Thursday, July 18, 2019

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1991)

We've reached the early 90s, when the WWF presented a pretty bad SummerSlam that everyone for some reason remembers very fondly.......


SummerSlam '91 - Madison Square Garden - 8/26/91

The mediocrity continued with SummerSlam '91, which many fans strangely hail as a classic.  I'll grant that it was a somewhat stacked show where multiple feuds were blown off, but there's very little good wrestling here.  The Savage-Elizabeth wedding angle also took up way too much time and probably should've happened on free TV to set up Savage's return to the ring.

The main event was the continuation of one of the least fun feuds in wrestling history, Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter.  I cannot believe the WWF was still trying to exploit the Persian Gulf War six months after it ended.  Just pitiful.  This time it was Hogan teaming with Warrior against Slaughter, Col. Mustafa (a repackaged Iron Sheik, as though we wouldn't recognize him), and Slaughter's manager Gen. Adnan.  Here's a question, if Slaughter was the lowest ranked of the trio, why was he the leader?  Anyway the match stunk and was notable only for the inclusion of Sid Justice as the guest referee, and for being Warrior's last match for a while after backstage contractual shenanigans led to his firing.

The match this show is most remembered for was Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart for the I-C Title.  This would be Perfect's final match for over a year as nagging injuries forced him to the sidelines.  This match was quite good (though I don't rate it as highly as most do), and Bret's singles career took off from this point.  Given how much pain he was in, Perfect did a helluva job elevating "The Hitman."

Perfect submitted the second the hold was applied.
Given his real-life back issues this is not surprising.


The Legion of Doom would complete their Tag Team Championship trilogy by defeating the Nasty Boys in a Chicago Street Fight, which has to go down as the tamest No-DQ match ever.  Hardly any weapons factored into this match and it went a whopping six minutes.  Still it was great to see Hawk & Animal become the only team to win the AWA, NWA and WWF Tag belts.

The other two big blowoff matches were The Big Bossman defeating The Mountie in a "loser spends the night in jail" match that was really only memorable for the post-match antics (Jacques Rougeau played the chickenshit heel to perfection as he was dragged literally kicking and screaming into his cell); and Ted Dibiase vs. former bodyguard Virgil for the Million Dollar Belt.  Not much of note there either.

There were a few other forgettable matches and several prominent talents left off the show altogether, such as The Rockers, The Undertaker and Jake Roberts (I know, Taker and Jake were used for the wedding reception angle, but still).

The wedding angle was a typical staged wrestling wedding but this time featured two beloved stars.  Again, this should've aired on free TV, maybe on Saturday Night's Main Event.  Then the post-wedding angle with Jake and Taker crashing the reception could've aired that same night instead of a week later.

The best part about this angle was Savage repeatedly saying, during the
weeks leading up to it, "I'M GETTING MARRIED!"

WWF PPVs in 1991 weren't much better than the 1990 PPVs, and this show falls right into that pattern.  Only slightly better than 'Slam '90, this show featured a very good I-C Title match and not much else of note.

Best Match: Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart (Bret was definitely Mr. SummerSlam back in those days)
Worst Match: Natural Disasters vs. Bushwhackers (noteworthy only for being Andre the Giant's final WWF appearance)
What I'd Change: Put the wedding on a SNME episode a few weeks later to set up Savage's in-ring return at Survivor Series (ya know, instead of using Survivor Series as an ad for Tuesday in Texas?) and book Taker, Jake and The Rockers in various matches.
Most Disappointing Match: Nasty Boys vs. Legion of Doom - I knew LOD would win the belts here but the match was totally forgettable.  They really should've had LOD beat the Hart Foundation at WM7.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Again, no real positive surprises here.
Overall Rating: 3.5/10
Better than WrestleMania VII? - No

1990
1992



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