Pittsburgh Civic Center (The Igloo!)
Announcers: Vince McMahon & Jerry "The King" Lawler
Summerslam was always considered the second most important card of the year behind Wrestlemania, and I guess the thinking this year was to separate the four top stars in the company (Diesel, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and the Undertaker) into four different matches as to stretch out the card and make it seem as if there were four main event quality attractions, even though three of the four respective opponents of those aforementioned stars were hardly quality competition.
Vince and Lawler kick off the show by sending it to Dean Douglas in the dressing room. Douglas will be grading each match at its conclusion tonight. I always thought the Dean Douglas gimmick was a good one and could have been a serious heel threat. Just think about it. The majority of the WWF's audience were children, and who do kids hate more than bossy, arrogant, authority-driven, pompous, yet intelligent, teachers?
The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi
These are the two top aerialists in the company, and ever since Hakushi debuted, this was probably the dream match they had in mind for him. As part of a storyline that will be addressed later, Bodydonna Skip actually cost Hakushi a match against lowly jobber Barry Horowitz on the Action Zone, so Hakushi is coming off a loss here. Sinja is no longer with Hakushi for reasons left unexplained. The Kid and Hakushi lock up and do two great fast paced sequences to start. Hakushi catches him with a gutwrench suplex. He then does his handspring elbow and The Kid oddly falls into position for his own Bronco Buster that he wouldn't start using for a couple more years. Then, even stranger, Hakushi does it!… kind of. Hakushi continues his assault, but his offense is too slow and drags the match down. Too many kicks, not enough action. He does pull out a pump splash for two, but then resorts to a nerve hold. What's with all the laziness? The Kid takes his big backdrop bump to the floor and Hakushi follows with what I've read described as a Space Flying Tiger Drop. He did a running flip in the ring, then, with no hands, flipped clear over the top rope and onto the Kid on the floor. Holy crap! I take all that silly laziness talk back. He rolls the Kid in and gets a two off a shoulderblock off the top rope. Hakushi misses a top rope headbutt, but the Kid comes back and hits an eye opening spot of his own: a cross bodyblock from the corner to the floor. He slingshot leg drops Hakushi on the way back in, then hits a splash off the top rope for two. He runs the ropes and attempts a roundhouse kick, but in midair and mid-rotation, Hakushi catches him and drives him to the mat in one smooth motion to score the three count at 9:25. *** I love the finish.
Dok Hendrix talks to King Mabel in the back, but Mabel won't give Dok the scoop, so to speak.
Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Wow, who would've thought back in 1995 that both would still be with the company, but in much different capacities? Hunter Hearst Helmsley: four time WWF Champion and a win in a Wrestlemania main event? I wonder what the odds on that one would have been. Vladamir, seated front row as always, gets right in his face and boos him. Try doing that today and see what happens. Hunter was of course brought in as an extension of the gimmick Steven Regal had used in WCW, that of a snobbish blue blood. And since he obviously wasn't British, what was his hometown billed as? Greenwich, Connecticut of course. Holly is still a low midcarder at this point, much like he's been for most of his career. Hunter dominates the early stages of the match. He curtsies, trying to gain some heat for his character, and the crowd actually pops for it. We cut away from the match momentarily to watch the British Bulldog arrive at the arena. Well, that was certainly a ground breaking exclusive. The Bulldog turned on WWF Champion Diesel in a tag team match a few weeks before this on Raw, and was rumored to be interested in interfering in Diesel's Title defense against Mabel later tonight. Back to the match, Hunter works the abdominal stretch, but Bob counters by hiptossing him all the way out to the floor. Holly makes the comeback with a DDT and his impressive dropkick. He goes for a backdrop, but Hunter catches him with his head down, hooks both his arms, and drives him face first into the mat with the Pedigree. Lights out for ol' Spark Plugg, as Hunter picks up the win at 7:12. I guess it was about **. The Pedigree got another face pop, showing that either the Pittsburgh crowd was very intelligent and they knew Helmsley would eventually be a star, or Bob Holly's character was so lame, that cheering for a large-nosed aristocrat seemed infinitely more appealing. You be the judge on that one.
The weekend Summerslam festivities in Pittsburgh included the WWF taking on local firefighters in a tug of war. WWF participants consisted of Mabel, Henry Godwinn, Bam Bam Bigelow, Kama, and Savio Vega. Hey, what's the deal with picking on firefighters? They serve us the way they do, and the WWF responds by sending a bunch of bullies to rough them up in a tug of war? What kind of image are they going for here, anyway? Oh, I see, it's just for charity… I think…
The Smoking Gunns vs. The Blu Brothers
This is just here to remind us that the tag team division still exists. I don't know why Owen Hart & Yokozuna didn't have a match on this show. I guess Yoko was injured or something. The Gunns try to be energetic, but it still turns into a formulaic tag team match. The Gunns make the big comeback and hit the sidewinder at 6:12 to take the victory. Pointless filler, but not horrible. *1/2
A video package chronicling the Barry Horowitz/Skip feud is shown. Skip wrestled Horowitz, a long time WWF jobber, in a seemingly normal squash match on the Action Zone back on July 9, but the unthinkable happened. Horowitz managed to put Skip in a pinning combination and weasel out a victory for the major upset, somewhat reminiscent of the 1-2-3 Kid's initial upset of Razor Ramon back on Monday Night Raw in May 1993, except this one was different because Horowitz had been on TV as "enhancement talent" for years whereas the Kid had been previously unknown. The win was billed as Horowitz's first WWF victory ever (making his record something like 1-802). Skip was understandably embarassed and livid that Horowitz had beaten him. A few weeks later he challenged Barry to a ten minute match on Superstars where Skip all but guaranteed he'd pin him before the time limit expired. Skip tried like hell, but Horowitz withstood his onslaught, and ten minutes passed without a pinfall decision. Skip had now failed to beat Horowitz twice. The morning of Summerslam on the Action Zone, Skip tried to interfere in a Hakushi/Horowitz match, but accidentally cost Hakushi the match, and Barry was able to score yet another shocking upset. Skip maintains that his recent winning streak has been nothing but a fluke, and this match tonight should clarify if Horowitz is a pretender or a contender.
Barry Horowitz vs. Skip
Barry starts off hot but soon fizzles out. Skip showboats while in control, proving he's learned nothing from all his past mistakes. Horowitz tries some exciting pinning combinations, but Skip goes to a resthold to halt his momentum, as his manager Sunny looks on with concern. Apparently, according to the announcers, if Horowitz wins, he'll get a contract from the WWF. See, jobbers really were treated like crap back then. When I first started watching the WWF I was convinced they just picked random people out of the crowd to go up against the name talent on TV. That's how bad the jobbers were depicted as being, which made the Horowitz upset that much more shocking. The same holds true when comparing the cards of old to today's action. Back then, there were only squash matches on TV, and five PPV's per year. That meant that each PPV was a huge and exciting happening, because the stars would actually be facing each other. Today, we see the same thirty guys wrestle each other on Raw and Smackdown every week, and with a PPV every month, it's impossible to get as excited for a PPV as it used to be. Anyway, getting back to the match, "Stone Cold" Horowitz pulls out a Lou Thesz Press for a two count. Skip responds with a powerslam and follows up with some weak legdrops. He goes back to the chinlock, but Barry again fights back. They dropkick each other in a contrived double knockout spot. Skip goes to the top rope, but Barry crotches him. He tries a back suplex off the top, but Skip elbows out and splashes him. He covers, and looks to have three… but pulls him up at two. You idiot! Skip tries a piledriver to pour on the punishment, but Barry backdrops out. Barry goes to the top, but Sunny crotches him and Skip takes advantage with a superplex. Hakushi comes down, apparently upset with Skip for costing him that match to Horowitz earlier, and gets on the apron. Skip confronts him, so Hakushi, without touching him, leaps over a confused Skip. Skip turns around to pursue him, and walks right into a Horowitz small package for three at 11:22. Horowitz celebrates and hugs Earl Hebner, as Hakushi fades away into the background, quite literally and figuratively, as he never did much of note after this face turn and soon left the WWF never to return. As for the loss, Skip has no one to blame but himself. Great angle, and a good match too. **3/4
Dean Douglas enlightens us with a vocabulary word. Today's word: "Vivify". He gives Hebner an F for what Douglas estimates to be poor officiating. Horowitz gets an 'S' for slacker. Man, I thought my friends were dumb with all their D's and F's, but do you know how stupid you have to be to get an S?
Todd Pettengill talks to Shawn Michaels in the locker room. Clips from the Wrestlemania X Ladder match are shown, and Shawn cuts an excellent promo about how he'll win tonight's rematch because he has to.
Women's Title: Alundra Blayze (Champion) vs. Bertha Faye
Bertha is an overweight woman who happens to be the love interest of her new manager, Harvey Wippleman. The match starts and they basically just exchange moves with one another. Decent enough, but there's no solid flow. Alundra hits two second rope dropkicks, but Bertha moves to avoid a third, then powerbombs her for the pin and the Title at 4:39. Harvey is ecstatic. *1/2
A video package on the Undertaker/Kama is shown. Kama stole the urn from Paul Bearer back at Wrestlemania XI, then melted it down into a necklace and has worn it around his neck ever since.
Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Kama
Not as bad of a match as one might expect, as they use the casket to incorporate some decent psychology into the match. They go back and forth, with DiBiase often interfereing. The gimmick also eliminates the resting that's normally prevelant in the usual snoozer between these two. Kama goes for a piledriver on the casket, but Taker backdrops him into the ring. The crowd gets an RIP chant going. Kama powerslams him and goes for a cover but pinfalls don't count, so he goes to a rest hold. The Undertaker comes back with his flying clothesline, then they both clothesline each other into the casket. The refs close the lid, but then realize neither man can win that way. Kama pops out of the casket, but Taker pulls him back in and tries to shut the lid. Kama escapes before he can, and hits a neckbreaker in the ring. The Undertaker fights back with a chokeslam, then hits the Tombstone, rolls Kama into the casket and shuts the lid at 16:26 to end his year long feud with Ted DiBiase's Corporation. **
A Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler & Isaac Yankem package is shown. After Bret beat Lawler in a Kiss My Foot Match at King Of The Ring, and Lawler's mouth was the recipient of his own disgusting, dirtied foot, Lawler was shown in several vignettes at his dentist's office, presumably to rid his mouth of all the germs that got in there. His dentist, who happened to be a 6'10, 300 pound monster, aptly named Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. was aparently sympathetic to his patient's plight, and Lawler manipulated him into fighting his battles for him. Yankem was seen only in these vignettes, but was scheduled to wrestle Bret at Summerslam. By the way, Yankem is still in the WWF today, only he goes by a much more recognizable name: Kane.
Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.
Yankem's music: the sound of a dentist's drill repeating over and over and over again. And you thought the RTC theme was bad. He comes down in his white lab coat and wrestling tights. This would be the sort of gimmick that embarrassed people to be wrestling fans and is exactly the type of thing that I'm sure inspired Wrestlecrap.com. I don't know how Bret Hart, a two time Triple Crown winner, mind you, put up with this garbage while Diesel and Shawn enjoyed their little runs with the World and Intercontinental Titles. Bret starts off on offense with an inverted atomic drop and three clotheslines to send Yankem to the outside. He hits a pescado, then throws him in and goes for the Sharpshooter but Yankem blocks it. A press slam turns the tide in Yankem's favor. He goes to a hangman, but Bret manages to counter it into a small package to come up with a two count. Yankem takes it to the floor and rams Bret's back into the post before using his dental bag as a foreign object. Ugh. He kind of drapes Bret over the top rope and legdrops him off the top. Bret grabs the advantage during a brawl on the floor and hits a bulldog back in the ring. He follows it up with his side russian leg sweep, backbreaker, and second rope elbow. He goes for the Sharpshooter, but Lawler helps Yankem get to the ropes to break the hold. They brawl on the floor again and Yankem whips Bret into the steps. They head back in and Bret slams Yankem off the top rope and ties his feet together with some cable at ringside. With Yankem tied up, Bret goes after Lawler (who has left his announcing post to be in Yankem's corner for this match) but Yankem nails him from behind. The evil dentist traps Bret in the ropes, and wraps the top and middle rope around his neck to choke him out. He and Lawler start beating on him and won't let him out of the ropes, so the ref calls for the DQ at 16:08. Bret works yet another miracle, carrying a much bigger, unknown guy limited by the goofy gimmick and storyline to a good match. ***1/4
Dok Hendrix talks to Razor Ramon to establish Razor as the heel for the next match. I suppose that makes sense since roles were reversed in the first Ladder Match, and Shawn's popularity was on the way up, while Razor's was on the way down. It was originally scheduled to be Michaels taking on Sid at Summerslam, but with the subpar main event, the WWF knew they had to do something to increase buyrates, and their solution was to finally deliver the much anticipated sequel to the Wrestlemania X Ladder Match. There wasn't much of a storyline to support it; they just had interim president Gorilla Monsoon name Razor the number one contender for the Intercontinental Title even though he hadn't done anything worthwhile in the past three months and had barely wrestled. I remember being pretty mad at the principle of the decision at the time, but we got the next match out of it, so now I'm willing to forgive and forget.
Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels (Champion) vs. Razor Ramon
Shawn wears his belt to the ring with his cool new blue outfit. Dok joins Vince at ringside to replace the departing Lawler on commentary. The officials strap the Intercontinental Championship to the hook and raise it above the middle of the ring as Dok mentions that the IC Title has changed hands at every Summerslam except '93. They do a fast sequence to start, and Razor avoids an early Superkick attempt. They do another, and this time Shawn squirms away from a Razor's Edge. Razor whips Shawn to the corner and Shawn bumps all the way to the floor. Razor goes after the ladder, but Michaels tackles him in the aisle and they head back towards the ring. Shawn tries to suplex him in, but Razor counters and suplexes him to the floor instead. In the midst of the suplex, Shawn's dangling leg smacks right into the steel railing at ringside. Ouch! Razor tosses him in, but this time Shawn wiggles out of a Razor's Edge. Razor turns around and ducks under the Superkick. The first time they simply avoided the other's finisher, but this time they had to escape them. Gotta love that psychology. They double clothesline each other, then Razor fallaway slams Shawn off the top rope. I bet that spot was Shawn's idea. Razor gets the ladder, so Shawn tries to baseball slide it into his face like he did at Wrestlemania X, but this time Ramon sees it coming, dodges him, and lays him out with a right hand instead. Sid is shown watching on the monitor backstage, as he gets the winner of this match on a future Raw.
Razor sets up the ladder and climbs for the belt, but Shawn shoves the ladder down. Shawn climbs and Razor pulls his trunks down a bit for the obligitory shot of Shawn's ass, before he topples the ladder. It lands with Shawn's knee twisted in it, so Razor takes advantage. He slams Shawn on top of the ladder, making sure his knee lands right on it. He works his knee with the help of the ladder. Razor sets the ladder up in the corner before going for the Figure Four, in a bit of logic that doesn't really makes sense. He tries to hook the Figure Four, but Shawn counters by kicking him off right into the ladder. Oh, that's why. A bit contrived, but it's important to the match because now Razor's ribs are hurting. He still manages to kneedrop Shawn on the ladder, however. Ramon continues to punish Shawn's knee, and Michaels keeps it interesting with his top notch selling job. Razor climbs for the gold, but Shawn hits him with a double axehandle off the top rope to knock him off. The ladder remains vertical, so Ramon tries to climb again, but Shawn follows and back suplexes him off. The ladder proves to be stronger than both wrestlers, as it stays up again throughout the punishment. Shawn props it up in the corner, and after a few reversals, it's Razor that gets whipped into it. Shawn follows it up with a whip to the adjacent corner, right into his flying forearm spot. He moonsaults Ramon off the ladder, then goes for the famous splash off the top of the ladder that hit at Wrestlemania X, but misses here. They both struggle to their feet and climb up opposite sides, where a slugfest ensues. They both fall towards the ropes, and both land stradling them, but Razor falls to the floor and Shawn ends up in the ring. Instead of climbing, Shawn charges Razor with the ladder and dives through the ropes, but Razor ducks, and both men and the ladder end up laid out on the floor. Razor looks under the ring and finds another ladder, so now each man has his own.
Shawn struggles back in the ring and tries to climb, but Ramon stops him and Razor's Edges him off in an awesome spot. Razor sets up his ladder, but Shawn has his too, and sets his up next to Razor's. They both climb their own ladders and Michaels Superkicks Ramon off. Razor and his ladder fall to the ground, and Shawn is left alone on his ladder, though it's quite wobbly from the superkick spot. He leaps up to grab the belt, but can't hold on. The ladder falls away from him, and Shawn falls to the ground. Pretty obvious botched finish there. Razor smartly decides to go for a Razor's Edge so Shawn can backdrop out of it, sending Ramon to the floor. I always hated it when he went for that thing too close to the ropes because the result was so obvious and really exposed the match. When he's that close, what else can happen? If he ever did get anyone up, there would be no room in front of him to deliver the move. Regardless, it was a pretty common spot in Ramon's matches, and a perfect one to go to in this situation. Shawn is now left in the ring alone, with the opportunity to scale the ladder and grab his Title. He climbs to the top and tries to yank it off, but it's on too tight and he ends up falling all the way to the mat again. If there was any doubt about the first ending, marks all around the world could tell this one was definitely botched. Shawn gets up, noticably pissed off because the ending to his masterpiece has now been screwed up twice, and climbs the ladder for a final time before claiming the Title once and for all to end the match at 24:59. Razor grabs the belt away so he can hand it to Shawn himself, and the two embrace with a handshake and a hug. ****3/4 Though I actually like some aspects of this match more than those in the first one, it's not quite as good overall. The first one worked well as a surprisingly awesome match, and everything broke the right way. It also served as the blowoff to a long feud, and the gimmick was perfect for the storyline. The sequel was somewhat less memorable, and the finish was quite obviously screwed up twice, but it was still a hell of a match.
Dean Douglas rips on Razor Ramon for losing, and Razor barges in and responds by punching him in the face.
Todd Pettengill interviews WWF Champion Diesel. Something about Diesel's voice always made his promos sound really unconvincing to me.
WWF Title: Diesel (Champion) vs. Mabel
This is the result of the (not so) great Mabel experiment of 1995. Before the match starts, Mabel swipes the Title belt from referee Earl Hebner and poses with it. Good God, Mabel is holding the WWF Championship. Mabel controls the slow paced match with power moves, but Diesel clotheslines him out and follows with a flying dive over the top rope! It was sloppy, but the effort was there. They get up, and Mabel posts him on the floor. Back in the ring, Mabel hits a Boss Man slam and goes to a rear chinlock. After a goofy ref bump, Lex Luger runs in for some inexplicable reason, presumably to help Diesel, but in the confusion of a grueling match such as this, Diesel accidentally hits his friend. Luger proves he's a trooper, helping Diesel despite the mishap, by chasing Mo, Mabel's manager, to the back. Now it's a clear one on one match. Mabel scores a belly to belly suplex as Hebner is revived. It gets two. Mabel misses a splash off the second rope, and Diesel hits a second rope clothesline to get the pin at 9:16 and retain the WWF Championship. * The next night, Lex Luger, whose contract with the WWF had just expired, showed up on the first episode of WCW Monday Nitro, and was soon crowned their World Champion, something he never accomplished in his two and a half years in the WWF. Good riddance; there's no way anyone wanted to see the inevitable Luger vs. Diesel wars in the WWF anyway.
Summerslam 1995 Key Stats
Total Wrestling: 105:39
Average Match: 11:44
Average Match Rating: **1/2
Top Moments: Hakushi's Tiger Drop, Hunter's PPV debut, Horowitz's upset, blowoff to The Undertaker storyline, Bret's miracle, Ladder II
If you have any questions or comments on this review, direct all mail to email@example.com.