The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Philadelphia Spectrum – December 17 1988
– I guess the Christmas time period puts it into the theme for the month.
– Taped from Philly, PA.
– Your hosts are Dick Graham & Bobby Heenan.
The Red Rooster v. Sam Houston
This arena is embarrassingly empty. Like the middle and the floor are mostly filled, but the sides and upper portion are completely empty. Rooster was still a cocky heel at this point. OK, that’s the only one, I promise. Houston fights off a takedown to start, and Rooster responds with a headlock, which they work off of. Tempers FLARE and Houston slaps him, so Rooster bails and goes for some advice from Bobby Heenan. My advice on this night: Don’t do your hair like Bobby Heenan. Was the hairdresser blind tonight? Back in, Houston gives him another slap and slugs him down, but Rooster dumps him. Houston with a sunset flip back in for two, and a backslide gets two. Rooster throws him out again to buy time, but Houston flips back in and slugs him down, then follows with a running lariat for two. Bulldog is reversed into a stungun with a foot of space showing by the Rooster, and that improbably finishes at 5:10. Wow, Houston was like a super-jobber or something. *1/4
Mr. Perfect v. Paul Roma
This one features one of the largest gaps between someone I like and someone I dislike, as my love of Hennig is possibly only matched by my irritation with Roma. Perfect gets a pair of slams to start, but Roma comes back with a forearm shot off the middle rope, which sends Perfect out for a bit. Back in, they do the test of strength and Roma stomps on his hands, so Perfect fires back with a chop before running away to gloat. Back in, Perfect tries a headlock, but Roma takes him down with an armdrag. Perfect snapmares him and goes to a rear chinlock and the crowd turns on the match INSTANTLY. No wonder they got a bad rep in that city. Perfect pounds on him in the corner and adds a standing dropkick, but a blind charge misses. Roma fights back and gets an atomic drop and a clothesline, but he runs into the turnbuckle and now you’re gonna see a Perfectplex at 7:51. *
Brutus Beefcake v. Ravishing Rick Rude
This is such an obvious pairing that I’m shocked they never explored it with a full-on feud in the 80s. We get a million stalling tactics to start, as you’d imagine, including trash talk, posedowns, and a test of strength that takes forever to get going. Rude finally gives him a cheapshot and starts on a headlock, but Beefcake escapes with an atomic drop, which allows Rude to do his comedy selling for the match. They slug it out and Beefcake fires away in the corner, but gets a receipt for that atomic drop as Rude takes over. Rear chinlock, but Beefcake escapes with the electric chair and then hits knee on a splash. Rude works on the back with a bearhug and then goes up with a kneedrop, but another trip to the top goes badly for him, as Beefcake slams him off and makes the comeback. Sleeper, but they tumble to the floor for the cheap-ass double countout at 9:00. Match was a total stinker, but the personalities here at least woke up the crowd. 1/2*
The Rockers v. The Brainbusters
This is very early in the run for the Busters and pretty early on for the Rockers as well. The Rockers trade off on Tully’s arm to start and Marty dropkicks both of the Busters to the floor. Back in, Tully and Marty slug it out and we get some random bleeps. Foul mouthed Philly fans? Perish the thought. Marty gets caught in the heel corner, but fights his way out, resulting in a donnybrook. The Rockers clean house and the Busters regroup. Arn gets hiptossed by Shawn, into a rana, and the teams slug it out again with the Busters losing again and running away. However, this time Shawn follows Arn for the chase, and walks into a WICKED cheap clothesline on the floor from Arn. And of course the front row goes insane for it. Back in, Arn chokes Shawn down and whips him into Tully’s knee, and the Busters do some classic cheating behind the ref’s back. Shawn fights back and slugs Arn down, but walks into an atomic drop while diving for the tag, and Arn gets two. Oh man, had that been a spinebuster, this match would have broken **** from that alone. The Busters do the abdominal stretch gag in the corner until Shawn hiptosses out, and he goes into a pinfall reversal sequence with Tully. Arn gets another blind tag, however, and lays Shawn out from behind. Shawn ducks under a forearm, however, and even the heel-cheering Philly mutants pop for the hot tag. Marty slams the heels and noggins are knocked. Arn goes out and Shawn comes off Marty’s shoulder’s with a fistdrop, but he follows with a suplex on Tully and Arn clips the legs mid-move, putting Tully on top at 11:16. You could tell they were just waiting to completely cut loose and blow everyone awayâ€¦but this wasn’t it. ***1/4 I don’t get why they didn’t book the Brainbusters to do all the classic Horsemen cheating stuff on TV, though, because THAT was the aspect of the team that always got them over live. They’d do these generic squashes on TV and then the house show matches would feature the double-teaming and blind tags and double-crosses and it was a totally different ball game.
Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Honky Tonk Man
Geez, six months after Summerslam and they’re STILL trying to milk this “feud”? Honky beats up poor Jimmy Hart and carries him back to the dressing room, then heads in for a quick bearhug on Honky. He runs Honk into the corner and elbows him down, but the splash misses. Jimmy Hart returns and hits him with the megaphone, then Honky adds a shot with the guitar. THIS is what the guy needs to do just to get the heat on Warrior. And Warrior no-sells it all moments later before missing a charge to finally put Honky in control. Many choking variations result, as Warrior proves to be one of the few guys smart enough to use Warrior’s stupid armbands as a weapon against him. Warrior hulks up and chokes Honky right back, then beats up Jimmy Hart again, tosses him into Honky, and pins Honky at 6:26 to retain. Another shit-awful match that was just good fun for the little kids. DUD
Harley Race v. Danny Davis
This was during Race’s very short and ill-fated face period, having been replaced by King Haku on a throne of wrestling. Davis attacks and chokes away, but tries a headbutt and knocks himself out. Race puts him down with a clothesline and tosses him, but misses a charge and hurts his shoulder. Davis goes up to finish, but Race superplexes and pins him at 3:10 instead. Oh, irony. Race would job to Haku’s thrust kick at Royal Rumble 89 to end that raging feud and Race would settle into retirement in WCW. *
WWF World title: Randy Savage v. King Haku
The once, and future, King! Savage grabs a headlock, but runs into Haku’s elbow. Haku pounds away in the corner and uses chops, then chokes Savage out and adds an elbow for two. Dropkick misses and Savage tosses him for a quick brawl on the floor, but Haku chops him on the way back in to take over again. Chop chop chop kick (just to change it up, I guess) and Haku works on the back. And we go to the dreaded nerve pinch to waste more time. Savage fights up but Haku runs him into the turnbuckle and goes up. A flying splash misses and Savage finishes with the most pathetic fucking excuse for a flying elbow I’ve ever seen, basically flopping down in Haku’s general vicinity, and that finishes at 9:22. This was Lazy Macho Man Formula, as he got beat up by a heel for 10 minutes and won with the elbow after a fluke comeback. 1/2*
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Frenchy Martin
Oh this should be epic. Bobby cracking on Duggan is always great (“When he was in school they had a blood testâ€¦he studied three days for it!”) but the stalling is not. They jaw at each other for 3 and a half minutes before Frenchy attacks and chokes him out, allowing Dino Bravo to get a few shots in with the flag. That gets two for Frenchy. Duggan gets pissed and finishes with the clothesline at 5:00. I bet Vince is still making interest off all the money that Duggan v. Bravo drew! -**
Andre the Giant v. Jake Roberts
Jake immediately punches Andre into the ropes, but walks into a choke from the escaping Giant. That goes on for a while and Andre switches to a headbutt and shoulderblocks in the corner. Andre walks into a kneelift and Jake sets up for the DDT, but Andre grabs the ropes and continues choking. Jake fires back with another kneelift and fetches the snake, and that’s somehow enough for a DQ at 6:06. Just brutal. -*
Probably the worst of these shows that has been presented on 24/7 thus far. Stay far away.