Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vintage WWF Review: August 1993

Lex Luger - American as shit
August of 1993 was another stellar month in WWF history. This month was the build-up to Summer Slam, the annual summer spectacular, and it really delivered in every way. From killer promos to outstanding matches, this is what made me a fan of wrestling in my younger years and has kept me coming back since my childhood. I made a number of notes as I watched through everything I could find, and there are a number of things that caught my eye this month.

The first thing I need to discuss is the fact that I love Bastion Booger. The once Friar Ferguson has won me over with his extreme nastiness, super ridiculous attire and awesomely bad dance moves. I've always remembered the character being atrociously bad, but upon further review he was absolutely hilarious. Watching him shake his ass while standing over Marty Jannetty had me rolling, and he wasn't a terrible wrestler to boot. Good on you, Booger. Here's the amazing Booger/Jannetty match from 8/16/93:

This month saw the in-ring return of Macho Man Randy Savage. While Savage has been stuck at the announce table for quite some time, here we see him starting a mini feud with Doink. Unfortunately, while this would provide some laughter because of Macho Man's Macho Midget being introduced into the angle, I fear this is the beginning of the end for the Doink we have all come to love. From here it is only a matter of time until we see a Doink face turn and the introduction of Dink, something I'm honestly not looking forward to despite how much I have grown to enjoy the current character. Macho Man really didn't do too much this month, though the match was good, and the Macho Midget showed up to hang out with the Bushwhackers, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

One question I can't seem to answer is why Marty Jannetty failed so badly in the WWF. Jannetty certainly had most of the tools required to make it big in the business, with mic-work being his only real Achilles heel. I don't know if it was the drugs or the personal behavior or backstage politicking, but Marty's ringwork, despite how much I have criticized him in the past, is exceptional. He has put on entertaining matches with a vast array of superstars including Michaels, Doink and Bastion Booger. He was extremely over with the crowd, so I really have a hard time figuring out why he was such a failure and always has been. Perhaps it's simply that he is stuck in Michaels' shadow, or maybe he was just not good enough on the stick, but Jannetty seems to have the pieces required for at least a successful, long-term career as a WWF mid-carder.

Another thing I cannot for the life of me figure out is this: why in the world is Hacksaw Jim Duggan so over? The crowd loves this man. He's a decent brawler and a fun guy, but he never steals the show and the only thing he ever says is "USA!" Barring some sort of super patriotism from wrestling fans, I just don't get this man's appeal. I'll be the first to admit that I loved him as a kid, but the only reason I can think of is because I thought it was cool he carried a 2x4 and he was my good friend's cousin. Other than that, I have no idea what is going on with this man.

There was another fantastic surprise this month, but I will save that for the awards section. It was truly phenomenal.

Anyway, while I focused on perhaps some negative aspects of the product there, let's get to some awards from this month (and don't forget, Summer Slam was a big part of this month and will have its own column later):


Superstar of the Month: Lex Luger. The focus of this whole month was on Lex Luger and his feud with Yokozuna, which was really just a feud between America and Japan. Outside of the Summer Slam main event, I don't recall Luger even fighting a match this month, but combining his "Lex Express" tour across America with his candid sit-down interviews really puts him ahead of anyone else this month.

Promo of the Month: Lex Luger. Again, Luger was the focus of the WWF at the time with his new found patriot gimmick. While Luger was not on television wrestling, he was featured in a number of candid sit-down interviews in which he discussed a number of topics ranging from his childhood to the use of steroids in professional sports. Lex detailed (and downplayed) his own steroid use as well as his expulsion from the University of Miami (or something like that). The interviews were done very well and showed a side of Luger the fans had yet to see since his debut earlier in the year.

Match of the Month: Steiner Brothers v. Money, Inc. (Cage Match, WWF Tag Team Titles). This match was awesome. My love for Rotunda and DiBiase is well documented, and I ought to mention that while I find Scott Steiner absolutely hilarious on the mic, I also think he's a tremendous athlete and a great performer. Getting these two teams into a cage match just prior to Summer Slam for the WWF Tag Team titles was a great idea. This match saw both teams get a man outside the cage who then came back into the ring to help their respective partners. I was able to find this match on youtube, so I hope you guys and gals can enjoy it (part two is in the related videos section):

Brilliant Idea of the Month: Summer Slam Spectacular. Just days prior to the Summer Slam pay-per-view extravaganza, Vinnie Mac and the boys put on the "Summer Slam Spectacular." This hour-long evening was a warm-up for the event and featured the classic match shown above. This was a great way to get fans pumped up for the ppv and I absolutely loved it.

Surprise Debut of the Month: Jim Cornette. Forget the team or the promotion he came to promote (Heavenly Bodies/Smoky Mountain Wrestling), the real catch of the month was none other than James E. Cornette. Cornette is one of the best I have ever seen on the mic, and within a week he was not only verbally fellating "Doctor" Tom Prichard and "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Rey, but he was also Yokozuna's American representative. This began a great career for Cornette with WWF and this was just the tip of the iceberg. Also, here's one simple reason why Jim Cornette is amazing (expect more in subsequent reviews):

Worst Promo of the Month: Jerry Lawler. I love Lawler, but the promo he cut this month with a fake Elvis Presley was just bad. It's almost as bad as listening to Kona Crush. I was seriously disappointed.

Reflections: This was a great month for the WWF and we've only scratched the surface. I'll be back with some insight into Summer Slam in my next installment!

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