Brett Mix’s- WWF Summerslam 1996 Review:
“You’ve gotta just LOVE Owen Hart!……” –Mr. Perfect
-Vince McMahon, Mr. Perfect and Jim Ross did commentary.
-Now onto the ppv….
1) Opening Contest- Savio Vega vs “Slammy Award Winning” Owen Hart
This was a great opening match. Savio Vega’s first ever Summerslam while it was Owen’s first in two years since he wrestled Bret in the Cage at Summerslam 1994. Owen Hart came out with a cast on his left arm and Jim Ross speculated on if Owen was actually hurt or not as Mr. Perfect said Owen was incredibally brave.
This match had its moments of slowness and quickness, nice moves like Owen’s signature spinning heel kick or his great display of usual athleticism helped quicken the pace at times but in other areas it was relatively slower. Spots like Owen working on Savio’s left arm even though Owen had a cast on HIS. Owen tried to hyper-extend the elbow of Vega and whenever Savio got in control Owen would counter Savio Vega’s offense with improvised moves like a ddt right on the arm bar. Ross called it an Arm Bar takedown. Savio Vega did dominate a little of this match when he would try and take down owen’s arm since that would be common sense but Hart argued to the officials about how his arm was broken and he’d fine a way to cheat, or lie his way out of a situation, you’d think he was a Guerrero.
Owen Hart had his fans during this match, that is for sure. A ton of fans would cheer for Owen in this match whether because he was very entertaining despite being a heel back then in a year where heels started to get over a bit more, or because the fans just resented Vega and they kept him babyface way too long. Either way a small Owen chant started up and any time Owen would hit some offense there would be noticeable “YEAH!’s” in the first few rows.
Owen Hart ended up winning the match at 13:23 when He Caught Savio Vega’s head with his arm cast that he used as a weapon behind the officials back. Owen locked on the Sharpshooter and that was all as Owen celebrated! Typical Heel Owen greatness! The look before the hit and everything. The crowd (or the more vocal part of the crowd) Pop when Owen gets the victory and Mr. Perfect is proud and says “You’ve gotta love Owen Hart” and Jim Ross’s “WHY!?” Was equally as hllarious right after as Ross calls him a good cheater. This was a pretty awesome opening match with good wrestling and Owen made it extremely entertaining.
2) The Smokin’ Gunns (Billy and Bart) (W/Sunny) (c) vs The Bodydonnas (Skip and Zip) vs The New Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy) vs The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas) (w/Hillbilly Jim) in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
The Smokin’ Gunns were the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions coming into this elimination tag team match where you need to eliminate the other team and the last team standing are the champions. The Bodydonnas are eliminated first a few minutes into the match when Billy pinned Zip after Marty Jannetty tripped Zip from the outside of the ring. Billy Gunn lips to the camera
“WE ARE THE BEST, and everyone is fixin to find out why!” Also he hllariously turned around on the ring apron and yelled “YOU PEOPLE KEEP YOUR MOUTHS SHUT!” Hysterical coming from Gunn. The New Rockers went to work on The Godwinns after The BodyDonnas were eliminated. Damn Sunny looks VERY GOOD during this tag match. Henry Godwin hit Marty Jannety with a slop drop half way through the match and eliminated The New Rockers.
Down to the final 2 teams now. The Smokin’ Gunns and The Godwinns. Bart Gunn went for Henry’s face but Henry came off with a boot and a huge clothesline, the winner of this fall are the new tag team champions. Mr. Perfect says it would be a disgrace if The Hog Farmers won the tag team titles because of how they dress. Bart then worked on Henry’s back as he had great difficulty making a tag to Phinneas I Godwin the more Eccentric of the two as said during the match. The Smokin’ Gunns remained in control as Billy Gunn came in for a moment but Bart went right back to work. A lot of slow action here against Henry and a lot of it was slower and pretty boring in all honesty. An atomic drop from Godwin to Bart out of desperation, then Henry hit Bart with an uppercut and a forearm but Billy got tagged right back in. Billy Gunn Irish Whipped Henry O to the buckle, but after he charged for Henry, Godwin caught him in mid-air in the corner and showed his power after slamming the 270 pound Gunn.
Henry after what felt like an eternity FINALLY tagged in Phinneas who started to dominate The Smokin’ Gunns.
Billy got hit with a slop drop. In the end The Smokin’ Gunns retained the tag team championship last eliminating The Godwinns at 12:18 when Bart hit Phinneas Godwinn behind the officials back. After the match Sunny showed a blow up poster of herself as the two celebrated with the titles. This was nothing special at all and felt like filler in all honesty.
3) Sycho Sid vs The British Bulldog
Jim Ross: “Well HE KNOWS he’s PSYCHO…..” (Regarding Sid) I got a nice chuckle out of that.
Sid extremely over in Cleaveland, the fans chanted “Let’s go Sid” right after he hit a couple of power slams to Davey Boy Smith. That was the obvious object of this match was POWER.Two men with a great deal of it, and when Bulldog came back in the ring Sid slapped a headlock on The Bulldog and when The Bulldog kicked Sid in the chest he scooped up Sid and held him in the air for about 5 seconds showing his amazing power and hits his signature power slam. Clarence Mason who came out during Owen’s match with Savio Vega earlier on in the night came back out as he was the manager in Camp Cornette for the tag team of The Bulldog and Owen at the time. Davey Boy locked a sleeper on Sid right after his power move.
The Bulldog clotheslined Sid over the top rope and then he hit a hard clothesline to Sid on the ring apron as he fell to the mat on the outside and then The Bulldog showed off his skill by showing off a little bit inside the ring. Davey Boy then applied a gut buster to Sid who was still outside of the ring on top of the ropes to the inside and then got another near fall on Sid before putting Sid in another sleeper. Sid began to battle out of it and irish whipped The Bulldog into the corner and then Sid gave him a splash with his Raw power.
Sid ran into nobody or NOTHING in the corner and then Bulldog scooped up Sid and went for his 2nd Powerslam of the match. Cornette came to the ring during this spot. Cornette and Mason argued on the outside and was distracted by the confrontation and this gave Sid a chance to re-group.
When Davey Boy Smith went for his third Powerslam of the match, Sid countered it……Sid won the match at 6:24 with a Powerbomb after a chokeslam. Pretty basic stuff, it got better after the first couple of minutes though.
4) Goldust (with Marlena) vs “Wildman” Marc Mero (with Sable)
Goldust, the most bizzare individual in the World Wrestling Federation according to Vince McMahon and a lot of other people. These two guys put on a good match at In Your House Buried Alive in October of 1996 and I believe this one is good as well although I get the two mixed up. The one thing I remember about this match for sure is it has a dead crowd outside the high spots and it is relatively slower in parts but still well worked! So it’s a good match overall. The Wildman cut goofy promo’s in 1996 like it was 1986 but that’s beside the point. Both these guys were in the IC Title Division but of course the IC Title wasn’t on the line during this match. Mankind had an angle with Sable during this time period where he called her “Mommy” at ringside to make her paranoid. Mankind liked to play Mind Games with superstars. Poor Mero, he has the Deranged Mankind after him and The Bizzare Goldust to deal with in the ring. On second thought, he got to Bang Sable.
What am I saying…….Goldust then went with his signature Theatrics as he rubbed himself in the corner then slapped Mero and he got hot for Golddust but not in the way the Bizzare one probably wanted. He went Wiiiiiild on Golddust with a lot of fast moves early then taunted to the crowd. Golddust also got his shots in so Mero sustained no considerable amount of offense. Mankind came out during the match and tried to go after Sable who was screaming. Nice back and forth match here and both guys also took there time to wear down the other with submission holds and that is where the match slowed down a little bit in parts. Mero had Goldust on the top turnbuckle and began to punch and the crowd got to three when Goldust lifted him up and went to throw Mero over the top rope but Mero hit a slower hurricanrauna to Goldust to the outside. Mero then flew to the outside with a moonsault of sorts to Goldust. After Mero pushed Golddust back in the ring he hit a leg drop from the outside. Mero then goes up to hit “THE WILD THING” aka The Shooting Star Press. This was the first time Marc Mero ever did it and he told JR before the match what the name of it was.
You could tell it was the first time because the audience let you know with the noises they made. Mero caught himself in a vulnerable spot though and Golddust took over. At 11:01 the match ends when Goldust defeated The Wildman with a Curtain Call. Sable has her stalkers for sure as Goldust then crawled towards Sable and then Mero fought him off. Nice match that got quite a bit of time though.
5) Jerry “The King Lawler” vs Jake “The Snake” Roberts
The Pre-Match promo and Mark Henry stuff took more time then the actual match.
Austin had just told Jake he didn’t have what it takes anymore at The King of the Ring and Roberts went into a Summer of 1996 type of Funk and got down on himself.
The Alcohol problems were blown up into a storyline and Jake Roberts discusses how he didn’t appreciate this angle on his DVD.
What better, or WHO BETTER I should say to make fun of a REAL problem then the always annoying (back then but in a good way) HEEL Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Mark Henry who was an Olympian at that Summer’s Olympics came out for commentary with Mr. Perfect, Jim Ross and Vince McMahon.
The King came down to the ring with a bag that looked like a Snake and King’s face was hillarious.
Jake Robert’s then came out with a bag of his own.
After some hilarious commentary by King, he says “If Jake DOESEN’T take out what is in HIS BAG he will take out what is in his!”
What Lawler had in the bag was the biggest bottle of alcohol known to man.
Roberts didn’t take to this well quite obvioussly.
Mark Henry also got his shots from Lawler about how he had no medals and if he did it’d be bronze or something to that extent.
Mr. Perfect was hilarious when saying “He’s probably got a HANG OVER!” when McMahon said Jake was in a foul mood.
Anyway, Jake Roberts put the Snake on the King as expected and that got a pretty good pop. The King also hid under the ring for about a half an hour in the 1996 Royal Rumble because he was scared of snakes.
The fans chanted Burger King while Lawler made his way towards ringside after The Snake was put back in the bag.
Jake Roberts gave Lawler a series of shots on the outside and on the inside until Lawler went to the outside and began to choke Jake out. Lawler poured alcohol into
Jake’s face while he was tied up into the ropes.
Jake the Snake went for the DDT but Lawler grabbed onto Harvey Wippleman who was an official. Jake Roberts then got a bottle to the throat and Ross says it’s criminal, and Perfect says…”It’s Okay! He’ll buy him a drink later!”
At 4:07 the finish came when Lawler grabbed the tights for the win after the bottle shot.
Lawler says that Jake’s throat is dry and he needs a drink and Mark Henry then chased Lawler to the pack since his family was present.
Funny but Roberts didn’t like this stuff so that takes the humor down a notch for me.
1/4* for the comedy.
1/4* for the wrestling. (being generous on THAT one)
The original and quite obviously the best as far as the gimmick match goes.
The object of the match was to BRAWL in the Boiler Room with your opponent and then the first person to escape the Boiler Room, make it ALL the way to the ring and get possession of the Urn would be the winner.
Well, at least it was LIVE.
The live fans were going with the flow as they had never really experienced anything like this since they were watching a TV monitor the entire time till the end.
There was little to no commentary during this entire match in the dark boiler room.
After about two minutes of the camera man following Undertaker around The Boiler Room in search of Mankind, Foley finally started the match by sneaking out from behind and hitting Taker with a brick. Taker fought it off at the start with a trash can lid to the head.
Taker then smacked Foley hard in the ear with that Can and then face first into en electrical outlet. Some head butts by the man from the Dark Side followed by more head shots from the trash can lid. Foley then was going to get slammed on top of a vice but he dropped Taker head first into one with a jaw breaker.
Mankind began attacking The Deadman then with kicks to his body and raking the eyes. Foley’s offense or NOISE when on the offense is nothing short of hillarious.
Mankind slaps on his CLAW even though that is not how to win the match it was just to wear his opponent down. He then sent Taker head first into a huge PIPE. Foley then did it a couple more times and the camera feed cut out.
As Mankind sent Taker into some skinny pipes the feed cut out due to some “technical difficulties” as McMahon says and a few fans boo, nothing serious as it only lasts 10-15 seconds.
Taker then was delivered blows from a trash can until he grabbed up one of the skinny pipes and smacked them into the can of Foley causing him to fall down. As Foley was down he used a Fire Extinguisher in the face of The Phenom. Mankind then went crashing into some cans and took a Can on the head as the FANS “Ooooohhhh’d” and then levelled him in the head with a brick shot.
As Foley lifted a pipe up from the groin section of The Dead Man and then gave him a low blow the entire audience screamed. I guess this was new territory.
All the steel rods fell down on The Deadman on the ground and then Foley slammed Taker’s body off the outside of a steel entrance way. Mankind then went charging into Taker’s head knee first to the head as he sat by the entrance way. Mankind made more noises and then crawled over to Taker and gave him some solid right hands before Taker got frustrated to the point of fighting back.
The Deadman gave him a shot here or there but not enough to sustain any kind of pressure at this point for awhile because Foley had all the momentum in this environment. Mankind slammed Taker’s head first right into the bricks as his arm was slightly cut open. Mankind then climbed up a long ladder and drilled an elbow into Taker’s chest from the middle of it who was laying down on the concrete.
The two continued to brawl as Taker got another brick shot right over his back until he fought back with a Rod.
Foley then pulled on some cables or something to that nature as the feed went out again and the fans got really pissed off this time as it lasted for 30-40 seconds if not longer as McMahon apologized.
It came back JUST IN TIME!
Obviously this looks like nothing compared to KOTR 1998 but for 1996 especially in the WWF it was SOMETHING. Mankind was climbing a ladder.
Taker sat up and the fans went insane and Taker pulled Foley off the ladder who he was hanging to the top of and fell back onto the floor with some pipes as the fans cheered very loudly.
Taker and Mankind brawled for a few more minutes, mostly with Taker in charge heading to the exit.
Near the exit was the hallway that leads to the entrance way and it was along way so a ton of brawling happened throughout the travel. Taker then sprayed a Fire Extinguisher in the face of Mankind and the fans cheered.
Mankind somehow made it out first and then once out hillariously stacked garbage cans on top of the doorway to prevent Taker from getting out. The wrestlers in the back were cheering this on as they were near the dressing rooms and one of them was none other then Stone Cold Steve Austin who lipped “Whoop his ass!” Hillarious.
Taker knocked down the trash cans on top of Mankind. They continued to battle with any objects they could find. Mankind them grabbed HOT COFFEE and poured it onto Taker.
Mankind then crawled through the entrance way through the doors to the outside of the entrance way. He waited for Taker and then recieved a clothesline from the charging Deadman. Taker grabbed the 2 X 4 Taker had and smashed it over Foley’s back and it broke it.
Taker kicked at Mankind and grabbed him by the hair as he gave him more blows towards the ring area. The monitors used for the first few rows were then used as weapons. Taker looked to grab onto the ropes on top of the ring apron and couldn’t get in as Mankind pulled Taker down and sent him into the steel steps. Mankind exposed the concrete floor by moving the floor mats and then went to piledrive The Deadman onto Concrete and does it!
Taker then slowly got to his feet and was beside the ropes on the apron and swung Mankind back to the floor as he hit head first.
THE UNDERTAKER then went to get the Urn from Paul Bearer and he hesitated to give it to him and no one knew WHAT was going on.
Paul Bearer then started laughing when Mankind slapped the Mandible claw on Taker as the fans booed as Paul Bearer had just turned his back on The Undertaker.
This is one of the more forgotten HEEL turns in Wrestling history and it was HUGE at the time as no one could have predicted it after all this time. I STILL REMEMBER BEING SHOCKED when I heard about this the night after on Raw.
Mankind won the match at 26:40 when Paul Bearer gave him possession over the Urn.
Highly original for its time in the Federation and pretty unique. The slow moments or time the cable cut out were overshadowed by the shocking ending, originality and brutality.
Great match in the long Taker/Mankind Saga. Even a classic of sorts.
While Shawn dress and stripped off his entrance clothing, Vader just posed in the ring and flexed in hopes of intimidating the Champion before the match began.
Shawn Michaels was in his prime here and was awesome while Vader is ALWAYS awesome so this should be a good match, and was just by memory alone.
Vader had brilliant agility, strength, among other things and Vince calls HBK maybe the most athletic champion of all time.
The two tie up and Vader took some body shots early and then a powerful clothesline as some Smarks cheered. Shawn had been booed during his awesome run but a lot of smarks didn’t like him very much and this is seen again at Mind Games and the 1996 Survivor Series in paticular.
After an early offensive attack by Vader, Michaels came right back.
Shawn dominated for a good minute until throwing Vader out to the outside by ducking one of his attacks.
Michaels made sure he kept Vader to the outside as he hit him with a baseball slide which took the air out of him.
Michaels with a high cross body over the top rope and flew out onto Vader. This was a familiar spot seen many times and it was awesome. Jim Ross’s explanation was that Shawn was fighting for his life here. Perfect says HBK is in the best shape he has ever seen but doesen’t know if he has what it takes.
They built up the Monster vs Champion thing very well and Shawn hit a nice Hurricanrauna to Vader.
Michaels took a risk and then on top of Vader hit him with some right hands and then a hurricanrauna to the outside of Vader over the top rope. Shawn then hit a spring board to the outside but Vader caught him this time and hit a Powerbomb to the mat!
Vader asked who the man was. The complexity of the match changed with that one power move and the momentum then shifted to Vader.
Vader had Shawn picked up since he didn’t want to win by countout as he could not gain the title that way and then he just dropped him like a sack of potatoes in the middle of the canvas. Big Van Vader then sent HBK to the corner. Vader toyed with him a little bit showing his size factor then Vader measured Michaels in the corner with rights and lefts as he continued to hammer away with more body shots.
The fans booed as Vader continued to be in control and set HBK up and hit a nice vertical suplex!
Vader continued to sent HBK to the corner and then came off with a huge forerarm to the chest of The Boy toy, then ANOTHER. Michaels was stationary and was unglued and could not retain the title in the position he was in. Well he was about to get put in a worse spot.
Vader then rammed HBK into one side and then irish whipped him to the other which saw HBK fly over the top rope and to the outside floor.
As HBK tried to re-enter the ring Vader kicked at his head, and then Vader with great elevation sent Michaels back first with a back body drop. Mr. Perfect says he always thinks about getting back in the ring but now that he sees what Vader is doing to Shawn Michaels he’ll stay right here.
Vader went for another back body drop to Michaels but HBK fought back with rights and lefts. After Shawn got out of that situation he met another hard clothesline by Vader which Ross called SCARY POWER.
Michaels then dodged another back body drop and was sent outside the ring by Vader and he caught Vader by the legs as he did his signature flip up towards the ringside area. Vader then didn’t have any of that and then he began to manhandle Michaels by methodically wearing him down.
The Man they call Vader lifted up Shawn and let him fall belly first to the canvas. Vader squeezed on a devistating bear hug. Perfect says he hasn’t had this much fun since he LEFT the ring.
The Crowd helped The Heartbreak Kid get back into the match as he started to hit Vader with some rights. A high knee to the chest area of Vader followed by a clothesline but it had no effect on the Mastadon.
Michaels went to slide under Vader but the Big man stopped him and when vader went for a splash he lifted the knees up and caught Vader. Michaels went flying to the ropes in a big oppurtunity spot and hit a clothesline.
Shawn Michaels went to the top trying to hit the big elbow but Vader sat up and he kicked Vader’s head after stopping in mid-air for his elbow drop. Shawn Michaels knew he couldn’t hit the elbow drop quite like he wanted to and he stopped. Michaels DID hit Vader with a crossbody and both men went to the outside from the inside. Vader up first though and lifted up HBK then dropped him on the steel guard rail.
Vader then WINS BY COUNTOUT.
All of the sudden after the fans were a little shocked they stayed in attendance because Cornette got on the mic and challenged HBK to get back in the ring.
HBK then came back. Jim Ross said it wasn’t a wise decision for Shawn Michaels to continue the match.
Vader then hammered Michaels with a big blow after The Fink said that the match would continue followed by a pop.
Vader battling Shawn who is layed out and then got in the face of the 62 year old Jose. Cornette then hit Shawn with his racket and the fans popped. Ross called him Hideous.
Vader with a big belly to belly suplex after he came off the corner with a splash and Shawn Michaels kicked out.
Vader went for a powerbomb but Shawn Michaels fought back and then he kicked up as Perfect says GIVE ME A BREAK.
HBK FINALLY did nail the elbow this time as he was tuning up the band in the corner until Cornette grabbed Michaels leg.
Shawn then hit Vader with a racket. Shawn Michaels then attacked both Jim Cornette and Vader with the racket. Shawn Michaels got himself DQ’d.
The match continued after another two minute break and Ross called it Chaotic.
Michaels went upstairs and hit the 2nd straight “SUCCESSFUL” elbow drop and then his superkick!
VADER KICKED OUT though at 2 and the place was shocked.
Vader then hit a POWERBOMB that they called The Vader Bomb even though it wasn’t his finisher and there was no official to count the three. I remember my brother back when kayfabe existed saying “VADER SHOULD OF BEEN CHAMPION” and got real mad.
Vader then went up for the OFFICIAL Vader Bomb, then went up for a BIG TIME MOONSAULT that he called the Vadersault as seen in TGIF’s or ABC’s old show Boy Meets World. Vader missed the moonsault and then Shawn went to the top.
At 28:59 Shawn Michaels defeated Vader with a MOONSAULT from the top rope after Vader had already won twice by DQ. Shawn Michaels has done the impossible!
I had heard rumors about Vader being booked to win the title until they changed it last minute, but other suggest he was scheduled to take the title off Michaels that year still if not at Summerslam then Survivor Series.
Some people think the booking here is a bit ridiculous and it takes a lot out of the MATCH but I come to expect it from matches back in the New Generation Days. That’s just the way things were and ended back then but I really liked this match as a whole which is why I take nothing off of its ratings because of how it ended.
I WOULD of however liked to see Vader the WWF Champion and this would have been the perfect oppurtunity for it. It’s not all bad though because we got to see Foley and Michaels at Mind Games because of it.
Final Rating for WWF Summerslam 1996 = 6.5/10
This show was solid overall or perhaps just looks that way considering I watched the horrid Summerslam 1995 right before it.
In all honesty I had watched this show a lot growing up since it was the one Summerslam I owned on VHS so I knew what to expect from all the matches despite me re-watching all of them here to get up to date ratings.
This event started off with a great match in Owen-Savio then had a a few average matches or below with another pretty solid one before the two GREAT main events. So all around it wasn’t stacked but it’s a mediocre show capped off with great main events and that is why it JUST gets a 6.5, the WWF was heading in the right direction, slowly but surely.