The “biggest party of the summer” for World Wrestling Entertainment is an event known as SummerSlam. With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my favorite SummerSlam memories in the weeks leading up to the event. We’ll start out with the match that I feel is the best in SummerSlam history.
Of course I’m talking about the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith vs. Bret Hart at Summerslam 1992.
I love everything about this match. I loved it when I was nearly 12 years old and I think I loved it even more when I watched it again recently. It was in London, England and a lot of people may not know this, but it was taped on August 29th and then shown on August 31st in 1992 with just over 80,000 fans in attendance.
The main event wasn’t the Savage/Warrior match for the WWF Title, but the Intercontinental Title match between champion Bret Hart and challenger the British Bulldog, who was wrestling in his home country. It was a match between two good guys with the added dynamic of Bulldog’s wife Diana being at ringside, who was also the sister of Bret Hart. Two brother-in-laws battling it out in the main event of one of wrestling’s biggest shows ever? It was certainly a unique thing.
The work in the match was special from the beginning. Through a lot of it, Bret was the more aggressive of the two because I think he realized he needed to be that way in order to get the crowd totally behind Smith. It’s interesting to note that Bret Hart wrote in his book about how Bulldog was blown up (another way of saying tired) very early in the match, so he forgot a lot of the things that he had to do. It didn’t show in Bulldog’s work. He looked fantastic out there.
Bret claims that he carried the majority of the match, which isn’t much of a surprise because Bret was such a great technician. You could tell Bulldog had lost it a little bit because of the bump where Bret did a slingshot over the top rope and Bulldog was supposed to catch him. Instead, he was hunched over against the side of the ring where he was trying to catch his breath. Hart ended up grabbing him by the shoulder to pull him down. Like Hart says on his DVD, he could have easily tore his knee at that point.
What I loved about the match is that it was so even from bell to bell. It wasn’t easy for me to root for somebody when I watched it live because I was a fan of both guys. Part of me wanted Bret to retain the title, but then I also wanted Davey Boy to have his moment in front of the fans in his home country too. I was emotionally torn watching it. I’m sure most fans watching at home felt the same way.
Let’s jump to the awesome finishing sequence. After a double clothesline, Bret wrapped Bulldog up in the Sharpshooter while they were on their backs. He sat in it, the crowd was going NUTS freaking out and Bulldog got to the ropes.
That was followed by this classic line by commentator Bobby Heenan: “If you don’t like it you shouldn’t be here – go do the dishes.” That’s what he said when they showed Diana Hart-Smith. The Brain wasn’t the nicest announcer in wrestling history, but the man is a legend.
For the finish, Bret whipped him into the ropes, did a sunset flip, Bulldog dropped to his knees, hooked the arms, leaned forward for the one, two and three for what might be the loudest ovation I’ve ever heard. The new Intercontinental Champion was the British Bulldog. Bret is one of the most technically proficient wrestlers ever yet he lost the match because the more powerful Bulldog found a way to counter a wrestling hold. It was a brilliant finish.
Post match, Bret was dejected and he even teased leaving, but he hugged his brother-in-law and the crowd gave a huge reaction for it as Diana went into the ring for the big family celebration. The match went 25 minutes, which was how long they should have went.
On his DVD and in his book, Bret talked about going into this match with the idea that not only will people think Bulldog became a bigger star by winning the title, but that Bret would be a bigger star after his performance too.
Bret saw this as an opportunity to prove that he could be the top guy in the company. Less than two months later he would win his first ever WWF Title. He was right. It’s the perfect example of a match doing great things for both guys.
One guy won (Bulldog), but the other guy became a bigger star after it was finished (Hart). That’s the point of wrestling. It’s not about the wins and losses all the time. It’s about telling stories, getting over and creating memories to last a lifetime. That’s exactly what they did here. I’ll never forget how loud that reaction was when Bulldog countered Bret, dropped down and cradled him up to get the victory.
At the end of the match, Vince McMahon called it one of the greatest wrestling matches of all-time. Guess what? He was absolutely right. It’s the greatest SummerSlam match of all-time.
The majority of what you read above is what I wrote nearly a decade ago on another site that doesn’t exist anymore. Below, I’ll share my detailed review of the match from my SummerSlam 1992 review.
Intercontinental Championship: Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
(Pre-match notes: Both guys were faces with Bret walking in as the IC Champion. Bulldog had never held the title heading into the match. As mentioned earlier, they were brothers in law since Bulldog was married to Bret’s sister Diana.)
Bulldog used his power early with a shoulder tackle to knock Bret out of the ring. When they got back in the ring, Bret got a couple of nearfalls. Bulldog used his power to do a takedown followed by a slingshot that sent Hart into the turnbuckle. Bulldog got a nearfall and then worked on Hart with an armbar as the crowd chanted for Bulldog. When they got vertical, Bulldog ran the ropes and Hart hit him with a knee to the ribs. Back elbow by Hart followed by an elbow drop and an atomic drop. Bret slapped on a headlock and you could tell he was talking to him, but couldn’t hear it. In his book, Bret mentioned Bulldog was tired and forgot most of the spots, so Bret had to guide him the rest of the way. Bulldog with a monkey flip that sent Hart into the ropes. Bulldog charged at Bret in the corner and was met with a stiff boot to the face. Hart with a bulldog. Bret went up top, which was not a usual spot for him and Bulldog slammed him down. Bulldog up top, he went for a leaping attack and Hart moved out of the way to avoid it. Neither guy was known for top rope moves, so that was just a way to show they were trying different things just to win. They did a spot where Bret used his momentum to send Bulldog out of the ring as the fans booed because they wanted Bulldog to win. They did a spot where Bret did a slingshot over the top and ends up pulling Bulldog down in a nasty landing for Bulldog. Hart drove Bulldog into the ring post and rolled him back into the ring.
Analysis: In his book, DVD and many interviews, Hart talked about how Bulldog was blown up early and forgot a lot of their spots. You could tell that was true of Bulldog just from that spot. Bulldog was supposed to catch him there and fall to the mat with him. Instead, Bulldog was hunched over against the side of the ring where he was trying to catch his breath. Hart ended up grabbing him by the shoulder to pull him down. Like Bret said on his DVD, he could have easily torn his knee.
Back in the ring, Hart remained in control with a whip into the corner followed by a Russian legsweep. Hart worked him over with punches followed by a dropkick. Back body drop by Hart led to a rough landing on the knee of Bulldog. Bret continued on offense with a backbreaker followed by the elbow drop off the middle rope for a two count. Hart picked up Bulldog by the hair and yanked him down, which led to boos. Another headlock by Bret to probably give instruction to Bulldog again. Sleeper time by Hart. After about a minute of that, Bulldog drove him back into the turnbuckle and Hart applied the sleeper again, so Bulldog sent him into the turnbuckle again. They did a spot where Bulldog did a Gorilla Press Slam and Hart was sent groin first into the middle turnbuckle. Bulldog connected with three clotheslines for a two count. Bulldog with a press slam for a two count. Delayed suplex by Bulldog, which was a signature spot for him, earned a big ovation as well as a two count. Hard whip into the corner by Bulldog led to Bret taking the sternum bump into the corner. Bulldog hit the Running Powerslam, which was his finisher and Bret kicked out at two. Bulldog was shocked by it. It was rare to see people kick out of finishers in this era. Bridging German Suplex by Hart got a two count. That was sweet. Bulldog went up top and hit a Superplex for a two count. The crowd was going crazy for all of this. They did a double clothesline spot. Bret wrapped Bulldog up in the Sharpshooter while they were on their backs. Hart sat down on him in the Sharpshooter, the crowd was going NUTS freaking out and Bulldog got to the ropes. “If you don’t like it you shouldn’t be here – go do the dishes,” is what Bobby Heenan said when they showed Diana. The Brain is a legend, folks. Bret whipped him into the ropes, sunset flip, Bulldog dropped to his knees, hooked the arms, leaned forward for the one, two and three for what was one of the loudest ovations in WWE history. Vince didn’t even call anything. He let the picture tell the story, which is actually good in that case. It went 25:40.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Davey Boy Smith
Analysis: ***** Five stars out of five. I loved it 25 years ago and the more times I watch it as an adult I love it even more. The only part of the match where I could be picky about it is when Smith didn’t catch him for that spot I mentioned, but that’s not that big of a deal. Through a lot of it, Bret was working as a heel because I think he realized he needed to in order to get the crowd totally behind Smith. It’s the perfect example of a match doing great things for both guys. One guy went over (Bulldog), but the other guy became a bigger star after it was finished (Hart). That’s the point of wrestling. It’s not about the wins and losses. It’s about telling stories, getting over and creating memories to last a lifetime. That’s exactly what they did here. I’ll never forget how loud that pop was when Bulldog countered Bret, dropped down and sat on top to get the victory.
Bret talked about the match with Sports Illustrated in 2017:
“I’ll always be partial to Wembley. It’s one of my greatest matches, and it was special to have an outdoor show at Wembley. Everyone was scared it was going to rain and ruin the show, and it was supposed to rain, but everyone crossed their fingers and it never rained. There were 82,000 people and something that made the match so special was that nobody knew who was going to win. I was able to do that with Bulldog at Wembley; right to the very last pin, no one knew who was going to win. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a beautiful thing to watch in wrestling when someone loses in the exact perfect way. That’s why the pin was so dramatic. There was no escape, there was no shame, but I made a mistake and Davey capitalized. It was a beautiful story, and I believe that was the match that launched me into a world champion.”
A great point in saying it was the perfect pin. I loved the ending and that’s such an important part of the match. That’s what people remember the most a lot of time, so it was the right way to bring it home.