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Thread: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

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    Summerslam WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Summerslam
    August 18, 1996



    Owen Hart vs Savio Vega
    I don't believe there was any build-up to this match. In fact, Vega was in a program with the newly debuted Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw. This would be during Owen's period of time when he worked the Bob Orton cast gimmick. Most of the story of the match is built around the arm with Savio trying to work on it before he misses a charge and goes shoulder first into the ring post. Even though Owen works over Savio's shoulder, Vega's selling is terrible. He doesn't sell the arm, but rather sells by acting like he's nearly unconscious. How does someone putting holds on your arm make you almost pass out? The actual match is meaningless though. The real objection is to highlight a minor angle where Owen's manager, Jim Cornette, isn't at ringside since he's too busy preparing Vader for his World Title shot. Cornette's attorney, Clarence Mason, walks out in the middle of the match, to the mid point of the aisle to cheer on Owen. It's as if Mason is a star-crossed lover, hopelessly in love with another man's woman. Anyways, Owen wins after removing his cast and blasting Vega with it without the referee seeing it. A knocked out Vega is put in the Sharpshooter and the referee awards the match to Owen. Good for a Raw match. ** 1/2


    After the match, Mason enters the ring to congratulate Owen. Hart, unsure if this is appropriate or not for Mason to be doing this behind Cornette's back is unsure how to react to his new suitor. Eventually, Mason and Owen hug and celebrate the victory. It's worth mentioning that Owen did a better job at selling a fake arm injury after the match than Savio sold the "Real" shoulder/arm injury in the match.

    Just for the hell of it, Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw comes out to yell at the commentators before blindsiding Savio with a Northern Lariat, while Vega was being helped to the back. You can tell the WWE is hurting for star power when they're forced to throw Savio/Hart on PPV to get a match out of Owen when Vega already had an actual program.

    Smoking Gunns (c) w/Sunny vs Godwinns w/Hillbilly Jim vs New Rockers vs Bodydonnas - WWE Tag Titles
    It's elimination rules. Since the start of the year, every PPV (Sometimes the dark match or the Free for All match) has had a match with some combination of Gunns vs Godwinns vs Bodydonnas. Naturally, that means the tag division has sucked something fierce in the first half of '96. Poor Skip broke his neck at a MSG show earlier in the month. He's wearing a neck brace for the duration of the match, but he doesn't actually get tagged in. Other than one tag match in September, this would be it for Skip before heading back to ECW, where he would be treated far better. The match is incredibly dull. The only one that the dead crowd even bothers to come alive for is Sunny. Bodydonnas are quickly eliminated by the Gunns. The newly heel New Rockers (I don't believe they had an actual turn?) were eliminated next by the Godwinns after a Slop Drop on Jannetty, even though Cassidy was the legal match. With Phineas having the match won, the referee becomes distracted by Hillbilly Jim threatening to throw the slop bucket on Sunny. This allows Bart to hit a double ax handle on Phineas and roll Billy on top to get the three count. This match proved that the WWE desperately needed to do a complete overall on their tag division. * 1/4

    After the match, Sunny wakes the crowd back up with a promo in the ring before a giant banner of her is rolled down from the rafters. They should have just replaced the match with this segment since there wasn't any reason to care about any of those four teams.

    The British Bulldog vs Sycho Sid
    Sid is already becoming really over with the crowd. A rematch of sorta from last month's Camp Cornette vs Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson and Sid match from In Your House: International Incident. It's fairly impressive seeing Bulldog lift Sid up without any problem in a delayed vertical suplex. Much like the Owen/Vega match, the match doesn't matter as instead, it's about the manager angle. This time, when Mason comes out, he puts on his big boy pants and walks all the way down to the ring to cheer Bulldog on out in the open. Mason refuses to keep his lovers a secret anymore. After a running power slam by Bulldog, Cornette runs out, apparently catching sight of Mason at ringside on a monitor. Cornette and Mason argue over who satisfies Bulldog better when Smith tries to shut out the argument from his mind by going for a second running power slam. Instead, Sid gets out of it and hits a chokeslam. One power bomb later, Sid wins. Again, good for what it was, even if it felt more like a Raw match/angle. I'm glad they at least protected Bulldog in the loss. **

    Marc Mero w/Sable vs Goldust w/Marlena
    Yet again, I'm not sure if these two were feuding. I know Mero is just coming off of a program with Austin while the aborted Mankind program had just kicked off with a great angle with Mankind creeping everyone out by calling Sable, "Mommy". As for Goldust, he's in a B program with Taker. The big news is that Mero has been teasing the debut of a new move known only as the "Wild Thing". Since this is a Goldust '96 match, it's rather dull and feels like it lasted twice as long as it really did. It's truly amazing when you watch Dustin Rhodes circa 1992 or Goldust in 2012 and realize that this is the same guy that was stinking up shows throughout '96. Mero does manage to hit some great spots, but Goldust is always there to cut him off to slow the pace back down. Wouldn't want the fans to wake up, would we? Midway in the match, Mankind came out to further his program with Mero by freaking Sable out with more "Mommy" screams. Sadly, officials drag him away, forcing the viewer to focus bad on the boring match. The big moment comes where we get to see the Wild Thing. Naturally, that meant Marlena would distract the referee so that once he turned around, Goldust was able to get a kick out. Whose bright idea was it to not have the debut of the Wild Thing be the finish? Anyways, Goldust quickly counters a Mero move and nails a Curtain Call for a fairly clean win. The booking of Mero was truly bizarre in how often he lost in '96. * 3/4


    After the match, Goldust tries to get freaky with Sable, but Mero recovers to attack Goldust.

    From there, we get a recap on everything that has been going on with Ahmed Johnson. Johnson was injured at the hands of the debuting Faarooq Asaad. Despite being hurt, Johnson then worked the following week's Raw, where Ahmed won a battle royal for a future World Title shot. After that match, Asaad once again attacked Johnson. Over the course of the following week, Johnson would have surgery and was then rushed back to the hospital a second time. WWE President, Gorilla Monsoon, has stripped Johnson of the IC Title. An eight man tournament has been set-up to crown a new champion. Meanwhile, The last four men to be eliminated in the battle royal (Sid, Goldust, Steve Austin and Savio Vega) have been booked to work a four man battle royal, with the winner earning Johnson's WWE World Title shot. Sadly, Goldust would win that and someone drag Michaels down into having the worst title defense of his first World Title reign.

    Finally, Sunny and Faarooq "Ron Simmons who?" Asaad come out to the ring to cut a promo. Asaad is upset that Monsoon didn't simply hand him the IC Title since Johnson is only out because of his actions. Sunny and Asaad promise to win the IC Title.

    Jake Roberts vs Jerry Lawler
    Recent ten year contract signing (Holy shit...), Mark Henry, joins the commentators for some uneventful color commentary. This match is more of a antics filled angle match than just straight up wrestling. It's the type of match you'd see at a house show and it actually works well in that venue due to the fact that all you're doing is playing to the crowd. Doing this on a PPV, let alone a terrible one? It's a train wreck. Lawler spends the majority of the time on the mic, cracking one joke after another at the expense of Roberts' "Sobriety". Jake threw his fourth snake, Revelations, on Lawler before there's more stalling. Right in front of the referee, Lawler jams a bottle of booze in the throat of Roberts to get the cheap win. Again, had this match happened at the MSG show earlier in the month, it probably would have been fine. Instead, it's just an overly long segment on a show that is in desperate of a good match. 3/4 *

    After the match, Lawler pours the bottle of booze down Roberts' throat. Before he can finish pouring a second bottle, Henry grabs the bottle out of Lawler's hand. Lawler bails and we officially begin the horrible Henry/Lawler angle.

    The Undertaker vs Mankind - Boiler Room Brawl
    There's a lot to talk about when it comes to this match. First off, it deserves so much praise for being the first hardcore match in the WWE that happened to be all about the action in the back with endless weapon shots. It may not be the first hardcore match in WWE history, but this is the blueprint for all WWE Hardcore Title matches to come. I felt the action in the boiler room was mostly all great. It lasts a long time, but it's really fun with the weapon usage and some big spots. The spot of the match saw Taker pulling a ladder away from the wall and causing Mankind (Who was at the top of the ladder) fell all the way off. It's one of the early memorable dives by the Mankind characters. Unlike the other boiler room matches, the winner isn't the first one to escape the boiler room. Instead, they need to continue fighting in the back, through the Gorilla position, up the aisle and in the ring before you win by being handed the urn by Paul Bearer. This is where the match really began to drag on for me. Clocking in at twenty-seven minutes, it's one of Taker's longest matches up to this point in his WWE career. The drop in quality is made up with an extremely memorable finish. With Taker alone in the ring, he drops down in his signature pose so Bearer can hand him the urn, but instead, Bearer turns his back. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! Mankind reenters the ring and attacks Taker and Bearer is seen laughing! WHAAAAAAT?! Holding Taker, Mankind allows Bearer to slap Taker and even blast him in the head with the urn. Finally, a smiling Bearer hands Mankind the urn and the two embrace. Easily one of the most shocking turns in wrestling history. While it's obviously overshadowed by another turn a month earlier, it remains one of the biggest turns ever, even today. The relationship between Taker and Bearer had existed for over five and a half years. Especially in these modern years, it's a lot longer than other partners or managers turning. Way too long, dull action near the end, really fun boiler room fighting and a finish that will never be forgotten. Best match of the night thus far, but it's still not great. ** 1/2


    After the match, a bunch of druids come out to carry Taker out.

    Shawn Michaels (c) w/Jose Lothario vs Vader w/Jim Cornette - WWE World Title
    Okay, so here's the culmination of Vader's eight months in the WWE. Thus far, he's beat on PPV the likes of Jake Roberts, Razor Ramon, Yokozuna and even Shawn Michaels in the six man tag at the previous PPV. On paper, it sounded like an obvious MOTYC with the predictable result of Vader going over to continue dominating the world of wrestling. Alas, this is one of the most well known examples of Michaels' immaturity. You have the big on-screen moment where Vader seemingly missed his cue to move out of the way of an elbow drop, so Michaels threw a tantrum, completely killing the kayfabe of the match. then you have the behind the scenes moment with Michaels talking McMahon into changing the finish so Vader doesn't win the title. As bad as that is, you could have still had a great match. Instead, they try to protect Vader by having Vader win by count-out at first (A ten count that you don't even hear going on). Then, when the match is restarted, Michaels gets DQ'd after hitting Vader with Cornette's racket. When the match is restarted yet again, there's a cheap ref bump. In the end, Michaels simply wins after a moonsault, a move that he was seemingly trying to get over as a finisher around this time period since he also defeated Goldust in a title match on Raw with it. On the plus side, Vader was kept looking strong by kicking out of the super kick, but not winning the belt killed Vader's momentum. He quickly became just a random heel midcarder for the next year before turning babyface in the summer of '97. It's clearly a good match and the MOTN, but it's also beyond frustrating to watch the lame Sports Entertainment booking to make the terrible choice of Michaels going over not hurt Vader. *** 1/2


    Overall
    After Mania 12, the WWE infamously lost two of their biggest New Generation stars in Razor Ramon and Diesel (And later their little buddy, The 1-2-3 Kid) to WCW. Things got worse as Summerslam's MVP since the first annual PPV, Bret Hart, took some well earned time off. Ahmed Johnson, a newcomer that was quickly pushed so far up the card that you could argue he was the #2 babyface at this point, was injured in the buildup for the PPV. You even had a head scratcher in the WWE not booking their current King of the Ring, Steve Austin, a guy that was getting over and putting on one good match after another on PPV since Mania 12 on the actual PPV. This PPV was lacking stars, actual feuds on display in matches and good matches. Why the Free for All match of Steve Austin vs Yokozuna, a match that could have a check mark next to stars, was not on the actual PPV is mind boggling. The entire show is simply held together by the two big matches of Taker vs Mankind and Michaels vs Vader. Every other match could have easily been on Raw. Worst Summerslam in history? Quite possibly.
    Last edited by Unknown; 01-25-2019 at 09:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Good review and to me this show sums up what has been said by many in the business about the WWF during this period when it came to PPV's the main event matches were usually good but their undercards usually sucked ass lol.

  3. #3

    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Flock U View Post
    Good review and to me this show sums up what has been said by many in the business about the WWF during this period when it came to PPV's the main event matches were usually good but their undercards usually sucked ass lol.
    That tends to happen when you don't book your best undercard wrestler of the year, Steve Austin, on your damn three hour PPV.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    That tends to happen when you don't book your best undercard wrestler of the year, Steve Austin, on your damn three hour PPV.

    True but also during that period they also didn't have that many good Undercard wrestlers. I mean to my recollection you had Austin,Owen,Davey Boy, and maybe a few others who were genuinely good at the time but not much else.

  5. #5

    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Flock U View Post
    True but also during that period they also didn't have that many good Undercard wrestlers. I mean to my recollection you had Austin,Owen,Davey Boy, and maybe a few others who were genuinely good at the time but not much else.
    Maybe not, but you also had several guys that could put on a good match if they had a good opponent. Look at Savio Vega. Da fuq did he do of quality in the year he was Kwang or the four years he was Vega? Yet, by the end of the year, Vega had one of the best four (Five?) matches of the year? A guy like Marc Mero was generally doing rather well on the undercard when he wasn't put against the ultra boring Goldust.

    Now, to be completely, when you look at the drop in quality in 1996, Bret Hart is obviously always brought up since he missed over half of the year. However, one guy I feel was terribly missed without anyone realized it was the 1-2-3 Kid. He was basically doing the same thing that Austin did in '96, in just churning out one good 3 star level match after another on PPV on a regular basis. Throw Kid in a tag team, even with someone like Bob Holly or Marty Jannetty and the tag team division would have improved so much throughout '96. A series of matches against Marc Mero and Steve Austin would have been great for the undercard with Kid working as a heel and face.

    As rough of shape as the WWE was in with having good workers in '96, their biggest problem was poor pairings. Put a good wrestler up against '96 Goldust and you're guaranteed to have a bad match.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Stone Cold was never undercard. He was a upper midcarder along with Ahmed, Owen, Davey Boy, Mero, Goldust, among others

  7. #7

    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by WarMachine View Post
    Stone Cold was never undercard. He was a upper midcarder along with Ahmed, Owen, Davey Boy, Mero, Goldust, among others
    Uhh...he was literally working undercard matches every month until Survivor Series 1996. For the record, calling Austin an undercard isn't an insult.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by WarMachine View Post
    Stone Cold was never undercard. He was a upper midcarder along with Ahmed, Owen, Davey Boy, Mero, Goldust, among others

    Yes he was lol hell just look at his placement on the card at WM 12 clearly undercard at the time. Then there was one PPV I don't remember which one it was Jim probably knows but he didn't even make it on the PPV broadcast he was on the Free For all in a battle Royal where Yokozuna broke the ring.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    It was a singles match against Yokozuna and it was this show Summerslam.


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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Edin Crôcko View Post
    It was a singles match against Yokozuna and it was this show Summerslam.


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    oh it was a singles match??? lol I don't why I thought it was a battle royal. thanks

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Holy cow what a bad show. There aren't a lot of Big Fours I haven't watched at some point, but this was one of them, having I think only seem the Boiler Room match a long time ago. This is a rough rough card top to bottom and the exclusion of Austin is definitely a notable one given his big KOTR win and his great matches so far this year on PPV. I think part of the issue comes from Austin being heel and if you look at the roster there are very few good faces for him to go up against. Mero and Vega got played out already and are paired with other heels in this show that WWE thinks it's important to push (Agreed on Owen, disagreed on Goldust), and the other prominent faces in the company are pretty much just Taker and Michaels, obviously dealing with much higher profile feuds. With Ahmed on the shelf (and he had a match scheduled on this card anyway), who is there for Austin to deal with?

    Enough about that though, what's actually presented on the card is bad bad bad. I am so over this tag division and really wanna believe this four way is the last stand of these three bad, boring (and the mediocre heel Gunns) teams. Goldust is trash, and the Sid and Owen matches are decent ways to get both guys more over but neither really moved the needle. The two highlights of the show are obviously the last two matches and they have the opposite problem. Taker and Mankind have a good start that really slows down and is saved by its ending, Michaels and Vader had a fun match going that only ran into trouble when they tried to end it. I didn't know that Michaels was calling an audible here and that makes a little more sense about all the chaos but certainly doesn't excuse it. In the end you have a three hour show with two good matches and those matches still have pretty notable issues either in pacing or ending.

    It's hard to recommend a second of this outside of the shocking Bearer turn, which you could show someone in a good Youtube video. Worst WWE PPV I've watched as part of my MNW binge.



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  12. #12

    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Austin's best bet for a Summerslam opponent was just his Free for All opponent. Yeah, wrestling Yokozuna wouldn't allow Austin to continue his hot streak of quality undercard matches, but it still would have resulted in Austin's biggest star that he had defeated thus far.

    The problem with Summerslam 1996 is that it's a product of its time. I could go on a long, rambling speech detailing what I believe were the problems, but to sum it up you had injuries, people taking time off, wrestlers who recently left the company, the fact that the company was in the middle of what was essentially a 3 1/2 year long babyface World Title reigns that constantly needed heels fed to them, and key stars that hadn't lost significant matches unable to wrestle on the PPV.

    Looking back, maybe it would have been better to throw together a last minute theme for the show, perhaps with an IC Title tournament? Then again, I suppose there was just a tournament a couple of months ago.

  13. #13
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Watched HBK/Vader last night as WWE have put it on Youtube. I can see what they were going for with the finish angles, but yeah chaotic in a bad way.

    As someone whose main exposure to HBK was 2002 onwards, it never ceases to surprise me how unlikeable he was as a babyface back then.

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  14. #14

    Re: WWE Summerslam 1996 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Postman Dave View Post
    As someone whose main exposure to HBK was 2002 onwards, it never ceases to surprise me how unlikeable he was as a babyface back then.
    I don't know about unlikable as a babyface since he was able to show off a mean streak for the first time in his career during this title reign. The post-match stripping celebration was questionable though as it naturally wasn't going to appeal towards the male demographic. Shawn Michaels, as a person, constantly came off as unlikable during that time span though. This little tantrum at this year's Summerslam and actually last year's, as well, showed off how childish HBK could be.

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