Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Doink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Doink. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 August 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 1994

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Event poster
November 23, 1994
Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas

And so another year of World Wrestling Federation pay per views was coming to an end. For this writer, 1994 was the first year I reviewed in complete chronological order, starting way back with the 1994 Royal Rumble, and working my way through to tonight's attraction.

For the WWF, things had progressed steadily from the dying days of Hulkmania in early 1993 to today, when a new crop of stars were making their mark on the upper echelons of the card, and driving their product headfirst into The New Generation.

Though no other reviews of this show seem to mention it, WWF Survivor Series 1994 had a completely different feel to it than other shows around that time, and I don't just mean because the quality of my video is so poor (meaning the images in this review will probably be poor, too).

More, I mean that the presentation felt different.

No overly-long introductions, very few 'tween-match promos, and less stage lighting than fans have come to expect. Not that this was a bad thing. Instead, we got a much greater focus on in-ring action aplenty.

Let's get to the show and find out what happened, shall we?

Team talk

Prior to tonight's show, we got some backstage footage recorded Earlier Today, showing each of tonight's Survivor Series teams discussing tactics.

Shawn Michaels' Teamsters were pumped and ready, Razor Ramon told his Bad Guys to take out Big Daddy Cool Diesel first, Lex Luger instilled in his boys Guts and Glory that it was all about pride, and in response, Luger's rivals in The Million Dollar Team were given a pep talk from boss Ted Dibiase.

Doink and his Clowns R' Us team giggled manically, and their opponents The Royal Family didn't give too much away, team captain Jerry 'The King' Lawler shooing the camera man out of the room.

Welcome to San Antonio
Our commentary team for this evening's entertainment were none other than Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon, both decked in typical Texan cowboy gear. The duo welcomed us to the show and hyped our main event, a casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna, with TV star and all-round bad ass Chuck Norris employed as the Special Guest Celebrity Shenanigan Dude.

With that out of the way, it was on to the show.

Five on Five Survivor Series Elimination match
The Teamsters (WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart and Jeff Jarrett) 
The Bad Guys (WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, The 123 Kid, The British Bulldog and The Headshrinkers, Sione and Fatu, w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)
Fun fact: This was the second time Jim Neidhart and Shawn Michaels had been part of the same Survivor Series team, the first being five years ago at Survivor Series 1989, when, along with Marty Jannetty, they backed up The Ultimate Warrior in his battle against The Heenan Family.

WWF / WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 1989 - The Ultimate Warrior's team

Now the roles were reversed, and both men were on the heel side of the fence for what was a fantastic opening match.

Sure, this bout only had one objective (cementing Big Daddy Cool's face turn), but in the run up to that, we got some fantastic action.

In the early going, 123 Kid enjoyed some solid exchanges with Jeff Jarrett and The King of Harts, Owen Hart, whilst the latter's tussle with brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith also stood out as an early highlight. 

On and on they went, with Owen, Neidhart and Jarrett taking on the workload for The Teamsters against all five members of The Bad Guys, which included the man formerly known as The Barbarian, who had replaced a departing Samu in the The Headshrinkers tag team and now went by the name Sione.

Between them, the eight active combatants treated us to a fast paced, enjoyable affair, devoid of all eliminations.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: WWF Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Diesel lead The Teamsters into action
Of course, those were being saved for the arrival of Diesel, who eventually entered the fray and took out 123 Kid and The Headshrinkers in short order.

Davey Boy smith returned to the action and took the fight to his larger opponent, but was eventually thrown to the outside, where an assault at the hands of Owen, Jarrett and The Anvil led to his demise. 

As the only remaining member of his team, Razor picked up the slack against Diesel in a brief replay of their Summerslam 1994 effort. Alas, it was to little avail at first. Again, the whole point of this match was to solidify Diesel's babyface turn and put him over as a dominating bad ass of a man. To that end, Big Daddy Cool took control again, and, after escaping a Razor's Edge attempt, took out The Bad Guy with The Big Boot Of Doom.

Then came the finish. BDC struck Razor with the jacknife, Shawn Michaels, who thus far hadn't tagged in for the entire match, finally entered the ring and persuaded his partner to hold Razor in place for some Sweet Chin Music.

Unsurprisingly, Razor ducked, and Diesel ate HBK's boot for the third time that year. That was enough for the former Vinnie Vegas.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Diesel chases Shawn Michaels out of the arena.
Beating up his fellow Teamsters en route, Big Daddy Cool stalked Michaels to the backstage area. Finally putting an end to things, the referee counted out all five members of The Teamsters (not sure how that's possible if only one man was legal), and Razor won the match.
Your winners: The Bad Guys - Razor Ramon is your sole survivor

Backstage, Shawn Michaels had already grabbed his bags and was hightailing towards his limo with Todd Pettengill in tow. Pettengill's attempts to get a word from Michaels were in vein. The erstwhile Intercontinental Champion made it to the limo and sped off into the night.

Four on Four Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Royal Family (Jerry 'The King' Lawler, Sleazy, Queasy and Cheesy) 
Clowns R' Us (Doink The Clown, Dink, Pink and Wink)
The rules here followed those similar to inter-gender matches, Doink vs, Lawler, Midgets vs. Midgets, not that such rules were stringently enforced.

The first part of this match was actually a lot of fun, and followed a simple formula: Doink would get the upper-hand, pull of some kind of spot and put Lawler in trouble. Lawler would fight back, attempt the same spot and have it backfire. 

Doink would regain the advantage, and get his Mini-Mes to assist him in another spot designed to punish Lawler. The King would once again take control and once again attempt to top Doink's efforts, only for it backfire yet again and put Lawler in more trouble.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Jerry 'The King' Lawler got a pie in the face courtesy of Doink The ClownIt was fun, it was enjoyable, it was effective as comic relief. Your writer even confesses to letting slip a chuckle or two.

Yet any enjoyment gradually gave way to a sigh of fatigue as things really started to drag. I'm all for comedy matches, but believe they can be much more effective if they're kept short. Unfortunately, this one just kept going and going, and showed no signs of stopping, not even when Doink was eliminated.

Instead we got more action between the mini wrestlers which, with the clowns bouncing around like crazy, wasn't actually bad, but failed to entertain this writer.
As The Neverending Comedy Match went on and on, Lawler's Royal Family systematically picked off the remaining clowns, who each hid under the ring following their elimination.

After what felt like the longest time in history, The Royal Family pinned the last midget funnyman to win the match:
Your Winners: The Royal Family (everybody survived)

In the post-match, Lawler ordered his team mates to stop raising their hand in victory, so that he could claim the entire win for himself and bask in the glory of the San Antonio crowd. The little Royals refused. Repeat again (just because this thing seemed determined to last forever), and again, until finally, Sleezy, Queasy and Cheezy turned on The King with the help from the three little clowns hiding under the ring. 

The six midget wrestlers chased Lawler up the entrance way, where he was met with a pie to the face courtesy of Doink The Clown.

Your New Women's Champion
Backstage, Todd Pettengill told us that Bull Nakano had recently defeated Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women's Championship in front of 45,000 fans at Tokyo's Egg Dome. Pettengill attempted to interview the new champion on what he called 'The WWF Survivor Set,' but Nakano would only speak in Japanese, and there wasn't much point to the whole thing. 

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Owen Hart was Bob Backlund's second in Backlund's WWF Championship match against Bret 'The Hitman' HartWorld Wrestling Federation Championship Submission Match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart w/ Davey Boy Smith vs. Bob Backlund w/ Owen Hart
In only his second ever WWF pay per view, and his first since Wrestlemania IX (in a losing effort to Razor Ramon), Bob Backlund challenged WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a match where you could only win if your opponent's second threw in the towel on their behalf. 

This came about as Backlund -now a fully-fledged lunatic heel- had claimed that he never actually lost the WWF title in his December 1983 match against The Iron Shiek. That day, Backlund's manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel for Backlund, awarding the belt to the Iron Sheik in a forerunner to the rise of Hulkamania.

Now, Backlund, who still believed he was the champion, had a chance to get his title back in a submission match fought under 'throw in the towel rules' (if there is such a thing).

As a result, we got a thirty-plus minute wrestling clinic from the veteran challenger and a champion in the prime of his career. 

Both men started off aggressively in the early going, brawling and beating the hell out of each other before finding their groove and settling into a submission match for the ages. 

Sure, it seemed to lag at times, but for the most part, this was a solid effort that perfectly rounded off Bret's year of stellar PPV matches. 

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was accompanied by his second, The British Bulldog
Following a dramatic, intense affair, the champion locked his famed Sharpshooter on the challenger only for brother Owen, Backlund's cornerman, to run in and clobber The Hitman from behind. Coming to the aid of the man he beat at Summerslam 1992, Bret's second, Davey Boy Smith promptly gave chase, only to be tripped up by Owen and unconscious on the ring steps.a

Taking advantage of the ensuing confusion, Backlund slapped his opponent in his patented chickenwing and refused to let go. With Bret in completely agony, Bob and Owen nonetheless had a dilemma: How could the Bulldog throw in the towel when he was knocked out cold?

Several attempts at reviving Davey Boy coming to nothing, The King of Harts came up with a cunning plan, instead pleading to the mercies of his parents, Stu and Helen Hart, who were sat at ringside as they were for many a high-profile Hitman match.

'That's my brother!'  cried Owen, in a convincing display of remorse as he tried to convince his parents that he had seen the error of his ways and was now only concerned about the champion's safety. 

Owen was on fine form here, putting in a performance outside the ring to math, in terms of sheer enjoyment, anything going on in the ring.

The stubborn Stu was adamant that he would not throw in the towel, but Helen, showing the kind of compassion only a mother is capable of, was more receptive to the pleas of her youngest offspring, snatching the towel out of her husband's hands and tossing it into the ring, thus awarding the match to new WWF Champion, Mr. Bob Backlund.
Your Winner, and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Bob Backlund

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Owen Hart pleaded with his mother and father to throw the towel in on Bret's behalfAs The Hitman contemplated his fate as the only man to have lost at WWF Championship thanks to his mother, his younger brother Owen revealed the whole thing to be a rouse. Concerned about his brother? Not at all! The King of Harts was delighted with the outcome, and skipped off merrily to the backstage area, his plans to rid his brother of the title having finally come to fruition.

Not that it mattered of course, Backlund would lose the title to Diesel in a short bout just three days later, and Owen wouldn't have much to do with his brother for the next several years.

Owen gloats
Backstage, Owen Hart was interviewed by Todd Pettingzoo. The King of Harts claimed that Bret was now below him in the WWF heirarchy, and vowed to top his brother's achievements by becoming the tag team champion, Intercontinental Champion, and the greatest WWF Champion of all time. Two out of three wasn't bad eh, Owen?

Oh no he didn't!
Back out in the arena, an incensed Gorilla Monsoon sat with his arms folded, flabbergasted at the idea that the heel, Owen Hart, would have done something so like a heel. Yeah.

Five on Five Survivor Series Elimination match
The Million Dollar Team (King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka and The Heavenly Bodies, Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Prichard w/ The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) 
Guts and Glory (Lex Luger, Mabel, Adam Bomb and The Smoking Gunns, Billy and Bart Gunn w/ Oscar)
Since we last saw them at Summerslam, The Million Dollar Corporation had expanded to include Wrestlemania II headliner, King Kong Bundy, and of course, Tatanka, who turned heel at said Summerslam show and aligned himself with Ted Dibiase's contingent.

Squaring off against the man he betrayed, Lex Luger, Tatanka looked impressive in the early going here, though everybody besides Bundy had something to offer. 

As a result, we got another good match even if, much like the earlier Clown/King clash, it did start to drag on a little as the bodies began to drop.

That aside, this was a fun contest which managed to deliver something completely different from the previous two elimination matches. 

As Luger's star continued to fall from the heights of his huge Summer 1993 push, his team were eliminated and both Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow survived for The Million Dollar Team:
Your Winners: The Million Dollar Team (Bam Bam Bigelow and King Kong Bundy are your sole survivors)

Post-match, the bad guys beat down on Lex until his team mates came to his aid.

A word with your new champion

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: New WWF Champion Bob Backlund cut an awesome post-match promo
Backstage, new WWF Champion Bob Backlund held court at a press conference, where he once again claimed to have never lost the championship in the first place, and insisted that he had simply regained the actual championship belt. 

Backlund was both insane and awesome here, going from quiet, deliberate speech to outright screeching and screaming. It was captivating to watch, and I would have loved to see more of Bob Backlund - Your Pyschotic Champion. Alas, it was not to be. As we've already mentioned, Mr. Backlund's second reign as champion would last less than a week.

Casket match:
Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
Special Guest Enforcer
And so we round out 1994 in the way it began, with a casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna.

WWF / WWE - Survivor Series 1994: Yokozuna battled The Undertaker in a rematch from their 1994 Royal Rumble casket match
Hoping to prevent a repeat of the Royal Rumble affair, when half the heel roster cost The Undertaker (and apparently killed him for a bit), Walker Texas Ranger star and future Internet meme, Chuck Norris was employed to stand outside the ring and stop any bad guys from getting involved.

The match itself was actually pretty good stuff. Not a five-star classic by any standards, but an engaging story that book-ended 1994 in a fitting way. Yoko played scared of The Deadman at first, before finally getting stuck in and battling tooth and nail with the man he had defeated that past January.

The heels did indeed try to get involved, but Norris was there to see them off, all leading to the inevitable victory for The Undertaker.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

And that, dear readers, was the last time we would see Yokozuna in a WWF main event. Pushed as an unstoppable monster from his debut in late 1992 and all the way through to Wrestlemania 10, Yoko struggled to regain momentum after dropping the title to The Hitman. After being stuffed in a casket by The Undertaker, you could say he was never the same again, instead seeing out the remainder of his career as a mid-card act.

It's not as if the World Wrestling Federation didn't need its share of credible challengers to the WWF title. With Big Daddy Cool Diesel on top for the next twelve months, he could have well done with challengers like Yokozuna rather than, as we would see at next year's Summerslam, the God awful Mabel. Despite some wackiness and some complete crap, 1994 was a good year for WWF pay per view matches. Unfortunately, things would only hit a new low in 1995.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 10

WWF/ WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Event poster
March 20, 1994
Madison Square Garden, New York

The World Wrestling Federation, which returned to Madison Square Garden for Wrestlemania X in 1994, was an entirely different entity than the one which had kick-started the group's rise to prominence in the same building only nine years earlier. 

Gone were the halcyon days of the rock 'n' wrestling connection, Hulkamania and Lord Alfred Hayes, replaced instead by a company struggling to recompose itself in the wake of The Steroid Trial and a mass exodus of the company's biggest stars. 

Whereas 1993 mainly bridged the gap between the old and the new, 1994 really was the year that the New Generation really came into its own, with the tenth Wrestlemania serving as a showcase of things to come.

Here's what went down.

Wrestlemania Rewind

Our show opened with a sentimental look back at Wrestlemania I in 1985, complete with overly-soppy music and slow-mo visuals, before the modern era took over with tonight's opening graphics and a theme tune that most newer fans think of as Linda McMahon's signature track, but which to this writer will always be the definitive Wrestlemania theme.

The camera panned over a rambunctious crowd, eventually finding Vince McMahon in the center of the ring, trademark growl in tow, welcoming everyone to the show.

With the ring surrounded by a choir whose outfits were as bright red as McMahon's bow tie, the WWF Chairman introduced our first special guest for the evening, Marc Mero.

Oh no, wait. That's the actual Little Richard, who treated New York fans to an admittedly decent rendition of America the Beautiful. 

With that out of the way, McMahon introduced his co-host for the evening, Jerry 'The King' Lawler. Basking in the glow of MSG, Lawler enthused about watching Yokozuna leave the arena still WWF Champion.

Brother against Brother

McMahon then introduced us to a recap video, in which Todd Pettengil reminded us of the saga between Bret and Owen Hart, starting at Survivor Series 1993, taking us via the 1994 Royal Rumble and eventually bringing us to tonight, where a recently-turned Rocket finally got his chance to square off against The Hitman.

'The Rocket' Owen Hart vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Yes, this match really was as good as you've heard.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Owen Hart battled his brother Bret in a classic opening match

Starting off in the early going with Owen countering his brother's every attempt at asserting himself, this one very quickly ascended into the all-time classic fans still rave about some 20 years later.

With McMahon and Lawler divided over which brother was 'ahead on points,' Bret eventually got the better of his brother with a stiff clothesline to the outside.

The Hitman continued with a couple of near falls, and a series of armbars straight out of Chris Jericho's Man of 1004 holds playbook. It wasn't long before Owen regained the advantage, abandoning the technical wrestling approach employed in the early moments and attacking his older sibling on the outside.

Back and forth they went, each man taking turns to punish the other in a thrilling contest well deserving of its five-star status.

Towards the climax, Bret dove over the top rope onto Owen yet damaged his knee in the process. Back inside the ring, The Rocket took advantage by kicking Bret's leg out of his leg again and working over the injured knee, but still, the resilient Hitman battled on.

Eventually making a comeback, The Hitman took control, shooting his brother face-first into the corner and dropping a leg for a two count. A bulldog and a piledriver followed, yet when Hart attempted a victory roll from the top rope, the younger Hart countered, pinning the former champion's shoulders to the mat for a three count.

From build-up to execution, all the way to the dramatic finale, this was a practically flawless match that transformed Owen Hart into a bonafide star.
Your Winner: Owen Hart

Backstage, Owen Hart, complete with an ugly glob of spit plastered to his cheek, fluffed another promo as he basked in his victory and doubted Bret's chances of winning the title later on in the show.

In another Wrestlemania flashback, Gorilla Monsoon reminded us of the near-disaster that was Wrestlemania II.

Howard's Hair

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Howard Finkle got a new head of hair

Given the WWF's youth-orientated output at the time, our next segment was bizarre, to say the least. Sy Sperling, president of the hair restoration company Hair Club for Men, introduced his latest client, Howard Finkle.

Sporting a spiffy new wig, Finkle looked so delighted with the new faux-do that he failed to remember his cue in introducing our next match.

Mixed Tag Team Match: 
Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna Vachon vs. Doink & Dink

There's much to suggest that this would be a pretty terrible outing, but that was actually far from the case.

Employing the usual mix-tag rules that saw Doink squaring off with Bam Bam and his mini-me partner battling Luna, this was actually a fun little bout that got better when the former duo were leading the action. Dink and Luna played their parts well too, and though this was far from a must-see attraction, the short time frame and smart booking did make it at least enjoyable.

The heels won when Bam Bam planted the clown with a flying headbutt for a three count.
Your Winners: Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon

Bridging the gap between matches, Gorilla Monsoon took us back to Wrestlemania III, and the memorable showdown between Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant.

Falls Count Anywhere Match:
'Macho Man' Randy Savage vs. Crush (w/ Mr. Fuji)

As a ten-year-old boy, I thought this match was the greatest thing I'd ever seen. It was so different, so unique, so awesome.

Now, as a 30-year-old man who really should be doing something better with his life than watching pro wrestling, I view Savage vs. Crush in an altogether different light.

Perhaps your jaded reviewer is just much more cynical in his old age, but this one really didn't age well.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Randy Savage hangs Crush upside down in their Last Man Standing Match

With brief bursts of high-impact brawling interspersed with nothing happening at all, Wrestlemania's first Falls Count Anywhere was far from either man's finest hour.

Eschewing the rules of your usual arena-wide skirmish, this one had the added plot device of a wrestler having 60 seconds to return to the ring after being pinned. If he made it, the match would continue. Thus, we had as much time in which one man waited patiently for the return of the other as we did any actual wrestling taking place.

Gradually making their way backstage, Crush (who looked more like he was back in Demolition than at any other time in his solo run), was eventually pinned by the Macho Man. A throng of curious onlookers then watched as Savage tied up his opponent in a weird, ominous device that looked as though its sole purpose was to hang a pro wrestler upside down.

Since Crush was unable to make it back to the ring in the allotted time, Randy Savage won his final WWF match.
Your winner: Macho Man Randy Savage

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - 'Bill Clinton' enjoyed the show with IRS

In another weird skit, Todd Pettengill interviewed a Bill Clinton look-alike as I.R.S sat behind Mr. President. With the mic then thrust in his face, Irwin told The Toddster that he was delighted to be helping out the big man with his taxes. Alrighty then.

A brief respite then came in the form of a look back at that weekend's Fan Axxess event, where fans could enjoy such festivities as having Mike Chioda deliver a three-count as you pinned your brother, getting your photo taken inside a coffin with Paul Bearer and appearing on camera with Captain Lou Albano.

Back to Wrestlemania, Randy Savage claimed that we hadn't seen anything yet, before diving into the crowd at Madison Square Garden's Paramount theatre, were more fans were watching the action on close-circuit TV.

This took us to another Wrestlemania flashback, this time the Macho Man's WWF title win at Wrestlemania IV.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship Match:
WWF Women's Champion Alundra Blayze vs. Leilani Kai

As far as I can tell, challenger Leilani Kai was the only active competitor to wrestle in a match at both Wrestlemania 1 and Wrestlemania 10.

Here, she put up a valiant effort against reigning champion Alundra Blayze in a short match that was enjoyable whilst it happened and then instantly forgettable once it was over.

Since the whole return of the WWF women's division was built to revolve around the woman once known as Madusa, it should come as no surprise that Blayze retained her title, using a bridging German suplex as her weapon of choice.
Your winner and still WWF Women's Champion: Alundra Blaze

As Alundra celebrated her victory, cameras cut to ringside, where former champion The Fabulous Moolah was seen watching on alongside notable veterans such as Mae Young and Nikolai Volkoff.

Another recap followed as Monsoon took us back to Wrestlemania IV and that weird, overly-long segment featuring Roddy Piper, Brother Love, and that guy with the cigarette.

Whoomp! There's Rhonda! 

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Shawn Michaels and Burt Reynolds

After Men on a Mission's rabble-rousing entrance in anticipation of their upcoming tag title clash against The Quebecers, Todd Pettengill was shown backstage with some woman called Rhonda Sheer, who fawned over Shawn Michaels. 

That was until Burt Reynolds turned up, and she turned her attention to him instead.

Burt then told us that he wanted to go to Fanfest. Apparently, nobody told him it had already ended.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Quebecers (Jaques and Pierre w/ Johnny Polo) vs. Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo w/ Oscar)

An entertaining bout from the outset, all four men did their best with what they had to put on a good show that really rejuvenated the New York crowd.

There was little to this match to make it stand out from any other countless tag team encounters, with Mo playing the babyface-in-peril to the Quebecer's nefarious heels, before big, bad Mabel eventually made the hot tag and began bullying everybody with his bulk.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - 20 years before Daniel Bryan, Johnny Polo began his own Wrestlemania "YES! YES! YES!" chant

A true highlight came when the champions managed to lift the massive Mabel up for a double suplex. This drew a loud roar from the crowd whilst, on the outside, manager Johnny Polo predated Daniel Bryan by 20 years and burst into his own chant of YES! YES! YES!.

Men on a Mission eventually won the match by countout, and celebrated with the tag team titles afterward as though they'd won the things. Polo tried to get the babyfaces to give the belts back, but they completely ignored him. Intentional or not, that was pretty funny.
Your winners via countout: Men on a Mission (Quebecers retain the tag team titles)

Off to Wrestlemania VI next, and the Champion vs. Champion match between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. Weird since I don't believe either man was on great terms with the company at the time.

Special Guest Celebrities

In the run-up to our first title match, our special guest celebrities were introduced. Rhonda Sheer was our special guest timekeeper, and Mark Wahlberg's older brother would be our ring announcer. Oh, Curt Hennig showed up to the referee, too.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Match
WWF Champion Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Lex Luger
Special Guest Referee: Mr. Perfect

In the opening moments of the match, nothing happened. I mean, literally, nothing. Lex Luger walked around the ring whilst Yokouna got himself ready to compete, and Mr. Perfect kind of looked on, uninterested.

Eventually, champ and challenger met in the center of the ring, exchanging verbal taunts and open-handed slaps before brawling to the outside.

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Lex Luger battled Yokozuna for the WWF title

Back in the ring, Luger took to the top rope, nailing his opponent with an admittedly impressive flying crossbody.

What transpired from there was a match every bit as good as it could be given who was involved. Not a classic by any means, but a solid championship match in which both competitors played their roles well.

After absorbing some brutal punishment from the champion, Luger fought back with gusto, eventually knowing down Yoko for what would have been a three count had Perfect not suddenly turned heel.

With both Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji laying prone in the ring at the hands of Luger, Perfect ignored Lex's pin attempt and instead focussed on reviving the two managers. Understandably aggrieved, Luger grabbed Perfect's shirt to get his attention. 

That was the last straw for the corrupt official, who promptly disqualified Luger.
Your winner by disqualification and still WWF Champion: Yokozuna

'Listen to this crowd, they know exactly how they feel about that result,' exclaimed Vince McMahon, as the New York crowd erupted with a very loud, very clear chant of BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Mr. Perfect was the special referee for Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna

Bullshit, it may have been, but it was an exciting ending to a good match and culminated in Luger confronting Perfect backstage.

Another look back to years past, this time we saw the terrible blindfold match from Wrestlemania VII between Jake Roberts and Rick Martel.

Adam Bomb vs. Earthquake

So, here's what happened:

Howard Finkle introduced Adam Bomb's manager, Harvey Wippleman. Wippleman stole the microphone and berated Finkle with a series of very grownup insults, including 'Big nose, monkey face, and banana nose.'

Wippleman then tore Finkle's tuxedo, causing Fink to push Harvey on his butt. Adam Bomb himself then came to his manager's aid and grabbed Finkle by the throat. Earthquake took Bomb to the floor, sat on him, and pinned him.

That was that. Not much point in it, I'll give you that, but it was a distraction from the more serious bouts at least.
Your winner: Earthquake

WWF / WWE: Wrestlemania 10 - Jim Cornette cut an awesome promo on behalf of WWF Champion Yokozuna

Backstage, Pettengill met with WWF Champion Yokozuna, Mr. Fuji, and Jim Cornette. 'Yokozuna is still the champion, and that's all you need to know petting zoo.' said Cornette before cutting a scathing promo against Bret Hart. It was, as you might expect, pretty awesome.

A Wrestlemania VIII flashback took us to Indianapolis and an appearance from The Undertaker.

Obviously, there would be no Undertaker appearance this year, what with him dying at the Royal Rumble and everything.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match:
WWF Champion Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel) 

In another major highlight on an all-around entertaining show, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels took it right to each other in the early going, both men seemingly desperate to declare themselves as the true Intercontinental Champion.

Following a squabble with referee Earl Hebner, Michaels' bodyguard Diesel was expelled to the lockerroom in the early going, leaving both men to after the vacant championship in an utterly gripping contest that delivered on all levels.

WWF / WWE Wrestlemania 10 - Razor Ramon makes his way to the ring for an epic ladder match against Shawn Michaels

With thrilling spots and action aplenty, Michaels/Razor 1 was rivaled only by the earlier Hart/Hart encounter in vying for the honor of match of the night, if not the year.

Giving it absolutely everything they had, the two Kliq buddies produce a great match which ultimately ended when Michaels took a tumble off the ladder and got his foot caught in the ropes, giving The Bad Guy ample time to scale the rungs and retrieve the belt.
Your winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon

Up next, we were supposed to have a big tag team match. Backstage, the heel contingent, consisting of Rick Martel, I.R.S., Jeff Jarrett, and The Headshrinkers, couldn't agree on who would be the team captain, which apparently meant we wouldn't be having the match at all.

Back out in the arena, Ted Dibiase told Bill Clinton that everybody had a price for the Million Dollar Man.

Our final Wrestlemania rewind of the evening brought us the World's Largest Toga Party at Wrestlemania IX, and Bret Hart getting shafted out of the WWF title.

A great video package recounting The Hitman's rise to the top of the WWF, and his subsequent feud with Yokozuna, led us nicely into our main event of the evening.

Special guest Schlebs

Before the actual action began, we got our special guest time keeper, some blonde from Beverley Hills 90210, and our special guest ring announcer, Mr. Bruce Reynolds himself.

WWF / WWE Wrestlemania 10 - Razor Ramon makes his way to the ring for an epic ladder match against Shawn Michaels

Receiving a thunderous ovation from the MSG faithful, Rowdy Roddy Piper was introduced as our special guest referee.

World Wrestling Federation Championship Match:
WWF Champion Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Having scraped by an earlier challenge from Lex Luger thanks to nefarious shenanigans from Mr. Perfect, Yoko returned to the front line to do battle with fan-favorite Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

Like a true pro, Bret sold his leg injury from earlier in the evening all the way through this enjoyable championship clash.

WWF / WWE Wrestlemania 10 - Yokozuna charges at Bret Hart in their main event match

Once again, the champion dominated, but there was to be no repeat of their main event a year earlier. This time, Hart came up with the win after Yoko, still dizzy from the challenger's offence, fell off the top rope in attempting his Banzai Drop. Bret made the cover, Piper made the count, and we had a new WWF Champion.
Your winner and NEW WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart 

Celebrating in the ring, Hart was soon joined by a visibly disappointed Lex Luger, along with Randy Savage and other top babyfaces, who celebrated with the new champion as the show went off the air.

And so we reached the end of the show, but the beginning of a whole new era in the World Wrestling Federation. With Owen Hart emerging as a true star, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon significantly raising their stock, and The Hitman leading the charge, things were looking promising for fans. 
An all-round good show with few, if any, major duds, only the opening Hart Brothers clash and the IC Title ladder match are real must-see matchups, but this was by far one of the better Wrestlemanias the company had produced so far, and is a pretty enjoyable watch from start to finish. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1993

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1993: Event poster
August 30, 1993
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

It was the summer of 1993 and the Lex Express had rolled its way across the United States of America in an attempt to turn the former Narcissist Lex Luger into something akin to Hulk Hogan 2.0.

Fresh from slamming WWF Champion Yokozuna on Independence Day (thus turning babyface in process), America's new favourite patroit traversed the country on a 'Call to Action' tour, drumming up support for his one and only title shot against big Yoko.

That title shot, plus a bunch of other stuff, would take place tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Here's went down.

Summerslam pre-show
Before any of tonight's action got underway, we were 'treated' to a special pre-show, live, apparently from Todd Pettengill's house.

With his fritos, over-sized soda and Summerslam program at the ready, Pettengill basically lounged around on his sofa, talking in his usual goofy manner and running down tonight's card.

Despite the somewhat silly premise, the pre-show was nonetheless an effective way to explain the background to each of tonight's main storylines. Watching this show some 21 years after it took place, it was pretty handy, and there was nothing too offensive involved until it ended with this overly-sentimental, gag-inducing music video for Lex Luger.

With that out of the way  then, it was on with the show.

Welcome everyone to the Palace of Auburn Hills!
WWF Summerslam 1993 began with Mean Gene Okerlund giving us the abridged version of Lex Luger's recent storyline over footage of the challenger arriving at The Palace of Auburn Hills earlier that evening.

Cut away to the opening graphic, after which announcer Vince McMahon growled a throaty Welcome everywaaaaaaaan and we were live in The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Joining McMahon on commentary for tonight's action, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan got his 'money-grabbing hands' (his words, not mine), ready for the arrival of our opening match.

The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase vs. Razor Ramon
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Razor Ramon vs. Ted Dibiase
The story behind this one was hardly the stuff that heated rivalries are made of, but it was certainly a simple, effective way to get two talented wrestlers together in one match.

Having been upset by plucky youngster The 123 Kid, Razor Ramon was routinely mocked and goaded by Ted Dibiase, the latter even suggesting that 'The Bad Guy' hang up the tights and take a job as The Million Dollar Man's domestic servant instead.

Unsurprisingly, Ramon declined Dibiase's offer, instead challenging him to a match at Summerslam.

The result was this, a solid opening contest that served its purpose well in getting the Michigan crowd well fired up.

It always strikes this writer as odd when fans look down on those opening the show. Second only to the main event itself, a show's first match surely must be the most important on the card. It's this spot that sets the tone for the rest of the event, warming up the crowd and getting them psyched for more action.

To that end, both Ramon and Dibiase did a stellar job. 

After trading the advantage several times, The Bad Guy slammed his opponent's head into an exposed turnbuckle and nailed him with the Razor's edge, causing Ted Dibiase to eat the three count in what would be his final wrestling match in a WWF ring.

With the years on top finally catching up with him, Ted Dibiase would soon retire completely. After a few months in All Japan, Dibiase returned to the World Wrestling Federation for a stint on commentary, before inflicting Fake Undertaker on the world and ultimately going on to form the Million Dollar Corporation stable.
Your Winner: Ted Dibiase

WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Todd Pettengil apparently watched the show at home and was there live at the same time!
Out in the crowd, Todd Pettingill interviewed The Steiner Brothers' mother and sister in one of the worst interview segments ever seen on WWF PPV.

'What was it like when they were kids? Were you always telling them "No Frankensteiners!?"' Todd asked of Momma Steiner.
'Sure,' she replied, clearly having no clue what was going on. 'Whatever you say, it sounds good!'

For her part, the Steiner Sister referred to Rick as 'Rob,' probably confusing thousands of casual fans the world over.

Thankfully, this awkward moment was interupted by the arrival of James E. Cornette, who led his team of The Heavenly Bodies down to ringside for our next match.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rob Rick & Scott) vs. The Heavenly Bodies (Gigolo Jimmy Del Ray & Doctor. Tom Pritchard w/ Jim Cornette)
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Tag Team Championship Match - Steiner Brothers vs. Heavenly Bodies
Hey, wait a minute. Wasn't Todd Pettengill supposed to be watching Summerslam at home with his Fritos? Just couldn't keep away, could you, Todd?

Anyway, that aside, what we had here was an exciting tag team match as The Steiners, adorned  in the purple and gold of the University of Michigan, went up against Smokey Mountain Wrestling mainstays The Heavenly Bodies.

Your textbook tag match, with Scotty playing the proverbial babyface in peril (this in the days when he still looked human and could get away with such things) for much of the match before the inevitable hot tag led to a couple of Steiner-Lines courtesy of the Dog Face Gremlin.

Pritchard turned tides again for his team, striking Rick with Cornette's tennis racket. Alas, it was not to be the 'Bodies day. Scott produced a Frankensteiner, Rick made the cover, and the WWF tag team champions retained their gold.
Your Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Backstage, some guy called Joe Fowler spoke with Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and his bodyguard, Diesel. Michaels claimed that the argument over who was the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time would be settled tonight when he faced Mr. Perfect. For his part, Diesel claimed his only job was to keep 'the chicks' off the champion's back.

WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Joe Fowler interviewed Diesel and Shawn Michaels about the latter's Intercontinental Championship match against Mr. Perfect
For those wondering, Joe Fowler was an actor who was in Mighty Ducks and Independence Day. Admittedly, I didn't know either, and had to turn to IMDB.

Needless to say, Fowler didn't last long in the World Wrestling Federation. The most I can find about his tenure with the company was that he did Summerslam 1993 and a handful of stuff from the 'WWF Command Centre' and that was all she wrote, but hey, with Pettengill still around, why would the WWF need another goofy, over-excitable mic man?

That aside then, let's get back to the matches.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel) vs. Mr. Perfect)
Given who was involved, this one had all the potential to be an absolute classic. Sadly, our second championship match of the evening didn't quite live up to expectations, but it was still Michaels vs. Perfect, a match with two men who, even at their worst, could produce a match a thousand times better than many men could do at their best.

Starting off slowly, with both men trading holds and feeling each other out, the match gradually picked up the pace into a fast, exciting affair with sound wrestling from both champion and challenger.

WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Intercontinental Championship match - Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect
With the crowd firmly behind Mr. Perfect, the former IC champion really took it to the reigning champion, but alas, another reign was not in the cards. 

After a great match, the action spilled to the outside, where HBK landed a sweet looking superkick to the jaw of his opponent. Returning to the ring for a few, Perfect once again found himself on the outside, where he fell victim to an attack by Diesel which gave the champion a win via countout.

It may not have been the ideal ending to a pay per view title match, but given Michaels' role at the time as a dastardly heel who would do anything he could to keep the gold around his waist, it was at least an appropriate finale to a solid effort.
Your winner via countout and still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels

In the post-match, Diesel clocked Mr. Perfect in the ring, knocking him out cold. As the reigning champion made his way backstage, Todd Pettingill grabbed Shawn Michaels, asking whether he was happy to retain his belt in such a cowardly way. Michaels insisted that all the questions had been answered, and that he was still the greatest Intercontinental Champion.

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund also asked Shawn Michaels for comments in a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive. Michaels basically repeated exactly the same thing he'd just told Pettingill before Perfect returned and attacked him.

A gang of officials including Pat Patterson, Shane McMahon and Bill Alfonso eventually broke up the scuffle and we were sent to the relative calm of another Joe Fowler interview.

WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: 123 Kid vs. I.R.S
This time, Fowler was standing by with the 123 Kid, who was on something of a roll, having defeated both Razor Ramon and Ted Dibiase in upset victories. 

Whether it was all part of his character as the perenial underdog, or genuine nerves at making his WWF PPV debut, the future WCW Crusiersweight Champion came across as incredibly shy and awkward in his vow to 'give it a hundred and ten percent and throw caution to the wind.'

I.R.S vs. 123 Kid
Prior to his opponents arrival, I.R.S claimed that Michigan was known as Tax Cheat City, or something like that, much to the chagrin of the live audience.

Their jeers turned into raucous cheers with the introduction of 123 Kid, and a great little match was underway.

Other fans have referred to this contest as little more than a squash match, but in this reviewer's mind, that hardly seems fair.

Yes, I.R.S was in control for much of the bout, but this was much more than your usual Superstars fodder. An entertaining, quick-paced match, of which the Kid's big comeback was a genuine highlight, this one was very enjoyable despite its limited time.

Unfortunately, aforementioned comeback was shortlived. I.R.S took down his rival with a brutal clothesline for the win.
Your Winner: I.R.S

Despite having competed in a dark match earlier on (in a winning effort against Barry Horrowitz), Owen Hart apparently had to buy a ticket to watch brother Bret take on Jerry 'The King' Lawler in our next match.

The Rocket was joined on the front row by his other brother, Bruce, and the two were interviewed by Pettengill, saying nothing that was  very interesting.

Jerry cries off
Scheduled to face Bret 'The Hitman' Hart after viciously assaulting the former WWF Champion at that year's King of the Ring pay per view, Jerry Lawler instead limped to the ring on crutches and claimed to have been involved in a car accident, caused by some little old later, that had badly damaged his knee.

Rendered 'unable to compete' Lawler then announced his substitute in the form of his 'very own court jester', Doink the Clown.

Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Doink the Clown
With Hulk Hogan out of the picture, Matt 'Doink' Bourne was left as one of only two men to have competed at the first Wrestlemania still featuring regularly on WWF pay per view (the other, of course, being Mike 'I.R.S' Rotundo).

Here, the wiley veteran put his skills to work in a good effort against The Hitman, though not before he soaked Bruce Hart with water, causing the Hart brothers to jump the rail and get a few shots in on the clown.

Picking up where his siblings left off, Bret brought Doink back into the ring to begin a good, if not necessarily great match. 

Just when it looked like Bret was about to put Doink away, Lawler, who had been watching at ringside, revealed his injury to be a ruse (shock, horror!), leaping up into the ring to attack The Excellence of Execution with his crutch.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Bret Hart

WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993:  Bret Hart vs. Jerry LawlerOn cue, WWF President Jack Tunney made his way to ringside, stating that, since Lawler had proved himself able to compete, he had to wrestle right there and then or else face permenant suspension from the World Wrestling Federation.

Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Following a wild, enjoyable five minute brawl that reignited the Michigan faithful, Bret Hart used Lawler's own patented piledriver against him before slapping on the Sharpshooter.

As predicted, Lawler quickly gave up.

Less predictably, The Hitman refused to release the hold. The usual 'Men in Shirts' contingent rushed to the ringside to intervene, yet Hart was unrelenting, syncing the hold in tighter as retribution for the anguish Lawler had caused to his family in the build up to this contest. 

Eventually, after cheering on their brother from ringside, Owen and Bruce hit the ring and bargained with their brother. 

Hart finally let Lawler go, but was punished for his actions by having the decision reversed. Jerry Lawler was thus named the 'Undisputed King of the World wrestling Federation' and, in a stupid move, Bret Hart actually looked surprised at the referee's decision.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Jerry Lawler

Post match, officials tried to get Lawler onto a stretcher, through their progress was hindered by a second attack from Bret, a shot from Bruce, and a final double ax-handle from the apron courtesy of The Rocket.

The King was finally carried away on a stretcher, raising his arm in victory, much to the ire of the crowd, as The Hitman celebrated in the ring with his siblings.

Ludvig Borga has words for Lex Luger
In a pre-taped vignette, Ludvig Borga wandered about in some rundown part of town, talking about how the United States was falling apart, and how he was gunning for the one and only Lex Luger.

Wrapping things up, Borga said "I'm going to take my opportunity to show all of these so-called American wrestlers, AND Marty Jannetty, what Ludvig Borga is all about.'

Whether Borga was insinuating that Jannetty was not a wrestler, or not an American citizen, will forever remain one of professional wrestling's great unsolved mysteries.

Colliseum Home Video exclusive time!
Backstage, Mean Gene caught up with Bret, Bruce and Owen Hart for an always entertaining Coliseum Home Video Exclusive.

'I couldn't believe that  they reversed the decision,' quipped Okerlund.
'You couldn't believe it? My brothers couldn't believe it, my fans couldn't believe it, and I couldn't believe it.' replied the Hitman.

Come on dude, seriously? You held Lawler in that sharpshooter for like three whole minutes after you'd already won the match.

Anyway, Hart promised that things were not over between himself and The King. Bruce claimed that the Hart family were coming for Lawler, and Owen said that Lawler deserved a broken leg.


Ludvig Borga vs. Marty Jannetty
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
True story: Around this time, Marty Jannetty was my absolute favourite wrestler. Look, I was nine years old at the time and for reasons that I can't quite fathom 21 years later, Janetty looked like the coolest dude in the world.

Though perhaps not so much here, where, despite a valiant effort against Finland's finest, he was ultimately pulverized and put away quickly.

To those who were watching at the time, this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Borga's star was still on the rise in the summer of 1993, and killing people dead was pretty much his thing.

As the Finnish Fiend destroyed the former Rocker, Heenan and McMahon took the time to put over Borga's achievements in boxing, powerlifting and well, just about everything apart from professional wrestling.

Not a great match by any standards, and certainly not anything you need to seek out, though in no means was this necessarily bad. Just dull, perhaps, and ending quickly thanks to Borga's Torture Rack.
Your Winner: Ludvig Borga

Whatever happened in between the previous match and our upcoming encounter, it was cut out of his home video release, meaning we went straight down to Howard Finkle, who announced that our next match would be the 'no countout, no DQ' Rest in Peace match between The Undertaker and arch-rival Giant Gonzales.

Rest In Peace Match
Giant Gonzalez (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker 
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Rest in Peace match - The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
You have to wonder what kind of drugs the WWF brain trust were smoking when they looked at the first Gonzales/Taker clash at Wrestlemania 9 and thought 'Hey, that went well, let's do it again at Summerslam!'

The way both matches turned out, this writer can only assume it was pretty strong stuff.

Which sadly couldn't be said about anything that took place here. 

Since we last saw these two on ppv, Gonzalez' manager Harvey Wippleman had enlisted the services of Mr. Hughes to steal the Undertaker's coveted urn, and take out his manager, Paul Bearer.

As a result, The Phenom made his way to the ring solo and threw himself around the ring for the best part of ten minutes to try and create an at least passable offering.

For his part, Giant Gonzalez basically stood around in a new suit, one featuring much more airbrushed hair than his famed 'flesh suit.' Speaking of that suit, did you know that it turned up on Ebay last year, signed by old El Gigante himself?

If you think I'm spending more time talking about Gonzalez' attire to the detriment of covering the action, allow me to correct you. There was no action, at least not until Paul Bearer returned to the WWF, knocked out Wippleman and took the urn back.

That gave The Deadman the strength to clothesline the Giant half a dozen times, finally taking him off his feet with a flying clothesline and scoring the pin. 

That whole 'no countout, no dq thing? barely came in to play.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Afterwards, Giant Gonzales took his frustrations out on Wippleman, chokeslamming him to hell and ultimately turning babyface in the process for a run that would last all of five minutes before he left the company that October.

Cutting to the back, our old friend Joe Fowler held the microphone aloft as Jim Cornette cut an explosive promo on behalf of WWF Champion Yokozuna and manager Mr. Fuji.

Cornette expressed his outrage at the outcome of the earlier Heavenly Bodies/Steiner Brothers clash, though vowed that Yoko would not suffer the same fate as the Doctor and the Gigolo. Rather, Cornette claimed that Yokozuna was going to tear Lex Luger in an absolutely thrilling promo that ended with just one word from our champion:


Six Man Tag Team Match:
Tatanka & The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Luna Vachon) & The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu w/ Afa)
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: Six Man Tag - Tatanka & The Smoking Guns vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers
The look Native Indian Tatanka passed to Cowboys The Smoking Guns as the three arrived for this contest was priceless. For their part, Billy and Bart could only look on and applaud the undefeated Tatanka. 'Hey dude, we're all friends here, right?'

Friends or not, all six men worked together almost flawlessly to produce a strong six-man tag team match which, on paper, should have been little more than pre-main-event filler.

Far surpassing most expectations, this strong, exciting match did a great job of enhancing the ongoing rivallry between Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka, while giving the Gunn brothers an opportunity to mix it up with one of the WWF's premier tag teams.

Following some good action before an admittedly subdued crowd, Tatanka survived a Triple Flying Headbutt attempt from his three adversaries and rolled up Samu for the three count.
Your Winners: Tatanka and The Smoking Gunns 

Outside the arena, our buddy Joe Fowler spoke with Hank Carter, the driver of the Lex Express tour bus. Carter, who apparently couldn't even get a ticket to the show his troubles, had been watching the whole show from a small screen on the coach. Speaking to fowler, the coach driver put over Luger as some kind of modern day saint, and, obviously, picked him to win the upcoming WWF Championship match.Kiotika Suzuki
Out in the arena, Todd Pettengill hung out with some drunk, grown-up man called Bruce whose mother had made him a cute little red, white and blue suit.

With that out of the way, it was onto our main event.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Yokozuna (w/ Jim Cornette and Mr. Fuji) vs. Lex Luger
WWF / WWE SUMMERSLAM 1993: WWF Title Match - Lex Luger vs. WWF Champion Yokozuna
Adding to the big match spectacle of the hottest main event of the summer, we had a whole pre-match ritual in which both competitors' countries were well represented.

Howard Finkle drew huge heel heat, asking the Michigan faithful to show some respect for Kiotika Suzuki, on hand to sing the Japanese National Anthem. The Internet gives me nothing on Suzuki other than his appearance at this very event, so if anyone reading knows more about him than that, please do let me know in the comments below.

Following Suzuki's heat-inducing singing, Finkle had a chance to redeem himself by introducing our Master of Ceremonies for the main event, none other than Macho Man Randy Savage, accompanied by 'singing sensation' Aaron Neville.

Savage worked the crowd, before turning over to Neville, who promptly handed over the Stars and Stripes flag he'd been carrying to belt out the US National Anthem.

In the background, former Orient Express member Akio Sato stood waiting, ready to fly the Japanese flag on behalf of the WWF Champion.

After much ado then, we finally got our entrances, Yoko with his usual geisha and an entourage which included Jim Cornette in a neckbrace (selling an angle from Smokey Mountain Wrestling which wasn't mentioned once on this show), and Luger with an introduction which saw Macho Man refer to him as 'the next World Wrestling Federation Champion.'

And then, finally, it was underway, the most well-built match of the year, champion vs. challenger, USA vs. Japan, Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna.

Was it any good? Well yes, actually.

Having never seen this match before, I'll admit to being pleasantly surprised that this wasn't an absolute stinker.

Of course, it helps that Yoko could move incredibly well for his size, but give Luger his credit, he really worked well here to prove himself worthy of main event status.

Following an explosive start, the action spilled to the outside, where, in this normal-sanctioned match, the count out and usual disqualification rules were ignored much more than in our earlier Rest in Peace match.

Regardless of the rules, the crowd were certainly wild for this one, sitting on the edge of their seats, hearts in their mouths with every near fall, waiting for the moment Luger finally made the three count, waiting, for a moment that would sadly never come.

Admittedly, I haven't read enough dirt sheet goss or seen enough shoot interviews to understand why this match turned out the way it did (other than the urban legend that Luger gave the game away in a bar the night before, which I don't believe), but even now it doesn't make sense.

A win for Luger here would have been the perfect ending to the summer-long storyline of the one time Narcissist taking pride in something more than his own appearance, standing up for his country and battling the Big Monster From Japan, en route to the WWF title and status as a true American hero.

Instead, this dramatic main event contest came to a disappointing finale via countout. After finally bodyslamming the champion, Luger stupidly forearm-smashed Yoko to the outside, where the big man lay, out cold. The referee counted, Luger beat up on Fuji and Cornette, and Lex Luger won by countout.
Your Winner via Countout: Lex Luger (Yokozuna retains the WWF Championship)

Joined in the ring by Savage, The Steiners and Tatanka for a celebration of epic proportions, Luger was drowned in red, white and blue balloons whilst Vince McMahon sold the victory as though Luger had single-handily won World War 2 or something.

The fact that Yoko retained the WWF Title was barely mentioned until the very end, and even then, it came as an afterthought to the feel good ending to Summerslam 1993.

Wrapping things up at last, we got another look at that overly-sentimental Hero video that I posted at the top of this review.

In all honesty, Summerslam 1993 was a much better show than this writer was anticipating. Sure, we had the Rest in Peace match clogging things up, but with three solid title matches, no less than two Bret Hart contests and bouts which, on paper, shouldn't have amounted to much going far beyond expectations, this was a pretty good show. 
The only downside to this event was that, beyond Undertaker/Gonzalez, nothing was really resolved here. Luger and Yokozuna would continue to be at loggerheads until at least Wrestlemania 10, Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler would feud, on and off, until well into 1995, and Mr. Perfect would still be at war with Michaels, and the later Diesel, in the run up Survivor Series 1993
That aside, a decent show that, whilst not necessarily a must-see event, is certainly better than you may have imagined.

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.