The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 1994 – 08.29.94
(Originally written 05.01.18)
Live from Chicago, IL, drawing 23,000 (about 19000 paid) and a 1.3 buyrate.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.
Well, we’re at the point in the Observers where this show is next, so let’s give it another look! Especially since the original rant was written when WCW still existed.
BREAKING NEWS: Shawn Michaels & Diesel have won the WWF tag team titles from the Headshrinkers the night before, in a bizarrely timed title change that not only eliminates a tag title match tonight, but makes the result of the IC title match even more obvious.
IRS & Bam Bam Bigelow v. The Headshrinkers
Original booking had Dibiase’s team winning the tag titles according to the Observers at the time, but that of course changed pretty quick. Bigelow reverses a slam on Samu and goes up, but misses the headbutt and the Shrinkers take over with a double-team that gets two for Samu. Over to IRS, but Samu superkicks him for two and puts him on the floor. Back in, a headbutt gets two. Finally Fatu comes in and Bigelow pulls down the top rope and runs his head into the briefcase to take over. Well that’s only gonna hurt a perfectly nice briefcase. Vince is like “Boy, you’d think these guys would be a bit more worked up since they just lost the titles last night.” Well that’s kind of a dick thing to say. Hot tag Samu and he runs wild with headbutts and gets two on IRS. The double Stroke on IRS sets up Fatu’s flying splash, but Dibiase takes the ref and Bigelow beats on Albano. Afa comes in, clearly upset because his young son Roman failed his pre-school entrance exam multiple times despite getting chance after chance to get in, and he cleans house himself and it’s a DQ at 7:21. And then everyone went off in totally different directions at the next taping anyway. What a weird finish. Nothing to this one. *1/2
Meanwhile, Leslie Nielsen continues his search for the Undertaker.
WWF Women’s title: Alundra Blayze v. Bull Nakano
Bull immediately attacks and Blayze comes back with dropkicks, but misses one and gets hairtossed. Nia Jax should bring that one back, it would still get a huge reaction against someone like Bliss. Legdrop gets two. Bull chokes her out on the ropes, which draws Vince’s most stinging indictment for the official: C’MON REF! Blayze reverses a powerbomb into a rana for two and comes back with high kicks, but Bull chokes her down again as Vince is greatly displeased with the quality of the refereeing here. Boston crab follows, but Blazye makes the ropes, so Bull wraps her up in a wacky submission hold until Blazye powers out. Bull takes her down again with a cross armbreaker, but Blayze comes back with some sling blades and tries a piledriver (“She’ll break her hair, McMahon!”), but Bull backdrops out. Backslide gets two, but she walks into a powerbomb that gets two for Bull. Nakano goes up and misses a legdrop, and the german suplex retains at 8:20. This was all action and even though the fans weren’t really hip to Bull’s submission stuff, they kept the crowd well. ***1/4
Intercontinental title: Diesel v. Razor Ramon
Razor has Walter Payton seconding him to really make the result obvious here. Razor chases Diesel out of the ring to start and they slug it out, but Razor misses a blind charge and hits Diesel’s elbow. Diesel with the NASH CHOKE in the corner to take over and he grabs a sleeper, but Razor suplexes out of it. Real talk: Who would watch Diesel here, getting an OK reaction from a super-hot Chicago crowd, and think “NEXT HULK HOGAN!” He tosses Razor, and Shawn undoes a turnbuckle, but Payton chases him off. Ooo, I bet that exposed steel factors in later! FORESHADOWING! Razor goes after Shawn as well, but Diesel clobbers him on the floor and pounds him with knees in the corner. Shawn takes the ref, so Diesel runs Razor’s back into the exposed steel and gets a sideslam for two. Snake Eyes and he chokes Razor out and drops the elbow for two. Razor makes a comeback, but Diesel cuts him off with a big boot for two. Over to the abdominal stretch, but Diesel gets caught holding the ropes, which allows Razor to get his own. OH NO HE DIDN’T! Diesel quickly escapes that and tries Snake Eyes into the exposed steel, but Razor rolls him up for two and makes the comeback. He yanks Diesel into the post and goes up with the flying bulldog for two. Slam gets two. Shawn gets nailed and takes the best bump of the match, flying into the railing like Brian Pillman. Diesel tries the powerbomb, but Razor escapes that, and then Shawn distracts him again and Diesel puts him down with a shoulderblock. Shawn tries to run in again, but Payton stops him, and then Shawn gets all flustered and superkicks Diesel by mistake, and Razor regains the title at 15:00. Pretty solid for what it was, but it was about 5:00 too long for Diesel, and he had to sell the superkick FOREVER at the end. **1/2
Meanwhile, Todd reveals the fan poll results to Lex Luger and Tatanka: 54% of fans think that Luger SOLD OUT. The idea that Lex would ever abandon his ideals for money is ridiculous! When has he EVER done that before? Uh…recently? Anyway, Tatanka cuts a pretty good fired-up promo on Lex here, showing personality we never really got to see from him in the character.
Lex Luger v. Tatanka
Lex gets a very muted reaction here, as this Dibiase angle really flattened him out for good. They trade shoulderblocks and Tatanka works the arm. Vince: “At one time, well, I don’t know if you’d call them friends, but they certainly were acquaintances.” Way to sell the angle, Vince. Lex comes back with a hiptoss out of the corner and a suplex for two. Tatanka with a powerslam for two. He gets some chops for two and goes up following a suplex with the FLYING CHOP OF DOOM for two. Lex comes back with some clotheslines as Ted Dibiase finally comes out, and Lex yells at him like a geek until Tatanka rolls him up for the pin at 6:00. They argue and the ref breaks them up because it’s neither the time nor the place for fighting, but then Lex goes after Dibiase and Tatanka lays him out to turn heel and reveal that it is he who has sold out. The match was absolutely nothing, just a backdrop while everyone waited for the angle to pay off. *1/2 I know it’s been said a million times before, but Tatanka was the WORST as a heel, never grasping how to pull it off, and even worse he didn’t change his look or moveset. Had he started dressing like a douchebag casino owner and doing some kind of “You’re all on our land” deal, it would have worked a MILLION times better. Like really, how amazing would it be if he had a couple of job guys like the Youngbloods or Allan Iron Eagle as bodyguards to really sell it? Good lord, we could have witnessed the rise of JOE GOMEZ two years early! WHY DIDN’T THIS HAPPEN?!?
Jeff Jarrett v. Mabel
Once again, I would like to stress that although I enjoy the rap stylings of Jay-Z and Kanye West and others, I have no fucking idea what Oscar is saying at any point. Mabel no-sells an armbar while Lawler points out that Mabel resembles Barney, which is referencing an infamous rib that guys would pull in the dressing room, where everyone would gather around Mabel and sing the Barney song to him. Mabel clotheslines Jarrett to the floor, but Jarrett comes back with a flying fist and some elbows. Mabel sells nothing, then shrugs off Jarrett’s punches, so JJ gets a sleeper and keeps reapplying it until Mabel shrugs him off and hits a leg lariat for two. Powerslam gets two. Jarrett bails and Oscar and Mabel double-team him as they’re supposed to be the BABYFACES, but Mabel thankfully misses a splash in the ring and Jarrett gets two. Jarrett tries a sunset flip, but Mabel blocks, and then misses the butt splash and Jarrett gets the pin at 5:56. I have no idea what the point of this match was supposed to be, but Mabel looked AWFUL, completely immobile and not selling anything. Well, at least they gave up on that Mabel singles push! Ahem. -*
WWF title, cage match: Bret Hart v. Owen Hart
The Hart Family, plus Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith, are all at ringside, which gives Bruce a chance to get some TV time and put himself over. Owen attacks to start and they slug it out, with Owen pounding him down, but Bret gets a DDT and tries for the door already. Owen grabs the tights, so Bret climbs the cage instead and Owen has to haul him down again and puts him down with the enzuigiri. He climbs, but Bret pulls him down and puts him down again, then goes for the door and they have a pretty vicious scrap in the door while Bret pulls on Owen’s face to keep him in. Bret climbs and Owen slams him back in, and then he sprints up the cage and actually makes it over the top before Bret pulls him in by the hair. Owen sends him to the mat and follows with a missile dropkick, and then he lunges for the cage again and almost gets out before Bret catches him again. See, the rules of the match are that the first person to escape wins, so they’re actually TRYING TO ESCAPE instead of just working a normal match. How about that? They slug it out on the top rope and Bret tosses him down and goes for the escape, but Owen recovers and yanks him down. Bret escapes a piledriver, but they collide and both are out. Owen revives first and goes for the door, but Bret pulls him in and then climbs up in the corner and Owen has to cling to his foot before dropping him on the top rope to save. Owen goes for the door, but Bret pulls him back in and goes up, but misses an elbow from the top. Owen goes over the top, but Bret grabs a kneepad to stop him, and then grabs the hair to prevent him from going over the top. So he slams Owen and now he goes over the top, but Owen desperately hauls him back in with a samoan drop. Bret sends him into the cage and climbs, making it halfway down the cage to the floor, but Owen grabs the hair through the cage and pulls him back in again with a backdrop suplex off the ropes. Owen back up the cage, but Bret follows him up and they slug it out and both go down this time. Bret dives for the door and he’s pulling on the stairs and kicking Owen in the face trying to get out, but Owen clings desperately to his leg and they roll around on the mat punching each other. Almost as if this was a real match they were both desperately trying to win or something! Bret catapults him into the cage and goes for the door again, but Owen catches the foot and keeps him in, then whips him into the corner. Bret runs Owen into the cage, but his knee gives out on him. He still climbs the cage, but Owen pulls him in and hits the leg lariat. And then he immediately goes for the door, but Bret blocks him, so they fight up the cage and Bret sends him into it and goes over the top again. They collide and Owen goes running up the cage in the corner, but Bret blocks him with a superplex and both guys are out. Bret crawls for the door first, but Owen grabs the foot and then puts him in the Sharpshooter, which Bret reverses. Bret climbs again, but Owen grabs the hair again and they both go down. Owen recovers first and gets halfway down the cage, but Bret follows him down and they fight on the side of the cage until Owen gets tangled in the bars and Bret drops down to retain at 32:00. Still the best WWF-style cage match ever, because the entire match was focused on them actually trying to win based on the rules of the match. *****
Anvil immediately dives out of the audience, blasting Davey Boy and Diana on the way by, and Owen and Anvil haul Bret in for a beatdown and chain the door shut. The Hart brothers all climb the save and get knocked down, but Davey finally makes it past Owen and rescues Bret. Owen immediately running away is perfectly in character, of course.
Undertaker v. Underfaker
Amazingly, even seeing what a disaster the entire angle had turned into by this point, they STILL went with it as the main event to close the show! So we get the big elaborate entrance on both sides, with Paul Bearer using a magic urn with a flashlight in it to summon the real Undertaker, and then after 15 minutes of gaga the match begins and it just DIES. You can immediately see that Mark is taller than Brian Lee and looks nothing like him and the illusion is gone. However, for those who have trouble keeping track, the real one wears purple and the fake one wears grey. Underfaker slowly goes after Paul Bearer, but Undertaker suplexes him in and then throws him out as the crowd is dead silent. Back in, RedneckTaker does his half-assed ropewalk, but gets slammed off the top and ropewalked in turn. IT’S LIKE LOOKING IN A MIRROR! Like, a foggy mirror after you’ve already been showering for a few minutes. They slug it out and Brian Lee clearly moves totally differently from Mark Calaway, but Undertaker takes an awkward bump to the floor and they do a slow motion brawl. Back in, Faker with the chokeslam, but Taker sits up, so a tombstone follows, and Taker no-sells that as well. A second attempt is reversed, and two more tombstones thankfully end this bullshit storyline for good at 9:07. A complete farce from start to finish, capped off with one of the worst PPV main events in history. -***
A very mid-level show with one of the greatest WWF title matches ever, followed by one of the worst matches in history, so that kind of balances out and produces an overall thumbs in the middle from me. A major disappointment overall.