Welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that keeps on ticking like Impact! It’s WWF Summerslam 1996, headlined by Shawn Michaels defending his WWF Championship against the monster Vader, the man who defeated HBK at In Your House International Incident! We also have Sycho Sid taking on British Bulldog, The Undertaker battling Mankind in a Boiler Room Brawl and Marc Mero vs Goldust! Lots of action on this card, the WWF is trying to make sure that Summerslam 1996 is not one you are going to forget anytime soon! Will WWF deliver though? That tag match does not fill me with joy while I am not sure if I need to see Jerry Lawler jobs to another bigger star from the WWF. Let’s go!
Owen Hart vs Savio Vega
Where has Vega been for the past few months? No idea but Vega is here slapping hands and I am not sure if Vega has ever been over in the WWF. Coming in as Ramon’s friend was a great start but booking never helped Savio while Owen Hart has been tremendous every time he steps into the ring, how that man has not been one of Michaels’ challengers for the WWF championship is beyond me. Owen still has his wrist cast, the weapon used to knock out Ahmed Johnson.
Owen tries clubbing Savio with the cast, the referee stops Owen from using the cast and tells Owen that it will be disqualification if Owen uses it in this match. Crowd chants for Owen, not a good sign for Savio. Savio tries working the arm, Owen wiggles free. Lock-up, arm-bar from Savio but Owen rakes the eyes. Clubbing blows, Irish whip and Savio leap-frogs Owen and hurls the arm into the turnbuckles three times. Arm-bar from Savio, big scoop slam but Owen dodges the elbow drop. Owen misses the fist drop, Savio works the arm wrenching and applying pressure. Big slam from Savio who continues with the arm-bar but Owen rakes the eyes.
Shoulder block counter from Owen, Savio drops-down and monkey flips Owen. Back into the arm-bar, Owen throws right hands before Savio makes Owen take Bret’s buckle bump. O’Connor roll for two, Owen kicks off Vega into the ring-post. Arm-Wrench from Owen, Owen drives his knee into the arm of Savio. Arm-bar from The King Of Hearts, single arm DDT from Owen for two. Stump-puller variation from Owen, Savio bites his way out as Owen locks Savio in the ropes, clubbing blows onto the arm. Slap from Owen, Savio chops back from the ropes. Owen clubs down on the arm once more, boot from Savio. Owen misses a dropkick, Savio misses his spinning heel kick. Owen misses his, Savio connects with a flying crossbody for two.
Clarence Mason is here to cheer on Owen, enzuigiri from Owen for a close two. Small package from Savio for two, chops and Irish whip from Owen. Savio reverses but Owen boots down Savio using the ropes for leverage for another close two. Schoolboy from Savio for two, spinning heel kick from Owen. Another close two, Irish whip to the buckle and Savio knocks down Owen with a huge spinning heel kick. Owen misses a right hand, inverted atomic drop and clotheslines by Savio. Owen begs off, ten punches in the corner. Whip to the buckle and clothesline, scoop slam and leg drop from Savio for close two.
Irish whip and sidewalk slam for two, Irish whip and Savio lowers his head. Owen answers with a neck-breaker, Owen climbs high. Missile dropkick for two, Owen climbs high again but Savio crotches Owen. Super back suplex, both men slowly get back to their feet but Owen clocks Savio with his cast and then applies The Sharpshooter! Owen Hart is your winner!
Slow to start, more to do with the fact that the crowd are far more receptive to Owen Hart than Savio Vega who’s been left high and dry for a number of months as a bland babyface. Things turn as they continue to tease near-falls, the crowd gets going into the match and Owen wonderfully cheats his way to victory by using the cast. Solid heel work from Owen, I will always state that Owen deserved so much more in the WWF. After the match Bradshaw floors Savio with a lariat, looks like another PPV feud for Savio but I hope something changes for Savio.
Winner: Owen Hart over Savio Vega via Sharpshooter!
(WWF Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way Elimination Match) The New Rockers vs The Bodydonnas vs The Smoking Gunns © W/ Sunny vs The Godwinns W/ Hillbilly Jim
Oh my look at those New Rockers, I do feel for Cassidy because Snow was quite entertaining in SMW before coming to the WWF. I can’t believe I have to see The Godwinns near the tag team championships again because they almost ended my love affair with this year as they forced me to take repeated breaks during the review process. I cannot truly express my hatred for the character of Phineas and his love angle with Sunny. Speaking of Sunny, she’s here with the tag team champions.
Billy and Henry to start, Henry grabs the headlock. Shoulder block for Billy, make it two. Large Sunny chants tell you all you need to know about this match, Henry lands a massive hip-toss and right hand to Billy. Wheelbarrow slam from Henry, Billy tags in Skip. Henry tags in Phineas, shoulder block from Phineas. Billy and Sunny distract Phineas, Billy jaw-jacks with the fans. Phineas and Skip tag in The Gunns. The Gunns cannot tag in someone so they have to fight one another? Well obviously they do not, who thought that was a good babyface move from Bodydonnas or Phineas? Skip arm-drags Billy before Jannetty trips Skip and Billy pins Skip, what????????
Bodydonnas have been Eliminated!
Cassidy stomps and clotheslines Henry, tag to Jannetty. They pummel Henry, clothesline from Jannetty. Snap-mare and fist drop from Jannetty, tag to Cassidy. A few kicks from Cassidy before a tag to Billy, headbutt to Henry. Gunns and Rockers have words, Henry plants Billy with a sidewalk slam. Rockers elbow Billy by mistake, they are arguing before Godwinns lay-out everyone. Henry elbows Cassidy, Cassidy sends Henry to the buckle. O’Connor roll but Henry kicks Cassidy into Jannetty, Jannetty falls into the ring and Slop Drop from Henry and Rockers are eliminated!
New Rockers have been Eliminated!
Bart scoop slams Henry, knee drop from Bart. Irish whip to the buckle, Bart runs into a boot though. Clothesline from Henry, Henry cannot make the tag as Bart gets up and prevents the tag. Knees to the ribs, Henry screams out in pain. Henry headbutts Bart in the gut, right hand from Henry. Tag to Billy, Billy taunts and stomps Henry. Tag to Bart, inverted atomic drop from Henry. Eye rake from Bart, will this hot-tag just come already? Tag to Billy, stomps from Billy. Whip to the buckle, Billy is caught and slammed as he attempted his corner splash. Henry crawls and crawls, Phineas gets the hot-tag. Right hand after right hand, Henry clotheslines Bart to the floor. Phineas Slop-Drops Billy, Sunny is with the referee. Bart lands a diving axe handle and Billy covers for the win.
Once again, believing in The Godwinns has ended in Phineas having the briefest of hot-tags and losing the match due to interference. I appreciate Billy’s efforts to get heat but this feud is lame, always has been. Candido must have been legit injured, he was never involved in the match. Jannetty and Cassidy as heels? Interesting concept but you do not get much of it in this match and the finish, I mean why even bother investing in Phineas at this stage? I do hope there is a massive shake-up in this division soon or I will truly struggle to watch tag team wrestling during 1996 in the WWF.
Winners: The Smoking Gunns over Everyone Else via Diving Axe Handle!
The British Bulldog vs Sycho Sid
Now both of these men were awesome in the International Incident six-man tag match but they are alone tonight, one on one and I might just be slightly worried because Bulldog has a tendency to rely on that reverse chin-lock when they are waiting for the next spot. Sid is over big time though, Sid is milking the reaction. Headlock from Bulldog and the shoulder block does not knock Sid who lands a clothesline and scoop slam. Bulldog powders, Bulldog seems to have had enough. Bulldog rolls back into the ring as Sid continues to excite the crowd, side headlock from Sid. Takedown from Sid for a close two, Irish whip and Sid lowers the head. Kick to the head from Bulldog, delayed vertical suplex from Bulldog. Clarence Mason is here again, cheering on Bulldog this time.
Clubbing blows and stomps from Bulldog for two, Bulldog clotheslines Sid to the floor. Sid is clotheslined off the apron as Bulldog struts around the ring, Sid comes back though before missing a corner splash. Bulldog wants his powerslam, Running Powerslam connects. Cornette and Mason are having words, Bulldog was distracted by the two. Bulldog wants to do it again but Sid slips out, Chokeslam from Sid. Powerbomb from Sid and this is over!
Sid is over big time, continuing his momentum from the prior In Your House. We have an angle developing between Clarence Mason and Jim Cornette, I am intrigued to see where things go from here and the right man went over with Bulldog recently challenging for the championship, Sid is a star and with the right opponent, Sid can continue to deliver some good to great matches.
Winner: Sycho Sid over British Bulldog via Powerbomb!
Goldust W/ Marlena vs Marc Mero W/ Sable
This is an interesting one for sure, both men had great starts to the year but with the loss of his Intercontinental Championship to Ahmed Johnson and The Undertaker’s revenge, Goldust needs a win. Similarly, The Wildman needs a win after putting over The King of The Ring winner Stone Cold Steve Austin as consecutive pay per views. Lock-up, Goldust taunts and slaps Mero. Mero is irate, Goldust hides behind the referee. Headlock from Goldust, Mero leapfrogs and drops-down, big Japanese arm-drags before Goldust powders. Flying crossbody and drop -toehold from Mero before using an arm-bar on The Bizarre One.
Goldust elbows his way out, right hands from Goldust. Mero reverses an Irish whip and lowers his head, Goldust lands his drop-down uppercut and Goldust back-drops Mero to the floor. Mero is on the apron, Goldust nails Mero who lands face-first on the guardrail. Goldust drops Mero throat-first on the guardrail next. Clothesline for two, Mankind is here. There seems to be an alliance between Mankind and Goldust, Sable is petrified of Mankind. The referees are here, Mankind runs out of the arena. Reverse chin-lock from Goldust, Mero escapes but Goldust scores with a knee in the ribs. Shot to the head, kicks to the spine. Mero is whipped to the buckle but Mero jumps to the middle rope and lands an elbow to the head.
Mero fights back with right hands, inverted atomic drop. Jabs from Mero, flying clothesline floors Goldust. Irish whip, back body-drop and a massive knee-lift. Ten punches in the corner, Goldust and Mero tumble to the floor off a hurricanrana. Mero lands a tope con hilo, Goldust is down. Slingshot leg drop from Mero, Mero scoop slams Goldust. Wild Thing from Mero but Marlena distracts the referee, Goldust kicks out and Goldust runs into a powerslam for two. Goldust whips Mero to the buckle, stomp the knee. Curtain Call and Goldust wins, just like that.
So, most of the match has little to no-heat in it with not a lot going on at all between the ropes. Mankind came out and went, wonder where that will go? Also, debuting a new amazing move and having someone kick out of it? Really? That’s not what I want to see in my wrestling, the cameraman mostly missing Marlena distracting the referee? Sloppy work and again my boy Marc Mero gets undone by an attack on his leg that has not been established at all and the finish itself is sloppy which a mis-communication messing up both men’s timing and the result is ugly, genuinely thought Mero was going to counter but no, planted and things look bad for The Wildman.
Winner: Goldust over Marc Mero via Curtain Call!
Jerry Lawler vs Jake The Snake Roberts
Lawler mocks Roberts for his alcohol addiction, after a tonne of stalling Roberts chokes Lawler with Revelations. More stalling before Roberts sends Lawler into the steel steps, rights and lefts from Roberts. Snap-mare and stomp to the groin, scoop slam to the floor. Lawler is sent into the ring-post hard, make it twice. Lawler throws soda in the eyes of Roberts, Lawler ties up Roberts in the ropes. Roberts frees himself and tries for a DDT but Lawler back-drops Lawler. Roberts answers with a short-arm clothesline, Lawler uses the referee to avoid the DDT. Lawler has the bottle, Lawler nails Roberts in the throat and pulls the tights for the win.
Wow, Lawler actually won, Lawler has done the job to everyone but Roberts puts over Lawler. Speechless, fully shocked like something like this could actually happen. It was still garbage though!
Winner: Jerry Lawler over Jake Roberts via Bottle to The Throat!
(Boiler Room Brawl Match) The Undertaker vs Mankind
Paul Bearer places the urn in the ring, the winner must escape the boiler room and get their hands on the urn in the ring. This feud has been amazing with Taker being motivated for the first time in a long time, Taker is cautious after a series of attacks from Mankind. Mankind’s Mandible Claw has been firmly established as a deadly hold, this has been a thoroughly entertaining feud between two people beating the piss out of one another. Undertaker cautiously walks around the boiler room, Taker is uncharacteristically on edge. This is what Mankind has done to The Deadman, Mankind sneaks up on Taker. A pipe across the back from Mankind, punches and a bar to the head. Taker is down, Mankind stomps away like a man possessed.
Taker blocks the mandible claw, Taker lands trash can lid shots to the head over and over. Both men grab pipes, Taker waffles Mankind with the pipe. Into a locker goes Mankind, Mankind is down after another trash can lid shot. Mankind slips out of a scoop slam and hot-shots Taker off a wooden board, Mankind rakes at the face of The Deadman. Taker is rammed into a boiler and kicked hard in the ribs, Taker’s head meets the boiler once more. Mankind has a trash can, Taker is cracked in the head with the can. Across the ribs, Mankind smashes Taker once more. Mankind has the can but Taker has a pipe, whacking the can back into his face. Mankind blasts Taker in the face with steam from the boiler.
Taker smashes Mankind with a palette board, Mankind grabs another pipe and whacks Taker in the face and twice in the lower regions. Taker sells as if The Deadman is going to puke, Taker pulls down some pipes while Mankind goes after him once more. Mankind hurls Taker into a sliding door, running knee into the sliding door from Mankind. Mankind climbs a ladder and drops an elbow on Taker, Mankind waffles Taker with a board across the back. The feed cuts out but Taker is down with Mankind trying to do something with a ladder, Mankind is knocked off the ladder by Taker. Mankind crashes into a number of boxes while Taker looks to escape this room. Taker shoves Mankind into glass, Mankind grabs a chain and beats down Taker.
Taker stops Mankind from leaving, massive uppercut from The Deadman. Taker blinds Mankind with a fire extinguisher, Mankind and Taker brawl by the door with Mankind shutting the door on Taker’s face. Mankind places a bunch of items in front of the boiler room door to stop Taker from bursting through the door. Taker shoulder tackles his way through the door, all the superstars watch on as Taker and Mankind brawl. Mankind nails Taker with a desk before making his way closer to the arena.
Mankind has coffee and burns The Deadman, Mankind is close to the arena now appearing at the stage. Taker clotheslines Mankind down, Taker smashes the 2X4 across the back of Mankind. Headbutt from Taker, they are standing on the apron. Mankind rams Taker’s face into the steel steps, Mankind rips up the concrete floor. Pulling piledriver on the concrete from Mankind, Paul Bearer is fearing for his life. Taker grabs the ankle of Mankind, Taker uses the ropes to send Mankind to the floor who wallops his head off the concrete. Taker steps into the ring, Taker poses before Paul Bearer and Bearer turns his back on Undertaker. Mankind applies The Mandible Claw, Taker is out and Taker comes back to life which leads to Bearer slapping and kicking The Deadman. In a final act of betrayal, Bearer smashes Taker in the head and hands the urn to Mankind.
While the match was far too long for my liking, there were some really nice moments mixed in here. I loved Taker being cautious, it really puts over Mankind as a threat, Mankind could be the man who finally has the number of The Deadman. I also like how the commentators were mostly silent throughout the boiler room brawl, making it feel like a horror movie with both men brawling continuously. And the heel turn of Paul Bearer may not be executed in the cleanest fashion but once Bearer smacks Taker, there is no turning back and the crowd is in shock. There’s no way Paul Bearer could turn on Undertaker? It happened though, awesome moment that adds another layer of intrigue to this feud.
Winner: Mankind over Undertaker via Retrieval of The Urn!
(WWF Championship Match) Vader W/ Jim Cornette vs Shawn Michaels ©
At International Incident, Vader fulfilled what months of booking was leading to, Vader pinned Shawn Michaels. Not Owen Hart, Not British Bulldog, Not Diesel, none could pin Michaels shoulders to the mat but Vader did it with ease. One Vader Bomb and it was lights out for HBK, can HBK beat Vader? It feels like it could happen, this match is infamous for one moment but I wonder how the rest of the match plays out.
They lock-up, rights and lefts from Vader. Short-arm clothesline from Vader, Irish whip but Michaels blocks the boot and leg-trips Vader. Low dropkick from Michaels, Michaels throws kicks at the seated Vader. Rights and lefts from HBK, Vader reverses an Irish whip but HBK slides out of the scoop slam. Vader counters with an elbow, Michaels sends Vader to the floor though. Baseball slide from Michaels, Michaels dives to the floor and lands big right hands to the face of Vader. Michaels lands a diving axe handle to the head, hurricanrana from HBK. Michaels looking for a victory-roll, spilling Vader out to the floor. Plancha from Michaels does not work as Vader powerbombs Michaels on the floor.
Vader throws in a few slaps on the floor, Vader dumps Michaels back into the ring. Rights and lefts from Vader in the corner, suplex from the challenger. Clubbing blows to the chest from Vader in the corner, Irish whip with Michaels taking his bump before Vader sends Michaels to the floor with the second hard Irish whip. Back body-drop from Vader, Michaels stops the back suplex but Vader lands a big shot to the throat. Vader misses a corner splash but lands a vicious clothesline to floor HBK. Michaels flips out of a suplex, Vader side-steps Michaels but Michaels tries to skin the cat. Vader says screw that, picks up Michaels and hurls HBK to the mat. Standing crossface from Vader, Michaels begins battling back with big right hands, huge knee to the ribs. Clothesline but Vader stands tall, Michaels tries sliding through the legs but Vader stops Michaels.
Michaels blocks the hip splash with a big knee to the groin, clothesline from HBK. Michaels is on the top rope, Vader forgets to move so HBK stops in mid-air and kicks Vader in the head twice. Michaels ducks the clothesline of Vader and flying crossbody to the floor with both men spilling out. Vader Irish whips Michaels into the ring apron, Michaels is gorilla press slammed onto the guardrail. We have a count-out victory for Vader? Cornette is not happy because Vader does not want to win this way, Cornette wants the championship. Michaels is selling well, this match will continue and Vader clubs down Michaels on the aisleway. Vader threatens Jose while Cornette waffles HBK with the racket on the back.
Vader corner splash and a belly to belly suplex for a close two, Michaels blocks the powerbomb with right hands, two ducks and a flying forearm from HBK. Diving elbow drop from Michaels, Cornette grabs the leg of Michaels. Right hand from Michaels, Cornette whacks Vader with the racket over and over, Cornette gets knocked down too. Vader has the chair, Vader has beaten HBK twice as Vader wins by DQ this time. Cornette is still irate, Cornette wants one more try at beating Michaels. Michaels goes after Vader, sunset flip attempt from HBK. Vader tries a hip splash, Michaels dodges. Flying forearm, diving elbow drop and Sweet Chin Music. Vader kicks out at two and a half, side headlock from HBK.
Vader shoves Michaels into the referee, Vader powerbomb but there is no referee. A new referee comes out, close two for Vader. Vader wants his Vaderbomb, this could flatten HBK. Cornette tells Vader to go up top, Vader attempts the moonsault and Michaels moves out of the way. Michaels climbs high himself, Michaels is on shaky legs. Moonsault and Michaels retains his championship!
Not as horrid as you have thought or believed if you hear anyone talking about how Shawn Michaels treated Vader during this match, the mis-communication is an absolute overreaction from Michaels who could have easily hit the elbow and improvised into a different spot, he hit a number of forearms to knock Vader and two other elbow drops so one more would not have hurt. However, not a fan of Vader getting the two wins by DQ and count-out and then losing, restarting the match is alright sometimes but I think Vader kicking out of Sweet Chin Music is much more impressive and doesn’t stop the momentum of the match dead in its tracks like restarting it twice. Perhaps a racket to the face and a Sweet Chin Music could have better protected Vader but I do like the idea of Vader going big with the moonsault only to be defeated by Michaels landing the same manoeuvre and catching the big man by surprise. Despite the size difference, I never did feel Vader dominated HBK and threw him around like I expected, it was more of a subdued HBK performance for me and considering the quality of his 1995 and 1996, I would say this is a weaker main event but not as bad as everyone would have you believe.
Winner: Shawn Michaels over Vader via Moonsault!
That was WWF’s Summerslam 1996, a disappointing show from the World Wrestling Federation. So much of the card just felt like it was there and I wasn’t entertained throughout most of the show. Owen Hart vs Savio Vega was a decent opener, I don’t think anyone is truly behind Savio so it makes it difficult when Owen is so good and popular, I like the finish but it felt like a nothing match. The tag team match is abysmal, how The Godwinns are the main opposition to The Smoking Gunns I will never know and considered they have been beaten twice, we seriously need some new lifeblood in that division. Goldust vs Mero was ok, I thought neither man was amazing in this match and Mero showing off the shooting star press only to lose irks me big time, why bother showing that impressive move for a two count? Also Goldust stabs Mero’s leg to set him up for the curtain call, the leg has never been worked on at all during the match. Lawler vs Roberts was trash, what does it setup? Lawler vs Henry? I’ll pass! Undertaker vs Mankind had some really nice elements, the mandible claw is unstoppable, Taker being cautious of Mankind and the angle with Bearer turning his back on Taker was six years of hard work and the reaction was perfect, I just thought the brawling was a little boring in parts with little struggle or meaning to the blows. The main event is not as bad as people would have you believe, it’s good in parts but the double restart hurts the match massively! My recommendation is come see it for Paul Bearer betraying Taker and the main event, avoid everything else as it’s meaningless. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!