Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: August 27, 1995
Location: Pittsburgh Civic Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon
So it’s time for the annual redos and for some reason, my readers decided to have me watch one of the worst Summerslams of all time. I’m so thrilled. Anyway this is built around Diesel vs. King Mabel in one of those moments where Vince McMahon was considered completely insane. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about the big matches tonight, including Diesel vs. Mabel, Jerry Lawler sending his evil dentist (that will never sound normal) against Bret Hart, Kama Mustafa vs. Undertaker (over the again stolen urn) and the sequel to the ladder match (which was added because the company knew they were dead in the water otherwise).
I still love the big flying blimp in the arena. The fans behind it must be so thrilled. Now am I being sarcastic on that one?
Dean Douglas, the annoying teacher, is in the back to critique all of the matches. I’m not a Shane fan, but to go from the Franchise to this is a shame.
1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi
Vince: “The Kid is ready for WWF action!” You mean this isn’t the Boggle tournament? Hakushi’s White Angel look is way too awesome for a show like this. Kid grabs a headlock to start but gets taken down by the hair, with a fan opposite the hard camera being VERY upset by the cheating. A trip takes Hakushi down but he kicks Kid away, giving us a double nipup.
Back up and they both miss spinning kicks for another early standoff. Hakushi finally sends him into the corner for the handspring elbow and the fans aren’t sure what to think of it (fair enough as he’s a heel, but an awesome heel). The Bronco Buster hits Kid (so that’s where he got it) and it’s time to kick at his leg. The chinlock doesn’t last long so Hakushi sends him outside and hits a cartwheel into a backdrop over the top for your YOU DO KNOW IT’S 1995 spot.
Back in and a top rope headbutt to the standing Kid gets two but a top rope splash misses. Kid dropkicks him to the floor and hits his own dive, followed by a slingshot legdrop for two. Kid’s top rope splash connects for the patented 1-2-He Got Him NO! Back up and Kid tries a spinwheel kick but gets caught in something like a belly to back suplex to give Hakushi the pin at 9:28.
Rating: B-. This was WAY ahead of its time with stuff like the Space Flying Tiger Drop of all things being far more than you would expect from a WWF match in 1995. The Kid was very good as well and fought from underneath with his own high flying. Good stuff here, though I’m worried about what else they have for the rest of the night.
Dok Hendrix is WAY too excited to know about Mabel’s master plan. You’ll just have to wait, exactly like Big Daddy Fool. And that’s before he even gets in the ring people.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Bob Holly
Helmsley is brand new here and still an undefeated blue blood. There’s no contact for the first minute so Holly grabs him for a slam and an armdrag sends Helmsley into the corner. Holly charges at him though and gets caught in a Stun Gun to let Helmsley take over. Vince talks about wanting to see Lawler in a go kart or bumper cars as Holly gets whipped hard into the corner.
The chinlock goes on and we cut to British Bulldog arriving, even though he has nothing to say. Back in and arena and Holly’s abdominal stretch is countered with a hiptoss over the top. Holly is right back up with a DDT and the dropkick with the backdrop completing the jobber level comeback. A missed charge lets Helmsley finish with the Pedigree at 7:10.
Rating: D. Oh come on. I know it’s a different era but this made Summerslam? I can get behind the idea of a match to make a newcomer look good but this wasn’t entertaining on any level. Helmsley was clearly someone they wanted to push but this would have been boring on Raw and we get it on a pay per view. At least it was short, but that’s all I’ve got.
Some wrestlers and firemen had a charity tug of war. Nothing wrong with that.
Blu Brothers vs. Smoking Gunns
Jacob (of Jacob and Eli Blu, which sounds conspicuously like Jake and Elwood Blues) gets caught in an early armbar from Billy. It’s off to Bart in a hurry but Eli snaps his throat across the top to take over. A quick crossbody gets Bart out of trouble though and Billy comes back in.
The yet to be named H Bomb (when they would become the Harris Twins that is) plants Billy for a delayed two and it’s off to the also yet to be named Tree of Woe (1995 needs to catch up with the times already). Lawler: “I bought five copies of Windows 95 and I don’t even have a computer.” After that random line, Eli gets two off a powerslam as the second Raw level match continues. Billy gets in a dropkick and brings in Bart to clean house. Heel miscommunication lets the Sidewinder connect for the fast pin on Eli at 6:11.
Rating: D-. At least in the Helmsley vs. Holly match (something that has never been said) they were pushing someone new and fresh. Here it’s a win for the Gunns, who had been around for years and were former Tag Team Champions. And against the Blu Brothers? That’s the best they can put together for what should be the second biggest show of the year? Thank goodness we were only a few weeks away from Nitro because this is some horrible planning.
We recap Barry Horowitz vs. Skip in a rematch of the huge upset of Barry pinning Skip. Barry then won by surviving a ten minute challenge, meaning it’s time for a third match. The idea here is that Barry hasn’t won a match in years but managed to pull this one off. How this is supposed to make me want to watch isn’t clear, as Barry is only going to be known to long time fans who are going to be watching in the first place.
Barry Horowitz vs. Skip
Sunny is out with Skip and does her trademark great rant about how they were cheated twice but it won’t happen again. Barry charges to the ring (with the awesome rock version of Hava Nagila) and hammers away to start with a clothesline putting Skip on the floor. Back in and Barry gets two off an O’Connor roll before suplexing Skip over the top again. Sunny tries to throw in the towel but is told that it’s not boxing and doesn’t count. Uh, it counted for Bob Backlund in 1983.
The distraction works well enough for Skip to jump Barry from behind, meaning it’s time for some jumping jacks. For some reason, this turns into a discussion of who would win in a fight between Siskel and Ebert. Barry is back up with some shoulders for two and a sunset flip for the same. Skip runs him over again though and it’s off to a seated abdominal stretch. That’s broken up as well and Horowitz goes old school with a Thesz press of all things for two more.
Skip pulls it back to the mat for legdrops and a chinlock but Barry jobbers up. They trade dropkicks and it’s a double knockdown as this keeps going. Another dropkick from Barry crotches him on top but Skip knocks him backwards. The Swan Dive gives Skip two so Barry hits another dropkick and goes up. This time it’s Sunny crotching him down for a change, which draws out Hakushi of all people. The distraction into a rollup lets Barry get his third straight win at 11:23.
Rating: D. AND??? Am I really supposed to get behind Horowitz after this? The guy has a career win/loss record somewhere lower than mine and now he’s getting a win on Summerslam? Somehow this is the best that they can do and that sums up a lot of the problems they were having around this point.
Dean Douglas uses a telestrator to talk about the previous match in big words. Barry gets an S for Slacker.
Shane throws it to Vince but we get Todd Pettengill instead, who gives us a look at the Wrestlemania X ladder match. Shawn Michaels says you can’t prepare for a ladder match but Razor isn’t taking his title again tonight.
Women’s Title: Bertha Faye vs. Alundra Blayze
Faye, with Harvey Wippleman, is challenging and her gimmick is that she’s large and not very attractive. This is one of those gimmicks that was bad then, worse later and horrible today. Blayze kicks her down to start and sweeps the leg for a bonus. More kicks have Bertha in trouble but she runs Blayze over, because she’s big you see.
The middle rope splash misses and Blayze gets two off a victory roll. Some running head slams get no cover as Harvey has the referee. Instead Blayze goes after him but can’t get the German suplex on Faye. A hurricanrana gives Blayze two and a missile dropkick has Faye reeling. Another dropkick misses though and it’s a sitout powerbomb to give Faye the pin and the title at 4:37.
Rating: D-. You can hear Vince laughing at this one and doing so all by himself. This gimmick isn’t funny and it’s a waste of someone as talented as she was. Is there any reason why they felt the need to humiliate someone that they brought in? There was nothing that the women could do when Faye was only allowed to use the “I’m big” offense in a short match. Terrible stuff here and it’s not on the wrestlers.
Post match Faye says she’s the beauty now and has the belt. Blayze would get it back in about two months.
We recap Undertaker vs. Kama Mustafa, who is the latest person to steal the urn (and melted it down into a big gold chain because reasons) as part of Undertaker vs. the Million Dollar Corporation, which felt like it went on forever. Kama even beat up some of the Creatures of the Night, meaning he’s gone too far. Therefore, it’s a casket match because what else could it be.
Paul Bearer and Undertaker promise to finish Kama.
Undertaker vs. Kama Mustafa
Casket match with Ted DiBiase in Kama’s corner to counter Bearer. Undertaker isn’t wasting time and picks Kama up for some choking and then throws him onto the casket. Something close to a Stinger Splash (THEY’RE DOING THE MATCH!!!) and Old School connects. The casket is opened revealing the Casket Cam as Kama is knocked in.
That goes nowhere this early and Kama is right back up with a top rope clothesline. Undertaker’s second Stinger Splash is caught with a powerslam and of course he sits up again. DiBiase offers a distraction so Kama can hammer and kick away. A clothesline puts Undertaker on top of the closed casket and a suplex does it again. Kama can’t piledrive him on the casket though and Undertaker backdrops him inside.
That’s fine with Kama, who hits a powerslam for a cover, checking off your required “I forgot this is a casket match” box. We hit the chinlock for a good while as the match just stops as they lay there. A belly to back suplex finally gives them something to do and the comeback is on.
The jumping clothesline connects but it’s a Cactus Clothesline to put them both in the casket. They come out and it’s a prototype of the famous shot of Shawn Michaels being dragged back in as Kama is put inside again. Back in and Kama grabs a swinging neckbreaker to put them both down again. The chokeslam connects though and it’s a Tombstone to finish Kama for good at 16:26.
Rating: D. It wasn’t even that it was bad but it was WAY too long with all of the laying around and Kama being the least believable opponent Undertaker has had in a long time. Kama felt like the villain in the fourth edition of an action movie series that has gone on too long and the star needed a paycheck. Really dull stuff here and the last thing the show needed.
Lawler is very excited about the idea of Isaac Yankem removing Bret Hart’s teeth.
Video on Yankem, who really is an evil dentist and we really are supposed to believe this as something threatening. Lawler vs. Hart has been going on for over two years now and has offered some awesome stuff, but as soon as Todd says “the King recruited a dentist”, it loses me a bit. Yankem is of course better known as Kane and his story of hearing that he was being brought in to be an evil dentist is rather funny.
Bret is ready to shut Lawler’s mouth. Bret to Yankem: “I don’t care if you’re a dentist.” Words never spoken in wrestling before or since.
Isaac Yankem vs. Bret Hart
Lawler handles Yankem’s entrance. As a bonus pun, Yankem is billed from Decay-tur, Illinois. Lawler is on commentary for a bit of a surprise as Bret gets shoved down to start. Yankem misses a big elbow but is fine enough to send Bret hard into the corner. Bret is back with an atomic drop and a clothesline for a trip to the floor. Back in and Bret hits a middle rope clothesline, followed by the headbutt to the abdomen.
The backslide gets two as Lawler is saying only Vince needs to be impartial tonight. Another hard whip into the corner takes Bret down again and Isaac chokes on the ropes until the referee drags him away by the hair. More choking ensues as Yankem doesn’t have the highest variety in his offense so far.
Bret is back up and sends him outside for a suicide dive as the comeback is on. Back in and it’s time for the Five Moves Of Doom but a Lawler distraction breaks up the Sharpshooter. Lawler stays up to cheer on Yankem’s beating (as he should) but Bret gets in a slam off the top for a rare power display.
In a change of pace, Bret ties Yankem’s legs around the post and stomps away until the referee unties Yankem’s feet. Lawler would do it but he’s too busy getting beaten up by Bret. The distraction lets Yankem hit a top rope ax handle to the back and Lawler helps him tie Bret’s neck in the ropes for the DQ at 16:10.
Rating: C+. Bret was doing everything he could here but Yankem wasn’t there yet and there’s only so much you can do as an evil dentist. The match felt straight out of Memphis with someone wanting to get at Lawler but he brought in his latest monster for protection. It’s a perfectly usable story and the match wasn’t bad, so I’ll take what I can get here.
Post match Lawler and Yankem pull at the still trapped Bret until referees break it up.
Razor Ramon isn’t scared of Shawn Michaels and he’ll take every chance he can get. If Shawn is ready to dance, Razor leads.
Intercontinental Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Shawn is defending in a ladder match, which was added due to “fan demand”, which is a rather accurate definition of what happened (originally scheduled to be Shawn vs. Sid before the company woke up and saw the rest of the card). The title is raised but hang on because Shawn isn’t happy with the way it’s attached to the hook (likely a problem with how the finish was supposed to go). Dok Hendrix has replaced Lawler on commentary.
They both look up at the title and then go to the slugout, as they should have done. The threat of an early superkick has Razor grabbing the ropes in a smart move. A Razor’s Edge attempt has Shawn looking worried so Razor throws him outside without much trouble. It’s time to go for the ladder but Shawn cuts Razor off from getting it. I’ve never gotten that but I guess it’s a pride thing.
They head back to the ring instead with Razor suplexing Shawn outside but Shawn’s leg hits the barricade in a nasty looking crash. Dok: “I might suggest that’s it.” Vince: “Uh yes that’s it.” Back in and Shawn escapes the Edge again but misses another superkick, meaning it’s a double clothesline to put them both down. Razor is up first and hits a super fall away slam as he continues the early dominance (they’re building things up here and that’s going to pay off in the end).
Now the ladder is brought in as we see Sid watching in the back. Shawn makes a fast save though and it’s his turn to grab the ladder, but he would rather hit Razor than climb. Razor breaks up a climb by pulling the tights down and then shoves the ladder over in a smart move. Replays show Shawn’s leg getting caught in the ladder on the way down as the focal point continues to grow.
The leg gets crushed in the ladder again and the fans aren’t pleased. Razor slams him legs first onto the ladder and then puts the ladder on the middle rope in the corner. That gives Razor another place to drop Shawn’s knee onto the ladder and it’s time to go into the Ric Flair cannonballs onto the leg. Shawn kicks him to the floor for a breather but that just lets Razor wrap the knee around the post. Back in and the knee gets wrenched again The ladder is set up in the middle of the ring but Shawn suplexes Razor back down for a double knockdown.
Shawn puts the ladder in the corner and whips Razor into it and bring the cheers back. A moonsault off the ladder lets Shawn hammer away but he misses the huge splash off the ladder (call back tot he previous match) and they’re both down again. They both make the slow climb and crash back down for a double crotching on the top. A missed charge with the ladder has Shawn falling out to the floor and Razor goes down with him. Shawn goes back in and sets up the ladder but Razor brings in a second ladder (a new concept at the time).
Razor drops his though and hits the Razor’s Edge off the original ladder for the big knockout shot. He can’t follow up though and they’re both down again. Both ladders are set up for a double climb but Shawn superkicks him down. Hang on though as Shawn isn’t under the belt so he jumps for it, meaning another crash down onto the bad leg. Another Razor’s Edge attempt is countered with a backdrop to the floor, allowing Shawn to go up and grab the title….but he falls again without the belt coming down. A ticked off Shawn goes up and pulls the title down to retain at 25:09.
Rating: A. Yeah this was outstanding and you could argue it’s better than the original. The big difference here was having the match involve a ladder instead of being about a ladder. They had a heck of a match with Razor working the leg and Shawn having to find a way around the power game. The teasing of finishers until the end was a great addition as well and the whole thing was a blast with big spots and awesome action throughout. Check this out and then go watch the first one again because you really could say either of them is better.
Post match Razor grabs the belt but hands it to Shawn for the nice moment.
Douglas doesn’t like Razor calling himself the Bad Guy when Razor comes in to knock him down with one punch.
Diesel isn’t worried about Mabel. You know, because he’s Mabel.
WWF World Title: King Mabel vs. Diesel
Mabel, with Sir Mo, is defending and the story here is finding out his Royal Plan. We get the trash talking before the bell and my goodness Mabel’s crown looks pitiful. It looks like it’s made of paper or cheap plastic and comes off like a toy instead of something serious. Kind of like his whole push in a way.
Mabel runs him over to start and chops away in the corner but Diesel forearms him back. The big slam doesn’t work so Diesel hits some clotheslines to put Mabel on the floor. Diesel actually manages a dive over the top (not terrible either) to take Mabel down but the fans just do not care. Mabel charges into a big boot but is back in with a….I guess Boss Man Slam, but he shoved Diesel down instead of picking him up. To mix it up a bit, Mabel sits on Diesel’s back but misses a backsplash.
The referee gets bumped so Mo comes in (which seems to be the Royal Plan), drawing out Lex Luger for the save. Well the attempted save at least as Luger is knocked outside, leaving Mabel to drop the leg on Diesel on the floor. Luger takes care of Mo (Did Luger just come out early or something? Also, that would be his last appearance in the company as he would debut on Nitro eight days later), leaving Mabel to hit the belly to belly for two. Mabel misses a middle rope splash though, allowing Diesel to hit a middle rope clothesline to retain at 9:16 (admittedly to a big pop).
Rating: D-. Oh come on what else were you expecting here? It’s freaking MABEL. Diesel is someone who can have a great match with the right opponent but Mabel is so far away from being the right opponent that he’s the left one. There’s no way to make this work as Mabel was nothing more than the big guy with a lame lackey. There was no way this was going to work, the match was terrible and they got them out of there almost as fast as possible. What else could this have been?
Overall Rating: D. There are some bright spots in here, but aside from the classic ladder match, this could have been any given house show. The opener was good, Bret vs. Yankem could have been a lot worse and the ladder match is awesome. Other than that, there is no reason to think of this as a special show in any way and that was very clear throughout. I know it’s a dark time for the company, but this was them putting out whatever they had because they had to do a show instead of trying to put on a great show. Terrible for the most part, with a few bright spots sprinkled in.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books
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