Rift's thoughts on WWE Summerslam 1988-1992 Submitted by Aaron Rift on 07/26/2020 at 03:46 PM
Event: Summerslam 1988
Date: August 29, 1988
Location: New York City, New York
Arena: Madison Square Garden
The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) drew with Jacques and Raymond Rougeau (20:00)....Bad News Brown pinned Ken Patera (6:33)....Rick Rude defeated Junkyard Dog (6:18) by Disqualification....The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian) defeated Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zuhkov (5:27) when Barbarian pinned Zuhkov....Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match: Ultimate Warrior pinned Honkytonk Man (0:31) to win the Intercontinental Title....Dino Bravo pinned Don Muraco (5:28)....World Tag Team Title Match: Demolition Axe and Smash defeated The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) (9:49) when Smash pinned Hart....Big Boss Man pinned Koko B. Ware (5:57)....Jake Roberts pinned Hercules (10:06)....Main Event Tag Team Match: The Megapowers (Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage) defeated The Megabucks (Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase) (13:57) when Savage pinned DiBiase. Jesse Ventura was the special referee.
Thoughts: Looking back at the very first Summerslam PPV, it was a very different WWE (WWF) from what we know today. My take on the company at the time is that it had the cartoonish characters yet everything else was still very sports-like. Gorilla Monsoon was still talking about "winner's purses" and the rules were still strictly-enforced. Today, it's the opposite since the characters are more realistic but the in-ring action doesn't resemble a real sport as much as it used to.
This was also a period of time when the talent roster had depth but the wrestlers overall weren't really that good with guys like The Junkyard Dog and Dino Bravo.
The highlight of the show was easily the main event. With Jesse Ventura as the special referee, the Mega Powers vs. the Mega Bucks really felt like an all-star match. Elizabeth showing some skin was also very shocking for its time. She would definitely pave the way for women wrestlers of the future.
The only other noteworthy happening was The Ultimate Warrior ending The Honky Tonk Man's lengthy IC Title reign in less than a minute.
Line of the was Superstar Billy Graham: "If you're gonna pose, take off your shirt, then pose BROTHA!"
Event: Summerslam 1989
Date: August 28, 1989
Location: East Rutherford, New Jersey
Arena: Meadowlands Arena
World Tag Team Title Match: The Brainbusters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) defeated The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) (16:23) when Blanchard pinned Hart....Dusty Rhodes pinned Honkytonk Man (9:36)....Mr. Perfect pinned Red Rooster (3:21)....Six-Man Tag Team Match: Rick Martel, Jacques and Raymond Rougeau beat The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) and Tito Santana (14:58) when Martel pinned Jannetty....Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match: Ultimate Warrior pinned Rick Rude (16:02) to win the Intercontinental title....Six-Man Tag Team Match: Demolition Axe and Smash and Jim Duggan defeated Andre the Giant, Akeem, and Big Boss Man (7:23) when Smash pinned Akeem....Hercules defeated Greg Valentine (3:08) by Disqualification....Ted DiBiase defeated Jimmy Snuka (6:27) by Countout....Main Event Tag Team Match: Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage & Zeus (15:04) when Hogan pinned Zeus.
Thoughts: This show was similar to the previous year in terms of average match quality with another blockbuster main event. While Zeus was a terrible wrestler, the main event had good storytelling which helped make the match live up to the hype.
It sure is weird hearing Tony Schiavone and seeing Arn Anderson/Tully Blanchard on a WWE PPV.
They left a classic blooper off the DVD release: Go on YouTube and search "Summerslam Gene Okerlund blooper" for a great laugh.
Event: Summerslam 1990
Date: August 29, 1990
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Arena: The Spectrum
Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) (6:00) by Countout....Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match: Kerry Von Erich pinned Mr. Perfect (5:15) to win the Intercontinental Title....Sherri Martel defeated Sapphire by forfeit....Warlord pinned Tito Santana (5:28)....World Tag Team Title Match (Best 2 out of 3 Falls): The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) defeated Demolition Smash and Crush to win the titles. Crush pinned Hart (6:09). Demolition was Disqualified (10:06). Hart pinned Crush (14:24)....Jake Roberts beat Bad News Brown (4:44) by Disqualification....Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff defeated The Orient Express (Sato and Tanaka) (3:22) when Duggan pinned Tanaka....Randy Savage pinned Dusty Rhodes (2:15)....Hulk Hogan beat Earthquake (13:16) by countout....World Heavyweight Title Match (Steel Cage Match): Ultimate Warrior defeated Rick Rude (10:05) in a "steel cage" match to retain the title.
Thoughts: I thought this was a really strong show overall.
The double main events between Hogan/Earthquake and Warrior/Rude were entertaining. Hogan's reaction proved that, even though he didn't have the title, he was still "the man" in the WWE.
The show-long storyline with Sapphire and Ted DiBiase was excellent. Even though the characters were cartoonish, they were well-developed and you actually had emotional investment in the conflicts that they were going through. Sherri, DiBiase, and Rhodes were all at the top of their game here.
The best match on the show (and in Summerslam history up to this point) was The Hart Foundation and Demolition in two-out-of-three falls. Once again, the storytelling was done well. Demoltion (the heels) pick up the first fall, the babyface Harts win the second fall, and when Demoltion try to cheat at the end with the 3rd member, LOD comes out to make the save. This is still one of my all-time favorite matches and I feel it is one of the few matches from that era that has stood up to the test of time. Unfortunately, WWE didn't really go anywhere with the LOD/Demoltion feud.
Event: Summerslam 1991: "The Match Made in Heaven/The Match Made in Hell"
Date: August 26, 1991
Location: New York City, New York
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Non-Televised Match: Koko B. Ware pinned Kato (6:03)....Six-Man Tag Team Match: Davey Smith, Ricky Steamboat, and Kerry Von Erich defeated Paul Roma, Hercules, and Warlord (10:43) when Steamboat pinned Roma....Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match: Bret Hart pinned Mr. Perfect (18:04) to win the Intercontinental Title....Irwin R. Schyster pinned Greg Valentine (7:07)....Earthquake and Typhoon beat The Bushwhackers (6:27) when Earthquake pinned Williams....Jailhouse Match: Big Boss Man pinned The Mountie (9:38) in a "jailhouse" match....Million Dollar Belt Match: Virgil pinned Ted DiBiase (13:11) to win the title...World Tag Team Title Match: The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) (7:45) to win the titles when Animal pinned Sags...."The Match Made in Hell": Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior defeated Gen Adnan, Col Mustafa, and Sgt Slaughter (12:40) in a "handicap" match when Hogan pinned Slaughter. Sid Justice was the special referee....The "wedding" of Randy Savage and Elizabeth.
Thoughts: The heaven/hell theme was interesting, but it didn't really work out too well in execution. Ending the show with a straight wedding was just strange (the after-party attack was tremendous though) and the tag-team match was predictable. Unlike previous years, I feel that the undercard was a lot stronger than the main events.
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect, what else can be said that hasn't been said already? It's one of the best matches in WWE history making Bret 2-0 in stealing the show at Summerslam. This match was also amazing when you consider Mr. Perfect's injury that ended up putting him on the shelf for a year after this.
The "jailhouse" storyline with The Mountie was very entertaining and was one of Jacques Rougeau's best performances.
Virgil winning the Million Dollar Belt and LOD winning the WWE Tag Titles were also cool moments on the show.
Event: Summerslam 1992
Date: August 29, 1992
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Arena: Wembley Stadium
Non-Televised Match: Papa Shango pinned Tito Santana (6:00)....Non-Televised Match: Tatanka pinned The Berzerker (5:46)....Non-Televised Match: The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch) and Jim Duggan defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) and The Mountie (12:33) when Duggan pinned The Mountie....The Legion of Doom (Animal and Hawk) defeated Irwin R. Schyster and Ted DiBiase (15:10) when Animal pinned DiBiase....Nailz defeated Virgil (3:55) with a sleeperhold....Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel fought to a Double Countout (8:06)....World Tag Team Title Match: Earthquake and Typhoon defeated The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake) (10:30) when Earthquake pinned Beau....Crush beat Repoman (5:41) via submission....World Heavyweight Title Match: Ultimate Warrior defeated Randy Savage (28:00) by countout. Randy Savage retains the title....The Undertaker defeated Kamala (3:27) by Disqualification....Intercontinental Heavyweight Title Match: Davey Smith pinned Bret Hart (25:40) to win the Intercontinental Title.
Thoughts: This was the WWE's first and only Summerslam PPV in the UK. It was a good show overall.
Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith was another match that is an all-time WWE classic. Hart's Summerslam streak of stealing the show continued at 3-0. My guess is that this was the match that probably convinced Vince McMahon to put the WWE World Title on Hart.
Warrior/Savage was a good match but it wasn't on par with their Wrestlemania 7 encounter. Also, it was a waste of Ric Flair to have him on the outside watching the match. The indecisive finish with Savage being counted out also brought this match down a bit.
Michaels/Martel was a fun comedy match between two heels. Like 1989, 1990, and this year, Sherri put on a tremendous performance.
The rest of the matches were just there. Being the first PPV without Hulk Hogan, it was becoming noticeable that the WWE's roster was starting to wear thin.