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Thread: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

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    Summerslam WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Summerslam
    August 29, 1994



    How’s this for a random memory? It’s Summerslam 1994 that first introduced me to Domino's Pizza due to all of the hype the pizza franchise received by being the sponsor of this PPV. I assume there just wasn’t a Domino’s close enough for delivery to my house in 1994, which is kind of odd since it was founded not too far away from where I lived at the time. Maybe the prices were just higher than the other pizza places? It’s funny what random shit you remember from your childhood. I ended up having Domino’s for the first time in the late decade and I swear, every time I had it, I thought of Summerslam 1994.

    The Headshrinkers w/Afa and Capt. Lou vs IRS and Bam Bam Bigelow w/Ted DiBiase
    This was originally announced to be a tag team title defense for the Headshrinkers, but they lost the titles at a house show the previous night against Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Boy, what a waste that was. HBK/Diesel won the titles in a non-televised match, were stripped of the titles, were champions over two PPV's despite not defending the belts on either one and never defended the titles on Raw or Superstars. Literally the only thing that came from that three month title reign was an awesome title defense against Razor Ramon and 1-2-3 Kid on the second episode of Action Zone. For an IRS match, this was pretty decent. Headshrinkers got in some offense before Fatu played the face-in-peril for a bit. Fatu got the hot tag and things picked up in the final few minutes. Fatu nailed the top rope splash. Without this being a title match, this felt entirely meaningless especially since IRS and Bigelow were just involved in the Tatanka/Luger program rather than feuding with the Headshrinkers. ** ¼


    Alundra Blayze © vs Bull Nakano w/Luna - WWE Women’s Title
    A brief recap of the history of the WWE Women’s Title up to this point in this mid 90s era. The former Madusa would win the title in the finals of a women’s “Tournament” on All American Wrestling back in late December ‘93. In reality, all the WWE did was throw Blayze and Heidi Lee Morgan out for a random match and called it the finals of a tournament. For the next few months, Blayze killed time by just wrestling mostly on house shows or very occasionally on TV, most notably at Wrestlemania 10 against Leilani Kai. Finally in April ‘94, Blayze would be given her first feud against Luna. Again, since the title doesn’t matter to McMahon, we don’t get to see a match between them until July ‘94 on Superstars. After Blayze defeated Luna, Luna rethought her strategy and brought in famed Joshi wrestler, Bull Nakano, to fight her battle for her. Blayze and Bull had a pretty awesome early August ‘94 match that up until the women’s revolution, was one of the best women’s matches in Raw history. Since that Raw match ended without a proper winner, we now have the very first ever WWE PPV Women’s Title match with an actual backstory. Onto the match, it’s all about Bull dominating Blayze mostly with submission based holds such as armbars and even a Sharpshooter. It’s pretty entertaining seeing Alundra try to get in a bit of offense, like a Frankensteiner, whenever she gets the chance. This sets up a spot later in the match where Blayze attempts another Frankensteiner, but Nakano counters it into a power bomb. Everyone Bull does looks fantastic. Eventually, Blayze is able to get in a bit of a comeback, knock Luna off of the apron, and finish Bull off with the German Suplex to get the pinfall. The crowd actually reacted to that big, despite not not reacting to much in the actual match. Even better than their Raw ‘94 match. Naturally, after producing such a good match, all the women would do for the rest of the year on TV was one Raw tag match and one match taped for Coliseum Home Video. They deserved better than that. *** ¼


    Diesel © w/Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon w/Walter Payton - WWE IC Title
    In one of the bigger upsets of 1994, Diesel defeated Razor to win the IC Title in late April ‘94 on Superstars. Which I believe would be the final time that there’d be a title change in WWE Superstars history. Again, I’m left baffled as to why Diesel and HBK had to win the WWE Tag Titles the night before when Diesel was working a singles match on this show. Then again, it just adds to the list of WWE stars that didn’t wrestle at Summerslam ‘94. This was pretty decent. At this point in time, the only good singles match Diesel had was against Bret Hart at King of the Ring ‘94. Although this wasn’t as good, this was enjoyable. Diesel dominated the majority of the match by slowly working over Razor. Since Payton was a babyface second, naturally he had to be worthless. Seriously, HBK interferes so often and at no time does Payton properly help out his buddy, Ramon. Even at the end when HBK attempts to interfere with the IC Title, all Payton manages to do is rip the title away from Michaels’ hands, which causes the referee to be distracted with Payton, allowing HBK to attempt a super kick while Diesel holds Razor. Naturally, Razor moves out of the way and Michaels accidentally hits Sweet Chin Music on Diesel. I believe this would be one of three times (Other two being in the Action Zone match against Razor/Kid and Survivor Series ‘94) that would cause Diesel to finally turn face against Michaels. ***


    Tatanka vs Lex Luger
    For most of 1994, Tatanka had been feuding with IRS. Once IRS joined the newly created Million Dollar Corporation following Wrestlemania 10, the feud extended to Tatanka vs the Corporation. In the lead up to this PPV, Tatanka’s buddy, Lex Luger was seen talking with Ted DiBiase a few times, leading Tatanka to suspect that Luger had sold out, despite Luger’s protests. Going into this show, this would be a fairly important program. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from watching the match. There isn’t any story, it never bothers to be built up to any exciting moments, nor are there any nearfalls. It’s just mindless grappling to kill time until Ted DiBiase walks out to the ring. Luger gets distracted by DiBiase’s presence, allowing for Tatanka to roll Luger up for the surprise three count. Okay, well, that was a match, I suppose. I guess I can’t claim it’s a bad match, but it just feels like a match that sets up a match that actually matters. * ¾

    After the match, DiBiase climbs into the ring and has an exchange with Luger before Tatanka attacks Luger from behind. Tatanka would lay Luger out with two End of the Trails before leaving to return to the back. In the aisle, DiBiase convinces Tatanka to further punish Luger. Back in the ring, Tatanka slaps on the Million Dollar Dream on Luger until Luger is unconscious.

    Jeff Jarrett vs Mabel w/Oscar
    It’s country music vs rap music~! Although I would have preferred seeing The 1-2-3 Kid in this match instead of Mabel, this wasn’t bad. It had a clear story of Jarrett having to cope with Mabel’s size while Mabel is constantly looking to use his weight to get the best of Jarrett. Despite being much smaller, Jarrett was able to remain the heel of the match by randomly shoving Oscar down and giving Mabel a low blow when Mabel attempted to step over the top rope. It seemed as if every time Mabel attempted a big move, Jarrett managed to move out of the way, including during a middle rope splash attempt. The finish saw a similar spot when Mabel attempted a sit down splash, but Jarrett moved out of the way and quickly covered him for the victory. Was this worthy of PPV? Perhaps not, but it wasn’t bad. ** ¼

    Bret Hart © vs Owen Hart - Cage Match - WWE World Title
    You really have to give credit to the WWE for making Owen/Bret a big feeling main event program. This is Owen Hart, a guy who was spinning his wheels, doing nothing of value less than a year ago. Now he’s a believable threat to Bret’s WWE Title. Granted, you could argue that Owen isn’t a “Real” main eventer since he loses that legit main eventer feel when you plug him in against anyone else, but this is still an accomplishment. In a nice touch, a bunch of the family members, including the British Bulldog, not seen on WWE TV since late 1992, are at ringside. Right away, there are some limitations for this match. Not only is blood banned, but it’s escape only rules, creating a match that many refer to as the “Jungle gym match”. Yet, as far as bloodless jungle gym matches, I don’t know how you can have a better one. When I previously reviewed this match on its own several years ago, I gave it a full five stars, but with the condition that I could very easily go lower on any other day. Since they couldn’t work a violent match, they instead tried working a realistic bout that often features both men believably struggling with each other to escape out of the door. When they try to escape over the top, we typically see some big spots by 1994 standards. The highlight being a giant top rope superplex with Owen going from the top of the cage to the mat below. There’s even a couple of nice touches from earlier in the program with Bret accidentally going knee first into the steel, briefly injuring his knee, similarly to the knee injury sustained at Royal Rumble 1994. Bret even reverses an Owen Sharpshooter into one of his own, similarly to how Bret beat Mr. Perfect at Summerslam 1991. Especially watching this with modern eyes, one of the most enjoyable aspects about this is just the fact that there’s zero interference. Jim Neidhart may be at ringside and he may be getting involved post-match, but the cage does its job and keeps this a fair match. Imagine that, a cage match without interference! The finish is nice as well with Bret and Owen battling while hanging on the outer side of the cage until Bret sends Owen head first into the cage, causing Owen to lose his footing on the cage, leading to Owen slipping and trapping his leg in the cage holes. That allows Bret to jump down and win the match to retain the WWE Title. Ultimately, I feel the same about this as the last time I saw it. Is it a five star classic? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m not able to honestly say that I disagree with it being called five stars. Any weakness of the match was out of the control of Owen and Bret, and they handled the weaknesses as best as humanly possible. By that, I’m still comfortable with technically rating this *****


    After the match, Jim Neidhart jumps the steel railing and closelines Davey Boy Smith over the railing. Neidhart than forces his way inside of the cage and locks it behind him. While the other Harts try to get inside of the cage by climbing over, Owen and Neidhart split their time punishing Bret and knocking their family members off of the cage. Eventually, Bulldog is able to make his way inside of the cage to save the day. This is how “Interference” in a cage match should be done. It should happen either before or after the match, not during. This post-match event not only allows the Bret/Owen feud to continue onto the first edition of the Action Zone, but also re-introduces the British Bulldog to the WWE for his third run.

    The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs The Underfaker w/Ted DiBiase
    The “Underfaker” is such a stupid, yet fun take on the fake Undertaker name. In case you’re unaware, the Underfaker was played by future DOA member, Primetime Brian Lee. After the Undertaker was killed off at the Royal Rumble 1994, he vanished for several months. When reports began to circulate that there had been Undertaker sightings, Ted DiBiase thought it’d be a good time to take advantage of these reports by claiming he will bring the Undertaker back to the WWE, just as he originally brought him into the company. In theory, it made sense since the real Undertaker was presumed dead. A new Undertaker showed up on WWE TV and even back then, it was easily to tell that it was not the real Undertaker. In fact, as bad as the Underfaker was on shitty 1994 TVs, he was especially not made to be viewed on the WWE Network in beautiful HD quality. With Bearer having faith that his Undertaker was still out there, he set out to challenge the fraud. The most notable happening of this match is that it began a new era of the Undertaker - the purple glove era. McMahon’s decision to have this main event the show was a grave mistake. It’s bad enough, but it’s literally following one of the best WWE matches of the year. The story, itself, isn’t bad though. It’s essentially just both Takers taking turns hitting the same moves. Bearer’s Undertaker is shown to be more effective and manages to pop up faster than DiBiase’s Underfaker, suggesting that Bearer’s is the real deal. The more this happens, the more Lee breaks character and is both showing frustrating and taunting Taker to get back on his feet, which also points out that he’s not the real Taker. The finish sees Lee hitting a Tombstone, but Taker recovers. Lee tries another one, but Taker counters it and hits three Tombstones of his own to not only beat the Underfaker, but to firmly prove that he’s the real deal. There were certainly elements that were cool, including the pre-match event of Bearer/DiBiase removing the entrance gear of both Takers at the same time, but it was slow, sluggish, and Lee botched some. Again, the biggest weakness is just the fact that Lee looked nothing like the real Taker. Even when his hair was covering his face, the most obvious difference, Lee was still bulkier and shorter. With that being said, I do think it sucks that Lee didn’t get to stick around for a couple more months, altering the gimmick to just be Brian Lee, the man who posed as the Undertaker. See if Lee as Lee, not having to try and replicate Taker’s own style, could make it in the WWE. * ¼


    After the match, the Undertaker tosses the Underfaker into the casket that Bearer’s new urn (A giant ass one that they kept until Kama stole the urn and melted it down in 1995) was brought out in by the druids prior to the match to help summon the Undertaker. The druids return to bring the casket to the back. It’ll be another three years before Lee would be seen in the WWE again.

    Overall
    I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Summerslam 1994. I think part of that is because of a couple of a surprisingly good matches in Blayze/Bull and Razor/Diesel. They were both really fun undercard matches that certainly didn’t need to be a part of the show. Obviously, the cage match is a classic. Unlike the Mania 10 match, I’ve always been really high on the second Hart/Hart match and I’d still say I slightly prefer it over the first match. Admittedly, outside of those three matches, the show doesn’t have much to offer. There’s a couple of completely random matches (Opening tag and Jarrett/Mabel) and a couple of big angle based matches (Luger/Tatanka and Taker/Taker) that failed to deliver. So it certainly comes across as a PPV where if you choose to watch it, you’re going to be skipping around some if you wish to avoid the bad. I made brief mention of it earlier, but I do find it odd that so many notable stars weren’t wrestling tonight. Off of the top of my head, there’s: Yokozuna, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, The 1-2-3 Kid, Bob Backlund, Crush, and I suppose Doink the Clown. I feel like both Yokozuna and Backlund would have benefitted from being given some easy match for them to win here. For Yokozuna, he had just wrapped up a program against Typhoon, why not just do the match here? For Backlund, just throw him against literally anyone, hey, Doink was available. Considering we got Diesel/Razor on this show, it would have made perfect sense to see Michaels/Kid as well, and that could have been an awesome match. Overall though, why there are some clear weaknesses for Summerslam 1994, I find it to be an enjoyable show that like the other PPVs of 1994, offers a few things of value.

  2. #2
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    I remember watching this live via scrambler and loving it and the last time I watched it (about three years ago give or take) I thought it held up remarkably well. Michael's overacting after the errant superkick is hilarious even if it was a sign of more to come later on. My one biggest issue with that scenario is that if Michaels was really trying to help Diesel retain, why didn't he just stay in the ring and kick Razor's ass until the ref called for the DQ? I always felt like Michaels was purposely fucking with Diesel because he was jealous of him so perhaps that's why he didn't bother to do anything else to help.

    Bret/Owen is a classic, easily the best blue cage match and just a fantastic story told by two workers who clearly knew each other well. I love Davey Boy's bump after the Neidhart hit since he takes Diana with him, proving that even the Hart women are pretty tough.


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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    I remember watching this live via scrambler and loving it and the last time I watched it (about three years ago give or take) I thought it held up remarkably well. Michael's overacting after the errant superkick is hilarious even if it was a sign of more to come later on. My one biggest issue with that scenario is that if Michaels was really trying to help Diesel retain, why didn't he just stay in the ring and kick Razor's ass until the ref called for the DQ? I always felt like Michaels was purposely fucking with Diesel because he was jealous of him so perhaps that's why he didn't bother to do anything else to help.
    I suppose it depends on how you look at it. It could just be a logical botch where Michaels was supposed to miss the super kick and then GTFO, which seems okay on paper, but then when it's done, it creates some problems. On the other hand, it could be the jealousy thing too. Hindsight being 20/20, Walter Payton should have pulled Michaels out of the ring after the super kick so that it wouldn't have even been an issue.

    Bret/Owen is a classic, easily the best blue cage match and just a fantastic story told by two workers who clearly knew each other well. I love Davey Boy's bump after the Neidhart hit since he takes Diana with him, proving that even the Hart women are pretty tough.
    Considering it looked as if Diana's heel hit Davey Boy in the face, I was more concerned about Bulldog's safety than Diana's.

    I agree that this is the best blue cage match ever. Nothing else even comes close.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Éven back in 1994 they did a better job with Taker vs Taker than they did with Kane vs Kane many years later. Plus that cage match is properly still in the top 10 cage matches WWE have done.
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Only ***1/4 for Nakano vs Blayze Remember watching that ages ago on Youtube and loving it. I have watched the steel cage match but I don't remember it fondly enough to know how well I liked it though.
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    I completely agree on Bret vs Owen, what an amazing match - it's very clever and unique and its strange that this sort of style of cage match hasn't been tried since. There's only one cage match violent or not, that I'd put above it and that would be Magnum vs Tully.

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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick View Post
    Éven back in 1994 they did a better job with Taker vs Taker than they did with Kane vs Kane many years later. Plus that cage match is properly still in the top 10 cage matches WWE have done.
    I agree with both of theses statements, however the Kane vs Kane feud sets such a low bar to compete with, that saying this feud was better is not saying a whole lot. The Undertaker vs Undertaker feud made no sense, plus involving Leslie Nielsen (who I love) in this just made it into a joke. I found it odd that two years earlier Bret and Davey Boy finished Summerslam with the I-C Title Match, while here Bret and Owen (a far better feud that Bret and Davey Boy) played second fiddle to a far weaker match, far weaker feud, and one far weaker competitor.
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    Re: WWE Summerslam 1994 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MC 16 View Post
    Only ***1/4 for Nakano vs Blayze Remember watching that ages ago on Youtube and loving it. I have watched the steel cage match but I don't remember it fondly enough to know how well I liked it though.
    I never thought someone would have a problem with my Bull/Blayze rating. It's literally one of my highest rated women's PPV matches in WWE history before the NXT's rise of women's wrestling.

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