Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF Royal Rumble ’88

Live from Hamilton, Ontario

Airdate: January 24, 1988

Attendance:  16,200

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

“Why pay for a bunkhouse when there’s a free Rumble on TV?” – Avid wrestling fan in the late ‘80s.

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on WWF Royal Rumble ’88

Sting in 1988 and isn’t it all the same match

Is Sting's gimmick that year basically the guy who can't win gold? EVERY match of his on a clash or PPV was a title match, either singles or tag, and each time he comes up empty.

And what's up with a show having a hardcore match, street fight, and no holds barred match all on the same card when it's all the same thing?

​And what about airline food?  What's up with that?  Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?  ​

RNR Express in 1988


Watching Clash of the champions Miami Mayhem and they have a segment welcoming back the rock n roll express. Yet I don't remember them doing anything of note in the nwa that year. So, is there a story behind this?

If it's the time period I'm thinking of, they jumped to the AWA for a little while and bounced around between there and Memphis.  The appeal was really dead in the water by late 88 because it was really a short shelf life on the teen idol thing.  They didn't really pop up again until 1990 and by that time the act was pretty much done thanks to Gibson's pretty gnarly knee injury and the Steiner Brothers becoming the team everyone wanted. 

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1988 WWE as told by Jim Duggan

This was released in 2010

The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver

It runs for two hours and four minutes long

JANUARY


Duggan is asked about all of the animal mascots in the company and how miserable the guys who had them would be as they had to handle them on the road. Duggan said that he recalled one of the British Bulldogs yelling at the dog to take a dump while outside in the freezing cold then talks about how the Bulldogs gave the dog beer and also some “downers” when it was barking to loud then talks about how the dog also probably got a few steroid injections from them as well. He then talks about how Jake had a few different snakes play Damien and recalled one night they partied all night at a few strip clubs in Detriot. First, Duggan tells the joke about wrestlers and strippers by saying that strippers are wrestling fans, have good drugs, and a bisexual, which are three things that wrestlers always looked for back then. After a night of partying, they woke up and there was 4-5 inches of snow on the ground and they opened the trunk where Damien was frozen to death as Jake forgot to take him out of the trunk. Duggan also said that a lot of guys disliked Jake and would purposely fuck with his snakes by abusing them.

He is asked about battle royals and Duggan said he enjoyed them. Duggan tells a story about being in one with Curt Hennig, Big Boss Man, and the Ultimate Warrior. Boss Man and Duggan beat on Warrior in the corner while Hennig slides out and ties Warrior’s tassles to the top rope. Warrior tries to leave the corner but can’t break free so Chief Jay Strongbow came out and had to cut them off with a knife. Duggan then said Boss Man, Hennig, and himself had to go up to see Vince after that. Oliver then asks Duggan about ribs they pulled. Duggan said the guys know travel by themselves and use laptops where as they would travel 4-5 in a car and would split hotel rooms.

When asked about the Royal Rumble and how the concept was created Duggan said that he believes it was Pat Patterson who started it and calls him a genius. He then talks about how he can hang his hat on being the first ever winner of the Rumble and how fans today still talk to him about that. He then discusses the differences between how he cut promos back then and the way it is done today. Duggan said the way they did promos were all different and today it feels homogenized as everything is scripted by the same people.

Duggan is asked about the Dynamite Kid as he had a seizure on January 30th. He said that he was a bully, as was his partner Davey, and hated that. Duggan puts him over as a wrestler. He said that guys like the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage got lost in their characters to the point that they became them outside of the ring.

Oliver asks Duggan about the WWF issuing a fine policy for certain things like throwing your opponent into the guardrail. Duggan said that was true as it was a liability issue because fans were starting to sue as the guardrails moved and could hit fans. He said that they did issue a dress code but that they only had to dress up “a little bit.”


FEBRUARY

When asked about Andre the Giant, Duggan said that he met him early in his career while in World Class in 1979. He said that he got along well with him but others didn’t and noted how he could be irritable. Duggan tells a story about Andre and how he sometimes had poor hygiene. During their match, Andre told him to come closer and they were about to do a spot where Andre choked him out with the strap of his singlet but instead Andre put the strap around Duggan’s mouth and squeezed it as the sweat was going into Duggan’s mouth and laughing. Duggan said that he actually vomited after that. He also said that he would sometimes step on your hair then pull you up by the arms and how he did that a lot when he wrestled Jake Roberts.

Duggan is asked about Honky Tonk Man refusing to drop the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage at “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” Duggan said that Honky could be tough to do business with and while he didn’t need a belt, some guys started to become obsessed with the belt, like Terry Taylor. He then tells a story about Savage and how overprotective he was of Elizabeth, even writing down the mileage on her car when he went out and checking it again when he returned. Anyway, they were in Europe at the airport when a fan wanted a picture. Jerry Sags then walked by and ripped a huge fart as Savage went off on him for doing that in front of his wife then put Elizabeth on a plane back home. Blackjack Lanza, who was an agent, told Vince that Savage sent her back home so Vince then put her on a plane to take her back over to Europe and reportedly told Sags that was the most expensive gas he has ever passed.

When asked about Bruno Sammartino leaving the company, Duggan said that he never understood where Bruno was coming from when he was complaining about the company’s direction as if it was not for wrestling he would have probably been working at a steel mill. Duggan said that he made more money wrestling than he would have at anything else before talking about himself and how an investment in a pair of boots and wrestling trunks led to a 31 year career that allowed him to put his kids through school.

Duggan is asked about the Iron Sheik returning and the incident in which they both got arrested together. Duggan tells the arrest story. He just came into the company and the Sheik came up to him and asked for a ride because he forgot his credit card. Duggan agreed and during the drive Sheik had him stop over for beer. Duggan said that he was not a big beer drinker but had a bag that consisted of 3-4 joints and they smoked that then Duggan cracked open a beer and they drove by a state trooper who pulled them over. Duggan said that he was used to living in Louisiana and their almost non-existent open container laws so didn’t think anything of it at all. The cop asked if they had anything in the car so Duggan said that he had a few joints, expecting the trooper to take it then give him a ticket or tell him to leave but the trooper ordered him out of the car and frisked him. More cops arrived on the scene as they put Duggan and Sheik in separate cars and took them to the station. When they pulled out the Sheik’s wallet, they found cocaine so he went in front of the judge and they let them off and they went back to the car and went to drive to the show. Duggan then called his wife to tell her that he got arrested and didn’t think anyone knew about it but the next morning she called him back and said that everyone knows about the arrest. He said that his dad, the Chief of Police in Glens Falls, NY, got a lot of shit from people about his arrest After calling his dad, he called Vince and immediately got through to him. Vince asked “What have you done to us” then told Duggan to turn in his plane tickets and go home as he was fired. He reports that someone told him about Vince telling the talent that he would never work there again as the business was bigger than a “six pack and a blow job.” Duggan said that he hung out at home for a few weeks and was going to have a meeting with Dusty Rhodes but Bruce Prichard called him up and told him to hang tight and not sign anywhere and sure enough he got hired back. Duggan talks about all of his success and how that he still believes he has never recovered from the arrest on a professional level.

MARCH

He is asked about the TV angle that kicked off his feud with Andre the Giant. Duggan said that Andre accidentally jabbed his thumb in his lip and busted him open. Duggan said that she still has the scar to this day. He said that elevated him from a midcarder to a main event talent.

When asked about the Jake Roberts/Rick Rude feud and how bringing in your wife or girlfriend never ends up well, Duggan joked that Rude wasn’t the only one in the locker room kissing Cheryl then talks about her wife had been on camera a few times and even once beat Sensational Sherri in a match when Sherri was the champ. Velvet McIntyre missed the show due to a blizzard so Lanza asked him if his wife would fill in because she had been in the ring a few times in Mid-South.

Duggan is asked about WrestleMania IV and goes on about how the event has evolved into a whole weekend then talks about how WCW turned him into a janitor but he did not care as he was on TV. Duggan then said that they wanted him out and was surprised that got over so decided to turn him against America to join Team Canada. Nothing at all to do with 1988 WWF.

On interactions with the celebrities at WrestleMania, Duggan said they had little interaction with them but said hi to Donald Trump a few times, who knew the wrestlers but the rest usually sat in their own dressing rooms. He said the celebrities were usually respectable expect for Mickey Rourke at WrestleMania 25. Duggan tells the story of how he was at the hotel the night before the show and went upstairs to check on his daughter and said after a few drinks and without his glasses he saw three guys walking towards him and figured they were all WWE people as the floors were secured and he brushed by them then joked if they had enough room. Well, Rourke got heated and yelled at him so Duggan called him an “asshole” then after that realized it was Rourke. Duggan said he told Rourke to stand up when he talks to him, which is something he claims to say to short people who confront him, but Frank Shamrock and some other UFC guy were there with Rourke and calmed things down. Duggan then said that most of the celebs are respectful, especially the ones who bring their kids to the shows.

APRIL



Duggan is asked about touring overseas. He talks about the plane rides and recalls a trip where Ric Flair said he had a big day and did not want any ribs or anything other pranks being pulled so when everyone woke up, their eyebrows were partially shaved by Brian Knobbs, who shaved off his own to sell the prank. Duggan said they got Knobbs back on a red eye flight where they tied cans to his shoes and painted his fingernails with Steve Keirn writing “I’m a dick” on his forehead with lipstick.

He is asked about wrestling Hercules and Duggan said that he always a troubled soul who got into a lot of fights. He then tells a story while in Europe when a bartender approached him so say that Hercules was hitting on a transvestite and Duggan told him that Hercules probably didn’t care.

MAY




On whether or not families were allowed in the locker room back then, Duggan said that they were and how wrestlers generally accepted other people’s families.

When asked about Vince’s locker room speech on the dangers of steroids, Duggan said that guys were going to do what they wanted to do without testing and how Dr. Zahorian was giving out steroids. Even when asked by the FBI during McMahon’s trial, Duggan said that he told them he was young and naive and the doctor was handing them out. Duggan did admit that the steroid use was rampant back then.

Duggan says that now the biggest marks in wrestling are the wrestlers themselves as they believe if you are not going all out with cool moves then you are not doing anything. He said that he could start a few chants and have the whole place cheering.

JUNE




He is asked about Haku being crowned King. Duggan said that he is one of the toughest and how he would grab guys trying to fuck with him by saying he would first kill them then eat them afterwards.

JULY




Hogan returned to team with Savage to face off against Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase. Duggan said that he always got along with Hogan even though they were never very close.

On July 25th Duggan wrestled against Andre the Giant in a Lumberjack Match at Madison Square Garden in the main event. Duggan said that was the pinnacle of his career.

Duggan talks about Curt Hennig, who made his debut at the WWF in July. He said that Hennig took the best bump he ever saw during a hockey game in Minnesota. The crowd booed him and he walked on the ice and slipped then fell as the crowd went nuts.

AUGUST




He is asked about the talk show segments and if they are scripted or done on the fly. Duggan said that you would follow the host’s lead most of the time then talks about promo skills are a lost art today.

SEPTEMBER




Duggan talks about Terry Taylor, who made his debut as the Red Rooster. Duggan said that he was talented but always ran his mouth and thinks the gimmick was a rib on him but also said that Taylor half-assed the gimmick and could have gotten it over if he took it over the top.

On the Akeem character, Duggan believes it was created as the One Man Gang wanted to take time off but was going to have a feud with Hogan. Gang went home and came back then Duggan believes that the gimmick was punishment for that but also said that Gang embraced the Akeem gimmick and that is why it got over.

OCTOBER




Duggan is asked about the Jacques Rougeau/Dynamite Kid confrontation. Duggan said that the Bulldogs picked their spots and thought that Dynamite had it coming because he always fucked with people.When asked, Duggan said the Bulldogs never fucked with him then said that they an Outback Jack out of the company.

NOVEMBER

In November, Ted Turner bought out Crockett Promotions and renamed the company “World Championship Wrestling.” Duggan said that they were not getting offers right away and he did not get one himself until Hogan signed with them.

DECEMBER

Big John Studd returned to the WWF. Duggan said that he teamed with Studd against Haku & Andre the Giant, who did not like Studd. Duggan said that Studd was leery of Andre and there was a lot of friction there.

Duggan closes by saying a lot of guys are bitter about the business and how people remember the bad stuff from wrestlers but that he is not bitter and wants to be a reminder of how guys like him, Bob Backlund and Tito Santana saved their money and do not hold any resentment.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed the stories that Duggan told here. He is an engaging storyteller who is not bitter at all and has a great sense of humor. And Duggan did go off topic a ton in this interview but luckily he was entertaining a majority of the time. But one complaint I have is that you didnt learn much of anything that took place in 1988. This was one of the earlier timelines and interviewer Sean Oliver was not as polished as he is now so he just let Duggan talk and had little command of the interview. Oliver also seemed to be in awe of Duggan’s presence too. They might want to revisit this year in the future.

In closing I recommend this interview but for those you want to specifically learn about 1988 WWF, you might be disappointed. If you want to be entertained, then by all means watch this interview.

You can purchase the video for $20 by clicking on the link below

http://kayfabecommentaries.com/DVD_TL_1988.html

Yearly Review: WWF December 1988

Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage continue to have issues.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
During the December 6th taping of WWF Superstars, Savage was challenged
by Bad News Brown and they brawled for a few moments. However, Savage
had other things to deal with. Continue reading to see the developments
of his min-feud with Brown.

During the taping of SNME #19 on December 7th, Savage felt betrayed
by Hulk Hogan because Hogan held the ropes open for his valet Miss
Elizabeth. Savage wouldn’t help Hogan fight off a double team attack
from Bossman and Akeem because he was confident that Hogan would be
okay.

He would later describe the situation as being a way for Hogan to
feel the pain that he had felt backstage. Savage eventually made the
save when Bossman grabbed Elizabeth. However, Savage was still upset
when he saw Elizabeth comfort a injured Hogan afterwards.

Back to Savage’s issues with Brown, Brown would alleged that
Elizabeth was doing favors for Jack Tunney so that Savage would remain
the WWF World Champion. Savage and Brown would have several matches on
the house show market with Savage retaining the championship each time.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)

Warrior was finally able to end his feud with Honky Tonk Man by earning a
clean pin fall win at SNME 19 taping on December 7th. Considering the
show wasn’t aired until January 1989, Warrior would wrestle Honky on the
house show market in steel cage matches and no disqualification
matches, retaining the championship each time.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

Demolition started a feud with Mr. Fuji and his new clients, the Powers
of Pain. Throughout the course of the month, they would wrestle to
double disqualifications. The Powers of Pain would manage to earn a
count-out victory against Demolition in a no disqualification match on
December 30th at MSG.

Other Happenings:

– Brutus Beefcake defeated Ron Bass in a hair vs. hair match at SNME 19.
Hulk Hogan was victorious over Akeem by disqualification when Bossman
got involved and lead to the previously mentioned attack. Tito Santana
ended the Red Rooster’s undefeated streak. Lastly, Mr. Perfect pinned
Koko B. Ware.

– Following Rooster’s loss to Santana, Rooster was yelled at by Heenan. This obviously teased a split between the two men.

– Hulk Hogan and Big Bossman continued to compete on the house show
market with Hogan coming out on top earning a few pin fall wins and
disqualification wins.

– Andre the Giant and Jake Roberts had several matches with Andre coming out on top by disqualification.

– The house shows throughout the month also saw the following matches
take place, Hercules/DiBiase, Bravo/Duggan, and Brain Busters/Rockers.

– Not much angle progression to close out the year.

Ratings:
SNME #19: N/A

Bob’s Reaction:
Randy Savage had a busy month. The feud with Bad News Brown has been a fine side feud for the house shows while they slowly buildup the angle between Savage and Hogan. I thought the idea of Elizabeth doing “favors” for Jack Tunney was comical but yet good way to get heat for Brown. The whole progression between Savage and Hogan has been fabulous and is without a doubt the most entertaining angle in the WWF at the time, in my opinion.

There wasn’t much going on to close out the year, taping wise. What did everyone think of the WWF in 1988? What were people looking forward to in 1989?

Personally, I’m looking forward to see how far Bossman climbs up the ranks. Also, the angle involving Savage and Hogan is a top interest of mine as well. I can’t forget about Mr. Perfect, too.

The tag team scene is strong as well and looks like there could be some fun feuds lined up for 1989.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the WWF in 1988 and heading into 1989!

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook

Yearly Review: WWF November 1988

Never get friendly with another wrestler’s wife, brother.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
Randy Savage defended the championship against Andre the Giant at the
eighteenth edition of Saturday Night Main Event on November 26th (taped
on the 16th). They fought to a double disqualification when Roberts and
Heenan got involved (more on that later).

Savage also made it clear that he was looking to “settle the score”
with Bad News Brown. Thus, Savage started a short program with Brown.

However, a pretty big angle would start up at Survivor Series 1988.
At the end of the main event, which was won by Hogan’s team that
featured Savage, Hogan acted rather friendly with Miss Elizabeth. This
upset Savage, but nothing physical would occur between the two friends.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)

The Ultimate Warrior retained the championship by defeating the Super
Ninja at SNME #18. Warrior continued to defend the championship
successfully against former champion Honky Tonk Man throughout the
month. No new developments for Warrior this month. Aside from being the captain of a Survivor Series team that defeated a team captained by Honky Tonk Man.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

Demolition retained the championships throughout the month by defeating
the British Bulldogs. Big changes occurred for the champions at Survivor
Series. While competing in an elimination match with several tag teams,
their manager Mr. Fuji ended up turning on Demolition, and aligned
himself with the Warlord and the Barbarian. This action resulted in
Demolition turning babyface.

To close out the month, Demolition would wrestle against the Powers
of Pain (Warlord/Barbarian) to double disqualifications as their feud
was just beginning.

Other Happenings:

– As previously noted, Roberts got involved with the Savage/Andre
match at SNME #18. Andre ended up getting tied up into the ropes after
Heenan was tossed towards him. Roberts tried to attack Andre with his
snake, but Andre avoided the snake by freeing himself from the ropes.

– Hulk Hogan began to feud with the Big Bossman on the house show
market, as well. Hogan wouldn’t win by pin fall, but rather by count-out
when he would handcuff Bossman to the ropes from the floor.

– The Hart Foundation and the Rougeau Brothers competed against each
other on the house show market. To go along with tag matches, they would
also have singles matches to continue their apparent feud.

– Ted DiBiase and Hercules also had numerous matches on the house
show market since back in September DiBiase had purchased Hercules from
Bobby Heenan to be his personal slave. DiBiase would come out victorious
most, it not every time they wrestled. Hercules was able to pin Virgil
at SNME #18, which didn’t sit well with DiBiase who would yell at Virgil
for the loss.

– Jim Duggan defeated Boris Zhukov in a flag match at SNME #18 and
the Rougeau Brothers were victorious over the Young Stallions.

– Survivor Series 1988 marked the last appearance for the Dynamite
Kid and the last appearance for Davey Boy Smith for two years.

Below are the quick results for both SNME and Survivor Series.

SNME XVIII

– WWF World Champion Randy Savage fought Andre the Giant to a double disqualification to retain the title.
– WWF Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior defeated Super Ninja
– Hercules defeated Virgil
– Jim Duggan defeated Boris Zhukov in a flag match
– The Rougeau Brothers defeated the Young Stallions

Survivor Series 1988

– Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, Sam Houston, Blue Blazer and Jim
Brunzell defeated Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Danny Davis, Greg Valentine
and Bad News Brown.
– The Powers of Pain, the Rockers, the British Bulldogs, the Hart
Foundation and the Young Stallions defeated Demolition, the
Brainbusters, the Bolsheviks, the Rougeau Brothers and the
Conquistadors.
– Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, Dino Bravo, Mr. Perfect and Harley Race
defeated Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts, Scott Casey, Ken Patera and Tito
Santana.
– Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hercules, Kobo B. Ware and Hillbilly Jim
defeated Akeem, Big Bossman, Ted DiBiase, Haku and Red Rooster.

Ratings:

SNME #18: 9.4
Survivor Series 1988: 2.8

Bob’s Reaction: 
The slow buildup to a Savage/Hogan feud is beginning. The idea behind the feud is actually interesting and the right direction to go in. Savage is a great heel and being overprotective of Elizabeth gives a fresh feeling to Savage and the angle has some depth to it. Should be interesting to see how this progresses.

I’m kind of bummed out that the British Bulldogs left at this time. A match with the Brainbusters could have been a gem.

The babyface turn for Demolition was a good decision. I don’t think they are great in the ring, but they seem to be a rather likeable team at this point. Fuji was the main reason why people seemed to hate them at the time. A feud with Powers of Pain should be good as the Powers of Pain appear to be a legit threat to them considering their size.

By the look of the card for Survivor Series is rather strong and involves a lot of matches that had several feuds involved. It’s actually making me want to watch the show.

What are your thoughts on what was happening at the time? Share them below!

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook

Yearly Review: WWF October 1988

A new tag team debuts from the NWA. Plus, Hogan deals with the law in a not so friendly manner.




WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by Randy Savage)
Throughout the month Savage continued to compete against primarily Andre
the Giant on the house show market. Savage would normally win the bouts
by count-out. He also competed against Ted DiBiase a few times in
non-title steel cage matches.

Other than that, there weren’t any new developments.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by the Ultimate Warrior)
There weren’t any new developments throughout the month regarding the
Intercontinental Championship. Warrior continued to defeat former
champion the Honky Tonk Man on the house show market by
disqualification.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by Demolition)

The champions started the month losing a non-title match against the
British Bulldogs in France, but that would be the only loss throughout
the month. They would have a series of matches against the Bulldogs and
the Rockers, resulting in wins.

At Saturday Night Main Event XVII (as seen below), Demolition
defeated the Hart Foundation after Smash hit Neidhart with Jimmy Hart’s
megaphone.

Other Happenings:

– The undefeated Big Bossman decided at October 5th taping of WWF
Superstars to viciously attacked Hulk Hogan during a Brother Love
segment. Bossman manhandled Hogan using his nightstick and handcuffed
the former World Champion to a guard railing. Hogan was able to chase
Bossman and his manager Slick away with a piece of the guard railing in
one hand and Bossman’s nightstick in the other.

– The Brianbusters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard) made their
debut during the October 5th taping of WWF Superstars. They are the
newest members of the Heenan Family.

– On October 16th the first King of the Ring tournament was held in
Providence, Rhode Island. Ted DiBiase ended up winning the tournament
after beating WWF World Champion Randy Savage by count-out.

Saturday Night Main Event XVII was taped on October 25th, 1988. Here are the highlights of the show.
– Jake Roberts defeated Rick Rude by disqualification. After the bout,
Andre the Giant came out and attacked Roberts. Roberts was able to get
the last laugh by causing Andre to pass out after teasing Andre with his
snake.
– Hulk Hogan defeated King Haku
– Dino Bravo defeated Ken Patera
– Big Bossman defeated Jim Powers

Ratings:

SNME #17: 8.7

Bob’s Reaction: 
Bossman has in the main event scene and feuding with Hogan for the rest of the year. I was kind of annoyed that Hogan was able to fight him off despite being handcuffed to a guard railing. It’s just nice to see some fresh blood in the main event scene for the WWF.

Having the Brainbusters in the WWF is an odd sight to see. Anderson and Blanchard have been a staple for the NWA that they just seemed out of place in a way. They weren’t muscular beasts like the other teams in the WWF at the time. They are a great addition to the tag division, though.

I hadn’t realized that the King of the Ring had been introduced in 1988. DiBiase winning the tournament was a good choice and was needed to help him recover from his constant losses to Savage.

What are your memories of the WWF at this time? Please, share them!

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook

Yearly Review: WWF September 1988

The WWF continues to move along into the fall of 1988. A new challenger steps up to challenge WWF World Champion Randy Savage while Ted DiBiase puts his money to use.

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)
Savage continued to battle Ted DiBiase on the house show market. Savage
was able to defeat DiBiase in a cage match on September 24th at the
Philadelphia Spectrum.

However, DiBiase was not Savage’s main opponent on the house show
market. Instead, Savage would continually battle Andre the Giant to
double count-out finishes. On September 29th at MSG, Andre grabbed Miss
Elizabeth by the ankle while on the floor leading to Savage attacking
Andre and both men were counted out. Andre would pose with the belt
while Savage carried Elizabeth to the backstage area.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by: the Ultimate Warrior)
Nothing much of note occurred with Warrior this month. Warrior continued
to wrestle Honky Tonk Man on the house show market but would never get a
clean win over Honky. Instead, if Warrior were to beat Honky it would
be by disqualification. Warrior would actually lose several matches by
count-out as Honky’s manager Jimmy Hart would prevent Warrior from
entering the ring or would be chased around ringside leading to the ten
count.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by: Demolition)

The British Bulldogs stepped up as the next challenge for the champions,
Demolition. At the September 13th taping for WWF Superstars, the
Bulldogs attacked Demolition when Dynamite delivered a diving head butt
onto Smash after being tossed by Davey Boy Smith. The Bulldogs had saved
a jobber team from a further beat down.

Demolition would continually beat the British Bulldogs on the house show market throughout the month.

Other Happenings:
– During the September 13th taping of WWF Superstars, Ted DiBiase
announced that he had purchased Hercules from Bobby Heenan to be his
personal slave. This announcement didn’t sit well with Hercules and he
attacked both DiBiase and Virgil during the interview segment.

– Also at the September 13th taping of WWF Superstars, the first vignette of Mr. Perfect was aired.

– Bobby Heenan announced that Terry Taylor had joined the Heenan
Family. Heenan proclaimed that he could take an “average wrestler” and
make him into a star. Taylor would be renamed the Red Rooster.

– The feud between Rick Rude and Jake Roberts continued. A notable
advancement of the feud was Jake’s wife Cheryl being at ringside for
every match between Rude and Roberts so that she could slap Rude every
time Roberts beats him.

– Hulk Hogan began a feud with Bad News Brown, mostly on the house
show market. On September 11th, Hogan was able to beat Brown after
having been taunted earlier in the show by Brown.

– Both the Rockers and Big Bossman, two new talents to the company, continued their winning ways throughout the month.

Bob’s Reaction:
It’s kind of sad to see DiBiase go from main eventing SummerSlam to working an angle with Hercules. Yes, I’m aware that Hercules wasn’t at the bottom of the pile but it’s a noticeable de-push. It makes sense, though. DiBiase wasn’t given a strong push in the main event scene losing to Savage at every turn. He’ll be more successful in the midcard ranks.

The Red Rooster gimmick is just awful, even in 1988. It’s like they were looking to discredit Taylor while promoting him. It didn’t seem to make much sense to me, at all.

It’s clear that the heel roster is weak. Hogan is stuck working with Bad News Brown because Hogan has beaten everyone else a million times by this point. This is where the Big Bossman push comes into play and would help that issue.

What are your memories of the WWF at this time? Please, share them below!

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Yearly Review: WWF August 1988

SummerSlam 1988 is upon us. What happens on the show and a new wrestler begins to work for the WWF on the house shows.
WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by Randy Savage)
Before SummerSlam, Savage retained the championship against Ted DiBiase
and Andre the Giant in various singles matches. Savage would only beat
Andre by count-out while he would trade off DQ wins against DiBiase with
pin fall wins. The highlight of the defenses saw Savage defeat Ted
DiBiase in a cage match on the August 7th Maple Leaf Gardens house show.

At SummerSlam, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan were able to defeat Andre
the Giant and Ted DiBiase when Hogan pinned DiBiase following a leg drop
and after Savage connected with a top rope elbow drop. This marked
Hogan’s first televised match in three months.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by Honky Tonk Man)

Honky Tonk Man lost the championship to the Ultimate Warrior at the
August 3rd taping of WWF Superstars in a bout that was not taped for
television. However, Jack Tunney would reverse the decision later on in
the evening.

Brutus Beefcake was viciously attacked by Ron Bass at the same August
3rd taping. Bass busted Beefcake open with his spurs. The attacked
caused Beefcake to be removed from his match against Honky Tonk Man at
SummerSlam 1988.

At SummerSlam, the Ultimate Warrior defeated Honky Tonk Man to win
the championship and end Honky’s record long title reign. The match
lasted only a few seconds.

At the August 3rd taping of WWF Superstars, several weeks before the
actual title win, an angle was shot where Warrior was attacked by Honky
Tonk Man. Honky would smash Warrior over the head with a guitar. You
read that correctly, they taped this angle before the actual title win
by Warrior at SummerSlam.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene: (currently held by Demolition)

At SummerSlam, Demolition was able to retain the championships by
defeating the Hart Foundation. There wasn’t any other story line
advancement heading into the match. Jimmy Hart came back to ringside for
the closing moments of the contest after being sent to the backstage
area at the beginning of the match.

Prior to the event, Demolition competed against the British Bulldogs several times on the house show market.

Other Happenings:

– Despite having been feuding for the past several months Rick Rude and
Jake Roberts did not wrestle each other at Summer Slam. Instead, Rude
defeated Junkyard Dog by disqualification and Roberts pinned Hercules.

– Also, Don Muraco lost to Dino Bravo at SummerSlam. Surprisingly,
Greg Valentine was not featured on the show despite having been involved
in several altercations with Muraco.

– Bad News Brown continued his winning ways by defeating Ken Patera at SummerSlam.

– The British Bulldogs fought the Rougeau Brothers to a twenty minute draw.

– The Big Bossman maintained his undefeated recorded by beating Koko B. Ware at SummerSlam.

– Lastly, the Powers of Pain defeated the Bolsheviks.

– Curt Hennig (Mr. Perfect) arrived in the WWF during the month.
Hennig wins a few matches over Terry Taylor and SD Jones throughout the
month.

SummerSlam 1988 Buy-Rate: 4.5

Bob’s Reaction: 
There wasn’t anything really going on at the television tapings, thus this is lacking updates. That tends to happen during a major pay per view month for the WWF. I was quite surprised that Roberts and Rude didn’t have a blow off of their feud at SummerSlam. They had been feuding for several months and the their feud would actually continue for a time longer. It seemed like a missed opportunity to make a stronger card for SummerSlam since the main event was a tag bout.

Big Bossman has been built up rather strong and could be a fresh face in the main event scene to add some depth to the heel side. Considering Hogan and Savage have worked with most of the heels, Bossman could provide some fresh matches for them.

Mr. Perfect made his debut, but not on television at this point in time. From what I have seen at this time on the house shows, Perfect was rather bland and wasn’t showing the personality that he would later be known for. 

Personally, I wasn’t interested in seeing Brutus Beefcake as a champion let alone in a top match at SummerSlam. So, thanks to Ron Bass for preventing that from happening. Instead, we get the quick rise of the Ultimate Warrior. Instead of getting crickets of a response, Warrior would be making the crowd go nuts in just a matter of time.

Feel free to share any memories of the WWF at this time below!

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Yearly Review: WWF July 1988

Hulk Hogan makes his return to television. Plus, Rick Rude continues to get under Jake Roberts skin.




WWF World Championship scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)

At the July 13th taping of Superstars, Randy Savage revealed that Hulk
Hogan would be his tag partner for the big tag match against Ted DiBiase
and Andre the Giant at Summer Slam. Hogan made his return to television
and announced that Miss Elizabeth would be managing them for the bout.

Savage would seemingly end his singles feud with Ted DiBiase by
defeating DiBiase at WrestleFest ’88 on July 31st. Savage had defeated
DiBiase countless times on the house show market as well. Can Savage and
Hogan coexist and defeat DiBiase and Andre? We will find out next
month!

WWF Intercontinental Championship scene: (currently held by Honky Tonk Man)

At the July 13th taping of WWF Superstars, Honky Tonk Man announced that
Brutus Beefcake would have his final chance to win the WWF
Intercontinental Championship at Summer Slam.

Throughout the month, they
continued to have matches with each man picking up wins or in
Beefcake’s case disqualification wins.

Can Beefcake finally win the WWF Intercontinental Championship at Summer Slam?

WWF World Tag Team Championship scene: (currently held by Demolition)

At the July 13th taping of WWF Superstars, an alliance between
Demolition and Jimmy Hart was announced. Hart revealed that he would be
in Demolition’s corner as they compete against the Hart Foundation at
Summer Slam.

Demolition wouldn’t wrestle the Hart Foundation on the house show
market during the month. Instead, they competed against the Powers of
Pain and the British Bulldogs. They lost several matches against the
Powers Pain but luckily for them they were non-title bouts.

Other Happenings:
– Greg Valentine and Don Muraco continued to feud. At the July 14th
taping of Wrestling Challenge, Muraco tried to use Valentine’s shin
guard while putting on the figure four, but failed after Jimmy Hart made
the save for Valentine. After wrestling to a time limit draw on the
July 25th MSG show, Valentine attacked Superstar Billy Graham until
Muraco made the save. Valentine would normally win their house show
matches throughout the month.

– Rick Rude continued to get under Jake Roberts skin. Rude wore
wrestling tights with Roberts’s wife Cheryl’s face painted on them. They
would continue to have matches on the house show market, with each man
picking up wins either by pin fall or by disqualification. Roberts would
get some measure of revenge a few times by putting Damien on Rude.

– The Rockers lost their first match of their WWF careers to the
Rougeau Brothers at the July 25th MSG show. Before the lost, the Rockers
had a brief undefeated streak lasting around a month.

– Big Bossman continued his winning ways picking up several wins over
Sam Houston. Bossman continued to handcuff his opponents after the
matches and beat them senseless with his nightstick.

– The Ultimate Warrior continued his winning ways with victories over
Bobby Heenan, Dino Bravo and Hercules throughout the month. Warrior has
yet to lose during his WWF career.

– Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant continued to feud throughout the
month. Andre would win most of their bouts. They also competed in
several lumberjack matches with Andre still coming out on top.

Bob’s Reaction: 
Considering Andre is on his last legs when it comes to in-ring performing, I’m rather surprised that Duggan wasn’t able to have more success against Andre. Duggan was always a popular guy for the WWF, and winning a feud against Andre could have propelled him up the card further.

The feud between Rick Rude and Jake Roberts continues to be a bright spot as well for the WWF. Rude is an incredible heel and knows how to rile up a crowd.

It’s understandable that DiBiase failed to win the championship, but I found his feud with Savage to be entertaining and didn’t feel like it dragged along. The matches on the house shows were also nicely done.

Warrior and Bossman both appear to be rising up the card pretty quickly. Both men would have major roles in the WWF in just a few months.

What are your memories of the WWF at this time? Feel free to share them below.

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Yearly Review: WWF June 1988

A new wrestler makes his debut and several feuds heat up as the WWF enters the month of June in 1988.



WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by Randy Savage)
DiBiase’s quest to win the WWF World Championship continued throughout
the month of June. DiBiase managed to get the upper hand on Savage by
weakening Savage during a segment at a Superstars taping on June 21st.
Andre the Giant distracted Savage during a interview segment to allow
DiBiase to attack Savage. DiBiase would beat Savage while Virgil forced
Elizabeth to watch the beating.

During the same taping, Savage issued a challenge to Ted DiBiase and
Andre the Giant to a tag team match. Savage didn’t have a partner by
this point. DiBiase accepted the challenge to wrestle in the tag team
match.

DiBiase would continue to lose house show title matches against
Savage. They did have a notable steel cage match at a MSG show on June
25th. Savage retained the title, as usual, by managing to escape the
cage.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by Honky Tonk Man)
There wasn’t any new developments for Honky’s feud with Brutus Beefcake.
They had several house show matches throughout the month with Honky
winning the majority of the bouts by pin fall after hitting Beefcake
with a foreign object. Their feud was seemingly on its last legs.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by Demolition)

Demolition continued to fight off former WWF World Tag Team Champions
Strike Force until Rick Martel suffered a knee injury that would cause
him to miss eight months of action. Demolition would beat Strike Force
by count-out as the injury occurred during a match at the June 1st WWF
Superstars taping, but aired on Primetime Wrestling later on in July.

Throughout the rest of the month, Demolition would lose several
non-title matches against the Powers of Pain on the house show market.
Demolition also competed against the British Bulldogs and the Rougeau
Brothers a few times. Demolition did not have an angle heading into July.

Other Happenings:

– The feud between Greg Valentine and Don Muraco began to heat up
during the month. After winning a squash match on the June 1st
Superstars taping, Valentine refused to let go of a figure four leg lock
on a jobber. Superstar Billy Graham and Don Muraco came out to pull
Valentine off. Muraco ended up chasing Jimmy Hart to the backstage area.
That allowed Valentine to attack Graham and put Graham in the figure
four leg lock. Graham was carried out on a stretcher once Valentine let
go of the hold. Muraco got a little bit of revenge after attacking
Valentine at the June 22nd Wrestling Challenge taping as Valentine
attempted to put Tito Santana in the figure four leg lock. The feud
continued when at the MSG show on June 25th Valentine attacked Billy
Graham (who was on commentary) kicking Graham’s leg while Muraco had a
match. Valentine had the upper hand in the feud as they continued to
feud into July.

– Big Bossman made his debut during the June 1st taping of
Superstars. Bossman defeated several jobbers throughout the month
showing that he is a force to be reckoned with in the WWF. On a few
occasions, Bossman would handcuff his opponent to the ropes and beat
them senseless with his nightstick.

– Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty (soon known as The Rockers) made
their debuts on television at the June 1st taping of Superstars. They
would win several jobber matches throughout the month.

– Bobby Heenan revealed his new king since Harley Race was injured
back in March during a bout with Hulk Hogan. Heenan’s new king ended
being Haku. Haku would now go by the fitting name, King Haku.

– Despite the Hart Foundation not wanting Jimmy Hart as their
manager, Jimmy Hart refused to leave the tag team. Jimmy Hart made it
clear that he owns the contracts of Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart. Thus, he
would stick by them no matter how much they didn’t want him around.

– Rick Rude continued to talk about Jake Roberts wife, Cheryl. Rude
made comments about Cheryl while on the Brother Love talk show during
the June 22nd Wrestling Challenge taping. Roberts would be on the
Brother Love show during the same taping and got physical with Brother
Love as the host began to insult Cheryl as well. Throughout the month,
Roberts and Rude would wrestle to several double disqualifications. They
were also involved in tag matches where Roberts would team with Jim
Duggan against Rude and Andre the Giant. Both teams would trade wins
with the outcome usually involving either Roberts or Rude being pinned.

– The Ultimate Warrior continued his feud with Hercules and won all
those contests. Warrior also competed in several weasel suit matches
against Bobby Heenan. Warrior won all of those contests as well.

Bob’s Reaction: 
The angle involving Greg Valentine and Don Muraco was rather entertaining and effective to give Valentine a push in a heel role. I had never been a big Valentine fan, but the angle fit him well and he did a good job of maintaining heat attached to it, I thought.

Big Bossman’s debut is much needed to beef up the heel side of the card, I thought. At the time, Bossman wasn’t in good condition as he was a fat cop. Over the year, he would greatly improve his condition. His rise of the card is fun to watch, as well.

The angle involving DiBiase/Savage was still going well and it looked like WWF was trying to find a way to present DiBiase as a contender to the WWF World Championship. The cage match between the two was rather good for house show standards. It seemed rather obvious that Hogan would be Randy’s partner for the big tag team showdown.

Lastly, Rick Rude’s angle with Jake Roberts is really good and Rude is just excellent at being a heel. These two just seemed to have a good chemistry.

Feel free to share any memories on what is going on in the WWF at this time.

Also, check out my Wrestling Recaps. My blog filled with wrestling reviews from all the major companies.

Yearly Review: WWF May 1988

Find out how the WWF superstars are keeping busy as head into the summer in 1988!




WWF World Championship Scene (currently held by Randy Savage)
Savage has a new challenger for the WWF World Championship, Ted DiBiase.
Savage defeated DiBiase at Wrestle Mania IV with the help of Hulk Hogan
and a steel chair. DiBiase is looking to claim what he believes is
rightfully his. At the May 10th taping of WWF Superstars, Savage pinned
DiBiase’s bodyguard, Virgil. After the contest, DiBiase and Savage had
to be held apart by WWF officials.

Throughout the month, DiBiase would get several opportunities to
defeat Savage for the championship but failed on every occasion. Savage
picked up several pin fall victories and victories by way of
disqualification. Despite the losses, DiBiase was not anywhere through
with Savage. That would be made clear in June. DiBiase had some more
tricks up his sleeve.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene (currently held by Honky Tonk Man)

Honky’s feud with Brutus Beefcake continued into May with a high point
of the feud occurring at the May 10th taping of WWF Superstars. At the
taping, Jimmy Hart distracted Beefcake during an interview segment which
allowed Honky Tonk Man to smash Beefcake over the head with his guitar.
Due to the attack, Beefcake bled from the back of the head. Later on,
Beefcake promised that he would tear Honky Tonk Man apart and win the
WWF Intercontinental Championship. Can Beefcake finally get the job done
and win the championship? Or will Honky continue to Shake, Rattle and
Roll his way past all challengers?

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene (currently held by Demolition)

Demolition continued their feud with Strike Force when Strike Force
attacked Demolition before the champions could use Mr. Fuji’s cane on
the Young Stallions during a bout at the May 10th taping of WWF
Superstars. Their feud would not last long, though. This will be made
apparent during the June 1988 update.

Other Happenings:

– Hulk Hogan did not appear on television or on any house shows
during the month of May. Hulk’s wife Linda gave birth to their first
child, Brooke on May 5th, 1988. Hulk would remain off of WWF events for a
couple months.

– The feud between Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant continued. They
would compete in singles matches tag matches with Duggan teaming with
Jake Roberts while Andre would team with Rick Rude. Duggan and Roberts
would win on a regular basis.

– Speaking of Rick Rude and Jake Roberts. Their feud continued to
progress throughout the month. At the May 7th Boston Gardens house show,
Roberts prevented Rude from kissing a female fan by chasing him to the
backstage area. Roberts’s wife Cheryl would play a park in the feud when
at the May 10th taping of WWF Superstars Cheryl put down Rude saying
that Rude wasn’t a good enough man for her. Throughout the month of May,
Roberts would not lose to Rude. If Roberts didn’t win the match
outright, they would compete to double count-out finishes.

– Bret Hart and Bad News Brown continued their feud. Brown would
usually beat Hart but on several occasions they would compete to a draw.
There wasn’t any new development to their story as the main focus was
Brown’s attack on Hart at WrestleMania IV.

– Dino Bravo started a feud with Ken Patera over who was the
stronger man. Throughout the month they would have arm wrestling
contests where Bravo would attack Patera before contest and win by
forfeit. On May 21st at a house show in Pennsylvania Bravo viciously
attacked Patera with a table after losing a match to Patera. Bravo was
getting the better of Patera.

– The Fabulous Rougeaus began to display heelish tendencies where
they began to consider themselves to be Americans despite being
Canadian. This didn’t sit well with the fans and they began to get jeers
instead of cheers as they were accustomed to getting.

– Greg Valentine started to use a shin guard to add extra leverage
to his figure four leg lock. Valentine would cause several injuries to
enhancement talent with the shin guard. Valentine began to feud with Don
Muraco after Valentine refused to stop attacking Muraco when Muraco was
caught in the ropes. The first instance of that happened at a May 21st
house show in Philadelphia.

– The Hart Foundation was turned into a babyface tag team since Bret
Hart had turned babyface back in March at WrestleMania IV. As a result
of turning into babyfaces, they got fed up with their heel manager Jimmy
Hart. Jimmy Hart was sent backstage during the Hart Foundation’s
matches several times as Jimmy would constantly interfere in their
matches. It seemed to be only a matter of time until Jimmy was going to
be fired as the Hart Foundation’s manager.

Bob’s Reaction:
Not much on my end here as I feel like a lot of the feuds are advancing. The feuds between Rude/Roberts and Savage/DiBiase are the top attractions for the company. I feel like all the feuds, for the most part, have some interest attached to them. All the major stars, aside from Hogan, have been busy since WrestleMania IV.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the WWF during the month of May in 1988!

Also, check out my Wrestling Recaps. My blog filled with wrestling reviews from all the major companies.

Yearly Review: WWF April 1988

It’s the fallout from WrestleMania. Check out the direction the WWF seems to be going after Mania IV.


WWF World Championship Scene: (currently held by Randy Savage)
Savage’s first challenger for his WWF World Championship was the One Man
Gang. Savage had beaten Gang by disqualification at Wrestle Mania IV to
advance in the tournament. Gang managed to earn a title shot and the
contest would happen at Saturday Night’s Main Event #16 which was taped
on April 22nd. After roughly six minutes of action, Savage was able to
use his speed to defeat the One Man Gang and retain his title.

There was no time to be celebrating for Randy Savage, however. Savage
quickly had another challenger for the WWF World Championship who
happened to be the man who got screwed over at Wrestle Mania by Hulk
Hogan. That man would be Ted DiBiase. DiBiase was able to earn a title
shot by defeating Don Muraco at SNME #16. Can DiBiase finally win the
WWF World Championship? DiBiase would beat Savage numerous times on the
house show market, but only by count-out. Savage’s conflict with DiBiase
was far from being over.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (currently held by the Honky Tonk Man)
April was a fairly busy month for Honky Tonk Man. Not only did he have
to continually defend the championship against Brutus Beefcake on the
house show market, but he also defended against Bam-Bam Bigelow and
Hillbilly Jim. At the April 21st taping of WWF Superstars, Honky was
able to defeat Bigelow by count-out and defeated Hillbilly Jim by pin
fall to retain the title. Honky was continuing to prove that he was
indeed the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time.

As for Beefcake, Honky was able to retain the championship numerous
times by count-out with the help of his manager Jimmy Hart on the house
show market. Jimmy Hart would dress up as Peggy Sue and cause Beefcake
to be counted out during each contest. Beefcake would get some momentum,
however, as at SNME #16 taped on April 22nd, Beefcake defeated Jimmy
Hart’s handpicked opponent David Davis. After winning the bout, Beefcake
cut some of Davis’ hair and taunted Jimmy Hart.

Will Beefcake manage to defeat Honky Tonk Man? Or, will Beefcake just continue to trim his opponents’ hair?

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (currently held by Demolition)

Following Wrestle Mania, Demolition had their first title defense
against the Young Stallions where they retained the championships.
Demolition competed at SNME #16 taped on April 22nd as they competed
against the British Bulldogs. There wasn’t much hype for the contest as
the bout was not for the tag team championships. Demolition won the
match by disqualification after the British Bulldogs attacked the
champions with pieces of Mr. Fuji’s broken cane.

Also, throughout the month of April, Demolition defeated former
champions Strike Force numerous times on the house show market.
Demolition’s first month as champions went rather smoothly.

Other Happenings:

– The feud between Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant continued as Andre
screwed Duggan over at Wrestle Mania IV as Andre cost Duggan a win
against DiBiase in the world title tournament. They had several matches
on the house show market which saw Andre getting several count-out wins
after hitting Duggan with his own 2×4. At a house show in Italy, Andre
pinned Duggan but was attacked by Duggan with a 2×4. At SNME #16 taped
on April 22nd, Duggan was attacked by Andre after defeating Hercules by
disqualification. Duggan was saved by the Ultimate Warrior, who was
still feuding with Hercules.

– The Jake Roberts/Rick Rude feud continued as Rude would make snide
remarks regarding Roberts’ marriage. Nothing was heavily progressed
between the two until the following month.

– Bad News Brown and Bret Hart had several matches against each
other on the house show market which saw them wrestle to draws.

– Lastly, several feuds from the previous month continued but were
losing steam. JYD/Ron Bass, Warrior/Hercules, and Islanders/Bulldogs
were among them. Nothing new developed for those feuds as they just
competed on the house market numerous times.

Ratings/Buy-rates:

Saturday Night’s Main Event #16 rating on NBC is unknown

Bob’s Reaction: 
There wasn’t much going on this month despite the SNME. The Savage/DiBiase stuff still has a lot of steam, but they have failed to create new feuds for a lot of the guys. This seemed to be more of a transitional month for the undercard feuds, it seemed like.

I feel like the build up for Beefcake’s chase for the WWF Intercontinental Championship continues to be done nicely and it seems evident that he would be winning the championship.

Considering there are several months before the next pay per view this seemed to be a month just to fill in the gap of time.

Feel free to share your memories on what’s going on in the WWF below!

Also, remember, head on over to Wrestling Recaps. My blog filled with wrestling reviews from all the major companies.

Yearly Review: WWF March 1988

 What’s going during the month of the WWF’s biggest show in 1988? Find out what happened at the show and the feuds that began shortly afterwards here. Leave your reactions to the developments below, too!

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently vacant)
With the WWF World Championship vacant, the main eventers had to keep
busy before the highly anticipated fourteen man tournament taking place
at Wrestle Mania IV, which took place on March 27th. Before Wrestle
Mania IV the WWF had another Saturday Night Main Event show which was
taped on March 7th. The event had some good progression for the title
tournament as the show featured Ted DiBiase defeating Randy Savage by
count-out. Afterwards, Andre the Giant attacked Savage until Hulk Hogan
made the save. Hogan, Savage, DiBiase and Andre are the favorites to win
the championship leading into Wrestle Mania IV.

At Wrestle Mania, favorites Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant wrestled
to a double disqualification which gave Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase a
rather easy road to the finals. Savage ended up pinning DiBiase in the
finals after Hogan returned to the ring and whacked DiBiase over the
back with a steel chair. Savage nailed DiBiase with the elbow drop and
won his first WWF World Championship.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene (currently held by: the Honky Tonk Man)

Honky’s feud with Brutus Beefcake started to heat up as their showdown
at Wrestle Mania started to get closer. Beefcake remained on a roll as
he defeated his former tag partner and now hated rival Greg Valentine at
the Saturday Night Main Event show taped on March 7th.

Beefcake and Honky’s feud continued at the March 9th taping of WWF
Superstars where Honky was going to sing for the fans. However, before
he could sing, Beefcake turned off the music and declared that he was
going to beat Honky for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle
Mania IV. Leading into the pay per view, Beefcake would have several
matches with both Valentine and Honky winning the matches usually by
disqualification.

At Wrestle Mania IV, Beefcake came close to winning the championship
but Honky’s manager, Jimmy Hart, saved the championship from changing
hands. Beefcake had the sleeper hold on Honky but before Beefcake could
win the title, Hart nailed the referee with his megaphone. Honky’s feud
with Beefcake was not over, though. Stay tuned.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene (currently held by: Strike Force)

Strike Force remained on a winning streak leading into the big showdown
against Demolition as they retained the championships over teams like
the Islanders and the Bolsheviks. On the other hand, Demolition suffered
a few loses to the Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers), the
British Bulldogs and the Rougeau Brothers on the house show market
leading into the title match against Strike Force at Wrestle Mania IV.

Despite losing several matches on the house show markets, Demolition
was able to defeat Strike Force to win their first WWF World Tag Team
Championship. Strike Force nearly retained the titles as Martel had the
Boston Crab on Axe until Smash nailed Martel with Mr. Fuji’s cane. Due
to the interference, Demolition member Smash pinned Martel to win the
tag team championships. This was the start of Demolition’s first tag
team title run.

Other Happenings:

– On the March 8th taping of Wresting Challenge, a feud between Ron Bass
and Junkyard Dog began. On the show, Bass choked JYD with Miss Betsy
after allowing JYD to pass by him to go to the ring. JYD got some
measure of revenge by attacking Bass on the March 19th taping of
Superstars. JYD attacked Bass during a tag match where Bass teamed with
One Man Gang against the Ultimate Warrior and Don Muraco. They would
have several matches on the house show market with JYD prevailing in
almost all the encounters.

– Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant began a feud at the March 9th taping
for WWF Superstars. On the show, Duggan was choked by Andre after
issuing a challenge to Andre. Duggan managed to fight back and whacked
Andre with a 2×4. Andre proceeded to flip out over the attack by
attacking several people at ringside. This incident saw Bobby Heenan
once again become Andre’s manager as prior to the incident, Andre was
owned by Ted DiBiase. Duggan was able to hold his own on several
occasions where Andre would try to attack Duggan after a match, but
failed. Duggan would team with Hulk Hogan to wrestle Ted DiBiase and
Andre the Giant on various house shows. The issues between Duggan and
Andre had actually started on January 2nd where Duggan saved Hogan from a
beat down by Andre. However, a feud between both men didn’t start until
March.

– At the March 19th taping of WWF Superstars a feud between Rick Rude
and Jake Roberts began. Rude would usually pick a female out of the
crowd to give a pre-match kiss. However, this time the female rejected
his advances. The female revealed to Rude that she was married to Jake
Roberts. Rude was slapped by Robert’s wife and after grabbing her was
attacked by Jake himself to kick off the feud. They would have a match
at Wrestle Mania which was also a tournament match for the vacant WWF
World Championship. They wrestled to a fifteen minute draw and both were
eliminated from the tournament as a result.

– The British Bulldogs’ conflict with the Islanders and Bobby Heenan
continued. Their matches on the house show market would typically end
with one team beating the other down with a dog leash. Heenan, who had
kidnapped Matilda (Bulldog’s mascot), tried to steal Koko B. Ware’s pet
parrot Frankie during a March 20th taping of Wrestling Challenge.
However, Heenan failed as the British Bulldogs made the save preventing
the kidnapping. At Wrestle Mania IV, Bobby Heenan and the Islanders
defeated the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware when Heenan pinned Ware
at the peak of the feud.

– At Wrestle Mania IV, Bad News Brown won a 20 man battle royal last
eliminating Bret Hart after double crossing Hart. After the match, Hart
attacked Brown and broke the winner’s trophy. This marked the first time
Bret Hart would become a baby face in the WWF.

– Wrestle Mania IV marked the last appearance of Ricky Steamboat in
the WWF for three years. On the show, Steamboat lost to Greg Valentine
in a tournament match. Steamboat would go back to the NWA and feud with
Ric Flair.

– The Ultimate Warrior won the feud between himself and Hercules as
Warrior pinned Hercules in less than five minutes. This is only the
beginning of Warrior’s mega push in the WWF.

Ratings/Buy-rates:

Saturday Night’s Main Event #15 drew a 10.0 rating on NBC.
Wrestle Mania IV drew a 6.5 rating on pay per view

Bob’s Reaction: 
I was really disappointed with the outcome of the tournament to crown a new WWF World Champion. I’m a big DiBiase fan and it just seemed like the perfect time to put the championship on the Million Dollar Man. He had so much momentum and a lot of heat. The WWF could have easily gone six months to a year with DiBiase holding the championship and have guys like Savage, Hogan, Duggan and even Bigelow chase after him during that time frame. I was happy that Hogan didn’t get a good run in the tournament and that Savage was given a run at the top as a face.

The rise of the Ultimate Warrior is apparent, and I’m not really looking forward to it. Warrior’s promos have always been confusing and rather uninteresting since I can’t understand what the hell he is talking about.

The loss of Ricky Steamboat to the NWA isn’t that big of a loss for the WWF, I feel like. Aside from his feud with Savage, he wasn’t really highlighted as a top guy from what I remember. Ricky’s greatest success came in the NWA and his return to the WWF in the early 1990s was more proof of that.

Rick Rude’s feud with Jake Roberts is a highlight on the undercard in my opinion. I thought the way they started the feud between Ravishing Rick and the Snake was very good and instant heat on Rude. The progression of that feud is one I’m most interested in seeing moving forward.

Lastly, this is memorable in the sense of Bret Hart getting a push in a singles role. This was giving the impression that the Hitman was going to get support and leave the tag division that he was involved in with Jim Neidhart. From the matches I’ve seen with Brown and Hitman, they had some decent chemistry and they often had one of the better matches on the house show market.

What are some of your thoughts on the WWF? Leave those below.

Also, remember, head on over to Wrestling Recaps. My blog filled with wrestling reviews from all the major companies.

If you’d like to get in contact with me directly with ideas for columns or show reviews for the other blog you can contact me through my e-mail.

Thanks for reading!

Yearly Review: WWF February 1988

The month of February features the highly anticipated match between WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. There is much controversy involving that match. Plus, some build up is done for WrestleMania IV.



WWF World Championship Scene: (held by Hulk Hogan)

At the Main Event on February 5th, the showdown between Hulk Hogan and
Andre the Giant occurred. At the end of the night, the WWF had quite the
controversy. Andre had “won” the championship after pinning Hogan,
despite the fact that Hogan had clearly kicked out at the count of one.
The referee, who was Dave Hebner’s twin Earl, was part of the screw job
which saw Andre win the championship and give the title to Ted DiBiase.

However, due to what happened, WWF President Jack Tunney ended up
vacating the championship and sets up a fourteen man tournament to crown
a undisputed WWF World Champion. The fourteen wrestlers to compete in
the tournament were the following: Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, Andre the
Giant, Randy Savage, Jim Duggan, Don Muraco, Dino Bravo, Greg Valentine,
Ricky Steamboat, Butch Reed, One Man Gang, Bam-Bam Bigelow, Rick Rude,
and Jake Roberts.

It should be noted that Ted DiBiase was billed as the WWF World
Champion on several occasions before the title was held vacant. DiBiase
retained the title over Bam-Bam Bigelow, who was helping Hulk Hogan
fight DiBiase and Andre at various shows.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (held by the Honky Tonk Man)

Honky Tonk Man ended his feud with Randy Savage at the Main Event on
February 5th, as Savage defeated the champion by count-out. Despite not
winning the championship, Savage had won the feud.

Honky would start up a feud with Brutus Beefcake on the February 16th
taping of WWF Superstars. During a interview segment, Beefcake cut off
Honky and proclaimed that he would be not only taking the WWF
Intercontinental Championship from Honky but he would also cut off
Honky’s ponytail.

WWF World Tag Team Championships (held by Strike Force):

Strike Force battled the Hart Foundation at the Main Event on February
5th in a rematch from the October Saturday Night Main Event. The match
wasn’t actually shown in its entirety because of time constraints, but
Strike Force were able to retain the titles.

At the February 16th taping of WWF Superstars it was announced that
Strike Force would defend the WWF World Tag Team Championships against
Demolition at Wrestle Mania IV. Demolition had been on a winning streak
ever since their debut in March 1987.

Other Happenings:

– Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules was announced for WWF Wrestle Mania IV.
They had been feuding since January where Hercules and Warrior had
several battles centered around Hercules chain.

– Dino Bravo and Ricky Steamboat fought to several time limit draws
on the house show market. After each draw, Bravo would attack Steamboat
along with his manager Frenchy Martin until Steamboat was able to clear
both men out of the ring.

Ratings/Buy-rates:

The Main Event drew a 15.2 rating on NBC

Feel free to share your memories on what is going on in the WWF at this time below.

Plus, head on over to Wrestling Recaps for thousands of reviews and columns!

Yearly Review: WWF January 1988

The first installment of Yearly Review starts with January 1988. This is the starting point for the World Wrestling Federation and will continue to present day. It will be a long journey, but that’s the goal. That’s the same mission for several other companies such as WCW, TNA, ROH, ECW and many others.

If I neglected to add something in, let me know in the comments section. Thanks!



WWF World Championship Scene: (held by Hulk Hogan)
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan had to deal with a giant competitor to
start of 1988. The challenger wasn’t a stranger to Hogan as it was the
mighty Andre the Giant. Andre had lost to Hogan for the first time in
his career at Wrestle Mania III. Andre managed to earn another title
shot after being the final survivor at the Survivor Series 1987 main
event, which saw a team captained by Andre and another by Hogan. Andre
had promised Ted DiBiase, who was obsessed over getting the WWF World
Championship, that he would give DiBiase the Title when he defeated Hulk
Hogan, adding controversy to the pending bout with Hulk Hogan. However,
before Hogan could wrestle Andre, Hogan had to deal with another former
rival, King Kong Bundy. Hogan lost to Bundy by count-out at Saturday
Night Main Event #13 and as a result defended the championship against
Bundy at Saturday Night Main Event #14 on January 2nd, 1988. The odds
were stacked against Hogan as Andre would be in Bundy’s corner for the
match.

Hogan was able to pin Bundy at the event but afterwards was brutally
attacked by Andre. Andre choked Hogan until Hogan was saved by several
baby faces, mostly thanks to Jim Duggan who used a 2×4 on Andre a couple
of times. Heading into Andre vs. Hogan II, Andre seemingly had all the
momentum and looked prime to take the championship from Hogan which was
to take place on February 5th, 1988 at the Main Event.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (held by the Honky Tonk Man)

Honky Tonk Man has held the WWF Intercontinental Championship since June
1987 where HTM pinned Ricky Steamboat on WWF Superstars. Honky’s
constant statements of being the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champion
caused a new rival for Honky. A newly baby face Randy Savage would
challenge Honky for the championship on several occasions to prove that
he is the greatest champion of all time. The feud’s turning point
occurred on the SNME on October 3rd, 1987. After the Hart Foundation
helped Honky retain the title by DQ, Honky shoved Miss Elizabeth to the
floor before smashing a guitar over Savage’s head. Honky would continue
to push Savage’s buttons by making advances towards Elizabeth, most
notably at the 1987 Slammy Awards.

The climax of Honky vs. Savage would occur at the Main Event on February 5th, 1988.

WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (held by Strike Force)

Tito Santana and Rick Martel have held the Tag Team Championships since
October 1987 where they defeated the Hart Foundation on a edition of WWF
Superstars in an upset win. Strike Force’s first challenger to deal
with were the Bolsheviks as they would have a best two out of three
falls contest at SNME #14 on January 2nd. Strike Force were able to
retain the titles winning both falls in under eight minutes. Everything
seemed to be going well for the tag team in the early stages of 1988.

Other Happenings:

– Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the 1988 Royal Rumble last eliminating One Man
Gang, who had the most eliminations of the Royal Rumble with five.

– Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine continued their feud which had
been going on for almost a year. Beefcake saved Koko B. Ware from a post
match beat down on SNME #14 and managed to cut some of Valentine’s
hair. These two would feud until March 1988.

– The Islanders returned from suspension after kidnapping the British
Bulldog’s mascot Matilda. Bulldogs would threaten Heenan on several
instances and attacked the Islanders with dog collars on more than one
occasion.

– At the Royal Rumble, Dino Bravo set the unofficial record in weight
lighting by lifting 615lbs, although Jesse Ventura had allegedly helped
Bravo lift the bar.

– Bad News Brown made his return to television after several years hiatus on the January 30th edition of WWF Superstars.

– Ultimate Warrior began to feud with King Harley Race and Hercules.
Hercules ended up choking Warrior with his chain, viciously kicking off
their feud.

– Ted DiBiase kept busy by feuding with Jake Roberts. DiBiase would
manage to get a few victories over Roberts but Roberts would get a
measure of payback by stalking DiBiase with his snake, Damien. Virgil,
DiBiase’s bodyguard, would help DiBiase get the upper hand on Roberts
and put the snake on Roberts, adding insult to defeat at a house show
that took place on January 9th.

Ratings/Buy-rates:
The rating for Saturday Night’s Main Event XIV is unknown.
Royal Rumble 1988 drew a 8.2 rating on the USA Network.

First off, I just wanted to thank everyone for the success of the first article I posted. I’m glad to see that is sparked up a conversation. That’s the ultimate goal for these. It seemed like, for the most part, everyone enjoyed the article. Thank you.

As I post more on here, I just wanted to give a brief introduction of myself. I’ve been a wrestling fan since the mid 1990s. My first exposure to wrestling was in the spring of 1994 when Bunkhouse Buck bloodied Dustin Rhodes on one of the syndicated shows. I don’t know why that kept my interest.

Throughout the years, I’ve gone back and watched stuff as early as 1986. For the most part, anything prior to that, I can’t get into.

Anyway, for the past two and a half years I’ve been writing on my own blog, Wrestling Recaps. The name really sums up the main point of the blog. Myself and several other people have written show reviews of over 3,300 shows and have them all in one place. I suppose I always thought it would be neat to have an in-depth site that had a variety of reviews. If anyone goes there to check it out, tell me what you think.

The point of Yearly Review for myself was to go back and look back at how everything developed over time. Sometimes, I would find stuff that I never knew about or remembered. I hope that his series will do the same and will spark memories below for the time period.

Thank you for reading.

SummerFest Countdown: 1988

(2012 Scott sez:  This was just done a couple of years ago, so I’ve got nothing new to add here.)  The SmarK Anthology Rant for WWF Summerslam 88 – Yes, the Summerslam Anthology is finally here from Amazon, and finally I can see the first ever Summerslam in the full and uncut PPV form instead of the 2-hour Coliseum video version I’ve had to live with for the past 20 (!!!!) years. Holy fuck I feel old now. Anyway, once again I must point out that we didn’t have PPV in Canada until 1992, so the video version was the only one I ever got to see until now. Thankfully after the excess of Wrestlemania IV, this show was a bit more on the lean side time-wise, clocking in at 2.5 hours total according to the DVD player. I should also note that I really like the format of the Anthology releases, as they have nice lean casing instead of the bloated mess that is the Wrestlemania Anthology. Like seriously, my allotted wrestling DVD storage space is pretty much filled now thanks to endless 3-disc Ultimate Editions from WWE, so I might have to start unloading stuff like the original DVD versions of Summerslams 99-2003 and all the ROH stuff I can’t be bothered to watch. Is it worth trying to sell this stuff on Ebay or would a private offering on the blog be the better way to go? Because I’ve got loads of it. – Live from New York. – Your hosts are Gorilla & Superstar Graham. As a commentator, Graham made a great former World champion. The British Bulldogs v. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers Early in the heel turn for the Rougeaus here. Davey attacks Jacques to start and rams him into the corner a few times, so it’s over to Raymond. He gets in a cheapshot off the lockup and fires away in the corner, but Davey no-sells a monkey flip and it’s back to the Bulldog corner for more ass-whooping. Davey goes to an armbar on Raymond and Dynamite comes in with a clothesline (“Literally almost took his head off!” according to Gorilla. Man, he really needs a good color man to rein him in). Davey and Raymond do a spiffy pinfall reversal sequence and Kid goes back to the arm again, and the Bulldogs put Raymond down with a double clothesline. And it’s chinlock time. The inevitable trip from the heel side turns the tide, and the Rougeaus go to work on Davey’s leg, but he sneaks in with a small package on Jacques for two. Hot tag Dynamite and he hits Jacques with a snap suplex into a headbutt for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. To the floor and Davey sends Raymond into the railing. Back in, Dynamite pounds away on Raymond in the corner, but Jacques comes in and brings him down with a backdrop suplex in a nice little double-team. Jacques drops the knee for two and now Kid plays face-in-peril. More double-teaming in the corner sets up the abdominal stretch from Jacques, and right on cue Gorilla is bitching about the placement of the foot. Raymond tries his luck, but he avoids the Wrath of Gorilla as Kid breaks free before any moaning about the move can happen. Raymond puts Kid down with an atomic drop into a Jacques splash for two, and Jacques goes to a camel clutch. Kid powers up and the Rougeaus switch off on him. Davey gets suckered in, which means the ref misses Kid’s cradle on Jacques and it only gets two as a result. Back to the abdominal stretch in the heel corner, as Raymond adds the superkick for two. And they throw in the false tag for good measure, but it’s hot tag Davey Boy soon after. He quickly whiffs on a dropkick, but recovers and presses Jacques onto the top rope. That gets two. He presses Dynamite onto Jacques with the diving headbutt, but the bell rings at 19:00. That’s a strangely arbitrary time limit, but I guess they were going for 20:00. Anyway, the 7-minute hacked up version is pretty bleh, but the full extended tag team formula on display here is a great opener. ***3/4 Meanwhile, Ron Bass beats up Brutus Beefcake until a big red X appears over his face, so you KNOW it’s serious. Sadly, Brutus is unable to compete tonight as a result. As a kid, I totally bought this angle, but now it looks pretty lame and contrived. And really, does Beefcake’s Lex Luger-level blade job warrant censorship like that? Bad News Brown v. Ken Patera Bad News apparently HATES Olympians (or ex-cons, either way), because he attacks Patera and beats the shit out of him right off the bat. Patera makes the comeback and elbows him down, but misses an elbow and allows Bad News to take over again. He pounds away and chops Patera down, then chokes away as I wonder if Patera forgot how to sell while in prison. Patera comes back with a cradle for two and drops an elbow for two. Backbreaker gets two as even Gorilla is subtly burying Patera and how bad he’s become. Small package gets two. He goes to the BEARHUG OF DEATH and the crowd doesn’t give a crap about what is supposed to be a devastating hold. Superstar actually goes into detail about potential counters to this predicament until Brown simply pokes him in the eye to escape. Patera goes up with a clubbing forearm and sets up for his lame full-nelson, but Brown quickly makes the ropes. They slug it out in the corner, but say it with me: Patera misses a blind charge and it’s GHETTO BLASTER, MOTHERFUCKER to finish at 6:34. Gorilla calls it a little bit of an upset, I call it a fucking abortion. Patera looked totally out of shape at this point and was missing simple stuff left and right. -** Meanwhile, the Megapowers are UNITED and have a secret weapon tonight. Ravishing Rick Rude v. Junkyard Dog Rude attacks to start and gets backdropped as a result, which results in him landing on the floor. Back in, Dog slugs him down, but misses a headbutt and gets leveled with a clothesline. Rude goes up with a double axehandle and he hits the chinlock. Dog fights up and gets caught with his head down, but Rude goes to work on the arm and accidentally crotches himself. Dog fires away in the corner, but gets caught from behind with a legsweep and Rude goes up to finish. However, he makes the fatal error of taking off his JYD tights to reveal Cheryl Roberts tights, and that brings in Jake for the DQ at 5:14. Dumb nothing match. 1/2* Jake and Dog tease some dissention, but I’m sure they went backstage and made up over a big crack pipe afterwards. Meanwhile, Mean Gene wants to inform Honky Tonk Man who he’s wrestling, but Honky would rather be surprised. The Bolsheviks v. The Powers of Pain Slick and the Bolsheviks was always a bad pairing, because Slick is obviously a capitalist pimp and the Russians would naturally oppose that sort of behavior. Powers attack to start and clear the ring, then put Boris down with a double elbow. They double-team Nikolai, and the Bolsheviks bail and regroup again. This allows me to stop and wonder what the fuck was with trying to pass off Baron Von Raschke as a babyface manager. And why use him if you’re just going to disguise his face and not let him talk? Barbarian throws Boris around and Warlord sends him into the corner and drops a fist for two. Bad belly to belly suplex gets nothing, as Nikolai breaks it up and Warlord is face-in-peril. Although who would buy him as being in peril from these goofs, I don’t know. The heels work him over in the corner with their array of choking and punching before Boris goes to the chinlock. Warlord fights out and it’s hot tag Barbarian, who boots Nikolai over the top. Flying headbutt from Barbie finishes at 7:09. Total shit but the Powers were shockingly over as babyfaces. 1/4* Brother Love joins us with a special PPV show, back when he was a hot enough heel to pull that off, and his guest is Hacksaw Duggan. And Duggan’s got nothing in particular to say, aside from establishing that he still loves the USA. Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. The Ultimate Warrior Of course we all know what happened here, as Honky learns that “Gimme somebody to wrestle” are the dumbest words a man can say after 18 months as champion. After nearly two years of Honky outsmarting better wrestlers and backing into successful title defenses, Warrior cuts the Gordian knot and destroys Honky in 30 seconds, giving him no chance to get himself counted out or disqualified. And the pop is unholy, making this one of the greatest payoffs in the history of wrestling. As a match, whatever, but it delivered what the fans had been waiting to see forever. Don Muraco v. Dino Bravo Sadly, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is our first victim of the Music License Guillotine tonight, as we get the overdubbed Finkel introduction and ear-rapingly bad generic music. This is a rematch of their Wrestlemania IV 3 minute epic, as Muraco was nearing the end despite still looking like a superstar. Muraco grabs a headlock and stomps Bravo on a criss-cross, then slams him a couple of times and sends him running to the floor. Muraco with a monkey flip out of the corner, but Bravo reverses him into the turnbuckle and pounds away. Inverted atomic drop follows, into an elbowdrop for two. Muraco catches him with a Russian legsweep and makes the comeback. Bravo catches him with the sideslam to finish at 5:30, however. Bleh. * WWF World tag titles: Demolition v. The Hart Foundation “Demolition” is INTACT, full Derringer version and all. I give up trying to understand this stuff. The Harts don’t even get an ENTRANCE, poor guys. Bret dodges an Ax elbow to start and rolls him up for two, so it’s over to Smash. Bret takes him down with armdrags, and Anvil comes in and pounds Smash down before going to the arm himself. Ax gets the cheapshot from the apron and pounds Neidhart down in the corner, and Smash adds his own abuse. Anvil catches Ax with his head down and brings Bret back in, but Smash whips him into the corner to take over. Demolition takes turns on the arm, and Smash gets a shoulderbreaker and cranks on a wristlock. Bret gets tossed and Ax rams his arm into the railing, and back in for more punishment. Bret comes back with a clothesline on Ax, but it’s a false tag and Bret gets hauled back to the heel corner again. Smash misses a blind charge, however, and it’s hot tag Anvil. Dropkick for Ax! Slams for everyone! Anvil clears the ring and then Bret slingshots him onto Smash on the floor, which is a pretty awesome highspot for 1988. Back in, powerslam gets two. Bret whips Anvil into Smash for two. Backbreaker gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Bret sets up for a piledriver on Smash, but Ax nails him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and Smash gets the pin to retain at 10:48. Crowd was totally buying the Harts babyface act, which is kind of weird considering they were the #1 tag team heels all the way up until Wrestlemania IV. Looked kind of sloppy to start, but once they got into beating the shit out of Bret Hart it got really good, really fast. ***1/4 Big Bossman v. Koko B. Ware Bossman tosses him to start, but Koko comes back in with a dropkick and Bossman is tied up in the ropes. Koko walks into a facelock, however, and Bossman pounds him down and hits a corner splash. Clothesline gets two and he goes to a surfboard, then the running choke. To the top (!?), but a flying splash misses badly, then he misses a blind charge for good measure. Koko makes the comeback with a missile dropkick for two, but Bossman no-sells it and dumps him. Bossman slam finishes at 5:55. Too long for this early in Bossman’s career, as it should have been a dominant squash, but he’d get better. * Meanwhile, Ultimate Warrior celebrates and notes that he’s not a hard guy to find, he’ll be on a spaceship to Parts Unknown if you want him. That sounds pretty hard to find, actually. Hercules v. Jake Roberts Hercules tries the sneak attack, but Jake slugs away until he runs into a boot in the corner. Herc puts his head down and Jake goes to finish, but Hercules wisely slips out and takes a breather. Back in, Jake cranks on the headlock, but Herc gets the cheapshot and drops elbows to take over. Clothesline and another elbow get two. Herc goes to the endless chinlock and dumps Jake. Back in, another chinlock, but Jake escapes with a jawbreaker and makes the comeback. Short clothesline, but Herc backdrops out of the DDT. Jake misses the kneelift and Hercules drops an elbow for two. Herc arrogantly pounds away, but the DDT finishes out of nowhere at 10:09. Overly long but totally watchable. ** Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ted Dibiase & Andre the Giant Special ref Jesse Ventura changes the corners around for reasons that are never adequately explained. Savage starts and immediately gets jumped in the heel corner, so he backs off and lets Hogan come in. Macho’s yellow-and-red Megapower variant tights are pretty badass, actually. Hogan counters all of Dibiase’s offense and atomic drops him into the corner for some bumping, then puts him down with a clothesline. The Megapowers team up with elbows on Dibiase, and Hulk runs him into each turnbuckle. Savage in with the double axehandle and he drops the knee for two. Double big boot gets two for Hogan. He drops the elbows on Dibiase, but Andre is not feeling charitable today and just comes in to destroy the faces. He tags in legally and uses the power of his ass on Hogan, then chokes him out and runs him into his boot. Andre with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to put Hogan down and we get some extended choking. Over to Dibiase, who slugs Hogan down and follows with a clothesline for two. Fistdrop gets two. He hits the chinlock, which gets Superstar inordinately worked up about the injustice of it all. Holy shit, mix some valium in with the other pills. Hulk fights up and elbows out, and it’s a double clothesline as a result. Hot tag Savage, but you know this isn’t gonna take. Backdrop for Dibiase and he necksnaps him on the top rope, then pops up to the top with the double axehandle, but a blind charge misses. He still manages a crossbody for two, but Dibiase tags the Giant in and Savage is fucked with a capital FUCK. Andre pounds at will and crushes him in the corner. Back to Dibiase, who gets a suplex for two. Elbow off the middle rope misses, and Hogan gets the tag again. Hulk slugs away on Dibiase and gets the corner clothesline, then follows with a suplex and slugs Andre down for the heck of it. He puts Dibiase in a sleeper while Savage tries the flying elbow on Andre, but the Giant gets his boot up and catches Savage coming down. See, that spot makes SENSE there and looks like it should. The heels clean house and things are looking bad for the Megapowers, but Liz pops onto the apron and does the famous striptease (just revealing a pair of bikini bottoms), leaving everyone so distracted that the Megapowers can stage the comeback. Using the power of the MEGAPOWER HANDSHAKE, they activate the Megapower Powers and finish Dibiase with the flying elbow and legdrop at 14:46. Pretty good tag match, actually, with a lot of different people getting offense instead of the usual formula. ***1/4 The Pulse: Well, the 80s had some damn good tag team wrestling, you have to give it that. Boy this is a crappy show otherwise, though, interesting as it is to finally see the full version. Recommendation to avoid.

July PPV Countdown: The Great American Bash 1988

The Netcop Retro Rant for Great American Bash 88. – This is for two reasons:  One, for the winner of the 50,000th hit contest a couple of weeks ago on Rantsylvania (soon to have it’s own domain name and professional design) and second for someone who won’t stop NAGGING me about it.  You know who you are.  (I no longer know who that was.)  – Live from Baltimore, MD. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross. – Opening match:  NWA World tag title match:  Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson v. Sting & Nikita Koloff. Big brawl to start.  There’s no real story here — Sting needed something to do while Lex took his turn on top of the card, so he got stuck fighting for the tag titles with Koloff, who was the opposite of resurgent, whatever that is.  (Cody Rhodes.)  Sting gets a couple of quick two counts before Arn runs away.  Koloff had a full head of hair at this point, by the way, which looks…creepy.  Move #393 (ARM-bar) comes into liberal use from Koloff, boring the crowd.  The faces manage to double-team Tully while the ref argues the legality of tagging your partner’s foot with Arn.  Suddenly, the THE (Turner Home Entertainment) guys do a Sid-worthy scissor job on the match, (I SAID, did you FORGET your SCISSORS?) clipping to the finish as Sting gets the hot tag and destroys everything that moves.  Sleeper on AA leads to a messed-up sequence with Tully, which leads in turn to a Stinger splash and deathlock.  Crowd thinks it’s a submission, but it turns out to be a time-limit draw, of which we saw 10:27.  That would turn out to be popular booking for the evening.  I don’t know which was worse — the effort of the workers or the editing job.  Match looked to be about *1/2 (It was better than that, but we’ll get to the full version later.)  – US tag team title:  The Fantastics v. The Midnight Express.  The Fantastics won the titles on a **** TV match a few weeks prior to this, and prior to that they did a ****3/4 MOTYC on the first Clash that nearly blew the roof off the place.  For this one, OverBook-A-Mania is running wild, as Jim Cornette is first placed in a straitjacket, then locked in a steel cage, and if the Midnights don’t win he gets lashed 10 times with a belt.  So nice to see Cornette being given the book from time to time, isn’t it?  Funny bit as Cornette tries to bribe the officials on the way to cage (“WOULD YOU TAKE $15,000?!?”) but no dice. The pre-match nonsense eats up about 10 minutes, however, which is ridiculous considering that the 20-minute match is clipped down to 2:16. Obviously they were still learning how to edit a PPV tape at this point. I’ve seen the full match, and it’s tres disappointing, about **.  (WHAT?!  No way, 1998 Scott.)  The ending is the ref getting wiped out and Eaton pulling out a chain and nailing Rogers with it for the pin to regain the US tag titles. Cornette still gets whipped in the end, of course, so everyone ends up happy. – The Tower of Doom:  The Road Warriors, Jim Garvin, Ron Garvin & Steve Williams v. Kevin Sullivan, Al Perez, the Russian Assassin, Ivan Koloff & Mike Rotunda.  Okay, unless you’re a big WCCW fan you’ve probably never heard of this one before.  Here’s the deal:  There’s three cages stacked on top of each other, shrinking in size on the way up.  The smallest cage is literally up in the lights.  The object is to have all five team members proceed from the top cage, down to the bottom cage and out via the door, which is controlled by Garvin’s wife and/or Sullivan’s evil love-slave, Precious.  The issue at the time was whether Sullivan had brainwashed Precious, see.  (Obviously the Flair-Garvin feud from the year before was a much better use of Precious.)  Every two minutes, a trapdoor opens in the bottom of the top two cages, allowing people in them to move down within a 15-second window.  At the same time, a door in the small cage at the top opens, allowing a new member from each team to enter the match.  The gimmick itself was horribly complex and impossible to follow and book good matches around, so this is the only appearance.  (Sadly, Russo would bring it back in 2000, because RUSSO) The Tower of Doom match (called the Triple Dome of Terror at the time) first took place in World Class a few months prior, with longtime partners Terry Gordy and Michael Hayes fighting for the first time.  Anyway, on with the match.  We start with Ron Garvin & Ivan Koloff in the top cage, and they slug it out for a while, although the light standards are blocking the view so no one can tell what’s going on.  And the cage is like 4 feet by 4 feet so there’s no room to do much.  After 2:00, Garvin drops into the next cage, while Koloff is trapped above and Williams and Rotunda enter the match.  Williams handles both easily, and when the next 2:00 is up, Garvin drops into the bottom cage, and then leaves the ring to be the first man out for his team.  Hope that clears up the rules a bit.  Doc and Ivan go into the second level, meanwhile, leaving Rotunda at the top level as Al Perez and Animal join the match.  Doc wipes the cage with Koloff for 2 minutes, until the trapdoors open again and Perez & Animal move down to join Doc and Koloff in the second level. The top cage opens to admit Hawk and the Russian Assassin.  Hawk holds off both Rotunda and Assassin.  It’s all a giant brawl.  Next period: Perez & Animal make it into the bottom cage and both leave.  The second level has Williams & Hawk v. the Russians.  Up top, team captains Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan have entered the match, and poor Rotunda is still up there in the top cage with them.  Next period:  Rotunda finally gets to drop down to the second level, while Hawk and the Russians all make it to the bottom and out.  We’re down to four guys:  Garvin & Sullivan in the top cage, and Rotunda & Williams in the second cage. Next period:  Williams takes out Rotunda and escapes the cage, leaving Garvin 1-on-2 against the Varsity Club.  Next period:  Rotunda makes his escape, leaving the blowoff match:  Garvin v. Sullivan.  Garvin works on Sullivan’s leg while in the second level to keep him from making it to the trap door.  Next period:  The strategy doesn’t work, as both are able to make it to the bottom level, and it’s first man out to to win. Garvin takes out Sullivan with the brainbuster (now THERE’S a perfectly good finisher just waiting for a new user) and tries for the door, but Sullivan dives for it, accidentally knocking Garvin to the floor for the babyface win.  But that leaves Sullivan alone in the cage with Precious, and he proceeds to basically kick the shit out of her.  I’ve always wondered why Kevin didn’t get a booking job for the WWF — he’d be PERFECT.  (Insert your own comment here.)  The faces have to go all the way through the cage maze again to make the rescue, but when Hawk drops down and clotheslines Sullivan on the way down, the pop is HUGE.  The match was…um…interesting, although if you think I can possibly rate it you’re nuts. – For some reason, they decided to stick a “bonus” match on a tape that was already hacked more than a WrestleLine article in order to make 125 minutes. – World TV title match:  Mike Rotunda v. Sting.  Taped from a house show a week or so prior, this is a completely paint-by-numbers Sting match, as Rotundo controls with his boring offense, Sting makes a quick comeback, and Rick Steiner runs in for the usual DQ at 8:15.  Why even bother?  * – US title match:  Barry Windham v. Dusty Rhodes.  The story:  Dusty was US champion, but he got into a big brawl with the Horsemen that ended with him going ballistic on the puppet president of the NWA at the time (I forget whether it was Geigel or Crockett at the time — he also did the same angle in Florida and it gets hard to keep track) with a baseball bat.  He was suspended and stripped of the US title (Dusty? JOB?  Heaven forefend).  And of course, the next week Windham started getting dogged by the most mysterious of all mystery men…the Midnight Rider!  If anyone knows who that enigmatic guy was, let me know, because I’m stumped.  (Mr. America was slightly more mysterious, I’d say.)  Finally, the suspension ended, but not before Windham had won a tournament for the US title, going over Nikita Koloff in the finals.  So we got this match.  This was the peak of Barry’s skills and luckily it coincided with the peak of his credibility as a wrestler, 1993 notwithstanding.  Barry bumps his ass off for Dusty to begin, as Dusty even manages a press-slam and DDT…then heads to the top?!? LUCHA DUSTY!  AMERICANA LA VACA!  Dusty pulls out the cross-body from the top that he hadn’t used since 1979 (when he used it to pin Harley Race for the NWA World title) but it only gets two.  Man, you gotta admire Barry for taking the weight of a 600 pound man from the top rope and then kicking out.  HE’S A MAN’S MAN!  Windham bails, but Dusty pummels him when he returns.  They fight outside and Dusty opens a bigger can of whoop-ass.  Barry gets a cheap shot to temporarily take control, but when he tries to slingshot Dusty in, it backfires and Barry goes flying to the floor.  Why?  Because Dusty is JUST TOO FAT.  Nice bump from Barry, though.  Back in the ring, JJ runs interference, allowing Windham a knee to the back and the most dreaded of all finishers…the CLAWHOLD!  Nothing will put a man out faster than massaging his temples while wearing a black glove, you know.  Dusty spends about 5 minutes fighting out, but gets nowhere.  He even walks the ropes to escape, but Barry is tall enough to hang on.  Good psychology there.  Dusty finally elbows out and goes for the figure-four, but when he bends over Barry slaps the claw back on. That’s VERY good psychology.  (Gotta love that clawhold.)  Dusty goes back to the ropes, and this time makes it far enough up to break the hold.  Ref gets bumped as Dusty comes down, however (a Dusty finish in a Dusty match?  WHAT ARE THE ODDS????) and Dusty slams Windham off the top and hits the BIG FAT ELBOW OF DEATH.  Ron Garvin runs in to wake up the ref…then it’s KAPOW! and Dusty is down for the count after a grade-A heel turn.  Crowd is absolutely in shock as Windham slaps on the claw again and Tommy Young counts three.  As a young mark, my jaw nearly dropped when I heard Garvin turned on Dusty.  Windham carried the whole match.  ***  (No way this was ***.  I gave it a more sane rating later on.)  – Backstage, Garvin accepts a big briefcase full of money from Gary Hart and JJ Dillon. – Main event, NWA World title:  Ric Flair v. Lex Luger.  This would be the NWA’s first real money match in the PPV era.  Of course they screwed it up.  The story:  Luger is the young apprentice of the aging Four Horsemen, but decides that they’re holding him back, especially what with JJ Dillon wanting him to lay down in battle royales so Dillon can win.  Luger is out, Windham is in, and now Luger is pissed and starts taking out the Horsemen one-by-one, leading up to Flair.  The Horsemen systematically attack Luger every chance they get, including a memorable parking lot beating the week before this show.  Luger totally overpowers Flair to start and tosses him around.  The usual from Flair as he bails and argues with the front row, then gets into a shoving match with Tommy Young.  Flair offers a test of strength, something which I don’t think he ever tried again after what happened.  Luger has his way some more and goes for the bearhug, getting a two count off it until Flair makes the ropes.  Luger casually suplexes him back in, but misses the leaping elbow.  It’s not like he sells it or anything, though.  Flair gets a cheap shot outside the ring to take control, but Luger keeps fighting him off, as if merely inconvenienced.  Luger goes for the kill but misses a dropkick and Flair goes right for the knee.  Figure-four gets put on the wrong leg as usual.  Luger powers out and comes back, but the knee caves in on him very quickly.  He shakes it off and hulks up, however.  Luger gets a backslide for two, then a really bad looking spot ensues as they both go over the top rope after about 3 tries at it. Flair and Dillon take turns ramming Luger into the post, finally busting him open….cue ominous music.  Back in the ring, and Luger decides to just dispose of Flair once and for all, powerslamming him and locking in the rack for the easy submission and his first World title…ah, no. See, Baltimore was on this big anti-blood kick at the time, so in order to run it into their face the NWA booked a goofy ending whereby Luger would get busted open and the State Athetlic commission would stop the match and award it to Flair.  The end comes at 23:13 and when the crowd hears the announcement they are, to say the least, none too thrilled. I’ve cut myself open bigger than that shaving, I don’t blame them.  A pretty weak Luger-Flair match here, but they’d have better ones in years to come.  ***1/2 The Bottom Line:  This card holds nostalgia value for a lot of people, but the wrestling is easily topped elsewhere.  The first Clash completely blows it out of the water for instance.  There’s tons of better Luger-Flair matches out there, not to mention WAY better stuff with Tully & Arn, the Midnights and the Fantastics.  Sting is wasted here, as are most of the guys in the Tower of Doom match.  If you’ve never seen the practically-legendary Luger-Flair screwjob finish or are interested in the goofy gimmick match in the Tower of Doom, I’d recommend this one, but otherwise stick with pre-88 or post-89. The SmarK 24/7 Rant for NWA Great American Bash 88: The Price For Freedom! – Technically this isn’t playing on 24/7 anymore, but I recorded it for when I’d actually have time to do it, which is now. – OK, so story time. The original rant was written in what must have been 1998, because it was shortly before the dot-com transformation of Rantsylvania. The original rant came from the Turner Home Entertainment version of the how, which was edited down to two hours and was also the first tape I ever bought from someone on RSPW way back when. Many more would follow, although these days you crazy kids with your file sharing and YouTube just trade links. Anyway, this being 24/7, they show the much more awesome full PPV versions, which is why I slavishly devote my life to recapping their content. On with the show. – Live from Baltimore, MD – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone NWA World tag titles: Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson v. Sting & Nikita Koloff Good lord, they actually overdubbed Sting’s generic 80s music with “The Man Called Sting”. That’s beyond awful. Big brawl to start and Sting quickly cradles Tully for two out of that. Arn bails and Sting follows him with a tope con hilo, and back in Arn comes off the top and gets caught. Sting puts him in an armbar and Koloff trades off on that, but Arn pounds him in the corner to break. Koloff comes back with a Russian Sickle for both heels, and gets two on Arn as a result. Sting comes back in and goes back to the arm, but runs into a knee. Arn makes another ill-advised trip to the top, but outsmarts Sting and sucks him in for a sleeper. Sting powers out of that and goes back to the arm again. Tully comes in for a double-team, but Sting dropkicks both of them. Tully immediately gets taken down with an armdrag, and Nikita goes to the arm as well. They stay on it and Koloff runs Tully’s shoulder into the post, and we get a funny spot with Arn trying to tag Tully’s foot and protesting the legality of it. This gives the challengers a chance to switch off again. Tully tries to fight back on Koloff, but Nikita takes him down with an atomic drop and goes back to the arm. Nice sequence sees Nikita holding a hammerlock and holding on through a snapmare counter by Tully, but it also puts them in the heel corner and allows Tully to tag out. Nikita takes Arn down with a drop toehold and holds him on the mat with a half-nelson, but goes after JJ on the floor and clotheslines the post as a result. And now we go to school, as the champs pound the arm and Arn gets the hammerlock slam and goes to work. Hammerlock on the mat, but Koloff fights back, so Arn gives him a DDT for two. Tully comes in for a cross-armbreaker and standing armbar, but Koloff fights out and it’s hot tag Sting. Dropkick for Tully and press slam, and Arn gets bulldogged. Noggins are knocked, but Tully tags Arn in again, which allows Sting to put him in a sleeper with a minute left. Not MY strategy for a match with a minute left, but whatever. Tully tries a sunset flip to break, but Sting blocks and hammers away, and it’s BONZO GONZO with time running out. Stinger splash for Tully sets up the Scorpion Deathlock, but time expires at 20:00. *** Sting and Koloff rather presumptuously put the tag belts on before the decision is even announced. There’s confidence, and there’s being an asshole, guys. US tag titles: The Fantastics v. The Midnight Express The Fantastics had won the US titles from the Midnights on Worldwide Wrestling in a rather legendary match and then retained them at Clash #1. In order to secure another rematch, the MX had to put Jim Cornette in a cage above the ring, in a straitjacket, and then promise to take 10 lashes with a strap if they lose. Strange story while I’m thinking of it: The Panasonic rep dropped off some demo DVDs at work to show off Panasonic’s TVs with, and one of the segments featured is from a boat race on what I can only assume is ESPN 8 (The Ocho!), with two boating superstars being interviewed by none other than an aging and balding Stan Lane! Anyway, both “The Chase” and the Fantastics’ custom intro music are cut (“From the city of the angels, please welcome Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers…the Faaaaaaaaaaantastics!”) Kinda made Capetta’s job redundant, maybe he sued and that’s why they cut it. Cornette throws a tantrum about the stipulations before we start, as though he wasn’t informed of it beforehand. The banter between Jim and the ref for the camera is tremendous, giving us this exchange: Cornette: “Can I appeal to your baser instincts?” Dick Wohrle: “You don’t have to appeal to me, brother.” Cornette: “Well, can you be bribed, then? How about $5000?” Dick: “I wouldn’t take $10,000.” Cornette: “How about $15,000?” Cornette is of course deathly afraid of heights in real life, which Jim Ross points out several times here, so this can’t have been fun for him. Fulton and Eaton fight for the lockup to start and Fulton grabs a headlock and turns it into a sunset flip for two. Eaton comes back with his own headlock, but Fulton takes him down with a pair of flying headscissors and Eaton backs off. Lane comes in and wants the test of strength, but Fulton does the Ricky Morton walk up the shoulders, so Lane drops him like a sack of potatoes and then kicks the crap out of him with some SWEET legwork. I’m such a mark for Stan Lane’s marital arts stuff. Fulton dumps Lane, however, and baseball slides him. Over to Rogers, who dropkicks Stan, so Lane elbows him down and brings Eaton in again, but he walks into an armdrag. Bobby takes him down with a knee to the gut and puts Rogers on top, but he slips out and rolls Eaton up for two. Nice sequence as Eaton kicks out and pushes Rogers off into the corner, and Tommy springboards back out with a bodypress for two. What a great spot that you don’t see anymore. It’s BONZO GONZO and the Fantastics break up a double whip and then chase the Midnights out of teh ring, and the challengers are looking lost without Cornette. Jim Ross makes sure to mention several times that the Maryland Athletic Commission is presiding over the matches tonight, which is paid off later. Lane backdrops Rogers but gets rolled up, but has the foresight to tag Eaton beforehand, and Bobby bulldogs Tommy to break up the pin, and then gets two himself. Rogers is YOUR face in peril, and Lane throws kicks in the corner and necksnaps him, then slingshots in with a clothesline to kill Rogers dead. Eaton gets a big back elbow and kneedrop, as Rogers is just selling like nuts here. That gets two. Neckbreaker gets two. Lane comes in with the kick combo, and Rogers collapses right into a backbreaker from Eaton. TEXTBOOK. That gets two. Eaton slugs Rogers down and Lane gets two off it. Lane rams him into the mat and Eaton follows with a backbreaker for two. Divorce Court and Eaton works the arm, and then it’s some quality cheating as the Express suckers Fulton in and double-teams Rogers for two. Lane goes to the abdominal stretch and gets an assist from Eaton (the only worthwhile use of that move, by the way) but they head out to cheat some more and it backfires, as Rogers manages to send Eaton into the post. Back in, Stan calmly pounds Rogers down with forearms, but Tommy gets a sunset flip for two. Eaton goes up with the Alabama Jam and Rogers is DONE, and Lane gets two as Fulton saves. I love how they tag before making the cover, just to make sure they’ve got a fresh man in there. Back to the abdominal stretch, which Lane transitions into a russian legsweep, and that sets up the Rocket Launcher. That hits knee, however, and it’s HOT TAG Fulton. Crowd is still 50/50 for the Express, however, so the pop isn’t as huge as I expected. Rollup on Eaton gets two and he dumps Lane. Stan gets revenge, however, tripping up Fulton from the floor, and the ref is bumped by Rogers. Rogers sends Eaton into the post and fights off Lane, but Bobby Eaton finds a chain and wraps it around his fist to make sure no one slips on it, but then accidentally trips and punches Fulton in the face with it. Whoops, butterfingers. He then shoves the chain in Fulton’s tights, just in case. New champs at 16:21 and that gets a pretty impressive reaction from the crowd. Loved it, loved it, loved it. May a yak marry the daughter of whatever buffoon cut this down to 2:00 on the home video release 20 years ago. ****1/4 Tower of Doom: The Road Warriors & Jimmy Garvin & Ronnie Garvin & Steve Williams v. Kevin Sullivan & Al Perez & Mike Rotundo & Ivan Koloff & The Russian Assassin (Dave Sheldon). This was a goofy-ass idea they stole from World Class, themselves known for off-the-wall booking notions at that time (like the infamous “blackout” finish to the Iceman Parsons-Kerry Von Erich World title match), and the concept is thus: There’s three cages stacked on top of each other, with the smallest on top, and team members at the top every two minutes and fight their way down, with the winner being the first team to exit. Precious holds the key and decides who wins, presumably. It’s kind of funny to think back on a time when Jimmy Garvin WASN’T playing a smarmy sleazeball heel. Ivan Koloff and Ron Garvin start in the little cage on top and slug it out, despite being so high that no one can possibly follow the “action” from the crowd. I have no idea why they didn’t just do the Wargames instead of this stupid idea. So the door opens and Garvin proceeds to the next level, leaving Steve Williams 2-on-1 against Koloff and Rotundo. The next period sees Ron Garvin heading to the bottom level and leaving while Ivan Koloff and Steve Williams fight to the second level. Up on top it’s Rotundo & Perez v. Animal. What a fucking retarded match concept. The rules are so convoluted that it’s like something even Vince Russo would reject for being too tough to understand. Anyway, next period sees Animal & Williams v. Koloff & Perez in the second cage, with Hawk v. Russian Assassin & Rotundo in the top cage and no one in the bottom. It’s all just guys punching each other, so there’s nothing really to call other than that. Third period and we’ve got Perez and Animal in the bottom cage, RA & Koloff v. Williams & Hawk in the middle cage, and Rotundo still on top with Kevin Sullivan against Jimmy Garvin. Animal and Perez both walk out to put the faces up 2-1. Next period and the Russians both drop down and look to depart, but beat up on Hawk first. Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan, the principles in the whole dumb Precious feud, are alone on the top, with Rotundo & Williams in the middle cage. Hawk walks, as do the Russians, so it’s 3-3. The build is just all off for this thing, as guys fight in the bottom cage when they can just as easily walk out. What a mess. Rotundo and Williams both exit, leaving us with Garvin & Sullivan in the middle cage, where we should have just gone to in the first place. Garvin actually tries a spinning toehold of all things. They make it to the bottom and Garvin hits the brainbuster and leaves at 19:13. Yay, it’s over. I don’t know that I can even rate it. Call it a solid DUD and leave it at that. Afterwards, with Precious having chosen hubbie Jimmy Garvin over Sullivan, Kevin takes it badly and tries to kill her by strangling her. Uh, I don’t know that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to edit that out given the time when they were airing it and all. US title: Barry Windham v. Dusty Rhodes This was quite the hot feud for Windham, with the whole “former friends” thing as Windham was on the hot streak of a lifetime as a Horseman. Barry backs off from the elbow to start, but Dusty shoulderblocks him down and Windham bails. Criss-cross and Windham drops an elbow to the back of the head, but Dusty presses him and DDTs him in response. Elbow and Dusty goes up (?!?), and a bodypress gets two. Windham, apparently thinking that an airplane crashed on the arena, is shell-shocked and bails to confer with Dillon. Back in, Windham slugs away in the corner, but Dusty is up for that challenge and fires back with some Flip Flop N Fly action. Barry bails again. They brawl outside and Barry tries a piledriver on the floor, but Dusty backdrops out of it and follows with a clothesline. Back in, Barry takes over by slugging away in the corner, but Dusty heads to the apron and slingshots him over the top, as Barry takes a nasty bump to the concrete. Dusty follows with a slam on the floor. Back in, Barry again gets the advantage by attacking from behind, and drops an elbow to set up THE IRON CLAW OF DEATH. AKA “Dusty gets to lay around and sell for five minutes”. Keep in mind that this is Windham’s finisher at this point, the move that he kills jobbers with and won the US title with. Barry gets a pair of two counts off that. Dusty tries to fight up and climbs the ropes to escape, but just can’t fire off that elbow, despite melodramatically cocking it. Windham brings him down, and Dusty’s facing insurmountable odds, according to JR. Naturally that means Dusty is ready to escape, but Barry goes right back to it. So obviously the odds were surmountable, but just difficult. Dusty walks the ropes again to escape, but Barry decides to try a superplex and the ref gets bumped. They fight on the top rope and Dusty slams him off and drops the big fat elbow, but there’s no ref. Cue the run-in, as Ron Garvin makes a random appearance, and then turns on Big Dust and knocks him cold with the Hands of Stone. And now Barry goes back to that claw, finishing at 15:54. Apparently Windham is no more of a miracle worker with Rhodes than Ric Flair is. This was pretty dull stuff, with Barry bumping all over for Dusty for 10 minutes, then Dusty selling the claw for five, and finally a run-in finish. **1/2 NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Lex Luger There were many, many more to come, but this was the first match between them. Well, if you don’t count the Battle of the Belts match from Florida that no one remembers. Luger of course joined the Horsemen in 1987, then lost the US title to Dusty Rhodes and regrouped by telling the other members of the team that he didn’t need their help any longer and he wanted to stand on his own. So they did just that, and kicked him out of the group, then paid off his best friend to turn on him and join them. Now that’s evil. Common sense, popular opinion and years of wrestling history said that Lex Luger wins the belt here and Flair regains it at Starrcade. They fight over the lockup to start and Flair starts throwing chops, but Luger no-sells and hiptosses him into a dropkick, and Flair bails. Back in, Luger press-slams him and Flair is out again. Back in, another press slam and Luger goes to the bearhug. That goes on for a while. Flair manages to draw Luger into the ropes to force the break, and Flair bails to the apron. Luger suplexes him back in…and HITS THE ELBOW. Holy shit, I’ve seen him miss that thing like 800 times. A second try misses, however, so all is right with the universe again. Flair tosses him and uses some dirty tricks to take over, ramming his head into the railing before they head back in. Flair drops the knee and works on the arm, then hits a cheapshot to the ribs while Tommy Young is checking the arm. Luger comes back with a clothesline for two, but Flair slams him and goes up. You know what happens there. Luger hiptosses him out of the corner, but whiffs on a dropkick and we get a Flair Flop as both guys are out. Flair whips him into the corner, but Lex comes out with another clothesline for two. Flair tosses him again, but Luger slingshots in with a sunset flip for two. Flair goes to the knee to finally get him to sell, and starts going to work on the knee. And it’s figure-four time. Luger quickly reverses, so Flair kicks him in the knee again, but Luger comes back with a press slam. He misses a kneedrop (duuuuuuuuhhhh….him smart like dump truck…) and Flair goes up again, and gets slammed again. Luger’s knee is iffy, however. Luger pounds away in the corner, but Flair brings him down with an atomic drop, and Luger does the All Japan sell by popping up with a lariat for two. Luger pounds away in the corner again, totally forgetting the knee injury now, and we get a Flair Flip. They brawl on the floor and Luger takes the fateful trip to the post (dumb dumb dumb….that’s not a dramatic music cue, that’s my opinions of the finish) and starts bleeding. Back in, Luger starts “bleeding”, but still powerslams Flair and gets the Torture Rack, and Flair apparently submits at 23:13. Your basic Flair v. Broomstick match. *** BUT WAIT! Turns out that the tiny little cut on Luger’s forehead forced the the “Maryland State Athletic Commission” to stop the match, and thus award the decision to Flair instead. Worst Screwjob Ever. This was completely ridiculous on several levels: 1) Baltimore had seen dozens of matches far bloodier than this one without ever hearing a mention of the Commission before this, or after this for that matter. 2) Luger’s cut was so small as to have dried up 10 seconds after his blade job. 3) Luger was obviously able to compete, given that he was about to win the match and all. Essentially, this was supposed to be Luger’s ascent into Hogan levels by getting his big All-American win for the All-American World title ala Hogan in 84, but politics and a really bad job of blading screwed it all up and left Luger branded a choker for the rest of his career. More importantly, however, this show really showed how out of touch with the audience that JCP was at this point, as WWF was still doing the superhero “send the fans home happy” finishes on their PPVs, and here you have heels going over up and down the card and casual buyers, who may have been excited to see a WWF alternative, getting kicked in the proverbial nuts at the end of the show with a retarded screwjob finish. You can screw with your audience if you’re Vince McMahon and have legions of followers who will tune into Monday Night RAW every week no matter how shitty it gets or how many months John Cena holds the title for, but you can’t do that when it’s your first real PPV. And that’s why Jim Crockett went out of business before he could do a SECOND PPV. Still, a pretty decent show aside from the horrifyingly stupid Tower of Doom match. Mild recommendation, mainly for the Midnights v. Fantastics tag title match.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 1988

The Netcop Retro Rant for Royal Rumble 1988 – Live (on the USA network) from Hamilton, Ontario. – Your hosts are Vince and Jesse.  – Okay, so the story here is thus: The NWA decided to put on a PPV, unopposed this time, in the form of the god-awful Bunkhouse Stampede show. It ended up being so bad that the only remnant of the show on videotape is the actual Bunkhouse finals, which is wedged into the Crockett Cup video for that year. Anyway, just to be an asshole, Vince decided to run a three-hour show on the USA network at the same time, with a cool gimmick and everything. And thus was born the Royal Rumble. – Opening match: Ravishing Rick Rude v. Ricky Steamboat. Rude was fairly new to the WWF at this point. Slugfest to start, and Steamboat works the skin-the-cat move in in short order. Test of strength goes Ricky’s way, and he works on the arm of Rude. It’s his POSING arm, which is reinforced because he later has trouble doing the muscle poses. (2012 Scott sez:  That’s the kind of easy, subtle heel heat that no one does anymore because no one outside of a few guys are allowed to have a sense of humor.)  There’s a fan at ringside with a megaphone who gets REALLY annoying REALLY quick, and thankfully some of the security nazis confiscated it after this match. Vince counters Jesse’s “thumb to the eye” speech by nothing that “youngsters are watching”. AHA! I knew he’d admit it if we went back in time far enough. (2012 Scott sez:  And now the pendulum has swung all the way to the other side, with nothing but kids watching.)  Still working that there arm. It’s Arm-Dragon mode tonight, I see. A criss-cross gone horribly, horribly wrong (Tonight on FOX: When meaningless wrestling sequences GO BAD!) sends Ricky to the floor, where Rude takes over. Chinlock, whoo-hoo! Steamboat screws up and forgets to lift his arm on the third drop, so Hebner ignores it and gives him a fourth try. You KNOW Steamboat is just phoning it in here with that kind of error. They go through a tacked-on wrestling sequence that wakes up the crowd and trade several two-counts. Steamboat goes to the top, but the ref gets bumped. Rude gets the hanging body vice (3rd or 4th stupidest finisher of the 80s) (2012 Scott sez:  Say what?  The over-the-shoulder backbreaker was badass!)  and the ref revives to call for the bell. Could the dastardly Rude have made Steamboat submit? Of course not, it’s just a lame DQ win for Steamboat at 17:40. Way too long here. * (2012 Scott sez:  I`m pretty sure it was better than that, actually.)  – And you think TODAY’S RAW segments are a bit on the long side? Up next here, it’s the Dino Bravo bench-press record attempt. The WWF TV people later (mercifully) cut it down to the final attempt, but the entire thing runs TWENTY MINUTES, as he goes step-by-step up to 700-and-some odd pounds and then cheats with Jesse Ventura’s help to set the “record”. See, his gimmick was that he was really really strong. Yeah, I’m stumped as to why that didn’t draw money, too.  (2012 Scott sez:  See also:  Chris Masters, Mark Henry)Women’s tag team title: Judy Martin & Leilani Kai v. The Jumping Bomb Angels. Stuff related to this: The Women’s tag team titles were basically a flavor-of-the-week thing occasionally defended and basically brought out of mothballs specifically to showcase the Angels – Itsuki Yamazaki & Noriyo Tateno. The champs, The Glamour Girls, had “won” the titles in Egypt (no city ever given, just “Egypt”, which is somewhere near Rio DeJaneiro, I guess).   I don’t really know why Vince signed the Angels in the first place, since they basically blew away everyone in the entire promotion, wrestling-wise. The whole lineage of the women’s tag title is one of those weird, murky things that leads into arguments over who had rights to it when and whether certain claims are legitimate, but since no one in North American gives a crap about women’s wrestling as a rule I’ll just skip most of it. Suffice to say that the WWF bought the belts from the NWA in 1983 and abandoned them 6 years later. Thank god they weren’t resurrected with the recent Women’s title in the WWF, because lord knows I couldn’t take watching Mae & Moolah v. Ivory & her partner for a major title without trying to hang myself with my own keyboard cord. Anyway, TO THE MATCH, which is 2/3 falls, by the way. Leilani tosses Yamazaki around to start. She comes back with a Konnan rolling clothesline and a piledriver. Vince is in his prime here, not only ignorant of the names of the moves being performed, but completely unaware of the names of the Jumping Bomb Angels until a producer fills him in during a commercial break. What a pro. (2012 Scott sez:  Still better than Michael Cole.) The Angels are just flying all over the place, even working the elusive Octopus variant of the abdominal stretch, a move only performed by Owen Hart and Dynamite Kid in America prior to this. The Angels work the leg of Kai with some lucha-esque submission stuff. They work in stuff that I don’t even see guys doing TODAY. Judy Martin manages to tag in and hit the over-the-shoulder variant of the powerbomb for the first fall at 6:10. I should point out that Sid Vicious didn’t even introduce the REGULAR powerbomb to US audiences until 1989, and here are these women doing variations on it. – Second fall: Martin destroys Yamazaki, but misses a splash and Tateno gets the hot tag. Pier-six leads to a slickly done miscommunication bit from the Glams, and when Martin tries that powerbomb again, Tateno reverses it to a sunset flip for the second fall at 1:50. See, not only did they introduce that move in the first fall, but then the Angels introduced the COUNTER for this move that no one in the audience has ever seen in the NEXT FALL. Talk about state of the art wrestling. I’m surprised Vince didn’t fire them on the spot for daring to have actual skill while still getting over. – Third fall: Angels double-team Kai, who overpowers Yamazaki in turn. She comes back with an enzuigiri (a friggin’ enzuigiri in 1988!) but Tateno tags in and gets dominated. Kai gets a double-underhook suplex for two on Yamazaki. Angels are getting nowhere fast. Yamazaki drops Kai on her tailbone (picture an atomic drop where the attacker doesn’t use the knee, but rather just drops the opponent to the mat) twice and gets a two count. Hot tag to Tateno, who comes in off the top for a two count. She then one-ups Leilani Kai by doing a double-underhook suplex of her own, but bridging after doing it. That gets two. Bodypress gets two. Senton bomb misses and Kai gets two. Double-team clothesline gets two for the Angels, and a double missile dropkick finishes it at 5:47 and gives them the tag titles. Slowed down a bit in the middle, but this was still light-years ahead of what everyone else was doing. ***1/2 – Hogan-Andre review. Hogan cleanly pinned Andre at Wrestlemania III, but Andre spent the next 8 months pissing and moaning because he thought he got the win on a failed bodyslam attempt early in the match. At the same time, Ted Dibiase launched an ambitious attempt at purchasing the WWF title from Hogan outright after a failed title shot. When Hogan refused, Dibiase decided to try the next best thing, and purchased the contract of the angry Giant off of Bobby Heenan for $1,000,000, with the idea being that Andre would win the title from Hogan on his behalf. Sidenote: When that plan ultimately failed, Heenan bought the contract BACK for $100,000, thus giving himself a tidy $900,000 profit and Dibiase nothing. And people wonder why he was the Brain? Anyway, all this led to the big Hogan-Andre rematch on prime time TV, and on this show we get the contract signing. I’m sure you all, as wrestling fans, are well aware of what happens 99% of the time at contract signings (it falls under the Birthday Cake rule) and indeed this is no exception, as Hogan is left laying by the heels. (2012 Scott sez:  CM Punk was lying when he said that this was the last contract signing to go off without a brawl)  If you’re curious about how that title match actually turned out, keep reading after the Bottom Line for a special surprise. – Royal Rumble match: Howard Finkel has to explain the rules because this is the first one and all. Oh, and there’s only 20 guys because of time constraints. Bret Hart gets #1, and Tito Santana gets #2, so for you trivia buffs, they were the first two entrants ever. Please use that knowledge only for good. Bret goes flying right into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Butch Reed gets #3, and a double-team results. See, the whole “Every man for himself” thing didn’t become an issue until 1989’s PPV debut for the Rumble. In fact, the first real double-cross in a battle royale seen by casual fans of the time was the one that opened Wrestlemania IV, where Bad News Brown did the deed to Bret Hart to get the win. Up until then, everyone just assumed that faces would fight heels and vice-versa. Of course, now thanks to Vince Russo’s “characterization” techniques, partners turning on each other is not only common, it’s expected. Ah, for the days of kayfabe. Anyway, Bret & Butch work Chico over, then Neidhart gets #4 and joins the fun. Santana is about to go out, but Jake Roberts saves the day at #5. Crowd eats it up. Harley Race is #6. The faces hang tough under the assault. Jim Brunzell of the Killer Bees is #7 and helps out for the face cause. Sam Houston is #8, and he CLEARS THE ENTIRE RING BY HIMSELF. In other news, hell freezes over. (2012 Scott sez:  Sam Houston humor.  Now that`s cutting edge.  This is, however, the only time I know of with Snake and Houston in the ring together.)  Santana goes flying out of the ring as I start to complain about deadwood. Danny Davis is #9, and he’s pretty useless but he has an issue with fellow jobbing boy Sam Houston so they tussle. Boris Zhukov is #10. Not much of note from that one. Don Muraco is #11, and Nikolai Volkoff follows him out and a big argument with the refs ensues. Boris goes bye-bye right about then. Pretty funny to hear Vince constantly referring to Muraco as “The Rock”. Volkoff waits out the argument long enough to be #12. Race gets crowned by Muraco and goes over the top. Hacksaw Duggan is #13. He gets into an altercation with Race on the way by, and that ended up setting the table for their really hilarious brawl that lasted for most of the 34th Annual Slammy Awards that year. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t want to, believe me. The faces gain control. Outlaw Ron Bass is #14. Not much impact there. Volkoff casually dumps Brunzell. B. Brian Blair gets #15 too late to help his partner. Holy god, is Duggan over or what? More chaos. Hillbilly Jim is #16 and gets rid of Anvil right away. Dino Bravo is #17. This ring is desperately in need of someone to thin it out, there’s just too many guys doing nothing. Sam Houston does his part by bumping to the floor. Ultimate Warrior is #18, before he was over. Bret Hart goes tumbling out, thus giving him the first-ever longevity record at 25 minutes. One Man Gang is #19, and he’s on Jake like fat on himself. Blair is gone, Jake Roberts is gone, both via OMG. JYD is the final entrant, with 10 guys left in the ring. Duggan sends Volkoff to the showers. Gang rids us of Hillbilly Jim. Duggan blasts Davis out. OMG dumps Warrior. Dog takes an absolutely wussy bump out. Ditto Bass. Final four: Muraco, Gang, Bravo and Duggan. Gang & Bravo work together, ‘natch, and manage to double-team Muraco out with a running clothesline, the only time I’ve ever seen the “I’d hold him and you run at him” strategy work. It’s Duggan 2-on-1 now, and much punishment follows. They try the double-team trick again, and this time it backfires, bye-bye Bravo. Duggan ducks one last desperate Gang charge, and gets the win in the first Rumble at 33:23. Geez, talk about a super-accelerated timer – at two minutes each, it should have been at least 40 minutes. Oh well, good first effort for the venerated Rumble. ***1/2 – 2/3 falls: The Islanders v. The Young Stallions. Just a filler match to have something on to end the show. The Islanders were in the middle of that captivating kidnapping angle where they stole the British Bulldogs’ mascot, an angle so utterly lame that the WWF not only recycled it 11 years later, but gave it Attitude™ by having Bossman actually cook the dog in question this time around. Dull wristlock sequence to start. The arena was RAPIDLY emptying, so fast in fact that the lights dropped to near total darkness by about two minutes into this match. It’s like watching Nitro. Total nothing match here. Powers gets beat on for about 5 minutes, Roma gets the hot tag and dropkicks Tama for two. He takes a bad fall out of the ring and hurts his knee, getting counted out at 7:50 for the first fall. The Stallions head back to the dressing room for medical attention, which gives us an excuse to show the contract signing again and gives Andre some promo time. Stallions come back again for the second fall. – Second fall: Islanders go right after the knee, duh. Powers comes in and takes a beating for a long while, after getting some token offense in. Powers finally has no choice but to tag Roma in, which is basically a lose-lose situation because Roma’s knee is being sold as severely damaged. Islanders go right back for the knee, and the ref stops just stops the thing at 7:27 out of mercy on Roma. Eh. ** The Bottom Line: This show was more of a trivia question (“Who was the REAL first winner of the Royal Rumble?”) and a snarky attempt to undermine Jim Crockett than any kind of serious promotional move. Still, it produced a gimmick match so inspired that it lives on today as an annual tradition, so that’s something.