We are T-minus ten days away from SummerSlam! This year’s show is shaping up to be something special; not just Lesnar vs. Cena, not just Swagger vs. Rusev, but:
Ladies and gentlemen, on August 17, 2014, live on the WWE Network, Stephanie McMahon will embarrass and humiliate Brie Bella. Witness the former billion-dollar princess turned ruler of the roost teach Mrs. Bryan just what happens when you call out a McMahon. Now, I know the McMahon family’s win-loss record isn’t exactly pristine. I’m not concentrating on that; I personally am more concerned about Brie Bella’s motivational pattern in her demand for this match.
Again, I could write an entire article just on the implications of this match alone. As we are now ankle-deep into the SummerSlam Series, however, let’s turn back those hands of time just a little bit more than last week and discuss a time of innocence. I was nine years old, and it was a time of great competition. Not just in the WWF, but for myself as well. I was just starting to get the idea of kayfabe, although I had never heard the term used before. I had, however, wrestled over 100 matches in a variety of locations against a veritable “who’s who” of professional wrestling.
That is of course, mostly in my imagination, but those pillows and couch cushions sure as hell knew I meant business. From the living room to my bedroom to the basement, I was learning how professional wrestling matches were put together and gaining an understanding on how the element of legitimate competition can be one of the greatest assets to a match’s success, or failure. It was with this newly found perceptiveness that I initially dove into our next entry, courtesy of my local video rental establishment.
It is my pleasure to present to you SummerSlam 1994.
6. SummerSlam Series, Subsection Two: Age of Innocence
|1||Irwin R. Schyster and Bam Bam Bigelow (with Ted DiBiase) defeated The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu) (with Afa and Lou Albano) by disqualification||Tag team match||07:20|
|2||Alundra Blayze (c) defeated Bull Nakano (with Luna Vachon)||Singles match for the WWF Women’s Championship||08:10|
|3||Razor Ramon (with Walter Payton) defeated Diesel (c) (with Shawn Michaels)||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||15:03|
|4||Tatanka defeated Lex Luger||Singles match||06:02|
|5||Jeff Jarrett defeated Mabel (with Oscar)||Singles match||05:45|
|6||Bret Hart (c) defeated Owen Hart||Steel Cage match for the WWF Championship||32:22|
|7||The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated The Undertaker (with Ted DiBiase)||Singles match||08:57|
Thank you again to Wikipedia for the wonderful free information listed above. As you can probably surmise, we are fully entrenched in the “New Generation” era at this point in history. This is a good thing. So c’mon down in front of the big TV, bring your Power Rangers sleeping bag if you like, and let’s get on with the show!
We are welcomed by none other than the Macho Man Randy Savage, who lets us know before the first bell that we will be treated to a great night of fun and electricity here in the BRAND NEW United Center in Chicago. I have to say on a personal note that is refreshing to hear his music start the show. Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler will be our commentators for the evening, which is great news as they provided a great soundtrack for the action during the New Generation era.
Irwin R. Schyster and Bam Bam Bigelow (with Ted DiBiase) vs.The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu) (with Afa and Lou Albano)
This match initially was billed to be for the WWF Tag Team Championships. However, The Headshrinkers were beaten for the belts by those Dudes with Attitude, Shawn Michaels and Diesel, in what now looking back reeks of backstage “kliqiness”.
This match, once for championships, is now for pride alone. Ted DiBiase and his Million Dollar Corporation has been gaining serious ground this year, and a victory by I.R.S. and Bam Bam could go a long way in securing the Corporation’s place on top of the WWF.
The action is fluid and diverse in the early goings with Bam Bam impressive not just with his offense, but in his ability to make each of The Headshrinker’s moves look devastating. All four men, really, are doing a great job with their respective move-sets; utilizing unique styles to engage the audience.
Unfortunately, this match suffers from a bit of over-booking. Too many people getting involved results in a disqualification loss for The Headshrinkers, and The Million Dollar Corporation remains a force to be reckoned with in the World Wrestling Federation. Two and a half stars out of five.
Bull Nakano (with Luna Vachon) vs. Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women’s Championship
I always had a soft spot for Alundra Blayze and her work in trying to legitimize women’s wrestling in the WWF. After watching this match, I can totally understand why she felt the need to uh, dispose of the WWF Women’s Championship belt.
It really is too bad this iteration of women’s wrestling didn’t catch on during the New Generation. This match was ahead of it’s time, at least as far as the WWF was concerned. Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano wrestled a style that was wholly unfamiliar to the WWF audience, and apparently the live audience in Chicago was not in the mood to learn something new.
Blayze and Nakano were very impressive to me though. It was a welcome contrast to the cartoons and over the top gimmicks that were being presented otherwise. While I do enjoy some Duke the Dumpster, and I have no problems with Doink, Dink, Wink, or even Pink for that matter, I am appreciative to the effort put in by these two young women.
This is the kind of competitive match-up that I could’ve watched a bit longer. Both ladies went at each other with courage and intensity until Blayze surprised Nakano with a fantastic German Suplex for the victory. Three stars out of five.
Razor Ramon (with Walter Peyton) vs. Diesel (with Shawn Michaels) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Can I just say that Diesel (as of SummerSlam 1994) has the absolute worst entrance “music” ever? It’s true. Razor’s entrance is miles above Diesel’s at this point, and with him is Walter Peyton because Chicago.
I’ll try not to let my inner-smark come out for this one even though it’s just another one of those matches where the outcome doesn’t matter because the gold stays with the Kilq. That aside, everyone in the Kliq always seemed to have great chemistry together, and this pairing is no exception.
While Diesel isn’t much for explosive offense, he brings great power with his seven-foot frame. Razor’s going to have to stay on his toes and keep Diesel off his game. This is going to prove difficult for the bad guy as Shawn Michaels cannot for the life of him stay a neutral party at ringside.
Personally, I don’t mind. If you know me than you know I think the world of Shawn. The more he interferes, the better.
It would seem as if the determining factor in this match is going to be Shawn Michaels. Walter Peyton better wake up at ringside and realize he’s at a pro wrestling event. He needs to be there for his man like Shawn is for Diesel.
As far as the actual action is concerned, it’s a little slow and prodding. This is indicative of most Diesel/Kevin Nash matches, so I won’t hold it against them. Razor is doing a fine job of keeping the drama going, absorbing a great deal of punishment from the big mang.
Razor eventually makes his comeback but is cut short due to shenanigans by Shawn and Diesel. It is these shenanigans that prove to be Diesel’s undoing as an errant Superkick by an interfering Shawn Michaels is enough to put Big Daddy Cool down for the three count. Three stars out of five.
Tatanka vs. Lex Luger
I can not, in good conscience, recommend watching any professional wrestling segment featuring “The Total Package” Lex Luger. To say the Lex Express ran out of gas is a gross understatement. I was but a boy when Lex Luger was being groomed into the next mega-star, and I was flabbergasted as to why. This match in particular has nothing going for it other than the idea that Lex may just sell out. He did, just not here at SummerSlam.
Tatanka was passable, but this angle definitely was not. Even the lead up to this match was slow and uninteresting. Tatanka wins following a distraction from the Million Dollar Man, and confirms his allegiance to the Million Dollar Corporation. One star out of five for Ted DiBiase’s involvement.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel (with Oscar)
This match was tossed in at the last minute with a minimum of build. I have no problems with either of these two competitors, outside of Mabel later being considered a main-event talent. This was a short, but easy match, strategically placed before the semi-main event. The Chicago crowd was solidly behind Men on a Mission though:
Jarrett scores the clean victory after a huge missed splash of the second rope by Mabel. Two stars out of five.
Owen Hart vs Bret Hart, Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship
You may notice that the recurring theme for angles, stories, and matches that I enjoy the most is legitimacy. The Hart family is legitimacy as far as professional wrestling is concerned. This match was almost a year in the making, and it shows. We’re treated to a wonderful video package while the technicians set up the cage that brings us up to speed on the Hart family story leading up to now.
A good bit of the Hart family is at ringside, adding to the believability of this match, with most supporting Bret. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is the lone supporter of Owen, and it brings a smile to my face watching him holler and scream when so many others are supporting Bret.
If you were a fan watching back then, you’d have to be concerned for Bret and his championship as Owen defeated his older brother earlier in the year at WrestleMania X. Not only that, but he was that year’s King of the Ring as well. Owen was on the run of a lifetime leading up to SummerSlam this year, while Bret’s second tenure as WWF Champion was lukewarm, if I can be brutally honest. Truthfully, I was rooting Owen on in this match, as I too have known the pain of having to live in the shadows of older siblings.
No matter who you were rooting for, everybody can agree that this match is one of the all-time classics. Brother vs. brother, for the richest prize in this industry. The action was fast-paced, with few breaks in the momentum the match was carrying. You could lose yourself in this match and truly believe one competitor could beat the other through skill and will, it wasn’t just another villain for the hero to slay. Owen was believable in his quest for the gold, and honestly, either man could have won and it would have felt legitimate.
Non-stop escape attempts, pulse-pounding action, and an intricate but believable storyline kept me on the edge of my seat through the duration of this 30-plus minute extravaganza. This is one of those matches that you have non-believers watch to get them into wrestling. One of the best matches I have ever seen, and it’s one that I will certainly revisit over and over again, thanks to the WWE Network (only $9.99 a month!).
Bret beats Owen after wedging his leg in between the bars of the cage, retaining his championship. Four and a half stars out of five. Minus one half star for the unnecessary post match brawl.
The Undertaker (with Ted DiBiase) vs. The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer)
Okay, why exactly did this have to close the show? It don’t get much better than Bret vs. Owen in the cage, and this certainly isn’t it. After we are treated to the full-on Undertaker entrance from Ted Dibiase’s Undertaker, we are then treated, again, to another full Undertaker entrance. Except it isn’t The Undertaker. No, no, no, it’s Paul Bearer with some of the creatures of the night, and they’re bringing a casket to the ring. I suppose The Undertaker is in the casket then? That’s cool. That makes sense since it was at the Royal Rumble that year that we last saw The Undertaker, and he was put into a casket by Yokozuna and nine other men. It’s only fitting I suppose for The Undertaker to make his return to Pay-Per-View in this fashion.
Eh, what? The Undertaker isn’t in the casket then? Oh, you got a little light shining from that urn, huh? I suppose The Undertaker is going to make a more dramatic entrance then? Maybe the lights go out and The Undertaker is magically in the ring? I mean, there’s no way they would have three full Undertaker entrances in a row… They couldn’t. That would make no sense whatsoever. The WWF is a revolutionary force in sports entertainment, surely they would think better than to have…
Oooohhhhhh… No. Sadly, this is the most exciting part of the main event. The Undertaker never really stood a chance against The Undertaker in this one. The Undertaker tried to mount an offense, but The Undertaker was not to be denied as he mostly dominated The Undertaker. The Undertaker was helpless against the meta-physical power of The Undertaker, and The Undertaker never stood a chance. Ted DiBiase, with all of his wealth, was powerless to stop The Undertaker as he sought revenge against The Undertaker. The Undertaker showed off his seemingly infinite power against The Undertaker by burying The Undertaker with not one, not two, but THREE Tombstone Piledrivers. No person, not even The Undertaker, could possibly survive that kind of fury from The Undertaker. I guess you could say the case is closed in regards to the true identity of The Undertaker.
This was, no, wait… This is a travesty. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how a group of people, who make the matches for a show that is going to be seen by people across the world, thought this was a good idea. From inception to completion; from Chainz to Leslie Nielsen, this was just a big ol’ pile of dung. If you watch this show, just stop after Bret vs. Owen. The show can end there. No need to continue on. Minus five stars out of five.
Overall, the show was great. Like I said, just stop watching after Bret vs. Owen and you’ll have no bad feelings regarding this Pay-Per-View. Lot’s of fun, some intense matches and rivalries, and Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler on commentary make this show well worth the price (which, by the way, is only $9.99 a month). I enjoyed this twenty years ago, I enjoy it now. Watch, and learn some things about professional wrestling. More importantly, watch this and enjoy some professional wrestling. Four stars out of five.