Civic Arena – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Sunday, August 27, 1995
Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.
MATCH #1: The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Hakushi
They start with some chain wrestling, and the pace gets fast right away. The two competitors show off how evenly matched they are in the early going. Hakushi takes the first advantage and starts thwarting Kid’s comeback attempts. He throws Kid around the ring and peppers in a variety of strikes as well. Hakushi knocks Kid to the floor and delivers the Space Flying Tiger Drop, which for 1995 WWE is pretty mind blowing. Back in the ring Hakushi comes in with a shoulderblock from the top rope for a two-count. Hakushi misses a diving headbutt and Kid looks to capitalize, landing a dropkick that sends Hakushi to the floor. Kid follows him out with a springboard dive and then throws him back in the ring. He comes back in with a slingshot legdrop for a two-count. Kid goes up top and hits a splash for another near-fall. He tries a spinning heel kick but Hakushi catches him and slams him down hard to get the pin at 9:28. That was a tremendous opener, with fast paced back and forth action, high flying maneuvers, and a hot crowd. Good stuff here.
MATCH #2: Bob Holly vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley
This is Helmsley’s pay-per-view debut, and he’s reluctant to lock up. Holly forces the issue and Helmsley backs off, only to then take a cheap shot. That doesn’t have much effect and Holly goes after Helmsley, only to get caught in a Stun Gun. Helmsley is in control now and he goes to work. The British Bulldog is shown arriving at the arena as Helmsley puts on an abdominal stretch. Holly reverses it and Helmsley hiptosses him over the top rope. Back in the ring Holly catches Helmsley with a DDT. Both men make it back to their feet and Holly scores with a dropkick. Holly keeps up the flurry, landing another dropkick. He goes for a back body drop but Helmsley is able to stop short and is in perfect position to hit the Pedigree! That’s enough to get the pin at 7:11. That was a decent little midcard match and a good introduction to Helmsley. It’s crazy to see how far he’s come.
MATCH #3: The Smoking Gunns vs. Jacob & Eli Blu
Jacob and Eli have Uncle Zebekiah with them, while Billy and Bart have their awesome mullets with them. Billy starts the match with let’s say Jacob since I can’t tell them apart. The massive Blu twins take the first advantage with their size and power, but Billy responds with his quickness, hitting an early version of the Fame-Ass-Er. Bart tags in. Momentum shifts back and forth between the two teams, both trying to set the pace. Jacob and Eli get it done and wear Billy down with a series of strikes and power moves. Billy is able to come back by slamming one of the Blu boys on his face, and then tags are made. Bart cleans house but gets cut off with a big boot to the face. He quickly recovers and sends one of the Blu brothers to the floor. The Gunns then hit the remaining Blu with the Sidewinder to get the pin at 6:10. That was another fine little midcard match that stuck to the tag team formula, and that works well enough for me.
MATCH #4: Barry Horowitz vs. Skip
Horowitz had been one of the WWF’s longest-tenured jobbers before finally scoring an upset win over Skip during a match on the Action Zone. He then lasted 10 minutes with Skip in a match on Superstars to earn his second victory. I love this angle. Skip of course has Sunny in his corner. Horowitz charges to the ring and unloads on Skip with a flurry of offense, culminating with a clothesline to the floor. He brings Skip back in the hard way and stays on the advantage despite Skip’s best efforts. Skip sends Horowitz to the floor, and Horowitz is able to suplex Skip from the apron to the floor. Sunny gets in the ring and tries to throw in the towel for her man, but referee Earl Hebner does not accept! Skip makes it back to the ring and Suny trips Horowitz from the floor, finally giving Skip control. It appears as though Skip has not learned his lesson, as he showboats a great deal as he works Horowitz over. This goes on for several minutes until Horowitz gets an extended hope spot in. Skip cuts him off and goes back on offense. Horowitz hits a Thesz Press for two but Skip quickly halts his momentum with a powerslam. Both men try a dropkick at the same time and both men go down. Skip gets up first and climbs the top rope backwards, and Horowitz dropkicks him down. Horowitz goes up and Skip knocks him down and follows with a diving headbutt. Skip covers but pulls Horowitz up at two. He goes for a piledriver but Horowitz backdrops his way out of it. Horowitz has a second wind and he hits a nice dropick. He goes to the top rope but Sunny shakes the ropes and he crotches himself. Skip brings him down with a superplex, and then Hakushi makes his way to ringside. Hakushi also lost to Horowitz recently, thanks to Skip and Sunny. He distracts Skip, springboarding into the ring over Skip’s head, and Horowitz grabs a small package for the pin at 11:21! Horowitz wins! Horowitz wins! Horowitz wins! Like I said, I loved this angle and I like how this match played out a lot, with Skip still not learning his lesson and Horowitz being resilient enough to pull off another victory.
MATCH #5: Women’s Championship Match – Alundra Blayze vs. Bertha Faye
Bertha has Harvey Wippleman in her corner. Blayze has been the Champion since 4.3.95, and this is her first defense. The Champ uses her speed and agility in the early going to couneract the size advantage held by the challenger. Bertha is able to use her size advantage to start throwing Blayze around. She misses a splash from the second rope and Blayze grabs a victory roll for a near-fall. Blayze keeps the pace quick, but gets distracted by Wippleman and chases him around ringside. Back in the ring Blayze stays in control, hitting a hurricanrana for two and a series of dropkicks from the second rope. Blayze misses the third dropkick attempt though and Bertha hits the Bertha Bomb to get the pin and win the Women’s Title at 4:37. That probably had a few more minutes in it, but they played the David versus Goliath dynamic perfectly in the time they had.
MATCH #6: Casket Match – The Undertaker vs. Kama
Kama has Ted DiBiase in his corner, while Undertaker has Paul Bearer by his side. Undertaker attacks right away and picks Kama up by the throat and slams him down. Kama tries to fight back but Undertaker has an answer for him at every turn. Undertaker hits Old School and throws Kama into the casket but he can’t close the lid yet. Kama is able to cut the Undertaker off and he wears him down with a variety of strikes and slams for a number of minutes. After what seems like forever, Undertaker makes the comeback with a flying clothesline. Undertaker hits another clothesline and both men tumble into the casket and the lid shuts! The referees don’t know what to do. Out of the casket Kama hits a swinging neckbreaker, but Undertaker fights back with a Chokeslam. Undertaker hits the Tombstone Piledriver and that’s enough to slam the lid shut at 16:26. That just felt really long and who would buy that Undertaker was really in danger of losing that one? There was no drama and it just felt stretched out for no reason.
MATCH #7: Bret Hart vs. Isaac Yankem DDS
This is Yankem’s debut match. Yankem takes the early control with his noticable size and power advantage. Bret fights back and they trade momentum back and forth a few times. The Hitman clotheslines Yankem to the floor and follows him out with a house show dive, almost landing hard on his own head. Back in the ring Bret hits a clothesline from the second rope. Bret goes for the Sharpshooter but Yankem blocks it. Moments later Yankem catches Bret and drops him throat-first on the top rope. That gives Yankem control and he wears Bret down, keeping the Hitman grounded. Yankem beats on Bret both in and out of the ring, and looking pretty good for someone of his experience on a big stage. Bret is able to kick out of a pin attempt with such force that Yankem gets sent to the floor, and Bret follows him out with a dive. It seems as if Bret has gotten his second wind. Back in the ring Bret goes to work, hitting a bulldog for two. Bret hits several Moves of Doom and then locks on the Sharpshooter! Lawler gets up from the commentary table and helps Yankem reach the ropes. Bret is understandably angry about this, but he keeps his cool enough to backdrop a charing Yankem to the floor. Yankem pulls Bret to the outside and whips him into the steel steps. Back in the ring Yankem goes to the top rope and Bret slams him down. Bret gets Yankem’s legs wrapped around the ring post and ties them there so he can kick away. Lawler distracts Bret, allowing Yankem to come off the top rope with an ax handle. Back in the ring Lawler and Yankem work together to tie Bret’s neck in the top rope and the referee calls for the DQ at 16:08. That probably could have lost a few minutes given what they did for a finish, but that was a surprisingly solid match. Yankem was pulling out all the stops and doing cool stuff for a big man, and Bret was his usual self. I also think the DQ is a fine finish given that this was third from the top, and it gives Bret reason for a rematch to seek his ultimate revenge.
MATCH #8: Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon
Michaels has been the Champion since 7.23.95, and this is his second defense. Dok Hendrix joins McMahon on commentary to replace Lawler, who left with his friend Yankem after the last match. Both men are babyfaces here but they get aggressive with each other right away. Michaels almost hits Sweet Chin Music right away but Ramon avoids it. Ramon returns the favor by going for the Razor’s Edge and Michaels avoids that. The Bad Guy throws Michaels to the floor and goes after the ladder but Michaels refuses to allow that. They fight on the apron and Ramon suplexes Michaels to the floor, just like Barry Horowitz did to Skip earlier in the evening. Michaels almost hits the guardrail though and it looked like a nasty bump. Back in the ring they both go for finishers again but can’t connect, they instead clothesline each other simultaneously and both men go down. They get back up and Ramon hits a super fallaway slam. Now Ramon is able to bring a ladder back to the ring. Both men make attempts to climb the ladder, but it’s worse for Michaels on the way down, as he wrenches his knee between the rungs of the ladder. Ramon goes after the injured knee like a man bent on becoming a five-time Intercontinental Champion. Every time Michaels tries a comeback Ramon has an answer for him and continues to viciously assault the knee. Ramon goes to climb the ladder but Michaels joins him and brings him down with a back suplex. Michaels gets a second wind now and starts whipping Ramon into the ladder. He climbs up the ladder and flies down with a moonsault, delighting the crowd. Michaels goes back up to the very top of the ladder and tries a splash but there’s no water in the pool. Ouch. Both men climb the ladder and slug it out, and they knock each other down. Ramon falls all the way to the floor. Michaels goes to the floor as well, and they bring a second ladder into the ring. He goes for the belt and Ramon brings him down with a Razor’s Edge! Awesome spot. Both men recover and climb opposing ladders, and Michaels hits Ramon with Sweet Chin Music! Michaels tries to grab the belt but he falls off the ladder. Ramon tries a Razor’s Edge but Michaels backdrops him to the floor. Michaels climbs up and grabs the belt but slips and falls. He goes up again and this time is able to pull the belt down and retain his title at 25:03. I still prefer the first ladder match, but this is in every way a worthy sequel, with new spots, great work on the knee by Ramon and selling by Michaels, and a different dynamic since both of them were babyfaces. They went all out for 25 minutes and put their bodies on the line on multiple occasions. The finish seemed a little awkward, but in a match like this it’s totally understandable. The crowd was hot for both men throughout the match, thus making the atmosphere that much more electric.
MATCH #9: WWF Championship Match – Diesel vs. King Mabel
Mabel has Sir Mo in his corner. Diesel has been the Champion since 11.26.94, and this is his eighth defense. Mabel scores the first knockdown, and then does it again. Diesel fights back and levels Mabel with a clothesline in the corner. He follows with a series of strikes. Diesel tries a bodyslam but that’s a no-go. Instead he hits a flying shoulderblock that sends Mabel to the floor. Diesel actually follows Mabel out with a house show dive, impressive for a man his size. He tries an Irish Whip but Mabel reverses it and Diesel’s back connects with the ring post. Mabel tries to squash him against the post but Diesel gets his boot up. Back in the ring Mabel reverses a whip that sends Diesel into the corner (with an exposed turnbuckle, not sure how I missed that). Mabel then hits a Black Hole Slam (sort of) for a two-count. He just sits down on Diesel’s back, which looked extremely painful. Mabel accidentally bumps the referee, and Mo interferes right away. Lex Luger comes down to the ring but Diesel doesn’t trust him so he clotheslines Luger to the floor. Luger recovers and shows his true colors by helping Diesel and fighting Mo to the back. Mabel hits a belly-to-belly suplex and the referee has recovered enough to make a two-count. The challenger King goes to the second rope and misses a big splash. Diesel goes to the second rope and lands a huge clothesline to get the three-count at 9:15. Well that was not so very good, but at least they kept it short. Diesel tried hard, but Mabel (God rest his soul) was just not very good.