Retro Wrestle Respawn: The Mabel Trilogy Part Two – SummerSlam 1995

When we last left our heroes, Mabel was crowned “King of the Ring” following a lousy tournament destroyed by injuries and questionable booking. Despite ascending the throne, the newly named “King Mabel” was hardly tearing it up as the WWF’s new monster heel.

However, federation owner Vince McMahon is nothing but stubborn, and he decided that King Mabel would challenge WWF Champion Diesel at the upcoming Summerslam event. Diesel had finally seen off the challenge of Sycho Sid at the July In Your House event, pinning him in a chaotic Lumberjack Match, so he was ready for a new opponent.

King Mabel was booked as well as could be expected, even going so far as to enlist the assistance of the British Bulldog into his Machiavellian scheming. Bulldog had been a warrior for the forces of good upon his return to the WWF in the summer of 1994, but it was felt the time was right for him to switch his allegiances to the side of evil. Thus, on a Raw prior to Summerslam, Bulldog challenged both King Mabel and his squire Sir Moe to a tag team match, with his partner being the willing Diesel.

However, before the match could start, Bulldog turned on Diesel, allowing King Mabel to leave the champion lying once again. The question now was would the WWF crown the king as champion, or would Diesel rally to slay the monster? Well, let’s take a goosey gander shall we?

We’re in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hosts are Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler

Dean Douglas declares that he will be grading everyone tonight

Singles Match
Hakushi Vs 1-2-3 Kid

Hakushi is more widely known as Jinsei Shinzaki in Japan, but he spent a year in the WWF under essentially the same gimmick but with a new name, because that’s what the WWF/E likes to do. He’s in an especially bad mood tonight as he lost a match to Barry Horowitz earlier in the weekend due to the bumbling of fellow heel Skip.

Kid is Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who was a legit baby face star at this point, but on the cusp of an eventual heel turn.

There’s some nice chain wrestling to start which leads to a stand-off to establish parity. However, Hakushi has had enough of this wrestling nonsense and unleashes some deadly throat thrusts before slamming Kid with a tilt-a-whirl to take over.

In a nice spot of irony, Hakushi sits Kid in the corner and then delivers the bronco buster, a move that Kid would eventually take for himself when he turned heel. Hakushi opts not to “ride” during the move as Kid would be renowned for though.

Hakushi wails on a downed Kid with kicks before getting a nice pump splash for two. Kid gets knocked outside and Hakushi follows with a spectacular dive. Back inside, Hakushi continues with his awesome offense by delivering a top rope diving shoulder block for two.

Kid has barely got any moves in at all thus far, as it’s been all Hakushi. As if the two men in the match hear me, Hakushi misses a splash from the top rope and Kid starts his comeback with his own dive to the outside. Kid gets a slingshot leg drop from the apron back into the ring for two. A frog splash gets another two for Kid, and the crowd are into this. Kid goes for a spin kick, but Hakushi counters it into a modified power bomb, and that’s enough to hold Kid down for three.

WINNER – HAKUSHI

RATING – ***1/2

This was a really enjoyable opener. I liked the story of Kid absorbing all of Hakushi’s moves in the heat before then hitting a barrage of his own, thus putting Hakushi on the back foot and needing to pull that counter out of nowhere to rescue things. There was a noticeable pop for Hakushi’s win in sections of the crowd as well.

Michael Hayes is backstage with King Mabel. Mabel actually cuts a decent promo, mocking Diesel for the way he masterminded the Bulldog turn and threatening that he has even more tricks up his sleeve.

Singles Match
Hunter Hearst Helmsley Vs Bob Holly

And thus we have Triple H’s pay per view debut, and rather than be the sledgehammer wielding “Game”, he is instead a poncing American Blueblood, complete with a snazzy red jacket which makes it look like he’s ready to go fox hunting as soon as this bout ends.

Holly, as we covered in part one, was currently a race car driver, and that was about it for his character development. He drove cars and had car sound effects on his music. Oh and he smiled a lot, which knowing how surly and serious Holly can be in real life is actually somewhat unsettling. It’s like when Gordon Brown would smile, it just doesn’t look right and almost has a sinister overtone.

Triple H is completely into the gimmick here, prancing around the ring with one arm behind his back like he’s Prince Charles making small talk with plebs at a bottling factory. Holly has no time for his shenanigans however and takes the fight to him with standard baby face offense of arm drags and the like.

Hunter is eventually able to cut Holly off with a stun gun, and then follows that up with a hard Irish whip into the turnbuckle. Holly takes a fabulous bump off this and sells it big, which really makes it mean something. That was such a simple spot but they got so much out of it.

Hunter works Holly over with basic but well executed stuff. Holly gets a desperation DDT and then follows it up with the “I wish I was Jumbo Tsuruta” dropkick. Holly goes into a comeback with shoulder barges but he makes the mistake of lowering his head for a back body drop, and Hunter pounces with one of the first instances of The Pedigree to pick up the win.

WINNER – HUNTER HEARST HELMSLEY

RATING – **

The work was solid and there was some good character work from Triple H.

Todd Pettengill narrates a video package showing WWF Superstars taking on local firemen in a tug of war for charity.

Tag Team Match
Jacob and Eli Blu w/ Uncle Zeb Vs The Smoking Gunn’s

Jacob and Eli are huge twins who would go through a slew of gimmicks during their careers. At this stage they are wild mountain men managed by Uncle Zeb, who would eventually go on to be Zeb Coulter in the modern WWE.

The Gunn’s are made up of Billy and Bart. Billy would of course be more well-known these days as one half of The New Age Outlaws with Road Dogg, but at this stage in his career he was a moustachioed cowboy with a haircut that even Chris Waddle had finally moved on from. Bart would go on to have the most success of his career for All Japan Pro Wrestling under the name of Mike Barton.

It’s breezy back and forth stuff to start, with no team getting a real advantage. The Blu’s eventually manage to lay out Billy with a double power bomb, which gets a pop from the crowd despite them being the heels. I’m getting the impression that in these earlier matches on the card the fans seem to want MOVES, regardless of who does them.

Billy takes the heat for a while but The Blu’s can’t put him away and finally he makes the tag to Bart, who is a casa de un incendio! Bart rams one Blu twin into the other, and then The Gunn’s finish the remaining one with The Sidewinder (Combination side slam and top rope leg drop) to pick the win.

WINNER – THE SMOKING GUNN’S

RATING – **

Fast paced tag action that was never dull.

Todd recaps the storyline for the upcoming match between Skip and Barry Horowitz. Skip and his manager Sunny debuted in the WWF, doing an arrogant personal trainer gimmick. Skip liked to preen and show off his physique in matches, usually doing push ups whilst his opponents sold their beat down at his hands. However, against lifelong enhancement talent Horowitz, Skip got too cocky with his showboating, and Horowitz was able to cradle him for a huge upset! Skip and Sunny have vowed revenge for being embarrassed and thus we have a match tonight.

Singles Match
Skip w/ Sunny Vs Barry Horowitz

Skip would go on to more fame in ECW as Chris Candido, whereas Sunny would become a huge star in the WWF, at one point being the most downloaded personality in the history of AOL. She is clearly the star of the team as she cuts a promo down to ringside during their entrance. Sunny has the charisma of about ten people, which helps as Skip sadly has none. He’s essentially little more than a blank slate. Thankfully once he got to ECW he started developing some more personality.

Barry runs wild to start, and Skip bumps around like a pinball for him. Despite his lack of presence, Skip is mechanically solid, so everything at least looks nice. Barry suplexes Skip outside, which causes Sunny to come into the ring and plead with the referee. This allows Skip time to recover on the outside and come back in. Barry hits the ropes for another move but Sunny trips him and Skip then clocks him from behind to take over.

Skip wears Barry down whilst Sunny mugs for the camera. The crowd gets behind Barry and chants for him. I’m frankly shocked they did so little with Barry after this because he’s really over here. Skip keeps beating on Barry, but neglects to pin him because he’s both cocky and stupid, which is not conducive to winning wrestling matches.

Barry makes the odd brief comeback but Skip always gets back on top before long. Skip gets a big diving head butt from the top rope, but pulls Barry up at two. Barry comes back with a dropkick, but when he goes up for his own move, Sunny pulls his leg to crotch him on the top rope and Skip brings him down with a superplex.

Now you remember how I mentioned that Barry got a win over Hakushi earlier in the weekend due to bungling from Skip? Well, guess who decides to come down to ringside at this exact moment? Hakushi springboards into the ring over both men, not touching either of them, and Barry uses this distraction to hook an inside cradle on Skip and pick up the win.

WINNER – BARRY HOROWITZ

RATING – **1/2

Skip’s heat segment might have gone on a tad too long, but it was still a decent match and it was fun to see Skip and Sunny’s plans foiled once again. Barry gets a huge reaction for his win as well.

We now go to Dean Douglas’s classroom, and he isn’t happy about what just happened to his eventual ECW stablemate. I know a lot of people complain about the Dean character, but I think having someone play an evil teacher when you’re booking for kids is actually kind of genius. Who hasn’t had a teacher at school that they absolutely despised? Wouldn’t you have just loved to see a WWF Superstar mash them to bits? Anyway, Douglas gives the ref an “F” for failing to stop Hakushi and gives Horowitz an “S” for “Slacker”.

Meanwhile, Todd is talking with Shawn Michaels ahead of his ladder match with Razor Ramon tonight. Shawn says it’s impossible to prepare for a ladder match and he’s super motivated to even the score for WrestleMania X tonight.

Singles Match for the WWF Women’s Championship
Challenger – Bertha Faye w/ Harvey Whippleman Vs Champion – Aludra Blayze

Bertha was actually a big name in Japanese Joshi wrestling under the name Rhonda Singh, and she originally came in looking like a classic Joshi styled monster heel. However, the WWF clearly didn’t think that gimmick was going to work, so they instead made her “Queen of the Trailer Park” and had her wear garish bright colours. Harvey is both her manager and her boyfriend.

Alundra Blayze is now a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, and during this period she was the face of the division. Bertha attacked Alundra after a match and broke her nose in the beat down to set this up.

Alundra opens with kicks and tries to stick and move, but Bertha steamrolls right through her with three shoulder blocks. Alundra gets the odd shot in here and there, but the match is mostly Bertha as she works Alundra over. Bertha misses a second rope splash, and this allows Alundra to get a victory roll for two.

Alundra gets three clotheslines to finally knock Bertha over, but Harvey is distracting the ref leaving no one to count. Alundra chases Harvey around the ring, which gives Bertha time to recover. Back inside Alundra gets a sloppy crucifix cradle for two. Bertha blasts Alundra with a Vader Attack, but Alundra is able to counter her power bomb attempt into a rana for two.

Alundra gets a couple of second rope dropkicks, but Bertha dodges the third and then delivers a gut wrench power bomb for the win and the title.

WINNER, AND NEW CHAMPION – BERTHA FAYE

RATING – *

The commentators never mentioned that this could be an omen for tonight’s main event, with the popular champion going down in defeat to the bigger challenger. The work was very sloppy, they weren’t on the same page and the finish came out of nowhere. Way below what you’d expect when you consider both these women worked in Japan, where standards are far higher when it comes to women’s wrestling.

A video is played hyping The Undertaker Vs Kama match. Short version is Kama stole Undertaker’s urn and melted it down into a necklace, so Taker is now furious and thirsting for vengeance.

Casket Match
Kama (The Supreme Fighting Machine™) w/ Ted Dibiase Vs The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer

Rules are simple enough here, there’s a casket at ringside and to win you stuff your opponent in to it before shutting the lid.

Undertaker is crazy over here, getting possibly the biggest reaction of the night for his entrance. There is a referee inside the ring and one outside as well. Why on Earth would you need one in the ring as well? And as I say that, Tim White gets intimidated and bails to the comparative safety of outside the ring.

Kama wastes no time getting into a brawl with Taker, but sells that he might be a tad afraid of the casket itself. Taker brings the pain to Kama in the early stages and they tease him going into the casket a couple of times. Kama catches Taker with a hot shot to bring an end to his momentum and then he takes over back inside.

Taker rallies and manages to get Kama briefly into the casket, but Dibiase distracts him, giving Kama a chance to climb out and get back in control. The crowd chants for Undertaker as Kama pounds on him. Kama sends Taker outside so that Dibiase can get some cheap shots. This causes an enraged Paul Bearer to throw his blazer down and try to fight Dibiase, which gets an enormous reaction from the crowd. However, the refs intervene and we don’t get a managerial punch up.

Kama suplexes Taker onto the casket and then also tries a piledriver on top of it, but Taker back drops him back into the ring. Back inside Kama drills Taker with a powerslam and then sinks in a sleeper to try and wear him down. A sleeper makes sense in this sort of match at least, as it’s easier to put someone into the casket when they’re knocked out (Thank you Captain Obvious!)

Taker fights out of the sleeper and then delivers a cactus clothesline, which sends both men tumbling over the top rope into the casket. Kama tries to crawl out of the casket but Taker drags him back and the fight spills back into the ring. Kama gets a spinning neck breaker, but Taker comes right back with a chokeslam and a Tombstone. With Kama now thoroughly beaten, Taker casually rolls him to the casket and slams the lid shut to win.

WINNER – THE UNDERTAKER

RATING – **1/2

This was a decent brawl with excellent heat. Like the Skip/Barry match, it perhaps went on a little too long, but it was fun to watch thanks to a great crowd. Taker and Kama are well known to be friends as well, so they were happy to let it all hang out here. Based on that reaction I would have put the WWF Title on Undertaker ASAP had I been booking at the time.

We now get a video for the upcoming match between Bret Hart and Isaac Yankem DDS. So as you will all recall, Bret Hart defeated Jerry Lawler at King of the Ring in a “Kiss My Foot Match”. Not only did Bret force Lawler to pucker up for his foot, but he also forced the King to kiss his very own rancid royal hoof. So sickened was Lawler with the taste of his own trotter, he decided to visit his local dentist Isaac Yankem. Not only did Yankem fix his toe breath, but he also agreed to get into the ring to seek vengeance for his regal chum.

Singles Match
Isaac Yankem Vs Bret Hart

So Yankem would go on to have a couple of gimmick changes, eventually settling on one he still has to this day. Let’s just say he traded in his dentist kit for a red mask and gained the ability to make fire come out of ring posts. He’s announced as being from “Decatur, Illinois” which causes me to roll my eyes. I can only imagine what such a serious wrestler like Bret Hart thought about having to wrestle a dentist on pay per view.

Bret sells a lot for Yankem to start in an effort to make him look imposing from the off, getting the odd attack of his own here and there. Bret delivers an inverted atomic drop and then clotheslines Yankem out of the ring. Bret follows with a vaulting body press to Yankem on the outside. Back inside Bret gets a second rope clothesline and then goes for The Sharpshooter, but Yankem is able to fight the move off.

Yankem manages to catch Bret with a snake eyes and takes control of the match. Bret counters a hangman’s neck breaker into a small package, but Yankem kicks out and cuts him off again. Bret gets sent outside and Yankem rams him back first into the post as Lawler taunts him. Back inside, Yankem shows off his athleticism by draping Bret over the top rope and then drilling him with a big guillotine leg drop for a count of two. Fans get behind Bret as Yankem continues to work him over.

Bret low bridges Yankem, sending him outside, and then follows with a suicide dive. Back inside, Bret unleashes the Five Moves of Doom and sets up for The Sharpshooter, but Lawler jumps up from commentary and helps Yankem get to the ropes. Bret ends up fighting with Lawler, so Yankem comes over to help and the ref throws the match out.

WINNER – BRET HART

RATING – **1/2

Yankem and Lawler tie Bret up in the ropes and double team him until officials manage to separate everyone. It’s amazing how Bret Hart could take such a ridiculous premise as wrestling a dentist or a pirate and actually get it over down purely to how good he was in the ring. Its matches like this that make the best case for Bret’s greatness, even more so than the ones with fellow legendary workers.

Hayes is backstage interviewing Razor Ramon. In a nice touch, Bret walks past the interview area complaining about what just happens. Hall gives him a quick glance before continuing on with his promo as if nothing happened. Tonight Razor and Shawn will dance, but Razor is going to lead.

Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Challenger – Razor Ramon Vs Champion – Shawn Michaels

There isn’t much of a backstory to this one. Michaels won the title at the July In Your House event, and was due to defend here against Sycho Sid. However, it was decided that the card was a little light and could do with a bigger match, so a Ladder Match was hastily booked, with the winner facing Sid on Raw in two weeks’ time.

These two men famously faced each other in the first ever pay per view Ladder Match back at WrestleMania X in the spring of 1994. Shawn had previously faced Bret Hart in Ladder Matches back in 1992, but those were never televised. They hang the belt to start, but Shawn isn’t happy with how it’s set up, so they lower it again and he adjusts it.

Shawn is wearing baby blue tights here, which isn’t exactly helping with the tough guy cred he’s trying to project. Slug fest to start, with neither men being afraid to throw down. Razor Irish whips Shawn into the corner and Shawn takes his first crazy bump of the night by spilling outside as a result of the momentum of the buckle bump.

He soon tops that by getting suplexed off the apron to the outside, with his ankle smashing off the guardrail on the way down. Both me attempt their finish moves inside the ring and then take each other out with a double clothesline. Shawn takes another big bump as Razor delivers a blockbuster slam from the second rope before going outside to grab the ladder.

Razor climbs but Shawn knocks the ladder over and then clocks Razor with it. Shawn climbs but Razor grabs him and ends up accidentally pulling his pants down, exposing a full moon and subsequently causing the women to swoon.

Razor heelishly puts Shawn’s leg in the ladder and then Pillmanizes it a few times. Hayes, who has come down to replace Lawler on commentary, is pretty funny rooting for whomever is currently on top at that particular moment.

Razor methodically wears Shawn down with ladder shots, focusing specifically on Shawn’s leg. Razor, just to be a jerk, holds the ladder up vertically and just lets it fall onto Shawn’s leg as he writhes on the mat. He then goes for the belt, but Shawn is able to recover enough to knock him off the ladder whilst he climbs.

Razor tries again, but Shawn brings him down with a back suplex. Shawn now takes over and delivers a moonsault off the ladder to a standing Razor. He then tries to repeat the famous spot from WrestleMania X where he delivered a splash from atop the ladder to a felled Razor, but this time Razor sees it coming and is able to dodge it.

Both men now try to climb but the ladder topples over leaving both of them down. Razor rolls outside and grabs another ladder from under the ring, and for the first time we have multiple ladders in a ladder match. Shawn makes another break up the ladder for the belt, but Razor stops him and then splats him with The Razor’s Edge.

Razor now climbs one ladder but Shawn comes up the other one and kicks Razor off. He tries to get the belt but can’t quite reach it and instead crashes down to the mat. Improvising, Razor goes for The Edge again next to the ropes, and of course he gets back dropped outside as in every other occasion when he tries the move near there.

Shawn goes for the belt again but once again can’t get it off and he falls down to the mat. Shawn, now mightily frustrated, grabs the fallen ladder and stomps up to the top of it to grab the belt.

WINNER – SHAWN MICHAELS

RATING – ****1/2

I still personally think the match at WrestleMania X is better, but this was still exceptional stuff despite the somewhat botched finish.

Dean Douglas rags on Razor in his classroom, so Razor comes in and punches him to start their feud.

Singles Match for the WWF Championship
Challenger – King Mabel w/ Sir Moe Vs Champion – Diesel

Good luck following that one lads!

Diesel actually gets a great reception coming down to the ring. Mabel uses his girth right from the off to put Diesel on the back foot. Diesel slugs back but he can’t get Mabel up for a slam. Diesel delivers some clotheslines and finally a leaping shoulder block to knock Mabel down. Mabel rolls outside, so Diesel actually follows him out with a dive! LUCHA NASH!!

Back inside, Diesel keeps slugging away at the big man but Mabel comes back with an ugly looking Bossman Slam before delivering a sit out but splash right onto Diesel’s lower back. We’ll come back to that move later as it’s quite important. Mabel attempts to apply a camel clutch to the downed Diesel and fails miserably.

Mabel goes for an elbow drop to a grounded Diesel, but he misses and manages to steamroll the referee over in the process. Moe comes in to attack Diesel whilst the referee is down and the heels pound him down two on one. Lex Luger runs down for the save and brawls to the back with Moe, leaving the match one on one.

Mabel gets a belly to belly suplex but Diesel is out at two. Mabel goes up for a splash from the second rope, but Diesel moves and then gets a clothesline off the second rope to bring an end to Mabel’s claims to the title.

WINNER – DIESEL

RATING – *

Diesel was working incredibly hard here, but he just couldn’t overcome Mabel’s awfulness.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

So you know how I mentioned that the butt splash was quite important? Well, Diesel had made it clear to Mabel prior to the match that he didn’t like that move and didn’t want him to do it. However, Mabel defied him and did the move anyway, thus injuring Diesel in the process. Diesel was understandably furious about this and chewed Mabel out about it following the match. Kevin Nash has even said in interviews that Vince McMahon was willing to fire Mabel on the spot.

https://youtu.be/xBDorXooEng

Mabel did inevitably keep his job, but his push as a main eventer was well and truly over, a fact that was cemented when he went on to injure another of the company’s main stars, but we’ll cover that in part three.

Next time on Retro Wrestle Respawn; we finish The Mabel Trilogy with a show where The Hitman takes on a member of his family, Big Daddy Cool seeks vengeance against The King of Harts and King Mabel messes with the wrong man, resulting in some grave consequences.

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