Saturday, 2 August 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1994

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Event poster
August 29, 1994
United Center in Chicago, Illinois

It was the summer of 1994. Chicago's new United Center had just opened less than two weeks previously, and the World Wrestling Federation were about to offer the venue its first major event in the form of that year's Summerslam, a show which, much like the 1994 King of the Ring pay per view, simultaneously managed to present both the best and worst of professional wrestling.

Co-headlined by a stellar cage match between rival siblings Bret and Owen Hart, and a less than enthralling Battle of the Undertakers, the WWF's seventh annual Summerslam was an interesting show to say the least.

Here's what went down.

Don't worry, Leslie Nielson's here
Need a quick way to ruin whatever mystique you may have been able to muster by presenting a resurrected Undertaker against his evil clone? Easy. Hire Naked Gun stars Lesley Nielson and George Kennedy to show up and make bad jokes.

Our show tonight began with Neilson narrating a clip in which he pushed Ray Rougeau into a swimming pool, perved on Macho Man Randy Savage getting felt up by two bikini-clad babes and spoke to his smart-ass son, all the while pondering the great question:

'How can there be two Undertakers?'

Summerslam Pre-show
The one and only Todd Pettengill then welcomed us to the United Center, talked about his train ride with Nielson, and gave us the big news that Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Diesel were now the tag team champions, having defeated The Headshrinkers over the weekend.

As part of the pre-show festivities, Pettengill gave us the background to tonight's key matches, including a look back at how The Undertaker died at that year's Royal Rumble, and the shenanigans surrounding Ted Dibiase's Underfaker.

Pettengill hyped the awesome new arena for a while before we were treated to a cheesy little video featuring Bret Hart, which went something like this.


That of course, led us nicely into the story of Bret and Owen's big rivalrly. For those not paying attention, it started at Survivor Series 1993, took a harsh direction when Owen turned on his brother at the 1994 Royal Rumble, and led to their awesome opening match at Wrestlemania 10. Owen then won the King of the Ring that year, and thus earned a title shot against his brother in tonight's main event.

The Toddster told us that tonight's cage match was designed to not only keep the action inside the ring, but to keep the rest of the hart Family, who would be seated at ringside, out.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Todd Pettengill shows us the steel cage that will be used in tonight's event
Lex Luger and Tatanka, which all revolved around Tatanka accusing Lex Luger of selling out to The Million Dollar Man. I'd go into more detail, but Wrestlecrap already did a great job of covering this one.

In the remaining 10 minutes of pre-show fun, we had an interview with the owner of the United Center, and a look at the feud between

Another Leslie Nielson promo was followed by Pettengil hyping the crowd, and then, finally, it was on to WWF Summerslam 1994.

Welcome to the show
Still no actual wrestling yet. Instead, Gorilla Monsoon told us about a charity baseball game between the WWF Superstars and members of the Chicago Media.


Heading back to the arena, Randy Savage made his way to the ring to act as host/MC, welcoming us to the show and introducing our commentary team for the evening, Vince McMahon and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Lawler reminded us about the new tag team champions, HBK and Diesel, pointed out Davey Boy Smith in the crowd, and let Vinnie Mac try to get us excited about Undertaker vs. Undertaker.

With that out of the way, it was finally on to our opening match.

The Million Dollar Team (I.R.S & Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Captain Lou Albano led The Headshrinkers into battle against I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow
Originally scheduled as a tag team title match, there was little point in tonight's opening contest after former champions The Headshrinkers' loss to the Kliq.

Despite this, we had four talented competitors in the ring who worked hard to get the crowd excited with an enjoyable match.

Bigelow and I.R.S were the first members of Ted Dibiase's fledgling Million Dollar Corporation, a stable of heels who would spend most of the following year giving grief to top babyfaces like Diesel and The Undertaker.

For now though, Corporation boss Dibiase had his sights set on the tag team division, and as a result we got a fun match that was a perfect way to start the show.

After seven minutes of solid action, the managers came into play. Afa attacked Bam Bam Bigelow and cost his team the match via DQ.
Your winners via disqualification: I.R.S and Bam Bam Bigelow

Afterwards, the babyfaces attacked, and all four wrestlers brawled right the way to the backstage area.

Another Nielson skit followed. This time, Big Les met up with his cohort George Kennedy. Both men agreed that they were 'on the case,' setting up a running gag from the rest of the show.

Razor Speaks

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Razor Ramon promised to reclaim his Intercontinental title
In a Colliseum Video exclusive, we went to Razor Ramon's dressing room, where The Bad Guy claimed that Diesel and Shawn Michaels had ripped him off by taking his Intercontinental Championship.

Razor told us that NFL hall of famer, Walter Payton would be in his corner in order to counter Shawn Michaels and help Razor reclaim his title.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship match
WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano (w/ Luna Vachon)
Having sold the contract of her boyfriend Bam Bam Bigelow to The Million Dollar Man, Luna Vachon was left with little else to do but bring in Japanese star Bull Nakano to challenge Alundra Blaze for the girl's belt.

Vachon had failed in her own attempts to take the belt from the former Madusa, and had high hopes for her charge, Nakano.

For the bulk of the contest, it looked as though the villains would have plenty to celebrate. The dominate challenger mauled her opponent from pillar to post in what turned out to be a very enjoyable championship match.
WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994 - Bull Nakano on her way to challenge Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women's title

The champion eventually made a comeback, but was again thwarted by her larger foe, and only narrowly took the victory thanks to a bridging German suplex.

Your writer has seen other fans declare this as an incredible match. Though I'm note quite as enthralled, it was certainly very good, and it probably goes without saying that, compared to today's current crop of Divas, Blayze/Nakano did at least look like a five-star classic.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Alundra Blayze

Backstage, Todd Pettengill caught up with tag team champions, Shawn Michaels and Diesel. HBK said that between them, he and Diesel had held the Intercontinental Championship for the best part of two years, and decided that they wanted a little more gold, thus capturing the tag belts.

For his part, Big Daddy Cool promised that he would retain his Intercontinental title in his upcoming match against Razor Ramon.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel (w/ Shawn Michaels) vs. Razor Ramon (w/ Walter Payton)
Though some fans and insiders alike have been quick to deride the infamous Kliq contingent for their monopoly over the WWF heriachy in the mid-90s, it's hard to deny that, when it came to marquee matches, they at least delivered in the ring.

Consider the new legendary ladder match between Michaels and Ramon at Wrestlemania 10 and Diesel's thrilling attempt to capture the WWF title from Bret Hart at that June's King of the Ring event. Both great matches in their own right, topped off with an equally as exciting Intercontinental title match between The Bad Guy and Big Daddy Cool.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill talks to tag team champions Shawn Michaels & Diesel
In the second longest match on the card, both champ and challenger -along with outside shenanigan-producer Michaels- created a wonderful title match that was simply a joy to watch.

All three men (and Payton) worked supremely well together to capture the crowd in the palm of their collective hand, and pull them along for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately for the tag team champions, tonight was not to be their lucky night. After controlling much of the action between them, Michaels accidently nailed his partner with the Sweet Chin Music, costing Diesel the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon

Funny, that's two pay per views in 1994 which featured Razor winning the second-tier strap.

As The Bad Guy celebrated, Michaels stormed off to the backstage area, with his understandably irate partner following close behind and demanding an explination that the Heartbreak Kid was unwilling to give.

Fun with Randy
Cameras next cut to our host of sorts, Macho Man Randy Savage. Clearly having fun, Randy claimed that HBK would be in trouble once Diesel caught up with him, then handed back to Vince. Not sure what the point of that was.

Backstage fall out

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Shawn Michaels promised to get his buddy Diesel another shot at the Intercontinental championship
In a Colliseum Home Video exclusive, we got individual reactions from both Diesel and Michaels. Big Daddy Cool threw his tag team championship belt on the floor and claimed it was a pittance compared to the IC title. He then blasted Shawn before changing his mind about the tag titles, picking his belt back up off the floor and saying 'at least I still have this.'

In response, Michaels blamed Payton and promised to get Diesel another title shot.

Did Lex sell out?
In another backstage promo with our buddy Pettengill, Lex Luger and Tatanka discussed the results of a WWF Hotline Opinion Poll, in which 54% of fans apparently believed that Luger had sold out to the Million Dollar Man.

In probably the best piece of mic work Tatanka ever did during his WWF run, The Native American reamed Luger a new one, told him to fess up, and then promised to kick his red, white and blue ass when they met in the ring.

Luger claimed that, despite all the evidence, he was not in cahoots with Dibiase, and would beat Tatanka by himself. Let's head to ringside to see what happened next, shall we?

Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Whether it was due to the storyline, or simply due to the fact that the Lex Express had stalled, Luger received a lukewarm response as he made his way to ringside to battle Tatanka in a passable contest.

Though the match itself wasn't bad, the crowd hardly cared, probably because they were waiting for the inevitable arrival of The Million Dollar Man. When he arrived, Dibiase actually cost Lex the match by distracting him.
Your winner: Tatanka

In the post-match, Luger confronted Dibiase, but was attacked by Tatanka, who revealed that the whole thing had been one huge swerve. Tatanka was actually the one who had sold out, joining forces with The Million Dollar Corporation.

The two new allies went to make their way backstage, only for Dibiase to order Tatanka back in the ring to lay more damage into the prone Luger.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Todd Pettengill reveals the results of an opinion poll into whether Lex Luger sold out to the Million Dollar Man
Those bastards.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel (w/ Oscar)
You know, it wasn't until this battle of rap vs. country that your writer realised how terrible Oscar was at busting rhymes.

Thankfully, the action this short filler match was better than Mabel's manager and his horrible mic work.

Not that the match itself was anything special, but then it probably wasn't supposed to be. Rather, the two men were tasked with getting the crowd suitably prepared for our upcoming double main event, and to that end, they did their jobs well.

Abe Knuckleball Schwartz was briefly shown in the crowd, though nothing came of that, and instead we got a victory for Jeff Jarrett over the man who would challenge Diesel for the WWF title in a year's time.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Mabel wobbled backstage in pursuit of Jarrett.

Back to the Super Sleuths
Vince McMahon then took to the microphone to tell us that our 'Super Sleuths' were in the crowd looking for The Undertaker. Cut to Nieseon and Kennedy in the entrance way, and an image of The Undertaker behind them.

Naturally, the image went away before the goofy sleuths could spot him.

Pettengill then gave us another recap of the feud between Owen Hart and his brother, the WWF Champion. Remember when Owen kicked Bret's leg out of his leg? Good times.

Still waiting for the steel cage, meant to keep the wrestlers in and their family out, to be constructed, Vince interviewed Stu and Helen Hart about the match.

'I think it's a fever that's possessed Owen, and I just hope he overcomes it some day,' said Helen.
'I just hope that the best wrestler will walk out of that ring,' added Stu.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart defended his WWF Championship against younger brother Owen


Jerry Lawler then yelled at Stu and Helen before interviewing The British Bulldog, who said that the family feud started at Summerslam 1992 (when Bulldog defeated Bret for the Intercontinental title), and would hopefully end tonight.

The announcers then considered interviewing Bruce Hart, but instead ignored him to speak to Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, who had been in Owen's corner since King of the Ring. Bruce finally did get a word in, and blamed The Anvil for breaking up the family.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Bret Hart gave a pre-match promo
Backing up his brother's claim, WWF Champion Bret gave an interview to Todd Pettengill, insisting that Jim sewed the seeds of jealousy in Owen. The Hitman said that he hated Neidhart, but didn't hate The King of Harts. Rather, he only wanted to prove he was better than his young brother.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. 'The King of Harts' Owen Hart
Just when you thought the Brothers Hart couldn't possibly top their Wrestlemania classic, they went at it in what turned out to be one of the greatest cage matches of all time.

That's no exaggeration, it really was that good.

In his Kayfabe Commentaries WWF Timeline 1994 shoot interview (a review of which I'll post in a month or so), Sean Waltman claimed that, prior to the show, Bret had insisted he and Owen would take as long as they needed t tell their story.

As a result, we got an half hour classic in which both champ and challenger traded offence and escape attempts in equal measure.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Owen vs. Bret Hart
Starting off slowly and gradually working the crowd into a frenzy, Bret and Owen each made several desperate lunges for the cage door, only to be stopped by their brother. Likewise, every dramatic climb to the top of the stage was thwarted by the other man in what was undoubtedly the highlight of the night.

Following thirty-plus minutes of incredible action, both men climbed over the cage to the outside and continued to brawl. The challenger got his foot caught in the bars of the steel cage, allowing the champion to drop to the outside and retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

But the drama did not end there.

Jim Neidhart leaped over the barricade and clobbered Davey Boy from behind, effectively knocking both the Bulldog, and his wife Dianna, over the guard rail. The Anvil attacked his former Hart Foundation partner, throwing him back into the cage where The Anvil and The King of Harts continued their assault, Owen laying a beat down on Bret as Jim saw off a bunch of rescue attempts by various members of The Hart Family.

Eventually, it took a returning Davey Boy Smith to put an end to things, fighting his way into the cage and coming to The Hitman's aid.

Backstage, Todd Pettengill chased after Owen and The Anvil. Both men were irate at the outcome. Owen was angry at The British Bulldog, and The Anvil at his former partner, The Hitman.

The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker (W/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase)
It would take a couple of very talented performers indeed to top that impressive WWF title match. Unfortunately, neither The Undertaker nor his evil clone were up to the task.

Having already introduced his own Undertaker, Dibiase awaited the arrival of the man he originally brought to the World Wrestling Federation at the 1990 Survivor Series.

WWF / WWE - Summerslam 1994: Undertaker vs. Undertaker


He had a long time to wait, and so did everybody else.

First, Paul Bearer came out, leading a group of druids who wheeled a casket to the ring. The Undertaker was in the casket, right?

Wrong.

The only thing inside the casket was a big urn with a flashlight inside it. Bearer took it into the ring and waved the flashlight/urn around a bit as 'thunder and lightning' crashed around the arena.

Finally, darkness consumed the United Center, and The Undertaker, the real one, walked slowly to the ring.

Before the opening bell, we had a pose-down of sorts, as Bearer helped The Undertaker out of his hat and robe, and Dibiase mimicked his actions with his own 'Taker.

A lengthy stare-down followed, followed by several minutes of uninspired action with very little of note taking place.

Indeed, it seemed that the spectacle surrounding Undertaker vs. Undertaker was far greater than the actual in-ring conflict.

The crowd were effectively silent for most of the bout, which Vince McMahon on commentary claimed was due to them being 'stunned' at the appearance of two Undertakers. They barely  came to life when The Deadman put his clone away with three Tombstone Piledrivers and stuffed him into the casket.
Your Winner: The Undertaker (the real one)

Two druids came to the ring to take the Underfaker away as The Undertaker saluted Paul Bearer's urn. The casket went backstage, where it was discovered by Nielson and Kennedy. The duo lifted the lid, only to find that the Undertaker II was not inside it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all she wrote, apart from a closing promo in which Bearer and The Undertaker solemnly gloated about their victory.

The final match, and everything that surrounded it, aside, Summerslam 1994 was actually a pretty awesome show. Razor/Diesel, Hart/Hart and even Nakano/Blayze are all well worth tracking down, though the show as a whole ran smoothly and even the opening tag match and Luger/Tatanka bout had their moments. 
Onwards we go then to the final PPV of 1994, the Survivor Series.


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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.