Through the Years: WWF Matches & Angles from SummerSlam through Survivor Series 1988

 

It’s time for more assorted matches and angles from the WWF! There are many new talents debuting and becoming more prominently featured on the card, so business would appear to be about to pick up. They need it as the product has become incredibly boring.

 

-Taped to air September 10th, 1988, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island

 

Rick Rude vs. Jobber

 

I don’t just post any squash match. These Rhode Island rednecks are going to get the pleasure of watching something great. Jake Roberts has an insert, during which he says that if Rude wears those tights with his wife’s face on them again, he’s going to rip them off. After Rude pins this jabroni, he rips his tights off to reveal those tights with Cheryl Roberts’ face on them. That brings out Jake, and he gives Rude a huge backdrop. Then he does what he said he would do, he rips Rude’s tights off! That sends Rude running to the back, and worked great to get this program over even more.

 

– September 10th, 1988, from the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Bad News Brown vs. Junkyard Dog

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the last of JYD’s WWF matches that I have to watch. He’s still really over with the live crowd, but his ability to have a good match has deteriorated a lot. Let’s see how it goes.

Match Review: Bad News attacks JYD from the beginning, and chokes the Dog with his own steel chain. He lets go, and goes right to work. He gives JYD a clothesline, and chokes him. JYD finally stops selling, and tries to hit Brown with his own stuff, only to miss a headbutt in the corner. Brown drops JYD on the top rope, and chokes him more. This is dreadful. Both guys hit each other with a clothesline, and Bad News gets up first to continue beating JYD up. He gives JYD a bodyslam, and heads up to the top. Bad News talks shit to the crowd, which gives JYD time to get over there and slam him down from the top for 2. JYD gives Brown some headbutts, then tries a charge that Brown blocks. Bad News nails JYD with the GHETTO BLASTER, and picks up the pinfall win at 7:12.

My Thoughts: Awful match. Honestly, I’m glad to see JYD out of the company, but I’m hardly done watching him as he jumps over to the NWA. That’s too bad. I guess this was an acceptable way of jobbing him out, but the match was a chore to watch. I wish I hadn’t, DUD.

 

– September 11th, 1988, from Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey

 

Bad News Brown vs. Hulk Hogan

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is exactly the kind of match that I do these reviews for. It took place well before their SNME match, so all in all I expect them both to be quite different. I also expect this match to be far better than the one I just watched. What in the hell is this helmet supposed to be? Search for the video here, as I don’t have room to post it. Weird as hell.

Match Review: Bad News attacks Hogan to start things off, and grabs Hogan’s torn tanktop to choke him with. I’m noticing a theme with how Bad News starts his matches. Bad News continues to work over Hogan, but misses a few attempts at elbow smashes and Hogan is ready now. He nails Brown with a few right hands, and that knocks Brown out of the ring. Hulk gives chase, and eventually slingshots Brown back into the ring the hard way. He nails Brown with a running elbow, then drops the elbow a few times for good measure. Bad News comes back with a headbutt, but runs into Hogan’s boot and is given an atomic drop. Hogan misses his next elbow drop, and Bad News takes advantage by going back to the headbutts and right hands. He hits Hogan with a fist drop, and goes to a chokehold for a little bit. Bad News drops Hogan with a bodyslam, and drops the leg. That was hilarious, but the cover only gets 1. ONLY HOGAN CAN GET WINS WITH THAT, BROTHER. After a Russian leg sweep, Brown covers for 2. Hogan tries to throw Brown into the corner, but Brown fires off the corner with a clothesline that puts Hogan down. Brown lines Hogan up for the GHETTO BLASTER, but Hogan ducks out of the way and starts HULKING UP. Hogan nails Bad News with a high knee, picks him up and hits him with a clothesline in the corner. After another Irish whip, Hogan ducks out of the way of a clothesline and Brown nails the referee. Hogan goes to wake the ref up, and Bad News has the WAR HELMET. He brings it into the ring, and hits Hogan in the ribs with it. Brown puts the helmet on, and misses a headbutt. Hogan grabs the helmet, and gives Brown a headbutt with it. He drops the leg, and gets the victory at 9:21!

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this match well enough, even though the finish wasn’t exactly clean. That was the point, though. I’m really amused with how all that turned out, with the helmet and all. I’ll put a **1/4 on this. It wasn’t technically brilliant, but it got the job done. I don’t think the finish was supposed to be funny, but it was and there was no way it wouldn’t be funny.

 

– Taped to air September 17th, 1988, on Superstars, from the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island

 

The Rougeaus buy the Hart Foundation’s contract from Jimmy Hart!

 

I already posted a video with this in it, but this part happened between SummerSlam and Survivor Series. So, here you go. Like Ventura says, every time the Hart Foundation wrestles, the Rougeau Brothers will make money. Then, the Hart Foundation does an amazing promo, their best in the company to this point and perhaps ever.

 

Barry Horowitz vs. THE BLUE BLAZER

Not going to give this the full treatment, but anyone can easily find this match from Superstars. Owen was so radically different from the other wrestlers in the company, and was very fresh. Sadly, he never got pushed. Some of the moves and techniques he does in this match were amazing. I think he gave Horowitz a little too much offense, though. In the end, the Blazer nails Horowitz with a huge dropkick from the top, and a moonsault for the victory after 2 minutes and change. The mask strongly worked against Owen, but it allowed them to bring him back later without him having been seen as the guy who was around in the 80’s and did a bunch of jobs while not getting pushed.

 

– Taped to air September 24th, 1988, on Superstars

Gene Okerlund goes to deepest darkest Africa…

 

This is absolutely ridiculous. Okerlund was supposed to be going to Africa, but he says this isn’t it. This looks like the ghetto to me. Slick says he’s bringing the Africa to Gene Mean. This is beyond racist. I think everyone’s seen this before, right? The One Man Gang has become…AKEEM THE AFRICAN DREAM. THE BEST! Terrible gimmick but Gang/Akeem did do a really good job with it. Actually looking forward to seeing more.

 

-September 29th, 1988, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York

 

Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I watched the SummerSlam title change, now it’s time to watch a rematch. I expect the result to be the same, but judging by the length of the video, it will be interesting to see Warrior have a longer match. By interesting, I mean it’s probably going to be terrible.

Match Review: Warrior rushes the ring like a lunatic, chasing Honky out of it. He chases HTM around it, then catches up to him and wallops him. Inside they go, and he picks HTM up with a choke and throws him down. Warrior is already blown up, but he’s still able to give HTM some punches in the corner. Warrior misses a charge to the other corner, and HTM drops the elbow a few times. Warrior comes back with some turnbuckle shots, and goes over to Hart to choke him, which HTM uses as an opportunity to attack from behind. Hart hits Warrior with the megaphone, never spotted by the referee. Warrior takes more punishment, but it’s already time for him to charge up. His babyface comeback may be my favorite in wrestling history, but he hasn’t quite refined it yet, if he ever did. He hits HTM with some punches, and bodyslams him. Warrior lands the flying shoulderblock, and Hart gets on the apron again. Warrior goes to the outside, and HTM attacks him from behind again. Now Hart climbs on Warrior’s back, and Warrior gets counted out of the match at 3:48. Ref…what? After the match, Warrior smashes a guitar. Good for him.

My Thoughts: I never understand these finishes where the referee rules against the wrestler who was clearly interfered with. I enjoyed the match, as short and bland as it was. It was really funny, even though I’m sure that wasn’t the intention. Warrior should have gone over clean, as they never followed up after this. *.

 

– Taped to air October 1st, 1988, on Superstars, from Market Square Garden in Indianapolis, Indiana

 

Ted DiBiase buys a slave…

 

So, Bobby Heenan, Hercules, Virgil, and Ted DiBiase are all out with Gene Okerlund at the interview podium. DiBiase has a new possession, and is gloating about it. He says nobody has what he has just purchased from Heenan. What he’s bought is…a SLAVE. HERCULES THE SLAVE! Hercules is very upset by this, so he gets in Heenan’s face. DiBiase grabs the briefcase, and nails his slave in the back of the head with it. Unbelievable. DiBiase and Virgil put the boots to Hercules, but Hercules fights back against Virgil and knocks him off the podium. He still has his chain, which he takes off and starts swinging at DiBiase to a HUGE cheer. That’s worth watching for sure.

 

– Taped to air in October 1988 on Superstars…

 

MR. PERFECT VIGNETTES!

First up, we have Mr. Perfect shooting a bit of pool. PERFECT POOL, that is. He cleared the table!

http://www.wwe.com/videos/mr-perfects-wwe-introductory-video-26036242

Doubt his darts game? You shouldn’t!

 

Chess? Look at that mental acuity!

 

This guy can handle a putter too. Absolute perfection.

 

 

– October 6th, 1988, from the Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio

 

The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. The Rockers

Pre-Match Thoughts: This could be a spectacular match, but it made TV. That alone means I highly doubt it. I’ve never had the chance to watch many of the Rockers non-PPV matches, so this is a new experience for me. I’m probably going to watch a lot of their matches going forward. It’s nice to see the new blood getting a match on tape, as there hasn’t exactly been a lot of those. It’s hard to say which of the Rockers was more over at this point, or any other. I’ll try to report my findings by the time Shawn turns on his partner.

Match Review: Marty and Raymond will start the match off for their teams, and Raymond wants to shake hands. He eventually attacks Marty from behind, then tags in Jacques, who is rolled up from behind for 2. The story here seems to be that Raymond and Jacques are taking the newbies a bit lightly. Marty reverses a wristlock that was applied by Jacques, and tags out for the first time. The Rockers do a double chop routine, and Shawn covers for a 2 count. Jacques misses a charge to the corner, and Shawn takes him down. Marty tags in, hits Jacques left arm with a flying headbutt, and continues to apply a wristlock. Jacques kips up, reverses it, and gets hit with a double hip toss by the Rockers when Shawn tags in. They hit him with a double elbow drop too, and clear Raymond off the apron. Raymond takes that opportunity to trip Shawn as he runs the ropes, and enters the ring illegally to hit Shawn in the back over and over again. The referee doesn’t make him leave the ring, so he distracts the official as Jacques chokes Shawn with the top rope. Raymond drops Shawn on Jacques for a stomach-breaker, and puts on a camel clutch. Raymond switches in and puts it on as well, and we head to a commercial on Prime Time Wrestling.

Back from that commercial, it appears that nothing has changed. Jacques tags in, gives Michaels a flying back elbow, and goes to a chinlock. The Rougeaus switch places, and continue to use the same hold. Shawn makes the tag, but naturally the official is distracted. This routine is so common, I can’t believe it was actually used so much. Shawn gets thrown into the turnbuckles, and takes a double clothesline from the Rougeaus as well. Raymond picks him up, but Shawn hits him with an elbow and finally makes the tag. Marty gives Jacques a backdrop and flying back elbow, then rams Jacques head into the buckle 7 times. After Shawn does it to Jacques 8 times, Marty heads up top for a flying fist drop. He covers, but the referee has to usher Michaels out of the ring. Jimmy Hart tosses in his megaphone, but the referee catches Raymond with it, so the Rockers win via disqualification at 10:43. After the match, Shawn gets hit from behind with the megaphone, and the Rougeau Brothers bail to the back.

My Thoughts: I’m sad that this was standard fare. Simply an average tag team match, which could have been a lot better. That being said, I completely understand. I’ll give one of their 1989 house show matches a try later. **1/4 for this one, I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse. It was a PTW match in the 80’s. You know what you’re getting.

 

– October 7th, 1988, from Bercy Arena in Paris, France

 

Rockin’ Robin vs. Sensational Sherri for the WWF Women’s Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Reason to watch this one is obvious. I have not reviewed a title defense from Sherri. There were not many, but regardless of that, I haven’t reviewed any of them. Does that mean a title change for this meaningless championship? Maybe. Apparently Sherri would have been stripped of her title if she had not wrestled.

Match Review: Sherri starts the match off by clotheslining Robin from behind, but she comes back with some stuff of her own, including a flying back elbow for 2. Robin bodyslams Sherri, drops an elbow, and gets a 1 count. She dropkicks Sherri over the top rope, and it looks like we have ourselves a real match here. Robin pulls Sherri back into the ring, takes her down with a headlock, and that gets 1. She keeps pulling Sherri’s hair to maintain control of the headlock, then it gets broken and she hits Sherri with a double chop to the head. Into the ropes, and a cross body now, it gets 1. Robin puts the headlock back on, and takes her down again for 2. Sherri screams at the referee, and gets rolled up for 1. Robin goes to a front facelock now, then a hammerlock. She and Sherri exchange reversals, and Sherri turns the hammerlock into a full nelson. Robin kicks out and puts her own full nelson on, then Sherri tries to kick out the same way, only for Robin to keep the full nelson on. This is really good so far. Sherri reaches the ropes with her feet, so Robin slams her on the back of her head. Robin sends Sherri into the buckle, and does that the whole way around the ring. Good spot. After a clothesline, Robin covers again for 2.

Back from the commercial, Sherri is in control. It’s about time. She throws Robin to the floor, and hits her with a knee to keep her from climbing back in. When Robin does climb in, she tries a sunset flip from the second rope for 2. Sherri bodyslams her, and up top she goes. Robin slams her down, as Heenan continues with his very misogynist commentary. I’m quite annoyed by it, honestly. Robin hits Sherri with 6 punches in the corner, and covers again for a 2 count. Can she win? She hits Sherri with some hard chops, and Sherri tries a springboard cross body in the opposite corner, which she misses. Robin hits Sherri with a flying clothesline, it gets 1. She misses a dropkick, and Sherri covers for a 2 count. She hasn’t done that much, if at all. Robin sunset flips her, it gets 2. Sherri gives Robin a Russian leg sweep in response, it gets a 2 count as well. Sherri places Robin on the second rope, which was a bad idea as Robin comes down with a bulldog. She covers…and wins the Women’s Championship at 12:32!

My Thoughts: Didn’t see that finish coming at all, but that was a really nice match. Of course, there wasn’t much of a followup to this, and the title goes away a little while later. After WrestleMania V, during which Robin sings “America the Beautiful,” we don’t see her again. That’s too bad, as more matches like these would have been of great benefit to the WWF. ***1/4. The pace was good, they didn’t slow things down to rest, and that’s what I like to see.

The day after this card took place, the episode of Superstars where Terry Taylor joins the Heenan Family aired. Good for him!

A few days after that, Ted DiBiase won a meaningless King of the Ring tournament. Too bad there aren’t pictures of him with the King’s garb floating around anywhere. They probably didn’t even have any.

Now, one more thing before the show listed below aired, was the Dynamite Kid vs. Rougeau Brothers beef. I am going to refer you guys to these links which tell the whole story. My take is simple…well done Jacques. Nobody should be bullied.

 

– Taped to air October 22nd, 1988, on Superstars, from Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana

 

The Brother Love Show with Hulk Hogan

 

Brother Love has heat with me to the point of me wanting to either change the channel or not watch his segments. Good heel. With Hogan on his show, I’m expecting fireworks. Hogan doesn’t appear on their syndicated TV unless something important is likely to happen. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Hogan look bigger and more muscled than this. He hasn’t even had a chance to speak, but here comes…the BIG BOSS MAN! He has been brought there by Brother Love to keep Hogan under control. Slick is with Boss Man to talk on his behalf, and he has a lot to say. I think it’s great to see Slick working with Hogan here. Hogan knocks Slick’s hat off his head, and it appears that Slick has a spray can that he’s holding behind his back. Eventually Slick gets fed up with Hogan’s spiel, and Boss Man clocks Hogan in the throat with his nightstick. Slick sprays that stuff in Hogan’s eyes, and here we go! Boss Man beats Hogan like an inmate, and handcuffs him to a barricade so he can continue to clobber him. Hogan stands up, and tries to drag the barricade with him to hit Slick and Boss Man with, but they run to the back. The only way this angle could have been better, was no way. Highest recommendation.

 

The Brain Busters DEBUT!

 

So, as everyone knows, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson jumped to the WWF. They were given a WWF style team name, Bobby Heenan as their manager, and everything seemed good. The only thing that was never explained was why they joined the WWF. It says in the WON that Arn Anderson appeared on behalf of the NWA at a convention that Vince McMahon happened to be at. They had a meeting, and after that meeting, Arn and Tully repeatedly threatened to quit the NWA. They wanted Dusty Rhodes replaced as the booker. That happened, but not until after the NWA lost Tully and Arn. Typical NWA/WCW logic there. There were a lot of financial issues with Crockett selling to Ted Turner, and how that was going to go, and they probably didn’t want to be part of that mix anymore either. Good for them. Of course, the NWA had them drop their tag team titles to the Midnight Express. That could turn out to be very good (it didn’t). The Brain Busters were not advertised on TV and appeared after being introduced by Heenan. They weren’t treated like a big deal on commentary for this match, but judging by all the four finger salutes in the crowd, they were certainly recognized.

 

– October 24th, 1988, from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York

 

The Rockers vs. Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji) for the WWF Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: I believe this was the only big match between these two teams. The Smash and Crush incarnation of Demolition did have a Saturday Night’s Main Event match with the Rockers, but that’s a different team entirely. In my estimation, it wasn’t a very good one either. This version of Demolition is the one everyone associates with the name and is the better team, obviously. This seems like a good match on the surface, but I’m not sure these wrestlers mesh with each other. Demolition’s pace is much slower than the Rockers is. This whole card is on the WWE Network, so if you want to catch it, it’s really easy to do so.

Match Review: Ax and Shawn Michaels will start things off here, and Ax shoves Shawn down very roughly. Shawn tries a cross body, and Ax catches him for a bodyslam. He misses an elbow drop, so Shawn comes back with right hands and drives Ax back into his corner. Smash heads in, as does Marty, and it’s nice to see all four guys hitting the ring quickly here. Smash clobbers Marty down to the canvas, but Marty gets up and hits him with a dropkick. Shawn comes in with a dropkick, Marty hits Smash with another, and Marty covers for 2. After Demolition takes a break, the Rockers use a wristlock and repeatedly exchange tags. Marty winds up in there with Smash, who misses a charge to the corner. Ax tags in after that, and the Rockers give him the quick tag treatment. These Rockers are getting over very quickly, and to cut their attacks off, Ax gives Marty a headbutt. That works! He rams Marty into Smash’s boot, and makes his exit after a double back elbow. Smash tags straight back out after some clubbing blows, and Ax launches Marty hard into the corner. He gives Marty a bodyslam as well, and tags out, at which point Marty gives Smash a flying back elbow. Shawn tags in, and takes a hellacious bump after Ax pulls the top rope down while Shawn was running across the ring. Fuji hits Shawn with his cane off-camera, and Shawn takes quite a while to crawl back to the apron after that. Smash suplexes Shawn back in, and puts a Boston crab on him. Good move to use there. He tags out, and Ax gives Shawn another of his bodyslams. Some nice heeling with a knee to the throat, and out Ax goes again. Shawn tries to beat up Smash and make a tag, but Smash takes him down with a drop toe-hold. Out he goes, Ax comes in, and he puts a bear hug on Michaels. Smash tags in and does the same, but Shawn breaks it. He kicks Smash in the head, and finally makes an exit!

Marty hits both of Demolition with punches, and gives Smash a springboard cross body for 2. Shawn runs in, and the Rockers throw Demolition into each other. After a double dropkick to Ax, they give one to Smash. A double shoulderblock to Ax, a double slam to Smash. Unbelievable hot tag sequence is what this is. They both knock Fuji off the apron, hit Smash with a double clothesline, and Marty climbs up top! Down he comes with a big splash, and Ax breaks up the cover. Ax backdrops Shawn to the apron, and Smash catches Marty. He brings Marty to the corner for a clothesline from Ax, Ax gives it, and Demolition wins via pinfall at 12:24. Wow!

My Thoughts: This was bordering on the spectacular. First were the bits before the heat segment. They got the crowd really pumped up, which caused the heat segment to get even more than usual. The Rockers were a lower rung tag team at this point, but everyone bought that they’d win the titles after Shawn made the tag out. I haven’t seen that much heat on a match I’ve watched from one of these MSG house shows since DiBiase faced Savage in that cage match. I wish the heat segment was a little longer, and that they had put together a finish that looked better. The transition from catch to clothesline looked really sloppy, and was the only thing about that hot tag which wasn’t great. I’m going to give this ***1/2 and recommend it, as already stated it is very easily found. If they hadn’t turned Demolition babyface, that would have been pretty stupid. They got a lot of cheers in this match. If they did that stupid thing, they should have been programmed with the Rockers for a while. These four would have torn the house down. It sucks that we got Demolition facing the Powers of Pain instead. Big gap in quality of work.

 

Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts (w/Cheryl Roberts) in a Rude Awakening vs. DDT CHALLENGE

Pre-Match Thoughts: The best way I can explain this stipulation is that the wrestler cannot make a pinfall attempt until their finisher is given. This means somebody has to win clean, which wasn’t all that common at the time. I can’t think of many stipulations that require a clean victory, but there you go. This wasn’t quite the end of their feud, but after the SNME match a few days later, there was no further ground left to cover. They would wrap it up at Survivor Series. No Heenan at ringside for this match, I don’t know why.

Match Review: Superstar is hilarious on commentary starting this one, which begins with Roberts acting like he’ll pull Rude’s tights off. Fortunately that does not happen, and here we go. Rude throws Jake into the corner, but he misses a charge and Roberts grabs hold with a wristlock. Rude breaks free, and Jake goes for a DDT, which Rude gets out of the ring to avoid. Back inside, Rude rakes the eyes, Jake rakes Rude’s back. He nails Rude with some punches, and Rude comes back with a clothesline. Rude ties Roberts in the ropes, and makes his way over to Cherly Roberts. Oh dear…he’s there, and fortunately Jake breaks free from the ropes. He puts Rude back inside, and Rude gives him an inverted atomic drop. Jake leaves the ring, and Rude circles around to him to ram his arm into the post. After doing that a few times, Rude climbs back into the ring and poses. Jake follows a while after, only to get beaten up even more. Rude puts a chinlock on his opponent, continues to keep Jake from fighting out of it, and talks to Cheryl while doing so. Jake does eventually fight out, but he charges to the corner and runs right into Rude’s knees. Rude uses the top rope to clothesline Jake, and he’s ready to try the RUDE AWAKENING. Jake bites him, but gets hit in the back and tumbles out of the ring. Rude prepares him for a sneak attack, and Jake is ready for it this time. He rams Rude’s shoulder into the post a few times, and bodyslams him on the floor. Back inside they go, and Jake goes with a stomach-breaker. After hitting Rude with a knee lift, Jake goes for that DDT, only for Rude to use the ropes to block it. As a follow to that, Jake pulls Rude’s tights down to completely expose his ass, and hits him with a short clothesline. Everyone cheers, Jake goes for the DDT again, and Rude drives him into the corner. Jake tries another knee lift, but Rude moves out of the way and Jake falls hard on the back of his head. Rude goes up top now, and tries a flying fist drop, which he lands. Rude goes over to Cheryl, and tells her what’s what. She tries to slap him, but Rude grabs her wrist. Jake doesn’t know about this, but he surprises Rude with the DDT anyway and picks up the pinfall at 12:24!

Cheryl gets in the ring, and she slaps Rude twice. He’s asleep, but after the snake gets dropped on him, he wakes up and leaves.

My Thoughts: If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Rude was headed way back down the card or out of the company. Instead, he went upwards from here. The match itself was standard, but that’s about as good as a Roberts match can be unless his opponent completely busts his hump and carries the thing. It is what it is. Jake did a great job maintaining a character and his position on the card despite not being a great wrestler. Nothing wrong with that. I wonder if Jake made more money facing Andre or Rude, I’d assume he did being programmed against the former. I’m sure Rude made more money opposite the Warrior. **3/4. This card didn’t do great attendance at all, by the way. It was headlined by Randy Savage and Andre the Giant. Business was down, that’s just the fact of the matter.

 

I haven’t addressed this since SummerSlam as I haven’t had the opportunity, but the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Donny Lalonde fight that Titan Sports distributed took place. By all accounts beforehand, they were going to get hammered and take a big loss. WWF/Titan claimed that they made money, but there’s simply no way that they actually did.

In addition to that, they went on a firing spree. Nick Bockwinkel had been brought in as a road agent a while back. He and Don Muraco had an argument during the European tour, and Muraco got canned. Junkyard Dog had drug problems, and I don’t know the details, but he left too. Some other wrestlers were fired. Brian Blair got his walking papers. Due to a roster shortage he was going to be on the heel side of a team at Survivor Series. Didn’t turn out that way. Ken Patera and Jim Brunzell are supposed to be leaving after Survivor Series. Attrition is kicking in.

 

– November 15th, 1988, from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California

 

Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil) vs. Tito Santana

Pre-Match Thoughts: Good on paper, but it’s a PTW match. These two guys not having another singles match of note makes it very hard to get out of the trap of watching these matches. It’s really weird seeing Santana in the limbo between Strike Force and his El Matador days. He needed a change so much earlier than it actually happened.

Match Review: These two quickly begin the match, by shoving and stuff. Crowd is quite heated, and they get very angry when DiBiase hits Santana with a dirty shot on the break. DiBiase rolls out of the ring, only to be met by Santana, who clobbers him. They get back in the ring, and Santana gives DiBiase a dropkick to a huge cheer. Hilarious to see a crowd this hyped up for a match like this one. Tito slingshots DiBiase in from the apron, and gives him an atomic drop. After dropping a knee, he covers for a 2 count. To the headlock they go, working at quite a fast pace, much quicker than the NWA pace in fact. DiBiase breaks free, but Tito gives him another dropkick for 2. He takes DiBiase down with the headlock again, and we go to a commercial.

Apparently DiBiase gave Santana a back suplex, which allowed him to break free. He throws Santana to the floor, which is where he gives him a bodyslam. DiBiase should have waited for Santana to get back in the ring, but he didn’t and had his face rammed into the canvas. He still has control, and inside the ring, he gives Santana an elbow from the second rope. After a fist drop, DiBiase covers for 2. He picks Santana up for a suplex, that also gets 2. I like that these guys are actually wrestling instead of plodding through a match. DiBiase plants Santana with another bodyslam, and heads up to the second rope for an elbow drop that fails to land. DiBiase winds up on his feet, and tries another elbow drop, which also misses. He misses a charge to the corner, and after some punches from Santana, begs for him to stop. Santana hits DiBiase again, and he rams his face into the buckle 5 times. Santana gives DiBiase his own bodyslam, and signals for the flying forearm! He runs the ropes, and Virgil trips him! Santana gets attacked from behind by DiBiase, and DiBiase resorts to choking his opponent. Virgil hits Santana with some slaps, and here comes Hercules! He rushes in at 11:59, getting Santana disqualified, but Hercules takes Virgil and DiBiase out with a clothesline to massive cheers. Surprised with how that turned out.

My Thoughts: This was really nice, the kind of singles match I needed to see. These two weren’t new additions to the WWF, but they worked this one like they were. The match was quick and DiBiase took a lot of bumps. It’s easy to see how he ran his body into rough shape with matches like these. Santana has become a forgotten man after Martel went on sabbatical, for example he didn’t even make the SummerSlam card. That’s quite a way down for Santana, who does make a better account of himself going forward. *** here. This was good wrestling.

 

There is more in November, but nothing until after Survivor Series. So, that’s it! There was a big business related issue. It was that three prime time specials were supposed to be aired on NBC in 1989. As we know, it didn’t actually turn out that way. If it had, it could have changed the wrestling business, or it may not have meant anything at all. There were some good matches here, which is exactly what I needed to see. I wasn’t expecting to see much crap, but the article certainly started off that way. Next up, we’re going to cut back to SNME #17, which was aired in October. See you guys then!

Best: The Rockers vs. Demolition. This is very overlooked because I’ve never heard of it as being a good match from this era. Well, it was very good.

Worst: Junkyard Dog…adios pal. I’m glad I won’t be watching that many more matches with him involved.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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