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

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:

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.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

PPV REVIEW - WWF SUMMERSLAM 1991

August 26th, 1991
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

On the face of it, a wrestling pay per view headlined by a wedding shouldn't have worked. Yet, despite itself, Summerslam 1991, topped by the wedding between Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth ('A match made in heaven) with Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior teaming up for a handicap match against Sgt. Slaughter) and his goons ('A match made in hell') turned out to be one of the best wrestling shows of the year.

I'm reviewing this from a copy an old VHS tape, so no Vince McMahon growling of special introduction.

Instead, we go straight to our first match.

The Dragon, The British Bulldog, Texas Tornado vs. The Warlord and Power & Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules)
And so we begin with an enjoyable six man tag team match served well in setting the tone for the rest of the show.

Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat (who at this particular point in his career had been repackaged simply as The Dragon, complete with a cape made to look like a dragon and red scales on his tights) spent the bulk of the contest getting his butt handed to him thanks to the efforts of Warlord and Powers of Pain, but it was when he finally made the obligatory hot tag that things got really exciting.

Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat teamed with British Bulldog and Texas Tornado at Summerslam 1991
Texas Tornado (who remains one this writer's favorite stars of the early 1990s) stormed the ring to clean house, Davey Boy Smith beat up on Warlord (as he would do for most of 1991) all hell broke loose until Steamboat planted Paul Roma with a big splash for the win.

A fun way to kick off Summerslam 1991.
Your winners: The Dragon, The British Bulldog, Texas Tornado

Following the bout, our three-man commentary team of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Gorilla Monsoon and 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper spent some time shilling a special hotline in which callers could chat to 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and Miss. Elizabeth before they tied the proverbial not later on in the show... because nothing says romance like spending the few remaining hours before your wedding speaking to wrestling fans on the telephone.






Cutting to the back, Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect had some final words for challenger Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. The champ claimed that even though Bret was the Excellence of Execution, he wasn't perfect, and would be defeated in their upcoming match. All the while, Perfect's manager The Coach did pretty much the same thing as he would do throughout his WWF tenure; absolutely nothing.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 - Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect had a classic match over the Intercontinental title
WWF Intercontinental Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ The Coach) vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
For the second year in a row then, Mr. Perfect defended the IC title at Summerslam. 

Unlike his previous year's loss against Texas Tornado, Perfect went down swinging in this thrilling encounter against a Hitman on the rise.

By far the best match on the card, this was a brilliant match in which technical wrestling evolved into wild brawling and then further, into both men desperately pulling out all the stops in search of the elusive three-count.

After a dramatic, back and forth battle, Bret slapped on the sharpshooter to earn his first Intercontinental title.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

The post-match to this one was pretty hillarious. As The Hitman celebrated, Lord Alfred Hayes attempted to get an interview with Stu Hart, along with Helen, had watched his son's victory from the crowd.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 - Bret Hart defeated Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental title
Hayes tapped Stu on the shoulder, said pestered and begged and bugged Stu, and was basically ignored. Then, just when Stu finally relented and tried to speak into Alfred's microphone, the Englishman turned his back on the Hart patriach and snubbed him. 

Trust me, that was damn funny.

More shilling followed, this time for Hulk Hogan, a Real American Story, a career retrospective on The Hulkster that could be ordered on pay per view from October. 

Andre The Bushwhacker
Up next, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to The Bushwhackers and a barely-mobile Andre The Giant.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 - The Natural Disasters with Jimmy Hart
The story here was that Andre had returned to the World Wrestling Federation and was seeking a manager. Jimmy Hart got in Andre's face demanding the job, only for Hart's charge Earthquake to attack the big man and break his leg. 

In a moment of madness, Andre decided that, when it came to getting revenge against Earthquake and his Natural Disasters partner, Typhoon, there was only two men for the job; Luke and Butch.

Yep, that happened.

The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch w/ Andre The Giant) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon w/ Jimmy Hart)
'There's two ways to beat the Natural Disasters,' quipped Bobby Heenan 'You get 'em down, or you don't show up.'

After witnessing this short, nothing match, your reviewer would have preffered both teams to stay at home.

Despite a fairly lively opening spot which kept the New York crowd alive, this was nothing to write home about.

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 - The Natural Disasters defeated The Bushwhackers
Half way through this match, Bobby Heenan left the commentary table to take care of soething backstage. A few moments later, Earthquake sat on his opponent and that was all she wrote.
Your winners: The Natural Disasters

Post match, the big baddies beat down on their fallen foes before stalking Andre, causing the Legion of Doom to run to the rescue and see off Earthquake and Typhoon.

The Real World's Champion is coming

Backstage, Bobby Heenan knocked on the dressing room door of one Hulk Hogan, Big Gold Belt in hand, and challenged the World Wrestling Federation Champion to a match against 'The Real World's Champion,' Ric Flair. 

Hogan slammed the door in Heenan's face. Hillariously, the Brain yelled 'Who do you think you're embarrassing!?!' 

I'll admit that I was still a year away from my own introduction wrestling in 1991, but from what I hear, seeing Heenan challenge Hogan on behalf of Ric Flair was a serious mark-out moment back then.

Money, money, money

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 - The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase lost his prized Million Dollar title to former lackey, VirgilAs Heenan composed himself, his colleagues went back on the shill for the 1-900 Attached wedding hotline before we saw a clip of Savage on the phone with a fan, insisting that the honeymoon location was a big secret that he wasn't prepared to reveal.


Next, our old friend Sean Mooney caught up with The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Sensational Sherri ahead of Dibiase's Million Dollar Title defense against Virgil.


Million Dollar Championship match:
Million Dollar Man (and champion) Ted Dibiase (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Virgil
In what would prove to be the defining moment in Virgil's otherwise lacklustre career, the future Curly Bill took it to his former boss in a wonderfully engrossing, emotional affair. 

As hot (if not hotter) than anybody in the World Wrestling Federation at the time, Virgil had his head licked by Roddy Piper (the man who, so the story went, had trained him to wrestle), then went right after Dibiase with a flurry of fists.

What followed was not a technical masterpiece, but then, it was never supposed to be. This was good old fashioned storytelling in which one of the best heels in the history of the business finally got his comeuppance at the hands of his long-suffering former charge. 

The New York fans were with this match every step of the way, errupting with outrage when Dibiase took the cheap way out and got himself disqualified thanks to a Sensational Sherri shoe-shot. Their jeers soon turned to cheers however when Howard Finkle took to the microphone to announce that, under orders from referee Earl Hebner, the match would continue with Sensational Sherri sent to the back.

The war continued until, at just over the 13 minute mark, a battered Virgil crawled over a weakened Ted Dibiase and gained the pinfall.
Your winner and NEW Million Dollar Champion

It's sad that this would be the best thing that would ever happen to Virgil. As hot as he was at Summerslam '91, when he inevitably moved on from his storyline with the Million Dollar Man, Virgil was unable to capitalize on his popularity and would never quite be the same without Dibiase. 

He's The Mountie
WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  The Big Boss Man and The Mountie clashed in a 'Jailhouse match'
Out in the parking lot, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke with The Mountie. Flanked by three of New York's finest, the former Rougueau Brother gloated about zapping Big Boss Man with his infamous cattleprod, before vowing to defeat his rival in their upcoming Jailhouse Match. The Mountie then yelled at the three cops and told them to be rough with the Boss Man when they threw him in the slammer.

Offering a retort, Big Boss Man promised that his enemy would serve  hard time.

'Jailhouse match'
The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Big Boss Man
The stipulation here was simple: The loser gets put in jail for the night, because apparently, losing a professional wrestling match can be considered a criminal offence.

Despite The Mountie playing such a large part of the show from this point on, his actual match against the Boss Man wasn't particularly memorable. 

Or good, for that matter.

A passable, entirely forgetable affair which saw the Big Boss Man finally extract a measure of revenge against the Canadian, putting him away at just under ten minutes.
Your winner: The Big Boss Man (The Mountie gets sent to prison)

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  Randy Savage and Miss. Elizabeth spent the hours before their wedding on the phone to fans
The post-match hillarity began with the three New York City cops racing to the ring, and slapping the cuffs on the loser. The Mountie sold this like a whiny little child as the Boss Man and his colleagues carted him off to the back and into a paddy wagon heading for the prison.

Interval time
As was custom at the time, the pay per view interval was filled mostly with a string of interviews. 

First, a furious Ted Dibiase and Sensational Sherri screamed at Mean Gene, bemoaning Dibiase's loss to Virgil.

Bret Hart told Sean Mooney that he'd been waiting a long time to become Intercontinental Champion and was proud of his achievement.

Jimmy Hart threatened to get his lawyers on the Big Boss Man, after which Big Boss Man yelled and spluttered at Sean Mooney, calling The Mountie a criminal (so apparently losing a match is a crime).

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  Randy Savage  on the phone to a fan
Finally, Mean Gene barged into Randy Savage's dressing room whilst Savage was still on the phone with his fans. Savage didn't want to talk to to Gene, but when Okerlund threatened to go off in search of Miss. Elizabeth, the Macho Man told the interviewer to stay.

Fans in the United States where then treated to five minutes of the 1-900 ATTACHED advertisement whilst Lord Alfred Hayes shilled for the UK fans.

When the show returned, it was with Monsoon, Piper and Heenan discussing the highlights of the show so far and hyping our big main event. Heenan insisted that Sid Justice, the special referee in the Match Made in Hell, was up to something.

We then caught up with an outraged Mountie, who was dragged out of the paddy wagon yelling 'Hey!  You can't do that to me! Don't you know who I am! You're lowly cops and I'M THE MOUNTIE! I'M THE MOUNTIE!'

Tag team turmoil
WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  The Nasty Boys defended the WWF tag team titles against Legion of Doom
Back in the arena, Sean Mooney interviewed WWF Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys about their upcoming title defence against the Legion of Doom. 

The Nasty's manager was then shown a clip of his other charge, The Mountie, having his mugshot taken in jail. As with all the clips of Mountie in jail, it was pretty hysterical.

'You can't take pictures of The Mountie like that! That's an invasion of privacy!' bellowed Hart.

Speaking to Mean Gene Okerlund, Hawk and Animal vowed to beat The Nasty Boys for the tag team titles and turn them into The Pasty Boys (whatever that's supposed to mean).

With that done, we went once again to the New York Jail where The Mountie refused to have his fingerprints taken. 'Give me your finger, give me your finger,' insisted one cop. The Mountie did as he was told and flipped off the police man before yelling 'You can't fingerprint me, I'm The Mountie!'

Sgt. Slaughter, flanked by General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa (Iron Shiek) talked trash against Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. 

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  Sid Justice was the special guest referee for the show's main event
Sid Justice denied being in cahoots with Slaughter and friends, before finally it was back to the action. 

WWF Tag Team Championship Street Fight
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal)
If you're coming at this review as a fan from the wild and violent days of the Attitude Era or later, its probably worth noting here that a street fight in 1991 WWF wasn't quite what you might expect.

Indeed, this was far from the wild, crazy, arena-wide brawls popularized in the mid to late nineties (including this awesome match pitting the Nasty Boys against Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne).

'There's no rules, no count out, no disqualification' said Bobby Heenan as The Nasty Boys made a legal tag, proving that this was nothing more than your standard tag team match with the occasional weapon brought into play.

That's not to say it was necessarily bad. It was still a fun, hard-hitting, highly-entertaining match which saw the Road Warriors land the Doomsday Device and pick up the tag team titles in the process.
Your winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The Legion of Doom

As they raised the belts in the air, Hawk and Animal became triple-crown tag team winners,, having held the tag team titles in the NWA, AWA and now, the WWF. 

Mountie makes a friend
Heading back to jail, The Mountie was thrown in jail and yelled 'You've got the wrong guy!' as though he was actually guilty of something.

Vince McMahon's trademark growl made an appearance, growling about Survivor Series 1991.

Irwin R. Schyster vs. Greg Valentine
An entirely pointless match that wasn't even remotely entertaining. 

The only thing remotely interesting about this match was that it took place during Valentine's oft-forgotten about face run. He lost to I.R.S, nobody cared.
Your winner: I.R.S

WWF / WWE: Summerslam 1991 -  WWF Champion Hulk Hogan teamed with Ultimate Warrior to take on Sgt. Slaughter, Cl. Mustafa and General Adnan
Another ad came for Hulk Hogan - A Real American Hero, before the WWF Champion himself was joined by The Ultimate Warrior for a word with Mean Gene Okerlund. This was the usual promo from both men in which they yelled and rambled and promised to put an end to the reign of Sgt. Slaughter.

In our final trip to jail, we bid The Mountie fairwell in the company of an effeminate biker.

Handicap match:
Sgt. Slaughter, Colnel Mustafa and General Adnan vs. World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior, with special guest referee, Sid Justice. 
When Sgt. Slaughter is the only guy on your team capable of doing much in the ring, you know you're in trouble. 

By this point in their careers, Slaughter's partners were limited in the ring, leading Slaughter to carry the bulk of the match for his team. 

For their part, Hogan and Warrior (and even Sid) worked hard to deliver a fun main event, yet despite their best efforts, this one sadly fell flat.

The end came when Warrior grabbed a chair and chased off Adnan and Mustafa (in the process running out of the WWF altogether due to his famous incident with Vince McMahon), allowing Hogan to leg drop Slaughter and pick up the win.
Your winners: Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior

Post-match, Hogan invited Sid back to the ring and the two closed the show with the usual posing and showboating. 

A match made in heaven
And so Summerslam 1991 ended with Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss. Elizabeth finally becoming man and wife.

That's where my copy of this event ends, but I understand that afterwards, this happened:








All in all then, a fun show. Definitely worth watching the Perfect/Hitman and Dibiase/Virgil matches, not to mention The Mountie's time in prison. OK, so some of the matches left a lot to be desired (see IRS/Valentine and the Disasters/Bushwhackers clash), but they were fairly innoffensive and did little to detract from what a generally enjoyable pay per view Summerslam 1991 really was. For early '90s WWF, this was good stuff indeed.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

WWF SUPERSTARS

WWF SUPERSTARS CIRCA 1991






Sunday, 22 December 2013

PPV REVIEW - WWF SUMMERSLAM 1990

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Poster for the event featuring Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
August 27, 1990
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WWF Summerslam 1990 is a weird show in the sense that, despite two title changes and a steel cage match main event, it hardly felt like the show actually mattered much.

Though it wasn't a bad show, it was one that's very easy to forget. Just to jog your memory then, here's what went down.

Welcome to Philly
In a Coliseum Home Video exclusive,  men with big mullets were shown selling lots of WWF merchandise to little kids with even bigger mullets as Sean Mooney gave us the most monotone sales pitch in history.

At one point, Mooney called the event a sizzling spectacular (or something to that effect) and somehow made it sound like the most mundane thing ever.






There were no such problems for Vince McMahon however.

As was typical of the period, the man most casual fans knew back then as a harmless commentator let rip with a ferocious growl as he promoted tonight's double main event pitting Ultimate Warrior in a steel cage match against Ravishing Rick Rude and Hulk Hogan in a god awful clash with Earthquake.


WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Vince McMahon and Rowdy Roddy Piper hosted the event
Speaking of McMahon, he was joined on commentary this year by none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper, who welcomed us to Philadelphia, PA where, according to the Hot Rod,  'bagpipes are hot and Baghdad is not.'

Yeah.

The Rockers (Sean Michaels and Marty Jannety) vs. Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules w/ Slick)
With a need to write the already-injured Shawn Michaels out of the action, Power and Glory struck during the Rockers entrance and took out the future Hall of Fame Star.

This left Marty Jannetty to handle things in a make-shift handicap match.

Though hardly the finest hour for anyone involved, this was nonetheless developed into a fairly decent opener, especially when Jannetty looked as though he would score the upset.

Yet the inevitable finally happened, and Power and Glory walked away with the win.
Your winners: Power and Glory

Backstage, a still sedated Sean Mooney spoke to the Intercontinental Champion, Mr. Perfect and his manager Bobby Heenan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: WWF Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (W/ Bobby Heenan) had some harsh words for his challenger, Texas Tornado
Perfect insisted that despite having no time to prepare for the challenge of Kerry Von Erich (stranding in for an injured Brutus Beefcake), his 'perfect record' would see him prevail. Heenan then rambled on about the Texas Tornado having his head in the clouds.

Offering a retort, the Texas Tornado, a relative newcomer to the World Wrestling Federation, made a bunch of tornado metaphors which basically equated to 'I'm going to beat you up and take your title, Mr. Perfect.'

WWF Intercontinental Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. The Texas Tornado
This passable, five-minute bout saw the Tornado looking strong in the early going before the devious Mr. Perfet stole the advantage and dominated the plucky challenger.

Having absorbed several minutes of punishment from the champion, Von Erich no sold all of it, gripped Perfect with his family's famous 'claw' hold, then smashed his face in with the  Spinning Tornado Punch.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Texas Tornado

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund gushed over the new champion before informing us that Sweet Saphire, despite having arrived at the arena, was nowhere to be found. Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect then arrived on the scene and had a heart attack. 'NOBODY BEATS MR. PERFECT,' said Mr. Perfect after being beaten.

Sensational Queen Sherri vs. Sweet Saphire
For reasons nobody made clear (or even mentioned), Sensational Queen Sherri dressed for her match against Saphire in an evening gown, had her face painted like a cat and wore some kind of mask.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sensational Queen Sherri dressed up like some kind of cat. Nobody knew why.
That was about the most interesting thing about this whole thing, even more interesting than Roddy Piper referring to Saphire as Saffur' and more interesting than the fact that Saphire failed to show up and lost the match by forfeit.
Your winner via forfeit: Sensational Queen Sheri

Out in the back, Mean Gene asked Dusty Rhodes where Saphire had gone. Dusty didn't know either, but he did know that Saphire had been receiving gifts including fur coats and mink coats from somebody, and that it worried him.

The mystery continued

The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. Tito Santana
I'll admit, when I first saw The Warlord in the ring, I thought we were in for yet another match pitting the former Power of Pain against The British Bulldog.

Instead we were given this forgetabble, though  by no means terrible, match against former Strike Force star Tito Santana.

Santana took the early lead against his larger opponent with some lightning fast offence before finally, and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, losing the match to The Warlord.
Your Winner: The Warlord


WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Demoltion three-man team ft. Ax, Smash and Crush
Vince McMahon took some time out to plug the 1990 Survivor Series before a simple-minded Sean Mooney failed to get his head around the idea that despite there being three members of Demolition, only two could compete in the upcoming match.

Hilariously, Crush refered to the Legion of Doom as 'second-rate imposters' before the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions headed off to defend their titles.

After it was revealed that Crush and Smash would be representing Demolition, The Hart Foundation cut an awkward, cheesy promo in which they promised to give their opponents a Hart Attack and insisted that the champions would have to 'buy pacemakers by the truckload.'

Two out of three falls WWF Tag Team Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Demolition (Smash and Crush) vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
In the best match of the night so far (and what would ultimately turn out to be a highlight of the whole show), The Hart Foundation captured their second tag team championship in an exciting two-out-three falls contest.

This hard-fought, high impact match saw Demolition take the first fall thanks to the Demolition Decapitation before the Harts evened the score with the Hart Attack.

In the third fall, Ax snuck into the match and replaced Smash. The referee, who was clearly an idiot, couldn't tell the difference between Smash and Ax, and let it stand.

Countering such heelish actions, Hawk and Animal came down to the even the score, and The Hart Foundation walked away with the titles.
Your winners and NEW tag team champions: The Hart Foundation

Backstage, The Legion of Doom told Mean Gene that they hadn' finished with Demolition. Bret and The Anvil then showed up to celebrate with the men who helped them win. Gene Okerlund claimed he couldn't 'make head nor tails out of half the things that went on (in the tag team title match).

Apparently Okerlund was an idiot too.

Promos galore
Up next, Sean Mooney listened in on the arguments and frustration behind the door of Demolition's locker room.

Sensational Queen Sherri gloated about her win over Sweet Saphire. Sherri claimed she'd heard rumours as to Saphire's whereabouts and started to laugh.

'I don't think a missing person is funny,' said Okerlund.
'I said she was missing, I didn't say anything about her being a person,'  laughed Sherri. It was one of the funniest lines of the whole show.

Sean Mooney interviewed Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff. Volkoff, who had recently turned babyface, claimed that Duggan was his 'idol' (yes, idol) and that they were going to make a great tag team.

All this was followed by a promo from Earthquake, Jimmy Hart and Dino Bravo, hyping the mighty quake's upcoming main event clash with Hulk Hogan.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Jake The Snake had a snake on his face
Finally, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts had trouble keeping Damian still as he cut a promo on arch-rival Bad News Brown. As Roberts tried to sound menacing, his snake continued to wrap itself around his face. It was pretty funny.

Bad News Brown vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, with special guest referee, The Big Boss Man
At one point in the match, Roddy Pipper said that, for once, he was on Jake Roberts side, because he hated snakes too.

If you thought that made little sense,  wait until you see the rest of the match. If there was a reason for Big Boss Man being the guest referee, nobody mentioned it. There was a box of 'Harlem sewer rats' at ringside too, though these were barely mentioned, didn't come into play at any point in the story, and were completely unecessary.

Come to think of it, this whole match was unecessary. It was boring, dull and lifeless, and came to an end when Boss Man disqualified Bad News for using a chair.
Your winner via disqualification: Jake Roberts

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund spoke to the former tag team champions, Demolition. Ax, Smash and Crush reacted to the word 'former' as though Mean Gene had just called them all assholes. They then swore revenge on the Legion of Doom.

The Brother Love Show, with Sgt. Slaughter
WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Sgt. Slaughter was a guest on the brother love show
If there's one thing that confuses your writer, it's that Bruce Prichard played such a great character with Brother Love, and yet every pay per view segment I've ever seen featuring that character has been a snore-fest.

Care in point, this horrible skit involving American turncoat Sgt. Slaughter.  En route to his 1991 Royal Rumble title victory over the Ultimate Warrior, Slaughter declared Brother Love to the Greatest American Ever, then declared war on Nikolai Volkoff of all people.

'I'm going to kick your butt, Nikolai Volkoff,' said Slaughter. 'And that's an order.'

It's not though, is it?

Two cross-eyed?
Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to Mr. Fuji and The Orient Express. Fuji muttered something about one cross eyed being better than two cross eyed (or maybe better than being too cross eyed?) before cameras caught up with Mean Gene, who had apparently found Saphire.

Not that we were going to get anything out of the polka-dot wearing diva. Instead, Saphire quickly shut herself off behind a closed door. Weirdly, it looked pretty much the same door as the one Demolition had been hiding behind earlier.

The Orient Express (Tanaka and Sato w/ Mr. Fuji)  vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff
Before the match got started, Duggan and Volkoff let rip with a toe-curling rendition of America the Beautiful that was somehow supposed to endear them to the Philly crowd.

Things only went from bad to worse in this sloppy, thankfully short contest which the good guys won.
Your winners: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff


WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Dusty Rhodes was all kinds of confused about Saphire
True story, the total length of the last three matches is still less time than the 15 minute tag team title match.

Anyway, back to the story of Saphire The Missing Person. Dusty Rhodes tried to coax her out from behind her door and could not, then ran off to the ring to face Randy Savage.

Before that match could take place, Savage had a few words of his own. Perched atop a wooden thrown which looked as though some kid had made in shop class, Savage promised the end of Dusty Rhodes.

Dusty Rhodes vs. Macho King Randy Savage (W/ Sensational Queen Sheri)
With both combatants in the ring, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase turned up with Virgil in tow, and announced that he had been the one sending Saphire all those gifts. Not only that, but such gifts were apparently enough for Saphire to ditch 'common man' Rhodes and join the dark side.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Saphire turned on Dusty Rhodes and joined The Million Dollar Man's team
Saphire arrived on the scene, wearing a long pink dress, a fair coat and a gormless expression which suggested she hadn't a clue what was going on.

This was enough to distract Dusty, who subsequently fell victim to the Macho King in less than three minutes.
Your winner: Macho King Randy Savage

Afterwards, Sean Mooney tried to find out what was going on with Saphire and the Million Dollar Man. The bad guys were having none of it, and disappeared in a limosine. Dusty Rhodes gave chase, and that was the end of that.

A second later, Sean Mooney turned up in front of a green screen hyping our two main events.

Speaking of which, we next got a promo from Hulk Hogan and Big Boss Man. His officiating duties over with, the Boss Man would be in the corner of Hogan as the Immortal one took on the mighty Earthquake in the first of our two-part main event.

Hogan went through his usual pre-match ritual and promised to dispose of  'Quake once and for all.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan locked up with Earthquake at the show
Earthquake (w/ Dino Bravo and Earthquake) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Big Boss Man)
If you were expecting nothing more than your typical Hogan vs. Big Man match, you'd be pleasantly surprised.

Sure, this was a Hogan vs. Big Man match, but with both men bringing their A-game, it turned into an above-average encounter that was fun to watch.

Hogan won the match count-out and both he and Quake lived to fight another day.
Your winner via count-out: Hulk Hogan

For reasons which were never fully explained, it took the WWF ring-crew almost twenty minutes to set up the steel cage for our main event, giving us plenty of time for lots more promos!

First up, Rick Rude talked about Rocky Balboa facing Apollo Creed and promised to defeat the Ultimate Warrior.

WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: Hulk Hogan had Big Boss Man in his corner
Dusty Rhodes yelled and screamed into Mean Gene Okerlund's microphone, expressing his upset over Saphire's betrayal.

Lord Alfred Hayes turned up from nowhere to tell us that the ring-crew were working very quickly to set the cage up. Yep, that happened.

Hulk Hogan then gave a post-match interview to Mean Gene. Looking as though he'd barely broken a sweat, Hogan vowed to become the number one contender to the WWF title once again. He then said he was going to get a new surfboard 'and a two-and-half foot skank.'

Killing more time, Vinny Mac and Roddy Piper talked about the previous match before, Earthquake challenged Hogan to a rematch. When Sean Mooney reminded Earthquake that he couldn't pin Hogan, big Earthquake only promised to inflict more damage the next time round.

Finally, Mean Gene interviewed WWF Champion Ultimate Warrior, who grunted and snorted a lot and promised to kill Rick Rude.

WWF Championship Steel Cage Match
World Wrestling Federation Champion The Ultimate Warrior vs. Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan)


WWF / WWE - SUMMERSLAM 1990: World Wrestling Federation Champion Ultimate Warrior defended the title against Ravishing Rick Rude inside a steel cage
And so we got here at last, a main event steel cage match in which Ultimate Warrior defended his World Wrestling Federation title against long-time rival, Ravishing Rick Rude.

Upping the ante on their Summerslam 1989 encounter, the two men battled back and forth in a dramatic, hard-fought main event.

Sure, at only ten minutes long it wasn't a match of epic proportions, but for the time they were given, both men busted their backsides to deliver a compelling main event.

Unsurprisingly, The Ultimate Warrior dropped to the outside first and won the match.
Your winner and still WWF Champion, The Ultimate Warrior







All in all then, WWE Summerslam 1990 was a mixed show. The two main events plus the tag team title match remain enjoyable bouts to this day. Take those out of the equation though, and what you're left with is a show stuffed full of sub-five minute matches (most of which were nothing special) and an abundance of interviews. Pretty much like your average TNA show today then. Not the most must-see event in the world, but definitely track down the three matches mentioned above.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 8

April 5th, 1992
Hoosier Dome, 
Indianapolis, Indiana.

By 1992, the World Wrestling Federation was in a state of transition. At WWF Wrestlemania 8, the company was a different place than just the year before, though not half as different as it would be at the ill-fated Wrestlemania 9.

Hell, even by the time of that year's Survivor Series, many of the company's main players were gone, paving the way for a new generation of Superstars to lead the company into the 1990s.

If anything, Wrestlemania VIII was a passing of the proverbial torch, a fond farewell for the old guard of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior et al, and a change for fledgling midcarders like Shawn Michaels and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart to establish themselves as the ones to watch in the years to come.

Here's what went down.






The Obligatory Vince McMahon Growl Intro
As in previous years, Wrestlemania opened with the sound of Vince McMahon growling like a man possessed over a video package introducing our main event. This year's video looked for all the world as though Ric Flair and his colleagues were guest staring in an episode of Saved by The Bell.


With such fun and games out of the way, it was down to Gorilla Monsoon (calling his last ever Wrestlemania) and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan to welcome us to the Hoosier Dome, and to Reba McEntire, who performed the best version of The Star Spangled Banner to be heard at a Wrestlemania thus far.

As Tito Santana made his way to the ring, Bobby Heenan mistook the superstar and country singer Ariba McEntire, for siblings. Hillarious.

'El Matador' Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Shawn Michaels and Sensational Sherri
In as solid a choice for an opener as you could have asked for on this card, a post-rockers, pre-Showstopper Shawn Michaels took on the only man besides Hogan to have appeared at all eight Wrestemania shows.

Though hardly the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time, this was nonetheless a fun contest made all the more enjoyable by the hilarious commentary (were Monsoon and Heenan ever more on form than they were here?) and Michaels' manager Sensational Sherri looking particularly foxy at ringside.

Somewhat predictably, eventual Main Event Superstar Shawn Michaels triumphed over a Tito Santana playing out the last few years of his WWF career.
Your winner: Shawn Michaels

Gorilla Monsoon then invited us to view Mean Gene Okerlund 'in the locker room.' The only thing was, Monsoon was actually out in the arena, awaiting the arrival of his interview guests The Legion of Doom with their new/old manager Paul Ellering.

An interview with the L.O.D
WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby 'The Brain'' Heenan hosted the show
Ellering, who had been by the former Road Warriors side in their pre-WWF career, was freshly reunited with his charges, and insisted that he had rejoined them not for money, but for revenge. Revenge against what, or whom, he never quite said.

Hawk and Animal then joined in, expressing their general dislike of Money Inc. and vowing to beat them for the tag team championships,  thus pretty much telling everybody how the upcoming tag team title match between Money Inc. and the Natural Disasters was going to end.

This was a good, engrossing promo for the first few minutes. Then all three men continued to ramble on for so long that everything ceased to make sense and your writer was bored beyond belief.

The Snake is ready
Backstage, Sean Mooney spoke to the villainous Jake 'The Snake' Roberts about his upcoming match against The Undertaker.

Long time fan-favourite Roberts was, for this fan's money, always more suited to playing the bad guy, and he excelled on the mic here.

Unfortunately, he wouldn't fair so well in the ring.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
With Jake on his way to World Championship Wrestling in order to spin the wheel and make the deal with Sting, it was unlikely he'd be getting past the man who would go on to become one of the WWF's most respected superstars.

Yet whilst the outcome may have been somewhat telegraphed, what was surprising was just how much Roberts was killed by 'Taker.

The Dead Man beat up on Jake, sat up from a DDT, absorbed another DDT, had a breather whilst Roberts went outside to beat up on Paul Bearer, got up again, tombstoned his opponent on the outside, rolled him in the ring and scored the win.

In terms of action, this was neither good nor bad.
Your winner: The Undertaker


WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart exchange a few final words before their classic Intercontinental Championship match
Backstage, Mean Gene stood by with both Intercontinental Champion 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper and his challenger Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. 

Piper poked fun at a stone-faced Hitman in hysterical fashion before Hart had enough and warned Piper to keep his hands to himself. The two almost came to blows before Hart stormed off, ready for one of his most memorable Wrestlemania encounters.

Now that was awesome.

WWF Intercontinental Championship match:
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Everything you've heard about this match is true. Unless you heard that it was a pile of crap or something, in which case it's not true at all.

Mixing crisp wrestling with wild brawling and a good dose of passion and raw emotion, this well-paced title felt special right from the opening bell, and both men worked hard to ensure it was.

Piper teased a return to his heelish ways of old (at one point threatening to clock The Hitman with the ring bell before having a change of heart) and beat on Hart with the kind of wild-eyed intensity which made him a star.

Bret, for his part, became a star with this match, absorbing some wicked punishment before finally counting a Piper suplex attempt to reclaim his title.

For the third match in a row, the long-time veteran was pinned by the rising star.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Post-match, Piper wrapped the championship belt around the waist of a battered and bloody Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, symbolic of the continuation of the torch-passing taking place at Wrestlemania VIII.

Lex Luger promotes the World Bodybuilding Federation
Former WCW star Lex Luger, who couldn't compete as a wrestler in the WWF for reasons which now escape your review, was instead competing in Vince McMahon's short-lived bodybuilding promotion, the WBF.

In a pre-recorded segment masquerading as a live-satellite link-up, Luger belittled his fellow World Bodybuilding Federation stars and promised to win his next bodybuilding event.

 All the while, Bobby Heenan gushed over Luger and begged him to take his shirt off. It was, at least, not quite as erotic as the exhange the two would have when Luger debuted as The Narcissus at the following year's Royal Rumble.

Eight man tag time
WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Sgt. Slaughter and Virgil teamed up with The Big Boss Man and Jim Duggan in an eight-man tag match
Prior to our next contest, we got some pre-recorded comments from the competitors. Backstage, Repo Man, The Mountie and The Nasty Boys, who cackled wildly like the evil beings they were and yet ultimately said nothing you could remember a second later.

Offering a retort, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, a face-mask wearing Virgil, The Big Boss Man and Sgt. Slaughter (you know, the guy who headlined the previous years' Wrestlemania as a bad guy) yelled a lot of nonsense about how they were going to beat up their opponents. Nothing they said could be remembered a second later, either.

Eight man tag team match
The Mountie, The Repo Man and The Nasty Boys (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Virgil, The Big Boss Man and Sgt. Slaughter
Before the action got underway, Family Feud host Ray Combs took advantage of his role as special guest ring announcer to make some unfunny gags at the heels' expense. When one of his jabs finally pushed Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags too far, the bad guys went after Combs, who promptly ran out of the ring, not to be seen again until Survivor Series 1993.

The match itself was at least a little better than you might expect; a short slug-fest designed to give the crowds a breather between two epic title matches.

In previous years, when Wrestlemanias ran for up to four hours and were stuffed so full of filler that you began to lose the will to live half way through, the eight men involved here would have probably been doing battle in at leas three separate matches.

Instead, we got a quick little contest which served its purpose well.

In case you cared, the good guys won.
Your winners: Jim Duggan, Virgil, Big Boss Man, Sgt. Slaughter


WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Nature Boy Ric Flair after his defeat at the hands of Randy Savage
Backstage, Mr. Perfect and WWF Champion Ric Flair promised to destroy Randy Savage, not only by defeating him in their upcoming title clash, but by placing an apparently revealing picture of Miss. Elizabeth.

Mean Gene, standing outside the challenger's dressing room, then informed us that Savage would not be granting interviews, leaving Okerlund to instead hype our big title fight.

WWF Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Champion 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair (w/ Mr. Perfect) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
With The Nature Boy making his way to ringside, an over-excited Bobby Heenan rambled on about being fair to Flair' until Gorilla Monsoon finally yelled 'WILL YOU STOP!?!' Trust me on this one, it was hilarious.

Randy Savage then raced to the ring moments later and chased the champion half way up the isle, only for Perfect to intervene on behalf of his charge and drag Savage back to ringside.

Eventually, both men wound up back in the ring and proceeded to make magic together.

Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to ever see a match featuring two all-time greats without thinking it was good, but this was beyond good, it was awesome.

Both champ and challenger gave it their all for the best part of twenty minutes in a compelling contest which featured much interference from Perfect.

To the delight of the Hoosier Dome faithful, Savage finally overcame the odds, not to mention the weeks of being harassed by Flair and Perfect leading up to the match to roll-up Flair with a handful of tights and claim his second world title.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: The Macho Man Randy Savage

Afterwards, an irate Flair yelled at Miss. Elizabeth, who had made her way down to the ring towards the end of the match, despite the insistence of a handful of officials (including a young Shane McMahon), causing Savage to attack.

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Sid Justice battled Hulk Hogan in the main event
Flair and Perfect then got the upper hand again, and Savage's big title victory seemed unimportant compared to the ongoing rivalry between himself and Flair.

Backstage, Ric Flair refused to get upset and promised Sean Mooney that he would get his belt back and finish Savage once and for all.

The new champion, for his part, relented to giving Gene Okerlund and interview and, in his usual bat-shit crazy fashion, insisted he would fight Flair on the parking lot if that's what it took to finish off The Nature Boy.

The whole thing was so epic that Wrestlemania VIII should have ended there and everybody would have been happy.

Instead, we were presented with a lacklustre second half.

Hype for the main event
Before we went any further, we were reminded of how the feud between Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice, which had been teased at the 1992 Royal Rumble came to be in place of the originally planned Hogan/Flair clash.

An interview with 'The Model' 
As Tatanka's tribe danced in the middle of the ring, the native American's arch nemesis, Rick 'The Model' Martel mocked and scorned them in a backstage interview. Martel, who seemed more comfortable in his role as the cocky model than he had at previous shows, claimed he would have to infect the ring with his Arrogance cologne before battling Tatanka.

Tatanka vs. Rick 'The Model' Martel
Not even the announce team gave much of a damn about this one, instead spending most of the contest discussing the ramifications of the previous bout.

Still, at just under five minutes long and with enough decent action between the ropes, it wasn't too offensive.

Another rising star defeated a veteran performer as Tatanka walked away with his famous winning stream intact.
Your winner: Tatanka


WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - Money Incorporated (Ted Dibiase and IRS) defended their titles against The Natural Disasters
Backstage, tag team champions Ted Dibiase and I.R.S, along with their manager Jimmy Hart, hyped their upcoming battle with the Natural Disasters. The three put on their best evil laughs as they insisted Earthquake and Typhoon would be no match for them.

The challengers felt differently, and responded with a promo in which they basically yelled and slobbered all over the place and said nothing of note.

WWF Tag Team Championship match
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Champions Money Incorporated (Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and I.R.S w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon)
Other reviewers out there on the web seem to have looked at this match, with its over-sized challengers and count-out finish, and immediately dismissed it as no good.

That doesn't seem very fair (to Flair, or anybody else), since if you actually watch the the match, it turns out to be pretty entertaining.

OK, so we're not talking Hart Foundation/British Bulldogs brilliant, but then, this wasn't supposed to be that kind of match.

This was supposed to be the dastardly Money Inc. finally getting what was coming to them at the hands of the mighty Natural Disasters, only to take the cheap way out twhen they knew there was no chance of coming out on top..

That's exactly what we got too, and the results were fairly enjoyable.
Your winners via count-out: The Natural Disasters (Money Inc. retain the titles)


WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Natural Disasters were irate about not winning the titles Money Incorporated (Ted Dibiase and IRS)
Backstage, Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake, out of action due to a facial injury, played up his friendship with Hulk Hogan and gave an interview to Gene Okerlund in which he essentially served as Hogan's hype man. Hulkamania will live forever, oh yeah!

'The Rocket' Owen Hart vs. Skinner
Making his second Wrestlemania appearance (his first was as The Blue Blazer at Wrestlemania 5), The Rocket made short work of swamp-man Skinner.

In fact, this match was so short that, at the opening bell, your writer receieved a text message. By the time I'd replied (it was a short conversation), the match was over.

Owen picked up the win in just over 60 seconds.
Your winner: The Rocket Owen Hart

As we edged closer to our main event, we went back to the locker room again for final comments from Sid Justice and his manager, Harvey Wippleman.

Between Sid's insane ramblings and an earnest, pre-recorded segment with Vince McMahon and Hogan, the idea was played up that Hogan may well have been retiring. This storyline had been trotted out ina  failed attempt to boost buy-rates. As history would go to show, Hogan wouldn't retire from active competition for almost 20 years.

Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. Hulk Hogan
When you've seen one Hulk Hogan main event, you've seen them all, and this was none different than any number of Hogan classics.

The two played to their strengths, pitting strength against strength in a match which wasn't that bad if you kept your expectations low.

After thirteen minutes of action, Hogan nailed the Legdrop of Doom. Justice kicked out of the pin attempt, only to lose the match by DQ when Wippleman leapt into the ring.

WWF / WWE: WRESTLEMANIA 8 - The Ultimate Warrior embraces Hulk Hogan after coming to his aid against Sid Justice and Papa Shango
The confusing finish came about as a result of Papa Shango's late arrival. Originally supposed to interfere in the finish, the voodoo warrior (better known in later years as The Godfather) instead got involved in a post-match beatdown, helping Sid lay waste to Hogan.
Your winner via disqualification: Hulk Hogan

Just when you thought it was all over for Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior made his return to the World Wrestling Federation, clearing house and joining Hogan in a pose-down to end the show.






And so it was that WWF Wrestlemania 8 came to an end and the torch was passed. By the end of the year, Sid, Warrior, Piper and Flair would be gone, Hogan would take a leave of absence in the wake of the WWF Steroid Scanal, Randy Savage would be demoted back to commentary (not withstanding an in-ring cameo at 1993 Survivor Series) and long time veterans like Tito Santana and Rick Martel would find themselves dwelling in the lower regions of the card.
In their place, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and a new generation of performers would rise to the top, bridging the gap between the Hogan era and the Attitude era. 
In that case, Wrestlemania 8 was the end of an era, and the beginning of a brand new one.

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.