Howdy Hombre’s and welcome to another barnstorming visit to the Casa of Baiamonte. As I write this the ?Biggest Party of the Summer? or whatever it’s billed as is only eight short hours away.
Summerslam is one of those events that can?t help but fill me with nostalgia. Whether I?m fondly remembering the Ultimate Warrior sending ?Ravishing? Rick Rude careering 15 feet to the canvas from the top of a steel cage at Summerslam 1990 or being awestruck at the resplendent patriotism of the 80,000 in attendance at Wembley Stadium at Summerslam ?92 when Davey Boy Smith relinquished the Intercontinental gold from Bret Hart in one of the finest matches the event has ever seen.
It is with these reflective thoughts in mind that I present my column to you today. I have rumbled through the 20 years of Summerslam archives to bring to you my top 10 Summerslam moments. But before you roll your eyes at the thought of another columnist regaling you with his favourite matches, let me assure you, this list is the Mr. Mojo Risin? of Summerslam ?favourite moments? lists. As a pose to the standard ?modern day U2? list lesser columnists churn out around this time of year.
So, in the words of Kel Kimble, Awwwwwwwww Here It Goes!!!
Baia’s Bumper List of Great Summerslam Moments
10. Mabel aka Viscera aka Big Daddy V headlines Summerslam ?95 ? 14 years on and can anyone still believe that this was allowed to happen? Worse still, ?King Mabel? wasn?t headlining against a Shawn Michaels or a Bret Hart, or y?know, anyone who could have carried him to a half decent match. Nope, that task was left to Mr. Kevin Nash. On what planet was this a good idea for the main event of your second biggest show of the year? Oh, but maybe the under card featured a plethora of great wrestling, hot angles and scintillating entertainment. Did you see that tumbleweed blow past too? Jesus H Christ this card was a train wreck. Well, apart from the IC Title Ladder Match: Part Deux between HBK and Razor Ramon.
From Hunter Hearst Helmsley tackling that dastardly Bob Holly, to Bret Hart battling an Evil Dentist, Summerslam ?95 was a glorious disaster. One that needs to be seen to be believed. Following an atrocious WrestleMania, you?d think Vince would have been swinging for the fences with this card, which, with the benefit of hindsight, makes this all the more beautiful. I can just picture Vinny K. sitting in his office, feet on desk, furrowing his brow as to how he can save face following a horrible ?Mania. Quick as a flash, ol? grapefruit balls springs up from his chair, light bulb atop his dome as he declares, ?Remember that sack of crap who dresses in purple? Let’s have him face the Champ at Summerslam! Y?know, the champ, the tall guy with the mullet and no knees! What’s his name? It’s like a kinda gasoline, DIESEL!!! Yes! Our main event for Summerslam will be Diesel vs Mabel!? However, Summerslam ?95 did mark Lex Luger’s last appearance with the company. So swings and roundabouts.
9. Goldberg falls over making his entrance at Summerslam ?03 ? Football careers, undefeated streaks and money making aside, following Summerslam 2003, Bill Goldberg can add ?dance comedian? to his Curriculum Vitae. With a wealth of striking knowledge at his disposal (basically, he could throw a few variants of a punch and a kick) Big Billy decided somewhere down the line that he would incorporate said knowledge into his entrance. Now, when your entrance already consists of you being summoned from your changing room and then being escorted to the Gorilla position by a crack security team, you need a bit of homo erotic ?art? to tone down the overly manly overtones. So what was supposed to be a gruff striking routine, ended up as some kind of poor man’s gay interpretation of the Haka (Maori tribal dance), complete with dry ice and sparkler effects.
But Goldberg didn?t want to stop there. In the biggest match of his WWE career up until that point, an Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship, he strutted out onto the entrance ramp at the America West Arena, and promptly fell arse over tit as he attempted ?the routine?. The same routine he?d been doing for years! The sight of a near 300 pound freight train tumbling to the ground in the manner of a drunken toddler was the single best moment of what was an otherwise disappointing PPV.
8. The Summerslam ?03 ?Naked Sable? Poster ? Word of advice to any prospective wrestling promoter out there; if you want to sell a PPV, this is how you do it. Take a three time Playboy cover girl who has aged like a fine wine in her years away from the company, strip her down to her birthday suit and cleverly wrap your show’s logo around her form, all the while still showing plenty of skin and just the right amount of boob to summon a semi from every wrestling fan across the planet. Genius.
7. The Undertaker fights ?himself? at Summerslam ?94 ? Awful match? Of course, but let’s face it, that’s hardly the point. How excited were you when you heard this was the main event for Summerslam 1994? You?re spouting pure fabrication if you say you were not looking forward to this showdown. Leslie Nielsen was even brought in to solve ?the mystery of the two Undertakers?! That alone is reason enough to render match quality meaningless. The icing on the cake of this whole affair was that The Undertaker double act took pride of place at the top of the card ahead of the WWF Championship Steel Cage match between Bret and Owen Hart. A feud which had been built from the previous year’s Survivor Series and was one of the hottest programs of not only the year, but the decade. But let’s face it, brother vs brother hardly has the same ring to it as Undertaker vs Undertaker does it?
6. Summerslam ?93 and ‘The Lex Express’ ? Because when was the last time a wrestler got his own personalised tour bus for body slamming a fat guy? I hate to be ?that guy? who waffles on about the old days (especially since I was only five at the time of this storyline) but why aren?t babyfaces booked in a similar ilk to this today? I want to see John Cena riding the ?Chain Gang Express? down Route 66 when he FU’s The Big Show, but it never happens. Why not incorporate a hugely successful rock group in The Beatles and a hugely successful wrestler in Rey Mysterio and have Rey Rey take us all on a ride on the ?Magical Mysterio Tour?! It’s bus based booking that practically writes itself! Once CM Punk turns face again, get the ?Straight Edge Speedwagon? on the road!
The ?Lex Express? was one of the most revolutionary ideas of the 90’s, and it was bestowed upon a man who fluffed his chances of becoming WWF Champ by telling everyone and their mother that he was winning the Title at WrestleMania 10. Now he can?t even tear his shirt off properly in interviews. Yet they gave this guy the single greatest set of wheels in the history of Sports Entertainment. Where’s the justice I ask you?
5. Ludvig Borga taking out his hatred for American pollution on Marty Jannetty ? Another moment from the 1993 edition of Summerslam. Finnish powerhouse Ludvig Borga wasn?t a guy who you would associate as being a fan of hybrid cars and recycling, but here he was, looking like a retarded Ivan Drago, picking fights with Americans because of how you monsters on the other side of the Atlantic pollute this Earth. He even had his own little rhymes, like this little diddy;
?You call this the land of milk and honey?
Well down here it smells funny!?
I mean, the guy was standing next to a swamp, which are common in every country pretty much, but I?m not one to nitpick at such a colossal piece of literature. Then, you?ve got his opponent for Summerslam, defending America’s pride, it was Marty Jannetty. Hardly Sergeant Slaughter vs The Iron Sheik is it? However, Borga’s buzzcut and Finland flag adorned attire alone make this a magical Summerslam moment that everyone needs to revise. In fact, just revise Lud’s entire run in the WWF. It may not have been long, but it was devastating. Why he hasn?t been brought back to team with Vlad Koslov is beyond me.
4. The finish to the Steve Austin/Owen Hart IC Title match at Summerslam ?97 ? A million man points go to Stone Cold Steve Austin for even having the presence of mind to finish this match with a severely broken neck. A broken neck that would eventually contribute to his eventual retirement in 2003. What makes this worthy of a spot on the list is how the match could have simply been stopped and plans been changed on the spot, but instead, the show went on and Austin secured the single weakest roll up victory in the history of roll up victories in wrestling history. Thank the Lord the vast majority of fans knew wrestling was fixed, otherwise this would have been a harsh mistress to endure. The fact that Austin was stripped of the belt straight away due to the injury and it was woven into a storyline makes the need to finish this match in the manner they did all the more hilarious. And brave of course, in the most manly way imaginable. Any man who wins a Title match despite having his neck broken in the course of the match is always going to be destined for greatness. Seven months later, Austin was WWF Champion. The theory sticks.
3. Steve Austin continues his streak of injuries in Summerslam Title matches by getting knocked silly in his WWF Title match with The Undertaker at Summerslam ?98 ? What is it with Austin and Summerslam? A year removed from his career threatening neck injury, he’s at it again in the main event of Summerslam ?98. This time the injury is nowhere near as damaging, yet scores higher up the chart as it’s predecessor simply because, well, it helps the flow of the list better ok? And, by Austin’s own admission, this was the only time he’s genuinely been knocked out in a match.
The manner of the knocking out is an anomaly in itself, as both competitors seemingly run at each other, head down, with no rhyme or reason, as if they just want to see what might happen as the result of being a bit silly. The results aren?t good. Austin hits the mat and for the following two or three minutes is on dream street, almost ruining what was a very good match. Every Summerslam since has been inferior to the ?98 edition due to the lack of a Steve Austin Title match injury. Oh how I miss them.
2. Movie character Zeus competes in the main event of Summerslam ?89 ? Remember the film ?No Holds Barred? from the late 80’s? What am I saying? You?re wrestling fans, of course you do. Well, following Hulk Hogan’s character ?Rip? emerging victorious in his ferocious silver screen battle with Tiny Lister’s character (and I stress the word CHARACTER here) Zeus, Zeus took on a mind of his own and declared revenge on the Hulkster for his defeat in the movie. As Zeus. Not as Tiny Lister, y?know, the guy who PLAYS the character Zeus in the film. Hogan’s not Rip any more, but Lister’s gone loco and has revenge on the brain. (By the way, before I go on, how did Tiny Lister go from this insanity to bagging a cameo in The Dark Knight! I know the events are almost 20 years removed, but still, he actually appeared as Zeus after this into the mid nineties in WCW!)
Needless to say, despite his no selling and weird eyes/Jagger pout combo, Zeus eventually fell victim to the loaded purse and Legdrop of Doom. What also makes this Summerslam moment remarkable is the fact that Brutus ?The Barber? Beefcake was also included in the main event. As if having a fictional film character involved wasn?t surreal enough!
AND IN AT NUMBER ONE… A DRUM ROLL PLEASE…
1. A Match Made In Heaven at Summerslam ?91 ? Maybe I?m just a hopeless romantic, or maybe I just liked seeing Jake Roberts present the newly married couple of ?Macho Man? Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth with a cobra as a wedding gift. Add to this The Undertaker becoming involved by wailing on Savage with the urn and you?ve got the original dysfunctional wrestling wedding. The likes of Edge and Lita and Teddy Long and Kristal have nothing on Macho and Elizabeth. In fact, who has in the history of weddings in pro wrestling? Nevermind that the Ultimate Warrior was backstage demanding an inordinate amount of money to perform at the show, the ?Match Made In Heaven? wedding was the crown jewel of the show, and the crown jewel in Summerslam’s prestigious 21 year history. When I get married, I want this exact theme, complete with Sid Vicious making the save for me as some no good hoods beat down me and the new Mrs. Baiamonte with various reptiles and funeral paraphernalia.
So, how do you like them Summerslam apples? Any thoughts you may have or lists of your own creation you want to share with me, do so at email@example.com.
Until next time muchachos, it’s arrivederci from me,