Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Summerslam ’88

Sorry for the grainy photo…like the original recording, it existed on videotape. Unlike the tape, the photo got lost in the shuffle when it came to remastering.

Live from New York, NY

Airdate: August 29, 1988

Attendance:  20,000

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and “Superstar” Billy Graham

Match 1: The British Bulldogs versus the Rougeaus

Highlights:

  • Upon their entrance, the Bulldogs, including Mathilda, cleared the Rougeaus from the ring.
  • Once the Rougeaus returned, Smith gave Jacques the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • Raymond tagged in, gave Smith a cross-corner whip, and delivered a monkey flip.
  • Fortunately for Smith, he landed on his feet.
  • The Kid tagged in and the Bulldogs delivered a double head butt.
  • After a leap frog by Raymond, he set up for another monkey flip but received a head butt from the Kid instead.
  • Smith tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Raymond.
  • Raymond then reversed an Irish whip but fell victim to a sunset flip for 2.
  • After a clothesline by the Kid, Smith received a sunset flip by Raymond for 2.
  • Shortly after, the Bulldogs nailed Raymond simultaneously for 2.
  • On the other hand, as Smith came off the ropes, Jacques tripped him.
  • Later on, the Rougeaus broke the wishbone on Smith.
  • Jacques then delivered a senton to Smith’s left leg.
  • As the Kid distracted referee Joey Marella, the Rougeaus broke the wishbone on Smith again.
  • After a back drop by Raymond, Jacques tagged in and applied a spinning toe hold.
  • To counter, Smith hooked an inside cradle and got 2.
  • After Raymond tagged in and continued to work on Smith’s leg, Smith countered again with a monkey flip.
  • The Kid tagged in and gave Raymond a cross-corner whip followed by a snap suplex.
  • Upon delivering an elbow drop and a diving head butt, the Kid got 2.
  • Next, he gave Raymond a belly-to-back suplex for 2 due to a foot on the bottom rope.
  • The Kid then tossed Raymond outside the ring.
  • While the Kid distracted Marella again, Smith made Raymond taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the biscuit cheeseburger at Jacob’s Pickles.
  • Back in the ring, Smith tagged in, delivered a head butt, and followed with the running powerslam.
  • Before a count could be made, Jacques made the save.
  • As the Kid set up for the ten-punch count-along, Jacques snuck in and gave him a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Jacques tagged in and slammed the Kid.
  • After a knee drop, he got 2.
  • Raymond tagged in and assisted Jacques with a backbreaker to the Kid.
  • Jacques returned and hooked an abdominal stretch on the Kid, but Smith came in to save his partner.
  • Sans tag, Raymond applied another abdominal stretch, but the Kid hip-tossed him to escape.
  • Jacques tagged in and gave the Kid a splash but only got 2.
  • As Smith distracted Marella, Raymond came in and nailed the Kid.
  • Due to another distraction of Marella by Smith, the Kid hooked an inside cradle on Jacques and only got 2.
  • Yet again, Jacques applied the abdominal stretch to the Kid, but Raymond tagged in and hit a sweet savate kick to the Kid. He then shot the half and got 2.
  • False tag occurred as Jacques distracted Marella. Methinks Joey likes shiny objects.
  • Nevertheless, the Kid came back with a head butt and tagged Smith.
  • Speaking of Smith, he tried a dropkick but came up empty.
  • However, he reversed an Irish whip and gave Jacques a military press then crotched him on the top rope. Isn’t that a DQ? That wasn’t inadvertent, Monsoon!
  • As Smith made the cover, Raymond tried to save his partner but nailed him instead.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • After the Bulldogs gave the Rougeaus a double noggin knocker, Smith then vaulted the Kid and launched him for a diving head butt.
  • While Raymond distracted Marella, the bell rang.
  • Time-limit draw. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Very entertaining opener, but a finish would have garnished it tremendously.

After the match, the Rougeaus nail the Bulldogs, but when the Bulldogs attempt to retaliate, the Rougeaus flee faster than the French during WWII. Anyway, the Bulldogs then chase them backstage.

According to Monsoon, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake cannot compete tonight due to the actions of “Outlaw” Ron Bass (aired 8/27, taped 8/3). On the PPV, a big red X partially distorted the screen, but you could still tell that Beefcake was BUSTED OPEN.

Match 2: Ken Patera versus Bad News Brown

Highlights:

  • Just like at WrestleFest ’88, Patera came to the ring to the Olympic theme.
  • Having zero patriotism, Brown attacked Patera immediately.
  • After a slam, Brown delivered an elbow smash.
  • Upon giving Patera a cross-corner whip, Brown received an explosive clothesline.
  • Patera then gave Brown a back elbow followed by a slam but missed an elbow drop.
  • After giving Patera a head butt, Brown delivered a chop off the ropes.
  • Patera came back with a pair of elbow smashes, executed an amateur takedown, but only got 1.
  • He then delivered a clothesline followed by an elbow drop but only got another 1.
  • Upon delivering a backbreaker, Patera got 2.
  • He then hooked an inside cradle but only got 1.
  • Next, he applied a bear hug until Brown raked the eyes to break it.
  • Patera then attempted the full nelson, but Brown made the ropes.
  • Afterward, he mounted the second turnbuckle and pounded Brown’s back.
  • Again, he applied the full nelson, but Brown made the ropes.
  • They screwed up a cross-corner whip, so Patera gave Brown another one but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Brown then delivered the Ghetto Blaster and got the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Despite the lack of offense in this match, Brown’s rocket ship continues to soar while Patera’s boat sinks.

Promo for Sugar Ray Leonard- Donny Lalonde fight on 11/7 airs. Get your tickets now!

Backstage, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the MegaPowers with Elizabeth. No interview between them is the same without the awesome exaggerated handshake.

Match 3: Junkyard Dog versus “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • Rude got on the microphone and addressed the New York City “sweathogs” as only he can.
  • As Heenan removed Rude’s robe, JYD’s picture was airbrushed on Rude’s tights.
  • After Rude attacked him at the bell, JYD reversed an Irish whip and delivered a back drop.
  • JYD then headbutted him out of the ring.
  • Following that, he brought Rude in, nailed him in the midsection, but missed a diving head butt.
  • After a clothesline, Rude mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle.
  • JYD came back with a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • After a forearm smash, Rude got 2.
  • Upon getting distracted by Heenan, JYD received a side Russian leg sweep.
  • Rude again mounted the top turnbuckle, pulled down his tights to reveal the ones bearing Cheryl Roberts, and hit a fist drop.
  • As you would expect, Jake Roberts hit the ring and nailed Rude.
  • Consequently, referee Tim White called for the bell.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Rude had his wrestling boots on trying to carry JYD here. Yet, obviously, the Rude-Roberts house show circuit was ongoing so the finish seemed telegraphed.

After the match, Roberts clotheslines Rude over the top rope to the floor.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Honkytonk Man with Hart. Being the consummate gossipmonger, Okerlund tries to reveal his opponent, but Honkytonk Man wants the world to be as surprised as he will be. Famous last words.

Match 4: The Powers of Pain (w/ the Baron) versus the Bolsheviks (w/ Slick)

Highlights:

  • After Slick got on the microphone to denigrate the MSG faithful, Volkoff sang the Soviet national anthem to nuclear heat. It would fizzle quickly, however.
  • With their new manager, the Powers of Pain hit the ring and ambushed the Bolsheviks. I don’t think Von Raschke, even with face paint, was totally bitchin’ for the kids in 1988. In fact, he may have been quite gnarly.
  • Nonetheless, the Bolsheviks tried to ram the Powers of Pain into one another, but Warlord reversed Zhukov’s whip. Subsequently, Barbarian gave Zhukov a back elbow.
  • After Volkoff tripped Barbarian, Zhukov missed an elbow drop.
  • As the Powers of Pain delivered a double clothesline to Zhukov, Barbarian nailed Volkoff while Warlord held him.
  • Upon making Zhukov eat a pair of top turnbuckles, Warlord gave him a fist drop for 2 due to a save by Volkoff.
  • Warlord then ducked a clothesline and gave Zhukov a belly-to-belly suplex.
  • Next, Slick got up on the apron to distract Warlord so Volkoff nailed him from behind.
  • While Volkoff occupied referee Joey Marella’s attention, Zhukov choked Warlord with the tag rope.
  • As Volkoff distracted Marella again, Zhukov guillotined Warlord using the top rope.
  • To say Warlord as the face-in-peril is a joke would be putting it mildly.
  • Regardless, the Bolsheviks attempted a double back drop, but Warlord nailed them with a double sledge.
  • Not-so-hot tag to Barbarian.
  • Upon slamming Volkoff, Barbarian delivered a Mafia kick to Zhukov.
  • Another Mafia kick sent Volkoff over the top rope to the floor.
  • Warlord tagged in, and the Powers of Pain gave Zhukov a double flying shoulder block.
  • After a Warlord powerslam, Barbarian mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the diving head butt, and got the pin.

Rating: *

Summary:  The MSG faithful saw the Powers of Pain attempt to recreate the Road Warriors mystique but didn’t bite. Along those same lines, Von Raschke looked ridiculous with them as well.

Promo for Survivor Series coming Thanksgiving night. Grab your turkey leg and tickets now!

Brother Love spews his venom then interviews “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. After calling Brother Love a phony, he basically ignores him. Forgive me please, but I will too. Anyway, Brother Love mentions Dino Bravo as Duggan dismisses him. When Brother Love pokes Duggan in the chest, Duggan threatens him with the 2×4. Before Duggan could count to five, Brother Love smartly hightails it backstage. What a waste of time. Meanwhile, most of the MSG crowd takes a popcorn break.

Another promo for the Leonard-Lalonde fight on 11/7 only on PPV. Order NOW!

Match 5 for the WWF Intercontinental title: The Honkytonk Man (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus ???

Highlights:

  • Back on June 2, 1987 (shown 6/13), Honkytonk Man beat Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to win the title. Can he defeat his unknown opponent this evening?
  • Ever so confident, Honkytonk Man got on the microphone and dismissed whoever his opponent may be. Yet again, famous last words.
  • Suddenly, the power chord hit, and the Ultimate Warrior emerged to a BIG reaction.
  • Upon nailing Honkytonk Man, Warrior slammed him.
  • He then gave Honkytonk Man a flying shoulder block.
  • After a clothesline, Ultimate Warrior delivered a splash.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
  • As the MSG faithful lost their collective minds, the roof came off Madison Square Garden!

 

Rating: *

Summary:  While short and harmless, this was the perfect way to extract the title from Honkytonk Man. No one expected the Warrior, and the upset brought the previously comatose MSG faithful to their feet. This was the point where big things were in store for Warrior.

After what appears to be an intermission, Heenan joins the broadcast team as the chants of “Weasel” rang toward him.

Match 6: Don Muraco versus Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin)

Highlights:

  • Due to copyright issues, Muraco’s theme was removed from the show. C’mon, Vince, give Carl Anderson some dough already!
  • This is a rematch from WrestleMania IV.
  • Martin came to the ring carrying a “USA is not OK” sign.
  • After a leap frog by Bravo, Muraco put his size 12 right between his eyes.
  • He then gave Bravo a hip toss followed by a slam causing Bravo to exit the ring to regroup.
  • Upon Bravo’s return, Muraco reversed a cross-corner whip, gave him another hip toss, and followed with a monkey flip.
  • Bravo came back by reversing a cross-corner whip sending Muraco face-first to the top turnbuckle.
  • He then gave Muraco an inverted atomic drop followed by an elbow drop for 1.
  • Next, Muraco countered a back drop with a side Russian leg sweep. Brad Armstrong must have been elated.
  • After Bravo missed an elbow drop, Muraco gave him a back drop.
  • Martin then got up on the apron so Muraco nailed him.
  • As Muraco tried to slam Bravo, referee Tim White got knocked down briefly.
  • Bravo then hit the sidewalk slam and got the pin.

Rating: *

Summary:  Yuck! Muraco tried to bring this match to an acceptable level, but Bravo was having no part of it.

Another promo for Survivor Series on Thanksgiving airs. Order NOW!

Backstage, Sean Mooney interviews the special guest referee for the main event—Jesse “The Body” Ventura. While Mooney insinuates that DiBiase’s stuffing money in Ventura’s pocket is a bribe, Ventura believes it was a donation. Political contribution, perhaps?

Match 7 for the WWF tag team titles: Demolition (champions w/ Mr. Fuji & Jimmy Hart) versus the Hart Foundation

Highlights:

  • After Ax slammed Bret, he missed an elbow drop.
  • Upon nailing Ax in the midsection, Bret rolled him up for 2.
  • As Smash took over, Neidhart also tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom to him.
  • Behind referee Joey Marella’s back, Ax nailed Neidhart coming off the ropes.
  • Bret tagged in and gave Smash a dropkick.
  • Neidhart then chased Hart backstage.
  • Smash then reversed a cross-corner whip, and Bret rammed his shoulder into the ring post. OUCH!
  • Shortly after, Ax rammed Bret shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • Smash tagged in, gave Bret a shoulder breaker, and applied a spinning arm hold much like Arn Anderson.
  • After Smash brought him outside the ring, he rammed Bret shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • Back in the ring, Ax tagged in, missed a clothesline, and then ate a flying clothesline from Bret.
  • False tag occurred.
  • Smash then gave Bret a cross-corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through. Somebody feed these guys already!
  • Hot tag Neidhart.
  • Amazingly, he delivered a dropkick to an incoming Ax.
  • He then whipped Smash into Ax clearing the ring.
  • Bret then assisted Neidhart with a slingshot plancha to Smash. Wow!
  • Back in the ring, Neidhart hit a powerslam to Smash but only got 2.
  • Bret tagged in and whipped Neidhart into Smash with a shoulder block for another 2.
  • He then gave Smash a backbreaker, but Ax made the save.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • As Fuji got up on the apron, Neidhart nailed him.
  • Meanwhile, Hart returned to ringside with his megaphone.
  • He then tossed the megaphone to Ax while Marella was tied up with Fuji and Neidhart.
  • Ax then WALLOPED Bret with it while Bret attempted a piledriver on Smash.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The champs retained.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Standard finish with a new twist to the champions’ victory. Considering they had just won the belts at WM IV, it was too early to change titleholders.

Yet another promo for Leonard-Lalonde.

Back in the heel locker room, Okerlund interviews a hostile Honkytonk Man who emphatically wants to reclaim “(my) belt.”

Match 8: Koko B. Ware versus the Big Boss Man (w/ Slick)

Highlights:

  • Prior to the bell, Slick taunted Ware so that the Big Boss Man could clobber him from behind.
  • Ware then delivered a dropkick that could have taken the Big Boss Man off his feet but tied him up in the ropes instead.
  • Upon his escape, the Big Boss Man delivered a head butt.
  • He then gave Ware a cross-corner whip followed by an avalanche.
  • Upon delivering a clothesline, the Big Boss Man only got 2 because he picked Ware up.
  • He then gave Ware the running guillotine.
  • After a slam, the Big Boss Man mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • He then gave Ware another cross-corner whip and came up empty on his follow-through crotching himself on the top rope. YEE-OUCH!
  • Ware then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick.
  • He then splashed the Big Boss Man but only got 2 with a HUGE kick-out.
  • Shortly after, the Big Boss Man hit the Boss Man slam for the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  The MSG faithful was prepared for an upset, but none was forthcoming. Showcase match for the WWF newcomer.

After the match, the Big Boss Man nails Ware with the nightstick while Slick distracts referee Earl Hebner.

Yet another promo for Survivor Series on 11/24 LIVE on PPV. We get the picture already!

In the babyface locker room, Mooney interviews the NEW Intercontinental champion Ultimate Warrior who gives a charismatic yet rather insane promo. He must be the most prolific wrestler from Parts Unknown.

Match 9: Jake “The Snake” Roberts versus Hercules (w/o Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Highlights:

  • Considering the participants involved, this one does NOT have classic written all over it.
  • Roberts gave Hercules a cross-corner whip but ate knee upon his follow-through.
  • He then countered a back drop with a knee lift.
  • Next, he attempted the DDT, but Hercules escaped by exiting the ring.
  • Upon Hercules’ return, Roberts slammed him.
  • Hercules then tried to counter a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex, but Roberts maintained the hold.
  • Shortly after, Hercules delivered a pair of elbow drops and a clothesline for 2.
  • To counter a hammerlock, Hercules gave Roberts a back elbow sending him between the ropes to the floor.
  • As Roberts was on the apron, he gave Hercules a snap mare sending him over the top rope down to the floor.
  • Hercules came back by guillotining Roberts using the top rope.
  • Afterward, Roberts countered a reverse chin lock with a jawbreaker then gave Hercules a short-arm clothesline.
  • As the MSG faithful warmed up for the DDT, Hercules countered with a back drop.
  • Roberts then attempted a knee lift but missed.
  • After a slam, Hercules delivered another elbow drop for 2.
  • Upon escaping a slam attempt, Roberts hit the DDT.
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: *

Summary:  Roberts’ charisma fueled a rather lackluster match.

After the match, Roberts removes Damian from the bag and covers Hercules with him.

We then revisit Superstars (aired 7/9, taped 6/21) where André the Giant and Heenan distracted WWF champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage so that the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase could nail him from behind sending Savage off the platform to the concrete floor. André and DiBiase then double-teamed Savage while Virgil held an on-looking Elizabeth. We then get an update from Craig DeGeorge from Wrestling Challenge “a week later” about a tag team match.

Next, Heenan accepted the challenge of a tag team match between André/DiBiase and Savage/player-to-be-named later on Superstars (aired 7/23, taped 6/21). DeGeorge then informed Heenan that the special guest referee was Jesse “The Body” Ventura. In response, the heels cackle maniacally.

On the 7/30 edition of Superstars (taped 7/13), Savage announced that his partner was none other than former WWF champion Hulk Hogan who joined the current champion on the platform. Following that, on the Brother Love segment of Wrestling Challenge (aired 8/21, taped 8/2), DiBiase stuffed Ventura’s pockets with several hundred dollar bills. Hey! Trips to and from Minnesota are expensive!

Match 10: The MegaPowers (w/ Elizabeth) versus the MegaBucks (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan & Virgil)

Highlights:

  • For whatever reason, Ventura changed the corners of each team by retying the tag ropes to the adjacent corners.
  • After André gave Savage both a chop and a head butt, DiBiase tagged in and requested Hogan as his opponent.
  • He then tried to kick Hogan, but Hogan countered with an atomic drop.
  • Afterward, Hogan gave DiBiase an Axe Bomber.
  • Savage tagged in, and the MegaPowers delivered a double back elbow and double elbow drop to DiBiase.
  • After Hogan used DiBiase like a pinball in the ring, Savage tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom.
  • He then delivered a knee drop for 1.
  • Hogan tagged in, and the MegaPowers delivered a double big boot to DiBiase for 2.
  • After a slam, Hogan gave DiBiase a series of elbow drops.
  • Next, he tried to attack André but got clobbered and headbutted.
  • As Savage got in Ventura’s face to argue with him, André came in and headbutted Savage.
  • André tagged in as the MSG faithful chanted “Hogan.”
  • While Savage distracted Ventura, André choked Hogan with his singlet strap.
  • DiBiase tagged in and gave Hogan a clothesline for 2.
  • After a pair of fist drops, DiBiase got 2.
  • As the MSG faithful chanted “Weasel” at Heenan, Hogan and DiBiase nailed one another with a double clothesline.
  • Savage tagged in, gave DiBiase a cross-corner whip, and followed with a back elbow.
  • He then delivered a back drop and guillotined DiBiase using the top rope.
  • Following that, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle, gave DiBiase a double axe handle, and delivered an elbow smash.
  • With DiBiase in the corner, Savage charged but came up empty.
  • He then ducked a clothesline, hit a cross body block, but only got 2.
  • DiBiase came back with a clothesline and tagged in André.
  • Upon delivering shoulder blocks in the corner, André SQUISHED Savage.
  • DiBiase tagged in and gave Savage a vertical suplex for 2.
  • After a backbreaker, DiBiase mounted the second turnbuckle but missed an elbow drop.
  • Hogan tagged in, gave DiBiase a cross-corner whip, and followed with a corner clothesline.
  • He then gave DiBiase a vertical suplex then nailed an incoming André.
  • As Hogan applied a sleeper to DiBiase, Savage mounted the opposite corner but ate Andre’s boot on the way down.
  • André then gave Hogan a head butt and tossed Hogan outside the ring.
  • Elizabeth then got up on the apron and removed her skirt. Yowza!
  • While Elizabeth tossed her skirt in DiBiase’s face, Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and gave André a double axe handle to the back.
  • Heenan got up on the apron, but Savage decked him.
  • Hogan then slammed DiBiase as Savage mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • After Savage delivered the big elbow, Hogan gave DiBiase the leg drop.
  • Savage forced Ventura down to the mat, and the MegaPowers got the win. Savage had to make Ventura finish his count.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Savage and Hogan definitely shared the spotlight while Ventura’s involvement added some intrigue to the outcome.

After the match, Hogan, Savage, and Elizabeth celebrate in the ring.

Conclusion:  With a hot main event and the history-making IC title victory by the Ultimate Warrior, this show contains both excitement and value. Assemble your family and friends, fire up the WWE Network, and enjoy this one.

Stay tuned for NWA Clash III!

Buyrate: 4.50

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.