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Shawn Michaels vs Vader (WWF Summerslam 08/18/96)

WWF WWE Summerslam August 18 1996 Cleveland OH Shawn Michaels Vader 3.25*

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#1 Loss

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:42 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Childs

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:18 PM

They got off to an excellent start with HBK looking relatively crisp on his hit-and-run offense and Vader looking appropriately devastating when he took command. Great strength spot when HBK tried to flip Vader out of the ring with a headscissors, but Vader just snatched him and hurled him about 10 feet face-first. It's hard to fathom why they booked two false finishes. These guys didn't need that kind of help to fill 20 entertaining minutes. Because of the booking, this one will always feel like a missed opportunity. I think I found the earlier boiler room brawl more satisfying.

#3 Victator

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:48 PM

Story goes it was done to protect Vader since Shawn refused to job. Shawn denies it but I don't really believe him about anything from that time period.

#4 Loss

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 12:01 AM

You're right that these guys worked well together and were doing fine, and this match is overbooked with guys who didn't need the help. I also agree that the Boiler Room Brawl was more satisfying. These two had a great match in them that never came to the surface.

#5 Tim Evans

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:22 PM

Shawn's temper tantrum during this match is very remnicent of Orton calling Kofi Kingston "Stupid" after Kofi screwed something up. I don't know what he was trying, I think it was the Perro Aguyao double stomp or something? I think I liked this match more than most with HBK kicking and punching Vader to start the match. I agree with the finish being bad though.

#6 Dooley

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 01:48 AM

Why did Shawn lose his temper in the match? He saw where Vader was, signaled for the flying elbow then gave up on it in mid-air and yelled at Vader. Was Vader supposed to wriggle into a better position or something?

#7 victory

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 02:53 AM

Why did Shawn lose his temper in the match? He saw where Vader was, signaled for the flying elbow then gave up on it in mid-air and yelled at Vader. Was Vader supposed to wriggle into a better position or something?

After re-watching this match I got the impression Vader was supposed to roll out of the way so Shawn could miss the elbow drop. He definitely gets worked up over nothing.

#8 JaymeFuture

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 04:32 AM

Yeh, he was supposed to miss the elbow, changed his trajectory, landed on his feet, screams "MOVE!!" and kicks him in the head.

#9 PeteF3

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 11:21 PM

That blown spot was a very, very minor flaw exacerbated by Michaels' temper tantrum--otherwise, they covered for it very well.


This was a REALLY good match with some annoying booking. They gave Vader three false finishes (if you count the visual fall off the power bomb) in an effort to keep him strong for rematches, since presumably he was still expected to take the belt at Survivor Series. Makes sense, but it seemed like too much. All that aside, the work here from both guys is fantastic--this is the closest WWF Vader has come to looking like his old killer self, as he destroys Shawn with some great clotheslines and other cut-off spots. Michaels' bumping is great as well--of course we all know he's a great bumper, but here the bumps really come across as putting over Vader's offense instead of HBK falling into his usual self-indulgent "look at me!" shtick. Not a GREAT match, but it could have been if they'd just gone 20-25 minutes straight. And this could well be Vader's high point in the WWF as a worker.

#10 soup23

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 06:45 AM

First things first, Shawns temper tantrum was uncalled for and a moment of unprofessionalism when he yells at Vader and shoves the camera man when they go to the outside. On the other hand, it is legitimately 20 seconds in a 20 minute segment and because Shawn is who he is, it has been manufactured and blown way out of proportion in regards to this match. I haven't watched this match in years and yet remembered it as the match where Vader got yelled out. That is a shame as the match surrounding all of this is excellent. Stiff strikes and the babyface champion not backing down leading to him getting pulverized by some brutal offense only to mount a combat using his advantage (speed) and to capitalize when the heel gets greedy. It is a perfect WWF storyline. The booking is a lot to take in and it felt to me like we had a early 1980's MSG heel challenger run in one night where each of the finishes would have signified the end of the match an era before. Instead, I do think Vader looks strong getting two legit victories, getting a visual pin on the power bomb before the second referee comes in, and kicking out of Sweet Chin Music. Again,  it feels like because of the disappointment that Vader became in the WWF, this match is lumped in with that discussion. Box office aside, the in ring portion of this was great and this way surpassed my expectations. **** 

#11 Exposer

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 05:20 PM

Awkward match. The pacing is too slow at the start. Shawn getting a shine is expected & should happen but things seemed to be going in slow motion. I liked all the dives but I think they could have picked up the pace a bit. Once Vader took control the match got great. The powerbomb on the floor is a great transition. Vader manhandling Shawn & catching him on his comebacks is awesome. I loved when he pulled him up off the "skin the cat" & just launched him into the mat. Shawn's fit isn't that bad. He's visibly pissed off the remainder of the match though. I laughed when he pushed the camera back after the tumble to the floor. All the restarts really clogged up the momentum of this match. The fans still popped for Shawn's comeback & Vader's missed moonsault, but this is way overbooked. Take away the restart's & the ref bump we have a great match. Instead it's a good one that's hurt by booking.

#12 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:06 PM

WWF World Champion Shawn Michaels vs Vader - WWF Summerslam 1996


For two guys with zero chemistry, they actually pull off a pretty good match. It is awkward as fuck, but these are two of the absolute best so they do manage to have good stretches. The beginning was so weird. The moves were all ready good, but how they were string together was just so strange. Like Shawn was just standing there waiting to get punched. Or how Shawn would constantly wait for Vader to get back up to Irish Whip him. It was very stilted. On the flip side, Shawn busting out a legsweep and shoot-style kicks was AWESOME! I had totally forgotten about that. Shawn's dive was BITCHIN! Loved how he kept going back to the rana well and then finally got caught with the powerbomb on the floor. Again, Vader's offense looked great, but there were some weird moments. Like Vader just carrying Shawn up the steps, but not doing anything. The suplex looked great as did him throwing Shawn off in the skin the cat. I wish we could have saw more Vader punches. There was one cutoff clothesline that was just Classic Vader! He tore his head off. The temper tantrum spot is a bit overblown yes Shawn really should just let it go and I thought the more unprofessional thing was taking a swipe at the camera. They covered well. Vader's snake eyes on the railing was nasty. The countout finish and restart was not horrible. The Shawn comeback is also forced and the DQ false finish is lame. Again, there were some strange moments like Shawn going through his finish sequence again and Vader does NOT seem to know to kick out. But Earl comes up short. Weird as hell. Vader gets a powerbomb visual fall before a new ref comes in and Shawn kicks out. I will say the actual finish is great. The missed Vadersault and Shawn's moonsault was a really cool way to finish.


Stilted and awkward. These two just have no chemistry. It is still a very good match because these two individually are two of the best, but when it came time to interact they just couldn't get it together in a way that did not feel forced. The booking did no favors at all either. Disappointing, but still some good stuff. ***1/2

#13 G. Badger

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:41 PM

This match exceeded my expectations. Vader really cannot go light and it gives this match a sense of realism.

I felt the booking of the count out and DQ finishes worked since Shawn really did have his ass handed to him. He sold the beat down very well. Finish was alright...Vader going up and predictably missing the moonsault took a little wind out of my sails.

As far as chemistry goes- many of WWF matches especially of this era look wrestled at 3/4th speed and anyone who's watched enough stuff can tell what's coming up. I think if it looks like they don't have chemistry it worked in their favor. Less cooperative and more competitive.

Edit: Also enjoyed Cornette's manager interference. It came at the right time and it added to the match rather than be a screwjob finish. Plus it was under his advisement that Vader go up top which of course cost him the match.

#14 tim

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:36 PM

Ugh, the restarts were so bad. Really awkward and disrupted the flow of the match. Just delete those restarts and have them work the match the way they did and it would have been damn good. Still was really, but the restarts took a good bit away from it. What really struck me in this match is how much better Michaels looked -- not only was the match worked in a way that made him look better, but he looked like the better wrestler to me. Vader's extended time on offense was too "methodical," and in general he never really came across as the killer Vader he should have been, though the counter to the headsissors was great. Shawn's opening offense was really good and aggressive; Shawn's offense in general was really good in this match, he had some damn good punches and his rope-running flying forearm was a great spot. Good ending too. Very good match overall, marred notably by the restarts. Michaels was very impressive, Vader a bit disappointing.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: WWF, WWE, Summerslam, August 18, 1996, Cleveland OH, Shawn Michaels, Vader, 3.25*

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