Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Saturday, 12 October 2013

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall: Video cover featuring the Legion of Doom
October 3rd, 1991
Royal Albert Hall, London, England

As a kid living in the north of England, this was one of those shows that I always wanted to see and yet, for whatever reason, I never quite got the chance to.

Fast forward almost 21 years after I first started watching professional wrestling, and I finally made it up to my inner-child by sitting down to watch this 1991 UK exclusive show.

Needless to say, my inner-child now hates me, for this was truly one terrible show.

Broadcast on Sky Movies in October 1991, the Battle Royal from the Royal Albert Hall saw a bunch of meandering undercard bouts featuring combatants who would later return to the ring for the eponymous over-the-top-rope main event.

Here's what went down.

Welcome to the show
As the camera panned over a sea of British fans, most of whom delighted in waving Hulk Hogan yellow foam fingers (despite the Hulkster being nowhere near London at the time) Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon welcomed us tonight's show.

The Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags & Brian Knobbs w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) 
There are some things that happen in professional wrestling which work far better with the live crowd than they do when viewed on television. This opening match between The Rockers and The Nasty Boys is certainly one of those times.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall: The Nasty Boys took on The Rockers in the opening contest
Both teams stalled for what felt like forever, each taking turns to play to the London audience and get them hyped up for tonight's event.

What was obvious was that this did work, live. With each raised arm of a Rocker or jeering yell of a Nasty Boy, the crowd grew hotter and hotter. Your writer can only imagine how intense that must have been at the time.

Many years later and watching on video however, it just seems to drag, and drag, and oh yeah, drag.

Still, once the action did finally get away, this actually turned into a fairly enjoyable opening contest.

Aside from a spot in which Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty continuously swapped places behind the referee's back, not a great deal happened in this match that was all that memorable but, looking back, it was good for what it was and was certainly better than half the crap that would follow.

In the end, Jimmy Hart induced shenanigans led to a win for  the Nasties.
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall: 'Real World's Champion' Ric Flair talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Backstage, Ric Flair spoke to Mean Gene Okerlund in front of a backdrop which looked like it had been left over from the 1970s. In usual Flair fashion, The Nature Boy hammered home his claim to be The Real World's Champion and hyped his feud with Rowdy Roddy Piper, promising punishment for Piper when they met in the night's main event battle royal.

Tito Santana vs. 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair
It was the combination of our opening tag team contest and this fairly good match between a Big Gold Belt carrying Naitch and a post-Strike Force, Pre-El Matador Tito Santana that almost led your writer to believe Battle Royal at the Albert Hall was going to be a good show.

Indeed, despite neither man expending quite the amount of effort they were capable of, both worked hard to deliver a perfectly good match that could have been incredible given a proper build and the write amount of motivation from Santana and Flair.

The Nature Boy hit all his trademark spots whilst Santana bumped and flew around the ring like a trooper, only to succumb to a cheap roll up shortly after the quarter of an hour mark.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall: Jimmy Hart and Earthquake talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
Keeping up with the format of match-promo-match, Mean Gene Okerlund next spoke to Big Boss Man about his upcoming clash with Earthquake. In an otherwise unremarkable promo, the man from Cobb County, Georgia claimed that the United Kingdom fell under his jurisdiction and that he was there to serve law and order. Yep.

Offering a retort, of sorts, Earthquake and Jimmy Hart made their way to Mean Gene Okerlund's famous interview platform. There, 'Quake managed to top his opponent's ridiculous boasts by insisting that both he and his partner, Typhoon would win the every-man-for-himself battle royal later on in the show.

Big Boss Man vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart)
By this point in the card, pretty much anything good that was going to happen had already happened.

In a 15-minute match that was at least 14 and half minutes too long, Boss Man and 'Quake plodded around the ring to the delight of absolutely noone.

Keeping the momentum firmly on the side of the bad guys, Earthquake picked up the win after The Mountie ran in and cost his rival, Big Boss Man, the match.
Your Winner: Earthquake

Afterwards, The Big Boss Man chased The Mountie to the back. It was the fastest either man had, or would, move for the rest of the night.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Mean Gene Okerlund shows off the Royal Samovar Trophy
Mean Gene's next guest was none other than Kerry Von Erich, The Texas Tornado. 

Before speaking to the Tornado, Okerlund showed off The Royal Samovar Trophy, essentially a giant Russian tea urn that would go to the winner of the much-hyped battle royal.

Naturally, the 'Tornado promised to win said trophy and take it all the way back to Texas, but only, of course, after beating The Mountie.

The Mountie replied in an on-the-platform interview with Mean Gene,

Kerry Von Erich vs. The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart)Making his third appearance of the evening, Jimmy Hart led The Mountie in the night's second deadly dull encounter as the former Fabulous Rougeau took on the Texas Tornado.

Following 10+ minutes of action, all of which looked like it enthralled the live audience back in 1991 than it did your video-watching writer in 2013, the Mountie scored the cheap win with his foot on the ropes for leverage.

Chalk up another win for the heel contingent.
Your Winner: The Mountie

In place of the usual Mean Gene promo, we next had a special makeshift edition of Paul Bearer's Funeral Parlour segment.

Here, Bearer and The Undertaker muttered the usual garbage about lost souls and the darkside, all of which apparently spelled the end for 'Taker's upcoming opponent, Hacksaw Jim Duggan. 

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at The Royal Albert Hall - The Phantom of the Opera played The Undertaker's theme music
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan
The coolest thing about this match was The Phantom of the Opera (or rather, a dude in a mask) playing 'Taker's theme music on the Albert Hall's grand organ.

Apart from that, this was pretty much everything you'd expect. The Undertaker no-sold everything, Duggan yelled Hooooooooooo!  an awful lot and the fans in London, England chanted USA! USA! a great deal.

I'll say that again. The fans in London, England chanted USA! USA! a lot.

The match ended the way at least 90% of all Jim Duggan matches ended; Hacksaw hit his opponent with the 2x4 and got himself disqualified.

5-0 to the heels then.
Your Winner via disqualification: The Undertaker

Heading once more to the back, Gene Okerlund spoke to Rowdy Roddy Piper about the night's proceedings. Piper replied to Ric Flair's earlier verbal jabs and promised to head right for the many-time NWA Champion as soon as the battle Royal got underway.

Typhoon, accompanied by Jimmy Hart, also had a few words for Gene. Those words were essentially the same as his partner, The Earthquake's: The Natural Disasters would somehow win the Battle Royal.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Albert Hall - Power and Glory talk tactics with Mean Gene Okerlund
More promos followed. Paul Roma and Hercules (Power & Glory) promised to dethrone The Legion of Doom in their upcoming tag team title match, before Animal and Hawk promised that the opposite would happen.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
WWF Tag Team Champions The Legion of Doom (Animal & Hawk) vs. Power & Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules)

Much like the Rockers/Nasties clash that kicked off this whole thing, both teams spent the first thousand years of this match stalling and getting the crowd fully involved.

Though not quite on a par with the opening tag contest, the L.O.D/Power & Glory title match was at least mildly entertaining, and though it isn't exactly saying much, it was at least the third most entertaining match on an otherwise abysmal card.

Predictably, the champions retained their gold when Animal caught Roma coming off the top rope and powerslammed him into oblivion.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Legion of Doom

Backstage, Gene Okerlund spoke to crowd favourite Davey Boy Smith about his upcoming match against The Barbarian and, of course, the Battle Royal itself.

The British Bulldog vs. The Barbarian
Our special guest ring announcer for this match was none other than His Lordship himself, Lord Alfred Hayes.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - The British Bulldog defeated Barbarian
For the first, and probably only time ever in his career as a North American star, The British Bulldog was announced from his actual hometown of Golborne, Lancashire (instead of Manchester, which is close to Golborne, or Leeds, which isn't). If you're wondering, Golborne is basically the asshole end of nowhere, sandwiched between Wigan and the equally as unknown town of St. Helens.

I would apologise for the geography lesson, but trust me, even that relatively uninteresting piece of information is more riveting than anything that happened between Davey Boy and The Barbarian.

The live crowd, naturally, loved it, but the rest of us suffered a match where absolutely nothing of note happened until Davey Boy picked up a predictable win.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

In our final pre-match promo, The Nasty Boys hyped their appearance in the main event and promised us that things were 'going to get nasty.' I'm sure that, as a kid, I wouldn't snickerr at such things.

Prior to our main event, Alfred Hayes joined Monsoon and Heenan on commentary.

20-man Battle Royal for the Royal Samovar Trophy featuring: Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, British Bulldog, The Nasty Boys, The Legion of Doom, The Natural Disasters, Power & Glory, Barbarian, Texas Tornado, The Undertaker, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan, The Rockers, The Mountie, Tito Santana, Big Boss Man.

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Paul Roma tries to eliminate one of Legion of Doom
Unlike many battle royals your writer has witnessed, this one had each wrestler receive their own introduction (complete with music) as they made their way to the ring for tonight's main event.

With the ring almost full, Roddy Piper was the last man to enter the ring, going straight after arch-rival Ric Flair. The two toppled through the ropes and brawled around the outside as the remaining 18 combatants battled inside the ring.

Slowly but surely, bodies spilled from the ring until only Boss Man, Bulldog, Mountie and Typhoon remained.

"These men have been in this since the beginning," said Gorilla Monsoon, pointing out the obvious for the benefit, apparently, for those of us who hadn't been watching.

After the Boss Man was thrown out, Jimmy Hart's men Typhoon and Mountie attempted a double-team against The British Bulldog. Unsurprisingly, Davey Boy tossed Mountie, and then Typhoon, to win the match.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

WWF / WWE: Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall - Andre the Giant comes to British Bulldog's rescue
As Lord Alfred Hayes talked about the overwhelming emotion in the Albert Hall and sold The British Bulldog's victory as though he'd just overcome a three-on-one handicap and won the world title in the main event of Wrestlemania, The Natural Disasters returned to the ring and attacked The Bulldog.

Eventually, none other than Andre The Giant, walking crutch in hand, limped to ringside and saw off the heels.

And so the show I always wanted to watch as a kid was over, and now that I've finally seen it, I need never see it ever again.

The first two matches were enjoyable, and if you have nothing better to do, are worth checking out, but as for sitting through 150 plus minutes of WWF Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall? I really wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF - This Tuesday in Texas (1991)

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas - logo graphic
December 3rd, 1991
Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas

Quite what Vince McMahon had in mind when he decided to experiment with a Tuesday pay per view mere days after one his flagship shows, we'll probably never know. 

Yet for whatever reason, McMahon clearly thought it would be a good idea. After all, why else spend the whole of the Survivor Series 1991 pay per view shilling another pay per view?

Nor do we really know why, with a calendar littered with events like Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble, the best name they could possibly come up with for their new pay per view outing was This Tuesday in Texas.

I mean really. Nothing about that name sounds good, does it. Though to be fair, if it was a toss between that and This Wednesday in Wisconsin or This Monday in Minnesota, I may have picked the Texas option too.

Lackluster titles aside, This Tuesday in Texas wasn't actually that bad a show.

Here's what went down.

The Undertaker promises to bury Hulkamania
In case you missed what happened at Survivor Series 1991 (in which case, here's the review of that show), the basic premise was this:

The Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Federation title after Ric Flair came down to ringside and stuck his nose in. WWF President, Jack Tunney was very unhappy about this and ordered a rematch for This Tuesday in Texas.

Prior to tonight's show kicking off proper, we get a recap of the promo The Undertaker cut at the end of Survivor Series 1991 in which he claims that, having killed Hulkamania at Survivor Series, he will proceed to bury Hulkamania this Tuesday in Texas.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan were our commentators for the event
At one point in the promo, The Dead Man urged Mean Gene Okerlund to look inside a nearby coffin. Gene did so, only to reveal that the coffin actually contained a fully-working video camera which just so happened to be filming. What, did Quentin Tarantino direct this or something?

With that out of the way, we were greeted by our favourite commentary team of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon before the action really got under way with an Intercontinental Championship match.

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Skinner
Admittedly, at the first mention of the name Skinner, your writer's heart sank a little. Surely nothing good could come of this, right?

Alas, it did.

For seconds later, Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart showed up in fighting mode and took the contest to his challenger in an exciting opening match.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas - Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart sets Skinner up for a suplex
Though it would be easy to give all the credit here to The Hitman, Skinner (better known these days as WWE development main man Steve Keirn) played his part well, providing a steady-paced aggressive counter to Hart's hard-and-fast technical assault.

Both men traded the advantage several times, with Skinner gaining the upperhand thanks to a cheapshot with his trusty crocodile claw (or was it an alligator claw? Who knows? Who cares?) before finally succumbing to the champion's deadly Sharpshooter.
Your Winner and still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Heading to the back, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts continued his now legendary feud with Randy 'Macho Man' Savage in a chilling promo. Roberts first insisted that he was looking forward to seeing the fear stricken across the pretty eyes of one Miss. Elizabeth before addressing the Jack Tunney-imposed stipulation that no snakes could be in the corner for the upcoming match. Grinning a sinister grin, Roberts claimed that was fine, that anything that happened out in the ring would now be on the head of the WWF President, and that, above all, we had to trust him.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Jake 'The Snake' Roberts cut a chilling pre-match promo against Randy Savage
Offering a retort, a wild-eyed Randy Savage claimed that not only did he not trust Roberts, but he didn't even trust himself, and as soon as the Macho one heard Robert's music blaring somewhere in the arena, he was off and after his bitter rival.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Randy 'Macho Man' Savage
Jake began his way to the ring, only to be attacked half-way there by a livid Randy Savage.

Randy battered his foe into the ring, around the ring and outside the ring, all while decked in his pre-match garb. There are many sights this reviewer has seen in his nearly 25 year love affair with professional wrestling, but the sight of Randy Savage flying off the top rope, landing a forearm and then continuing to walk around, all whilst wearing the most ridiculous of hats, is certainly one of the more amusing.

As for the match itself, this was a short, sharp burst of violence and aggression. Both men tore into each other with a passionate hatred, making the animosity between the two legendary grapplers seem as a real as anything ever carried out in a professional ring.

After not very long at all, Savage flew off the top, struck his enemy with the famous flying elbow drop and earned himself a three count.
Your Winner: Randy 'Macho Man' Savage

Yet Savage's trip to the pay windah that night would be far from short.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas 1991 - Randy Savage offers a few words for Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
Roberts made a full recovery and attacked his rival, drilling him with a DDT and pummelling him into submission before revealing that he had a snake hidden beneath the ring all along.

As referee Earl Hebner made the most feeble of attempts to stop him, Jake continued his threats to unleash his snake from a black bag which clearly had no snake in it at all.

Still, that little niggle aside, the drama was intense.

Miss Elizabeth ran to ringside and practically begged Roberts to leave Savage alone. Then, after toying with the couple for some time, Jake finally dragged Liz up by the hair and clouted her round the chops, prompting a rush of WWF personnel to hit the ring and break up arguably one of the most intense, believable angles ever seen in the WWF/E.

It wasn't over just yet.

Backstage, Roberts an evil figure as he laughed at his physiological torture of Savage and Liz, even going so far as to insist that hitting Elizabeth felt so good, he'd be prepared to pay for it.

As far as effective heels went, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts really had no equal back in the early 90s. Everything he did on this show was chilling.

The British Bulldog vs. The Warlord (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
At a time when the World Wrestling Federation was toning down on it's giant powerhouse stars and beginning the very-slow shift towards solid grapplers, a match between the humongous Warlord and a British Bulldog (who had seriously bulked up since his time in the tag ranks) probably wasn't the best way to go.

Still, this was a mostly enjoyable match. Slower paced than our last two bouts, sure, but perhaps all the better for it.

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas (1991) The Warlord bearhugs The British Bulldog to death
Indeed, the change of pace was much welcome, and suited both men well as they delivered a match that was at least watchable.

That is, until the Warlord slapped on a bearhug, and then a full nelson, both of which seemed to last for several centuries and succeeded in draining the life not only out of his opponent, but out of every fan in San Antonio and, indeed, your writer.

Somehow, Davey Boy recovered and put us all out of our collective misery, hitting his trademark crucifix and, for probably the first and only time ever, actually scoring a three count on it.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

Backstage, a hysterical Macho Man collapsed in a heap, blaming himself for what happened to Elizabeth in the earlier fracas with Jake Roberts. Seriously, everything involving those two men reached a new level of awesome on this show.

Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase & Repo Man (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Tito Santana & Virgil 
Here's how this one worked:

Summerslam 1991 saw Virgil upset his former boss, Ted Dibiase and capture the Million Dollar Championship. Embarrassed, Dibiase then hired former Demolition member turned hunchbacked crook The Repo Man to help him erm, well, repossess the gold.

That happened, Tito Santana came along to make up the numbers, and we had ourselves a fun, enjoyable tag team contest that really struck a nerve with a Texas crowd who, admittedly, had already been on fire for most of the evening.

Both teams performed their roles well; the conniving heels going up against the courageous babyfaces in a match that may not stand out as a classic, but is definitely worth a watch if you feel like being entertained for a short while.

In the end, the bad guys scored the win, and left Tito and Virgil with a one-way ticket to Jobbersville for the remainder of their WWF careers.
Your Winners: Ted Dibiase and The Repo Man

WWF / WWE - This Tuesday in Texas (1991) - Hulk Hogan cuts a pre-match promo against The Undertaker
Prior to our main event, challenger Hulk Hogan spoke to Mean Gene about his upcoming match with The Undertaker.

Among other things, Hogan made numerous references to his "teeny tiny Hulksters" and claimed that Jack Tunney had awarded him a rematch against 'Taker not because it was fair, not because they needed a main event for the Tuesday PPV, but simply because "we believed in ourselves."

Right you are then.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Hulk Hogan
It's hard to know what to say about this match beyond stating the obvious. This was a match in which The Immortal Hulk Hogan battled an Undertaker who was still in that early heel mode of no-selling everything and moving around like he had planks of wood attached to the back of his limbs.

If that sounds like your idea of great match, it was a great match, if it sounds like hell on earth to you, that's how it will seem when you watch it.

In reality, the main event was neither good nor bad. It was just a typical early-90s WWF main event; Hogan being beaten down by a big heel, making a comeback and beating his foe around the ring.

The only difference this time happened at the end.

In what can only be described as a clusterfuck finish, Ric Flair got involved, Hogan struck him with a chair so that The Nature Boy fell on top of Jack Tunney, Paul Bearer got involved. Hogan stole the urn, tipped it on the floor, scooped up some of the ashes, blinded 'Taker with them, then rolled up the champion, scored a quick pinfall, and reclaimed the title.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Alas, Hogan's reign as champion would this time be short lived. The World Wrestling Federation title would be held up until the 1992 Royal Rumble. And we all know what happened there.

What's that you say? You don't know what happened at the 1992 Royal Rumble. You're in luck my friend. Here's the review.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1989

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Event poster
August 28th, 1989
Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

By the summer of 1989, the World Wrestling Federation had finally begun to work out how to deliver blockbuster pay per views which went above and beyond your average large houseshow with a fancy name.

Nowhere was that more evident than with the arrival of the second annual Summerslam, an event which not only looked the part, but delivered the goods in terms of entertaining the crowd, and delivered them in spades.

Our show tonight opened with a brief montage of excited wrestling fans arriving at the Meadlowlands arena.

We had some decked in Ultimate Warrior facepaint waving at the camera, some buying merchandise and a young child no more than five year's old doing the Rick Rude hip-swivel in a gesture which would probably be deemed inappropriate by today's standards.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura and Tony Schiavone were our commentators for the pay per view
From there, we were welcomed to the show by our commentators for the evening, Tony Schiavone and Jesse 'The Body' Venture before a second video package, complete with awful, typically 80s, music, intersperses clips of WWF superstars with cute shots of people enjoying the summertime, as though to suggest that there was some sort of connection between The Hart Foundation decaptiating an opponent and a young boy playing on a swing.

Speaking of the Harts, they were up first in our opening contest.

Non-title match:
WWF Tag Team Champions The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) VS. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
And so for the second year in a row, Summerslam kicked off with a very memorable tag team contest.

Apparently, reigning champions Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were not required to put the belts on the line since our match tonight was signed before the Brain Busters stole the gold in an upset win over Demolition.

Still, eager to gain a title shot, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart took the fight to their opponents in a thrilling opening contest which bucked almost all the tag team norms and was all the better for it.

Eschewing the usual format of faces take charge, heels do something sneaky, babyface in peril, hot tag, finish, here we had The Hart Foundation dominating the bulk of the match, with the Busters grabbing brief moments of offence here and there.

Regarded as something of a dream match (given Arn and Tully's long affiliation with the NWA), this opening match delivered exactly what fans had hoped for; crisp technical wrestling, drama and excitement in abundance.

Following a lengthy battle, Bobby Heenan distracted the referee as Bret attempted to pin Blanchard. The distraction allowed Anderson to leap from the ropes and attack Hart, then role Blanchard out of the ring and cover The Hitman. Referee Joey Marella returned his attention to the action, paid no mind that Anderson wasn't the legal man in the ring, and delivered the three count.
Your Winners: The Brain Busters

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Dusty Rhodes cuts a promo on his Summerslam opponent, The Honky Tonk Man
If they were going with that finish, you have to wonder why they didn't just make this one a title match. Surely clinging on to their belts by such dastardly tactics could have only helped the Busters' cause as dirty, dirty heels whilst making the Hart Foundation look good too in the process.

Heading to the back, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with a clearly elated American Dream Dusty Rhodes.

Donning a police officer's hat and clutching a nighstick as reminders of his ongoing problems with The Big Bossman, Dusty focussed his attentions this evening squarly on The Honky Tonk Man. 'I ammmmmm the propaaaaaaaaayatuh, of Heartbreak Hotel, I aaaaaaaaam, the man, who wears the blue suede shoes, baby' screamed the dream as he vowed to settle a score with the Honky Tonk over who was the better singer, dancer and wrestler.

Say what you want about Dusty's WWF run, that promo was just wonderful. The Dream was clearly having the time of his life, and his enthusiasm here radiated through the screen.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - The Honky Tonk Man dominates the American Dream Dusty Rhodes
American Dream Dusty Rhodes VS. The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Yet if Rhodes was having a great time, the same could not be said for his opponent, The Honky Tonk Man, nor, sadly, for anybody watching this abysmal contest.

Going for far too long without a single interesting thing happening in the ring, this was beyond dull.

Things kind of livened up towards the end. The referee took a bump, Honky held Dusty in place, Jimmy Hart grabbed Honky's guitar and attempted to smash The Dream with it. Dusty ducked, Honky took the blow. Dusty dropped an elbow, the referee recovered and a three count was made.
Your winner: Dusty Rhodes

Afterwards, a visibily dazed and confused Honky Tonk Man told Sean Mooney that everybody had come to hear him sing and asked somebody to show him to the stage. This brief post-match promo was the highlight of the entire thing.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Demolition Ax talks about going back to basics to prepare for a six man tag against Andre The Giant and The Twin Towers
Backstage, Mean Gene met up with Demolition and Hacksaw King Duggan. Duggan, looking all kinds of funky in his King of the Ring garb with a Demolition mask concealing his grizzly mug, stood back whilst Ax and Smash did most of the talking.

Mostly, they talked about going back to 'basic training' in order to prepare for their upcoming six man tag team match against Andre The Giant, Akeem and The Big Boss Man. Smash also mentioned something about tossing cars around the parking lot.

Mr. Perfect vs. The Red Rooster
With Mr. Perfect in the midst of his 'perfect' streak, the outcome of this brief contest was never really in question.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Mr. Perfect delivers a post-match promo after beating The Red Rooster
Yet that was no reason why two fantastic wrestlers like Perfect and Terry 'Red Rooster' Taylor couldn't put on a great little wrestling match. Indeed, the opening moments showed all the signs of developing into something special.

Alas, we were barely in a minute into battle when the Rooster's knee blew out from under him, forcing a change of plans and an early win for Perfect via the PerfectPlex.
Your Winner: Mr. Perfect

When you think of famous professional wrestling bloopers, it's never usually long before all thoughts turn to the infamous 'Mean Gene F-Bomb' incident which took place at Summerslam 1989.

Unfortunately, your reviewer's copy of the show skips this out for seemingly obvious reasons, but if you can track down an original one, this is where you'll find it.
After a disastrous first attempt (saved by Ventura's hillarious comments), Mean Gene did finally get his interview with Ravising Rick Rude and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.
WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Intercontinental Champion Ravishing Rick Rude vows to defeat The Ultimate Warrior
In it, Rude and Heenan vowed to finish The Ultimate Warrior once and for all and that Rude, who bested the Warrior the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania earlier in the year, would walk out of the Meadowlands Arena still with the title in tact.

Six Man Tag:
Tito Santana and The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) VS. Rick Martel and The Fabulous Rougeaus (w/ Jimmy Hart and Slick)

The latest chapter in the seemingly never-ending feud between former Strike Force partners Rick Martel and Tito Santana saw the one-time friends team up with two of the most exciting teams in the World Wrestling Federation at the time to do battle in an energetic, exciting and altogether excellent six man tag team contest.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Shawn Michaels celebrates after flooring Rick Martel
The Rougeaus were as on form as ever, delighting this writer from the moment their memorable theme music All American Boys hit to the closing bell. The Rockers were, well, The Rockers, a team I've yet to see compete in anything less than a really good match.

Combine this with the skill and experience of Martel and Santana, and we had ourselves a great, lengthy match which earned its place as a highlight of the card.

When order broke down towards the end of the match as these things were prone to doing, Marty Jannetty ate a pin to give the victory to his team's opponents.
Your winners: Rick Martel and The Fabulous Rougeaus

Building to one of the most hyped matches on the card, we were next reminded of the history between Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior. 

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - The Ultimate Warrior cuts a promo on Ravishing Rick Rude
It began at the 1989 Royal Rumble with the Super Pose Down, picked up at Wrestlemania V when Rude, with Heenan's assistance, upset the Warrior to win the Intercontinental Championship, and waged on through the summer in the guise of Warrior's ongoing war against the Heenan Family. 

And now it came down to this, a rematch for the Intercontinental title. 

Before the action hit the ring, The Ultimate Warrior cut a Mean Gene assisted promo in which he held up his hands as though he were squeezing melons and said something like 'roar grrr arggghhh Warrior!' 

I'd say it was odd, but then, it's a Warrior promo, would you expect anything less?

WWF Intercontinental Championship match:
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion 'Ravishing' Rick Rude (w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior

Ask any long-term wrestling fan to list The Ultimate Warrior's greatest matches, and this one always, without fail, comes up in the top two. 

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - The Ultimate Warrior blocks Rick Rude's 'Rude Awakening' in their classic Intercontinental Championship match
Playing to the Warrior's strengths by focussing on drama and storytelling over first-rate technical wrestling, the only title match on tonight's card was an intense, gripping affair which created genuine 'edge of your seat' moments from start to finish.

Most critics give all the praise to Rude for this, and indeed, the champion did work hard to make his adversary look like the proverbial million bucks, but then Warrior was no slouch here either. 

Playing his part well and selling like a trooper, the Ultimate Warrior made you believe completely that Rude could have won the match.

Of course, he didn't. 

Towards the finish, Rowdy Roddy Piper (who was having troubles of his own with Rude) made his way out to the ring and mooned the champion. 

The distraction was enough for a fatigued Ultimate Warrior to recover, batter Rick Rude and hit him with the Big Splash.

A three count later, and for the second year in a row, The Ultimate Warrior walked out Summerslam as the new Intercontinental Champion.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund played host a series of wrestlers with a lot on their mind. First, Mr. Perfect boasted of his victory over The Red Rooster and claimed the Rooster was only a stepping stone, because 'Nobody beats Mr. Perfect, nobody'

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude swear revenge on Roddy Piper and The Ultimate Warrior
Then, the always-insane Rowdy Roddy Piper said his next challenge was to drive Voyager 3 before delivering a balmy promo in which he admitted he'd cost Rick Rude the title and claimed he was going to 'get a garage' (or something).

'Rugged' Ronnie Garvin stopped by in a tuxedo, then Rick Rude and Heenan turned up, screaming, yelling, swearing revenge against Piper and Warrior. Heenan, almost on the verge of a heart attack, was even more enraged than his charge.

Following a lengthy recap of the feud between Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake and their rivals 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and Zeus, it was back to the action

Six Man Tag:
Andre The Giant and The Twin Towers (Akeem and The Big Boss Man w/ Slick) VS. Hacksaw King Duggan and Demolition (Ax and Smash).

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Hacksaw King Duggan joins Demolition for the night
Never has a professional wrestler been such a mishmash of characters as Hacksaw Duggan was in this match. With the trusty 2x4 of his 'tough guy' gimmick painted in red, white and blue and his American flag waving proudly, Duggan also wore the cape and crown from his recent King of the Ring win as well as a Demoltion mask which, when removed, revealed Old Glory facepaint on his mug. 

 Fair play to them, it gave the babyfaces a sense of unity as they tackled their much larger adversaries.

As for the match itself, well, it was pretty much as you may expect; a slow, plodding big man brawl which relied more on playing to the crowd than on physical combat. 

Not half as bad as more brutal critics may have you believe, yet not very good either.

Duggan laid out Akeem with his 2x4, allowing Smash to earn the pinfall for his team.
Your Winners: King Duggan and Demolition

Backstage, The Million Dollar Man cut a solid promo against Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka which was better than the actual match between the two.

Hercules VS. Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) featuring Special Guest Ring Announcer, Rugged Ronnie Garvin
WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - 'Rugged' Ronnie Garvin was the special guest ring announcer for the Greg Valentine vs. Hercules match
Prior to the opening bell, Greg Valentine's arch-rival Ronnie Garvin was introduced as the special guest ring announcer.

Garvin introduced Hercules as per the standard, then proceeded to introduce Valentine through a series of insults so lame they wouldn't make a four year-old laugh. I mean really 'here's a man with two left feet?' that's the best you could come up with, Garvin?

The in-ring action was entirely forgetabble, a short, squash intended only to further the saga between Valentine and Garvin which would ultimately lead to their memorable submission match at the 1990 Royal Rumble.

Valentine stole the pin by placing his feet on the middle rope, causing announcer Garvin to first announce Hercules as the winner then, admitting his mistake, announced Hercules as the winner by disqualification. 
Your Winner: Greg Valentine by pinfall, erm, Hercules by DQ I guess.

Afterwards, Valentine hit Garvin with a cheapshot then killed time brawling with Herc' until Ronnie regained his composure and hit back.  Excuse me while I stifle this yawn.

Cameras cut to a bizare (even for the time) promo from Savage, Zeus and Sensational Sherri. 

Gathered around the apparently much-talked-about Cauldron of Madness (literally a witches cauldron frothing with smoke), Sherri and Savage insisted that they could see into the future and forsaw the end of Hogan, Savage and Miss Elizabeth. 

All the while, Zeus gurned and grinned like an idiot.

The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil) VS. Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka
WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Ted Dibiase cut a promo on Jake Roberts before wrestling Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka
By the time cameras returned to the ring, Dibiase was already in the ring. He took to the mic, gloated over putting Jake 'The Snake' Roberts out of action, then proceeded to fill up some dead time in a dull match against Jimmy Snuka.

An early botch from Snuka, messing up a leapfrog attempt and landing on Dibiase's head, quashed what little momentum this one may have had and led to a match which, whilst technically not bad, was boring beyond belief.

A brawl on the outside between Snuka and Virgil, then later Dibiase, led to the Superfly being counted out.
Your winner by countout: Ted Dibiase 

In the post-match shenanigans, Superfly Snuka beat up Dibiase and Virgil to the delight of the crowd, nailing Virgil with the Superfly Splash. 

Out in the back for our final promo of the evening, Mean Gene Okerlund met up with Hulk Hogan and Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake.

WWF / WWE Summerslam 1989 - Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake cut a promo on Randy Savage and Zeus
Hogan went to his bank of ready-made promos to deliver the usual spiel about riding in to town on a Harley Davidson and rivers parting like the Red Sea ala Moses. This time however, Hogan's imaginary ride had Miss Elizabeth with her sexy, curvacious legs wrapped around him. 

Beefcake, for his part, claimed that his titanium steel blades were a part of him, and that equally, they would become a part of 'madness.' 


With the main event then moments away, fans were treated to a poem, of sorts from Randy Savage's real-life brother, Lanny 'The Genius' Poffo. 

Randy 'Macho Man' Savage and Zeus (w/ Sensational Sherri) VS. World Wrestling Federation Champion Hulk Hogan and Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
And so for the second year running, Summerslam's main event pits Hulk Hogan in a tag team match against some combination of his most hated rivals.

This year, Randy Savage was his opponent rather than his partner, whilst Savage's former valet, Elizabeth, was introduced before the first blow could be struck as being in the good guy's camp.

Then the bell rang, and Summerslam 1989's main event accelerated into an exciting, entirely captivating main event which kept the audience enthralled throughout.

WWF Champion Hogan, and his mission to fell the seemingly indestructable Zeus provided the focal point of this entertaining main event whilst Savage and Beefcake, not to mention Sherri and Liz on the outside, all played their parts perfectly too.

The end of this epic encounter came when Hogan finally got Zeus on his back, causing the crowd to erupt in the process. One Leg Drop of Doom later, and this thing was over...for now.
Your Winners: Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake

After the bell, Sensational Sherri (who admittedly looked incredibly sexy here), recieved an atomic drop (no doubt flashing the crowd her panties in the process) from Hogan for her troubles before having her lengthy hair chopped by Elizabeth and Brutus Beefcake.

Despite the few especially dull or dismal enocunters (Rhodes/Honky and Dibiase/Snuka), Summerslam 1989 was an exceptionally good show. 
Compelling battles from Warrior/Rude and the main event, coupled with great wrestling from the Harts/Brainbusters and our first six man tag match, not to mention insane promos, all helped to create a sense of excitement which made Summerslam 1989 incredibly fun to watch. 
In terms of its importance in the greater history of professional wrestling, this isn't necessarily must-see stuff, but if you want to sit back enjoy some thoroughly entertaining old-school WWF, you can do far worse than this show.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

PPV REVIEW: WWF Summerslam 1988

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Poster for event August 29th, 1988
Madison Square Garden, New York

Fueled by success of the almighty Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon and his Titan Sports empire looked to further capitalize on the appeal of Pay Per View TV by throwing another colossal event in to the World Wrestling Federation's calendar. 

Though you may not have been able to tell at the time, Summerslam would go on to be the WWF/WWE's second biggest event after Mania itself.

Yet, much like McMahon's flagship show itself, the legend of Summerslam got off to a less than perfect start.

Here's what went down.

Things began with some fantastic opening credits introducing the ppv audience to the participants in tonight's main event. Even now, your writer has to imagine that modern day WWE events could benefit from such credits.

With that out of the way, it was on to our hosts for the evening, Gorilla Monsoon and 'Superstar' Billy Graham to welcome us to the show. Monsoon wasted no time in informing us that tonight would be 'a happening' (a phrase he would repeat at least every five or ten minutes throughout the show) whilst Graham revealed himself to a have the kind of voice which reminded this fan of Dusty Rhodes with even less bass in his voice.

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond) VS. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid w/ Matilida) 
WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Gorillia Monson and 'Superstar' Billy Graham host the show
With the recently-turned Rougeaus already in the ring, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid and their dog made their way to the ring to a large cheer from a crowd already looking forward to a great opening contest.

Luckily, they weren't disappointed. 

Putting away their real-life animosity aside for the most part, both teams brawled, battled and grappled for a full twenty minutes in a text book tag match.

The Bulldogs took the advantage in the early going, thwarting their opponent's every move with a combination of speed and strength before the dastardly Rougeaus found away to turn the tide in their favor.  

As the clock ticked, all four men took turns to swap offence before the final bell rang, signalling the end on as good an opening match as you could hope to witness.
Time Limit Draw

At a certain point in time, Brutus Beefcake was in line for an Intercontinental Championship shot against long-reigning champion The Honky Tonk Man. The match, originally scheduled for tonight's show, would not take place after an episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling  in which Bruti, about to send his latest victim to sleep, was brutally mauled by Outlaw Ron Bass, putting Beefcake out of action.

Before any further Summerslam action took place, Gorilla Monsoon promised us that we would 'see some exciting action' before we were shown footage of Bass attacking Beefcake.

WWF/WWE SUMMERSLAM 1988: Summerslam '88 came live from Madison Square Garden in New York

Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera
Meandering in the lower echelons of the roster following his return from serving jail time, Ken Patera, squat little body and silly afro in tow, made his way to Summerslam as fodder for the rising star of Bad News Brown.

A fairly recent acquisition from Stampede Wrestling, Brown jumped his foe from the opening bell and, some short offence from Patera aside, dominated throughout this sluggish squash-fest.

Given the era at the time, it's surprising that Bad News didn't make it higher up the card during his time at Titan. Then again, if all his matches were as dull and uninspired, it's maybe little wonder he didn't/

Following several minutes of boredom, Bad News put Patera, and the audience, out of their collective misery with his Ghetto Blaster enzeguri finisher.
Your Winner: Bad News Brown

Following a brief moment of hype for the upcoming Titan-sports backed boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Don Lalonde (more of which later), we were taken to the back where Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with The Mega Powers

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Mega Powers talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
In the mostly-nonsensical style which was apparently in vogue at the time, Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage talked about madness, mania, and using Miss Elizabeth as their secret weapon in their upcoming clash against The Mega Bucks. 

For the first time ever, Miss Elizabeth actually looked fairly happy.

'Ravishing' Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) VS. Junk Yard Dog
Squash bouts were apparently the order of the day on this show as Ravishing Rick Rude continued his ascent to stardom by beating Junkyard Dog around the ring in a passable contest.

As Rude punished his foe, Billy Graham raved about the JYD's head.

 'He'll headbutt a truck, he'll headbutt a Rolls Royce, he'll headbutt the side of a building my man Gorilla Monsoon brother my man!' enthused the former WWF Champion, oblivious to the fact that not once in this contest did the Dog even attempt a headbutt. 

Instead, he absorbed a bunch of punishment from the Ravishing one and lay out on the canvas as Rude scaled the ropes and pulled down his tights, only to reveal a second pair underneath bearing the face of one Cheryl Roberts. 

Naturally, this raised the ire of one Jake 'The Snake' Roberts who, after Rude had delivered a ridiculous-looking top-rope fistdrop to his opponent, raced to the ring and battered arch-rival Rude. Unsurprisingly, this cost JYD the match.
Your winner via disqualification: Ravishing Rick Rude

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988 - The Honky Tonk Man welcomes all challengers in this promo with Mean Gene Okerlund
Though Roberts was miffed that Rude had managed to escape, a perplexed JYD didn't seem to mind to much that The Snake had cost him the match. Bizare.

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart.

After claiming that he knew Brutus Beefcake wouldn't have been up to challenging him for the title, the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in the history of the world insisted that he would still defend his title tonight and, what's more, he couldn't care less who his opponent would turn out to be.

Mean Gene did try to reveal that opponent, but the ever-cocky Honky Tonk Man would hear none of it. It was an entertaining segment which served its purpose well in building the excitement for the upcoming IC title clash.

The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov w/ Slick) VS. The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian w/ The Baron)
Led to the ring by Baron von Raschke in a druid-like hood, The Powers of Pain once again proved why they should have been a much more successful tag team as they successfully took the battle to their Russian adversaries.

In full-on babyface mode, Warlord and Barbarian were a delight to watch, combining a speed an agility which belied their large frames with a power and strength which suited them perfectly. Though hardly the greatest tag team match in the world, this was nonetheless an entertaining affair.
Your winners: The Powers of Pain

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988 - Hacksaw Jim Duggan is not impressed with Brother Love
Offering a respite from the in-ring action, Brother Love made his way to the ring to interview, or rather, provoke Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Slowly beginning his transition from general tough-guy to Stars and Stripes waiving tough-guy, Duggan entertained the crowd before sending Love packing. 

Despite what you may read elsewhere, it was at least an entertaining segment, eliciting more than a brief flicker or a giggle from your easily-amused reviewer. 

Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) VS. The Ultimate Warrior
Still oblivous as to the identity of his opponent, The Honky Tonk Man made his way to the ring gushing with confidence. Shaking, rattling and rolling in the ring, Honky took to the mic to demand somebody to wrestle.

Unfortunately for Honky, he got his wish.

A hush fell over Madison Square Garden, building the tension before the familiar chords of The Ultimate Warrior's music rang out through the arena and The Warrior charged to ringside.
WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Ultimate Warrior won the Intercontinental Championship from The Honky Tonk Man

Several clotheslines and a big splash later, and Honky's memorable reign as Intercontinental Champion came to an end.

OK, so it wasn't a match, but it was certainly  an incredible scene. With the crowd as wild as the Warrior himself, it was one of those moments that always serves to make wrestling worth watching.
Your Winner and NEW intercontinental champion: The Ultimate Warrior

Following The Warrior's epic win, we were subject to a lengthy intermission. 

First, Monsoon shilled the upcoming Survivor Series for all his worth, promising us 'exciting action like this...' whilst showing us the dullest moments of Survivor Series 1987.

Then came the boxing.

Remember earlier I said there'd be more on the Leonard/Lalonde PPV bout? Well there was, about 20 minutes more.

Since the match was promoted by Titan Sports, we were given lengthy interviews and clips of both men to try and encourage us to buy it. 

Sitting here now, I'm grateful for the fast-foward button, and can only feel sorry for fans who were watching live at the time without that option.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1998: Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan invades the commentary booth
Heading back to the action at last, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan interupted Monsoon and Graham to tell us that, whilst Andre the Giant was reading The Wallstreet Journal, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase was counting his money and Virgil was, well, just kinda standing there, their opponents The Mega Powers were hiding scared in their dressing room.

Heenan then stuck around for the next match.

Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchie Martin) vs. Don 'The Rock' Murraco 
As it turned out, Heenan's involvement in the match turned out to be one of the best things about it.

Not that the in-ring action itself was particularly atrocious or anything. The Rock and Bravo did at least engage in some decent action, but for the most part, their short battle was entirely forgettable.

Thankfully, Heenan's banter with Graham made up for the lack of excitement, whilst Gorilla Monsoon's insistence that Frenchie Martin should go back to France and that a particularly irate member of the audience would 'give him half the fare to get there' was especially funny.

Alas, by the time Dino Bravo walked away with the win, your life was really no better nor any worse than it was before.
Your winner: Dino Bravo

In a pre-recorded segment, Sean Mooney quizzed Jesse 'The Body' Ventura on his role as the special guest referee in the upcoming fight betwen The Mega Bucks and The Mega Powers, particularly his acceptance of several hundred dollars slipped into his pocket by The Million Dollar Man.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match: 
WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax and Smash, w/ Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart) VS. The Hart Foundation (Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart)
It's no secret that the World Wrestling Federation's tag team scene was thriving in the 1980s. That said, it always comes as a nice surprise that a show like Summerslam 1988 can feature four completely different tag team matches and have each one entertain in its own way.

This tag team championship clash was no exception.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Demolition prepare to defend their titles against The Hart Foundation
With former manager Jimmy Hart routing for their opponents, The Hart Foundation took the fight to the champions in a dramatic match.

Before long, Ax and Smash took charge, pummeling The Hitman around the ring and controlling the contest. Eventually, The Anvil made the inevitable hot tag and cleaned house.

Yet just when it looked like the titles would change hands, Mr. Fuji distracted the referee, allowing Demoltion to take out Bret with Jimmy Hart's megaphone and ultimately steal a win.
Your winners: Demoltion

Backstage, a crowd of heels tried in vain to console an irate Honky Tonk Man. Sending them packing, Honky vowed to Mean Gene Okerlund that he would, come hell or highwater, get his belt back.

The Big Boss Man (w/ Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware
Looking younger than this writer ever recalls, The Big Boss Man went toe-to-toe with a nimble Koko B. Ware in another decent yet ultimately forgettable contest.

Indeed, whilst this one was certainly watchable, you can't help but think that, had Sunday Night Heat been around at the time, this is exactly the kind of match that would make filler content for that show.

The end came when Bossman picked up the three count, and we all moved on with our lives.
Your winner: The Big Boss Man

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: The Ultimate Warrior celebrates his victory in an interview with Sean Mooney
Out in the back, new Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior, flanked by the British Bulldogs and a throng of babyfaces, was interviewed by Sean Mooney.

In typical fashion, Warrior spoke mostly about flying spaceships from Parts Unknown and insisted he wouldn't back down from a challenge from the Honky Tonk Man.

Hercules vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
With his manager Bobby Heenan conspicuous by his absence, the mighty Hercules wrestled Jake 'The Snake' Roberts in yet another filler-bout.

I'd go in to detail about this match, but absolutely nothing happened beyond a couple of prolonged chin-locks and some punches for what seemed like several millenia.

The end of this massively dull affair saw a win for Roberts with a DDT.
Your winner: Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Finally, it was on to our main event.

First, we were given a decent recap of the story that brought Dibiase, Andre, Virgil, Heenan, Hogan, WWF Champion Randy Savage and Elizabeth together in a tag team match with Jesse 'The Body' Ventura as the special guest referee.

It was a story which went something like this:

The Mega Bucks ('The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant w/ Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan' and Virgil) VS. The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and World Wrestling Federation Champion 'Macho Man' Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth) with special guest referee Jesse 'The Body' Ventura

Donned in jeans, sneakers and a white shirt and looking entirely unlike referee in the history of wrestling, special guest referee Jesse Ventura asserted his authority in the early going. Ordering managers and seconds to the apron and switching the tag ropes (remember them?) to neutral corners, Ventura looked to be playing things firm but fair.

It was an approach he took as the action finally began before a New York crowd who were hot for every blow.

As both teams traded the advantage under the watchful eye of a referee who seemed content to let both teams do whatever they liked, an MSG audience who had already been into most of the matches, were even louder than ever.

They ate up everything the two teams could give them, and they gave them plenty.

WWE/WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988: Miss Elizabeth stuns Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant by taking her dress off
Once again proving that, when they wanted to, the WWF could do tag team wrestling incredibly well, this was a wildly entertaining match made all the more exciting by the sheer star power involved.

The end came when Elizabeth, who had been hyped by the Mega Powers as their 'secret weapon' hopped up onto the apron and pulled away her dress, revealing shapely pins which distracted the heels long enough for her men to get the win.

It says something about the innocence of the time that the sight of Elizabeth, wearing the top half of her dress over a swimsuit, should elicit such a response. In the modern era, most women would have worn less clothes to begin with and nobody would have battered an eyelid.
Your winners: The Mega Powers

Predictably, Savage, Hogan and Elizabeth celebrated before the crowds to bring the first annual Summerslam to a close.

And that was that. Though hardly the greatest professional wrestling event of all time, the first annual Summerslam at least saw signs of promise for things to come. If you take away the filler bouts and concentrate purely on the tag team action and the IC title change, this was a fun show that did exactly what it was supposed to; entertain. Shame about all the boxing though. 

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.