WWE launched the In Your House PPV concept in 1995. The idea was very simple: a shorter PPV event with a cheaper price tag. And the company even gave away an actual house at the first event! The show also featured a unique entrance stage with, you guessed it, a mock-up of a house that the performers walked out of. This stage was used for every edition of the event up until September 1997, when the In Your House Ground Zero event became the final event to use the iconic stage
As a PPV title, In Your House continued on until early 1999, though the subtitles that were given to the events became the featured title with the September 1997 show (Ground Zero In Your House) rather than how it had been reversed prior (In Your House Canadian Stampede). The final WWE PPV event that was held with the In Your House name in the title was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre event in February 1999.
WWE NXT announced on Wednesday night that they are bringing back the In Your House theme for the next NXT TakeOver event on June 7th. With that in mind, we thought this would be a good time to look back at some of the best In Your House matches in the previous 27 incarnations of the event. One thing that comes to mind instantly when looking at this list: Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin can all lay claim to the title "Mr. In Your House," with all of them having a part in at least three of our seven matches here. That maybe shouldn't be all that unexpected, though, as they were arguably the three best performers in the company between 1995 and 1999.
In chronological order, here are what I deem the seven best WWE In Your House matches.
Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog (IYH: Seasons Beatings, December 1995)
This is a bit of a forgotten classic, as the SummerSlam 1992 match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wembley Stadium between the Bulldog and Bret Hart usually gets most of the publicity when people look back upon matches between these two.
However, their December 1995 In Your House contest for the WWE Championship might actually be a better match. Seriously. This one also features Hart in possibly the bloodiest performance of his WWE career, leaving puddles of crimson red all over the arena during an era when blood was certainly not encouraged by the higher-ups at WWE.
Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (IYH: Good Friends, Better Enemies, April 1996)
When looking at the career of Kevin Nash, two matches usually rank at the top as far as his best performances go. Not surprisingly, they involved two of the best ring workers of his generation. There's his Survivor Series 1995 match-up with Bret Hart, and this match against Shawn Michaels at April 1996's In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies.
This bout would end up being Nash's swan song from WWE, as it was his last featured television role before he and Scott Hall left for WCW to form the nWo. On this night, he battled with his old tag team partner and good friend, Shawn Michaels.
This match is also famous as legendary Hall of Fame wrestler "Mad Dog" Vachon was sitting in the front row, and his prosthetic leg was even used in the match!
Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (IYH: Mind Games, September 1996)
For many years, Mick Foley listed this match as the greatest of his career. During this period of his career, it was rare for Foley to receive a world championship shot and he and Michaels made the best of it at what was otherwise a forgettable In Your House event.
There's a big spot in the match where Foley and Michaels go crashing through a ringside table, which with today's eyes might not seem so big, but in 1996 was a rare occurrence. Always known for taking brutal falls in his matches, this was no different for Foley.
Along with the Nash match listed above, this may be the best bout of Michaels' first WWE Championship reign.
Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Vader (IYH: Final Four, February 1997)
Fatal four-way matches often leave a bit to be desired, but that wasn't the case here. Coming off the famous RAW moment where Shawn Michaels "lost his smile" and forfeited the WWE Championship, this match was made to crown a new champion.
The four men in the match were the final combatants in the 1997 Royal Rumble the month prior. The Rumble was officially won by Steve Austin, but he won it in controversial fashion as Hart had eliminated him but the officials didn't see it.
Hart continues his slow heel turn, on the way to a double turn with Austin at WrestleMania the following month, but on this night at In Your House Final Four, Hart won his fourth WWE Championship. That was short-lived, however, as he lost it the following night on RAW to Sycho Sid after some interferences from Austin.
Hart Foundation vs. Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust, LOD (IYH: Canadian Stampede, July 1997)
For my money, the crowd present in Calgary, Alberta the night of In Your House: Canadian Stampede is still the hottest crowd in WWE history.
The USA vs. Canada feud in 1997 featuring the Hart Foundation is the storyline that turned around WWE's business as the company moved to the Attitude Era, and on this night, that momentum reached a crescendo in the hometown of the Harts.
While the match itself isn't as much of a technical masterpiece of some of the others on the list (after all, there's 10 people involved!), the crowd response to everything the Hart Foundation does is what sets it apart. If you haven't seen it, watch it. This is what a hot wrestling crowd looks like for a storyline that absolutely everyone has become emotionally invested in.
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (IYH: Badd Blood, October 1997)
This was the first-ever Hell In A Cell match and still ranks as the greatest Cell match, now almost 23 years after the match.
One thing that people watching will notice right away is that the Cell wasn't nearly as tall in 1997 as it is today. Michaels even hits his feet on the roof of the cage at one point while taking a back body drop.
There were two major outcomes of this match. Number one, Kane debuted after months of hype, playing a part in the finish. Number two, the winner of the match was to receive a championship shot against Bret Hart at the next month's Survivor Series PPV event in Montreal. We all know how that one turned out.
Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (IYH: Over The Edge, May 1998)
If Mick Foley's match with Shawn Michaels earlier in this list isn't his best match, this one may be it (nod to Royal Rumble 2000, as well). This one at In Your House Over The Edge would certainly make any credible top five list when it comes to looking at Foley's best all time matches.
When it comes to Steve Austin's first reign as WWE Champion, this is also clearly his best match. He and Foley worked twice that spring, at both Unforgiven and then the following month's Over The Edge event. This is the better of the two matches.0comments
It becomes a falls count anywhere contest, as Pat Patterson at ringside continues to change the rules as the match goes on. Vince McMahon serves as guest referee. Although this one does get a little gimmicky, what great Foley match doesn't?