The SmarK 24/7 Rant for LA Arena Show – December 17 1988
– Taped from Los Angeles, CA
– Your hosts are Rod Trongard and Superstar Billy Graham. Kill me now.
Leaping Lanny Poffo v. Boris Zhukov
Poffo impugns Boris’ singing, and then has to evade him as a result. Zhukov misses and hits the corner,and Poffo goes for the beard to send him running. We get the stall for a bit and Boris grabs a headlock, but Poffo reverses to his own as the Flashback pop-ups reveal that December 88 was a REALLY depressing month for the world. Poffo keeps using the beard, so Zhukov bails and complains. Back in, it’s time for the test of strength, and Poffo reverses out of it to send Boris running away again. Zhukov finally just overpowers him, but Poffo takes him down with a drop toehold and starts working on the leg. He shifts to a hammerlock and gets a one count, but gets too close to the ropes and they break. Boris backs off and Poffo goes right back to the knee, pounding it in the corner and staying on it with a toehold. Boris kicks him off, but Poffo pops up and goes right back to it again. Zhukov goes to the eyes to break and pounds away in the corner to take over, as a headbutt gets two. Zhukov pounds on him, but Poffo yanks him out and posts the leg, and goes right back to it again. This is pretty aggressive for Leaping Lanny. Backdrop and monkey flip out of the corner, but Poffo doesn’t have any follow through. Another monkey flip is blocked by an atomic drop and Boris goes up with a sloppy clothesline to finish.
(Boris Zhukov d. Lanny Poffo, flying clothesline — pin, 12:04, **1/2) Tons of offense for Poffo here, which is something different for him. Billy Graham was right for once — he should have gone for a submission move once he posted the leg.
Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine
I somehow doubt this will be as good as their MSG match from 84 that we saw earlier this month. They fight for a lockup to start and it’s a shoving match, as Tito is apparently not taking any crap today. Valentine goes to yap at Graham, and Tito takes him down and tries to steal the shin guard, but Valentine bails. Back in, Greg throws some nasty chops and hits the chinlock, but Tito quickly powers out of it. Tito throws some jabs and starts on the arm, but they exchange forearms. Valentine loses that one and Tito hammers him in the corner and rams him into the mat for two. Hammer charges at Tito, but hits the post, and Tito keeps on him, crotching him on the post. Valentine bails to recover and Tito starts on the leg, but Hammer pokes him in the eye and kicks him low to take over. He drops elbows for two, and works the count, forcing Tito to keep kicking out. Tito uses the tights to reverse to a sunset flip, but chooses to pound on Valentine instead of pinning him. And now he’s pissed, as he goes to the leg, but drops an elbow on the shin-guard and hurts himself in an interesting bit of psychology. Valentine pounds him with elbows on the apron and Tito takes a breather outside, but gets an elbow dropped on him while coming back in. Two more of them get two for Valentine. Tito fights back, but charges and runs into an elbow, which allows Valentine to slug him down. To the top, Valentine drops an axehandle and another elbow gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two, but Santana knees him in the face and they slug it out. Tito wins that one, and it’s a Flair Flop from Hammer. Valentine goes to the throat, however, and starts on the knee, working on it with a pair of stepover toeholds before setting up for the figure-four. Tito reverses to a small package for two, but Valentine kicks him in the face with the guard. Tito kicks him into the corner to break a second time, however. Valentine hits him with a gutbuster for two. Valentine goes for a shinbreaker, but Tito slugs out of it, then blocks a suplex attempt and gets one of his own, for two. Tito goes up, but gets caught coming down, and NOW we go to school with the figure-four. Tito keeps fighting, so Valentine releases and chokes him down instead, but gets drawn into a fistfight and Tito pounds him on the mat. Valentine, never one to shy away from cheating, kicks him low and goes for an atomic drop, but Tito gets his own figure-four….JUST as the time expires. Aw, MAN. Now that was some slick timing.
(Tito Santana draw Greg Valentine, time limit expires, 20:00, ****) OK, I take it back, because that WAS just as good as their 84 match. These two had some wicked awesome chemistry. Not only were they working REALLY hard, but neither guy was doing anything stupid, and both guys were fighting out of things in fairly realistic manner.
Bad News Brown v. Jim Powers
Well, this is more likely to be a squash. Powers smartly attacks to start and dropkicks him out of the ring, then slingshots him back in and gets a small package for two. Another dropkick and Brown runs again. Back in, Powers stays on him, but runs into a boot in the corner and Brown is all “OK, it’s under control now”. Brown calmly pounds him down now, but Powers gets a cross body for two. Brown just goes right back to beating him down again and slams him on the floor. Back in, Powers comes back with a monkey flip (what a racist) and then stupidly puts his head down and gets pounded. Powers fights back, but another dumb move sees him charging in blindly and missing, and Brown calmly keeps up the assault. The trash talk is tremendous. Especially when he chokes out Powers and then tells the ref “Don’t worry about it!” Brown then does his own blind charge and misses, and also puts his head down, allowing Powers to make the comeback. It doesn’t last long, as Powers misses a dropkick, but then Brown misses a splash. Powers tries another comeback, clotheslining Brown and getting another dropkick for two. Talk about going back to the well too many times. Suplex gets two. He stops to think, however, and it’s GHETTO BLASTER time.
(Bad News Brown d. Jim Powers, enzuigiri — pin, 10:48, **1/2) See what happens when you give people time to develop a match? It’s usually good.
Mr. Fuji comes out to lay the badmouth on Powers, and when he stupidly fights back, the Powers of Pain storm out and destroy him. See, Jim, he was trying to make an EXAMPLE out of you.
WWF tag titles: Demolition v. The Powers of Pain
Demos clean house to start and Ax overpowers Barbarian, who quickly bails when Smash gets in. Back in, Smash pounds on the neck while holding a neck vice, but a cheapshot from Fuji allows Warlord to come in and pound on him. He gets led into the wrong corner, however, and the Demos double-team him before Ax hits the chinlock. Fuji, on color commentary, hits Ax with the cane and chokes him out on the way back to his own corner, and Ax is YOUR face in peril. Barbarian uses the VULCAN NEVER PINCH OF DEATH and trades off with Warlord, who promptly runs into an elbow. Hot tag Smash, and he clotheslines Barbarian out to a big pop, and the ref loses control.
(Demolition draw Powers of Pain, double disqualification, 6:00, *) Wisely, they kept it short to minimize the suck.
Hercules v. Ted Dibiase
Hercules attacks to start, still upset over the whole “sold into slavery” thing, and slugs away. Back elbow into an elbowdrop gets two. Virgil trips up Herc, however, and Dibiase drops the fist and slugs away in the corner to take over. Elbow from the second rope, but Herc comes back and slugs away. Blind charge hits boot, however, and Dibiase drops an elbow for two. He stops to stall and proclaim his greatness, and a backdrop gets two. Belly to belly suplex gets two. Dibiase misses an elbow, however, and Herc fights back with his usual array of punches and clotheslines. Powerslam and he stops to return some humiliation on Dibiase, then gets the full nelson. Dibiase makes the ropes, resulting in the ref being bumped, and Virgil sneaks in with the chain to KO Hercules.
(Ted Dibiase d. Hercules, chain — pin, 8:36, **) See, he beat him with good clean chain wrestling. Thank you, I’m here until Thursday, try the veal. Decent TV style match, nothing more.
Akeem v. Koko B. Ware
Koko evades the African Dream as we get the stalling to start, and Koko is dumb enough to try the test of strength. He slugs out of it and evades him, then adds a shot in the corner. The advantage is short-lived, however, and Akeem overpowers Koko and pounds him in rather dull fashion. Bearhug, but Koko bell claps him to escape, but gets beaten down again. Avalanche hits once, but a second attempt misses and Koko makes the comeback. Really, is anyone buying this comeback? Koko dropkicks him into the corner, but then tries a corner splash like an idiot and misses, and Akeem splashes him out of his misery.
(Akeem d. Koko B. Ware, big fat splash — pin, 11:26, 1/2*) You know how I said that if you give guys time it usually turns out good? Well, stress on the “usually”.
WWF Women’s title: Rockin’ Robin v. Sensational Sherri
Robin, sister of Sam Houston and half-sister of Jake Roberts, was the female hero to white trash everywhere in 1988, but sadly did not revive the women’s division like they thought she might. I blame the upbringing. Robin gets a cross body and sends Sherri running, and we get some stalling as a result. Robin works the arm after smartly refusing a handshake, but Sherri uses her deadliest weapon — her ass — in the corner and then dodges a charging Robin to take over. Does every transition move tonight have to be a missed charge? I swear I’ve had to type “blind charge” like 10 times in this show. Sherri goes to the eyes and works on the leg with a lame toehold, and hits the chinlock. Trish v. Victoria this ain’t. Russian legsweep gets two. Robin comes back and works the leg, setting up a boston crab, but Sherri flips out of it for two, reversed by Robin for two, reversed again by Sherri for two. Well that was nice at least. Sherri ducks another crossbody and Robin splats, which gives Sherri two. At least it wasn’t a missed charge. Sherri wins a slugfest, a rarity for a heel, but Robin elbows her down with about six inches showing. Even Graham is hip to the room as he implores Robin not to charge when Sherri is in the corner. Robin goes up instead and misses a bodypress, and Sherri clotheslines her for two. Robin fires back with a bulldog to finish.
(Rockin’ Robin d. Sensational Sherri, bulldog — pin, 10:13, *1/2) Well, they tried, but it was a different time.
Hulk Hogan v. Big Bossman
Brawl to start on the floor and of course Hogan is the first one to cheat, stealing the club and hitting him with a chair for no reason. In the ring, he threatens Bossman with the nightstick, but Slick stops him, so Hogan beats on him too and then handcuffs him to the post and slaps him around some more. RACISM! Probably called him “boy” while he was doing it,too. In the ring, it’s a clothesline for Bossman and a corner clothesline, and of course he goes and beats up poor helpless Slick some more. I’d hire a good lawyer if I was Slick. Hogan slams Bossman and drops the elbows, and he STILL won’t leave Slick alone. Finally Bossman clotheslines him and follows with a spinebuster, which gives him enough time to free Slick and then choke Hogan out on the ropes. Piledriver gets two. Another try, but Hogan backdrops him over the top, but keeps going after Slick with absolutely no provocation other than getting dragged out of the ring, and he’s so distracted that Bossman hits the Bossman slam and splashes him for two. Hulk up, big boot, and Bossman exits the ring and takes Hogan with him, which gives him a chance to handcuff Hogan. OK, there’s putting the face at a reasonable disadvantage and then there’s outright silly. Bossman (say it with me) misses a blind charge and Hogan breaks the cuffs and finishes with the legdrop as I want to puke.
(Hulk Hogan d. Big Bossman, usual crap — pin, 9:11, *1/2) It’s sad that Slick, who escaped the negative stereotypes surrounding his people by earning his doctorate in style, was treated that way, and I hope Hogan feels bad about it to this day.
I’m assuming that this show was included in the rotation because the Santana match rocked it like Elvis and matched up with the Latino theme for the month, but the rest is pretty worthless and what’s with the total lack of Macho Madness on this one? Take a pass but add Santana v. Valentine to the permanent collection.