In 1992 the WWF held its SummerSlam ppv in London, England at Wembley Stadium on August 31. Vince McMahon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan were on the commentary desk and the ppv was sponsored by ICOPRO. It opens with a video package of fans giving predictions and talking about their favorite wrestlers before the team introduces themselves and we’re sent down to the ring for the opening match.
Match 1: Money Inc. (“Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase and I.R.S.) w/Jimmy Hart VS Legion Of Doom (Hawk and Animal) w/ Paul Ellering and Rocco
After LOD ride motorcycles to the ring and Hawk panders to the crowd the match starts. Hawk gets up quickly on Dibiase, who tags out. Hawk also tags out and Animal gets the advantage on IRS. Hawk comes in and loses the momentum. His energy in this match is noticeably low as he gets caught in a sleeper hold. The ref does the ‘arm raise’ spot and Hawk makes a small comeback. He attempts a clothesline off the top turnbuckle but misses and rolls out of the ring and onto the floor.
When he returns to the ring he can barely stand up and spends most of his time in a chin lock. He finally manages to find his corner and get the hot tag to Animal, who comes in and destroys everyone. He gives a giant powerslam and gets the pin and the win.
This match is hard to watch for many reasons. One is because, at the time this review is being written, it’s only been a few days since Animal died. Another is that this would end up being LOD’s last match in the WWE for almost a decade. The biggest though is the condition of Hawk and the story behind it.
Hawk had some pretty serious demons and was heavy into drugs and alcohol. In fact, he was still drunk from the night before during this match. LOD was originally supposed to face the Natural Disasters for the tag titles but was relegated to the opening match after seeing Hawk’s condition. It’s obvious that he is really out of it all match. He can barely stand up, he doesn’t know where he is in the ring, and he even has to be pushed out of the way so Animal can do the powerslam for the finish. It’s heartbreaking to see anyone in that condition but especially I guy as talented and larger than life as Hawk. After this match he walked out of the WWE and split from Animal for several years.
Match Grade: D-
Following the match we get an interview with Ric Flair who comments on his not being on the card or challenging for the title during this ppv. He also refuses to tell whether Mr. Perfect will be in Savage or Warrior’s corner during the title match.
We then get a short promo from Virgil. It’s nothing special but he does drop a ‘2 legit 2 quit’ on us.
Match 2: Nailz VS Virgil
This one starts off basic with some back and forth brawling. Virgil attempts a roll up that Nailz seems to just not go along with and tries some awkward looking reversal. Nailz attacks Virgil on the floor. Virgil gets a small false comeback but Nailz wins with a rear chin lock. He then attacks Virgil after the match with a nightstick.
This is a crappy TV match at best and has no business on a ppv, let alone freaking SummerSlam. Neither of these guys can work well enough to carry the other and it shows.
Match Grade: F
Next, we catch up with Lord Alfred Hayes, who is outside of Savage’s locker room. The door is locked and no one is answering so he doesn’t know if Perfect is in there or not.
Sensational Sheri then has an interview with Mean Gene. He narrates a video package about the feud between Rick “The Model” Martel and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Sheri then explains that both men agreed not to hit each other in the face during the match.
Match 3: Rick “The Model” Martel VS “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels w/Sensational Sheri
Shawn milks his entrance and having Sheri take off his entrance gear. Once the match starts it’s pretty even until Martel throws Shawn over the top rope. Sheri tries to revive Shawn but Martel distracts her and gives her a hug. They get back in and Martel gets the advantage. They do a series of roll through pins while grabbing their opponent’s tights, thus showing their asses. Shawn tries to use the ropes for leverage during a pin but is caught. Finally, they trade slaps to the face and Sheri faints.
This is where it gets ridiculous. Shawn and Martel try to revive her but end up fighting down the entrance aisle. They both get counted out and the match ends in a draw. Sheri fixes her hair and then goes back to pretending to be unconscious. Shawn carries Sheri for a bit then Martel attacks Shawn and he carries her. Then Shawn attacks Martel and carries her. Martel then comes out with a bucket of water. He douses Sheri and runs to the back. Shawn chases him. Sheri screams in embarrassment and runs to the back.
This match is just dumb. From the ‘no hitting in the face’ thing to Sheri passing out and them trading off carrying her it is not even a fun kind of stupid. It’s just bad.
Match Grade: D
Following that waste of time we get an interview with the Nasty Boys. They claim to be the number one contenders and want a title match. Jimmy Hart is nervous but he says he’ll get them a match.
Match 4: The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake) w/The Genius VS The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) (Tag Team Champions) for the WWF Tag Team Titles.
Before the match we are treated to a poem by The Genius and then the Natural Disasters’ entrance. The Beverly Brothers attack at the bell but they are easily put down by Quake and Typhoon. Once they get back and settled, Typhoon gets the advantage. A missed attempt at a sandwich press in the corner, however, gives the momentum to Beau. Him and Blake put in some really good work on Typhoon but only manage two-counts. Eventually, Beau distracts Quake on the outside while Blake hits Typhoon with the metal scroll, but it only leads to another two-count. There’s a hot tag to Quake and he comes in to destroy Beau. Quake hits his finish and the Natural Disasters retain their titles.
This is a fairly entertaining match. The Beverly Brothers, especially Beau, are a lot better and more athletic than I remember them being. It’s a shame that this was such a quickly put together match, due to Hawk’s carelessness mentioned earlier, because I think these two teams could have come up with a great match given more time. It’s also a shame that this wasn’t the match that was supposed to happen because I think that LOD might have been set for a heel turn and title run. What could have been is not what was and what was is a good match between two good teams.
Match Grade: B
The next thing we see is Mean Gene with The Bushwhackers. They do a decent comedy interview that ends with some classic Vince middle school humor.
Lord Alfred Hayes is then seen trying to enter Warrior’s locker room and getting the door slammed in his face. So, he still has no idea which corner Perfect will be in tonight.
Match 5: Repo Man VS Crush
This is a glorified squash match between two former members of Demolition. Crush does an overhead press and, eventually, wins with a head squeeze. It’s another TV match that, for whatever reason, ended up on one of the biggest ppvs of the year.
Match Grade: D-
Vince reminds everyone about ICOPRO. If you don’t know, ICOPRO is a, now defunct, line of supplements and health products for weight lifters and exercise enthusiasts.
Following Vince’s plug of his own product, we get a video package that details the feud between Savage and Warrior. It also goes into Mr. Perfect’s involvement.
Match 6: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (WWF Champion) VS Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship
Warrior shows up in his best ‘Giant Gonzalez’ anatomy looking gear while Savage looks like Lisa Frank and the golden girls’ interior designer made his gear, so this is a hard match to watch for purely aesthetic reasons.
There’s a handshake, stare down, and shove to start the match. They lock up but Warrior has more power. The momentum goes back and forth for a while but Warrior ends up with the advantage. Savage gets some offense while he’s being worked over. After a few two-counts, Savage pulls Warrior face first into the buckle and then hits two double axe handles off the top rope. Warrior, however, catches him as he attempts a top rope flying cross body and gets his advantage back. He manages to get several more two-counts but Savage won’t stay down.
Out of nowhere, Savage hits his move where he whiplashes his opponents neck into the top rope as he jumps over it and onto the floor. Watch for it because it is incredibly impressive and looks devastating. Savage starts selling a back injury after the move, as if he landed wrong. Warrior goes for a big clothesline but Savage ducks and Warrior ends up lying on the floor outside the ring. Savage hits a dive from the top rope to the floor and gets back in the ring.
This is when Flair and Perfect come down to the ring. Warrior gets the advantage, once again, but Savage lifts his knees on the ‘Warrior Splash’ and then a double clothesline puts both guys down. They regain their feet and Perfect trips Savage as he hits the ropes and distracts him long enough for Warrior to continue his assault. Savage gets pushed into the ref and Warrior gets the pin but the ref is too groggy to count it in time and Savage kicks out. Shortly after this, Warrior runs into the ref and knocks him to the outside. Savage gets a great piledriver but the ref is nowhere to be seen. While Savage is getting the ref back up to his feet, Flair hits Warrior with a set of brass knuckles but it only yields a two-count for Savage.
Macho Man hits a big flying elbow for a two count but Warrior ‘hulks up’ and starts into his ‘five moves of doom’. He press slams Savage and as he’s hitting the ropes for his big splash, Flair hits him in the back with a steel chair and he drops. Once Savage comes to, he’s confused as to why Warrior is out cold and then realizes that Perfect and Flair did it. He goes up top to hit a big elbow but thinks better of it and dives towards Flair, who catches his knee with the steel chair. Savage gets counted out and attacked by Flair and Perfect. Warrior, who won the match but not the title, chases them to the back and then helps Savage to his feet and to the back.
This match is way way too long. If it had been a match without Flair and Perfect at ringside it would have been great or if it had only been the second half, it would have been fun, but the way it is just bogs down. There are some great moments in this one and Savage did a hell of a job using Warrior to tell a story. Yet again, Savage takes a guy that’s not a great worker and manages to get a good match out of him without exposing him too much. That really speaks to his ability to put together a match. However, the second half of it seems to take forever to pay off and when it does it’s not as exciting as you’d hope. Good match but not great.
Match Grade: C
Flair and Perfect are then interviewed backstage where they talk about their actions during the match as their ‘Plan B’.
Match 7: Kamala w/Harvey Wippleman and Kimchee VS The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
Taker comes to the ring riding a freaking hearse and enters. He gets up early and hits Kamala with an ‘old school’ but Harvey interferes as he goes for it a second time and he gets hung up on the top rope. Kamala gets the advantage for a bit but Taker choke slams him and then hits his flying tackle. He goes to tombstone Kamala but Kimchee hits him with his helmet and causes a disqualification. After the DQ, Kamala hits a splash from the second rope and then the top rope. As he’s exiting the ring, Taker sits up and stares at him. This terrifies Kamala and he runs to the back.
The best thing about this match is seeing Taker do his athletic moves. It’s not a particularly fun match but it’s mildly entertaining.
Match Grade: D
Next we get a promo form a rather worn out looking Davey-Boy Smith. Then there’s a promo from Bret Hart where he is shoot upset (which we’ll address later) with Bulldog.
After the promos we are treated to some bagpipe music and the bagpipe group is joined by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
Following this is an interview with Diana Smith (Bulldog’s wife and Bret’s sister) who couldn’t be less interested in being interviewed.
Main Event: “The British Bulldog” Davey-Boy Smith VS Bret “Hitman” Hart (Intercontinental Champion) for the Intercontinental Championship
Before I start, let me say that Bret Hart matches can be very hard to recap as it’s very easy to miss something and almost impossible to write down every twist and turn without just listing moves. Its part of what makes his matches so great but also frustrating for me to fully capture the match it’s self. I’d suggest watching it to get the full impact.
There’s a stare down, some shoving, and a lockup to the start the match. A shoulder block from Bulldog sends Bret to the floor. There are several minutes of hold exchanges and short bursts of offense out of those holds. Eventually, Bret catches Bulldog with a knee that gives him the advantage. As Bret is working over Bulldog he’s being much stiffer than usual. Bulldog gets a few bits of offense in but that’s all until Bret, very uncharacteristically, goes to the top rope and is thrown off by Bulldog. Bulldog, however, misses a dive attempt and soon finds himself on the floor.
Bret goes over the top rope and dives onto Bulldog. If you watch closely you’ll see that Bulldog was out of position for this move and as they come down they land pretty awkwardly. This is because Bret was cradling Bulldog’s neck to keep it from snapping due to his not being in position when Bret came over the ropes. Bret’s fast action could have very well saved Davey-Boy’s life and at least his career.
After the almost botch by Bulldog they get back in the ring a Bret is still on top. He hits Bulldog with a gorgeous snap suplex and some more offense but just can’t put him away. Bulldog gets caught in a sleeper hold and goes down but reaches for the ropes and gets the break. Bret then shoot kicks him in the head (I’m guessing that a rope break wasn’t something Bret called) and puts him back in the sleeper hold. This time Bulldog goes down long enough for the ref to do the ‘arm raise’ spot.
When his arm doesn’t go down on the third check, Bulldog starts a comeback. He lifts Bret up for a press slam but ends up dropping him into the ropes. (I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be to the floor) Bulldog, however, has the advantage and proceeds to get a couple two-counts before hitting his big power slam, which also yields a two-count. Bret manages to sneak in a few false finishes but it all leads to a double clothesline that takes both men out. While they’re on the ground from the double clothesline, Bret hooks in the sharpshooter. Bulldog makes it to the ropes, however, and breaks the hold. Bret attempts a sunset flip that Bulldog reverses and gets the pin. Bulldog wins the Intercontinental Title and he, Diana, and Bret hug in the middle of the ring.
Okay, for those of you who don’t know, Bulldog was out on his feet for this entire match. He was out of ring shape and hadn’t slept for several days prior to being in England. The fact that Bret was able to lead him through this match, alone, is amazing. The fact that it’s considered one of the greatest matches of all time is mind boggling, because it is one of the greatest matches of all time. This match succeeds despite one of the competitors being, essentially, a giant sandbag and that the camera keeps showing the sandbag’s wife who is not the most expressive person to ever be on camera. Those two things could have taken so much away from this match but they didn’t. I’m not going to go anymore into it; I’ll post a video of Bret talking about it below so he can have his say on the match and the circumstances surrounding it.
Match Grade: A+
With the exception of the last match, this ppv is awful. The second best match is a tag match that was booked the day of the show. There’s almost nothing to take away from this one other than Bret and Savage could both come up with and lead broomsticks through a match and get the broomsticks over. There’s also the fact that this ppv is bookended by two matches featuring inebriated, or exhausted from binging, competitors. The only match with rewatch value is the IC title match.
PPV Grade: D+