Friday, 2 January 2015

PPV REVIEW: In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - VHS cover
July 23, 1995
Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee

With a steadying decline in attendance reflective of the rapidly decreasing product they were putting out on television, things were not exactly looking all that rosy for the World Wrestling Federation in the summer of 1995.

Still, for all their problems, the company did have their rare moments of good stuff that year. Sadly, very few of them were on display as the WWF headed down to Nashville for a country-themed PPV in which Jeff Jarrett grabbed more screen time than half the roster combined.

Here's what went down.

In Your House - Country Style
'The World Wrestling Federation, for over fifty years, the revolutionary force in sports entertainment,'  following this now-memorable intro, In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks began with a country-rock song whose highly imaginative refrain of 'In Your House, we're in your house tonight,' was spliced with footage of tonight's biggest stars.

That led us to Vince McMahon and his impassioned greeting, welcoming each of us to Nashville for what he promised to be an explosive night of action. Sure, it was the same stuff McMahon always said, but this writer can't help but feel as though WWF pay per views really lost something without McMahon growling his way through the show's opening.


McMahon's country themed attire was only marginally better than that of his broadcast partner, Jerry 'The King' Lawler, who was delighted not only by the prospect of Sid squashing Diesel in tonight's main event, but also by the idea of listening to Jeff Jarrett sing his hit single later in the show.

Speaking of Jarrett, it was his underling, The Roadie who kicked off tonight's event.

123 Kid vs. The Roadie
For the second straight pay per view in a row, the Road Dogg played a significant part in one of the best matches on the show.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - 123 Kid faced The Roadie in an awesome opening match
Both Roadie and 123 Kid went at it in an exciting, fast-paced encounter that was highly enjoyable from the pre-bell moment the Kid attacked Roadie in the ilse, all the way to the latter's match winning second-rope piledriver.

Not that McMahon and Lawler gave them thought, mind you. Instead, they spent most of the time talking about Jeff Jarrett's singing debut and cutting to the back, where the outgoing Intercontinental Champion was shown preparing for his big performance.
Your Winner: The Roadie

Post match, the victorious Roadie took the time to check Jarrett's microphone on a waiting stage as the commentators reminded us for at least the fifteenth time that Double J would be singing later on.

Welcome to Sid's Asylum
Backstage, Todd Pettingill caught up with the Million Dollar Corporation, all of whom were hopeful about their man Sid and his chances in tonight's WWF Championship Lumberjack Match. Playing up to the idea of the former Mr. Justice being a little psycho, Corporation boss Ted Dibiase claimed to have bought the best outpatients in town in the form of the heel lumberjacks, whilst Tatanka was adamant that Big Daddy Cool wouldn't stand a chance in Sid's 'asylum'.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Todd Pettengill interviews the Million Dollar Corporation
Much to the amusement of his team mates, Sid then delivered the same 'I am the Master and the Ruler of the World' promo that he did at every show, and with that, it was back to the ring.

Men on a Mission (King Mabel and Sir Mo) vs. Razor Ramon & Savio Vega 
In my WWF King of the Ring 1995 review, I did claim that the WWF never really followed up on the fledgling rivalry between Razor Ramon, Savio Vega, Mabel and Mo.

Corrected I may be here, though I offer no apology for sending anything relating to Mabel's main event push as far away from my memory as I possible.

Said push continued here as the gargantuan monarch and his sidekick flattened their adversaries in a fairly tedious tag match which went on for much longer than it had any need to.
Your Winners: Men on a Mission 

Just in case you'd forgotten that this was supposed to be the Jeff Jarrett show, cameras next showed Todd Pettingill goofing around with the live band. After tormenting the drummer, Petengill sent it to the back, where Doc Hendrix looked to put paid to the rumours that one of Diesel's lumberjacks had sold out to the Million Dollar Man.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Man Mountain Rock denied selling out to Ted Dibiase
Hendrix seemed to have a plausible reason for suspecting the Smoking Gunns (they'd arrived in new pick up trucks), Bam Bam Bigelow (a former association with Dibiase) and even Man Mountain Rock (could Dibiase be the benefactor for Mr. Rock's new tour?), though the only reason he had to suspect Adam Bomb was that the Bomb Squad leader's name came first in the alphabet.

As it turned out, each man swore to be firmly on the WWF Champion's side, and the whole thing was never spoken of again.

Jeff Jarrett - With my Baby Tonight
Finally, after much hype and hullabaloo, it was time for the moment we'd all apparently been waiting for, a moment that had been hyped up far more in the first half hour of the show than the WWF title match. Yes, it was time for the live singing debut of Intercontinental Champion, Jeff Jarrett.

Receiving a red hot introduction from The Roadie, Jarrett spent a few couple of minutes putting himself over as the world's greatest wrestler, singer, and entertainer, then vowed to make us all 'eat crow' by throwing himself headlong into what looked like an impassioned rendition of With my Baby Tonight.


WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Jeff Jarrett performs With My Baby Tonight
Sure, with hindsight, it's pretty obvious to tell he was lip-syncing the whole thing, though I must admit that when I first watched this as a naive 11 year-old boy, I was more than a little surprised to learn that ol' Double J could really belt out a tune.

Just as surprising was the big reveal, months down the line, that it had been The Roadie all along doing the vocal work.

Giving Jarrett a few moments to bask in his own glory, we next went back to Todd Pettengill, who was out mingling with the 'World Wrestling fans' (his words, not mine) to get their take on the performance.

Though some gave it the thumbs up, others hated it just as much as they would our next match.

Henry O. Godwin vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
The story here involved Godwin acting as some kind of hired goon for the Million Dollar Man by attempting to take out a number of Diesel's lumberjacks, one of whom being former Corporation member, Bam Bam Bigelow.

After failing to put away the Beast from the East in this mightily boring contest, Godwin was humiliated by Dibiase, turned face and introduced Phineas to the WWF.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Henry Godwin
Sadly, that's about the only interesting thing I can tell you about this match. It started slow, it ended slow, and in between, it just about sucked the life out of the previously enthusiastic Nashville crowd.

Bigelow won, and the crowd went mild.
Your Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

Out in the crowd, Bob Backlund was seen chastising some kid in a Kurt Cobain t-shirt. It may have even been possible to tell you what they were talking about if only somebody had bothered to hook Backlund up with a microphone.

Backstage with the Heartbreak Kid
Speaking to the Toddster, Shawn Michaels cut a rambling, though nonetheless entertaining, promo, in which he promised to beat Double J for the Intercontinental Championship as a belated birthday present to himself.

Indeed.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Roadie) vs. Shawn Michaels
Not content with one special introduction from the Roadie, Jarret was once again the subject of a long-winded spiel from the future tag team champion, eventually making his way to the ring for what turned out to be the undoubted match of the night.

Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, both champ and challenger took their time in building up a fantastic bout which really brought the crowd back to life.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Shawn Michaels spoke to Todd Pettingill about his upcoming match with Jeff JarrettAn absolute joy to watch from start to finish, this one ended when Roadie accidentally tripped up his charge, leading him right into a waiting superkick from the new IC champ.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels 

Whilst Michaels celebrated for half an eternity out in the ring, things were less than harmonious backstage. There, a manic Doc Hendrix worked himself into hysterics as informed us about a fall out between Jarrett and Roadie. According to Doc, the two had come to blows, with the latter knocking the former on his ass and setting up a feud that would never come to pass.

Indeed, the very next day, both men were gone from the World Wrestling Federation, rendering the excessive Jarrett hype on this show a complete waste of time.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) vs. The Allied Powers (Lex Luger & Davey Boy Smith) 
'It was in 1993 that Lex Luger bodyslammed Yokozuna onboard the USS Intrepid' said McMahon, reminding us just how far both men's stock had fallen in such a relatively short space of time.

Going at it for the 10,000th time in those two years, the Summerslam 1993 headliners were joined this time by brothers-in-law Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith for a decent tag team title clash in front of a deafening crowd.

Early on in the match, Yoko crashed into his home corner, squashing Owen's foot in the process and causing the two to engage in a shoving match. Cornette smoothed things over, then cheered on his champions as they eventually triumphed, despite getting their butts kicked for the majority of the contest.
Your Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: Owen Hart & Yokozuna

As the lumberjacks for our main event made their way to the ring, Todd Pettingill gave us a history lesson on the rivalry between WWF Champion Diesel and the number one contender, Sid.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Diesel prepares for his WWF Championship match with Sid
For those needing a recap. Sid played a role in Shawn Michaels' losing effort to Big Daddy Cool at Wrestlemania 11. The following night, HBK fired his bodyguard and got powerbombed straight to hell as a thank you. This brought Diesel to the rescue, turning Michaels face and setting up Diesel/Sid at In Your House 1.

Having triumphed there, Diesel teamed up with Bam Bam to face Sid and Tatanka in a terrible King of the Ring main event which saw big Sid walk out and leave Tatanka to eat the pin and ultimately gave us an excuse for a big lumberjack match.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Lumberjack Match
WWF Champion Diesel vs. Sid (w/ Ted Dibiase)
There were smiles and Wolfpac-signs all round as HBK accompanied his pal Diesel to the ring, where they met up with fellow Kliq members Razor Ramon and 123 Kid.

With other such main event caliber talent as Tekno Team 2000, Duke Drosse, Mantaur and Rad Radford surrounding the ring, the two giants went at it in a pretty ugly title match where the only real highlight was the sight of seven-foot Kevin Nash, in his most athletic move ever, nailing a suicide dive onto the heel lumberjacks.

Following several more minutes of sloppy, boring inaction, the champ once again found himself on
WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Diesel and Shawn Micahels celebrate with Tekno Team 2000
the outside, this time taking a hefty beating from King Mabel.in ancitipation of their much-revilved Summerslam match the following momth.

Further punishment followed for Big Daddy Cool before good finally prevailed over evil, the champion putting Sid, and the fans who had to endure this crap, out of their misery.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Diesel 

Afterwrards, Diesel gave up trying to get his hands on Mabel and instead celebrated his victory with the Kliq and friends. Though that's where the PPV technically ended, those of us reliving this one through the joys of Colliseum Home Video were treated to two additional 'bonus' matches, featuring Stan Lane and Gorilla Monsoon on commentary.

Jean-Pierre Lafitte vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
This may not have been Bret's finest hour,, but it was decent enough for what it was.

Laffitte controlled the majority of the action in this 13+ minute bout that could have been so much better had the former Quebeccer not spent much of his time on the offence wearing down the Hitman with headlocks.

Things did pick upwards the finish of course, though it was just a little too late to salvage what ultimately turned out to be a disappointing affair.
Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart


WWF / WWE - In Your House 2 - The Lumberjacks - Undertaker faced Kama in a casket match
Having scored the win via  quick roll up, Bret greeted his fans then cleared the ring, making way for our final bout of the evening.

Casket match
Kama (w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
These days, The Undertaker is regarded as something of a wrestling deity who can do no wrong. Yet for the first few years of his WWF tenure, the quality of his matches left a lot to be desired.

As was the case with the penultimate chapter in his rivalry with Kama, a painfully dull casket match that really was a chore to watch.

Not surprisingly, The Dead Man stuffed Kama into the casket, winning the match and reviving all those people who probably fell asleep in what was just the most god awful bout this writer has seen in ages.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

There may well have been worse pay per views in the past thirty years, but In Your House 2: Lumberjacks must surely fit in the top ten. Apart from Michaels/Jarrett and 123 Kid/Roadie, there was nothing worth seeing on this show, and in all honesty, your exhausted reviewer is glad it's over..even if that does mean sitting through Summerslam 95 in our next review.




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Retro Pro Wrestling

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