These Silver Vision 'Tagged Classics' don't come with any extras or frills, but we should be damned glad we can see these excellent classic events in any form. As there are two of these pay per views (PPVs) in this set, I have reviewed them separately:
I remember Summerslam 92 well. One because it was the first (and still only) major WWE pay per view held outside of North America, and two because I was there. Looking back at my 10-year-old's perspective, it was an amazing event. 80,000 people at the old Wembley Stadium, a huge lighting and video screen rig over the ring and the whole setting bathed in sunshine. Time has not eroded those memories and watching the whole event back certainly doesn't take any of the magic away. This version of the shows includes all three dark matches as well, which is excellent as the PPV version at the time (shown on a two day delay due to timing issues in the US) excluded these. The matches themselves are often poor and sometimes only mildly exciting, but the unique atmosphere and spectacle holds your attention so well that it almost doesn't matter.
I say almost, because you can't get past the main downside of Summerslam 92. As with every PPV or large event the WWE hold in the UK, it is treated somewhat with contempt. One can't help but get the feeling that many of the matches were rushed, thrown together late, involve a patronising number of cheap comedy spots and come with very little back-story. Okay, so in those days many matches didn't really have a storyline, but the ones used here were pretty lame even at the time. The Mr. Perfect angle used in the Ultimate Warrior/Randy Savage WWE title match made no real sense and ended in a total anti-climax, much like the match with its cheap count-out finish (sadly a common occurrence in the days before audiences grew older and wiser). And the story behind the British Bulldog and Bret Hart Intercontinental title encounter was pretty awful too, suggesting that the fact the Bulldog wanted a title match against his brother-in-law would somehow tear the family apart. Hmmmm.
The main matches themselves were good. Warrior and Savage put on an excellent show (orchestrated by Savage of course), only spoiled by the ending. The Undertaker's match with Kamala is fair, but Kamala was so limited that it is mercifully short. And the Bulldog/Hart affair is excellent from start to finish, although legend has it that Bret needed to talk Davey Boy through the match as he forgot all the spots early on. Looking closely at the usage of rest holds, this could well be true. Even so, the match is great and ends in what was a very unique finish for a WWE match at the time. But, typical of the contempt mentioned earlier, the title win for Davey was a token gesture which WWE knew would send the crowd home happy, and something they had no intention of using further. Hence the Bulldog dropped the belt to Shawn Michaels in his first defence two months later.
But the real triumph of Summerslam 92 is that it was the first PPV that WWE had ever produced without Hulk Hogan. And it worked a treat, mostly because they didn't try a ridiculous mega push for some 'new' Hulk Hogan-esque character, and simply let the established stars take the baton. Which is more than can be said for a year later..
Summerslam 93 is an inferior event to that which took place a year previous, but is still strangely entertaining. The entire event is taken over by Lex Luger's push as an 'American Hero'. Luger had entered the WWE in late 1992, after his contract expired with WCW, as a heel called 'The Narcissist'. But on July 4th he won mega-heel Yokozuna's 'Body Slam Challenge' on board the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier by body slamming the 500-pound behemoth and instantly turned face. He then embarked on a month-long tour of the USA promoting his 'call to action' campaign, which was never actually explained and appeared to be just a series of rather cushy autograph sessions.
Naturally, Luger was supposed to make as big an impact as Hulk Hogan. Whilst Luger was very intense and reasonable enough in the ring, he never really possessed the star quality of Hogan and fans could see what WWE were trying to do. That said, the heat on his title match with Yokozuna was absolutely huge, and WWE blew it big time.
Before that though, the under card keeps the interest in places. Some of the matches are disappointing (the Steiner Brothers vs The Heavenly Bodies could have been excellent but was pretty poor), and some were unnecessary. The Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler 'King of the WWF' match is ridiculously drawn out, encompassing as it does two whole matches (Bret vs Doink the Clown and Bret vs Lawler), lots of talking and a fair bit of messing about at the end. Following that, the Undertaker is lumbered with yet another talentless goon in the Giant Gonzalez, who almost ruins the match. It is a great credit to Mark Callaway's talent and willingness to put others first that the match is not a complete disaster.
But the main event truly is that. It's actually a very good match and showcases Yokozuna as the excellent heel and very underrated ring technician that he was. The heat from the crowd is huge, and Luger uses it well. But the count-out finish was one of the most bone-headed moves in WWE booking history. Probably the biggest single push ever given to a WWE wrestler came to absolutely nothing due to the match having a virtual non-finish. A win for either man would have kept the heat going (as long as Yoko's victory was tainted somehow), but putting the belt on Luger at this time would have been a huge boon considering his sudden popularity. As the target market at the time, I would certainly have loved it.
So overall, these two events are an excellent reminder of how things were post-Hogan, both the good and the bad. If you've any fondness for the pre-attitude WWE, these are two of the most interesting events out there.Read more ›
SummerSlam 1992 is without doubt the WWF's most famous event not to have taken place in North America and it's difficult to see that, outside of bringing WrestleMania to these shores, the WWE could fill Wembley Stadium to the rafters for an event like this in 2010. Given the sheer amount of WWE shows we can see on these shores these days it's difficult to appreciate the novelty value that seeing SummerSlam in the UK must have had. That the WWE had the sense to book Davey Boy Smith in an Intercontinental Title match meant that the atmosphere was electric (and again, can you imagine a British wrestler challenging for the IC title having such an impact today?).
Hart/Smith is genuinely one of the greatest WWF bouts of the era and the temptation is to label SS 92 as a one-match card. It is, however, a little more than that,if only by the skin of it's teeth. Whilst Ric Flair at ringside and the lack of a clean finish hurt the World Title match between Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior is dramatic and is in some senses a forgotten mini-classic. Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel have an entertaining tussle over the love of Sensational Sherri and the opener between The Legion of Doom and Money Inc. is more than adequate. Sadly the rest of the card is largely useless; The Undertaker against Kamala and Nailz against Virgil are abysmal and whilst the meeting between Crush and the Repo Man might be slightly interesting pitting as it does two former members of Demolition against each other (a fact not acknowledged by the WWF at the time of course) it's still a bomb.
1993's SummerSlam largely was built around the attempt to make Lex Luger the new Hulk Hogan. We all know that failed, but you have to say that the WWF couldn't have done much more than they did in trying. Perhaps if he'd won the title here things might have been different but I personally very much doubt it. His match here with Yokozuna is as dreadful as you might expect given 'Zuna's presence.
The undercard has some very entertaining and interesting moments though; the opener sees Ted DiBiase's last match as a WWF employee as he takes on Razor Ramon in a decent bout and although the Heavenly Bodies aren't over in the slightest their match with the Steiner Brothers is another exciting tussle. Shawn Michaels against Mr Perfect is a disappointment given the two men involved (a fact Shawn blames on the similarity of styles between the pair) but is still a fair match and the heat for the Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler stuff is immense, even with the involvement of Doink the Clown. Ok, so IRS' demolition of the 1-2-3 Kid is senseless, Ludvig Borga's match against Marty Jannetty is pointless and the Undertaker is once again dragged down by a useless opponent (this time Giant Gonzales, who must be up there is the list of the worst ever wrestlers to have a WW(F)E contract) but overall there are just about more hits than misses even if, in the final analysis, Summerslam 93 has to be regarded as a failure given that it's aim was to make Lex Luger it's new Hulk Hogan and it never even got close.Read more ›
I started getting into the WWF,as it was then,in late 1991,in 1992 we had the greatest royal rumble of them all perhaps and a cracking wrestlemania followed that,then came one of the most hyped events of my lifetime in wrestling due to the fact that the event was staged in wembley stadium in england,granted i am not from the uk as i am irish but the publicity and sense of euphoria was shattering and i was swept up in it big time. The event is largely considered one of the great events in wrestling history,granted there is the odd match that has a sense of 'filler' about it but the quality of those involved and the superb crowd who screamed their hearts out ensured that this event would be talked about for an age. The event opened with a six man tag as the bushwackers and hacksaw jim duggan went up against the nasty boys and the mountie.This match was decent enough,it did drag a little in parts but then it improved and the crowd went bananas and that guaranteed that the crowd would then be on good voice from this point on so with that in mind this was a good opener. Papa shango fought tito santana next in a good match,there wasnt much to fault here and some good moves can be seen here. The legion of doom fought money inc. next in a really good match,two great tag teams who fought out some great matches and really battled hard here,there wasnt much to seperate them in truth,great skills and determination were the order of the day and i was very pleased with this match. virgil fought nailz next,this match was short and not so sweet,there wasnt much to discuss here,i guess you could call it a squash match but it may not even have been worthy of that. Rick martel and shawn michaels were up next,this match was all about sensational sherris influence,she wanted both men to avoid hitting the other on the face and this meant the match had an innovative feel to it at first but ultimately it all came down to some comical touches.Both men were pouting away and even though both would have been considered heels at this time,that didnt stop the crowd cheering their lips off,entertaining match throughout. The tag team titles were up next as the champions,the natural disasters went up against blake and beau (the beverly brothers).This was another good match,the beverly brothers functioned very well here,cutting the ring in half and using quick tags and thats something that the brain busters used to do and is very commendable.The disasters took a while to get going but they played their part in this quality encounter. Crush fought repo man next,these two made up two thirds of demolition once upon a time so i was expecting plenty and i didnt get it,this was a squash match regardless of how you choose to call it,crush displayed great power here but that was just bread and butter to the big man. The WWF championship was up next in a very exciting encounter,the champion macho man randy savage went up against the ultimate warrior who looked odd in his little muscle suit,a very vain man indeed,anyway! this was a very gruelling and entertaining match,i would go as far as to call it a corker,mr.perfect and ric flair decided to head to the ring at one point and this raised the quality even higher,a great match,but there was more to come. Tatanka fought berzerker next in a solid match that didnt ruffle any feathers in truth but didnt stink the joint out,it was a match in between good and bad but maintained the crowds manic madness. The undertaker fought kamala next,the ending was slightly poor but the match showcased why the taker was so highly regarded and he wasnt that long into his WWE career at this point,he needed better competition in truth but this match was ok. The main event was next and i recall this match being one of the most talked about of the entire event,brother in law vs brother in law,bret hart,the intercontiental champion,against the british bulldog,the hometown hero,he even had lennox lewis escorting him to the ring,a very biased crowd willed davey on and what happened next will always be spoke of,quite simply-we were treated to a match so good that all young superstars should watch it flat out,it involved some very pure wrestling,skills and strength that defied logic and little could seperate these two at all,when all was said and done and the lights went out few could argue that this event was a towering success. Summerslam 1993 is the second disc on this tagged classic and while not as good as the previous years it was still rich in quality,mind you,the push for lex luger was a little numbing. The event opened with the million dollar man ted dibiase going up against razor ramon,this feud had been boiling over nicely and the match itself was very good,it proved to be an enjoyable opener with both men proving that they were some of the leading men at this time regardless of where there match was in the pecking order. The WWF tag team titles were up next as hometown icons,the steiners went up against the tag team of tom prichard and jimmy del ray (the heavenly bodies)-remember them?This team was in fact signed with smoky mountain wrestling at this juncture so this was exciting,anyway,the match was loaded with brilliance and the bodies showcased their talents brilliantly,they worked their socks off,they remind me of all that was good about tagh team wrestling and in fact where better on the night to their more established oppenents,a good match. The WWF intercontiental championship was up next as the champion shawn michaels went up against mr.perfect in what proved to be an excellent match,again there was a weak enough ending but before that we were treated to excellence over and over again. I.R.S went up against the 1,2,3 kid who looked like a 5 year old child at this point and the match wasnt really a contest,the kid had some moments but there wasnt much in the way of impact,the kid had pace but he looked lost in this match and while irwin oversold the odd move,there wasnt really any doubt in what would happen here. Bret hart was meant to fight jerry lawler next in a feud that was borderline nasty,instead lawler feigned injury so doink took over,despite vince and heenan on commentary overselling that doink was a master technician and so forth which wasnt true this was an ok bout but the crowd wanted more and they got it when jerry lawler was forced to fight bret and we were treated to a better match,a savage enough aftermath followed but jerry had the last laugh and saluted the crowd accordingly. Ludvig borga fought marty jannetty next in a dull enough match and considering that ludvig was only with the company a month or two at this point i didnt see his future being that bright on this showing,yes he was strong and so on but he was sloppy and brought the match down in my opinion,jannetty wasnt without fault either and this was one of the poorer matches on what was a good night for the company. A rest in peace match followed,rest in peace may sound fancy but it was just another match as the undertaker fought the oddly dressed giant gonzalez in what was a rotten match with one of the worst endings i have seen.The two men could not get going and the giant hoofed about yet never looked that bothered,the taker couldnt carry him through this and it was all much about nothing,poor. A six man tag followed where the smokin' gunns and tatanka went up against the headshrinkers and bam bam,this was a great match but i must state that the wrong team won in my opinion,seldom have i seen a three man team like the headshrinkers and bam bam gel as well,they were superb,they really were and this was a match that you need to see. The main event was next,you want hype,you want a wrestler getting a push,you want all of that?,then watch as lex luger was deemed as americas saviour,clearly and we all know it,the WWF wanted lex to be as big as hogan,it didnt happen,nowhere near,he wasnt the man for the job at all,his match on the night was against the WWF champ yokozuna,who was morbidly obese at this point and we all watched a match that had few saving graces,it did have some good,but then there was the bad and the ugly,the ending was sickening and a poor excuse for an overblown celebration,it was actually humilating to watch the aftermath. These two events feature some of the best of what was around in the early 1990s and some of the matches,indeed most,are of a high standard,plus you get great commentary from bobby the brain which will make you smile.This dvd combi is great value and worth your cash,a happy time in my history,ah memories.Read more ›