August 29, 1988
New York, New York
Madison Square Garden
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & "Superstar" Billy Graham
At Wrestlemania IV, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan made an alliance for the ages, and over the next several months the Megapowers ran rampant over the WWF. The legendary Hogan and WWF Champion Savage were nearly unbeatable on their own, but together they were downright unstoppable. Both were at odds with "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant, stemming from events at and before Wrestlemania, and thus the Megapowers were set to square off against the team of that dubbed themselves the Megabucks. Also scheduled for this card: Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man defending against his fan favorite rival Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, and Tag Team Champions Demolition defending against newly turned faces and former Champions themselves, the Hart Foundation.
In the opening video package here, they use what would later become the Royal Rumble music instead for Summerslam.
British Bulldogs vs. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
The Rougeaus had recently turned heel and in a few short weeks would align with a new manager, Jimmy Hart. Weeks prior to this, another Hart tag team, the Hart Foundation had decided they'd had enough of Jimmy, and dumped him, thus turning face. Unfortunately for the Foundation, Jimmy still owned thier contracts, and in turn, would sell them to the Jacques and Raymond Rougeau, which would kick off a feud between the Harts and Rougeaus. The Harts would receive a Tag Title shot later in the evening, but here it's the Rougeaus in action against former Tag Champs, The British Bulldogs. Dynamite must have been going hard on the narcotics backstage because he seems to be wearing his tights backwards here. Oh, what's that, it's just a fashion statement? OK. The heel Rougeaus insincerely pretend to represent the US, but get booed as result. Both teams trade some basic stuff, but it's mostly all Bulldogs for the first ten minutes of the match. Then Dynamite gets caught in the wrong corner on and worked over by the heels. He eventually makes the hot tag to Davey Boy, who cleans house, but the bell abruptly rings at 19:04, and we have ourselves a "twenty minute" time limit draw. Oh well, at least it was a hot opener. ***1/4 I think the Rougeaus could've used a win there to establish themselves as a serious heel threat, but it was still a good match.
We're shown a video package of what transpired on WWF Superstars this weekend. Brutus Beefcake was jumped by "Outlaw" Ron Bass. Bass spurs him and the WWF censors the beating becasue it's deemed "too violent". Beefcake is injured and unable to challenge for the Intercontinental Title tonight as a result, but we will have a new opponent for the Honky Tonk Man.
Ken Patera vs. Bad News Brown
Patera scores several near falls in between a Bad News ass kicking, but misses a corner charge, and falls victim to Bad News' Ghettoblaster (standing Enziguri) finisher, for the pinfall at 6:36. 1/2* Next.
Now we're treated to a boxing advertisement for some PPV fight in November.
The crowd is panned, and... Vladimir is there! For those of you that don't know, this guy was a WWF superfan in the late 80's and early to mid 90's. He had good seats at almost every PPV, and as a result can be seen on TV at some point during them. If you have any tapes from this time period, check the crowd for him. He's pretty muscular, he usually wears sleeveless shirts, he's got glasses, and short curly hair. Sometimes he was even at TV tapings, and in July 1994, I even saw him in the front row at a house show. My friend and I approached him at intermission, but he was busy talking to people, and we had to hurry back to our seats when the show resumed, so we didn't get the chance to bother him. Biggest mistake I ever made.
Gene is backstage with the Megapowers. Hogan, of course, has to talk first. The brother count in this interview is a mere one, which I must say is a lot less than I expected. Hogan speaks of a "secret weapon" they have in store for the Megabucks.
Junkyard Dog vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
Rude has a likeness of JYD on his tights. The Garden crowd pops big for JYD, as he quickly ousts Rude with the headbutts. Back in, Rude comes off the top with an axehandle. He goes to a chinlock two minutes in, which is never a good sign. Rude runs through some more slow offense, then pulls down his tights to reveal another pair, this one with Cheryl Roberts' (Jake Roberts' wife) face on them. An irate Jake hits the ring, and absolutely cleans house, causing Rude to take the match via DQ. 1/2*
Gene is with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart. Honky basically opens an issue challenge, and says that he will defend the IC Title one way or the other tonight.
Powers Of Pain vs. Bolsheviks
This is the Powers' first PPV match in the WWF, having recently come over from the NWA, and the WWF gave them some pretty cool music. The Bolsheviks are for all intents and purposes, nothing more than jobbers with a gimmick, so this is basically a squash for the POP. They finish with a Warlord running powerslam, followed by a Barbarian top rope headbutt on Boris Zukhov, for the pin at 7:19. *
Survivor Series 1988 promo- the Thanksgiving Night Tradition.
Back in the arena, the ring has been carpeted red, so we know what's next. The Brother Love show comes to PPV! Today's guest: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Apparently, Duggan doesn't like him, and that's the gist of the interview right there, except it takes ten minutes for Duggan to chase him out of there. Well that was a waste.
Same boxing promo as before.
Intercontinental Title: ??? vs. Honky Tonk Man (Champion)
Honky gets on the mic and demands that any one from the back to come out and challenge him for his Title. The Ultimate Warrior's music hits, and the Garden explodes. Warrior goes nuts on Honky with shouldertackles and clotheslines, then finishes with the big splash at only 0:33. And with that, the longest IC Title reign in history ends very abruptly, as the hated Honky gets squashed by the Warrior. Honky didn't even have a chance to get his gear off. Warrior celebrates to the pop of the crowd, as Honky storms off in disbelief. This IC Title would eventually lead to a World Title win for the Warrior. The match itself is a definite DUD, but this is a great and truly historic moment.
Regis Philbin is in the crowd, one of the thousands, cheering the Warrior.
We're shown an extensive Survivor Series promo, with clips from three of the four matches from last year shown in detail.
Gene talks to Sugar Ray in the stands; the boxer, not the band. They hype his November fight some more, despite the fact that he totally disses them by declaring that he's happy to be at "Superslam". More crap to hype the fight, including pre-recorded comments from Ray's opponent, followed by Ray's response. This is all to kill time during intermission. We finally send it back to Gorilla and Graham, who take us to a five minute intermission. Wow, this tape rules! It's not clipped at all; must have been taped straight off PPV. We go to a long shot of the crowd as a clock counts down the five minutes of intermission. At about the 1:25 mark, a huge Weasel chant goes up from the crowd. Heh.
Same Megapowers/Megabucks promo that opened the show.
Sure enough, now Bobby Heenan is in the booth with Gorilla and Graham, attempting to psych out the Megapowers.
"The Rock" Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo
Graham is Muraco's manager, but can't be with his guy at ringside due to his announcing responsibilities. Man, I love Muraco's music. Bravo takes this one fair and square with the side suplex at 4:29, but Graham bitches about it anyway. Whatever. *
Another Survivor Series promo.
Sean Mooney is backstage with Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who will be the Special Guest Referee for tonights main event. Ventura had been given money by DiBiase on Superstars weeks earlier, but the heel Ventura denied that it would effect his officiating on the match.
Tag Team Titles: The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition (Champions)
Jimmy Hart comes to ringside with Demolition and Mr. Fuji, just to get under the Harts' skin. A quick heat segment on Anvil leads to a Bret tag, but he's sent shoulder first into the post, and Demolition works it over. The hot tag is teased, then eventually accomplished, and Niedhart goes crazy on both Champs. Bret slinghots Anvil to the floor on top of Smash in a really cool spot. Back in, a powerslam gets two. All four men brawl, and Niedhart knocks Fuji off the apron, but the distraction allows Jimmy Hart to toss his megaphone in to Ax, who nails Bret with it, allowing Smash the three count to retain at 10:49. **1/2
More Leonard vs. Lalonde boxing hype. OVERKILL.
Gene is backstage with an irate Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart. Honky claims he'll get his Title back, but he never did.
Koko B. Ware vs. The Big Boss Man
Hey, Boss Man has hair. This was Boss Man's PPV debut, and despite being huge here (around the 400 pound mark) he's still very agile. Slick is his manager. Koko comes out to the music from Piledriver, the Album, which was a precursor of sorts to todays WWF: The Music CD's. Boss Man manhandles Koko with an avalanche, and covers, but lifts Koko's shoulders off the mat at two. Normally, that would come back to bite him in the ass, but he's the guy getting pushed here, so it doesn't. Boss Man misses a splash off the top, but is somehow perfectly fine. He goes for another avalanche, but misses, and Koko hits a top rope dropkick. He covers with a splash, but Boss Man powers out and catches him with the Boss Man slam for three at 5:56. ** Boss Man then nails him with the nightstick just for fun.
ORDER SURVIVOR SERIES ON THANKSGIVING!
Sean Mooney is with new Intercontinental Champion, the Ultimate Warrior. Mooney's voice makes it sound like he has not yet reached puberty. Meanwhile, the Warrior makes an allusion that hints that he's an alien. Hmmm...
Jake "The Snake Roberts vs. Hercules
This one is slow and dull, but at least there's some decent ring psychology. Several DDT attempts are thwarted by Hercules, but Jake finally hops out of a bodyslam attempt and nails him with it for the pin at 10:08. Post-match, Jake introduces Hercules to Damien. 3/4*
A final review of the Megapowers vs. Megabucks feud.
The Megapowers vs. The Megabucks
The Powers come out to Savage's music, so Hogan's ego must be shot. The faces take turns wrecking DiBiase until Hogan makes the dumb mistake of going after Andre. The Bucks wear down Hogan, with Ventura actually being an impartial official, until Hogan tags Savage in, and Macho hits his usual on DiBiase. He misses a charge, however, and now it's the Bucks in control again. Andre comes in, as the heat segment on Savage continues. DiBiase tags back in and misses the reverse elbow off the second rope, allowing Savage to make the hot tag to Hogan. Hogan takes out both Megabucks, and traps DiBiase in a sleeper. Savage, meanwhile, comes off the top, but eats on Andre boot. Andre tosses Hogan to the floor, where both Megapowers start to get counted out. Elizabeth hops up on the apron, as do Bobby Heenan and Virgil, the seconds for the Megabucks. Liz rips off the bottom of her dress thus distracting EVERYBODY, including the announcers, the director, the cameramen, the fans, the ref, the heels, and me. Meanwhile, the Powers climb back in and send Andre to the floor. They slam DiBiase, Macho hits the Flying Elbow, and Hogan drops the leg. He covers, and Ventura counts two, but hesitates at three, so Savage slams his hand down to the mat for the final time, giving the Megapowers the win at 14:49. Now Hogan's music plays after all, and the Megapowers and Elizabeth celebrate their victory as the first ever Summerslam comes to a close. **1/2
In retrospect, the card was nothing special at all, but there were a few fun tag matches, and of course the Warrior's surprise IC Title victory. The main event is fun, but without the Title on the line, it's just another chapter in the whole Hogan/Savage/DiBiase/Andre saga. Summerslam 1988 isn't a completely boring show, but with all the squashes, it certainly isn't memorable at all.
Summerslam 1988 Key Stats:
Total Wrestling: 85:13
Average Match: 8:31
Average Match Rating: *1/2
Top Moments: The Megapowers' dramatic win, The Warrior's surprising squash.