The Smark Rant for WWE Summerslam 1991

The Netcop Retro Rant for Summerslam 1991

– Live from New York, NY

– Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Roddy Piper and Bobby Heenan.

– Opening match: Ricky Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich and the British Bulldog v. Warlord, Paul Roma and Hercules. Dragon does the fire-breathing thing. Steamboat and Roma do a nice opening sequence, although by this point all of Power and Glory’s credibility is gone anyway. Piper and Heenan spend all night sniping at each other. Steamboat ends up playing the face in peril. Hot tag to Von Erich, lots of punches ensue. Bulldog in and Von Erich hits a tornado punch on Warlord for two. Bulldog powerslams Roma and tags in Steamboat, flying bodypress and it’s over. *1/2

– Intercontinental title match: Curt Hennig v. Bret Hart. Yes, this is *that* match. Bret had been built up as a babyface singles contender since WM 7, and he finally gets a title shot here. Hennig is managed by “Coach” (John Tolos) since Hennan retired. Hennig’s back is f*cked six ways from Sunday at this point, and I’m still amazed he even got into the ring for this match. Hennig does an odd sell of a hipblock, spinning around on the mat and then rolling out of the ring. These two make a side headlock sequence into an *event*. WCW should be using Hennig to put over the kids because he sells *everything* in dramatic fashion. Lots of basic stuff, but executed perfectly. Bret tears Hennig’s trunks nearly in half and Hennig has to wrestle the rest of the match that way. Piper and Heenan fire off half a dozen classic lines each. Bret does the table spot from Survivor Series 1995, except substituting a photographer for the table. Perfect’s back is so bad he can hardly stand. Hennig takes control and works on the neck. Weird spot as both guys fight on the turnbuckle and then fall off. Hennig with a vicious hair toss. It should be noted that Coach was doing the whistle thing years before Fonzie. Bret kicks out of the Perfectplex, which pretty much signals the end for Hennig’s career. Bret debuts THE FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, which are vertical suplex, russian legsweep, side backbreaker, second rope elbow and Sharpshooter, so hopefully that will end the debate. Crowd is getting seriously hot with every two count. Hennig takes a wicked bump into the ringpost. Hart kicks the hell out of Hennig’s leg, setting up for the Sharpshooter. Coach interferes and gets decked, but Hennig crotches Hart. Hennig with a wishbone legdrop, but Bret grabs his leg, ties up the legs, and turns it over to the Sharpshooter for the (very, very fast) submission. Bret’s first I-C title. ****1/4

– The Hart family shares the moment with Bret.

– The Natural Disasters v. The Bushwhackers. There actually is a storyline here, as Tugboat was teaming with the ‘wackers against Earthquake and the Nasty Boys, and he turned against them and became Typhoon. The Bushwhackers bring Andre the Giant with them. Bushwhackers have things well in hand to start, but a sneak attack turns it around and it never swings back. Just lots of power moves from the Disasters as they basically squash the Bushwhackers. Comeback has almost no effect. Sitdown splash and it’s spatula time. DUD The Disasters go after Andre but the LOD comes to the rescue.

– Bobby Heenan knocks on Hulk’s door…with the NWA World title in hand! He challenges Hogan on behalf of Ric Flair. This was heavy shit at the time.

– Review of Dibiase-Virgil feud.

– Million dollar title match: Ted Dibiase v. Virgil. Dibiase is being managed by Sensational Sherri at this point. Virgil destroys Dibiase to start but misses a pescado. Virgil is an interesting case, as he is an experienced wrestler who has to play a non-wrestler. Dibiase gets his licks in his usual flawless style. Match appears to be edited on the Coliseum video. Virgil ducks a clothesline and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Sherri runs in and decks him with the purse for the DQ.

But wait!

Hebner changes his mind and decides to continue the match, instead sending Sherri back to the dressing room. Virgil mops up with Dibiase, but the ref gets bumped. Dibiase dedicates a couple of suplexes and a piledriver to Piper (who is doing a top-flight acting job) and then decks the referee again for good measure. Dibiase takes the top turnbuckle pad off and tries to ram Virgil, but he suddenly revives, rams Dibiase’s head into the steel, and in a terrific dramatic moment, rolls over for the pin and the belt. One of the loudest pops you’ll ever hear. ***

– The Mountie makes sure that the police on scene for the jailhouse match won’t go easy on the loser.

– Bossman rebutts.

– Jailhouse match: The Mountie v. Big Bossman. Loser gets arrested and tossed in jail. This is the high point of Bossman’s career and skills — everything is downhill from here. Bossman really moves well for a big man. Not a great match but it’s not bad enough to be noticeable as such. Piper has a great line about Mountie always getting his man as it relates to prison. Heenan offers to lend Bossman some cigarettes to “bribe the screws” with. What a great commentary team. Back and forth match, Mountie hits a wicked looking piledriver. Hart distracts the ref and Mountie goes for the shockstick, but Bossman knocks it away. Bossman slam only gets two. Camera completely misses the leg sweep by the Mountie that follows. Another piledriver attempt by Mountie, but Bossman straightens up and snaps him over with a spinebuster for the winning pin. *1/2 But the post-match antics are unspeakably brilliant.

– Mountie is immediately cuffed and carried off, screaming like a little girl the whole way, and dumped into the paddy wagon. The van drives off into the night.

– Ted Dibiase is understandably upset at the decision rendered in his match.

– Bret Hart gloats about his title.

– The Natural Disasters threaten the Legion of Doom.

– Big Bossman is the law and order.

– The Mountie’s wagon arrives at jail.

– The Nasty Boys have words for the Legion of Doom. Popular team to threaten tonight.

– The Mountie gets tricked into a mugshot.

– The Legion of Doom are ready for the Nasty Boys.

– What the hell is with all the interview bits here?

– The Mountie is reluctantly fingerprinted.

– Sgt. Slaughter has choice words for Hogan and Warrior.

– Sid Justice promises to call the match right down the middle.

– Finally, we’re back to the ring again.

– WWF tag team title match: The Nasty Boys v. The Legion of Doom. This is the LOD’s last shot at the titles, no DQ or countout. LOD attacks right away and a brawl erupts. Sags sprays Hawk with mace to take control. Hawk takes a drink tray to the back. He’s hardcore! Or something. Now, why would Animal bother to listen to Marella’s warnings if it’s no DQ? Hawk gets beat up in boring fashion for a few minutes. The SHITTY ELBOW OF DEATH only gets two. Hot tag to Animal, who’s a house of fire. Powerslam for two. Pier-six brawl. Megaphone gets tossed in and Animal gets decked. Only two. Hawk steals the motorcycle helmet and cleans house, Doomsday Device and it’s academic. LOD becomes the first and only team to win the tag belts in all three major federations. * A spontaneous “LOD” chant breaks out.

– Mountie gets tossed into his cell with a drunk who may or may not be Scott Hall…

– Irwin R. Schyster v. Greg Valentine. Throwaway match to put IRS over. All the usual IRS spots which bore the crowd to tears. Match builds well, actually, with Valentine applying one figure-four to soften up the leg, but getting small-packaged on the second try. **1/4

– Ultimate Maniac and Hulk Hogan have some last words of warning for Slaughter’s team.

– Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and Gen. Adnan v. Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. Sid is the special referee. Is Col. Mustafa any relation to the Godfather? And the odds of an Iranian suddenly switching to the Iraqi side are pretty slim, I should mention. Stallfest to start. Warrior and Hogan take turns beating up the Sarge. Whoa, a double team! Hulk plays Ricky Morton. Warrior probably thinks he’s Robert Gibson on Wednesdays, so it’s kind of apropos. But then Warrior has a lot of voices floating around in his head. Ref bump, but it’s Sid freaking Justice so he goes nowhere. Hot tag to Warrior and another ref bump but it’s still Sid so he doesn’t move. Now Warrior gets to be face in peril. Warrior does the All Japan sell, clotheslining Slaughter and then deciding to sell the original move. Hot tag to Hogan, fists, big boot. Warrior chases Mustafa and Adnan back to the locker room and never returns. Hogan the sportsman tosses powder in Slaughter’s face, drops the leg, and gets the pin. 1/2*

– Mountie has a disturbing jailhouse experience.

– Randy Savage gets married to Miss Elizabeth (in storyline only — they were married since 1985 in real life) but gets attacked by Jake Roberts and the Undertaker at the reception.

The Bottom Line:

Hart-Hennig is a classic, and everything else was either good, or a hot blowoff. Okay, except for IRS-Hammer.

A very entertaining show overall that almost did everything right (outside of the actual wrestling). A highly recommended show to check out.

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