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

Saturday, 22 March 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 9

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: event poster
April 4, 1993
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

No discussion about the worst WWE PPV events of all time is complete without Wrestlemania IX cropping up, rearing its toga-covered head and reminding us of its absolute worst moments.

But was the show really that bad?

This reviewer does not think so.

Sure, there was plenty to lambaste (and I will, at length), but in between all that, there were many moments of pretty enjoyable wrestling, too.

Not convinced? Let's take a look at the show, shall we?

Welcome to Caesers Palace!
No early-90s pay per view offering would be quite complete without Vince McMahon growling like the proverbial man possessed over an opening graphic. This year, McMahon kept it short. In just twenty odd seconds, he revealed himself to be far more excited about the location of this year's spectacular than he was about any of the matches involved.

Unfortunately for all concerned, that pretty much set the tone for the whole affair as the pomp and ceremony -tacky as it may have been- took far greater precedent than the action.

Having made his mark, Vince passed over to Gorilla Monsoon, whose role as Host of Wrestlemania IX involved nothing more than appearing on camera twice for a total of about thirty seconds on a show spanning multiple hours.

Still, Monsoon, dressed in a black, green and gold toga and flanked by two clearly bored actors dressed as Roman guards, did the best job he could by saying hello and immediately handing over to former WCW announcer, Jim Ross.

Opening ceremony
Wearing a toga of his own and surrounded by more actors, Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut by beaming happily at the camera and running down tonight's card.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Jim Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut
Ross then introduced us to Finkus Maximus (better known to you and I as veteran ring announcer, Howard Finkle) before proceeding doing his best to make the Wrestlemania opening ceremony sound like a legtimate huge deal.

As two actors dressed as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra arrived on an elephant, Ross really did try hard to make us care.

'Oh my, isn't that tremendous,' he said without a flash of sarcasm as the elephant reared up on its hind legs before returning to a more natural position on all fours.

Caesar and Cleopatra (who may or may not have been the same actors from the 1993 Royal Rumble) walked around the ring before commentator Macho Man Randy Savage was carried to the ring on a sedan, surrounded by muscular hunks and cheap hookers masquerading as 'celestial virgins.'

'The Macho Man, [with] a little grape action there,' Ross informed as Savage popped the fruit in his mouth, giving you just some idea of how badly the Oklahoma native wanted us to care.

Finally greeting Ross, Savage told us that we had a 'lock and load' situation going on and that the 'grapes were great,' before, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan arrived, riding backwards on a camel.

After falling off the camel, Heenan engaged in banter with Ross and Savage, the latter of whom made his first utterance of a phrase he would use repeatedly throughout the show. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was time to Do The Thing.

At last.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match:
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/ Sensational Sherri)
WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Luna Vachon was in the company of Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
As an eight year-old, I thought that the pairing of arrogant pretty boy Shawn Michaels with the deranged and freaky-looking Luna Vachon was an odd one to say the least.

Now approaching thirty, I still do (especially as Michaels ignored his valet from the moment he walked through the curtain), though I can at least appreciate the logic in such a partnership. Why wouldn't the Intercontinental Champion hire the services of the reputably dangerous Vachon to counter any attempt at shenanigans by his former squeeze Sensational Sherri, now in the corner of his Native American challenger.

Over twelve minutes after Wrestlemania IX began, the bell finally sounded and our opening contest was underway.

Despite both champ and challenger having zero chemistry with their respective seconds, this turned out to be a fine match.

Sure, Michaels would have, and already had, better matches in his career, the champion performed to his usual high standards. Tatanka was no slouch either. Indeed, both men worked hard to deliver an entertaining opener which was spoiled only by the finish.

As Heenan bickered with Savage and Savage continued to rant about doing the thing, Jim Ross called eighteen minutes of solid action until Michaels, in danger of being counted out, dragged the referee out of the ring.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Tatanka helps Sensational Sherri to the back following his count-out win over Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
The champion made his way back between the ropes and straight into a samoan drop from Tatanka. The challenger made the cover, but the referee returned to the ring and, rather than count the fall, awarded Tatanka the match via count-out.
Your winner via count-out: Tatanka (Shawn Michaels retains the title)

In the post-match, Luna Vachon waylaid rival Sensational Sherri then ran off at speed as Tatanka came to the rescue.

Things then moved to the back, where Mean Gene Okerlund proclaimed that 'Julius Caesar himself would have been proud to be involved in this Wrestlemania.'  Maybe Gene was busy at the craps table when Caeser himself made his grand entrance earlier in the show.

Okerlund lavished praise on The Steiner Brothers, who arrived on the scene to talk about their first Wrestlemania match in which they vowed to overthrow The Headshrinkers.

The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu w/ Afa) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)
As Rick and Scott made their way to the ring, a fan held up a sign which read 'New York loves The Steiner Brothers and The "Under"taker. I'd say something about that, but I'm still kind of irked at the lack of apostrophe in Caesar's Palace.

That aside, this was another solid encounter.

Arguably even more enjoyable than the opening clash, The Steiners and The Headshrinkers engaged in a hard-hitting, smash-mouth tag team match.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Steiner Brothers speak to Mean Gene before facing The Headshrinkers
In the early going, Jim Ross informed us that Luna Vachon had assaulted Sensational Sherri back in the First Aid area. Otherwise, the focus was purely on the two teams in the ring as they fought a memorable battle with a number of highlights, including a key moment where The Headshrinkers dumped Scotty head first over the top rope, where Afa added to Steiner's woes with a cane shot across the spine.

After just just shy of fifteen minutes, this entertaining match saw The Steiners pick up the three count thanks to a Frankensteiner from Scott.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers

Backstage, Mean Gene claimed to have just seen Doink The Clown deface a statue, but did nothing about it. Okerlund reminded Doink of the Clown's biggest sins, including throwing pies in the face of little children and, worst of all, beating up Crush with a fake arm.

In response, Doink insisted he was bringing the fun to Wrestlemania and, with a nod and wink in the direction of things to come, joked that Crush might 'see double vision' in their upcoming clash.

Crush vs. Doink The Clown
This is the point where eight year-old Chris would be hiding behind the sofa. OK, so Doink was awful as a babyface, but as a sinister heel with a split personality, he was genuinely terrifying, especially to a pre-pubescent boy.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown talks to Mean Gene about facing CrushThe bulk of this eight-plus minute match was nothing to write home about. The mighty Crush beat up on his sneaky adversary around and outside the ring, battering down with a series of exaggerated fists and boots and occasionally shaking things up with the odd snap mare or neckbreaker.

Doink mounted a comeback, diving off the ropes to wear down his foe and ramming Crush's head into the ring post to a faint smattering of applause.

'Everybody here is psyched to the max!' enthused Savage as the Las Vegas crowd sat on and watched in near silence.

Doink made several attempts to hide under the ring, only to be pulled back by Crush and thrown about the ring some more. Eventually, with the referee down, a second Doink emerged from under the ring, saving his doppleganger from Crush's Cranium Crush by hitting the big Hawaiian with the deadly Fake Arm of Doom.

As the announcers raved about a Double Doink (beating Paul Vasquez by some seventeen years), the original Doink made the cover, the referee woke up long enough to hit the three count, and this one was thankfully over.
Your winner: Doink The Clown

Next, we went to a man equally loved and loathed by wrestling fans, the one and only Todd Pettengill. Situated up in the cheap seats, with a pair of sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap complimenting his toga outfit, Pettengill moved around a sea of drunk and rowdy fans trying to conduct a survey into whether there really had been two Doinks or whether it was all just an illusion.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown, unmasked after his match with Crush
The Toddster had little luck with that one, though he did manage to give us the obligatory 'LOL! Foreigners can't speak English good' joke by interviewing two Japanese fans who only understood the word Yokozuna.

Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
After an outstanding performance at that year's Royal Rumble, Bob Backlund was relegated back to the jobber status he would endure until his memorable metamorphosis into the psychotic Mr. Backlund in the summer of 1994.

Here, he was overthrown by Razor Ramon in an entertaining, if instantly forgettable encounter.

Despite a valiant effort against a much larger opponent, Backlund's efforts were thwarted when Ramon pulled out an inside cradle for the win.
Your winner: Razor Ramon

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with WWF Tag Team Champions, Money Incorporated.

Okerlund reminded Ted Dibiase and I.R.S of how their feud with the Mega Manics began, namely with a briefcase to the injured face of Brutus Beefcake.

Dibiase responded by saying it was time Beefcake and his partner Hulk Hogan put up, or shut up. Dibiase claimed that Vegas, The City of Money, was Money Inc.'s backyard, and that their opponents had no chance of winning.

For his part, I.R.S said they would 'beat [Beefcake's] face into oblivion' and also told Gene that, if they thought Beefcake's face was bad, he should see Hogan's.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Mega Maniacs faced Money Incorporated for the WWF Tag Team Titles

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Incorporated ('Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase & I.R.S) vs. The Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake w/ Jimmy Hart)

Emerging through a cloud of red smoke, Brutus Beefcake wore a protective face mask, playing up to the legitimate injury he suffered which had kept him away from WWF pay per view since Wrestlemania 6).

For his part, The Hulkster, besides appearing much slimmer, sported a shiner and several stitches. The company covered this with the story that Money Inc. had hired goons to beat up Hogan at the gym the night before.

The truth, depending on who you believe, is either that Randy Savage punched him out after finding out Hogan had an affair with Elizabeth, or that The Immortal One was involved in a jet ski accident.

Their look was a far cry from that of the last time they had teamed up on pay per view to face Macho Man and Zeus at Summerslam 1989.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Money Inc. find out they'll lose the belts if they walk out of their match with Hogan and Beefcake
The match itself was good (if not a little long) for what it was, though despite the best efforts of all four men, it lacked that all-important Big Match Feel you have to believe they were going for.

After threatening to walk out (only to be told they would thus forfeit their titles if they did so), Dibiase and I.R.S returned to the ring and took control, cutting off Hogan from his partner by choking him out with a tag rope.

Hogan did the whole babyface-in-peril thing well, and the crowd lit up when Beefcake finally took the inevitable hot tag to a huge pop from the Vegas faithful or, as Savage put it 'the fans are hanging from the rafters...except Caesar's Palace doesn't have rafters, but it has columns and they're hanging from the columns.'

Nice save, Macho.

Beefcake eventually came up short against the champions, losing his mask in the process.

The match then reached it's thrilling climax when Hogan drilled both opponents with the mask. The referee was down so, as Hogan and Beefcake covered their opponents, manager Jimmy Hart turned his jacket inside out to reveal zebra stripes, and made the three count.

The Mega Maniacs celebrated with the titles, but alas their triumph was short lived. A second referee rushed to ringside and decreed that not only could a match not end by 'Manager Changing His Jacket,' but that Hogan had been disqualified.
Your winner via disqualification: Money Inc.

The champions may have escaped with their gold intact, but they certainly didn't look too much like winners. Hogan and Beefcake disposed of them before Jimmy Hart threw former charge turned referee Danny Davis from the ring.

'The Mega Maniacs are The Mega Maniacs,' said Savage, keeping up his outstanding work at the announce table.

Hogan, Beefcake and Hart went through the usual post-match posedown celebration for what felt like the hour, eventually opening up Money Inc.'s gold-plated briefcase, removing a brick from it, and tossing money out into the audience.

The show then went back to Todd Pettengill and his gang of rowdy drunks. Pettengill spoke with singer Natalie Cole, who couldn't believe The Mega Maniacs had given away real money. He then spoke with the C.E.O of Caesar's Palace, who took the opportunity to shill his area and said that the wrestlers 'really appreciated themselves to the local community.'

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Mean Gene interviews Mr. Perfect about the latter's match with Lex Luger
Twenty one years later, I still have no idea what that means.

Backstage, Mean Gene spoke with Mr. Perfect. Okerlund told Perfect that, earlier in the day, Lex Luger had knocked out WWF Champion Bret Hart with his steel elbow thing. Perfect said he didn't know who Luger thought he was, raved about his own perfect week, then messed up trying to say 'The Narcissist Lex Luger' and instead made for the ring.

The Narcissist Lex Luger (w/ a gang of thong-wearing ladies) vs. Mr. Perfect
The cameraman spent much of Luger's entrance filming the rear ends of his female flunkies. Not that this writer is complaining.

Luger then spent some time posing in front of mirrors which shot fireworks before Perfect arrived on the scene to an enormous ovation.

This was another decent match which saw both men trading the advantage. With the crowd firmly on his side, Mr. Perfect using technical wrestling to combat The Narcissist's power-based offense.

Alas, as was fast becoming a trend with Wrestlemania 9, another good match reached failed to reach a clean finish. This time round, Perfect got his foot on the ropes to counter a Luger pin attempt. Unfortunately for the former Intercontinental Champion, the referee didn't see it, and thus awarded the match to Luger.
Your winner: Lex Luger

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The best thing Lex Luger ever brought to the ring?
Afterwards, Perfect argued with the referee, only to receive a metal-plated elbow to the head from Luger.

Perfect recovered quickly and ran backstage, where he found Luger chatting to Shawn Michaels. Somehow, Perfect wound up brawling, and then getting beaten up by, the Intercontinental Champion.

Back in the arena, Savage and Bobby Heenan got into a heated argument before Jim Ross difused the situation by sending over to Gorilla Monsoon for his second cameo of the evening.

Monsoon hyped up the remaining two scheduled matches before going back to How..I mean, Finkus Maximus.

Giant Gonzales (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
And so we have it, folks: One of the most notoriously bad matches in WWE history. Giant Gonzales, wearing That Infamous Suit, made his way to the ring first, followed by The Undertaker.

The Deadman, along with his pet vulture, came to the ring on a kind of hearse carried by four musclemen and flanked by a druid who didn't seem to quite get the whole gimmick, slapping hands with fans en route to the ring.

The bell rang, and fans were subjected to a match so terrible not even your usually-optimistic reviewer can excuse.

To his credit, The Undertaker did what he could to make the slow, immobile Gonzales look like a credible threat, though his efforts were continually diminished whenever the former El Gigante lumbered around the ring throwing awkward-looking offense.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: An iconic shot of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania
Things, whatever they were, fell apart at the end when Harvey Wippleman got involved and was taken out by The Undertaker, and Paul Bearer stuck his nose in, only to receive the same treatment courtesy of Gonzales.

The Giant then pulled out a chloroform-soaked rag, using it to knock out his opponent and thus lose the match via disqualification.
Your winner via disqualification: The Undertaker

Post match, a slew of officials rushed to Undertaker's aid. Gonzales beat up most of them, but Earl Hebner, Jack Doan and Paul Bearer managed to get Undertaker on a stretcher.

As Gonzales soaked up the jeers from the crowd (and a brief chant for Hulk Hogan), The Undertaker walked back to the ring, his face like a zombie, and took out his rival, leading to their ill-fated rematch at Summerslam 1993.

Despite a horrible match in which he got knocked out, The Undertaker stood 3-0 at Wrestlemania.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Hulk Hogan challenges the winner between Bret 'Hitman' Hart and Yokozuna
It was almost time for our main event world title match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna, a match which had largely been ignored by the announcers until now.

Though rather than give a final few words to either the champion or the challenger, Mean Gene Okerlund showed us a recap of Yoko killing both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Bret Hart (in separate instances) then spoke to Hulk Hogan, a man who, as far as everybody was concerned at the time, had nothing to do with the final match of the evening.

Hogan played up the idea that Money Inc. were responsible for his black eye, before telling Bret Hart that Hogan, and all his Hulkamaniacs were on his side. Hogan claimed that he had looked into The Hitman's eyes and questioned the greatness of Hulkamania, which is why he was issuing a challenge to either Hart or -and I quote- 'The Jap, brother,' depending on which man won the upcoming match.

Todd Pettengill was back out in the audience, interviewing a mute kid and a couple of drunk dudes in togas who started brawling.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna challenged Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the WWF title

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
If you were watching this show, you'd be forgiven for forgetting this match was schedule to take place, that's how much attention it got throughout the broadcast.

Still, it was here, and the fans in Caesar's Palace were excited.

Yoko made his way to the ring first, greeted by a couple of geishas and a chorus of boos. The Hitman, decked in all-pink attire, arrived next, greeted by a huge symphony of applause fro the Las Vegas faithful.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart prepares for battle
The bell rang, the match was on.

Everything was going well. Both men worked to deliver everything you'd want in a big-man vs. little man clash on a main event scale. The nimble, technically-sound Hitman used everything from legitimate wrestling to down and dirty tactics to get the better of his larger opponent, but 'The Man from the Orient' continued to fight back using a winning combination of surprising speed and raw power.

The challenger's offense was certainly impressive, but it seemed that it would be no match for the champion, who wrapped up Yoko's expansive thighs into the sharpshooter.

Behind the referees back, Mr. Fuji threw salt into the eyes of the champion. The move seemed to practically cripple Hart, who fell back and was promptly put away for a three count, ending what had otherwise been a thrilling, if short, main event.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Yokozuna

As your writer sat trying to figure out how salt in the eyes could take a man off his feat, Yoko grabbed the world title belt and celebrated, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Hulk Hogan.

Playing the good guy, Hogan went immediately to check on the defeated Hitman. Somewhat foolishly, Mr. Fuji took to the microphone and challenged Hogan to fight Yokozuna there and then. Recieving Bret Hart's blessing, Hogan accepted.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna enjoys his brief reign as WWF Champion
Yokozuna grabbed Hogan. Fuji threw salt. Hogan ducked. Yoko took the salt to the eyes (but didn't fall down like a wimp).  A punch to Fuji, a clothesline to the champion and a Leg Drop of Doom Later, the new WWF Champion Yokozuna was now the former WWF Champion Yokozuna.
Your winner and new WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

As per the norm, Hogan celebrated with the title to end the show.

An anti-climatic end then to a disappointing show. Though Wrestlemania 9 was never going to stand out as The Greatest of All Time, your reviewer truly believes it would have stood out as being at least a decent effort were it for all the random cheap finishes and that Gonzales/Taker match.
Michaels/Tatanka, Steiners/Headshrinkers and even Mega Maniacs/Money Inc. stood out as being worth watching, whilst others, namely Hart/Yoko, Luger/Perfect and Ramon/Backlund all held their own until their respective endings.
Yet thanks to the poor finishers, Giant Gonzales, the tacky toga shtick and the Hogan/Yokozuna non-match, the 1993 edition of the WWF flagship even is widely regarded as one of the Worst Ever.
A shame really, as at least seventy percent of the in-ring action was actually pretty good, even it was marred with Randy Savage's awful commentary. Do The Thing, Oh yeah, brother!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE vs. TNA fantasy booking - Beer Money vs. Miz & Morrison

OK, so I’m back again with more What If? Scenarios. This time, we’ll be indulging in a bit of tag team shenanigans.

[Five years after this post was originally published on another website, I realise what a lousy scenario I created for this fantasy booking. That said, I'd still like to watch this match even now]

Beer Money, Inc. vs. The Miz & John Morrison

This is the one ‘dream match’ which inspired my whole WWE vs. TNA idea.

In Storm/Roode and Miz/Morrison, we have two great examples of singles workers with not much going on thrown together in a team and actually excelling in their new roles.

Beer Money have lit up TNA’s tag scene and, truth be told, are one the only things worth watching on the catastrophe known as TNA Impact.

Meanwhile, along with Carlito & Primo, The Miz & John Morrison are WWE’s tag team division (Cryme Tyme don’t count since they’re destined to be used as filler for the foreseeable future, and Rhodes/Dibiase are little more than Orton’s stooges).

In my opinion, this could work really well as a Heel vs. Heel match and though admittedly I don’t have as strong an idea for a storyline as I did with Styles/Punk, I actually reckon it wouldn’t need much of one.

All you’d need would be one more match between Miz & Morrison and The Colons with all the titles on the line. M &M would pick up the win and unify the titles.

The following week on Smackdown, the two are in the ring boasting about being the undisputed tag team champions when Robert Roode and James Storm show up with the TNA tag straps.

They beg to differ about the whole ‘Undisputed’ thing, and affirm their heel status by insulting both WWE and its fans; claiming that neither would recognise a truly great tag team like Beer Money if it powerbombed them.

To prevent a forced face-turn, Miz & Morrison agree that WWE fans are stupid (cheap heat, sure, but that’s all it would need), but that they are the better tag team.

From there, we could either go straight into this match on the following show, or build up to a pay per view with several weeks of entertaining skits/promos in which each time tries to prove they are the best.

Who would win? Who would care? This would just be a fun one to watch.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE vs. TNA fantasy booking - AJ Styles vs. CM Punk

AJ Styles and CM Punk
I was thinking the other day about how, given that TNA really don't seem to know what they're doing, it's probably only a matter of time until they call it a day.

[In a somewhat ironic note, TNA wrestling actually outlived the website where this archived post was first published back in 2009]

Then I wondered if Vinny Mac would buy them out, and what might happen if he did.

Imagining a WCW-buyout scenario (only without all that silly Invasion nonsense), in which the Big ‘E picked up several workers contracts; allow me to wax hypothetical on some great matches which could occur as a result.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be pondering what those matches may be, how they may come about, and what the results may be.

Check this one out for starters…

AJ Styles vs. CM Punk

I know it’s been done in other companies, but to do it again, and to do it on a PPV such as Summerslam would be superb.

Just imagine it…

After several weeks of beating a bunch of lower-midders, Intercontinental champion, JBL issues an open challenge to anyone to come and face him. The title won’t be on the line but, according to Bradshaw, the honour and prestige of beating him would be enough to catapult any wannabe to Superstar status.

From out of the crowd, dressed in street clothes, comes AJ. Casual fans may have no idea who he is, but the die-hards go nuts.

The match begins, JBL charges, Styles hits the deck, grabs a quick roll-up and steals a three-count.

The following week, they agree to a rematch at the next throw-away pay per view, and after several weeks of getting AJ over with the WWE crowd, it’s on.

Sure, fans have to suffer through a JBL match, but they soon perk up when Styles once again gets the win, and the belt!

Back to Raw, and we establish the fact that CM Punk and AJ Styles are actually friends, as we get a backstage segment in which the former congratulates the latter on his title win.

The relationship is further cemented in a tag match in which Punk and Styles team up to take on JBL and, well, it doesn’t really matter who his partner is.

The good guys win the match, though the heels do a post-match attack. Punk is thrown to the outside and AJ takes the brunt of the assault until the Straight-Edged Superstar comes back and makes the save.

Fast forward a week and AJ thanks Punk for saving his bacon last week.

“No problem,” quips Punk. “Though how about you repay me with a shot at the gold?”

The match is on, and after a couple of weeks consisting of ‘mutual respect’ promos, the two go out and have an absolute corker, resulting in Punk picking up the win, and the IC title.

OK, so there’s one major flaw in this plan; it involves JBL, but that’s just a necessary evil in the build up to what could be a darn good match.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: Kofi Kingston may be great, but does anybody care?

On Tuesday, everyone’s favourite announcer/restaurateur/blogger Jim Ross, heaped praise on Kofi Kingston.

[This is an archived piece I originally published online elsewhere back in 2009. Five years later, Kofi is still stuck in the WWE mid-card]

Ross urged fans to check out his match against Edge on this Friday’s edition of Smackdown, and suggested that Kingston may develop into a bigger star than you’d imagine.

Will he really?

I do like Kofi. OK, so I’m not a huge mark for the guy, nor would I ever claim he’s a firm favourite of mine, but I do usually find his matches to be pretty fun, and his bubbly-babyface shtick seems to suit the Big E’s family-friendly environment.

The problem, for me at least, is that whilst I like watching Kofi, I don’t actually care about him.

Having missed his initial ECW debut early last year, I have no idea what Kofi Kingston is really all about. Sure he’s pretty fun to watch in the ring, but why does he even get in that ring at all? What motivates him? What are his ambitions? Who is Kofi Kingston?

Heck, during the course of his almost year-long tenure on the Raw brand, I think I’ve only heard Kofi cut a promo once, and even then it was simply to say “I think I am going to win this match,” or something to that effect.

He may say more on tonight’s edition of Smackdown, though without having read one of the numerous spoilers online, I just don’t know.

What I do know, however, is that if JR’s premonition is to be realised, WWE should really consider making fans do more than just liking the Jamaican Sensation and actually make us care.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: No Way Out 2009 thoughts

For a throw-away show, 2009's No Way Out was one heck of a pay per view. And to think, us lucky buggars in the UK got it for free on Sky Sports.

[This is an archived piece which I originally published during my time working as a journalist in 2009. It's reposted here for prosperity's sake, and because I hate throwing my writing away]

Edge at No way Out 2009

Scores were settled, blood was shed and the two Elimination Chamber Matches delivered as much action and unpredictability as you could hope for.

Edge playing a surprise role in the Raw-brand main event and walking away with the Big Gold Belt had this writer marking out on the edge of his seat at three o clock this morning.

For the most part, WWE have really been on form lately, and as momentum gathers towards Wrestlemania 25, it will be interesting to see were we go from here.

With both titles resting in the Smackdown camp for the time being, I sense a brand-switch for Triple H on tonight's Raw.

After all, if I remember rightly, wasn't the whole point of Trips jumping to the blue brand to spend more time with his missus?

Now that she's on the Monday show, me thinks backstage nepotism and storyline logic would see The Game returning to Raw to face Orton at 'Mania.

Not that I personally want to see that again for the nine hundreth time, you understand...I'm just thinking logically here.

Whatever the outcome, all I know is that tonight's episode of Raw should make for interesting viewing!

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.

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.


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


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.

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.