January 4, 2007
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
August 30, 1993
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan
Buy Rate: 1.3
Owen Hart defeated Barry Horowitz in 8:32.
1) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) defeats Ted DiBiase with a Razor’s Edge at 7:28
Fun Fact: This is Ted DiBiase’s final PPV match. His record including Survivor Series and Royal Rumble matches: 9-14-1. Not counting Survivor and Rumble matches, his record was: 7-6-1. His best winning percentage was Wrestlemania, where his record was 5-2-1 (thanks to WM IV, where he wrestled three times and won two matches).
Fun Fact II: This is Razor Ramon’s first PPV match as a full fledged face. Over the summer, after Razor was embarrassed by the 1-2-3 Kid, DiBiase started coming out and heckling Ramon and claiming he would never lose to an upstart like the Kid. In a memorable interview, DiBiase offered Razor a job clean-ing his house, specifically his toilets, since he was no longer a credible wrestler, and offered to fight the Kid on Wrestling Challenge to prove he was better than Ramon. Well, during the match Ramon came out and dis-tracted DiBiase and the Kid got the fluke pin on him, thus solidifying Ramon’s face turn (one which the fans had been calling for a couple of months already).
Scott: The opening match of the "New Era." The first post-Hulkster PPV opens with one of the new big faces, Razor Ramon. His heel run started pretty good, but fans warmed up to him quickly, and the turn was inevitable. He gets a huge ovation coming to the ring. On the other side of the coin, The Million Dollar Man has finally run his course. From his debut in late 1987, DiBiase has been one of the best, classiest heels in WWF history. But, he's getting up in years, and is not in as good a shape as he once was. He lays down to the new face, and vanishes for 5 months, before returning in a new role. Grade: 2
Justin: Unfortunately, this is the swan song for one of the greatest heels of all time, Ted DiBiase. His back was a mess, and he was forced into retirement after a brief run in Japan as a tag team with Stan Hansen. Ramon gets a nice win here, as DiBiase lies down for him on his way out the door, which is always a classy thing to do. Ramon was definitely high on Vince’s list, as he was on the verge of a pretty big push. The crowd was digging him and he was bringing it in the ring. It was kind of funny that a big upset loss and months of humiliation could turn a guy face, but it worked out pretty damn well for the Bad Guy. Anyway, a solid match here and good start to Razor’s face run. Good bye Ted, we barely knew ye. Grade: 2
2) The Steiners defeat The Heavenly Bodies to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Scott (Rechstei-ner) pins Jimmy Del Ray (James Backlund) with the Frankensteiner at 9:25
Fun Fact: This was a big deal, as this match marks the WWF PPV debut of the Heavenly Bodies and Jim Cornette. However, it is also big because it is the first time on PPV Vince openly talks about another promotion; in this case Smoky Mountain Wrestling. This was is an oft-forgotten, yet historical, match.
Fun Fact II: Jim Cornette started his career in Mid-South in 1984, managing a team called the Galaxians. Of course his real claim to fame was managing the legendary Midnight Express. Bobby Eaton was a mainstay on that team, and whether it was Dennis Condrey or Stan Lane as his partner they were multi-time tag team champions in Mid-South and the NWA. They were involved in legendary feuds with the Rock n Roll Express and the Road Warriors. In 1991 he started up his own promotion, Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He putted around in WCW for a little bit in 1993 before he inked a deal with Vince to jump to the WWF while being able to promote and utilize WWF talent for Smokey Mountain.
Scott: The lone bright spot for the Steiners as a WWF tag team. They defeat a Smoky Mountain team of Dr. Tom Pritchard and "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray. A talented team, they would hang around for a little while, longer than the Steiners anyway. The hometown pop covers the very average action in the ring. The funny moment of this match is when the Steiners' sister calls Rick "Rob", which is his real name. That was very funny. This would be the Steiners' defining match as a tag team in the WWF. They’d stick around throughout the year, but it wouldn’t get this good again for them. Grade: 2
Justin: A pretty solid match between two excellent tag teams. This is definitely the Steiners’ best moment in the WWF, as they wrestle in their lone title defense in their hometown of Detroit. The Bodies seemed like a one-time deal during the show, but ended up sticking around as a team for a solid 2 years. This match featured some fast paced and highflying action that was kind of new in a WWF ring. It was definitely a hot match and never really slowed down. The crowd is pumped for the hometown heroes, and the Steiners shine in their big match. This was good stuff that keeps the crowd rocking and the show flowing well. Grade: 3
3) Shawn Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) defeats Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) by count-out at 11:25 to retain WWF Intercontinental Title
Fun Fact: Mr. Perfect’s PPV Record from 1988-1993, including Rumble and Survivor Matches is: 6-12. He had a good run in 1988-1989, but after Wrestlemania VI it was all downhill. His best winning percentage was at Survivor Series where he went 3-1.
Scott: This was one of the most hyped I-C title matches in terms of two equal talents in a long time. Shawn Michaels was just about reaching his abilities, and Curt Hennig could make anyone look good. Unfortunately, this match didn't come to that fruition. Enter into it the constant interference of Diesel (Yeah, I know that's his job), and the unbelievably sluggish pace, this was a good match for the PPV, but an absolute dud for these two, used to wrestling grade-A matches. Once again, Shawn escapes by the skin of his teeth. This is the last actual PPV match for the great Mr. Perfect for 9 years, and it’s a shame his year didn’t go better, as he was one of the most over faces on the roster in the early part of the year, but by the summer it had started to fade. Grade: 2
Justin: This was hyped and hyped and hyped as the “Greatest Intercontinental Title Match of All-Time,” heading into the show, and I think it was just too much pressure and caused the fans’ expectations to be unfairly high, as the match falls way short of what was predicted. This was a very slow match that kept building and then just ended out of nowhere without paying off the build-up. Michaels definitely had not reached his potential yet, as his 4 PPV Title defenses in 1993 were all pretty sub-par. While you can make excuses for his matches with Crush and Tatanka, his debacles with Jannetty and Perfect are unacceptable. This match is just a big style clash and had a terrible ending to boot. Not a BAD match, per se, but one that could have been so much more. Perfect would stick around for another couple of months, but would disappear right before out next PPV outing and wouldn’t resurface until Wrestlemania. Michaels would also go through some of his own issues outside the ring, which we will chronicle in our next review. Diesel was slowly getting over as the badass bodyguard, but his heat would start to disappear when Michaels’ troubles took him off screen, leaving Diesel to twist in the wind. Grade: 2.5
4) IRS (Mike Rotundo) defeats 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) with the Write-Off at 5:46
Scott: This is the PPV debut of Sean Waltman, who will take on many incarnations over the next 10 years, but for now is simply the 1-2-3 Kid, and he gets manhandled by the consistent heel, IRS. It almost seems like a jobber beatdown from a weekend show like Superstars or something, but you pay for this one. Kid gets a few spots here and there, and then of course is the customary IRS abdominal stretch using the ropes. This match is basically filler, and doesn't do much for either person. Grade: 2
Justin: This was a really weird match as the Kid was on a big roll and it seemed likely that he would upset IRS next to keep that high going. But, for some reason, they have IRS simply squash the Kid, killing a good deal of the heat he had built up in the past few months. IRS was set for a pretty solid push over the coming months, so maybe they felt he needed to be rebuilt a bit with a solid PPV win. The best part of this match is actually before it, as Coach alum Joe Fowler interviews the Kid before he heads to the ring. The whole thing is awkwardly entertaining as Fowler imparts wisdom on the Kid. Good stuff. Grade: 1.5
5) Bret Hart defeats Doink (Matt Borne) with the Sharpshooter at 8:58
Fun Fact: This match stems from the beatdown that ended King of the Ring. Throughout the summer, Lawler tore into Bret and the entire Hart Family (marking the first time Stu, Helen, Bruce and Keith are actually brought into a storyline). On one memorable Raw, Lawler verbally assaulted Stu and Helen, who were in the arena as invited guests, during a Bret match. The heat heading into this match was great, and people were drooling to see Lawler get his ASS whipped, and the old school Memphis trick to start things off only pisses them off even more.
Fun Fact II: This is Matt Borne’s last PPV appearance as Doink as the character was turned face during the fall and Borne quit the Federation. He was replaced by numerous people, but Ray Liachelli would play Face Doink the most over the next 2 years.
Scott: Bret is announced, expecting to fight Jerry Lawler from the KOTR beatdown, but Jerry limps out with an icepack on his knee and crutches, saying he was saving a bus of orphans from an accident. This was one of his old Memphis formulas to draw heel heat, which for the most part actually worked. So, he calls out Doink as his replacement. Still liking Doink as one of the all-time cool heels, Hitman proceeds to bitch-slap him for close to 9 minutes, ending with the Sharpshooter. Lawler then "miraculously" is healed, comes down, pearl harbors Hart, and exits to the back. BUT, Jack Tunney, who's had more air time in the last 2 years then he had in the previous 6 since 1985, tells Lawler he either wrestles Hart, or is banned for life. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A good match, as once again Bret Hart wrestles twice in one PPV (a common theme throughout his career). Bret just demolishes Doink here, and gets the crowd even more juiced to see Lawler get creamed, which, thanks to Jack Tunney, he does. The match is quite good as Matt Bourne’s Doink was underrated as a character and as a wrestler. It is too bad he bolted, basically killing the true Doink character. Doink grabs some quick heat and helps build the tension by tossing water on Owen and Bruce Hart, who were at ringside to represent the Hart Family. Bret takes out his aggression on Doink and beats him up and down for pretty much the entire match before polishing him off with the Sharpshooter. The crowd is happy to see their hero triumph, however they were in for much more than expected. Grade: 3
6) Jerry Lawler defeats Bret Hart by disqualification at 6:32
Scott: Bret proceeds to beat Lawler senseless for most of the match, with Lawler getting some crutch shots in along the way. Eventually, Hart gets his predictable moves in preceding the Sharpshooter, which he locks in. Lawler submits, and the match officially ends, but Hitman doesn't let up on the Sharp-shooter, and continues to apply the pressure, with Lawler yowling in pain. Even some of Bret's brothers finally get him to let go, but by then, referee Bill Alfonso reverses the decision, and disqualifies Bret for not letting go. Lawler gets put on a stretcher, and the Harts beat him down as he's wheeled into the back. Excel-lent booking decision, which is why I raised the grade half a point from the last match. It keeps Hitman looking good, keeps Lawler's heel heat, and keeps the storyline going. Grade: 3
Justin: Scott said it all. This is a great match with awesome heat. Many heels wish they could get legit heel heat like the King could in the early-90s. This was a great all around exhibition in booking and a textbook example of how to control a crowd without crazy spots and bumping. Having the Harts at ringside really added to the importance of this show, and it was cool to see them all attacking Lawler after the match. They then end the match with a great visual: Lawler raising his hand in victory as he is wheeled out on a stretcher. This was just awesome stuff that would keep this feud rolling until our next PPV outing…or so we thought. Grade: 3
7) Ludvig Borga (Tony Halme) defeats Marty Jannetty (Marty Oaks) with a Torture Rack at 5:14
Fun Fact: There’s not much on a history of Borga, other than he made his debut on the 7/24 Superstars (taped 7/6), defeating Tony DeMuro. His basic persona was that of a Finnish athlete who came to America to compete even though all he ever did was run down how filthy and corrupt it was.
Scott: Except for preparing a program with Hulk Ho-, I mean Lex Luger, this match wasn't much. Jannetty is probably back on the sauce, which is why he goes from IC Champ, to Superstars-type beatdown in this encounter. Borga moves very slowly, and sells practically nothing. A decent match that served its purpose, as Vince had big things for the Bully from Helsinki. More on that in future reviews. Poor Jannetty goes from Intercontinental Champion to JTTS (Jobber to the Stars). Grade: 2
Justin: Nothing here, just an excuse to showcase Vince’s new heel: Ludvig Borga. Vince had some big plans for Borga and first up was a major feud with Lex Luger. I never realized America had such major issues with Finland, but Borga seemed pretty pissed off at the USA. Anyway, let’s move on, as this is just a glorified squash match. Grade: 1.5
8) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Giant Gonzalez (Jorge Gonzalez) in a Rest In Peace match with a Flying Clothesline at 8:02
Fun Fact: Give us some of what the booking team was smoking, because for them to have this match on PPV TWICE they must have had some fucking ridiculous shit.
Scott: A lot of people, from Scott Keith to David Meltzer to Justin and I say this match is maybe the worst match in the history of anything. Definitely the worst for Taker and it's not even his fault. Giant Gonzalez is without question the most useless piece of wrestling shit on the planet. We had to watch this crap at Wrestlemania IX, and now, a rematch! The continuing "bad guy steals Taker's urn" storyline draws this debacle together. Taker sells Gonzalez's "blistering offense", which mostly consists of choking, walking in a circle and yelling in Spanish. Then, MY GOD, Paul Bearer comes down the aisle, hits Harvey, grabs the urn and the man from the Darkside sits up, clotheslines Gonzalez about 15 times, and finishes it. Gonzalez turns babyface at the end of the match, beating down Harvey for blowing it. This was yet another pile of dogshit thrown Undertaker's way. He now waits for his next feud, and it’s a little more high profile. Grade: 0
Justin: This horseshit is not worth my time or energy. Grade: 0 (And that is a stretch)
9) Smoking Gunns/Tatanka defeat Headshrinkers/Bam Bam Bigelow when Tatanka (Chris Chavis) pins Samu (Samula Anoia) with a roll-up at 11:13
Scott: This was actually a pretty good match, with future tag team champions, and two guys who would be on opposite sides again 2 years later. Bigelow is starting to reach his stride as a pretty good heel, and is very active in this match, always one of the most agile big men ever to get in the ring. Tatanka gets a majority of the good looks on the face side, and actually gets the big comeback for the win in the end. Both the Smoking Gunns and the Headshrinkers would wear Tag Team gold in the near future. Grade: 3
Justin: A really good match here, that ends up being the best pure wrestling match of the night. These 6 guys busted their asses and stole the show with their performance. Tatanka was still undefeated at this point, which would put his streak at an astonishing 17 months. Bigelow is still pretty hot coming off his impressive KOTR finals appearance and had ignited a feud with Tatanka by trimming some of his sacred red hair. The Headshrinkers and Gunns were both sort of floating aimlessly in the tag division, but better days were ahead for both teams for sure. A really good, unexpected match, and is a match that is definitely worth watching. Grade: 3
10) Lex Luger (Larry Pfohl) defeats Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) by countout at 17:56; Yokozuna retains WWF World Title
Fun Fact: After defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWF Title, Yokozuna decided to spit in the face of America by holding a Bodyslam contest on the deck of the USS Intrepid on the Fourth of July. Sports stars and wrestlers all tried to slam the giant Champion, but one after another failed. Just as all hope was lost, a helicopter landed and out came Lex Luger in a red, white and blue shirt. Luger marched to the ring, stared down Yoko and then slammed him, popping the crowd and turning himself face. After Luger slammed Yoko he demanded a World Title shot, a request that was denied by Yokozuna. Luger pleaded with Jack Tunney for a title match, and even went as far as to drive around the country in a red, white and blue bus known as the Lex Express. He stopped in town after town, greeting fans and getting them to sign his petition. It was a cool idea that made the fans seem important, but Luger came off as a big, desperate dork as a result. Tunney gave him the shot, but Jim Cornette – Yoko’s American spokesperson – made sure it was on the condition his loaded forearm had a protective pad on it and that this would be his only World Title shot.
Scott: LUGERMANIA is runnin' wild! The first, and really, only lasting mess of Hulk Hogan's 1993 tenure was the panicking of Vince to not allow Bret Hart to be the face challenger chasing Yokozuna. Instead, he has the Narcissist, a great role for the muscular Luger to play, face out by slamming Yoko on the Intrepid, and WHAM! The Lex Express is in high gear! Ugh. Not absolutely terrible, but not great either. Suddenly, his "cheating" by using his metal forearm is now "America's secret weapon." Please. The match itself isn't terrible, as Yokozuna does what he can weighing nearly 600 pounds, and Luger is remarkably agile and smooth in some cases. Not exactly the charisma that made him a stud with the Four Horsemen in the late 80's, but not a wet noodle either. The crowd is really into this match, as there are times where you actually think Luger’s going to pull it off. He hits Yoko with the forearm, Yoko falls out of the ring and is counted out because he is rendered unconscious. Then, instead of lamenting that Luger didn't win the title, every face on the roster comes out, balloons fall from the ceiling, and we all give a great big ZIP A DEE DOO DAH! Oh, by the way, Luger isn't the WWF Champion, but after the touching video montage to end the show, we fans weren't really supposed to give a shit. Oh well, the main event wasn’t a total disaster, but the ending left an odd taste. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Not a bad match and it would probably be remembered in a better light if Lex had not choked and had won the strap. Unfortunately, all that buildup was for naught, as Vince figured he could keep the feud simmering longer and have Luger win the title at Wrestlemania X instead, thus causing a bigger reaction from the fans when Lex finally won. Sadly, it all backfired, and the crowd turned on Luger in the following months, as he was essentially labeled as a choker and a loser. I’m sure if he could go back in time, Vince would have changed the belt here, but then again, if Vince had a time machine, I don’t think Lex Luger would ever be in a Title Match, so the whole idea is worthless. Luger was pretty over and this crowd has been hot from start to finish, but the ending is just insulting. Why would Luger be celebrating a count out win? It just didn’t make sense at all, especially since he didn’t even try to pick Yoko up. They could have even given Luger the belt and then done a Dusty finish the next night on Raw to at least warrant the huge celebration. Anyway, this was an OK match for these two with a pretty weak and confusing ending. Grade: 2.5
Scott: Except for the INCREDIBLY cheesy ending to the title match, this was not the worst Summerslam ever presented. The Steiners got nice hometown pops to add something to that match, the Bret-Lawler saga was solid (once again Bret goes above and beyond for the company, wrestling twice, AND put-ting Lawler over), and a surprisingly good 6-man tag leading into the main event. Luger/Yokozuna was OK to watch, the ending just sucked. The only real dark spots on the show were the atrocious Under-taker/Gonzalez match, to which the feud is thankfully over, and the disappointing IC Title match. 1993 is still a crappy year for wrestling, and Luger’s not as inspiring as everyone anticipated. The man who saved the day once again is Bret Hart, and he begins one of his emotional and well-thought out storylines of his career at the next show. Final Grade: B-
Justin: A pretty solid Summerslam that featured some good wrestling and storylines. It is also a sad event, as it marks the end of an era for Mr. Perfect and Ted DiBiase. How fitting that the two men who were held down the most by Hogan in late-80s and early-90s only get to wrestle in one show of the post-Hogan era; quite sad, yet fitting. The crowd, as is the story for pretty much all of 1993, is red hot throughout the entire show, making the action seem better than it was. Vince had panicked after Hogan bolted and immedi-ately wanted to catch lightning in a bottle by morphing Luger into his Hogan of the 90s. The jury is out on that decision as of now, but we would soon see that perhaps he should have stuck with the young gun he had stashed away in his cabinet instead of trying to force something that wasn’t there. Luger was a natural heel and he was gonna turn face it should have been the crowd that turned him. Instead, Vince decided to alter the natural course and almost set his own progression back a few notches. Anyway, this was definitely a solid Summerslams, but it would have been remembered as a better show if it ended with a big title change instead of the lame count-out we got. Final Grade: B
MVP: Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler
MVP Runner-Up: The Crowd
Non-MVP: Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect (tie)
Non-MVP Runner-Up: Lex Luger