October 17, 2006
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

Summerslam
Taped August 29, 1992; Shown August 31 on PPV in the United States
Wembley Stadium
London, England
Attendance: 78, 927
Buy Rate: 1.5
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan

Dark Matches

Fun Fact: Papa Shango-Tito Santana was the only legit dark match; the other matches had actually been announced as part of the card and were filmed at various times (Tatanka-Berzerker was right before the main event, as the sky is dark during that one match) but were cut out of the PPV airing due to time constraints. All three matches eventually aired on Prime Time Wrestling in the fall of 1992.

1) Papa Shango (Charles Wright) pinned Tito Santana (Mercedes Solis) in 6:00.
2) Tatanka (Chris Chavis) pinned Berzerker (John Nord) in 5:46.
3) Bushwhackers and Jim Duggan beat the Nasty Boys and the Mountie when Duggan pinned the Mountie (Jacques Rougeau) in 12:33.

Actual Show

1) The Legion of Doom defeat Money Inc. when Animal (Joe Laurinatis) pinned Ted DiBiase with a power slam at 11:58

Fun Fact: Over the spring of 1992, Vince felt, and rightly so, that the LOD was getting a bit stale, so he decided to bring back their long time manager, Paul Ellering. A few weeks later, WWF started airing vignettes of the LOD walking around their home turf in Chicago and talking about “losing their inspiration” while thinking of their childhood. During one of these skits in the junkyard they found their beloved ventriloquist dummy, Rocco, which Paul Ellering decided they need at ringside to help guide them through matches. Rocco didn’t fare too well as the LOD was done by September, with Hawk leaving the company and Animal briefly tagging with Crush as the New LOD before suffering a back injury in Japan.

Fun Fact II: This was originally scheduled to be a tag title rematch (Money Inc. won the straps from the LOD in February) but the Natural Disasters won the titles at a house show in Worcester, MA in July, so this just became a regular tag match, which I’m sure pleased the already pissed off LOD.

Scott: Pretty good opening match to the first PPV ever without Hulk Hogan, and at the time, it was a welcome relief. My question for this match is: Vince ruined another entity not emanating from his own company. The Road Warriors were the biggest tag team in the 80's in both NWA and AWA. They come to the WWF, and Vince has them walking around with a mannequin. Rocco? Rocco?!?!?!! Sure they won the tag belts, but I'm sure Vince had no choice; they were so over when they debuted. This wouldn't hold Money Inc. back, as they'd win the tag belts back in a month or so. The match itself isn’t bad, as DiBiase and IRS have settled into their roles as chicken shit heels very nicely. This is it for LOD. One year after winning the tag titles, they’re a curtain-jerking afterthought. Grade: 2

Justin: Nothing special here as Money Inc. is left to try and carry an unmotivated LOD to a decent match, but sort of fails. The poor quality of this match gets overlooked sometimes because I think most people spend this opening match soaking in the awesome atmosphere of Wembley Stadium, causing this match to get a pass many times. I’m guessing the LOD winning here was just throwing them a bone, but it was all a moot point anyway as they would be gone shortly after the show and Money Inc. would regain their titles in October. Animal has since mentioned that this was his favorite WWF match, which is kind of odd, since it really isn’t anything special. Part of me wonders if Vince took the titles off of DiBiase and IRS just to dick the Warriors out of a title match here, as they lost (right before) and won (shortly after) the titles at TV tapings. That seems sort of far-fetched, but I guess you never know with Vince. I also must mention that DiBiase has his SWANK white tights on here. The match is well worked and solid enough, but is hardly anything special. This would be the last time we see the Road Warriors in a WWF ring for nearly 5 years. Grade: 2

2) Nailz (Kevin Wacholz) defeats Virgil (Michael Jones) with a chokehold at 3:16.

Fun Fact: Nailz began cutting promos from prison in April of 1992 about how he used to be abused by the Big Boss Man in jail. As the promos reached into May, he claimed that he was nearing his release from prison and that he would be taking out his revenge on the Boss Man very soon (glad to see they STILL LET HIM OUT OF PRISON after he made death threats on national TV). On Superstars in late May, Nailz jumped through the crowd and completely decimated the Big Boss Man with his nightstick. I remember them even putting pictures of the battered Boss Man in WWF Magazine, and they did a good job of making him look fucked up. Nailz went on a mini reign of terror until Boss Man returned in late September, looking for revenge. In reality, Nailz was ex-AWA jobber Kevin Kelly.

Scott: Not much of a match here, as it's simply a showcase for the upcoming match with Big Boss Man. Nailz is not that great a wrestler, and this match is very sloppy. Not much in the way of moves, as a better wrestler than Virgil would have made this match look a little better. Poor Virgil. One year ago he was on top of the world, beating Ted DiBiase for the Million Dollar Belt. Now, he's simply another low mid-card jobber. That's what he'd pretty much be for the rest of his WWF (and his WCW for that matter) career. This crowd was so hot; they were into everything. They even enjoyed this 3-minute squash. Scott: 1

Justin: A quick squash here, as Virgil tried standing up for his friend, Big Boss Man, by trying to take out Nailz for him. Nailz runs through Virgil like a knife through hot butter here, eventually choking him out. The match was short and sweet, but got its main point across: Nailz is a fucking maniac. Despite his lack of wrestling ability, Nailz was receiving quite the push at this point, and his blow off with the Boss Man was highly anticipated Grade: 1

3) Rick Martel (Richard Vigneault) and Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) wrestle to a double count out at 8:06

Fun Fact: During the weeks leading up to this match, both men began interfering in each other matches in order to win over the affections of Sensational Sherri. Michaels went to so far as to even cost Martel an I-C title match with Bret Hart. When the two decided to fight it out at Summerslam, Sherri made them promise not to hit each other in the face because they were both so good looking.

Scott: This was an intriguing match for 2 reasons: 1) It was a matchup of two heels, and 2) Neither could hit the other in the face. With both wanting the affections of Sherri, this was a pretty good match, considering it was mostly grapple holds, and posturing on the apron. As the match progressed, Martel was getting some face pops, which was really what Vince wanted, for Michaels to keep his heel status. The Michaels/Sherri relationship would deteriorate as the year winds down, and by the New Year Sherri would have a change of heart. Michaels’ stock continues to grow, and by the fall makes his first real stride towards stardom. Grade: 3

Justin: A pretty solid match here between two heels that is marred by a dumb ending, but I guess it is an appropriate dumb ending, if that makes any sense. The after match activities with Martel and HBK fighting over who will help Sherri after she “fainted” last about 4 minutes, so that adds a decent chunk of time, and some funny moments to their match. This match was a good stepping stone, as both men had a good deal of success throughout the rest of the year and into 1993. This match is well worked, and you can really start to see Michaels starting to gain confidence as a singles performer. The crowd seems a little lost at time due to the heel vs. heel dynamic and the bizarre stipulation, but do get into the match towards the end. Martel’s infatuation with Sherri would end here and he would move along out of this feud. Sherri, on the other hand, would have a lot more to worry about than Rick Martel’s face over the upcoming weeks. Grade: 3

4) The Natural Disasters defeat the Beverly Brothers when Earthquake (John Tenta) pins Beau (Wayne Bloom) in 10:21 after an Earthquake splash to retain WWF Tag Team Titles

Fun Fact: The Natural Disasters won their only tag titles at a TV taping in July. They held them until October, where they would drop them back to Money, Inc. at another taping, this time in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Scott: This was actually a pretty good match, with lots of momentum changes, and surprising quickness, even for a team like the ND. This is the Beverly Brothers' only title shot on a PPV, and even though they lost, they put on a good effort. This would be the high point for Earthquake and Typhoon, as they would lose the titles back to Money Inc. in a couple of months. The Beverlys wouldn't get another PPV title shot, and would just be tag filler for the next few shows. It was a schizophrenic run for the Disasters. They would start as heels, then almost pseudo-turn face at Survivor Series 91, then look better than the face-LOD at the Rumble, then turn face and win the titles, then lose them and float around afterwards. Strange run, but entertaining. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A solid match here that is carried by some good offense by Blake and Beau. The Disasters had some good power offense and used solid psychology, but never had the ability to carry matches, so the match quality was usually decided by their opponents. Here, the Bevs could only do so much, but are able to drag the Disasters to a solid showing. I think the Beverlys deserved a title run, and I would have liked to see them take the straps here. They had good heel characters, were pretty over with the crowd and were very good wrestlers, as they had been a long time team dating back to their AWA days. Alas, it was not meant to be. It was interesting seeing such a physically dominating team like the Disasters playing the vulnerable face in peril role, but they did a good job in making it believable. They put together a nice run here in 1992, and it was good to see a good guy like Earthquake get a really nice push. Grade: 3

5) Crush (Bryan Adams) defeats Repo Man (Barry Darsow) by submission with the Cranium Crunch Head Vice in 5:41

Fun Fact: This would be Repo-Man’s final PPV match (not counting Rumble ’93) as he would leave the federation in the summer of 1993. He would eventually pop up in WCW crowds in 1994, where he would heckle all of the wrestlers. Eventually he started to wrestle under the name Blacktop Bully and would have some decent success as a tag team with Bunkhouse Buck. Bully and Dustin Rhodes were fired in March of 1995 after blading in a match where they were told specifically not to. Bully was brought back eventually and went through a number of gimmicks, most notably Barry “Hole in One” Darsow (the name was originally “Stewart Pain,” after the late golfer Payne Stewart, but was dropped before it made it to TV). He would close out his WCW career jobbing on WCW Saturday Night. Barry Darsow had a solid career that spanned two decades, but he never reached the popularity he had in the late 80s as Demolition Smash.

Fun Fact II: In the spring, we began seeing vignettes of former Demolition member Crush sporting a whole new look and attitude. Gone were the spikes and face paint, and replacing them were neon tights and lightened blonde hair. Crush was usually shown in a junkyard…crushing stuff. He made his TV in ring return on the 5/9 Superstars, defeating Kato in under 2 minutes.

Scott: How weird was this: Two former members of Demolition in the ring together, with brand new personas? Crush kept his same name from the tag team days, but Smash was now Repo Man. As for the match itself, it wasn't much. They knocked each other around for a few minutes, then Crush did that head crushing move, and that was that. Crush would stay a face until late 1993, and at times many felt he was the most over face on the roster. Repo Man (Barry Darsow) would hang around for a while, get into tag matches and Royal Rumbles, but otherwise not make much of an impact. Grade: 2

Justin: Basically a squash match here to establish Crush as a dominant force. I don’t think Vince or Bobby ever mention the Demolition background, which is too bad, as it would have helped the story along. Crush was quite over during his face run, and he seemed to be being prepped for a major face run, but unfortunately it would never really come. Repo-Man was a great lower mid-card act, and that is exactly what he would remain until he left the Federation. This match is quick and to the point, as Crush picks up a win on the big stage and looks dominant in doing so. Grade: 2

6) Ultimate Warrior (Jim Hellwig) defeats Randy Savage (Randy Poffo) by count-out at 26:15; Savage retains WWF World Title.

Fun Fact: Ultimate Warrior was supposed to turn heel at the end of the match and win the World Title, which explains why it is in the middle of the card, as Vince did not want to send the fans home pissed. I am not sure if Warrior was going to join up with Flair, but he was definitely supposed to be helped by him and Perfect and turn his back on Savage. Right before the show, however, Warrior freaked out and decided he did want to turn heel, so the whole match was re-booked. Warrior would be gone by November and would not return until 1996. Savage would end up losing the title to Ric Flair a few nights later, September 1st, at a TV taping in Hershey, PA. After this match, Flair and Perfect destroy Savage’s knee with a chair, and three nights later, Flair takes advantage of that injured leg and forces Savage to pass out in the figure-four. Great continuity.

Fun Fact II: There was great intrigue and curiosity heading into this match, as for weeks, Flair and Perfect kept claiming that one of the participants could purchase Perfect’s managerial services for the night. Heading into the show, they claimed that either Warrior or Savage had taken them up, but they wouldn’t say which one. In Flair’s classic pre-match interview, Mean Gene asks who’s dressing room Perfect is in, and Flair replies, “of course, he is in the dressing room of…the winner…WHOO!” So, half way through the match, Perfect and Flair strut to ringside and interfere on behalf of both men, who begin to distrust each other even more than they did heading into the match. The match ends with Flair nailing Savage with a chair after he dove at him from the top rope, and the proceed to destroy Savage’s knee and also brutalize Warrior, as all along, they were just playing head games and had never even talked to either guy about managing them. What a great FUCKING storyline.

Scott: This was the marquee match in terms of storyline, with a re-match from a grade-A battle at Wrestlemania VII. Here were the positives: First: it was a battle of two former legitimate champions, who knew each other well. Second: with the whole "Which side will Mr. Perfect be on?" angle, the storyline was great. Bobby Heenan pretending he didn't know what side Perfect was on added to the drama. Now there were some negatives: First: Warrior and Savage HATED each other in 1991, now all of a sudden they're buddies? Made no sense. Warrior should have heeled out after the match, busted up Savage's knee even more, and walked out with Ric Flair. That would have been cool. Speaking of Flair, that's my other point. How does he not wrestle at this PPV? Maybe not in this match, but in some match? This obviously would have been where Flair and Hogan would have had their re-match, IF Hogan and Vince had not been so short-sighted. BUT, I won't slam Hogan in this review, since he's not here to defend himself (I'll save my rage for 1993). It was a good, long match with a lot of action, but kind of a weak finish. Grade: 3.5

Justin: A really good match here that is helped by all of the outside antics of Flair and Perfect and the commentary of Vince and Heenan. They were able to take a match between two faces and add intrigue and a heelish nature to both of them. Every time Flair or Perfect messed with one of them, Vince was ready to jump all over him for selling out. Of course, in the end it was all a set-up, which makes the psychology even better. As Scott said, this is not better than their WM VII match, but is still really good, as these two always came up big in PPV matches, and always worked extremely well together. Also, I want to mention how awesome the crowd was in this match, as they ate up everything with a spoon and played along beautifully. Warrior always brought his A-game on the big stage, and he doesn’t let down here as he and Savage go balls to the wall for nearly a half-hour. The two are super stiff with each other, and break out some nasty piledrivers and other high impact offense. This was simply a fun, well worked match with a great storyline but marred by a somewhat weak ending. All in all though, this match delivered the goods. Grade: 3.5

7) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Kamala (James Harris) by disqualification when Kim Chee interferes at 3:39.

Fun Fact: Kamala returned to the WWF after a six year absence in the summer of 1992, with his long time handler Kim Chee (Steve Lombardi in a mask) and new manager Harvey Wippleman (who was floating around after Sid left the WWF) in his corner.

Scott: A below average filler between the double main-event. This begins a laundry list of pitiful opponents thrown the Undertaker's way over the next few years. Kamala was in his prime when he was wrestling Andre the Giant in a cage in 1984. 11 years later, he's old, fat (or I should say fatter) and practically immobile. Anybody who thought Kamala was scary in 1992 really needs some medication, or a moon painted on your gut and stars on your jiggly man-boobs. What's good from this is that no one took anything away from the Undertaker. They knew he was getting lousy matches thrown his way. However, Undertaker stayed a loyal employee, not losing his patience until late 1995-early 1996. Grade: 1.5

Justin: A pretty shitty match here, as was par for the course for Taker for the next four years, albeit it was not his fault, as Vince just threw big monster after big monster at him. But, you have to give tons of credit to ‘Taker, as he remained loyal, never really complained and stayed VERY OVER. It is amazing how his popularity soared even higher during all of these shit feuds. Kamala is a fucking mess and is not carryable by Taker at all, so this was pretty much a lost cause from the start. Taker does a have a sweet entrance however, as he comes out riding on the back of a British Hearse. Good entrance, bad match and a retarded ending. Grade: 1

8) British Bulldog defeats Bret Hart with a reverse sunset flip at 25:09 to win the Intercontinental Title.

Fun Fact: This was Bulldog’s first WWF singles title. Heading into the match, they played up the family feud thing big time, saying the Hart family was torn over this match, especially Diana, who did not want to choose between her brother and husband. Bret played the heel role here, as he wanted to make sure Bulldog got over big in his home country. Bret made sure to whine about Bulldog being family, yet challenging him for the title, even calling him an ingrate at one point. Sadly, Bulldog would lose the title to Shawn Michaels in October, and would disappear to WCW during the steroid purge of late-92/early-93 and wouldn’t return until the middle of 1994.

Scott: The only time (at least that I can remember) that a PPV ends with an Intercontinental Title match (Wrestlemania VI doesn't count). I don't mean to downplay Bulldog's win because it was a great match, but let's be honest: this match wouldn't have been the final match, and he may not even have been booked in it, if it wasn't in his home country. With Diana Hart (Bret's sister, Bulldog's wife) constantly being shown in the crowd, it was a pretty good match to cap off a pretty good PPV. Vince and Bobby talk up Bret very well as the next solo superstar. You can tell they know each other well, because the moves were fairly stiff, including many hard spills to the floor. As the heel, Bret dictated the tempo perfectly, and a clearly blown-up Bulldog didn’t look too vulnerable. Bret seemed to grow over that summer, as he looked like a fresh-face rookie at Wrestlemania against Roddy Piper, and in a few short months is dictating tempo like a seasoned pro. A nice way to end the PPV with Bret, Bulldog, and Diana in the ring together, as it’s odd to see a PPV end without Hulk Hogan posing and posturing. Bret's days as IC champ were done. He takes it to the next level within a month and a half. Grade: 4

Justin: An excellent match that solidified Bret Hart as a major player who could carry sub-par guys to awesome matches. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bulldog carries up his end of the match, but he would never have a match this good again (except when he fights Bret again). The crowd atmosphere definitely adds a lot to this match, as they are cheering rabidly for the Bulldog. These two are ULTRA stiff (especially laying in some NASTY kicks) with each other, as they had wrestled hundreds of times in Stampede, so they knew they could be. The match is capped off by an awesome ending which causes the crowd to go hysterical and the show goes off the air with a family reunion in the ring. If you haven’ seen this match, try and track it down, as it is well worth your time. Bret has even gone as far as to say it is his favorite match of all time, which really says something. The ending comes out of nowhere, but fits the pace and style of the match perfectly. Good stuff all around, and it was so nice to see such a refreshing and new ending to a PPV. Grade: 4.5

FINAL ANALYSIS:

Scott: If there was any doubt the WWF could pull off a good PPV without Hulk Hogan, the doubt was lifted here. This was a great Summerslam with a lot of good matches, enticing storylines, and quick-witted commentary. Vince wasn't quite as annoying a PBP guy as he would be later on. Shawn Michaels’ heat continued to grow, Randy Savage would fade from Main Event status, Ultimate Warrior would pretty much vanish, and new, up and coming stars would begin their ascent with one of the most influential PPVs to date coming next. As for this Summerslam, other than having it taped ahead of time, then airing it (with the Internet, they couldn't do that now), it was solid, with some good action, some suspect endings, and a hot British crowd. Final Grade: B+

Justin: A really good show, proving that they could do it with out Hulk Hogan dragging down the main events anymore. WWF got really hot as 1992 ended, but the lack of true star power after Flair and Warrior would cause some panic in Vince’s mind. This show is excellent, featuring two AWESOME title matches and some solid storyline and character development, and is definitely one of the best Summerslams. The crowd is an amazing sight to see and added an atmosphere that hadn’t been seen in over two years. New stars were being featured and the old guard was slowly being phased out. It was clear the future of the WWF had arrived, and was being pushed, but the big question is whether Vince would freak out, panic and stifle it or would he let it grow and flourish? Stay tuned to find out. Final Grade: A-

MVP: Bret Hart & British Bulldog
Runner Up: Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect
Non MVP: Ultimate Warrior (for refusing to turn heel)
Runner Up: Undertaker & Kamala

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