Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WWF Summerslam 1993

It starts with Wrestlemania IX... where Bret Hart lost the WWF title to Yokozuna... who would then lose the WWF title to Hulk Hogan in an impromptu match... who would then do fuck all with the title before dropping it back to Yokozuna at the King of The Ring PPV, which would signal the final appearance of Hogan in the WWF for eight years. Yokozuna would then hold an open challenge on the U.S.S. Intrepid, where many have tried (and failed) to bodyslam the 500-pound behemoth. Then, when all was said and done, along came Lex Luger to fulfill the deed, earning himself a shot (his "only shot" according to Jim Cornette) at the champ at Summerslam. What followed was a cross-country tour, kissing babies and getting support from the paid extras posing as locals.

And then, we come to the match itself and... well, that's jumping ahead here.

Razor Ramon defeated Ted DiBiase in an okay match. This would be DiBiase's last match as an active competitor before transitioning to part-time announcer and manager... and that was probably the best move for him since he seemed a bit slower here.

WWF Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner) defeated The Heavenly Bodies (Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray with Jim Cornette) to retain the titles. This was a perfectly acceptable slice of tag-team wrestling. Nothing amazing, but still a good, entertaining match.

Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (with Diesel) defeated Mr. Perfect by countout to retain the title. To be completely honest with you, I was quite surprised by how "okay" this match was. It's not a bad match by any means and you had two perfectly capable and talented wrestlers in there (oh and Kevin Nash was also there too), but something was lacking here. I can't exactly say what, but I was expecting this to blow the roof off and it really didn't.

Irwin R. Schyster defeated The 1-2-3 Kid... what? I don't even... Next.

Bret Hart defeated Doink the Clown (with Jerry Lawler) by disqualification when Lawler, faking a leg injury in order to get out of a match with Hart, attacked the Hitman. Of course, with Lawler nice and healthy after all, we get Jack Tunney ordering a match between the two to take place. Bret Hart initially defeats Lawler with his sharpshooter, but his refusal to release the hold despite the match being over prompts officials to reverse the decision and give Lawler the win via DQ.

This was an enjoyable match. While not that great of a match from a technical standpoint, I thought this, along with the prior Doink match, told a pretty solid story overall. Bret wants revenge for Lawler's actions at King Of The Ring, Lawler fakes an injury to bow out of the match and sends in Doink, Lawler strikes Bret and reveals that he's fine, Lawler is forced into a match with Bret, Bret beats on Lawler and has the upper hand, even winning the match, but Bret's emotions get the better of him and the decision is reversed. It's a relatively uncomplicated affair that's easy to grasp and there's a clear cut distinction as to who's the hero and who's the villain in this story.

Ludvig Borga defeated Marty Jannetty... forgettable. Next.

The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Giant Gonzalez (with Harvey Wippleman) in a Rest In Peace match... and for those wondering what a "Rest In Peace match" actually is, it's basically a no-DQ match with a fancy name... because sure, why not? Gonzalez would be gone from the WWF a few months later and never to be seen again. Which was probably for the best.

Tatanka and The Smoking Gunns (Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu) (with Afa and Luna Vachon) in a six-man tag-team match that ended up being far more enjoyable than it had any business being. Honestly, given some of the names involved, I was expected so-so and got pretty good stuff here. Good stuff, overall.

Lex Luger defeated WWF Champion Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette) by countout. The victory is a cause for celebration, as balloons and confetti fall from the ceiling and superstars come out to give Luger a standing ovation for his awesome COUNTOUT victory. A video package soon follows depicting Luger's rise to the top of the ladder and his eventual COUNTOUT victory over the evil foreigner. Truly, a joyous time had by all...

Except for the little overlooked tidbit that Luger won by COUNTOUT. And in the rules of wrestling, a championship can only change hands on a pinfall or submission victory... neither of which Luger accomplished.

Yes, that's right. The man who bodyslammed the 500-pound Samoan from Japan on the USS Intrepid, the man who went on a cross-country tour in his own Lex Express bus, the man who openly challenged Yoko to a title match, the man who was given his ONE shot to dethrone the champion, the man who defeated Yokozuna by countout and got a massive celebration and video package over it... DID NOT WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

That'd be like Brock Lesnar ending the streak on a countout. It's like... WHAT?

The match dragged, it wasn't very good, but you know what? If Luger had actually, you know, WON THE TITLE, it would've been forgivable for that one moment. Hogan vs. Andre wasn't a good match by any means, but it was building towards the moment where you eventually got the "slam heard round the world" and followed up with a legdrop and pinfall victory. Imagine how that match would've been without that pinfall. That's what you've got here. In this attempt to re-invent Hulk Hogan for a new generation, Luger got the slam in, but didn't get the win that would've mattered.

From that point on, Luger would basically flounder for the next couple years. Sure, he'd have a Rumble win (that he shared with Bret Hart) and he'd have a Wrestlemania title match... but as far as Luger being a major player in that capacity? That ship had come and gone, relegating him to low-to-mid level matches where he would team up with Tatanka and later Davey Boy Smith, only for his partners to turn on him... is there any wonder why he jumped to WCW when the chance came in 1995?

There's really not much to say about this one, to be honest. While I can say that there were high points that I thought were enjoyable and/or well done (the six-man tag match, the Bret/Lawler stuff, even the tag title match), the rest of it was just forgettable fare and the main event itself certainly did not live up to any hyper hyperbole that was concocted before or since it took place. Not a bad show, overall, though... just one that didn't stick with me much.

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