Summerslam Count-Up – 1994: The Last Great Cage Match

Summerslam 1994
Date: August 29, 1994
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 23,000
Commentators: Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler

Things have changed a lot in the last year. First and foremost, we’re living in Bret Hart’s WWF now as he regained the world title at Wrestlemania over Yokozuna, more or less vanquishing him once and for all. On that same show though, Bret’s brother Owen pinned him clean in the masterpiece of an opening match. Owen has chased the title all summer and tonight is his opportunity at it inside a steel cage. The other main event is the Undertaker vs. the Undertaker in a match that I want to put off talking about for as long as I can. Let’s get to it.

We open with highlights of the WWF softball team (that exists?) playing in a charity game against the Chicago media. Shawn of course plays without a shirt on. The video goes on for like five minutes with Monsoon doing commentary through every inning. Randy Savage, a former professional baseball player, hit a three run home run. The WWF won 9-7.

On to the actual wrestling tonight with Macho Man as Master of Ceremonies again. As Savage is posing in the ring, Lawler tells us that Diesel (currently Intercontinental Champion) and Shawn won the tag titles from the Headshrinkers last night in Indianapolis.

Headshrinkers vs. Bam Bam Bigelow/I.R.S.

Bigelow and IRS are part of DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. This was originally going to be for the belts but the Samoans lost the titles last night. The production values have been upgraded by this show as we now have logos for every team/wrestler in the aisle as they come to the ring. The Headshrinkers have Afa and Lou Albano with them which I believe was Albano’s last managing job in the company.

Bigelow runs over Fatu to start but misses a charge and walks into a superkick for two. A slam doesn’t work on Bigelow so he comes back with an enziguri. That shouldn’t work on Fatu and thankfully he rolls away from the diving headbutt. Off to Samu for a double superkick but the Samoan misses a charge, allowing for the tag off to IRS. Now it’s the tax man’s turn to miss a charge in the corner and fall outside where Samu sends him into the steps. Back in and Fatu stays on IRS until Bigelow pulls the top rope down to send Fatu out to the floor.

The Million Dollar Team takes over on Fatu but a double clothesline puts he and Bigelow down. A double tag brings in Samu to face IRS as things break down a bit. A middle rope headbutt gets two on IRS and Bigelow is clotheslined out to the floor. IRS takes a double Stroke and Fatu adds the top rope splash but DiBiase has the referee. Bigelow goes after Albano which draws in Afa for the DQ.

Rating: D+. A DQ? In the opening match? 1994 was an odd year for this company. The match wasn’t bad but the lack of the titles being on the line brought the level of interest way down. Without that it was a Superstars main event which is ok, but the Headshrinkers were never in any real trouble at all and it wasn’t much to see.

Everyone brawls up the aisle.

We now get to the white elephant of the show: Leslie Nielsen and his partner from the Naked Gun movies is here to solve the mystery of the Undertaker. See, Undertaker had disappeared after the Royal Rumble but had vowed to return. DiBiase had a fake Undertaker doing his bidding but the real one was supposed to return tonight.

WWF’s brilliant idea? Bring in some detectives from crime spoof movies to solve the case. Nielsen comes complete with inner monologues about what he’s doing and completely out of place jokes (Nielsen: “I’m on the case.” Partner: “We’re both on the case.” The camera pans down to show them both standing on a briefcase.). Don’t get me wrong: Leslie Nielsen is hilarious, but this isn’t what I want to see at the second biggest show of the year.

Razor Ramon is ready to get his Intercontinental Title back tonight from Diesel. He’ll have Chicago football legend Walter Payton in his corner tonight.

Women’s Title: Bull Nakano vs. Alundra Blayze

Nakano, the challenger, is a Japanese monster and has Luna Vachon in her corner. A quick clothesline and a hair drag put Blayze down as Nakano looks strong early. We hit a chinlock less than two minutes in but Blayze gets her feet on the ropes. A spin kick puts Nakano down for a few seconds but she comes back with a choke to take over again. Off to a modified Boston Crab as Nakano is destroying the champion so far.

Blayze FINALLY makes the rope but Nakano pounds her right back down like she’s not even there. Bull starts a Sharpshooter but after turning Blayze over (Nakano doesn’t step over) she reaches down and pulls her up by the arms in a PAINFUL looking hold. Blayze finally gets an arm free to grab a rope but almost immediately Nakano has a modified cross armbreaker on the champion. Alundra FINALLY comes back with a hair takedown but Bull is easily out at two. Bull easily counters a powerbomb attempt and drops a knee for two, only to miss her guillotine legdrop finisher. Blayze hooks a quick German suplex to retain.

Rating: C. This was an interesting match but it was hard to get into at times. Nakano was a monster who destroyed Blayze for about eight minutes and then Alundra got a quick suplex for the pin in fifteen seconds. Bull would win the title in a few months in Japan in a near masterpiece.

Shawn and Diesel brag about winning the tag titles but say Diesel will have no problem with Razor Ramon tonight. This is right around the time where the Kliq had taken over backstage and were basically running the company, hence them dominating the title scene.

Intercontinental Title: Diesel vs. Razor Ramon

Shawn and Walter Payton are in the respective corners and Diesel is defending. The toothpick toss actually staggers Diesel and Ramon fires off right hands to start. A discus punch finally puts Diesel on the floor for a meeting with Shawn, likely over how they can get the WWF Title. Back in and Diesel uses the big man forearms to work on Razor’s back before taking him down with a big boot. There’s the corner leg choke but Razor comes back with more right hands.

The extra big man puts the big man in a sleeper but Razor comes out of it with a belly to back suplex. Diesel comes right back by launching Razor out to the floor, allowing Shawn to untie a buckle pad. Payton finally goes after Shawn but the distraction lets Shawn clothesline Razor down. Back in again and the champion hits his elbows and knee lifts in the corner but the referee stands in front of the exposed buckle. The referee looks at Shawn like an idiot, allowing Diesel to whip Ramon into the buckle for two.

Snake Eyes onto a covered buckle puts Ramon down again and an elbow to the back gets two. We hit the chinlock with a knee in the back and a comeback attempt is countered by a boot to the face. Diesel hooks an abdominal stretch but eventually gets caught holding the top rope. Razor puts on an abdominal stretch of his own, only to be hiptossed down onto his bad back. Snake Eyes onto the exposed buckle is countered into a rollup for two and Razor starts coming back with right hands.

The middle rope bulldog gets two on Diesel as the fans are getting louder and louder. The Jackknife is countered but Diesel suplexes him down before Razor can follow up. Shawn tries to bring in the belt but gets caught in a tug of war with Payton. The referee yells at Payton so Shawn tries a superkick but of course hits the champion. Payton pulls Shawn out and Ramon pins the out cold Diesel for the title.

Rating: C+. As political as the Kliq was, they could usually put on some solid matches. Razor was just big enough to make you believe he could go toe to toe with Diesel while still being small enough to look like an underdog. Payton was there as a celebrity and didn’t add a thing to the match at all. That superkick would set up years of stories, as Shawn and Diesel would start to disintegrate, which led to WM XI, which led to Shawn’s face turn, which led to everything up until Austin in a way.

Diesel rants about Shawn screwing up and blames him for the loss.

Shawn says he’ll get Diesel another shot and vows revenge on Payton. Don’t worry: Diesel would be world champion in three months.

Tatanka and Lex Luger are in the back where they hear the results of a WWF Hotline poll. 54% think Luger sold out to Ted DiBiase but he still denies it. Tatanka is convinced because of the times DiBiase has been watching Luger and the few times DiBiase has helped Luger win a match. Earlier today DiBiase went into Luger’s dressing room with a bag and that’s enough proof for Tatanka. Luger swears he didn’t sell out.

Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

The fans aren’t sure how they feel about Luger at the moment. They finally lock up with Luger taking it into the corner for a clean break. A shoulder puts Tatanka down but Luger still won’t follow up. Tatanka grabs the arm as we’re still in first gear. A cross body gets two for Tatanka and it’s time to slug it out with Lex taking over. Tatanka starts the war path and hits a top rope chop for two but a high cross body only hits mat. Luger starts his comeback but here’s DiBiase with a bag of money. Lex shouts that he didn’t sell out, allowing Tatanka to roll him up for the pin.

Rating: D. The match was very slow paced which isn’t good in a short match. We were waiting for the angle here instead of the match which is fine, but it didn’t make the match any less dull. Tatanka was into a more serious phase of his career here and his matches got a lot less fun to watch as a result.

Post match Luger is mad and he kicks the bag out of DiBiase’s hand…..only to have Tatanka reveal the HE sold out by destroying Luger. Tatanka puts him in the Million Dollar Dream and shoves money down Luger’s throat. This has always been a favorite of mine.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel

Jeff Jarrett is a country singer from Tennessee and Mabel is a 500lb+ monster in purple and gold. Mabel lumbers around like an oaf while Jarrett struts. Jarrett’s wristlock is easily thrown off so Mabel struts a bit. A clothesline puts Jeff on the floor as we’re somehow two minutes into the match. Jeff trips Mabel from the floor to take him down and drops a middle rope elbow for no cover. Some middle rope ax handles stagger Jarrett a bit but a third is caught in a bearhug.

A sleeper finally gets Mabel down but he drops Jeff into the corner to escape. The big man actually hits a spinwheel kick for two as Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz, a baseball themed guy, is in the crowd with a sign saying he’s on strike. See, Major League Baseball was on strike at this point, and if we reference something that’s going on in the world, it’s funny, right? Mabel misses a middle rope splash but blocks a sunset flip attempt. He tries to drop onto Jeff’s chest but misses completely, allowing Jarrett to score the fluke pin.

Rating: D-. This was very dull as Jarrett had nothing to work with at all. Mabel was just so huge that it was almost impossible for anyone to do anything against him. Unfortunately for us Mabel would be pushed down our throats the next year, somehow main eventing the 1995 edition of the show. The match sucked.

The detectives are in the aisle, Undertaker pops up behind them, neither sees him, more PPV time is wasted.

We get a LONG recap of Bret vs. Owen. Owen had felt he was living in Bret’s shadow and turned on his entire family at the 1993 Survivor Series when he was the only member eliminated due to a mistake by Bret. Bret offered to team up with Owen to win the tag titles which appeased Owen for awhile, but at the Royal Rumble Bret wouldn’t tag out and the referee stopped the match due to his knee injury.

Owen snapped and kicked out Bret’s good leg, turning full heel in the process. He demanded a match with Bret at Wrestlemania and defeated him clean in the opening match. Bret won the title in the main event, so Owen wanted a shot at the title throughout the summer. Tonight is Owen’s big chance in a cage match.

Bret says his recent battle with strep throat won’t affect him tonight.

WWF World Title: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

It’s escape only to win. Owen jumps him as soon as Bret is inside the cage, raining down right hands in the corner. Bret comes back with an atomic drop and a clothesline as their parents are watching in the front row. Owen pulls Bret down as he tries to climb out before going for a climb of his own. Bret pulls him back down and goes for the door, only to be pulled back in as well. We’re still very early in the match at this point.

Bret keeps lunging for the door but Owen keeps pulling him back in. They swap the roles for the next turn but Owen still can’t escape. With the door closed Bret tries to climb out, only to be slammed off the cage wall. Owen climbs up and manages to get all the way out but he can’t get down on the floor before Bret makes a save. Owen is pulled back in and they fight on the top rope with Bret being knocked back into the ring. Instead of climbing out again though, Owen dropkicks Bret down and climbs again.

The champion makes another save before climbing up to the top of the cage, straddling the top of it. Owen pulls him back in and they continue slugging it out on the top rope. Bret rams him into the cage wall but loses his balance in the process, putting both guys back down. Jim Neidhart and Davey Boy Smith, both brothers in law of the two in the ring, are watching in the crowd.

Bret punches Owen down again and drops an elbow but Owen makes another save. This time as Bret comes down though, he slams his knee into the mat to put him in real trouble. Neidhart, who has since turned on Bret and sided with Owen, is very pleased. Even though Bret is down, he isn’t down enough to stop Owen from leaving. He gets slammed down off the cage but Owen grabs a climbing Bret’s leg, pulling him back inside.

Owen is up first but Bret makes about his 49th save of the match. Bret rams him face first into the steel and goes up again but Owen reaches through the bars to bring him back in. Back in again and Owen plants the champion with a piledriver but Bret still makes a save. Owen throws Bret down off the cage but Owen falls as well. Bret crawls for the door and gets the upper half of his body out, only to be pulled back in again by his younger brother. The drama on these near escapes is getting higher and higher.

Back in and Bret slingshots his brother into the cage, rattling his brains even more. They both slowly get up and Owen is rammed face first into the cage. The problem is that as Bret rams him in, Bret rams his knee into the cage and injures it. The champion tries to get out but can’t climb that fast, allowing Owen to make ANOTHER save. Owen makes another attempt to get out but his exhaustion slows him down and lets Bret stop him.

They slug it out on the top rope with both guys being rammed face first into the cage. Bret knocks Owen down but gets pulled back down as well. A double clothesline puts both guys down one more time and it’s Owen going up first. He climbs to the corner though, allowing Bret to catch up with him and superplex Owen off the top of the cage. Bret crawls for the door but Owen makes the save and puts on the Sharpshooter.

There aren’t any submissions in the match but it can make it impossible for Bret to climb. However Bret, the master of the Sharpshooter, counters into one of his own and Owen is in trouble. Bret goes for the escape but he STILL can’t keep Owen down long enough. They ram each other into the cage and both fall down before Owen climbs again. Both guys climb to the outside and it’s a race to the bottom. Owen is rammed into the cage though and gets his legs caught in the cage bars, allowing Bret to drop down and retain the title.

Rating: A+. This match was all about drama and they certainly gave us that. The match ran over half an hour and had nothing but near escapes the entire time. Bret didn’t so much win this match as he did survive it. This match has been called the last great cage match and it’s really hard to argue with that. Excellent match with great drama throughout.

Post match Neidhart jumps Davey Boy, throws Bret back in and locks himself in with them. A huge beatdown of Bret ensues as the Hart Brothers try to get in the cage. Davey Boy FINALLY gets in and the other brothers follow to save Bret.

In the back Owen says Neidhart is his real family. A series of great tag matches followed.

We recap the Undertaker disappearing at the Royal Rumble. 9 guys beat him up and locked him in a casket but his “spirit” levitated out of the casket, swearing to return. We get a bunch of people saying they had seen Undertaker in delis and coffee shops but DiBiase said he would bring Undertaker back.

Paul Bearer said that was impossible but Ted brought out the “Undertaker”. Anyone with a pair of eyes could tell it was a fake which was the point of the whole thing. Paul tried to regain the power of the Undertaker using the Urn but DiBiase’s money stopped him. The real Undertaker’s voice came over the PA, saying that he would be back.

Undertaker vs. Undertaker

We’ll call them real and fake to tell them apart. The fake one is played by ECW’s Primetime Brian Lee who wrestled in the WWF as Chainz. For the real entrance, we have druids, a casket containing the Urn and then the real guy. The entrances alone take about 10 minutes. Real is a few inches taller and blocks a right hand before pounding on Fake a bit. A big boot and uppercut send Fake to the floor, allowing Real to suplex him back in for no cover.

Fake is thrown to the floor again but Real follows him out this time. Back in and Fake hits a Stunner across the top rope to take over. This is VERY slow so far and the idea isn’t interesting at all. Real blocks Fake’s Old School but Fake sits up. The Real’s Old School connects but Fake clotheslines Real down. The crowd is SILENT for this nonsense which Vince writes off as being in shock.

Real misses a charge and falls to the floor where Fake sends him into the steps. Back in and Real wins a slugout but walks into a good chokeslam for no cover. Fake Tombstones him down but takes too long to cover, allowing for the sit up. A second Tombstone is countered into the Real one, followed by two more for the pin.

Rating: F. Well that happened. Seriously, what else do you want me to say about this? It went on for ten minutes, they were aspiring to hit a snail’s pace and the Chicago crowd, as in one of the most insane groups of fans you’ll ever see, was quieter than a cemetery watching this mess. Taker would literally spend the next year feuding with DiBiase and company.

Taker gets his Urn back and we cut to the back with the detectives finding a closed briefcase. “The case is closed.” Seriously, that’s how they end this.

Overall Rating: D+. BIZARRE main event choice aside, this wasn’t the worst show of all time. Bret vs. Owen is a masterpiece which eats up ¼ of the show and there’s some other decent stuff sprinkled in on top of the card. The rest of the show is pretty terrible though and there’s nothing other than the world title match worth going out of your way to see.

Ratings Comparison

IRS/Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Headshrinkers

Original: C+

Redo: D+

Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano

Original: D+

Redo: C

Razor Ramon vs. Diesel

Original: B-

Redo: C+

Lex Luger vs. Tatanka

Original: C-

Redo: D

Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel

Original: D-

Redo: D-

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart

Original: A

Redo: A+

Undertaker vs. Undertaker

Original: B

Redo: F

Overall Rating

Original: C-

Redo: D+

..a B? I’d like to know what I was on back then so I can go get more of it.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2011/07/28/history-of-summerslam-count-up-summerslam-1994-from-great-matches-to-leslie-nielsen/

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my author page at Amazon with wrestling books as low as $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

9 comments

  1. Mouldylocks says:

    I always remember the Edge vs Christian steel cage match quite fondly, have you ever reviewed that?
    and you say the kliq was in power now, can you think of anyone they held back who could have been great?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Indeed I have.

    Owen for one.

  2. Mouldylocks says:

    Do you have a link for the review? or no when the show was?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’ll post it later today.

  3. M.R. says:

    Angle/Benoit had a great-ish cage match.

    chris Reply:

    I always liked The Triple H Flair cage match from 2005. A lot of emotion in that one.

    M.R. Reply:

    Flair’s last great match was in ’92

    chris Reply:

    That’s your opinion.

  4. Mystery Man says:

    Jeff Hardy and CM Punk had a great cage match on Smackdown in 2009.