I don’t have too much of a connection with In Your House. By the time I started watching wrestling, In Your House had already been replaced by your Backlashes and Unforgivens. I liked the idea of a DVD to spotlight the “B-level” PPV’s, though. While they may not have been essential from a storyline standpoint, oftentimes this was the place where great wrestlers were given the platform to put on longer, more complex matches. This DVD/Blu-ray solidifies that idea. What we get here are a group of matches that almost feel like they could have been pulled out of an indy promotion like ROH. In the mid to late-90’s, the WWE was filled with wrestlers with great in-ring skills, and In Your House provided them a great opportunity to show off their skills. The 1st disc of the Blu-ray runs around 4 hours, 15 minutes, and the 2nd disc runs just over 3 hours, with nearly 90 minutes of bonus content. The Blu-ray is rated TV-14. There is an edited moment in the Michaels/Diesel match involving Diesel choking Michaels with a belt, which was removed for obvious reasons.
“The New Generation”: The Format
As with most WWE match compilations, the matches are interspersed with interview segments, and this time, Todd Pettengill was brought in for the intros. Unfortunately, the intros don’t really add much to the set. Todd is fine with what he is given to do, but there isn’t really that much to what he has to say. The only real highlight is Todd explaining the house giveaway contest on the first installment of the PPV. I wish he could have given a bit more context to each match. Occasionally he does this, but those instances are pretty few and far between. Todd does have plenty of charisma, so the intros never got boring, but they don’t really add much either. To be honest, I don’t know that the set really needed the intros anyway. Since the matches throughout the set are so disparate, it’s hard for there to really be an overarching story to this Blu-ray. Ultimately, it ends up being a collection of good matches from 1995 to early 1999.
“In Your House, In Your Face”: The Matches:
Bret Hart Vs. Hakushi (In Your House, 5/14/95) – *** 1/4
A solid wrestling match, but the storytelling was a little basic. Hakushi destroys Bret for 3/4 of the match, until he makes a comeback at the end.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett Vs. Shawn Michaels (In Your House, 7/23/95) – *** 1/2
A solid technical match that is given a nice amount of time. Shenanigans with The Roadie at ringside bring the match down a little bit, though.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Razor Ramon Vs. Dean Douglas (In Your House, 10/22/95) – *** 1/4
Another fun match, but the finish comes out of nowhere and feels somewhat off. Razor’s nonchalance towards winning the title was also bizarre.
Arkansas Hog Pen Match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs. Henry O. Godwinn (In Your House, 12/17/95) – **
While this match probably is a “classic”, it’s not necessarily a classic because it’s great. Still a worthy inclusion on the set, though.
WWE Championship Match: Bret Hart Vs. British Bulldog (In Your House, 12/17/95) – **** 1/4
As we all know, these two have great chemistry and have put together some great matches. This one is no exception. It takes a little while to get going, but once it does, it’s great.
WWE Championship No Holds Barred Match: Shawn Michaels Vs. Diesel (In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies, 4/28/96) – ****
It’s interesting to look at the WWE’s early attempt at hardcore style matches here. They put together a great story, and all of the high spots seemed to matter.
WWE Championship Match: Shawn Michaels Vs. Mankind (In Your House: Mind Games, 9/22/96) – *****
I don’t really care that this ends in a non-finish. Simply put, it’s one of the best matches ever, if not the absolute best.
Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (In Your House: Buried Alive, 10/20/96) – ***
A very solid match, but not anything out of the ordinary. It also is strange that part of this match (a PPV match) was used to build to a match the next night on Raw. Finally, just a quick note that heel Jim Ross complaining about his broken microphone and Vince’s bad commentary was pretty fantastic.
Buried Alive Match: The Undertaker Vs. Mankind (In Your House: Buried Alive, 10/20/96) – ***
This is not one of my favorite gimmick matches, but Taker and Mankind do a great job putting together a decent match while working in the constraints of the gimmick. The post match is also fun.
WWE Championship Four Corners Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin Vs. Bret Hart Vs. Vader Vs. The Undertaker (In Your House: Final Four, 2/16/97) – ***
This match is a lot of fun to watch due to the constant action. However, since there is so much going on, it can be difficult to follow, and it’s tough to find a cohesive story outside of the Hart/Austin rivalry continuing.
The Hart Foundation Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust & LOD (In Your House: Canadian Stampede, 7/6/97) – **** 1/2
Talk about brilliant storytelling. This match is really well put together, and the action doesn’t disappoint either.
Shawn Michaels Vs. The Undertaker (Ground Zero: In Your House, 9/7/97) – *** 3/4
Of course, you are going to get a great match when these two are facing each other. This match definitely is a “stepping stone” match to lead to their bigger feud, but it still is a lot of fun.
Non-Sanctioned Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack, & Chainsaw Charlie Vs. Triple H, New Age Outlaws, & Savio Vega (No Way Out of Texas: In Your House, 2/15/98) – *** 1/2
This is a crazy match, but I was really impressed that I was never too confused with how to follow the action (unlike the four-way title match I discussed above). There are a lot of cool spots throughout this match, and it sets up WrestleMania XIV pretty nicely.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Undertaker Vs. Mankind & Kane (Fully Loaded: In Your House, 7/26/98) – ** 1/2
A standard tag team match. The interplay between Austin & Taker is well done, but it can’t elevate the match past average.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ken Shamrock Vs. Mankind (Judgment Day: In Your House, 10/18/98) – ***
I enjoyed this match significantly more than I thought I would. Shamrock & Mankind had pretty good chemistry. I still can’t decide how I feel about the finish. It’s definitely bizarre, but at the same time, it does end up making a lot of sense in the end.
WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match: The Rock Vs. Mankind (St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, 2/14/99) – ** 3/4
I know I’ve spoken in the past about how much I dislike Last Man Standing matches and “brawl around the arena” matches. Unfortunately, this match features both problems, and as great as Rock & Mankind are, they can’t really elevate the match past those problems.
Blu-ray Exclusive Matches
#1 Contender’s Match: Bret Hart Vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (In Your House: Revenge of the Taker, 4/20/97) – *** 3/4
In this match, Hart & Austin had to follow up their WrestleMania classic, which obviously is not an easy task. They decided to wrestle a different style of match, with a clear injury angle through the whole thing. While it prevents the match from being another classic, it does make this match stand out as different. Very enjoyable match in the end.
WWE Light Heavyweight Championship Match: Taka Michinoku Vs. Brian Christopher (D-Generation X: In Your House, 12/7/97) – ** 1/2
This match was OK for what it was, but I felt Christopher really hurt the match. He was trying REALLY hard to get the crowd to react to him, and it was a big turn-off. He also wrestled a really slow style, which did not fit for a Light Heavyweight Title match.
WWE Championship Match: Shawn Michaels Vs. Ken Shamrock (D-Generation X: In Your House, 12/7/97) – *** 1/4
Another fun title match. Michaels was in full heel mode at this point, which worked well with the no-nonsense style of Shamrock.
D’Lo Brown Vs. X-Pac (Fully Loaded: In Your House, 7/26/98) – **
An average mid-card match. It was nice to see the DX/Nation feud represented here, though.
“Mind Games”: Closing Thoughts
As you can probably tell from the match breakdowns, there is a lot to like on this Blu-ray. The match quality is consistently great, and you get what I feel is a really nice balance between unreleased gems and classic repeats. The repeat matches we’ve seen on other DVD’s also haven’t been released in quite a while, and this is the first time we are getting them unedited, so there are still some new aspects to them. Another thing I appreciated was that this definitely felt like the best of In Your House. Most of the great matches and moments were included, with the one big exception being the first Hell in a Cell match. As far as match compilations, this has got to be up there as one of the best in terms of a match quality standpoint. There aren’t any bad matches on the set, period. For the “match quality” guys and gals out there, this is a must buy set. I can absolutely see myself watching this again multiple times in the future.
The biggest downside to the set is simply trying to figure out what the point of it is. Ultimately, I’m satisfied as just taking it as a collection of great matches, but if you are looking for more of a through-line, you aren’t going to get that. Usually, I am the type of person who wants to find a theme in each set, but in this case, the matches are so good that I’m willing to look past it. I just can’t imagine anyone being disappointed after going through these matches. Hell, I found this to be a better spotlight of Foley’s WWE career than the bonus matches on his own DVD from a few weeks ago!
The Blu-ray exclusive matches are also pretty solid. You get a few historically significant matches, like the Austin/Hart rematch and the first Light Heavyweight title match, and the quality isn’t too bad either. I wouldn’t say that you must get the Blu-ray over the DVD, but the bonus features are certainly welcome. If it isn’t clear by this point, I highly, highly recommend you pick up either the DVD or the Blu-ray. As far as match compilations go, this is one of the best the WWE has ever released.