breaking kayfabe/retro match review: Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon at summerslam 1995

This was supposed to be Shawn/Sid, but was changed so the WWF could have the biggest rematch of the year. As many times as I’ve watched the WrestleMania 10 ladder match, I’ve probably seen this one only once or twice before recapping this show. Dok Hendrix replaces Lawler for the rest of the night since he’s busy hanging out with his dentist. Although I cringe sometimes when he tries to be funny and I don’t think he has any chemistry with someone like Vince, I do think I like Hendrix on color commentary a little bit more than Lawler since he likes to talk more about strategies than merely cheer for the bad guy. They tease their finishers to start and the crowd eats it up. Shawn takes the nastier and much quicker Harley Race corner bump to the floor. Razor goes for the ladder and gets pounced on from behind by Michaels. Back to the ring, Shawn tries to suplex Razor into the ring from the apron and takes a CRAZY suplex to the floor instead. He even whacks his ankle on the guardrail on the way down! Back in, they trade finisher attempts once more and end up taking each other down with a clothesline. Once they’re to their feet, they whip each other from corner to corner until Shawn gets caught up on the top turnbuckle so that Razor can bring him down with a Super Fallaway Slam! Now Ramon brings the ladder to ringside as the Psycho Sid watches the match on a monitor in the back since he gets the winner of this match on the 9/11 Raw. Razor sidesteps the baseball slide into the ladder in a nice bit of continuity and blasts Shawn with a right hand. In the ring, Razor makes the first climb for the belt and gets the ladder turned over on him thanks to Shawn. Shawn spins the ladder around into Razor, shrugs his shoulders, and sets the ladder up. Just like at WM10, Razor pulls down HBK’s tights. Instead of dropping the belt like in the previous match, Shawn pulls his pants up and keeps climbing. With Razor back on his feet, he turns the ladder over while Shawn’s leg gets stuck in between the rungs to wrench his knee. Razor decides to capitalize by closing the ladder on Shawn’s knee and stomping at it. He continues to punish Shawn by dropping his knee on the ladder and taking Shawn to school the Ric Flair way. With the ladder closed, Razor sets the ladder on the middle turnbuckle. He wants to whip Shawn into it, but his knee gives out. Shawn kicks off a figure-four attempt, so Razor grabs Shawn and gives him a shinbreaker on the ladder! Razor keeps on with the leg and even posts it pretty good. When he seems to run out of things to do to Shawn’s knee, he ends up taking the ladder and tossing it down on his knee just for fun. Shawn stops a ladder climb with a flying double ax handle. He stops another climb with a back suplex off the ladder! Shawn leans the ladder in the corner and after a triple whip reversal, Razor goes flying over the ladder and onto the apron! Shawn whips Razor into the ladder again and then nails him with a flying forearm. From there, Shawn sets the ladder up and gives Ramon a MOONSAULT PRESS OFF THE LADDER! They botch it a little, but it’s forgivable. Now Shawn tries a flying splash, but this time it misses unlike at WM10. Once they both make it to their feet, they both climb the ladder and start slugging each other at the top until the ladder teeters over. Shawn gets crotched and Razor falls off the apron and to the floor. Shawn charges at Razor with the ladder in hand to knock him off the apron, but Ramon hits the mat and Shawn falls out to the floor. Razor pulls out another ladder from under the ring and now we’ve got two ladders. Shawn climbs his ladder, but Razor stops him and delivers the RAZORS EDGE to Shawn off the ladder! Now we’ve got two ladders set up in the ring and each man is climbing their own ladder. Shawn kicks Razor off his ladder and looks to grab the belt, but he’s too far away. He dives after the belt and retrieves nothing as he crashes on the canvas. Shawn backdrops Razor out to the floor so he’ll have another chance at grabbing the belt. He reaches the belt again and tries to pull it down with all his weight, but he can’t bring it down. One more try. Yes, Shawn finally brings the belt down off the hook to retain the IC championship. (25:06) For what it’s worth, Shawn Michaels is still the only man to ever retain the Intercontinental belt for a second time at any SummerSlam show. Afterwards, Razor takes the belt away from Shawn and hands it back to him as they embrace to show the world that everything is okay between them. Except for the messed up finish, this was the perfect sequel to their original ladder match. They learned from their past mistakes and turned it into a psychological masterpiece. ****¾

Also to note out, Shawn Michaels twice fumbled in his attempt to retrieve the belt, the second time very obviously, forcing his opponent Razor Ramon to lie down for a lengthy period of time, far greater than what is normally associated with the bump that he took. It is generally believed, however, that this mistake actually made the match better than what it would have been with the scripted ending. It is often ranked as one of the best WWE matches of all time. Only one other match i have known that has not ended in its scripted finish was The rock vs Kurt Angle in no way out 2001. I will explain that in a future post


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Julian Cannon

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