SummerSlam ’91

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Arnold Furious: There are times when Vince McMahon realises his company is struggling and his usual approach is to grab it, and shake it up as hard as he can. In 1991 the company underwent some radical changes in personnel and in the card positioning of existing talent. The WWF’s transitional periods are always entertaining because anything can happen. Once Vince has the mindset that his company must change, it does. The shake up doesn’t happen overnight but after WrestleMania VII it started in earnest. New faces on this show included Ricky Steamboat, IRS and Colonel Mustafa (all returning talent, admittedly) and Sid Justice, with new pushes evident for Bret Hart, Tugboat (having turned heel) and LOD. The shake-up would continue after this show, with Mr. Perfect taking a year off, Slaughter being slowly moved back into obscurity after his run at the top and Warrior being fired immediately after the event. More details on that later. Another key for Vince was expanding “sports entertainment” and that would happen here with the live “wedding” of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth. We’re in New York City at Madison Square Garden; the WWF’s home venue. It’s their first PPV event at MSG since SummerSlam ’88. When things are going wrong, you go home and rebuild. Vince is overblown on hype duty even for him, which is saying something: “Nuptials turn to napalm in the match made in HEEEELLLLLLLLLLL”. Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan and Roddy Piper in a trial three-man team. Heenan is far more effective than Piper, which is why they went with Monsoon and Heenan in future.

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