Since 1988, SummerSlam has been WWE’s second biggest show of the year. As we count down the days to the 2016 edition, the Top Ten will rank the annual event’s matches year-by-year to determine the best SummerSlam matches of all time.
It’s time for everyone to get on board the LEX EXPRESS!
SummerSlam 1993 – August 30, 1993, The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
This event is the ultimate troll job on the WWF audience.
At the first King of the Ring in June, Yokozuna regained the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan, setting off a chain reaction that led to SummerSlam. Searching for a new opponent, the WWF staged a body slam challenge on the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York City on July 4. The unexpected hero of the day was the former Narcissist, Lex Luger, who slammed the 500-plus-pound Yokozuna to set up the SummerSlam main event.
EVERYTHING pointed towards Luger winning the title here. Yokozuna’s American spokesman, Mr. James E. Cornette, put in a clause in the contract that it would be Luger’s only title shot. Luger rode around the country in a bus, proudly waving the American flag. The way it was being hyped up, there was no way Luger was losing the match at SummerSlam 1993.
And he didn’t. But he didn’t win the title, either, beating Yokozuna by countout. But the post-match celebration would have made you think Luger DID win the title. He was joined by his friends in the ring, the Steiner Brothers hoisted him on their shoulders as confetti rained down. Ring announcer Howard Finkel never gave the announcement that Yokozuna was still the champ. It was a Grade-A troll job by the WWF.
In the moment, it seems like an odd decision. But a babyface Lex Luger would have much less competition challenging for the belt than a heel Yokozuna would have, so it makes more sense in hindsight. But that final celebration makes a lot of people look stupid…
Best Match: Tatanka and The Smoking Guns defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and the Headshrinkers. Yeah, you read that right. This was a fun 6-man tag team match that built some energy back in the crowd before the main event. Given the match that came before (see the worst match…), that was a heck of a feat. It’s possible that I just have a soft spot for the Headshrinkers, as this is their second “Best Match” decision from 1993 pay-per-views.
Worst Match: The Undertaker defeated Giant Gonzalez – Rest In Peace Match. The Undertaker’s series fighting Harvey Whippleman’s freak du jour did not produce anything close to a good match, and once again, the match is easily the worst on the card, just like at WrestleMania IX. Slow, plodding and essentially pointless. But at least Paul Bearer got the urn back.
Best Angle: While the matches produced in the angle weren’t as good as I think they could have been, Bret “Hitman” Hart’s was against Jerry “The King” Lawler produced probably the most entertaining 20 minutes or so of this year’s SummerSlam. Originally scheduled for a match against Lawler, The King faked a knee injury and provided Hart with a new opponent – Doink the Clown. As Doink was about to submit to the Sharpshooter, Lawler hit Hart over the head with a crutch, precipitating WWF President Jack Tunney to force Lawler to wrestle. Hart got HIM in the Sharpshooter, too, and eventually was disqualified for not letting go. Best part of the segment may have been Doink dousing the Hart brothers at ringside with water, which seemed to legitimately piss them off.
Should Have Been Great: The Intercontinental Title Match between champion Shawn Michaels and challenger Mr. Perfect was hyped as a five-star classic in the making. Two of the greatest athletes the WWF had going at it for the Intercontinental Title? Yeah, everyone expected a classic. Instead, we got a passable match that disappointed pretty much everyone when it ended in a countout. My favorite part of the match was when Michaels had Perfect in a submission move, prompting play-by-play man Vince McMahon to exclaim, “Perfect may just submit for the first time in his long and illustrious career!” Obviously, Vince wasn’t paying attention at SummerSlam 1991. Or, he was ribbing Bret Hart… It could go either way.
The Steiners Live Where?: In one of the more random and weird moments of SummerSlam 1993, color commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan seemingly gave out the Steiner Brothers’ home address during the tag team title match against challengers The Heavenly Bodies. Heenan mentioned that the Steiners lived at 18714 Grand River Ave. That location houses Body Candy Tattoo in Detroit. Was it a hidden shout-out? Was The Brain just pulling an address out of mid-air? I’d say we could send him a DM via Twitter, but that’s apparently not ACTUALLY an option. The world will never know.
Another Great Brain Bon Mot: When Ludvig Borga hit Marty Jannetty with a clothesline that induced a 720-degree sell job: “It’s like the Zipper at the state fair. You know the ride that goes around and around and no one survives?” That ride sucks…
And One More Edit: The WWE Network cuts out “I’ll Be Your Hero” from the final video package for the PPV, replacing it with 7:26 by Michael Nappi. You can listen to that song right here. Although I don’t know why you’d want to…
The SummerSlam Top 10!
For the first time since starting this list, we have no new matches in the Top 10.
*DISCLAIMER* The Top Ten is for discussion purposes only and is in no way an official or authoritative list. It is simply my opinion. If you disagree, leave your thoughts in the comments section.
1 – Bret “Hitman” Hart defeated Mr. Perfect (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1991)
2 – Davey Boy Smith defeated Bret “Hitman” Hart (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1992)
3 – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Hart Foundation (1989)
4 – The Hart Foundation defeated Demolition (c) – 2-out-of-3 Falls Tag Team Title Match (1990)
5 – Ultimate Warrior defeated “Ravishing” Rick Rude (c) – Intercontinental Title Match(1989)
6 – “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan defeated Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant (1988)
7 – Ultimate Warrior defeated Honky Tonk Man (c) – Intercontinental Title Match (1988)
8 – Ultimate Warrior beat “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) by countout – WWF Title Match (1992)
9 – Big Bossman defeated The Mountie – Jailhouse Match (1991)
10 – Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Zeus (1989)