Sunday, 12 January 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1992

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1992 - Event posterAugust 29, 1992
Wembley Stadium, London, England


Taking advantage of the company's popularity across the pond, the World Wrestling federation promoted one of the greatest Summerslams of all time from the mammoth Wembley Stadium in England.

Here's what went down:

And so instead of the usual gruff growlings of Vince McMahon, Summerslam 1992 began with numerous young cockney children giving us their predictions for the first World Wrestling Federation pay per view to be held in the United Kingdom.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1992 - Is this you? The kid who said British Bulldog would win the title whether he wanted to or not?
The highlights (if you could call them such) of this opening package included two young girls arguing, with all the blatant awkwardness of Lord Alfred Hayes at Wrestlemania One, over Mr. Perfect's choice of man to corner in the main event, and this young gentlemen to our left, who declared that not only would British Bulldog win his match against Bret Hart, but that he would do so -and I quote- 'whether he wants to or not.'


And there was Davey Boy hoping for an easy night.

Finally, Vinny Mac did give his usual pay per view opening growl as he welcomed everybody to Wembley Stadium, and to Summerslam 1992.

McMahon was joined on commentary by Bobby Heenan, who wore a crown and claimed himself to be Sir Bobby. The two wondered, with a little more enthusiasm than the two young girls, whether Mr. Perfect would turn up to support Randy Savage or Ultimate Warrior in their upcoming title match.

With that out of the way, it was on to the first of two 'bonus' matches, which were taped at the show to be shown on later episodes of Prime Time Wrestling, but which, for reasons unknown to your writer, have turned up on his copy of this particular event.

Six man tag team match:
The Mountie and The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch)
This was a match built for pure comedy, and on that front, it delivered right from the very start.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992 - The Mountie was a riot in his opening six-man tag teaming with The Nasty Boys
The Mountie was a hoot as he made his way to ringside, all chipper and jolly, singing along with his theme tune. Yet a true comedy moment came with the arrival of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. As The fans raised their thumbs in the air to salute the American patriot, Bobby Heenan quipped 'Yeah, I remember when people always used to put their fingers up at me when I made my way to the ring.'

'That was a different kind of salute!' replied Vince McMahon without breaking stride. Both Heenan and McMahon had funnier encounters throughout the years, but that one really made this writer chuckle.

Anyway, as for the action itself, it was, as I say, a purely playful, comedy bout designed to get the crowd pumped up and ready for action.

To that effect, this fun little six-man tag certainly did its job.

After 12 minutes of fairly harmless action, Duggan put away The Mountie for the three count, much to the delight of the Wembley faithful.
Your winners: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and The Bushwhackers

Wasting no time, we went right to our second bonus match of the evening.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1992 - Papa Shango defeated 'El Matador' Tito Santana in a pre-show match
Papa Shango vs. 'El Matador' Tito Santana
Having no prior recollection of these two 'bonus' matches, I had no idea that Shango/Matador was on the card. So, imagine my sigh of resignation when Tito Santana was announced as the opponent of the voodoo man, Papa Shango. Yep, here came another loss for, in this fan's mind at least, one of the most underutilized talents in WWE history.

Santana certainly looked impressive against the lumbering Shango, but alas it wasn't to be his day.

Six minutes of forgettable action finally came to an end with a win for the future Godfather.
Your winner: Papa Shango

With that out of the way, we moved right into the opening match of the pay per view.

The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal, w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Money Incoperated ('Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster w/ Jimmy Hart)
Things began with I.R.S lambasting 'British tax cheats' for being a burden to Her Majesty the Queen, before the Legion of Doom and Paul Ellering raced to the ring on motorbikes, complete with ventriloquist's dummy Rocco in tow

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Legion of Doom manager, Paul Ellering, with his dummy, Rocco
As Ellering played with his toy on the outside (mostly getting Rocco to chant 'L.O.D, L.O.D', Hawk began the match with Ted Dibiase, notable here for eschewing his usual black and gold attire for an all-white outfit.

As this happens, your writer can't help but wonder if, had the L.O.D been active in the modern day, fans may have instead chanted LOL! (OK, that was a terrible joke, I'm sorry)

The match itself was your typical tag team affair, the bad guys cutting the ring in half to isolate Hawk, only for the Road Warrior to eventually make the hot tag to partner, Animal.

The crowd ate this one up, routing for the Chicago-born heros throughout and cheering them en route to victory in a decent, though hardly outstanding match.
Your winners: The Legion of Doom

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke with The Nature Boy Ric Flair. 

Flair was annoyed that he wasn't getting a shot at Randy Savage's world title later on in the show. After ranting about being left not only out of that match, but off the entire card, Flair teased that he knew which corner Mr. Perfect would be in during that main event.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Virgil had some choice words for rival, Nailz
This was followed by a rendevouz between Sean Mooney and Virgil. A year on after defeating Dibiase for the Million Dollar Title, the now sprightly Virgil promised the same fate for his upcoming opponent, Nailz.

Not only did Virgil claim he would pin Nailz as a matter of revenge for his good buddy Big Boss Man (Nailz had recently beaten up the Boss Man pretty bad as part of their oft-remembered, short-lived feud), but he also tried to get over a new catchphrase in the form of 'I'm too legit to quit.'

It might have worked if Virgil didn't sound like a pre-pubescent boy.

Virgil vs. Nailz
A year on from the peak of his popularity, Virgil still had the fans on his side as he raced to ringside to do battle with the ex-con Nailz. 


WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Nailz - Handsome bastard
Yet fan support could do little for the former bodyguard as he succumbed to the brute strength of his opponent in less than four minutes of mostly forgettable action.
Your winner: Nailz

Post-match, Nailz beat down Virgil with Big Boss Man's nightstick.

Heading backstage, we found Lord Alfred Hayes outside Randy Savage's dressing room. Hayes could not confirm that Mr. Perfect was back there in Savage's dressing room, but, in a revelation to end all revelations, he could confirm that the door was locked. Hayes insisted he would go on undaunted and get to the bottom of the whole drama.

Next, Mean Gene spoke to Sensational Sherri about the ongoing saga between her beau, Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel. In a rare move at the time, this was the first of three matches on the card which pitted two wrestlers on the same side of the heel/face divide against one another.

The drama here was that both men were competing for the affections of Sherri.

Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)
Martel made his way to ringside decked in full tennis regalia, causing Vince McMahon to proclaim that 'Wimpleton ended some months ago, Martel.'

I can't be too certain, but I have an idea Vinny Mac may have been referring to Wimbledon.


WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Sensational Sherri - Had all the boys fighting over her, well HBK and Martel anyway
For his part, Michaels had Sherri bring a huge mirror to ringside, which he used to preen himself prior to the opening bell.

When the bell did eventually ring, it signaled the start of the best match on the card so far.

Things began in fine form, both men working an exciting, fast-paced brawl combining high-octane spots with excessive cheating to gain the upper-hand on the other.

After delighting the Wembley crowd, Martel and Michaels' had their attentions distracted by Sherri herself. the former women's champion 'fainted' at ringside as a way to stop two men she admired from fighting each other, and as a way to get them to pay her attention.

Her ploy worked.

Both men made their way to the outside and began brawling over which one of them would get to tend to the fallen damsel. This led to a double-countout and to a comedy spot in which one man would carry Sherri half way up the isle, only to be knocked down by the other one, who would resume rescue duties.
Double-countout

A fine match before the finish, which ultimately saw Martel revive Sherri with a bucket of water, leaving her to bemoan her fortune as Michaels chased Martel backstage.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: The Nasty Boys were promised a title shot by Jimmy Hart
Signalling the start of their eventual face-turn, The Nasty Boys were found backstage with Jimmy Hart and Sean Mooney. Knobs and Sags laughed at Sherri's misfortune until Sean Mooney told them that it wasn't such a very nice thing to do.

The duo then turned their attentions to the tag team titles, and questioned Hart on when they would get a title shot. Clearly uneasy (having promised to get Money Inc. a shot instead), Hart lied and promised his charges that they would get a match. Say what you will about The Nasty Boys today, that was a fun little segment.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) vs. The Beverley Brothers (Beau & Blake w/ The Genius)
True story for you, dear readers: I have a sister named Beverley, which meant that when I was a child, I claimed that my younger brother and I were the real Beverley Brothers.

Hey, I said it was true, I never said it was interesting.  Which basically sums up the WWF version of The Beverley Brothers. They happened but I don't recall a single interesting thing that they did during their tenure in McMahonland.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: The Beverley Brothers battled The Natural Disasters for the Tag Team Titles
As for this title match, it was another fairly forgettable affair in which nothing much of note happened. Even the London crowd --who had roared their approval Virgil/Nailz like it was Hogan/Savage- seemed to lose the will to live during this one.

Not too surprisingly, the champions retained.
Your winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Natural Disasters

Backstage, The Bushwhackers told Mean Gene that they were having 'Super fun' at Summerslam, joined in with the "who's side is he on" speculation regarding Mr. Perfect, and pontificated on their upcoming lunch with the Queen.

Yep.

In a hillarious segment, we next found Lord Alfred Hayes outside the dressing room of the Ultimate Warrior (we know it was Warrior's, because somebody had drawn a Warrior mask in crayon and stuck it on the door). Hayes claimed that he was going to get the bottom of this whole Mr. Perfect saga by going into the Warrior's dressing room without knocking.

Unsurprisingly, when Hayes tried to do just that, he had the door slammed in his face. Indignant, Hayes claimed that this proved nothing, but was certainly "A vulgar act of rudeness.'" 

Bobby Heenan ruined the joke seconds later by explaining it.

Crush vs. Repo Man
WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Crush made light work of Repo Man
And so we moved on to Demolition Crush against Demolition Smash in a Lone Ranger mask as filler before our world title match.

'Crush certainly has a bright future in the World Wrestling Federation,' said Vince McMahon. Even to this day, your reviewer can't quite fathom why McMahon's prophecy never came true.

As popular as anybody on the roster at the time, with a great look (apart from that awful orange, purple and yellow attire) and a decent work ethic in the ring, one can only concur that McMahon's move to smaller wrestlers like Michaels and Hart had something to do with it.

That aside, it was another win for Crush over his former tag team partner in an enjoyable, if not particularly spectacular, five minute match.
Your winner: Crush

The World Wrestling Federation Championship match on one of the biggest shows of the year featured two of the most popular stars in the company in the form of The Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man Randy Savage.


WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Ric Flair got involved in the main event
Instead of playing up to this fact, the whole of the show spent so much time questioning whether Mr. Perfect would be in either Savage or Warrior's corner, that the idea of this being a world title match between tow huge stars was largely ignored.

Of course, as we got a video package highlighting Perfect and Flair's involvement with Warrior and Savage, it became pretty obvious that neither Warrior nor Savage would want anything to do with Perfect. Still, the idea was played up right up until the opening bell.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match:
WWF Champion 'Macho Man' Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Though your reviewer will always prefer the Wreslemania 7 classic between Savage and Warrior, their repeat performance some seventeen months later was still pretty special.

As night fell upon London, both champ and challenger gave it their all for the best part of half an hour. The result was a compelling, exhilarating performance which only grew in suspense with the inevitable arrival of Flair and Perfect.

Rather than taking sides, the dastardly duo ran interference for both men during the first of two babyface vs. babyface matches on the card.

This ultimately led, after a solid, engrossing contest, to a countout victory for the challenger.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Ultimate Warrior challenged Macho Man Randy Savage for the world title
The Ultimate Warrior may have gained a reputation as a less-than-stellar in-ring performer, but having now reviewed every WWF pay per view he was involved in during his initial run, I'm not so sure that's the case.

No, the man born James Brian Hellwig will never be classed in the same category as master technicians such as Hart, Perfect or even HBK, but when it came to dramatic performances against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Rick Rude and Savage himself, Warrior always delivered.

Nor do I believe he was necessarily 'carried' by said men. Every time, Warrior would hold his own to create an entertaining match which still stands tall as a classic, even in 2014.
Your winner via count-out: The Ultimate Warrior (Macho Man retains the title)

Afterwards, Flair and Perfect attacked Savage and injured his knee, only to be chased off by a battered and bruised Ultimate Warrior.

Returning to the ring, Warrior helped Savage to his feet and assisted him back to the locker room, all the while carrying the WWF title belt as though he were the champion.

Backstage, Flair and Perfect gloated about the success of their plan. As it turned out, Perfect was never going to be in either man's corner, but instead was there to help Flair injure Savage, making it easier for The Nature Boy to triumph when they eventually met for the title.

As history would go to show, the plan worked and Ric Flair would go on to become a two-time WWF Champion inside a year.

The Bezerker (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Tatanka
With the crowd completely drained in the wake of the awesome title match, Tatanka battled The Bezkerker in front of an almost silent audience.

Another match not included in the initial pay per view broadcast (again recorded instead for TV), this was a decent yet unspectacular affair ending with another win for the undefeated Native American.
Your winner: Tatanka

Finally, we had one more match between our main event.

Kamala (w/ Kimchee and Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Riding a wave of popularity, The Undertaker made is way to the ring on a hearse and proceeded to make lightwork of Kamala.

Up to this point, the Ugandan giant had been built up as something of a beast, yet all that fell apart when The Dead Man arrived at Wembley and destroyed him in just a few short minutes.

Ultimately, this one went to a DQ finish when Kim Chee got involved, saving his man yet costing him the match.
Your winner: The Undertaker

Afterwards, Kamala beat down on The Undertaker, even going so far as to plant him with a top-rope splash. As per the norm, The Undertaker sat right up and chased Kamala away (in as much as walking stoically to the back can be classed as chasing).

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: The British Bulldog defeated Bret Hart for the intercontinental title
Out in the back, a beaming British Bulldog disowned his brother in-law Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and promised to beat him for the Intercontinental title. Davey Boy insisted that fighting for the title in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium was not a pressure at all, but rather, was a dream come true.

Offering a retort, The Hitman played the heel role by claiming to be the one who not only introduced Davey to his wife (and Bret's brother) Dianna, but was largely responsible for the Bulldog's success in his career. To further add fuel to the fire, Bret claimed that the Bulldog was responsible for tension in the Hart family,, and promised to end his dream.

Killing a little bit more time, Rowdy Roddy Piper joined the  Balmoral Highlanders in playing the bagpipes to Scotland The Brave, before Dianna Hart-Smith cut a wooden promo in which she expressed her concerns about the upcoming title match between her brother and her husband.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match:
WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. The British Bulldog (accompanied by Lennox Lewis)
The challenger made his way to the ring first, accompanied by boxing star Lennox Lewis waving the Union Jack high and proud. He was followed by a stern-looking Bret Hart, and when the opening bell rang, we were all set for one of the best WWF matches in history.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1992: Bret Hart had some words for Brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith
From start to finish, both champ and challenger delivered an absolutely enthralling encounter which still stands up today as not only one of the greatest intercontinental title matches ever, but one of the best matches ever, period.

Full of intensity, emotion, passion and, yes, great wrestling, this timeless match is a pure joy to watch.

As you probably already knew, The British Bulldog pinned his brother -in-law to become the new Intercontinental champion.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental champion: The British Bulldog

Afterwards, Bret and Bulldog embraced, Dianna Smith joined them in the ring, and the three of them celebrated before the London faithful to end the show.

And so the first WWF PPV to not only come from the United Kingdom, but to go from start to finish without sight nor sound of Hulk Hogan, came to a close in a terrific finale of action and emotion. Summerslam 1992 was unique for reasons beyond the location and lack of Hulkster. It was unique because the three top matches on the card were the ones which pitted either heel against heel or face against face. 
If you concentrate purely on those three matches, this was a great show well worth checking out.

6 comments:

So, you've stopped doing this or what?

Hi Tim,

No not completely. Had a very busy month or so that's taken my time from new reviews. Planning to return with a review of Wrestlemania 9 in the next few weeks, following which I'll be covering the rest of 1993's pay per views and then onwards. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@allpwrestling) to keep up-to-date with any new reviews I post. Thanks very much for reading.

Three things I must mention:

1.Shango was originally scheduled to face Kerry Von Erich, but Von Erich had left the WWF one month prior to the PPV.

2.Hawk left the WWF for New Japan right after this PPV since he HATED that stupid vent dummy Rocco because it was bad for the LOD's image. Meanwhile, Animal temporarily teamed with Crush on the house show circuit during the autumn of 1992 before leaving due to a back injury.

3.On the British broadcast of this PPV, in between tDisasters/Beverlies and Savage/Warrior, Sky Sports took a small break so Richard Keys and Andy Gray could talk about the football match between Norwich and Nottingham Forest, which isn't so bad until you found out that they cut out Repo vs. Crush from the Sky Sports broadcast of the pay-per-view.

Didn't know that, interesting facts! Thanks for sharing :)

Chris, was this the sky sports version? I don't think the nasties or bushwhackers interviews are on any other version

Hi EE, I'd have to double check, but if I remember correctly it was. I'll dig it out later and comment here to confirm :)

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