WWF SummerSlam 1992 – A Retrospective Review

Summerslam ’92 stands as a distinct outlier in the annals of wrestling pay-per-views. Taking place at Wembley Stadium in London, it remains the only major WWF (now WWE) event to be held overseas, drawing an astounding 80,000 fans. The atmosphere was electric, and the wrestling world was ready for a spectacle.

The Venue and Atmosphere

Wembley Stadium, the hallowed ground of British sport, provided the canvas. The sheer magnitude of the event was evident from the sea of fans, a visual that even the grandest of WrestleManias would envy. There was an unmatched level of enthusiasm, with a blend of British politeness and the fervor of wrestling fandom.

Money Inc. vs. The Legion of Doom

Opening the show was a tag clash between Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) and The Legion of Doom. LOD, with their iconic entrance and Paul Ellering by their side, had a special addition – Rocco, a ventriloquist dummy, a questionable creative choice that hasn’t aged particularly well. Behind the scenes, LOD was going through internal strife and personal demons, making this win a significant morale boost.

Nailz vs. Virgil:

This bout, while not a technical masterpiece, was a showcase of the era’s character-driven wrestling. Nailz, the ex-convict with a vendetta against the Big Boss Man, squared off against Virgil. The storyline didn’t reach peak potential, but it was a match that furthered narratives.

Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels

A bout built around the animosity of two narcissistic characters vying for the affections of Sensational Sherri. It was a precursor to Michaels’ ascent as a singles performer. Off-camera, Michaels was gradually solidifying his role, with industry insiders recognizing his in-ring prowess and charisma.

The Natural Disasters vs. The Beverly Brothers (WWF Tag Team Championship)

While not the most celebrated match on the card, it demonstrated the diversity in WWF’s tag team division. The mammoth Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) against The Beverly Brothers was a classic David vs. Goliath setup, albeit with the heels being the underdogs.

Crush vs. Repo Man

Two mid-card talents clashed in a match that may not have had significant storyline implications but was crucial for pacing. Behind the scenes, Crush was being prepped for bigger roles, with WWF management seeing potential in his mix of size and agility.

The Undertaker vs. Kamala (Coffin Match)

The Undertaker’s ethereal character was gaining momentum, and his feud with Kamala, the Ugandan Giant, was rooted in the supernatural. This bout was less about wrestling and more about spectacle. Backstage, Mark Calaway (The Undertaker) was proving his dedication, slowly evolving into the locker room’s respected figure.

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. The British Bulldog (Intercontinental Championship)

The pièce de résistance. A bout steeped in emotion, with the storyline of family conflict (Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith, being Bret’s brother-in-law). The match was a technical marvel, showcasing both wrestlers’ proficiency. Behind the curtains, there was immense pressure, especially on Bulldog, who reportedly forgot parts of the planned match, relying on Bret to guide him. The roar of the crowd when Bulldog won is etched in wrestling lore.

The Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (WWF Championship):

A colossal match-up with a twist – neither were heels, both being fan favorites. The bout was interwoven with the subplot of Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect possibly aligning with either superstar. The ending, a count-out, typically an anti-climactic finish, worked here, ensuring both left with their reputations intact.

Summerslam ’92 remains an emblematic event in the WWF (now WWE) calendar, not just for its massive attendance, but also for the shifting dynamics it represented both in front and behind the camera.

Behind-the-Scenes of Summerslam ’92: A British Invasion

The Venue Decision:
Selecting Wembley Stadium in London as the venue was a gamble. WWF events typically found their home in the U.S., and this marked their boldest foray into international waters. The decision was driven by the brand’s surging popularity in the UK. This move, while logistically challenging due to the time difference for broadcasting, paid off in dividends with a whopping 80,000 attendees.

Talent Dynamics:
By 1992, the locker room saw a blend of established stalwarts and emerging talent. Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Shawn Michaels, who would become pillars of WWF/WWE, were coming into their own. Behind the scenes, their commitment to the craft and ability to tell compelling in-ring stories was garnering respect. Bret, in particular, was transitioning from a tag team specialist to a standout singles performer.

The British Bulldog’s Pressures:
Davey Boy Smith, known as The British Bulldog, was under immense pressure, not just due to the significant match against his brother-in-law, Bret Hart, but because he was performing in front of his home country. There were murmurs that, in the run-up to the match, Smith had some personal issues, including allegations of steroid use and health challenges. His performance at Summerslam, in many ways, was his proving ground.

The Hogan-Absence Factor:
Hulk Hogan’s absence was palpable. The face of WWF for nearly a decade, Hogan was not on the card. Behind-the-scenes, his relationship with WWF was changing. This event highlighted a slow transition from the “Hulkamania” era. His absence also allowed other stars to shine and take the limelight.

The Commentary Challenge:
Given the location, there were changes even in the commentary booth. While Vince McMahon’s presence remained consistent, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was replaced by “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig for this event, a change from the regular commentary duo U.S. audiences were accustomed to.

Savage vs. Warrior – The Off-screen Drama:
The “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior match for the WWF Championship was loaded with off-camera dynamics. With Ric Flair’s involvement and the unfolding drama of who Mr. Perfect would side with, there was significant backstage talk about the match’s outcome and its implications for future storylines.

In essence, Summerslam ’92 was not just another PPV event. It was an intersection of evolving narratives, both in-ring and behind-the-scenes. The success of this event underscored WWF’s global appeal and set the stage for future international spectacles.

Related post

Leave a Reply