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[1991-08-26-WWF-Summerslam] Ted DiBiase vs Virgil

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One of the better laid out matches and moments in WWF history, as Virgil gets his redemption for years of bullying and abuse by pinning DiBiase decisively. This is not at all a great match, but it's a great credit to DiBiase (and Piper) for carrying the feud and the match and making it memorable. The false finish with Sherri was very well done.

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I liked the flip he did once he was handed the belt. A sort-of good way to end the feud, even though it really ended with Repo Man stealing it and giving it back to Ted to get that character over if I remember correctly. A little strange to me that Piper didn't get out of the booth to celebrate with him. First guess would be they were on a tight schedule and couldn't drag out the victory as much as they could have.

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Great attention to detail, as they point out that DiBiase wrote it into the contract that the belt would only change hands on a DQ or countout--in contrast to how DiBiase regained the non-sanctioned title at WM6. This is the #3 WWF MOTY behind the retirement match and Desert Storm Match, Virgil turning in a great fiery performance in his comebacks and splattering on the floor on a missed pescado to boot. DiBiase is just a supreme dick, and gets the crowd rabid for Piper to do something, but it was the right move to keep Piper physically out of things and let Virgil have the victory and the moment on his own.

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Great match for the fans. Not a great technical match but a well deserved victory for Virgil. Sherri was really dressing it up at this point. A very fan popping segment when she gets kicked out of ringside and the match continues. Yes, I liked that Piper didn't get involved during match. However, I think there needed to be a get together/hug once match ended. Piper was totally in Virgil's corner this whole time and for them to not embrace was lacking.

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Really fun match and I love how Hennig and Dibiase both really worked their ass off on this show. The moment felt big for Virgil and they did a good job of protecting his limitations.

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Teddy went all out in this one to give Virgil his moment. There have been better DiBiase performances in the WWF, to be sure, but he was never quite as sleazy and disgusting as he was here. Virgil really didn't do much else once he missed that dive over the top, which leads me to believe that Mike Jones may have legitimately knocked the wind out of himself. But he didn't need to; all he needed to do was turn the tables on Teddy one time, and victory was his as the crowd went crazy. An after-match embrace with Piper would have been nice, but he was plenty involved on commentary, and they had a moment before the match, so I didn't mind them not doing much after.

 

Piper was great here, much the way Heenan would be at Rumble '92. He had a rooting interest and everyone knew it, so it was used to add to the drama of the match. I loved Teddy taunting Piper, and you could tell that Rod really wanted to do something physical, but he had the restraint to trust Virgil and let him take care of business on his own. Heenan really did a wonderful job getting over the false finish, begging Earl to disqualify Teddy so Virgil would be screwed. I'm not really sure they needed to get rid of Sherri; I would have loved to see her reaction to "Teddy Bear" losing his title.

 

As for Gino, he wasn't bad, but what I remember most is his remark to Heenan about Bobby's hands being green, to which Bobby replied, "I've been holding (Flair's) belt." They're not even trying to make Flair any kind of threat to Hogan whatsoever. It almost makes me wonder why Flair didn't sign a deal in Japan and let things cool down with WCW for a while before going back there instead of coming to Vince. He's being devalued before he even shows up, and while I'm looking forward to seeing Flair's work, I'm not looking forward to seeing him made out to be a chump and a faker, which is what Vince seems to be going for here. There had to be a way to get him over as a true superstar on Hogan's level without mentioning the letters NWA or WCW, and it was up to Vince to find it like he did for Dusty. I'm not even sure Vince truly wanted Flair except to rub his presence in WCW's face; Jake and Taker share the top heel spot coming out of SummerSlam, and that spot should have been kept warm for an incoming Flair no matter who else had to be depushed.

 

I caught the reference by Heenan at the end of the bout to "taxes have to be paid". Were they hinting at a Virgil/IRS feud for the title? If anyone else would have been a fit for the Million Dollar Championship, it would have been IRS. It's nice to see the MDC treated like an actual title, with pinfall./submission change rules and everything, similar to the King's Crown in 1988-89 before Savage made it his own.

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Virgil splatting on the floor was completely unexpected and all the respect in the world to the guy for doing it. I liked the drama of Piper thinking about getting involved and even the fans demanding it while DiBiase was abusing Virgil. Virgil using DiBiase's hubris against him is the perfect way to win the match. I would have liked to see Virgil go to the booth and celebrate with Piper a little. Really good match for having a career non-wrestler in it. Very emotional, which is a component of wrestling that I think gets ignored in favor of the more physical aspect of things.

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The  storyline of Virgil finally gets his payback after being DiBiase's servant for years has concluded.  Virgil's big moment is the result of DiBiase carrying him to a fun match, with Roddy Piper helping things out by putting in a fantastic colour commentary job egging Virgil on. Virgil wasn't terrible, he just wasn't interesting in any way. He wasn't particularly emotive and most of his stuff was completely fine. Sherri gets involved, and gets this one thrown out, but Earl Hebner calls for the match to restart. The match wasn't anything too special, but the emotion, shenanigans and the hot MSG crowd really up this one up a notch.

★★★¼

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