September 26, 2008
Summerslam 1995, August 27, 1995, Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
On the eve of the Monday Night Wars, and in the midst of the reign of terror of Big Daddy Cool Diesel, itís Summerslam! This was a real low point for the company, as nothing was really clicking in 1995. They were still on the new generation campaign, and pretty much all of the wrestlers were relatively fresh, but they just werenít getting across as stars to the mass audience. It wasnít for lack of trying though, as Diesel got a huge push all year, in spite of not really having a track record as a star or anything. They hadnít given up on him yet, but soon the new competition would force them to make some drastic changes. So letís see how history treats this show, shall we?
Opening Match: 1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi
Earlier today on The Action Zone, Hakushi lost a match to Barry Horowitz due to the botched interference of Skip. I donít know if itíll affect this match, but Iíll mention it now in case it becomes important later. Kid backs Hakushi off with a kick before they lockup to start the match. Side headlock by Kid, which is quickly changed to a hammerlock. Reversed by Hakushi, who then switches to his own side headlock. Kid reverses now to a wristlock, but Hakushi pulls him down by the hair. Kid kips up, does a flip and takes Hakushi down with an armdrag. Lockup again and Hakushi grabs a side headlock, but gets fired off the ropes. He gets a shoulderblock, then comes off the ropes again and gets hiptossed. Both guys kip up and we have a stand off. Lockup, and this time Kid grabs a side headlock. Hakushi fires him off the ropes and Kid gets a shoulderblock. Both guys come off the ropes and both miss attempted spin kicks. Lockup and Hakushi uses a cheapshot to take advantage. He gets some shots to the throat in the corner. Corner whip by Hakushi and he tries for a powerbomb, but Kid flips out. Kid is off the ropes but caught in a spinning slam by Hakushi. Kicks to the head and another corner whip set up a handspring elbow by Hakushi. He stomps Kid down in the corner, and even hits a Bronco Buster, although he doesnít ride him. More kicks and a slam set up a pump splash, which gets 2. Snapmare leads to a nerve hold which Kid elbows out of. Irish whip and Hakushi nails a backdrop. He then crescent kicks Kid out of the ring, and nails the seldom seen in America Space Flying Tiger Drop, which looks cool, but really isnít more effective then a regular dive. Hakushi rolls Kid back in and gets a flying shoulderblock off the top for 2. Slam, and he goes up again, but this time misses. Kid wins a slugfest and dropkicks Hakushi out. He nails his own dive off the top to the outside. Kid gets him back in and nails a legdrop for 2. Slam and Kid goes up, nailing a splash for 2.5. Spin kick is then caught by Hakushi who slams him down hard for the pin at 9:28. Great for an opener with some cool highspots to get the crowd going and a nice fast pace. ***
Dok Hendrix (Michael Hayes) is interviewing King Mabel. I didnít hear any racial comments, but they did seem to cut Hendrix off while he still had more to say.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Bob ďSpark PlugĒ Holly
This is the PPV debut for HHH if Iím not mistaken. And Vladimir is here getting in Helmsleyís face during his intro, which I point out in case someone wants to add it to that thread of spottings. Helmsley refuses to lock up with dirty race car driver Holly, so Holly simply slams him and gets an armdrag causing Helmsley to beg off. Helmsley gets a cheapshot to take control, and then nails an uppercut and chop. Corner whip is reversed and Holly nails an elbow. Holly whips Helmsley to the corner and follows him in but is caught and stungunned. Helmsley hits some shots in the corner and bows to the crowd. Backbreaker gets a 2 count, followed by a suplex and kneedrop for another 2 count. He drops a knee to the back as a split screen shows us the British Bulldog arriving. Bulldog had turned on Diesel last week on Raw, and his presence here was played up as being part of Mabelís ďRoyal PlanĒ, but we donít actually see Bulldog again all night. Back to the match as Helmsley hooks an abdominal stretch, but gets caught holding the rope. Holly reverses, but in turn Helmsley hiptosses him over the top. Back in, Irish whip, but Helmsley puts the head down and gets DDTíd. Holly gets a dropkick and follows that with an atomic drop and clothesline. Kicks in the corner set up a corner whip and backdrop by Holly. Another dropkick hits as well, but when Holly goes for another backdrop off a corner whip, Helmsley blocks and nails the Pedigree for the win at 6:13. Dull match and neither guy was particularly over at this point. Ĺ*
Jacob & Eli Blu (w/Uncle Zebekiah) vs. The Smoking Gunns
The Gunns were the number one babyface team in the company in í95, but thatís not saying much. The champs, Owen and Yoko arenít even appearing on the card as they were being saved to main event the next PPV. The Gunns would get the belts back one night after that and this is basically just a match to give them a good win and keep them strong. The Blus are Ron and Don Harris in another one of the 500 or so twin tag team gimmicks they did during their careers. Billy starts with one of the Blus who McMahon and Lawler decide is Jacob, which is good enough for me. Jacob shoves him down a couple of time to start. Kick by Jacob followed by a corner whip and elbow. Tag to Eli who slams Billy, then drops two elbows and tags out back to Jacob. Irish whip, but Billy rolls by the attempted knee and gets a rollup for 2. He comes back off the ropes and gets the fameasser, but thatís not a finisher yet, so he grabs a wristlock and tags Bart. Bart comes in off the top and grabs his own wristlock. Off the ropes he gets tripped by Zebekiah, which allow the tag to Eli. Irish whip and Bart ducks and comes off with a bodypress for 1. He tags Billy, who comes in with a clothesline. Jacob makes the save on a pin attempt, and they double team Billy. Double chokeslam gets a 2 count. Eli sets Billy in the Tree of Woe and stomps him. Tag to Jacob who whips Billy to the corner, then nails Bart. This allows another double team as the ref is tied up with Bart. Tag to Eli who gets a slam and a kneedrop for 2. Billy makes a comeback, but his whip is reversed and he gets powerslammed. 2 count for Eli, who now tags Jacob. Irish whip, Billy ducks and comes off the ropes with something to knock Jacob down. Both get the tag and Bart is the house afire. He slams both, but is soon caught with a big boot by Eli. Seconds later however, Eli runs into his brother allowing Bart to tag Billy who comes in and they nail the Sidewinder for the pin at 6:11. Not a bad little tag match, but not really notable for anything either. ĺ*
Skip (w/Sunny) vs. Barry Horowitz
Now this was a great storyline. Longtime jobber Horowitz picked up a surprise win over Skip on the Action Zone. Skip was angry and challenged Horowitz to last 10 minutes with him on Superstars, which Horowitz did. Now we have another match here with no time limit to settle things for good. Furthermore, Horowitz is actually quite over, as the fans really got behind his underdog character. Barry charges in and goes right after Skip. Irish whip sets up a backdrop, followed by a kneedrop. Barry keeps working him over and finally clotheslines Skip to the outside. He slingshots Skip back in, but gets caught with a kick. Sequence of reversals leads to Barry getting a rollup for 2. He hits an elbow and suplexes Skip from the apron to the outside. Sunny tries to throw in the towel, but Hebner wonít allow it. Irish whip is reversed and Sunny trips Barry. Skip chokes him on the ropes and nails a suplex. Skip keeps on him with a legdrop off the 2nd rope, and I shit you not, Barry Horowitz is getting more support from the crowd than Diesel does during the main event. Skip nails a Gutwrench suplex, and drives an elbow from the 2nd rope. Bodyslam, but Skip misses an elbow. Barry is fired off the ropes and gets a shoulderblock, then a second one for 2. Sunset flip also gets 2. Skip gets a clothesline and stomps him down. Irish whip, Barry ducks and nails a Thesz press for 2. Skip comes back with a powerslam and three legdrops for a 2 count. He gets a reverse chinlock, but Barry fires back. Off the ropes, both try a dropkick, but miss. Skip goes up, but Barry crotches him. Skip is able to elbow Barry off and comes off the top with a splash but pulls Barry up at 2. Heís gonna pay for that. Barry backdrops out of a piledriver, and nails a dropkick. He goes up, but Sunny shakes the ropes to knock him down. Skip gets a superplex, but Hakushi, still choked about his loss earlier today makes his way ringside. Hakushi feigns getting in the ring, but actually jumps over everyone, and in the confusion, Barry gets an inside cradle for the pin at 11:23. Great reaction for Horowitz, which shows that you donít have to be 6í4Ē 270lbs to be a star, but just need to be given a meaningful angle that fans can understand and react to. But for whatever reason they chose not to follow up on this, and Barry was pretty much a jobber again soon after. **1/2
Womenís Title Match: Alundra Blayze vs. Bertha Faye (w/Harvey Wippleman)
Bertha broke Alundraís nose a few months ago to establish herself as the new challenger in the division. Because, you see, they could only have one at any given time. Alundra uses quick kicks to take the advantage early, but soon runs into a series of bodyblocks. Irish whip by Bertha, and she nails a sort of a clothesline. Slam and a couple legdrops get 1. Alundra tries to fight back, but no effect. Slam by Bertha and she goes to the 2nd rope. Splash misses and Alundra goes up for a victory roll which gets 2. She gets Bertha with some knees, but Bertha catches her and takes her down. Bertha tries a slam, but Alundra slips out. Three clotheslines knock Bertha off her feet, and she has the pin, but the ref is distracted with Harvey. Alundra goes after him, but he manages to get away. Back in the ring a very sloppy crucifix (I think) gets 1. Alundra comes off the ropes and again is knocked down by a bodyblock. Alundra is sent off the ropes, and catches Bertha with a rana for 2. Two dropkicks hit, but a third one is avoided and Bertha hits a sitdown powerbomb for the pin and the title at 4:40. I think this was the only champ Harvey ever managed, which is pretty sad. Usual sloppy womenís match and no real heat for it either. DUD
Casket Match: Kama (w/Ted Dibiase) vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer)
Yet another chapter in Undertakerís seemingly endless battle with the Million Dollar Corporation, but at least it was almost over. Kama actually stole the urn and made it into a chain for himself to put a little different twist on this match. Also worth noting that Kama is doing an MMA gimmick which is coming off the popularity of the original UFC shows, and is really years ahead of its time. UT attacks and gets some shots in the corner. Corner whip sets up a chokeslam. Dibiaseís distraction then allows Kama to take over with a kick from behind. Doesnít last long though as UT whips Kama out on to the casket, which Kama is of course afraid of. Back in the ring, Kama whips UT to the corner, but itís reversed and UT follows in with a splash. Arm wringer, of course sets up the rope walk which hits. He dumps Kama in the casket, but Kama quickly escapes. He tries again, but Kama pulls him down throat first on the ropes. Kama back in with a top rope clothesline. Corner whip is reversed, but Kama gets a powerslam. UT sits up. Kama gets some kicks, and puts UT in the casket, but then gets flipped in himself. Dibiase again distracts Undertaker preventing the lid from being shut. This also allows Kama to regain control with some shots in the corner. Corner whip, and a charge misses, but Kama still manages to clothesline UT out on to the casket. Bearer goes after Dibiase and the refs hold him back, which allows Dibiase to get a few shots in. Kama gets back on him, but UT reverses a whip to the stairs. Kama gets the elbow up on a charge, and rams UTís back into the post. He suplexes UT on to the casket, but when he gets up there to try a piledriver, UT backdrops him back into the ring. Irish whip is reversed and Kama gets a powerslam. He goes for the cover, just to make sure the really dumb people out there know the rules. Kama grabs a chinlock and puts his feet on the ropes, which is within the rules of this match. Bearer comes over and knocks the feet off. They get back up and Kama gets a headlock takedown. He holds that for awhile before UT gets up and suplexes out. Kama gets an Irish whip, UT ducks and comes back off with the flying clothesline. He goes to put Kama in the casket, but both guys tumble in and the lid is shut. Apparently thereís no such thing as a draw in a Casket Match though, so we continue. They fight in the casket, but both are able to get out. Irish whip by UT, but he puts the head down and Kama gets a neckbreaker. UT ducks a clothesline attempt and nails a chokeslam. Tombstone follows and he rolls Kama into the casket and shuts the lid for the win at 16:27. Pretty long, so it tended to drag in some parts. Undertaker was never really in danger in this entire feud, spanning over a year, let alone this match, which shows just how weak the booking was. Compare to next year and the much more interesting feud with Mankind and itís like night and day. *
Issac Yankem DDS vs. Bret ďHitmanĒ Hart
What a waste as Bret is relegated to wrestling a guy a making his debut. In an evil dentist gimmick no less. Yankem is better known today as Kane, but also had a stint as Diesel #2 in between. Funny bit as Lawler tells us that his dentist has years of wrestling experience ďunder an assumed nameĒ as though ďIssac YankemĒ were actually his real name. Yankem overpowers Bret to start and chokes him in the corner. He rams Bret to the buckle, but Bret fires back. Yankem gets a knee to stop that and more choking. He gets a slam, but misses an elbow. Yankem goes to the eyes to keep control and hits an elbow in the corner. Corner whip and second elbow try misses. Bret gets an atomic drop and three clotheslines to send Yankem out. He then dives over top and takes Yankem down. Back in, Bret gets a clothesline off the second rope. Yankem blocks the Sharpshooter attempt, so Bret headbutts him. Rollup gets 2 for Bret. Irish whip is reversed, but Bret blocks a hiptoss and gets a backslide for 2. Bret ducks a clothesline, but Yankem catches him and drops him on the ropes. Corner whip and Bret hits hard chest first. Chokeslam and elbowdrop get 2 for Yankem. Yankem hooks the hanging body vice, but Bret quickly escapes and gets a small package for 2. Yankem gets a clothesline and then gets another to send Bret out. Bret gets posted as Lawler taunts him. Back in, Yankem gets a legdrop off the top for 2. He misses an elbow in the corner but still catches Bret with a clothesline from behind. Short clothesline gets a 2 count. Yankem gets kicked out which allows Bret to hit another dive to the outside. He hammers away and sends Yankem to the stairs. Back in the ring a bulldog gets 2 for Bret. Russian legsweep also gets 2. Backbreaker and 2nd rope elbow set up the Sharpshooter, which Bret hooks, but Lawler leaves the announce table and helps Yankem make the ropes. Bret breaks the hold and knocks Yankem outside, but Yankem lands on his feet. He pulls Bret out and whips him to the stairs. Back in the ring, he goes up, but Bret slams him off. Corner whip by Bret who slides out of the ring and ties Yankemís feet up with a cable. With Yankem tied, he goes after Lawler and nails him to a huge reaction. Yankem soon gets loose however and comes down off the top on to Bret. Back in the ring, Bret comes off the ropes and is tripped by Lawler. The distraction allows Yankem to come from behind and they tie Bretís neck in the ropes. That, plus Lawlerís involvement is enough to draw the DQ at 16:08. The King and The Dentist work Bret over for a while and then make their exit as Bret is released by the officials. Too long for that crappy finish, as they could have gone five minutes less and gotten the same effect. Yankem was clearly pretty green, and Bret did a decent, but not great job with him. *1/2
Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Lawler left with Yankem after the previous match, so Dok Hendrix makes his way out to join Vince for the rest of the show. Shawn takes a shot at Bret in the pre match interview, saying that only Shawn and Razor are capable of having a ladder match, when Bret was the one who brought the concept to the company to begin with, and is therefore responsible, in a way, for making the careers of everyone who got themselves over by doing them, Shawn included. Originally this was supposed to be Shawn Michaels vs. Sycho Sid in a regular match, but they realized that the card was shaping up to be a stinker, so they for all intents and purposes, hotshotted the rematch of the Wrestlemania X classic with no real buildup. Shawn throws a tantrum about the positioning of the belt on the wire, so we lower it and he adjusts it himself. Shoving match starts us off and Razor gets some shots in. Off the ropes, Shawn leapfrogs twice, and then Razor holds on and avoids a Superkick. Reversal series in the corner sees Razor almost get the Razorís Edge, but Shawn slips away. Corner whip is reversed sending Shawn over and out. This allows Razor to go for the ladder, but Shawn tackles him in the aisle. He rams Razor to the apron and tries to suplex him back in, but Razor blocks and suplexes Shawn outside. Second time tonight for that spot. Razor drops an elbow and tosses Shawn back in. Irish whip is reversed, but Shawn puts the head down and Razor gets him up for the Edge, but Shawn slips away. Razor ducks an attempted Superkick, and they both clothesline each other. Shawn gets whipped to the corner and ends up on the ropes, so Razor gets him off there with a fallaway slam. Razor goes for the ladder again, and this time gets it. Shawn tries the baseball slide spot that worked at Mania, but Razor avoids it this time. He knocks Shawn down, and sets up the ladder. Shawn knocks him over and nails him with the ladder so he can set it up himself. Razor is back up and pulls Shawnís tights down to prevent him from climbing. He then pulls the ladder down with Shawnís leg caught in it, which looked like it could have been nasty, but the replay shows heís in control on the way down. Razor goes to work on the knee now, playing the heel role in a subtle manner. Shawn is selling it big time. Razor is just all over it including posting it a couple of times. Now Razor sets up the ladder, but Shawn is able to recover and knock him off. Slam attempt by Razor but Shawn slips out and sends Razor into the ladder. Razor is still able to climb first, but Shawn follows him up and gets a back suplex. He sets the ladder in the corner and whips Razor into it, and then he does it again. He knocks Razor down with a forearm and opens the ladder in the corner. He climbs up and moonsaults Razor as that severe knee injury has simply disappeared. He now climbs to the top of the ladder, but Razor avoids the splash. Razor rises and moves the ladder to the middle. Both guys climb and slug away up top. Razor gets a headbutt but they lose their balance and both go tumbling over. Shawn picks up the ladder and tries to run it into Razor, but Razor moves and Shawn goes flying out. Razor grabs a second ladder from underneath the ring, while Shawn is climbing the original ladder in the ring. Razor gets in quickly enough to catch Shawn and nail the Razorís Edge, but he canít capitalize. Both guys set up their own ladders, and climb. Shawn is able to kick Razor over, and makes a jump for the belt, but canít quite grab it. Razor gets back in and tries the Edge again but Shawn backdrops him out. He sets up the ladder and tries to climb, but the ladder was set up too far away and he canít grab it. The never unprofessional Shawn throws his second tantrum of the match, even though this one was all his fault, sets up again, properly this time, and climbs up to get the belt and retains it at 25:06. Razor congratulates him afterwards and they make up. Good match by almost any standard, but inevitably we have to compare it to their previous match, where it falls short. The face vs. face thing hurts this one, and although Razor played subtle heel, the crowd wouldnít go against him to any significant degree. There were some callbacks to the previous match, which I liked, but no real storyline, and no real reason for having a ladder match other than having one for the sake of having one. Iím not saying it was bad or anything, because it was actually quite good, it just had an impossible standard to live up to. ****
Main Event, WWF Title Match: Diesel vs. King Mabel (w/Sir Mo)
Yes, itís Big Daddy Cool against Big Daddy V. Mabel won King of the Ring, and squashed Diesel in the lumberjack match last month to establish himself as number one contender. I cannot understand why Vince stuck behind Diesel for as long as he did. He had Undertaker, Bret, and Shawn right there, who were not only much more popular, but much, much better all around performers. Not that any of those three would have lit the world on fire or anything, but any one of them would have been a better choice then Kevin Nash. Slugfest to start and Diesel gains control. Irish whip is reversed and Mabel gets a shoulderblock. He also gets a second one, and then sends Diesel to the buckle. Chops and a choke set up a corner whip which is reversed and Diesel clotheslines him in the corner. Whipped back, and Diesel gets another clothesline. Elbows in the corner hit, but Diesel canít get a slam. Mabel whips him off the ropes but Diesel ducks and gets a clothesline. A second one also hits and a shoulderblock sends Mabel out. Diesel jumps over the top onto Mabel, which I definitely didnít remember him being capable of, but hey, itís a major PPV, letís pull out all the stops. Mabel reverses a whip to the post, but Diesel gets the boot up on the charge. Back in, Diesel gets some shots. I note now, that with the exception of his entrance, which still got a smaller reaction then Taker, Bret, and Shawn, and a small ďDieselĒ chant during the match the crowd has been silent. And itís not like theyíve been silent all night, itís just started now. Mabel reverses a corner whip and slams Diesel down for 2. Butt splash, and Mabel just sits on him for a minute. Mo has removed a turnbuckle pad, but it never comes into play. Diesel gets up but is run into the corner by Mabel. Bodyslam and Mabel runs the ropes, but knocks the ref out. Mo comes in and the double team is on. Diesel tries to fight both of them off, but canít, so Lex Luger makes the save in his final televised appearance in the WWF. Diesel is wary of Luger since Lugerís partner just turned on him last week, and Diesel actually nails and tosses him. Lex has no hard feelings and gets up to attack Mo and chase him to the back. Belly to belly suplex gets a long 2 from the dazed ref. He goes up to the 2nd rope and misses a splash, which allows Diesel to go to the 2nd rope himself and nail a clothesline for 3 to retain the title at 9:17. Bad match and a terrible way to end a show, which to this point hadnít been too bad overall, but the main event counts for more points than anything else, and this one drags the show down at least a full notch. ľ*, just because Diesel surprised me with a highspot.
Well, overall itís hard to give this show a good review. The ladder match is the biggest bright spot, but itís still a disappointment given what expectations were. Hakushi/Kid is a good little hidden gem and really kicks the show off on a good note. The only other thing to break ** is Horowitz/Skip, and thatís more for storyline reasons then anything that happened in the ring. Main event is brutal, and really makes you wonder what those guys were doing on top, and I guess Vince McMahon wondered too because changes were in the air shortly after. Thumbs down for the show. The Ladder match is on The Ladder Match DVD, so if youíve got that, youíve got the only thing really worth seeing on this show.