Monday, August 3, 2015

SummerSlam A to Z: Guest Referees

Jesse Ventura at SummerSlam 88
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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SummerSlam has had its share of special guest referees since the first event was held at Madison Square Garden.  Jesse "The Body" Ventura was chosen to ref the main event between The Mega Powers and The Mega Bucks.  Ventura made the three count against the Bucks (with some help from Randy Savage) and the baby faces won the inaugural main event of what would become a summertime classic.

Jesse's return
Courtesy: WWE
Ventura put on the striped shirt again more than a decade later when he refereed the main event triple threat match between WWF Champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Triple H.  Ventura was the Minnesota Governor at the time of this match and Vince McMahon was sure to cash in on the headlines the gov was getting at the time.  I remember even running it as a news story at the TV station I was working at at the time.

Sid Justice
Courtesy: WWE
In 1990 for some reason the Big Bossman refereed the match between Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Bad News Brown.  A year later, newcomer Sid Justice kept the order between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior as they battled Sgt. Slaughter, Gen. Adnan and Col. Mustafa.  Special guest referee Shawn Michaels screwed The Undertaker out of the championship in 1997 when he helped Bret Hart win the title.  This set up the very first Hell in a Cell match between 'Taker and Shawn.  

Courtesy: WWE
Triple H also served as a SummerSlam ref a couple of times, getting in there during the CM Punk-John Cena match in 2011 and again in 2013 when Daniel Bryan beat Cena for the gold.  In a matter of moments though, the COO would cost Bryan the belt when Randy Orton cashed in Money in the Bank.  Although it's been reported that it wasn't planned to go the way it did, that sequence of events set up one of the best storyline buildups to a Wrestlemania in the 30 year history of the event.

Shawn, Undertaker and Bret
Courtesy: WWE
The use of the special guest referee typically leads to something bigger down the road with the ref and one of the participants of the match.  As we saw in 1997, Shawn had memorable storylines with both Undertaker and Bret that fans are still talking about today.  

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