The inaugural SummerSlam pay-per-view in 1988 is perhaps most memorable for The Ultimate Warrior’s victory of the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Warrior dethroned The Honky Tonk Man to lift the title – his first in the then-World Wrestling Federation – in a matter of seconds.
He wasn’t the original choice to end HTM’s historic reign, though. That was actually Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake. Beefcake was reportedly due to get the championship, resulting in a months-long storyline, as had already been ongoing on house shows heading into the event, that would have seen the pair of WWE Hall of Famers regularly featured in upper mid-card spots. That was, until, The Ultimate Warrior had what was described as a “tantrum”.
The Honky Tonk Man Was Furious With Changed SummerSlam Plans
Speaking with Wrestling Shoot Interviews, Brutus Beefcake discussed the match, explaining how “mad” The Honky Tonk Man was as a result. Allegedly, this is what led to the legendary Superstar’s 31-second loss:
“Honky knew I was getting the belt. Honky also knew that once he dropped the belt to me, we were gonna get another four, five-month run around the territory with him chasing the belt. So what it meant for both of us, main events semi-mains, whatever. Good money. Real good money.
And by changing it at the last second because Warrior, whatever, threw a tantrum and said he was gonna quit if he didn’t get the belt. Honky was so mad. That’s why he dropped the belt in ten seconds.”
The Ultimate Warrior ultimately held the WWF Intercontinental Championship for 216 days. He was felled by Rick Rude at WrestleMania V the following April.
Without involvement in the Intercontinental Championship scene at SummerSlam 1988, Brutus Beefcake instead went on a streak of matches vs. the late Ron Bass on the live event circuit.