Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1992)

This right here is a helluva SummerSlam - emanating from Wembley Stadium, this show turned the WWF formula on its head.....

SummerSlam '92 - Wembley Stadium - 8/29/92

Now this is a fuckin' SummerSlam.  The 1992 edition was not only the best PPV of the year, but would remain the best SummerSlam PPV until at least 1997.  This show featured two very good to excellent main event matches, some decent midcard bouts, and very little filler.

The World Title match between Randy Savage and Warrior probably wasn't quite up to their WM7 match, but this was still good stuff.  The face vs. face dynamic added a new wrinkle and these two both worked hard to pull off an epic.  Inserting Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect into this angle was pretty stupid, as the feud became a bickering contest about which babyface sold out by hiring Mr. Perfect.  As it turned out the answer was "neither."  Flair and Perfect showed up and more or less ruined the ending of the match.  I'm actually not sure why Flair wasn't given his own match for this show.  Still a fine WWF Title match, even if it would be massively upstaged later in the evening.

These two were really fighting over who
had the more obnoxious outfit.

The undercard featured a few good bouts.  The Legion of Doom defeated Money Inc. in the opener, and then disappeared from WWF television until 1997; former Demolition partners Crush and Repo Man (Smash) had a brief but fun little nothing match; and Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel had a terribly entertaining heel vs. heel match while competing for Sherri Martel's affections.

The rest of the undercard wasn't much to look at.  Nailz squashed Virgil, Earthquake & Typhoon defeated the Beverly Brothers, and The Undertaker beat Kamala by DQ in a pointlessly short bout.

But the main event of the show still holds up as one of the best matches of all time.  Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith unexpectedly got to close the show for the Intercontinental Title, and created an in-ring masterpiece.  Legend has it that Davey was very hungover for this match and had to rely heavily on Bret to guide him through, but you'd never know by watching it.  Bret and Davey gelled perfectly and delivered a 25-minute technical classic.  The match was built around the backdrop of intra-family tension between Bret, his sister Diana, and Diana's husband Davey.  Despite being another face vs. face match, Bret played the heel here, allowing Davey to be the conquering hero in his home country.  Bret may have lost but this match cemented his status as a worthy main eventer, and almost directly led to him winning his first WWF Championship.  This is just an awesome bout.

All kinds of BOSS.

1992 marked a real turning point in the WWF product where the giant musclebound superheroes were being phased out in favor of smaller, more athletic wrestlers like Bret and Shawn, who could put on great 20-25 minute wrestling matches.  SummerSlam '92 is a great illustration of this, as the Bret Hart era really began here.

Best Match: Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith
Worst Match: Nailz vs. Virgil
What I'd Change: Book Ric Flair in an actual match.  It's a shame the Triple Threat match hadn't been invented yet, because Savage vs. Warrior vs. Flair would've been a no-brainer.
Most Disappointing Match: Undertaker vs. Kamala - Why this only went three minutes I don't know.  Not that I was expecting a classic, but this was barely even a match.
Most Pleasant Surprise: That Warrior didn't win the WWF Title.  Going into this I was sure he'd end up with the belt.  I wanted to see Savage keep it for a while longer, so I was relieved he got to retain.  Of course he dropped it back to Flair two weeks later, but that's beside the point.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Better than WrestleMania VIII? - Yes


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