Date: August 29, 1992 (aired August 31, 1992)
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Commentators: Vince McMahon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
We’ve reached the Number Two spot on the countdown and is anyone surprised that we have yet to leave the 1990s? Neither am I.
This was probably the hardest spot to fill, especially because SummerSlam ‘92 could have easily been number one on my list. It has some amazing matches on the card, some of the greatest of all time. The fans were electric the whole day. And the fly over camera shots are simply spectacular. SummerSlam ’91 may have been my first, but 1992 is the one that solidified my love for the “Biggest Event of the Summer”.
SummerSlam ’92 was the first PPV in a long time that didn’t feature Hulk Hogan anywhere on the card. The first and only SummerSlam to be held in an open arena. And the first WWF PPV to be hosted outside the US. (In fact, there’s a petition that’s been circulating online for awhile now to get SummerSlam to return to Wembley. But only time will tell if that ever happens. And I hope that it does.)
A little bit of trivia: SummerSlam ’92 actually took place on August 29 but didn’t air in the United States until two days later. This is a feat that could never be pulled off now–at least not without spoilers–thanks to social media.
Match #1: The Legion of Doom (w/Paul Ellering) Vs. Money Inc. (w/Jimmy Hart)
This is a really good opening match–both teams are exceptionally talented, know how to tell a story in the ring, and the match starts in a hurry and never lets up. The entrance by LOD is Awesome! Riding their motorcycles down to ringside with Paul Ellering (one of my favorite managers of all time)–as well as Rocco riding with Paul–was just so awesome.
Anytime you have the Road Warriors (as they were known outside of the WWF/E) or Money Inc. in the ring, you know you are going to get the best they have to offer, which makes this a solid opener that sets a great pace for the rest of the show.
Match #2: Nailz Vs. Virgil
This isn’t really a wrestling match as it is an assault. It won’t go down in history as being a great match. Hell, it can’t even be considered a decent match. But it did show Nailz as a crazy powerhouse ex-convict who will destroy anyone in his path.
I always liked Nailz–he seemed legitimately crazy. (In fact, if you know the history between McMahon and Nailz, then you know that he actually was at least a little crazy.) He might not have lasted long in the WWF, but his few matches really stood out to me–especially his feud with Big Boss Man.
Match #3: Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Rick Martel
This match is truly a fun one. And for those who can remember the PPV at all, this match’s “no hitting the face” stipulation is the often the first thing that comes to mind.
The feud between both men had been building in the weeks leading into SummerSlam, with Martel caught winking at Sherri and both men subsequently interrupting each other’s matches. After the match was set, Sherri didn’t want to see either man–both of whom she considered to be very handsome–have their faces harmed during the fight. So, in true wrestling fashion, she had them both agree to not hit each other in the face during the match. And the pre-match exchange between Vince and Bobby after hearing about this strange stipulation is hilarious.
This match may not be the most technical, but they definitely managed to entertain–sticking to the stipulation and playing up the angle that neither man wanted to upset Sherri.
Fun Fact: Shawn Michaels was originally set to face Bret Hart for the Intercontinental title at SummerSlam ’92, but when the venue was changed from Washington, D.C. to Wimbely Stadium, he was replaced by the British Bulldog.
Match #4: WWF Tag Team Championship – The Natural Disasters (c) Vs. The Beverly Brothers (w/ The Genius)
This match may not last long, but the fans’ energy is crazy. If there was a roof on the building, they’d have blown it off during this match.
I was a big fan of Earthquake, and anytime he was in the ring I enjoyed seeing this massive man move like he was a lightweight. In my opinion, this was not anything to brag about. But while it wasn’t the best Tag Team title match, you’d never know it from the way, as Gorilla Monsoon would say, “the crowd was going bananas.”
Match #5: Crush Vs. Repo Man
I really enjoyed Crush and think that–if he’d been given some better gear and a push–he’d have been a top superstar and maybe even a World Champion. Unfortunately for him, that never happened. (But that’s rant for another day.)
Crush really shows his power in this match from the get go. No wrestling fan I’ve ever met has willingly said they were a fan of Repo Man, but you can’t deny that he was a solid worker that always went out and did his job to the best of his ability. This one is what we’d call a “squash match”, but the fans seemed to enjoy it.
Match #6: WWF Heavyweight Championship – Randy Savage (c) Vs. The Ultimate Warrior
I admit to not being a Warrior fan back in the day, but this is by far my favorite Ultimate Warrior match. And the his feud with Savage were his best matches in the WWF period.
Although Warrior refused to turn heel for this match, the build was incredible. Each week Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair would remind everyone that whichever Superstar (Warrior or Savage) paid the most could have Perfect in their corner during this title match.
The match itself was everything I wanted it to be and more. I really love the dedication Savage had when he sold moves. At eight-years old, I truly thought that these were real life Supermen that could take endless beatings each week and keep coming back, and Savage was the best! This match was indeed a true Blockbuster type of match and deserved to be called the SummerSlam main event.
It may not have been as good as their Wrestlemania 7 match but the energy in the building was incredible. Both guys were at the top of their games and by the time this match started the Sun had gone down and the stadium couldn’t of looked better. I really love open arenas.
(side note: the feuds that continued–and were started–because of this match were and always will be some of my favorites.)
Match #7: The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Kamala (w/ Harvey Wippleman & Kim Chee)
The Undertaker is and always will be one of the greatest to ever step foot in the ring. And in 1992, just two years after his debut, The Undertaker was really playing up the “DeadMan” gimmick. Although he’d already won the WWF title after defeating Hulk Hogan a year earlier, Kamala was the first real “Big Man” that I remember the Undertaker taking on. Looking back at his career, he’s gone through a number of giants. But when they booked this match, I really wasn’t sure what to expect other than the “Dead Man” would have some trouble with the Ugandan Giant.
The match is a classic Undertaker match, and this is really only the beginning of their feud. If you’re a fan of the Undertaker, you owe it to yourself to watch the Kamala/Taker feud as it marked the beginning of a long line of “Giant Obstacles” for the Dead Man. A lot of solid shots and the antics between the “Dead Man” and the “Wild Savage” Kamala are just plain fun.
Match #8: WWF Intercontinental Championship – Bret Hart (c) Vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Lennox Lewis)
If you’ve been following my countdown of the Top 5 SummerSlam Events, you may have noticed that I refer to the IC (Intercontinental) championship as the “Workhorse Title”, a fairly common sentiment shared by fans and insiders alike over the years about this particular title. And if you aren’t quite sure why this is, I’m sure you’ll understand and agree with it after watching this match.
In the 90s, it wasn’t all that unusual for the “Main Event (World Title)” to be in the middle of the card. But usually Hogan, or someone else of relatively similar status, would be in the final match (see: Wrestlemania VIII). And in a recent interview Bret himself stated that, after the venue was changed and the match was signed, he went to Vince and asked for him and Bulldog to go on last. Vince hesitated at first, but finally agreed.
And I’m so glad he did.
The Bret/Bulldog feud was the first I can remember watching that went beyond the ring. The WWF revealed that Bulldog and Bret were stepbrothers and that, once the match was announced, it started to “tear the family apart”. They would do interviews with Bret’s other brothers, each taking a side. Diana Smith (Bret’s sister and Bulldog’s real-life wife) was actually at the event and interviewed before the match. She seemed legitimately shaken and played the “I don’t care who wins, I just want them to not hurt each other” act really well. I’d never seen a match that had so much tension before.
And not only did you have the family picking sides, but you had the event taking place in England–the Bulldog’s home country. So even though Bret went in as both a champion and a face, he wasn’t treated as one. The fans really are involved in this one and never let up. Even the opening of the PPV had fans professing their love for Bulldog and shouting words of encouragement.
This is one of my favorite matches ever and the fact that it almost didn’t happen is crazy. Although Bret and Shawn would have probably had a damn-fine match, it wouldn’t have been on the level of this match.
A perfect match encompassing everything you could want from two performers in their prime. Simply having two superstars who are both amazing athletes and know how to work a crowd doesn’t guarantee a classic, and I doubt anyone suspected that we would get what many consider the “Greatest Match in SummerSlam History”. But simply put, it doesn’t get any better than this.
So if you have the WWE Network and have yet to see this match, go watch it now!
SummerSlam ’92 was a PPV of many firsts, but they took a chance and it paid off tremendously. From top to bottom, this card was stacked with talent. The WWF title match is my favorite Warrior match of all time. The HBK/Martel match is just plain fun and unforgettable. And the IC title match alone is worth the cost of admission. Sure, not every match is a must see, but the ones that are completely make up for the rest.
(Also, for a show without a lot of decisive winners, it managed to build a lot of momentum and feuds going into Survivor Series ’92 and the rest of the year.)