Without wanting to lend too much credence to Dave Meltzer’s star rating system, wrestling fans can’t deny that it is used as a barometer of the quality of a match. While it’s often tinged with personal preferences and Meltzer’s favorite artists, it’s often a good indicator for fans to see something they may have missed. WWE’s first five-star match was Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon in an all-time classic ladder match at WrestleMania 10. What’s more interesting is that there was potential for a five-star match involving Michaels one year before in summer festival 1993, a highly anticipated wrestling clinic against Curt Hennig, Mr. Perfect. In a rather monotonous event that featured Lex Luger defeating Yokozuna by countout, Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect only managed to earn a three-star rating from Meltzer, making it the third-highest-rated fight on the card.
UPDATE: 2023/07/16 3:00 PM EST BY ANDREW KELLY
Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect are considered to be some of the most incredible in-ring talents of all time. However, their dream match at SummerSlam 1993 was a huge flop and several steps short of what it should have been. Fans may not be aware that the pair had another match a couple of years prior to this one, and this match showed that the couple did indeed have chemistry, which was unfortunately not put to good use at the ‘Biggest Party of the Summer’ in 1993. This will forever go down as one of the most unfortunate disappointments of all time when it should have been a classic.
Mr. Perfect Vs Shawn Michaels seemed like a sure hit
Before we examine the match and why it didn’t live up to its potential, it’s worth mentioning that Shawn Michaels in 1993 was a very different worker than Shawn Michaels was in 1994. This is not to criticize Michaels as inferior or as the which is why the match was a bit lackluster, but it’s a point to consider at the start of Michaels’ individual career. Curt Hennig, meanwhile, was very reminiscent of Shawn Michael’s later career as a goaltender. If you could have a good match with Hennig, bigger things awaited you. At the reserve level, the match made a lot of sense. A stalwart young man facing off against one of the best fighters the company had to offer, it was a traditional reservation to give the brash young man a way to reflect that maybe they weren’t as good as they thought they were. The match began with Michaels besting Hennig at WrestleMania, and the match at SummerSlam was going to be an absolute classic.
Then the doorbell rang. An 11-minute match that ended in a countout due to interference from new bodyguard Diesel gave Michaels the victory. The whole party seemed prepared to facilitate the introduction of Diesel. It fell flat, perhaps due to high expectations or because the match unfortunately got stuck in first gear before a disheartening finish. Using matches to create angles wasn’t a new thing in 1993 for WWE, but never before had such a fantastic talent been given so little talent. As a note about SummerSlam 1993 in general, four of the ten matches ended by disqualification or countout, so angles took a lot of precedence over matches.
HBK and Mr. Perfect did not live up to expectations at SummerSlam
It would be unfair to blame the failure of the match entirely on Vince McMahon’s propensity for creating moments rather than matches. Participants have to take some responsibility. While they were both excellent individually, this was a pre-Showstopper Shawn Michaels and I was still learning the trade from him as a top performer. Hennig also looked sluggish and reportedly suffered from a fairly serious back injury that slowed him down. This was incredibly apparent as the match moved at a snail’s pace and never really got out of first gear. Some rather sloppy chops were exchanged in a rather pompous corner exchange and both seemed to be waiting for the end rather than putting on a show for the fans.
This is not to say that the match was bad. It would be more accurate to say that it was solid, if unspectacular. The prospect of what could have been is far more daunting than the match itself. In a vacuum, it would probably be argued that the match was good and pay-per-view worthy, but because the fans went in with such high expectations, it was inevitably a disappointment. There was also the very real problem that the crowd simply wasn’t interested. Perhaps they didn’t buy Shawn Michaels as an effective heel and therefore the inclusion of Diesel was the right call, or the match bored them into silence. Whatever the reason, the lack of reaction from the crowd really hurt an already struggling match.
HBK vs Mr. Perfect seems like the type of match fans would want to book into their WWE 2K series, but it came at a rather awkward time in WWE and in both men’s careers. A great idea on paper doesn’t always equal it in the ring, and that was certainly the case here. SummerSlam 1993 was a pretty forgettable event in the midst of big changes for the company, but the match that could have elevated it will forever be labeled a missed opportunity.
Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect had a much better couple
Another aspect of the disappointing match between Mr Perfect and Shawn Michaels that made matters worse was the fact that they previously demonstrated that they could have a better match than the one they gave at SummerSlam 1993. Perfect and Michaels rarely crossed paths in WWE (outside of house shows), but they had one other televised singles match in their careers, and while it came two years before SummerSlam, with Michaels much less experienced, it ended up being much better.
On an episode of Prime Time Wrestling in 1991, reigning Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect put his title on the line against Michaels. This was at a time when Michaels had yet to break out on his account, with him still teaming with Marty Jannetty on The Rockers tag team, but this match began to show that he could be an individual star in his own right. For 10 minutes, the pair had a seamless match packed with great offense, world-class sales and displays of sparkling charisma from both men.
Despite not lasting too long, and even with a very frustrating disqualification finish involving The Big Boss Man, attacking Perfect before their showdown at WrestleMania 7, he managed to earn a four-star rating from Dave Meltzer (per cagematch). .net ) and was one of the best matches of that year so far. This match alone showed how much better a match they could have had at SummerSlam, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.