Opposites Attack! Opposite looks, opposite views and opposite wrestling styles are what WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and challenger Vader are. That’s the main event for the 9th annual Summerslam, a main event that has been brewing for some time. Shawn Michaels has been champion since Wrestlemania 12 when he defeated Bret Hart in the Iron man match. Since then Vader has destroyed the competition, going through guys like Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson and Jake Roberts. He’s attacked Shawn Michaels on numerous occasions and even pinned him at the last PPV, In Your House: International Incident. They’ll meet in the main event but in the semi-main event The Undertaker battles nemesis Mankind in a Boiler Room Brawl. Mankind has been after The Undertaker since the night he debuted in the WWF. Since then he has beaten The Undertaker at King Of The Ring and at the last PPV the two men battled to the boiler room hence this big match.
The tag team titles will be on the line tonight when The Smoking Gunns defend their belts against former champions The Godwinns and the men they beat for the gold The Bodydonnas as well as The New Rockers in a four team elimination match. Sunny is still in The Smoking Gunns corner how will Skip and Phineas Godwinn deal with that? And how will Jake Roberts deal with Jerry Lawler? For weeks Lawler has been taunting Roberts about his alcoholism even dousing Jake’s friend Aldo Montoya with Jim Bean. I know I’d like to see Lawler get his comeuppance tonight but is Roberts fit to wrestle? In a continuation from last PPVs main event, Sid takes on The British Bulldog. There isn’t much more history in this one but I am looking forward to that. Another match tonight without any build is Owen Hart vs. Savio Vega. That should be a high flying/technical match. The other match we’ll see tonight is between former Intercontinental champion Goldust and Marc Mero. Goldust has had a obsession recently with Mero’s girlfriend Sable and tonight Mero will want to put a stop to that. Let’s get to it.
Standard graphic to start, The World Wrestling Federation for over 50 years the revolutionary force in sports entertainment. Then to a video package highlighting masked monsters Mankind and Vader then the monster slayers Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. It’s all about David and Goliath battles tonight. From Cleveland, Ohio this is Summerslam!
Vince McMahon WELCOMES EVERYONE to Summerslam, he’s joined at ringside by Jim Ross and Mr Perfect. Now to the action.
Savio Vega vs. Owen Hart
No Jim Cornette in Owen Harts corner tonight, he must be concentrating on Vaders match later on. This is an interesting match. Two high flying athletes who I predict to put on a decent contest. Owen Hart still has a cast on his arm, he’s playing the “Cowboy” Bob Orton gimmick well. Not really any history between these two unless I’ve missed it. The first one on one meeting between these two on PPV. The referee tells Owen that if he uses his cast then he’ll be disqualified. Savio hasn’t been on the last couple of PPVs, his last one was when he defeated Steve Austin at Beware Of Dog. Savio starts well smashing Owens arm of the corners before going to the arm bar. Owen Hart was successful at the last PPV in the main event no less. We go to a split screen of Vader working out for his match. Savio continues to work the arm as an “Owen” chant breaks out. This is actually Savio Vega’s Summerslam debut. Owen Hart finally gets back into the match throwing Savio into the ringpost and stomping on his opponent. It’s Harts turn to go to the armbar now. He hits an armbar takedown and gets a 2 count. This match hasn’t been as quick as I thought it would be. In pace that is, not duration. Hart goes back to the armbar now.
This is only Owen Harts second Summerslam appearance. He lost to his brother Bret in 1994. I’m sure he preferred the spot he was in then. Hart ties Vega up in the ropes but Vega manages to punch his way out of it. Finally the match speeds up as Savio hits a crossbody for a two count. Owen Hart hits an enzeguri for a two count. Clarence Mason who is the legal adviser for Camp Cornette walks up the entrance way now. Owen hits some knees in the corner and pins Vega with his feet on the ropes for a two count. We get a couple of near falls from both men now and Owen hits Savio with a spinning heel another 2. Clarence Mason cheers on Owen Hart from ringside. Savio hits an atomic drop and a couple of clotheslines. Vega has the momentum as he hammers away at Owen in the corner then hits a powerslam and a legdrop for a two count. It’s all Savio Vega as he hits a sidewalk slam for another near fall. Owen Hart manages to reverse an Irish whip and hits a neckbreaker before going up top and coming off with a dropkick for another near fall. Owen Hart has wrestled on more pay per views than practically anybody in WWE history at this point. He makes a mistake though and Savio hits a side suplex from the top rope. Both men go down.
Owen Hart plays possum now and then nails Vega with his cast! The referee somehow doesn’t see it and Owen Hart locks on the Sharpshooter! The referee stops the match and Owen Hart picks up the big win in the opening contest. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw then makes his way out and screams in the face of Vince McMahon before nailing Savio Vega in the aisle! What was his beef? Apparently Savio beat Bradshaw in a tag team match over the weekend. This match was an ok way to start the PPV. It got better as it went on.
Backstage to Todd Pettingill who is in the boiler room. He interviews Mankind who says there’s no place like home. Mankind then warns Undertaker not to come to the boiler room.
The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) (c) vs. The New Rockers (Marty Jannetty & Leif Cassidy) vs. The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas) vs. The BodyDonnas (Skip & Zip) – 4 Way Tag Team Match for the WWF Tag Team Titles
Plenty of history between these four teams. The Gunns, BodyDonnas and Godwinns have been battling over the tag team titles all the way through 1996 and it seems the New Rockers have been thrown in for good measure. Skip comes out in a neck brace, he suffered an injury recently but will wrestle tonight. This is Leif Cassidy’s WWE PPV debut tonight. The Gunns are the only ones in this match to have won at a Summerslam before. It’s Billy Gunn that starts the match with Henry Godwinn. The Smoking Gunns won at Summerslam 1993 & 1995. Henry knocks Billy down with some big right hands then hits a front facebuster. Billy tags out to Zip and Henry tags Phineas. Zip previously wrestled as Tom Prichard and lost his previous Summerslam match in 1993. Zip locks a headlock on Phineas and then we get a criss cross. Both men then stop and both men tag out to Billy and Bart Gunn before strutting across the ring. The Gunns try to tag the Goodwinns but Henry and Phineas avoid the tag. Bart then tags Zip who hits some arm drag takedowns on the champion. Zip then bounces off the ropes but Jannetty grabs his leg. Billy pins Zip for the three! The Bodydonnas are out of here. Skip didn’t even get in here. Probably for the best.
Three teams remain now and Billy drops Henry Godwinn before tagging out to Leif Cassidy. Cassidy pounds away at Henry before tagging out to Marty Jannetty. Jannetty continues the assault before tagging out to Billy Gunn. Leif Cassidy tries to clothesline Henry Godwinn who ducks and Cassidy nails Billy Gunn. This gives Henry Godwinn the advantage. He hits a sidewalk slam and pins Billy and in comes The Rockers to break it up but they nail Billy and it all kicks off. We then get some miscommunication between the Rockers and Henry hits the Slop Drop on Jannetty for the three! The New Rockers are out of here. We’re just down to The Smoking Gunns and The Godwinns. Bart has the advantage in the early going but Henry hits a big clothesline to even it up. Bart tags Billy who comes Henry a big sissy then holds Godwinn open for Bart. Sunny is very verbal on the outside of the ring. Henry starts a comeback with an inverted atomic drop. Bart tags Billy who tries a big splash in the corner on Henry but gets caught! Henry slams Billy in the middle of the ring then crawls over and tags Phineas! Phineas goes mad, taking down everybody!
Henry gets back in and clotheslines Bart out of the ring then Phineas hits the Slop Drop on Billy! The referee is distracted by Hillbilly Jim and Sunny on the outside though and Bart comes in off the top and nails Phineas before rolling him over. The referee turns around and counts the cover! The Smoking Gunns defy the odds and beat three other teams to retain their tag team titles. They are three for three now at Summerslam. Sunny gets in the ring now and slags off all the men and women in the crowd. Then a huge picture of Sunny drops from the rafters! A special treat for everyone! A decent match, I enjoyed the four teams and the style of match.
Now to a VT of some of the superstars travelling across Cleveland. It’s a race no less. The Godwinns get on the train and The Smoking Gunns were on horse and carriage. Obviously The Godwinns smashed them. Now we go to Jerry Lawler who is at some baseball practice. Now to some of the superstars painting a wall. Guys like Savio Vega, Bob Holly, The Godwinns, Mark Henry and Sunny. Undertaker and Paul Bearer gave away a funeral. Then to a signing. It’s been a busy Summerslam weekend!
The British Bulldog vs. Sycho Sid
We get a crazy interview from Sid before the match, he’s the master and ruler of the universe. This is Bulldogs fourth Summerslam, he’s won 2 and drawn 1 before at this pay per view. The last time he wrestled at a Summerslam was 1992 when he main evented Wembley Sadium and defeated Bret Hart. This is Bulldogs 12th PPV in a row, he’s wrestled on every PPV in the last year and main evented 6 of them. Tonight he faces Sid who has only recently made a comeback. Sids team were unsuccessful against Bulldogs team at the last PPV, International Incident. Sid is quite popular tonight, Bulldog doesn’t have Jim Cornette with him either. Only two men have fought on more PPVs than Bulldog, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. Sid knocks him down with a clothesline and a powerslam in the early going. This is the first meeting between these two men on PPV. There’s a big “Let’s go Sid” chant. This is Sids first ever Summerslam. He takes bulldog down with a headlock and gets a two count. Bulldog then hits his delayed standing suplex showing a lot of power. Clarence Mason then makes his way to the ring again to watch Bulldog get a two count.
Bulldog goes to the headlock now before clotheslining Sid out of the ring. On the split screen Vader is still preparing for his match with Jim Cornette. Bulldog brings Sid back into the ring and covers for a 2 before going back to the headlock. Sid gets out of it with some chops then hits a big splash in the corner. He goes for another but Bulldog gets out of the way. Bulldog then hits his finisher, the running powerslam! But before he can pin Sid, Bulldog is distracted by Jim Cornette who has come out to the ring and is screaming at Clarence Mason. Bulldog turns around and goes for another Running Powerslam on Sid but Sid slips down and hits a chokeslam and then a powerbomb! Sid pins Bulldog for the three! The crowd go nuts, Sid is insanely over as a face right now. Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason are still arguing. Sid gets a big win though in a result that makes a lot of sense.
We get an advert for In Your House next which is the same as one we’ve had before but with “Mind Games” written underneath the logo. That’s the next PPV.
Goldust vs. Marc Mero
Goldust has Marlena in his corner and Mero has Sable. Goldust is infatuated with Sable and on Superstars Mankind was calling Sable “Mommy”. This is a Summerslam debut for both of these men. Both are looking to get back to winning ways after losing at International Incident and King Of The Ring. This is the sixth PPV in a row for Goldust, he’s not missed a PPV since Wrestlemania XII. I’m a fan of Mero, it’d be nice to see him having some success after back to back PPV losses to Steve Austin. Goldust starts with a headlock but Mero gets out of it and hits some Japanese arm drags. Mero hits a cross body for a two count and a drop toe hold to get an armbar locked on. Goldust gets out of it and hits some right hands then back drops Marc Mero out of the ring. Goldust has more hair than when he originally debuted. He nails Mero when he tries to get back into the ring then joins him on the outside, dropping Mero on the guardrail before rolling him back in. Goldust locks on a sleeper and out comes Mankind! Mankind stalks Sable calling her “Mommy”. A referee runs off Mankind but Sable looks traumatised. Mero gets out of the headlock but Goldust hits him with a knee to the middle section and gets a 2. Mero has new ring gear tonight, red trunks and tassels instead of his leopard print trunks that he had before. Mero hits a jumping back elbow from the corner to get back into the ring.
Mero hits some jabs and a clothesline now as the pace quickens. He hits a back body drop and a running knee lift and it’s all The Wildman now. He nails Goldust with ten right hands in the corner but Goldust lifts him out and both men go flying to the outside. Mero quickly rolls back in though before hitting a flipping plancha to Goldust. The former Intercontinental champion rolls back into the ring and it’s all Mero now as he hits a slingshot legdrop back in. He slams Goldust then goes up to the top before hitting a shooting star press! He covers Goldust but Marlena distracts the referee long enough for Goldust to kick out! Goldust shoves Mero into the corner and then hits The Curtain Call for the three count! Goldust beats Marc Mero in somewhat of a surprising result. After the bell Goldust corners Sable but Mero makes the save! He sends Goldust reeling and stands tall after the match despite losing.
Now to Ahmed Johnson who is out inured. He was attacked by Farooq Asaad a newcomer to the WWF. Ahmed then fought in a battle royal, winning it and earning himself a WWF title shot. But Johnson was injured and is out of action. Gorilla Monsoon has vacated the Intercontinental championship and has put it up in a tournament. Will Ahmed Johnson ever return to wrestling? Johnson doesn’t care what the doctors say, he’ll be back. Goldust, Sid, Savio Vega and Steve Austin will wrestle in a sudden death battle royal for a WWF title shot tomorrow night on Raw.
Sunny and Farooq come to the ring now presumably for an interview. He has ridiculous music. Sunny as a manager seems like an odd match. Farooq thinks he should be the Intercontinental champion. Sunny says Farooq is a real man and a special little modern day gladiator. Sunny reckons Farooq will be the next Intercontinental champion. He must be in the tournament then. I would also put in Savio Vega, Steve Austin, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Marc Mero, Goldust and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. A solid enough midcard there.
A video package now about Jake Roberts and Jerry Lawler. Lawler has been mocking Roberts about being an alcoholic.
The newest WWF Superstar Mark Henry is now introduced to the ring. He comes out to Lex Lugers old music, I think. He’s an Olympic weightlifter and will be joining the commentators at ringside.
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Jake “The Snake” Lawler
Lawler was last in action at King Of The Ring where he was quickly squashed by The Ultimate Warrior. Roberts last PPV match was also at King Of The Ring. He beat Vader early in the night by disqualification then went onto lose to Steve Austin. Lawler comes out with a snake bag and an opposing football shirt and flag. Cheap heat right there. Out of the bag Jerry Lawler pulls out some Jim Bean for Jake Roberts. Lawler then turns his attention to Mark Henry, pointing out hid lack of medals. Back to Roberts now which prompts The Snake to come out. Harvey Wippleman is the referee for this one. Lawler goes back to the microphone and says that he has something in his bag that he’ll like better than what’s in his own bag. And from out of the bag Lawler pulls out a huge bottle of champagne. Roberts then pulls out the snake and wraps it round Lawlers neck! Lawler crawls the hell out of there and up the entrance ramp! Roberts goes after Lawler and this one is underway. This is Roberts first Summerslam since 1990 where he beat Bad News Brown. He’s also defeated Hercules at the 1988 event. Lawler has wrestled on one Summerslam before in 1993 where he beat Bret Hart. So two men both undefeated at Summerslam in this one. Lawler throws some beer in Roberts face which gives him the advantage.
Mark Henry despite being a face laughs at more of the jokes aimed at Jake Roberts. Roberts goes for the DDT but Lawler counters with a back body drop. Roberts then hits his short arm clothesline and the crowd break out in a “DDT” chant. Roberts goes for it but Lawler grabs the referee. Jerry then jams the bottle of Jim Bean and nails Roberts with it before pinning Jake holding his tights for the three. It’s over. Can’t believe Harvey Wippleman didn’t see any of it. Lawler grabs the microphone after the match and says that Roberts throat is dry and he needs a drink. Lawler then tips some Jim Bean down his throat! Lawler grabs the other bottle but as he goes to pour it, Mark Henry gets up and stops him! This was awful. Two legends of wrestling in a piss-poor match.
Now to a video package about Mankind and The Undertaker. Mankind has attacked Undertaker many times coming up from the ring and out of caskets. How much pain can these two superstars endure?
The Undertaker vs. Mankind – Boiler Room Brawl
Paul Bearer comes to the ring first to place the urn. The winner is the man that gets to the ring and picks up the urn. I think. It’s going to be starting in the boiler room in any case. It’s a rematch from King Of The Ring, a match that Mankind won when Paul Bearer accidentally nailed Undertaker with the urn. The match is ready to begin now. We see Undertaker heading to the boiler room, he’s very reluctant. In he goes and we can barely see anything. Undertaker goes looking for Mankind but can’t seem to find him. We then see the deranged one who attacks Undertaker from behind with some piping. Undertaker gains the advantage and throws Mankind into a door and hits a headbutt. Undertaker looks to go for a Tombstone but Mankind slips down and hits a stunner of sorts. Mankind makes some bizarre noises. Mankind throws Undertaker into a wall then we lose the feed. But it comes back shortly after. Mankind hits Undertaker with a trash can a coupe of times and tells Undertaker to get up! Undertaker is actually undefeated at Summerslam. He’s previously beaten Kamala, Giant Gonzalez, A fake Undertaker and Kama at the PPV.
Undertaker knocks Mankind down with a clothesline then nails him with a trash can lid and some wood. There’s plenty of weapons being used in this one as Mankind nails Undertaker with some piping. Mankind then throws Undertaker into some shutters and follows it up with a running knee. So far we’ve had five matches and only one face has won, that being Sid. All the rest have been heel victories. It’s all Mankind at the moment and he climbs up a ladder before jumping off and hitting an elbow drop. Mankind is undefeated on PPV thus far having beaten both Undertaker and Henry Godwinn. There isn’t much in the way of commentary for this one, presumably because it seems more like an authentic fight. Mankind drags Undertaker across the boiler room and once again we get some technical difficulties which the crowd boo. The pictures come back momentarily and we see Mankind powerslamming Undertaker but then they go again. And then they return. Mankind has a ladder set up and climbs up it but Undertaker gets up and throws Mankind off the ladder. It’s been a year since we’ve seen a ladder match. Undertaker throws Mankind into some glass but the deranged one grabs some chain and hits Undertaker with it. Both men are a few feet from the exit door now.
Undertaker squirts Mankind with a fire extinguisher and then exits through the door. Mankind is right behind him though and the two men battle around the door. Mankind manages to shut Undertaker in the boiler room then makes his way through another room, piling it up with obstacles to keep the door shut. Undertaker charges through it though and we see guys like The Godwinns, Zip, Aldo Montoya and Mark Henry cheering on The Undertaker. Then we see Steve Austin and Bradshaw cheering on Mankind as the two men go at it. Mankind throws hot coffee on Undertaker which slows the dead man down. Mankind then emerges through the entrance and awaits The Undertaker who comes out and clotheslines Mankind down. The two men fight in the entrance way now and it’s Undertaker with big right hands. Paul Bearer holds the urn in the ring as Undertaker tries to get in. Mankind pulls him down though and throws him into the ring steps before pulling back the mats exposing the concrete floor.
Mankind then hits a piledriver on the concrete floor! Mankind climbs up into the ring but Undertaker grabs his ankle. The two men slug it out on the ring apron. Undertaker hits some big right hands then Undertaker throws Mankind back down to the concrete floor. Undertaker climbs into the ring now and goes down to one knee. Paul Bearer hesitates giving him the urn and turns his back. Mankind then gets into the ring and locks on the Mandible Claw. Paul Bearer starts laughing! Mankind then holds Undertaker and Paul Bearer slaps him and kicks him. Undertaker crawls over to Paul Bearer and his (former?) manager hits him with the urn before handing it over to Mankind. The bell rings and Mankind wins the match! Paul Bearer leaves with Mankind having successfully completed a heel turn. Shocking events tonight at Summerslam. Some druids then comes out to some creepy music. Have they come to take Undertaker away? It seems that way. The Druids pick the Undertaker up and carry him to the back. An interesting match. I didn’t enjoy the backstage stuff so much, I think it went on a bit long. The match definitely got better though and the ending was a shocker.
Backstage to Dok Hendrix now who is with Jim Cornette and Vader. Vader has beaten up Shawn Michaels and he’s pinned him. Cornette promises that tonight Vader will beat Shawn Michaels for the WWF title. He doesn’t promise the people their money back if he does win though.
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Vader – WWF Title Match
Vader is definitely the top heel in the company and has been for a while. This is the seventh match of the evening and heels have won 5 of the 6 so far, Wins for Owen Hart, The Smoking Gunns, Goldust, Jerry Lawler and Mankind have made this the night of the heels so far. Vader is joined by Jim Cornette and Shawn Michaels by Jose Lothario. This is the fourth PPV in a row that Shawn Michaels has been feuding with Camp Cornette. Shawn Michaels is only behind Bret Hart for most PPVs and most PPV matches and he’s not that far behind. Vader knocks Michaels down with a big clothesline to start the match but Shawn comes back with a takedown and a dropkick. Vader pinned Shawn Michaels at the last PPV but he goes flying over the top rope. Michaels then hits a baseball slide and follows it up with a huge cross body over the top rope. He throws Vader back into the ring and comes off the top rope with a double axe handle. He then hits a hurricanrana and a victory roll over the top rope before skinning the cat. Michaels then springboards over the top rope but Vader catches him and hits a (soft) powerbomb. I could definitely see Vader as WWF champion, he’s a top heel right now. In fact he’s THE top heel.
Vader dumps Shawn Michaels back into the ring and hits him with lefts and rights. The big man then hits a supex, not sure I’ve seen him hit one of those before. Vader hits a couple of hard Irish whips, sending Michaels into the corner and out of the ring. This feud goes back to Vaders WWF debut back in the Royal Rumble where Shawn Michaels eliminated him from the match before going onto win it. Shawn Michaels tries for some right hands but Vader hits a big clothesline. Vader is a classic heel. There’s nothing likeable about him. He’s no nonsense. He goes for a suplex but Michaels slips down and hits some right hands. Vader sends him over the top rope but Michaels once again skins the cat. Vader catches him this time and throws him back into the ring. Vader covers Michaels for a 2 count. Vader then locks on a bear hug. Shawn gets out of it and hits a clothesline to get the big man down. He then goes up top to hit the elbow but Michaels lands on his feet and stomps on Vader instead before shouting at the challenger. I think Michaels wanted Vader to be further round. He’s not happy anyway.
Michaels hits Vader with a cross body and both men go flying over the top rope to the outside. Vader is first up and he picks Shawn Michaels above his head and drops Michaels on the guardrail. Vader then gets back into the ring just as the referee counts to ten! The bell rings and Vader has won the match by count out! Jim Cornette gets on the microphone though and he’s not happy with a count out victory! Cornette challenges Shawn to get back into the ring and Michaels accepts! This match is back underway. Vader goes after Michaels and as the referee is distracted, Cornette nails Michaels with the tennis racket. Back in the ring and Vader hits a big splash and a belly to belly suplex for a two count. Vader then goes for the Vaderbomb but Shawn Michaels gets out of it and hits a flying forearm. Shawn goes up to the top and hits a flying elbow! He then sets up for Sweet Chin Music but Cornette grabs him and throws the tennis racket into the ring. Michaels nails Cornette then grabs the tennis racket and smashes Vader with it! The referee then disqualifies Shawn Michaels and Vader wins the match by disqualification!
Vader grabs a chair as his music hits. Cornette once again grabs the microphone and tells Michaels that if he’s got any guts the match will restart! Michaels accepts! This one is underway again! Michaels hits a forearm and goes up top again, hitting the flying elbow once again. And again he sets up for Sweet Chin Music and this time he hits it! He covers Vader but the big man kicks out! Michaels can’t believe it. Both men get up and Vader shoves Michaels into the referee who goes flying out of the ring. Vader hits a Vaderbomb and pins Michaels but there’s no referee. A second referee comes in and counts but Michaels kicks out at two! Vader drags Michaels over to the corner and goes up to the middle rope and then goes up to the top rope. He goes for the moonsault but Michaels gets out of the way. Michaels then climbs the ropes and hits a moonsault of his own! He hooks the leg and gets a three count! Shawn Michaels retains his WWF title for a third time tonight! Good match between these two guys. Both very athletic. Could have gone either way I thought.
And that was Summerslam 1996. 7 matches made up the second biggest pay per view of the year. And in a lot of ways you can see how the last few months were building up to this. The four way tag team match was a perfect example of this. All 4 teams have been the tag team division since the start of the year and this was a nice way to get them all on the card. Skip and Zip didn’t last long mainly because Skip had a legit neck injury. He didn’t get involved for obvious reasons. Next to go were The New Rockers who haven’t been a huge part of the tag team division but played a decent role in this match. That’s Leif Cassidy’s PPV debut, he was the only one to PPV debut on this show. The Smoking Gunns and the Godwinns were the right two teams to finish the match and it was The Smoking Gunns who retained. It’ll be interesting to see where the tag team division goes now, this match felt like the full stop for these four teams. The Godwinns will want some revenge for how this one finished though.
Vader rise to the top came to a halt tonight. This was another match that felt like it had been brewing for a long time. It was strange to have two false finishes but it didn’t bother me too much, it’s not something we’ve had before. Vader is still the top heel in the company although Mankind is definitely not far from him. So where does Vader go from here? I’d like to see him feud with a guy like Sid or The Undertaker. Speaking of Undertaker, by far the most controversial moment of the night came with Paul Bearer turning his back on the Dead Man. Paul Bearer joined Undertakers side not long before Wrestlemania 7 back in 1991 and has stayed with him for nearly 5 and a half years. That heel turn makes the feud between Undertaker and Mankind very interesting. I’m not sure about the Boiler Room Brawl gimmick, it made for some fun hardcore action but I didn’t like the lack of commentary. The third “big match” of the night was between Jake Roberts and Jerry Lawler. The match itself was awful although the story leading up to it was executed very well. I’m not sure what is happening with Jake Roberts, he hasn’t rekindled his old self since returning. I think he’s best used putting over new talent. Jerry Lawler looks to move on to a feud with Mark Henry.
The opener between Owen Hart and Savio Vega seemed to occur without any build. On paper it was probably better than it turned out. Last years equivalent was Hakushi vs. The 123 Kid. Owen Hart wins this but what’s the deal with Clarence Mason? Is he going to start his own stable? I’m not sure what he’s up to but him and Jim Cornette seem to be on a head on collision. Speaking of which, that’s what went down in the British Bulldog vs. Sid match. Bulldog is on a hell of a role, he’s the only man to have fought on the last 12 PPVs and on top of that he’s main evented 6 of them. I liked him and Sid as a match up and it was Sid that picked up the big win. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sid move on to feud with Vader, Mankind or even Goldust. The other match we had tonight was between Goldust and Marc Mero. I was surprised that Goldust won this one, I thought it would go the other way. Mero has only won one of his four PPV matches so far in the WWF. This feud could continue as Goldust still seems obsessed by Sable.
Overall this pay per view was pretty good. I quite like the roster at the moment and we’re getting regulars on PPV, guys like Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Mankind, Undertaker, Marc Mero, Vader and Goldust. The standard of pay per views is on the rise as a whole and it’s down to a more athletic style that WWF seems to be promoting. The tag division is hot, the midcard is hot, the main event is lacking a little bit at the moment but will improve when Bret Hart returns.
Overall Rating: 54/100 (Ranked 27th out of 59)
Match Of The Night: Shawn Michaels vs. Vader
Worst Match Of The Night: Jerry Lawler vs. Jake Roberts
Surprise Of The Night: Paul Bearer turns heel
Worst Booking Of The Night: I’d have probably gone Marc Mero over Goldust
Superstar Of The Night: Mankind
Summerslam 96 Will Be Remembered For: The Boiler Room Brawl