Through the Years: WWF Matches & Angles from SummerSlam ’91 through October 1991


The WWF was in major turmoil after and around the time of SummerSlam, being sued by Superstar Billy Graham and a guilty verdict to George Zahorian being a particularly poor look for the company. However, from a creative standpoint, I’ve always thought that this was a great era for the WWF. They ran some spectacular angles during this time, and there were a few bad ones as well, although those are awfully easy to forget. Some of the old managerial holdouts were also due for their WWF exits. Slick and Mr. Fuji appeared a whole lot less, Slick eventually leaving entirely. Sadly I do not have a video of them, but a guy named Skinner made his first WWF appearances as well.


– Taped to air August 25th, 1991, on Wrestling Challenge, from the Civic Center in Portland, Maine




The WWF was in major turmoil after and around the time of SummerSlam, being sued by Superstar Billy Graham and a guilty verdict to George Zahorian being a particularly poor look for the company. However, from a creative standpoint, I’ve always thought that this was a great era for the WWF. They ran some spectacular angles during this time, and there were a few bad ones as well, although those are awfully easy to forget. Some of the old managerial holdouts were also due for their WWF exits. Slick and Mr. Fuji appeared a whole lot less, Slick eventually leaving entirely. Sadly I do not have a video of them, but a guy named Skinner made his first WWF appearances as well.


– September 9th, 1991, from the Civic Center in Ottawa, Ontario


Big Bully Busick (w/Harvey Wippleman) vs. British Bulldog

Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s fitting that there would conveniently be a match for me to put in this spot behind Busick’s debut. I’m not complaining, this is clearly the best thing that could have happened. The WWF going to tape TV in Ottawa was actually quite brilliant, given the poor attendance they were getting across the United States. That’s when it’s time to tape TV in their best territory, which was the province of Ontario.

Match Review: Bulldog locks up with this new bully, and nothing really comes of it. They’ve took minutes off this match by doing nothing. Busick pulls Bulldog’s hair to break a wristlock, which is cheating. Bulldog wants a test of strength, but Busick clotheslines him. Busick hits Bulldog with a back elbow, then goes to a chinlock. It’s quite early for that. Bulldog reverses to a hammerlock and knee drops that arm, which for some reason merits an instant replay. Bulldog keeps working on the arm, but Busick kicks him and knocks him down with clubbing shots. Very bully-like. He works this gimmick hard, at least. Wippleman blows smoke into Bulldog’s face, as Busick continues his bullying. A neck vice is the hold of choice for him, then a chinlock. Busick clotheslines Davey Boy, but it’s time for him to fight back. Bulldog suplexes Busick for 2, and puts his own chinlock on Busick. Busick breaks it with a jawbreaker, but Bulldog suplexes him again, this time with a snap suplex. Bulldog cradles Busick up for 2, and Busick reverses for 2 as well. Busick slams Bulldog, and goes back to the neck vice for some reason. Please stop. Bulldog gets out and runs Busick over, then Wippleman pulls the rope down on Bulldog as he runs them, leading to a disqualification at 9:27. For fun, Bulldog tries to give Wippleman his running powerslam, but Busick grabs Bulldog’s leg.

My Thoughts: I wanted to see what Busick brought to the table in the ring, and now I know. Not a whole lot. Lots of holds, some slight bullying tactics, and a bit of disjointed match structure. *1/4.


– Taped to air September 9th, 1991, on Prime Time Wrestling




Yes, Ric Flair signed his contract with the WWF, and it was time for him to show up on television. I’m sure the WWF was super psyched up over the deal. THE REAL WORLD’S CHAMPION WAS THERE. The best thing about his promo, was his targeting of Roddy Piper and saying he was going to slap him.


– September 10th, 1991, from the Civic Complex in Cornwall, Ontario


Ted DiBiase (w/Sensational Sherri) vs. Virgil for the Million Dollar Championship with RANDY SAVAGE AS SPECIAL REFEREE

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a neat touch, especially given Sherri and Savage’s past. It’s also another way to make sure that Virgil has another solid match with DiBiase. Otherwise, they’re taking a chance. I would probably buy a ticket just to see this match, if I was a native of Cornwall. Not like Savage was doing anything better with his time, simply commentating at these TV tapings. He was also obviously off the gas and didn’t look like he had been lifting or anything.

Match Review: DiBiase misses an attack from behind, so Virgil hits him with a few clotheslines, clearing the ring. Savage starts a funny count on DiBiase, who quickly gets back in the ring. DiBiase chops away at Virgil, who sunset flips him for 2. Virgil bodyslams DiBiase a few times, and he leaves the ring again. This time, Virgil follows and rams him into the apron, then sends him back in. Virgil misses a charge to the corner this time, and DiBiase throws him out of the ring. Into the steps Virgil goes, then it’s back inside for those two. DiBiase clotheslines Virgil, then gives him a gutwrench suplex for 2. Now Savage and DiBiase argue about Savage’s count, and DiBiase suplexes Virgil. A fist drop gets 2, and DiBiase picks Virgil up, which Savage didn’t like. DiBiase then backdrops Virgil across the ring, picking him up on the cover again. During the third argument, DiBiase clocks Savage and knocks him down. Savage then goes over the top and out to the floor, and DiBiase slaps the MILLION DOLLAR DREAM on Virgil. Savage comes back into the ring with a double axehandle to DiBiase’s head, and that’s good for a 3 count in favor of Virgil at 7:11.

My Thoughts: I’m not sure who looked weaker there. Virgil or DiBiase? Maybe it’s not supposed to matter, but Virgil looked like a joke champion. Wasn’t the end of the feud by any means, but this was a passable match to put on video tape. *1/2.


Irwin R. Schyster vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Like the last match, this was taped for Coliseum Video. As such, hopefully Bret goes over strong and looks like a real champion. In reality, IRS was probably too important for that to happen to him. SEND IN YOUR TAXES, TAX CHEATS. Also of note is that this match was in Bret’s home country.

Match Review: IRS takes Bret down with a headlock immediately, and Bret reverses to a head-scissors. IRS gets out and they exchange wristlocks, leading to another break. IRS puts a headlock on the Hitman again, but Bret gets out and hip tosses him. A dropkick knocks IRS out of the ring, but he gets right back in so Bret can punch him. IRS catches Bret with a backbreaker though, and follows that with elbow drops that get 2. IRS goes to an abdominal stretch and cheats by holding the ropes, but when Bret gets out, Bret sunset flips him for 2. Bret rolls IRS up for 2 as well, so IRS rams him into the buckle. IRS goes to a standing chinlock, which eventually puts Bret on the canvas. Bret isn’t giving in yet, and he’s not going to sleep, so he makes it to his feet and breaks the hold with elbows. IRS uses a knee to knock him down, and drops a leg on the…crotch region. That shouldn’t be allowed! IRS slams Bret, and heads up top for a flying nothing into Bret’s boot. Bret follows that with an inverted atomic drop, then a big clothesline gets 2. IRS tries to beg off, but Bret works him over and suplexes him for 2. Bret uses a backbreaker of his own, elbows IRS, and that also gets 2. A Russian leg sweep follows that, and Bret elbows IRS from the second rope for 2. Bret climbs the buckles for some punches, and when the referee breaks the two up, he goes for the SHARPSHOOTER. IRS makes the ropes, and he grabs his briefcase too, which he clocks Bret with for a disqualification at around 8:30. Of course, Bret clears IRS from the ring.

My Thoughts: This was a nice match, not perfect or anything like that, but good enough to get me going a little bit despite the slow pace. Mike Rotunda wasn’t a great worker or anything like that, but he could have solid matches and this is an example of that. The finish was obviously to protect him, and quite necessary given the push he had received. The inherent problem with that is that he then took the fall at Survivor Series. **.


– Taped to air September 21st, 1991, on Superstars, from War Memorial Arena in Rochester, New York




The WWF was strongly pushing an angle of Randy Savage being reinstated, as shown in this video. The thing is, he didn’t want to go back on the road. Yeah, I know he did, but that’s how things were at the time. Sid did look really good in this match wrestling as a babyface. Nice insert promo from Jake Roberts and the Undertaker. Until Savage went on the road, they had Sid working with Roberts.


– Taped to air September 28th, 1991, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Ottawa, Ontario


Ric Flair attacks Roddy Piper!


This was a great angle, and a very creative one at that. They didn’t want to do Flair vs. Hogan on every PPV, even though they wound up doing it on none at all. So, they built up the alternative, which featured Flair smacking Piper around. After an argument, Flair takes his belt and clocks Piper across the face with it, and Randy Savage wasn’t allowed to be involved because he was NOT REINSTATED. Flair really did look like a champion beating Piper up this bad. Nobody got to get over on Piper like that. In a daze, Piper hit Vince McMahon with a wooden chair, so I suppose this was the first time Vince got physically involved in an angle.


– Taped to air September 29th, 1991, on Wrestling Challenge, from the Civic Complex in Cornwall, Ontario




Busick had been bullying people, and this time was picking on the ring announcer, Mike McGuirk. I DON’T TOLERATE BULLYING. Wippleman was blowing smoke in her face, which seems a lot like HARASSMENT AT THE WORK PLACE. SOMEONE IS HERE TO STOP THE BULLYING. IT’S SID JUSTICE. This is perfect gimmick work, if someone’s last name is justice, they better do things to that degree. LET’S GO SID. He powerbombs Busick and pins him in 37 seconds! The crowd was HOT for this segment.


– Taped to air in October of 1991




It’s totally fitting that this series of segments comes with the news in the first October issue of the WON, which stated that the WWF had come into some fairly serious financial problems. A cash flow issue of sorts related to the WORLD BODYBUILDING FEDERATION. Go figure, right? The Slaughter program also hurt business and had to be at least partially responsible for those problems. So, to correct that, SLAUGHTER WANTS HIS COUNTRY BACK.


– October 3rd, 1991, from Royal Albert Hall in London, England


The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Jim Duggan

Pre-Match Thoughts: Duggan is finally back to the list of things I intend to watch. I’m somewhat thankful for that, especially given the chance to see a silly novelty match like this. They had a live organist play Taker into the arena, which is a neat touch. There were other matches on this show, but I didn’t find them particularly relevant to see. Hacksaw had the American flag and still got cheered. I was hoping for further novelty with the Union Jack.

Match Review: Taker kicks Hacksaw in the gut to get this going, and Taker misses a charge to the corner. Hacksaw clotheslines Taker over the top, but he lands on his feet as usual. WHAT A GREAT ATHLETE. Taker chokes Hacksaw with the top rope to stop his momentum, snapping the neck as well. Taker starts the choking with his hands, and the crowd is doing USA chants. WHAT? These kids have been indoctrinated. Taker does OLD SCHOOL before it was old, which is still super impressive to me. More choking ensues, but Hacksaw hits Taker with an inverted atomic drop. Taker doesn’t go down just yet, even after five punches. Bearer takes Hacksaw’s 2×4 away, which eventually lures Hacksaw into an attack from behind by the Undertaker. Taker hits Hacksaw with a flying clothesline, and Hacksaw finally goes to the 2×4 for a disqualification at 6:18. Hacksaw dumps Taker over the top with it, but he doesn’t go down even still!

My Thoughts: That was close to a complete squash, they got Taker over pretty well. Obviously it wasn’t a good match, but it was well worked on Taker’s part. That was his gimmick, we know he was a solid worker based on his time in WCW, and we see him doing different things here. 1/2*.



Pre-Match Thoughts: Our participants here are Roddy Piper, the Mountie, Legion of Doom (WWF Tag Team Champions), Tito Santana, the Rockers, the Nasty Boys, the Texas Tornado, Ric Flair, Jim Duggan, Earthquake, the Barbarian, Big Boss Man, Power and Glory, the British Bulldog, Typhoon, and the Undertaker. Some idiot kid grabbed Knobbs during his entrance and Knobbs nearly slapped him. Lots of star power in this match, obviously. Precursor to the Royal Rumble in that way.

Match Review: Piper spits at Flair, so there we go! Everyone pairs off to do their thing, and Piper chases flair around the ring so they can fight on the floor. These two were so good together, a perfect mix. Boss Man chases the Mountie now, so this is a nice start to a battle royal. Not boring at all! Earthquake squashes a few guys in the corner, and he comes close to eliminating Boss Man. The actual first elimination is Hercules, courtesy of Hawk at 2:26. Or rather, Hercules dove over the top rope and eliminated himself. Tornado gets eliminated by a few guys, thanks to a backdrop, and there are two men gone now. Piper kicks Knobbs out of there, and Marty Jannetty goes out too. Santana eliminates the Barbarian, and Earthquake throws Santana over the top. The first start to go is Hawk, who gets eliminated by Jerry Sags at 5:14. Sags goes out immediately after that, and Shawn Michaels skins the cat back in only so the Mountie can knock him to the floor with a punch. Earthquake misses a splash in the corner, so Hacksaw tries to get rid of him for a while. Animal gives Flair a press slam as that’s going on, and Quake throws Hacksaw out instead of the intended result for Hacksaw. So, Hacksaw grabs his 2×4, gets back in the ring, and hits Quake with it to knock him over the top. Flair and Piper fight on the floor for a while, then get back in and Piper dumps Flair over the top at 7:45! Way to make Flair look like another one of the guys. Piper then goes after the Undertaker, so I feel like I must look for a singles match between those two. I doubt it happened. Bulldog backdrops Paul Roma to the floor, and Undertaker does the same to Animal. Piper goes after Taker again, and this time Piper backdrops Taker over the top at 9:33! Of course, Taker pulls Piper over the top right after. Our final four is Typhoon, the Mountie, Big Boss Man, and the British Bulldog. Boss Man chases the Mountie around the ring for a bit, then gets back inside and punches both of the heels managed by Jimmy Hart, who is still at ringside. Boss Man gets a shot in on Jimmy Hart, then foolishly charges at Mountie and gets dumped out at 11:26. The traditional double team at the end begins, and Typhoon misses a splash in the corner, giving one to Mountie instead. Bulldog beats Typhoon up for a bit, and tries to throw him out, but that’s quite tough. Mountie stops that, and slaps Typhoon to fire him up. They give Bulldog a double clothesline, then Bulldog dodges a Typhoon charge, causing him to clothesline Mountie over the top at 13:38. Down to the last two, and Bulldog takes Typhoon down with a dropkick. Typhoon splashes Bulldog in the corner and wallops him down to the canvas, but Bulldog deals with a Typhoon charge by backdropping him over the top for the win at 14:39!

The Natural Disasters then double team Bulldog, with Quake giving him a powerslam. Quake signals for the BUTT SPLASH, but Bulldog rolls to the outside. HERE COMES ANDRE THE GIANT! He gives the Disasters a noggin-knocker to big applause, then beats them with his crutch until they leave.

My Thoughts: This match and post-match was perfectly booked, in the sense of one big European star helping another. The battle royal was also really entertainined, not the usual boring fare at all. Flair and Piper kept things consistently fun, and I got lost in the match watching them a few times. Actually going to give this **3/4. That’s a high rating for a battle royal, but when they’re good, they’re good.


– Taped to air October 19th, 1991, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Wheeling, West Virginia


El Diablo vs. Sid Justice


Huge match for Sid Justice here, taking on the new guy, EL DIABLO. El Diablo is wearing a mask that shows absolutely none of his face, and a gi that shows none of his body. OH SHIT, THAT’S THE UNDERTAKER’S MUSIC. For some reason Paul Bearer has a briefcase! El Diablo leaves the ring and takes the money, and I guess the Undertaker is going to wrestle Sid here. The two giants do a staredown, and they start choking each other. This rules. El Diablo then runs back to the ring, takes the mask off, and it’s JAKE THE SNAKE. He chokes Sid with a belt, and Taker takes a turn as well. Now Paul Bearer has a coffin, and Roberts hits Sid with the DDT. I want to know what’s in the briefcase, seeing as Roberts brought it back to the ring. Sid is tied up in the ropes, and Roberts opens the briefcase. THERE’S A KING COBRA INSIDE. BAH GAWD. HERE COMES HACKSAW TO STOP THIS. WHAT A TEAM THAT WOULD BE, SID AND HACKSAW. He unties the ropes, so Sid leaves before taking a bite that would presumably kill him. That’s heeling to the extreme on Jake’s part. Unfortunately, Sid suffered a bicep injury shortly after this and the original Survivor Series plan was buried, never to be seen or known.


– October 28th, 1991, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York


Ric Flair (REAL WORLD’S CHAMPION, w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Roddy Piper

Pre-Match Thoughts: I have always wanted to see this match and never have. Problem solved as far as that goes. Who wouldn’t want to watch this match? Talk about a great matchup. Somehow, New York City didn’t feel the same, as this card only sold 9,000 tickets. That sounds absolutely insane to me. Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes are the commentators, which is about as good as could be expected. This gimmick with the WCW Championship was way too next level. I mean, what an idea.

Match Review: After the staredown, it’s time for them to lock up and for Flair to do his thing on the clean break. Piper spits at him, slaps him, and gets the referee out of the way. I always like that touch. Piper knocks Flair down with a shoulderblock, but Flair comes back with his usual hard chops. Piper fights back with his own, knocking Flair down with a spinning back fist. Flair leaves the ring, but Piper chases and rams him into the rail. Into the steps Flair goes after that, and back inside. Piper knocks Flair down with more punches, and Flair returns the favor. Flair drops a knee on Piper, then puts a headlock on him. Piper bridges out to a backslide that gets 2, so Flair pokes him in the eye. He tries to throw Piper out of the ring, but Piper gets back in quickly, does the same a second time, but not quite the third. Flair clotheslines Piper with the rope when Piper makes it to the apron, and Piper lands chops of his own. Piper backdrops Flair, and gives him a knee lift. A clothesline sends Flair over the top, but Piper throws Flair right back into the ring. Flair begs for mercy, but Piper punches him in the corner for a while. Piper goes for a bulldog, but the referee is in the way and Piper runs him over. Now Flair attacks Piper from behind, but Piper cradles him up for what should have been a 3 count. Instead, no count at all. Another ref gets in the ring, and Piper rolls Flair up for 2 this time. Piper throws Flair upside down into the corner and clotheslines him off the apron, so Flair grabs a chair. The referees aren’t paying attention, so Flair cracks Piper with it. Flair covers, but that only gets 2! Piper puts Flair in a SLEEPER, but Flair back suplexes his way out of it. Flair heads up otop, but of course Piper slams him down. They trade bombs for a bit, but Piper gives Flair a neckbreaker too. Piper grabs a chair, knocks Flair over the top with a punch, and the referee takes the chair away from him. So, Flair slugs Piper, covers him with his feet on the ropes, and gets the win at 11:59!

Piper throws Flair out of the ring and rams him into the rail, but he lost the match. Piper has the chair still, hits the referee with it, and drills Flair as well to knock him out of the ring.

My Thoughts: This match was so fun, and a perfect display of what these two could do with each other. I mean, it was a veterans match in the extreme. I greatly enjoyed it and think that maybe they should have done this match on the Tuesday in Texas PPV. Can’t get everything you want, I suppose. Flair did all his trademark spots in a shorter match than usual, Piper did his, and the two were a great mix for each other. ***, recommended too. Everyone should check it out.


The Berzerker vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Bret’s title defenses against the entirety of the undercard continue here, this perhaps being the worst opponent of them all. However, in comparison to some of the other heels like Col. Mustafa and Big Bully Busick, Bret is getting off lightly here. I suppose Bret is returning to the scene of his first singles title win in the WWF. The Garden would be a pretty important arena in Bret’s career.

Match Review: Berzerker attacks to start the match, taking him to the corner for some chokes with his boot. Berzerker hits Bret with a back elbow, and it’s HUSS TIME. Berzerker misses the knee drop, so Bret goes to work with headbutts and punches. A dropkick sends Berzerker over the top, but he lands on his feet. A hip toss knocks Berzerker down, and back over the top he goes! Bret gives him two atomic drops, and for a third time Berzerker goes over the top and lands on his feet! He comes back in and headbutts Bret a bit low, and causes Bret to miss a charge shortly afterward. Bret gets thrown to the outside, where the Berzerker runs him over with a shoulderblock. Into the rail Bret goes, and Berzerker chokes Bret with a cord. Back inside, Berzerker gives Bret a bodyslam, and decides to head up to the second rope for a leg drop that misses. Berzerker goes for another slam, but Bret falls on top for 2. Berzerker comes back with a knee to the gut, and puts a chinlock on the champion. Berzerker piledrives Bret, but the Hitman kicks out at 2! To the chinlock again, which Bret has to fight out of. Berzerker catches Bret for a huge powerslam that gets 2, but he misses a charge to the corner. Bret picks him up and crotches him on the top rope, then gives him a Russian leg sweep for 2. Bret cradles him up for 2, and follows with a backbreaker. Up to the second rope, down with the elbow for 2. Bret goes for the SHARPSHOOTER, but gets punched in the face. Berzerker then goes for a clothesline, but Bret takes him down with a crucifix for the victory at 10:17!

My Thoughts: This was much better than expected, with Berzerker showing good agility for a big guy and the ability to work decently. I enjoyed the match a fair bit, and was surprised by how hard they both worked. Bret has always had a reputation for having weak house show matches, but that wasn’t the case here. **1/2.


Much more solid wrestling than expected was nice to see as I hadn’t watched any good older wrestling in a few days at this point. This was a fun two months for sure, at least for me. That wasn’t quite the case for everyone else. At the WWF’s annual King of the Ring show, Bret Hart became King of the Ring for the first time, in front of an extremely small crowd. I wonder how it was decided to bring that to PPV given the small attendance whenever they ran that even on a house show. There was also an incident between Brian Pillman and Sid Justice at an airport. Sid started talking shit and with Sid’s arm injury, he wasn’t about to fight…until he brought a SQUEEGEE into the bar. There was also an issue between Ricky Steamboat and the WWF. I haven’t talked about Steamboat much for a reason, that being the WWF decided to not have him do anything. At least, until he gave his notice due to low pay. He was going to be programmed with Ted DiBiase, but that never happened. Once he gave his notice, he was asked to put over IRS and the Undertaker on TV, doing stretcher jobs. He didn’t do that. Next up for me is going to be WCW matches until Halloween Havoc.

Best: Roddy Piper vs. Ric Flair. Was a lot of fun, we can include the angle in this as well.

Worst: Sgt. Slaughter wanting his country back. They paired him with Jim Duggan and they both got booed.



Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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