Date: August 26, 1991
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Boobie (Bobby) The Brain Heenan, Roddy Piper
SummerSlam ’91 was the first SummerSlam I remember watching as a kid. I had just started watching wrestling the year before, witnessing the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan battle it out in the Main Event of WrestleMania 6. Now, just a little over a year later, Hogan and Warrior were teaming up as “The Ultimate Maniacs” to fight for America!
But while the main event may have been what drew me to this PPV, it was the undercard that really sold me.
The opening segment for SummerSlam is still one of my favorites, including the event’s theme music, which will always be the official SummerSlam theme for me. Vince McMahon is screaming at the top of his lungs to remind everyone that we are invited to Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth’s wedding (“The Match Made in Heaven”), and it really is still one of the best Vince McMahon introductions to a PPV.
Match #1: The British Bulldog, Ricky Steamboat and The Texas Tornado Vs Power and Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules) and The Warlord (w/Slick)
This match is just packed with stars and a really good opening match. The crowd was really into this match and you could feel the energy in the building. The power battles between Bulldog and The Warlord were always a site to see. I really wish these 2 faced each other a lot more in the ring. The Texas Tornado really shines in this match and Ricky Steamboat always brings his A game. This is a great opening match to start the show with a Bang!
(Fun Fact: British Bulldog was in the opening match of SummerSlam ’91 but would go on to face his brother in-law, Bret Hart, for the Intercontinental Championship just one year later in the Main Event at SummerSlam ’92.)
Match #2: WWF Intercontinental Championship: Mr. Perfect (c) Vs Bret Hart
This easily could be the Greatest Match in the history of SummerSlam. I would even say one of the Greatest of all time. It is my 2nd favorite match of all time and the match that made me a Mr. Perfect Fan for life. The opening promo from Mr. Perfect is exactly what he represented perfection. Both of these men told an amazing story in the ring and gave us a technical spectacle that no one could of expected. Also having Stu and Helen Hart, Bret’s Parents watching live in the audience just adds more emotion to this match.
This is the Match of the Night!
What’s even more amazing is the condition that Hennig’s back was in at the time. In fact he had basically retired from the ring but still wanted to go out and put Bret over. Perfect would spend the next year or so recuperating and would only appear as a consultant to Ric Flair before returning to the ring at Survivor Series ’92.
Match #3: The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart) Vs The Bushwhackers (w/ André the Giant)
This is a fun filler match on the card. The Bushwhackers always would entertain and it’s always good to see André the Giant. This match is nowhere near the best on the card but it does set up a future feud with a certain team which you will see near the end of this match.
Match #4: Million Dollar Championship: Ted Dibiase (c) (w/ Sensational Sherri) Vs Virgil
I remember that every time I saw Virgil, he was always in the background while Ted Dibiase shined in the spotlight. Virgil was very loyal and Dibiase was not a nice guy. Win, Lose or Draw, Virgil always helped Ted in some way, even if it meant getting himself beaten up. That is until enough was finally enough.
The match itself was mediocre at best. I’ve seen way better matches from Dibiase, but the emotion was high and the story had been building for a long time, so the fans were genuinely shocked by the outcome of this match.
I definitely was shocked to say the least by the end.
Match #5: Jailhouse Match: Big Boss Man Vs The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Stipulation: “Loser has to spend 24 hours in a New York City jail”
The Big Boss Man had started out as a heel, but once he turned face he quickly became a huge fan favorite. The Mountie always gave a solid performance, and the little promo he cuts before the match–where he is speaking to the cops about not being nice (as they normally would), but to instead be mean and rough when coughing the Boss Man (like a Mountie would)–is a classic.
It’s a solid match and both performers can really go for men their size. I really like the stipulation of this one it may be silly but is really fun and entertaining.
I won’t spoil the match, but following the conclusion we do see the loser going through booking at the police station. What ensues is some of the funniest moments in the history of the WWE. As the cops attempt to fingerprint the loser of the match, they ask for his finger, to which he replies with, “You want a finger? There’s a finger,” and flips off the cops.
5 Minute Intermission & Promos
I really miss the part of the PPV where they would interview the winners and losers from earlier matches on the show. We also get to see the loser of the aforementioned Jailhouse Match go through booking at the Police Station.
Match #6: Street Fight for the WWF Tag Team Championship: The Nasty Boys Vs The Legion of Doom
In what is still one of my favorite tag team title matches, both teams are tough as nails and stiff as hell too.
It’s no secret the Nasty Boys were not well liked in the locker room and the Legion of Doom (aka: LOD; aka: The Road Warriors) would not put up with any BS. This match is a firecracker out of the gate, with LOD attacking the Nastys with their full spiked shoulder pads being, simply put, awesome.
Now this may not be quite like the Street Fights many wrestling fans have come to know, but this is still a fun, hard-hitting, highly-entertaining match that highlighted both teams and left me wanting more.
Match #7: Irwin R. Schyster Vs Greg Valentine
This is basically a filler match.
Both men are very talented performers. But without having any build or even any promos for this match, it’s kind of like the company was saying, “Here’s an extra match before the Main Event starts.” It’s not a bad match, but nobody would really miss it if it wasn’t on the card.
Main Event: The Ultimate Maniacs (Hogan & Warrior) Vs Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa (Iron Sheik) and General Adnan
"The Match Made In Hell"
Special Guest Referee: Sid Justice
This match was touted as “A Match Made in Hell”, but little did Mr. McMahon know just how appropriate that title would be.
This is the infamous match that the Ultimate Warrior held hostage, refusing to go out and perform unless Vince McMahon paid up more money. There are few rules that a wrestler can get away with breaking, and refusing to appear on a show that you have been promoted on is the #1 on the list of things you DO NOT DO. This was the beginning of the well-documented up-and-down, roller coaster-like relationship between the WWE and the (now recently deceased) Ultimate Warrior.
The match itself is definitely not the best on the card. But for 7-year old me, it had everything I wanted. Whether you’re a fan of Hogan or the Warrior (or neither), you can’t deny the energy that these two always brought to the ring. Between all the Superstars in the match, you had so much ego in there at one time that I’m surprised it didn’t collapse from the shear weight of it all.
And despite everything that was going on behind the curtain, it all went off without a hitch. And I’m curious if the outcome of the match would have been different in some way had Warrior not broken the Golden Rule before the match.
The Ultimate Maniacs might not have last all that long, but at least we have 1 match to remember them by.
The Match Made in Heaven: The Wedding of Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth
The WWE has had quite a few weddings over the years–some good, some bad. But this wedding was not a gag. It didn’t have a huge swerve. And it involved 2 people that were actually in love and actually married in real life.
For years the fans watched the Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth have there ups and downs. And at the previous year’s WrestleMania, after Sensational Sherri (Macho Man’s then-manager) betrayed the Macho Man following his loss to the Ultimate Warrior, the reunion between Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth was nothing short of amazing. And it all lead to a proposal on June 17, 1991, during the taping of Superstars of Wrestling, with the wedding date set for SummerSlam.
It was a pleasant, quick ceremony that was (and still is) unlike many of other WWE weddings, which always seem to drag on for far too long. The PPV ends just after the ceremony, but highlights of the wedding reception were aired on the WWF’s syndicated and cable programs (and includes some shenanigans like Jake the Snake and The Undertaker crashing the party).
I won’t spoil the actual ceremony for the viewers who may not know what happens Unfortunately, SummerSlam ’91 on the WWE Network does not have the wedding reception, instead ending just after the wedding as in the original broadcast.
SummerSlam ’91 may not have had the greatest card, though all but one match brought something unique and fun to the card. From the opening match, the fans are electric and don’t stop for a second.
And it does help to consider that, back in 1991, there were only 4 WWF PPVs each year. This afforded the feuds and storylines quite a bit of time to develop between PPVs. The Wedding had been building for years. The Bret/Perfect match is one of the greatest technical bouts of all time. The Street Fight may not be like your average street fight today, but it is still a brawl from bell-to-bell (and knowing both teams’ histories makes it a must see). And the Main Event, which tries to reinvent the first SummerSlam (1988) Main Event (The Mega Powers Vs The Mega Bucks). It may not be on the same level as that match, but it does feel like the big blockbuster type of match that SummerSlam is known for.
It should also be noted that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and The Brain are hilarious throughout the entire show, teasing each other back and forth (how Gorilla got control of those two I will never know). But anytime Bobby and Gorilla were commentating, you knew you were in for some laughs and good times.
I’m willing to admit that I may be a little biased when it comes to SummerSlam ’91 because it was my first. But after watching the card, I’m sure you’ll agree SummerSlam 91 lives up to the title the “Biggest Event of the Summer” and is deserving of the #5 spot on the Top 5 SummerSlam Events of All Time.
Click the above image to read a review of the #4 pick!