Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh: SummerSlam Spectacular 8/22/93

*** Scott & JT’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV and TV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. The PICs have revisited these events and refreshed all of their fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company as well as their overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. In addition, Jeff Jarvis assists in compiling historical information and the Fun Facts in each of the reviews. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***


SummerSlam Spectacular

August 22, 1993 (Taped August 16, 1993)
Mid-Hudson Civic Center
Poughkeepsie, NY
Announcers: Jim Ross & Gorilla Monsoon

1) Yokozuna defeats Jim Duggan with a Banzai Drop at 10:26

Fun Fact I: On the 2/6 episode of Superstars, Duggan had challenged Yokozuna to a match where all Duggan had to do was knock Yokozuna to the mat to win. Duggan won the match, but following it he was attacked by the champion. Yokozuna hit three Bonzai Drops on Duggan, covered him with the American flag and then hit a final Drop on him. Duggan was carried to the back on a stretcher. Two weeks later, Duggan’s wife, Debra, would comment that she didn’t want Duggan to wrestle again after the injuries he sustained from Yokozuna. Duggan’s father, a police chief, would speak with Vince McMahon in a phone interview encouraging his son to return to the ring. Duggan would return to the ring in April and the two would compete again each other on house shows. This would be the only televised rematch following the 2/6 attack.

Fun Fact II: This would be the farewell match for Jim Duggan’s primary run with the WWF. He would sign on with WCW in late 1994, debuting at Fall Brawl. Duggan would not return to the WWF until 2005.

Scott:I always know it’s a big WWF show when Vladimir is is sitting in the front row. The Poughkeepsie crowd is crazy for the prelude to Summerslam in one week at the home of the Pistons. This goes back to a few months earlier when Hacksaw challenged the WWF Champion and ended up getting squashed in the process. Based on now the company is looking, it’s evident that Duggan is nothing more than big time enhancement to get Yoko ready for the big title match with Lex Luger. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon are doing commentary here, and they’ve been pretty much the second team in WWF announcing after Vince and Savage on Raw. This was obviously taped after a live Raw as the big RAW sign is right opposite the hard camera side. Age hasn’t made Duggan any smarter as he got the early advantage but then tries to hit the champion with the 2×4 which is pretty stupid since it would get him disqualified. The referee is distracted while Mr. Fuji is giving Hacksaw the business, then the champion goes to work with chaps and strikes. Multiple times during this match Ross and Gorilla keep saying that Yoko must weigh over 600 pounds now. I’m not sure if he’s that big yet, but he eventually would be. This was a great idea to continue doing the PPV spectacular preceding the PPV, even though they already had Raw as the big weekly show. Yoko has Duggan in a bear hug until Duggan bites his face to break it up. Duggan hasn’t had any offense since having the 2×4 taken away from him. I noticed that Gorilla has gotten a little more heelish in the 90’s, as he consistently says that perhaps Duggan should have stayed retired. Duggan starts making a comeback with right hands and then misses the running avalanche. Pretty much other than right hands he hasn’t brought much to the table, but the crowd sure is into it. Duggan gets Yoko down with a clothesline and the crowd is in a frenzy. But when he goes for the three point stance, Duggan gets tripped by Fuji, which gives Yoko a chance to hit the Bonzai Drop and win the match. That was a solid enough 10 minutes to boost Yoko for next week in Auburn Hills. As for Duggan, well GOOD RIDDANCE. Grade: **

JT: We are just a week away from SummerSlam and our final stop isn’t an episode of Monday Night Raw, but instead a special precursor show built completely around hyping the PPV. This show was actually taped the week before after Raw but has enough spliced in to make feel like a strong go home offering by the WWF. Also to mix things up, we have different announcers here with Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon on the call, which was a nice touch to make it stand out. We kick things off with a big time matchup, albeit non title, as our champion Yokozuna has one more piece of business to handle before facing Lex Luger in Auburn Hills. Yoko and Jim Duggan have had big time issues dating way back to the winter, when Hacksaw was the first man to knock Yoko down but paid dearly for it. Hacksaw is in his final days here so giving him this crack at Yoko made a lot of sense to finally pay off their issue. Ross pondered where Jim Cornette was as the champ ambled to ringside, as just Mr. Fuji accompanied him. The crowd erupted with “USA” chants as we check out a picture of Duggan and his newborn. After some stalling and histrionics, Yoko landed the first blows, clobbering Hacksaw with thrusts to the throat and then choking away at him. Fuji would land a cheap shot in between heavy offense from the champ, including a headbutt before he knocked Duggan to the floor. Hacksaw let the crowd fuel him as he stomped back into the ring and landed a few punches. Yoko shrugged him off, shoved him down and then dropped a huge leg across his chest. Yoko grabbed a bear hug but again Duggan fed off the crowd and was able to hammer his way free. Hacksaw made a big mistake trying for a bodyslam as Yoko shifted his weight and fell hard on Duggan. After a break. Yoko had the bear hug locked back on and as Duggan worked free again, Yoko clubbed him back down. Duggan kept coming, tossing out hard punches and doing anything he could but Yoko wouldn’t give in. In a final gasp, Hacksaw dodged a running splash in the corner but was so worn out he couldn’t fully capitalize. Duggan got a burst of energy and laid into the champ with three clotheslines that finally put him on his back. Hacksaw prepped himself for the three point stance but Fuji tripped him up. Yoko took advantage of the distraction and splashed Duggan in the corner before polishing him off with the Banzai Drop. Yoko would go for another splash but a gaggle of referees made the save before he could strike. That was a tight little match with good heat and lots of strong selling from Duggan. It also put over Yoko quite strongly as he dominated nearly the whole match and then reminded us of Fuji at ringside too. Fine opener and a strong final performance for Hacksaw, who has had a bit of a renaissance here in 1993. Grade: **

*** Vince McMahon interviews Jim Cornette and Yokozuna backstage after the match. Cornette tells Luger that Yoko is a rabid dog that has been whipped into a frenzy. He reminds Lex that he asked for this chance and everything that happens is on his head, not theirs. He vows the heartbeat of America will be silenced and Yoko will remain WWF Champion. ***

*** Jim Ross plugs the SummerSlam hotline and then we revisit the history between Razor Ramon and Ted DiBiase. ***

2) Razor Ramon defeats Blake Beverly with the Razor’s Edge at 6:11

Scott:I do like how the script was flipped, so Razor went from being a rich arrogant heel, to someone who needed sympathy because he grew up on hard times. Blake Beverly got a little pudgy as his tag team went by the wayside since Beau left. They had that one mini-face turn when they went against Money Inc on the one episode of Raw, then pretty much went back to being a heel. He’s another reminder of the Federation Era that ended at King of the Ring when Hulk Hogan lost the World Title to Yokozuna after that sham at Wrestlemania IX. Razor was going to turn babyface anyway as the crowd was cheering him going back to Wrestlemania and with Hogan gone and Luger already babyface, they might as well turn another heel as the WWF crowds are starting to choose their new favorites as their old favorites are retiring or leaving the WWF. After going back and forth early Razor is on the floor outside when Blake unhooks the turnbuckle pad. Blake then snaps off a neckbreaker then Irish Whips Razor into the corner with the exposed turnbuckle. Razor made a great comeback, hit the Edge and won the match. Razor is heading to Summerslam to face Ted DiBiase and really solidify his face turn. Grade: **

JT: Blake Beverly is still hanging on and still rocking his epic theme music but sadly this is also the end of the road for him too. A night of farewells. In his parting bout he takes on the red hot Razor Ramon, who now has the fans on his side and seems prepped for a quick rise up the ladder. Of course, he is lined up with Ted DiBiase at SummerSlam, looking for revenge over the verbal abuse Money, Inc had been heaping on him and the ensuing issues from there. Gorilla reminds us that Aaron Neville will be singing the National Anthem next Monday and plugs his album as we get underway. Blake is decked out in his rarely seen alternate white tights and they are sexy as hell, even when suckered around his tanned paunch. We got a lockup to start but Blake made the mistake of slapping Ramon off the break, pissing off the Bad Guy, who lit up Beverly in the corner. Blake bailed to the floor to regroup and baited Ramon into chasing him around. Back inside, Ramon wriggled free of a side headlock but Blake stayed aggressive, going right at Razor with kicks and punches, not stopping or backing down. Ramon slugged Blake down but Beverly recovered and back dropped the Bad Guy over the top rope to the floor. As Razor regrouped, Blake ripped off the top turnbuckle and then grabbed Ramon and slung him into it. Blake went to work on the back, hitting a backbreaker and a slam before cutting Ramon down with a hard lariat. Things changed in a flash when Razor reversed a whip and sent Beverly into the exposed corner before finishing him with the Razor’s Edge. Another fun, hard hitting match. Too bad Beverly left as he has been pretty good in these Raw matches too. He could have been repackaged and used in the mid card for sure with showings like this. However, Ramon cleans him up and heads to Auburn Hills on a roll. Grade: *1/2

*** We check out Lex Luger’s recent travels on the Lex Express and then head to Memphis, where Jerry Lawler interviews “Elvis” inside his pink Cadillac. Lawler makes jokes at the expense of the Hart Family and calls him a King impersonator. Elvis mentions having a recent conversation with “JFK” about their mutual girlfriend “Marilyn Monroe” and none of them like imposters. We then hear from Bret Hart, who informs us that members of the Hart Family will be littered throughout the crowd to watch him make Lawler pay at SummerSlam. ***

3) Smoking Gunns & Tatanka defeat Reno Riggins, Barry Horowitz & Brooklyn Brawler when  pins Riggins at 7:04

Scott:We have a little six man tag dance to put over two more popular babyfaces in the WWF. We haven’t seen a whole lot of the Smokin’ Gunns since debuting, as they’ve had less than a handful of matches on Raw. The Tag Team division is slowly trying to work itself into shape. As for Tatanka, well I’ve documented often in our recaps that continuously mentioning the undefeated streak makes no sense if the company isn’t going to reward him with anything. He hasn’t sniffed a title match since the DQ win over Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania, so what’s the point? Shouldn’t he automatically have a shot at Yokozuna, or at least a rematch with Michaels for the IC Title? As for thier opponents, a fine cache of heel jobbers, including the matching tights of Horowitz & Riggins. They must have been teaming on the syndi shows on the weekends. Both have occasionally been on Raw putting over talent. This heel team was getting pretty frisky here and perhaps an upset was in the air, but Tatanka gets a hot tag and chops his way to a victory for his team. That was a fun little sprint and the heels did much more than anybody thought. Grade: *1/2

JT: Up next we get to check out a six man unit prepping for a big time tag at SummerSlam. Tatanka and the Smoking Gunns will battle Bam Bam Bigelow and the Headshrinkers next Monday, but here they are taking on a jobber dream team to get themselves used to teaming up. I love when they do stuff like this, having guys team up to get used to working together before a big PPV bout. Billy Gunn and Barry Horowitz kicked things off and that was easily won by Billy. Gorilla and Ross give some nice analysis of the SummerSlam match as Bart tags in and beats on Reno Riggins a bit. Riggins would tag into the Brooklyn Brawler and we just got more of the same from Bart and then Tatanka, who entered with a tomahawk chop off the top rope. Brawler made a bit of a comeback on Billy and then tagged in Horowitz, who actually got a near fall on a Northern Lights suplex. Brawler tagged back in and picked up a two count on a neck breaker. The jobber team is making a move! Even Riggins for a little offense in! The jobber squad kept pouring it on, tagging in and out and leveraging referee distraction to double and triple team in the corner. Gorilla chastised the Gunns and Tatanka for their performance here and I can’t blame him at all. Billy finally broke things up with a flying forearm to Riggins, allowing him to tag out to Tatanka. The Native American came in and mowed through all three guys with chops and then the Gunns backed him up with a double dropkick. Tatanka was all fired up, as was the crowd, and he ended up making quick work of Riggins, finishing him off with a high cross body. Well, I get the idea here, as by showing them as struggling here, it makes you feel Bigelow and the Headshrinkers are the favorites in Auburn Hills. Tatanka looked great and it was fun seeing the jobbers get some sustained momentum too in this surprisingly little fiesty matchup. Grade: *

*** We see more clips of the Lex Express tour before Gene Okerlund welcomes out the Undertaker for a chat in the ring. Undertaker vows revenge and says Giant Gonzalez has tried and tried to take him out but failed each time. While he doesn’t have Paul Bearer, he has the Creatures of the Night in his corner. He then says the Rest in Peace Match is when Undertaker reaches through his chest an extracts all his organs and takes possession of his soul. Perhaps Gonzalez should have read the fine print on this contract. And speaking of, Gonzalez stomps to the ring along with Harvey Wippleman and tells Taker this time he won’t get up and will rest in peace. Taker would disrobe but Gonzalez wanted no part of a fight and then walked off confidently. ***

4) Shawn Michaels defeats Bob Backlund to retain WWF Intercontinental Title with a roll up at 9:00

Scott: On the verge of perhaps the biggest match of his young solo career, Shawn Michaels faces the former WWF Champion who’s actually been a great addition to the roster. I’ve said at times that the roster needs to be younger. But unlike guys like Duggan who are getting fat and taking up space, Backlund is still a great worker in the company and is putting over the younger talent. This is actually a good chance for Michaels to really get under his legs against somebody who wrestles like Mr. Perfect, his opponent at SummerSlam. The match is getting off to a slow start, as we get a couple of body slams and lots of posturing. Diesel is there backing Michaels up but to this point we really haven’t seen him get utilized. Gorilla Monsoon is definitely settling into the role of heel announcer with Ross as the PBP guy. Gorilla also acts like this on the Coliseum Video releases when he’s with Johnny Polo. It’s utterly hilarious and needs to be watched to be believed. Shawn is working Backlund over with punches and a front facelock until Backlund lifts up and puts him on the turnbuckle. Michaels is definitely looking a little puffy recently and perhaps out of shape. Backlund gets a phantom three count when Diesel goes on the apron. Eventually Michaels grabs a hunk of Backlund’s tights and gets a cheap roll up for the victory. It was a throwaway match to get the IC Champion on the card, but not an impressive performance. Grade: *1/2

JT: With lots of hype surrounding his big Intercontinental Title defense against Mr. Perfect at SummerSlam, Shawn Michaels first has to get through an interesting challenge in Bob Backlund. Michaels is joined by Diesel, as always, so this will be a real uphill climb for Bob. Michaels controlled off the bell, scoop slamming Backlund down and then playing to the crowd a bit. In a nice touch Backlund, along with other faces tonight, are wearing red, white and blue wristbands in support of Lex Luger. Michaels continued to taunt Backlund and preen around arrogantly after a second slam. Ross noted that the champ didn’t seem to be taking this one seriously right as Backlund unleaded a quick flurry of offense, including a backslide for a near fall. Michaels scampered outside to grab a breather an was able to avoid a charging Backlund by ducking in the corner back in the ring. After a break, Michaels had regained control, hammering him with sledge blows and picking up a near fall. Michaels would grab a front chancery but Backlund would eventually slip free and again lay into the champ with a fast paced series of moves for a near fall. Backlund followed with a delayed atomic drop that Michaels sold like he got shot. Diesel would tie up the referee to save Shawn, allowing Michaels to hook the tights and steal the win by cheating. This had all the pieces to build into a very good title bout but was too compressed to really get there. They worked really together and Backlund’s quick sprint offense in between heat segments was well done. Michaels heads to SummerSlam with his gold in tow. Grade: *1/2

*** We get our final installments of “Who is Lex Luger?” as Lex talks about being a role model. Vince McMahon then interviews Ludvig Borga backstage. Borga talks about his issues with Marty Jannetty, and America. He will show Jannetty pain like he hasn’t seen before and says it will be his final SummerSlam. He isn’t here to win titles, just to destroy everyone and inflict pain. ***

5) Marty Jannetty defeats Duane Gill with the flying fist drop at 3:21

Scott: First off, why is Ross calling Marty Jannetty a “kid”? He’s been in the WWF technically since 1988! Gorilla really throws Borga under the bus saying that he’s wrestled nobody and hasn’t proven anything. I know Marty is on the card at SummerSlam, but this seems like nothing more than a throwaway crap match. Duane Gill still has the boss mullet, but not the skills to go with it. Marty wins with his finisher and is ready for the beast from Helsinki. Grade: DUD

JT: The showcasing of SummerSlam participants continues as Marty Jannetty runs to the ring for a tune up match with Duane Gill. Ross notes that Jannetty’s quickness should give Ludvig Borga some problems while Gorilla says Borga hasn’t beaten anyone yet and needs to prove himself. Gill gets a token armbar but Jannetty makes rather quick work of Duane and his mullet, picking up a win in his final TV match before his big SummerSlam challenge. Grade: DUD

*** Gene Okerlund is here with our final SummerSlam Report and he discusses the complete card:

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – WWF Championship
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Intercontinental Championship
Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez – Rest in Peace Match
Steiner Brothers vs. Heavenly Bodies – WWF Tag Team Titles
Tatanka & Smoking Gunns vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & Headshrinkers
Razor Ramon vs. Ted DiBiase
1-2-3 Kid vs. IRS
Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga

Order now on PPV! It is never too early to call, avoid those busy operators! See you in Auburn Hills next Monday! ***

6) Steiner Brothers defeat Money, Inc in a steel cage match to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when both Steiners escape the cage at 22:00

Fun Fact I: On June 14, the Steiners won the tag team championships from Money, Inc. The tag belts would switch hands back to Money, Inc on June 16 only for the Steiners to win them again on June 19. The two teams battled each other through the early part of the summer of ’93 with Money, Inc unable to regain the belts.

Fun Fact II: This will be the final tag team match for Money, Inc. At SummerSlam, Ted DiBiase would wrestle Razor Ramon, which would be his final match with the WWF. IRS would return to singles competition.

Scott: Our main event is the fond farewell for one of the best WWF heel teams of all time, and the anchor of the tag division for about a year and a half. Money, Inc has been fabulous both as challengers and champions. Meanwhile the Steiners have become one of the most popular teams in the WWF and they’ve bounced back and forth with Money, Inc with those tag straps. Now everything will come down to this inside a steel cage. I seriously doubted that the belts would change hands now with the Steiners facing the Heavenly Bodies at SummerSlam for the belts and both members of Money, Inc. in singles matches at Auburn Hills. The match is very psychological, with a decent amount of action in the ring, but honestly Money, Inc pretty much runs for the cage walls to climb over a bunch of times. Apparently only going over the top of the cage wins the match as the door remains locked. There has been some solid action in the ring, as it’s mostly a tornado match and all four guys are working at the same time which adds to the excitement at unpredictability of the match. In a rare instance, IRS’ tie comes off, I think while he was choking Scott Steiner on the top of the cage. There were some dangerous moments, as at one point DiBiase had Rick Steiner upside down on the wall of the cage. One member of each team made it to the floor, but then decided to get back in the ring to help their partners, and Gorilla says that nullifies them leaving the ring. Scott Steiner left the ring a second time, and then gets back in. IRS escapes the cage and smartly tries to pull DiBiase over the wall to the floor. Both teams really give everything for this match, and the ending is great. Rick Steiner is already on the floor, and he catches IRS on his shoulders as Irwin is trying to escape. DiBiase gets out of the cage and starts punching Rick to drop IRS and give Money, Inc the titles. But while DiBiase is punching away, Scott is crawling out of the cage behind him and eventually hits the floor, and the champs retain their Tag Team Titles. This was a real fun match to give the crowd a great finish to the show and get everyone ready for SummerSlam! Grade: ***

JT: It is main event time and also time to finally end the summer long feud between the Steiner Brothers and Money, Inc. The teams have traded the titles back and forth but this is lining up to be the challengers’ final opportunity and it is taking place inside a steel cage. The Fink runs through the rules, clarifying that both team members have to escape the cage to win the match and the straps. This is a pretty big time match for this show, which has been loaded as a whole. As the bell rings, the Steiners double teamed Ted DiBiase as IRS tried to scamper out of the cage. The champs caught him and things reset with all four trading blows. The Steiners controlled the action, using the cage walls as weapons before trying to escape but the challengers made the save. DiBiase landed the first big blow by taking Scott off the top rope with a back suplex, leading to he and IRS scaling the wall but again they were caught. DiBiase would ram Rick into the cage as IRS was able to crotch Scott across the top rope. With the champs down, DiBiase made it to the top of the cage, but Rick popped up and caught him and yanked him back over. Both teams continued to attempt escapes while trading blows, capped by DiBiase dragging Scott over the cage wall and to the mat with a suplex. With Scott wiped out, the champs double teamed Rick, who eventually escaped and almost made it over the top, as did Scott. However, they got caught again and this time IRS took Scott off the top of the cage with a great superplex. DiBiase started to grind Rick as the show headed to break and as we returned, the Steiners stopped both challengers from escaping. Scott would finally make it over the top and halfway down but DiBiase yanked his head through the cage and choked him before pulling him back into the ring. We got more escape teases, saves and strikes from both sides and even got a rare match where IRS removed his tie! With Rick and DiBiase wiped out, Scott and IRS each escaped at the same time, leaving this to a one on one match. Rick recovered first and started to climb but IRS scooted back in and made the save, which also led to Scott returning to the ring to help his brother… but he entered with a big double axe handle off the top of the cage. Lots of neat spots in this one. DiBiase started choking Rick with IRS’ tie and after a break, we saw Scott had again escaped but was returning for a second time. IRS would then climb out again and DiBiase was right behind him before barely being pulled back in by Scott. The Steiners started to double team DiBiase and hung him in the ropes, forcing IRS back inside to stop them from escaping. Rick then made it outside for the first time but he also started to come back in as Scott got worked over. However, before he got to the top, Scott wiped out both challengers, so Rick dropped to the floor to cheer his brother on. Scott had trouble recovering and the challengers made their move. DiBiase escaped and got to the floor but Rick sidled under IRS and caught him on his shoulders. As DiBiase tried to knock him loose, Scott scurried down the cage and touched the floor to win the match for his team. There was plenty of good psychology here, blended with lots of escape teases, big bumps and smart work on both ends, plus a real cool looking finish. I liked how they kept escaping but returning due to strategy and having to avoid too much double teaming. These teams have really good chemistry and this was a strong way for Money, Inc to go out. They have been stalwarts of Raw in 1993 and it will be weird to see them broken up and to have DiBiase be gone. The Steiners move onto Auburn Hills but this was a really high quality match to put their issues with Money, Inc behind them for good. A really fun main event caps off a good night of WWF action. Grade: ***

*** We wrap up the show with a special Lex Luger tribute rap by Men on a Mission and “Rappin” Randy Savage. ***

Final Analysis

Scott: Besides the real fun cage match, none of the other matches really did anything other than showcase the talent wrestling at SummerSlam. Shawn Michaels looked uninspired in his win, unlike Yokozuna who did put his working boots on against Jim Duggan. Really it was a two hour commercial pushing SummerSlam for any final buys while putting matches all around it. This was a changing of the guard of sorts as a lot of old Federation Era guys were pushing out and new faces were coming on in. Savage’s rapping is epic and Mean Gene does his final PPV report. Will Lex Luger defy the odds? Will Mr. Perfect make it an IC three-peat? Will Bret Hart shut Jerry Lawler up? There’s only one way to know. ORDER SUMMERSLAM! Before another hole gets knocked through the bottom of the boat. Final Grade; C+

JT: Outside of the main event, no match really popped here but this was a really quick watch that did a great job of hyping SummerSlam. All of the matches showcased key members of the PPV and we also got interviews and video packages galore to get you all geared up for next Monday night. And even though the grades didn’t really bear it out, the rest of the card beyond the tag title match still was entertaining with a lot of aggression and stiff offense. And speaking of stiff, the cage match had a lot of really good bumps and cool offense and strategy on display. The opener was solid too, really putting Yokozuna over as a monster. Both this card and SummerSlam really usher in change to the promotion as we bid farewell to a few real stalwarts of the early Raw era and look to reset things a bit for the fall. I also enjoyed the mixing up of the commentary, which made this show stand out a bit more as special as well. Overall this did exactly what it was meant to do: hype the hell out of SummerSlam and it happened to deliver a couple of fun matches along the way. Plus… HE ALMOST KNOCKED A HOLE RIGHT THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT! Final Grade: B+