Since its inception in 1988, SummerSlam has become one of the premier events on the WWE calendar behind The Royal Rumble, Survivor Series and (of course) WrestleMania. For this review, because they were WWF for many of these events in this set, I will refer to the titles with the WWF tag line. Only SS events when they became WWE will I call them such.
Anyway, let's get to it. I will do it by volumes and I hope you people reading this don't mind if I throw some brief history tibits in too:
SUMMERSLAM, VOL. 2:
By this time, Yokozuna had become a two time WWF champion having defeated both Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Hulk Hogan within a span of 3 months. He would face a stiff test in the form of Lex Luger but that wasn't the only thing going on at this SS!
"Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase Vs. Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) - In his final PPV apperance in America, Ted DiBiase took on Razor Ramon in a very good opener. Ends with Razor finishing Ted off with his "Razor's Edge" powerbomb for the victory! DiBiase would shortly retire due to neck injuries while on tour of Japan that same year.
The Steiner Brothers Vs. The Heavenly Bodies (WWF World Tag Team Title Match) - Good tag team match with plenty of moves and action from both teams! At this time, WWF had a deal with the now defunct Smokey Mountain Wrestling organization and would occassionally exchange talent. THB came to challenge the mighty Steiners and while they would have their moments, Rick and Scott prevailed over them.
Shawn Michaels w/Diesel Vs. "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig (WWF Intercontinental Title Match) - Classic contest marred by the interference of Diesel (Kevin Nash). Up until that point, these two had a good match going. Too bad there wasn't an on-going program between these two. Definitely worth a look!
Irwin R. Schyster Vs. 123 Kid (X-Pac) - In his first PPV appearance, The 123 Kid was looking to add to his upset column with a win over IRS. While he did come close, it was not to be as IRS put him down with a devestating looking flying clothesline off of the ropes.
Bret "HitMan" Hart Vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler - This match actually started out as Hart Vs. Doink The Clown (Matt Bourne at this point) as Lawler claimed he had a leg injury and couldn't compete. The ruse was exposed however when Bret applied the "sharpshooter" to Doink and Lawler jumped in and nailed him with a crutch! At that point, WWF President Jack Tunney (RIP) ordered Lawler to wrestle Hart or be suspended for life! The end of this match was a screwjob but Bret got his revenge on Lawler nonetheless. Decent bout and pretty entertaining.
Marty Jannetty Vs. Ludvig Borga - Pretty much a squash for Borga! Not much to review here.
The Undertaker Vs. Giant Gonzales (Rest In Peace Match) - In the history of SummerSlam, The Undertaker has made 15 SummerSlam appearances. Of those appearances, he's only lost 4 times. This match against Giant Gonzales ISN'T one of those losses THANK GOD! This match was terrible! The only good part was that UT won! Watch once just to see how bad it is and skip!
The Smoking Guns & Tatanka Vs. The Headshrinkers & Bam Bam Bigelow (RIP) - Like some of the six-man's in years past, this one was a good one as The Guns and Tatanka took a royal beating from Samu, Fatu and "The Beast From The East." Still, they show fighting spirit and it ends with Tatanka getting the win.
Yokozuna (RIP) Vs. Lex Luger (WWF World Title Match) - This bout will NOT go down as a classic but it was a classically put together main event as the build-up to it was tremendous. Too bad the actual match didn't live up to the hype. While not a bad match, it wasn't as good as the WWF hype machine would lead you to believe. Ends when Luger nails Yoko with his "loaded" forearm smash but knocks him out of the ring, causing a countout! Luger wins the match BUT he doesn't win the title! Yoko retains. Still, the celebration fit the theme of SummerSlam which was patriotic.
Overall, the MUST SEE's here are DiBiase/Ramon, Michaels/Perfect and Hart/Lawler.
As far as SS cards go, this one was average BUT it had three good matches (one of which is a "lost classic" in my view) and a memorable moment though the match itself was average.
Bam Bam Bigelow & Irwin R. Schyster Vs. The Headshrinkers - Good opener as Ted DiBiase returns in a manager's capacity to lead the team of Bam Bam Bigelow & IRS as "The Million Dollar Corporation" with a new member that comes out later in the card.
As for the match itself, it was surprisingly stiff (especially for WWF/WWE in those days)! Plenty of hard hits and bumps. Ends when Afa (the uncle of both Samu and Fatu) interferes after BBB hits the late Captain Lou Albano (who was also at ringside). The ref DQ'es the 'Shrinkers and gives the bout to BBB & IRS.
Alundra Blayze (Madusa Miceli for long time wrestling fans) Vs. Bull Nakano (WWF Women's Championship Match) - For this era, this match was one of the best women's matches in WWF/WWE history! Alundra took a beating in this one as Bull had a big size advantage AND she had Luna Vachon at ringside! Ends when one of Luna's attempts at interference backfires, allowing Alundra to hit her patened German suplex for the victory.
Razor Ramon w/the late Walter Payton Vs. Diesel w/Shawn Michaels (WWF Intercontinental Title Match) - Wanna see a good Hall Vs. Nash match? Here it is! Before they became the Outsiders and charter members of the nWo in WCW, these two fought for the I-C title in 1994. Add to the fact that Diesel came into the match as not only the I-C champion but also one half of the WWF World Tag Team Champions with Shawn Michaels, the momentum was certainly in the favor of "Big Daddy Cool."
Diesel held the advantage for much of the contest, even without Shawn's interference. That interference backfired when, as the referee and the late NFL legend Walter Payton were arguing, Shawn superkicked Diesel instead of Razor! Payton then neutralized Shawn long enough for the referee to count down Diesel and give Ramon his second I-C title! This match would play into the long program that would see Shawn and Diesel split up, Diesel win the WWF World title and for these two to have a showdown at WrestleMania 11.
Tatanka Vs. Lex Luger - The backstory of this bout was that Luger had seemingly sold out to "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and his corporation stable with Tatanka as his main accuser. As for the match itself, it won't go down as a classic but not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Ends when Luger's attention is diverted by DiBiase, allowing Tatanka to get the pin on Lex. The aftermath reveals that it wasn't Luger that sold out, but Tatanka as he gave Lex a savage beating afterwards!
Jeff Jarrett Vs. Mabel - The future founder of TNA Wrestling would face off against the massive and surprisingly agile Mabel. This one, like the previous bout, won't go down as a classic BUT it wasn't bad at all. Ends when Jarrett capitalizes on a mistake by Mabel and gets the three count.
Bret "HitMan" Hart Vs. "King Of Harts" Owen Hart (WWF World Title in a cage) - This is often a forgotten classic in the careers of both Bret and Owen and proof positive that a cage match doesn't have to be a bloody massacare to be good! It's a long match but worth every minute to watch! Ends when both brothers try to escape the cage but Bret manages to hang up Owen and escape first! Bret wins but then is attacked by long time partner Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as both he and Owen beat Bret down. Bret is saved by brother in law The British Bulldog as well as a few of Bret's other brothers. Overall a great contest! Also available on WWE Bloodbath - The Most Incredible Cage Matches
The Undertaker (Mark Calloway) Vs. The Undertaker (Brian Lee) - In this doppleganger match, these two men were almost mirror images of the other! Not a great match but the theatrics and spectacle of it all is what makes this match memorable. Ends when UT (Mark) tombstones the fake 'Taker three times to ensure the end of the UnderFaker! LOL!
As I said earlier, this one tends to be forgotten but it had its moments. MUST SEES on this one is Blayze/Nakano, Ramon/Diesel & Bret/Owen!
This one was actually not a good SummerSlam BUT it had one memorable match to see and its moments.
123 Kid (X-Pac) Vs. Hakushi - A good opener as both of these guys were speed demons and risk takers! I forgot how it ended but I know Hakushi wins this one.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs. Bob Holly - The future "Game" and "Hardcore" were decidedly a bit softer during this era of their careers. HHH playing more of a snob character while Holly portrayed a car racer, thus the nickname "Spark Plug." This is more of a squash for HHH as he does his soon to be legendary finisher "The Pedigree" for the victory.
Jacob & Eli Blu w/Uncle Zebakia (sp?) Vs. The Smoking Gunns - An average tag team match. Nothing that sucked but nothing spectacular. The Gunns, in my view, were very underrated though as they had good tag team chemistry. Anyway, worth one look.
Alundra Blaze Vs. Bertha Faye w/Harvey Wippleman (WWF Women's Title Match) - Alundra (Madusa Miceli) was into her second reign as WWF Women's Champion. Bertha Faye looked like someone that just came out of Flower's Bakery here in Bluefield, WV! LOL! Still, she could move surprisingly well for her size (she had to be pushing at least 250lbs. though)! This match went well and was very good. Ends when Bertha nailed Alundra with a sit-out powerbomb (Batista Bomb for newer fans) for the victory.
The Undertaker Vs. Kama (Casket Match) - This one was a straight up brawl! Kama (the future Godfather) gave UT a pretty good match but it ends like most Casket bouts with UT ends. Undertaker victorious and the opponent leaving in a box! LOL!
Bret "HitMan" Hart Vs. Isaac Yankem, DDS (the future Kane) - Pretty good contest! Bret just had the ability to take an average guy and make a good to great match with him! The antics of Jerry "The King" Lawler during this bout was also entertaining. When asked what was it like to kiss Bret's foot at a previous PPV (King Of The Ring I believe), his answer was "I'd rather give mouth to mouth resussitation to a hog with halitosis!" LOL!
Anyway, Bret wins by DQ after Lawler interferes in the match.
Shawn Michaels Vs. Razor Ramon (WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match) - This was a rematch from WrestleMania X when Ramon (who was then champion) retained the title against Michaels. Now, Shawn was looking to even the score. This one is often forgotten and overshadowed by the WM 10 meeting. To me, it was just as good as that matchup if not better! In this one, Michaels gets his revenge and retains his title. At the end of the bout, a show of sportsmanship from Ramon as he hands the title back to Michaels and shakes his hand. Also available on WWE - The Ladder Match
Diesel Vs. Mabel (WWF World Title Match) - Nothing to shout hallelujah about at all! A slow, prodding bout with a few brutal spots. Suffice to say, Diesel won. The only story to come out of this was Lex Luger preventing Mo (Mabel's tag team partner) from interfering in the contest. Luger would go on to WCW the very next night and appear on WCW Nitro during their premiere episode (see WWE: The Rise And Fall of WCW for that story).
This one was an average card with a memorable brawl and a great main event.
Savio Vega Vs. Owen Hart - A good opening contest that saw Owen milking an arm injury that he suffered earlier that summer. Ends when he used his fake cast to knock out Savio and put the sharpshooter on him for the win! LOL! Man I miss Owen!
The Smoking Gunns Vs. The Godwinns Vs. The Bodydonnas Vs. The New Rockers (Fatal Four Way Elimination Match for the WWF World Tag Team Titles) - In this match, unlike a Triple Threat contest, the winner is the one that is the last man (or in this case team) standing! An average contest that really doesn't pick up until its down to the Gunns and the Godwinns. Ends when Phineas has Billy Gunn pinned but Bart breaks it up and turns Billy over onto him. The ref was tied up with Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch) and Hillbilly Jim while this was going on. Gunns retain the championship.
"The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith Vs. "Sycho" Sid - A pure power contest between these two! Interesting enough, this was Sid's first AND last time that he would appear at a SummerSlam and it was also his first time as an actual wrestler (he was at SummerSlam '91 but as a referee). He and The Bulldog also did battle in WCW just three years earlier during DBS's brief tour of that organization.
DBS, of course, brought his power game and scientific skills as he did an incredible vertical suplex to Sid (who stood at about 6'9" tall and weighed over 300lbs.)! Still, it wouldn't be enough as Sid put down The Bulldog with his powerbomb for the victory.
Goldust w/Marlena (Terri Runnels) Vs. "Wildman" Marc Mero w/Sable - Interesting facts about the people in this match. Goldust (who everyone knows is Dustin Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes) was married to Marlena at this time while Mero was married to Sable in real life as well! Both marriages would end some years later but that's another story.
The match itself was okay but the angle of Mankind stalking Sable is what pushed this contest. It did see the debut of Marc Mero's "shooting star press" for the first time that he called "The Wild Thing." Still, it wouldn't be enough as Goldust picked up the win.
Jerry "The King" Lawler Vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts - This one was pushed by Jake's known addiction to drugs and (more specifically) alcohol. While it was funny to see "The King" do what he does best, it was also kind of disturbing considering this was Jake in real life too. The match itself wasn't that good. To be honest, the back story was more interesting than the match itself. By the way, check out WWE Legends: Jake "The Snake" Roberts - Pick Your Poison for the full story. Anyway, Lawler picks up the victory here.
The Undertaker Vs. Mankind (Boiler Room Brawl) - This is one that has to be seen. Other than their Hell In The Cell match in 1998, this bout is probably the most memorable of their battles against each other. Mankind (Mick Foley) took his usual bumps with 'Taker selling the hell out of his moves. Ends when Paul Bearer turned on UT and gave the win to Mankind!
Shawn Michaels Vs. Vader (WWF World Title Match) - This was a crazy but very good contest! The match was restarted twice when Vader won by countout and then by DQ! Finally, after both men survived each of their finishers (Michaels kicked out of the powerbomb while Vader survived the "Sweet Chin Music" superkick), Michaels used a moonsault to get the win over the Rocky Mountain Monster.
Overall, not a good SummerSlam! The last two matches are the only reasons to view this.
This one, much like WrestleMania 13, had a real "hate-filled" feeling to it! Basically, it felt like every match had two sides that wanted to kill each other. Match quality wise, it ranged from okay to excellent. In terms of the atmosphere, it had to be one of the most tense SummerSlams ever!
Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Chyna Vs. Mankind (Steel Cage Match) - It seems that every so often, two guys get together and never have a horrible match! HHH and Mick Foley were two of those guys. Even their average matches are better than some guys' good bouts!
Anyway, this cage bout is often forgotten as it is overshadowed by many of their later matches, particularly their street fight match at the WWE Royal Rumble 2000 and their Hell In The Cell bout at WWE No Way Out 2000 [VHS] (that latter match is also available onWWE: Hell in a Cell) , but its definitely an excellent cage match. Again, this one doesn't get gory but don't let that fool you, it does get brutal! Ends when Foley delivers his elbow from the top of the cage for the victory!
Goldust w/Marlena Vs. Brian Pillman (If Pillman loses, he must wear a gold dress) - This would be Pillman's first and last appearance at a SummerSlam as he would die a few months later. Even though he was hardly "Flyin'" Brian anymore, his mastery of wrestling psychology was very good! Goldust, of course, was defending the honor of his wife Marlena (Terri Runnels who actually dated Pillman in real life at one point while they were both in WCW). Ends when Marlena knocks out Pillman with her purse to give her then-husband the victory! A good match but only because of Pillman's "Loose Cannon" character.
The Godwinns Vs. The Legion Of Doom - Very stiff contest here as the country boys (who had just turned heel) takes on the legendary LOD! The backstory on this one is an accidental injury LOD inflicted on Henry Godwinn earlier in the year. The Godwinns wanted revenge and were looking to get it here! Good tag team work on both sides with LOD picking up the win after a spike piledriver on Henry! OUCH! This would be LOD's final appearance (as a team) at SummerSlam.
"The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith Vs. Ken Shamrock (WWF European Title Match) - Very physical match up as the angle that led up to it was DBS putting dog food on Shamrock as humiliation. Look at this match for the ending as it was scarily done! I really thought Shamrock had killed DBS (literally)! This was the beginning of the "snapping" aspect of Ken's wrestling character.
Oh, DBS retained his title by DQ because Shamrock hit him with a can of dog food.
Los Boricuas Vs. The Disciples Of Apocalypse (Eight Man Tag Team match) - An already tense eight man made even moreso when The Nation Of Domination showed up. Ends when Ahmed Johnson powerbombed one of the DOA on the floor and allowed one of the Boricuas to get the win. Afterwards all three factions began fighting each other. Okay bout.
Owen Hart Vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (WWF Intercontinental Title Match) - An added stipulation to this match was that if Austin didn't win the I-C title, he would be forced to kiss the rear end of Owen! This match, however, is more known for a more ominous reason. The accidental tombstone piledriver on Austin by Owen that nearly ended his career. Up until that point, it was building to be one of the best I-C title matches ever but that moment put a black mark on this match. Amazingly, Austin actually finished the match (which ended quickly after that botched piledriver) and became I-C champion but he was really hurt! Also available on WWE - The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The Undertaker Vs. Bret "HitMan" Hart (WWF World Title Match) - Two added stipulations for this match was that if Bret didn't win the WWF title, he would never wrestle again in the United States. However, if special referee Shawn Michaels didn't call it down the middle he would be banned from competing in the U.S. as well. Taking those stipulations out, it was actually a great match with UT being one of the few men to ever say they broke out of the "sharpshooter." The night would not end well for 'Taker nor Shawn as Bret manipulated Shawn by trying to use a steel chair on UT. Shawn prevented that but then Bret spit on Shawn, which provoked HBK into taking a shot at him with the chair. It missed Bret BUT hit UT! Bret covered UT and Shawn had no choice but to count UT out! Bret wins his 5th World title while Shawn and UT would begin their legendary rivarly. This match is also available on WWE Tombstone - History of the Undertaker.
This volume isn't the best but isn't the worst either. It has its good moments on it.