WWE Vintage Collection Report (08/09/09)

WWE Vintage Collection Report: 9th August 2009
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund

Welcome to the Lex Express! That is this week’s theme as the 1991, 1992 and 1993 SummerSlams come under scrutiny. 1991 took place August 26th from Madison Square Garden. 1992 was held August 29th from the old Wembley Stadium in London, England. Finally, 1993 was held at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit Michigan on August 30th.

The show opens aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid on July 4th 1993 for the ‘Stars and Stripes Body Slam Challenge.’ Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are announcing. Yoko had challenged any athlete to try and slam him on Independence Day and was intent on humiliating the USA, even calling breaks to feast on bowls of rice. Since Hulk Hogan’s untimely exit threw a wrench into the year’s plans, a hasty backup plan was put into place to turn bland mid-card heel ‘Narcissist’ Lex Luger into the next babyface star. This was the start of Luger’s megapush, as he was later packed on a bus, sent across the country and literally shoved down fans throats. Before Luger makes his grand entrance, many WWF and sporting stars try and fail to slam the near 600lb sumo star. These include the Steiners, Tatanka, Crush, Bob Backlund and Randy Savage. Luger enters by helicopter, calls Yoko a disgrace, plants him with a steel plate-packed forearm shot and slams him to a big crowd pop. After disposing of Fuji, Luger is held aloft by the superstars as Vince puts him over huge.

Okerlund is in the studio with the SummerSlam board and cutouts of Yoko and Luger behind him. That’s today’s main event. We begin with…………..

SummerSlam 1992
El Matador vs Papa Shango
Okerlund reveals this was a rare, extra match not seen on the original telecast, then calls it a gem. Huh? Joined in progress, with Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. Shango runs Matador into the corner to escape a sleeper. Shango then puts the crowd to sleep, as the match slows down to a snails pace. Shango delivers a slam, drops an elbow, then walks around the ring muttering. The voodoo man (and future Godfather) was probably cursing the gimmick he was saddled with. Shango delivers a side slam, misses a dive from the second rope, allowing Matador to beat away in the corner with a ten punch assault. Matador continues with a backbodydrop and his patented flying forearm, but Shango kicks out. Shango sends a fired up Matador into the corner then pins him following a shoulderbreaker. This was a boring squash. Shango had just come off of a failed feud with the Ultimate Warrior. It would take six years, and a couple of failed incarnations as Kama for Charles Wright to find the right gimmick as the fun-loving, ho-sporting Godfather. Winner: PAPA SHANGO.

We switch gears to 1993. Shawn Michaels had just hired Diesel (Kevin Nash) as his bodyguard to win back the Intercontinental Title from Marty Jannetty. Here, Okerlund was mediating a face-to-face interview segment via satellite between Michaels, Diesel and Perfect to set up a bout for SummerSlam. Michaels says you can’t have a SummerSlam without the Heartbreak Kid and Intercontinental Champion. If you want to fill the arena, the Kid has to be on the card. Perfect says if Michaels runs into him beforehand he’ll lose the title and not figure in SummerSlam at all. Michaels puts Perfect over but says he wouldn’t come between him and his title. Perfect notes it’s a nice compliment of Michaels putting himself at Perfect’s level. Perfect questions the need for Diesel as insurance. Michaels says it’s to stop chicks coming over the rail and tearing his clothes off. Perfect mocks Michaels’s earrings, but Michaels says he’s 100% man and can’t help it if Diesel happens to be 6″10 and 330 (lbs). Perfect mocks Diesel for his name, with Diesel responding in a fake Italian/New York accent saying that he wants to smack the taste out of Perfect’s mouth. Michaels warns Perfect from making Diesel mad as, while he’s there to keep the girls off him, if Perfect gets in the way then Diesel will run him over. Perfect makes light of being scared and says he and Michaels are going to meet. Michaels finishes by saying it’s every wrestling fan’s dream match. This was a good segment.

SummerSlam 1993 – Intercontinental Title
Shawn Michaels w/Diesel vs Mr Perfect
This match was to determine the greatest Intercontinental champion of all time. Somewhere in Memphis, Honky Tonk Man was up in arms. Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are once more the announcers. Perfect gets the better from an early collision and hammerlock exchange. Diesel looks on menacingly from the floor. Perfect counters out of Michaels’s early offense leading to HBK pitching a fit. Perfect telegraphs a float over but Michaels surprises Perfect by quickly drilling him with a backelbow. Michaels moonsaults over a charge, but does a 360 in mid-air after eating a clothesline. Perfect works over the arm, and catches Michaels coming off the top rope, turning it into an armdrag. Perfect counters a dropkick by slingshotting Michaels to the floor. Diesel distracts Perfect enabling Michaels to superkick Perfect. Following commercials, Michaels has Perfect in a backbreaker across the knee. Perfect comes back with a dropkick, backbodydrop, running kneelift and inverted atomic drop. Perfect blocks a hiptoss, then turns a backslide attempt into the Perfect Plex. Diesel swipes Perfect’s leg at two, pulling him out of the ring. Perfect knocks Diesel’s shades off, as Heenan scolds him fot hitting a man with glasses. Michaels is caught coming off the apron with a gut punch. As Perfect rolls Michaels back in, Diesel sends Perfect into the ringpost and the referee counts him out. Michaels retains the title. After the match, Perfect goes after both, but the numbers game catches up to him and Diesel lays him out with a closed fist to the face. The seeds for a Diesel/Perfect feud were planted, but Perfect spent the next few years in and out of the company so the feud didn’t materialize. This was a good match. Winner by Countout: SHAWN MICHAELS.

SummerSlam 1991
“The Dragon” Ricky Steamboat, Texas Tornado & British Bulldog
vs Power & Glory & The Warlord w/Slick
I remember this match fondly as it was the first match on the first PPV I ever saw as a youngster. Okerlund glosses over the Match Made in Hell and Match Made in Heaven before joining this match in progress. The announcing trio for this match is Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Roma takes a face first bump into the corner after Dragon avoids a charge. Dragon uses armdrags and a standing dropkick to keep Power and Glory at bay. Tornado winds up Herc’s arm and punches away. Tornado dazes Hercules with ten head rams in the corner followed by a mounted ten punch assault. Bulldog and Warlord then go at it. Shoulder tackles don’t faze Warlord, so Bulldog hits him with two clotheslines and a delayed vertical suplex. The tide turns when Dragon tries to monkey flip Warlord out of the corner, but he stays firm, and the Dragon takes a tumble. Roma works him over then jawjacks with Tornado and Bulldog. Dragon scores a rollup, ducks a Herc clothesline, but Roma pushes him off into a Warlord clothesline. Roma spikes Dragon as Warlord holds, before Herc halts a brief flurry to drop Dragon throat first across the top rope. Warlord slams, spends too long posing on the second rope and dives into Dragon’s feet. The crowd go wild for Tornado’s hot tag as he cleans house on all three heels. Tornado and Warlord almost botch a sunset flip, as Tornado tags out, just as Warlord flips him over. Warlord quickly recovers to catch an airborne Bulldog in a bearhug. Tornado clocks Warlord with a Tornado punch and Bulldog falls on top for a nearfall. Roma tags in and rushes into a Bulldog running powerslam. Tornado ties Hercules up in the corner with a claw hold. Roma kicks out of the powerslam, as Warlord is late to break it up. Dragon tags back in, surprising Roma with a top rope bodypress for the 1-2-3. Generic music is played at the end for the Dragon, who bolted back to WCW not long after this. He wasn’t too fond of playing an actual Dragon. This was a fun match with a very hot crowd. Winners: THE DRAGON, TEXAS TORNADO & BRITISH BULLDOG.

Footage airs of the Lex Express travelling across the USA to the sound of a cheesy tune called ‘Hero.’ It was filled with footage of Luger posing, sleeping on the bus, and meeting fans, designed as a feel-good piece, but it came across as forced. Luger was not a natural babyface. This reminded me of the Bobby Lashley megapush in 2007 at the expense of Rob Van Dam, and the failed Randy Orton babyface experiment in late 2004. Fortunately, the latter was fixed and Batista was plugged in instead.

SummerSlam 1993 – WWF Title
Yokozuna w/Mr Fuji & Jim Cornette vs Lex Luger
The Lex Express’s final stop. Cornette had put in the contract that this was Luger’s one and only title shot. Luger thwarts a Fuji sneak attack to send Yoko to the corner and hammer away. From the start it’s clear to see the two whispering spots to each other or awkwardly pausing for split seconds. This is blatantly evident when Luger counters a slam to try a rollup, only for Yoko to elbow him away. Luger avoids a legdrop and kicks away at the leg until Yoko falls. Luger drops a big elbow for a nearfall. Luger gets caught in a slam, but recovers to use generic punch/kick offense in the corner. Yoko wraps his hands around Luger’s throat. Luger catches Fuji trying to throw salt in the eyes and punches it into mid-air. Luger fails with slam attempt. A clearly blown up Yoko superkicks Luger and keeps him on the outside while he gets his breath back. If Yoko was getting blown up so quickly, why was he the champion and why was he put into long matches. The mind boggles. Following commercials, Yoko has a nerve hold applied. Luger gets free, tries to slam again, with Yoko falling on top for two. Yoko drops a leg, then misses the Banzai drop. Both go at it in the corner. Yoko misses a charge and Luger finally manages the slam, to a big pop. Heenan protests calling it a hipblock, but to to avail. Luger knocks Fuji off the apron, removes his arm pad and forearms Yoko, who falls out of the ring and is out cold. Luger sends Cornette off the apron and Yoko is counted out. This wasn’t good and was quite underwhelming. What happens next is the equivalent of a presidential rally. American flags are waved. Red, blue and white balloons fall and Luger is hoisted onto the shoulders of Tatanka and the Steiners who have come out to celebrate with Randy Savage. In-between asking for someone to come and help Yoko, Heenan accurately states that Luger hasn’t won the belt. Vince says he’s beat Yoko, but this was the height of Luger’s popularity in the WWF. Fans weren’t interested in his long chase for the title. They were more interested in Bret Hart and plans were altered accordingly in early 1994. Even Okerlund in wrapping up the show states this was Luger’s most memorable WWF moment, despite the hollow victory. Winner by Countout: LEX LUGER.

More SummerSlam moments are promised next week. Three years of shows is too much to recap in one show. They should slow down and perhaps just feature two shows. Best match for me this week was the six man tag. Worst was the Main Event. See you next week. Shaun.

Comments/praise/feedback/criticism/discussion points please direct to shaunmb1@hotmail.com.