Rewriting 1991, Part 3 of 4: Summerslam
Dark Match: Koko B. Ware def. Kato
1. Six-Man Tag Team Match: The British Bulldog, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich def. Power & Glory and The Warlord (w/ Slick)
2. Intercontinental Championship: Bret "Hitman" Hart def. Mr. Perfect (c) w/ The Coach
3. The Natural Disasters (w/ Jimmy Hart) def. The Bushwhackers (w/ Andre the Giant)
4. Million Dollar Championship Match: Virgil def. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (c) w/ Sensation Sherri
5. Jailhouse Match: Big Boss Man def. The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart)
6. Tag Team Championship Street Fight: Legion of Doom def. The Nasty Boys (c) w/ Jimmy Hart
7. Irwin R. Schyster def. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
8. Handicap Match feat. Sid Justice as special guest referee: Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior def. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and Gen. Adnan
I personally felt this was a rather weak follow up to WrestleMania VII. The main event much more than the undercard. How were the odds supposed to feel like they were stacked up against Hogan and the Warrior going up against Slaughter, a repackaged Iron Sheik and a manager? The only mystery was if Sid Vicious may or may not align himself with Slaughter, but even at 10 years old, I don't remember there being much anticipation. Jake Roberts and The Undertaker being left off this card is mind boggling to say the least, though they did crash the reception for Randy and Liz. The wedding segment could have just as easily been part of a Saturday Night's Main Event, but I won't complain too much there as the "match made in heaven/match made in hell" billing was pretty clever actually. As everyone knows, Warrior was fired immediately following this event after more or less taking the show hostage by threatening Vince McMahon that he would not appear if not paid the half a million dollars he claimed McMahon owed him. It's a shame because a great feud was in the works between Warrior and Jake Roberts where Roberts had just turned heel. Unfortunately, Ric Flair couldn't be a part of this show as he had just signed with WWE a month later. What a great addition he could have been, either in a 1-on-1 with Roddy Piper or teaming up with Mr. Perfect to face Piper & Hart? Just a thought. Much like WM7, there are only a few matches I would leave as they were. Here are the many changes I would make to what had the potential to be the greatest SummerSlam of all-time.
Rewriting SummerSlam 1991
1. Tag Team Championship: Legion of Doom (c) def. Jake "The Snake" Roberts & The Undertaker *by disqualification*
For those who read the last episode of this series, Rewriting WrestleMania VII, you know that this was set up when the LOD made the save when Andre was being double teamed by Taker and a newly turned heel in Roberts. The options for booking Jake and Undertaker are wide open here. They could have faced Warrior, Hogan, and Justice (who was originally supposed to be on the receiving end of the famous cobra bite) in any combination of singles or tag team matches. I have no doubt that those would have all turned out fine, but in the end I decided to go other routes for those superstars and put them in what would have certainly been a great opener for SummerSlam.
Marty Jannetty def. "The Model" Rick Martel
With The Rockers officially going their separate ways, Jannetty would go on to find midcard success. A great recovery win here at SS after losing to his former partner at WM7.
3. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat def. "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich
Upon returning to the WWE as a heel in February (in my rewrite), Steamboat could have had some terrific show stealers with the likes of the Tornado, Davey Boy Smith and even Bret Hart. I know some might think I'm crazy with this one and could never picture Steamboat as a heel, but it sounds like it would have likely kept him happy and less likely to leave in the fall of '91.
4. Demolition def. Power and Glory
With the Hart Foundation and The Rockers splitting, I would have turned Demolition face to fill that void and I'm certain they could have had great matches with the likes of Hercules and Roma, Natural Disasters, the Nasty Boys, or even the Powers of Pain again. I nearly gave them another match with the LOD with a stipulation of some sort (street fight, 2 out of 3 falls, etc.), but in my rewrites they had been feuding for nearly a year now so a change is in order. Demolition gets the win to rejuvenate them as their first big match in their new role.
5. Million Dollar Championship: "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (c) def. Virgil
I'd still put these 2 together for this match, just a different result. With some help from Sherri, DiBiase hangs onto his million dollar belt (which he would eventually regain with some help from Repo Man anyway). If it were up to me, Repo Man would have never existed as I would've kept Demolition together, but that's a whole other story.
6. Bret "Hitman" Hart def. Mr. Perfect
Don't get me wrong, I loved this match, but there are some things I would change looking back. For starters, it wouldn't have been for the IC Title as I had Hennig lose it to the British Bulldog at Mania. This was Bret's first ppv match as a singles competitor, so even if he had paid his dues as a veteran that was a bit soon for my taste to give him a championship on his own. Secondly, why did Earl Hebner call for the bell so early? This really bothered me. Bret hadn't even fully locked in the sharpshooter yet before he signaled for the end of the match. It was nearly identical to the Montreal Screwjob. I'm not saying this wasn't supposed to happen, I'm just wondering why they didn't let Curt hang in there for a few moments to keep the fans guessing if he would submit or not. And finally, get rid of The Coach. Mr. Perfect didn't need a manager, but if you're going to give him one, it should be Heenan or nobody.
7. Jailhouse Match: Big Boss Man def. The Mountie
Absolutely nothing needs changing here. It was a clever stipulation and the segments in the cell were hilarious. If you've never seen it, I suggest you watch on the Network. "Don't you just love the way leather feels against your body?" Hahaha, wow.
8. Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels def. The British Bulldog (c)
Although I love Davey Boy Smith, unfortunately at this point he would have only been a transitional champion between Perfect and Michaels. I always felt he should have been an IC or even WWE Champ for a substantial amount of time in the following years, but the timing just wasn't right here. Shawn Michaels would be pushed to the moon, although his old partner Marty Jannetty would still be looming over his shoulder, in no hurry to forget how he sent him through the barber shop window.
9. Flag Match: Sid Justice def. Sgt. Slaughter
This could have just as easily been "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in this spot, but in Sid's first big match with WWE, I would have done more than just throw a striped shirt on him. In my rewrite series, Slaughter was never WWE Champion, so I feel no obligation to give him a win especially in a match that doesn't require you to be pinned or submit.
10. The Nasty Boys def. The Natural Disasters
These teams would begin a feud when disagreeing over which of Jimmy Hart's teams deserved to be the #1 contenders and face the Legion of Doom for the tag team gold. Nasty Boys remain heel and move into the spot previously occupied by Demolition, while Earthquake and Typhoon go babyface after firing the mouth of the south.
11. WWE Championship: Hulk Hogan def. The Ultimate Warrior (c)
There a lot of ways you could go for the main event of SummerSlam. Warrior vs. Taker, Warrior vs. Roberts, Warrior & Hogan vs. Taker & Roberts. But how about this for the rematch of the century? Nearly a year and a half after their monumental showdown at WrestleMania VI, the Warrior would grant Hogan a rematch out of respect and you could completely justify SummerSlam '91 being the first to have a better buyrate than it's corrulating WrestleMania. Of course with Warrior no longer being on the WWE roster after the match made in hell, there's not much choice but to give Hogan the win, but I'm not sure I wouldn't regardless. Having them tied 1-1 would have made their rubber match in WCW that much more interesting.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and/or post your changes to this card.
• LOD v Roberts/Taker - personally I'd have had the same tag title match as actually happened. Jake and Taker should be nowhere near the tag belts
• Jannetty v Martel - personally I disagree with moving the Rockers' split a year earlier, but if it was to happen, this would actually be a fun opener between two solid workers
• Steamboat v Tornado - I was never sold on Kerry Von Erich, and agree with others that Steamboat is a natural babyface. The only thing I agree with here is not having the physical 'dragon' gimmick bestowed upon Steamboat, and I would have liked to have seen him used in more singles matches. The six-man at Summerslam was actually his only ppv match in this stint. If the Rockers had split in 90/91 like in your universe, I'd rather Steamboat feud with Shawn Michaels here, that match could have been a classic
• Demolition v Power & Glory - whilst I have always been a big fan of Demolition, and feel they shouldn't have been dumped so soon after the LOD debuted (they absolutely SHOULD have fought at Wrestlemania VII), I don't agree with them turning face prior to Summerslam. They had only been heel a year at this point, after two and a half years as faces, and to turn them so soon would have made them a joke. You see how no one takes the Big Show or Kane seriously when they turn? That would have happened to Demolition here, totally meh. Having said that, Power & Glory turning face would have been fresh, so this match up does have potential, or have Demolition face the not-yet-broken up Rockers
• as much as Virgil sucked as a wrestler, you can't deny the fact this feud was hot. You've got to keep it the same as actually happened, give Virgil his moment in the MSG sun
• likewise, Bret v Perfect HAS to stay the same. A classic match for the ages, which has also stood up to the test of time. Completely disagree that it was too soon to give Bret a title run, especially since you have already given the belt to the British Bulldog straight after his return, and you are giving it to Michaels here not long after HIS split (in your world) which strikes me as a tad hypocritical. Also, I believe the reason Earl Hebner called for the bell so quickly is simply that the seriously injured Mr Perect submitted literally the second Bret applied the sharpshooter - which does look the most convincingly painful version of the move in history - given that his back must have been in excruciating agony
• jailhouse match - stats the same. Completely logical that the US law enforcer would face a Canadian mounted policeman, especially given one was a fave and one a heel, and logical that the face won in the circumstances
• Michaels v Bulldog - again, IF the Rockers had split by this point, a fine match on paper, but certainly not for the IC title, which should absolutely still be contested between Bret and Perfect. Alternatively, feed an outgoing veteran Greg Valentine to new fresh heel Michaels, and Bulldog can beat IRS. I have zero interest in continuing the overly long Bulldog v Warlord feud that spanned three ppvs over 8 months...
• flag match - a match type that makes sense, given Slaughter's gimmick. But I'd have it as a Wrestlemania rematch between Slaughter and Hogan (who would not have been champion at this point) But I'd go one step further. Given the highly emotive nature of Slaughter's gimmick, I'd have the stipulation being the loser has to pledge allegiance to the winner's flag, and when Slaughter recites the pledge of allegiance after losing, this facilitates his face turn, rather than the (I felt quite) week "I want my country back" angle. At least this would give that angle some groundwork - perhaps Slaughter, struggling to fulfil his stipulation, is continuously berated by Adnan and Mustafa, before he snaps, knocking them both out of the ring and reciting the pledge with Hogan's blessing in front of a cheering audience. A true moment, Slaughter instantly regaining babyface heat, and he could have taken that momentum on, rather than disappearing down the card faster than Demolition did!
• Nastys v Disasters - nope. Again, in my world, the Disasters' formation took place in real time (like the Rockers' split, you hotshotted the Disasters' formation a year early). Indeed, I'd go so far as to move Tugboat's heel turn to this Summerslam event rather than a few weeks previously. Instead of the opening six man tag, this one could fill that spot, Earthquake, Dino Bravo and ? against Tugboat and theBushwhackers. The turn happens exactly the way it did in real life, but as an added extra, the new Natural Disasters eject Bravo from the Jimmy Hart Organisation as well, giving a storyline reason for his absence. The only thing I'm not sure about here is the third man on Hart's team
• the main event - it just had to be Jake the Snake challenging for the WWE Championship against the incumbent champion, the Ultimate Warrior. Now may even be a good time to have the heel Snake win the belt, losing it to Hogan at Survivor Series in controversial fashion (a combination of what actiually happened at Survivor Series and Tuesday in Texas) leading to the vacated belt being put on the line at the Royal Rumble
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