Monday, February 7, 2011

WWF Summerslam 1995

WWF Summerslam 1995
August 27th, 1995
Pittsburgh Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 18,062

And now we arrive upon the final stop in the awful saga known as the Mabel Push. Despite not being over, or talented, or able to wrestle adequately, or able to cut a promo, here we arrive at Mabel getting a WWF title shot against Diesel in the main event of the second biggest show of the year. Don't really even need to explain why this was bad idea, now do I? Not all is bad though as we have the long awaited rematch to the "original" ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, as well as Bret Hart taking on the King's "evil dentist" Isaac Yankeem (Kane) and a whole lot of filler.

Pretty awesome hype video to start us off, narrated by what sounds like one of the main guys who used to narrate movie trailers, adding some flair to the highlights package.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry "The King" Lawler

Hakushi vs. 1-2-3 Kid

Now this is how you start off a PPV, anytime these two got in the ring together it was always high-spot fun. Kid gets a very good reaction from the Pittsburgh crowd. Hakushi's music is so awesome, so evil yet regal. Lockup to start us off and a wristlock exchange. Kid doesa neat armdrag sequence and the crowd gives him a standing ovation for it. Leapfrog sequence and both men nip up at the same time. Great pace to start off. Another leapfrog by Hakushi and both men miss spinning heel kicks. Hakushi lays in some karate strikes to the Kid's neck and attempts a powerbomb but gets armdragged out of it. Kid shoots of the ropes and takes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that Hakushi nearly botches. He hits the handspring back elbow and gets some applause for his athleticism quickly followed by a chorus of boos."1-2-3!" chants start up as Hakushi hits the bronco-buster on Kid, only without the humping part Waltman would make his trademark later on. That's irony here is delicious. Hakushi starts laying in precise and stiff kicks to different parts of Kid's body, then hits a big pump-splash off the top for a two count. Hakushi slaps on a neck vise and then back-body drops Kid, following it with a reverse heel kick to send him to the outsie. Flying space tiger driver from Hakushi takes both men out on the outside! That move never gets old. Back inside he hits a shoulder-block off the top, but only for two. Hakushi goes for the flying headbutt off the top but the Kid rolls out of the way just in time. Kid sends Hakushi to the outside and then follows him out with a big cross-body block off the top to the outside! He tosses Hakushi back in and hits a slingshot legdrop! 1-2--NOO! Hakushi kicks out. Kid hits a beautiful frog-splash off the top, but again only for two. He tries for a big spinning heel kick, but Hakushi catches him in mid-air and powerbombs him down at 9:27. Great opener here as these two both had some of the best high-flying offense at this time and they went full-out for nearly 10 minutes to a hot crowd. Excellent, underrated contest. ***½

Hakushi gets a surprising pop for the win from some of the smarks in Pittsburgh, so of course he would quickly become a jobber before being phased out completely in 1996.

Backstage Dok Hendrix jumps up and down like a schoolboy, trying to get the inside scoop from Mabel on his plans tonight.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Bob Holly

And here we arrive at the PPV debut of one Hunter Hearst Helmsley, one of the biggest stars for this company over the next 15 years, but nobody could have been able to tell that at the time. Helmsley is undefeated here, racking up wins on Raw and B-shows for several weeks now. Helmsley takes foreer to take his posh clothes off and finally we're off. Lockup to start but Helmsley quickly takes advantage, clotheslining Holly on the top rope in a nasty manner. Holly gets thrown so hard into the turnbuckle the entire ring seems to move, and Helmsley does a pompous little bow because of it. Quick cover for two while McMahon tells us the Bulldog, who isn't scheduled to wrestle tonight, is in the building. Bulldog had turned heel on Diesel the Monday before, finally shooting some life back into his character for the next few years. Holly and Helmsley exchange abdominal stretches and then Helmsley hip-tosses Holly over the top to the floor. Big DDT from Holly, but he can't take advantage. Big dropkick from Holly. Atomic drop and a clothesline and Holly is fired up, shooting Helmsley into the corner and giving him a back-body drop. Holly goes for another back-body drop but Helmsley catches him and delivers the pedigree for the win at 7:10. Decent action actually from these two, but it was nothing more than a squash match for Helmsley to get over on PPV.

The Smoking Gunns vs. Jacob Blu/Eli Blu

Yikes, this doesn't look good. Gunns could be pretty good with another talented team to play off of, but the Harris twins definitely aren't that team. Blu's dominte to start on Billy. Billy hits the future-"Fameasser" and tags Bart in. Big clothesline and Billy tags back in for two. The Blu's hit a huge double-team powerbomb on Billy but take their time for the pin and only get two. Billy gets beat on for a bit and then gets the hot tag to Bart who cleans house but then eats a big boot. He tags Billy back in and they finish with the sidewinder legdrop at 6:09. Average Raw match designed purely to just be filler in the broadcast.

Barry Horowitz vs. Skip

Horowitz had FINALLY gotten a win for the first time in FOREVER against Skip weeks back and had been playing the role of the plucky underdog to perfection, getting over surprisingly well for someone who had been a jobber for the last 7 years. in the process. This was actually a very well done little mid-card feud that summer. Sunny comes out with her husband Skip (Chris Candido) and is, as usual, blazingly hot. Horowitz music is this cheesy rendition of Hava Nagila, which I'm trying to decide whether or not is kind of offensive. Horowitz starts it off hot with a body slam and a few running knees. Big clothesline sends Skip outside and Horowitz is fired up. He gets slingshot back in but comes back with some strikes in the corner. Leapfrog and a rollup get Horowitz a two count. Horowitz suplexes Skip all the way from in the inside to the floor outside! Sunny jumps in and screams at Earl Hebner for a bit and then trips Horowitz up. Skip chokes him on the ropes and does some jumping jacks cockily. Snap suplex and a legdrop from the second rope from Skip, but he doesn't go for the cover, showboating just as he did in his first loss to Horowitz. Snapmare while a "Barry!" chant starts up. Gut-wrench suplex and a diving fist on Horowitz and Skip is really pleased with himself, high-fiving Sunny. Skip misses an elbow and Horowitz hits a few shoulder blocks for near falls. Sunset flip gets him another two but Skip hits a clothesline back on their feet. Skip hits a powerslam and follows it up with a series of quick leg-drops. Skip keeps showboating and goes for a piledriver but Barry counters, starting the comeback. Big dropkick and Horowitz goes to the top but Sunny knocks him down and he gets superplexed off the top. Suddenly Hakushi, who had lost a match to Horowitz on an episode of the Action Zone because of Skip, comes down to ringside and distracts Skip with a springboard into the ring (he doesn't touch him though) giving Horowitz the chance to roll Skip up for the upset win at 11:21! Great slice of storytelling here with Horowitz playing the underdog perfectly and Skip being a great cocky heel to play off of him. The action itself was fast-paced and exciting as well. ***

After the match Hakushi leaves and Horowitz celebrates as he's shown the first-ever Barry Horowitz t-shirt. See, now why wouldn't you take this opportunity to turn Hakushi face and give him a real push after helping Barry get the win here? It's like they didn't want him to be successful.

Backstage Dean Douglas tells us about how Hakushi's interference was a travesty.

Meanwhile Todd Pettingill gets a few words with Shawn Michaels about the big ladder match tonight.

WWF Women's Title Match
Alundra Blayze (C) vs. Bertha Faye

Faye, who was actually quite good in AJW as Monster Ripper, is playing the role of Harvey Whippleman's girlfriend. Alundra's push had kind of stopped after Bull Nakano went back to Japan and this is really her first (and only) feud since she and Bull had a string of great matches. Lockup to start but Blayze hits an enziguri and kicks Bertha's legs out from under her. Blayze lays more kicks in but gets a big body-splash from Bertha. Crowd is pretty dead here and you can't blame them with how little effort the WWF put into their women's division. Faye goes tot he top but misses a splash, and Blayze gets a victory roll for two. Knee-strikes to Faye, but she's quickly taken down. Blayze bridges out of a cover and hits a few big clotheslines, but Whippleman is busy distracting the ref. Blayze goes after him and then comes back in, attempting a German suplex but being unable to because of Bertha's weight, so she settles for a crucifix pin for two. Nice little bit of psychology there. Blayze hits a frankensteiner for another two, and then follows up with a pair of missile dropkicks, but misses a third. Faye hits a sitdown power-bomb for the upset win to become the new WWF Women's title at 4:37. No one cared AT ALL here, but the work itself was actually pretty good because of Blayze bumping around but eventually being unable to make up for the huge weight difference. Too bad nobody cared because this really wasn't a bad match at all. Blayze would be gone soon because of this though and would show up on WCW Nitro to dump the WWF Women's title into the trash, killing it for a second time. **

Casket Match
Undertaker vs. Kama

Taker had been feuding with Kama for months after Kama had stolen the urn. Kama would step things up, beating up a few planted fans at TV tapings known as the "Creatures of the Night". These two actually had a really bad casket match the month before after the second In Your House PPV went off the air. Taker takes the quick advantage, laying in shots on Kama in the corner. Man I can't blame 'Taker for not becoming a good worker until around '96-'97, the guy was given nothing but crap feud after crap feud for his first 6 years in the company. Taker walks the ropes with the old school spot and the crowd loves it. We see Kama fly into the coffin from a camera positioned inside the casket, but he quickly escapes. Kama comes off the top with a forearm, but Taker just sits right up. Kama throws Taker into the casket but he escapes easily. DiBiase goes to work on Taker outside and Paul Bearer flips out, beating up some refs and pulling his jacket off like a pissed off parent at a teeball game. Kama plants Taker's head into the casket and looks to be in trouble, eating a baseball slide. Kama goes for a piledriver on the casket but gets back-dropped into the ring. They brawl for a bit and then both men end up tumbling into the casket. Kama tries crawling out, the casket falling apart around him but we get the awesome image of the Undertaker pulling him back in like a zombie in a grave. Both men escape without the lid closing. Taker hits a tombstone inside and then rolls Kama into the casket, closing the lid shut for the win at 16:26. Not bad actually, probably the best casket match that Undertaker had until his match with HBK at the 98 Royal Rumble. Still, Kama was not a good worker and Taker wasn't very motivated, and the end result was an average match-up that went a bit too long.

Bret Hart vs. Isaac Yankem

Yankem is of course Glen Jacobs (Kane) in his first WWF run as Jerry Lawler's "evil" dentist. Truly a bizarre gimmick in every sense of the word. This was just a way of keeping Bret busy with the now 3-year long on-again off-again feud with the King without actually having the King wrestle, as he was shifting into a permanent role as a commentator now. Pretty big stage for Yankem's debut, being put on the uppercard of Summerslam in a match against a star like Bret. Yankem dominates to start, shrugging off Bret's offense. Bret clotheslines Yankem to the outside and hits a body-splash over the top to the outside! Back inside Bret sets up for the sharpshooter but Yankem breaks it up. Yankem goes back on top, laying shots into Bret in the corner. Yankem puts Bret into a choke hold but gets countered into a victory roll for two. Yankem ties Bret up in the ropes and nearly springboards off the top with a big leg-drop to Bret! Damn, look at Yankem putting some effort into his work. He follows it up with some clotheslines for near falls. He goes out for a breather but Bret dives out after him! Back inside Bret gets a bulldog for two. Bret locks the sharpshooter on briefly but the King distracts the ref and the hold is broken. Isaac goes to the top but gets thrown off by Bret who delivers some shots in the corner. Bret crotches Yankem and then ties his legs up with a spare cable, beating away on Yankem's helpless body. The ref goes to untie the cable and Bret goes after the King, laying him out and sending the crowd wild. Yankem flies off the top though with a double-axe handle and takes out Bret on the floor. Yankem ties Bret's head up in the ring ropes and he and Lawler begin beating him down, signalling the DQ at 16:07. Bret was in the zone during this period and you could have thrown him out there with a broomstick and he'd have a good match. Yankem was actually motivated as well though and pulled out some surprising moves, all in all a surprisingly fun contest until the DQ finish. ***

Backstage Razor Ramon cuts a promo with Dok Hendrix as we prepare for the huge rematch we've all been waiting over a year for.

WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match
Shawn Michaels (C) vs. Razor Ramon

And now we come to the reason most people bought this show at the time, the big rematch from Wrestlemania X. The WWF kind of realized they had nothing worth a shit set up for Summerslam a few weeks back and just announced this match out of nowhere to try and help boost the buyrate, and it did help to a degree. Both guys are babyfaces here, which adds a new spin on the match already. Fast pace to start off as Shawn goes for the Sweet Chin Music early, but Razor ducks. Dok Hendrix has joined the commentary team because of Lawler's departure after the Bret Hart match. Razor goes for the Razor's Edge early but Shawn ducks out as well. Feeling out process to start us off as it's nice to see them wrestle first before the ladder gets involved, something modern ladder match workers seem to have forgotten. They both go for a suplex but Razor gets the upper hand and suplexes Shawn all way over and out of the ring, nailing Shawn's shin on the steel guard-rail as he falls to the floor to put the icing on the cake. Razor follows up quickly, elbowing Shawn in the aisle and stomping away before sliding him back in. He goes for the Razor's Edge but Shawn slides out and goes for the Sweet Chin Music, which Razor ducks, and both men take each other out with clotheslines. Incredible pace to start us off, and they haven't even touched the ladder yet. Razor hits the fallaway slam off the top rope while we see Sycho Sid watching the match backstage, as he'll face the winner of this match next month on RAW for the title. Razor grabs the ladder and brings it to the ring, starting the real fun. Razor makes a quick break for the title but Shawn knocks the ladder down. He inadverdantly hits Razor with the ladder while setting it up to climb, which is a really subtle but smart move to put over Shawn as the good guy. Razor pulls him down, catching his leg in the ladder as it collapses in nasty fashion to the mat. Razor targets the leg now, sandwiching his leg in the ladder and going to work. Smart psychology as Razor attempts to neutralize Shawn's legs and prevent him from using the Sweet Chin Music or climbing the ladder. He takes Shawn's leg out from under him with the ladder, which Vince doesn't like. Big scoop slam from Razor as HBK's leg slams into the ladder again. Razor works on the leg some more but gets kicked into the ladder in the corner. Shawn gets his leg slammed into the ladder again and Razor is back to the legwork, slamming down on his shin with the help of the ropes. Razor is really starting to play the heel here, slamming Shawn's leg on the apron and then into the steel post. Drop toehold from Razor and then he locks on the Indian deathlock! Small "Razor" chants break out from some smarks as Hall is really pulling out everything in his arsenal in this match. He grabs the ladder and just simply lets it drop onto Shawn's leg, getting some boos and mixed cheers. Razor tries climbing but Shawn hits an axe-handle off the top to send him flying. Bodyslam is countered by Michaels who tosses Razor into the ladder again and goes back to selling the leg. They both try climbing but Shawn back-suplexes Razor off the ladder to the mat! He folds it up and tosses Ramon into the ladder. It's almost like a modern John Cena match here with the women and children behind Shawn and the men behind Razor. Shawn hits a spinkick/scoop slam combo and then sets up the ladder again, climbing to the middle and moonsaulting onto Razor! He gets back up and goes for the big splash off the very top of the ladder, but Razor moves just in time! I defy you to tell me this match isn't as good as the original. Both men climb to the top of the ladder and exchange blows and then they both get racked crotch-first on the top rope, sending Razor to the outside. Shawn tries to knock Razor off the apron with the ladder but both men just collapse to the floor, completely spent. Shawn slides into the ring with the ladder while Razor grabs the "stand-by" ladder out from under the ring, and we've got two ladders in the ring! Shawn climbs his ladder but Ramon comes up and deliver's the Razor's Edge off the ladder! I truly do love this match. Razor sets up his ladder, and Shawn sets up his as well, both men climb to the top but Shawn kicks Razor off of his ladder! He tries to grab the title and leaps into the air after it, but falls to the mat empty-handed. Razor calls for another Razor's Edge but get's tossed out of the ring and Michaels sets up the ladder and climbs to the top, seemingly about to grab the title as he falls off losing his balance, but he STILL can't grab the title! Now Shawn is pissed, and on his third attempt he climbs to the top and snatches the title triumphantly to retain at 25:03! Razor immediately grabs the title out of Shawn's hand, clearly angry, but he hands Shawn the title and shakes his hand, congratulating him in a sign of respect, tying up their legendary feud for good. I dare you to tell me this isn't just as good if not better than the original ladder match, there's psychology, the spots are bigger, it's longer, and both Razor and Shawn, Razor especially, pulled out everything in their arsenal. Throw on the storybook ending with the two babyfaces embracing, and there's no other grade for this match than the full monty, *****

Backstage Dean Douglas tries criticizing Razor's performance, bur Razor shows up almost immediately and lays Douglas out with a STIFF shot. Damn, it sounded like he punched a slab of meat.

WWF World Title Match
Diesel (C) vs. King Mabel

And now we arrive at the final stop in the King Mabel Shit Sandwich Tour of 1995 and the culmination of his singles push with a main event title shot against Big Daddy Cool. Mabel is carried out on a throne by a dozen small, clearly pained white men. Those poor bastards. Backstage Diesel says he's going to go medieval on Mabel. He hits the ring and the match no one ever wanted to see, ever, is off! Lockup and exchange of shots, Mabel takes Diesel down with a shoulder-block and yells "I'M GOING TO BE THE FIRST BLACK CHAMPION!"...yeah, about that Mabel. They trade blows for a bit, and Diesel attempts to slam Mabel but can't. This match is slower than molasses and peanut butter on the roof of a dog's mouth. Mabel falls out of the ring because he's morbidly obese and these things tend to happen. Mabel takes his sweet time outside so Diesel leaps over the top and takes him out on the floor! Mabel tosses Diesel into the steel post but then eats a big boot. No heat from this crowd at all. Back inside Diesel lays in some shots. Mabel hits a leg and rips the corner pad off and then locks on his version of the camel clutch, which is Mabel's gigantic fat ass sitting on Diesel and weekly laying his hands across Diesel's chin like a dainty waif. The man is literally out of breath in a RESTHOLD. The jokes write themselves. Mabel misses a leg and knocks out Sir Mo on the outside. Ref takes a bump and Mo comes in to interfere, but Lex Luger of all people shows up and gets socked by Mabel. Fun fact: that would be Luger's last WWF appearance, as he would sign a contract with WCW shortly after this and show up on the first episode of Monday Nitro. Mabel hits a legdrop to Diesel outside. Keep in mind, no heat at all during any of this, the crowd does NOT care. They pop a bit for Luger taking out Sir Mo though. Belly-to-belly suplex back inside gets Mabel a two count. Mabel tries the big splash from the second rope but misses. Diesel hits a forearm off the top and covers Diesel for the world's slowest 3 count at 9:14. Oh my god that was awful, that's the sort of match that comes to mind when you think of wrestlecrap. Awful, terrible, horrible, there aren't enough adjectives to describe the amount of SUCK this was. DUD

Bottom Line: This is a strange show. A large portion of the card is worth watching, the opener with 1-2-3 Kid and Hakushi is great, the Barry Horowitz-Skip match is good, Bret Hart drags a good match out of Isaac Yankem and you've got the five-star affair that is the second ladder match between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels. But then you've got filler like Helmsley-Holly and the Gunns-Blu Twins matches, and the main event is so bad it almost single-handedly sinks the entire show. Still though, there are some good matches on the undercard and the ladder match is a classic, so I have to go for a Thumbs Up overall despite the awful booking.

Score: 6.5/10

1 comment:

Jake St. Pierre said...

I really don't know how people think the second ladder match was better. I respect your opinion and all that, don't get me wrong but the finish was botched two times. Had the first finish had not been botched, I think it would have given the first one a run for it's money. The first one was innovative, had better heat, and the finish was picture perfect. Just my opinion, and I know it doesn't matter, but that's my take. It's always bugged me a bit.