Written by: Scrooge McSuck from Da Wrestling Site
The Summer of 1991 was one of those periods where everything seemed to be in limbo. There was a long stretch without a PPV, so a lot of fueds set up, or unfinished from WrestleMania, just kind of lingered forever. Best example: The Hulk Hogan/Sgt. Slaughter fiasco. Someone must’ve liked it so much at WrestleMania VII, that they filmed a post-match attack backstage, after the PPV went off the air. Then they tossed the Warrior into it, despite setting up programs with the Undertaker and a very freshly turned Jake Roberts. Then they brought back the Iron Shiek, turned him Iraqi, and called him Col. Mustafa. Then they signed Sid Vicious away from WCW… and made him special referee, and renamed him Sid JUSTICE. But with so much action, let’s go to the ring.
– All matches are coming to you, taped well in advance, from Worcester, MA. Vince McMahon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are calling all the action. Vince McMahon mocks Heenan’s summer wear, and proves his lack of being with the current era by name dropping the Beach Boys and Annette Funicello. Hell, I feel old knowing these references, and I was six years old when this show was originally broadcasted.
Hawk vs. Brian Knobbs (Tag Team Champion) (w/ Jimmy Hart):
It’s time for everyone’s match-up: the singles match featuring members from opposing tag teams! In this case, I’m not really looking forward to it. We all know Knobbs isn’t too good, and Hawk was my lesser favorite of the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. I’m just hoping this one is short. Knobbs with a little stalling and some trash talking. How did this guy ever make it in wrestling, and sustain steady employment in the big companies for over a decade? We finally get some action, and Hawk boots away on Knobbs, knocking him back out of the ring. Back inside, and Knobbs hammers away on Hawk. Irish whip, and Hawk slams Knobbs down with a handful of hair, then jumps in the air for his signature fist drop. Hawk mounts Knobbs in the corner and begins to pound away. Whip to the opposite corner, but Hawk misses a charge and lands out of the ring. Knobbs grabs a chair, and nails Hawk with it while Jimmy Hart distracted the referee. Back in the ring, and Knobbs hits Hawk coming off the ropes with an elbow. Knobbs steals Rick Martel’s finisher and slaps on the Boston Crab, but Hawk won’t give up to that garbage, and kicks Knobbs out of the ring on the escape. Knobbs goes back to working the back, though. Knobbs with a slam, and then applies a lazy as shit chinlock. Hawk tries to power out, but Knobbs drops ass and a pair of elbows for a two count. Knobbs goes back to the chinlock, but this time Hawk gets back to his feet and slams back down on top of Knobbs. Hawk comes off the ropes with a big boot, followed by a diving shoulder tackle. Irish whip, and Hawk with a powerslam. Whip to the corner, but Knobbs runs into a boot from Hawk. To the top rope, and Hawk with a flying clothesline for the three count at 7:41. Not as bad as I was expecting, thanks to Hawk being tolerable enough not to drag things down, but Knobbs is crap. I’ve never seen someone rely so heavily on stall tactics and resting.
– We throw it to one of those vignettes where the Ultimate Warrior was seeking help from Jake Roberts in an effort to help him understand “the dark side” better in his program with the Undertaker. Again, why was this NOT on the PPV with some sort of blow-off match? This is the last vignette in the series, and it takes place inside a weird undergroud cave or something. Roberts sends Warrior into a secret room that happens to be filled with an assload of snakes. The key to beating the Undertaker is in the middle of the room, inside a little chest. The 4th graders reiminagination of the Lost Ark. Warrior opens the little chest and out pops a smiling rubber snake that proceeds to jump, or be thrown off camera, at Warrior and “bites” him. Warrior crawls around for dear life before coming across the Undertaker and Paul Bearer. It was a double cross from Jake Roberts! I guess the old sayings true, never trust a snake. I kind of dug these vignettes, and it was a good and different way to establish a high profile angle. Too bad Warrior crossed the boss and got fired, leaving Jake hanging dry with nothing to do, forcing the WWF to unretire Randy Savage. I guess it was good compensation.
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. The Barbarian:
This match kind of makes sense, since the Barbarian had long been a stable-mate of Mr. Perfect under the guidance of Bobby Heenan. Shortly before this though, Bobby Heenan handed over the reigns of Mr. Perfect to Coach, thus ending the Heenan Family, and leaving guys like the Barbarian and Haku with nothing to do. Oh, Perfect is defending the Intercontinental Title against the Hitman at SummerSlam, by the way. Lockup to start, and Barbarian shoves Bret into the corner. Bret grabs a side headlock, but is plowed through with a shoulder block. Barbarian with a a headlock, and a shoulder sends Bret flying out of the ring. Lockup, and Bret pounds away on the left arm, then takes Barbarian over with an arm drag. Bret works the armbar, then sends Barbarian out of the ring following a pair of dropkicks. Hart dives off the apron, but Barbarian catches and rams him into the side of the ring. Suddenly, Coach makes his way to the ring, as Barbarian scoops Hart up and rams him into the ring post. We take a commercial break, and return with the Barbarian choking away. Whip to the corner, and Bret takes it at 100 mph. We see Coach taking notes on what’s going on in the ring. Barbarian scoops Hart up and connects with a back breaker for a two count. Irish whip, and The Barbarian kills Bret with a clothesline, then plants him with a Super-Delayed vertical suplex. He had him up there for a good 20-seconds, but it only gets a two count. Barbarian pounds away on Hart and traps him in a bear hug. Bret manages to escape taking a bite out of the forehead of the Barbarian, but Barbarian regains control, working Hart over in the corner. Whip to the opposite corner, but Bret boots him coming in, then nails a second rope clothesline. Bret with an inverted atomic drop and roundhouse rights to the midsection. Bret with mounted punches in the corner, followed by a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Bret with a back breaker and second rope elbow for another two count. Bret argues and gets nailed from behind for it. Barbarian tries to slam Bret back into the ring, but Bret counters with a small package, and that’s enough for the three count at 14:08. Surprisingly fun match, most because the Barbarian was usually a chore and a bore to watch, but Bret seemed game enough to make him look good. A nice lead in match for the big PPV.
– Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with the Special Referee for the Match Made in Hell, Sid Justice, who is conveniently wearing his wrestling trunks for whatever reason. There’s speculation if Sid, this unknown entitity in the WWF, was going to show favoritism for either side in the big tag team match. Sid answers every question with screaming. I guess casting him in the role as a babyface wasn’t smart, since he couldn’t talk like one. I know everyone had a weird liking of the guy, myself included, but he’s so much better as a heel. The commercial break that follows included Right Guard Sports Stick with Hulk Hogan. Anything less would be uncivilized.
– Event Center style promo from the Triangle of Terror, Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, and Gen. Adnan. For those who have never heard a Slaughter promo from this time frame, just add the words puke and slime in place of someone elses name, like Puke Hogan or the Ultimate Slime. Really awful.
Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mark Thomas:
I.R.S. is the returning Mike Rotundo, fresh off a run in JCP/WCW where he went from Varsity Club bully, to boat captain, to Michael Wallstreet, a man who’s match outcomes were predicted by a lap top that didn’t have a screen half the time. He gets repackaged as I.R.S. because of Vince McMahon being audited. No one ever accused Vince of not taking things personal. Anyway, I.R.S. is facing his biggest challenge to date at SummerSlam, in the form of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. 6 years earlier, Valentine was part of a team that won the Tag Team Titles from Mike Rotundo, I mean I.R.S. Lockup into the corner, and I.R.S. sucker punches Thomas. I.R.S. with a scoop slam, followed by a pair of elbow drops. I.R.S. is really rocking a mullet still. Irish whip, and I.R.S. with the diving clothesline. I.R.S. with the abdominal stretch, and he doesn’t even use the ropes for leverage. Irwin with the fallaway slam, called the Write Off, and the three count is made at 2:00. Not too bad of a squash match. Rotundo wasn’t the most exciting wrestler, but he was definitely one of those under-appreciated guys.
– We get highlights from Randy Savage’s bachelor party. Princess Kashmir is dancing around while Savage gets jiggy with it. We see that Jameson, Slick, Mean Gene, Roddy Piper, Koko B. Ware, and Bobby Heenan are in attendance. Oh look, so is Sean Mooney, Gorilla Monsoon, and the Bushwhackers. They all turn into horn dogs, as I guess the belly dancer starts stripping. The Bushwhackers brings out a giant cake and Bobby Heenan wants to get first dibs. It turns out to be some really fat chick in a bunny suit, and she sexually harrasses Heenan. Highlarious?
The Dragon, The British Bulldog, The Texas Tornado vs. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji):
This might be the only time we’ve ever seen all three members of the Orient Express (Tanaka, Sato, and Kato) in action together. Sato left shortly after the 1990 Survivor Series and was replaced by the masked Kato, otherwise known as Paul Diamond. Seems very weird for them to bring him back for this. Maybe there were plans for something, but Tanaka took a leave of absence I believe shortly after this, and thus the Express were broken up until reforming briefly in 1992, then back to being squash scrubs. I love how all three babyfaces have forgotten names in place of their gimmicks. I know Davey Boy and Von Erich were mentioned now and then by name, but only Gorilla Monsoon would dare utter “Ricky Steamboat” on the air, and yes, he does do the fire breathing shtick before the match. The trio of babyfaces are set to face the team of Power & Glory and the Warlord at SummerSlam.
The Dragon and Tanaka start. Dragon with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Tanaka tosses Dragon, but Dragon skins the cat back in and takes Tanaka over with a back drop. Dragon with an arm drag, then works a wristlock. Bulldog tags in and works the arm as well, then bowls over Tanaka with a shoulder block and takes his head off with a clothesline. Kato trips Bulldog up, allowing Tanaka to kick him on the back of the head. Irish whip is reversed, and Bulldog with a dropkick on Kato. Tornado tags in and hammers away on the arm. Sato tags in and is quickly clobbered with roundhouse rights. They managed to blow a discuss punch spot there. Tanaka knees Tornado from the apron, allowing Sato to pound away. Dragon tags back in and gets nailed coming in. Kato tags in and gets worked over. Dragon goes for a piledriver, but Tanaka runs in with a diving forearm. Fuji adds a cane shot for good measure. Kato with a snapmare, followed by a chop across the forehead. Dragon gets choked out in the corner, and Sato takes his head off with a dragon whip (no pun intended). Irish whip, and OX Original with a double elbow. Kato avoids a charge and takes Dragon’s head off with a crescent kick. Dragon continues to be double teamed as Tornado makes a lame attempt of helping him out. Sato kicks Tornado in the head for his troubles. Kato tags back in and quickly applies a chinlock. Dragon crawls for his corner, but Tanaka spoils things. Irish whip, and Tanaka with an elbow to the midsection, followed by a crescent kick. Tanaka and Kato with the leap frog splash across the back of the Dragon for a two count. Irish whip, and Dragon surprises Tanaka with a swinging neck breaker. Kato comes in and takes Dragon over with a snapmare. Dragon surprises Kato with his own heel kick, and Bulldog gets the HOT tag. Irish whip, and Bulldog with a back drop, then press slams Tanaka into Kato, and slams Sato. Bulldog catches Kato and plants him with a powerslam. Tornado with the claw on Tanaka, and Bulldog powerslams Sato. The Dragon gets the tag, and the high cross body on Kato gets the three count at 10:29. Not too bad of a tag match, although most of it was Ricky Steamboat getting his ass kicked, but when you’re so good at something, might as well do it as much as you can.
– McMahon and Heenan discuss the main event, and suddenly, Bobby Heenan whips out the WCW Championship belt and name drops Ric Flair! Holy crap, I thought they first did that at SummerSlam. The blue-screen stuff was taped much later than these matches, so it’s not too surprising, I guess.
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. Sgt. Slaughter (w/ Col. Mustafa & Gen. Adnan):
Woah, a WWF Championship Match featuring Hulk Hogan on free television? It’s also a rematch of the main event at the same year’s WrestleMania. Pretty weird to give something like that away like it were nothing. I guess someone figured at this point that no one bought into the crap with Slaughter as a real championship contender. Slaughter stalls to start, naturally. Lockup, and Hogan shoves Slaughter to the corner, then poses. Slaughter claims hair-pull, I claim what hair. Slaughter hammers away with rights in the corner. Whip to the corner is reversed and Hogan takes him over with a back drop. Hogan with a clothesline, then he rams Slaughter into the post before mounting him for some roundhouse rights of his own. Irish whip, and Slaughter punts Hogan, then thumbs the eye and rakes the back. Hogan would make this his main offense once he turned Hollywood in WCW. Hogan lands outside the ring and the Triangle of Terror take turns tormenting Thunderlips. Back in the ring, and Slaughter maintains control. We come back from commercial with Slaughter choking Hogan across the top rope. The referee gets distracted, allowing Slauighter to use a chair. That only gets a two count, though. Did Hogan blade? Hogan did a blade job on primetime wrestling?! Slaughter to the top rope, and he over-jumps, barely getting his foot across the back of Hogan. That gets a two count, and it’s Hulk Up Time™! Hogan with roundhouse rights, followed by the big boot. Mustafa climbs on the apron and gets knocked off, but Adnan manages to toss powder in Hogan’s face. The puff of smoke is hanging around yet the referee doesn’t question it. Mustafa comes in and does some of the worst stomping on Hogan. The referee FINALLY sees this all and calls for the Disqualification at… never, really, but the bell still rings at 8:58, despite Slaughter knocking the referee out. Who called for the bell, then? Slaughter slaps on the Camel Clutch, but Sid Justice makes his way to the ring and scares back THREE MEN, two of them former WWF Champions. Hogan recovers and grabs the chair, and that clears the ring, but Sid yanks the chair away. Whose side are you on, Sid!? Match was okay, but definitely not good either.
– Courtesy of SuperStars of Wrestling. Andre the Giant was a hot free agent, and all the managers wanted him, but Andre spurned everyone’s offer, except for Jimmy Hart, who was looking to put Earthquake in a tag team with another mammoth WWF Superstar. Andre The Giant threatens Jimmy Hart with violence, so Earthquake clips the knee of Andre with the mega-phone. Nice to see Jimmy and Quake help guide Andre for the bump. Earthquake works Andre over pretty good, injuring his knee pretty badly (kayfabe).
The Natural Disasters vs. Ross Greenberg & Ray Garcia:
The Disasters are Earthquake and Typhoon, formerly known as Tugboat. They’re scheduled to face the Bushwhackers at SummerSlam, and the Bushwhackers will have Andre The Giant in their corner for moral support. Typhoon hammers away on Garcia and nails him coming off the ropes with a clothesline. Typhoon actually hits an elbow drop, then does a dropkick!? Earthquake tags in and puts Garcia down with an elbow, then drops an elbow across the chest. Quake sends Garcia to the corner, then crushes him with an Avalanche. Typhoon tags in and does the same. Greenberg comes in illegally and gets nailed with a double shoulder tackle and tossed over the top rope. Typhoon with a scoop slam, followed by the Tidal Wave (Splash), and Earthquake with his vertical splash for three count at 2:14. Impressive squash match. The Disasters had potential as a team, but that always seems like the case on in squash matches. When they had to have real matches, my God were they boring.
– It’s time for The Barber Shop to open for business, with your host Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. His guest is the Sensational Sherri, and I’m surprised he doesn’t call her Scary Sherri. She was managing Ted Dibiase at this point, and her outfits usually looked like a french maid meets a stripper. Sherri says she’d like to slap Randy Savage and puke on Elizabeth as a gift for their wedding. Brutus Beefcake offers Sherri transportation to and from the Wedding, then hands her a broomstick. Sherri takes a swing at Beefcake, but he runs away like the wuss he is. I personally enjoyed when Piper chased her while riding the broom on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event. Now THAT was awesome.
– It’s the SummerSlam Report! Coming to you live on August 26th from Madison Square Garden in New York City! The only way to join us is on Pay-Per-View, because tickets are SOLD OUT! We get (more) comments from the Triangle of Terror, Ted Dibiase (who says Virgil will arrive in a black stretch limo and leave in a yellow cab), Virgil (who claims he tips well), The Mountie and Jimmy Hart, and the Big Boss Man.
The card is as followed…
- The Match Made in Heaven: The Wedding of Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth
- The Match Made in Hell: Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior vs. the Triangle of Terror with Sid Justice as the special guest referee!
- Mr. Perfect defends the Intercontinental Title against Bret Hart
- The Nasty Boys defend their Tag Team Titles against the Legion of Doom, and there’s no Count-Out’s or Disqualifications for this encounter
- Ted Dibiase puts his Million Dollar Belt on the line against his former bodyguard, Virgil
- Big Boss Man vs. The Mountie in a Jailhouse Match. Loser spends a night in a NYC Jail!
- The Bushwhackers, with Andre the Giant in the corner, take on the Natural Disasters
- The Figure Four takes on the W4, Greg Valentine against Irwin R. Schyster
- The Dragon, Tornado, and Bulldog in 6-man action against the Warlord and Power & Glory
Virgil vs. Ted Dibiase’s Mystery Man (w/ Ted Dibiase & Sensational Sherri):
Not as exciting as Dibiase’s previous mystery revelation, the Undertaker. It’s some masked scrub who doesn’t even get a name! The guy is wearing a pretty big arm pad on his left arm, but a tattoo is poking through. It’s Barry Darsow, who was in between gimmicks at this point. Demolition disbanded following WrestleMania, but was a ways from being the Repo Man, still. Virgil bounces around like he’s Sugar Ray Leonard. Lockup, and Mystery Man throws him down and pounds away. Mystery Man chokes away and drags the eyes across the top rope. Virgil comes back with a series of rights and lefts. Whip to the corner, and Virgil takes him over with a hip toss. Virgil with a waist-lock, but it’s countered and he’s taken down. Virgil turns it into a hammerlock. Whip to the corner, and Virgil with a roll up for a two count. Virgil with more of his boxing style punches, then works a wristlock. Irish whip, and Virgil with a shoulder block, but Mystery Man drops him across the top rope. Irish whip, and Mystery Man slaps on a sleeper hold, but Virgil quickly escapes with elbows to the midsection. Irish whip is reversed, and Virgil with a clothesine. Heenan identifies the first name of the masked man as Murray. Virgil with the Million Dollar Dream, but Dibiase hooks the leg, allowing Murray to clothesline Virgil over the top rope. Murray brings him back in with a suplex, and yes, I’m calling him that because it’s easier than Masked Man. Murray screams “how you like that” and it obviously sounds like Barry Darsow. Heenan claims Murray’s from Michigan, which is pretty funny, since I think Darsow really is from there. Anyway, Virgil blocks a splash with a punch and covers for three at 4:56. Well, that was interesting. Not good, not bad. Just there.
– The Mountie is hanging around some jail cells in New York City, and threatens that the Boss Man will be spending a night here and have to go through the embarrassment of being finger printed and having his mug shot taken. Jacques Rougeau is SO over the top cutting this promo it’s hard not to find it entertaining. This was nothing compared to what he did at the actual PPV. Big Boss Man responds in front of a blue screen, and tells the Mountie he’s going to serve hard time.
– Promotional consideration paid for by the following… Mr. Freeze Freezer Bars! WWF Figures featuring the wwf ring with flag and championship belt! Advanced Formula Tegrin! Permit Sportswear… FOR GUYS! Jolly Rancher Candy, the great taste of fruit, squared!
Final Thoughts: This show was a lot more fun to sit through than I remember, but to be fair, the last copy I had access to completely butchered the show of all the non-wrestling stuff, as well as the squashes. I know that sounds weird to complain about, but you need everything to make the show feel complete when watching it. There’s a couple of good matches featured here, and nothing was outright bad. Definitely a good way to build up for the PPV coming up the following Monday. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that PPV, but I remember having fond memories of it.