Ah, 1995, what a year that was in wrestling. 20 years ago yesterday the WWF held the second ‘In Your House’ titled the Lumberjacks. Ahead of that anniversary, and as part of the Wrestling 20 Years Ago podcast, Craig reviews the show.
Before we go into detail on this show, let’s look at the lie of the land in the WWF at the time. The month before this show Mabel won King of the Ring. Elsewhere, Diesel was WWF Champion and Jeff Jarrett is the Intercontinental champion. Oh, and 1995 is a pretty bad year for wrestling, particularly in the WWF… Without further ado, let’s get to ‘In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks’.
Live from Nashville, Tennessee and your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
Match 1: 1-2-3 Kid vs The Roadie
The Roadie was getting over as a wrestler by this point, instead of solely being Jeff Jarrett’s, well, roadie. 1-2-3 Kid had been floating about the mid and low part of the cards for about 2 years by this point.
Kid flies to the outside to start this one off and hits the sort of light-heavyweight stuff that helped get him over. Later in the show we get the debut performance of Jeff Jarrett’s ‘With my Baby Tonight’ and we cut to the IC Champ in the back who isn’t even paying attention on the monitor to what is going on in the ring.
After being crotched on the ringpost, the Kid mounts a comeback with a spinning back kick and follows up with a frogsplash for a two count. Kid goes to the well once to often and tries a Hurricanrana but it is countered with powerbomb but charges into the corner. Kid again goes up top but Kid gets crotched which allows Roadie to hit a sick looking second rope piledriver – risky considering Kid’s recent neck issues – for the win.
This was a perfectly acceptable opening match. Some good action and although he at times seemed to struggle to keep up with the Kid, it’s interesting to see just how good The Roadie was back in 1995.
We cut to the back where Ted Dibiase implies that one of the lumberjacks may cost Diesel the title leading to speculation that one of the face lumberjacks has been bought off.
This match basically comes about because Mable squashed both Vega and Ramon. It causes Ramon to wear strapping to the ring but he quickly removes it and throws it in Mabel’s face.
We start with Mabel and Vega, and it’s as one-sided as their KoTR match. Razor finally tags in when Mo misses a moonsault. Razor hits his backdrop superplex and calls for the Razor’s Edge. Mabel gets the tag but gets slammed off the top. Mabel reverses a whip and avalanches Razor and then a splash for the win.
Perhaps it’s all about expectation management but this was nowhere near as bad as you’d expect.
After weeks of hyping his singing debut and then calling it off, Jeff Jarrett is finally forced to sing live. Of course, it would later turn out that the Roadie was the one who was singing all along. I’m not much of a country music fan, but this was actually pretty good. Way better than Fozzy.
Match 3. Henry O. Godwinn vs. Bam Bam Bigelow.
Poor Bigelow. A few months after carrying Lawrence Taylor to a match he’s saddled with this encounter. Sure, Godwinn isn’t a total jobber – he gets the odd win on TV over the total jobbers – but still.
Anyway, despite my reservations this isn’t too bad. Both men certainly give it their all here with Bam Bam winning when Henry misses a top rope kneedrop.
In the crowd, Bob Backlund – who was doing a silly Presidential candidate thing at the time – confronts some potential voters. All a bit stupid.
Match 4: Intercontinental Title: Jeff Jarrett (w/Roadie) vs. Shawn Michaels.
I’m not even going to try and review this. This is very good. Michaels is outstanding here and Jarrett raises his game – or has it raised for him. This is probably Jarrett’s finest match – am sure Michaels did that for many an opponent – and is well worth a watch.
Afterwards, backstage, Dok Hendrix is far too excited to be able to coherently tell the story of a fight between Jarrett and the Roadie.
Match 5. WWF Tag Team Titles: Yokozuna & Owen Hart (w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) vs. Lex Luger & The British Bulldog.
Yokozuna is in some state by this time. He can barely walk and ends up being a punching bag for Lex Luger at the start of this one. In regards to this match: this is watch-able when Bulldog and Owen are in and almost unwatchable when it’s Yoko and Lex. When it’s a mixture it’s OK but not great.
The WWF probably could, and should, have done a bit more with Allied Powers – perhaps a piece for a later date. The end comes when faces his an impressive backdrop suplex on Yoko but Owen hits a double ax-handle behind the ref’s back and Yoko adds a legdrop to to the mix finish off Luger. Poor Yoko.
Match 6. WWF Heavyweight Title, Lumberjack Match: Diesel (w/Shawn Michaels) vs. Sid (w/Ted Dibiase)
As mentioned earlier, the intrigue here is that one of the babyface lumberjacks has supposedly been bought off by The Million Dollar Man. Guess the obvious candidate might by HBK but let’s wait and see. Sid attacks from the start but he gets knocked to the floor where the faces toss him back in. He gets knocked out on the heel side and gets a bit of a reprieve. However, Diesel doesn’t get the same treatment and is on the receiving end of stomping.
We get much more of this before Diesel readies for the big boot but is pulled to the outside by Mabel who lands a big – is there any other kind from him – legdrops. Advantage SId here. He delivers a powerbomb but bizarrely – again – opts to high-five the heel luberjacks rather than go for the pin. When he finally does he only gets a two.
Sid then goes after one of the babyfaces for no apparent reason. Shawn hits Sid with a double axe-handle which allows the faces to shove him back in. Diesel fends off a few of the heel lumberjacks and finishes with a big boot. Afterwards, there’s the set up for Diesel versus Mabel at SummerSlam and that’s all she wrote.
This was certainly improved by the outside tomfoolery – perhaps to disguise the inadequacies of the two competitors. That said, this was abysmal.
Overall: 6.5/10. This is a lot better than the card on paper would suggest. A fine opener, a stand-out IC title match and only the main event was really poor. A classic this ain’t but nor is it a terrible show and is certainly the best WWE PPV of 1995 so far although I’m not sure that that isn’t damning with feint praise.