It’s Summertime, but the living is anything but easy because it is time for DRS2EBRaSAGG. Tonight at Summerslam 2011 two wrestlers claiming to hold the same championship will have a match to determine the real champion when WWE Champion CM Punk takes on self proclaimed WWE Champion John Cena. However, this is not the first such occurrence in this company. In this edition of the DRS2EBRaSAGG we will take you back 17 years, holy shit it was 17 years ago, to 1994 when Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels staked a claim to the WWF IC Title and had a legendary ladder match. So on to the show.
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship/Ladder Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel)
Shawn Michaels (w/WWF Intercontinental Champion Diesel) vs Razor Ramon
World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF World Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Diesel vs WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon and 123 Kid
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship/Ladder Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon
Most everyone knows the story. Shawn Michaels was in his second reign as WWF Intercontinental Champion. Sometime after Summerslam he was popped on a drug test. Shawn vehemently denied being on steroids pointing out that he was basically fat and out of shape at the time so that made no sense. Shawn quit the promotion and refused to send the belt back to the WWF. In the meantime a battle royal was held on Raw with Razor Ramon and Rick Martel as the last two entries left. The next week Ramon beat Martel to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Then Shawn’s issues with Vince got cleared up or WCW low balled him whichever and he came back. Instead of doing what they do now and rush the shit out of everything, and by they I mean Vince McMahon, the WWF held this match off for months until Wrestlemania X. The second ladder match had no such interesting angle going into it. It was basically said that new WWF President Gorilla Monsoon liked the first match so he wanted to see a rematch. In reality the Summerslam 1995 was so god awful they thought they needed such a match to drum up interest.
Best way to start this is by comparing the ladder matches. The first one is better. A lot better. The first match is one of the greatest matches of all time it just so happens that it involves a ladder. A great touch right off the bat is that Razor Ramon is not announced as Intercontinental Champion coming to the ring. As mentioned in a previous DRS2EBRaSAGG when discussing Shawn vs Bret the psychology is so much better here than in later ladder matches. The entire idea is to beat your man down and climb the ladder instead of setting up ridiculous spots. Shawn’s bumping is a major bonus here too.
For instance Shawn taking the ladder right to the jaw and flying over the top rope. Instead of setting up all kinds of furniture Razor saw this as an opportunity to win the match which leads to another amazing spot as Shawn comes off the top right as Razor gets to the belts and nails the double axe handle only to have the ladder fall on him. This is jettisoned in the second match in favor of a lot of work on HBK’s leg that is frankly boring. At one point Razor just drops on elbow on his leg over and over and over.
This would be fine if it didn’t take up so much time, or was no sold completely. Working the leg stops Shawn from climbing the ladder right? Didn’t stop that moonsault off the ladder. Actually off a rung lower than the top rope and almost had Shawn Hayabusa himself by landing on the top of his head. The major issue with that match is not the bizarre spot where Razor gets up, gets a second ladder, climbs in the ring, grabs Shawn off the ladder with the Razor’s Edge, and then just lays there for a minute selling God knows what.
No, the worst part of the second match was the ban on using the ladder as a weapon. Vince was on a kick to reduce the violence on his show at the time. Might have been caused by repairing the image of the WWF after the steroid trial. So Shawn and Razor were not allowed to use weapons. In a ladder match. Which had a comical quality to it since there were wink nudge spots where one or the other was accidentally hit by the ladder. When that happened Vince would go out of his way to cover it up explaining them as accidents. It was really annoying.
Then you have the famously botched finish. You have Shawn and Razor on top of their respective ladders. Shawn hits a very weak looking Superkick that was the planned finish. However, Shawn’s ladder was too far away and his brilliant plan B where he jumped and tried to grab the belt was an epic fail. Plan C involved Razor going for the Razor’s Edge up against the ropes and getting backdropped over. What exactly is his plan there? If Razor is that close to the ropes where exactly is he doing his move? There is no room. It happened in the first match and he ended up backdropped on the exposed concrete. You’d think he’d learn. He learned other things which will be gotten too. So anyway Shawn goes back up to grab the belt but can’t pull it down and falls off the ladder. Pissed he climbs again and finally gets it.
That last passage makes it seem like we, royal we, here at DRS2EBRaSAGG hated that match. That is not the case. It is a fine match. By far the weakest of the four reviewed herein, but still good. So let us take a look at the finer points of the second ladder match. As mentioned earlier Razor learned him some things from the first match. Shawn’s oft replayed splash off the ladder onto Razor for instance. In the second match Shawn ups the ante by going all the way to the top of the ladder only to have Razor get out of the way. Also Razor learned to avoid the baseball slide. The first ladder match really got going with its awesomeness when Shawn used a low dropkick to ram the ladder into Razor’s gut. In the second match Shawn tries this again. Razor moves the ladder out of the way and catches Shawn with a right hand. That goes both ways though.
As mentioned earlier Shawn was a bumping machine in his prime, and the first ladder match is a perfect example. At one point Shawn and Razor are fighting for control of the ladder and it ends up propped up in the corner. Shawn gets whipped into the ladder and takes a header over the post to the floor. In the Summerslam ladder match the ladder is just propped in the corner willy nilly, but this time Razor is thrown into it. He does not take as great a bump as Shawn did. Both Shawn and Razor were great. Despite some obvious flaws it is a very entertaining watch. I’d recommend it. Bottom line it is an inferior sequel that has some good ideas going for it.
The issue is that it comes after one of the great matches of all time. A match that had flawless logic to it. A match with a clear babyface/heel divide. Babyface vs Babyface can work, we’ve seen great matches between babyfaces, but it just didn’t work for the second Shawn/Razor ladder match. It cannot be stressed enough how great Shawn was bumping around for Razor, and working Razor over with the ladder with the one goal of beating him down to climb the ladder and get the titles. We, the royal we, can think of nothing that could be done to improve that first ladder match. Just greatness.
Shawn Michaels might be the greatest American Pro Wrestler. That is to say American style and not that of Japan, Mexico, or Europe. The non ladder matches here are great and the reason for that is mostly Shawn. I mentioned Shawn’s bumping before, but his bumping and selling in the two non ladder matches is great. Starting out the tag match for instance taking the Razor’s Edge right off the bat. As he is lifted up he is fighting and looks terrified right before landing on his head. That is a great match. Shawn and Diesel worked great as a tag team. Really good double team stuff while getting the heat on Razor or tossing around Kid. It is a great dichotomy seeing Shawn flying around, in his prime Shawn was fucking fast in the ring, and then Diesel tossing people around. Some the stuff with Diesel and Kid was awesome. It is a pity Shawn and Waltman never get a really long match against each other back in the day. There were some sub 10 minute matches, but never a long 25 minute one in the vein of Bret Hart vs 123 Kid.
There is a theme that runs through this and the singles match other than the finish, which is the same. In the singles match Shawn misses a belt shot and as the ref goes to get the belt out of the ring and Diesel boots Razor behind the refs back allowing Shawn to get the pin. In the tag match Diesel had been accidentally taken out by the Superkick. As Shawn was doing a magnificent job surviving Diesel awoke and booted Kid in the face allowing Shawn to get the pin. The other theme is that Shawn should never go for a back body drop. Every time he put his head down he got punted or set up for the Razer’s Edge or taken over for a backslide which Vince McMahon identified as a Razer’s Edge. Somehow he was not the worst commentator in that match. Dear God Todd Pettengill sucked.
Another announcing note. The Raw singles match between Razor and Shawn, which was Shawn’s first match since Wrestlemania X and served as a lead in to the Razor vs Diesel Summerslam title match. was the first taping after Vince McMahon was acquitted in his steroid trial. So Savage is just peppering all this references to it in commentary. For instance Savage says we shouldn’t confuse Shawn Michaels with Sean O’Shea the US Attorney who prosecuted Vince McMahon. And talking about hung juries. Vince is taken aback. Like for real. Vince is not that good an actor. This was also just a couple of weeks before Savage was gone. Weird.
The singles match is great. Shawn makes Razor look like a million bucks heading into the PPV. The match even manages to make DRS2EBRaSAGG’s least favorite move, the Bear Hug, interesting. Shawn reverses a Bear Hug into an awesome sunset flip nearfall. We here at DRS2EBRaSAGG feel this match is slept upon. This is a great match you never hear anyone talk about. You should go out of your way to watch it. Shawn is in his prime and amazing. Hall is not a complete mess. It’s great.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels at 18:47 by retrieving the belts. Razor Ramon became the Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion
Star Rating: *****
Shawn Michaels defeated Razor Ramon via pinfall at 23:00 with a school boy
Star Rating: ****1/2
WWF World Tag Team Champions Shawn Michaels and Diesel defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon and 123 Kid via pinfall at 22:02 when Shawn Michaels school boyed 123 Kid. Shawn Michaels and Diesel retained the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
Star Rating: ****3/4
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels defeated Razor Ramon at 25:03 by retrieving the belt. Shawn Michaels retained the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
Star Rating: ***1/4
Thus ends our look at the last time two wrestlers staked a claim as champion. Hopefully tonight lives up to it. Meanwhile we break new ground in our next edition. It will be an edition of multiples. Multiple promotions. Multiple countries. Even multiple personalities. Next Time: Steve Austin vs Keiji Mutoh.