wrestling / Video Reviews

SummerSlam ’89: Feel the Heat! (8.28.1989) Review

June 5, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Ted DiBiase SummerSlam 1989

-I originally wrote this review wayyyyyy back in 2010, and it’s completely weird to me when I think about how long I’ve been writing these reviews. Basically, I’m uploading a revised and edited version of the 2010 reviews. 2010 Adam thought he had to write the recap of the match absolutely move-for-move, and I might have a different perspective of stuff now from watching the week-to-week build on WWE Network.

-Lucky me, my copy is from the original PPV broadcast and it even includes the Countdown Show! Weird issue to raise here but, at least in Podunkville, West Virginia, ordering this pay-per-view in 1989 would have involved driving down to the cable company and picking up a special box, then driving home and installing the box on your TV. That’s why it always struck me as odd when Mean Gene would implore us to “call right now” during these shows. If you only have 30 minutes to go before show time, you were pretty much S.O.L. Were we just really behind in West Virginia? Those of you ordering pay-per-views back in 1989, could you “call right now” and get the show in half an hour?

-Anyway, the countdown show is your expected montage of clips and promos, but I simply must stop and acknowledge the Hulk Hogan/Brutus Beefcake promo for a moment. Ladies and gentlemen…Greatness:

HULK: When you get your hands on Scary Sherri, what are you going to do?
BRUTUS: (Obviously stuck for an answer) Scary Sherri! Oh…When I get my hands on that Scary Sherri, brother…I don’t know what I’m gonna do!
HULK: I’ll tell you what, brother! Give her a Baldo Renaldo for me!

-First of all, I’m pretty sure that Baldo Renaldo is some kind of slang for what’s probably happening to Nasty Nick as I type this (because Nick was in prison at the time, you see). Second, how easy would it have been for Brutus to just regurgitate his catchphrase for an answer? “I’m going to do some cuttin’ and struttin’, Hulkster!” See how obvious an answer that was? See how well that would have tied together the promo?

-In other action, we can look forward to an encounter between Dusty Rhodes & Honky Tonk Man. Here now is Dusty, not so much cutting a promo as he is engaging in a stream of consciousness.

DUSTY: Ha ha, yeah! Americana! The Honky Tonk Man! Jimmy Hart! Play a guitar! Don’t be cruel! Heartbreak Hotel! Sleep with my teddy bear, if you will! But don’t mess with Americana! The Common Man himself! Because I got one thing for you, Honky, and that is just what I said. Say it out there! Honky! Honky! Honky! Honky! I’m comin’ for you, Daddy! Americana is hyanh for the Honky Tonk Man!

-In six-man tag action, we’ll see Andre the Giant, Big Boss Man, and Akeem team up. Slick cuts a promo where he refers to them as “The Twin Towers and the Eiffel Tower,” which is really clever.

-Mean Gene reminds us again to call our cable company so we can catch the last three matches if traffic is good, and the clock hits zero.

Time for the action!

-We’re live from East Rutherford, New Jersey and the Meadowlands Arena.

-Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura. Jesse bullies Tony about running Bobby Heenan off the air and warns him not to get out of line. This was in the middle of an angle where Tony Schiavone joined the commentary team on Wrestling Challenge and Roddy Piper joined Prime Time Wrestling; Heenan, in turn, quit in a huff about being forced to share airtime with more people. This angle, by the way, led directly to four glorious weeks of The Bobby Heenan Show–well, two glorious weeks of The Bobby Heenan Show plus two other episodes of it. As a show of retaliation, Rude came onto the Prime Time set a few weeks before this and picked a fight with Piper. I explain all of this only because it’s going to be important later.

NON-TITLE MATCH: BRAIN BUSTERS (Tag team champions, with Bobby Heenan) vs. HART FOUNDATION

-The match was announced in July and the Brain Busters won the titles a week later, meaning that defending the titles was optional. Tony Schiavone says that if he was in their position, he would defend his title, and Jesse immediately calls “bullshit” on that. The only new insight I have to add to this match is that Bret wrote an incredibly emo passage about it in his book and he was just totally miserable about how this was booked.

-Geez, awarding the point for this one is such a foregone conclusion that I feel like just typing “1 for 1” and moving on to the next match, but, what the hell. Bret & Tully start. Bret gets a pair of armdrags and a wristlock. He drops the elbow a few times to injure the arm, but Tully takes a few steps backward to tag in Arn. Arn gets a drop toehold and attempts to build off of it, but Bret counters with a hammerlock. Neat move by Bret, bodyslamming Arn but keeping him in the hammerlock so Arn lands on his own arm. Anvil tags in and wristlocks Arn, who tries to escape with a kick to the stomach. Anvil holds on, drags him to the Hart corner, and tags in Bret. Bret works the arm a little more and tags in Anvil, who works the arm. Arn makes it to the corner for a tag, but in a subtle bit that you don’t see anymore, the referee won’t allow the tag because Tully had a foot on the bottom rope instead of having both feet on the mat.

-As Tully argues, Anvil drags Arn across the ring and Bret comes back in with an armdrag. Arn finally gets some offense, a headscissors, but Bret kicks out and Arn finally gets the tag. Anvil tags in too, and gets a kick to the stomach before going back to the wristlock. Tully tries a hiptoss but Anvil blocks it with a clubbing forearm and goes back to the wristlock. He drags him over to Bret and makes the tag, and Bret goes for his own wristlock. Another great bit as Tully gets the tag but again the referee disallows it because they didn’t do it just the right way. While Arn argues with the referee, Bret simply releases the hold and walks out of the ring, and Anvil comes in for his own wristlock without tagging. Of course the referee happily allows that. Good stuff.

-Tully starts to fight out with chops, but Anvil no-sells it and gives him a nasty shot to the chest, then Irish whips him. Bret goes for the hammerlock again as Jesse notes that the Hart Foundation “has literally dominated the Brain Busters,” and I’m pretty sure that’s the only time in history that a wrestling commentator has used the word “literally” correctly. Yes, they have literally dominated, Jesse; A+ for you.

-“Weasel” chant starts up and it’s the entire 20,000 doing the chant. This crowd is stoked. Tully gets an armlock but Bret bridges out. Arn comes in to help but Bret gets a double-monkeyflip, and the Busters head outside to regroup. Back in the ring, Tully…well, goes back out of the ring. In the course of the chase, Tully manages to get back in the ring and get a tag without Bret seeing it, and Arn attacks from behind. Pump splash is blocked by Bret’s knees and we have a donnybrook. Harts clear the ring again.

-Back in the ring, Bret gets a boot to the Tully’s midsection and rams his face into Anvil’s boot. Tully attempts a desperation move off the second rope but Anvil catches him in a bearhug and rams him into the corner. Smart move as the Harts do their “Irish whip each other into our own opponents” spot and Arn becomes the first tag team partner ever to just pull his partner out of harm’s way, and Anvil’s a –hurtin’. Arn comes in and stomps away, then rams Anvil into Tully’s knee. Tully comes in with an elbow off the top, followed by a chinlock and thank God for the chinlock because my fingers were starting to go numb. Anvil powers out by standing up and piggybacking Tully, but Tully manages to tag from that position and Arn attacks with fists and forearms. He goes for the pin and Anvil gets the greatest kick-out ever, as Arn actually goes the length of the ring from the force.

-Busters double-team Anvil in the corner and Tully punches away. Anvil fights out of the corner but Arn’s ready for him and sends him off the ropes. Anvil hits Arn head-on for a double K.O., but Arn gets up fast enough to block the tag. Irish whip into the ropes is reversed by Anvil, and Bret’s had enough and knees Arn in the back as he hits the ropes. Anvil makes the tag, and Bret takes on both men. He clears the ring of Arn and hits a second rope elbow on Tully. Suplex and Bret goes for the pin. Arn gets over to block it, but Bret is waiting for him and we have another brawl. Anvil & Arn duke it out on the floor. Bret Irish whips Tully then slingshots Anvil back into the ring. Nice. Bret goes to the top and Anvil powerslams him on top of Tully. Heenan distracts Marella and Arn sneaks in with a double axehandle and pins Bret quickly for the win. 1 for 1. The Brain Busters were hyped by Bobby Heenan as “the smartest team in wrestling.” That didn’t mean that they had to wear caps & gowns for their entrance, it didn’t mean they went by nicknames like Professor & Dean, and it didn’t mean a bunch of vignettes where they talked about science in a faux-classroom. It simply meant that they would always be smarter than their opponents, and that’s exactly what we saw. The Harts surprised them by being ready for a fight, and when all else failed, the Busters got the win just by doing something intelligent.

DUSTY RHODES vs. HONKY TONK MAN (with Jimmy Hart)

-I actually think a better use of these guys would be to just stick them in a room full of six packs and film that. Dusty is wearing a policeman’s hat and carrying the nightstick & handcuffs that he stole from Big Bossman, continuing that weird 80s tradition of having a guy who had a hot feud wrestle a different opponent at the pay-per-view. Interesting this is that Dusty hasn’t really wrestled onPrime Time so at least from my perspective it’s like this is his first match of this run.

-Dusty struts and wiggles to taunt Honky and gets an early backdrop. He goes for the early finish with the elbow but Honky rolls out of the ring. Back in, Dusty gets an arm wringer, and while Honky’s trapped, Dusty tussles his hair. Honky, blind with rage falls victim to an atomic drop and punches in the corner. Dusty gets a toehold, but Honky goes to the eyes to break it. Side headlock and fists from Honky, but Dusty reverses and gets punches of his own. So there’s the famous story of how Dusty had to job to Ted DiBiase on his first night with the company just to make a point to the boys that he wasn’t in charge here, but honestly, you can tell by the structure of the match that Dusty isn’t booking for the WWF because if he was, he would have led off with a DDT, a Perfect-Plex, a three-point stance, and then an atomic legdrop for the two-count.

-Dusty goes off the rope and Jimmy hooks the leg, and we have a chase. As the referee is distracted by Hart, Honky attacks Dusty with the megaphone, but stupidly targets the stomach instead of the head, so what the hell is he going to accomplish by doing that with Dusty Rhodes? Of course he only gets a two-count.

-Headlock by Honky. Dusty breaks the hold but Honky immediately gets a knee and an axehandle to keep Dusty down, and we’re back to the headlock. Dusty makes it to his feet and gets a slam, but again, Honky dodges the elbow and goes back to the headlock. Dusty backs Honky into a corner and rams him in the stomach, but Honky fights out and begins punching. Dusty fights back with shucking & jiving, as well as closed fists, but I think the shucking is having more effect. Honky dodges a blind charge and attempts an Irish whip, but Dusty ends up tackling the referee by accident. Jimmy runs in with the guitar and Honky holds Dusty in position, but Dusty moves, Honky gets a shot from his own guitar, and Dusty gets the pin. 1 for 2. Actually started off really hot until it slowed way the hell down with that headlock.

-Post-match, Sean Mooney talks to Honky, who is suffering from amnesia and thinks he actually is Elvis…Wisely dropped and forgotten about with no follow-up.

-Backstage, Gene Okerlund is with Demolition & Jim Duggan, who just has his arms full of gimmicks. He has a flag in one hand, a 2×4 with a tiny crown in the other hand, and he’s wearing a crown, a cape, and a hockey mask. On the off-chance that somebody’s girlfriend was watching wrestling for the first time ever tonight, she’d be really confused.

RED ROOSTER vs. MISTER PERFECT

-Shoving match to start and Perfect backs away from Rooster. Perfect gets Rooster with an armdrag and a hiptoss. Rooster slaps Perfect across the face and Perfect reacts with a side headlock. Rooster sends him off the ropes and does a series of leapfrogs, and we have a problem as he collapses to the mat after each one. Rooster attempts a slam but falls over and stays on the mat while Perfect stomps him. Standing dropkick by Perfect and Rooster rolls out of the ring and you can see Tim White asking him if he’s okay. Things turn into a brawl outside the ring. Back in the ring, Perfect gets the Perfectplex immediately for the win (and a face pop!) Methinks we had a blow-out here. 1 for 3 but it’s not like you can blame them for what went wrong here.

-And now, the greatest moment in the history of ever as a Ravishing Rick Rude is brought to a screeching halt by the Summerslam logo collapsing in the background. The next thing you hear is Vince McMahon, off-camera, muttering “Nice move,” and Gene blurting out “Fuck it!” Bobby Heenan walks right off the set. We cut back to an extended crowd shot as Tony tries to keep things smooth and professional by hyping the upcoming matches. Jesse can’t keep it together and just makes fun of Mean Gene for screwing up. Mean Gene later elaborated on what went wrong here, as all of these promos were taped before the event started, and the flub here was just something to the effect of “Somebody cued up tape #24 in the machine instead of tape #25,” so he didn’t really get in trouble for this. And they edit this out of the WWE Network version! Come on!

TITO SANTANA & ROCKERS vs. RICK MARTEL & FABULOUS ROUGEAU BROTHERS (with Slick & Jimmy Hart)

-I don’t give a damn who wins and loses because I got to listen to the Rougeaus’ entrance theme. Tito & Jacques start. Jacques offers a handshake and Tito demurs. Irish whip by Tito and the Rockers run in for a double leapfrog, a double hiptoss, and double elbows. Martel & Raymond run in and the Rockers launch Tito for a flying bodypress on both men. Back in the ring, it’s Jacques vs. Marty Janetty and Janetty catches Jacques off the top rope with an elbow. Raymond tags in and cracks Janetty with a savate kick (and a damn good one) and Janetty gets trapped in the heel corner for some quality triple-teaming. Rick Martel comes in and dances his way into our hearts. Irish whip is reversed by Janetty, but Martel dodges the follow-through charge. Janetty gets a savate kick of his own and the ring is cleared again.

-Back in the ring, we have Tito with a side-headlock on Raymond. Santana goes for a quick pin after some punches but Raymond kicks out and we’re back to the side headlock. Raymond whips him into the ropes and Jacques grabs a leg from the outside, giving Raymond an opening for a sneak attack. Jacques & Rick Martel give Tito a double stungun and Martel follows up by striking Tito with force. Jacques tags in and gets a good-looking dropkick, celebrating with a “Woo-hoo!” Tito tries to tag but Jacques drags him to the heel corner. Rick Martel re-enters and suddenly Tito begins throwing punches, catching his ex-partner off-guard. Tito gets a sunset flip and the crowd goes insane, but it only gets two.

-Martel panics and chokes him. Backbreakerby Martel and he tags in Raymond. Raymond gets a Boston crab. Martel keeps the faces at bay while Jacques drops a knee on Tito’s back. Jacques tags in and gets an abdominal stretch, and since Tony’s doing play-by-play, we have absolutely no problem here. Crowd chants “Tito!” Tito was a pretty amazing guy, not just in terms of being an outstanding worker, but there was just something about him that kept the fans from ever giving up. He was pretty much a jobber to the stars after Strike Force split up, but for whatever reason, the crowds never had any problem believing “tonight might be Tito’s night.” Hell, in 1991, he went up against Mr. Perfect in the main event of a house show that I attended, and despite the fact that it had been at least six months since we had seen Tito go over a name opponent, that crowd was totally behind him.

-Tito starts to fight back and blocks an attempted sunset flip. They trade fists until Martel gets the tag and Jacques comes in. Tito greets him with a flying bodypress. Jacques whips Tito into Raymond’s boots, but Tito surprises him with another sunset flip for two. Headlock by Raymond as another “Tito” chant erupts. Jacques re-enters with n elbow, but Tito dodges a high knee that wipes out Raymond. Martel tags in, but Shawn Michaels is a house of fire on the hot tag and destroys him. Dropkick by Michaels. Backdrop is reversed into a suplex by Michaels. Fist off the top rope and Janetty tags in. Michaels is backdropped on top of Martel. Jacques tries to break the pin but drops an elbow on Martel. It turns into a six-man brawl. Janetty reverses a roll-up by Jacques, but Martel sneaks in with a blow from behind and gets the pin. Crowd’s pissed, but that was a lot of fun to watch. 2 for 4.

-Quick note: History of WWE says that there was a breech of kayfabe when the Rougeau Brothers’ theme played during two pinfall attempts. This is the original PPV broadcast (as evidenced by the presence of “Fuck it!” and the countdown show) and I never caught either incident if that actually happened.

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: RAVISHING RICK RUDE (champion, with Bobby Heenan) vs. ULTIMATE WARRIOR
-I love those moments when the crowd pops immediately upon hearing the heel’s music and figuring out what match is coming up. They’ve been waiting for this.

-Rude tries to play Artful Dodger and kicks Warrior in the stomach, but Warrior no-sells it. Rude punches for further no-selling and Warrior clotheslines him over the top rope. Rude tries to re-enter with a sunset flip, but Warrior hits him in the face and press-slams him over the top rope. Warrior goes out to the floor and rams Rude into a table, then hits him with the belt, leading Jesse to ask, “Where the hell is the referee?!” This triggers a hilarious debate between Tony & Jesse about the old issue of “Is it no-DQ if you’re both outside of the ring?” It’s hilarious mainly because it’s so one-sided; Jesse absolutely dominates Tony, first by offering a hypothetical situation involving a gun outside of the ring, then just yelling “You’re even dumber than Monsoon! I thought Gorilla was the stupidest guy alive!”

-Warrior goes back in the ring, then tosses Rude over the top rope again and bodyslams him on the floor. Back in the ring, Warrior takes a rare trip off the top rope with a double axehandle and goes for the pin; it’s a two-count. Warrior Irish-whips him a few times for good measure, then slams him for another two-count. Suplex by Warrior for another two-count. Inverted atomic drop and Warrior mocks him with a hip swivel for good measure. Warrior does an awesome move that I simply cannot identify, where he grabs Rude in a Heimlich position, lifts him up high, and then drops him straight down on his ass.

-Warrior goes back to the top rope but Rude catches him with an uppercut Rude drives some forearms into the kidneys and a suplex and goes for his first pin of the night for a two-count. Rude continues working the back with forearms and gets a chinlock. Rude just keeps up the attack and goes for another pin, and it’s another two-count, Rude goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior fights it off. Rude goes for the sleeper, but Warrior fights out of that with a jawjack. A three-way collision wipes out both men and the referee.

-Rude makes it to his feet first. Warrior starts to stir as Rude works him with chops and punches, but Warrior counters with the same, followed by a backdrop. Series of clotheslines and a powerslam off the ropes put Rude down, but the referee is still out. Piledriver by Warrior as the referee wakes up, but he counts so slowly that he can only get a two-count. Bobby Heenan is absolutely freaking out through all this. Running powerslam by Warrior, but Rude raises the knees to block a splash. Rude gets a piledriver of his own for two. Fist off the top rope gets two as Rowdy Roddy Piper arrives at ringside. Rude gets another piledriver for two. Rude spots Piper and poses to taunt him. Piper, it turn, moons Rude and walks away. Warrior takes advantage of the distraction with a back suplex. Flying shoulderblock and a press slam follow. Big splash finishes and the crowd damn near riots at the sound of the bell. 3 for 5. Probably the best match for either man at the time, although better things would come for both of them.

-Backstage, Mister Perfect gloats about his victory, building up to his big main event push. Roddy Piper runs in with a riddle for Mean Gene: “What’s a Scotsman wear under his kilt? His shoes!” Piper proudly takes credit for costing Rude his Intercontinental Title.

-Ronnie Garvin, fresh from being shitcanned from his referee gig, shows up in a tuxedo, hinting that he starts a new job tonight. Bobby Heenan & Rick Rude storm onto the set and go insane.

-Summerslam will be back after this five minute pee break…er, intermission.

KING DUGGAN & DEMOLITION vs. ANDRE THE GIANT & TWIN TOWERS (with Bobby Heenan & Slick)

-Heels are billed at 1,334 pounds. Jesse whips out a “Where’s the beef?” reference. Problem is, it’s 1989 and the phrase in that hard-to-describe window where a pop culture reference isn’t trendy anymore, but there’s not yet enough nostalgia for it to be a hilarious reference, so he just looks like a dork for saying it. King Duggan removes his crown & hockey mask to show that he has painted his face like the American flag.

-Duggan & Akeem start and Duggan gets the early advantage with punches. Irish whip and a right hand take Akeem off his feet. Duggan gets an arm wringer and tags in Ax. Axes axes Akeem, Smash tags in and smashes him. (For those who think I’m trying to be clever and failing, I’m not trying to be clever. It’s just that it’s easier to type “Ax axes him and Smash smashes him” than it is to type “Ax does that thing where he does a lot of axehandles really, really fast on his opponent’s back and then Smash comes in and does clubbing forearms on his opponent’s back really, really fast and then they do it together.”)

-Another arm-wringer by Duggan and he rams Akeem into the corner. Ax re-enters and Akeem goes for the eyes, and Ax fights back with an elbow. Akeem chops the throat and tags in Big Bossman, but Ax is ready with fists and Smash comes in with the same. Bossman backs him in the corner and pounds him. Smash fights back but Bossman goes for the eyes. Duggan comes back in with another arm-wringer and tags in Ax. Ax gets a front facelock, but Ax gets caught in the wrong corner and Andre tags in. Andre sits on him a few times and gets a nerve hold. A huge foot to the chest knocks Ax out of the ring. Bossman tags in and brings Ax back in with him. Akeem tags in and goes for an Irish whip but misses, and Smash is a house of fire. He bodyslams both of the Twin Towers, but Andre ends the momentum with a single chop. Bossman drops an elbow but Ax stops a pinfall attempt. Six-man brawl erupts and Andre takes care of Duggan as Ax takes care of the Bossman on the outside. Andre is forced out of the ring by the referee, which gives Duggan a window of distraction to attack Akeem with the 2×4 and Smash gets the pin. I know I’m going to catch hell from a friend or two about this, but I’m giving it a point. 4 for 6. Little-to-no resting, and it was just entertaining, that’s all.

HERCULES vs. GREG “The Hammer” VALENTINE (with Jimmy Hart)
-Garvin had been feuding with Valentine since arriving in the WWF. The feud ended up progressing like this: Valentine won a career vs. career match with a handful of tights, and Garvin coped with it by getting a new job as a referee. He had severe problems with anger management though and had an unfortunate tendency to get into fistfights with the heels, which came to a head when he flat-out cost Greg Valentine a match. Jack Tunney, in turn, fired him. Garvin, in need of a new way to annoy Valentine, weaseled his way into a gig as a guest ring announcer for this match.

-Garvin introduces Valentine by…well, I guess theoretically he’s flipping shit, but stammers all over himself. Valentine picks a fight with Garvin but Hercules sneaks up and punches him. Elbow off the ropes and Hercules goes for an early pin but gets two. Bodyslam off the ropes gets two. Valentine goes to the floor and tries to pick another fight with Garvin, but Jimmy Hart talks him out of it. Back in the ring, Valentine can’t stop looking at Valentine and falls victim to a roll-up. Valentine leaves the ring and goes back to Garvin, and Hercules goes to the floor and attacks again. Back in the ring, Valentine finally gets the advantage with elbows and goes for a figure-four, but Hercules pushes him off. Valentine goes to the ropes but gets caught with a shot to the gut. Suplex is blocked and reversed by Hercules. Valentine draws him into the corner, and gets the pin with his feet on the ropes. Garvin announces it as a victory by DQ for Hercules. Valentine knocks Garvin out of the ring and starts a fistfight with Hercules, but Garvin erupts and takes out Valentine. 4 for 7. Just two guys going through the motions until the finish.

-Note from 2020: They actually bungled the execution of this whole storyline a bit. Jack Tunney has already announced that Garvin has been reinstated as a wrestler. Really, he should have just moved onto ring announcer like it was his new job, and been the ring announcer for Summerslam until this match and gotten himself fired again, and then Valentine, in a fit of exasperation, would demand Garvin be reinstated just to get his hands on him legally in a match.

SUPERFLY JIMMY SNUKA vs. “Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Virgil)

-DiBiase takes credit for ending Jake Roberts’ career with a “neck injury” (Jake was actually dealing with an assault charge). This sort of left DiBiase in limbo and he just wandered around the company for a few months while they waited for Jake to come back.

-DiBiase tries a sneak attack but Snuka punches and headbutts him out of the ring. Virgil tries to mount a distraction but gets a knee to the chest for his trouble. Snuka atomic drops DiBiase back out of the ring. Back in the ring, DiBiase cinches onto a side headlock. Leapfrog spot is blown when Snuka…como se dice?…”pulls a Williams,” let’s say, and the crowd audibly groans. They trade punches and kicks for a moment until DiBiase has a clear advantage. Snuka reverses an Irish whip and gets a backdrop. DiBiase gets the advantage back with a stungun and stomps Snuka. DiBiase slugs him a few times and follows with a suplex for two. Commentary on this is funny, as the NWA-bred Tony Schiavone objects strenuously to Jesse’s contention that Fijian wrestlers have hard heads and apologizes for calling Snuka “an animal,” apparently oblivious to the WWF’s ethnic conventions that we all came to know and love during this era.

-DiBiase slams Snuka and goes for the Falling Elbow That He Never Ever Hits, and Snuka moves out of the way. Snuka gets a slam of his own and gets a headbutt off the middle rope, and heads for the top rope to finish things, and he just waits up there FOREVER until Virgil remembers that it’s supposed to be his cue and we get a Virgil-Snuka brawl outside the ring. DiBiase attacks from behind and posts Snuka. DiBiase makes it back into the ring in time for a countout victory 4 for 8.

AND NOW, A POEM FROM THE GENIUS

It amazes me how long it took them to figure out that the poetry-reading gimmick is more effective if he’s a heel. Great subtle joke as Genius likens the main event to a game of poker, saying that Hogan & Beefcake are deuces, while Savage & Zeus are a royal flush. That alone gets a point. 5 for 9.

HULK HOGAN & BRUTUS “The Barber” BEEFCAKE (with Miss Elizabeth) vs. “Macho Man” RANDY SAVAGE & ZEUS (with Sensational Sherri)
-Four-man brawl to start, but Zeus is impervious to everything Hogan does, so Hogan attacks the eyes. He fails on a bodyslam attempt and Zeus chokes away. Brutus tries to make the save by coming in off the top rope, but Zeus catches him in a bearhug, takes him out, and puts Hogan in a bearhug. Savage comes off the top rope with an axehandle and we get a little double-teaming before Zeus takes a powder.

-Savage comes off the top rope with another axehandle. Clothesline and a headlock by Savage. “Hogan” chant erupts to the surprise of nobody and Hogan fights out with elbows. Shoulderblocks by Hogan, but Zeus gets a knee to the back to block the momentum. Zeus Irish whips Hogan and gets another bearhug. This is one of the rare occasions where it doesn’t count as a resthold because Hogan actively fights it the whole time, keeping his arms moving and trying to pry Zeus off of him instead of just playing dead. That’s how you do it, kids. Of course, the moment I type that, Hogan goes limp, but Zeus takes advantage of that to roll on top of him and try for a pin while hanging onto the bearhug, which is actually surprisingly clever.

-Hogan fights his way back to his feet, but Zeus rams him into the corner and makes the tag. Savage pounces on Hogan and goes for a pin, but Hogan kicks out. Savage misses a series of elbows and makes the hot tag to Brutus and Brutus gets a huge clothesline and a high knee. Pin attempt gets two. Beefcake gets the sleeper on Savage. Savage makes it to the ropes but Brutus pulls him off and keeps the hold cinched in. Savage makes a desperation charge into the corner and that breaks the hold. Zeus comes back in but , having established an Achilles’ heel, Brutus attacks the eyes and goes for the sleeper.

-Savage grabs Sherri’s loaded purse and attacks from behind to K.O. Brutus. Savage tags back in so he can get the pin himself, but Hogan yanks him off twice. Savage runs out of the ring and grabs at Elizabeth and Hogan runs out to rescue her. Savage sneaks back into the ring and tries to pin the still-unconscious Beefcake, but Hogan again blocks the pin. Zeus tags back in and chokes Brutus with the top rope, then chokes him on the mat. Zeus rams him into the corner and continues choking away. Savage tags back in but we immediately fall into a double-clothesline to put both men on the mat.

-Savage tries to block the hot tag but Beefcake kicks him away and makes the tag. He attacks Savage in the corner and sucker punches Zeus on the apron. Boot sends Savage to the floor and Hogan pulls him back in with a suplex, but Sherri hooks the leg and turns it into a pin for Savage. Two-count. Savage goes to the top rope (tagging Zeus on his way up) and scores the flying elbow, but Hogan no-sells it (damn “reviving elbow” properties…) and atomic drops Savage out of the ring. That leaves Hogan & Zeus. Series of punches stagger Zeus. Clothesline takes Zeus down to one knee, and the crowd loses their shit. Sherri hops on the apron waving her purse and Elizabeth runs over and trips her up, causing her to fall into the ring. Savage runs in to the pull her out, but she leaves the purse in there and Hogan wallops Zeus with it. Bodyslam and a legdrop finish things.

-For good measure, Hogan atomic-drops Sherri and she lands in front of Elizabeth, who takes her out with the loaded purse to knock her out, and they finish things by cutting her hair (actually a fairly obvious fake braid for tonight). 6 for 10. Yes, I’m going to be that guy and say I enjoyed the match. Stand by for the explanation.

-Zeus could not work for shit and I’m not exactly revealing a big secret by saying that. Hell, he knew it too, he was an actor and he knew he was in over his head here. So he was used very effectively here. Instead of being insistent on carrying and dominating the match when he knew he couldn’t, Zeus would come in, do the three moves he knew, and when his arsenal was exhausted, he would tag out and let the three other guys (Savage, always an awesome worker; Beefcake, having the best year of his life as a worker for whatever reason; Hogan, not a great mat technician but awesome at reading a crowd and responding to them accordingly) carry the bout. Yes, it was Wrestlecrap for allowing an actor to leapfrog to main event status in his debut match, but the truth as evidenced here is that Zeus was never in the ring long enough to ruin anything. He’d come in long enough to frighten the crowd, choke Hogan, and turn the reins back over to Savage. This match was NOT a classic. It was NOT a Match of the Year candidate. But it was nowhere near as terrible as you have been led to believe. It deserved the point.

article topics :

Summerslam, Adam Nedeff