Torch Flashbacks SUMMERSLAM FLASHBACK: Lex Express Derailed - Cover Story on Luger not winning WWF Title at Summerslam 1993
Aug 30, 2015 - 3:01:54 AM
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After bodyslamming Yokozuna on the Fourth of July and going on a cross-country bus tour, Lex Luger's "Lex Express" was derailed at Summerslam 1993 on this day 22 years ago. Luger beat Yokozuna in the PPV main event, but via count-out, keeping the WWF Title with the heel champion, resulting in one of the most disappointing Summerslam main events in company history...
PWTORCH #242 COVER STORY
HEADLINE: Lex Luger defeats Yokozuna by countout
SUBHEADLINE: Yokozuna retains title, begins new feud with Undertaker next night at television tapings
By WADE KELLER, Editor and Publisher
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SummerSlam ended with Lex Luger celebrating his victory over Yokozuna as fans stood and cheered, as balloons fell from the rafters, and as “Stars and Stripes Forever” blared over the WWF’s state of the art speaker system. Good had won over evil.
The scene resembled Sting’s victory over Ric Flair at the Great American Bash in the Summer of 1990, including the Steiners hoisting the victorious hero on their shoulders in midring. But there was one significant difference: Luger won by countout, thus was not the new champion.
Some fans in the arena left as soon as Yokozuna was counted out, others booed. The vast majority took part in the celebration.
A lot of fans in the arena and watching on pay-per-view were stunned. The scenario oddly did not appear to make sense. Followers of the WWF are used to being underwhelmed by the in-ring action the WWF often provides, but rarely question the sanity of the booking.
The key stipulation for Luger’s first title shot against Yokozuna was that it would be his only title shot. Luger, being a smart individual, should not have been celebrating the count-out victory, common sense would say. Instead, he should be complaining that he defeated the champion, but now is without a title and a re-match. Rather, Luger celebrated as if he won the title.
After the elaborate “Lex Express” tour and what appeared to be a sure-fire beginning to a Lex Luger run as the World Champion in the WWF, the victory was baffling.
The explanation is as follows: A Luger victory on Monday night in some ways would have seemed anti-climactic. Luger would have simply done what was expected and on he would go through the repetitious, albeit in the past successful, “Hulk Hogan” formula of taking on evil, some of whom are foreign menaces threatening to take the WWF title back to their countries. It appeared the first in line was going to be Ludvig Borga. And if Luger pinned Yokozuna, he would have do so decisively in order to be considered a true champion. A decisive loss by Yokozuna would eliminate an already shaky standing as world championship material.
So, the WWF took a turn toward a longer, unexpected route. Luger, decisively victorious over Yokozuna (who laid on the floor for over 10 minutes after being hit with Luger’s forearm and being counted out of the ring), did not win the title. According to WWF storyline, Jim Cornette is responsible for the contract stipulation, thus Cornette gains the wrath of wrestling fans.
And now, the WWF has two top matches to headline arena events with: Yokozuna defending the WWF Title and Lex Luger fighting a foreign menace. After Tuesday night’s “WWF Superstars” tapings in Grand Rapids, Mich. it became clear Undertaker would face Yokozuna in Yokozuna’s next series of title defenses.
Had Luger won the belt, it would have always been considered a “force-feeding” by the promotion. Now the fans, when Luger does win the title, will want Luger to win it. Wanting it is different than expecting it.
The only fear the WWF had coming out of this finish was satisfying the fans. That is goal number one for the WWF. They did that, by playing up Luger’s victory as a major victory of patriotism while not seriously addressing the downside to the finish.
All of the above begs the most asked question: If this is Lex Luger’s only title shot, and the WWF invested so much time in Luger, how does the WWF get the belt onto Luger?
(Hindsight Note: Luger never did win the title; Yokozuna held it until WrestleMania X in March 1994 when Bret Hart won the title.)
WWF Summerslam PPV Results
August 30, 1993
Auburn Hills, Mich., The Palace
Est. Attendance: 20,000 (short of a sellout)
(1) Owen Hart pinned Barry Horowitz at 13:19 after a dropkick off the top rope. This match took place before SummerSlam went on the air nationally on pay-per-view. A suitable opener. Hart limped back to the dressing room, apparently aggravating one of his bad knees. **
(2) Razor Ramon pinned Ted DiBiase in 7:28 in the opening PPV match. This was DiBiase's final WWF match, as two days later he began wrestling for All Japan Wrestling. Ramon did all of his trademark moves, ending it when he reversed DiBiase into the exposed turnbuckle (DiBiase removed the pad seconds earlier) and then gave DiBiase the Razor's Edge. A suitable opener. **
(3) Rick & Scott Steiner defeated The Heavenly Bodies at 9:50 after Scott hit Jimmy Del Rey with the Frankensteiner. The match began with a series of chaotic hot moves and then slowed to a quality tag match. Moments earlier, Rick Steiner escaped a pinfall attempt after Cornette hit him with his racket. After Del Rey hit Prichard with the moonsault when Rick moved, Scott frankensteined him for the pin. Cornette introduced the Bodies as "Better late at night than David Letterman." **1/2
(4) Shawn Michaels defeated Mr. Perfect by countout at 11:20 after Diesel interfered. As a result, Michaels retained the Intercontinental Title. This match fell short of expectations. Michaels shined, but Perfect seemed a step behind. ***
(5) I.R.S. pinned the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) after a solid clothesline at 6:12. A quality match. Kid did not execute many hot moves and his loss was a surprise. *3/4
(6) Bret Hart defeated Doink by DQ when Jerry Lawler interfered. Lawler wore a leg cast and came to the ring on crutches claiming he was too injured to wrestle as a result of a leg injury. Lawler became suddenly mobile in the end when Doink was in trouble, attacking Hart. Owen and Bruce Hart, sitting front row, jumped over the railing to try to save Bret, but they were held back by the referees. **
(7) Jerry Lawler defeated Bret Hart on a reversed decision when Hart refused to release the sharpshooter on Lawler at 6:46. A dozen WWF officials tried to pry Hart off of Lawler, but Hart wouldn't move. Finally, after several minutes, Hart dropped Lawler. As Lawler was rolled out on the stretcher, he held his arm in the air with his last bit of energy in a nice touch. Hart was the most over wrestler of the night. ***
(8) Ludvig Borga defeated Marty Jannetty by submission at 7:00. Jannetty, wrestling with a fractured ankle, played a strong underdog role in his loss. Borga is still not over as a heel. This was a popcorn match. *1/4
(9) Undertaker pinned Giant Gonzales. This was the blow-off the feud and thank goodness, because Undertaker is too talented to be wasted against the still uncoordinated Gonzales. DUD
(10) The Smoking Guns & Tatanka defeated The Head Shrinkers & Bam Bam Bigelow when Tatanka pinned Samu. A solid, mostly consistent tag match used well as padding before the main event. **
(11) Lex Luger defeated Yokozuna by countout in a WWF Title match. Mid-way through the match, after a methodical struggle for offensive control between both men, Luger and Yokozuna were flat on their back after clotheslining each other. Fuji threw the salt bucket to Yokozuna and he nailed Luger with the bucket. Yokozuna slowly moved to cover Luger and gained a near fall. Moments later, Yokozuna belly-to-belly suplexed Luger. McMahon wrote off Luger at this point, resigning defeat. He popped for Luger's last-second kickout, but the fans were not as into the near falls, still not believing Luger could lose. After another near fall that the fans didn't pop big for, Yokozuna moved to a nerve hold. Moments later, Luger moved when Yokozuna attempted the banzai splash. Luger began his comeback and slammed Yokozuna which did get a pop. Luger then nailed Yokozuna with his plated forearm. Yokozuna spilled from the ring and was counted out. Luger celebrated in mid-ring as fellow babyfaces stormed the ring to celebrate with him, despite not winning the belt. A methodical match that should have drawn better fan heat and more pops for the near falls, but was hampered by Luger's inability to connect with the fans during the bout. **1/4
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