Brett Mix’s- WWF Summerslam 1988 Review:
I’m TALKIN THE MANIA AND THE MADNESS, AS OOOOONEEEE TOGETHER, OOOO YEAAAAAH!” – Randy “Macho Man” Savage
-WWF Summerslam 1988 took place on Sunday, August the 29th, 1988 from the Sold Out Madison Square Garden in New York City with over 20, 000 fans. (Vince’s playground)
-The tagline for the event was “Where the Mega Powers meet the Mega Bucks.”
-This was the 1st Annual WWF Summerslam PPV event. The show “Summerslam” was created to help the company compete against rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (formally Jim Crockett Promotions and then known as the NWA). It was one of the first four annual pay-per-view events produced by the WWF, along with WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series. The King of the Ring used to be apart of the big five from 1993 but was dropped in the year 2002.
-The main feud heading into WWF Summerslam 1988 was between The WWF Champion the Macho Man, his partner Hulk who both had Elizabeth in their side against the bad villian team of Andre and Dibiase managed by Virgil and the Greatest of all time in Bobby Heenan.
-Gorilla Monsoon and Superstar Billy Graham did commentary on the evening, as Superstar filled in on color as Jesse Ventura had ref duties on the evening.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) (W/Matilda The Dog) vs The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond)
Howard Finkel says that the Rougeaus are soon to be re-locating to the United States and that gets negative energy from the New Yorkers to open Summerslam.
This was a big boom time for the WWF and everything was so great about the company however this show didn’t have the best booking however this match was one of the better highlights of the entire broadcast.
The Bulldogs came out to a great ovation and Davey Boy went to work on both Rougeaus early in this one hitting a lot of power moves.
Superstar Billy Graham who was on commentary said “Look at the muscle on Davey” well who would know better then Graham. It’s too bad both Billington and Davey couldn’t stay away from the needles during this time period according to Bret Hart’s book and it really shows here. Davey looked huge.
His energy and power helped the Bulldogs maintain the advantage in the first half of the match and the crowd ate it up so it served it’s purpose. Whenever Dynamite was tagged in he’d slap on an arm bar as would Davey Boy but The Rougeaus did eventually take control for SOME of the match.
The pace slowed a little at that time when the heels went to work but it wasn’t before long that MSG helped the Dogs get back in the match.
Good pacing, not to slow and quite often very quick.
In the end when The Bulldogs looked like they MIGHT pull out the victory the time limit goes at 20:00 although it feels a lot shorter despite it being quite a long match.
The match ends in a draw and the Rougeaus seemed rather happy with that at 20:00 as the fans boo but the New Yorkers weren’t going to chant bullshit or anything because they still some some great tag work here.
Ya know, in the long run this was a fast paced opener in 1988 between two great teams so despite the action not being top notch every instant I can let it slide and just bump it up to the three star plateau. It definately deserves it in areas even if I felt the action was rather sloppy in some parts or because of the poor finish which was quite common though at the time.
Still a great way to start the Summerslam series!
2) Bad News Brown vs Ken Patera
Bad News (God Rest His Soul) was recieving a push around this time and he had won the Wrestlemania 4 Battle Royal when eliminating Bret Hart as the final two just a few months before this.
Ken Patera….well he was kind of heading in the opposite direction during this time period.
Bad News just went right to work right away and over powered Patera and with a bunch of blows and irish whips to the buckle.
Suddenly that changed when Patera hit Bad News with one of the weakest looking clotheslines you’ll ever see.
He takes off his jacket/robe the fans are on his side and after a few bits of offense it goes right back into the favor of Brown who slowly takes apart Patera with head butts among other moves that you’ve come to expect from a brawler like Bad News Brown.
Bad News Brown knew how to be a heel, he was quite natural at it as he could generate heat just by looking at somebody and very few people have that rare/precious quality but he did.
It wasn’t exactly a sqaush after Brown got back in control infact it went back and forth for a bit as Patera got some moves in himself.
After Patera tried hard to get some devistating offense in on Bad News, Patera had hit his shoulder on the steel post while Bad news did a kick to the head called the Ghetto Blaster.
He wins with that move at 6:33.
Nothing god awful…. but nothing more then relatively decent at best.
3) `Ravishing` Rick Rude (W/Bobby The Brain Heenan) vs The Junkyard Dog
Anyone who`s anyone knows Rick Rude is beyond awesome at playing a heel.
Rude and Heenan looked pretty intimidating walking in that attire to that music at MSG to the ring.
The JYD was over but Rude attacked him early in the match where Monsoon called it a Pearl Harbor job as he usually always does.
Rude`s attack didn`t last extremely long because the JYD got in his usual head butting routine and the crowd went wild as I said, he was extremely over and when I was a kid he was a favourite of mine. The JYD and Rude exchange some back and forth work with neither man getting the full advantage till late in the match.
Rick Rude posed (Val Venis-ish) only a decade before Val did it while he had a move such as an armbar locked in on the Dog. All of the sudden Jake the Snake came out and hit Rude.
Jake and Rude had a huge rivalry over Jake`s wife and Rude with her face on his crotch of his pants. A little risky for this time period.
So the JYD is DQ`d at 6:18 when Roberts attacked Rude which got a good ovation. Rick Rude and Jake the Snake should have got it on here but oh well, this was one of those short, mid-card matches in the late 80`s with a concerning ending but it wasn`t very fun to watch. That`s the problem. Still not one of the worst matches ever but it`s not even close to good unfortunately.
4) The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord) (with The Baron) vs The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff) (with Slick)
Remember The Undertaker and Kane taking on Kronik at Unforgiven 2001. (Sorry for reminding you if you purposely forgot it as I try to)
Well this match resembles that.
How can I EVEN TRY and review a match like this. The only time and I mean the ONLY time the match was anywhere near decent was when The Warlord would scoop slam someone and the fans would cheer.
Everything was beyond slow, dull and boring. Powers of Pain one at the end at 5:27 but does it really matter to anyone…..
Nothing happened and all four guys just slugged it out and even the double team moves were pathetic. Everything looked fake and when it ended I believe a lot of the pop had to do with the fact it was finally over.
Brother Love Segment with Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Brother Love: I loooooooooooooooove you. (Crowd boo`s)
Hacksaw was even annoying as this got very redundant and irrelevant and was placed here for filler and nothing more. Skip this it`s not even remotely entertaining.
5) The Ultimate Warrior vs The Honky Tonk Man (c) (with Jimmy Hart) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Honkytonk had been the IC Champion for well over a year and had been calling himself the greatest of all time in that department. A claim that is quite certainly debatable. Chris Jericho, Randy Savage, Mr. Perfect, Owen Hart would all have a word with him I would reckon.
Brutus Beefcake got injured so no one knew who the mystery replacement would be and after a dramatic pause at MSG Warrior`s music hit he ran to the ring and made short work of Honky Tonk.
Great energy by the Warrior and for the fact this is significant, it made the fans more happy then anything on the night so far it can`t be a dud. It just can`t.
HOWEVER….I am hoping for another match that at least gets over one star anyday now….Warrior becomes IC Champion at 0:31 to an amazing ovation after his splash and he`d lose that title to Rude half a year later at Wrestlemania 5.
Fun for what it was at least…..
6) Canada`s Strongest Man` Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) vs `The Rock` Don Muraco
It`s kind of funny to see Muraco as a babyface because I picture him as a natural heel.
Bravo and Muraco actually started this match pretty decently with back and forth work in and outside the ring which the crowd responded well to.
Heenan and Superstar Graham were funny going back and forth on the headset.
Coincidentally the action in the ring went back and forth like Monsoon elludes to and Muraco hits some hiptosses and arm drag take downs followed by an arm bar on Bravo.
Dino gets out of trouble and hits a piledriver and then Don Muraco moved when Bravo tried to drop an elbow. Muraco then got hit with a side slam that hit Tim White down but he still counted the three for Bravo at 5:28.
7) Demolition (Ax and Smash) (c) (with Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart) vs The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) for the WWF Tag Team Championship
Back in THESE day when they said the match was for one of the three titles in the WWF the pop was outrageous.
Hart Foundation gets a nice poo by MSG as they have had many classics there over the years, especially Bret.
Demolition….there theme is just beyond Money.
This should be the first GOOD match in awhile and it just happens to feature two of my favourite teams.
Demolition worked so well together in general but in this match in paticular it was displayed quite brilliantly. Ax and Smash targetted the ribs of Bret Hart. They were not only the favourites but they over powered The Hart Foundation with there size and ability and they did NOT just do it in a way as you would expect for big men wrestlers.
Their tag work and chemistry was absolutely tremendous. They used there power to perform great psychology where as other teams like the Powers of Pain would only brawl.
Jim The Anvil got in mid-match and the crowd got into it in favor of The Foundation when they as well used double team moves quite efficiently. In the end though the two man attack on Bret would be too much for The Hitman and The Anvil to stand.
Jimmy Hart passed Ax his phone and he hit Bret while Smash pinned him at 9:49 to retain the tag titles.
Quite good. A nice blend of chemistry here, but absolutely nothing on the matches they would later have at Summerslam events to come.
8 ) The Big Boss Man (with Slick) vs Koko B. Ware
Most of the matches with The Bossman in his early days sucked and this is no exception.
No offense to Ray Traylor as he was good at what he did but his matches never did much for me personally.
Crowd was into Koko in a big way.
Bossman pinned Koko at 5:57 in a match that was thankfully kept short so as a whole did not come off terrible.
You HAVE got to love those old school crowds who groaned after a babyface would lose.
And again, if Koko can be in the HALL, Bossman is definitely deserving.
9) Jake THE SNAKE Roberts vs Hercules
Although at times the action was fast paced there were too may headlocks and reverse chinocks in this match. It got quite boring to be honest.
This event has had some poor matches to say the least.
Hercules controlled the pace o the match for awhile until Roberts pulled the ropes down and Hercules fell to the outside until he slammed Roberts heads on the ropes then went back to the chinlock in the ring. Roberts countered with a jaw breaker.
Back and forth contest here.
Roberts with his trademark punches got a good ovation. Jake FINALLY got the DDT which got an amazing ovation and he pinned him for the win at 10:06
Nicely worked overall but nothing special.
10) Main Event- The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and WWF Champion Randy Macho Man Savage) (with Miss Elizabeth) vs The Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and André the Giant) (with Bobby Heenan and Virgil) with Jesse THE BODY Ventura as the special guest referee
It is very hard to describe how fun it is to see four mega 80 stars like this in MSG, just pure nostalgia. Hogan let Macho in and then he ran over The Million Dollar man time and time again with continious elbow drops.
Savage wanted DiBiase, Hogan wanted the Giant around this time even though DiBiase got the better of Hogan in mid-match taking in the Giant who squashed Hogan and MSG sounded very concerned.
Bobby Heenan looks very content as New York City chants for Hogan.
Macho Man climbs to the top to try and get the crowd back into it.
Andre slaps on the traps of Hogan to slow down Hulkamania, the way he failed at Wrestlemania 3 a year and a half before. Macho reached in for a tag that could not come. Liz clapped on the outside trying to root on her Mega Powers.
More isolation of Hogan as DiBiase drops elbows on Hulk and then a sleeper. Hulk tried to get out but Hogan down on the mat finally elbowed out. Hogan makes the hot tag to Savage who gets an amazing ovation and the Champ is in.
Randy Savage dragged DiBiase by the head over the top rope and now Mach drops his elbow on the Million Dollar Man on his head, then missed him in the corner, blocked a head shot and Savage with a flying crossbody on DiBiase gets him a two, until he ran into a clothesline by the Million Dollar Man.
Andre The Giant now gets a turn to back his body weight into Randy Savage sitting right on his head in the corner.
Hogan tags back in eventually as does DiBiase and a sleeper on Hogan, followed by a headbutt by Andre. Savage went for an elbow drop on Andre before this but caught a boot to the face.
Liz in desperation gets up on the apron and takes off her skirt. This was rather breaking ground for this time and everyone in the world loved it. Ventura the official was even shocked. The only one feeling uneasy must of been Savage.
This distracted the mega heels, the mega powers do their handshake outside the ring and come back from behind and Savage drops a double axehandle on the Giant. Hogan slams DiBiase.
Macho hits the elbow drop.
Hogan hits the leg drop on Dibiase and Savage forces Ventura to count the three at 13:37 for the win. MSG erupts.
The Mega Powers celebrate as the match comes to an end.
Match of the night. Good stuff to close the show.
Final Rating for WWF Summerslam 1988 = 5/10
This show was a historical event from Madison Square Garden the home for the WWF.
It was the first Summerslam and despite there being many bad matches on the card, some of the action was great and it was a good time in the WWF with a lively crowd.
That alone makes it get a passing grade although the midway point of the show is NOT easy on the eyes.
It can get rather boring to say the least but because it is the original I will not put it below the 5 mark but it is close. It got bailed out by a few tag matches but overall it is not a show you are likely to put on and on again. I only reccomend this show if you get the Anthology if not then do not bother unless there is something specific you need or want to see.
The main event was the best match of the whole show.