Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

A Counterfactual History of Summer Slam - 3

Thursday, July 27, 2006

'91-93 is here.

Several of you have found your way here by accident, as a result of visiting the crazy website – I am, yes, the author of the vituperative production blog at that site as we gear up for the first production of our play.

For those of you just arriving – consider leaving, seriously, for down this road lies madness.

If you’re staying – my suggestion is you start from the start, find the earliest post and read straight through – or at least find the earliest post to see the parameters for what we’re doing here.

Actually, in terms of places to jump in, this current run of posts is helpful, as it provides an overview of our Counterfactual Summer Slams (Summerslam?) from the beginning in ’88 through the current card coming in August, Summer Slam 2005.

I know it’s not 2005. That’s how it’s done.

Anyway, we left off this run in 1994, consult Part II for further details.

Your main at Summer Slam '94, for the 3rd consecutive year, was Bret – except the World Title he successfully defended at Summer Slam ’93 was now his brother Owen’s.

The turn really started at Summer Slam ’92, when Bret decided keeping Davey in the sharpshooter was more important than helping Owen. By Summer Slam ’93 – Owen was beginning this weird sadistic mentor/protégée relationship with Savage, needing to fill the space given Bret’s obsession with the world title. Over the past year, Bret kept against Luger (SSeries) got the undefeated Undertaker to submit (Rumble) in a program that saw his disenchantment with WWF fans grow, and then met his brother Owen (who had survived Savage) in the babyface matchup at X.

Owen took him – winning his first WWF Title – Bret refusing to shake his hand postmatch –and standing alone in the aisle while Owen was lifted high in the ring by the babyface locker room.

See? Like that. Counterfactual. You can read all about it in my 1994 archives.

On the road to Summer Slam, the strain in the Hart relationship showed each night – with Bret finally turning by walking out on Owen during a tag against Diesel/Waltman. Bret cut bitter promos on the fans, on the sport, on the entire Hart family -specifically his ungrateful brother Owen who was holding his title. In Chicago, at Summer Slam ’94, they would meet inside a steel cage.

A year ago at Summer Slam, Michaels, with aid of the Clique, kept his belt over Hennig – rolled through Waltman at Survivor Series in a match that led to Razor’s face turn, saving Waltman against the Clique attack. Razor got his shot at the IC at the Rumble – but, ironically, Waltman turned on the man who had protected him, joining the Clique and allowing Michaels to keep.

But of course, at WM X – they rematched, in a ladder match, and Razor took Shawn’s belt to become IC champ. Shawn’s not around in the runup to Summer Slam – but Nash is – and it’s Big Daddy Cool taking on Ramon for the IC.

The tags..well, the Steiners, recall, walked out of Summer Slam ’94 with the straps – they kept those straps over the Rock and Roll Express at Survivor Series – but with the scheming of the man who “owned” the WWF tag ranks, Ted DiBiase, and a young Scott Levy – the Quebecers took the titles at the Rumble – titles they’d lose at X, to the makeshift newly babyface team of Luger and Bigelow. At Summer Slam, they would face off against the Headshrinkers in a low wattage program. Nothing else really worth talking about. Undertaker. Savio. Jarrett. It’s a one match show. But it was a good match.

The results: Owen kept at ’94, of course, escaping the cage with the help of the returning Davey Boy, who fought off the returning Anvil, who was on Bret’s side. Michaels returned via the Titan Tron before the match – saying he would face the winner in San Antonio at the ’94 SSeries for the big belt. The IC was a no DQ, the garbage a good stip for Razor’s keeping over Diesel – and now he had beaten Michaels and Nash in consecutive PPVs. Luger and Bam Bam kept, and the less said about that the better.

The workrate upticked only a little the following year from Pittsburgh at Summer Slam '95

Who’s in the main event? Well, that would be Bret Hart, of course – king of Summer Slam. Summer Slam ’95 was now the 8th ever Slam – and Bret had either wrestled for the World or the IC belt on every show.

He came into this show as Champion once again. Owen lost to Shawn at Survivor Series ’94, giving Michaels not just the WWF Title – but making him the latest holder of the Triple Crown. Diesel turned Michaels face postmatch with multiple jackknifes during the celebration – leading to Shawn’s keeping over Nash at Rumble ’95. That led to the continuation of our neverending saga – Harts v. Clique – except this time, it was heel challenger Bret going after babyface Chammpion Michaels at XI.

Bret took him, regaining the belt – a belt he would defend against the Japanese junior Hakushi at Summer Slam ’95. Why Hakushi? Well, he won the battle royal we hold every other year after Mania that determines who gets the Summer Slam shot. It’s a good reset – Davey won the first in ’91 – Razor in ’93 – and now Hakushi in ’95.

The IC? Well, Razor kept the streak going over the Clique – taking Waltman down at Survivor Series ’94 – and then started a babyface feud against Owen, with the Rocket taking at the Rumble – and then giving back at XI – as XI was all Harts v. Clique – and this run saw Razor realize he couldn’t out babyface Owen the Good – so he re-turned heel – and as we roll around to Summer Slam ’95 – how about Ladder Match II, with heel Razor taking on babyface Michaels for the IC?

The tags? Sigh. The Bigelow/Lex team fell to Bret and the Anvil at Survivor Series – then in a neat turn of events – they lost to The British Empire, Davey Boy and Mr. Backlund – at the Rumble. But the Empire fell to the Smoking Gunns at XI – and your Summer Slam matchup, unpleasantly, is those Gunns defending against the Harris Brothers.

Ron and Don Forever!

Man that sounds like a threat.

What else…Hunter has debuted, becoming Waltman’s running buddy in the Clique (with Sunny as their valet) and he meets Bob Holly. Waltman’s working too – against Candido, from whom, of course, they stole Sunny. And Diesel’s also working as the Clique fills the middle of the card – he’s going big on big against the Dead Man.

The results: Bret kept at Summer Slam ’95 – and his postmatch assault on Hakushi (Bret was doing a thing where he broke guy’s ankles at this point) was broken up by Davey Boy. Michaels regained the IC for the 3rd time, winning the ladder match. The Gunns kept the tag straps – and the younger half of the Clique (Waltman, HHH) won, while the older (Razor, as mentioned – and Diesel) both lost.

We upticked a little more in terms of our traditional worst workrate show of the year – when Summer Slam '96 originated from Cleveland.

For the first time in the 9 year history of the event…no Bret Hart. Not in the main, not in the IC – no Bret Hart.

But there was a Hart in the main – it was Owen, taking on WWF Champion Shawn Michaels.

Bret kept at Survivor Series ’95, going over DBS. And then kept at the Rumble, finally beating his brother Owen. But in the Iron Man match at XII (you saw it) Bret lost to Shawn in overtime, Shawn's first ever singles win over Bret, Michaels winning his second WWF Title.

Owen became number one contender when we decided not to wait until ’97 for the battle royal – but to do it right now – and with the aid of a masked, debuting Brian Pillman – Owen won and got the shot.

Your Intercontinental Championship match – how about Vader defending against Cactus Jack.

Shawn kept the IC over Shane Douglas at Survivor Series ’95, but lost cleanly to the debuting Vader at the Rumble. Vader kept in the big man brawl over the Undertaker at XII – but making his debut at that post mania battle royal – and going right after the man who cost him his ear – was Cactus Jack.

Foley said he was on a quest for revenge – that Vader couldn’t run roughshod over the WWF the way he did over his ear – and in Cleveland Ohio vowed to make the big man pay. Feel free to read the archives for some Counterfactual Foley promos.

Your tag champs – Steve Austin and Dustin Rhodes.

The Gunns fell at Survivor Series to Razor and Diesel – who at that point began to be tweeners as they finished up their WWF run. Razor and Diesel dropped to the debuting Austin/Rhodes team, doing a stereo Stunner move, at the Rumble (and then they lost a Loser Leaves Clique match on RAW to Waltman and HHH). Austin and Dustin ran roughshod over the tag ranks all year – and now at Summer Slam, face the newly formed “boxing team” of Marc Mero and Bart Gunn.

What else… Marty Jannetty came back – and he faced a stalker, Al Snow, who desperately, unbelievably, begged Marty to reform the Rockers with him. Obviously, Marty said no – ‘cause what possible sense could that make?

When Razor and Diesel skipped town – Waltman and HHH needed more friends, so they imported the heel turned Billy and Jarett’s former hype man, the Road Dogg. Billy faced longtime Clique nemesis Candido at Summer Slam. Also – Davey Boy met Lawler, the Undertaker worked, and doing a Deliverance/Pulp Fiction gimmick with Phinneas having a leather hood and ball gag and being called The Gimp are the Godwinns.

Results: Michaels kept in the babyface matchup against his sworn enemy, Owen. They worked dark at the first ever Summer Slam in ’88 – and here they are for the big belt in ’96. Vader also kept – in a brutal war with Jack – powerbombing Foley off the ramp postmatch. And Mero and Bart became your new tag champs when Austin Stunned his partner, leaving Dustin for dead in the middle of the ring, a shocking betrayal that seemed to unhinge young Rhodes.

Al beat Marty, Billy beat Candido, Davey beat Lawler, the ‘Taker beat Jake, but then was lynched by the Nation of Domination. And the Godwinns made Yokozuna and
Savio squeal like a pig.

That’s the Counterfactual History of Summer Slam III – to read the full stories, go to the right side and see the entire 600 page Counterfactual WWF – and to read more of me, go to and check out my caustic production blog.

I’ll be back soon as we roll onto Summer Slam 2005 – headlined by the return of Matt Hardy in the unsanctioned match against Edge and Eddy Guerrero defending his Undisputed Championship against Rey Mysterio, who looks to also gain the Triple Crown!

A Counterfactual History of Summer Slam - 2

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

1988-90 is here.

Summer Slam returned home to MSG in 1991.

For the first time, the champ the year before was the champ coming into MSG. Curt Hennig, WWF Champion since Survivor Series ’89, was starting to show the physical wear and tear at this point. After the series with Savage came to a seeming end at Summer Slam ’90 with the cage match, Hennig kept over Von Erich at Survivor Series, kept over DiBiase at the Rumble, and then vanquished Savage one last time at VII.

His challenger at Summer Slam ’91 – the British Bulldog.

Recall, at the very first Summer Slam, Davey turned on his longtime partner Bret after losing an IC shot to the champion Hit Man. Bret subsequently ran the Bulldog out of the company – but Davey made his return at Survivor Series ’90 – coming to the aid of his brother in law by fending off an attacking Hennig. Bret didn’t trust Davey, whom he blamed for injuring his younger brother Owen – along with Hennig, prior to the Bulldog’s leaving the company.

Davey returned to the PPV ring at the Rumble, beating Dustin Rhodes – and then beating Martel at VII. The title shot here came from the last NBC Saturday Night’s Main Event (until 2006, that is) when he won the Inaugural Number One Contender’s Battle Royale, our every-other-year 30 man, one entrant at a time, competition where the Summer Slam main event gets made.

Davey and Bret, after combining to eliminate Sid, were the final two entrants – and it was the Bulldog who came out on top. Now, his quest to redeem himself in the eyes of his family and the fans, comes to a head at the place where, 3 years before, he turned on them. Perfect/Davey for the WWF Title.

Not only is the WWF Champ the same as the previous year – so is the IC Champ.

The Hit Man’s long second IC reign continued – after his Summer Slam win over Jake, he again successfully defended the title over young Michaels, then beat Martel at the Rumble, and began to fulfill his promise to make the IC belt the most prestigious in the world by defeating Tenryu at VII.

And at Summer Slam ’91 – he met the legendary Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat returned after 3 years at the aforementioned SNME and returned to challenge the Hit Man. As the man who started WWF PPV, the two time WWF Champ, he just wanted to see if Bret was as good as he said he was.

The tag champs were the monster face Road Warriors. After their surprise entrance at last year’s Slam, burying the newly crowned Orients – they took the Orients’ straps at Survivor Series, kept over the Nasty Boys at the Rumble, kept over Demolition at VII, and now headed into Summer Slam to defend against Power and Glory (that’s Herc and Roma, for those of you who have forgotten)

What else was there to hold your interest – not much, truthfully. DiBiase against the remnants of Valentine (good name for an indie band – Remnants of Valentine – feel free to take it, just give me credit whenever prompted and direct people to Jacques met Koko, Rotundo returned to WWF PPV for the first time since I against the ‘Quake, the Undertaker, whose run began at Survivor Series, was looking to add Von Erich to his collection of souls that thusfar included Snuka, Dusty, and Jake. All stuffed into bodybags following the matches. And the fascist gimmick begun by the Warrior now moved onto the tag team of Slaughter and Boss Man, who worked the opener.

The results:

Well, it ended for Perfect at MSG. The British Bulldog, in a stunner, took the WWF Title. Hennig and Bobby gingerly left the arena – while Bret (who kept his IC belt) offered his hand to his brother in law, the two men, the two Harts, lifting their belts in the air at MSG in a way that would be replicated 13 years later by Benoit and Eddy.

Bret, as mentioned, kept in a classic over Steamboat, it was the end of Ricky’s WWF career – until he returned as Director of Operations at Rumble ’05 (a position he shares with Flair as Summer Slam 05 approaches). And the Warriors continued their seemingly endless reign. Wins for Ted, Jacques, Rotundo, Sarge/Boss Man – and the Undertaker, who, as was he after his Rumble win over Dusty, and his Mania win over Jake, was confronted in the ring post match by Hulk Hogan – their nose to nose at Summer Slam ’91 would have been shown multiple times in clip form as part of the run up to Hulk Hogan’s Retirement Match – Hogan v. Undertaker, Summer Slam ’05.

Summer Slam '92 – that’s Wembley Stadium. And that must mean Bret v. Bulldog, and it does, just as it did in ’88 at our first Summer Slam. ‘Cept this time it’s for the big strap. Has Davey kept all year? No.

At Survivor Series ’91, Davey transitioned the belt over to the debuting Flair; meanwhile, Bret lost the IC that same night in what seemed to be a babyface matchup against Piper – but Roddy, his conscience torn, used the ringbell to level the Hit Man, getting the fall and then burying Bret until stopped by Owen, making his return to the WWF after 2 ½ years away.

On tv, Bret and Davey aligned against Flair and Piper – with Owen and Michaels brought into the angle as well, going into the Rumble. At the Rumble, Flair kept in the rematch against the Bulldog – an injured Hit Man couldn’t make his title rematch, so they rushed in as a replacement – Randy Savage – who had been gone since VII. Savage took Piper’s IC while Shawn took the better of Owen in the middle of the card.

At VIII – Bret finally won his WWF Title, making him the first modern day triple crown winner (joining Pedro) the triple crown, referring to holding all 3 straps, is positioned in the counterfactual as a holy accomplishment, far above even the WWF Title. Also in that main event, tensions between Hennig and Flair reached a head, Curt finally turning face, leaving Ric and the Brain. Davey didn’t work VIII – but Owen did, going over Michaels in the middle.

So, that gets us to Summer Slam ’92 – 4 years after turning heel in their IC match in the first Summer Slam, Davey got another shot at Bret – but this time for the big strap in front of his countrymen.

Savage kept that IC in the rematch with Piper at VIII – and went into Summer Slam defending against Jacques Rougeau, doing a lot of anti-British, pro-French stuff to rile up the home crowd.

The tag champs – no longer the Road Warriors – they kept over Sarge and the Boss Man at Survivor Series ’91, but lost in a stunner to DiBiase and Rotundo at the Rumble. Money Inc kept over a reunited Strike Force at VIII – and now are set for the big rematch, defending against the former champs Animal and Hawk.

The rest of the card – not great. Michaels/Martel, Tito against Smash, the Warrior was on the card, as was Crush, and the Beverly Brothers met the Nastys in the opening tag.


The big main event had a helluva closing match angle. Bret won, keeping with the sharpshooter – but as he had Davey locked in – he witnessed the first big table spot in WWF history. Owen was special color commentator for the match, and was attacked by Shawn, continuing their feud (Michaels beat Martel earlier), Shawn laid Owen out with the kick, went to the top buckle, and elbowdropped him through the table as Bret, noted by the announce, kept Davey in the sharpshooter while the Bulldog struggled less to win the belt – and more to save Owen.

All hell broke loose then, Davey submitted just after Michaels crashed through the table. Shawn was attacked by an entering Savage. Flair attacked Bret – who was saved by Hennig. Owen remaining in the wreckage. Good times.

Savage was still your IC Champ, keeping over Jacques. Money Inc still had the tag belts, surprising many by retaining over the Road Warriors. Unimportant wins for the obvious suspects in the undercard filled out Summer Slam ’92, a one match show, by and large.

A year later – Summer Slam '93 came from Detroit. The first Slam for the new PPV team of Jim Ross and Jim Cornette.

No change at the top though – a year later it was still the Hit Man. Bret kept in the VIII rematch against Flair at Survivor Series ’91, then renewed his IC rivalry with Tenryu, who aligned himself with the newcomer Yokozuna, at the Rumble. Bret kept – then, and also kept at IX against the hot newcomer Razor Ramon. It would be Razor, aligned not only with longtime Hart nemesis Michaels, but also with Shawn’s new bodyguard Diesel, who would win that number one contender’s battle royal (which Davey Boy took all the way to the title in ’91, we do it every other year, recall) and get the Summer Slam rematch. Razor tossing Michaels to win the thing.

Bret’s running buddy during this stretch was Mr. Perfect. And it would be Hennig challenging for the IC at Summer Slam ’93 – against the champ, Shawn Michaels.

Savage’s IC run ended at Survivor Series ’92, where he lost to Michaels – but then, in a significant twist, and our first format break ever – Michaels lost in an impromptu match to Owen. Shawn regained from Owen in an Iron Man, the ’93 MOTY at the Rumble. Shawn kept over Perfect at IX – Hennig, obviously out of the ring since losing the WWF title in ’91, returned as a face over the Boss Man (paid by the Brain to take him out, after Perfect turned at last year’s Slam) at Survivor Series, then beat Flair in the Loser Leaves Town at Rumble ’93. Flair did leave for a decade – but is now obviously back as we approach Summer Slam ’05, as one half of the creative team.

Hennig to the shot against Shawn at IX, lost, and Summer Slam is their rematch. As we approached Survivor Series, Hennig and Bret stood on the babyface side, the traditional side, while the Clique – Michaels, Razor, Diesel – were the upstarts.

The tag titles were in the midst of a monster run by the Steiners – they took at Survivor Series ’92 from Money Inc, kept over the Beverly Brothers at the Rumble, survived the rematch against DiBiase/Rotundo at IX – and now, with DiBiase retired, purchasing the tag ranks in an effort to get the belts off the Steiners – he enlisted the Headshrinkers for Summer Slam ’93 – in Detroit, you recall, where the hometown Steiners would be kinda big, big babyface favorites. Big.

What else…well, there was an IC tournament over the summer that to culminate in crowning a number 1 contender at Summer Slam. Backlund, Terry Taylor, Waltman, Razor, Yoko, Tito, Owen, and Randy were your participants. Owen and Waltman won their brackets and met, both as babyfaces, at Summer Slam. Both men were in opposition to the Clique – Owen, was, of course, a Hart – and Waltman had been the target of constant Clique abuse since entering the company.

Also working: Lex, Bam Bam, the Undertaker, and the Smoking Gunns. All of them won, so I’ll ignore them in the results section.


Bret keeps. He fights off the whole Clique and maintained hold on his strap. Michaels kept, in what signaled the end of this run for Hennig. The Steiners kept. The big angle of the night was in the IC Contender’s Final – Waltman upset Owen, and after beating Razor twice over the summer, now was positioned as a player. But postmatch, Savage, who had been training with Owen since both men were taken out by Yoko prior to IX , wiped Waltman out postmatch. When Owen looked to protect Waltman – Savage then leveled Owen for interfering and went back to attacking Waltman.

Waltman was saved by Razor --- who was still a heel, but his respect had been earned by the Kid’s taking the constant Clique beating and continuing to get up. So, while longtime babyface Savage was acting like a heel – the heel in the main event program was acting like a face. And when Razor attacked Savage – Randy was saved by his training buddy Owen – which led to Shawn and Diesel entering to attack Owen…but also attack Waltman, cause that’s what they did – and then Bret and Hennig to hit the ring to try to figure out what the hell was going on.

A cool scene in the middle of the card. One that would set up the next year of programs.

That’s part II. Part III of a Counterfactual History of Summer Slam will come soon – and then, in August – Summer Slam ’05! Matt Hardy makes his return to the WWF in the Unsanctioned “Who Screwed Lita?” match, Eddy defends in the 2 out of 3 falls against Rey, Orton and Cena try to keep the title one more night as they take on Bradshaw and Dinsmore, and like Summer Slam ’93 – we have an IC related tournament, although this time the belt is vacant – and Angle will meet Michaels, Benoit will meet Jericho – with the winners hooking up at Survivor Series. Leviathan, with Arn, meets Spreekiller Helms – Hulk Hogan’s retirement match is against the Undertaker – and those IC participants tag up in the opener! Summer Slam ’05! Call your thing!

A Counterfactual History of Summer Slam - 1

Friday, July 07, 2006

Still 3 weeks ‘till August, and that means 3 weeks until Summer Slam ’05!

But I miss the Counterfactual. It’s my bestest friend. You’ll never leave me, will you Counterfactual? Awwww. Pretty Counterfactual. Pretty.

So, given that many of you, I assume, have not been with me since the beginning and may need a glimpse into our neverending saga, this seems like an excellent time to do a History of Summer Slam.

Maybe I’ll do it in one part…maybe a dozen. I don’t know. I’m makin’ it up as I go along. I just feel like tending to my Counterfactual. Sometimes, late at night, I’ll hear it calling, “Feed me, Jimbo. Feed me.”

So, what the hell.

Counterfactual Summer Slam began in 1988 at a critical time in WWF history – that spring, Wrestlemania IV saw the end of the feud that carried the Federation on its back during the nascent days of PPV – Dynamite Kid v. Ricky Steamboat. That matchup was the main event in every show since WM II and culminated in Dynamite’s recapturing the WWF Title in a Loser Leaves Town.

It would safe to say there was concern in Titan Tower; would we be able to replace the babyface Steamboat, beloved by wrestling fans everywhere, as he had spent 4 years as the standard bearer for the company?

Dynamite would be challenged at Summer Slam by the white hot Randy Savage.

For two years, from WM II to WM IV, Savage was IC champ – he started as the monster heel, the guy in the pink trunks tossing Elizabeth around. Savage took from Piper at II, but by his victory over Jake at III, his act was so over that there was no stopping the face turn. Savage kept over the debuting Rick Rude at the first Survivor Series, in the fall of ’87, but then lost the babyface/babyface matchup against a man nipping at his heels for months, his friend Bret Hart.

Dynamite’s constant taunting and brutal attacks on men to whom he was considered family, Bret and Davey Boy, led to a response from Savage, effectively serving as Bret’s protector. And they met for the big strap at the first Summer Slam.

The IC saw those two aforementioned allies, Bret and Davey Boy, the Hart Foundation (managed, originally, by Neidhart) meet up. The Hart Foundation held the tag belts a year and a half, first as heels, taking from babyface team Santana and Beefcake at WM II, then like Randy, turning over the course of the year, and holding until a loss against the Rougeaus at that inaugural Survivor Series, when the Anvil turned on them.

They went singles at that point; Bret, as mentioned, taking the IC from Savage, and Davey Boy holding an unbeaten streak going into Summer Slam, notably having beaten the also undefeated Bigelow at III.

Bret’s having worked a babyface program against Savage made it easy for Davey Boy to ask him to do a similar favor; additionally, the somewhat fragile Bulldog was preyed upon by the nefarious Dynamite – Billington constantly questioning Davey’s manhood, his ability, if he would fade into obscurity while his superior tag partner started winning belts. Eventually, Davey challenged Bret for the strap, and they hooked it up at Summer Slam ’88.

The tag title was a fairly low wattage affair workrate wise. Demoliton had racked up multiple undercard wins as a heel team, perhaps getting some badass cheers, enough to get the shot against fellow heels, the Rougeaus.

More interesting was the continuation of the big feud between Rude and Jake – the same feud they actually had, as Rude had Cheryl Roberts’s face painted on his tights – enough to drive the tightly wound, now babyface Roberts over the edge. Rude got the win at WM IV – this was the rematch.

The rest of the card was pedestrian. Dibiase v. Muraco, Koko v. Bad News, the debut of the Ultimate Warrior, and two babyface giants teaming up – Hogan and Andre in the opening tag.

The dark match at Summer Slam ’88 was historic – those of you with me since the beginning recall that Bret met Dynamite in the dark match at I – well, at Summer Slam ’88, the dark match pitted two future holders of the triple crown, Owen Hart and Shawn Michaels. Nearly two decades later, as we approach Summer Slam ’05 – Shawn’s still here, meeting Kurt Angle.

The results:

Dynamite kept the title, going over Savage clean, Randy not yet able to climb that ultimate hurdle. Bret kept the IC – but Davey turned following the match, press slamming his longtime partner to the floor. The Rougeaus kept the tags, making it a sweep for champions. Rude got another win, when Cheryl shockingly turned on her husband, and she and Rick groped each other over the fallen Snake. The babyface Warrior won, as did the heel DiBiase. Bad News got a win, and so did the Hogan/Andre team.

A year later, we stayed in the New York metropolitan area, going to the Meadowlands in Jersey.

At Summer Slam '89, it was Randy Savage wearing the (metaphorical) crown. Randy did go over Dynamite, at Survivor Series ’88, then kept over DiBiase at the Rumble. At that point, Bret came calling once again. The Hit Man had run both his brother in law, and the man Davey re-aligned with to challenge Bret, the Anvil, out of the company by staving off their challenge at Survivor Series; but at the Rumble, he fell victim to the dominant force in the WWF – the Heenan Family – in particular Curt Hennig, who took the IC at the Rumble.

Bret said once Randy gave him a chance at the IC – Randy accepted, and Bret showed he was the Best there is, etc…now that Randy had the big belt – with the biggest show of the year coming up, Bret wanted to do it again.

Savage accepted – and beat him at V.

The rematch topped the card at Summer Slam ’89.

In fact, in a rarity, all 3 title matches from Mania were recontested at Summer Slam.

The IC saw the implosion of the Heenan Family, as Rude defended against Hennig

The Heenan Family, fronted, obviously, by Bobby, was four men: Rude, Hennig, Arn, and Tully, doing the Horsemen schtick. They all wore suits, ripping off every element of the gimmick in as shameless a fashion as possible without drawing a lawsuit. The Brainbusters were tag champs, taking at Survivor Series from the Rougeaus, losing at the Rumble in their veteran/upstart kid feud with the Rockers, and then retaking at IV.

Hennig, as mentioned, with Rude in his corner, took from Bret at the Rumble – and then, against the Brain’s wishes, gave his boyhood friend and stablemate Rude a shot at Mania.

Rude took and with tensions within the Family at an all time high – the two rematched at Summer Slam.

We just discussed the tags – Arn and Tully winning their second belts at V – they met the Rockers one more time at Summer Slam – the Busters also showed the fraying over the summer, picking sides in what grew to be a heated Rude/Perfect schism. The Brain did all he could to keep it together – but there were significant concerns as Summer Slam approached.

Rounding out the card…DiBiase met Terry Taylor, the longtime feud between former tag partners Martel and Santana continued, Jimmy Snuka made his PPV debut, meeting the now fascist Ultimate Warrior, Jacques Rougeau, now as a single, met the Hammer, and a year later, Hogan has another legendary tag partner, this time it’s Dusty Rhodes.

The results:

Randy kept the belt, beating Bret clean as did he at V – Bret playing the role of youngster not yet ready for the title. Rude kept the IC, with Heenan, for the first time, taking sides in the feud, taking Curt’s foot away from what would have been a rope break, allowing Rick to get the fall. It would turn out to be a ruse, actually, it was Rude and not Hennig who was getting swerved out of the Family by the Brain – but at the moment, it looked like a Perfect face turn, as he cleaned house.

The Brainbusters also came apart at Summer Slam ’89, losing to Shawn and Marty, then breaking up in the big angle that would soon find both of them leaving the company. Tully never to return – but Arn did come back, as a member of the Titan Trust – and now as the manager for Leviathan, taking on Shane Helms at Summer Slam ’05.

The rest of the show saw wins for Ted, Snuka, Jacques, Martel, and Hogan/Dusty.

The dawn of the 90s meant Summer Slam originated from Philadelphia for Summer Slam '90.

On top of the World Wrestling Federation – Mr. Perfect.

But not a babyface Mr. Perfect – after he left the Heenan Family, he formed what appeared to be a friendship with Randy Savage – enough so that Savage, who had withstood the babyface challenge from Bret – accepted another babyface challenge, this time from Hennig. But Hennig wasn’t a babyface, it was a dastardly swerve – Bobby rejoined him, knocked out Liz, and Hennig took the strap.

Perfect kept at the Rumble over Rude, who now was a babyface, after being sold out by the Brain at Survivor Series, then kept at VI in the big rematch with Savage.

You should be used to this – Summer Slam meant another rematch, Hennig/Savage III. Randy by this point was on the warpath, he had taken to attacking Hennig with a fork, he had been led from arenas in handcuffs, Liz was long gone, Bobby had to hire a special security detail – and the announce had reason, after bloody Savage attacks, to wonder if Randy had totally lost his mind. Because Randy was not just a danger to Hennig – but to the fans – the only way to do this rematch was to put it in a steel cage. Our first cage match for the WWF Title on PPV.

The IC was once again the Hit Man’s belt. He regrouped after failing to overcome Savage, took the IC from DiBiase (who had stolen it from Rude, with Bobby's help) at the Rumble, then kept it at VI in Toronto from a freshly turned Shawn Michaels. “There’s just something about you I don’t like” Shawn said.

His opponent was the once again evil Jake – who had re-turned heel with the influence of the returning Piper, the two men forming a nasty tag team that took the straps from the Rockers at the Rumble – but then lost to an odd tag combination that will be mentioned momentarily, at VI.

Jake went singles then – going after Bret’s title at Summer Slam '90.

The tag team champions – Rick Rude and, for the third time, Marty Jannetty.

You recall the scene – after the Rockers lost to Jake and Piper at the Rumble, a disgruntled Shawn tossed Marty through a plate glass window. But Jannetty had a rematch clause form Mania – and who doesn’t want to fight for the tag belts at Mania? He said he needed a partner – and who better to partner with than the man who previously had feuded with Jake for a year – now babyface Rick Rude.

They took the straps at VI – and at Summer Slam met the undercard heels, the Orient Express.

Elsewhere on the card, the heel Michaels took on Tito, the unbeaten Kerry Von Erich met a young man who would later be acquainted with Philadelphia, Shane Douglas, Dusty turned heel over the course of the year, and he met Hogan, and the Warrior and Demolition also appeared on the card.

The results:

In the bloodiest WWF Title match to date – Savage attacked everyone in sight with the fork – forking Hennig half to death until the champ was able to escape the cage, collapse into unconsciousness, and keep his belt. Savage attacked Bobby, the referee – WWF officials who tried to stop him – Savage forked people until his fans became horrified. The children cried and the women covered their eyes as the Macho Man totally lost his shit at Summer Slam ’90 – blood virtually everywhere from the forking Madness. "Ridin' the madness like a rocketship, to infiniti and beyond, yeah."

Bret kept the IC – and then ate a superkick from Michaels, who earlier defeated Tito with the same move – the kick dropped Bret cold, hopefully working to get the move over – and Shawn and Jake, bloody rivals when the year began, devoured the Hit Man together.

Your new tag champs – Pat Tanaka and the masked Paul Diamond, oddly enough. Rude did the clean job and left the company, never to return. Glory was fleeting for the Orients as, immediately after their victory, the Road Warriors, coming off a 2 year NWA title run, surprised everyone by walking down the aisle and taking them apart with Doomsday Devices.

Von Erich remained unbeaten – and Dusty went over Hogan as their feud continued.

That's The first 3 years of Summer Slam. Note that this is the weakest of the 4 PPVs, the reasons should be clear if you recognize the rules by which I'm playing - I'm limited to the wrestlers who actually worked the show (or who worked dark)meaning that historically the pool of talent working the other 3 shows is much deeper (30 men in the Rumble, the elimination matches in Survivor Series - and while its a more recent phenomenon, the desire to get every worker a Mania payday) but Summer Slam is sometimes a skeleton crew, which is the primary reason why, at Summer Slam '05, you will see Benoit/Jericho v. Michaels/Angle as the opening tag. It's a bit of a cheat, having guys work twice, but faithful Counterfactual readers note that I try to keep a good lid on the format in order to maintain fidelity to my premise.

Anyway - Part Two of a Counterfactual History of Summer Slam will be coming sooner rather than later - Summer Slam '05, a big - big card - Edge and Matt in the Unsanctioned match, Eddy defending against Rey, the mini tournament for the vacant IC: Benoit v. Jericho and Angle v. Michaels -- that's coming in the first week of August.

And until then - hop on over to to check out my controversial production blog.

Road to Summer Slam Concludes 2005

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Part 2 is here.

Let’s take this home.

With Flair at the point in leading Edge to relinquish his belt, Steamboat leaves it to him to decide with the Worldwide Titles.

Flair calls to the ring Benoit, Michaels, Angle, and Jericho.

There’s gonna be a mini-tournament. 2 matches at Summer Slam – winners meet for the vacant Worldwide Titles at Survivor Series in Detroit.

Benoit v. Jericho
Angle v. Michaels

Angle/Michaels is obvious, Flair says, we’ve all seen the Clique (Flair says that with some scorn, even though they are babyfaces) take on Team Angle for the past year. But during that time, a match we haven’t seen on PPV – in fact, a match we haven’t seen in a few years – is two time WWF Champion and Triple Crown Winner Shawn Michaels (clip of Michaels winning his first WWF Championship, along with the coveted Triple Crown, pinning Owen at Survivor Series ’94 in San Antonio) meeting two time WWF Champion Kurt Angle (clip of Angle winning his first WWF Title at XVII, pinning Benoit).

Angle and Michaels go face to face. At ringside are Benjamin and Regal, the surviving members of Team Angle. With the Clique tension, they are not present.

Flair notes that he actually wanted another Clique/Team Angle matchup at Summer Slam – that he wanted to see Paul London meet S Money – as he loves to see the young WWF wrestlers. But when he went to Kurt Angle – he was told in no uncertain terms that Shelton Benjamin not only would not be wrestling Paul London, he would not be wrestling at all on PPV for the foreseeable future.

Benjamin looks shocked at this – starts to bark at Angle.

Angle cuts him off – says it’s his fault that Charlie couldn’t cut it – and now that they killed Charlie – that means S Money is now the weak link in Team Angle. None of us have any belts, Kurt says, and that’s an intolerable situation. At Wrestlemania, while I was getting Christian to tap out – the rest of you – all of you who actually had title shots at Wrestlemania – were getting your asses handed to you.

That’s gotta stop.

So, you can wrestle on the road, you can wrestle on RAW – but on PPV, with the money on the line – until I say different…Shelton….you’re gonna be carrying my bags.

Benjamin bleats out, “Why would I do that?”

And Angle goes old school. “Because I’m Kurt Angle.”

They go nose to nose – Angle hands Benjamin his bag. Benjamin backs down.

That’s gonna lead to Regal’s leaving Team Angle – down the road, there’s a RAW where they are talking in the back, let’s say it happens after Summer Slam when this angle continues through Survivor Series. Regal tells Angle what he’s doing is wrong – I know you’re trying to teach the kid a lesson – but he’s a 3 time tag champ – he’s not your flunky – and you’re gonna lose him. Just like you lost Lesnar.

Which is the first Brock reference since he skipped. And it causes Angle to flip out.

Regal doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Money’s an amateur wrestler, it’s in his marrow, he doesn’t respect people who don’t push him until he nears the breaking point. You’re right, Steve – I lost Lesnar, I was easy on the kid, he was so freaking ridiculously talented that I let him slide, and he slid all the way to obscurity. I’m not gonna lose Money – this guy’s gonna be my legacy, Steve – this guy’s gonna win the Triple Crown – he’s gonna be the guy to carry Team Angle colors into the next decade, when you and me have hung it up – and right now, right now is when he’s learning how to do that.

Angle’s got the veins in the neck popping, the nostrils flaring, he’s totally bugged out.

Regal says no hard feelings Kurt – if you ever need me, give me a ring – I won’t try to stop this – but it’s a bad idea, it’s gonna go south on you – and I can’t be here to watch.

So, after Summer Slam, with Charlie gone and Regal on his own, effectively, that ends Team Angle.

One wonders what becomes of the Clique after Summer Slam…

Back to the ring, Flair then says the other semifinal will feature the two remaining members of the (again with the grimace) Hart Foundation, 3 time IC Champ Chris Jericho (clip of Jericho’s first IC win in his PPV debut at Survivor Series ’99) and 2 time WWF Champion Chris Benoit (clip of Benoit’s first WWF Title, over Cactus at XVI).

Jericho, now without Trish, but still with the whiskey bottle, offers a drink to Benoit, who slaps it out of his hand. “You’re an embarrassment, Jericho. A damn embarrassment”

Jericho spits some whiskey at him – Benoit takes a shot, but Jericho tumbles out of the ring, grabbing the bottle (which is not empty) and notably trying to scrape its inside with his tongue as he stumbles up the aisle.

The story here is of course, Jericho’s arc. Recall, he, Benoit, and Storm were set up as the next generation of Harts, who one day all would come to the WWF and claim their place in the family legacy that built WWF PPV, Dynamite, Bret, Owen, Davey Boy all World Champions.

It was, of course, Jericho who held up the banner early, memorably telling Benoit he was turning his back on the family during Benoit’s long heel title run.

Then it was Jericho and Storm, winning the tag belts as the Hart Foundation, then losing them to a masked Benoit and Eddy, who then joined the Horsemen. Jericho and Storm broke apart in the Stacy triangle that led to Lance’s losing the Loser Leaves match and Jericho’s heel turn.

Now, Jericho’s in the fullest Jim Morrison debauchery. He lost the Worldwide belts to Edge at the Rumble, then lost to Michaels at XXI – he’s bloated, drunk, virtually falling down – the desperate sadness evidence in every molecule.

Benoit thinks it’s his fault.

Benoit, of course, is now a longtime babyface, having just come off his long second title run, losing the strap to Eddy at XXI. And while there have been no Harts for him to lead, we clearly see that he is the new patriarch – the standard bearer for the Hart name, for the entire nation of Canada in terms of its wrestling legacy. And while he can’t embrace Jericho, can’t help him, can’t do anything but express disgust at his current condition – we know that underneath Benoit’s warrior rage is the feeling that, as Owen was Bret’s responsibility, Jericho was Benoit’s, and he failed him somehow.

So, this being wrestling, naturally they have to fight.

Flair adds one more twist – he says since Steamboat is so hung up on the Mexicans, with a lucha libre match at the top of the card – why not use another lucha concept – parejas increibles – for the bottom of the card?

I like the idea of JR trying to work his way around that one.

So, Flair says, for the benefit of any of you who don’t speak Spanish – that means I’m going to put together an opening tag with men you wouldn’t normally see together.

Parejas Increibles.

At Summer Slam, in Washington DC – to begin the show – will be the Hart Foundation: Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho – against Shawn Michaels…and Kurt Angle.

Crowd pops as it will and we’re set.

So, a month from now when I write the thing, you’ll see Summer Slam ’05. Matt will make his return to the WWF after a year to meet Edge in the Unsanctioned Match the entire world is talking about. Eddy defends against Rey in the 2 of 3 falls Lucha match. Orton and Cena defend the tag belts against the NeoCons: Bradshaw and Dinsmore. In the Worldwide Tournament: Angle meets Michaels and Benoit meets Jericho. SpreeKiller Helms takes on Leviathan, now trained by AA. Hulk Hogan’s retirement match – he meets the Undertaker. And in the opener, the Hart Foundation meets Angle and Michaels.

Oh more angle.

The very last thing on the very last RAW before the PPV is JR. He takes off the hat, says give or take a show or two, he's been the WWF play by play voice for the last 12 years. He took over the chair that first belonged to Gorilla Monsoon, may he rest in peace, and he hopes he's served it half as well. He wants to thank the men who have sat next to him, principally Jim Cornette, and in recent years, Paul Heyman and now Taz, but all things come to an end.

At Summer Slam, JR will be calling what might be his final WWF PPV. He may be around a little bit, maybe not, but he's giving up Gorilla's chair.

"So, hope you all turn in to see this Okie say goodbye."

It’s double loaded from DC. Summer Slam. You can't help yourself. Call. Your. Thing!

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It