Ian R. Singletary, your IRS man back again with another sizzling Audit here in the late summer. With the evil bastards of the government forcing school to return sooner and sooner each passing year, I feel like summer has already ended as I send my kids back to class! Lucky for us, that also frees up a little more of my “me” time to work on getting some Audits done. With another week and a half left in the month of August, I figured it’s not too late for a SummerSlam review or two. We’re going to kick things off with a request that was made to me several weeks ago and I’m going to tackle one of the most odd finishes in the history of the SummerSlam PPV. Without looking, I can only imagine that comment could likely refer to several different years of this event, but I feel this one really stands out. I won’t go too in depth on that particular situation in the opening here, but I’ll be sure to touch on it by the time you get to the main event of this Audit, as I review…
“NO SUBTITLE NEEDED”
Well, actually there were some subtitles on the poster, but they work against the “Be a Star” campaign. Somehow the name “SummerSlam: Fat Chance”, just doesn’t roll off the tongue.
And now, we’re Live!!!
We rewind time by a good twenty-one years, and damn I feel old. We go back to August 30, 1993 from “The Palace” in Auburn Hills, Michigan and the 6th annual WWF SummerSlam. It’s USA vs. Japan, The Darkside vs. Parts Unknown, Helsinki, Finland vs. Columbus, Georgia… Okay, now I’m reaching. But yes, the entire main event does evolve around a US vs. Japan angle, about 50 years too late.
Reported attendance for the event was 23,954. And before we get going here’s the listings for tonight’s show, late added matches included.
* WWF Heavyweight Champion Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger
* WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect
* WWF Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers vs. The Heavenly Bodies
* The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez in a “Rest in Peace” Match
* Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
* Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Doink the Clown
* Razor Ramon vs. “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase
* Tatanka & The Smoking Gunns vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers
* Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
* The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Irwin R. Schyster
* Per the usual tradition of the PPV’s of the time, the fans in the Palace were treated to a “dark match” before the PPV which featured Owen Hart defeated Barry Horowitz in a reported time of 8:32. That should have been decent, those two had some good rapport going back to the Blue Blazer days. Owen will be at ringside as a “spectator” for his brother Bret’s match later in the show, so why not use him since he’s already there. Save on a plane ticket.
And now, It’s time for SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSummerSlam!
– The show kicks off with a look at the “Lex Express” pulling up earlier this evening and a shot of Lex Luger inside looking a little constipated. This guy has the match of his life coming up and he doesn’t even arrive until 6pm? What an asshole! Then to ringside with our announcers Vince McMahon & Bobby “the Brain” Heenan. Also here tonight is Gorilla Monsoon and Jim Ross calling the action for the new fledgling “Radio WWF” program which lasted all of about a year. For the era it was a cool concept, but being in syndicated radio it was doomed from the beginning.
Even with the big USA vs. Japan theme we have going for the event, there’s surprisingly no National Anthem opening the show, but that’s okay because we’d turn that into a grand spectacle for later on. Let’s kick this shit off, as Vince quickly throws things to the Fink.
(Razor vs. DiBiase Notes going in: The literal bad guy, Razor Ramon, had fallen on tough times recently after being made a fool of in a pair of matches against the 1-2-3 Kid. DiBiase drew off this, basically calling Ramon’s career over because of these losses, but Ted would do the kind thing and offer Razor a job as his chauffeur and manservant. Obviously the ‘Bad Guy’ wasn’t a big fan of this offer and subsequently turned into a “Good Guy” in the process. Funny how guys turn face simply because DiBiase offers them financial stability isn’t it? Ingrates! Anyway, DiBiase would plan to show Ramon up and defeat the 1-2-3 Kid on an episode of Superstars, but Razor would make his way to ringside, causing a slight distraction for Teddy bear, and the Kid cradled Dibiase for the win. With both Ramon and DiBiase both taking losses to the 1-2-3 Kid, the only thing that seemed natural was that they meet each other here at SummerSlam to prove that at least one of them still has it.)
Razor Ramon vs. “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase
Dibiase jumps Razor before he can get his vest off. Teddy pounds on the Bad Guy, but Razor comes back with a backdrop and a big right hand that sends the money man to the floor. Ted regroups and tries again, but receives a similar outcome when Ramon clotheslines Dibiase over the top and back to the floor before doing his signature “me-me-me” pose. Dibiase is brought back in the hard way, but he manages to take control and work Razor over in the corner, then hits a backbreaker and clothesline for 2. Dibiase applies a reverse chinlock to wear the Bad Guy down. After Ramon tries an escape, Dibiase follows up with a neckbraker, and then a vertical suplex, all to set up for the finish. It’s Million Dollar Dream time, but for some reason Dibiase is shitting around and he winds up getting caught by a Ramon clothesline. Ted comes back though, and sends Razor head first into the corner and Ramon falls to the outside. As the referee starts a count on Razor, Dibiase is busy undoing a top turnbuckle pad. Once Razor’s back inside Dibiase tries to drive him into the exposed steel buckle, but as you’d suspect Ramon blocks it and rams Ted into the buckle instead. A Razor’s Edge follows, and this paint-by-numbers match is over at 7:33.
Winner: The Bad Guy
(Post Match Thoughts: Didn’t Dibiase learn anything from his match with Virgil at SummerSlam ’91? The turnbuckle pad gimmick rarely works, and never works for Ted. This was DiBiase’s swan song for the WWF as an in-ring competitor and he wouldn’t return to WWF TV until Royal Rumble ’94 as an announcer, and later a manager. Ted still worked a tour for Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling later in this year, as a promise he made to Baba many years earlier to retire with his company. But it was nagging back and shoulder injuries that would abruptly end the career of one of the greatest in ring technicians of the modern era. This was a very formulaic match, with nothing to write home about. As basic as it gets, but given Ted’s nagging injuries you have to appreciate that he put someone over on his way out. Nothing ‘bad’ about the match, just nothing really stands out. It did the job though. Thank You, Ted Dibiase. *)
– We go to the back to promote the Hotline! Some fan is on the phone asking the Undertaker about his turn on Jake Roberts from like almost 2 years ago. I bet they weren’t expecting that when they put this on the show. How stupid is it that the Undertaker is sitting there taking random calls so close to his big match with the Giant Gonzalez?
– Before the next match, and since we’re in Michigan, the home of the Steiner Brothers, we have Todd Pettingill in the crowd to interview the Steiner’s mother and sister. Apparently papa Steiner is sick at home on the couch, awww. Their sister talks about growing up with “Scott & Rob”, Rob being Rick’s real name. She’s giving away family secrets! Jim Cornette mercifully let’s us off the hook as he begins to announce the Bodies to take us away from this shit.
(Tag Title Match Notes going in: Jim Cornette had made his surprise debut in the WWF only about a month earlier on an episode of Monday Night Raw, where he announced his team of the Heavenly Bodies from Smoky Mountain Wrestling issue a challenge to the Steiners. Cornette’s lawyers work fast, because a team who hadn’t even debuted in the company yet had somehow earned themselves a title shot at one of the “big four” PPV’s. The Bodies would debut on TV about 4 weeks before this show and work a squash match each week on Raw or a syndicated program to try and get them over by the time of the PPV. No real story here, but there were very few teams left by this point in the WWF. So here we go with our token Tag Team Title match of the show.)
WWF Tag Team Championship Match
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) (c) vs. The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray & Tom Prichard) with Jim Cornette
The Bodies jump the champs to get things going, Scott is knocked to the floor and Rick takes a double suplex, or gives himself one as he jumps and flips before the Bodies even try the move. The Bodies set Rick up for a double Flapjack, but Rick tries to take it like a backdrop, and we almost had a near disaster there had he landed any worse. Wow, that was dangerous. The Steiners regroup and whip the Bodies into the same corner, Scotty with a monkeyflip on Del Ray, Rick then catches Del Ray with a Steinerline in the corner, Tom Prichard eats a overhead Belly to Belly from Scott, and then Scott catches Del Ray with a tilt a whirl slam to clear the ring and Jim Cornette goes nuts.
Ok, the Bodies regroup, but Scott Steiner isn’t done on the offense. Scotty with a military press on Prichard, and then a backdrop sends Del Ray high into the sky. Great bump there by the Gigolo. Rick tags in and slams the Bodies around and they take their second break outside the ring to regroup. This time Scott tags back in with a pair of inverted atomic drops on the Bodies, but the challengers regroup and hit a nice double team set up for a Prichard bulldog on Scott Steiner, and the Bodies take control. Prichard nails a standing enzuigiri on Scott and dumps him to the floor, where Del Ray comes running off the apron with a somersault senton dive onto Scott. Nice again. Del Ray tags in, does a little belly dancing, not quite as well as Stan Lane, but follows up by landing a crucifix into a DDT on Scott for a near fall. Frequent tags by the Bodies as they continue their slick offense, and even Cornette gets a tennis racquet shot in on Scott. Del Ray tries the float over DDT a second time, but Scott counters with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Prichard is in the stop a hot tag, but Scott still makes it to his brother Rick eventually.
Rick bursts in with Steinerslines and slams for all. Scott returns with dropkicks for both Bodies. Rick climbs up the top rope and hits Del Ray with a flying Bulldog!! DAMN, no wonder that broke Buff’s neck! Rick gets a 2 count before Prichard breaks it up. Scott tries to tackle Dr. Tom, but Prichard dumps Scotty to the floor. Rick Steiner hits Del Ray with the mid air powerslam, but Jim Cornette is now up on the apron! Cornette distracts Rick while he tosses the racquet to Prichard, and Tom smacks the racquet into the back of Rick Steiner for Del Ray to make the pin. Rick somehow manages to kick out right before the 3 count and the match continues.
Prichard holds Rick for Del Ray, while Jimmy comes off the top rope with a moonsault body block, but Scott pulls Rick out of the way and Del Ray hits Prichard instead! With Dr. Tom down, Scott lands the FRANKENSTEINER on Del Ray, and the legal man Rick covers for the win at 9:28. The Steiners pick up the win, and Cornette appears to have shit himself.
Winners: The Steiners.
(Post Match Thoughts: This match was boom-boom-boom, and I don’t mean Kofi Kingston. It was one high spot after another, but Cornette and his men were always good at delivering a nonstop pace and still able to tell a story. The Steiners were still in their prime here, and the Bodies showed us work rate to the max. Too short to be a classic, but given some real time this match could have torn the house down. The Bodies didn’t just “keep up” with the big boys, but they held their own and were clearly ready for a decent position. It’s a shame the Bodies were never used the same again after this, wasted talent in a time where they could have really used it. I would have loved to seen this in a 20 minute rematch. Cornette was now aligned with Yokozuna, so his Bodies were usually treated as an afterthought. The Quebecers were soon to become the top heel team in the company and the Bodies would be stuck in worthless matches with the Smoking Gunns and Bushwhackers. I’ll give this match ***1/4 all day long, great stuff from all four men,.)
– With the departure of Sean Mooney earlier in the year, the WWF picked up Todd Pettingill to work in as his replacement as Sean was getting ready to leave the company after his recent marriage. Well, with the departure of Hulk Hogan and his troops, which eventually included “Mean” Gene Okerlund, the WWF would have to fill another void. In my opinion, Gene had worn out his usefulness by a few years here, so when he left it didn’t bother me one bit. The WWF would still struggle to find competent replacements however, with Joe Fowler being the first attempt. Fowler worked as an announcer for college football out of Minnesota prior to this gig, amongst other things. You may recognize Joe these days as a host of several infomercials. But here he is, the fledgling announcer interviewing the current IC Champion Shawn Michaels, who stands with his bodyguard Diesel.
(IC Title Match Notes going in: There were some issues between these two going back to WrestleMania IX when Hennig had come tearing into the backstage after a loss to Lex Luger. Mr. Perfect would find the cheating Luger and confront him, trouble is Lex was chatting with Shawn Michaels, and apparently Shawn doesn’t like being interrupted. While Hennig went after Luger, Shawn went after Hennig and proceeded to beat him down, even slamming a trash can, rim first, into the skull of “Mr. P”. But Hennig would gain some revenge when he aided Marty Jannetty in defeating HBK for the IC Title on an episode of Monday Night Raw. At that point, Shawn was forced to enlist Diesel as his bodyguard to watch his back, and this would lead to Michaels regaining the IC strap shortly thereafter. The feud picked back up after King of the Ring in order to build towards what was expected to be one of the greatest IC Title matches in the history of the WWF here tonight. Both men even claimed this would decide once and for all who was the greatest IC Champion of all time. Let’s see if it lives up to the hype!)
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
“Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (c) (with Diesel) vs. Mr. Perfect
Like pretty much any classic match, these two guys start off trying to outwrestle one another on the mat. Several exchanges are made in a nice flowing sequence that ends when the two collide, and neither looks completely certain what the hell just happened. It’s hard to determine who was supposed to get the worst of that botched spot. Michaels sells it though, and Hennig locks in a hammerlock, but HBK returns with a head scissors, but Perfect frees himself and we’re back to a standing position. We’re sort of at a stalemate here, with neither man outshining the other as of yet. The match goes on, Michaels is whipped into the corner and does a back flip off the top rope onto his feet, but Perfect is waiting and then nails Shawn with a clothesline, turning HBK inside out for a 2 count.
Perfect slows things down with an armbar. Shawn escapes and goes to the top rope. Shawn jumps off right into an armdrag from the top rope! Hennig goes back to an armlock. Michaels gets free again and tries a dropkick, but Hennig catches his legs and catapults Michaels to the floor. Perfect goes outside after HBK, but Diesel distracts and Shawn lays Hennig out with a Superkick on the floor. Back in the ring, Shawn works over the lower back of Mr. P, dropping elbows and whipping him hard into the corners. Shawn lands a backbreaker and then bends Hennig backwards over his knee in a submission hold, neither guy is trying very hard to make it look very realistic. Perfect punches his way out and plants Michaels with an awesome running dropkick and a high backdrop. Shawn tries to take a sweet bump off the Perfect kneelift, but the fucking referee was in the way. Hennig nails the Axe punch from his AWA days and gets 2. Perfect with a backslide on Michaels, but Diesel pulls his leg to stop the cover. Hennig rolls outside to confront Diesel, but he’s jumped from behind by HBK. Then when Shawn rolls back inside to distract the referee, Diesel rams Perfect into the ring post and we end this with a count out, out of nowhere at 11:20.
Winner: Shawn Michaels on a count out.
– After the match, as Shawn and Diesel celebrate the big “win”, Mr. Perfect isn’t too happy about the finish, and I don’t blame him. Hennig comes back with a high knee into the back of Diesel, and then he goes after Shawn, but the number game is too much and HBK holds Perfect while Diesel unloads with his big Knockout Punch. Remember that finish? A punch!
– On his way to the back, celebrating his win and then the attack on Mr. P after the match, Shawn Michaels is stopped for an interview with Todd Pettingill in the aisle way. Shawn doesn’t get to say much, but does claim that this super fantastic count out victory now makes him the greatest IC champ of all time. Makes sense. Mr. Perfect recovers from the attack and chases the heels to the back. Didn’t Mr. Perfect learn anything after chasing after Lex Luger at WrestleMania IX? Anyway, this leads to nothing. They started doing Hennig vs. Diesel on the house shows but Hennig split the company by Survivor Series. Vince really dropped the ball on Hennig in 1993.
(Post Match Thoughts: Well, first things first. A classic, this wasn’t. These guys both tried, but they just never clicked. Sometimes it’s an off night, sometimes two guys just can’t gel. I’m not sure which it was, but this really never got out of first gear. Both guys seemed to be confused or adlibbing at times when they weren’t sure what to do next. Hey, it’s wrestling, guys get credit for adlibbing, but in this instance it was too obvious and the match never really flowed. Nothing was proven here, and for an 11:00 match, it never really felt like we got to the “meat” of the contest. Lots of smoke and mirrors to this one, and it still didn’t hide the fact that these two guys were having an off night, which is unfortunate. Then there was the finish, ugh that finish. Not only a count out, but like that? That’s how we determine the greatest IC Champ ever in the ‘classic’ encounter? Don’t get me wrong, the match wasn’t really bad except the finish, but it was just below par for both these guys and certainly well below expectations. Even still it gets **1/4, which isn’t super bad until you factor in people were expecting at least 4 stars out of these two. Hell, I got the PPV for this match and I’m banking I ain’t the only one.)
– We go to the back, and it’s rookie announcer Joe Fowler with rookie WWF star the 1-2-3 Kid who appears to be a deer in the headlights.
(Notes going in: Not a whole lot to this. The Kid had been on a winning streak, having defeated Razor Ramon, and then the partner of IRS, Ted DiBiase. So it’s only natural that IRS seek some revenge for Money Inc, even if DiBiase silently retired earlier on the show. Let’s see if the 1-2-3 Kid can keep his streak alive and beat this imposter IRS.)
The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Irwin R. Schyster (otherwise known as I.R.S.)
This one starts off with the Kid landing a spin kick early for a near fall. IRS, or as I like to call him ‘Old Saggy Tits’ (Otherwise known as OST), comes back and launches the Kid into the air and Kid comes down on his chest. IRS tries the same maneuver again, but the Kid goes flying into the sky and shifts his body and nails IRS with a sky high dropkick, again for 2. IRS then sends the Kid flying out of the ring, and knocks him off the apron with Kid taking a nice bump. IRS tries to bring the Kid back in ‘the hard way’, but Kid flips over the ropes and lands on his feet, cradling IRS for another near fall. Now Old Saggy Tits gets mad, so he goes into operation work rate. IRS lands some elbows and the always dangerous Abdominal Stretch, complete with the rope hold for that extra leverage. That absominal stretch is taking it’s toll on Irwin as he’s sweating like a stuck pig.
Finally, the referee catches Irwin using the ropes and makes him break the stretch. But this imposter IRS isn’t done yet. Now the Kid’s going to really pay, because it’s CHINLOCK time from Schyster. Both the Kid and IRS work hard, using mannerisms to get the fans to chant 1-2-3 and the Kid escapes and hits his kicking combo in the corner, and then the Moonsault Body Block from the top onto IRS! 1—2—Irwin kicks out! Way to kill that finisher! IRS catches a spin kick from the Kid, but Kid counters with an enzuigiri to the face for another 2 count. The Kid takes a couple of trips off the ropes and ends up running into the “Write-Off” lariat from IRS that ends the match after 5:48.
Winner: The Sweatiest Man Alive
(Post Match Thoughts: Damn, foiled again! One day your number will come Schyster! I didn’t understand the booking here with IRS going over. IRS had worked in a tag team for the last 20 months, and the Kid had some serious momentum behind him heading into this show. I guess with Dibiase heading out, they needed to get IRS ready for another singles run for whatever reason. I would have been fine with a Kid loss to just about anyone else, but IRS didn’t make sense to me. I’m also not a fan of how they killed the moonsault finish so quickly after the Kid had established it in the win over Razor Ramon. Del Ray doing the exact same moonsault move earlier also took a little of the sizzle out of it, but the Kid still dazzled the crowd with more than one of his moves in the match. I liked Rotunda in the Varsity Club, but this gimmick was terrible and his wrestling was a snoozefest to end all snoozefests. The Kid kept this lively, and Irwin’s “rest spots” were short, so it wasn’t bad at all, I just didn’t really understand the booking. This win would have solidified the Kid much quicker. *1/2)
And now we move on to a more relevant match…..
(Bret vs. The King Notes going in: It’s amazing how much heat this angle drew in just 2 months time. We only have to go back to June’s King of the Ring PPV when Bret was crowned the winner of the tournament. In a post match ceremony conducted by Gene Okerlund, Jerry Lawler would show up and “crown” the Hitman, attacking him and laying him out with anything not nailed down on the ceremony stage. The reason? Why, there’s only TRUE King of professional wrestling, of course! Lawler was disgusted by the fact there was even a KotR tournament since he had already been King for nearly two decades. The feud would escalate however, as Lawler would make it much more personal attack when he began to run down the Hart Family as a whole at every opportunity he got. Most notable during a Hitman vs. Bigelow match on Raw, when Lawler would “visit” Bret’s parents Stu & Helen in the balcony of the arena and blast them with insults for the duration of the match. It was quite unique for the time, and it got major heat. Stu actually tweaked his ankle following the Raw show, and the WWF wasted little time using Lawler’s tirade as the reason he had sustained the injury, citing distress. The insults continued for a full two months, upsetting the entire Hart family, including brother Bruce and Owen who just happen to be sitting ringside to watch their brother exact some revenge on the King. This match is to determine the true King of the WWF.)
– Todd Pettingill interviews Bruce & Owen Hart, who have ringside seats for the event to watch on as their brother Bret meets the sinister King. The Hitman makes his way out first, which would usually seem odd, but there’s reason for it. I sure hope Owen got his seat comped after working the dark match and all.
Reason being, so Jerry Lawler could make a grand entrance… on crutches. The King gives Pettingill this sob story about an auto accident, and now he’s tweaked his royal knee. No worries though, because he has found a suitable replacement in his royal court jester, Doink the Clown! SWERVE! All of that build up for nothing? Doink makes his way out with two pales, one of which contains nothing, the other full of water. Guess which one he dumps on Bruce Hart? Yes, the water, and you know what? It was funny. Mainly because I just plain don’t like Bruce.
YEAH, DUMP THAT SHIT ON BRUCE!!!
Bret then attacks the Clown after the dirty prank played on Brucey, and this match is under way.
(Bret vs. Doink Notes going in: Well, you pretty much read it all above. The heel Doink character was very underrated by some. Some just saw the clown costume and passed it off. Matt Borne played the evil clown gimmick masterfully, and given his real life demons, I’m sure it wasn’t terribly hard. It sure beats “Big Josh, from the North Woods”. Speaking of his demons, because of such issues, this would be Borne’s last mainstream appearance under the Doink gimmick, which is unfortunate, because he was great at it. The Clown would be turning face soon, and it was all down hill after that anyway. Underneath the costume however, lied a pretty good wrestler, and a match with Bret should be pretty decent.)
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Doink the Clown (with Jerry Lawler)
Bret attacks Doink after the bucket-o-water incident and it’s on like neck bone. Hart tosses Doink into the ring, only to clothesline right back outside. Bret goes after Doink on the floor again, the Clown eats the post and rolls back inside. And Doink gets knocked outside yet again, this time by Lawler. Where’s a second Doink when you need him? Doink tries to reenter off the top rope, but he gets crotched and then pulled off the top rope by his green hair. While Doink sells, Hart invites poor crippled Lawler into the ring, and then heads outside to go after the King, but Doink attacks Hart from behind with a flying knee outside. Bret then tossed into the post for the Clown to take control.
Doink begins to work over the leg of the Hitman, and locks in a crossover STF briefly, before it somehow gets turned into a shitty old chinlock. Hart escapes but runs right into a knee to the gut and the Clown stays on the attack. STUMP PULLER is applied, and Doink uses the top rope for added leverage. Doink is caught using the rope and is forced to break his finishing hold. Doink goes to the top rope to deliver the fly ass bomb “Whoopee Cushion:, but comes down nads first on the knees of the Hitman. Bret takes back over with with Russian Leg Sweep, and the elbow from the middle rope. Hart then locks Doink in the Sharpshooter with his back to the King, and what do you think happens next?
It’s a fucking miracle! Lawler can walk! The King slides in the ring with a crutch and breaks it over the back of the Hitman to cause the DQ at 9:05. There’s nothing wrong with Lawler at all, and Vince is disgusted with whoever booked this shit!
Winner: Bret Hart via DQ
(Post Match Thoughts: An unannounced match that, at least for wrestling purposes, was better than anything we were going to get in the Bret/King match. If you can get past the costume, you can quickly realize that Matt Borne was a great heel and a good in-ring performer. Would have liked to seen more between the two without the clowning around. Pun intended. Decent match, this would be Borne’s last work of relevance before being fired due to his ‘demons’. Doink would soon turn face and the gimmick would die along with the turn anyway. was just getting good when they pulled it out from under us with the crappy finish, but it let Doink save face. **1/2)
– As Lawler tries to help his royal court jester away from ringside, he’s stopped by then WWF President, Jack Tunney.
Jack Tunney Quote: “Not so fast Mr. Lawler! It’s evident you can walk, it’s evident you pulled a ruse on the WWF fans, and now you must pay BITCH!”
Okay, you got me. Tunney didn’t say that, but I wish he had. However, Tunney did force Lawler to return to ringside and face the Hitman, or “be banned for life” from the WWF! And we still get our match as originally advertised!
(Bret vs. Lawler Notes going in: See Above.)
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
Now we get to determine who the true King of the Ring is! Hart meets Lawler in the aisle and beats his ass all the way back to the ring, even busting one of Doink’s buckets over the King’s head. Bret’s all over Lawler in the ring, and when Jerry tries to escape Hart busts him across the back with the other crutch. Bret continues to chase the King around ringside, but Jerry grabs the broken crutch and jams it into the ribs and back of Bret, and then proceeds to choke Hart with it. Meanwhile, the referee is distracted by Owen and Bruce Hart at ringside, who are also wanting a piece of the King.
Lawler rams Bret balls first into the corner post, and then jabs Bret in he throat with the crutch after causing Bruce and Owen to distract referee Bill Alfonso once again. Hart finally comes back after kicking Jerry low, and the Hitman drops the strap on the King! Lawler drops his own strap, but Bret just keeps kicking his ass. Bret hits the King with his own Piledriver and the elbow off the ropes. Sharpshooter time! And the King submits! This shit is done! The Hitman gets the win in 6:32!
But Hart won’t let go! He’s getting his revenge and don’t give a shit. Hart refuses to release the Sharpshooter, and no referee can seem to get Hart to break. Not Alfonso, not Tim White, not Korderas, Dave Hebner, not even wrestling legend “Dangerous” Danny Davis. Now we’ve got star power in there, Tony Garea, Rene Goulet, Pat Patterson, Strongbow, even Blackjack Lanza. Frickin Billy Red Lyons even in there. Eleven guys trying to break the Sharpshooter. Wuddamaneuver!
Finally the officials encourage Bruce and Owen to get Bret to release the hold, and after about 3 and a half minutes, Lawler is released, and the decision is reversed. As they try and stretcher Lawler out, he’s attacked again by Bret, then Bruce, and finally Owen. Lots of revenge heat here. Crowd eats it up, but like a true heel, just as Lawler is being wheeled to the back, he raises his hand in victory on the stretcher as he’s pushed back through the curtains!
Winner: The King, via DQ
(Post Match Thoughts: A different ending than we’re accustom to and it makes this stand out a little more for that. The WRESTLING part of the match itself was little more than nothing, completely driven on heat. Lawler knew how to draw heat, from the feud, to the angle tonight, all the way to the stretcher ride out. The match itself gets *1/2, but with the angle involved, the Doink match, Tunney, the reverse decision spot, the Hart’s attack after the match, and the stretcher ride out with the King’s hand in victory, this entire 30 minutes of the show together deserves a good **** with the two matches and angle combined. Plus, we get the entire Hart family pulled into this thing to start the build for the Survivor Series PPV. Great booking.)
– We prepare for our next match, but before we go back to the ring, a special vignette airs featuring the latest evil foreigner to grace the WWF squared circle, Mr. Ludvig Borga, dubbed “The Hell Raiser from Helsinki”.
(Borga vs. Jannetty going in: This match was originally scheduled to be a match between Marty Jannetty vs. “The Model” Rick Martel, but just as in the summer of 1990, Martel would be pulled from the match and replaced with newcomer Borga. I’m not sure where they were going with the Martel/Jannetty match other than we were guaranteed a pretty good match on the card, but once Borga was plugged in place of the Model, the purpose of the match became more evident. Get… Borga… Over. Ludvig vignettes had been airing on TV, cutting promos against the United States as he traveled down the nastiest streets and garbage dumps across America. He had been squashing jobbers for the past month, but facing former IC Champion Jannetty would be a big step up.)
Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
Punch, punch, punch. Boring heel stuff, but Jannetty is selling like a champ. Cool spot where Borga throws Jannetty into the air and catches him with a punch on the way down. Borga misses a corner splash. Marty tries to amount some offense, but he’s clotheslined for his troubles. A bearhug spot? Nooooo. Marty breaks out, but he can’t slam Borga because his back hurts. I must have missed where he hurt his back bad enough that he couldn’t slam Borga. Ludvig turns Jannetty inside out with another vicious clothesline. Marty dodges a punch and lands TWO, count them TWO Superkicks, but Ludvig won’t even bump. Jannetty comes off the middle rope with a cross body, but is caught and dumped. Borga with some punches to the ribs, Torture Rack time and this shit is over after 5:15.
Winner: The Hell Raiser from Helsinki
(Post Match Thoughts: These guys didn’t click, lots of “off” timing, and as limited as I remembered Borga being, he was even worse here. Lots of punching, and more punching. He looked cool, but damn he sucked. Jannetty didn’t get much offense, which didn’t keep the match moving at a good pace. Slow and just bad execution. Sucks that Marty got thrown into situations like this: see Goldust IYH 4. This match gets 1/4* and let’s just be glad it’s over.)
(Taker vs. Gonzalkez Notes going in: Would you believe this crap of a match has 8 months of build to it? Poor Undertaker. This goes all the way back to the Royal Rumble, when the Giant Gonzalez made his debut as an inactive participant, eliminating the Undertaker from the Rumble match and leaving him laying, something nobody had done up until then. The Giant would debut with Wippleman by his side, after Harvey has promised to “drop a bomb” on the Undertaker, after the Taker had laid Kamala to rest back at the Survivor Series in 1992. Vince loved his giants and proceeded to try and put Gonzalez over as a true monster heading into WrestleMania IX where Taker would first meet the Giant. That match ended in a DQ win for the Reaper. The feud would drag on, with Mr. Hughes being added to the mix as a second member of Wippleman’s stable. Hughes would become the first of many to steal the urn, but just like all of his tenures in the WWF, Hughes was gone within a matter of a few months, and the angle would be placed back solely on Gonzalez, leading to this blow off match which was advertised as a “Rest in Peace” match. No rules were known about the match until the Fink announced them directly before it happened. In layman’s terms, it’s a No DQ match with a cute name. I’m already wishing this were over.)
The “Rest in Peace” (No DQ) Match
The Undertaker vs. The Giant Gonzalez (with Harvey Wippleman)
Harvey has the urn with him. Taker goes right after the Giant with chops and chokes him in the corner. Harvey tries a distraction but it doesn’t work. Taker comes running off the ropes into a big chop from Gonzalez and the two men go to the floor. The Giant rams Taker into the steps and then hits him across the back with the wrong side of the chair. Way to go asshole. Taker is then thrown into the railing and eventually they wander back inside. Chop fight, and the Undertaker wins, but he’s too beaten up to follow up. While Gonzalez beats on Taker, we hear a GONG!
It’s Paul Bearer! He’s alive! And he’s brought a black wreath with him. Wippleman removes his jacket and charges at Bearer, but Paul clotheslines the shit out of Harvey on the floor and regains control of the URN! OHHHHHHH YEEESSSS!
Gonzalez slams Taker, then takes notice of Bearer with the Urn. While the Giant wobbles around like an idiot doing absolutely nothing, the power of the urn goes to work. The Undertaker SITS UP and hits Gonzalez with five clothesline, and then a clothesline off the top rope ends this shit at 8:04. That’s all it took? Some clotheslines? You know what, I’m not going to argue, because it’s over.
Winner: The Taker.
But the action in the ring isn’t quite over. As the Taker leaves with the returning Paul Bearer and the urn, Harvey Wippleman is berating Gonzalez for being the shittiest wrestler ever with the shittiest costume ever. The Giant starts to defend himself and stalks Harvey around the ring before planting him with a Chokeslam. Gonzalez lays the wreath on Harvey’s chest as he leaves the ring. Jokes on you Giant, Harvey would go on to continue to manage successes like Well Dunn and Kwang the Ninja!
(Post Match Thoughts: One of the worst feuds in wrestling history had now gone on for nearly EIGHT MONTHS ,and it was way past time to end it. To be honest though, this wasn’t the worst Giant Gonzalez match in existence, though that isn’t saying much. It was better than I anticipated, yet it was still terrible. But it’s all over, and we get a happy ending for the Giant, who would go on to work the IC Title Battle Royal and disappear. 1/2* will do it, and most of that is for the Gonzalez face turn and the fact that this is over.)
– In an interview the champ before the main event match, Jim Cornette insists his Heavenly Bodies were robbed earlier tonight, but it won’t happen twice. Yokozuna is Ichiban, Luger will fail. YOSH! BANZAI!
(Six-Man Tag Match Notes going in: Tatanka and Bam Bam have some heat between them going back to April. At the time Bigelow’s main squeeze Luna Vachon was feuding with the Sensational Sherri. When Sherri got to close to Luna, Bam Bam threatened here and it was Tatanka who made the save. In an act of revenge, Bigelow would later attack Tatanka prior to a squash match and cut the red scalp of the Native American. In between Bam Bam’s two impressive matches against Bret Hart, first at King of the Ring, and then on Raw, the Tatanka/Bigelow feud would continue simmering and took place on most house shows over the summer. By this point, the feud had died down and had been beaten to death, but they wanted to get these two on the card. The Gunns and the Shrinkers had nothing going on, other than they were being groomed in the tag team division. Again, Vince wanted them on the card. This was the most underplayed match heading into the show, sometimes not even mentioned on the SummerSlam Reports. I assume this was the match to be cut if they met time issues like they had done with four of the last six PPV’s. This would also be the second PPV straight that the Shrinkers and Gunns were placed in a multi-man tag team match of no meaning, just to keep them relevant, having worked an 8-man together back at King of the Ring. Fun fact is these two 6-man teams works each other on syndicated TV back in July, not sure how that match went, but it must have been halfway decent since they get to do it again here.)
Chant along with me: “Hey-how-are-ya, Nice-to-see-ya”.
Remember the shitty Cap Guns?
Bart also has trouble finding his holster after the gun sling.
The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu, with Afa) and Bam Bam Bigelow (with Luna)
For those questioning the realism in cowboys teaming with an Indian, it happened many times on Bonanza. In a change of pace, the faces actually rush at the heels to attack, but the heels clobber all the faces and lay them out. Bam Bam starts off with Tatanka, some back and forth action leads to both men hitting a cross body on each other and taking a bump to the mat. Billy Gunn and Fatu tag in, Billy counters a suplex with a layout gourd buster, and then an inverted bulldog off the top rope for 2. Samu tags in and drops Billy across the top rope, and Afa even gets in some cheap shots. Samu lands a side kick and Billy falls into his corner for a tag to Bart. Bart gets in some shots, but eventually goes down to a face slam from Samu. Bigelow tags in with a dropkick on Bart for 2. Fatu with a powerslam on Bart for 2.
Very quick action by everyone involved, really good stuff already and we’re only a couple minutes in. And now all three heels make quick tags and work over Bart. At one point, Bart slams Fatu head first into the canvas, but Fatu no sells and clotheslines him out of his boots. Lots of heel corner work on Bart Gunn. Bigelow eventually misses a Stinger splash in the corner, and Bart hot tags to Tatanka. Tatanka with chops and a slam on Bigelow, a Single arm DDT follows, and then Tatanka with a high cross body for a near fall. Nice combo.
Bammer takes over on Tatanka, the Native American starts a war dance around the ring, and Bigelow just blasts him with an Enzuigiri out of nowhere to shut him up, and that was an AWESOME spot! The heels with a near fall on Tatanka, and the Gunns come in to make the save, but the Gunns are thrown out of the ring.
The Shrinkers & Bammer triple team Tatanka, Bigelow hits an avalanche in the corner, all three heels lay Tatanka out and go to the top rope for TRIPLE FLYING HEADBUTTS! HOLY SHIT! But Tatanka moves! The Gunns knock Fatu and Bammer out of the ring, and Tatanka rolls Samu up in a school boy for the win at 11:15.
Winners: The Cowboys and Indian
(Post Match Thoughts: It’s a toss up between this and the Steiners/Bodies match for best match on the show. This match was the least promoted on the card, but the action delivered. These guys knew the time they were given, and they made use of every moment of it. Never a dull moment, lots of good, if not fresh, spots were used and these guys kept things moving at a fast pace. The triple headbutt dive was an amazing sight, especially for 1993. The only thing that sucked here was the roll up finish, after such a good match you were just hoping for a better finish. Beggars can’t be choosers though, still a very good match ***1/4.)
– Well it’s just about that time. With the main event preparing to close the show we’re ‘treated’ to some last minute interviews. Joe Fowler talks to the driver of the “Lex Express”. This is the guy who drove Lex Luger around for the past 2 months. Ironically, he’s wearing a patriotic shirt as he tells stories about how great of a humanitarian Luger is. Yeah, I bet. Back to ringside and it’s Todd Pettingill with… a fan. Yup, a fan. No particular reason. Just killing more time.
Oh if you though we were going straight to action you were terribly misinformed. First, some Asian dude performs the Japanese Anthem, flanked by the Japanese flag and Akio Sato of the Orient Express (and later Hakushi’s manager ‘Shinja’). Nothing says main event like the Orient Express after all. Once that’s done, it’s the master of ceremonies, “Macho Man” Randy Savage making a grand entrance in a partly new and partly WrestleMania VII recycled garb. Savage brings with him Aaron Neville of the somewhat famous Neville brothers. Most modern fans may know Neville from the ‘Family Guy’ joke that involved the Aaron Neville megaphone. Anyway, Aaron sings the American National Anthem and finally… Finally, we can get down to some rasslin as Yoko and Lex make their way to the ring.
(WWF Title Match Notes going in: Yokozuna had ended Hulkamania at King of the Ring, and the United States needed a new hero damn it! With the recent popularity with Japan and their success in technology, electronics, and basically owning half of America, Vince McMahon felt it was a great time to push the mighty “Japanese” star to the top of the company and use him as an anti-American. After Hogan failed to slam the massive Yokozuna, and then dropped the title back to him on the way out, the WWF was without a true American hero. So what does WWF do? They create one, or try to anyway. Mr. Fuji sets the “Bodyslam Challenge” on America’s Birthday, the ultimate insult. And where better to place the challenge than the American warship, the USS Intrepid. Oh the humiliation! So the challenge goes like this, Yokozuna challenges ANY professional sportsman to attempt and slam his big ass on the 4th of July. Many would try from all walks of life. NBA stars, several NFL stars, even horse jockeys tried their hand at slamming the mammoth champion, but they all failed. We even went through a troop of WWF stars like Bob Backlund (failed), Scott Steiner (failed), Rick Steiner (failed and didn’t count anyway because he tried a belly to belly), Tatanka (cheated and STILL failed), Crush (failed, but picked Yoko up and could have easily slammed him), and even “Macho Man” Randy Savage, all failed. All hope was lost, America had been defeated, when WAIT? What’s that up in the sky? A helicopter landing on the Intrepid? Is that legal? We have one more challenger aboard the flight, who is it? “The Narcissist” Lex Luger????? What the??? He’s decked out in red, white, and blue, he goes nose to nose with Yoko, and after a short back and forth and the loaded forearm-o-doom, Lex SLAMS the sumo master! HE SLAMS YOKOZUNA. First time ever! And the American crowd aboard the ship EXPLODE in celebration. Yes, in a matter of seconds, Lex Luger went from loving himself, to loving America, at least in script. And without any explanation, Lex Luger is out new number one baby face and he loves him some America!
Next was the “Call to Action” campaign. Where Luger was stuck on a bus decorated in the American flag colors and titles “The Lex Express”. Luger would be driven around the nation in this bus over the next six weeks, meeting with fans, signing autographs at random stops along the way, and asking for the fans support in getting him a title shot against Yokozuna, and supporting him in his pursuit. Damn man, if you have to go to all that trouble to get the fans support, I can see why you’d rather be a heel. Nevertheless, we need a HEROOOOO. We need a Heeerooo, whoa! But it didn’t end there, as Yoko would bring in Jim Cornette as his American spokesperson, which was much needed for promos. Cornette had slid into the title contract that if Luger didn’t win the title in this match, he’d NEVER received another title shot again. Ever… One chance Mr. America, don’t blow it!)
– And there’s nothing like some good old American racism to get things going. In this lady’s defense, the match was set up this way so I guess she’s somewhat in the right. Patriotism trumps racism……. sometimes.
WWF Heavyweight Championship Match
Yokozuna (c) (with Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Lex Luger
To prepare for this match, Yoko is coming off a flattening attack on everyone’s favorite American hero “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan a week prior on the March to WrestleMania IX USA Special. Fuji tries to interfere right out of the gate, but it backfires and Luger goes after Yoko, but Zuna fights back and drops Lex with a shot to the face. Yoko tries the big Legdrop that finished Hulk Hogan early on, but Luger moves and Yoko misses. Lex goes after Yoko’s leg and massive body, but Zuna counters a running charge with a big slam on Luger. Lex again moves out of the way of an elbowdrop this time. Luger sends Yoko to the corner and charges in with a clothesline on the champ. The ref tries tp separate the two and Yoko take a cheap shot. Luger dodges an attempt from Fuji to toss salt in his eyes, and Lex tries to SLAM Yoko, but fails. Lex is thrown to the floor where Yoko chokes him with his wrist tape and then splashes him into the post. The champ tries to smash Lex with a chair, but misses and hits the ring post.
Back inside, Luger takes control with a forearm off the middle rope to floor the champion, but it only gets a 2 count. Both men wind up hitting a double clothesline and go down. Cornette then grabs the ref’s attention so that Fuji can toss Yoko the salt bucket. Yokozuna nails Lex with the bucket and scores a near fall. Yoko follows with a belly to belly, again for a near fall. Yoko with a back suplex and another near fall. Now the champ is getting blown up, Yoko applies his trusty trapezius hold, you knew it was coming. Long, boring nerve hold leads to a ‘USA’ chant from the fans in support of their hero. Lex break free, tries another slam, but Zuna falls on top! Yoko then follows up with the LEGDROP! That’s the same move that ran Hulkamania out of town, brother! 1—–and uh 2—- and uh, he kicked out. Lex kicked out! Oh shit, now he’s in trouble. It’s Banzai Drop time! But LUGER MOVES! Yoko’s ass smashes into the mat. The two men trade some blows, but Yoko misses a Ass Splash in the corner and comes out into a Luger BODYSLAM! LUGER SLAMS YOKO! Sort of.
Fuji jumps onto the apron, but gets nailed by Lex. Luger then nails Yoko with the steel plated forearm-o-doom and Yoko goes tumbling through the ropes to the floor! Cornette also gets nailed by Luger, and in the midst of all the confusion, Yoko is unconscious outside, and he’s counted out after 17:58! A long, painful 18:00.
Winner: The Lex Express, on a DQ
(Post Match Thoughts: Somehow now, the subtitle “Fat Chance” makes a little more sense now. I’ve actually never seen the WWF build up something to this degree and give such a shitty payoff. How in the hell can Lex be happy? He won on a count out, didn’t win the championship, and now he can’t even get a rematch. Picture this, you spend a good 6 weeks of your life on a bus, driving around and meeting fans, shaking hands, kissing babies, and signing autographs, all to get the support of the fans for your big title challenge at the PPV, and then you win….. by count out. Easily one of the worst booked finishes for a PPV. What makes it worse is to see Luger out there celebrating with other wrestlers as if he has just won the championship. The guys should be PISSED! He has no rematch clause. The match itself was boring as hell as well, and then we get that mind-numbing finish. The whole thing gets a *, and that’s mainly for the pomp and circumstance.)
– That’s where the original PPV ended, but we’ve got a post show segment edited in courtesy of the good people at Coliseum Home Video. Backstage Joe Fowler gets a word with Lex Luger after his ‘win’. Luger is hanging with his buddies from the ring, and for some reason Tatanka is now in a towel, even though he was wearing trunks a few moments ago. Anyway, Lex is interrupted by Ludvig Borga, who runs down Lex and the United States. This quickly yanks Luger out of the Yoko feud and right into a feud with the newcomer. Somehow the last two months of bullshit doesn’t seem worth it anymore.
THE FINAL AUDIT:
This was one of those middle of the road PPV’s for me, but it definitely leans more towards a thumbs up, than down. Not a whole lot was all that ‘great’ on it, but there was some good stuff to try and salvage an otherwise poorly booked show. Two count outs AND two DQ’s is just unacceptable on any PPV show, especially when a main event was promoted this heavily. There were only a couple of really good matches with actual finishes on the card between the six-man and the Steiners match. The storyline that ran through the entire Bret Hart segment really helped save the show as well, that was a good 30 minutes of fun. I didn’t understand the finish of the IRS match, DiBiase wasn’t working at 100%, Borga & Gonzalez both stunk, Hennig and HBK was a super big letdown for me personally but it wasn’t the worst thing ever, and the finish of the main event just fizzled like a fart in church. Even still, the show seemed to flow even if it didn’t give off that ‘big time’ aura with some of the matches. In an era where pretty much everything stunk in the product, this PPV managed to defy the odds and do okay for itself. For that, SummerSlam ’93 gets a slight thumbs up from me, I’d go a 6 out of 10 rating, that’s safe to call a ‘C’ rating . If you’ve never seen it, I’d say give it a watch, you’ll find some fun stuff mixed in.
I’ve got some good WCW and WWF picks coming your way, but I’m always taking requests, so keep them coming… Til’ next time this is the REAL IRS, Ian R. Singletary, catcha later, tax cheats!