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As a WWF (or WWE) fan, this was and still is, one of my favourite Summerslam PPV events. I've watched it dozens of times on VHS. By the time of 1992, the WWF became very popular on the old Sky network Satellite since it's inception in 1989, which was admirable for such a small minority of Joe Public at the time, having satellite. Interest in the WWF in the USA was dropping after the boom period of the first "Wrestlemania" (known as the "Superbowl" of wrestling) event in 1985, up to Wrestlemania VI in 1990, after Hulk Hogan's winning streak at Wrestlemania came to an end at the hands of the Ultimate Warrior, for the WWF Championship. So it was a good business move, especially as it turned out to be a really bad year for the company, to take the event to Wembley Stadium, London. Add in all those ringside seats on the floor, and you have a massive venue for a wrestling event. 80, 355 spectators, the second biggest attendance at a WWF/E ever. It really surprises me that this remains the only WWF/E PPV to take place outside of the USA and Canada, whenever the WWF go on their world tours, they are usually full houses, so I don't know why they don't do it more often. Was the PPV any good? Did we see some quality wrestling? Well, read on...
THE BUILD-UP TO SUMMERSLAM
With Hulk Hogan saying his "farewell"(he came back a year later) to the WWF at Wrestlemania 8, Summerslam was the first WWF PPV to NOT feature the icon. Hogan helped the WWF become a multi-million sports entertainment business, with rising ticket sales and even bigger venues week in and week out, so the PPV was interesting to see where the company would go now, and who would be the top babyface (wrestling slang for "good guy"). The 2 main contenders for this much-rewarding role were the then-WWF Champion Macho Man Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. What was unusual for a PPV match, was the fact, these 2 babyfaces would headline a World Championship belt match, when it's usually bad guy vs good guy.
The storyline behind this feud was eventful. Randy Savage fell to the Warrior in a so-called "career-ending" match for the loser at the last year's Wrestlemania. However now, both were in the same team, having mind games played by the biggest heel (bad guy) of the company at the moment Ric Flair, and an injured out-of-action Mr. Perfect. Ric Flair wanted a rematch for the belt with Savage after his Wrestlemania VIII loss, but never got it. So Flair's ally, Mr. Perfect, decided to set up neogotiations, not for a rematch, but to stand by the corner of one of the men at Summerslam '92. Nobody knew who he was going to side with until the World Championship match. Much excitement was conjured up about this fact. What was the reward though, with having Mr.Perfect by your side, if you've already reached the top of the mountain, I'd like to know?
So in the weeks leading up to Summerslam, we would see Randy Savage and the Warrior alligning in a tag team, reluctantly tagging each other, in respect to their personal history in the ring, and Flair and Perfect would muck about outside the ring, and cost them matches.
This PPV was a double main event. Bret Hart, the current Intercontinental champion, was actually suppoesed to face off against Shawn Michaels, but with it being set in England, and with such a popular wrestler in the late "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, from Manchester in England, the WWF cashed in on this, and Bulldog became the challenger.
The only other match to feature a storyline, was Shawn Michaels replacement bout with Rick "The Model" Martel. This involved a love triangle storyline between the 2 combatants and Shawn's valet Sensational Sherri. This was also a heel vs heel match, unusual for the WWF at that time.
Firstly, commentary for the PPV was from the team of Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. McMahon back then, did not tout himself as the owner of the WWF or have this egomaniacal gimmick, he played it straight doing play-by-play commentary and TV presenting. Heenan, is one of the best colour commentators the WWF has ever seen, siding with the bad guys all the time and having a great sense of comic timing. There were better pairings, but McMahon and Heenan were a solid commentating team.
There are 3 matches on the video, that were actually "dark" matches, meaning untelevised when it was on live, but are on the tape here.
Bushwhackers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeat The Nasty Boys and The Mountie - A dark match, first on the tape. This was actually quite a good comedy 6-man tag match, but it took a while to get going, with countless taunting to the massive crowd in attendance from both sides. Duggan and the Bushwhackers got the biggest cheers. The most fun parts of the match was when all 6 men were in the ring, with countless clotheslines and double clotheslines. Fun match.
Papa Shango defeats El Matador- The second dark match, that wasn't really given much time to get going, so fairly forgettable. Tito Santana underwent a gimmick change in 1991/2 as "El Matador", a gimmick which failed to get him over. On the other hand, Papa Shango, although he didn't last for long in the WWF, had a great gimmick as a tattooed Voodoo practitioner who carried a smoking skull around with him. He also had mysterious powers, much like the Undertaker in later years. In this match, he casts a "spell" on poor El Matador, making him look like he's having a fit, and it was lights out for him, with his finishing move, an inverse shoulder breaker. Not a terribly exciting move you see these days.
Nailz defeats Virgil - A poor match, of just really Nailz, for some reason having The Big Bossman's nightstick and choking Virgil with it, who had been out of favour for some time in the company ranks. Nailz had a prisoner convict gimmick, so it was not hard to see a storyline between the Big Bossman, a security officer law and order gimmick, which happened later in the year. The match didn't make much sense and it was quick, no sign of the Bossman coming out.
Legion of Doom defeats Money Inc. - Hawk and Animal, of the Legion of Doom come out in motorcycles, in gold encased armour, in one of the highlights of the PPV. At the time, they had this short-lived manager named Paul Ellering, along with his ventriloquist dummy Rocky. Don't ask me why. So they face 2 solid wrestlers which were the Million Dollar Man and Irwin R. Shyster. This was a decent match with Money Inc, controlling most of the match, which lagged in places.
Shawn Michaels vs. Rick Martel (double countout) - An OK match that could've been better. The 2 became more concerned about Sherri's welfare after she fainted during the match. The match also had an unusual stipulation, brought on by love-struck Sherri, that the 2 should not hit each other in the face. When they started hitting each other in the face, that's when she fainted. Poor Sherri. Rick and Shawn both try to take the unconscious Sherri backstage (whatever for?). The circus comes to town when the match ends on Rick Martel throwing a bucket of water over Shawn and Sherri. Sherri suddenly wakes up screaming in her godawful voice feeling humiliated, running behind the curtain.
The Natural Disasters deafeat The Beverly Brothers - The Natural Disasters, Earthquake and Typhoon successfully defend their tag titles against The Beverly Brothers, who are managed by The Genius. It was a decent match. Earthquake saves the day with a 3 pin count.
Crush defeats Repo Man - Quite a good, really short squash match for Crush. This was fued with his former tag team partner, Barry Darsaw, now under the new gimmick of "The Repo Man". Crush lands hims in an unusual finishing move called the Coconut Crush, basically crushing his head with both hands on either side.
Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage - The World Championship match was once again sandwiched somewhere in the middle of the PPV, just like Savage and Flair in the last PPV, Wrestlemania 8. This was a good, ranging on very good match between the pair, and we find out Mr. Perfect was bluffing all along! Him and Flair come out and try to ruse both competitors in the course of the match, so no surprise there. Despite the fact, the Ultimate Warrior is not regarded as a great wrestler and many of his matches lasting for none more than 10 mins, he always worked well with Savage and had an in-ring chemistry with him. The match ran for nearly half and hour and there were many near pinfalls. It's an under-rated match, overshadowed by their previous aforementioned career ending match at 1991's Wrestlemania VII.
Tatanka defeats Berzerker - Just another decent match and nothing special. Tatanka was a relatively recent wrestler and extends his undefeated streak against the nordic gimmick of The Berzerker. An unusual guy always saying "huss" when he wrestles. Tatanka enjoyed an undefeated streak that would go on for nearly 2 years in the WWF. This was actually a "dark match" too, despite appearing much later on the card.
The Undertaker defeats Kamala by DQ - Not a classic by any means, but I always looked forward to watching the Undertaker wrestle. He comes out standing inside a hearse (the sunroof is open, hence he can stand). The Undertaker had been in the WWF for over a year by this point, started off as a villain, but is now a good guy, but he still acts the same, almost lifeless yet impervious to pain. Kamala doesn't give him much of a match, as he's scared out of his wits wrestling this "deadman". Kamala was an African tribesman gimmick, who doesn't live in the modern age. The match turns into a comedy-like match. The look on Kamala's face after the Undertaker just sits back up, after a beatdown, is priceless.
The British Bulldog defeats Bret Hart - The last match was our homeboy Davey Boy Smith against Canadian Bret Hart. This is regarded as one of wrestling's greatest "pure wrestling" matches, all of the action is in the ring, and we see a great deal of technical skills from both competitors. The Wembley crowd reactions to the match are electric, cheering on their local boy (well, by about 300 miles!). What's more, in this fued, is, Bulldog is Bret's real-life brother-in-law, married to his sister Diana Hart who is interviewed before the match, showing great concern for both wrestlers. Bulldog is interviewed before the match and claims when he steps in that ring, he won't see him as a relative, but somebody he doesn't even know. At the end of this spectacle. Bulldog wins the Intercontinental belt, and Bret shakes his hands and forgives him, well, they forgive each other, at the end of the day, as they are family.
Summerslam 92 is still an unforgettable PPV from the WWF of the early 90s. Sure, not a great card overall, but the main event practically outwrestled any of the Hogan main events in every single WWF PPV beforehand, and a good choice to place the match last on the card. This led the way for smaller in build wrestlers like Bret Hart to become world champions, and the WWF's star man. This was however partly due to the WWF facing a much-publicised steroid scandal trial, where wrestlers like Hulk Hogan were questioned if he took drugs to imrove his bulk. Sadly, Bulldog was fired from the WWF not long after Summerslam, after having been discovered ordering growth hormone drugs, so lost the IC title to Shawn Michaels. Davey Boy did come back to the WWF a few years later, but went to WCW in 1993.
Summerslam '92 was around the time when the boom period of the WWF was coming to an end. Alot of big stars like the Ultimate Warrior, Hogan and Ted Dibiase left, retired or were fired by the end of the year with the exception of Randy Savage. I can remember roughly over a year later from this event, how shocked I was, seeing so many new faces and so many not about anymore, that were a large part of the boom period. The cartoonish gimmicks remained some time later, but the WWF suffered from the steroid trial and experienced a financial downturn for a quite a few years following 1992, but that's another story!
WWF Summerslam 1992 sticks in the mind for a lot of British wrestling fans as particularly memorable because it took place in Wembley Stadium, and was also the ONLY mainstream WWF/WWE pay-per-view to take place in the UK. Normally we get relegated to Rebellion/Insurrection PPVs or televised Raw/Smackdowns, where nothing of significance ever happens, and even if a title changes, it changes back the next week on U.S. soil.
Summerslam 1992, however, is a different beast altogether; it featured a brilliant main event between The British Bulldog and Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship, that is one of the better WWE matches to take place in the UK, and is very memorable not only for Bulldog's victory, but for the iconic imagery, including him being led to the ring by boxing champ Lennox Lewis. The event also had a massive attendance of 80,355, which is the second largest that a WWF/WWE event has ever had.
The film doesn't just survive on the strength of the main event, though; there are plenty of great matches, including The Ultimate Warrior battling Randy Savage, The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) facing off against Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster), and Shawn Michaels facing Rick Martel for the "ownership" of Sensational Sherri.
The event was a massive success critically and commercially, and the brilliant main event bout is reportedly Bret Hart's favourite match of all time, and is frequently cited as not only the best wrestling match of 1992, but the best Summerslam match of all time, and in fact the best Intercontinental Title match ever, also. It wasn't just for sentiment that the match unfolded as it did, though, for Bulldog enjoyed a brief but joyous reign as champion.
Remember the days of the WWF rather than the boring WWE? This mega event was one of the leading pay per view events of the WWF era. Held at Wembley stadium, England - this was the first time a major televised major WWF event was held this side of the ocean.
Whilst the undercard was largely un-eventful and pretty routine, the stand out matches were the headline bouts. The most memorable undercard moment came with appearance of the Legion of Doom, Animal and the late Hawk, riding down the long entrance ramp in their Harley Davidsons on their way to their match. The Undertaker proved extremely popular with the fans as soon as the gong started chiming, aided with the presence of a funeral hearse at ringside, However, his match with Kamala was sub standard due to the limitationsof Kamala and a cheap disqualification finish.
The Macho Man Randy Savage proved he still had it in his match with the Ulitmate Warrior. For some reason these two headliners always brought the best out of each other - surprising considering Jim Helwig's poor wrestling ability. The bout was a true masterpiece in terms of how to tell a story in the ring. With Ric Flair and Mr Perfect at ringside suggesting that one of the two faces had sold out for their services in winning the match, the tension was high and the crowd kept in suspense throughout.
The main event of the late British Bulldog against Bret Hart was possibly the greatest bout in WWF history. Fought over the intercontinental championship, the match was 30 minutes of fast paced technical wrestling at its greatest. Lennox Lewis accompanied the Bulldog to ringside and ensured a great reception for the British native. The crowd left happy as Davey Boy Smith pinned Bret Hart for the title in what sadly marked the high point of his career. The British Bulldog passed away in 2001.
A must see event for any wrestling fan - it shows Vince McMahon used to be able to put on a great show and tell captivating storylines, seriously lacking in today's WWE.
Held in Wembley Stadium in London, England, Summerslam 1992 was a history making pay-per-view as it was first PPV to be held in these fine shores. The show will always be remembered for the classic bout between The British Bulldog and Bret Hart over the latter's Intercontinental championship. It was a rare occurrence at the time that two fan-favourites fought, although the crowd here were desperate to see one of there own capture the title, and it seemed fitting that The British Bulldog was led to the ring by a man whom is no stranger to titles himself, Heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis.
The other main attraction on the show saw Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior clash over the Heavyweight title with the added twist that Mr. Perfect claimed that he would be in the corner of one of the men and attempt to help them emerge victorious.
Elsewhere on the show, Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel clashed over the affections of Sensational Sherri, The Undertaker tangled with Kamala and The Legion of Doom faced Money Inc. There were a few other card fillers, but that is exactly what they were - matches just to fill out the card and served little or no purpose.
As a show overall, it wasn't great. There was just the one worthwhile bout, but what a match that was and that match alone makes this show a must-see.
Summerslam 1992 was the one and only time the WWF ever held one of its big four events in the UK, and what an event it was. Headlined by an epic battle between Davey Boy Smith and Bret Hart, the two technical whizz kids tore the house down in a battle for the Intercontinental Title which was eventually won by the hometown boy, which elicited a tremendous reaction from the thousands in attendance.
Elsewhere Macho Man lost to the Ultimate Warrior via countout following heavy interference from Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect, The Undertaker buried Kamala in a terrible mate, The Legion of Doom defeated Money Inc, Nailz squashed Virgil, Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel battled to a double countout in an entertaining match in which neither of the narccisists were able to punch the other in the face, and the Natural Disasters successfully defended their tag team titles against the Beverly Brothers in a predictably poor match.
Overall this was an entertaining card, significant not just for being in England, but for being headlined by two technical wrestlers battling for the Intercontinental title. Definitely worth a watch.