The sixth edition of SummerSlam took place at a time when WWE was going through a transitional phase and the product was suffering. It was a historic year because that’s when Monday Night Raw started (25 year anniversary coming up in January!), which was a risky move that ended up paying off in the long term. They also introduced a fifth PPV in the WWE calendar with King of the Ring taking place two months before SummerSlam in June.
It was also historic because 1993 is when Vince McMahon was dealing with his steroid trial. The allegations against him were strong, but he was able to get out of it without going to jail. Of course, that wasn’t going to be talked about on WWE TV. It was still a huge story. Even I was aware of it when I was 12 years old at the time and that’s when I realized Vince was the owner of the company instead of just an announcer. I’m sure I asked “really?” a bunch of times when finding out that nugget of info too.
There were also a lot of changes on the roster too. Guys that played big roles in SummerSlams in years past like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior were gone. According to Bret Hart, Hogan was supposed to put him over at this show, but Hogan denies that claim. Randy Savage was still in WWE, but he was not wrestling as often and would leave a year later. The roster went through a lot of changes as they got rid of some of the more obvious steroid guys (see ya Warlord!) and the new main event heel was Yokozuna, who got a monster push in 1993. Lex Luger was also pushed as the next big babyface star. It didn’t really work out that well, though, which I’ll cover in this review.
By this point, I was firmly entrenched as a Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart fan. Shawn was the cool heel that was getting better all the time while Hart had the best matches on nearly every show he was on. His performance at King of the Ring 1993 was pretty amazing, yet he didn’t get to main event this show. Meanwhile, crap wrestlers like Ludvig Borga and Giant Gonzalez had matches on this card, which I’m really not looking forward to watching.
I don’t have a lot of fond memories about this show or this year because 1993 is considered by many to be the worst year in WWE history in terms of the on-screen product. The major shows that year really weren’t very good either. I haven’t watched this event probably since it aired the first time, so as I say often, a lot of it will feel fresh to me.
WWE SummerSlam 1993
The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan (near Detroit)
August 30, 1993
The opening of the show focused on Lex Luger’s “Lex Express” bus and tour that led to Luger getting to SummerSlam and they showed him getting mobbed by fans.
Vince McMahon welcomed us to the show shilling the Lex Express: “The Lex Express has stopped at SummerSlam!” Vince is joined on commentary by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. They promoted some of the big matches coming up in the show.
Analysis: This was Heenan’s last SummerSlam because he started in WCW in early 1994. Mean Gene Okerlund left at the same time as well.
Razor Ramon vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase
(Pre-match notes: Ramon was a face after starting as a heel in WWE. Dibiase was a heel like usual and this was near the end of his in-ring career.)
Dibiase jumped him before the bell, but Ramon came back with a back body drop and fall away slam. Dibiase was looking a bit bigger around the waist here. It’s not like he was ever that ripped, but you could tell he was in worse shape. Dibiase went back in the ring and Ramon took him out with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Dibiase took control by sending Ramon into the turnbuckle. Dibiase with a backbreaker followed by a chinlock. Vince was yelling about it being a choke. Vince’s over the top yelling makes me chuckle. Neckbreaker connected for Dibiase followed by a suplex. Razor came back with a clothesline. Dibiase sent Razor to the floor and Dibiase took the turnbuckle pad off while the referee checked on Razor. Dibiase went for the turnbuckle, but Ramon ended up sending Dibiase into the exposed turnbuckle and Ramon hit a Razor’s Edge for the pinfall win at 7:32.
Winner by pinfall Razor Ramon
Analysis: **1/4 Basic match done to have the veteran Dibiase put over the newer star in Ramon. Dibiase in control for most of it, Razor comeback and win. It was the end of Dibiase’s in ring career in WWE.
The mother and sister of the Steiner Brothers were interviewed by Todd Pettengill. She called her brothers “Rob and Scott” because Rick Steiner’s real name is Rob.
Jim Cornette, with a neckbrace, was in the ring doing a promo for his guys the Heavenly Bodies. He introduced Jimmy Del Rey and Tom Prichard.
The Steiner Brothers walked out wearing their blue/gold Michigan gear because that’s where they were from and that’s where the show was. The crowd loved them.
Analysis: Scott changed his look a lot in the late 1990s and into the 2000s when he was in WCW and later in WWE. He got a lot bigger, but at this point he was more athletic and better in the ring.
WWE Tag Team Championships: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. The Heavenly Bodies (w/Jimmy Del Ray & Tom Prichard) w/Jim Cornette
(Pre-match notes: The Steiners were the face champions. Heavenly Bodies were heels.)
Heavenly Bodies attacked before the bell rang. The Steiners came back with suplexes for everybody as the heels went on the floor to regroup. Good stuff to start the match with a lot of action. The match started up again with Scott hitting a press slam on Prichard and a back drop on Del Ray. Rick hit a clothesline on Prichard and Del Ray went into the ring, so Rick hit a clothesline and slam on him too. Scott back in there with atomic drops for both guys and Prichard hit a bulldog after Scott was going after Del Ray. Scotty was on the floor, so Del Ray hit a dive onto him with Vince busting out his “WHAT A MANEUVER” line. Del Ray hit a sweet DDT on Scott. Superkick by Del Ray. Cornette got in a cheap shot with the tennis racket. Scott avoided a DDT attempt and hit belly to belly release suplex on Del Ray, which was pretty sweet. Prichard in, so Scott nailed a double underhook suplex on him. Rick got the hot tag with a clothesline for Del Ray and Prichard followed by body slams for each. Scott with a dropkick. Rick up top and he hit a top rope bulldog on Del Ray, but Prichard was there to break up the pin. Prichard dumped Scotty to the floor. Rick hit a powerslam on Del Ray. Prichard got the racket from Cornette (ref was on other side of the ring) and Prichard hit Rick leading to a two count. Del Ray up top for a moonsault, Scott pulled his brother out of the ring and Del Ray hit Prichard with it. Scott hit the Frankensteiner (moonsault) on Del Ray leading to Rick getting the pinfall win at 9:28.
Winners by pinfall: The Steiner Brothers
Analysis: ***1/4 Fun tag team match with a fast pace featuring four good workers who worked well together. I thought it was booked well with the brawling action to start it, then the Bodies slowed it down with their offense and the Steiners managed to make the comeback to win. The crowd was into most of the match as well. It would have been nice if they got another five minutes because they would have had an even better match.
Shawn Michaels, the Intercontinental Champion, was there with his bodyguard Diesel and he was interviewed by Joe Fowler. Michaels said he’ll prove he’s the greatest IC Champion ever.
Analysis: I don’t remember the Fowler guy at all. He didn’t have a long run in WWE at all.
There was a shot of Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon calling the action for Radio WWF.
Analysis: Radio WWF was an experiment that was another way for people to enjoy WWE, but I never listened to it. It was just radio, so it’s not the same experience.
Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Mr. Perfect
(Pre-match notes: Michaels was the heel champion while Perfect was a face. Perfect was better as a heel, but the crowd was behind him in 1993. They were two of my favorites during this era and are still two of my favorites. There were high expectations for this match.)
There was some good mat wrestling to start the match with neither guy getting the advantage after a couple of minutes. Michaels went for a move off the top, Perfect avoided it and Perfect got a clothesline for two. Michaels showed his quickness while avoiding attack in the corner. Michaels jumped off the top and Perfect hit two slick arm drags in a row leading to an armbar. Perfect did a slingshot move that sent Michaels over the top to the floor. What a great bump from Michaels that drew a big reaction. Diesel taunted Perfect on the floor, so Michaels nailed a superkick. Michaels hit a double axe on the floor and rolled him back in the ring. Hard whip into the corner by Michaels and he did it again with Perfect selling it in a big way. Michaels worked on the back of Perfect some more with a backbreaker. Perfect started a comeback with a dropkick followed by a back body drop and atomic drop for two. Perfect went for a backslide, Michaels fought it off and Perfect hit the Perfectplex. Diesel pulled Perfect out of the ring. The ref Earl Hebner didn’t see it because he was on the other side. Michaels went after Perfect on the floor as the ref counted. Michaels went back in the ring, rolled on top of Hebner and Diesel sent Perfect into the ring post. Hebner continued his count and counted Perfect out for a ten count to give Michaels the countout win.
Winner by countout: Shawn Michaels
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match that should have been better because of how great Michaels and Perfect were. I don’t think I’m being a tough grader in saying that because they are two of the best in-ring performers ever and you would think they could have a more epic match. It just didn’t come off that great with a poor finish too. Sometimes even the best wrestlers don’t have awesome chemistry together and this was an example of that. The selling was great by both of them, which was no surprise.
Post match, Perfect went after Diesel and that wasn’t a good idea because Diesel came back with a few punches to the face that Perfect sold like he was knocked out.
Analysis: They put over Diesel (Kevin Nash) as a monster heel and he was pushed heavily over the next couple of years.
Michaels was interviewed by Pettengill in the aisle and Michaels said he was the greatest Intercontinental Champion. Perfect was in a daze back in the ring and he ran up the aisle.
The 1-2-3 Kid was interviewed by Fowler with Joe noting it was Kid’s PPV debut.
Analysis: Kid was 21 years old at the time. Youngest guy on the roster at this point. He was really good in the ring and made a lot of noise in 1993 with his upset win over Razor Ramon.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Irwin R. Schyster
(Pre-match notes: Kid was the face while Schyster was the heel.)
After Kid entered, Heenan made a joke that it was the first time Kid was out past 8pm. Schyster used his power advantage by tossing Kid up into the air leading to Kid bumping on his stomach. Schyster tried it again, but Kid hit a dropkick for a two count. Back elbow by Schyster and he tossed Kid out of the ring. Schyster with punches, Kid got a rollup for two and the crowd popped for it. Another back elbow by Schyster. Abdominal stretch by Schyster as he grabbed the ropes a bit for leverage. The fans chanted “1-2-3” for Kid while IRS applied a chinlock. Kid came back with a moonsault press for two. Majistral cradle by Kid got a two count followed by kick to the head for two. Schyster sent him into the ropes, ducked a move and leaping lefty clothesline by Schyster won it. He called that the Write Off. It went 5:44.
Winner by pinfall: Irwin R. Schyster
Analysis: **1/4 Quick match with a good story of Schyster using his veteran savvy to beat on the smaller opponent and Kid showed a lot of heart in trying to come back. If they got a few more minutes with Kid getting some believable nearfalls it would have been more exciting.
Owen Hart and Bruce Hart were interviewed in the crowd. Bruce said that Stu was in the hospital after knee surgery. Owen said that they are sick of Jerry’s insults. Owen said they were there at ringside to represent Bret.
Analysis: Owen went from sitting in the crowd in 1993 to the main event in 1994. I loved the emergence of Owen.
Bret “Hitman” Hart entered to a huge ovation with a serious look on his face. He was one of the biggest faces in the company.
Analysis: Bret was out of the title picture after main eventing WrestleMania 9, but he was put over big as the King of the Ring 1993 winner two months earlier. After Bret won King of the Ring, Lawler attacked him because Lawler claimed he was the real king and that set up this match.
Jerry “The King” Lawler walked out with crutches and ice on his left knee. Lawler was interviewed by Pettengill. Lawler ripped on Detroit while claiming he was in some car accident. Lawler claimed his leg was twisted and mangled. Lawler said he hobbled there with one leg. Lawler said doctors won’t let him participate in any kind of wrestling event. Lawler introduced Doink the Clown as Bret’s opponent.
Analysis: Remember kids, heels lie.
Bret Hart vs. Doink The Clown (w/Jerry Lawler)
(Pre-match notes: Hart was the face and Doink was a heel.)
Doink threw confetti on fans at ringside and he threw a bucket of water on Bruce Hart at ringside. Heenan was laughing about it. Bret nailed Doink with a clothesline that sent him out of the ring. Bruce got in a punch on Doink. They went back in the ring with Doink going up top and Bret punched him down. Hart left the ring to go after Lawler, but Lawler went away from him, which allowed Doink to attack from behind. Doink up top with a double axe to Hart’s back to knock him down. Doink hit a kneebreaker and he sent Bret’s knee into the ring post. Doink slapped on a chinlock, Bret broke free and Doink hit the knee to the ribs. Doink did the dreaded “stump puller” submission with Doink putting his hand on the rope for leverage. Doink with a slam and he went up top while taking way too long. Doink jumped off for a splash, so Bret countered with his knees up that connected to the groin of Doink. Bret punched him in the gut, Russian legsweep, elbow off the middle rope and Bret applied the Sharpshooter submission. Lawler went into the ring with the crutch and hit Bret in the head with it. That looked nasty. Disqualification finish at 6:32.
Winner by disqualification: Bret Hart
Analysis: ** Decent match that was below the high standards that Bret had set for PPV matches. Doink was just an average performer and this was just an angle to get heat for Lawler getting out of the match. The problem was the crowd didn’t really react to Doink’s offense because they knew he had no chance of winning. It was just an angle done to get more heat on Lawler.
Post match, Lawler attacked with the crutch while Bruce and Owen wanted to get in the ring. Officials kept Bruce and Owen back while letting Lawler attack. Vince: “What a ripoff this has been! I’ve never seen a ripoff like this ever.” Good lines, pal.
Lawler left with Doink, but WWE President Jack Tunney and other officials showed up to tell Lawler to get into the ring. Bret tried to get to Lawler in the aisle. Tunney talked to ring announcer Howard Finkel. There was an announcement from Finkel saying that if Lawler doesn’t go to the ring to wrestle Bret he’ll be band from WWE for a month. Hart attacked Lawler in the aisle and they went into the ring to have the match.
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
(Pre-match notes: Hart was the face and Lawler was the heel.)
Bret was on fire with a headbutt, back body drop, leg drop and a headbutt to the stomach. Lawler left the ring, so Bret hit him in the back with a crutch. Heenan said that should be a disqualification and that’s right, but the match continued. They were on the floor again with Lawler hitting Hart with the crutch two times. Ref Bill Alfonso didn’t do anything about that either. Lawler choked Hart with the crutch. Lawler drove Hart groin first into the ring post, which again could be a disqualification, but the ref allowed it. With the ref looking at the Hart brothers again, Lawler hit Hart in the throat with a crutch. Hart hit a weak looking low blow while the ref wasn’t looking, but it barely connected. Hart nailed some punches, back body drop and a backbreaker for two. Hart with a piledriver and an elbow smash off the middle ropes. Hart slapped on the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Lawler tried to fight it, but he gave up. It went 6:42.
Winner by submission: Bret Hart
After the bell rang, Hart kept the hold on. The ref wanted him to break it, but Hart continued to hold on. The bell rang repeatedly as Hart held on to the Sharpshooter with Lawler writhing in pain. There were five referees in the ring trying to break it up, but Bret held onto it. Officials went into the ring to try to break it up as well. Hart had the Sharpshooter applied for about four minutes after the match. Owen and Bruce went into the ring to try to get Bret to release it, so Bret finally released it.
It was announced that the referee reversed the decision and Lawler won by disqualification because of Bret’s refusal to release the hold. Lawler was announced as the winner and “Undisputed King of the World Wrestling Federation.”
Winner by disqualification: Jerry Lawler
Analysis: **1/2 Quick match to give Bret some revenge for Lawler attacking him at King of the Ring. Lawler’s offense never worked that great, but he was such a crafty heel that knew how to get heat all the time. The post match attack was done to show that it was a personal feud and that Hart was out to hurt Lawler. In his book, Hart wrote about how he legitimately put on the Sharpshooter with the intent to hurt Lawler some more because of Lawler stiffing him during the King of the 1993 attack. Hart noted that Lawler had trouble walking later in the night.
Lawler was taken away on a stretcher with the Harts wanting to continue the attack. What’s funny is that it was WWE officials like Dave Hebner that wheeled him away. Hart’s music played to end the segment as Bret was in the ring with brothers Owens and Bruce.
Analysis: The feud was going to continue to Survivor Series 1993, but Lawler was taken out of that event because of accusations from some young girl. The story was made up and ended up being dropped with it being revealed that some wrestlers mad at Lawler about cheap Memphis payoffs put the girl up to it.
Ludvig Borga did a promo ripping on Detroit as he did a promo in front of some broken down building. Borga talked trash about Lex Luger, who was the American Hero at this point.
Ludvig Borga vs. Marty Jannetty
(Pre-match notes: Borga was a foreign heel from Finland and Jannetty was a face.)
Borga was undefeated going into this match after debuting about two months earlier. Jannetty turned his back like an idiot, so Borga attacked from behind with punches. Borga tossed Jannetty up into the air and punched him in the gut on the way down. Borga missed a corner attack after Jannetty moved, but Borga slowed him down with a clothesline. Bearhug by Borga. Jannetty had a mild comeback with some superkicks. Jannetty jumped off the middle ropes, Borga caught him and hit a front slam. Borga did the Torture Rack submission and Jannetty quit. It went 5:15.
Winner by submission: Ludvig Borga
Analysis: * Just a squash match win for Borga. Jannetty was good at selling, so he made for a decent opponent in terms of making Borga look strong.
A commercial aired for Survivor Series 1993. Read my review of that event here. It was on Thanksgiving Eve, so a Wednesday night.
The next match is a “Rest in Peace” match with no disqualifications and no countouts, but there will be a winner. It’s essentially a No Holds Barred match.
Giant Gonzalez entered with his manager Harvey Wippleman, who had Undertaker’s urn in his hands.
Analysis: Gonzalez might be the worst wrestler ever. He was about 7’5” legit and they said he was eight feet tall. It was tough for him to move and do basic things. Plus, he was skinny, so they had him wear this body suit to make him look more impressive.
Big ovation for The Undertaker, who walked out alone.
Rest In Peace Match: Giant Gonzalez (w/Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker
(Pre-match notes: Gonzalez was the heel and Taker was the face. The feud started at Royal Rumble 1993 when Gonzalez debuted by attacking Taker. They had a terrible match at WrestleMania 9 that might be the worst Taker match ever. It ended in disqualification leading to this match.)
Gonzalez threw his crappy looking punches and dumped Taker to the floor. Gonzalez sent him into the ring post. Gonzalez grabbed a chair leading to a chair to the ribs and a chair to the back of Undertaker. Gonzalez whipped Undertaker into the steps with Taker taking the bump on his knees. That’s a painful bump. More punches by Gonzalez in the ring. Gonzalez whipped Taker into the turnbuckle. The “gong” music hit as Paul Bearer made his way down to the ring with a wreath while Gonzalez choked Undertaker. Wippleman confronted Bearer, which led to Bearer hitting a clothesline to knock him down. Bearer grabbed the urn at ringside while Gonzalez hit a clothesline. Gonzalez threw a terrible looking body slam. He threw him down so Taker’s legs hit first. Once again Gonzalez can’t do the little things right. Bearer held up the urn leading to Taker sitting up to a big pop. Taker hit three clotheslines to stagger Gonzalez, another clothesline, punch to the throat and Taker went up top. Taker hit a clothesline off the top for the pinfall win at 8:04. That’s it? Apparently so.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: -** That’s negative two stars. Undertaker tried, but Gonzalez was so bad that nobody could carry him to anything decent. Watching Gonzalez on offense was painful. They had a match with weapons allowed and Undertaker didn’t use any weapons. A bunch of clotheslines wins it? Weak finish. The problem with Gonzalez is he made everything look too fake. When you throw punches that look so soft you’re not doing professional wrestling the right way. I’m glad that Gonzalez didn’t have a longer run in WWE.
Back in the ring, Gonzalez argued with Wippleman about what happened. Gonzalez choked him with one hand. Gonzalez picked him up and hit a sloppy Chokeslam. Gonzalez put the wreath on him and left. Vince: “There is new meaning to the term ‘Rest in Peace.’”
Analysis. Sorry Vince. That was terrible.
Yokozuna the WWE Champion, Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette were interviewed by Fowler again. Cornette did the promo ranting about how Yokozuna is going to remain WWE Champion.
Smoking Gunns (Bart & Billy Gunn) and Tatanka vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Luna) and Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu) w/Afa
(Pre-match notes: Gunns were a face tag team that were fake brothers. Tatanka was an undefeated face. Bigelow and the Headshrinkers were the heels.)
All six guys were making their SummerSlam debut. Tatanka started off with a back body drop on Bigelow. They did a double cross body block spot to knock down both guys. Billy tagged in against Fatu with punches, but Fatu stopped him with a superkick. Front facelock into a slam by Gunn. Leaping clothesline by Gunn off the top rope. Fatu with a shoulder tackle. Vince on the Smoking Gunns: “They are real cowboys.” He would never lie to us! Fatu tagged in and sent Gunn throat first into the ropes. Bart tagged in with a cross body block. Fatu took control with a hair whip. Bigelow nailed a dropkick on Bart for a two count. Fatu hit a powerslam for two on Bart as the heels isolated the future Brawl for All champion. Bigelow in for the heels with a shoulder block. Bart tried to slam Fatu down by the head, which led to no selling by Fatu and Fatu hit a clothesline leading to Bart doing a flip bump. That was a classic spot because the Samoan wrestlers would no sell moves to the head all the time. The heel side made a bunch of quick tags as they continued to work over Bart.
Tatanka got the hot tag for his team with chops for Bigelow and a body slam. Tatanka hit a DDT on Bigelow. Tatanka jumped off the top rope with a cross body block for a two count. Tatanka did his no selling routine, so Bigelow decked him with an enziguri kick to the head. That was awesome. Samu hit a headbutt off the middle rope for two as Bart made the save. Fatu superkick on Bart. Billy dropkick on Fatu and Bigelow nailed a clothesline to send Billy out of the ring. Bigelow with a splash on Tatanka in the corner. The three heels hit a triple headbutt on Tatanka. All three heels went up to the top rope. They jumped off, but Tatanka moved. The Gunns took out Fatu and Bigelow, so Tatanka got the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Samu for the pinfall win at 11:15.
Winners by pinfall: Tatanka and Smoking Gunns
Analysis: ***1/4 That was a good tag match that I had completely forgotten about. The pacing of the match made it exciting. Plus, they had to follow Borga and Gonzalez in back to back matches, so even a nap would be more exciting than that. Tatanka getting the win made a lot of sense because he was undefeated as a singles wrestler, so they wanted to keep him looking strong. Bigelow really stood out with his work. He was such an agile big guy that sold moves very well too.
There was an interview by Joe Fowler interviewing Hank Carter, who was the driver of the Lex Express bus. Hank thinks Lex is one of the most fantastic “wrasslers” of all time. Hank talked about how great it was when Lex visited sick kids in a hospital. Hank picked Lex to win.
Todd Pettengill interviewed some fan named Bruce wearing a red, white and blue toga.
The announcers talked over things with Heenan saying the bus driver sounded like former President Jimmy Carter. Same last name.
There was a guy named Kyota Suzuki singing the Japanese anthem. The fans booed.
Randy Savage was introduced as the Master of Ceremonies for the main event. Savage was wearing a red, white and blue outfit. Aaron Neville, the singer, walked out with him carrying the American flag. The cameras made sure to focus in on the fans holding the mini-American flags. Heenan had a funny line saying Neville looked like he got his outfit from the Smoking Gunns.
Savage introduced Aaron Neville to sing the American national anthem. He did a good job.
Yokozuna, the WWE Champion, made his entrance with manager Mr. Fuji and their American spokesperson, Jim Cornette. Yokozuna was announced at 558 pounds.
Analysis: Yokozuna was booked as a Japanese wrestler that didn’t speak English. He was really a Samoan American.
Savage did the introduction for the challenger saying he’s going to be the next WWE Champion, Lex Luger.
Luger entered to the “Stars and Stripes Forever” song with Vince saying it was a standing ovation and Heenan said he’s not standing. Vince said that Luger has travelled over 9,000 miles against America. Savage and Neville left.
Analysis: The story was that Luger (who was a heel at the time) did a body slam on Yokozuna around July 4, so that led to Luger becoming a top face and booked as the next great American hero wrestler similar to what WWE did with Hulk Hogan. Did it work? Not really. I’m surprised they didn’t do a video package of some kind for it.
WWE Championship: Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette) vs. Lex Luger
(Pre-match notes: Yokozuna was the heel. Luger was the face. If I would have made a prediction back then I would have predicted Luger was going to win the WWE Title. It seemed like a lock.)
Long staredown to start. Luger had way too much body oil on and was really tanned. Just saying. Back elbow by Luger. Yokozuna came back with a back elbow and he went for a leg drop, but Luger moved. Luger whipped Yoko into the turnbuckle and hit a clothesline. Yoko came back with a punch to the throat. Fuji tried to attack with some Fuji Dust to the eyes, but Luger blocked it to prevent it. Yoko hit a superkick with Heenan saying that Luger did a hip toss on July 4 not a body slam. Yoko sent Luger to the floor and hit a headbutt when Luger tried to get back in the ring. Yokozuna choked Luger with some of his sumo gear string. Luger charged in with Luger against the ropes and Yoko splashed him. Yoko went to attack with a chair, Luger moved and Yoko hit the ring post with the chair. Back in the ring, Luger up top and hit a double axe to the head. Yoko hit a double axe to the head. Yoko was staggered, so Luger went up top and hit a forearm to the face for a two count as Yoko got the shoulder up. Luger had the “controversial forearm” as Vince said since they built up the steel plate in the forearm as a big deal. Luger hit a clothesline to the back for a two count. They did a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down. Cornette distracted the ref, Fuji threw some bucket to Yoko and Yoko hit Luger with the bucket. Slow cover by Yoko only got a two count. Crowd went wild for it.
Yoko worked him over with chops. Yoko hit a side belly to belly suplex with Vince doing his “that should do it” routine leading to a two count. Vince: “No he didn’t get him!” Vince’s commentary continues to make me chuckle with how over the top he was. Belly to back suplex by Yoko earned another two count. Yoko squeezed the trapezius area of Luger to slow it down for about one minute. Luger went for a body slam, Yoko landed on top and that got a two count as Heenan said he was impressed by Luger’s courage. Yokozuna hit a leg drop for a two count because not Hulk Hogan, brother. Cornette was yelling about how it’s a conspiracy. Yoko went for the Banzai Drop, but Luger moved and that drew a big ovation. Yoko looked exhausted. Luger whipped into the corner, Yoko charged and Luger moved. Yoko walked out of the corner and Luger hit a body slam to a thunderous ovation. Heenan called it a “hip lock” and Vince said it was a body slam. Luger punched Fuji while he was on the apron. Luger hit the running forearm smash on Yoko while the ref was looking at Fuji. Cornette on the apron, so Luger punched him. The ref Earl Hebner counted Yokozuna out for a ten count.
Winner by countout: Lex Luger (Yokozuna is still WWE Champion)
Analysis: **1/2 It was a decent match that was better than I remember, but it’s not like this was some great title match either. It was one of the most bizarre booking choices for a finish that I can ever recall. Like I noted earlier, I would have predicted a Luger win because historically speaking that’s the way this match would go with a face getting a monster push leading to a win. For whatever reason, WWE decided to have Yoko retain. There’s no complicated explanation for it other than Vince McMahon as booker not believing in Luger enough.
Post match, Luger celebrated as if he won the title even though he didn’t. Vince McMahon said that “Lex Luger has done the impossible, he has beaten Yokozuna.” Other face wrestlers like the Steiners, Tatanka and Savage went to the ring to celebrate with Luger. Steiners put Luger on their shoulders. Luger waved an American flag in the air. Vince said that Luger will get his rematch.
There were red, white and blue balloons that fell from the rafters. Heenan yelled about how somebody needed to help Yokozuna. Vince: “Lex Luger, unquestionably an American hero if there was one.” Sure Vince, but he wasn’t enough of a hero for you to book him to be WWE Champion.
Analysis: The celebration was ridiculous. The story should have been about Luger not winning the title and he should be mad at that, but Vince kept talking about the rematch. I’m not talking about smiling a bit. It was one of the biggest celebrations you’re ever going to see, which is ridiculous because he failed to win the title.
A cheesy video about America played while focusing on Lex Luger and the Lex Express.
They went back to the arena with Yokozuna still out on the floor about five minutes after the match.
Luger was interviewed in the locker room by the other wrestlers. Tatanka was wearing a towel while the others were still in their gear. Luger said it was an honor to represent America. Ludvig Borga walked in to say he’s not impressed by Luger or the country he stands for. Borga said if they ever step into the ring he will crush him.
Analysis: When they had matches he didn’t crush him. The fans were the ones crushed because of how bad it was.
Vince and Bobby signed off as images were shown of Luger’s celebration to end it. Vince: “We hope you enjoyed SummerSlam as much as Yokozuna did.”
This event has a run time of 2 hours, 47 minutes on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– Two countout finishes in two title matches? Plus, there was the DQ finish in the Hart/Lawler match too. Weird booking. I can’t explain it other than it was such a weird year for WWE where the creative team was changing plans all the time. They would get behind somebody with a push and suddenly go in another direction.
– I can understand why Vince McMahon may have changed his mind on Luger because business was down across the board. However, they spent two months building this up, they had the Lex Express bus that was heavily promoted leading to this big match and then Lex looked like a loser because he failed to win the title.
Here’s a video of Luger talking about not winning the title. Lex said people assumed he was winning the title at SummerSlam, but Vince told him maybe they will hold off until WrestleMania 10 at Madison Square Garden. That didn’t help either. Then again, putting the title on Bret Hart at WM10 was a great move.
I think they should have had Lex win here and get it back on Yoko soon after. I don’t even like Lex that much, but the booking should have dictated a title change.
– I would have liked to see the Steiners vs. Heavenly Bodies match get more time because it’s not like there was a lot of greatness on the rest of the card. If they got another 5-10 minutes they could have had one of the better tag matches of this era.
– Watching a Ludvig Borga match followed by a Giant Gonzalez match back to back is not recommended for any wrestling fan. I don’t know how I survived. It’s a miracle. It may make you hate the business because of how bad they were.
– It had the lowest number of PPV buys of the first six SummerSlams with 250,000 buys. Things got better a year later, but they got even worse in 1995 and 1996. This stretch in the early to mid-90s was rough for WWE.
Best Match: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. The Heavenly Bodies (***1/4)
Worst Match: The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez (-**)
Most Memorable Moment: Lex Luger’s ridiculous celebration is the most memorable to me because of how cheesy it was.
- Bret Hart
- Steiner Brothers
- Heavenly Bodies
- Shawn Michaels
- Mr. Perfect
Show rating (out of 10): 4
The problem with SummerSlam 1993 was the booking. I noted the countout finishes plus the disqualification. At a big event like SummerSlam there should be more decisive finishes. It was a better show than I remembered because three of the matches were around the three star level, so that helped. It was a below average event that took place in what many people was WWE’s worst year ever. If I had to pick their worst year in terms of show quality I’d go with 1993 too.
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5
SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Next up is SummerSlam 1994, which had a fantastic WWE Title match and also a battle of two Undertakers. I reviewed it a couple of years ago, so I will re-post it and format it like the others in this series.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.