|Tagline(s)||A Match Made in Heaven, A Match Made in Hell|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||August 26, 1991|
|Venue||Madison Square Garden|
|City||New York, New York|
SummerSlam (1991) was the fourth annual SummerSlam professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on August 26, 1991, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
SummerSlam 1991 is remembered for the on-screen wedding of Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, dubbed "A Match Made in Heaven" by announcer Gene Okerlund. Savage and Elizabeth had been married in real life since December 1984. WWF personalities shown at the reception afterward included Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, J.J. Dillon, The Undertaker, and Jake Roberts. The last two were uninvited guests. Roberts proceeded to frighten Elizabeth with his snake while Undertaker attacked Savage with an urn.
This was contrasted with "A Match Made in Hell", the main event of the show, which was a handicap tag team match between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior against Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa. It was Slaughter's final on-screen appearance as an Iraqi sympathizer, a storyline fueled by the Gulf War.
Among the other on-screen highlights of the event was The Legion of Doom defeating The Nasty Boys to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. The team became the only tag team in wrestling history to have held the WWF Tag Team Championship, the NWA World Tag Team Championship, and the AWA World Tag Team Championship. Another highlight was Bret Hart winning his first singles championship in the WWF when he defeated Mr. Perfect for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. After winning the match, Hart climbed into the stands to hug his mom and dad Stu and Helen Hart.
Highlights of the wedding reception for Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Miss Elizabeth were aired on the WWF's syndicated and cable programs, and included The Undertaker and Jake "the Snake" Roberts crashing the party. Savage – who was still barred from competing as an active wrestler, per his WrestleMania VII "retirement match" loss to the Ultimate Warrior – would become the target of Roberts' insults, which continued to grow through the fall of 1991. Eventually, Savage had enough and, while doing color commentary duties on WWF Superstars, came to the ring while Roberts was delivering an anti-Savage promo, only for Roberts to severely beat Savage, tie him into the ring ropes and allow his viper to bite his arm. The aftermath of that incident led to Savage's reinstatement as an active wrestler and a match at the "This Tuesday in Texas" pay-per-view event.
Following his team's loss to Hogan and Ultimate Warrior, Slaughter re-evaluated his support of Iraq, decided he had made a bad decision and became a face again, appearing in vignettes next to American landmarks, saying "I want my country back." During an episode of Superstars, Jim Duggan was under attack from The Nasty Boys, and Slaughter made the save. Duggan and Slaughter teamed up to defeat the Nasty Boys and continued to team over the next several months; Slaughter also defeated Colonel Mustafa and General Adnan in a series of matches. Despite Slaughter's face turn, he was still named 1991's "Most Hated Wrestler of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine for his pro-Iraqi gimmick.
SummerSlam 1991 marked André the Giant's last United States pay-per-view appearance in his lifetime. By now using crutches to get around due to his continuing health problems with acromegaly, André would make several appearances during the WWF's tour of England in September and October 1991. These were his last appearances in the WWF during his lifetime, as he died on January 27, 1993. Also dealing with injuries was Mr. Perfect, who – after a three-month absence from the WWF – returned to WWF television as a color commentator on Superstars.
The Ultimate Warrior controversy
Off-screen, there was an incident involving The Ultimate Warrior and Vince McMahon at this event. One month before the pay-per-view, Warrior wrote a letter to McMahon threatening to no-show the main event tag team match unless paid $500,000 that he claimed was owed to him. In 2005 it was revealed by Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter that dealing with the matter physically for Vince McMahon was a possibility when they became aware of Warrior's threat.
McMahon, who didn't want Hogan and Slaughter to get into a physical altercation with Warrior, paid Warrior the money, and then fired him immediately following SummerSlam. Warrior later responded on his website to these allegations by stating he was owed money stemming from work performed at WrestleMania VII and that he was actually suspended by McMahon immediately after the show, but quit the WWF out of protest. McMahon would later state that while he couldn't make a last-minute change in the card due to the fans expecting the match, he "could not wait to fire him" after the pay-per-view. Warrior was not present for the in-ring celebration with Hogan and Sid Justice following the match. In the aftermath, Warrior's anticipated feud with Jake Roberts – who, in another storyline that aired a few weeks earlier, had turned heel after tricking Warrior into believing he would aid him in his feud with The Undertaker – was canceled, and the Roberts-Savage feud was conceived instead.
Other on-screen talent
- "2007 Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts". Wrestling’s Historical Cards (Kappa Publishing). 2007. p. 89.
- onlineworldofwrestling.com – SummerSlam '91 results
- twnpnews.com – SummerSlam
- wrestlinginformer.net – SummerSlam '91 review
- hoffco-inc.com – SummerSlam '91 review