THREE GUYS AND… WWE
series created by Marvin Mercer and Nick Stephenson
“THE BEST OF SUMMERSLAM, PART 2”
written by Dominick Cappello
Somebody Has to Stop Him! Yokozuna was an unstoppable force in the WWF. He won the 1993 Royal Rumble, defeated Bret “Hit Man” Hart for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IX, and seemingly ended Hulkamania at King of the Ring. We were in need of a hero. Vince McMahon unveiled our new hero on the 4th of July. Aboard the USS Intrepid, Lex Luger renounced his “narcissist” gimmick and became a born-again patriot. An obvious replacement for Hulk Hogan. SummerSlam 1993 is the ballad of The Lex Express. But, I digress. Shawn Michaels, with the help of bodyguard Diesel, successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship against Mr. Perfect. The first time the IC Title didn’t change hands at SummerSlam. Bret Hart, the winner of the King of the Ring, was scheduled to face Jerry “The King” Lawler, but The King faked a knee injury and was replaced by Doink the Clown. After the knee injury was revealed to be fake, The King was ordered to compete. Bret Hart won with the Sharpshooter, but refused to break the hold after the bell, so the decision was reversed and the match was awarded to The King via DQ. In the main event, The Lex Express blew a tire as Lex Luger defeated Yokozuna via count out. Even though the WWF Championship cannot change hands on a count out, Lex Luger was hoisted onto the shoulders of his fellow baby-faces as confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling. WTF!? He was celebrating NOT winning the WWF Championship!?
So HOT It’s Scary! Within a year, “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel went from being Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard to Intercontinental Champion and one half of the WWF Tag Team Champions with Shawn Michaels now serving more like his manager. Diesel defended the IC Title against former champion Razor Ramon. Shawn Michaels inadvertently hit Diesel with Sweet Chin Music, allowing Razor Ramon to regain the championship. The family feud continued as Bret “Hit Man” Hart defended the WWF Championship against his brother Owen Hart in a Steel Cage Match. The rest of the family was at ringside. Bret Hart escaped the cage, retaining his title, but was jumped by Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and the rest of the brothers made the save as Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart hightailed it. In the main event, it was The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker. The real Undertaker vs. an imposter in the employ of the “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. The real Undertaker hadn’t been seen since the 1994 Royal Rumble. Leslie Neilson and George Kennedy from the “Naked Gun” movies were called in to investigate his disappearance. The crowd popped big time for the return of the dead man, but fell deathly silent after the bell rang. I suppose this was one of those ideas that looked good on paper, but not so much in execution. The real Undertaker soundly defeated his doppelganger and I guess sent him back to the bizarro universe.
Face the Heat! This was not a good year for wrestling in general. The WWF presented Diesel vs. King Mabel while WCW presented Hulk Hogan vs. The Dungeon of Doom. The latter half of 1995 was plain awful. SummerSlam 1995 is a one trick pony with only the Shawn Michaels / Razor Ramon Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match being worth the price of admission. For whatever reason, perhaps The Kliq’s backstage politicking, Bret “Hit Man” Hart and The Undertaker were relegated to the mid-card. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon was good, but nothing could top their WrestleMania X Ladder Match. Shawn Michaels picked up the win, retaining the IC Title for the second time at SummerSlam, and avenging his loss from WrestleMania X. In the main event, Diesel successfully defended the WWF Championship against King Mabel. The match featured a nonsensical run-in by Lex Luger, who would soon make the jump to WCW, kicking off the Monday Night Wars.
Opposites Attack! Nowadays, the WWE has Kickoff shows on the network before events. Back in The New Generation era, they had something similar called the Free-For-All. The SummerSlam 1996 Free-For-All was advertised as the “Bikini Beach Blast-Off”, but the WWF’s version of a beach was an above ground pool backstage surrounded by sand. It looked cheap and tacky. However, they did deliver on the bikinis with Sunny, Sable, and Marlena all wearing skimpy swimsuits. The Free-For-All match was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeating Yokozuna after the top rope snapped while Yokozuna was attempting the Bonsai Drop. On the pay-per-view, The Undertaker fought Mankind in a Boiler Room Brawl. A precursor to The Attitude Era and ECW inspired hardcore wrestling. Towards the end of the match, The Undertaker’s longtime manager Paul Bearer forsook the dead man in favor of Mankind. In the main event, Shawn Michaels defended the WWF Championship against Vader. The match was restarted two times with Vader winning by count out, then by DQ, before Shawn Michaels scored a pinfall victory. Some have said the match was over booked.
Hart & Soul! This was a great year for wrestling! Mankind defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a Steel Cage Match. Before dropping an elbow off the top of the cage, Mankind tore his shirt to reveal… a pink smudge on his chest. He was supposed to have a Dude Love temporary tattoo, but he forgot to apply it earlier in the day, so someone drew the tattoo on his chest with a marker right before the match. By the time he tore his shirt, sweat had washed it away. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeated Owen Hart for the Intercontinental Championship, but suffered a career threatening neck injury as a result of a devastating pile-driver. Finishing the match after nearly being paralyzed is a testament to how gutsy Steve Austin is. Shawn Michaels, suffering from an alleged knee injury, was the guest referee in the main event. The Undertaker defending the WWF Championship against Bret “Hit Man” Hart, who was now a staunch Anti-American. If Bret Hart lost, he wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the United States ever again. If Shawn Michaels showed favoritism towards The Undertaker, he too wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the United States ever again. The finish saw Bret Hart spitting in the face of Shawn Michaels and Shawn Michaels inadvertently bashing The Undertaker with a steel chair. Not having a choice, Shawn Michaels counted to three as Bret Hart pinned The Undertaker. Bret Hart was now a 5x WWF Champion, tying Hulk Hogan’s record.
– Dr. Jelly