As we work our way to this year’s edition, it’s time for…
The Netcop Retro Rant for WWF Summerslam 1993.
– Live from Auburn Hills, Michigan.
– Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan.
– Opening match: Ted Dibiase v. Razor Ramon. As it turned out, this is Ted Dibiase’s retirement match. This was the blowoff match that resulted from the (somewhat) complicated Ramon-Kid-Dibiase feud (Kid beats Ramon, Dibiase laughs at him, Ramon causes Dibiase to lose to Kid, feud starts). Note to Ramon: Pink doesn’t work on tough guys. Kick and punch match. Dibiase is sadly decayed at this point and it was a smart move to retire when he did. Dibiase gets control, but Ramon blocks the Million $ Dream, but gets dumped from the ring. Dibiase takes off a turnbuckle, but as usual gets rammed into it face-first, Razor’s Edge, and Dibiase calls it a career by jobbing in the opening match.
– WWF World tag title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Heavenly Bodies. Toad Pedophile does a famous interview with the Steiner family at ringside pre-match where the sister calls Rick “Rob” by mistake, breaking kayfabe. Cornette, master of said kayfabe, is wearing a neck brace to sell an injury he received in SMW. Steiners destroy the Bodies with a hot series of double-teams to start, blitzing them with suplexes to really show what Scott could do at the time. But a nifty double-team turns the tide and Scott ends up playing Ricky Morton. For those who keep asking, Ricky Morton (of the Rock N Roll Express) made a career of being beat up during tag team matches and the WWF subsequently based every tag team match since 1986 on that formula, and hence the guy who gets beat up by the heels for the majority of the match is “playing Ricky Morton”. The Bodies looked really, really good here against a declining Steiners team and I’m surprised they didn’t get more over than they did. Could someone please interpret the crowd’s chant during this match? I got the “Let’s go” part but the rest was lost on me. Hot tag to Rick, Steinerlines abound. Bulldog off the top, for two. Powerslam but the ref is distracted. Pritchard smacks Rick with the racket for two. Del Ray to the top for the moonsault, but it misses, Scott in with the Frankensteiner for three. Really good match, one of the Steiners’ best in the WWF. ***1/2
– Current informercial shill Joe Fowler (think Pocket fisherman) interviews Shawn and his big buddy Diesel.
– Intercontinental title match: Shawn Michaels (w/ Diesel) v. Curt Hennig. Diesel was a non-factor at this point. This was hyped as the greatest I-C title match ever. Before it even happened, mind you. But these two never really clicked together for some reason, probably due to Perfect’s declining health. The match is all build and no action as Shawn works on Hennig’s back, but it goes nowhere. Hennig comeback with a couple of two-counts but nothing effective. And when they fight over the backslide, you just know someone’s trying to book a classic and not succeeding. Hennig goes for the perfectplex but Diesel pulls him out and a fight outside the ring ensues. Hennig gets tossed to the steps and counted out. Very disappointing. **1/2
– Fowler interviews a short haired, clean shaven, skinny 1-2-3 Kid. I can’t even reconcile this guy with X-Pac.
– I.R.S. v. 1-2-3 Kid. Irwin stomps the Kid (who works in a high spot every couple of minutes) almost non-stop. It’s basically a Superstars squash. Irwin of course does the rope-assisted-abdominal stretch spot (as per his contract). Kid comeback but he gets caught with the Writeoff clothesline out of nowhere for the pin. Blah. *1/2 Booking made absolutely no sense.
– Bruce and Owen Hart deliver words of warning to Jerry Lawler from the audience.
– King of the Ring match: Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler. Hart won the first King of the Ring tournament but was attacked by Lawler for obvious reasons. Lawler spent the next few months verbally attacking the Hart family until this “king v. king” match was signed for undisputed rights to the “King of the Ring” name. Bret enters first and Lawler follows, on crutches, with a huge icepack on his knee. Old school Memphis heel shit that draws instant heat. By way of explanation, Lawler launches into a hilarious story about being on the way to the arena and having to save a bus full of orphans after a car wreck caused by a little old lady. You can imagine how well that went over with the crowd. So Lawler offers a suitable replacement for Bret to fight: Doink the Clown. Doink was, by the way, one of the great underappreciated gimmicks of the day. Doink dumps a pail of water on Bruce Hart, and Bret attacks. He absolutely slaughters Doink, literally beating him from one end of the ring to the other. Heenan relates the rest of the Lawler story for us. Bret goes after Lawler and Doink blindsides him. Doink takes control, working on the leg. Doink ends up going for the Whoopee Cushion (top rope butt splash) but Bret moves. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, ending with the Sharpshooter for the submission, but Lawler attacks from behind, with Heenan yelling about a miracle. Lawler helps Doink back to the dressing room and that’s that.
But wait, Jack Tunney (remember him?) is out and orders Lawler into the ring to fight Hart, or be banned for life. Hart attacks and the brawl is on. Hart goes medievel on his ass, getting pops for every move. Lawler gets one of the crutches and chokes Bret out with it. He gets mileage out of the other crutch, beating Bret over the head while Fonzie yells at the Hart brothers. But Bret gets pissed off and pulls down his strap (which goes completely over the announcers’ heads) and destroys Lawler with (you guessed it) the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Sharpshooter for the submission.
But wait, now Bret won’t let go. The ring fills with officials and Bret holds onto the move as Lawler screams in pain. Bruce and Owen come into assist and finally talk Bret into releasing the hold. But Fonzie reverses the decision and awards the match to Lawler, making him the undisputed King of the WWF. Lawler gets put on a stretcher and the Harts go berzerk, beating him up on the way back to the dressing room. Now *that* was epic booking. **** for the whole spiel.
– Ludvig Borga (the evil Fin) has some words for Lex Luger and America in general. Nuke Finland! Oh wait, got caught up in the spirit of the good old USA there…
– Bret comes out, claiming he’s been…oh, never mind.
– Marty “Rock Rock Til He Drops, Rock Rock Never Stop” Jannetty v. Ludvig Borga. Borga uses the Mountie’s french horn entrance music. Another Superstars squash. Borga…moves…so…slow. Must be the ICOPRO plan. GoldBorga punches a lot and sells nothing. Borrrrrrring. Marty works in the triple flip with a half-gainer clothesline sell, trying to outdo Shawn’s effort on the same move earlier in the night. Marty wins that particular contest. In this one, however, he falls victim to the HUMAN TORTURE RACK for the submission. Borga actually pulls it off better than Lex does. 1/4*
– “Rest in Peace” match: Undertaker v. The Worst Wrestler In The History of Our Sport, Giant Gonzalez. Yes, it’s yet another Bad Guys Steal the Urn angle. This was thankfully Jorge’s retirement match as well, as he was fired/quit right after and has thankfully not been hired by either promotion since. I don’t know how I forgot about this one for Netcop Busts. Numerous sources have named this as one of the worst matches, ever. The WWF didn’t even bother to explain what an RIP match was until the actual ring introductions (it’s no DQ, no countout, btw) Undertaker gets beat up lots and gosh if it doesn’t look hopeless. Gonzalez walks in circles and yells in Spanish a lot. Then, suddenly, Paul Bearer makes his dramatic return, waddling out from the dressing room with a black wreath. Bearer beats up Harvey Wippleman and takes the Urn back. Meanwhile, UT is so beat up he can barely do the zombie situp. But wait, Bearer transfers the power of the urn into the Undertaker (hey, Vince said it, not me) and UT sits up. UT does about 14 clotheslines and Gonzalez does his all-purpose bug-eyed selling. UT with a really beautiful top rope clothesline and thankfully it’s over. The finisher boosts it to DUD. Gonzalez takes out his frustrations on Harvey.
– Jim Cornette does the obligatory pre-main event rant on behalf of Yokozuna. I didn’t know one man could talk that long without taking a breath…
– The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers. Who would have thought that 5 years later, the Gunns would STILL be active in the WWF and getting pushed, and seperately at that? Life is pretty f*cking weird. T-t-t-t-t-tanka and Bam Bam do a good hot opening sequence to get the crowd into it. Billy looks utterly different with long hair and moustache. The future TAG TEAM CHAMPION OF THE WOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLD, Billy, shows some nice stuff, including an inverted bulldog off the top. Bart plays Ricky Morton. Quick tags from the heel side means resting is kept to an absolute minimum. Bart casts his lot into the clothesline selling contest with a double somersault with a twist variation, but comes in a weak third to Shawn and Marty. Bigelow goes headfirst to the post and Bart makes the hot tag to Tatanka. Chops, slam, DDT and a bodypress off the top rope. Tatanka must have eaten his Wheaties or something. Bigelow hammers away, but it’s the Pissed off Racial Stereotype…oops, enzuigiri. Have a seat, Tatanka. Samu with a top rope headbutt for two. A donnybrook breaks out. Shrinkers whip Bigelow into Tatanka. Triple headbutt. Crowd is getting rabid. Heels go for a triple swandive headbutt, but miss. Whoa, that would have been pretty f*cking cool. Samu is staggered and Tatanka rolls him up for the pin. Weak ending, but this match was DA BOMB! Best match I’ve seen out of ANY of them in a long time. ****, and no that’s not a typo.
– Some Japanese guy sings the Japanese national anthem and Aaron Neville does the Star Spangled Banner, but I’m Canadian so I fast forward through all of it.
– WWF Title Match: Yokozuna v. Lex Luger. Luger slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the USS Intrepid to set this up, thus throwing away a great Narcissist gimmick in hopes of creating another Hulk Hogan. The Lex Express toured America in hopes of getting Luger over, and it didn’t really work. But nevertheless, we got this main event anyway. This was also Luger’s one and only title shot. All conventional common sense and logic pointed to Luger wiping the mat with the evil Yoko and winning the title, but that never stopped Luger from choking before. He actually hits the HORIZONTAL ELBOWDROP OF DOOM (the move he hits once every five years) early on. Lots of “USA” chants in case any tourists forgot which stop on the itinerary this was. Yoko fights back with devastating chokes (in honor of Luger) and attempted cheating from Fuji. Luger tries the slam but Yoko blocks and hits the sweet 34 chins music.
Luger is stunned outside the ring! Can our hero recover? More choking by Yoko and an avalanche against the post. Back in the ring and Luger goes aerial with a double axehandle. Nice to see him vary the offense. Yoko won’t go down even after two of them. Flying steel forearm of doom, but only gets two. So how come a running loaded forearm is more devastating than a top rope one? Oh, right, the elbow pad. Malfunction at the junction and both guys are out. Yoko nails him with the salt bucket but only gets two. Belly-to-bellies suplex and more choking. Have I mentioned how grotesquely fat Yokozuna is? Bellies-to-back suplex for two. And a nerve pinch, oh great. Whose bright idea was it to book Yokozuna in a 20 minute match? Bodyslam attempt #2 but Yoko falls on him for two. Hulkbuster for two. Banzai drop misses and the superman comeback begins. Luger slams him, nails Fuji, and pulls off the armpad for the LOADED FOREARM OF DEATH! Yoko falls out of the ring and…gets counted out??? Uhhh…that’s not supposed to be how a match like this ends… They kind of gloss over the fact that titles don’t change hands on a countout as the faces storm the ring to celebrate and balloons drop. Still, not bad effort from both guys, all things considered. **1/2
– We throw in a video tribute to Luger which just underscores the fact that he didn’t actually win the title.
The Bottom Line:
Sucky ending aside, this show kicked ass. Some unheard of workrate from the six-man and the tag title match and a great angle with the Bret-Lawler match makes this an easy thumbs up in an era that produced some of the biggest turdburgers in the history of wrestling (on both sides of the fence). Luger blew it again, of course, but what else is new?
Definitely worth a look if you’ve never seen it before.
Tags: SmarK Rant, Summerslam, WWE