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AUG. 18 IN HISTORY (1996): Summerslam features HBK vs. Vader for WWF Title, Taker vs. Foley, Lawler vs. Jake Roberts, more

Aug 18, 2013 - 10:48:20 AM
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This Day In Wrestling History - August 18

Date: August 18, 1996 (17 years ago)

Feature: The only other Summerslam PPV to occur on August 18 featured a main event of Shawn Michaels vs. Vader for the WWF Title, plus Jerry Lawler vs. Jake Roberts in a battle of wrestling legends and Mankind (Mick Foley) vs. The Undertaker.

Torch Back-Issue: PWTorch Newsletter #403.

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WWF Summerslam PPV Results
August 18, 1996
Cleveland, Ohio - Gund Arena
Live Attendance: 14,962 paid
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


(1) Owen Hart pinned Savio Vega at 13:25 with a sharpshooter after nailing Savio with a cast. On his way to the ring, Owen winced, feigning that his arm which is in a cast was hurting him. Jim Cornette, who was "preoccupied with Vader," wasn't at ringside for Owen. Owen tried to hit Savio with the cast at the start of the match, but the ref stopped him. The next 10 minutes saw mainly each wrestler work over the other's arm. At 8:00 Clarence Mason walked to the ring, apparently hinting that he may try to steal Owen from Cornette's stable. When Owen was distracted by Mason's presence, Savio rolled him up from behind. At 10:00 the action picked up with a series of near falls and nice moves by both men, including a top rope dropkick by Owen. Savio hit a top rope belly to back suplex, but Savio landed on Owen's cast, although it didn't come off looking all that devastating. Both men lay on the mat, but Owen was playing possum. Owen then took off his cast and clearly in front of the referee nailed Savio with it. The ref ignored it, but even Ross mentioned the ref had to have seen it. Owen applied the sharpshooter for the submission win. Disappointing match. (**)

After the match Justin Hawk Bradshaw came to ringside with Zebekiah. Bradshaw yelled at McMahon, although since he wasn't mic'd he couldn't be heard, which hurt the angle. He attacked Savio as Savio was returning to the back. Tod Pettengill then interviewed Mankind in the boiler room.

(2) The Smoking Gunns outlasted The New Rockers, Body Donnas, and Godwinns in a four way tag match when Billy Gunn pinned Phinneous Godwinn at 12:18. The heat in the arena (i.e. none) seemed to demoralize the wrestlers, who stumbled through the boring match. They teased a Gunn vs. Gunn match-up early, but the fans didn't pop for it and it never took place. Skip (Chris Candido) never tagged in the match and he wore a neck brace. The announcers talked about Skip as being brave for even showing up. Billy Gunn pinned Zip after Sunny tripped him to eliminate The Body Donnas at 4:07. Ross said the Rockers said they would dedicate a victory to the Partridge Family. At 6:45 the match broke into a six-way brawl to which the crowd responded with amazing silence. Henry Godwinn slopdropped Marty Jannetty to eliminate the Rockers at 7:20. This was a match that was crying out for a color commentator to make it watchable and Curt Hennig in this match and throughout the entire card contributed nearly nothing, to the point that there is probably a story behind it. The highlight was a Bart Gunn flip bump off a HOG clothesline; Bart was the star of the match. At 12:00 Bart and HOG tumbled over the top rope. Bart then came off the top rope as Sunny distracted the referee. Bart nailed Phinneous and put Billy on top for the pin at 12:18. The fan heat and lack of decent commentary reduced any redeeming qualities this match had to irrelevant. It's time for the WWF to give these teams some relevant interview time to establish themselves. After the match Sunny did some mic work before revealing a huge banner mural of herself which unrolled from the ceiling. (1/4*)

They showed footage of various events WWF wrestlers took part in over the weekend in Cleveland, including Lawler asking a couple of Cleveland Indian pitchers how to throw a spitball. Lawler is a lifelong fan of the Indians and Cleveland Browns.

(3) Sid pinned British Bulldog at 6:16. Sid hit a clothesline early, so Bulldog bailed out of the ring. At 2:30 Bulldog hit a nice vertical suplex. Bulldog, though slowed the match down with his infamous half-hearted, skillless side headlock on the mat. Bulldog clotheslined Sid over the top rope at 3:45. At 5:00 Sid hit a corner splash, but missed a second attempt. At 5:20 Bulldog powerslammed Sid. Jim Cornette did come to ringside for Bulldog. When Clarence Mason showed up, Cornette argued with him. Bulldog turned his attention to the argument, which gave Sid a chance to chokeslam him and powerbomb him for the pinfall. Not good, but not bad considering who was involved. Sid had great babyface heat. (*)

A Shawn Michaels video aired that portrayed him as "sexy" and "intense" ending with the phrase "share the dream." Very professionally done.

(4) Goldust (w/Marlena) pinned Marc Mero (w/Sable) at 10:58. Goldust slapped Mero at the start and then hid behind the referee when Mero wanted to retaliate. Mero hit two nice armdrags and Goldust retreated. Mero hit a drop toe hold and went to an armbar. A minute later Goldust backdropped Mero over the top rope. At 4:45 Goldust clotheslined Mero off the apron knocking him into the railing. At this point Ross pointed out that Brian Pillman was interviewing Sid on the 900 line, which was meant to elicit calls from those who are aware of the well known bar confrontation years ago where Pillman challenged Sid to a fight and Sid left only to return with a squeegee as a weapon willing to accept the challenge - or so the legend says. Anyway, at 5:40 Mankind came to the ring. Sable screamed in fright in her most convincing show of emotion to date. Well done (maybe it was a shoot as she sometimes seems only slightly less taken aback by her atmosphere as Elizabeth). At 6:30 Goldust went to a chinlock, then stomped away at Mero. At 8:30 Mero came back with a kneelift, but the crowd was dead. Goldust lifted Mero and dumped him over the top rope. Mero flipsplashed Goldust to the floor. He then hit a slingshot legdrop. At 10:00 in the highlight move of the undercard Mero hit his "‘Wild Thing" (a shooting star press, a/k/a a forward moonsault), probably the first one ever done in a WWF ring. Goldust kicked out and came back quickly with a curtain call for the finish. After the match, as Sable tended to a fallen Mero, Goldust gyrated by her. She crawled away horrified. Goldust hugged her before Mero got up and punched him. Mero dropped Goldust crotch-first over the top rope and then dropkicked off the ropes to the floor. Good, but assuming Goldust's knee wasn't hindering him, should have been better given the talent of the two. (**1/2)

A replay aired of Ahmed Johnson's kidney injury and surgery and interview. His nurse said if his kidney bleeds again and has to be removed, he won't be able to return to wrestling.

Todd Pettengill interviewed Faarooq Asad and Sunny in mid-ring. A chubby-in-the-rear Faarooq said he should be given the IC Title.

(5) Jerry Lawler pinned Jake Roberts after hitting him upside the chin with a whisky bottle at 4:03. Lawler did five minutes of mic work before the match which got the crowd into the card. He wore a Baltimore Raven's jersey (the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore this season) and said he gave comp tickets to the owner of the Raven's who moved the team from Cleveland. He did the usual gags regarding Roberts being a drunk. When he pulled a whiskey bottle out of a bag before the match, Roberts pulled a snake out of his and put it on Lawler. When the match started it was as you would expect - not very athletic. They fought briefly at ringside. Mark Henry did commentary at ringside. He seemed shocked that a pro wrestling referee wouldn't catch an infraction such as Lawler's at the end of the match. Someone needs to take him aside and explain some things to him. He ran off Lawler after Lawler poured beer down Roberts's throat after the match. Henry helped Roberts to the back. Redeeming due to Lawler's comedy. (1/2*)

(6) Mankind defeated Undertaker after Paul Bearer turned heel and handed Mankind the urn at 26:40. The match began as Undertaker lurked in the boiler room looking for Mankind. Mankind nailed Undertaker from behind with CPVC piping. The crowd, which watched on the big screen scoreboard or on monitors set up at ringside, popped although they were mic'd softly so it didn't come across as much of a pop on TV. The announcers for whatever reason didn't do commentary other than an occasional sentence. It was as if all of a sudden they became pro tennis announcers. Twice they had "transmission" difficulties, probably placed there intentionally to splice footage together as the match wasn't necessarily live. The fans booed each time there was a transmission problem. The pacing of the brawl was very methodical - too much so. There were some nice spots, but it could have been much shorter - and would have been more realistic had it been shorter. It wasn't as if they had to fit in all of these great spots. The highlight was when Mankind climbed six steps of a ladder to set up his elbow, but Undertaker sat up and knocked him off the ladder. Mankind bumped to the floor, landing on some cardboard boxes. After a goofy spot of Mankind trying to keep Undertaker from following him out a door to the dressing room area, they brawled toward the entry to the arena. Mankind threw a coffee dispenser full of several gallons of "hot" coffee on Undertaker. Undertaker hit Mankind with a board on his way to the ring. At 22:15 Undertaker was about to enter the ring, although clearly intentionally slowed himself down to give Mankind a chance to grab him. Mankind piledrove Undertaker onto the concrete floor. At 24:20 Undertaker knocked Mankind off the ring apron. Mankind took the Nestea Plunge onto the cement. When Undertaker kneeled before Paul Bearer and awaited the Urn, Paul Bearer hesitated and turned his back. Mankind attacked a shocked Undertaker from behind. Bearer then handed him the urn for the win. Good angle, dragged out match. (*1/2)

(7) Shawn Michaels pinned Vader (mgd. by Jim Cornette) at 22:15 to retain the WWF Title. At the start Vader punched Michaels in the face and gut. Michaels took Vader's legs out from under him and then bounced off the ropes and dropkicked Vader as he was sitting on the mat. He then pummeled him with roundhouse kicks and punches. He then threw Vader out of the ring and slidekicked him under the bottom rope. He followed with a beautiful diving plancha onto Vader on the floor at 2:35, ending a very nice opening series. As Vader had a conference with Cornette, Michaels snuck between then. Cornette ran in fear and Michaels punched Vader. Michaels then hit a forearm off the top rope and then executed a frankensteiner. Michaels waited for Vader to stand, and then jumped on Vader's shoulders and victory rolled him over the top rope. He then skinned the cat back into the ring. He went for a topé (toe-pay) headscissors, but Vader stopped Michaels and dropped him to the mat at 5:00.

Michaels struggled to his feet. Vader hit Michaels with a barrage of punches in the corner of the ring. Vader hit a leaping vertical suplex. Nice move. At 7:20 he whipped Michaels into the corner twice and each time Michaels flipped upside down, the second time landing on the floor at ringside. At 8:20 Vader gave Michaels a high backdrop. When Vader picked Michaels up for a back suplex, Michaels nailed him with a series of punches to stop the suplex. Vader, however, countered with a pull of Michaels's hair. Michaels, though, flipped out of the second back suplex attempt. Vader went for a splash in the corner, but missed. Vader then gave Michaels a hard clothesline, but again Michaels flipped out of a suplex attempt at 10:00.

Michaels skinned the cat back in the ring, but Vader stuck his head between Michaels's legs and spun him in the air and Michaels flew across the ring and landed on his stomach. Vader then put on a headlock of sorts that showed more light than a dark room with a window. Michaels hit a hopespot clothesline which Vader didn't sell. When Vader went to bounce a rebounding Michaels off his barrel chest, Michaels slid underneath his legs. Vader sat down, but Michaels raised a knee and caught Vader between the legs. Michaels then hit a clothesline and went to the top rope. He came off and landed on both feet and seemed lost. He stood over Vader and angrily yelled at him for apparently missing his cue to move. Michaels dove at Vader off the ropes and both spilled over the top rope to the floor. Vader dropped Michaels over the guard rail and returned to the ring. Michaels was counted out at 15:33. It was played up convincingly as the finish of the match. Cornette then insisted the match restart because "we came here to win the title." Without Michaels signalling he agreed to the restart, the ref ordered the match to restart at 15:33.

Vader attacked Michaels in the aisle. Cornette hit Michaels with the tennis racquet. (Owww! Not those nylon strings again!) Vader splashed Michaels into the corner and powerslammed him for a two count. Vader went for the powerbomb, but Michaels punched out. After two duck unders while running the rules, he hit a fivearm and a top rope elbow. He then stomped the mat to signal for chin music when Cornette grabbed him (a la the last pay-per-view, which given the follow up on it at this event was an okay finish because it was part of an overall storyline for the two-match series). Cornette threw Vader the racquet, but Michaels intercepted it. When the ref saw Michaels hitting Vader with the racquet, he called for the DQ at 17:50. Again, Cornette accused Michaels of getting DQ'd on purpose (good luck in court on that one) and asked Michaels if he had the guts to continue. Michaels jumped Vader and the match was on - again.

Michaels hit a top rope elbow and stomped the mat and hit chin music for the apparent win, but Vader kicked out at the last millisecond cleanly. Michaels looked around in disbelief. Vader then threw Michaels into the referee. he gave Michaels the powerbomb, but the ref was delayed and making the count. By the time the ref got there, Michaels kicked out at two. That gave the impression Michaels would have been pinned had the ref not been bumped. Each man, though, also kicked out of the other's finisher. Vader then dragged a limp Michaels to the corner and set up a second rope gorilla splash. Cornette stopped Vader and told him to go to the top rope for a moonsault. That was a giveaway that Vader was going to miss because Vader never hits that move and the fans know it. Indeed Michaels moved (although he didn't have to, because as usual Vader would have overshot Michaels with the moonsault anyway). Michaels quickly took his last ounce of energy and climbed to the top rope quickly and hit a moonsault bodyblock for the pinfall win. An exhausted Michaels could barely hoist the belt over his shoulder as the show went off the air. This was close to a great match and the sequence of finishes was very well played out, but the mid-ring tantrum by Michaels and few weak moves by Vader kept it at only a very good bout. But it was good enough to be a memorable show stealer. (****)

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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