The only reason why I would take a look at IYH 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies is that it is the only PPV to ever take place on my birthday. And it’s 20 years ago now, so I figured what the hell. Taking place in Omaha, Nebraska, our hosts for this one are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.
The opening montage focuses on the main event challenger Diesel and they immediately use a picture where he needed to shave his armpits badly. The guy had already given notice and it’s Kevin Nash so what does he care? A cartoon plane drops a “bomb” on Omaha which is odd imagery, the crowd is shown and no time is wasted before we see a “GAYDUST” sign. The 90s were different than you might remember, and there will be more of that later on.
The British Bulldog vs Jake Roberts
The Bulldog makes his way down with Owen Hart, Jim Cornette, and erstwhile attorney Clarence Mason. The Johnny Cochran parody has some paperwork stating that snakes are to be banned from ringside. Jake comes to the ring with his snake anyway and lets it loose, which causes Cornette to faint in the corner. Say what you will about crazy Corny but the guy could do quality physical comedy. See, Bulldog is afraid of snakes. Gee, how come they never did THAT angle before? Jake is told to go back to the locker room with the snake and he does but comes back with Ahmed Johnson, who had a bit of a row with the Bulldog in an arm wrestling match not long before this. Because arm wrestling angles are always money, right? Because Bulldog’s knee was hurt on the European tour and because Jake was, ahem, Jake, this is now a tag match.
The British Bulldog and Owen Hart vs Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson
The Bulldog is very reluctant to get in there with Ahmed and tags out immediately. Must have heard how sloppy the guy could be. This is in spite of Bulldog breaking Johnson’s thumb during the aforementioned arm wrestling angle. Meanwhile, Vince is pushing WWF on AOL in his commentary which is hilarious. Owen escapes the DDT from Jake a couple of times as this takes a while to get going. Bulldog still avoids Ahmed until he can get the proper jump on him. Davey Boy is still wearing his Allied Powers trunks so someone is keeping the light on for Lex Luger. Bulldog’s contract was coming up at this point and he nearly did jump to WCW where he would have been an early now member. That would have been a very odd fit.
Some tall guy in the front row really hates the Bulldog and it’s very noticeable this entire match. Press slam by Ahmed and he tags Jake so the correct guy is in peril. Poor Jake has on his “I’m too fat” vest at this point and he looks quite out of shape even by Jake Roberts standards. Lawler makes a crack about Nebraska football which I didn’t understand; they were 2X defending national champions at the time but their most recent QB Brook Berringer had perished in a plane crash earlier that month.
The comparison has been made between Ahmed and Goldberg and both were power guys who were insanely over, but there were huge differences. Goldberg was more inexperienced, but he learned quickly and wasn’t getting injured all the time. While Bret Hart probably disagrees, Goldberg was mostly safe in the ring.
Oh right, the match. Bulldog takes Cornette’s tennis racket and hits Jake in the leg twice and wins the match with a very crappy looking leglock via submission. This wasn’t good at all, despite Owen Hart’s best efforts.
Marc Mero and The 1-2-3 Kid are on the Superstar Line and talking about their match from the Free For All pre-show. Lawler actually says here that Sable is not pretty and he would be doing some John Kerry flip flopping on that by 1998.
The Ultimate Warrior vs Goldust (C) (w/Marlena) for the Intercontinental Championship
It strikes me as strange that Warrior would be put in a title match at all, especially for the secondary belt. Goldust limps to the ring, and in reality he too was hurt and not cleared but this is happening. Sort of. Goldust has a bodyguard with him and he is the former Mantaur dressed like a human being. This sucker is filled with so much stalling it might as well be the car that Mrs. Larusso owned in Karate Kid 1. Warrior steals Marlena”s cigar and starts smoking it. Hmmm, the surgeon general says that can cause heart disease so ease up Mr. Hellwig. Vince has a line that amused me greatly: “The Ultimate Warrior to my knowledge does not smoke!”
Not satisfied with Warrior channeling George Burns, the crowd starts a loud and clear “FAGGOT” chant toward Goldust, which prompts him to get on the house mic and speak in his “Dustin Rhodes” voice and not in character. He tells the crowd to shut up or he will kiss every one of them. Well, at least that stopped the chant. Goldie gets back into the ring and he and Marlena try to get back their stuff and slowly the exchange is started. Having this on a five match card is just weird. Warrior clotheslines Goldust out of the director’s chair and knocks him out of the ring, where he stays to take the countout. The former Mantaur gets in to take his lumps from the Warrior. Did you know Mantaur is P.N. News’ cousin? I was blown away by that.
Backstage now with Dok Hendrix and Bulldog is yelling at Tony Garea because he is jealous of his hair upset that something happened with his wife Diana.
Vader (w/Jim Cornette) vs Razor Ramon
You know who I am….but you don’t know why I’m here. Wait, we do know and it’s to job on the way out. Razor was off TV for a long time before this and was not on Wrestlemania either because he failed a drug test or didn’t want to continue the Goldust angle. Equally plausible. Vader looks a bit heavy coming off injuring Yokozuna shortly before this, but he could still move. He even connected on his moonsault on the previous RAW against Fatu. There is not much heat to this match as Vader is in control early on, but as a wrestling match it looks fine because Razor was always a very good bumper for a big guy.
I am very confused that Razor kicked out of the Vader Bomb. I thought that finish was protected as the mastodon continued his rise to the main event. Razor blocks a vertical suplex and gets one of his own. Vader later comes off the 2nd rope and Razor gets a powerslam off that, but doesn’t get the pin like Sting did at Starrcade 1992. Bulldog off 2nd rope by Razor but he can’t put Vader away. Razor’s Edge with Vader on 2nd rope doesn’t work because he’s too heavy, and the next try is met with a backdrop by Vader. The former WCW champ hits a seated senton and that gets the pin. This match was okay, but why couldn’t he get the win with the Vader Bomb?
Dok is ringside and tells Vader and Cornette that Yokozuna will be the opponent at the May In Your House, which upsets them.
Paul Bearer and Undertaker are backstage by the laptop for WWF on AOL. I’m sure that was an interesting deal.
Todd Pettengill does an ad for “Sports Shirts” featuring a choice of Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and the Ultimate Warrior. Only $39.95 but it comes with a hat!
The Body Donnas (C) (w/Sunny) vs The Godwinns (w/Hillbilly Jim) for the WWF tag team championship
Holy crap, this is the 1996 WWF tag division. Poor Chris Candido, what an unlucky guy he was. People like to mock when a story says someone had “successful surgery” but Candido actually died of complications from a routine surgery. So shit can happen. A point is raised in this match: Is Henry the smart Godwinn? Seems like that was the gist of things. The Donnas hit a double team slingshot suplex, so they are pretty good technically it’s just that Tom Prichard and Candido have almost nothing to work with. Vince calls a move a Frankensteiner which is strange since the Steiners were long gone and he was always loath to acknowledge that other things existed outside his world.
Henry hits the slop drop, but everyone is distracted by Phineus receiving a copy of the movie Sunny Side Up an 8X10 from Sunny. Donnas do a switcheroo and win with an inside cradle. Phineus surreptitiously takes the picture out of the slop bucket and stuffs it in his overalls. I guess his spank bank is open on Sundays.
A promo airs for the May IYH, the famous show they had to do twice because of power issues relating to weather. Marc Mero does a promo and he is not pleased with Triple H.
The audience is then informed that if you send in proof of purchase from your cable and satellite bill, you can receive a phone card good for FIVE MINUTES of long distance. Yes, five minutes. Or less time than the Warrior-Goldust “match”.
Vince tells us that the main event will be “No Holds Barred” which makes it a different picture. Yes, a picture you lose money on. I’m surprised he never banned the phrase “no holds barred” after the movie.
Video recap of the Michaels/Diesel saga through the years. Did you know they are good friends but better enemies? Because they make sure to drive that point home.
Shawn Michaels (C) (w/Jose Lothario) vs Diesel for the WWF Championship
Diesel promised something for Vince in a pre-match promo and, ever the rascal, threw his shirt at him from the ring. Nice brawl to start and they get right to it. Michaels makes a dive to the outside then steals Hugo Savinovich’s boot. Back inside, Michaels is sent hard to the corner as I ponder the purpose of Jose Lothario for the 1000th time in my life. Back outside, Shawn takes the Brian Pillman bump throat-first to the rail. He’s bumping for his pal, but Diesel stops momentarily to yell at Vince again. Inside again and Diesel taunts Lothario and takes some tape to choke the referee (Earl Hebner) just to be a dick. With Hebner down, Diesel steals his belt so he can whip, choke, and hang the champion. Lawler: “This makes Syracuse look like a walk in the park!”
But Diesel isn’t done, so he heads outside and steals Howard Finkel’s chair and connects twice. A third try see the chair hit the top rope and he hits himself on the rebound. Shawn gets the chair but is hit low, in his little showstoppers. Man, he is getting the crap kicked out of him. But that’s not enough: Diesel hits Michaels with a powerbomb through the ENGLISH announce table, and doesn’t bother to remove the TVs. That spot just looked glorious. Everything is disconnected for a bit, so Vince and Lawler are silent for a bit as a result. Just like Byron Saxton on the post-Mania 31 RAW! HBK fights back with a fire extinguisher, because that works better for fighting fire than using more fire. He’s got a chair and also Lawler’s headset, but this comeback is short circuited by a boot from the 7 footer.
Shawn punches out of the jackknife attempt and then scores with the top rope elbow. But his foot is caught on the superkick and he’s sent flying out of the ring and throat meets rail once again. Diesel pauses with a mischievous look on his face. So he just goes over to the legendary Mad Dog Vachon in the front row and suckers him to STEAL HIS PROSTHETIC LEG! He holds it aloft before entering the ring and Shawn gets the leg with a low blow. We learn that HBK is a left handed batter as he swings at Diesel. He follows with the Sweet Chin Music for the victory to retain. Awesome match, right there alongside the Mankind match at IYH: Mind Games in September 1996 as my favorite HBK match of this era.
Summary: A WWF main event using a “leg drop” (of sorts) and Hogan’s not involved! This is a one match show and isn’t worth your time unless you really need to see that Warrior-Goldust debacle. But seek out the Diesel-Shawn match. This show would have benefitted from the talent used in dark matches after the PPV went off air: Austin, HHH, Undertaker, and Mankind. Oh well, the PPV was $14.95 so the audience was bound to be short changed.