Although not headline-grabbing or remembered for its in-ring action, In Your House 1 from May 14th, 1995 holds an important piece of historical significance towards the WWE eventually holding twelve plus monthly major pay per view, sorry- Premium Live Events, each year.
In the mid-90s game of cat and mouse between WCW and WWE, both companies were trying to outdo each other by increasing their monthly special events to increase pay per view revenue and name value in the fight to be the number one wrestling company in the world. To do this they started having more and more pay per view events, and the WWE (WWF at the time) used the “In Your House” series as monthly major shows to link between their signature events: Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, King of the Ring, SummerSlam and Survivor Series.
This, along with the Nitro vs Raw feud caused a significant change in booking strategies fans had been used to up to that point in time. Fans were used to long drawn out storylines, culminating in big matches at one of the five signature big events. The start of monthly major shows and the Monday Night Wars caused both companies to hotshot angles and provide major matches more frequently than they had previously, often throwing them out on a weekly basis.
Due to this switch, feuding main eventers were clashing weekly on Raw or Nitro, or at least monthly on these new pay per views both companies had introduced. WCW was creative in their naming with Uncensored, The Great American Bash and World War III all debuting in 1995, joining the likes of SuperBrawl, Halloween Havoc and Starrcade as regular yearly events. The WWF went a bit conservative in creating the “In Your House” series, although they did start to name the shows individually at IYH #7 “Good Friends Better Enemies”. And it took until 1998 for WWE to drop the In Your House name, starting with No Way Out in February.
In Your House 1: Bret Hart Vs. Hakushi
If you are looking for recommendations from the show then Bret Hart vs Hakushi would be one of them. Although some did not like it, I always enjoyed the Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler storylines, and this Hakushi match was part of the Hart vs Lawler 1995 series. Bret would face Lawler later in the show, so this match was set up to weaken Hart before he got his hands on his main focus.
Technically the match was excellent, and it even gave us a great piece of storytelling with the finish. During the match, it looked as though Hart had hurt his knee after a Hakushi Asai moonsault. Then when trying to leave the ring after his victory roll win, he injured his knee more and hobbled out of the arena. Backstage Lawler wanted to hotshot the match and get his hands on Hart now that he was injured, but he had to wait until later.
In Your House 1: Bret Hart Vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
When the time came for the match, Lawler was arrogant and cocky waiting for his injured opponent to come down and face the inevitable loss. But when Hart appeared he was clearly playing possum as he showed no signs of injury and looked eager to get his hands on Lawler. The King’s expression quickly changed as he realised he had been outsmarted by Hart and now was set up to face a fresh and injury-free Hart.
Their match was mainly Hart exacting his revenge on Lawler by beating him around the ring, with the story of this being Bret’s second match of the night and he should eventually run out of steam. That did not happen, but the referee got distracted, Hakushi interfered and Lawler won with a roll-up on the out-numbered Bret.
Hart got some revenge after the match by battering Hakushi’s manager, but the Lawler vs Bret feud would continue after this with Bret eventually getting his revenge on Lawler in their “Kiss My Foot Match” at King of the Ring the following month.
In Your House 1:Razor Ramon Vs. Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie (Road Dogg)
Razor Ramon defeated Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie to continue the Razor vs Double J feud, but at the conclusion of the match the dastardly duo injured Razor’s knee in the second match in a row we had an injury angle play a part. This was also significant as it was the debut of Savio Vega who came to save Razor and Aldo Montoya from Jarrett and Roadie’s post-match attack.
In Your House 1: Owen Hart & Yokozuna Vs. The Smoking Gunns (Billy Gunn & Bart Gunn)
Owen Hart and the humungous Yokozuna retained the tag team titles against the Smoking Gunns when Yoko leg dropped Bart onto the outside. And the equally humongous Mable qualified for the 1995 King of the Ring by quickly defeating Adam Bomb.
In Your House 1: Diesel Vs. Sycho Sid
The main event was for the WWF Championship with champion Diesel defending against fellow big man Sycho Sid. Diesel would win the match but by disqualification after Tatanka and Ted DiBiase would interfere and put the boots to the champion. This would lead to newly turned face Bam Bam Bigelow (after his WrestleMania loss to Lawrence Taylor) to make the save for the champ and set up the King of the Ring tag team main event for the next major show.
So as you can see, the show did not grab any headlines for the in-ring action or produce many significant moments. The show itself was more of a build to King of the Ring. But it was significant in showing that the monthly pay per view could be successful and would not water down or engulf the PPV marketplace. This showed that wrestling fans could handle a big show each month, on top of the ever-growing importance of the weekly television shows being produced by WWE and WCW.
Looking back on this show 27 years later to the day, and knowing the vast amount of wrestling available each day of the week at the touch of a button, one could point a finger at this event being a pivotal moment in creating the smorgasbord of wrestling options we have at our disposal today.