The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 91 – 08.26.91
UGH. New format rant last time I did this back in 2007. Let’s redo it 2021 style.
LIVE from Madison Square Garden, drawing 20,000 people and a 2.7 buyrate. Does the Garden even hold 20,000 people? It did that night, to quote Kevin Nash!
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan & Rowdy Roddy Piper
NUPTIALS TURN TO NAPALM! You cannot say Vince didn’t know how to get his own product over.
Ricky Steamboat, Kerry Von Erich & The British Bulldog v. Hercules, Paul Roma & Warlord
Unfortunately, Roddy’s prediction about Kerry being “Texas born, Texas bred and Texas dead” was all too true. Roma beats on the Dragon to start and gets a slam and dropkick, but he comes off the middle rope and Steamboat catches him with an armdrag and goes to work on it. Roma slugs away in the corner but misses a blind charge and Dragon goes back to the arm again, so it’s over to Hercules. Tornado comes in and works the arm and slugs away in the corner while Piper and Bobby do some funny sniping at each other via Gorilla. Warlord comes in and trades power moves with Bulldog, but loses that battle, and Bulldog gets a suplex for two. Steamboat comes in with the flying chop, but tries a monkey flip and gets blocked. The heels go to work on him, while the referee does an exceptionally bad job of keeping control, and Roma hits Dragon with a snap suplex for two. Roma hits him with a series of backbreakers and Herc comes in with the press slam. Steamboat fights back and gets dropped on the top rope, as Warlord comes in and cuts off the tag. Warlord with a slam and he goes to the middle rope for god knows what reason, and of course lands on Ricky’s foot. Hot tag Tornado and he runs wild, looking like he can’t remember what city he’s in, and Bulldog gets a bodypress on Warlord for two with the help of a discus punch. Powerslam on Roma gets two as this referee is awful. Back to Steamboat with a flying bodypress on Roma, and that finishes at 10:43. Sure, just let anyone come into the ring whenever they want, why not?
Apparently so, Walter. Decent opener but I found it pretty boring this time around. **
Intercontinental title: Mr. Perfect v. Bret Hart
So of course, Perfect had actually been out for a couple of months with a wrecked back, disguised by long taping cycles, so it was incredibly impressive that he was able to even show up here. Less impressive was Coach John Tolos replacing Bobby Heenan as his manager, although Bill Alfonso no doubt saw the whistle gimmick and went “Hmm…” Bret takes Perfect to the floor with a hiptoss right away, and back in for a crucifix that gets two. Bret grabs a headlock and uses the hair to maintain control, which Gorilla justifies with the legal case of Goose v. Gander. I thought that one got overturned by the Supreme Court? Also if what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, does that mean that two wrongs DON’T make a right? Bret catches a kick and sweeps the leg…
…then slams Perfect for two and clotheslines him to the floor. You can tell Perfect is bumping really stiff tonight and he must have been in horrific pain. So he tries to walk away and Bret rips his tights to haul him back in, but Perfect gets a shot over the head of the ref in the corner and goes to work. Bobby: “Bret’s parents look really concerned. Probably because they snuck in and they’re afraid the usher is going to throw them out!” Perfect tosses him and get some shots on the floor and knocks Bret off the apron, and then launches him off the apron again with a bump into the railing as Bret takes out a photographer in the process. But that absorbs the impact, so Bret is able to storm back in with a rollup for two before Perfect puts him down with a clothesline. Bret takes a WICKED corner bump off a whip and that gets two. Necksnap gets two. You could see that Bret knew this was his big chance and he wasn’t going to blow it. Mom’s spaghetti, etc. Perfect with a dropkick as Bret bumps to the floor, but Perfect goes to the top and Bret slugs him down and both guys fall to the mat, with Perfect landing on top for two. Bobby: “Don’t hit the ref and get disqualified, Perfect!” Gorilla: “Why not? That’ll save his title!” Bobby: “OK, WAFFLE HIM! Drop him like a bad habit!” Perfect grabs a sleeper, but Bret elbows out and tries a crucifix, which Perfect blocks with a samoan drop for two. Perfect with the chops in the corner and another vicious bump into the corner for Bret, who is determined to get a great match out of the crippled Perfect. NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A PERFECTPLEX, but it only gets two. That’s a pretty big deal for Perfect to give him that. Bret comes back with an atomic drop, both ways, to make the comeback, and Perfect bumps into the post. Bret with the snap suplex for two. Small package gets two. Legsweep gets two. Backbreaker and he goes up with the elbow for two. Bret gets all distracted and Perfect rolls him up for two, but they fight to the floor and Bret sends him into the post. Back in, Bret KICKS THE LEG OUT FROM UNDER HIS LEG and tries the Sharpshooter, but Coach gets involved and Bret takes him out, which allows Perfect to go low. So Perfect decides to drop a leg on Bret’s groin, but Bret catches the leg, wraps him up in the Sharpshooter, and wins the IC title at 18:02. And away we go. ****1/4
This October: Hulk Hogan in “A Real American Story”, which is apparently coming to PPV. WTF was THAT supposed to be? That commercial was definitely cut from the Coliseum Video so they obviously changed their plans shortly after the PPV aired.
Meanwhile, Andre and the Bushwhackers are ready to get revenge on the Natural Disasters.
The Natural Disasters v. The Bushwhackers
I find it astonishing that they were still talking about bringing Andre back for another run given that he was on crutches here and could barely move. Roddy: “Bobby, what would your strategy be if you were managing the Bushwhackers?” Bobby: “Well, if I was managing them, I’d commit suicide.” The Whackers whip the Disasters into each other and hit Typhoon with the battering ram to put him on the floor and then dump Earthquake to clear the ring. Back in, Quake clobbers Butch from behind to take over, but misses an elbow. Butch tries for the tag but Quake just holds onto the foot while he flails around, and It’s over to Typhoon for the backbreaker. Meanwhile, Bobby announces that Hulk Hogan has arrived, so he’s leaving to go embarrass him right now. Maybe he’ll ask him if he’s ever taken steroids on live TV! Or maybe he’ll produce a sex tape where Hulk reveals that he’s a racist. I’ve heard that’ll do the trick. Meanwhile Typhoon gets a bearhug as this match is already boring the crowd, but Luke gets a hot tag and the Bushwhackers run wild. Quake hits the floor and Luke kind of rolls up Typhoon for two, but then Quake comes back in, squishes Luke, and finishes with the butt splash at 6:24. They gave the faces way too much here. They were building up the Disasters for the LOD feud from day one and it should have been a complete squash. ½* And they go after Andre afterwards, but LOD makes the save and chases them off.
Meanwhile, in one of the biggest “should have been” moments ever, Bobby Heenan knocks on Hulk’s door with the Big Gold Belt, challenging him on behalf of Ric Flair, but gets the door slammed in his face, which makes him look like a goof while Gorilla and Piper laugh at him.
Meanwhile, Randy Savage chats on the Superstar Line in another bit cut from Coliseum Video.
Meanwhile, Ted Dibiase goes over his history with Virgil and all the humiliating things he’s made him do over the years. Ted promises to leave him laying in the gutter with only a crying towel. And there’s a lot of gutters in New York! Hopefully poor Virgil can at least support himself with autograph signings afterwards and maybe eat at Olive Garden.
Million Dollar title: Ted Dibiase v. Virgil
Virgil attacks and slugs away to start, backdropping him out of the corner and clotheslining him to the floor. Back in, Virgil shows his fisticuffsmanship and puts Ted on the floor again with an atomic drop. He tries a pescado and Dibiase moves, and then sends Virgil into the stairs like yesterday’s breadsticks. Back in, Dibiase with a clothesline to take over and he drops the fist for two. To the top for a double axehandle, for two. Backdrop out of the corner gets two. Virgil comes back and catches him in the Million Dollar Dream, but Sherri runs in and knocks him out with the loaded purse for the apparent DQ at 6:32 while Piper freaks out. But for some reason, the match MUST CONTINUE and Sherri just gets booted back to the dressing room. That feels like a house show deal. So Dibiase recovers first and beats on Virgil in the corner, but Virgil comes back and runs him into the turnbuckles for the 10 count before slugging away in the corner. Dibiase bumps the ref to buy time and Piper is having a coronary on commentary, and Dibiase decides to talk some shit to Piper for good measure. Dibiase adds three suplexes to the overmatched Virgil while Piper is just selling the shit out of this on commentary, and Dibiase adds a piledriver to be a complete dick. Finally he pulls off the turnbuckle, but Virgil runs him into the steel and both guys are out, so Virgil rolls over and pins him to win the Million Dollar belt at 13:13, finally paying off that storyline after three years. One note is that Bobby quips “There’s gonna be taxes that have to be paid” after he wins the belt, which I’m thinking was maybe a hint that they were going to move him into a feud with IRS before they abruptly switched the belt back to Dibiase again instead? A quick check of Cagematch reveals that yeah, there was a bunch of house show matches with the future Money Inc against Virgil and a partner (Bret Hart or Bossman) so I guess that’s what they were thinking of. Anyway, this was clearly the best match Virgil had ever, or would ever, be involved in for the entirety of his career. ***3/4 I can only imagine what 2021 Vince “Gotta get the HEAT pal” McMahon would have come up with a finish here, though. Virgil loses while Dibiase stands on his throat or something? God only knows.
Jailhouse match: The Mountie v. Big Bossman
Speaking of creative peaks, Mountie chats with Mean Gene before the match, insulting the NYPD (aka “these little local hick cops”) and instructing them to do things the Mountie way, not the New York City hick cop way, and make sure that they shackle Bossman’s ankles and don’t show him any mercy while they throw him into the pokey. Sometimes the most obvious payoffs are still the best. Bossman slugs him down while Mountie is trying to remind us who he is, and a big splash gets two. Bossman chokes him out on the ropes, but Mountie thumbs him in the eye and goes up. Bossman catches him with a spinebuster goes to a neck vice, but he gets distracted by Jimmy Hart and gets run into the stairs as a result. Back in, Mountie puts the boots to him and follows with a back elbow and whips him into the corner. Slam gets two and Bossman comes back, but he misses a charge and hits the corner. Piper: “Maybe if the Mountie goes to jail he’ll get his man!” Mountie drops an elbow for two and follows with a dropkick for two before sending Bossman to the floor. Back in, they slug it out and Mountie goes for a piledriver, hitting it on the second try. Shock stick time, but Bossman slugs it out of his hands and makes the comeback. Bossman Slam gets two. Not sure why they had him kick out, seems like they were overthinking that finish. Mountie recovers and tries another piledriver, but Bossman reverses to an Alabama Slam and pins him at 9:38 to send him to jail. Kind of a crap match, actually, with a dead crowd. *1/2 And so the cops come out and cuff Mountie and drag him to the back while he’s screaming like a coward the whole time.
Intermission time as Ted Dibiase rants to Mean Gene about how Virgil cheated and stole the title from him, Bret Hart celebrates his new Intercontinental title, The Natural Disasters are going to get revenge on the LOD, Big Bossman looks forward to the horrible night Mountie is going to have, and Randy Savage preps for his nuptials.
And we take a break and return with the cops pulling into the jail with the Mountie, who is still claiming police brutality.
Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys accuse Jack Tunney of “coagulating” with the LOD to make the match no-DQ. And then we cut back to the jail, where Mountie protests having his picture taken but gets tricked into looking at the camera. Later, he tries to flip off the cops and they grab his finger and fingerprint it.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Slaughter confirms that the Immortal Slime and the Ultimate Puke are the ones who are outnumbered! Glad that he can do simple math.
Meanwhile, Sid Justice has been asked questions about his refereeing job a THOUSAND times, and the answer is that he’s a man who stands alone. That’s not really an answer. Maybe he should ask for a do-over.
WWF Tag team titles, street fight: The Nasty Boys v. The Legion of Doom
Kind of a weird deal in that this was announced as the LOD’s last title shot, but unless you saw the match at the house shows, they had never even had a FIRST title shot! Realistically they should have won the belts way before this point but with only four PPVs a year there wasn’t a lot of chances. Animal quickly powerbombs Knobs for two and Hawk hits Sags with an enzuigiri for two. Sags uses the Young Bucks’ cold spray on Hawk to take over and drops a tray of drinks on him. Sounds like a normal night for Hawk. Nasties go to work on Hawk in the corner and Knobs puts the boots to him before Sags runs him into the stairs. Back in, Hawk fights back on Sags, but Knobs puts him down with a back elbow for two. Sags goes up for the Shitty Elbow, but Animal makes the save. Knobs goes up as well and lands on Hawk’s foot, and it’s hot tag Animal. He cleans house and powerslams Knobs for two as it’s a DONNYBROOK. Sags gets the helmet from Jimmy and manages to avoid hitting his own partner for once, knocking Animal down for two. So Hawk goes and beats up Jimmy and steals the helmet, nails Sags, and the Doomsday Device finishes to give them the tag team titles at 7:44 for the monster pop. Well hopefully Vince has a good plan to get the belts off them when the time comes. Just kind of a normal tag team match, when it should have been a big brawl. **
Meanwhile, at the slammer, Mountie continues to protest the injustice against him and then tries to make a break for it while yelling for his phone call.
Irwin R. Shyster v. Greg Valentine
Well this is a cooldown match if there ever was one. Hammer grabs a headlock and puts IRS down with shoulderblocks, then chases him to the floor with a clothesline. Back in, IRS slugs away, but Hammer slams him and Irwin bails again. Back in, IRS with the abdominal stretch and the ropes, and sadly Gorilla does not point out the finer points of applying the hold. IRS puts him down with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two. Back elbow and IRS goes up, but Hammer slams him off and goes to work on the knee. This sets up the figure-four, but Irwin makes the ropes quickly to break. So Hammer tries it again after taking forever to set it up, and Irwin cradles for the pin at 7:05. Babyface Valentine is NO BUYS. *
REMINDER: Hulk Hogan’s “A Real American Story” is a thing that’s totally happening on PPV in October!
The MATCH MADE IN HELL: Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior v. Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan & Col. Mustafa
Sid Justice is of course YOUR special referee, although this Hogan-Slaughter feud was completely out of gas and stranded somewhere in the desert by this point. You know, I never really understood the rationale in repackaging Iron Sheik into “Col Mustafa”, since it’s not like they’re pretending he’s a different guy. And Sheik’s whole deal was SPITTING ON THE USA in his pre-match deal, so how much more evil could they make him by sticking him in fatigues? Plus we know Hogan hates him, and Slaughter teaming up with his own arch-enemy to get at Hogan adds that much more intrigue for long-time fans. Instead it’s “here’s washed up Iron Sheik but he’s got a different name, give us your money”. It’s just lazy. In the pre-match promo, Hulk notes that the bite from Jake’s cobra can’t affect Warrior like normal men, and it only jacks him up even more. Given that Warrior was probably injecting himself daily with stuff way more potent than cobra venom at this point, I’m not surprised at all. Shocked that Warrior didn’t have to wear Hogan’s colors like Savage did at Summerslam 88. Maybe he put that as a demand in his whiny letter to Vince McMahon, too. Gorilla putting Hogan over as “the greatest WWF champion in the history of the WWF, bar none” when Warrior is standing RIGHT BESIDE HIM is a tad questionable, to be honest. No wonder Hellwig felt all slighted and had to write an emo MySpace post to sum up his feels. The EgoPowers double-team Slaughter to start and Hogan puts him down with a big boot and runs him into the turnbuckle for two. The Roid Warriors keep Slaughter trapped in the corner and Hulk gets a corner clothesline and chokes out Sarge, which prompts Sid to chide him about breaking the rules. Slaughter gets a cheapshot and the Triangle of Terrible take over as Adnan uses Hulk’s own backrakes against him, and Mustafa slugs away and gets a gut wrench to set up the camel clutch. Given how badly it went for Sheik last time he did that move to Hogan in MSG, that might not have been a great idea. Regardless, Warrior makes the save, and Slaughter chokes Hogan out in the corner before Hulk accidentally collides with Sid to set up some stuff down the line. Adnan continues scratching and biting Hulk and Slaughter goes up, but Warrior shoves him off and gets the hot tag. And he too collides with Sid, but Slaughter takes Warrior to the corner for more double-teaming from the three Iraqis who aren’t actually from Iraq. Because wrestling. Slaughter chokes him out and works him over, but Warrior fights back with a clothesline and both guys are down. Luckily the count only goes to 10 because otherwise Sid would have to take his shoes and socks off. Hulk gets another hot tag and cleans house, and Warrior chases Adnan and Mustafa back to the dressing room, where Vince McMahon was waiting with Warrior’s pink slip, the only thing stronger than cobra venom, apparently. And Hulk tosses powder in Sarge’s face and legdrops him at 12:39 to end this borefest. *1/4
Meanwhile, we cut to the jail one last time, as Mountie makes a couple of friends in the cell to end his night.
THE MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN:
And in the real draw of the night, Randy Savage and Elizabeth are finally married (on screen) to send everyone home happy. And since this is the PPV version, there’s no stuff with Undertaker or Jake here, by the way.
One of my all time favorite shows without a doubt, although the main event did not deliver at all and probably should have been something else, which is what really holds this one back from all-time great status. Still, a ton of fun, and highly recommended even with the notable flaws here.