(The one with the halfway decent plancha)
Vince McMahon is a brilliant man. The very fact that he can get millions of people to shell out hard-earned money to watch people play-act fighting in their underwear is testament to that. The man is a genius and when he shuffles off this mortal coil wrestling will lose perhaps the most important man in its long history.
All that being said, he has a few massive flaws. He's petty (see: the Invasion, where WCW guys were portrayed as second-class, costing Vince millions in potential top-flight programs because the outcome was clear from the beginning), he lives in a bubble (see: not knowing that Razor Ramon was a bad "Scarface" rip-off) and, most germane to today's entry, he loves his big men.
A lot of what I wrote yesterday about Undertaker vs. Underfaker applies here too. This SummerSlam also had two big guys fighting as your main event. Much like 1994's 'Slam, it also had a semi-main that was tremendous. But we'll get there.
Let's set the scene.
Diesel won the WWF title at an MSG house show in November of 1994, squashing Bob Backlund. He next faced Bret Hart at the 1995 Rumble, which ended in a no-contest as half the locker room ran out. This match is actually ok for what it was, a tribute to Hart's singular ability in the ring.
Moving on, Diesel and Shawn Michaels, former friends, fought for the WWF Championship. Again, the match was fine, mostly because Shawn Michaels rocks.
(Segue: Diesel was the face and Shawn the heel for this program. It was ok, because Diesel does have charisma and is good on the stick, and Shawn is, you know, awesome, but it always felt a little bit backward. This would have been a better program if HBK was the plucky babyface and Diesel the monster heel. When David fights Goliath, it doesn't work as well if David is the bad guy.)
So Diesel is your champ post Mania. HBK got himself a new bodyguard in Sycho Sid, who promptly betrays the beleaguered HBK the night after WrestleMania. Who should come to his rescue? Diesel! The two reunite, Diesel faces Sid at an In Your House, and everyone moves on.
Mabel enters the picture at the 1995 King of the Ring. Before the tournament he had been a gigantic man, part of the campy "Men on a Mission" stable, which was a couple of guys who were trying to make the inner city a better place.
(I miss the 90s sometimes. Mabel is the one on the right)
They had a manager, Oscar, who would rap. Mabel and Mo (the other wrestler) had some great purple outfits, and they were a solid midcard act. No different than, say, a mid-90s version of 2 Cool with less worms and a helluva lot more body fat. Mabel could wrestle pretty well for a man his size too at times.
That all ended in March of 1995 when Men on a Mission turned heel by beating up Billy and Bart Gunn and ditching Oscar. They turned back to their pre-WWF days, when during the dying days of the territories Men on a Mission were portrayed as simple thugs.
At the 1995 King of the Ring Mabel won the whole damn shebang. This was a horrifically bad card. It had a match end on a time limit draw, another one end on a countout, and the finale was Savio Vega vs. Mabel. Mabel won but really everyone who was watching lost and lost huge.
Mabel went from being a midcarder to the #1 villain in the entire company overnight. He soon targeted the WWF champ Diesel, facing him at SummerSlam.
Just like the previous year's SummerSlam, the 1995 edition had a great match as its semi-main and a dud as its main event. In ‘95, Shawn Michaels faced Razor Ramon in a ladder match, a rematch of their stellar ladder match from that year's WrestleMania. This ladder match was awesome, back and forth as two guys who could work stole the show. Go watch it right now. I'm not telling you who won just to make you watch it. I will tell you that Razor Ramon had this incredible mullet/weave thing going on thought
Poor Diesel and Mabel had no chance following this match. To top it off, it was yet another big man main event. Lots of punches, kicks, Irish Whips, body blocks and the like. Diesel did do a pretty good plancha over the top rope to the floor, and tried to make Mabel look good by selling his rough offense.
Mabel was wearing this giant purple and gold sequined outfit that made him look like a deranged LSU booster, and Diesel had a pretty great mullet of his own. Also funny, Mabel yells to the crowd "I'm going to be the first black champion" and the people boo him out of the building. I don't think the people in Pittsburgh were racist, just that they hated Mabel.
Mabel does a horrible-looking sidewalk slam, than sort of sit-falls on Diesel's lower back in a move that sort of looks like Yokozuna's Banzai Drop. Poor Diesel's body just shook on impact. Then Mabel just sort…of…sits…there for a long few minutes as the crowd slowly realizes that this match will be nowhere near as good as the HBK-Razor one.
There's a ref bump, and Mabel's valet Mo jumps in the ring, and Mabel and Mo start throwing these hideous punches to Diesel, when who but LEX LUGER (wearing an excellent American flag button-down shirt) runs out to save Diesel…who promptly throws him out of the ring for his trouble. Thanks for the help Lex!
Oh Kevin Nash, never stop going into business for yourself.
Anyway, Luger chases Mo to the back, Mabel hits a pretty good-looking belly-to-belly, Diesel kicks out! Thankfully, instead of trying a powerbomb (if you want to see what happens when Kevin Nash tries to powerbomb large men, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjZHamNZz-Q), he goes to the second rope and hits a sloppy clothesline for the win. Side note: Since the ref was selling a bump, it took a full ten seconds for him to count the three on Mabel.
Curtain Jerker's Star Ranking – ¾ of a star, and Mabel and Luger's outfits are a big reason why it's even that high
Up next – tomorrow's entry involves six men and none of them can actually wrestle worth a damn. You can see why this is a problem.
Also in this series: