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10 moments that blew the roof off WWE In Your House
WWE’s foray into pay-per-view in the 1980s started as sporadic events. From one-time shows such as The Wrestling Classic to supercards like WrestleMania and SummerSlam, there were rarely more than four in a year.
Things changed, however, in 1995. To raise the level of competition, WWE added a series of new pay-per-view events. Dubbed “In Your House,” the shows took place in the months between events like SummerSlam and Survivor Series, giving the WWE Universe top notch matches on a more frequent basis.
In Your House left a lasting impact on the WWE Universe until it was phased out in 1999 in favor of events that live on to this day, such as Night of Champions. Take a look back at 10 of the biggest moments in the history of WWE In Your House. ( PHOTOS | PLAYLIST)
WWE gave away a house. Seriously.
WWE certainly knows how to kick things off right. In the weeks leading up to the inaugural In Your House event, members of the WWE Universe flooded the company’s offices with postcards to enter a drawing for a house in scenic Orlando, Fla.
Hosts Todd Pettengill and Stephanie Wiand (remember her?) drew the winning entry prior to the show’s main event, a WWE Title Match between Diesel and Sycho Sid. Matt Pomposelli of Nevada’s phone rang a few minutes later, and the 11-year-old became a homeowner sooner than he expected. ( WATCH)
If you’re wondering what happened to the In Your House house, check out WWE Magazine’s interview with the lucky winner.
Bret Hart wrestled twice in one night
Aside from potentially winning a house, the WWE Universe was in for another treat at the first In Your House. They got to see the legendary Bret “Hit Man” Hart compete twice in one night. Jerry “The King” Lawler was a constant thorn in Hart’s side since arriving on the scene in 1993. Lawler ruined his crowning as King of the Ring and mocked Hart’s parents to no end. Fed up, the “Hit Man” challenged “The King” to a bout at In Your House, on the same night Hart faced the dangerous Hakushi.
Lawler, of course, also had a hand in making that match. He convinced the Japanese Superstar that Hart was racist, causing Hakushi to viciously attack the future WWE Hall of Famer. At the pay-per-view, Hart fought off Hakushi in a thrilling bout, picking up victory in his first match of the night. But “Hit Man” looked to have injured his knee, which had Lawler chomping at the bit to get in the ring. When the bell rang, however, Hart revealed that his hobbling had been a ruse as he launched an all-out attack on “The King.” Still, it was Lawler who had the last laugh on that evening, as a distraction from Hakushi gave “The King” an opening to sneak away with a victory. ( WATCH)
Diesel got a leg up on Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels and Diesel were, at one point, inseparable. HBK had his towering buddy to protect him as he ran roughshod over WWE. By 1996, though, things soured between the best bros. Diesel wanted to reclaim the WWE Title, held at the time by Michaels. The ruthless 7-footer was willing to do anything to get the championship back, and he would get the opportunity to show that at In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies in a No Holds Barred Match. ( WATCH)
Before the bout, WWE Hall of Famer Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon was introduced to the crowd in Omaha, Neb. What started with the recognition of a legend turned into mayhem when the match began. Michaels and Diesel brawled all over ringside, bruising each other with leather belts, steel chairs and more. Diesel showed the depths he was willing to go to when he grabbed Vachon from his seat in the crowd, threw him to the ground and pulled his prosthetic leg off. He tried to attack his former buddy with the limb, but HBK wrested it away from him.
The lights went out “In Your House”
Anything can happen in WWE. That was never more apparent than at In Your House: Beware of Dog in May 1996.
A thunderstorm in the Florence, S.C. area loomed over the event leading up to the opening bell, but the show went off without a hitch — or so it seemed. As Savio Vega made his way to the ring for a Caribbean Strap Match against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the lights went out in the arena. Mother Nature seemed to have WWE down for the count after the electrical storm knocked out the power in the arena, as well as the satellite feed beaming the show to the WWE Universe.
The WWE Superstars, however, refused to call it a night. Austin, Vega and the rest of the competitors went on with their matches in total darkness, with the occasional camera flash illuminating the action, creating one of the most unusual nights in WWE history. Thankfully, power was restored before the main event WWE Title Match between Shawn Michaels and British Bulldog.
However, realizing that the Superstars who battled in the dark were at a disadvantage, and that the fans who paid for a pay-per-view deserved a full show, WWE re-scheduled the missing matches for the following Tuesday at “Beware of Dog 2.”
The Undertaker and Mankind were buried alive
Mankind’s rivalry with The Undertaker was brutal and very personal. The two battered each other in vicious bouts, like the Boiler Room Brawl at SummerSlam 1996. The Phenom even felt the ultimate betrayal when his closest confidant, Paul Bearer, turned his back on The Deadman to side with his crazed rival.
The two Superstars felt there was only one way to end things between them once and for all — a match where the loser is buried alive. The bout took place at the appropriately named In Your House: Buried Alive in October 1996. Mankind and The Undertaker brawled all over the arena before making their way to a graveyard set up near the entrance. Bearer did all he could to ensure The Deadman took a dirt nap, going as far as to give Mankind his urn to clobber The Undertaker. The Phenom, however, avoided the blow and chokeslammed his rival into the grave, then shoveling the soil onto Mankind to claim victory. ( WATCH)
However, Bearer went to extreme lengths to ensure The Undertaker did not walk out of the event. A group of WWE’s most evil competitors ganged up on The Phenom, attacking him until he fell into the grave. They buried The Undertaker, but their celebration was cut short when thunder crackled throughout the arena. A bolt of lightning sent them scattering as The Deadman’s hand rose up from the ground, letting the WWE Universe know that he would not rest in peace.
A WWE Title vacancy was filled
The WWE Championship picture in early 1997 was confusing, to say the least. Shawn Michaels defeated Sid at that year’s Royal Rumble to regain the title, but was forced to give it up in February when he was injured and left WWE to “find his smile.”
To fill the vacancy, WWE put the final four competitors from the 1997 Royal Rumble Match (Bret “Hit Man” Hart, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Vader and The Undertaker) in a Final Four Match at In Your House: Final Four. The rules were similar to the Royal Rumble Match: eliminations occurred when a Superstar went over the top rope and both feet touched the arena floor.
The four Superstars went all out in hopes of claiming sports-entertainment’s top prize. However, Austin’s desire to create anarchy even after he was eliminated cost The Phenom the WWE Title, as his distraction led to Hart dumping The Undertaker out of the ring to win his fourth WWE Title. ( WATCH)
The Hart family came home
Bret “Hit Man” Hart’s hatred of the USA made it easy for most of the WWE Universe to jeer the legendary Superstar throughout 1997. They sided with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who represented the American everyman. However, for one unforgettable night, Hart had the home field advantage in his crusade to upstage Austin.
“Stone Cold” assembled a team of The Road Warriors, Ken Shamrock and Goldust to face The Hart Foundation (Bret & Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Pillman) at In Your House: Canadian Stampede in Hart’s hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. ( WATCH)
The Calgary crowd came unglued the second The Hart Foundation entered the Saddledome and stayed loud throughout the entire bout. Austin, not content with fighting the Harts in the ring, went after some of the “Hit Man’s” brothers at ringside, setting off a melee that led to his own undoing. Owen Hart rolled up a distracted “Stone Cold” for the victory, setting off a celebration that shook the arena to its rafters. Several generations of Harts, including current Superstars Tyson Kidd and Natalya, swarmed the ring to join the victors who made their hometown proud.
The gates of hell opened
Shawn Michaels made The Undertaker’s life hell during summer 1997. HBK cost him the WWE Title at SummerSlam, clobbering him with a steel chair during his defense against Bret Hart. The newly formed DX was running roughshod over WWE, and The Phenom knew he had to isolate Michaels if he hoped to get retribution and refocus his sights on the championship.
That led to the creation of Hell in a Cell. The demonic structure made its debut in October 1997 at In Your House: Badd Blood. HBK was on his own against The Deadman once the Cell door was locked. He held his own, trading brutal blows back and forth with The Undertaker, who looked to have the upper hand until the arena lights went out. Fire shot out of the entrance to signal the arrival of The Phenom’s long-lost brother, Kane. The Big Red Monster tore the Cell’s door off and steamrolled his brother, giving Michaels the victory and The Undertaker a vicious new enemy. ( WATCH)
A towering inferno engulfed the squared circle
After Kane’s shocking debut, The Undertaker initially refused to fight his brother. As you can probably guess, his stance changed fairly quickly, and soon, WWE’s biggest family feud was at its most heated.
Seeking retribution for being locked in a casket that was set on fire, The Phenom wanted his brother in the ring in a bad way. A normal one-on-one bout at WrestleMania XIV didn’t settle things. Taker’s former manager, Paul Bearer, had an idea: Surround the ring with flames and whoever catches fire first is the loser. Easy enough, right?
Bearer’s macabre machination led to the first-ever Inferno Match at In Your House: Unforgiven in April 1998. The brothers entered the ring of fire, and with each successive blow, the flames surrounding the squared circle exploded to new heights. The Undertaker showed impressive agility by leaping over the flames and outside the ring onto his brother and the interfering Vader. After neutralizing the threat of The Mastodon, The Phenom turned his focus back to his brother. Kane tried to take advantage of the distraction, but had his arm forced into the flames. The Undertaker and the WWE Universe watched as the fire engulfed The Big Red Monster’s arm while he rushed backstage, signaling his brother’s dominance. ( WATCH)
No love was lost between Austin and McMahon
It’s said that the best things are often saved for last. The In Your House pay-per-views were phased out in the spring of 1999. But at the next-to-last edition, entitled St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, one of the biggest rivalries in WWE history came to a head.
Mr. McMahon, tired of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s defiance, decided to take matters into his own hands. Austin, wanting to get a hold of his boss more than anything, risked his WWE Title opportunity at WrestleMania XIV to get McMahon inside the ring. The Texas Rattlesnake got one better: He got to face Mr. McMahon inside a Steel Cage. Austin promptly stomped a mudhole in his boss once the cage was locked. Satisfied, he made his way towards the door to take the win, until he turned around and saw the WWE Chairman giving him a one-fingered salute. ( WATCH)
“Stone Cold” then continued the beating until Big Show made his surprising WWE debut, tearing through the canvas and climbing into the ring. He showed his massive strength by tossing Austin through the cage, which accidentally gave “Stone Cold” the win. Austin celebrated, having embarrassed his boss once again, while McMahon fumed at the gaffe that put his rival in the spotlight.