*** 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! ***
Sunday Night Slam 8/21/94
August 21, 1994 (Taped August 1, 1994)
Announcers: Jim Ross & Randy Savage
Fun Fact: The next night on Monday Night Raw (#76), a cut down version of the Sunday Night Slam aired, mixed with in studio discussions between Vince McMahon and Randy Savage to help promote SummerSlam.
1) Lex Luger defeats Crush with the running forearm at 12:30
Fun Fact: We say farewell to Crush for a few months following this match. He would stay with the WWF through a European tour in September 1994 before leaving the Federation. He would return at the 1995 Royal Rumble, but his return would be brief. Shortly after the Rumble, he would be arrested in Hawaii for purchasing steroids and being in the possession of a an illegal hand gun, which would result in jail time.
Scott: This feud has been going on for months, and on the eve of SummerSlam in Chicago, Lex Luger is taking on Crush. Luger’s involvement with the Corporation is still hanging in the air thanks to Tatanka’s continuous insinuations that Luger has sold out to the WWF fans. Jim Ross and Randy Savage continues to debate the issue with Luger, and Savage still believes that Luger could have sold out to the Million Dollar Man. Both big man are awesome power guys as Crush takes control with strikes to the ribs but Luger recovers after brawling outside and throws Crush inside, then walks into an inverted atomic drop. Crush’s offense seems very limited and he pretty much just hits Luger with shots to the back and ribs over and over again. The match is going at a snail’s pace. Crush has spent this match (which admittedly is good psychology) going after Luger’s lower back to set up for the bear hug. The bear hug is locked in, and NOW DiBiase comes down the ramp to start playing mind games. The slow, plodding strikes continue as Savage wonders how DiBiase hasn’t been spotted by Luger yet. Crush distracts Luger, which gives the All-American a chance to hit the big forearm and get the victory. Was it intentional? Did DiBiase distract Crush? We’ll never know. Grade: *1/2
JT: We are a mere eight days away from this year’s SummerSlam, coming at us live from the brand new United Center in Chicago and we have a pretty packed slate of action here tonight. Jim Ross and Randy Savage are in the booth for these matches, as they were all filmed inside the Beeghly Center during that Raw taping when Vince McMahon was absent. But, we will be hearing from both Vince and Jerry Lawler later in the show as well. Opening things up is the long awaited blowoff to a feud that raged on for part of the summer before cooling off after KOTR. After a really fun first half of 1994, Crush has been on complete fumes and was actually gone from the WWF by the time this show aired. Before he left, though, we get to see if Lex Luger can finally take him out. And speaking of Lex, while his feud with Crush was in his rearview mirror, he had other issues going on, as Ted DiBiase was claiming that Lex had sold out and joined the Corporation. His buddy Tatanka bought the story and the two are now set to fight over it in Chicago. Ross runs through the past issues with these two as Luger heads out first to a nice ovation, followed by Crush stalking to the ring as stoically as ever. We get underway with a lock up as Ross wonders where DiBiase is, as he had claimed he would be here for this match. Savage continues to not believe the story but he is a bit more on the fence than he was on Raw. Luger grinds a side headlock before hitting a cross body block for two. Crush punched his way into control and kept bringing the heavy blows to keep Luger grounded. Lex would block a piledriver with a back drop and hammered away, eventually knocking the Hawaiian to the floor with a shoulderblock. Luger followed Crush outside and pitched him in the ring but Crush recovered and dropped him with an inverted atomic drop followed by a backbreaker for two. Crush started to target the lower back, kicking and thrusting away, as the talk turns back to DiBiase and his whereabouts. Luger survived a camel clutch but Crush kept laying the wood, grabbing near falls and punishing the lumbar region with a bear hug. As Lex did his best to hang on, DiBiase finally emerged, cash in hand, and looked on from ringside. Luger punched his way free but Crush cut off his comeback and dropped him hard to the mat with a big press slam. He followed that with a leg drop for a near fall and after a break, Crush was still in control but Lex was able to block a suplex into an inside cradle for a near fall. Crush worked the back for another minute until both men collided heads and collapsed. Luger still hasn’t noticed DiBiase out there as he climbed to his feet and traded blows with his adversary. Luger started to heat up, grabbing a near fall off a powerslam and then hitting a DDT for two as well. Crush came back with a side kick to the face and followed that with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but DiBiase hopped on the apron and caught the Hawaiian’s attention with some cash as a trade to leave Lex alone. As Crush confronted him, Luger got to his feet and pelted Crush with the forearm for the win. Luger took off for the back as DiBiase recollected his money, leaving everyone just as confused as we were when this all started. The match was fine enough, about what you would expect, and only picked up once DiBiase showed up. This was perhaps the best evidence we have received that something may be up but still no confirmation either way. Crush’s run ends for now thanks to some legal issues and overall it was one that was much more interesting than I had remembered. Grade: **
*** We head to the studio for a visit with Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler, who plug their call in segment that is on tap for later tonight. Lawler then claims he is ready to give a piece of his mind to the moron fans that torment him. We then check out footage from the Royal Rumble, which was the last time we saw Paul Bearer’s Undertaker live at a WWF event. Following that was a narrated package of all of the events that followed regarding Undertaker’s whereabouts, Ted DiBiase’s shenanigans and Paul Bearer’s claims. The package ended with footage from last week’s King’s Court, all setting up the mysterious Undertaker vs. Undertaker match at SummerSlam. ***
2) Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS defeat 1-2-3 Kid & Sparky Plugg when Bigelow pins Plugg with a powerslam at 10:13
Scott: Ted DiBiase’s night continue when his Million Dollar Team takes on the 1-2-3 Kid and Sparky Plugg. DiBiase continues to literally be all over the WWF right now, with his hands in so many feuds. Sparky was on Raw here and there but we really hadn’t seen him with any top quality competition since the Quebecers mini feud in January. I still think Bigelow was an underutilized talent in the company, but the problem is all the title feuds are filled right now. If Owen wasn’t around, Bigelow would be a great feud for Bret Hart and the WWF Title. The Kid is getting tortured by Bigelow and is getting hit with multiple big strikes. The heels hit a big move when Bigelow had the Kid draped over his shoulder and IRS elbowed him off the top rope to the floor. IRS is still the most serviceable guys in the company and works well with just about anybody. Kid finally squirms free from the beating and gets the hot tag to Sparky who goes off on the two heels, but out of nowhere gets caught in a Bigelow power slam and the heels get the win. That was a fun little sprint that had some great psychology and good selling by the Kid. Grade: **
JT: Ted DiBiase is right back out to ringside as he leads his number one contenders to the ring for a SummerSlam warm up match. Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS haven’t been a unit long but DiBiase flashed the cash and they are now set to challenge the Headshrinkers in Chicago. Across the ring from them is a fun underdog team comprised of the red hot 1-2-3 Kid and Sparky Plugg, who is still trying to find his way after debuting at the beginning of 1994. Ross gives DiBiase credit for signing a good test match for his boys in advance of their huge SummerSlam opportunity. Bigelow dominates early, using his partner to rag doll the Kid, spiking him hard to the mat and then chucking him across the ring. Kid came back with a couple of kicks followed by a missile dropkick for two. The crowd was buzzing as Bammer missed a charge in the corner and Kid kept peppering him with kicks before knocking the big man to the floor. Kid met him with a baseball slide dropkick and then flew into him with a moonsault. Bigelow was rocked as IRS got in the ring and charged Sparky, but Plugg ducked and Irwin flew to the floor. All four men brawled outside with the underdogs bringing the fire. Back inside, Sparky hit a back elbow off the top rope for two and then grabbed hold of the arm. Bigelow would dodge an elbow drop and make the tag to IRS, who was able to slow the pace and lay in some offense. Sparky came back with a cross body and dropkick and hammered away, picking up a near fall on a sunset flip. The two went back and forth until Kid tagged in and Irwin was able to sling him hard to the floor. Once he returned to the ring, Irwin started to pick the Kid apart, mixing in strikes, a chinlock and near falls. Bigelow tagged in and it was more of the same as he used his power offense to batter the Kid, picking up a near fall on a DDT along the way. IRS came back in and worked Kid over with an airplane spin into a hard slam for two. A frustrated Irwin grabbed a front face lock but Kid was able to wiggle over and tag Sparky, however the referee missed it and forced Plugg back to the apron. Bigelow came in and dropped a headbutt on Kid and then hoisted him on his shoulders. IRS then tagged in and leapt off the top rope, hammering Kid to the mat for two. The Million Dollar Team started to tag a bit more frequently, trying to figure out what move could finally finish Kid off. Bigelow would head up top but came up empty on a moonsault, allowing the Kid to finally make the big hot tag. Sparky came flying in and worked over both Bigelow and IRS, but Bigelow would catch him coming off the top rope and plant him with a powerslam for the win. That was a helluva fun little match. The opening shine was really good and the heat segment was top notch Kid taking a brutal shit kicking filled with hard strikes and big time power moves. The only thing keeping it from clocking in a bit higher was the abrupt ending that saw Sparky get finished off within seconds of the hot tag. Still, this is an unexpected little hidden gem on this show. Bigelow & IRS certainly look primed for the Headshrinkers and Ted DiBiase has to feel pretty good about his chances to pick up gold for the Corporation for the first time. Grade: ***
*** Todd Pettengill is in the house for our final SummerSlam Report, brought your way by Domino’s. The show will be live from the brand new United Center one week from tomorrow evening. Todd runs down the best way to go about ordering this show and the runs down the full card:
Undertaker vs. Undertaker
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WWF Title Steel Cage Match
Razor Ramon w/ Walter Payton vs. Diesel w/ Shawn Michaels – WWF Intercontinental Title
Lex Luger vs. Tatanka
Headshrinkers vs. Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS – WWF Tag Team Titles
Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano – WWF Women’s Title
Mabel vs. Jeff Jarrett
That will do it, call your cable company today because you don’t want to miss the hottest night of the summer! ***
3) Razor Ramon defeats Todd Becker with the Razor’s Edge at 3:45
Scott: A nice little squash here for the #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title. Razor is awaiting his date with Diesel on August 29 for the title he held from October until losing in April to Big Daddy Cool. Razor just mercilessly tortures the guy until hitting the Razor’s Edge for the victory. The Bad Guy is primed and ready for his big match in Chicago. Grade: DUD
JT: Next up we are joined by the number one contender to the WWF Intercontinental Title, the former champion Razor Ramon. Ross talks about the excitement for Ramon recruiting Walter Payton to be in his corner in Chicago as he looks to regain the strap. Savage believes Payton will be able to neutralize the always active Shawn Michaels but Ross does issue some caution. Sweetness has stated that he won’t get involved unless Michaels forces him to do so. Ramon makes quick and easy work of poor Todd Becker before winning with a nasty Razor’s Edge. Ramon was aggressive here and looks focused and ready to go for his SummerSlam tilt. Grade: DUD
4) Bull Nakano defeats Heidi Lee Morgan with a top rope legdrop at 7:32
Fun Fact: Heidi Lee Morgan began her wrestling career very early at the age of 10, where she served as a valet for her father, Les Morgan. Years later, she began working toward a career in bodybuilding when she was approached by Vince McMahon to become a professional wrestler. She was trained by The Fabulous Moolah, Wolfgang Von Heller and Johnny Rodz and began her wrestling career in 1987. She initially worked the indie scene in North and South Carolina before signing on with the National Wrestling Federation. There she feuded with Wendi Richter where the two battled in the first ever women’s steel cage match in May 1987. During her career, she held the LPWA Tag Team Championship with Misty Blue Simmes and the WWWA Ladies Championship. In 1993 she joined the WWF where she lost to Alundra Blayze in the finals of the WWF Women’s Championship tournament.
Scott: Time for a little BULL NAKANAKANO against Heidi lee Morgan, the other finalist in the Ladies’ tournament. Heidi Lee got a lot more offense than I thought she would, really getting some high flying stuff in against the bigger Bull, and actually got a nice high cross body on Bull for a very close two count, but eventually the bigger Bull took control and hit a crisp top rope leg drop for the victory. Bull and Alundra Blayze meet at SummerSlam for the Women’s Title and after the great brawl they had on Raw a few weeks earlier I am greatly anticipating the rematch. Grade: 1/2*
JT: Japanese legend Bull Nakano has settled into her role of women’s division bully quite nicely since her debut and flanked by Luna Vachon she enters here looking to notch one more win before her SummerSlam title tilt. We haven’t seen much of Heidi Lee Morgan other than a couple of TV matches and some house show work but she gets to be the sacrificial lamb this evening. As they make their entrances we check out footage from earlier this week when Abe Schwartz was picketing in the crowd and Savage takes him to task for blaming the fans for baseball’s labor issues. Ross notes that Morgan is giving away 97 pounds as things get under way as Savage says Bull and Luna refused his advances and request for a double date. Bull overpowers Heidi to open things up but Morgan comes back with a quick jackknife pin cover and then goes to work on the arm. Bull eventually powers free and then chucks Morgan across the ring by her hair before grabbing a chinlock. Bull follows up with a tree slam and a leg drop for a near fall before twisting Heidi into a modified Boston crab. The fans rallied Heidi until Bull just finally gave up on the hold and turned Morgan into a nasty grapevine surfboard hold. Bull released that one too and kept punishing Morgan before dumping her to the floor where Luna cracked her with a running clothesline before shoving her back inside. Bull locked Heidi in a seated abdominal stretch and mixed in some biting, leading to Domino’s jokes from the booth. Bull released the hold and turned into a cross arm breaker, only releasing when Heidi turned it into a pin attempt. Heidi came back with a sunset flip out of nowhere for two and then heated up a bit with a hiplock and dropkick. She headed up top and got a high cross body for a good near fall but a moment later Bull caught and slammed her hard to the mat. Bull followed with a suplex and then finished her off with a top rope leg drop. This was a really fun little match as the crowd was buzzing and impressed with everything Bull did. And she was damn impressive, blending power and submission offense with a smooth flow. Heidi was up for the test too, hanging right in and making a nice showing for herself. Bull is red hot heading into Chicago. Grade: **1/2
*** Jim Ross and Randy Savage discuss the Undertaker situation and plug the SummerSlam hotline. We then head back to earlier this week when Ray Rougeau caught up with Bret Hart for an interview in the ring. Hart discusses his brother’s recent comments doled out from inside a steel cage and calls Owen a lost and confused soul that won just one match. In that emotional bout, the WWF Title wasn’t on the line and this will be a different ball of wax. The title and family honor will be on the line inside the steel cage and notes that the entire Hart Family will be in the house in Chicago because it all ends right there at SummerSlam. It is a shame that this issue had to come down to a match like this but it is Owen that pushed it all to the limit. His WrestleMania victory rocketed him up to where he is, but the Hitman won’t be distracted by other things this time around. He calls Jim Neidhart fat and stupid and says he is outside the cage and can’t do a thing. He also remembers when Owen was a baby in his crib, wearing wet diapers and Bret would do chin ups and watch him cry. At SummerSlam, it will go down the same exact way. ***
5) Diesel defeats Typhoon in a non-title match with a clothesline at 5:01
Fun Fact: We bid farewell tonight to Typhoon (Fred Ottman). This will be Ottman’s last appearance in the WWF until 2001 when he will return for the WrestleMania X-Seven Gimmick Battle Royal as Tugboat. After leaving the WWF in 1994, Ottman returned to the independent circuit wrestling mainly on the East Coast still using the Typhoon character. In late 1995 he competed in a one night tag team tournament in Japan for WAR and in 1996 did a tour of Malaysia for the NWA. By the late 1990s, Ottman was mainly wrestling in Florida for the FOW (Future of Wrestling) and WXO promotions before retiring in 2001 when WXO folded.
Scott: We saw Razor Ramon earlier in the show, and now we see the man Razor will face for the Intercontinental Title in eight days. Diesel really has come into his own the past several months after almost being fired. His big push started at the Royal Rumble and then he followed that up by winning the IC Title after WrestleMania, now he faces perhaps the second most popular guy in the company. Typhoon is still a serviceable worker to put over these younger guys, and simply with size alone they get the job done with Diesel having to do his usual power stuff with a guy that weighs more than him. He does do that although he legitimately can’t jackknife Typhoon so he pins him with a clothesline. It’s kind of weak, but it served its purpose. Razor Ramon now looms for the champion. Grade: *
JT: Up next, our Intercontinental Champion is set for a non-title warm up match against the fading Typhoon. The former Natural Disaster was brought into replace the departing Earthquake but it just wasn’t the same as the use and heat just weren’t there. He quickly petered out and disappears after this show. Diesel is accompanied by Shawn Michaels as always and they are locked and loaded to battle Razor Ramon and deal with Walter Payton in Chicago. Ross and Savage take some random veiled digs at Ric Flair as the bell sounds and Michaels trash talks Typhoon. The two big men open up with a hard lock up that takes them all around the ring until Typhoon back Diesel into the corner. Diesel flips him around and lays in some hard strikes but Typhoon comes right back with a big shoudlerblock and slam for a near fall. Diesel would bail outside to regroup and when he returned, a Michaels distraction allowed Big Daddy Cool to turn the tide. Diesel leveled Typhoon with a shoulder block and then dropped a hard elbow for two before going to a neck vise. Ross reckons back to King of the Ring, noting that Diesel would be WWF Champion if Jim Neidhart hadn’t gotten involved, putting over the Jackknife as lethal. Diesel kept levying blows and choking away but whiffed on a big boot, allowing Typhoon to punch his way back into things. Typhoon would land a back elbow but came up empty on a leg drop. He stayed with it though and reversed a waist lock and then buried Diesel in the corner with an avalanche splash. However, Typhoon would then run into a big boot and Diesel mowed him down with a hard leaping clothesline for the win. This was a feisty little power match filled with some good aggression from both men. They really went hard at each other, clawing and punching away right through the finish. Diesel has improved so much over the past year, it really is amazing. And he is now a week away from a major IC title defense against his top rival. Grade: **
*** We hear from Leslie Neilson, whose trail has turned up cold time after time. He does feel he is on to something, though, and that story continues at SummerSlam. ***
*** After a break, we join Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler in the WWF Studios. They plug their toll free line, which will open up for calls after our final match of the evening. King mocks the fans and says he will dump anyone who gives him any issues tonight. ***
6) Undertaker defeats Sonny Rogers with the Tombstone at 1:21
Scott: It’s obvious this isn’t the actual Undertaker, as he’s smaller and has less tattoos. This Sunday Night Slam is full of Leslie Neilsen and the build for that match, which sadly is being treated like a main event more than the Bret/Owen world title match. I like that Ross had to say Sonny Rogers isn’t related to Buddy Rogers. Ha Ha Ha. Grade: DUD
JT: Closing things out for us tonight is Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker, getting one last contest in before he battles his doppleganger at SummerSlam. It has been an interesting ride since this Undertaker first surfaced with DiBiase back in June, but he has trudged along, working to convince everyone that he is the real deal. Undertaker makes swift work of Sonny Rogers as Savage and Ross ponders exactly what we will witness in Chicago. Undertaker gets the win with the Tombstone and prepares to possibly meet his fate in eight days. Grade: DUD
*** We pay one last visit to Leslie Neilson, who vows to solve the Undertaker mystery next Monday night at SummerSlam. Jim Ross and Randy Savage then wrap up the arena portion of our show. ***
*** We head back to the studio where Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler have opened the phone lines and are set to answer viewer questions about next week’s SummerSlam. First they talk about Abe Schwartz as Lawler plugs his local baseball team and wants to put together a team of WWF Superstars to travel the country for an open challenge.
First call is John from Wisconsin and he asks Lawler if he would like to take Bret Hart’s place against the King of Harts at SummerSlam. Lawler said he wouldn’t take that opportunity away from Owen Hart. The King then shows off his royal dumping machine.
The second caller is Janice from New Jersey. She compliments Vince’s tie and then asks if Ted DiBiase’s Undertaker is a member of the Twin Towers from when the original Undertaker was part of that team. Vince is speechless and King mocks him for having no answer. She then asks King why he is so mean, nasty and arrogant and says the fans are why he has a job. Lawler calls her a dog and dumps her call.
Next up is twelve year old Stephanie in Maryland, who asks if Paul Bearer has the real Undertaker or if it’s someone that just looks like him. Lawler says we have only seen Undertaker with Ted DiBiase and not with Paul Bearer and he is the real one. Lawler mocks Stephanie’s parents for not giving her any brains.
After a break, Donna from Florida dials in and asks if Undertaker has a twin brother. Vince reminds us that we once had twin referees in the WWF and it is possible. Lawler cracks more jokes and reiterates that DiBiase’s Undertaker is the only one we have seen.
The next call is from Don in West Virginia, triggering an immediate incest and hillbilly joke from the King. Don says Lex Luger has not sold out and claims Tatanka is the one that sold out to DiBiase. Vince stumbles through an answer and King quickly turns the conversation into a joke and then they dumped him.
Jim from Illinois is up next and says Luger must be a DiBiase associate because he uses the steel plated forearm to win. Vince asks if it was inadvertent or intentional tonight and Jim says it was on purpose because of his association with DiBiase. Vince ponders what DiBiase’s power would be like by adding Luger to his Corporation.
Next up is Vinnie from Massachusetts and after some issues, he is there and sounds quite young. Lawler mockingly asks if he has ever used a phone and Vinnie responds “Bite me” to which Vince and Lawler just confusingly wonder what he mumbled until Lawler dumps the call.
Bob from New Jersey is on the line next and he asks if there is another Undertaker, to which Vince says yes there are two but will likely only be one after SummerSlam.
Next call is from John from Florida. John puts over the King as the greatest commentator of all time and asks him who his ideal tag team partner would be in the WWF. Vince jokes that it would be Dink and then Lawler gushes over John before saying Owen Hart is the natural choice.
After another break, Jovan from New York is supposed to be on the line but is not. So they head over to John from Minnesota, who is present but has a trash connection and cuts out. After some feedback, up next is John from Wisconsin and he also is MIA. Vince just laughs as this has totally gone off the rails.
Next call is Mando from New York and he has an awful connection before disappearing as well. King mocks the idiocy of the callers as they fill some time. We finally have success with Laura from Boca Raton. She congratulates Vince and says she knew he wasn’t guilty. Vince bashfully thanks her and then King sketches a caricature of her as she drops off. King then reveals the drawing, which portrays Laura as a troll with a Bret Hart banner.
The next call is from Mancow in Chicago and he says he is getting sick of Lawler’s antics and tells him to sit on the royal flusher and spin. Mancow and King take some jabs at each other and then Mancow accepts Lawler’s open baseball challenge. They make it official and it will be a charity event baseball game between WWF superstars and Chicago media on SummerSlam weekend.
Steve from New Jersey dials in and asks Lawler who will win the Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart match. The King proclaims Owen will reign supreme at SummerSlam and then flushes Steve. Vince says they may have to ditch the flusher for future installments of these call ins and then wraps up the show. ***
Scott: This was a fun show even if most of the matches were crap. The call in segment was awful in an entertaining way with all the bad phone connections. Taker/Taker seems to be the feud that the company is really banking on to be the money maker, which has me worried. Owen/Bret and Diesel/aRazor are fine championship matches that need more attention and other than the occasional promo it feels like they’re being left out. The Luger/DiBiase storyline is intriguing and whether it will pay off at SummerSlam remains to be seens. I can’t grade it as high as JR did but I certainly won’t flunk it. Final Grade: C+
JT: This was a really fun show to revisit. It featured some strong in ring action, a lot of good hype for a well established card, smart commentary and an all time classic train wreck call in segment. The show really flew by and was a perfect go home show to hard sell SummerSlam one last time. It also featured those couple of hidden gems I noted above plus a hard hitting sprint between Typhoon and Diesel. Plus that call in segment was amazing. SummerSlam has been built up very well over the past six weeks and we are finally set to arrive at the hottest night of the summer in Chicago. Final Grade: B+