TODAY marks 25 years since SummerSlam 1992 at Wembley Stadium, with a double main event of Macho Man Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior and Bret Hart vs British Bulldog.
Not just the UK’s biggest ever wrestling show, here are seven reasons it’s one of WWE’s most important events of all time.
It was the end of an era
SummerSlam 1992 was the first pay-per- view event in WWE history not to feature Hulk Hogan – a huge deal at the time.
Hogan had wrestled his supposed last match at WrestleMania VIII three months earlier, in truth keeping a low profile while WWE’s impending steroid scandal blew up.
Even though Hogan returned for a brief resurgence around WrestleMania IX the next year, his heart wasn’t in it. SummerSlam 92 marked the end of the real Hulkamania era.
It wasn’t just Hogan who was on the way out either, but the superstars who’d also defined his time as the company figurehead.
Aside from Hulk’s brief return in 1993, The Macho Man vs Warrior match would be the last WWE Championship match fought between Hogan-era stars on PPV.
It was the start of the New Generation
WWE wouldn’t start using the term ‘New Generation’ for at least another year, but SummerSlam 92 was where it really began.
The Bret Hart vs British Bulldog classic proved that more athletic contests featuring ‘smaller’ wrestlers could headline big shows.
It began a shift towards a new wave of superstars leading the company – Bret, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon – whose work rate would shape the WWE we know today.
There were changes behind the scenes too
To combat the bad press that came with its steroid scandal – and to protect the well-being of its superstars, of course – WWE sought to eliminate drugs from its locker room.
SummerSlam ’92 would be the last PPV for Legion of Doom’s Hawk, Warrior, and Bulldog (for a few years, at least – they’d all eventually return) because of drug or steroid use.
Texas Tornado was also scheduled to wrestle Papa Shango but was pulled from the event with his own drug problems spiralling out of control.
A promo for the match was even recorded and broadcast, but El Matador took his place on the night – and the Tornado never wrestled on PPV for WWE again.
It set a WWE attendance record
By the time of SummerSlam ’92, WWE had been touting its dubious figure of 93,173 at
WrestleMania III as its biggest ever crowd.
It’s a number that’s been disputed many times over the years. Many place the actual figure
at around 78,000 – a number that British fans absolutely smashed at SummerSlam.
An incredible 80,355 people crammed into Wembley Stadium for the event, creating a
super-charged atmosphere that’s rarely been duplicated on such a grand scale.
WrestleManias, 23, 29, and 32 would report bigger attendances years later – though critics
would dispute the legitimacy of those numbers too.
The Undertaker made his first big entrance
The Deadman’s atmospheric entrances have been an important part of WWE for over two decades – emphasising the ‘entertainment’ in WWE’s brand of sports-entertainment.
SummerSlam 1992 is where that tradition began, with Taker making his way to the ring on the back of a hearse – a moment more impressive than his match with Kamala.
It’s from this point that Taker’s entrances as big PPVs became one WWE’s must-see live attractions.
It was headlined by the greatest match in SummerSlam history
The battle of the brothers in-law – Bret Hart v British Bulldog – the Intercontinental
Championship was a 25-minute classic, with Bulldog winning the title.
A masterful piece of in-ring storytelling, it was an emotionally charged moment and the
career peak for Bulldog, still the UK’s biggest ever wrestling star.
But in truth it was Bret’s moment, cementing himself as a main event star (he would be
WWE Champion just two months later).
Bret’s performance at SummerSlam is even more impressive in hindsight.
In his autobiography Hitman, Bret revealed that Bulldog was in rough shape after smoking
crack for weeks before the event.
When they got in the ring, Bulldog apparently forgot the entire match – and Bret had to talk
him through it move-by- move.
Watching the match now, the action is so finely-tuned it’s hard to believe Bret’s story – but
if true, it’s a testament to Bret’s abilities between the ropes.