August 9, 2010
Summer Slam 93
Summerslam 1993, August 30, 1993, Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan
With this year’s event coming up, here’s the first of a few looks back at Summerslams of the past. First up is 1993, as the Lex Express rolls into town for Lex Luger to get his shot at taking the WWF Title from Yokozuna. Besides that we’ve also got, among other things, Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler battling over who is the real King of the WWF, Undertaker trying to rid himself of Giant Gonzalez, and Shawn Michaels defending the IC Title against Mr. Perfect. Let’s see how this one holds up.
Opening Match: Ted Dibiase vs. Razor Ramon
The Setup: Money Inc. had mocked Razor for his loss to the 1-2-3- Kid on Raw back in May, even going as far as offering him a job cleaning their toilets. Razor got a measure of revenge when he ended up helping the Kid beat Dibiase on Challenge and so now they finally get each other in the ring.
The Action: This was a pretty basic match with Razor controlling early until Dibiase gets the heat by suckering Razor into the buckle. Razor avoids the Dream and starts the comeback, but Dibiase tosses him and takes a buckle pad off. He gets Razor back in, but Dibiase eats the exposed buckle instead and then takes the Razor’s Edge for the 3 count at 7:31.
The Verdict: Nothing too exciting here. This was the end of the line for Dibiase as an active wrestler in the WWF, so he of course does the job on the way out. Razor was quickly getting over as a face and this kicked off one of the more successful runs of his career. *1/2
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Heavenly Bodies (w/Jim Cornette)
The Setup: The WWF had recently begun a working agreement with Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and so Cornette brought his team from there here to the WWF to challenge the Steiners in their hometown.
The Action: The Steiners run wild early on, killing the Bodies with their high impact offence. The Bodies weather the storm though and finally catch Scott with a double team bulldog to take over. Cornette takes a cheap shot with the racket to help maintain control and the Bodies get to show off a few cool moves as well. Scott finally comes back with a double underhook powerbomb on Dr. Tom and then makes the hot tag to Rick. It breaks down into a four way and the racket gets tossed in. Rick gets nailed with it for a near fall that gets a huge pop when he kicks out. Del Ray then goes for the moonsault, but misses and knocks out his partner which allows Scott to hit the Frankensteiner for the 3 count to retain at 9:29.
The Verdict: Good little tag match here to put the champs over big, and I liked it well enough. ***
Intercontinental Championship Match: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Mr. Perfect
The Setup: The feud kicked off with their confrontation at Wrestlemania IX, and continued with Perfect costing Shawn the Title to Marty Jannetty on Raw. The debuting Diesel helped Shawn get it back and so now the feud finally makes it to the ring. Also, in a bit of a rarity for this era, they promoted this match in advance as a potential all time classic, which given who was involved, we had a right to expect.
The Action: They start out trading holds and counters and it’s pretty apparent already that they don’t have super chemistry. Perfect catapults Shawn to the floor, but when he tries to follow up, Diesel distracts him and Shawn hits a Superkick (not yet the finisher) to assume control. Shawn works over the back for a bit until Perfect comes back and hits the Perfect Plex, but Diesel drags him out of the ring. They fight outside until Diesel sends him to the post and Shawn beats the count back in for the cheap win at 11:20. Perfect tries attacking after the match, but gets KO’d by Diesel’s right hand (which was his finisher at the time).
The Verdict: An all time classic this was not. Besides the bad finish, they just didn’t work well for whatever reason. And because expectations were so high, that just makes it worse. **
IRS vs. The 1-2-3 Kid
The Setup: In kind of an offshoot of the Razor/Dibiase match earlier, Dibiase’s partner now gets a shot at the Kid.
The Action: The Kid gets to show off a few flashy moves, but it’s mostly IRS slowly working him over. The fans do get into what the Kid is allowed to show, including the moonsault that beat Razor, but here it only gets 2. Kid gets a couple more nearfalls, but ends up running into the Write Off for the 3 count at 5:44.
The Verdict: Kind of odd to have the Kid lose clean after all the momentum he had built, especially to IRS of all people. The match was okay, but nothing special. *1/2
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
The Setup: Lawler took exception to Bret being crowned King of the Ring and attacked him during the coronation. He then went on to begin his long running shtick of insulting Bret’s parents, which led to this match here tonight to determine the undisputed King of the WWF.
The Action: Lawler comes down to the ring on crutches with this long story about how he got in a car wreck and mangled his leg to the point where the doctors won’t let him compete. He offers a replacement, Doink the Clown, who douses Bruce Hart (at ringside along with Owen) with a bucket of water. So Bret and Doink wrestle, having a solid, but unspectacular match. Doink goes for the Whoopee Cushion, but Bret gets the knees up and hooks the Sharpshooter, but Lawler runs in, no worse for wear, and hits Bret with the crutch, presumably for the DQ around 9:00 (no bell is ever heard). Lawler then tries to leave, but seeing as how he’s just fine, Jack Tunney orders him to either wrestle Bret, or be suspended for life. The match is on with Bret beating him around the ring until Lawler finally lures him into a shot with the crutch to take over. Bret then comes back, hits a piledriver, and hooks the Sharpshooter for the submission at 6:35. But now Bret won’t let go. It takes all the referees and agents several minutes to pull him off and when they finally do, it’s announced that the decision has been reversed and Lawler wins on a DQ. He raises his hand high as he gets stretchered out.
The Verdict: The matches weren’t great, but the storyline was as Bret gets his revenge, only to have it taken away, which makes him even angrier at Lawler. This setup the Survivor Series match where Bret would team with his brothers against Lawler and the Knights, but real life intervened there and they ended up not having a proper blowoff to the feud until 1995. I’m not even going to rate it because the matches were secondary to the angle, but it was definitely great stuff.
Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
The Setup: Borga had recently debuted and was being built as a monster heel, so he gets a squash match here to put him over.
The Action: Borga dominates most of it with Jannetty getting only a few hope spots that are quickly cut off. Borga never even gets knocked off his feet during the match to really give him the build. He wins via submission to a torture rack at 5:16.
The Verdict: Well, it was supposed to make Borga look strong, and it did just that, so it worked. ½*
Rest in Peace Match: Giant Gonzalez (w/Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker
The Setup: They had been feuding since Royal Rumble when Gonzalez debuted and attacked Taker, and had a match at Wrestlemania where Taker won on a DQ. “Rest in Peace” simply means no DQ, no count out, and there will be a decisive winner. Wippleman also has the urn with him, stolen a few months ago by the since departed Mr. Hughes.
The Action: This would be about the loosest sense of the word “action” you’ll ever get. Taker fails to knock him down early on, and then they go to the floor where Gonzalez nails him with a chair. Back in the ring, Gonzalez pounds him down in boring fashion until Paul Bearer returns from a recent absence to take out Wippleman and reclaim the urn. If it was that simple, how did it take over two months to get it back? Regardless, now that they have it, Taker sits up, hits five clotheslines that don’t put Gonzalez down, and then another off the tope rope which does for the 3 count at 8:05. After the match, Gonzalez turns on Wippleman which would seemingly make him a babyface, but he was gone very shortly after this.
The Verdict: It was a really bad match, but obviously that was expected going in. I’ll call it better than Wrestlemania, for no other reason than that it ended the feud instead of forcing it to continue. -*1/2
The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka vs. The Headshrinkers & Bam Bam Bigelow
The Setup: Bam Bam and Tatanka had a feud going on, but this was pretty much just to get guys on the card.
The Action: They start out trading guys off with tags until everyone’s had a shot, and then we get going with Bart caught in the corner. He takes a beating until Bam Bam misses a charge to the corner and we get the hot tag to Tatanka. He runs wild until Bam Bam cuts him off with an ensiguiri. It ends up breaking down into a six way with the Gunns getting cleared out and Tatanka then triple teamed. After all three heels miss off the top rope, the Gunns return and take out Bam Bam and Fatu while Tatanka rolls up Samu for the 3 count at 11:19.
The Verdict: This was quite the hidden gem here. It means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll go as far as saying it was the best match of the night, which I probably wouldn’t have guessed going in. ***1/2
Main Event, WWF Championship Match: Yokozuna (w/Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji) vs. Lex Luger
The Setup: After being built as the heel Narcissist since January, Luger was abruptly turned patriotic babyface in July. The idea was that Yokozuna challenged any American athlete to try and slam him on July 4 on the USS Intrepid. After seemingly everyone had failed, Luger arrived on a helicopter as the last contestant and successfully hit the slam to the delight of the crowd. The match was signed for here tonight, but Jim Cornette managed to add the following stipulations to the contract: 1. Luger had to wear a pad on his loaded forearm, and 2. Luger would only receive this one Title shot as long as Yokozuna was champion. There was also that Lex Express thing, but who really cares about that?
The Action: They do well with what they’ve got to work with as Luger uses speed and cunning to avoid both Yoko’s attacks and the outside interference of the managers early on. The bodyslam fails early on and Yoko takes over for a bit. Luger comes back and finally knocks him down with a forearm off the top for a 2 count. Cornette then distracts the ref so Yoko can hit Luger with the salt bucket for a near fall. The crowd is definitely hot for this. A nerve hold calms them down a bit, and then he hits a slam and legdrop. He sets up the Banzai Drop, but Luger moves and fires back. This time he gets the bodyslam after Yoko misses a charge to the corner. Luger then takes off the pad and nails Yoko with the forearm, sending him to the floor for the countout at 17:58.
The Verdict: Like I said, they did do well with what they had to work with, and much to my surprise it was a perfectly fine match. The finish came about because Vince thought he would ride out Luger until Wrestlemania and put the Title on him there, but hindsight shows that was a mistake. If they had just put the belt on Luger here, it may have worked out, but he just couldn’t maintain the momentum that long. **
Overall Thoughts: This was not a terrible show, but overall I don’t think I’d call it good either. The Hart/Lawler deal is probably the highlight for me and having seen how great this was, I’m pretty annoyed that the conclusion fell though and I can’t see it. Besides that we have a couple of tag team matches that are good watches, but certainly not blowaway. On the bad side we have the obvious Taker/Gonzalez deal, but besides that nothing really sucks that much. I’d say that it’s worthy of a Thumbs in the Middle for Summerslam 1993, but the recommendation is that there’s nothing worth going out of your way to see.