Madison Square Garden will be the site of the summer’s biggest party. Gorilla Monsoon, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan welcome you to the August 26, 1991 edition of SummerSlam. This will be the place and time of the wedding of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. We get a quick introduction and it’s thrown to the ring and the action.
Match 1: The Dragon (Ricky Steamboat), The Texas Tornado (Kerry Von Erich), and “The British Bulldog” Davey-Boy Smith VS Warlord and Power & Glory (Mike Roma and Hercules) w/Slick.
The first few minutes of this one are very back and forth as each team struggles to find a distinct advantage. It looks like the faces have it as Kerry gets some work in on Hercules but he quickly tags in Warlord. Kerry tags Bulldog and the two powerhouses go at it, with Bulldog getting the better of Warlord. Steamboat comes in and loses the advantage pretty quickly.
The heels take turns working over Steamboat, who is desperate for a tag. To his credit, he makes some good attempts at comebacks but they are all squashed by the heels. It’s not until Warlord take too much time to gloat, while up on the second rope, that Steamboat gets the chance to make a tag to Kerry, who comes in a hits everyone off the hot tag. Things break down pretty fast after the tag. Bulldog powerslams Roma for a two count. Kerry keeps Hercules in the corner by applying the Iron Claw. Steamboat comes off the top rope with a cross body to Roma in order the get the win.
Despite the chaotic nature of the finish, this is a fun match. It’s paced well and gets you excited for the rest of the card. The real star of this match is Steamboat. He puts in a lot of good work and shows why he’s considered one of the greats.
Match Grade: A
After the match we get a promo form Mr. Perfect about his upcoming match with Bret Hart. He claims that although Bret is excellent, he is not perfect so he can’t possibly win.
Match 2: Bret “The Hitman” Hart VS Mr. Perfect (Intercontinental Champion) w/Coach for the Intercontinental Championship.
The match starts off with some lockups and jockeying for an advantage. Bret gets Perfect in a headlock and from this position they do several quick sequences that result in them going right back into the headlock. Bret, mostly, stays on top of Perfect until he decides that he’ll just take a count out and starts walking towards the back. Bret runs down the aisle and grabs Perfect by the tights, which rip, and spins him around to get him back to the ring.
Pretty soon after they get back in the ring the advantage switches to Perfect and he starts laying in work on Bret. Hitman refuses to stay down, however, and tries for comebacks several times. At one point the two are fighting on the outside of the ring and the both end up on the top rope. They beat the hell out of each other and both men just tumble into the ring. Perfect starts to toy with Bret a bit here by slapping him and degrading him verbally. He puts Bret in a sleeper hold but he still can’t get the Hitman to stay down. After another false comeback by Bret, and several two counts, Perfect uses the Perfectplex. Bret kicks out of it. According to the announce team, this is the first time anyone has kicked out of the Perfectplex.
Bret uses the shock for the kick out to gain the upper hand on Perfect. Despite both men’s exhaustion, Bret is having a hard time putting Perfect away. He starts going to his wheelhouse and works on Perfect’s leg in order to make the Sharpshooter it’s most effective. Coach gets up on the apron to yell at Bret and gets hit for his troubles. This gives Perfect the chance to get a low blow on Bret. While Bret is down the crowd starts chanting “Let’s Go Bret”. Perfect gets Bret on the ground but Bret blocks the maneuver he was going for and gets him in the Sharpshooter. Perfect taps out and a new Intercontinental Champion is crowned. Bret goes up and hugs his mother and father in the stands while everyone cheers.
This is an epic match. It’s one of the ones people hold up when talking about great wrestling matches. It’s so good it was very hard to take notes during because sometimes the action was so good and so fast. It also tells a great story of an arrogant heel champion and a ‘never give up’ babyface challenger. To paraphrase something Mr. Perfect said during his promo, this match isn’t just excellent, it’s perfect.
Match Grade: A+
Before the next match there’s a promo from The Bushwhackers and Andre The Giant.
Match3: The Bushwhackers w/Andre The Giant VS The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) w/Jimmy Hart
First off, this is Andre’s last appearance at a WWF ppv. He’s in bad shape here and does very little as he’s on crutches. It’s quite sad to see him in this state given how larger than life he was most of his career.
This match is a mess and there’s so much illegal double teaming that it’s hard to write up in any way that makes sense. It starts off with Butch getting some offense in on Quake. Luke comes in and they double team him for a minute but Quake takes the advantage back pretty quickly. At this point Heenan leaves the announce desk to go confront Hogan in his locker room. Butch manages to make a tag to Luke and they do the battering ram bit on both Quake and Typhoon. Quake and Butch both end up on the floor, where Quake takes him out. He gets back in the ring and delivers his finisher to Luke. The Natural Disasters win.
After the match the two big men go after Andre but The Legion of Doom comes to the giant’s aide.
It may be a complete mess of a match but it’s a fun mess. The Bushwhackers are so over and goofy that they make me smile despite my many problems with their style.
Match Grade: B
The next thing we see is Heenan outside the locker room of Hulk Hogan with the NWA World’s title in his hands. He is there to challenge Hogan on behalf of ‘The Real World’s Champion’ Ric Flair. Hogan slams the door in his face.
Next is a segment with Macho Man on the phone with a fan, apparently there was a 900 number you could call, talking about his upcoming wedding. He refuses to tell the fan the destination of his honeymoon. It’s a funny babyface Savage segment.
Then we have a promo from Ted Dibiase on his match with Virgil.
Match 4: “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase (The Million Dollar Champion) w/Sensational Sheri VS Virgil for The Million Dollar Championship
Virgil is on top of Dibiase before the bell can even ring. He’s dominating Dibiase from pillar to post. During this part of the match Heenan returns to the announce desk. Eventually both men end up knocked out on the floor outside the ring. When they return to the ring Dibiase gets the advantage. Virgil is selling really well but Dibiase can’t seem to get the pin. He makes a misstep and Virgil puts him in the Million Dollar Dream. Sheri comes into the ring and hits Virgil in the back of the head with her purse. The bell rings and the match is stopped.
The ring announcer tells us that, although the ref could call for a disqualification, he is not. Instead, Sheri will be returned to her dressing room and the match will be restarted. When the match gets going again Virgil is once again on top but Dibiase soon shoves him into the ref. The ref goes down and Dibiase works over Virgil with several suplexes. He goes over and removes the pad from the top turnbuckle. He tries to send Virgil into it but Virgil reverses it and Dibiase goes head first into the exposed steel. Both men go down but Virgil manages to crawl over and drape an arm across Dibiase to get the win. Virgil is the new Million Dollar Champion.
While Perfect and Bret was a technical masterpiece, this match is all heart. I remember being so invested in Virgil’s redemption story and getting revenge on his evil boss as a kid and that doesn’t change. Dibiase was such a good worker that he makes Virgil look the best he ever will in his whole career in this match. Piper cheering Virgil on from the announce desk is also infectious and really makes you want to see this guy win. This is, probably, the second best match on the ppv and a forgotten gem from this time period in WWE.
Match Grade: A+
Next we are sent backstage where Mean Gene is with the Mountie and a couple NYPD officers. The Mountie belittles the New York cops and tells them to be extra hard on Boss Man after their “Jailhouse Match”.
The Big Boss Man ten delivers a very short and to the point promo on The Mountie.
Match 5: The Mountie w/Jimmy Hart VS The Big Boss Man in a Jailhouse Match. The loser of the match will have to spend the night in jail.
The Boss Man hits the ring and attacks Mountie before the bell can even ring. He really works him over until he gets distracted by Jimmy Hart on the outside of the ring. Mountie takes this opportunity to push Boss Man into the stairs. This gives him the distinct advantage as the match continues. Boss Man does continue to attempt comebacks but nothing seems to get him out from under Mountie’s dominance. At one point Boss Man kicks out of a pin so aggressively that Mountie tumbles to the floor but that can’t even do it.
Mountie continues to work over Boss Man until he is down long enough for Mountie to use his cattle prod. The attempt misses, however, and Boss Man makes a great comeback. He finishes off Mountie with an Alabama Slam, which looks incredibly impressive because Mountie is a not a small guy, and pins him. As soon as he’s declared the winner, Boss Man drags Mountie to the edge of the ring and has the NYPD cuff him and carry him off. The whole time, Mountie is whining and complaining to the cops that they are hurting him. They load him into the transport and take him to get booked in.
Not only is this a good match but the aftermath of the Mountie spending a night in jail is priceless. There’s no way for me to do justice to those vignettes that follow so you’ll just have to watch them.
Match Grade: B
Following the Mountie heading off in the transport, we are served a rather obnoxious amount of promos.
Dibiase runs down a laundry list of complaints as to why he should still be the Million Dollar Champion.
Bret says that “there’s no such thing as perfect”.
The Natural Disasters are upset with Legion of Doom for protecting Andre while Jimmy Hart is screaming for his lawyers to come save The Mountie.
Big Boss Man claims that it’s settled and that he is the only law and order in the WWF.
Macho Man is on the phone with a fan so he refuses to talk to Mean Gene but changes his mind after Gene mentions going to check in with Elizabeth.
Mountie is at the station and being dragged from the transport to inside. He pleads with the cops that he’s a law enforcement officer too and starts reciting his Miranda rights as the take him inside.
The Nasty Boys cut a promo about Legion of Doom while Jimmy Hart continues to scream about Mountie.
The Mountie is shown getting his mug shot taken.
Legion of Doom talk about their match for the titles with The Nasty Boys that’s coming up.
Mountie is shown getting his fingerprints taken.
Sgt. Slaughter cuts a promo on his and his associates, upcoming handicapped match against Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan.
Sid Justice talks about how he’s not going to be partial as guest referee but is then shown talking to Slaughter’s group.
Match 6: The Nasty Boys (Knobbs and Sags) (WWF Tag Team Champions) w/Jimmy Hart VS Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) in a No Count-out and No Disqualification Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Legion of Doom are up on the Nasty Boys before the bell can even ring. Nasty Boys ‘mace’ Hawk in order to gain the advantage. Hawk is in trouble is this match for what feels like forever. It really starts to drag until Animal gets the hot tag and gains a small advantage that he then loses. Nasty Boys hit Animal with a helmet but it only gets a two count. Hawk then uses the helmet and they hit the Doomsday Device to get the victory.
This one is a train wreck. There’s, in essence, no rules but they still tag in and out. They work Hawk over for most of the match only to have Animal’s hot tag comeback snuffed out. If it wasn’t Legion of Doom and I didn’t get to see the Doomsday Device then I’d really hate this match.
Match Grade: C-
After the match we get to see the cops throw Mountie in a jail cell. I’m sorry but there is no way, as I said earlier, to accurately describe these Mountie vignettes. They’re hilarious, to me.
Match 7: Irwin R. Shyster (I.R.S.) VS Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Valentine is up early on IRS but the sneaky heel keeps rolling out of the ring. The second time this happens, IRS gains the advantage and works over Valentine. He goes up to the top rope but Valentine throws him off and starts working the knee of IRS. He puts him in the figure four leg lock but IRS manages to get to the ropes. Valentine signals that he’s going to go for it again but doesn’t, like three times. Finally, IRS reverses the figure four attempt and gets a small package victory.
Other than the novelty of seeing Valentine as a babyface, this is a rotten boring match.
Match Grade: D
Following the match, we are treated to a promo from Hogan and Warrior. It really only proves that Warrior is a bit off his rocker.
Match 8: The Triangle of Terror (Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa (The Iron Sheik), and Gen. Adnan) VS Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. Sid Justice is the Special Guest Referee.
There was some question as to how Sid would call this match, coming into it, but he does a good job of calling it down the middle. The babyfaces get the advantage early as Hogan works over Slaughter. Hogan goes to choke him in the corner, however, and Sid won’t allow it. This switches the momentum to the heels and they take turns working Hogan over. Mustafa (Sheik) puts Hogan in the Camel Clutch but Warrior comes in and breaks it up. Slaughter Irish whips Hogan into Sid, hoping to have a breakdown of the rules, but it comes out okay. Slaughter goes for a move off the tope rope but Warrior pushes him and this let’s Hogan make the tag. Warrior loses the advantage and the heels start to work him over. Hogan gets the hot tag, Warrior chases the other two guys off, and Hogan throws powder in Slaughter’s eyes for the win. Hogan and Sid pose.
This match is as boring and predictable as a match can get. The only surprise is that Hogan uses powder instead of the leg drop to get the pin.
Match Grade: D-
The next thing we get is a scene of the Mountie in the jail cell and he’s propositioned by a rather effeminate leather clad man. As Piper says “he made a new friend”.
Following that we get a video package of Macho and Elizabeth that is set to a not very great song. The package is very good though and, I can’t believe I’m saying this; it gets you pumped for the wedding.
Main Event: The Wedding of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.
It’s a wedding, I’m not going to grade it or even comment that much on it. It’s probably the only wedding in WWE history that didn’t end with someone getting into a fight or having a cake thrown in their face. They played it straight this one time and I think it was the right thing to do. Savage and Elizabeth are both quite emotional, which did get me emotional in turn. Savage says ‘Oh Yeah!’ instead of ‘I Do’. Elizabeth is holding back tears the whole time and as they exit to walk to the back, she mouths ‘I love you’ to Savage and it’s all just very heartwarming and nice.
Match Grade: N/A
This is a pretty damn fantastic ppv. It’s got two great matches in it and a number of very good ones. The group of bad matches are all fairly quick. The Mountie getting put in jail is a fun storyline through the second half of the show and the main event is an iconic moment. Two arrogant heels get defeated and lose championships in the best two matches of the show. I would highly recommend watching this ppv. It’s a good one for just about any time.
Overall Grade: B