House show ever.
So, with Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg announcing the return of the accommodation-based sensation, this installment of Terrible Wrestling Thursday will discuss one of the worst shows in WWF history.
Let’s stay indoors!
The First Hour
I’m going to put the entire first hour of the show into one segment as the show is infamously known for the final hour – comprising of two segments.
So, here’s the first hour.
Very average wrestling happens across a few matches.
All men involved – featuring names such as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Fatu, the 1-2-3 Kid and more – definitely don’t do anything wrong during their matches, but they’re just…existing in the background as we keep getting random cuts to Dok Hendrix trying to flog some of the most ’90s merchandise you’ve EVER seen.
The best match is probably Razor Ramon/123 Kid vs The Smoking Gunns, but it’s still not saying a lot.
This generation is looked back at with fondness, when thinking of individuals such as Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart redefining the industry…not necessarily pre-Triple H Paul Levesque struggling to beat young Rikishi. Ah well – it’s definitely not the worst stuff on this show.
The ‘Dean Douglas’ Debacle
Right, we’re starting to get to the REALLY bad stuff now.
The show starts with Interim WWF President, Gorilla Monsoon, announcing that Shawn Michaels is not medically cleared to compete and must vacate his Intercontinental Championship. The reason given on TV was “a concussion” however, in reality, it was due to Michaels getting into, and losing, a bar fight in Syracuse.
The controversy behind this angle stems from Shawn’s apparent reluctance to lose to Dean Douglas, which was typical of Michaels’ personality at the time. Famed for being infamously hard to work with during this troubling period in his life, The Heartbreak Kid apparently refused to drop the belt to Douglas in a match.
Therefore, it was organised that Michaels would hand the belt to Douglas who would then immediately lose it to fellow Kliq member Scott Hall/Razor Ramon. With the knowledge of this situation, this 30 minutes is incredibly hard to watch, knowing the destructive forces behind it all.
The Main Event
And now for something bad, purely from an in-ring perspective!
A common joke over in World Championship Wrestling was that the WWF was struggling, running on ‘Diesel Power’, which was a reference to the world championship reign of Big Daddy Cool Diesel, or Kevin Nash.
And this match is often thought of as the pinnacle of his misfortune.
The world title run wasn’t going well already but, when looking on paper, coming up against Davey Boy Smith, in Canada, is probably going to be good!
Sadly, it’s terrible.
In almost 35 minutes, somehow, absolutely nothing happens. Like…it’s just Bulldog targeting Diesel’s leg and then Diesel just hulking up and completely ignoring it.
AND THE MATCH ENDS IN DQ.
A main event, for the world title, just…ends. In a disqualification after Bret Hart attacks his brother-in-law.
Vince McMahon apparently, once the show was over, is quoted throwing his commentary headset to the ground and shouting ‘Horrible, ****ing horrible!’ and The British Bulldog reportedly apologised to all road agents when he got back through the curtain due to how terrible the main event went.
If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, go and watch it.
It’ll be worth it. Honest.
Somehow, on a show with three championship matches and a title vacation, it’s one of the most boring shows I’ve ever seen.
And I think I now understand the issue with the company during this time. There was nothing necessarily awful on the show, it was just so dull.
WCW was starting to properly kick into high gear at this time so it is absolutely no surprise they enjoyed the winning share of the TV ratings moving forward.
Kevin Nash definitely has the perfect image for a champion. He’s intimidating, imposing and genuinely cool to look at. But you need that little guy, like Shawn Michaels was, working off him during matches to make him click (ha, pun). When you take that way, Nash struggles.
However, I had to relive that main event, he didn’t, so…I think he still owes me.
You can find me on Twitter @McIverTheMark