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Photo Credit: WWE.com

Throwback Thursday – 1994 Summerslam: Razor Ramon w/ Walter Payton vs Diesel w/ HBK

“23,000 fans are ready to rock the house”, shouts Vince McMahon as “The Bad Guy” Razor Ramon walks the aisle flanked by legendary Chicago Bear “Sweetness” Walter Payton. Why this match doesn’t get more love, I’ll never understand.

The 1994 edition of Summerslam is remembered for a lot of things: Bret and Owen’s spectacular cage match, the REAL Undertaker’s return to face Ted DiBiase’s imposter Undertaker, and even Tatanka’s heel turn against Lex Luger. Yet for some reason, Razor Ramon’s Intercontinental Championship match against “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel is often overlooked, and pardon my French but that’s just ridiculous *throws toothpick*

This feud was a continuation of Ramon’s classic battle with Shawn Michaels over the IC belt (see Wrestlemania X – as a matter of fact, if you haven’t seen this ladder match then please DM me your address so I can come over and slap you in the face). In April of 1994, Michael’s bodyguard, Diesel, who was becoming one of the top heels in the company, did what Michaels couldn’t do and beat Razor to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Ultimately Razor’s revenge would come in August of that year at Summerslam in an awesome match that rarely gets discussed.

While Razor and Diesel tell a really great story inside the ring, it’s what goes on outside of it that makes this match so memorable for me. In the months leading up to this bout, not only did Razor have a seven-foot-tall monster to deal with, but he also had Shawn Michaels sticking his nose in at every turn. At Summerslam, however, the World Wrestling Federation made a really interesting choice by bringing in Walter Payton as Razor’s equalizer – fitting, as the event would be hosted at the brand new United Center in Chicago. Payton would be responsible for keeping Michaels in check so Razor could have a fair shot at finally regaining his championship belt. And to say the crowd was fired up for this one would be an understatement.

“Sweetness, you bit off just a little more than you can chew, jack”, arrogantly chirped Michaels during a brief standoff in the ring prior to the bell. If Payton had any jitters going into this match, as an outsider would, they seemed to disappear pretty quickly as he did an incredibly convincing job of watching Michaels, who was doing nothing but wreaking havoc all over ringside. If you watch closely, Payton’s facial expressions change as the match goes on and he gets more comfortable, and near the end of it you’d think he was legitimately ready to kill The Heartbreak Kid.

The finish is absolutely wild, as Michaels and Payton get into a tug of war over the championship belt which Michaels grabbed from the timekeeper to take into the ring for some odd reason (I’d love to ask him why he did that but he blocked me on Twitter but that’s a story for another time). The referee, now busy admonishing Payton, doesn’t see Michaels slip into the ring to deliver a Superkick (it was not yet known as Sweet Chin Music) to a prone Razor Ramon. Unfortunately for him, Razor ducks resulting in Diesel getting a mouthful of Michael’s boot instead. With both Razor and Diesel now laying motionless, Payton chases Michaels around the outside of the ring, and after one last attempt to escape, Payton finally gets his chance and grabs Michaels by the foot and dumps him ass over teakettle on the arena floor, much to the crowd’s delight. Back in the ring, Razor manages to get his arm on Diesel for the 1, 2, 3, and the rest is history. A really fun match, and again, I wish Walter Payton’s involvement would get more recognition because he truly did a fantastic job. As far as the WWF’s/WWE’s use of outsiders and/or celebrities go, I personally think this was one of the better ones.

This match was also the beginning of the end for Diesel and Michaels’ initial run together, as this inadvertent Superkick to Big Daddy Cool’s face was one of the first hints that these two would eventually split. It was only 3 short months later when Michaels once again blasted Diesel with an accidental kick, and from there, Diesel was off to the races as the top babyface in the company which came along with a year-long run with the WWF Championship. Boy, that escalated quickly.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen this match, or if you’ve forgotten about it over the years, do yourself a favor and have a gander. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

Previous Throwbacks:

1990 Summerslam: Mr. Perfect vs “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich