The Suplah podcast

Liam DunneAugust 22nd, 2015Blog1 Comment »

My First Summerslam

Summerslam is one of the “big four” events that WWE holds yearly. In fact many even consider it to be the second biggest event that the company holds after their WrestleMania extravaganzas. But in all honesty, I’ve never really understood why. I can’t really recall a reason as to why Summerslam is such an important event, except for it being the second PPV the company originally created.

But that changes this year, this is the first time where I can genuinely say it feels like a potential candidate to be a WrestleMania replacement like event. I mean let’s have a quick look at the card. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker in a rematch over his WrestleMania streak that ISN’T happening at WrestleMania. This must be the first time in around 4 years that The Undertaker is competing in a match that isn’t held at the “Granddaddy of them all” (I’m still using that phrase Vince). A “Title For Title” match between WWE Champion Seth Rollins and United States Champion John Cena, these kind of matches aren’t common place to begin with. There’s also the celebrity appearance that is usually reserved for WrestleMania in the likes of Stephen Amell making his WWE In-Ring Debut.

I’m actually, genuinely, intrigued by the show this year, for the first time in a long time.

So with this in mind, I want to resurrect a topic I used for WrestleMania a few years back, an episode of The Suplah that was titled “My First WrestleMania”, but this time, it’s “My First Summerslam” (as you can guess from the title. This paragraph is now redundant).

Now, weirdly, my family already has a bit of a history with the event. Before me, my father was a big WWF fan in the early 90’s. Legion Of Doom was probably his favourite characters, followed by Bret Hart and The British Bulldog. My Dad, along with his brothers, went to watch Summerslam be hosted at the original Wembley Stadium in 1992 (when I was just a drooling toddler, probably shitting myself). To this day, even though he doesn’t follow wrestling any more, he holds onto his Summerslam ‘92 ticket with pride. After all it’s the first, and probably last time ever, a major WWF/E event will be held outside of North America.

But for me, personally, my first ever Summerslam was 10 years later, in 2002. Now I don’t mean that I witnessed the event in person (don’t be silly, I was 12 and didn’t have an income), but I did watch it on pay-per-view. So let’s look back at the card.

The first match was Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio. This was Rey’s first official match in WWE. I remember seeing him being hyped up on SmackDown for weeks before attacking Kurt Angle in a steel cage match by jumping off the top of the cage onto Kurt. But really I didn’t understand why he was a big deal, but you have to remember, I got into wrestling a year after the invasion angle. I didn’t know what a ”WCW” was. In fact I remember a few weeks/months before, Eric Bischoff was announced as the General Manager of RAW and I was confused as to why everybody was making a huge deal. He looked like a dork. I got why Stephanie McMahon being the GM of SmackDown! was a deal, I remember watching her compete in a triple threat match for the Undisputed Title against Triple H and Chris Jericho during one of the first full episodes of RAW that I watched. It was my Dad, being the former wrestling fan in the house, who had to explain it to me why Bischoff was a major deal. I remember him explaining it to me by saying “It’s like if McDonald’s started selling Burger King’s whoppers” (you can tell I was a fat kid if I had to have things explained to me in fast food scenarios).

Next up was Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho. Two submission specialists in what, I think, was a technically sound match. Hey this was 13 years ago okay, I’m trying my best to remember shit! I think Flair said something about shagging Jericho’s Mum and Jericho was just like “U WOT M8???”, with Flair eloquently responding with “ILL FCK U UP U CUNT!”. Yeap, that’s totally how it happened.

The third match involved Edge facing off against Eddie Guerrero, who had only recently returned to the company after being released due to his drug habits. Again I can’t really remember what happened here to start this feud. I have a feeling though it’s because Flair fucked Jericho’s mum and Edge was like “DUDE NOT COOL” and Eddie… well he would just say “VIVA LA RAZA” and not really do anything else but that at this point in his career. Guess they had to put him on the card in some way.

The UnAmericans’ Christian and Lance Storm faced off against Booker T and Goldust with the WWE Tag Team Titles on the line. I kind of miss the UnAmericans though. I mean they were kind of like the unfunny versions of Iron Shiek and Nikoli Volkoff, but I do distinctly remember them always coming to the ring waving an American flag upside down, which caused great offense to people. This probably shows my Britishness here, but I can’t see why that’s a big issue, I mean if they did that with the Union Flag I’m not sure if anybody could tell…

Stevie Richards (and totally not Chris Benoit) put his Intercontinental Title on the line against Rob Van Dam. What I do remember mostly about this feud though is that Richards (not Benoit) recently returned from an injury and captured the title from Van Dam the month prior. However due to Richards (not Benoit) being out of action during the Brand Draft and signed to the SmackDown! brand, despite being the Intercontinental Champion, which was a RAW championship and was required to defend it on that show. So he, along with Undisputed Champion Undertaker/The Rock was allowed to jump between the two shows. Van Dam eventually defeated Richards (not Benoit) to regain the belt and keep it permanently on RAW… until it got drafted over to SmackDown! a couple of years later.

Undertaker went on to defeat Test in their match which was, basically, put in place to legitimise Undertaker’s recent babyface turn. You see Test was a member of the stable The UnAmerican’s (see above), and The Undertaker was in his “American Badass/Big Evil” gimmick. So Undertaker beat the shit out of Test and held an American flag up behind him during his winning celebrations. Cause nothing says babyface like ‘Murica. Except if you’re Kurt Angle. Cause fuck you Kurt Angle.

To me though, this was the match that defined the entire show. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H in an unsanctioned match, which to this day, is just a fancy way of saying a No DQ match. For those of you who played WWE 2K15, you’d probably recognise this as one of the first matches you play in WWE Showcase’s story mode of Shawn’s and H’s long, two year feud. I kind of knew who Shawn Micheals was, I remember him coming out in the summer of 2002 as being a part of the nWo for, like… 2 weeks? Before the group disbanded due to Kevin Nash tearing his quad by doing literally nothing. After that, Shawn met up with Triple H, who was a babyface at the time, and the two considered bringing back D-Generation X. They came out and were about to do all the shiz that they normally do, but then Triple H turned on Shawn and Pedigree’d him, to start his heel turn. The following week Hunter thought it would be a cool idea to smash Shawn’s head into a car window. WWE, being the stand up organisation that they are, instead of calling the police and getting Triple H arrested for severe indecent assault and probably thrown in prison for a few years, thought “fuck it… let them hit each other with EVERYTHING IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING ARENA”. In all seriousness though, the match was probably the show stealer in my opinion, and the two did go on to have a feud that defined their careers, and the early-mid 2000’s RAW programming. In 2006 the two of them did reunite after being on the bullying end of the McMahon family, and DX was truly and properly formed… and overstayed its welcome… by about 4 years.

Now we get to the main event, and how fitting really is it to discuss this match at this point. Brock Lesnar is main eventing 2015’s Summerslam, and 13 years ago he main evented my first ever experience with the event. The Rock, who was getting ready to be slingshotted into the pop-culture stratosphere as a bona-fide action star, was defending his newly won Undisputed title against Brock, who had won the King of the Ring tournament 2 months before. It was, in fact, at the King of the Ring where our story truly begins. This was the first, and only time in the history of the King of the Ring where the prize wasn’t a gimmick change to being a king (seriously, King Booker, King Sheamus, King Barrett… plz stahp), but was, in fact a shot at the Undisputed title at Summerslam, a la the Royal Rumble with WrestleMania. Brock Lesnar went on to win the match, and with Undertaker being the Undisputed champion at the time, it looked like the event was to be Lesnar vs. Taker (a match that, obviously wouldn’t main event Summerslam till 13 years later). At July’s event, Vengeance, Taker dropped the title to Rock so he could start his babyface run. Like I said before, The Rock was about to start his acting career, so he was in the phase in his career where he would be around for a few weeks and then bugger off again, so naturally he had a new film he was starring in and wanted to get out of WWE’s schedule, so he dropped the belt to Brock, making him the youngest World Champion in history at the age of 25, a record that stood for 2 years before Orton beat him to it by winning the World Heavyweight title at 24. Eventually Brock signed a new contract that stated he would only compete on SmackDown, and eventually facing off against Undertaker for the title on the line for the new few months.

Except for the last two matches, I don’t really remember much of the event, and, really I don’t remember much about other Summerslams after it. I hope that changes this year…

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