The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 92 – 08.31.92
Taped from Wembley Stadium in London, drawing 78,000 and paying $2.2 million, an insane gate for the time. Buyrate was only 1.5, which was a big drop from 91 and was directly attributable to lack of Orange Goblin.
However, given that this was the first ever wrestling PPV available in Edmonton, I immediately bought it as soon as it was announced, so Vince got my money for it. I also talked my dad into ordering Halloween Havoc and Survivor Series and Starrcade that year, and those weren’t such great decisions.
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan
So thanks to the miracle of the internet, I’ve got the complete show to review, with the addition of the dark matches via the original UK feed, to supplement the Network version! Is there anything the internet can’t do? The guy who sent me this was kind enough to include Berzerker and Fuji cutting a promo from an Indian reservation, with Berzerker declaring that he talks loud, burps loud, and smells bad. Amazing. Kind of reminds me of…no, wait, no spoilers, sorry.
BONUS MATCH #1: The Nasty Boys & The Mountie v. Hacksaw Duggan & The Bushwhackers
Bobby gets a funny line during Duggan’s entrance as he gives the thumbs up to the crowd. “People used to hold up one finger during my entrances, too.” We get the big stall to start and then the heels attack, but get thrown out of the ring. Back in, Knobbs beats on Luke in the corner but the faces clean house again. Bobby: “Someone’s gotta be legal! I think it’s Knobbs and one of the Bushwhackers. The ugly one.” We start again and Sags hits Butch with a clothesline and then the faces clean house AGAIN as there’s some really subpar refereeing over in England. He’s literally just standing there and letting them to do whatever they want! COME ON REF! Finally Luke gets clobbered by Jimmy Hart and the heels go to work. Mountie’s declaration makes me want to see a mashup with Thanos.
Something like that. Luke gets triple-teamed forever in the corner before coming back with the dreaded “lift your foot when the other guy comes off the top” counter, and it’s hot tag Duggan. Duggan gets the clothesline on Mountie while the referee jaws with Jimmy Hart, but Sags comes off the top to save, misses, and Duggan pins Mountie at 12:30. Fine for what it was. *1/2
BONUS MATCH #2! Papa Shango v. Tito Santana
Oh man, Shango cast a voodoo spell on the crowd, cursing their teeth and making them like soccer. What a villain. Shango attacks to start and gets a corner splash, but Tito fights back with dropkicks to put him on the floor. Tito runs him into the post and comes back in with a flying clothesline for two. Damn, that was a nice one, too! Crossbody gets two, but Shango hits him with a forearm, so Tito tries a sleeper and Shango runs him into the turnbuckle to break. Elbowdrop and he stops to do some kind of voodoo curse before delivering a sideslam, but he goes up and misses a flying elbow. Tito makes the comeback and hits the flying forearm for two, but Shango runs him into the corner and finishes with the shoulderbreaker at 6:07. This was pretty decent, although in the very specific sub-genre of “Tito Santana v. Papa Shango PPV dark matches” I’d say it was still #2. **1/2
And now the main show, brought to you by ICOPRO! If you don’t use ICOPRO, you don’t care about your body, apparently. I’ll stick with the energy drinks and occasional Flintstone vitamin and take my chances, thanks. As I saw on the /r/ShowerThoughts reddit the other day, I’ve survived 100% of the things life has thrown at me thus far, so I’m doing fine.
Money Inc. v. The Legion of Doom
Dibiase is rocking the all white gear for this and throws chops on Hawk to start, but has to run away when that doesn’t work. Animal throws him back in and then Hawk clotheslines him right back out for an Animal clothesline, and back in he goes again. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS. These guys are worse than Brexit. Over to IRS and Hawk steps on the tie, but Irwin comes back with the sleeper and he really should have used the tie for extra heat. Hawk escapes, but the heels haul him out for a cheapshot and take over. IRS with elbow drops for two and he goes to the chinlock. Vince and Bobby are such an odd combination together, as Bobby is trying to feed Vince all these lines for jokes and Vince just no-sells everything and barrels on WITH AUTHORITY and no-sells all of it. Kind of weird because every other heel gets to score off Vince constantly on commentary. Hawk tries to fight back and Money Inc cuts him off in the corner, but Hawk basically just no-sells and hits IRS with an awkward clothesline to set up the hot tag, but the heels cut it off again. Another try and it’s a false tag behind the ref’s back, and IRS puts Hawk down with a clothesline this time, but finally it’s hot tag Animal. IRS gets dumped and a corner clothesline on Dibiase sets up the Doomsday Device, but IRS saves with a dropkick. Animal powerslams Dibiase instead and pins him at 12:00 for the win, however. This was decidedly an OK opener and nothing more. Hawk in particular looked completely bored despite the giant crowd and electric atmosphere. **1/2
Meanwhile, Ric Flair has his wrestling gear, just in case. And of course, he’s in the dressing room of…the winner.
Nailz v. Virgil
Virgil gets a dropkick that Nailz no-sells, and a sunset flip that gets countered with some choking. He beats on Virgil a bit more and finishes with the choke at 3:15. DUD
Meanwhile, Lord Alfred tries to interview Macho Man, but the dressing room door is LOCKED.
No Hitting In The Face: Shawn Michaels v. Rick Martel
Vince is HORRIFIED by the missing butt cheeks on Sherri’s pants and thinks “she’s the kind of lady who will leave with the winner”. So…what is he trying to say here, exactly? Someone who admitted to as much marital infidelity as he did probably shouldn’t throw stones from his glass house. Martel evades a charging Shawn to start, but Shawn comes back with a dropkick and Martel stomps him down in response. Martel with a crossbody that misses and Shawn goes to work on the arm and they take turns pulling each other’s hair and threatening to punch each other IN THE FACE. Martel tosses him and Sherri is immediately concerned while making sure to showcase her assets to the camera, but Martel offers a hug to console her. Back in, Martel with a BAAAAAACK body drop, but Shawn rolls him up for two using the tights. The ref catches him, so Martel grabs the tights and gets two himself. Shawn gets a superkick, making sure to hit the chest and not the face, and blocks a charge with a knee for two. Martel with a rollup for two and now things are TENSE. Punching may result, and Shawn throws the first slap while Sherri freaks out and then faints. She even takes a great bump flopping from the apron to the floor. What a pro! Both guys try to revive her and perform CPR and fight back to the dressing room at 8:00, before Shawn returns to rescue Sherri again and haul her away from the ring like a sack of potatoes. Who says chivalry is dead? And then Martel cuts him off while poor Sherri bumps like a ragdoll as Vince accuses her of faking the injury. Solid detective work there. Finally Martel dumps water on her to revive her. Unfortunately this was the end of the whole deal and it never went anywhere else, but it was goofy fun, if not a good match as such. *1/2
Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys laugh about Sherri getting doused moments ago and claim to be the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which kicked off their ill-fated babyface turn.
WWF tag team titles: The Natural Disasters v. The Beverly Brothers
Big brawl to start and Typhoon hits Blake with a corner splash, but Quake accidentally splashes his own partner and the Beverly Brothers go to work on Typhoon. Now there’s a sentence that is a bad sign of things to come.
BREAKING NEWS: Shawn Michaels has left the building.
Beau slams Blake onto Typhoon for two and they hit him with the Broken Arrow and choke him out on the ropes, and it’s back to the heel corner for more choking and nefarious tactics. Blake with a headbutt for two and he cuts off the ring with a facelock and then it’s MORE choking. Typhoon finally tries a slam on Blake, but Beau dropkicks them over for two. Finally he makes it to the corner, but Genius distracts the ref and Blake uses the SCROLL OF EXTREME DISCOMFORT to put Typhoon down. But alas for the challengers, it’s hot tag Quake after nine goddamn minutes of watching Uncle Fred try to sell, and he destroys Beau with suplexes and overpowers both Bevs. Corner splash on Beau and butt splash finish at 10:23. *
Crush v. The Repo Man
Crush immediately throws Repo out of the ring and then beats on him in the corner and follows with a backbreaker, but Repo pokes him in the eyes and follows with a backdrop suplex. Crush completely no-sells it and hits his own suplex, then goes up and tries a kneedrop, which misses. And he won’t even sell his own move! Repo tries to fight back with a facejam for two, but Crush tosses him out of the ring on the kickout and then slams him back into the ring and finishes with the TEMPLE MASSAGE OF DOOM at 3:55. I’ve always found it weird how they went so dramatically from pushing Crush with a combination of Hogan’s offense and Kevin Nash’s hair so hard, and then suddenly whiplashed him into laid back surfer guy from Hawaii, brah. ½*
WWF title: Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior
OK, so we’re finally here after weeks of buildup, and Mr. Perfect doesn’t show up in either corner to start. Dave notes in the Observer that Warrior has dramatically shrunk down to about 225 pounds, like “Brian Pillman without the wrestling talent”, almost as though he was doing some kind of chemical enhancement and then stopped a couple of weeks ago. That’s crazy talk. Just look at the natural definition on those muscles! Oh, those are airbrushed onto his tights, never mind. Crowd is very torn but mostly cheering for Warrior to start. Savage gets a clothesline for two and draws some heel heat, but goes up for the axehandle and Warrior nails him on the way down and follows with an atomic drop. Warrior with a clothesline for two, but he misses an elbow and Savage slugs away on him and drops a knee for two. Macho with a chinlock, but Warrior escapes with a jawbreaker and faceplants him for two. He beats Savage down in the corner and follows with a clothesline for two. Savage leverages him into the turnbuckle and clotheslines him to the floor, and back in for two. To the top for the double axehandle, but Warrior no-sells it, so Savage hits a second one and that puts him down for two. A third one is caught by Warrior and turned into a backbreaker, and that gets two. Warrior beats him down again and Vince is already declaring a SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH, his version of a five star classic.
Warrior whips him into the turnbuckles and gets a bearhug for two, and a sideslam gets two as Warrior is busting out all kinds of stuff here. Savage with a small package for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Savage necksnaps him on the top rope for two and the crowd is definitely Team Warrior at this point. Warrior goes to work on the back after Savage unsuccessfully tries a slam, while at the same time selling his own neck. Hopefully someone backstage has some painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication to deal with all these muscle problems. Warrior charges and gets backdropped to the floor, and Savage follows with a double axehandle out there as they brawl on the floor. Savage runs him into the ringpost, but Warrior comes back with a sunset flip for two and a clothesline for two. And NOW, WOO, we go to school as Perfect and Flair join us at ringside to reveal who sold out. Savage blocks the big splash and comes back with the clothesline for the double down, but Warrior recovers first for two. Perfect trips up Savage and Macho immediately assumes the worst, which allows Warrior to slug him down and toss him into the turnbuckles. And the ref is bumped while Warrior goes up to finish with his own double axehandle, and it gets two. Savage comes back with a piledriver and goes to revive the ref, while Perfect wakes up Warrior and then holds him for Flair to nail him with brass knuckles. Guys, I’m not sure Flair is actually with Warrior here. I think the internet lied to me about Warrior turning heel! Savage goes up and drops the big elbow, even pulling the tights for good measure, but it only gets two. Warrior makes the comeback as the match is really getting great now, and Savage just goes full heel on him as Warrior hits the clotheslines and follows with the flying shoulderblock. Gorilla press time, but Flair hits Warrior with a chair on the rebound and a confused Savage finally clues into the shenanigans which are afoot. This is worse than the soccer hooligans at the Bristol-Chelsea friendly match last week! Finally Savage goes after Flair and gets laid out by the chair as well, and Warrior wins by countout at 26:16. I really wish this had some kind of payoff outside of “Ha ha, we fooled you both to mess with you!” but otherwise it was a stone cold classic, second only to the WM7 match. ****1/4 Luckily, they reconcile after the match, which is all that Vince McMahon wanted to see all along. Now hopefully no one gets fired for drug related issues to spoil this glorious new team.
Meanwhile, Perfect announces that there was a plan all along: Between himself and Ric Flair! So now Plan B goes into effect. And of course that one actually worked, although they had to shoot it a couple of times before it took.
Undertaker v. Kamala
After the promos building it up, I’m gonna be disappointed if there’s not cannibalism and/or cremation for the finish. Taker slugs away and does the ropewalk, but Kamala doesn’t go down fully so he tries it again and Dr. Harvey shakes the ropes to bring him down. Taker goes after both geek managers and they fight on the floor, giving Vince his chance to say “bread basket” for this show, and back in for some chops from Kamala. This leads to Taker no-selling him and hitting the chokeslam, but Kim Chee runs in for the DQ at 3:42. DUD All this terribleness does lead to Kamala hitting three splashes on Undertaker to apparently kill him, only for Taker to do the zombie situp and freak everyone out. So there’s that.
Meanwhile, Rowdy Roddy Piper makes a cameo appearance and plays bagpipes. Aw, miss ya, Hot Rod.
Meanwhile, Sean Mooney interviews Diana Hart at ringside, showing that she inherited her promo ability from her mother. Or maybe Bruce. However, there is no truth to the rumor that she was so wooden that Marvel based the character of Groot on her promo. Just wanted to clear that up.
BONUS MATCH #3! Tatanka v. The Berzerker
I guess this is the cooldown match after Kamala v. Undertaker really fired up the crowd? They fight for the test of strength and Tatanka quickly powers him out of the ring and back in for the slugfest. Berzerker knocks him down for two, but misses a dropkick and Tatanka goes to work on the knee. Blind charge misses and Berzerker gets the powerslam for two and tosses him, but instead of taking the countout he follows with a slam on the floor. Back in, he ties Tatanka in the ropes for some abuse, but charges and gets backdropped to the floor, allowing Tatanka to return the slam from earlier. Back in, Tatanka makes the PISSED OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPE comeback and finishes with the Wig Wam Bomb at 5:02. Not sure why this was cut from the show, it was fine. **1/4
Intercontinental title: Bret Hart v. British Bulldog
Bulldog is escorted by noted Canadian boxer Lennox Lewis, who has turned TRAITOR by this point and is carrying the British flag. Yeah, in my eyes he’s about as British as Madonna. And don’t give me any technicalities about being born in London. Olympic representation doesn’t lie. So this is one of the most astonishing carry jobs in wrestling history, as Davey was literally in a coma from a drug binge for most of the shows leading up to it, and could barely function enough to get to the ring according to Bret. Bulldog powers Bret to the floor off the lockup and they trade headlocks in the ring before Bret gets a rollup for two. Back to the headlock and Davey reverses to a hammerlock as Vince is already predicting a see saw battle. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We cut to Diana at ringside and Bobby quips “Who is that, Mike McGuirk?” Whatever he was getting paid, it wasn’t enough.
Bret goes back to the arm and Davey powers out of it and gets a crucifix for two, and it’s back to the arm. We get an inset of Diana trying to look concerned, which in her case is more like confusion or maybe constipation. Bret puts him down with a cheap knee to go subtle heel, and drops the leg to go to work on him. To the chinlock, which in Bret’s book is the point where he says Davey was completely blown up already and confessed that he couldn’t remember any of the planned match on his own. Davey tries a crucifix to escape and Bret drops him for two and back to the chinlock as they go over the next steps, and Davey comes back with a monkey flip, but Bret hits him with a bulldog and goes up. Bulldog slams him off and tries a flying headbutt, but misses and splats on the mat. Bret dumps him and he’s really leaning into the heel reaction now, and he follows Davey out with a pescado that nearly goes horribly wrong when Davey doesn’t catch him. Bret kind of bulldogs him on the way down and Davey nearly had a broken neck from it.
Back in, Bret goes to work on the back and gets the legsweep for two. Bret slugs away and follows with a dropkick and a backdrop for two. Bret with another chinlock and a suplex for two and back to the chinlock, but Davey escapes with a backslide for two. Bret drops an elbow on him to cut off the comeback and goes up with an elbow for two. Interesting how Davey is so completely out of position for all this stuff and Bret just adjusts in mid-move to hit it anyway. Hairtoss and he slugs away before going back to the chinlock, at which point Davey fights out and Bret goes to a sleeper instead. Davey pulls him to the ropes to break and Vince is worried that Bret will cause permanent brain damage if he doesn’t release the hold. Bit late for that, Vince. Bret goes back to the sleeper but Bulldog powers out and then crotches him on the top rope before coming back with clotheslines. Delayed suplex gets two. Bulldog with the powerslam, but Bret makes it out at two and Bulldog is more shocked than his doctor reading the blood test results. “I didn’t even know that was a drug!” Bret with a german suplex for two off that and they fight to the top rope, which results in a Bulldog superplex for two. They clothesline each other and Bret maneuvers himself into the Sharpshooter from the mat as the crowd goes APESHIT, but Bulldog makes the ropes. Bret slugs away and tries a sunset flip, but Davey hooks the legs for the famous finish and wins the IC title at 25:20. Of course I’ve seen it a million times on a million DVD releases and it’s still a masterwork from Bret, probably his greatest match ever. ***** And of course they reconcile to end the family drama, although Bulldog’s title reign would be wisely cut short a couple of weeks later as soon as they could reasonably get it off him.
So of course, one of the all time great Summerslam shows, with two classic main events and a great atmosphere. On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, this one is a solid WATCH IT and maybe even BINGE IT depending on your nostalgia for the show.