- Originally broadcasted on August 26th, 1991, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY, with Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, and Roddy Piper calling all the action. This SummerSlam had a interesting tagline to it: A Match Made in Heaven, a Match Made in Hell. That would describe the "double Main Event", the handicap tag team match pitting WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior against the Triangle of Terror, along with the "wedding" of Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth. Typing this in 2012, I can't help but think how depressing watching this is going to be.
The Dragon, The British Bulldog, The Texas Tornado vs. Power & Glory, and The Warlord (w/ Slick):
It's the land of the rarely-used real names! In cases like Davey Boy Smith and Kerry Von Erich, their names would come up from time to time, but outside of a handful of instances, the new "Ricky Steamboat" was never uttered, and if it was, his history as a former Intercontinental Champion sure as shit was never once aknowledged. I don't think there's anything to this, other than the never-ending Bulldog/Warlord "strong man" crap. For whatever reason, WWE dubs over Dragon's theme music... note, this WASN'T Sirius, but generic music he used specifically during this run as "the Dragon." What was that, the out-take fart-noise from an Alan Parsons Project album they stole, or something? Dragon and Roma start it off. Roma with a knee to the midsection, scoop slam and dropkick. Dragon takes Roma off the second rope with an arm drag, then works the arm. Dragon with a dropkick, followed by a snapmare. Hercules tags in, and falls victim to much of the same. Tornado tags in, more of the same, but with more punching. Warlord and Bulldog tag in for the inevitable confrontation. Bulldog gets the upperhand, and takes Warlord over with the delay vertical suplex. Dragon tags in, and gets some token offense in on Warlord before getting to play the gimmick-in-peril. Dragon surprises Roma with a roll up, but Warlord wipes him out with a clothesline. Roma with a snap suplex for a two count, followed by a trio of back breakers. Hercules with a press slam, and boots to the midsection. Dragon mounts a mild comeback, but gets dropped across the top rope by Hercules. Warlord plants Dragon with a slam, then eats boot coming off the second rope. Tornado gets the hot tag, and unloads with rights on everyone. Bulldog tags in and gets caught in a bearhug, but Tornado nails Warlord with a discuss punch for a two count. Roma runs in, and Bulldog plants him with a running powerslam, while Tornado has the Claw on Hercules. Dragon tags in, hits the high body press, and the three count is made at 10:41. Solid opening match, but it was a little too rushed for a 6-man tag... to the matches credit, the Dragon did 90% of the work, and Hercules and Warlord's level of suck was kept to a minimum. When would you ever read someone calling Paul Roma the best option? Oh, as for "real names", only Davey Boy Smith was used, once, and it was barely audible.
I don't know how much backstory there was to this one... Mr. Perfect went down with a pretty serious back injury for most of the summer, and was questionable for competing in this match, but he suffered through the pain to do the right thing. Coach is veteran John Tolos, but no one knows who he is, and no one cares, either. Bobby Heenan was phased out as a manager to be focused permanently in the broadcast booth (and probably because of his own list of injuries that were becoming more and more nagging). Bret grabs a headlock to start, then sends Perfect out of the ring with a hip toss. Back inside, Bret with a crucifix for a two count, then works a headlock. Bret maintains control with some slick pulling of the hair. Bret with a cross body press and sunset flip for a pair of two counts, then back to the headlock. Perfect with a slam, they exchange mule kicks, and Bret sends Perfect to the floor with a clothesline. Perfect teases leaving, but Bret practically tears the singlet off his back to bring the match back in the ring.
Perfect with a sucker-punch in the corner, to FINALLY turn the tide. Perfect with a well placed boot to knock Bret out of the ring. Bret climbs back on the apron, and gets shoved off into the security rail... and some goober camera man. Back inside, and Bret surprises Perfect with a roll up for a two count. Perfect sends Bret to the corner, and Bret made that look good. Perfect with the float-over neck snap and roll up for a two count. Perfect with a running dropkick, knocking Bret to the floor, once more. They both fight over position on the top rope, and both end up falling, with Perfect landing on top in a fluke for a two count. Perfect slaps Bret around and tosses Bret across the ring with a handful of hair. Perfect slaps on a sleeper, but Bret won't stay down for long. Bret tries for another crucifix, but Perfect counters with a Samoan drop for a two count. Corner bump gets two. Perfect-Plex only gets two (big pop). Bret with an inverted atomic drop, followed by the traditional kind. Bret tosses Perfect by the hair, and Perfect crotches himself on the ring post. Bret with a snap suplex for a two count. Small package for a two count. Russian leg sweep for two. Back breaker and second rope elbow for two. This crowd is just eating out of the hands of the match at this point. Bret argue the count, and Perfect rolls him up for two. They spill to the outside, and Bret whips Perfect into the post. Back inside, and Bret targets the legs. He goes for the sharpshooter, but Coach creates a distraction, allowing a cheap low blow. Perfect drops a leg across the midsection, does it again, but Bret catches the leg, turns over, and the Sharpshooter wins the match and the title at 18:03. I'll ignore Hebner calling for the bell in record time (don't make the obvious joke). Outstanding match, just wondering how awesome it would've been had Perfect's back not been so badly screwed up. This is the match that launched Bret Hart's singles career, after years of false pushes and demotions back to the tag team scene.
The Bushwhackers (w/ Andre The Giant) vs. The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart):
(Butch & Luke vs. Earthquake & Typhoon)
Talk about a SummerSlam demotion for the 'Quake: From headlining the year before to facing the Bushwhackers the next. People complain about Vince using Andre for all he was worth until WrestleMania VI rarely comment trotting the poor bastard out for PPV's and the overseas tour, just for the sake of appearance. Earthquake injured Andre a few weeks back after Andre refused to form a super-team, and Typhoon turned on the Bushwhackers (back when he was Tugboat), so there's actually backstory to this one. Andre on crutches would make this a more interesting match for me than watching the Bushwhackers. I don't know, but that shot of Andre looking on wearing a dumb Bushwhacker hat... he just looks so sad. I can't explain it. Butch bites Typhoon to gain control, and we get heel miscommunication. They use Earthquake to battering ram Typhoon, then double clothesline Earthquake out of the ring. Butch plays the bitch-in-peril, and it's the usual power offense from 'Quake and 'Phoon, including the use of bearhugs. The crowd has lost interest fairly quickly. The WWF was entering a period when their tag division really didn't interest me: Bushwhackers, Natural Disasters, Nasty Boys, Beverly Brothers... no thanks. Luke gets the heatless hot tag, and a battering ram rocks both men, but doesn't really hurt them. Quake nails Luke from behind, gives him the vertical splash for the three count at 6:35. I guess they didn't need to add the Tidal Wave. That's just being excessive when it comes to the Bushwhackers. Total filler, but it was short and inoffensive. The Disasters go after Andre, but the LOD make their presence felt, because you don't mess with Andre.
- WWF SummerSlam Special Report: Bobby Heenan is hanging around outside of "Hulk Hogan's" locker room, and on behalf of the REAL World's Champion, Ric Flair, offers a challenge, but gets the door slammed in his face. Ric Flair jumping to the WWF was a pretty big deal, even for a 6-year old mark like me. Flair was one of the faces of WCW to me, and this was one of the first instances of "fantasy" scenarios, like Flair vs. Hogan at WrestleMania VIII.
Here's the short version of what lead to this: Dibiase is a rich jerk, he made Virgil do things he didn't want to do, humiliated him, Virgil got sick of it, Roddy Piper taught him how top stick up for himself and be a man, bingo, bango, bongo, here we go. Unlike at WrestleMania VI, Dibiase wanted to make sure that the title can only change hands by Pinfall or Disqualification. Again, back to my 6-year old mark perspective: Virgil was the shit, and probably my favorite of the non-superhuman wrestlers at the time (Hogan, Undertaker, Warrior...). I guess that shows how much I disliked Dibiase (a good kind of dislike). Virgil attacks from behind, and sends Dibiase out of the ring with three clotheslines. Virgil controls with his faux-boxing, and an atomic drop sends Dibiase back to the floor. Virgil goes for a plancha, but Dibiase avoids it, so it's SPLAT for Virg'. Dibiase sends Virgil into the steps, and he's playing dead at this point. Back in the ring, and Dibiase with a clothesline, followed by a pair of fist drops. Double axehandle gets a two count. Virgil gets a fluke comeback with the Million Dollar Dream, but Sherri interferes to draw the Disqualification 6:16... but the referee says the match must continue!
Added stipulation to restarting the match: Sherri must remove herself from ringside or face PERMANENT suspension! Tony Garea and Rene Goulet make sure she leaves. Come on Sherri, you can handle those two scrubs. Virgil blocks being rammed to the buckle and returns the favor, ten times to be exact. Virgil with rights and lefts in the corner. Whip across the ring is reversed, and Hebner gets sandwiched between Virgil and the corner. Dibiase takes the time to lay Virgil out with a pair of suplexes, in between trash talking Piper at ringside. Dibiase adds more punishment with a piledriver, then remove one of the turnbuckle pads. Dibiase picks Virgil off the canvas and talks trash, but Virgil uses Dibiase's momentum to ram Dibiase into the exposed turnbuckle, and both men are down and out for the recently revived referee. Virgil with a slow crawl to make the cover, and the three count makes it official at 14:09, giving Virgil the Million Dollar Belt. The actual wrestling was pretty low-quality, but the storyline wrapped around it and the blow-off make this one highly entertaining. This is when "sports entertainment" can be done right. Sadly, Virgil's singles push would be short-lived, as he would wind up being relegated to JTTS status for the majority of his time after this program ended.
Jailhouse Match: Big Boss Man vs. The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart):
I don't know much on the reasoning behind this program, other than the Mountie is a villain law enforcement officer from Canada, Boss Man is a good guy, the Mountie ambushed Boss Man and used his shock stick on him, and there you go: Insta-Feud. Loser of this gets to spend the night in a New York City jail, complete with mug shot and finger printing. I gaurantee, ten years later, Mountie wins 10 times out of 10, but this was still when the right characters went over at the right time... for the most part. Boss Man controls early, and chokes Mountie across the middle rope. Boss Man goes again, but slides out of the ring and punches Mountie instead of splashing across the back. Mountie heads to the second turnbuckle, and gets caught with a spinebuster. Boss Man makes the unwise decision of going after Jimmy Hart, and gets thrown into the ring steps for it. Whip to the ropes, and Mountie with a diving back elbow (off-topic: chalk up The Mountie as another "forgotten name", 'cause everyone knows its Jacques Rougeau). Mountie with a slam for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Boss Man misses a charge. Mountie with a snapmare and elbow drop for another two count. Whip to the ropes, and Mountie connects on a dropkick for two. Monsoon recycles a line he often used about Lou Albano in reference to Jimmy Hart: The greatest walking advertisement for birth control. Back to the match, it's a slugfest, won by Mountie biting. Mountie with a piledriver, but he's too cocky to go for the cover. Mountie goes for the zapper, but Boss Man rolls away and nails Mountie with an uppercut. Whip to the ropes, and Boss Man does it again. Boss Man with the sidewalk slam... but that only gets two! I can only think of Hogan kicking out of that one. Mountie trips Boss Man up and goes for another piledriver, but Boss Man counters with the Alabama Slam, and the three count is made at 9:38, sending the Mountie to jail for the night. Decent match, but nothing to put on either's career resume of quality highlights. The real fun will begin in a few minutes, though, as Boss Man has the local fuzz handcuff the Mountie and throw him in the back of the paddywagon.
- We get an ass-load of interviews to kill time for Intermission, I guess. The only highlight is the occasional bits involving the Mountie, screaming "You can't do this to me" and "I'm Da Mountie!" Mountie begs for mercy, reciting the miranda rights as he's hauled into the station. Next up: They trick the Mountie into getting his mugshot taken. Then it's time for fingerprints. "Give me your finger!" "You want the finger? THERE'S THE FINGER! (flps the bird)." We conclude these bits later, with Mountie being thrown in a cell with a guy wearing a lot of leather. Awesome stuff, mostly because of Mountie's reactions.
(Knobbs & Sags vs. Hawk & Animal)
I'm pretty sure this is a "No Disqualification" match, but for whatever reason, they follow the proper rules of tagging in and out... why not just make it a Tornado tag, or something? I don't think there's much to this, just an excuse to FINALLY get the damn belts on the Road Warriors. With the Rockers on the verge of splitting, the LOD was really the only team I had interest in any more. Pretty sad and it only got worse. LOD attacks before the bell, takes the action out of the ring, and continue the domination. Back inside, Animal with a powerbomb on Knobbs for a two count. Hawk busts out an enziguri on Sags, then comes off the ropes with a diving shoulder for a two count. Sags gets a spray bottle of breath mint of some kind and uses it on Hawk to gain control. Hawk sells it by stumbling around, falling all over the place. I thought they did this angle in 1998, not 1991. Sags takes a tray of concessions, and smashes it across the back of Hawk. Animal comes in to try and save, BUT GETS SENT BACK TO THE CORNER? Did someone forget to tell Joey Marella this is No DQ? Hawk continues to take an uninteresting beating, cause we all know LOD is going to win. Animal gets the hot tag in a No DQ Match, and lays out both Nasty Boys with clotheslines. Animal with a powerslam on Knobbs, but Sags makes the save. Hawk comes in to get everyone in on the action. The motorcycle helmet gets used on Animal, but that only gets a two count. Hawk nails Jimmy Hart, uses the helmet on Knobbs, then on Sags, and the Doomsday Device gives the LOD the WWF Tag Titles at 7:45, completing the Triple Crown. Match was nothing to get excited for from a quality standpoint and the outcome was obvious, even to young marks.
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs. Irwin R. Schyster:
Filler before the main event, and my... how times have changed. In another time, didn't Rotundo lose the Tag Titles to Greg Valentine (and some other guy)? Valentine had turned face at this point of his WWF run, and really didn't do much other than a lot of jobbing to guys he never wrestled before, and I.R.S. is a recently returned Mike Rotundo, fresh off his stint in WCW where they were turning him into their version of the Million Dollar Man, which makes it even more awesome that after WWF stole him away, they paired him up with Dibiase as "Money Inc.". I.R.S. is rockin' a swank mullet here, and it still amazes me how much heat a guy can get for telling people to pay their taxes. Valentines goes for the arm, then switches it to a side headlock. Valentine with a hip toss and clothesline, knocking I.R.S. to the floor. Suddenly, Gorilla Monsoon mentions Jake Roberts and the Undertaker are here, and the Wedding is brought up in the same sentence... Hmm... odd, that it's brought up just minutes before the main event (the wrestling part... well, SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT part). We'll get into this in the next match. Back to the match at hand... I.R.S. gains control, and works in the abdominal stretch, and yes, he DOES use the ropes for extra leverage. Valentine escapes with a hip toss, but misses an elbow drop. I.R.S. with a diving clothesline, followed by an elbow for a two count. I.R.S. heads to the top, and gets slammed off for his efforts. I.R.S. misses a corner charge, and Valentine goes for the knee. Figure-Four attempt, but I.R.S. is in the ropes. Valentine goes for it again, and this time I.R.S. counters with a cradle, and that gets a three count at 7:08. Watchable, weekend syndication match, and decent filler.
The Match Made in Hell: Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, Gen. Adnan:
(Special Referee: Sid Justice)
For those with a short attention span, Hulk Hogan won the WWF Title from Slaughter at WrestleMania, but for whatever reason, they followed it up with a post-show attack that extended the program through the summer, and also re-introduced us to the Iron Sheik, clever named Col. Mustafa. Somehow Warrior got tied up into the mix, despite a program with the Undertaker, and in the weeks leading up to the PPV, with Jake Roberts. Then someone said "fuck it" and through Sid Vicious... Sorry, Sid JUSTICE out there, fresh off jumping from WCW, as the referee, for whatever reasons I can't come up with. As for my comments in the previous match: Strong rumors and WWF stories suggest some trouble backstage during this show, involving the Warrior, a large sum of money, and immediate termination following this particular match. Warrior's program with Undertaker and Roberts was finally put into gear, but Warrior's sudden termination left them without anything to do, and they quickly shot footage for the upcoming weeks shows where Undertaker and Roberts arrived uninvited to the wedding reception of Savage and Elizabeth, terrorizing Elizabeth with a snake and KO'ing Savage. The PBP team announcing their presence (without actually being on television during the broadcast) and immediately discussing the wedding makes me wonder: Did someone get the news through to Monsoon midmatch "hey, mention this, cause shit just went down", or am I looking a little too much into it? Doing "what if's" is always a spotty thing to do, but this seems like a real posibility.
With all that out of the way, let's go to the match... it's going to suck. When Hulk Hogan is the guy in the ring to carry the match with four other men, you better hope you've taken some special vitamins before praying. Hogan and Slaughter start, eventually. Slaughter tries using a belt or something, but Sid immediately disarms him. Slaughter pounds away in the corner, but quickly takes his signature bump to the corner, and gets to play monkey in the middle for Hogan and Warrior. Warrior tags in for a double clothesline. Warrior with an inverted atomic drop, and a double boot follows from the Ultimate Powers. Hogan and Warrior make frequent tags, but the crowd is surprisingly not into this. Sid's referee skills are pretty bad, even for "guest referee" standards. Slaughter finally tags out, after 6-minutes in the ring, to ADNAN of all people. Mustafa tags in, bringing back memories of a certain moment from 1984. Mustafa slaps on the camel clutch, as Piper incorrectly recalls this from "1983", but I'll ignore it, since this was before Hogan cited January 23rd, 1984 as the birth of Hulkamania every chance he could. Warrior eventually gets the mid-match hot tag, laying out Slaughter with clothesline. Warrior has a brief moment with Sid (there's a match for the ages, if it ever would've happened), allowing the Triangle of Terror to control, again. Slaughter continues working the majority of the match, and we get a double knockdown spot. Hogan gets the hot tag, and he wags the finger without taking a big move... yikes. Hogan with a big boot, and in comes Warrior to lay out Adnan and Mustafa, then chase them back to the dressing room (and get fired). Hogan with a handful of python powder, and the leg drop for the three count at 12:42. Nice fast count from Sid... Hogan celebrates by himself, then brings Sid out to join him. Where's Warrior? Oh yeah, nevermind. Really boring, and all the backstage shenanigans surrounding this is far more interesting than the match. This was making me long for Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus from 1989, it was that tough for me to get through.
- We close the show with the Wedding of Randy Savage and Elizabeth, including a pretty well done video montage of the two, one of the earliest examples of WWF producing some good montages. The wedding, at least what was shown here, goes off without any drama, interference, or any other shenanigans that every other wedding in WWF/E history has included. It's a nice moment for it's time, and was something completely different to cap off Elizabeth's return at WrestleMania VII. Sorry if I'm not going into more detail, but again, this is very depressing to watch, knowing the fate of both and all the trouble their real relationship was known for.
Final Thoughts: Until the last 40-or so minutes of the PPV, it's a satisfying card. You've got some great wrestling, great storyline blow-offs, and a pretty hot crowd for the majority of things. Unfortunately, it all comes to a screeching hault with a very subpar main event tag match, and watching this years later, the Wedding is not something to sit through, and honestly, as a heterosexual male, I'm not too into watching fake (or real) weddings to begin with. Throw everything together, it's still a recommended card, and probably the best SummerSlam to date (yes, I know, there's only four at this point).
Comment about this article on Da' Wrestling Boards!