Rock Star Gary reflects on…WWF Wrestlefest ’88

Live from Milwaukee, WI

Airdate: July 31, 1988

Attendance:  25,866

Hosted by Sean Mooney, Lord Alfred Hayes, and “Superstar” Billy Graham

This is the Coliseum Home Video version from Milwaukee County Stadium, former home to the Brewers and occasionally the Green Bay Packers.

Match 1: The Fabulous Rougeaus versus the Killer Bees

Highlights:

  • After a leap frog, Jacques gave Blair a monkey flip.
  • To combat Jacques’ cockiness, Blair clotheslined him.
  • Shortly after, the Rougeaus broke the wishbone on Brunzell. OUCH!
  • Not to be outdone, the Bees returned the favor to Raymond.
  • Jacques tagged in, helped his brother stretch his hamstrings, but got rolled up by Blair for 2.
  • Blair then hooked a Boston crab on Jacques until Raymond interfered.
  • Raymond tagged in and applied a Boston crab to Blair.
  • Blair escaped and then hooked a full nelson on Raymond, but Jacques faked interference causing Blair to release the hold.
  • After some quick tags by the Rougeaus while working on Blair’s back, Jacques came in and applied an abdominal stretch.
  • Raymond tagged in and delivered a spinning savate kick to Blair for 2.
  • Upon giving Blair a whip to the corner, Raymond tried a monkey flip, but Blair countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Brunzell tagged in, gave Jacques a cross corner whip, and monkey-flipped him.
  • Following a back drop, Brunzell gave the Rougeaus a double noggin knocker.
  • He then applied the figure-four leg lock, but Raymond made the save.
  • After Jacques missed a haymaker, Brunzell gave him an atomic drop.
  • When Jacques mistakenly went to the wrong corner, Blair rang his bell.
  • Brunzell then nailed Jacques with his patented dropkick. Wow!
  • That only got 2 because Raymond made the save.
  • Brunzell then tried to slam Jacques, but Raymond nailed him landing Jacques on top.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Do the Bees beat ANYBODY without using the mask trick?

Rating: **

Summary:  While the Bees’ goose is cooked, the Rougeaus move up the ladder.

Match 2: Bad News Brown versus Bret “Hitman” Hart

Highlights:

  • Can Bret get revenge for getting screwed at WrestleMania IV?
  • After Brown gave Bret a cross-corner whip, Bret floated over and gave Brown the business.
  • Upon slamming Brown, Bret delivered a forearm smash.
  • Shortly after, he gave Brown a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Brown then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Bret was playing possum and slammed Brown down to the mat.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle, delivered another forearm smash, and got 2.
  • After a snap suplex, Bret gave Brown a leg drop and got another 2.
  • Next, he attempted a backbreaker, but Brown raked his eyes.
  • Bret then reversed a cross-corner whip, but Brown wiped him out with a clothesline.
  • Brown then attempted the Ghetto Blaster (enziguri), but Bret ducked.
  • Brown then charged, but Bret gave him a back drop over the top rope to the mats covering the grass.
  • Bret then delivered a plancha. Oh my!
  • Back in the ring, Brown reversed an Irish whip, but Bret hit a cross body block.
  • Brown sent Bret out of the ring with an immediate kick-out, so Bret used the top rope as a slingshot for a sunset flip and got 2.
  • After a backbreaker, Bret got another 2.
  • Upon giving Brown a shot to the midsection, Bret rolled him up and almost got 3.
  • Notwithstanding, Brown reversed the rollup, grabbed the tights, and got the pin.

Rating: ***

Summary:  While Bret supplied the highlights, Brown stole the match in a pretty solid encounter. Despite Bret’s having the crowd behind him and fantastic style, he wasn’t going to derail the freighter known as Bad News Brown here.

After the match, Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart comes to the ring to dispute the decision. Hart then comes around the ring to nail Brown. As Brown crawls into the ring to escape, Neidhart nails him as well.

Prior to the next match, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Honkytonk Man with Hart. Did you know he’s the “greatest Intercontinental champion of all time?” If not, he’ll tell you.

Match 3 for the WWF Intercontinental title: The Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

Highlights:

  • Did Graham just mispronounce Duggan’s name as “doo-gan?” Perhaps he thought this guy was wrestling?
  • After a cross-corner whip, Duggan gave Honkytonk Man a ten-punch count-along.
  • He followed that with a ten-top-turnbuckle count-along. I didn’t think people from Milwaukee could count that high. Just kidding, I’ll take a cold Leinie and a brat please.
  • Nonetheless, after a clothesline by Duggan, Honkytonk Man exited the ring to regroup.
  • Unfortunately for the champion, Duggan gave both Honkytonk Man and Hart a double noggin knocker.
  • While Honkytonk Man distracted referee Dave Hebner, Hart choked Duggan.
  • Duggan came back with a back elbow off the ropes.
  • Upon giving Honkytonk Man another cross-corner whip, Duggan delivered another clothesline.
  • As he signaled for the three-point stance, Hart grabbed his boot to thwart his progress.
  • Hebner called for the bell disqualifying Honkytonk Man.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  If you want zero technical wrestling but need a crowd riled up, call good ol’ Hacksaw!

After the match, Duggan chases Hart around the ring until they enter the ring. Duggan wisely ducks a decapitation attempt by Honkytonk Man with his guitar. He then grabs his 2×4 and chases Honkytonk Man from the ring.

But Duggan wasn’t finished! He grabs Hart and tosses him in the ring. Behind him, Honkytonk Man tries to nail Duggan again with the guitar but misses. Duggan stands tall in the ring as Honkytonk Man escapes with his title once again. Before leaving, Duggan demolishes the guitar. Metal heads, rejoice!

Match 4: The Powers of Pain versus the Bolsheviks

Highlights:

  • Holy promotion defections, Batman! Not too long ago, the Powers of Pain were on TBS affiliated with Jim Crockett Promotions.
  • To create nuclear heat, Volkoff sang the Soviet national anthem.
  • As the bell rang, the Powers of Pain ambushed the Bolsheviks and cleared them from the ring.
  • Upon missing a clothesline, Barbarian gave Zhukov a powerslam for only 2 thanks to a save by Volkoff.
  • Warlord tagged in and fought a test of strength with Volkoff until Zhukov mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom behind referee Joey Marella’s back.
  • Again, Barbarian distracted Marella so Zhukov tried to lower the boom but hit Volkoff instead.
  • After Warlord gave the Bolsheviks a double noggin knocker, Barbarian tagged in, gave Zhukov a cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • The Bolsheviks tried to double-team Barbarian but ate a double clothesline.
  • Warlord tagged in and gave Zhukov a back drop.
  • He then slammed both Bolsheviks as all four men were in the ring.
  • After the Powers of Pain whip the Bolsheviks into one another, Barbarian gave Volkoff a Mafia kick sending him to the mats below.
  • Upon tagging Barbarian, Warlord gave Zhukov a powerslam.
  • Barbarian then mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the diving head butt, and got the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Good WWF début for the Powers of Pain; however, they would have made more money against the Road Warriors.

Match 5: “Leaping” Lanny Poffo versus Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

Highlights:

  • Before the match began, Poffo recited a poem dedicated to Milwaukee. He then tossed some Frisbees to them.
  • After a slam, Poffo mounted the top turnbuckle, tried the moonsault, but hit knees.
  • Neidhart then guillotined Poffo using the top rope.
  • As Neidhart reversed an Irish whip, Poffo gave him a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • After giving Poffo a cross-corner whip, Neidhart came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Poffo then tried a cross body block, but Neidhart countered with a powerslam for the pin.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Showcase match for Neidhart. Why was this on the tape? Regardless, I’m sure Poffo enjoyed the royalties.

Match 6: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus “Ravishing” Rick Rude

Highlights:

  • This match derived from Rude’s shenanigans here (aired 4/23, taped 4/19).
  • Before the match began, Rude addressed the Milwaukee faithful as only he could.
  • Roberts snuck up from behind Rude and nailed him.
  • After a chase around the ring, Roberts nailed Rude in the midsection twice then gave Rude a gutbuster causing Rude to seek refuge outside the ring.
  • Upon his return, he reversed an Irish whip, leaped over Roberts, but ate a right hand.
  • Again, Rude exited the ring to regroup.
  • He came back, nailed Roberts, and posed for the ladies in the crowd.
  • Roberts then tried the DDT, but Rude escaped.
  • After Roberts escaped a reverse chin lock, Rude clotheslined him.
  • Upon delivering a forearm smash, Rude only got 2 thanks to Roberts’ foot on the bottom rope.
  • Rude reapplied the reverse chin lock with aid from the bottom rope.
  • After Roberts escaped, he gave Rude a cross-corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Rude then snuck around the ring post in order to guillotine Roberts using the top rope.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a knee drop.
  • Nonchalantly, he covered Roberts while posing until Roberts countered and got 2.
  • After a forearm shot, Rude mounted the top turnbuckle again, but Roberts caught and crotched him.
  • As Rude reversed an Irish whip, Roberts gave him a knee lift and signaled for the DDT.
  • Upon his second attempt, Rude hooked the top rope to block.
  • Roberts then pulled Rude by the tights as a full moon hung over the ballpark much to the ladies’ delight.
  • As Roberts set up for the DDT yet again, Rude threw the referee down as Roberts hit his move.
  • With the referee OUT COLD, Roberts clotheslined Rude over the top rope to the mats below.
  • Rude tried to leave, but Roberts nailed him from behind.
  • Afterward, both wrestlers were counted out. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Obviously, this feud is not over. While each wrestler either incited or excited the crowd in his own manner, Rude brought the wrestling to an acceptable level.

After the match, Rude shoves Roberts directly into the ring post. Upon his recovery, Roberts retrieves Damian from the bag and wraps it around Rude. Before Damian could choke him out, Rude heads for higher ground.

Match 7 (weasel suit): The Ultimate Warrior versus Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Highlights:

  • Time for a gimmick match!
  • Heenan stalled outside the ring until Warrior grabbed both arms and pulled him into the ring post.
  • Heenan then tried to play cat-and-mouse with Warrior, but Warrior hid on one side of the ring and nailed Heenan when he fell into Warrior’s trap.
  • Back in the ring, Warrior gave Heenan the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • As Heenan reached for a foreign object, he called Warrior a son of a bitch. So much for family entertainment.
  • He then nailed Warrior with the object several times and hid it carefully.
  • Warrior came back with a cross-corner whip that resulted in a Heenan flip.
  • Make that 2.
  • After a third cross-corner whip that resulted in a sternum-first bump for Heenan, Warrior applied the sleeper.
  • Warrior won.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  I’ll give it ½* for the entertainment.

After the match, Warrior puts the weasel suit on Heenan who is OUT COLD as the Milwaukee faithful chants “weasel.” When Heenan revives, he realizes that he’s wearing the weasel suit and chases his tail. As he disrobes, the crowd continues to chant “weasel.” Give credit to Heenan for dedicating himself to the gimmick.

Match 8 for the WWF tag team titles: Demolition (champions w/ Mr. Fuji) versus the British Bulldogs

Highlights:

  • Smash gave Smith a cross-corner whip, but Smith hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • The Kid tagged in, and the Bulldogs gave Smash a double head butt.
  • Ax tagged in and decimated the Kid’s back with a series of double axe handles.
  • The Kid then countered a back drop attempt with a head butt.
  • After an initial shoulder block from the Kid didn’t budge Ax, he tried a second one only to receive a slam.
  • Smash tagged in as Demolition continued their destruction of the Kid’s back with double axe handles.
  • Shortly after, the Kid hooked Smash in an inside cradle but only got 2.
  • Smash came back with a vertical suplex to the Kid.
  • As Ax tagged in and tossed the Kid outside the ring, he baited Smith to distract the referee. In the meantime, Smash rammed the Kid face-first into the apron.
  • Smash tagged in and applied a bear hug to the Kid.
  • To break the hold, Smith nailed Smash in the back.
  • Ax then gave the Kid a cross-corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
  • Hot tag Smith.
  • Upon giving Ax a back drop, Smith got 2.
  • The Kid tagged in and clotheslined Smash.
  • He then gave Smash a snap suplex but only got 2.
  • After the Bulldogs gave Smash a cross-corner whip resulting in a sternum-first bump, Smith pressed the Kid overhead for a diving head butt for only 2 thanks to a save by Ax.
  • All four men were in the ring as Fuji got up on the apron.
  • As the Kid had Smash tied up like a pretzel, Ax grabbed Fuji’s cane and nailed him with it. The referee had been distracted by Smith’s manhandling of Fuji.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The champs retained.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Similar to the Honkytonk Man, the champions found a means to keep their titles albeit with chicanery.

Match 9: Dino Bravo versus Ken Patera

Highlights:

  • Just in time for this year’s event, Patera’s entrance music was the Olympic theme.
  • This match was the pure definition of a popcorn Pass the salt!
  • Nevertheless, upon hip-tossing Bravo out of his ring jacket, Patera choked him with it.
  • He then gave Bravo a back drop followed by an elbow smash sending Bravo to the apron.
  • Next, he slammed Bravo back into the ring, delivered an elbow drop, and got 2.
  • Bravo came back with an inverted atomic drop and an elbow drop.
  • Patera then reversed a cross-corner whip and gave Bravo a clothesline.
  • After a back elbow, Patera delivered another elbow drop for 2.
  • Following that, he hooked Bravo in an inside cradle for another 2.
  • After a cross-corner whip, Patera came up empty on his follow-through then ate a clothesline.
  • Bravo then delivered the sidewalk slam and got the pin.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Showcase match for Bravo as Patera looked to be jobbing his way out of the WWF.

Match 10 (steel cage): Hulk Hogan versus André the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • As André entered the cage, the Milwaukee faithful chanted “Hogan.”
  • André choked Hogan then used the ripped t-shirt to inflict further damage.
  • He then tried to ram Hogan into the cage, but Hogan blocked it.
  • Smartly, André tied Hogan’s head to the cage with the t-shirt.
  • When Heenan motioned André toward the door, André tried to escape, but Hogan freed himself and caught him in the nick of time.
  • André then applied a bear hug, but Hogan escaped with double axe handles.
  • When Hogan tried to escape over the top, André nailed him in the back sending Hogan crashing to the mat.
  • André then delivered an elbow drop, tried to escape, but Hogan caught him again.
  • As Hogan held a reverse chin lock, André untied the top turnbuckle.
  • He then rammed Hogan face-first into the exposed turnbuckle.
  • Upon receiving a bite to the head, Hogan was BUSTED OPEN!
  • André then delivered a head butt and rammed Hogan face-first into the cage.
  • André tried to escape again, but Hogan grabbed him by the boot.
  • After ducking a big boot, Hogan nailed André.
  • He then gave André a clothesline sending him down to the mat.
  • As he hit the leg drop, Heenan entered the cage and nailed Hogan.
  • Hogan retaliated as André tried to escape over the top.
  • As Hogan caught him, André got tied up in the ropes.
  • Hogan then rammed Heenan face-first into the cage.
  • He then climbed out of the cage and won the match.

Rating: **

Summary:  A rare blade job from Hogan couldn’t boost this match much.

After the match, Hogan poses at ringside.

Matches missing from the video:

Big Boss Man pinned Scott Casey.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake beat Hercules.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage retained the WWF title by beating the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.

Curt Hennig pinned Terry Taylor.

Haku more than likely destroyed Sam Houston.

Conclusion:  Fun show with a couple of good matches (Hart-Brown, tag title match). Since Hogan and Savage both attained clean victories over their adversaries, what could the WWF have in store for us next?

Stay tuned for WWF Summerslam ‘88!

Rating: NONE

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