WWE Tagged Classics: In Your House 11 & 12 Double DVD Review
Posted on July 9th, 2008 by Draven Cage
In Your House started as a response to WCW adding to their PPV schedule. The first In Your House event actually saw the WWF run a competition to win a house in Florida and drew the winner’s name live at the event. The shows usually ran around 2hrs in length, thus were cheaper than normal PPV shows at the time, feeling more like Saturday Night Main Event specials than actual pay-per-view showcases.
Running Time: 248mins (both events)
In Your House 11: Buried Alive
- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hunter Hearst-Helmsley
- WWF World Tag Team Championship Match – Owen Hart & British Bulldog v Smoking Gunns
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match – Marc Mero v Goldust
- Vader v Sycho Sid
- Buried Alive Match – Undertaker v Mankind
In Your House 12: It’s Time
- Countdown To In Your House
- Flash Funk v Leif Cassidy
- WWF World Tag Team Championship Match – Owen Hart & British Bulldog v New Diesel & New Razor Ramon
- WWF Intercontinental Championship Match – Hunter Hearst Helmsley v Marc Mero
- Armageddon Rules Match – Undertaker v The Executioner
- WWF Championship Match – Psycho Sid v Bret ‘The Hit Man’ Hart
The first of our two events in this collection is In Your House 11: Buried Alive, airing on October 20th 1996, with the main-event being the titular match that continued the awesome Undertaker/Mankind feud (for those not around at the time, you would find it hard to fathom how badly Undertaker needed a feud like this to energise what was becoming, 12yrs ago, a stale character).
Other matches on the show include The British Bulldog & Owen Hart rescuing a dire tag-team division (you think it’s bad now), an opener between Steve Austin and Triple H and Sid v Vader in a decent big man brawl.
The Steve Austin/Triple H match is a curious one to look back on when you consider how far both men went in the years following this contest. The lack of glass breaking, or crowd reaction, for Austin’s entrance is a stark reminder that things didn’t just change overnight following his 1996 ‘King of the Ring’ victory. HHH was the person meant to be crowned in 1996, but that would have to wait (12 months to be exact).
The match is pretty good, with Austin working some cowardly heel action into the mix. One of the most glaring observations is that you could show this match to someone who had only a passing interest in wrestling and they would be able to tell you it was pre-Summerslam ’97. Austin moves a lot crisper and this was the Steve Austin (at least from an in-ring standpoint) that I preferred in all honesty… even the Stunner (sans kick) looks better in my opinion.
The second match on the card is the tag title contest between The Smoking Gunns (fresh off a heel turn) and Bulldog/Owen. The story of the bout was that Sunny (who became the focal point of the division rather than the belts or the teams) had left The Bodydonnas and pretended to be interested in Phineas Godwinn (later to be known as Mideon) only to turn on them and side with the Gunns. Billy ended up costing his team the titles when they last faced their opponents on this night, an act that pissed off Sunny so much, she fired the team. With all of that in the books, the stage was set; Billy Gunn was going to win the match and get back “his” girl, while Bart Gunn (who looks, and sounds, like Randy Orton) was only interested in the team winning gold.
Ignoring all the outside shenanigans, this was an entertaining match and a breath of fresh air when compared to the three-way feud between The Bodydonnas, The Godwinns and The Smoking Gunns; TLC-Era this was not.
Mero v Goldust is a forgettable match overall and is really only an excuse for the Mr. Perfect heel-turn and subsequent exit to WCW the following weeks. Not that it’s a bad match, it’s actually pretty decent, it’s just one of those that you will forget all about once the final bell rings.
Sid v Vader, on the other hand, is awesome simply because it has Sid facing off against Vader. A nice little piece of continuity (intended or not) has both men claiming to be the master of the powerbomb (they teamed in WCW as The Masters of the Powerbomb) and the hype video shows both Vader and Sid hitting the move over and over again. Another nice touch here is having Shawn Michaels discuss it seeing as how he was the most high-profile (at the time) victim of the powerbomb from both men.
The match is a plodding affair with one fatal flaw. The match is billed as the chance to show who really deserves the title of “Master of the Unive… um, Powerbomb”… it’s just a pity that neither of them actually use the move once. It really comes across as a clanger, especially as it could have been used as a great bragging right or tool for the crowd to mock.
The last match on the card is another gimmick-match first for The Undertaker. Mankind, at this point, has been a thorn in Undertaker’s side for months now. Picking up two huge victories at ‘King of the Ring’ (the only official submission loss of Taker’s career) and Summerslam (another first – the ‘Boiler Room Brawl), not to mention Undertaker’s manager as well, Mankind was on the kind of roll no-one enjoys against “The Dead Man”.
With all of this going on, as well as Paul Bearer talking about some family secret (to be revealed at a later date), Undertaker wanted to end things once and for all, so he came up with the Buried Alive match. There have been a few of these matches to date, but seeing it for the first time (as with most gimmicks) was something else.
The match was an out-and-out brawl, with both men going to extraordinary lengths for the era (Undertaker countering a piledriver on the floor by picking Mankind up, Alabaslam-style, so that Mick’s head was at the small of Undi’s back, and then backing him up, full-force, into the ringsteps). It really is a belter of a brawl (although they do have better matches (including a forgotten one at the 1996 Survivor Series) with a great finish. All I’m saying is, you will have 1994 Royal Rumble flashbacks. Also, try and see who you can spot among the throngs and then picture them where they are now.
Another interesting aspect of the show was Jim Ross planting the seeds for his heel turn with some well chosen remarks towards Vince McMahon (remember, this was 1996 and thus was pre-internet and pre-Vince McMahon: Chairman). JR shoots from the hip and scores every time.
The second disc has In Your House 12: It’s Time, an event first aired in December 15th 1996, has some hidden gems on it also. This is the first of the collection to also feature the Free For All (a 30min pre-show to hype you into buying the PPV). The match for this portion of the show is Salvatore Sincere (Santino Marella without the charisma) taking on Rocky Maivia and is a pretty piss-poor match overall. The only saving grace, in my opinion, is Jim Cornette being at ringside in Sal’s corner (not that he deserves a manager like Cornette, but that’s a rant for another time).
The show proper kicks off with Lief Cassidy (Al Snow) v Flash Funk (2 Cold Scorpio) in a really good opener that features Al’s best match to this point with the company. Al, as Lief, had ditched the goofy crap associated with the New Rockers and started to act all pissed off (which wasn’t really acting and led to him joining ECW), and Funk was pretty damn over with the fans (his gimmick was basically a kid-friendly version of The Godfather w/hos). Some nice wrestling punctuated with well-timed high-spots make this a good omen for things to come.
This is followed by a vastly underrated match for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Owen Hart & The British Bulldog defend their titles against Diesel & Razor Ramon (or the new versions of them played by Glen “Kane” Jacobs and Rick Bognor) in a pretty heated match with Jim Ross on fire in his new persona of heel commentator. He does a sterling job of putting over “his boys” as well as breaking kayfabe to a degree rarely seen during this era of the business. The match itself is pretty slick and showcases both teams. I can remember watching this at the time it originally aired and wanting the Diesel/Razor team to be pushed much harder than they were.
In a continuation from the previous event, Marc Mero tries to get revenge for the ruse concocted by (the now departed) Mr. Perfect and Hunter Hearst Helmsley that won Trips the IC belt. This match is pretty dire in all honesty, but I really can’t stand Marc Mero in this persona (“Marvellous” Marc Mero is another story), so couldn’t like it if I tried.
With that in mind, let’s move on swiftly to the next contest; The Undertaker v The Executioner. If you’ve watched these shows in order, you’ll have already seen the debut of The Executioner (played by Terry “Bamm Bamm” Gordy, father of Jesse from Jesse & Festus) as he smashed a shovel over the head of Undertaker.
What you won’t have seen was the previous month’s Survivor Series match I mentioned earlier between Mankind and The Undertaker. The stipulation of the bout was that if ‘Taker defeated Mankind, he would get five minutes with Paul Bearer (who was suspended in a cage during the match) in the ring. Undi’ did win, but the Executioner came out and attacked him before Bearer came to any harm.
From there, a series of squashes put over the Asiatic Spike (thumb-choke) and helped the virtually brain-dead Terry Gordy seem a semi-credible threat to The Undertaker. What followed was a glorified squash match fought under Texas Deathmatch rules (although it wasn’t called that here).
‘Taker kicks Executioner around the arena (throwing Mankind, who is in a straight-jacket, through the the In Your House set), takes him outside and throws him into the water surrounding the building. One tombstone later and that’s all she wrote. One pinfall and ten count in the entire bout virtually rendered the stipulation null and void (especially as it could be used to put over both men by having Undertaker pinned but answering the ten count at every turn. This works in pushing Undertaker’s threshold while also promoting how dominating his opponent can be). It was enjoyable, but ultimately also forgettable.
What isn’t forgettable is the main event of disc 2; Bret Hart v Sid for the WWF Championship with HBK on commentary.
Sid had won the title from Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series and Bret had won his comeback match against Steve Austin (in a blinder that is often overlooked in favour of their Wrestlemania 13 encounter), so the stage was set. Shawn on commentary was at his bitchy best, especially as you can tell this was before the days of everyone being scripted down to individual pauses for breath.
You really need to listen to HBK on the mic and savour the bitterness inside that he actually lost a title in the ring to someone he feels is vastly inferior to him in Sid. I imagine the fact he lost clean (well, clean-ish) pissed him off even more.
The match itself is pretty good, with a fantastic finish that really helped in the slow heel-turn on the part of Bret Hart. I’d say that the turn itself actually started at this event and slowly picked up steam from here on in.
There was three dark matches after the cameras stopped rolling (none of them on the disc); Brakkus v Dr. X (Tom Pritchard), Steve Austin v Goldust and Shawn Michaels v Mankind. The latter of the three is the one I’d love to see, especially after the fantastic effort they put forth at In Your House 10: Mind Games. The finish was Shawn pinning Mankind after superkicking the urn into his face.
I love the Tagged Classics collection, especially as they have no blurring or edited commentary in regards to the WWF scratch logo. These two events are actually before the Attitude Era logo came into play, but it is still good to hear “WWF” without it being overdubbed or edited out entirely.
IYH: 11 and IYH:12 aren’t the best from the In Your House range, but most of the events were pretty good and have some classic, usually forgotten matches. How many people remember excellent matches like Bam Bam Bigelow v British Bulldog from IYH 3, Bret Hart v Bulldog from IYH 5, HBK v Owen Hart from IYH 6, HBK v Bulldog from IYH 8, Ken Shamrock v Vader from IYHouse 15, TAKA Michinoku v The Great Sasuke from IYH 16, Shawn Michaels v Undertaker from IYH 17 or the awesome 8-man Tag from IYH 20 (Austin, Owen, Cactus & Terry Funk v Triple H, The New Age Outlaws and Savio Vega)?
All of the above matches were fantastic bouts that were on various In Your House events. The Tagged Classics mean you will be able to own these events all over again (or for the first time) and be able to see the rise of the biggest names of the Attitude Era as well as catch up on some great matches you missed out on.
In Your House 11 & 12 are good places to start, with no bad matches on either card and some surprising me on how well they’ve stood the test of time.
I heartily recommend this collection and advise you to keep your eye out for more from the Tagged Classic series.