Palace at Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, Michigan – Monday, August 30, 1993
Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Razor Ramon vs. Ted DiBiase
Ramon turns his back before the bell rings and that proves costly, as DiBiase goes to work on him. That doesn’t last long, as Ramon fights back with a back body drop, a fallaway slam and a right hand. DiBiase takes a powder to collect himself. Back in the ring DiBiase does his best to subdue the Bad Guy but Ramon sends him right back to the floor with a clothesline. Ramon brings DiBiase back in the ring the hard way. DiBiase begs off, and then pulls Ramon into the turnbuckles by the tights. That gives DiBiase control and he wears Ramon down with a variety of holds. DiBiase works the neck for several minutes in an effort to soften him up for the Million Dollar Dream. Ramon fights back with a clothesline, but DiBiase quickly cuts him off and sends him to the floor. DiBiase loosens a turnbuckle pad and brings Ramon back in. He tries to ram Ramon’s head into it but Ramon reverses it and DiBiase eats steel! One Razor’s Edge later and Ramon has the victory at 7:32. That was a good opener and a good babyface victory for the newly turned Razor Ramon. I also think that was DiBiase’s last match in the WWE so it has huge historical significance as well.
MATCH #2: World Tag Team Title Match – The Steiner Brothers vs. The Heavenly Bodies
Rick and Scott have been the Champions since 6.19.93, and this is their third defense. “Gigolo” Jimmy Del Rey and Dr. Tom Prichard of course have their manager Jim Cornette in their corner. The challengers attack right away and send Scott to the floor so they can double-team Rick. They keep knocking Scott down but eventually he fights his way back in and the Steiners catch fire. The things Rick and Scott were doing as a team were so different than what anyone else on the roster was doing at the time. Everything Del Rey or Prichard try gets thwarted by the powerful Champions. The Bodies use some creative double-teaming to take the advantage on Scott. They wear Scott down in their half of the ring, and Cornette adds cheap shots whenever he can. After several minutes Scott catches Prichard in a Tiger Bomb and he makes the tag. Rick is a house afire, throwing Steinerlines all over the place. He hits Del Rey with the top rope bulldog and Prichard has to break up the cover. Prichard sends Scott to the floor and then is able to whack Rick with the tennis racket behind the referee’s back. Del Rey covers but only gets two! Del Rey tries the Moonsault but Rick moves and Prichard takes the brunt of it. Scott makes it back in and hits Del Rey with the Frankensteiner! Rick gets the pin at 9:28 and the Steiners retain. That was brief but they certainly made the most of it, with awesome action and a hot finishing sequence. After years of the Natural Disasters, Legion of Doom, and the Nasty Boys on top of the tag team division, the Steiner Brothers and the Heavenly Bodies blew all their stuff away.
MATCH #3: Intercontinental Title Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect
This is a bit of an infamous match. McMahon tries to sell this as some kind of “mentor versus student” match, but there’s really nothing to base that conclusion on. Michaels has been the Champion since 6.6.93, and this is his fifth defense. Shawn gets the first takedown and gloats about it. Perfect responds with one of his own. Shawn puts on a headlock and uses the hair to maintain the advantage. They have a nice wrestling sequence that ends with Perfect awkwardly clotheslining Shawn and then going to work on the arm. Shawn escapes and tries an elbow drop and Perfect moves out of the way and they’re both back to their feet. They trade more maneuvers and counter each other, and once again ends with Perfect hitting a clothesline and going back to the arm. Shawn gets out of it and tries going to the top rope but Perfect armdrags him down and goes back to the armbar. Shawn escapes and tries a dropkick, but Perfect catches him and catapults him over the top rope and to the floor. Diesel distracts Perfect and Shawn hits a Superkick. Shawn hits an ax handle off the apron and rolls Perfect into the ring and works on the back. Mr. Perfect fights back and nails Shawn in the face with a nice dropkick. He hits a back body drop, a knee lift, and an inverted atomic drop for a near-fall. Moments later he hits the Perfect-Plex but Diesel pulls him out to the floor to break up the count. Perfect slugs away on Diesel and nails Shawn coming off the apron. He throws Shawn back in the ring right on top of the referee, distracting him long enough for Diesel to throw Perfect into the ring post and he gets counted out at 11:18. The finish seems unnecessarily screwy, but this match isn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. Sure, with the caliber of these two guys I can see why expectations were high, and it certainly didn’t meet them but it’s not bad at all. Shawn and Diesel lay Perfect out after the match, and gloat about it to Todd Pettengill on their way to the back. Perfect wakes up and gives chase.
MATCH #4: The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Irwin R. Schyster
They start at a pretty fast pace and Kid lands a spin kick and Vince declares it over even though IRS kicks out at one. I do miss Vince McMahon on commentary, he just had so much enthusiasm. IRS begins the beat down, with Kid throwing out some plucky babyface comeback attempts whenever he can. It’s interesting to watchIRS and compare him to his two children. Kid leaps back into the ring and surprises IRS with a rollup for two. Vince thought it was over again. Kid puts together a flurry of offense, including a moonsault press for two. He throws more kicks as Vince continues his unapologetic cheerleading. IRS catches him with the Write-Off from out of nowhere to get the pin at 5:44. That was perfectly adequate but not particularly memorable.
Next up, Bret Hart is scheduled to face Jerry “The King” Lawler with the title of King of the Ring on the line. But Lawler comes out on crutches, saying he was in a car accident earlier today on I-75. Lawler says the doctors told him he cannot compete tonight, but he found a replacement – his court jester Doink the Clown!
MATCH #5: Bret Hart vs. Doink
Doink throws confetti on some kids at ringside, and then throws water on Bruce Hart, who is sitting at ringside with Owen Hart. That angers Bret, so he goes after Doink and starts the beat down. Bret is all over Doink both inside and outside the ring, not giving the clown any time to breathe. After a few minutes Bret gets distracted by Lawler and goes outside the ring to go after him. That gives Doink his first advantage of the match. Doink focuses on the leg and keeps Bret on the mat. He puts on the Stump Puller and Bret is able to make the ropes. Doink goes up top for the Whoopee Cushion but Bret gets his knees up! Ouch. Bret is back in control now and it’s time for some Moves of Doom. He locks on the Sharpshooter and Lawler shows he was faking all along by coming in the ring and destroying Bret with his crutch for the DQ at 9:05. Owen and Bruce are pissed and have to be held back by officials. That was a fine back and forth technical exhibition and a good piece in the Lawler/Bret feud.
Lawler and Doink make their way to the back, but before they can get there WWF President Jack Tunney comes out and has a conversation with Lawler. Tunney then tells ring announcer Howard Finkel that if Lawler doesn’t wrestle the scheduled match from Bret, he will be banned from the WWF! Them’s fightin’ words and Bret is ready to fight.
MATCH #6: Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
They make it to the ring and Bret is destroying Lawler. Think Bret versus McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI, only faster and not as sad. They take the fight to the floor and Bret is dominating. Lawler gets a hold of his crutch and uses it to reclaim control, even choking Bret with it. Bret fights back and the straps come down! I love it. Lawler responds in kind by pulling his strap down but it doesn’t matter, as Bret continues to assault the King. Bret hits a piledriver and the elbow from the second rope. He locks on the Sharpshooter and Lawler has to tap out at 6:32. Bret refuses to release the hold, and officials come racing to try and break it up. Even Owen and Bruce come in, and finally Bret lets Lawler go. Unfortunately, the referee has decided to reverse his initial decision and award the match to Lawler by disqualification! This was a tremendous deal, with a ridiculously hot crowd and awesome drama built by two of the best ever. The match wasn’t “great” per se, but the angle was awesome and memorable, so that’s enough for me.
MATCH #7: Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
Borga dominates from the get go, focusing on the rib area, pummeling Jannetty with strikes. Jannetty tries to fight back but Borga uses his impressive power to cut him off. This is just a slaughter. Jannetty does finally land a couple of superkicks but they don’t even take Borga off his feet! He goes to the top rope for a cross body block but Borga catches him for a powerslam. Borga then puts Jannetty in the Finnish Backbreaker for the win at 5:15. That was an extended squash, but an effective one for the monster heel Borga.
MATCH #8: Rest in Peace Match – Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
Gonzalez has Harvey Wippleman in his corner. A Rest in Peace match is just a no disqualification match. Undertaker is roling sans Paul Bearer tonight. Even so, Undertaker is the aggressor early on, but he can’t take Gonzalez off his feet. Gonzalez throws Undertaker to the floor and they brawl some more, and then Gonzalez uses a chair on Undertaker’s back. He torws Undertaker into the steps and then slowly brings Undertaker back in the ring for more punishment. After what feels like forever, Paul Bearer makes his surprise return, carrying a black wreath. Bearer knocks Wippleman to the ground, and then he reclaims the urn! That’s all Undertaker needs to fire up, and he unloads with a series of clotheslines that send Gonzalez to his knees. Undertaker goes up top and hits a flying clothesline to get the pin at 8:04. My mother always said if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.
MATCH #9: Six Man Tag Team Match – Tatanka & The Smoking Gunns vs. The Headshrinkers & Bam Bam Bigelow
Samu and Fatu have Afa in their corner, and Bigelow comes out with Luna Vachon. Bigelow and the Headshrinkers take the first advantage and immediately isolate Tatanka. But it’s too early to count Tatanka out, and he fights back. Tatanka and Bigelow both try a cross body block and they knock the wind out of each other. Rikishi and Mr. Ass get the hot tags and they trade control back and forth. The Headshrinkers and Bam Bam take control on Bart and keep him isolated in their half of the ring. After several minutes Bam Bam misses a charge in the corner and makes contact with the ring post. Tatanka gets the hot tag and he’s a teepee afire, landing a bodyslam and a DDT. He goes up top and hits a high cross body block for two. Bam Bam cuts him off and stops the war dance with a nice enziguiri. Samu tags in and hits a headbutt from the second rope for a two-count. Things get out of hand and both Gunns get sent to the floor. That leaves Tatanka at a three-on-one disadvantage. Bam Bam and the Headshrinkers hit a triple headbutt and then they all go to the top rope. Tatanka avoids three simultaneous diving headbutts and the Gunns make it back to the ring to take out Fatu and Bam Bam. Tatanka capitalizes with a schoolboy rollup on Samu to get the pin at 11:15. That was fast paced and action packed, a little hidden gem of a match for sure.
MATCH #10: WWF Title Match – Yokozuna vs. Lex Luger
Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his second defense. He has Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette with him. The Champion and challenger stare at each other for a while to start, and Fuji tries to interfere early but Luger thwarts him and unloads on his much larger opponent. Luger stupidly goes for an O’Connor Roll and eats an elbow to the face. Yokozuna misses a legdrop and Luger is in complete control. Luger lands a big elbow drop for two. Yokozuna cuts him off with a bodyslam but then he misses an elbow. Momentum continues to shift and Fuji tries to throw salt in Luger’s eyes but Luger is once again too smart and too quick. Luger goes for a bodyslam but can’t complete it. Yokozuna hits a superkick. Now the Champion becomes dominant, working Luger over both in and out of the ring. Yokozuna squashes Luger against the ring post and then grabs a chair. Luckily for Luger he’s able to duck and Yokozuna makes contact with the ring post. Back in the ring Luger hits a double axe handle from the second rope. Luger goes to the top rope for another double axe handle but Yokozuna still won’t go down. He goes back up top and land sa big forearm smash for a two-count. Luger hits a huge Northern Lariat for another near-fall. A double clothesline puts both men on the mat. Cornette distracts the referee and Yokozuna hits Luger with his ceremonial salt bucket. The Champ crawls over to make the cover and Luger kicks out! Yokozuna keeps Luger grounded and wears him down with a variety of rest holds and suplexes. After several minutes of abuse Yokozuna goes for the Banzai Drop but Luger rolls out of the way! Yokozuna recovers and tries a squash in the corner but Luger avoids it and hits a bodyslam! The crowd is going wild. Luger hits Yokozuna with the running forearm and Yokozuna tumbles to the floor and gets counted out at 17:58. That was shockingly fast paced for the first half or so, and then it looked like Yoko got winded after that. Still, this was better than it probably gets credit for, especially given the participants. Luger winning by countout was anticlimactic, but they had set it up that this was his “only opportunity” at the title, so he would have to go on to win the Royal Rumble to earn his title shot at WrestleMania, which is a fine storyline. Unfortunately for Luger, Bret Hart being more popular kind of screwed that up for him.