The SmarK Rant for WWF Summerslam 95 – 08.27.95
WELL YOU KNOW SOMETHING, MEAN DOK! Diesel-Mania (trademark 1995, Big Kev LLC, all rights reserved) has been running fairly wild over the WWF for the past year, as long as the ol’ quad holds out, you know what I mean? We hear Dubya-see-dubya has a new show on the other channel, but all the little Kliqsters know that the real action is right here with Big Daddy Cool! Yeah, ratings are down and no one is coming to the shows, but I’ve got an iron clad deal so it don’t matter, jack! Big Daddy Cool is WWF champion for the long run. As long as Vince continues letting me and my friends do exactly what we want. So kids, remember the three demandments of Diesel-Mania (trademark 1995, Big Kev LLC, all rights reserved) before you watch tonight’s show:
- Renegotiate your contract frequently and make sure to get it notarized.
- Don’t do drugs! Reminds me of a funny story that Razor told me backstage while we were lighting up before a show in Dusseldorf, after we stopped in Amsterdam and got some REAL good shit. Man, we got that little midget and his hot girlfriend so many times on that trip…
- Um, I forget the third one.
So until next time, Kliqsters…eh, whatcha gonna do?
Live from Pittsburgh, PA, drawing 18,000 and a 0.9 buyrate. Does the Igloo even hold 18,000 fans? IT DID THAT NIGHT!
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Meanwhile, Dean Douglas lets us know that he’ll be critiquing the matches and assigning them ratings afterwards. What kind of a loser spends his time watching wrestling and making up ratings for them, AMIRITE?
Hakushi v. 1-2-3 Kid
Hakushi has already lost his manager, Shinja, I’m assuming via text message from Johnny Ace. They trade hammerlocks to start and Kid flips into an armdrag to win that battle. They fight to a stalemate and both miss kicks while Vince notes that Kid is a two-time tag team champion. I always completely forget about his reign with Bob Holly that lasted for one day. Hakushi hits a handspring elbow and follows with a broncobuster, but he stops to pose and doesn’t follow up. He waits for Kid to stumble up and kicks out the leg and then puts the boots to him, and a pump splash gets two. We hit the chinlock and Kid fights out of that, so Hakushi does what looks like a facebuster but Kid decides to do a full flip and sell it as a backdrop. He lands on the floor, so Hakushi hits him with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP, and throws him back in for a flying shoulderblock that gets two. Hakushi goes up and misses a flying splash and Kid makes the comeback, tossing him and following with a diving bodypress to the floor. Back in, a slingshot legdrop gets two. Kid goes up with a flying splash for two. He tries a leg lariat, but Hakushi catches him and powerbombs him for the pin at 9:35. A great opener. ***1/2 Unfortunately Kid is too small and Hakushi is too Japanese, so Nick Khan cuts them both right after.
Meanwhile, King Mabel messes up the “fool me once” cliché and does an evil laugh. MONEY.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Bob Holly
In addition to being a modern archetype of blueblood v. race car driver, this is a truly tragic tale of the consequences of male pattern baldness. Look at the beautiful mullet on Bob here and how he ended up three years later! Bob gets a slam while Vince does a tortured bit about how if it was raining indoors, then Hunter would drown because his nose is always so far in the air. Of course these days he’d be in more danger of asphyxiating due to his nose being up Vince’s ass. Hunter beats on Holly in the corner and chokes him out and then follows with a corner whip and drops a knee for two. Hunter works the back while we cut to the back for Bulldog making his arrival, and Hunter goes to an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes. Bob reverses, so Hunter hiptosses him to the floor for a nice bump. Holly comes back in with a DDT and makes the comeback with a dropkick, but both guys are out. Hunter charges and runs into an atomic drop, and Bob is ALL REVVED UP with a backdrop. But then he tries another one and Hunter hits him with the devastating PEDIGREE, which horrifies Vince, and that gets the pin at 7:21. Just a match. **
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh firefighters do a tug of war on the water with WWF wrestlers and lose, so they have to jump into the water.
Jacob & Eli Blu v. The Smoking Gunns
There seems to be some kind of weird edit here as most of the Gunns’ entrance is removed. The Blus double-team Billy but he gets a rollup for two and hits Eli with the fameasser. Bart comes in and immediately gets cut off while Vince protests that Billy is a “real deal” cowboy. Yeah that’s what you think of with Billy Gunn, sure. Billy gets double-teamed with a chokeslam as the crowd is cheering for the heels, and Jerry Lawler references Windows 95 so we know it’s 1995. Powerslam from Ron or Don or Jacob or Eli or Skull or 8-Ball or Gerald or Patrick or whoever gets two. Billy fights over and makes the hot tag to Bart, who runs into a big boot from a Blu, but the heels collide and the Gunns finish one off with the Sidewinder at 6:15. Total house show match. *1/2
Skip of the Bodydonnas v. Barry Horowitz
Barry charges in and slugs away to set up a backdrop and jawbreaker, and he follows with a sliding punch from the floor and legdrag. Clotheslines puts Skip on the floor, so Barry slingshots him back in and dodges a charge. Rollup gets two. Skip sends him to the apron on the kickout, but Barry suplexes Skip to the floor and Sunny tries to throw in the towel. Earl Hebner REFUSES because we know that Earl Hebner would never stop a match under dubious circumstances! Finally she just trips up Horowitz and Skip takes over with a suplex. Middle rope legdrop follows and Skip works on the neck and chokes him out on the ropes. Gut wrench and Skip goes up with a fistdrop and chokes him out some more. Barry with a couple of shoulderblocks for two, but he runs into a clothesline. Skip grabs a hold as this gimmick was SO uninspired and Candido looked completely bored out there all the time. Skip with three legdrops, which gets two. They slug it out and both guys miss dropkicks and they’re both out. Skip goes up and Barry dropkicks him down, but Skip fights him off and hits a diving headbutt for two before picking him up. So Barry makes a comeback with a dropkick, but he goes up and Sunny brings him down behind the ref’s back. And Skip hits a superplex while Hakushi joins us in the midst of his ill-fated babyface turn. So Skip gets all distracted and Hakushi leapfrogs him, allowing Barry to roll up Skip for the pin at 11:29. My recollection was that he never won another match after this, but it turns out that he actually spent the rest of 1995 beating Skip at house shows and even beat some guys in 1996 as well. Sadly, Nick Khan signed him to a contract immediately after this victory and then immediately cut him via text message. Actually I guess it was too early for text messages so maybe it was by telegram or something. Anyway, this was a really entertaining midcard match that did exactly what it was intended to do. ***
Meanwhile, Dean Douglas defines “Vivify” (imbue with renewed life or vigor, like what happened when Shane Douglas went back to ECW in 1996) and gives the referee an F, and gives Barry an S for Slacker, for claiming victory off other people’s work. Thankfully, I would never stoop to that. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Tommy Hall’s RAW review!
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels has nothing going on in his life besides the Intercontinental title, so Razor Ramon is not going to stop him tonight.
WWF Women’s title: Alundra Blayze v. Bertha Faye
This was always such a weird choice of gimmick, turning the monster Rhonda Singh into the goofy love interest for Harvey. It’s just a collision of stupid stuff that doesn’t work. Bertha overpowers Blayze and drops a leg on her, but goes up and misses a splash, allowing Blayze to come back with a victory roll for two. Blayze hits her with knees, but Faye takes her down again and slams her for two. Blayze comes back with her sling blade moves and Harvey takes the ref, so Blayze chases him and then gets a crucifix on Faye for two. Blayze manages a rana for two and goes up with a missile dropkick, but misses another one and Bertha puts her away with a powerbomb at 4:35 to win the title. I don’t even know what the interference was supposed to lead to because it had no effect on the finish. This feud was complete death and it’s no wonder they dropped the entire division by the end of the year. DUD
Meanwhile, Paul Bearer gives us a Coliseum Video exclusive promo, so we know where they sourced this show from on the Network. Why would they not use the PPV master? The tape I had for years was actually taped from the original PPV so a lot of the little interview bits are not what I remember.
Casket match: Undertaker v. Kama
Kama’s melting of the urn (and subsequent regaining by Undertaker) once again leads me to question: What happened to the ashes? Also, if Undertaker’s parents died in a fire set by Kane, where did the ashes come from? Did he scoop some out of the remains of the house and hope for the best? This backstory really falls apart if you think about it. Undertaker gets a choke right away and tosses Kama onto the casket, and then back in for a clothesline. Taker with a corner splash and ropewalk and he throws Kama in the casket but can’t get the lid shut. So Kama necks him on the top rope and goes up with a flying clothesline, but Taker no-sells and tries another corner splash. So Kama catches him with a slam, but Taker sits up again. So Kama takes him to the casket, but Taker pulls him in and Dibiase has to distract Taker with the remains of the urn. Kama slugs away in the corner while Paul Bearer protests that “He’s hitting him with his fists, referee!” Well, duh. Kama pounds on Taker in the corner and clotheslines him onto the casket, but it was already shut and so he doesn’t go in. Dibiase puts the boots to him on the floor and Paul Bearer is all fired up, yelling about pillows and election conspiracies while the refs restrain him, and Taker fights back and brawls with his bestie on the floor. Kama takes him to the post and suplexes him on the casket, as Vince notes that “he almost wrenched the Undertaker’s neck to smithereens!” Is that somewhere near Parts Unknown? They fight on the casket and Taker backdrops him into the ring and makes a comeback, slugging away until Kama powerslams him and forgets that there’s no count. So Kama goes to a chinlock and deliberately puts his feet on the ropes. He’s truly the Supreme Fighting Machine, notes Vince while he holds a chinlock! I feel like Vince wasn’t watching much UFC at this point. Taker fights out with a belly to belly, but Kama beats on him with kicks and whips him into the corner. Taker fights back with the flying clothesline and they both tumble into the casket as we get a cool angle from the COFFIN CAM, and Kama tries to crawl out, only for Taker to pull him back in. But then we keep going as they both make it out. This was already dragging and they should have just shut the lid and finished it there. Back in, Kama with a neckbreaker, but Taker chokeslams him, hits the tombstone, and then throws him in the casket and shuts the lid at 16:24. Better than, say, the Bundy match at Wrestlemania, so that’s an improvement. But they got too cute with this one and had too many twists and turns. ** Really the visual of Kama thinking he could crawl out of the casket and then Taker pulling him back in should have been the finish.
Bret Hart v. Isaac Yankem DDS
Amazingly, Vince McMahon thought that he could make a top heel out of…and I can’t even believe I’m typing this…A WRESTLING DENTIST! What a stupid idea! Can you even imagine a World champion dentist in wrestling? Like what, they thought maybe some little kid in Pittsburgh would be at this show and then decide to go into dentistry and then become a wrestler too or something? RIDICULOUS. You might as well just say he’s the Undertaker’s younger brother or something! ANYWAY, this one follows the trend of 1995 for poor Bret, carrying the midcard with whatever dumb ideas that Vince had to occupy him and getting them all over. Yankem was of course super-green at this point, lacking in tan as well. Bret slugs away on him, but Yankem puts him down with a knee and puts the boots to him. Lawler at this point goes onto a thing about how Yankem previously worked under “an assumed name” in the sport, although I have no idea what that was supposed to be referencing. Maybe the Black Knight deal at Survivor Series? Actually if he had been able to pull it off, there would be a certain beauty to having him play Underfaker in 1994. Either way it was never paid off. Yankem misses a charge and Bret puts him down with clotheslines and then sends him to the floor with another one before following with a pescado. Back in, Bret goes for the Sharpshooter, but Yankem blocks it, so Bret gives him the rope burn and rolls him up for two. Backslide gets two. Yankem presses him into a clothesline on the top rope, but can’t quite get Bret over there and it misses. So Bret takes the corner bump instead and THAT always works. Bret manages a rollup for two, but Yankem stomps him down and chokes him out until the ref physically pulls him off. COME ON REF! Where’s Gorilla Monsoon when you need him? So here’s the deal with Yankem, it’s not that he was a bad worker (I mean he wasn’t GREAT but he wasn’t bad) or that a wrestling dentist is a stupid gimmick (any more so than anything else Vince shat from his womb in 1995) but Yankem did nothing in the ring to justify being an evil dentist. At least other evil dentists in wrestling before and after utilized some form of dental knowledge in their finishers, whereas Yankem was just a generic big man doing generic big man stuff. Which is fine, but they already had a World champion doing that stuff and we sure don’t need someone else pretending to be Diesel! Yankem goes up with the guillotine legdrop on the ropes for two and Bret manages to send him to the floor and follows with another dive, determined to get something out of this fucker if it kills him. Back in, the bulldog gets two. Legsweep gets two. Middle rope elbow sets up the Sharpshooter, but Jerry Lawler decides to interfere at this point and pulls Yankem into the ropes. So Bret backdrops Yankem to the floor and they brawl out there, but Yankem goes up and Bret pops up and slams him off. Bret takes him down in the corner and hogties his feet with a TV cable in a creative spot, but that allows Lawler to get involved again and of course Bret beats the crap out of him. Finally Yankem hits him with a double axehandle to the floor, but Bret comes back again and Lawler trips him up for the DQ at 16:10. This allows Yankem to tie up Bret’s head in the ropes and you could have done some heavy heat by having Yankem try to forcibly extract a tooth or something wacky like that, but it’s just more generic heel stuff, sadly. Anyway, I really enjoyed this match and thought Bret did about as good of a job as anyone could have done with Big Daddy Dentist at that point, and HOT TAKE ALERT, 1995 Bret was great. Your mileage, as always, may vary. ***1/4
WWF Intercontinental title, ladder match: Shawn Michaels v. Razor Ramon
There was always a weird Mandela Effect thing on RSPW at the time where people misremembered the two ladder matches and thought Razor won the title from Shawn at WMX and Shawn won the title from Razor at this one. So the deal here is that this was supposed to be Shawn defending against Sid, but everyone literally decided a week beforehand that it was a stupid idea and they needed a blowaway match here instead, so Gorilla just went on TV and announced that it was a ladder match against Razor instead because it would be better. However, the match was complicated in real life by an apparent edict that although they could have a ladder match, they could NOT use the ladder as an offensive weapon because of kids watching or whatever. So Shawn not only had to have a great match here, but do so in a completely different manner than the famous original match! I think he’s up to it.
The title is hanging HIGH in the air, like 12 feet in the air, and even Vince comments on it. They slug it out to start as Dox Hendrix joins us on commentary to replace Lawler and Razor evades the superkick. So Razor goes for the Edge and Shawn escapes that. They slug it out and Shawn goes FLYING over the top rope in the corner, but Razor goes for the ladder and Shawn tackles him before he can get there. Oh ho, strategy for once! Back to the ring and Shawn tries a suplex into the ring, but Razor suplexes him on the floor and Shawn NAILS the railing with his leg on the way down. OOF. Razor puts the boots to him (“KICK HIM AGAIN! STOMP ON HIS HEAD!” notes a fan at ringside) and back in as Razor tries another Edge and Shawn wiggles out again. Superkick misses and they clothesline each other for the double down. Razor recovers first and retrieves the ladder, but Shawn tries to baseball slide it and MISSES this time. Oh, nice callback! So Razor makes the first climb and that thing isn’t even close to being able to reach the belt. So Shawn knocks him off and “accidentally” hits him with the ladder while setting it up, but he too is unable to reach the belt as Razor hauls him down and Shawn gets knee all caught in the supports on the way down. DOUBLE OOF. So Razor puts Shawn’s knee in the ladder and stomps on it a few times, wrecking the ladder further, and then goes to work on Shawn’s knee.
The ladder gets set in the corner and Razor can’t whip Shawn into it because the knee gives out, and Razor continues beating on the leg until Shawn kicks him into the ladder to escape. So Razor goes back to destroying the knee so that Shawn can’t climb, wrapping the leg around the post while Shawn does an insanely great selling job, and Razor works on it with a Guardian deathlock and then casually pushes the ladder over onto Shawn’s knee. Razor playing the subtle heel but never outright turning heel is great here. Razor climbs and Shawn desperately comes off the top and knocks him over again. Razor tries another climb and Shawn brings him down with a backdrop suplex and then whips him into the corner, into the ladder, and then puts the ladder in another corner and does it again. And the crowd BOOS Shawn for this! So Shawn goes up in the corner and moonsaults off the ladder, and then goes up the ladder again in a callback to the WMX spot, but misses the flying splash this time. So they both climb the ladder but that thing is still way too short to actually reach the belt, and they slug it out at top of the ladder and this time they BOTH fall off and crotch themselves on the top rope in another callback. Shawn is left in the ring, so he grabs the ladder and charges at Razor outside, missing and wiping them both out on the floor. So Razor goes under the ring and finds a backup ladder, back when TWO LADDERS was EXTREME. Shawn tries to climb, but Razor brings him down with the Razor’s Edge as the crowd goes apeshit. So they both set up ladders and Razor makes it up first, but Shawn superkicks him from the other ladder, but he’s too short to grab the belt and splats on the mat below. So Razor tries another Edge, but Shawn backdrops him to the floor for one last callback, and then climbs up and grabs the belt and then falls off again. That was supposed to be the finish but belt went into business for itself, so Shawn climbs up again and pulls it down this time for real at 25:00 to retain. And then Razor teases a heel turn by grabbing the belt himself, and then awards it to Shawn instead. Man, could you imagine if they had turned Razor heel in 1996 and kept him around? They could have done a third ladder match with monster heel Razor for the WWF title at Summerslam and probably saved Shawn’s reign. Anyway, in a lot of ways I liked this more than the original match, as working the match AROUND the ladder and doing a psychology-based match made it a better, albeit, less memorable, rematch. I liked that I was able to get into the storyline of the match without just memorizing all the big spots! *****
Meanwhile, Dean Douglas defines Razor Ramon as “Bad”, which causes Razor to barge into the classroom, as Douglas declares “this is a classroom and we don’t need any violence here”. Sadly this is not the case and Razor kicks his ass to set up the final fall of Dean Douglas.
WWF title: Diesel v. King Mabel
We’re already at 2:30 into the show so they are RUSHING through entrances so we can get on with it. Well as much as Kevin Nash ever rushes anywhere. Wouldn’t want him to tear a quad. Vince notes that the WWF has “been doing quite well running on Diesel Power”. Man, on a show full of carny lies that somehow stands out as the biggest one. Mabel quickly overpowers him and chokes him out in the corner, but Diesel fires back with the Nash elbows in the corner. He tries a slam and Mabel uses clubbing forearms to escape, but Diesel flops him to the floor like Free Willy but more purple, and follows with a dive. They brawl on the floor and Mabel sends him into the post, but charges and runs into Diesel’s boot. Back in the ring, Big Kev hits some knees in the corner, but Mabel flops onto him with the sideslam and then drops onto Diesel’s back with his ass. I should note that listening to this show with headphones clearly, CLEARLY, reveals Diesel’s pissed off reaction to this happening. “You fucking broke my fucking back! FUCK!” So the ref gets bumped and Lex Luger runs in for no particular reason to save Diesel from Sir Mo, but he gets clotheslined to the floor by Diesel and fights to the back with Mo. And Mabel legdrops Diesel on the floor. This is a complete mess. Back in, Mabel gets a belly to belly for two, but he goes up misses a splash as Diesel looks like he can barely stand thanks to that butt drop. But he goes up and hits a flying clothesline for the pin anyway at 9:07 and retains. Well this was an awful main event to wrap up a damn good show. ½*
I’ve seen this show a whole bunch of times and still love it, as it was a clear highlight of an awful year for the WWF and a strong thumbs up show, main event aside.