Summer Slam ’88

Guys, I think I might have finally recovered from the trauma of Wrestlemania IV.  That was almost enough to make me quit this website


1. The Rougeau Brothers vs. The British Bulldogs


When did the Rougeau brothers turn heel?  The last time I saw them, they were good guys.

In the interests of disclosure, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a SummerSlam, so this is all a new experience for me.

The match gets off to a fast start, with some decent moves from the Bulldogs.  Davey Boy does some weird handspring out of the corner showing surprising agility for a guy whose blood is mostly horse tranquilizer and steroids

Wrestler, ninja, whatever
Wrestler, ninja, whatever

After this display of athletics, the match is all offense by the Bulldogs.  They spend the next 8 minutes or so beating up on Raymond.  Eventually Jaques gets the upper hand and slows the match right down by going for the leg.  More back and forth follow with the Rougeau’s really putting the hammer down on Dynamite.  Honestly, I think the one sided beating goes on for about 12 minutes.

Eventually all men end up in the ring and the bell goes after the time limit expires.  It’s a draw.  How unsatisfying.

Overall: Not a bad start, if a little long

 


2. Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera


Okay.  Time to feign some enthusiasm for two lower end mid-carders I couldn’t care less about!

Here’s an interesting fact – I don’t actually recall ever seeing Patera wrestle in a singles match.  I mean, I must have at some point, but much like my bout with Hydrocephalus, I have no memory of it.

It's a ton of work to get to this punchline, but I think you'll be happy with the results if you work through it
It’s a ton of work to get to this punchline, but I think you’ll be happy with the results if you work through it

Not much in the way of actual wrestling in this match, that’s not really Bad News’s style.  Neither of these guys can really sell a move, they’re both pretty wooden.  Bad News eventually nails Patera with the “ghetto blaster” which is a terrible move, a terrible name for a move and a fantastic piece of audio equipment from the 80’s

Overall: Not unexpectly, this was a pretty dull match

 


3. Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Junkyard Dog


Rick Rude starts off the match by referring to the crowd as a bunch of “fat, ugly, inner city sweathogs” and I laugh my ass off.  Rick Rude is now my favorite wrestler of all time.

In all fairness, Horshack wasn't bad
In all fairness, Epstein wasn’t bad

This match is exactly what you’d expect from the Dog.  Lots of punches and playing to the crowd with very little wrestling.  At this point in his career, JYD is fat enough that he looks like he swallowed a beach ball.  The crowd loves him though.

Eventually, Rick Rude goes to the top rope and pulls down his pants to reveal a picture of Jake Roberts wife on his crotch.  It’s fantastic.  I guess they’re continuing their feud from Wrestlemania IV.  Roberts comes out and beats Rude up, ending the match.  None of it made any sense and it was great

Overall: Putting random wives on your crotch-tights seems like sound wrestling strategy.

 


5. The Bolsheviks vs. The Powers of Pain


Here was my feeling about the Powers of Pain.  We already had Demolition.  At the same time, NWA already had the Road Warriors.  We didn’t need this next tag group.  Why not just replace Strike Force with tag team called “Action Squad” and fill it with Pedro Morales and Dino Bravo?  I mean, the whole thing is redundant.

Anyway, Nikolai and Boris take the early part of the match beating on Hawk The Warlord.  Gorilla lets the viewers know it’s incredible the Warlord is still on his feet – I think it’s more likely he’s a very wooden wrestler who can’t sell a move.

Animal The Barbarian gets the tag and after a few quick moves, they get the easy pin on Boris.

Overall:  Or maybe instead of the Killer Bees you could have the Fire Ants with A. Ant Adams and Leaping John Appsell

 


4. Intercontinental Title Match: The Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior


This match was supposed to be against Brutus Beefcake, but he had to bow out because at the previous weeks Superstars TV show, Ron Bass beat the shit out of him.  So they’re keeping his replacement a secret.  Let’s see who it is.

Honky comes out first, but without Peggy Sue.  That’s a shame, I really enjoyed her dancing.  And here comes his mystery opponent….

DUHN.

DUHN. DUN DUN DUHN.

DUHN. DUN DUN DUHN.

DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUN

“Uh oh, this doesn’t look good” – Honky Tonk Man, SummerSlam ’88

Man, say what you will about the Warrior, his entrance was fantastic for getting the crowd going.  This match is over in 30 seconds, the Warrior runs in like a complete lunatic, does a few simple moves and gets the pin.  The most entertaining part of the match is the Ref trying to get out of his way

What pace should we set for the crowd and agaggghhh
What pace should we set for the crowd and agaggghhh

Overall: Ultimate match

 


 5. Dino Bravo vs The (Other) Rock Don Muraco


Don Moraco’s entrance music sounds like the fight music when Kirk and Spock have that dual in the original Star Trek series.  This has got be getting close to Moraco’s final PPV, I didn’t think he made it much past the late 80’s.  For example, we’re about 3 minutes into the match, he’s done maybe an arm bar and he is just dripping with sweat.

HGH. Not even once
                                                HGH. Not even once

My entire entertainment from this match comes from thinking that Moraco might actually die from a heart attack.  He eventually doesn’t and Bravo gets the easy pin after a very low-impact side suplex

Overall: If I were at this event, I would have used this match to get popcorn.

 


 6. Hart Foundation vs Demolition (Champions) – WWF Tag Team Title Match


Because I’m only recapping the main PPV’s, I’m relying on the audience to tell me who is the heel and who is the face.  Based on the reaction to the ring introductions, I honestly can’t tell.  The crowd seems evenly split in terms of who they are rooting for.

We get a pretty decent match with some good moves back and forth until about minute 6 when Demolition decides to slow it right down with a series of arm bars on Hitman.  He gets beaten up for awhile when the drama turns to him making a desperate tag to Niedhart that the ref doesn’t see.   At this point I think that’s going to be be the turning point of the match, but then…. no.  He just makes the tag seconds later.

I’m going to pause to complain about that, because it was completely pointless.  Bret Hart considers himself one of the best “in ring” storytellers, so I’m holding him to a higher standard.  If you’re going to go through all the trouble of the missed tag, at least make it pay off.  Don’t make it completely meaningless seconds later.   Or for example, don’t fucking kill Trinity in Matrix 2 only to kill her again in Matrix 3.

The pain of these movies never stops hurting
                                     The pain of these movies never goes away

Sorry, that was a little out of nowhere.  Anywhere Neidhart comes in and kicks some ass and now it’s pretty obvious that the crowd is firmly behind them.  The match heats up and the arena is on their feet cheering for the Hart Foundation.  Unfortunately, the thanks to a megaphone in the head to Bret Hart, Demolition gets the pin.

Overall:  Honestly, why bring Trinity back to life if your’e just going to kill her again like 24 narrative hours later?

 


7. Koko B Ware vs Big Boss Man


I never really understood the Big Boss Man and what the point of the character was.  He was billed as an ex-prison guard from the deep south with a confederate flag on his arm.  So was he supposed to be a caricature of racism, or did the WWE just not understand the connotation?

It's fine, some of his best friends are Slick
It’s fine, some of his best friends are Slick

Anyway, Koko starts strong and gets a few moves off, but he’s giving up like 200 pounds.  Big Boss man eventually just beats the shit out of him.  It’s not a great match.

Overall: Maybe it’s time to retire Koko

 


 8. Jake “The Snake” Robers vs Hercules Hernandez


This match is pretty lopsided, with Herc having most of the offense.  Unfortunately the offense is all headlocks and chin locks, so it’s not really that exciting.  The momentum eventually shifts and Jake unloads with some punches and the short clothesline.  He nearly nails the DDT, but Herc flips him over.

It ends when Herc goes for a body slam, Jake sneaks out and nails a DDT out of nowhere.  He gets the quick pin

Overall: Meh

 


 9. Mega Bucks (Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase vs Mega Powers (Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan)


Mostly, I can’t believe how much the WWE milked the Hogan / Andre feud.  I did not remember it going on quite this long.  It’s a measure of how popular Macho is at this time that the come in to his music and not Hogans.

For some reason, Jesse Ventura is officiating this match.  He’s throwing the whole thing off.  He spends 4 minutes adjusting the tag ropes.  I feel like Vinny Mac was telling him to drag the whole thing out?

In an interesting start, Macho kicks off the match against Andre.  That’s great, I don’t think those two have ever met up.  It only lasts about 11 seconds, but it’s very cool to see those two in the ring together.

Through the match, there are tons of quick tags between Macho and Hogan which is really unexpected.  Hogan actually does a little bit of wrestling which is nice to see.  This whole thing is going pretty well, until….

Andre, having learned nothing from Wrestlemania IV
Andre, having learned nothing from Wrestlemania IV

Ah, the sweet choke hold.  This is followed by Dibiase putting on the sleeper and it leads the way for Hogan to hulk the fuck out.

More wrestling follows and eventually Elizabeth gets up on the apron and distracts the MegaBucks as she rips off the bottom part of her dress to reveal her bathing suit underneath (definitely not your 2015 Divas).  The distraction works….

Does it ever. Hubba
Does it ever. Hubba

…and Hogan gets back in and slams Dibiase while at the same time Macho man drop kicks Andre over the top rope.  Savage goes to the top and jumps off the turnbuckle with a devastating flying elbow.  Hogan then lands a nice leg drop and picks up the win.

The best part of the match had to be right after they won, when Hogan grabs on and hugs Elizabeth – Macho Man’s eyes were wide with terror, he was a few seconds away from snapping.  I have since read that apparently some of the heat between Hogan and Savage was over how he interacted with Elizabeth.

All good though, they manage to close out just fine and another PPV is in the books

Overall: 6 out of 10 – Much hype that could have been better

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