*** Scott & Justin’s Vintage Vault Refresh reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV 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 1992: Hart Family Drama; Part 1
Taped August 29, 1992; Shown August 31 on PPV in the United States
Buy Rate: 1.5
Announcers: Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan
1) Papa Shango (Charles Wright) pinned Tito Santana (Mercedes Solis) in 6:00.
2) Tatanka (Chris Chavis) pinned Berzerker (John Nord) in 5:46.
3) Bushwhackers and Jim Duggan beat the Nasty Boys and the Mountie when Duggan
pinned the Mountie (Jacques Rougeau) in 12:33
Fun Fact: Papa Shango/Tito Santana was the only legit dark match; the other matches had actually been announced as part of the card and were filmed at various times (Tatanka/Berzerker was right before the main event, as the sky is dark during that one match) but were cut out of the PPV airing due to time constraints. All three matches eventually aired on Prime Time Wrestling in the fall of 1992.
1) The Legion of Doom defeat Money Inc. when Animal pinned Ted DiBiase with a power slam at 11:58
Fun Fact I: Over the spring of 1992, Vince felt, and rightly so, that the LOD was getting a bit stale, so he decided to bring back their long time manager, Paul Ellering. A few weeks later, WWF started airing vignettes of the LOD walking around their home turf in Chicago and talking about “losing their inspiration” while thinking of their childhood. During one of these skits in the junkyard they found their beloved ventriloquist dummy Rocco, which Paul Ellering decided they needed at ringside to help guide them through matches. Rocco didn’t fare too well as the LOD was done by September, as Hawk was out with an injury and Animal briefly formed the New Legion of Doom with Crush before leaving for Japan.
Fun Fact II: This was originally scheduled to be a tag title rematch (Money Inc. won the straps from the LOD in February) but the Natural Disasters won the titles at a house show in Worcester, MA in July, so this just became a regular tag match.
Scott: Our opener of the first Hulk Hogan-less PPV ever breaks my heart to no end. I love both these teams and of course the LOD is my favorite team of all time. However, the team that I grew up watching destroying jobbers in Georgia, AWA and Mid-Atlantic, winning championships everywhere is no more. Sure Paul Ellering is back, which completes the triumvirate…well actually it’s now a quartet. Because joining them is Rocco…a dummy. No I’m not back to insulting Jamison, I mean an actual dummy. The greatest tag team in wrestling history has turned into a joke. This may be one of Vince’s biggest crimes. Most of this is me being a fan, because the team was a mess backstage, particularly Hawk. He was suspended before Mania, which is why they didn’t have a match on the show. They float through the year as the Natural Disasters replace them as the top babyface team to battle with Money, Inc. Now they need to blow this feud off so the Disasters won the titles earlier in the summer and will face another heel team later in the show. Regardless of all the backstage shenanigans, this was a fun match. The crowd is red hot as this does have a very WrestleMania-type feel with the huge crowd, and they are all into this match. The back and forth is solid, and add in Ted DiBiase’s awesome alternate white tights/boots and you’ve got a great opener. The LOD gets the hot win, but sadly we won’t see them again for quite a long time and that is a shame. As great as this match was, what happened to them in 1992 broke this Road Warriors fan’s heart. Grade: **1/2
Justin: Our fifth SummerSlam is a unique one as for the first time in WWF PPV history, the show emanates from across the pond in London, England. The show was actually taped two days before it aired, which is pretty crazy to think about for such a major PPV event. Wembley Stadium was pretty awesome looking and the massive crowd is rocking immediately out of the gate. Also of note is that Vince McMahon is calling his first PPV event since SummerSlam 1990. Since losing their tag titles and reuniting with Paul Ellering, the LOD has been lost in the shuffle. Add in their prized dummy Rocco and suddenly the team that seemed so badass and unbeatable a year ago feels like a bit of a comedy act here. Money, Inc. lost their gold a month earlier, making this a straight up revenge match for the Road Warriors, with them no longer having a shot at regaining their straps. The LOD entrance was pretty awesome, as all three ride down the long aisle on motorcycles. And I would be remiss not mentioning Ted DiBiase’s swank white and gold tuxedo and tights. Hawk smoked DiBiase to open things up, revving up the crowd even more. Both guys would swap out but the results were the same as Animal slammed IRS hard with a gorilla press. IRS would quickly turn things around by hooking Hawk in a sleeperhold. Hawk would survive that both both IRS and DiBiase would rotate controlling him and keeping him as grounded as possible. Money, Inc. was really good at the little heel things, doing the non-tag gimmick when the referee was turned, hooking the ropes and using each other for leverage during submission holds, baiting the guy on the apron in to distract the ref, etc. They had all of those tactics on display here during the heat segment. They were really smart to work such a long, old school heat segment here too because this crowd was super into the LOD. Hawk would finally make the red hot tag to Animal, who came in and flew around, beating the piss out of both men. The LOD would set up for the Doomsday Device, but IRS busted it up. A moment later, Animal snapped DiBiase over with a powerslam and picked up the win to a mega pop. That was a nice little tag match. There was nothing out of the ordinary and I would think in front of a different crowd it would have felt a bit flat, but they did what they needed to do for this crowd. The LOD picks up their final WWF PPV win for nearly four and a half years as personal problems with Hawk would split the team apart for a while. It has been an interesting up and down two years for the Road Warriors in the WWF and for a while they were kings of the mountain, but since 1992 started, they quickly fell into a bit of irrelevancy. Money, Inc. takes the loss but have much bigger things ahead. Grade: **
2) Nailz defeats Virgil with a chokehold at 3:16
Fun Fact: Nailz began cutting promos from prison in May of 1992 about how he used to be abused by the Big Boss Man in jail. As the promos reached into June, he claimed that he was nearing his release from prison and that he would be taking out his revenge on the Boss Man very soon (glad to see they STILL LET HIM OUT OF PRISON after he made death threats on national TV). On Superstars in late June, Nailz jumped through the crowd and completely decimated the Big Boss Man with his nightstick. The WWF even putting pictures of the battered Boss Man in WWF Magazine, and they did a good job of making him look fucked up. Nailz went on a mini reign of terror until Boss Man returned in late September, looking for revenge. In reality, Nailz was ex-AWA competitor Kevin Kelly (Kevin Wacholz).
Scott: We have a new character here as Virgil takes on a former prison inmate hell bent on revenge. He’s already attacked the Big Boss Man earlier in the summer as payback for his incarceration, but now he tackles the tepid Virgil. Since losing the Million Dollar belt back in the fall, Virgil has slowly slipped down the ladder to become a Jobber to the Stars. Back to Nailz for a second. For those die-hard AWA fans from back in the 80s, Nailz was former heartthrob “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly. Remember that character and take a look at Nailz now. Yeah, that’s really the same guy. This match isn’t much as Virgil gets a move or two in but Nailz gets the predictable win and then works Virgil over after the match to keep his heat building and set up the inevitable Nailz/Big Boss Man blow-off, likely slated for Survivor Series. Filler match, but one that enhances a memorable but brief lasting character. Grade: *1/2
Justin: Our next bout features a menacing heel that showed up on the scene back in May. The ex-convict Nailz was released from jail and immediately showed up for revenge on the prison guard that abused him while in the clink. The beating he laid on the Boss Man was very ugly and knocked the big man out for most of 1992. Boss Man’s buddy Virgil stepped up to the plate and was ready to take a hack at Nailz out of loyalty, but it certainly seemed like a fool’s errand. Nailz had an interesting look and was certainly believable as a fucking psychopathic maniac. I still find it funny that they aired vignettes of Nailz threatening Boss Man from his prison cell, as if they wouldn’t take that into consideration before letting him out. Virgil tried to stick and move early, even rattling Nailz with a stiff forearm and a dropkick, but the crazed ex-con stopped him short with a choke in the corner. Nailz would batter him a bit more until Virgil made a brief, spirited comeback. That ended abruptly as Nailz locked in his controversial choke sleeper that knocked him out cold. He would also lay in a couple of stiff shots after the bell for good measure. Nailz picks up a win in his first PPV outing, but he has a much tougher road ahead when Boss Man finally returns. Grade: 1/2*
3) Rick Martel and Shawn Michaels wrestle to a double count out at 8:06
Fun Fact: During the weeks leading up to this match, both men began interfering in each other matches in order to win over the affections of Sensational Sherri. Michaels went to so far as to even cost Martel an IC title match with Bret Hart. When the two decided to fight it out at SummerSlam, Sherri made them promise not to hit each other in the face because they were both so good looking.
Scott: On paper, this could be an exemplary match between two similar but different workers. The Model is an established veteran who is an expert technician in the ring. Michaels has the “it” factor, but is still establishing his in-ring portfolio. That is to say that he’s got the athleticism but he continues to work on the “in-between” stuff, the psychology/storytelling moves to lead into the big stuff. Martel isn’t necessarily a high-flyer as he is a move-for-move worker and is a perfect guy for Michaels to work with right now. The crux of the storyline is that even though Sensational Sherri is Shawn’s girl, she is quite smitten with the Model and he is with her as well. So she doesn’t want either of them to touch their pretty faces, which unfortunately takes something away from the match. Sure we don’t want to see endless punches from either of them, but the awkwardness of not punching to the face sometimes leads to awkward moments in the ring. After a few moments they settle into punching in the gut. The match meanders along until they’re ready to deck each other, but Sherri faints. Both men want to take care of her and instead start brawling down the aisle and eventually both get counted out. Sherri pretends to stay fainted because she’s enjoying the attention. Then both men battle over which one gets to take her to the back. The storyline makes perfect sense and was fun, but the stipulation takes away from the match and eventually it ended badly. Put these two in a better situation and they could have had a spectacular match, but instead we get an average match that relied almost too much on Sherri and not enough on the workrate. Grade: **
Justin: This is a pretty interesting heel vs. heel feud that brewed over the summer. Rick Martel had taken a bit of a shine to Sensational Sherri and started to bust Shawn Michaels’ balls as part of his courtship. Michaels would get some revenge by costing Martel an IC title match, leading to them inking a match for this show. However, because Sherri found both men to be so handsome, she requested that neither touch the other’s face. It was a cool gimmick idea that I enjoyed and fit both characters perfectly. Martel had some pretty swanky tennis gear on here to play up the Wimbledon ties. However, it failed to even come close to comparing to Sherri’s insane assless chaps. Hache mache! Listening to Vince comment on it without saying exactly what was going on was pretty fun. Martel really frustrated Michaels early, even busting out some jumping jacks to really rub it in. In a small piece of trivia, these two met at SummerSlam three years ago as part of that really fun six-man tag. Shawn would grab hold of Martel’s arm and go to work a bit. I loved how they kept teasing the face shots but just holding back as it was nice, easy heat. Martel would dump Michaels to the floor and then follow him out, but stopped along the way to hug Sherri, which she seemed to enjoy quite a bit. I found it also interesting that Michaels slipped into the face role as it seemed like Martel would be a better fit there due to Michaels having just turned and started his push. Although I will say he still heeled it up quite a bit throughout. There were lots of near falls, leading to tempers finally flaring and things breaking down when Michaels slapped Martel across the face. Martel returned the favor, and just before everything broke loose, Sherri fainted on the apron. That stopped the match cold and the love triangle flared up hard. Michaels tried to check on his cougar, but Martel stopped him and the two started to brawl down the aisle, leading to a double countout. Sherri popped up to see what was going on and then laid back down, showing she faked passing out. Michaels would fight of Martel and then go pick up his woman and walk her to the back. However, before he could get there, Martel ran out and slugged him, sending Sherri tumbling hard to the floor. Martel would try to carry her back, but Shawn knocked them both down to stop that. Martel would get the final shot by dousing Sherri with water to wake her up. The two men would brawl to the back again, leaving a drenched Sherri crying all alone. This was a pretty fun match with some good psychology but it all came to screeching halt with the weak double countout and ensuing antics. I would have loved to see what they could have done with a straight laced match with Martel playing face, but alas. I am surprised they went double countout here and didn’t have Michaels go over strong to set him up for the fall especially since Martel was on his last legs overall. Grade: **
4) The Natural Disasters defeat the Beverly Brothers to retain WWF Tag Team Titles when Earthquake pins Beau in 10:21 after an Earthquake splash
Fun Fact: The Natural Disasters won their only tag titles at a house show in July. They held them until October, where they would drop them back to Money, Inc. at another house show, this time in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Scott: When the year started, Earthquake and Typhoon were hated heels battling the LOD. Fast forward eight months and they are loved babyfaces and the Tag Team Champions. The LOD were practically out the door at this point, so the bookers reused the 1988 Harts/Rougeaus storyline of “Jimmy Hart maneuvering contracts” so the Disasters were hung out to dry in favor of Money, Inc. So to split the two tag team matches apart the Disasters won the titles and faced a fresh heel team here, while LOD can finish off their feud with DiBiase and IRS without the titles being involved. I wasn’t a fan of the Disasters turning face, but if it meant that John Tenta got a taste of WWF gold, I was satisfied. The match isn’t too bad, as Beau and Blake use their heel tactics and speed to dictate tempo against the bigger champions. Typhoon is the face-in-peril and the drama builds until the crazy hot tag to Earthquake and the Wembley crowd goes crazy when it happens. I reiterate that seeing Quake as a champion is a great thing for a career company guy. Quake finishes off the Beverlys with the Quake splash to retain the Tag Titles in a fun match with a very hot crowd. Their spot at the top of the card won’t last but for now they bask in the glory of being the champions. Grade: **1/2
Justin: After nearly a year of chasing, the Natural Disasters finally grabbed the tag team gold at a house show in July. It was an interesting change since it wasn’t televised and Money, Inc. had seemingly moved on past the Disasters, and also when you consider the other titles were around the waists of faces, it was an odd choice by the WWF. Either way, it was nice to see them get rewarded for being a pretty good team that was over with the fans. The Beverly Brothers had spent the summer feuding with the LOD so it was a bit surprising that they got this title match here and just based on size alone they seemed to be severe underdogs. It really would have paid the summer feuds off better if LOD battled the Bevs and the Disasters took on the former champs. It was such odd booking that it almost seemed obvious that the Bevs could win because why else suddenly enter them into the picture? I did enjoy the Disasters’ happy go lucky, yet dangerously monstrous demeanors. As they have been all night, the Wembley fans gave the champs a very warm welcome. The Bevs attacked off the bell but that backfired severely thanks to the girth of the Disasters. In an impressive pot, Blake hoisted Typhoon up for a slam and actually held him up for a few seconds until the big man’s weight became too much and they crashed back to the mat. However, a little slight of hand heel teamwork let to the Disasters colliding and the challengers given a golden opportunity to take advantage. They would double team and work quickly in beating on Typhoon, draping him over the middle rope and pounding his back. It was a very focused attack and it seemed like they may be able to overcome the size difference and pull this off. Just when they got a little lax and cocky, Typhoon cracked both brothers with a big double clothesline, however it wasn’t enough to allow him to escape and make the tag. The closest near fall came when the Bevs used the Genius’ scroll and nearly grabbed a win over Typhoon before Quake broke the cover up. The crowd bit on that one for sure. Quake would get the tag a moment later and it was over from there as he just pounded both Bevs before polishing off Beau with the Earthquake Splash to a monstrous pop. For having a fairly obvious ending and not much a feud behind it, this ended up being a fun little tag match. Again, the crowd heat really pushed it along and Typhoon did a nice job selling the Bevs’ offense. The Disasters continue to reign as champs and look towards their next challenge. Grade: **
5) Crush defeats Repo Man by submission with the Cranium Crunch Head Vice in 5:41
Fun Fact I: This would be Repo Man’s final PPV match (not counting Rumble ’93) as he would leave the federation in the summer of 1993. He would eventually pop up in WCW crowds in 1994, where he would heckle all of the wrestlers. Eventually he started to wrestle under the name Blacktop Bully and would have some decent success as a tag team with Bunkhouse Buck. Bully and Dustin Rhodes were fired in March of 1995 after blading in a match where they were told specifically not to. Bully was brought back eventually and went through a number of gimmicks, most notably Stewart Pain, a wrestling golfer. After his namesake Payne Stewart died, he changed his name to Barry “Hole in One” Darsow. He would close out his WCW career jobbing on WCW Saturday Night. Barry Darsow had a solid career that spanned two decades, but he never reached the popularity he had in the late 80s as Demolition Smash.
Fun Fact II: In the spring, we began seeing vignettes of former Demolition member Crush sporting a whole new look and attitude. Gone were the spikes and face paint, and replacing them were neon tights and lightened blonde hair. Crush was usually shown in a junkyard…crushing stuff. He made his TV in ring return on the 5/9 Superstars, defeating Kato in under two minutes.
Scott: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Demolition reunion match. I wonder if this some kind of a fun rib as the former Crush and Smash battle in a filler match. Sure Crush kept his name but gone are the days of black leather and studs and now he’s from Kona, Hawaii and wears bright orange and pink. Some fans may not even realize that Repo Man is Crush, but this match is still very fun to see happening. Crush is crazy over, and could be a guy that is at the forefront of the company over the next year. Halfway through this card and you can see change in the air. I don’t know if this crowd misses Hulk Hogan or not, but so far they have been all over this show and full of energy. Crush wins it with his head vice finisher and the crowd is crazy. The matches so far may not have all been five-star classics but this London crowd has certainly made this show immensely entertaining so far. We now get to one of the centerpiece matches of this show, and everyone is ready. Grade: **
Justin: The undercard chugs along as we have an unlikely explosion between former Demolition members. Repo Man of course is the former Smash and here he faces off with the new look Crush. Crush had taken some time off from WWF after WrestleMania VII and returned earlier in 1992 as a happy-go-lucky Hawaiian that enjoyed crushing coconuts on the beach. He was clearly being set up a top level face and he had a great look, despite the insane neon tights. Repo tried to sneak around and pepper a few shots in early, but Crush’s power was just too much and it almost became a bit playful by the big man. Repo was a bit of a goofy gimmick but he has been a solid heel in the mid card since he showed up late in 1991. He was a good veteran hand and had enough substance in the ring to help get the younger faces over. Even when Repo did find some daylight, Crush was able to shrug off his blows with ease. Crush would catch a careening Repo with a powerslam before finishing him off with the Cranium Crunch for the easy win in his solo PPV debut. Nothing doing here but the novelty of the Demolition clash was cool and Crush getting a win on this stage set him up well for the rest of 1992. Grade: *
6) Ultimate Warrior defeats Randy Savage by count-out at 26:15; Savage retains WWF World Title
Fun Fact I: According to legend, Ultimate Warrior was supposed to turn heel at the end of the match and win the World Title, which could explains why it is in the middle of the card, as Vince did not want to send the fans home upset. Right before the show, however, Warrior backed out and decided he did want to turn heel, so the whole match was rebooked. Warrior would be gone by November and would not return until 1996. Savage would end up losing the title to Ric Flair the very next night, September 1st, at a house show in Hershey, PA. After this match, Flair and Perfect destroy Savage’s knee with a chair, and the following night, Flair takes advantage of that injured leg and forces Savage to pass out in the figure-four.
Fun Fact II: There was great intrigue and curiosity heading into this match, as for weeks, Flair and Perfect kept claiming that one of the participants could purchase Perfect’s managerial services for the night. Heading into the show, they claimed that either Warrior or Savage had taken them up, but they wouldn’t say which one. In Flair’s classic pre-match interview, Mean Gene asks who’s dressing room Perfect is in, and Flair replies, “of course, he is in the dressing room of…the winner…WHOO!” Halfway through the match, Perfect and Flair strut to ringside and interfere on behalf of both men, who begin to distrust each other even more than they did heading into the match. The match ends with Flair nailing Savage with a chair after he dove at him from the top rope, and the proceed to destroy Savage’s knee and also brutalize Warrior, as all along, they were just playing head games and had never even talked to either guy about managing them.
Scott: Well this is a big main event, with a crazy backstory. This build has had its twists and turns throughout the summer, with multiple parties involved. Funny how we had a match with two heels (Martel/Michaels) earlier and now the first of two matches with two babyfaces. Obviously with this show not having Hulk Hogan involved, they really needed to craft this show right if they expected a big crowd and a huge buyrate. Remembering that these two put on a five-star classic the year before at WrestleMania, a rematch wouldn’t be a problem at all. Then you have the mystery about Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect. Whose corner will Perfect be in? My first question is how is Flair not on this show? Did we know if he had an injury or not? We knew why Perfect hadn’t wrestled: It’s called a Lloyd’s of London policy. But Flair? One of the hottest heels in the company coming in and out of Mania, plus with Sid Justice gone you’d think he’d get a bigger role on the show than just being a storyline hook. I’ve always found that really bizarre. We find out later that he had a form of Vertigo at the time and couldn’t wrestle. Such a bummer. As for our participants, it’s clear both guys were told to get off the steroids due to the pending legal issues. That’s why Hogan is off camera and that’s why both Warrior and Savage are wearing ring gear to hide their smaller physiques, particularly Savage. He’s got long tights and a shirt top. Warrior is wearing a singlet with muscles painted on it. That’s funny, but even funnier when a future superstar actually wears it again. The match is exceptional, as both men actually look more agile and faster than their previous encounter. That particularly holds true for Warrior, who is moving at a brisker (for him) pace than he normally did. They go back and forth until Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect come down to the ring and now the shit starts to stir. They skulk around ringside until Savage is tripped on an Irish whip. The crowd starts booing vociferously as Warrior comes to his feet and works Savage over. So did Warrior sell out? Later in the match while Savage is outside trying to get the knocked-down referee’s attention, Perfect gets in the ring to rustle Warrior up, but then holds him while Flair cracks him with brass knuckles. So was it Savage who sold out? Well Savage drops the elbow and even pulls the tights but Warrior still kicks out. The battle continues but Savage looks to finish Warrior off with an elbow drop but instead he comes off the top rope to Flair on the outside. Flair cracks Savage’s knee with a steel chair and Savage gets counted out. The post-match is even crazier and Flair and Perfect beating Savage down and, knowing his rematch for the World Title later that week, slaps the Figure Four on to weaken that knee. Warrior chases Flair and Perfect down the aisle and the two babyfaces in the ring together. Urban legend is that Warrior was going to turn heel in this match and win the World Title, but he didn’t want to be a heel champion so he sacrificed being champion to stay a fan favorite. Warrior would eventually have issues with Vince backstage and vanish again. Savage would only be WWF Champion for a few more days, but this is one of the more memorable and deeply psychological title matches in WWF history. The crowd loved it and maybe, just maybe, the crowd isn’t really missing Hulk Hogan. Grade: ****
Justin: The World Title is on the line in our next match and again it was a challenge that kind of came out of left field. All summer it seemed as if Randy Savage would be putting him gold back on the line in a WrestleMania rematch, however it was suddenly announced that the Ultimate Warrior would get the bout. So, still a WrestleMania rematch, but just from a different year. The build up was really good, with them starting off respecting and trusting each other but quickly devolving into each man losing that trust as the weeks went along. And then you add in Flair and Mr. Perfect stirring the pot, and things got even wilder. Flair and Perfect started to announce that they would lend their services to the highest bidder and started to play up both sides, sewing seeds of doubt in each man’s mind as they wondered if the other had caved in and sold out. It was very unique and very well done by all involved. It was pretty great seeing Warrior and Savage on top of the promotion with Hulk Hogan in their rearview mirror as it was a long time coming. Toss Flair in the mix and the top of the card feels as fresh as ever despite featuring some tenured veterans. The anticipation built and built as the two men stared each other down before shaking hands and almost triggering a brawl off it. The atmosphere was tremendous, as the crowd was roaring and the airhorns were blaring with both men soaking it in. The majority of fans were solidly behind Warrior early, booing Savage when he landed strikes but popping like mad when Warrior started to rock the champ. Both men traded control on and off with the most basic of strikes, but thanks to the roaring of the London fans, it felt quite epic. Also adding to the feel was the fact that the sun began to set and the match now had a very cool looking twilight backdrop. Savage looked to be picking up momentum, but Warrior shook off a big axe handle blow and all of a sudden it felt like we were back in Los Angeles. However, Savage would land a second that put the Warrior down on his back. A third attempt came up short as Warrior caught him and snapped him down with a backbreaker for a near fall. Warrior started to focus on the back and trying to wear out Savage, at on point grabbing a brief bear hug and whipping him violently to the mat. The challenger would make a big mistake by dropping his head on an Irish whip too soon, allowing Macho to take him over with a swinging neckbreaker and putting the champ on the offense. Warrior would battle through it but the damage done to his neck started to slow him down as he focused on the back again. The tide ebbed again as Savage knocked Warrior to the floor and began to pound on him out there, slamming him hard into the steps. Heenan would really take Macho to task for not taking the countout and continuing to head back outside to work over his challenger. As Savage dragged Warrior into the ring and tried for a failed piledriver, Flair and Perfect finally made their presence felt as they strutted down the aisle to a cascade of boos. We would land back at the two trading offense until they collided with a big double clothesline, which wiped both out.
Perfect would finally strike, tripping up Savage as he hit the ropes, leading Heenan and McMahon to proclaim that Warrior had clearly sold out. As Savage jawed with them on the floor, Warrior came from behind and clubbed Savage in the head and was booed for the first time in the match as the crowd did not seem happy that he would sell his soul. Great booking and crown manipulation. After a ref bump, Warrior ascended the top rope and crashed into Savage with a double axe handle, but with no official, he couldn’t grab the win. The ref would end up on the floor and Savage went to fetch him. As they were out there, Flair and Perfect came in the ring and put the heavy boots to Warrior, now leading the announcers to assume it was a rouse earlier and that Savage was really the won that paid the bounty. Savage would take advantage, hitting his big elbow drop but the referee was too slow to recover, allowing Warrior to kick out. Warrior rallied from there, running through Savage with clotheslines and a shoulderblock and the crowd was back firmly behind him now. Flair would get involved again, bashing Warrior with a chair as he was running the ropes and finally Savage started to show some signs that he wasn’t involved in this. As he crept to his feet, he looked around and froze from bringing anymore offense as he tried to sort out what happened. The crowd started to pick up on things now too, realizing that the whole thing was a head game from the start. It was hammered home when Perfect reached in and tripped him up too. Savage shook it off and climbed up top but instead of dropping the elbow, he dove towards Flair on the floor, eating a chair to the leg on the way down. That was a very questionable decision. Savage was too injured to recover, giving Warrior the countout win but keeping his title. As soon as the bell rang, Perfect and Flair pounced and started to punish Macho on the floor, looking to destroy his ankle and knee. The beating continued until Warrior finally pulled himself up and made the save.
That was a hell of a package, from the red hot crowd, to the heavy drama to the intense psychology, it really was a whole lot of fun. Warrior and Savage have insanely great chemistry that was on display in the first 3/4 of the match and the back half was well executed with Flair and Perfect slowly unfolding their ingenious plan. Even though you hate to see a countout in a match like this, it worked fine in the setting because the whole goal of Flair was to damage Savage enough to injure him for a potential future title match. I can’t say this was as good as their Retirement Match 18 months earlier, it really isn’t as far off as you may think and you could argue there is almost as much drama in a different way. It was certainly a much more balanced match and I loved the constant back and forth that ran right the bout. Also, an angle like this worked so well because it was totally in line with Flair and Perfect’s character and both Warrior and Savage were both beloved enough and driven enough to have believably sold out or not sold out. I mentioned it earlier that the main event scene had been refreshed and this match was a huge breath of fresh air on many levels. Grade: ****
7) Undertaker defeats Kamala by disqualification when Kim Chee interferes at 3:39
Fun Fact: James Harris was born on May 28, 1950 in Senatobia, Mississippi and grew up in Coldwater, Mississippi. He grew up in a poor family that collected welfare to pay bills after his father was killed during a dice game. As a teenager, Harris turned to burglary. Local police suggested to him that he should leave town, which he did, moving to Florida first and then to Michigan. There is where he met Bobo Brazil and began training as a wrestler. He wrestled under various names during his early days in wrestling, including “Big” Jim Harris, “Sugar Bear” Harris and “Ugly Bear Harris”.
After a run in the UK where he was The Mississippi Mauler, Harris started up in Memphis. Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett created a new character for Harris, one of a Ugandan cannibal who would wrestle barefooted in a loincloth with face and body paint. He was initially managed by Skandor Akbar and “Classy Freddy” Blassie before taking on the mysterious handler Kim Chee (who was normally played by Steve Lombardi during his runs in the WWF).
Kamala made several runs in the WWF, beginning in 1984. At this time, Kamala was returning to the Federation after a six year absence. In this run, Kim Chee was joined by Kamala’s new manager Harvey Wippleman in the Ugandan’s corner.
Scott: Well, after our epic storytelling, workrate and psychology of the main event we have this. We begin what turns into an almost four year run of the Deadman facing one big ugly sloth after another. Poor Undertaker had a five day run as WWF Champion less than one year ago. He’s just as over as anybody in the company but during the Federation Era gimmicks take on gimmicks. So he takes on a character who was an awesome heel during the 1980s in multiple promotions, including World Class and the AWA. He had an epic feud with Andre the Giant that culminated in a steel cage match in Toronto. However now, Kamala has lost a lot of his sizzle and now is trying to be on the same level with the immensely over Undertaker. As expected, the match is absolutely terrible. There’s a lot of no-selling, punches and other awful forms of posturing. After three and a half brutal minutes, Kamala’s handler Kim Chee with a pith helmet to Taker’s gut for a merciful disqualification. Kamala tries to get his heat back with a post-match beatdown but it’s all really pretty dreadful. What makes it worse is that you know there will be a rematch on the horizon and it will likely be even worse. Poor Undertaker, we will get used to these dreadful feuds for the next few years. Grade: 1/2*
Justin: In an odd, unlikely return, Kamala popped back u upon WWF TV over the summer and was immediately positioned as a monster heel opponent for the Undertaker. After Mania, Taker has been embroiled in a feud with maniacal Berzerker, but yet again the big summer feud fades by the time this show came around and Taker was transitioned to the Ugandan Giant instead. Kamala has both Kim Chee and Harvey Wippleman with him and even though he was portrayed as nasty monster, they oddly framed him as being afraid of Taker, which seemed to be a weird stance to take at the onset of a feud. Taker’s entrance here is an all time great, as he rides to the ring on the back of an old school British hearse. I will say Harvey’s track record has not been stellar thus far but they have stuck with the little guy. As against as I was at the time, it was clear that turning Taker was the right move as the fans just wanted to cheer a guy that was as unique, strong and well pushed as he was. Taker started off strong, smacking Kamala and then clubbing him with his top rope axe handle. He would try a second one, but Harvey hopped on the apron and rattled the ropes, causing the Deadman to crash to the mat. The fight spilled to the floor but pretty much just featured basic strikes from Kamala. They warbled around the ring before finally heading back inside. Taker fought him off and then planted him with a ring rattling chokeslam that even made Heenan pop. Taker would follow with a flying clothesline and went for the Tombstone but Kim Chee interfered for the weak DQ. Well, that was…unfulfilling. Kamala would attack after the bell, dropping a series of splashes on Taker, but the Deadman would sit up, frightening the Giant and sending him scurrying to the locker room. The booking here was pretty confusing as the match was nothing and really short. Kamala got saved from an obvious loss and then builds some heat after with a good beatdown…but Taker no sells it and Kamala runs away scared? How does that build any sort of rematch? The crowd loved it though and the chokeslam was cool, saving it from being absolute zero. Grade: 1/2*
*** Roddy Piper makes a surprise return to a huge pop to play Scotland the Brave on his bagpipes. He would disappear again as this would be his last on screen appearance until early 1994. ***
8) British Bulldog defeats Bret Hart with a reverse sunset flip at 25:09 to win the Intercontinental Title
Fun Fact: This was Bulldog’s first WWF singles title. Heading into the match, they played up the family feud thing big time, saying the Hart family was torn over this match, especially Diana, who did not want to choose between her brother and husband. Bret played the heel role here, as he wanted to make sure Bulldog got over big in his home country. Bret made sure to whine about Bulldog being family, yet challenging him for the title, even calling him an ingrate at one point. Sadly, Bulldog would lose the title to Shawn Michaels in October, and would disappear to WCW during the steroid purge of late-92/early-93 and wouldn’t return until the middle of 1994.
Fun Fact II: Before this show was moved to London, it was originally scheduled to originate from Landover, MD. As part of that original card, Hart would battle Shawn Michaels in an Intercontinental Title Ladder Match.
Scott: So our main event is clearly the easiest to slide into the card at the end. For the first time in WWF history, the IC Title is ALONE in a main event. It was of course involved in the WrestleMania VI main event, but the World Title was tagged in that one as well. Here it’s more about the participants than the title itself. For the first time in his career, Bret Hart is in the main event of a big time PPV event. To be honest it’s a first for both men. For Bret Hart, it’s his time to take that step to the next level and be a player in the WWF landscape. The company is changing, the roster is changing and he will be one of many on the forefront. As for Davey Boy it’s pretty clear: Put on the greatest match of his life in front of over 80,000 of his countrymen. His pop is off the charts as the Wembley crowd has been geeked for his moment all night long. Bret gets some boos but it’s obvious it’s for this night only. This storyline is predicated on what will be used many times over the next five years: The Hart Family. Bret’s sister Diana is Davey Boy’s wife. So we have brother-in-law vs. brother-in-law. Vince isn’t Gorilla, but he tries to keep Bobby in line. Bobby’s best line is when they show Diana on camera and he asks “Is that Mike McGuirk”? Classic Brain. It is clear that about five minutes into this match, Bulldog was pretty gassed and was going at a sluggish pace. It turns out that either Bulldog had a staph infection or was having drug issues all summer and that when Bulldog arrived at Wembley that day he told Bret he hadn’t slept in 48 hours. So if Bret Hart was going to be tested for carrying a big time main event, on a show that needed to succeed, he was really behind the eight ball to start. So after Bulldog’s quick start, Bret would be very methodical in taking his brother-in-law apart. Maybe that is the reason for the match being so good, because Bret turned a bad into a good. He allowed Bulldog to hit his spots and preserve his energy, while at the same time keeping the pace of the match going and not getting too sluggish. Frankly, plenty of credit for this match (and show) must go to the crazed Wembley crowd. The UK has always been a rabid wrestling hotbed, and this was the perfect place to put on a show that was missing a huge piece of the company’s PPV history (Hogan) and needed to succeed by thinking outside the box. I really love watching Bret in this match because at times he even gets a little heelish by pulling Davey Boy’s hair and throwing some cheap looking kicks in as well. Bulldog makes a great comeback late and when he hit his patented powerslam, I thought it was over. Bret kicks out and I was stunned. Bulldog gets his second wind and really starts throwing the champ around, including an impressive looking superplex. Bret still kicked out. Bret reverses a move into his Sharpshooter and I thought maybe they’d swerve the crowd and have Bret retain the title. The finish indeed comes out of nowhere, as Bret goes for a Sunset Flip and Davey Boy reverses into a school boy roll for the win and his first major singles championship. The crowd goes ballistic. Of course there’s the obligatory tension to see what Bret would do. He was going to leave the ring in disgust, but he eventually hugs Davey and everybody goes home happy. I wouldn’t say this was the best match of the year or the greatest IC Title match of all time but it was definitely better than I thought it would be and capped off a pretty great show. Grade: ****
Justin: Our main event is a very interesting and unique one. For the second time on the card we have another face vs. face title match. However, this time it is because of one very specific reason: location. Once it was decided to hold this card in London, the WWF’s easiest layup was to put the British Bulldog in a marquee matchup. So, after treading water for most of 1992, he was suddenly shunted into an IC title feud with his brother-in-law Bret Hart. It was obvious that Bulldog would be the fan favorite, so Hart showed some heel shade heading into the bout, hinting that he would do whatever it took to keep his gold, family or no family. Diana Hart Smith was also dragged into the feud and she would be shown throughout the match, torn on choosing between her husband and brother. It was a really well built feud and the tension was high by the time we reached Wembley. I love that they chose to have this go on last as well, a move that showed they had the pulse of the event and knew how over Bulldog would be. It was also a huge show of faith in Hart, to put him in the main event slot of a megacard like this and trust him to carry Bulldog through a long match and ensure he look good. Bulldog would get a hero’s welcome as he marched to the ring alongside boxing legend Lennox Lewis, Union Jack waving proudly and God Save the Queen blaring over the speakers. Hart was stoic, determined and focused in his entrance, and got a smattering of support amongst a seas of boos. The atmosphere before the bell was fantastic and the crowd was out of their mind right away, airhorns again blazing through the air as the fans buzzed. Bulldog struck first, as you would imagine, driving Hart to the floor with a shoulderblock. Hart would recover and take things to the mat from there, looking to calm his momentum and the crowd.Bret was really fluid here, mixing in near falls and weardown holds expertly, giving us bursts of action while also helping Bulldog conserve a little energy early on. I really dug Bulldog’s tights in this one, as they are heavy on the blue instead of white. As the match went on, we would get a series of closeups on the concerned Diana. Bulldog would land his first big blow with a strong slingshot that sent hart careening off the buckles. Bulldog’s confidence started to brim as he took control, working over Hart’s arm with his power advantage. Bret would regain his momentum and really started to ooze his heel swagger now, sneering at the booing fans as he wrenched in a chinlock.
Vince landed a topical joke in here, comparing the beating Bulldog was taking to the recent downturn of the British pound. Bulldog would come back again but make two crucial mistakes, first charging hard into a waiting Hart boot and second taking an ill-advised dive off the top rope and coming up empty. Bulldog was really hurting at this point and was clearly gassed and sucking wind. In a super nasty spot, Bulldog ended up on the floor and Bret tried a tope over the top rope, but Bulldog was to close to the ring, causing Bret to lasso his neck and yank him hard to the floor, bending him backwards. He is lucky he didn’t snap his neck or back on that one. Bret went right back to work once they got back in the ring, laying in stiff kicks, punches and uppercuts and grabbing near falls off a powerslam and snap suplex. I like how Bret keeps going to that chinlock or sleeper just to let Bulldog regroup, but he did it in ways that made sense each time and always felt like he was just trying to quiet the raucous crowd. Bulldog would power out of a sleeper and battle back again. Things almost got ugly again as Bulldog stumbled during a press slam and dropped Hart hard across the top rope crotch-first. The crowd got even more rabid as Bulldog hoisted Hart up for an extended vertical suplex and Bulldog followed that with a hard Irish whip to send Hart into the buckles. For the closest near fall of the match,Bulldog hit his running powerslam but Hart inched out of it, leading to the sewing of some doubt that maybe Hart would outlast his brother-in-law in a road game. Those doubts faded a bit after a great Bulldog superplex rattled the Hitman’s body. With both men down and out, Hart looked back to his win a year ago and grapevined Davey’s legs while prone on the mat, leading right into the Sharpshooter, which to date, nobody had broken. That held up here, but Bulldog grabbed the ropes to break it. Bret would try to take advantage of the weary Bulldog and go for a sunset flip, but Bulldog dropped to his knees, wrapped the legs and held Hart down for a three count. The crowd was in a frenzy as Bulldog and Lewis celebrated the huge win. After teasing more tension, Hart embraced Bulldog, congratulating him and and standing tall alongside the new champion and Diana. It was a tremendous moment capping off a fantastic match. The layout was beautiful here with Bret masterfully leading Bulldog through the whole thing, hitting high notes when needed and supplementing with some down time to help Bulldog regroup. It was definitely his coming out party as a wrestler that drag a great match out of anybody if given the chance. The crowd was phenomenal here too, in it the whole way. I can’t say it was perfect as there is something in there lacking, but it was really, really good and a great way to cap off a fun show. It was also awesome to see the IC title held in such regard and put over as high level prize worthy of this slot. Grade: ****
Scott: This is one of the most unique shows in WWF history. The first PPV that doesn’t involve Federation Era icon Hulk Hogan needed compelling storylines and very solid main event matches. As I’ve said throughout this review, UK wrestling fans are usually rabid for most anything. So the energy level was pretty much top notch throughout this show. This show was originally slated for Washington, DC. I’m not sure what the main event would have been, because Bulldog was slated in the IC Title match only after the venue changed. Originally Shawn Michaels was to beat Bret Hart for the IC Title, but that wouldn’t have been the last match. Savage/Warrior would have been a great main event but the convoluted ending would have been an awful show-ender. So I’m not sure what the original plan was supposed to be but no matter. This was such an entertaining show that except for one real dud every match was solid enough and the double main event served its purpose. We are still somewhat in no man’s land with the company and what happens between now and our next PPV outing. This show was a great indicator of what the future holds, but with our next show we really see a churning of the roster as some new, important faces will make their presence felt. Final Grade: A-
Justin: We continue our strong streak of PPV offerings here, but this is extremely similar to WrestleMania VIII in that it is completely a two match show. The rest of the card was fine, ranging from “just there” to “solid work” and really solely existed to fill out the time outside of the two heavy hitters. I gave that show a B. I think the two top matches rival the battles at that show and the undercard feels the same. I am going to give this show a bit of a bump though, as I liked the card structure much more and the two top bouts felt more important here rather than being a bit lost earlier in the card like at Mania. Also, the atmosphere here is amazing and that has to count for something. It was wholly unique, fresh and new. It was a great look and the fans were just rabid for everything, right through the final bell. I also enjoyed the chemistry of McMahon and Heenan here and didn’t feel enough of a drop off in quality from the Monsoon/Heenan duo to negatively affect things. In many ways this show feels like a stand alone outlier as compared to the rest of the year, with many of the matches coming out of left field heading in, but those decisions certainly worked. All in all, this is a fun show that flew by and is always a really good watch. Final Grade: B+