June 25, 1988
From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY
Your hosts are Rodger Kent, Superstar Billy Graham, and Lord Alfred Hayes. This was Kent’s last appearance as an announcer.
Scott Casey vs. Big Bossman
This is Bossman’s MSG debut. Graham does not think that Bossman should be able to dress in his prison guard gear then rags on him for being fat and not in shape like Scott Casey. Yes, he used Scott Casey as an example here. Casey stalls as the ref takes off Bossman’s badge. Casey works the arm to start. Bossman backs Casey into the corner and hammers away then catches him in a bearhug. Casey breaks the hold by grabbing the ropes then the Bossman beats him down. He catches Casey with a backbreaker before applying a surfboard. Casey breaks that up then slides underneath Bossman before jumping on his back to apply a sleeper hold. Bossman breaks out but misses a charge in the corner and ends up crotching himself on the top rope. Casey uses a few Polish Hammers then gets a nearfall with a crossbody. Bossman then reverses an Irish whip and catches Casey with one sorry-looking sidewalk slam for the win (7:45) *. After the match, Bossman handcuffs Casey to the ropes and beats him with his nightstick.
Thoughts: The match stunk but Bossman looked relatively strong here and the post-match gimmick is effective. For a newcomer, Bossman is starting to come along as a threat, even if the in-ring part is a work in progress.
The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. The Conquistadores
The crowd boos the Rougeaus, who are sporting new, long tights. Raymond and #1 start off the match. Raymond catches #1 with a slam then both men tag out. Jacques poses after flipping over #2 and gets booed. The Rougeaus work over #2 quite aggressively as Graham does not approve. #1 pulls down the ropes on Jacques as he spills outside. Jacques rolls inside as the Conquistadores cut off the ring. Jacques manages a sunset flip but #2 runs in to break it up with a knee to the head as #1 then applies a nerve hold. Raymond is on the apron attempting to rally the crowd behind his brother but it fails. Jacques gets hit with a double clothesline behind the referee’s back then #1 re-applies the nerve hold. Jacques fights out and sends #1 to the floor with a dropkick. #1 runs back in to cut off a tag attempt then yet again, goes back to the nerve hold. The crowd then actually starts to rally behind Jacques, who dodges an attack then makes the tag. Raymond runs wild as the crowd is behind him. The Rougeaus are using quick tags and double-team moves then the match breaks down until the Rougeaus put #2 away with the Rougeau Bomb (11:35) **. They got a loud pop for the win as Hayes tries to act like they are not happening by claiming to see many people “sitting on their hands” in the crowd.
Thoughts: Amazingly enough, the Rougeaus were over huge by the end of this match. Then again, they were more enjoyable leading up to their heel turn than they were as a bland, generic babyface act. The heat segment on the Rougeaus was really dull but the rest was fine.
No Disqualification Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. George “The Animal” Steele
This match was made at the last MSG show when Steele lost by DQ after chasing Valentine away with the timekeeper’s hammer. Steele comes out holding his Mine doll. Valentine tries a sneak attack as Steele ties Mine in ropes but that fails. Steele knocks down Valentine, who rolls outside. Valentine drags Steeele outside and slams his head off of a chair as Graham voices his displeasure with Valentine for ending his career. Back inside, Steele knocks Valentine down then plays with his doll but Valentine takes him outside again and roughs him up. Steele tosses a chair into the ring then protects his doll and yells at Valentine while the crowd is actually eating this up. Steele ends up biting Valentine’s leg then goes nuts after Valentine kicks his doll. Steele pulls out a foreign object and lands a few shots. Steele then misses a charge in the corner as Valentine hammers away. Valentine hits a double axe handle then tries the figure-four but Steele breaks that up. Steele then boots Valentine into the corner but Valentine unties the doll and starts stomping it then tosses it outside. Steele limps over to knock down Valentine and chases after his doll but gets attacked from behind. Steele crawls inside with the doll then Finkel heads inside to let us know that Steele won by countout (6:35) DUD. The crowd seems quite confused and does not even react.
Thoughts: This had some heat at the beginning but the match revolved around the Mine doll and they ended up losing the crowd. The ending was just awful too. Vince really wanted to push the Mine doll at this time and that was the key storyline here.
“Dangerous” Danny Davis vs. Don “The Rock” Muraco
Muraco immediately clears Davis from the ring as Graham talks about loving Muraco like a brother. Davis stalls for a bit then Muraco starts toying with him as Graham hypes up Muraco for being even better than a brother and capable of lifting 1,000 lbs on his back. Muraco no-sells a few punches in the corner but gets thumbed in the eye as Davis takes control. Davis lands a few uppercuts and uses some other basic heel tactics before Muraco starts fighting back. Davis bails then struts around but Muraco drags him by the hair onto the apron. Davis knocks Muraco down but gets caught trying a crossbody as Muraco holds up Davis for the tombstone and points to the crowd, who are going crazy, but Valentine runs in and attacks Davis from behind for the DQ (7:06) 3/4*. Valentine continues to hammer away as Graham is unable to help out due to his injuries but keeps trying to get up. Valentine runs over and kicks Graham down as Muraco is able to chase him away. Muraco then helps up Graham, who is in a lot of pain. Muraco then gets into the ring and starts flexing.
Thoughts: They really tried to heat up the Valentine/Muraco feud. Muraco’s physique was something else at this point. He barely even looked human. The match itself was forgettable and Davis has been a complete afterthought for several months.
One Man Gang vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
The crowd is rabid for Duggan as Graham wants to grab his 2×4 to attack Greg Valentine. Both men are face-to-face then Duggan wins a slugfest. He knocks Gang down as the crowd goes nuts. Gang then backs Duggan into the corner but ends up eating a clothesline. Duggan knocks Gang down again after several strikes then stomps away in the corner. Gang stops Duggan with an eye rake as he finally takes control of the match. Gang works the arm for a bit then pounds on Duggan against the ropes. Gang goes back to the arm then starts hammering away with forearm smashes. He sends Duggan to the mat with a back elbow smash but misses an elbow drop. Duggan rolls away from a fist drop then starts fighting back. He knocks Gang into the corner then avoids a charge and hits Gang with the Three Point Stance and the win (9:49) **1/4.
Thoughts: I actually thought the match was fairly decent. There was some nice brawling here and at one point while both guys appeared gassed, they came back and traded some hard strikes. Maybe I overrated this a bit due to the other garbage before the match. This gives Duggan a key win heading into next month’s MSG show, which we will learn about later on in the show.
Lord Alfred Hayes is backstage with the pre-recorded interviews. We hear Bobby Heenan talk about his weasel suit match against the Ultimate Warrior as Don Muraco talks about Greg Valentine. The Rougeaus come out to introduce themselves then talk about how they never cheat and will sleep well tonight because they won fair and square. The Ultimate Warrior also cuts a psychotic promo on Heenan.
Andre the Giant vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Heenan walked Andre to the ring but had to leave once the match started as the announcers said it was a rule instituted by WWF President Jack Tunney. Andre chokes out Bigelow to start. This lasts for a while. Andre continues to beat on Bigelow, who finally lands some offense as he hits a clothesline that ties up Andre in the ropes. Bigelow hammers away then shakes Andre in the ropes before landing more shots to the head. Andre escapes then puts Bigelow in a bearhug for a couple of minutes. Andre is on his knees applying the hold as Bigelow tries to escape. Andre drops Bigelow down then kicks him a few times. Bigelow tries to fight back but runs into a boot in the corner before Andre puts him away with an elbow drop (9:49) 1/4*. After the match, Andre uses his shoulder strap to choke out Bigelow until Duggan runs out for the save. Duggan then checks on Bigelow before challenging Andre to a match next month.
Thoughts: A whole lot of stalling here. Bigelow is now just an afterthought. He barely got in any offense at all and was clearly presented as below Duggan here. This was really just used to further along the Duggan/Andre feud and set up their match for next month.
Weasel Suit Match: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Ultimate Warrior
Warrior gets a good pop coming out as Graham notes he can win the Mr. Olympia Contest. Heenan attacks Warrior from behind but it has no effect. Heenan runs away from Warrior, who chases him around, as Heenan is petrified. Warrior outsmarts Heenan by hiding on the floor and tosses him back into the ring. Heenan pulls out a foreign object and hits Warrior in the throat. Heenan lands a few more shots with the object until the Warrior blocks an attack and chops Heenan down. Warrior repatedly sends Heenan into the corner as Heenan takes his over-exaggerated bumps. Warrior locks on a sleeper and ends up getting the win (5:30) 1/2*. After the match, Warrior puts Heenan in the Weasel Suit as Hayes is losing it on commentary. In fact Hayes says he has never seen anything that good in his life and cannot stop laughing.
Thoughts: Heenan bumping like a lunatic here was the only thing good about this comedy match. It was all stalling and chasing. However, Lord Alfred laughing like a lunatic over Heenan wearing the weasel suit was just wonderful.
Bad News Brown vs. Jim Neidhart
Bad News berates the crowd before the match then runs down the Hart Foundation until Neidhart runs out and attacks him. Bad News rolls outside after getting hit with a dropkick but the crowd remains silent. Back inside, Neidhart bites Bad News and runs his face along the ropes. He backdrops Bad News and chokes him out on the mat as the fans are silent, likely due to the fact Neidhart officially turned face on TV less than a week ago and is using all heel tactics here. Neidhart uses a chinlock as this match is just dying in front of the crowd. Bad News takes control after hitting a low blow. Bad News sends Neidhart outside then hits him in the ribs with a chair. Back inside, Bad News hits a slam then hits a leg drop for two as Neidhart shoves Bad News off then fires away until he runs into a clothesline. Bad News hammers away after a chinlock as some of the crowd starts an “Anvil” chant. That did not catch on with the rest of the crowd. Neidhart fights back then applies a bearhug. Bad News gets out but misses a fist drop from the top. Neidhart hammers away then knocks Bad News to the floor with a shoulder block. Bad News drags Neidhart outside and rams him into the post. Back inside, Bad News hits the Ghetto Blaster as that sends Neidhart to the floor. Neidhart is out cold and ends up getting counted out as Bad News gets the win (16:23) *1/2. After the match, Bad News cuts off Finkel and lets everyone know what will happen if you face him but Neidhart runs in for the attack. Bad News rolls outside after getting slammed and leaves as Neidhart holds the back of his head.
Thoughts: This match went on for far too long. Neidhart turned face just one week prior and last month at MSG was wrestling as a heel against Muraco then add to the fact he was using heel tactics and its no wonder why the crowd barely reacted. The work here wasnt that bad or anything but it was a heatless match that went over 16 minutes long.
Finkel runs down next month’s card on July 25th as the crew assembles the steel cage for the main event. We will see Lanny Poffo vs. Terry Taylor, in his MSG debut. Plus, the Rougeau Brothers vs. The Rockers (MSG Debut), the “New King” vs. Junkyard Dog (JYD was subbed by SD Jones, Danny Davis vs. Bret Hart, Bolsheviks vs. Powers of Pain, in their MSG debut as well. Also, Greg Valentine vs. Don Muraco and Demolition vs. British Bulldogs for the Tag Team Titles. And, the main event, will be Andre the Giant vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a Lumberjack Match. The Lumberjack Stipulation did not get much crowd reaction at all.
Before the main event, Graham claims that Randy Savage came up and asked for advice as this was his first title defense inside of a steel cage. Graham said he told Savage to go in with “nerves of steel” and that everything is on the line. They seemed to really be reaching to fill time here as Graham rambled on for a while before we got the backstage interviews with DiBiase and Savage.
Steel Cage Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Title: “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) w/ Elizabeth
DiBiase immediately attacks Savage. He hammers away until Savage fights back and drops an elbow. The action is fast-paced as neither man can gain an advantage. Savage pulls DiBiase off the cage as he attempted to climb out and rams his head into the turnbuckle. DBiase kicks Savage in the face then takes control. He hits a backbreaker then tries to climb out but Savage stops him. DiBiase blocks a turnbuckle smash then starts firing away in the corner. DiBiase grinds Savage’s face into the cage then climbs halfway up but Savage pulls him down as DiBiase is hanging upside down. Savage climbs up but Virgil climbs from the outside and is able to knock Savage down. DiBiase hammers away on Savage but gets run into the cage as both men are down. They fight in the corner as they both are trying to escape from the cage then end up down on the mat after a double clothesline spot. Savage crawls over to the door with encouragement from Elizabeth. Savage is halfway out as the referee opens the door but DiBiase is able to pull Savage back into the cage. They work another double clothesline then get up and climb opposite sides of the cage. Virgil climbs up to cut off Savage then DiBiase climbs down for some reason and runs over to attack Savage as Hayes tells us he did that because his legs were weak. The whole sequence came off as idiotic. Savage blocks a suplex and hits one of his own then sends DiBiase into the cage with an atomic drop. Savage crawls over to the cage but Virgil slams the door on his head. DiBiase tries to climb out and is almost there but Savage pulls him inside. They are now trading punches from their knees then Savage runs DiBiase into the cage. Savage climbs up but Virgil does as well and blocks him. Then, a young fan runs out from the crowd and climbs the cage as he gets pulled down by security. DiBiase attempts to climb out too then Savage rams their heads together with a double noggin-knocker and climbs out for the win as the crowd goes mental (12:20) ****.
Thoughts: This match was awesome and the crowd was wild. That kid who climbed the cage near all three guys had a lot of balls to do what he did. He’s lucky security pulled him off before one of the wrestlers destroyed him. And, the psychology with both guys doing everything they can to get the title and destroy one another was great. However, the one spot when both guys were climbing opposite sides of the cage and DiBiase decided to climb down to give Savage a suplex was just terrible. It made DiBiase look like a moron, which is not good for his character. Anyway, I havent seen an MSG crowd this rabid for a main event in months and a perfect way to close out a show.
Final Thoughts: The main event was great but the rest of the card was garbage. The undercard for the post-WrestleMania IV house shows were really weak. And most of the midcard feuds were uninspired between stale acts. Plus, this commentary team makes what we see today seem like Monsoon/Heenan in their prime. Overall, seek out Savage vs. DiBiase (which can be found on the “Macho Madness” DVD’s and “Greatest Steel Cage Match Collection”) and skip the rest.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling TV 12/3/81
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 6/26/88
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 7/2/88
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 7/3/88
Wednesday: RoH Supercard of Honor X, Night Two 4/2/16
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 7/9/88
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