Saturday, 23 July 2016

PPV REVIEW: WWF - In Your House 8: Beware of Dog

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Original VHS video cassette
May 26, 1996 / May 28, 1996 
Florence Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina / North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South Carolina.

In Your House 8: Beware of Dog is an event that will go down in WWE history, though not necessarily for anything that went down in the ring. 

Instead, the show is perhaps best remembered for the raging thunderstorm which plunged the Florence Civic Centre into darkness and cut off the Pay Per View feed.

As such, fans watching at home only got to see the opening contest and the main event, with the matches in between taking place in the dark for the live audience only.

Making things up to the PPV crowd, those missed matches were basically done over two nights later at the Charleston Coliseum in an event dubbed Beware of Dog 2. 


WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG
It's at this point that I feel like mentioning that this is the first Retro Pro Wrestling review that I've done from the original VHS cassette tape which, I can tell you, was an experience of its own.
Before we even get as far as the opening signature, my trusty VHS comes with a helpful reminder not to try and order the PPV because the telephone lines won't work. Phew, thanks Silvervision.

The World Wrestling Federation, for over 50 years, the revolutionary force...in sports entertainment.

Free for All

Tonight's opening pre-show segment wasted no time in getting right down to the action, with Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler introducing our first match.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship 

WWF Tag Team Champiions The Godwins (Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin w/ Hillbilly Jim and Sunny) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Sunny declared herself the new co-manager of WWF Tag Team Champions The Godwins
This was during the time when Sunny was switching allegiances to whichever team had the titles, so, as The Smoking Gunns made their entrance, we got a pre-taped segment in which Mr. Perfect's interview with new champions The Godwins was interrupted by the former Body Donna, who declared that Phineas had officially signed a contract at Madison square garden to make her the new co-manager of the champs.

Not that the pig farmers' reign would last all that long.

Following a relatively mediocre match which Lawler and McMahon completely ignored (focusing instead on shilling the PPV), Sunny hopped up onto the apron looking to cause a distraction.

Instead, it was the Original Diva who wound up distracted, finding herself on the receiving end of a big, drawn out kiss from not-yet-bad-ass Billy Gunn.


The smooch was enough to put Phineas into a state of shock, allowing Bart to roll him up for the cover, the count, and the victory.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns

Post match, Sunny sat on the apron, flashing thigh and looking like the proverbial smitten kitten.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Billy Gunn kissed Sunny before winning the WWF Tag Team Titles from The GodwinsMeanwhile, backstage, Billy and Bart spoke to Doc Hendrix, boasting about their third tag team title reign and claiming that their new aggressive style was due to nobody visiting Billy during his recent stay in hospital. It was a pretty horrible promo, designed to subtly turn the Brothers Gunn heel but only really resulting in Billy looking like a goof who couldn't remember his lines.

Recapping Shawn vs. Davey

Up next, my In Your House VHS tape quickly cut to a lengthy hype video for tonight's big championship match between Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog.

For those needing to refresh their memories, here's the story in brief:

At the previous pay per view, In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies, an irate Bulldog was found searching for HBK after learning that the WWF Champion had -allegedly- tried to sleep with Bulldog's wife, Diana Smith.

The two had a confrontation on Raw, a melee on the WWF 1996 Kuwait tour in which Davey hurled Michaels into the ocean, and several other altercations, all resulting in both tonight's match, and a restraining order against Michaels being taken out by Diana.

Recapping the Undertaker vs. Goldust match

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - The Undertaker challenged Goldust for the WWF Intercontinental Title
More video followed, this one telling u s how we got to tonight's casket match between the Bizarre One and the Phenom. Namely, the match was signed, mind games ensued, and Mankind got involved, leading to his memorable feud with Undertaker which proved to be one of the highlights of 1996.

Goldust was ready for action tonight, interrupting Doc's crowd hype and demanding that the Undertaker meet him in the ring at that Instant.

The lights flickered, teasing the arrival of The Phenom. Instead, we cut to another Shawn/Davey promo, and the start of tonight's show proper.

Marc Mero is Wild

Kicking things off, we got a quick recap of the rivalry between Marc Mero and Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which started back at Wrestlemania 12 when Mero saved Sable from a tongue lashing by Hunter.

Over the past couple of weeks, Mero had fallen victim to several HHH attacks and even eaten a couple of pedigrees. Backstage, Doc Hendrix asked the former Johnny B. Badd what strategy he had in place to avoid being pedigreed again.

In response, the Wildman completely ignored the question and instead cut the same basic promo he always cut during this run; talking about how wild he was and yelling something about a jungle.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. 'Wildman Marc Mero' w/ Sable

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Wildman Marc Mero beat Triple H in an awesome opening match
Somewhat surprisingly, this turned into a damn fun match, with Hunter bringing his A -erm- game to make sure every moment counted.

For his part, Mero spent most of the time getting his previously injured shoulder worked over before mounting an admittedly enjoyable comeback in the closing moments.

Unfortunately for the Wildman, a failed attempt at a somersault to the outside was missed, causing him to bust he knee and almost fall prey to a third pedigree. Instead, Hunter's who got the better of him, and he made his way to the outside, forcing Sable to watch him finish off her husband.

This gave Mero just enough time to get his act together, and counter another pedigree attempt into a catapult for the win.
Your Winner: Marc Mero

It was round about this point that the storms I mentioned at the top of this review began to really take their toll, plunging the arena into darkness and causing the live PPV feed to cut off right up to the time of the scheduled main event.

As such, that bout was next up on my In Your House VHS tape.

Owen Hart: Manager for the Night

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Jim Cornette got Owen Hart a manager's license for the Bulldog vs. HBK match
Backstage, Mr. Perfect stood by with Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, Diana Smith, Clarence Mason, Jim Cornette and some fat guy with glasses who basically stood in the background looking gormless.

Cornette declared that -since he had his hands full managing Vader in a match against Yokozuna- he had acquired a one-night's managers license for Owen.

Cutting to another part of the arena, Michaels told Hendrix that it wasn't he who needed to beware of the Bulldog, but rather the Bulldog who needed to be aware of The Clique.

Shawn and manager Jose Lothario then made their way to the curtain, bumping into Mr. Perfect en route in a move which seemed pointless, but was in all likelihood just a case of Hennig accidentally getting caught on camera at the wrong moment. With that, it was finally onto the match...

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Owen Hart, Diana Smith, and Clarence Mason)

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Shawn Michaels defended the World Wrestling Federation title against Davey Boy Smith
Although it wasn't quite...

Before the bell, attorney Clarence Mason served The Heartbreak Kid with a summons, ordering him to court to face charges of some made-up offence which was so ridiculous I didn't even name it properly.

In true pro wrestling fashion, good guy Michaels promptly ripped up the court order to the delight of the audience, only to get attacked from behind by Davey Boy.

Michaels soon regained control, and the two went back and forth, trading the advantage on several occasions in what proved to be a good, main-event caliber match, at least for the time period.

I've read rumours that Michaels threw one of his famous temper tantrums part way through this one, and there was a point when the champ was locked in a Bulldog chinlock where he appeared to have forgotten all about selling to vent his frustrations towards the referee.

It wasn't long after this that said referee took a tumble, leading us into the finish. With the Bulldog in control, Michaels slipped out of a running powerslam attempt and sent the challenger careering face first into the corner. Davey staggered back, Shawn hit a bridging German suplex, and the replacement referee counted to three.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Diana Smith's husband British Bulldog faced Shawn Michaels for the WWF title
Yet things weren't as clear cut as they should have been. It turned out that the replacement ref had counted Michaels' shoulders as being down, leading Bulldog's music to strike, and Diana Smith to parade around holding the WWF title upside down.

The original ref then argued that Bulldog's shoulders had been down, prompting WWF President Gorilla Monsoon to make his way out and declare the whole thing a draw.
Result: Draw (Shawn Michaels retains the WWF Championship)

It was at this point that the show took a decidedly different turn. Fast forwarding two days to the Tuesday after Raw, we were about to get the re-doing of the matches which took place during the power outage at the original pay per view.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Ted Dibiase promised to leave the WWF if Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't beat Savio VegaThis took place at what looked to be a standard WWF TV taping, and for the most part it felt like one, despite the best efforts of our new commentary team, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect, to make it seem important.

Prior to the first match of what the company had dubbed In Your House: Beware of Dog 2, we got a clip from the previous evening's Monday Night Raw broadcast, in which the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase vowed to leave the World Wrestling Federation if his man, Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't beat Savio Vega in their upcoming Caribbean strap match.

Caribbean Strap Match
Savio Vega vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/ Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) 

Throughout the original PPV broadcast, McMahon and Lawler had hyped up the stipulation that if Savio lost the match, he would be forced to become Dibiase's personal chauffeur. The new self-imposed stipulation by Dibiase certainly added something to the drama of the match, though to be fair, this would have been just as enjoyable even if there'd been nothing on the line. 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Stone Cold Steve Austin lost to Savio Vega in an awesome strap match
Indeed, despite lacking the big time pay per view feel, both Savio and Stone Cold worked hard to deliver a very fun match, laying into each other both inside and outside the ring and using the strap to come up with unique -for the mid-90s WWF at least- spots. 

After pummeling each other for the better part of fifteen minutes, Austin looked to set to have the whole thing won, dragging Savio behind him as he went from corner to corner, touching each top turnbuckle pad as per the rules of the bout. 

Unbeknownst the future WWF Champion, Vega was actually tapping the 'buckles to, and when Austin hurled his rival into the fourth corner, he cost himself the match, and Ted Dibiase his WWF career. 
Your Winner: Savio Vega 

Post match, Savio led the South Carolina faithful in a terrible rendition of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" as Ted Dibiase walked off World Wrestling Federation television following an incredible career through the late 80s and early 90s. 

Yokozuna vs. Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Yokozuna lost to Vader
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why Mr. Fuji wasn't with Yokozuna here, though to be honest, I seem to remember him just gradually disappearing from television early into Yoko's face run. 

Fuji or not, Yoko put forth an entertaining effort here; both he and Vader really got the crowd into the match in the early going before the former battered the latter from pillar to post in a fun -albeit brief- match. 

Despite dominating for much of the contest, former two time WWF Champion Yokozuna lost the bout after attempting to hit the Banzai Drop on Jim Cornette. 

Vader rolled his manager out of harms way, causing Yoko to hit the canvas hard. A couple of attacks to Yoko's previously injured leg was then all it took for the Mastadon to pick up a victory. 
Your Winner: Vader

Before our next match, we were shown a brief recap of the slow-burning feud between Goldust and Ahmed Johnson, a feud which turned out to have practically nothing to do with our final bout of the evening. 

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Casket Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer 
Though it should be pretty obvious to anyone who's ever read my WWF reviews in the past, I rate matches solely on whether or not I personally enjoyed them. As such, whilst this mostly forgotten casket match may have its fans, I can't say I'm one of them. 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Goldust narrowly beat The Undertaker with help from Mankind
Running at only eight minutes, most of those minutes were pretty tedious, and saw the champion dominating the bulk of the contest with a few crowd-popping comebacks from The Dead Man. 

Speaking of comebacks, Undertaker looked set to win his first Intercontinental Championship by landing his trademark Tombstone Piledriver and rolling his opponent towards the casket. Instead, Mankind popped up out of said casket, knocked 'Taker out with the Mandible Claw and rolled him inside. The lid slammed shut, and this one was over. 
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Goldust

With Mankind still sat on top of it, the casket began to emit smoke. Mankind then made his way backstage as to the shock of nobody besides Paul Bearer, the casket was now revealed to be empty. The lights went out, The Undertaker Gong erm, gonged, and Beware of Dog 2 was off the air. 

Despite the final match on the tape, Beware of Dog was actually a damn fine show from start to finish. The Caribbean Strap Match has been referred to be some as an oft-forgotten classic, and I tend to agree. It was by far the best match on the show, and that's with a solid effort from Michaels/Bulldog and an entertaining opener between HHH/Mero competing for the MOTN award. 
Definitly track this one down if you can. 

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.