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Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Summerslam Anthology — Summerslam ’96

August 20, 2009 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: The Summerslam Anthology — Summerslam ’96  

Summerslam ’96

by J.D. Dunn

Reprinted from 2006ish

  • August 18, 1996
  • Live from Cleveland, Ohio
  • Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect.

  • Opening Match: Savio Vega vs. Owen Hart.
    Owen was still sporting his cast a la Bob Orton Jr. Mr. Perfect explains that he just keeps re-injuring it because of his brutal wrestling schedule. The ref keeps him from jumping Savio from behind with the cast and warns him not to use it or else he risks disqualification. Vega leapfrogs him and grabs an armbar. They each miss flying moves as we get a backstage shot of Jim Cornette training with Vader. Vince tries to stir things up by implying he’s neglecting Owen. Vega continues to work the arm. Owen takes over after shoving Vega shoulderfirst into the ringpost. Owen doggedly goes after Vega’s shoulder, including an Armbar DDT and a stepover armbar. They each miss spinning wheel kicks as Attorney Clarence Mason stalks down to ringside, to root for Owen. Owen gets an enzuigiri but falls victim to a small package for two. He gets two with his feet on the ropes and catches Savio with a spinning heel kick. Owen charges right into a spinning back kick. Savio gets a series of nearfalls before Owen catches him with a neckbreaker. A missile dropkick gets two for Owen. Owen goes up, but Savio crotches him and gives him a super backdrop suplex. Owen turns into Eddy Guerrero, slipping the cast off and walloping Vega. The Sharpshooter gets the academic submission at 13:22. Savio was at his peak, but this was mostly here just to put over Owen’s injury gimmick. **1/4

  • Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (today’s JBL) comes out with Zebekiah (Dutch Mantell) and assaults Savio to set up their match at the next PPV.
  • Todd Pettingill joins us from the boiler room. He finds Mankind rocking back and forth in the dark. Mankind warns the Undertaker that their match could alter the future of all Mankind. HAVE A NICE DAY!
  • WWF Tag Team Titles, Elimination Match: The Smoking Gunns (w/Sunny) vs. The New Rockers vs. The Bodydonnas vs. The Godwinns (w/Hillbilly Jim).
    The ref has to pry the tag titles out of Sunny’s hands. Let’s go through all of this in case you’re new. The Gunns are Bart Gunn (Mike Barton of All Japan semi-fame) and Billy Gunn (Kip James of TNA). The New Rockers are a heel Marty Janetty and Leif Cassidy (Al Snow), but for some reason they wrestle a completely different style and have a 70’s gimmick instead of a teenybopper one. The Bodydonnas are Zip (Tom Prichard) and Skip (the late Chris Candido). The Godwinns are Phinneas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn later Southern Justice and one went on to be Mideon. Billy takes a facebuster early on. Sunny complains to the referee giving the crowd a nice shot of her ass (back when that meant something). Zip and PIG outsmart the Gunns, tagging them both in so they have to wrestle one another. Bart simply tags out to Zip. Marty trips up Zip from the outside, and Billy covers for the elimination at 4:02.

    The New Rockers doubleteam Phineas, and they make a deal with the Gunns. It doesn’t last long as the Rockers keep screwing up and taking out the Gunns instead. Henry shoves the Rockers into one another and finishes Cassidy with the Slop Drop (reverse DDT) for another elimination at 7:19.

    The Gunns isolate Henry as the match withers on the vine. HOG gets an atomic drop on Bart and catches Billy with a powerslam during his Stinger Splash. Phinneas gets the HOT TAG! ALLEMAN LEFT! PROMENADE YOUR PARTNER HOME! PIG hits Billy with the Slop Drop, but the ref is distracted by an argument between Sunny and Hillbilly Jim. Bart comes off the top with a forearm and puts Billy on top for the win at 12:18. After the match, Sunny gives the crowd a gift — a giant size picture of herself. Okay, get this and wonder why WCW won for 82 straight weeks: they had 8 guys in there, two hillbillies, a gay rodeo team, a gay bodybuilding team, and a doped-up parody of 70’s icons. There was one person who was over in this match, and I’ll let you guess who she was. The match was horrible too, but at least they actually had tag teams then. 1/2*

  • The WWF superstars take a tour of various Cleveland spots.
  • Sycho Sid talks about how the fans begged him to come back. Nice canted frame there by the ace director. Watching this, you’d have no idea who was the face and who was the heel for the next match.
  • British Bulldog (w/Clarence Mason) vs. Sycho Sid.
    Sid gets an early clothesline and slam, so Bulldog takes a breather on the outside. Vince again makes it a point to drive a wedge between Bulldog and Cornette. Sid hits a sloppy powerslam for two. Bulldog comes back with a vertical suplex. Sid powers up out of a chinlock, but Davey Boy clotheslines him over the top. Bulldog hangs him on the ropes and yanks him back in for two. Sid makes the comeback with an avalanche. DBS avoids a second one and powerslams Sid. Jim Cornette runs down to argue with Clarence Mason, so DBS gets distracted. Sid recovers, slips out of another powerslam, and finishes with a chokeslam and powerbomb at 6:24. Too much wackiness on the outside overshadowed what (little) was going on in the ring. *

  • Bizarre WWF Mind Games commercial sees a couple of Mooninite wannabes come down to some kid’s house to watch the WWF. “I hope you can see this, because I’m straining to flip you off as hard as I can.”
  • Goldust (w/Marlena) vs. Marc Mero (w/Sable).
    Ross makes special mention of Mero’s new move — the Wild Thing. Goldust’s rear snuggie is quite disturbing. Mero gets an early armdrag and scares Goldust out of the ring. Back in, they each miss clotheslines, and Mero gets two off a crossbody block. Goldie elbows out of a hammerlock and knocks Mero to the outside. Goldust methodically works Mero over as Mankind stumbles down and confuses Sable with his “mommy”. Mero comes back with a buttbump off the second rope. He gets an atomic drop and flying clothesline. Goldust blocks the mounted punches, but Mero scissors him to the outside and delivers a somersault plancha. Back in, Mero hits the Wild Thing (Shooting Star Press), but Marlena has the ref distracted. Goldust recovers and hits the Curtain Call for the win at 11:00. Goldust hits on Sable after the match, but Mero makes the save. How stupid is it that you hype a big new move and it doesn’t get the finish? That was the high point of the match as well. *3/4

  • Recap of Ahmed Johnson’s kidney woes, causing the Intercontinental Title to be vacated.
  • Ffaarrooqq Assaad and Sunny come out to demand that Gorilla give Farrooq the IC Title. Instead, Gorilla has already called for a tournament to start on the next night’s Raw.
  • Recap of the Jake Roberts/Jerry Lawler feud, which revolved around Lawler making cracks about Jake’s alcoholism. Jake was a recovering alcoholic…in storyline terms. In real life, he was, as they say, constantly relapsing.
  • Mark Henry comes out to join the commentary team.
  • Jerry Lawler vs. Jake Roberts.
    Lawler really, really steps on the gas with the cheap heat tactics. Jake finally has enough of the alcohol taunts and drapes Revelations (the snake) all over Lawler. King tries to bribe his way out with two bottles of Jim Beam, but Jake tracks him down and stomps him in the nuts. Lawler throws a soda in Jake’s face, ties him in the ropes. He goes for one of those bottles, but Jake kicks him and escapes. Lawler backdrops out of a DDT. Jake goes for it again, but Lawler grabs onto the referee. That sneaky Lawler jabs Jake in the throat with the bottle and pins him with two handfuls of tights. (4:08). Lawler pours a bottle of booze down Jake’s throat, but Mark Henry leaves the announce table and saves Jake from… doing what he was going to do anyway. Not much of a match, but Lawler sure knows how to tell a story. 1/4*

  • Boiler Room Brawl: The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Mankind.
    The rules are that you start out fighting in the boiler room, somewhere in the bowels of the arena until one man can get to the ring and take possession of the urn from Paul Bearer. Taker enters the boiler room and suddenly we’re in “Alien” only Ripley is really ugly. Mankind sneaks up and hits him with a metal beam. They take turns beating each other with various boiler room items: trash cans, steel rods, plastic piping, wooden palets, etc. Mankind crotches Taker with plastic piping and comes off the top of a ladder with a Cactus Elbow. Transmission problems helpfully disguise the edits and piss off the crowd (unless the WWF was dubbing boos for its own program). Mankind climbs the ladder for another elbow, but Taker tips it over, sending Mankind down to the concrete floor. They slowly crawl for the door, and Taker sprays Mankind with a fire hydrant. Mankind makes it through the door first and we see that even though we got a shot of Mick from behind when we switch to a frontal shot, there’s no cameraman behind him! Perhaps the arena is haunted. Mankind barricades the door, but Undertaker bursts through. He chases Mankind down the hall as the other superstars look on. Mankind tosses hot coffee on him to get a few-second edge. Taker catches up with Mankind as they come out to the ring entrance. They fight all the way down the aisle, and Mankind piledrives Taker on the pavement. Taker recovers, though, and slingshots Mankind to the concrete. Taker reaches for the urn, but Bearer seems hesitant. Taker’s confusion gives Mankind enough time to recover and put him down with the Mandible Claw. Bearer slaps the Undertaker in the face, and they take turns stomping him down over and over again. Finally, Mankind just takes the urn to pick up the win at 26:27. He and Bearer leave arm in arm. The Druids come out to the ring and take the Undertaker’s prone body, Christlike, to the back. I guess that makes Mankind Pontius Pilate and Bearer Judas? They had a nice idea, but the execution just wasn’t there. *3/4

  • WWF Heavyweight Title: Shawn Michaels (w/Jose Lothario) vs. Vader (w/Jim Cornette).
    Vader starts with a few jabs and knocks him down with a short-arm clothesline. Michaels takes him down and gets a few jabs of his own. Vader tries to throw him out, but Michaels ducks, sending Vader to the floor. Michaels follows him out with a beautiful tope con hilo. Back in, Michaels hits a double ax-handle and a huracanrana. That’s not really a believable move, considering to whom he’s doing it. Shawn jumps on his shoulders and pounds away. Michaels sends him to the floor again but goes to the well once too often as he tries to slingshot himself into another rana. Vader simply powerbombs him to the floor. Back in, Vader bulls him with forearms and punches. He just destroys the champ methodically and brutally. Shawn tries to headscissor Vader out with his skin-the-cat move, but Vader drags him back in and tosses him across the ring. Shawn fights out of a bearhug. He gets caught trying to slide under Vader’s legs, but he gets his knees up to counter a splash. Shawn misses a big stomp, triggering his infamous in-ring tiff. Michaels crossbodies both of them out, and it winds up being a mistake because Vader press slams him on the ring barrier for the countout victory at 13:50. Jim Cornette gets on the mic and calls Michaels, saying that’s not how they want to win. The ref restarts the match, and Jimmy takes a cheap racquet shot at Shawn on the outside. Vader gets two on the inside. Shawn comes back with a flying forearm and kips up. The flying elbow sets up Sweet Chin Music, but Cornette breaks it up and tosses the racquet in to Vader. Shawn grabs it first and wallops Vader for the disqualification at 17:37. Cornette declares that Shawn got disqualified on purpose to save his title. The match continues with Vader missing a vertical splash and taking a flying forearm. Michaels drops an elbow and hits SWEET CHIN MUSIC! ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! The ref gets bumped. Vader delivers the Vaderbomb as a new ref counts two. Vader goes up for the pump splash but decides to try a moonsault. Of course, he misses. Shawn crawls up and delivers a moonsault bodypress for the pin at 22:18. As has been well-documented by now, Vader was supposed to win the title here, lose it to Bret Hart, get it back from Bret, and lose to Shawn. Instead, Vader seemed to fall out of favor until 1997, and Sycho Sid got his mega-push. ***3/4
  • The 411: This is a template for every card in 1996. A bunch of crap leading up to one really good Shawn Michaels match. Unfortunately, due to the wacky antics in the main event, not even Shawn vs. Vader can drag a recommendation out of this turkey. The Boiler Room Brawl has its supporters, though, so if you like strange brawls you might want to check it out.

    Thumbs down.

    Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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