Retro Review: WWE SummerSlam 1993

Lex Luger
Credit: WWE

SummerSlam 1993 is an interesting show to me. It is the first WWF PPV in the post Hulk Hogan era. Hogan lost the WWF title to Yokozuna at King of the Ring in June. And there were all kinds of rumors about what was originally going to happen at this show.

Some say Hogan would have won the title back from Yoko. Others say that if Hogan was staying and kept the title at King of the Ring, Bret Hart was going to win the WWF title from Hogan here and then Hogan would leave. But Hogan didn’t want to put Bret over on his way out.

This put the WWF in a bind. They were not ready to go back to Bret Hart as the top guy yet. Vince McMahon still wanted to have his All American Hero. Someone he could clone as Hulk Hogan. So they had a bodyslam challenge on the US Intrepid on the 4th of July to see if anyone could bodyslam Yokozuna.

Enter Lex Luger, who arrived via chopper to bodyslam Yoko and set up this big match here, where it seemed all but certain Lex would be walking out WWF Champion.

We start with the Lex Express arriving at the palace of Auburn Hills earlier this evening. This show took place on a Monday, which always seems weird looking back on it.

Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are on commentary. Always a pairing that is a bit underrated.

Ted DiBiase vs Razor Ramon

This match plays into the story of both men losing to the 1-2-3 Kid. Razor lost to the Kid. DiBiase mocked Razor for it, then proceeded to lose to the Kid as well thanks to the help of Razor. So Razor is recently turned face here having gained respect for the Kid. This is also DiBiase’s last WWF match in this run, as he would soon leave the company to work on marital problems.

Heenan makes fun of people who say money can’t buy happiness. Heenan says give him $50 and watch him smile. I would say the same thing Bobby. DiBiase jumps Razor to start the match. The crowd is really into Razor. I miss the days when face and heel turns were so simple.

Anyway, DiBiase dominates almost the whole match then misses a charge in the corner, then Razor hits the Razor’s Edge for the win. Crowd pops big for Razor but that was a weird match where Razor had almost no offense.

Todd Pettengill interviews the mom and sister of the Steiner Brothers. She calls Rick Rob. Meanwhile Jim Cornette introduces the Heavenly Bodies.

WWF Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers (c) vs The Heavenly Bodies w/Jim Cornette

The heels jump the faces again before the match. Should have communicated that with DiBiase before hand. Bobby says he went to the home the Steiners were raised to early and doesn’t get a chance to finish his joke as Scott press slams Doctor Tom Pritchard. It is all Steiners early on as the Bodies regroup outside. Jim Cornette yells at the camera man to get out of their corner as they are talking strategy and asks if he wants Cornette to have an aneurism. Vince says that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Scott gets sent to the outside and Jimmy Del Ray hits a running senton off the apron which astounds Vince. This might be the longest I have ever seen Scott Steiner sell in a match. The crowd chants “Lets Go Blue” to get Scott back into the match. That is the chant for the University of Michigan. Scott finally catches Pritchard with a Pump Handle powerbomb and tags in Rick.

Rick hits a bulldog off the top but Pritchard breaks up the pin. Scott gets thrown out of the ring and for some reason the ref counts him as Cornette throws the racket in the ring. Rick gets hit but kicks out at two. Jimmy goes for the moonsault off the top but Scott pulls Rick out of the way. Scott hits the Frankensteiner and helps Rick with the pin for the win. Isn’t that pin illegal?

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) w/Diesel vs Mr. Perfect

So, they hyped this match up as a classic in the weeks leading up to it. Can the match live up to the hype? Lets see.

At least this match does not start with the heel jumping the face. Michaels misses a moonsault off the top but he lands on his feet, only to eat a Perfect clothesline. Perfect hits a couple of nice armdrags. He blocks a dropkick then catapults Michaels out of the ring.

Diesel walks over and distracts Perfect. The distraction allows Michaels to hit a superkick, which was still not his finisher at the time. Heenan offers his monitor to Michaels to use. Heenan then tells Michaels to hit him again inside the ring. Vince yells at him for coaching. Is it really coaching though? Perfect hits a dropkick back in the ring and then a high backdrop which Michaels was always good at selling.

Perfect hits the Perfect Plex but Diesel pulls Perfect’s leg out. Perfect goes after Diesel on the outside and yells at Perfect for hitting a man with glasses. Michaels misses an axe handle off the top and Perfect throws him back in the ring. Diesel then throws Perfect into the steps behind the refs back. The ref counts out Perfect and Michaels wins by countout. Match was fine, but when you hype the match up to be a classic it usually never lives up to it. Michaels proclaims himself to be the greatest IC Champ of all time. That’s an interesting debate to have one of these days.

I.R.S. vs 1-2-3 Kid

We get a Kid interview which is just awful and him stumbling over words, then I.R.S doing his normal stuff in the ring. Back to back awfulness. Heenan says this is the first time the Kid has been out past 8. Vince calls Irwin one of the premiere wrestlers in the WWF. Does he watch the same stuff? Irwin hits Kid so hard Heenan says Irwin knocked three zits off his cheek.

Irwin goes to his classic spot when he grabs the ropes applying the abdominal stretch. Vince is really hyping up Irwin here, knowing that DiBiase is on his way out. Kid hits a moonsault off the top but only gets two. Kid gets a couple near falls then Irwin connects on a flying clothesline for the win. Heenan shows on his Brain Scan that Irwin hit a 1044, so in tax terms that means he wrote him off. I wonder why they didn’t do a tag match here with Razor/Kid vs Money Inc. But I guess they didn’t want to job Razor.

Owen and Bruce Hart are interviewed. Stu isn’t here because he just got reconstructive knee surgery. Bret Hart comes out, followed by Jerry Lawler out on crutches and an ice pack on his knee. Heenan says he heard rumors about this but didn’t want to speculate. Lawler says a blue haired old lady hit him and he got in a car accident. Lawler says he pulled himself from the fiery wreckage and dragged himself here. Lawler says he wanted to fight Bret but the doctors told him not to. Lawler said he found someone to fight Bret, and it is his self appointed court jester Doink the Clown.

Doink comes to the ring with a couple buckets. He then throws some confetti on the crowd. The other bucket had water and he throws it on Bruce and Owen at ringside as Heenan laughs it up.

Bret Hart vs Doink the Clown

Bret jumps Doink on the outside. Heenan says Lawler was in this accident and went into a bus and pulled 45 kids from the wreck and took them all for hamburgers before coming to the arena. What a nice guy. Bret crotches Doink on the corner. With Doink down Bret goes after Lawler but Doink attacks him from behind.

Heenan says Stu and Helen Hart never got divorced because neither of them wanted custody of the kids. Heel Doink ruled. A damn shame Matt Borne got fired. Doink slows it down and works over the leg of Bret. He goes forhis top rope splash but Bret gets his knees up.

Bret hits some of his trademark offense then applies a Sharpshooter. Lawler then comes in and hits Bret with a crutch. Heenan proclaims a miracle as Lawler hits Bret kind of hard in the neck area. Lawler and Doink go to leave but Jack Tunney comes out and says if Lawler does not fight Bret he will be banned from the WWE for life.

Jerry Lawler vs Bret Hart

It is all Bret to start. He takes it to Lawler down the aisle and back into the ring. Bret uses the crutch on Lawler which the ref allows. Lawler then starts to use it with the ref distracted by Owen and that idiot Bruce. But if it was okay for Bret to use it why not Lawler? Lawler then uses it on the throat of Hart back in the ring.

Bret catches Lawler in the corner then lays the boots to him. Bret applies the Sharpshooter as Lawler eventually gives up. But Bret won’t release the hold. Multiple refs and officials come out but can’t get Bret to break the hold. After a few minutes Bret eventually releases the hold. But the ref reverses his decision and says Lawler wins by DQ and is the undisputed king of the WWF now. Cheap way to get Lawler the win while Bret keeps looking strong because he is the rightful winner.

Marty Jannetty vs Ludvig Borga

Ludvig cuts a promo before the match in front of some run down building in Detroit. He’s foreign so of course we have to hate him. This match is a complete squash. Jannetty bumps around for Borga to make him try to look good. Sorry it does not work. Borga wins with a torture rack. Next.

Rest In Peace Match: Giant Gonzalez w/Harvey Whippleman vs The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer

This is essentially a No DQ match. But it is the Undertaker, so they came up with a fancy name for it. Maybe they couldn’t get a casket big enough for Giant Gonzalez? Undertaker lands some shots to Gonzalez to start but they don’t phase him. Gonzalez sends Taker to the outside again and they exchange blows. Gonzalez throws Taker into the ropes as slow as possible.

Gonzalez grabs a chair and hits Taker with it. Gonzalez then throws Taker into the steps again as he continues to move at a snail’s pace. As Gonzalez trudges around the ring, we hear a gong and out comes Paul Bearer with a black reef. Whippleman wants to go at Bearer but Bearer punches him then goes back to get the urn. Undertaker rises and goes to the top and takes Gonzalez out with a clothesline for the win. And this feud is thankfully over. After the match, Gonzalez turns face and hits Whippleman but nobody cares.

The Smoking Gunns and Tatanka vs Bam Bam Bigelow and The Headshrinkers

Cowboys and Indians together on the same team! Bobby Heenan informs us that Shawn Michaels has left the building. The faces charge at the heels and eat clotheslines from all of them. That seemed dumb. Heenan says Bigelow has a problem with Tatanka because for months Tatanka has had eyes for Luna.

There is a really awkward crossbody spot where Bigelow and Tatanka collide. They each crawl for a tag and make it. Don’t forget the Gunns went to college on a rodeo scholarship. That scholarship doesn’t stop Bart from getting beat down by the heels for a good amount of time. Afa even gets a few shots in.

Bigelow finally misses a corner charge and Tatanka gets the tag and goes to work. He hits a crossbody off the top for two. Bigelow throws Tatanka into the corner but he Tatanka’s up? But Bigelow quickly stops that and the crowd kind of likes it? The Headshrinkers throw Bigelow into Tatanka in the corner. All three go for a headbutt off the top but Tatanka moves out of the way. Tatanka rolls up Samu from behind and gets the pin.

They interview the guy who drives the Lex Express watching the show on the monitor. Could they not get the guy a ticket? Come on Lex! We get the Japanese national anthem, followed by the American national anthem sang by Aaron Neville. Hey I thought the Japanese guy was better than Neville. Macho Man introduces Lex Luger.

WWF Championship: Yokozuna (c) w/Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette vs Lex Luger

Fuji tries to sneak up on Lex before the match but Luger goes after him. Yoko charges but Lex moves. Lex lands some shots and gets some good air on an elbow drop. We get to hear Lex yell out every time he lands a punch for some reason. Lex mounts Yoko in the corner with some punches. The ref goes to pull him down, allowing Yoko to actually shove him off. We get a really weird spot where Mr. Fuji goes to throw some salt, but he releases it high before Lex hits his arm to make it look bad.

Lex goes to bodyslam Yoko but as we all know, the firs bodyslam never works in wrestling. Yoko tries using a chair on the outside but misses. Back in the ring Lex hits two axe handles off the top. When he goes back up a third time he hits a flying forearm finally knocking Yoko down for two. We get a double clothesline. Yoko gets up and hits Lex with Mr. Fuji’s salt bucket with Cornette distracting the ref but only gets two.

Yoko hits his side slam for two and applies a nerve hold to slow things down. Yoko still can’t put Lex away. Even Heenan says he is impressed with the courage of Lex. Yoko hits a leg drop for two as Hogan shakes his head at his TV. Yoko goes for the Bonzai Drop but Lex moves.

Both men exchange blows in the corner. Yoko tosses Lex into the opposite corner but Lex moves then hits a bodyslam as Heenan screams it was a hip toss. Lex knocks out Mr. Fuji, then hits his flying forearm on Yoko sending him outside the ring. Lex takes out Cornette as Yoko is counted out.

And here is where things get dumb. Vince freaks out that Lex finally beat Yoko. Everyone comes out to celebrate with Lex but Yoko is still the WWF champ. This over the top celebration looks so dumb. The plan was to build to Lex vs Yoko at Wrestlemania, but as we all know Lex flops as a top guy. This celebration didn’t help things either.

Overall, the show itself was pretty bad. It was the beginning of some bad shows in the WWF as they tried to rebrand their image and find a new top star to replace Hulk Hogan.