WWE NETWORK REVIEW – WWF Summerslam Spectacular ’93: Michaels vs. Backlund for IC Title, Steiners vs. Monkey Inc. for WWF Tag Titles,Yokozuna vs. Duggan, Razor vs. Beverly

By Sam McCoy, PWTorch contributor

Shawn Michaels (photo credit Adam © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE NETWORK REVIEW
“SUMMERSLAM SPECTACULAR 1993”
AUGUST 22, 1993 (Taped 8/16/93)
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. AT MID-HUSON CIVIC CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK

One of my oldest friendships started when we found out about our mutual fandom in wrestling in kindergarten. Whenever we stayed over at the other’s house wrestling was often a part of the night’s activities. My friend John had recorded the 1991 Summerslam Spectacular when it aired and we re-watched that show repeatedly. I was curious if the network had the ’91 special. They did not. But they did have the ’93 special which I never remember watching.

It is very easy to tell from the get-go that this special was recorded before or after a Raw as the Raw logo is everywhere. It is jarring in the days of modern-day WWE that there isn’t any sort of signage in the arena for this show. Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon were on commentary for this show. There are some things in this show that makes it feel like a real afterthought.

(1) Yokozuna vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Before this match starts they show a picture of Hacksaw with his newborn child and the announcers give congratulations to the Duggan family. I always loved it when they would get the shot between Yoko’s legs to frame his opponent before the bell rang. I feel that kind of mise-en-scène helped to frame Yokozuna as this hulking and overpowering monster. It was unique because it was only done for Yokozuna. This match isn’t very good but I wasn’t expecting it to be even close to good. Yokozuna wins with the Banzai Drop. Jim Cornette cuts a promo in a stairwell with Yoko after the match hyping up Yoko’s match with Lex Luger.

(2) Razor Ramon vs. Blake Beverly

Promo for the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase vs. Razor Ramon at Summerslam before this next match. Crazy to think that three years later Scott Hall would debut on Nitro walking into a match with Blake Beverly aka Mike Enos that would kick off the entire NWO story. Throughout this match, Ross and Monsoon call Beverly both Blake and Beau as they weren’t sure which of the Brothers he was. This was a pretty good match, Blake got way more offense than I expected. Razor Ramon wins with a great looking Razor’s Edge.

Next is a Lex Express package before a new edition of the King’s Court with Jerry Lawler and “Elvis” in a pink Cadillac. Lawler is talking about how he is mad that Bret is impersonating him after Bret’s victory at Monarch of the Ring. Bret Hart responds to this promo in a serviceable promo

(3) The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka vs. Barry Horowitz & Brooklyn Brawler & Reno Riggins

Tatanka was in the midst of his undefeated streak when this match took place. Gunns and Tatanka are largely in control during this match. Horowitz lands a gorgeous northern lights suplex on Billy Gunn at one point. This is a pretty fun six-man, from an era that I don’t think of a lot of six-mans occurring. Tatanka wins with a cross body press off the top.

In the ring Mean Gene interviews the Undertaker about his upcoming “Rest in Peace” match with Giant Gonzalez. What is interesting is that this promo is Undertaker by himself, a real rarity for this era. Paul Bearer was missing from the Undertaker’s side as he had been injured at the hands of Giant Gonzalez. Giant Gonzalez interrupts Undertaker in the ring and gets on the mic, struggling to cut his promo on the Undertaker. Undertaker takes off his coat to fight the Gonzalez and Giant Gonzalez turns tail and leaves the ring.

(4) Shawn Michaels [c] vs. Bob Backlund – Intercontinental Championship match

This is before Backlund’s great heel turn in 1994. I’ve often wondered how long the plan had been to turn Backlund heel as at this point in 1993 his babyface persona is not working at all. Diesel is in Shawn’s corner and at this point is pretty new to the WWF and is the focus of a lot of the commentary. Not a very good mix of styles that were finished up by a distraction finish where Michaels also grabbed the trunk.

A super awkward Lex Luger promo where he is having a conversation with someone but this person is never heard or seen yet Lex is clearly talking to someone. Everything with Lex and Summerslam ’93 just seemed doom to fail when you watch it in retrospect knowing the outcome. This is followed up by Vince interviewing Ludvig Borga in a weirdly lit room.

(5) Marty Jannetty vs. Dwayne Gill

Pretty short squash match with Marty. Didn’t feel it was a particularly good showcase of Marty. Marty wins with a fist drop from the top rope. After the match Mean Gene runs down the entire card before the main event.

(6) The Steiner Brothers [c] vs. Money Inc – Steel Cage Tag Team Championship match

WWF’s escape the cage rules has always had its issues, but make it a tag match like this and it is even more apparent. Jim Ross reminds us a few times he’s never called a cage match with such rules. Some decent action that is limited due to the rules of the cage match. Scott Steiner and IRS exit the cage first, as Rick Steiner starts to escape IRS reenters the cage. Scott Steiner then jumps back into the cage with a double-axe handle off the top of the cage onto IRS. IRS exits the cage a second time and watches the Steiners double team DiBiase. As the Steiners are exiting the cage IRS gets back in the cage again. Rick Steiner exits the cage and starts scaling the cage again almost immediately until Scott hits a double Steiner-line on Money Inc. DiBiase gets out. IRS is starting to descend the cage until Rick puts his head between IRS’s legs and holds IRS up so Scott can climb down the side of the cage.

This show ends with a stellar music video with a rap by Men on a Mission and “Rapping” Randy Savage in support of Lex Luger. It is cheesy and bad but I loved it so much. The one thing missing in this show was Lex in front of a crowd which I think was necessary. But he was too busy traveling to Summerslam on his bus.

It is so interesting to look back at a show like this. The point of this show was to sell Summerslam 1993. The Ssix-man was easily the match of the show followed by the mess that was the main event. Every segment and match was helping to build or feature someone that was involved in a match at Summerslam. In an era of WWE programming that seems so repetitive and of no consequence this was somewhat refreshing to see everything have a purpose.


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