The SmarK Anthology Rant for WWF Summerslam 1993
– As promised, I’m finally getting around to this one, to go along with the 1993 RAW rants. Once again this is the version from the Summerslam Anthology, which is the PPV version without all the annoying licensed entrance music and references to the WWF.
– Live from Auburn Hills, MI.
– Your hosts are Vince & Bobby.
Razor Ramon v. Ted Dibiase
Dibiase attacks to start as I have to adjust my TV set to mute Ramon’s hot pink outfit. Ramon comes back with the fallaway slam and chases him out of the ring. Back in, Dibiase chops away in the corner, but Razor puts him down with a pair of clotheslines and sends him to the floor with a third. Dibiase is bumping pretty freely for a guy with a destroyed back. And Ramon slingshots him back in to continue the abuse, but Dibiase leverages him into the corner and chokes away on the ropes. More choking and a backbreaker gets two. Clothesline gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Ramon fights out, only to walk into a knee. Dibiase puts him down again with a neckbreaker and a suplex, which sets up the Million Dollar Dream, but Ramon comes back and bails. Dibiase pulls off the turnbuckle in the meantime, but of course goes into it, and the Razor’s Edge ends Dibiase’s career at 7:28. Dibiase was obviously slowed down a lot by injuries, but this was watchable and got Ramon over. **1/2
Meanwhile, Undertaker talks with a hick about why he turned on Jake the Snake. Ah, the WWF Hotline.
Todd Pettingill interviews the Steiner family at ringside, and the sister accidentally calls them “Rob and Scott”. KAYFABE, lady.
WWF World tag titles: The Steiner Brothers v. The Heavenly Bodies
Cornette is wearing a neck brace to sell an injury angle from SMW, because he’s OLD SCHOOL. The Bodies toss Scott and attack Rick to start, hitting him with a flapjack, but Scott clears the ring and suplexes the crap out of Pritchard. Back in, Scott gets a nasty press slam on Dr. Tom and adds a backdrop on Del Ray. Over to Rick, who casually flattens Tom with a clothesline, and the Bodies regroup on the floor. Back in, Scott hits them both with atomic drops, but turns his back on Pritchard and gets bulldogged as a result. The Dr. adds an enzuigiri to put Scott on the floor, and Del Ray gets a somersault plancha off the apron, then back in for a hurricane DDT. Pritchard goes to the chinlock and they slug it out, but Del Ray comes in with a superkick for two. Back to Tom for some choking and a racket to the throat from Cornette. Del Ray tries another DDT, but Scott reverses to a northern lights suplex and then hits a butterfly bomb on Pritchard. Hot tag Rick, who gets the top rope bulldog on Pritchard for two. He powerslams Del Ray, but Cornette tosses in the racket and Del Ray gets two as a result. The Bodies set up for the moonsault, but Del Ray hits Pritchard by mistake and Scott finishes with the Frankensteiner at 9:26. Short but non-stop action. ***1/2
Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels v. Mr. Perfect
The build for this one was basically “Buy this show because they’re going to deliver a **** match and we promise”, which had people quite excited to see it. Unfortunately, the lesson here is that there’s no magic formula for predicting a great match and this proves it. They trade hammerlocks to start and Shawn grabs a headlock, and they mess up an armdrag spot off a criss-cross. Perfect works the arm and they do a nice headlock reversal, which leads Shawn to back off. Shawn slugs him in the corner and Perfect fires back with chops, then catches Shawn with a clothesline out of the corner for two. He goes to the armbar and Shawn fights out in the corner, but goes up and lands in an armdrag, which gets two for Perfect. Perfect holds the armbar and Bobby and Vince are going way over the top already selling it as a match of the year. There’s selling the product and then there’s insulting your audience. Shawn tries a dropkick and Perfect catapults him over the top to counter, but he goes to chase and Shawn superkicks him and then follows with an axehandle off the apron. Back in, Shawn works on the back with a series of elbows and whips Perfect into the corner. Another trip to the corner and he follows with a backbreaker. Perfect comes back with a dropkick and backdrop, and an atomic drop gets two. Perfect lays him out with the forearm for two. You can see they’re trying too hard here and the results are sloppy spots and too many dead spots. They fight for a backdrop and we get a Perfectplex, but Diesel pulls him out to break it up. Shawn and Perfect brawl on the floor and the ref gets bumped in a weak spot, allowing Diesel to send Perfect into the post for the countout at 11:19. Yeah, not good — no chemistry together, terrible finish, just a disappointing mess. How could they possibly promote this is as a classic before the fact and then book it to have a COUNTOUT finish? **1/2
1-2-3 Kid v. IRS
Kid gets a quick two count off a high kick, but IRS faceplants him and stomps away. Kid fires back with a dropkick for two, but IRS elbows him down and tosses him. He slingshots Kid back in, but Kid lands on his feet and slides into a rollup for two. Nice spot. IRS quickly cuts him off again and drops an elbow for two, then goes to the abdominal stretch. And it’s chinlock time. Kid makes the comeback with the kicks in the corner and follows with a moonsault press for two. Majastral cradle gets two. High kick into an enzuigiri gets two. And then IRS gets the Write-Off clothesline out of nowhere to finish at 5:40. This was really weird, basically booked as a squash with Kid as the plucky jobber who loses in the end. Good stuff from Kid, usual sleepwalking from IRS. **1/2
King of the Ring match: Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler
Tragically, Lawler has suffered a crippling knee injury due to a horrific car wreck in the jungles of Detroit’s road system, so he’s unable to compete. Lawler’s old-style dedication to the lie is awesome, as he completely sells the ridiculous story, complete with cartoonish ice-pack on his knee. So instead Bret will face the “court jester”, Doink.
Bret Hart v. Doink the Clown
Doink throws water at Bruce Hart, causing Bret to attack and slug away on the floor. He sends Doink into the post and we head back in, as Bret fires away in the corner, sending Doink to the floor again. Doink comes in via the top rope, but Bret crotches him and drags him back in by the wig. They brawl to the floor again and Doink sends Bret into the stairs, then back in for an elbow from the top. Bret fights back, but Doink puts him down with a kneecrusher and wraps the knee around the post and gets two. Back to the knee with an STF, and then it’s the stump puller, but Doink releases and stomps away. He goes up to finish with the Whoopie Cushion, but lands on Bret’s knees in a painful looking spot. Bret comes back with the legsweep and middle rope elbow and finishes with the Sharpshooter, but Jerry Lawler runs in for the DQ at 8:53. So with Lawler miraculously able to walk after all, he beats on Bret with the crutch. Vince calls it a “ripoff” and a “fraud”, which you’d think he’d be against saying about his own product. Luckily, Jack Tunney earns his pay by coming out and forcing Lawler back into the ring.
Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler
Bret beats the hell out of him in the corner and backdrops him, and Lawler runs away, so Bret hits him with the crutch, but Lawler gets it and fires back. So they’re even, I guess. After some more abuse with the crutch, they head back in, and Lawler somehow manages to sneak the crutch in and nail Bret behind the ref’s back. Bruce Hart losing his shit at ringside is great stuff. Bret’s finally had enough and makes the comeback, firing away in the corner, and he pulls the straps down in a nice touch. Backbreaker gets two. Piledriver (another nice touch) and he gives Lawler the Batista thumbs down and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 6:30 to become undisputed King. BUT WAIT! He refuses to break the hold because he’s just so pissed off, and the ref reverses the decision to make Jerry Lawler the one true King of the WWF. So there you go, Bret gets revenge, Lawler gets the crown, everyone is happy. Well except for the fans, but it’s in the “We want to see Bret Hart beat the shit out of Lawler again” way, so it’s fine. This was truly a Russo-esque epic, but with an actual story being told and a really good Bret-Doink match as the prelude. I’d still go **** for the whole thing and I’m tempted to add another 1/4* for Lawler getting wheeled off on the stretcher and holding up a hand in victory on the way back. Sadly the Survivor Series payoff to the whole crazy thing failed to happen. Damn rape accusations.
Marty Jannetty v. Ludvig Börga
Börga attacks fröm behind and pöunds away in the cörner, then puts Marty döwn with a clöthesline. Nice bit as he launches Marty intö the air and then hits him with a kidney shöt ön the way döwn, and föllöws with a beating in the cörner. Blind charge misses and Marty tries a cömeback, but Börga clötheslines him döwn again. Marty tries a sunset flip and gets slugged döwn, then Börga göes tö the bearhug. Marty finally makes a cömeback with twö superkicks, but Börga catches a bödypress attempt and pöwerslams him. Törture rack finishes at 5:17. 1/2* Not a particularly impressive squash.
RIP match: Undertaker v. Giant Gonzalez
So the mysterious Rest in Peace match is…a no-DQ, no-countout match. Whoopee. This logically should have been Undertaker v. Mr. Hughes because they spent weeks building that feud on RAW and it went absolutely nowhere. Undertaker goes right for the choking in the corner and hits a series of clotheslines to give us our dose of Gonzalez’s goofy selling, but the Giant tosses him. They slug it out on the floor and Gonzalez hammers him with a chair. When a 7 foot tall guy can’t even make a chairshot look scary, he’s a shitty wrestler. Back in, Undertaker crawls for the urn, but Giant pounds him with forearms until Taker slugs back. Gonzalez has exactly ONE face while he’s selling, and it’s the one where he puffs out his cheeks and gets a look on his face like he’s mildly retarded. But with things at their darkest and the match at its shittiest, Paul Bearer returns with another black wreath, or perhaps it’s a big zero to signify how many stars this match is worth. So Paul takes out Harvey Wippleman and retrieves the urn, and that hopefully means a finish is imminent. The Giant stops wrestling, thus immediately boosting the quality of the match, and goes after Bearer, but that just makes Undertaker sit up. He comes back and clotheslines Gonzalez because that’s the only move he knows how to sell, and so we get 10 million of them until he finally goes down. And what does Undertaker finish with? A flying CLOTHESLINE of course, at 8:01! But in the grand scheme of things, it’s over, and that’s what matters. You’d think this would be rock bottom, but amazingly Undertaker would manage to have EVEN WORSE matches with Yokozuna and Underfaker in 1994, so I can’t give it full negative stars in good conscience. -*** Vince notes this brings new meaning to the term “rest in peace”. Uh, what new meaning?
The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers
You know, the psychotic behavior of Hell’s Kitchen loser Van makes more sense now that I found out he’s Luna Vachon’s son. Bigelow pounds on Tatanka to start and puts him down with a shoulderblock, but Tatanka fights back with a backdrop. They each try a bodypress and collide as a result, but Billy and Fatu tag in. They exchange shots until Fatu drops him with a superkick, but Billy recovers and gets an inverted bulldog off the top. Fatu powers him down again and the Headshrinkers double-team him in the heel corner. Over to Bart, but he walks into a Samu elbow and he’s cowboy-in-peril. Back to the heel corner for some headbutt-related abuse, and it’s the great spot where Bart rams Fatu’s head into the mat and it gets no-sold, allowing Fatu to clothesline him down. I’m such a mark for that spot and I don’t know why exactly. Bobby gets a cute joke about needing a “swat team” to control the samoans (WINK WINK) as Samu pounds Bart down in the corner. Bigelow in with a double-team elbow, but he misses a blind charge and takes a great bump into the post. Hot tag Tatanka and he chops Bigelow into a slam, and follows with a DDT. Flying bodypress gets two. Bam Bam beats him down, but it’s the PISSED OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPE comeback…until Bigelow cuts him off with an enzuigiri. AWESOME. That is just all kinds of badass. Samu with a diving headbutt for two, but the Gunns have had ENOUGH and storm in. The heels get rid of them and continue beating on Tatanka, including a TRIPLE HEADBUTT OF DEATH. I was wondering why I loved this match so much earlier, and now I remember. All three go up for diving headbutts and miss, and Tatanka rolls up Samu for the pin at 11:14. All that craziness and THAT’s the finish? Bam Bam was in the zone here, baby. ***3/4
Meanwhile, let’s waste some time by talking with the guy who drove Lex Luger’s bus around.
WWF World title: Yokozuna v. Lex Luger
Luger gets a decent reaction, but Vince had to be disappointed in the general apathy of the crowd here. Yoko tries the sneak attack, but Luger fires away and tries a rollup. Yoko casually blocks that, but misses the Hulkbuster and Luger works on the leg. Elbowdrop gets two. Yoko tries his own elbow and misses, and Lex pounds him in the corner. Yoko chokes him down and Fuji tosses slat, but Lex manages to evade that and continues to fire away on Yoko. He can’t get the slam, however, and Yoko puts him down with a superkick and tosses him. They brawl on the floor, but Yoko misses a chairshot and they head back in. Luger goes up with a double axehandle and then goes up with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM, but it only gets two. Apparently the elbowpad saved Yokozuna. Clothesline gets two. Fuji tosses the bucket in and Yoko uses that for two as the near-falls get more melodramatic. Belly to belly suplex and Yoko chokes away on the ropes, then adds a backdrop suplex for two. Pretty close to a backdrop driver there, actually. Yoko goes to the nerve pinch and then drops the Hulkbuster, but it only gets two. He sets up for the buttdrop, but Luger moves and makes the MADE IN THE USA comeback. Yoko tries the corner splash and misses that as well, and Luger finally slams him. The STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM knocks Yoko right out of the ring, and Luger wins…by countout…at 17:55. Like, why wouldn’t Luger even TRY to get him back in? Pretty good effort from Yokozuna, actually, as he was clearly carrying things here. *** Watching this match and comparing to the previous six-man, it struck me that the six-man was FUN. I was watching it and getting sucked into the storyline and enjoying the flow of the match and enjoying guys obviously enjoying themselves. This, on the other hand, was not fun, because Lex Luger has no sense of humor that’s ever evident and even worse the commentary from Vince felt like “You have to cheer for Lex Luger or else you’re a dirty commie child molester who rapes puppies!” And really who wants to cheer for someone with THAT kind of emotional blackmail hanging over you? At any rate, wacky Vince outguessed himself here, as a title change would have solidified Luger’s turn and made him into the star he could have been, but delaying it until Wrestlemania just confirmed the label of “choker” that Luger’s character has always had and sabotaged his own cause.
This is very much of a niche show, with a couple of really good matches you can enjoy if you get this as part of a bigger set (like this one), but nothing you’d want to get the standalone show for. Recommendation to avoid.