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Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York – August 29, 1988
MATCH #1: Rougeau Brothers vs. The British Bulldogs
Jacques and Raymond Rougeau look for handshakes from Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid but don’t get them. Smith and Jacques start the match and Smith overpowers him easily. He forces Jacques into the Rougeau corner, allowing Raymond to get the tag. They wrestle into the corner and Smith goes for a clean break so Raymond pops him in the mouth. Raymond tries a monkey flip but Smith lands on his feet and knocks him down. Kid gets tagged in and he knocks Raymond down with a shoulderblock, and then goes to work on the arm. Raymond tries another monkey flip and Kid headbutts him and resumes the arm work. Matilda is quite the well-trained bulldog, just hanging out and being awesome at ringside. Smith gets tagged back in and the Bulldogs continue to dominate. The Bulldogs make quick tags in and out and keep Raymond on the mat. Jacques manages to trip Smith running off the ropes, allowing Raymond to finally make the tag to his brother. The well-rested Jacques immediately goes to work on Smith’s left leg. After several minutes of abuse Smith is able to hit Raymond with a monkey flip and make the tag to Kid. The crowd pops huge for the tag, as Kid unleashes the snap suplex and a headbutt for two. Kid hits a belly-to-back suplex but Raymond gets his foot on the bottom rope. He throws Raymond to the floor and Smith throws him into the steel barricade. Jacques comes over to check on his brother but the beating continues. Smith hits the Running Powerslam and this time Jacques breaks up the cover. The Rougeaus use some illegal double-teaming to take advantage of the Kid. They work him over in their half of the ring, keeping him isolated from the much larger Smith. I’m really impressed with the Rougeaus’ tag team work, manipulating the referee in order to take cheap shots. Kid eventually makes a sadly anti-climactic tag to Smith, who immediately misses a dropkick. Smith comes back with a gorilla press slam and inadvertently drops Jacques’s crotch on the top rope. Raymond and Kid jump in the ring and the Bulldogs throw both men around. The Bulldogs hit Raymond with a mini Rocket Launcher but the bell rings at 19:03 before the referee even begins his count. Apparently the match had a 19 minute and three second time-limit, so the match is a draw. The Rougeau Brothers were awesome, and this was a really good match. If that last hot tag to Smith hadn’t been so anti-climactic and the match had a real finish it would have been even better.
MATCH #2: Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera
Brown wastes no time, attacking Patera as soon as he enters the ring. He hits a body slam and an elbow drop to the face. Patera fires back with a clothesline out of the corner. He beats Brown down and hits a bodyslam of his own. He misses a big elbow drop though. Brown goes back to work on the Olympic Strongman, choking him on the ring apron. He tries a back body drop and Patera kicks him in the chest. Patera fires away with elbows and a takeover into a cover for one. He hits a clothesline and this time connects with the elbow drop for a two-count. He follows up with a backbreaker for another two, once again neglecting to hook the leg. A small package gets just a one-count. Patera locks on the Bear Hug. Brown escapes by going to the eyes, so Patera tries the Full Nelson and Brown blocks it. Patera hits a forearm off the second rope to the back of the neck and once again tries the Full Nelson. Brown runs to the ropes to avoid the hold. Patera tries a back body drop but Brown clubs him in the back of the neck. Both men rise and Patera goes for an Irish whip and Brown was supposed to reverse it but they blow it. Patera then executes the Irish whip and charges in, but Brown moves and Patera’s shoulder cracks into the ring post. Brown hits the Ghetto Blaster to get the pin at 6:38. The match was pretty dull but it made Bad News Brown look good so at least it served a purpose.
MATCH #3: “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Junkyard Dog
Rude attacks before the bell but Dog comes back with a back body drop and a couple of headbutts, sending Rude fleeing to the floor. Back in the ring Dog hits a punch to the gut and one to the face. Dog tries another headbutt but misses, and Rude hits a clothesline. Rude goes up top and nails him with a double axe handle. He takes Dog down to the mat with a chinlock. Dog powers up and breaks the hold with elbow to the midsection. He whips Rude into the turnbuckle but then runs right into a boot and Rude is back in control with the chinlock. For some reason Rude switches strategy and goes to work on the arm. Rude tries to drop down on the arm but gets hit in the balls instead. Dog unloads with offense, including a big headbutt. He gets distracted by Heenan and Rude hits a Side Russian Legsweep (called a reverse neckbreaker by Monsoon). Rude goes up top and pulls his tights down to reveal Cheryl Roberts’s face on them! He also manages to hit a fist drop. Jake Roberts comes out to defend the honor of his wife and Dog gets disqualified at 5:31. That was a nothing match used to further a feud only involving one of the participants. For as over as he was Junkyard Dog was just not much in the ring.
MATCH #4: The Bolsheviks vs. The Powers of Pain
“The Doctor of Style” Slick is managing the Bolsheviks at this point, while the Powers of Pain are accompanied by The Baron (Baron Von Raschke). Warlord and Barbarian charge the ring and go right after their opponents. The referee has trouble controlling the action, as the Powers seem to pretty much do whatever they want. Volkoff and Zhukov are not small men either, but they’re getting manhandled here. Finally some order is restored and Barbarian is in the ring with Zhukov. Barbarian hits a back elbow for two. Zhukov tries to fire back but Barbarian will have none of it, and Warlord does pretty much the same. Warlord hits a powerslam, which Monsoon calls a “gut wrench suplex, belly-to-belly job” but the referee gets distracted and can’t make a count. Slick distracts Warlord and Volkoff illegally goes to work on him. The Bolsheviks use double-teams to keep Warlord isolated in their half of the ring. Finally Warlord comes back and makes the hot tag. Barbarian is a house afire, throwing both Bolsheviks around. He drills Zhukov with a big boot, and gives one to Volkoff as well. Warlord gets tagged in and they hit a double flying tackle. They finish Zhukov with a Warlord powerslam followed up by a Barbarian diving headbutt for the pin at 7:20. That had a solid structure but the Powers of Pain were so green at this point.
MATCH #5: Intercontinental Championship Match – Honky Tonk Man vs. Ultimate Warrior
Honky’s opponent was supposed to be Brutus Beefcake, but Outlaw Ron Bass carved up his forehead, so it’s mystery opponent time. The Ultimate Warrior comes running out from Parts Unknown, slams Honky, and delivers a shoulder block, a clothesline, and a big splash. He gets the pin and ends the longest Intercontinental Title reign of all-time in just 0:31. It obviously wasn’t much of a match but is a prime example of ending a title reign in the perfect way.
MATCH #6: Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo
This is a rematch from the tournament at WrestleMania IV. They start slowly, both men trying to assert their power. Muraco gets the first knockdown with a shoulderblock, and then he blocks a monkey flip with a kick to the face. He hits a hiptoss, a bodyslam, and an armdrag, and then Bravo takes a powder. Back in the ring Muraco goes after Bravo’s arm. I wonder why no one mentions that Muraco is a former two-time Intercontinental Champion. Muraco is simply dominant here. Bravo comes back and works Muraco over in the corner. He hits an inverted atomic drop and is very proud of himself. An elbow drop gets two. Muraco comes back with a Side Russian Legsweep, which Monsoon once again calls a reverse neckbreaker. Everyone does monkey flips and Side Russian Legsweeps in 1988 apparently. Bravo gets up first and misses an elbow drop. They both get up and trade punches and Muraco wins that battle. Muraco hits a back body drop, and then takes a shot at Frenchie Martin. He goes for a bodyslam but Bravo reverses it and hits the Side Suplex for the pin at 5:31. Bravo got almost no offense in throughout the entire match until the finish.
MATCH #7: World Tag Team Championship Match – Hart Foundation vs. Demolition
Demolition won the titles from Strike Force back at WrestleMania IV. They’re accompanied by their manager Mr. Fuji, as well as the Foundation’s former manager Jimmy Hart. Bret Hart and Ax start the match. Ax immediately hammers Hart to the mat. He scoops him up and slams him, but then misses an elbow drop. Hart unloads with some big right hands and an O’Connor Roll for two. Smash gets tagged in and Hart armdrags him a couple of times and makes the tag to the Anvil. Neidhart continues the arm work, and throws in some elbow and punches for good measure. Ax kicks Neidhart in the back of the neck from the apron, and now Demolition takes control. Neidhart avoids a back body drop and makes the tag to Hart. Everyone looks a little bit off their game tonight. Hart hits a dropkick on Smash, but then gets thrown shoulder-first into the ring post. The champions are ruthless in going to work on Hart’s arm. After several minutes of abuse Hart is able to make the tag, but the referee doesn’t see it so he can’t allow it. Smash whips Hart into the corner and then runs into a boot. This time the referee sees the tag, and Neidhart is a house afire. The foundation is in firm control. Neidhart hits a big powerslam but Smash kicks out at two. The match turns into a big brawl and Fuji jumps up on the apron. Both Neidhart and the referee get distracted by Fuji, and Ax blasts Hart with the megaphone and Smash drapes his arm over for the pin and a successful title defense at 10:49. That started out a little bit rough but they got it together by the end. These were both great teams.
MATCH #8: Big Boss Man vs. Koko B. Ware
One time I had Chinese food with Koko B. Ware. Slick distracts Ware, and Man immediately goes to work. Man tosses Ware to the floor and gloats about it. Back in the ring Ware unloads with a few punches and a dropkick, which ties Man up in the ropes. Ware has the advantage briefly but Man gets out of the ropes and the match pretty much starts over. Man reclaims control and squashes Ware in the corner. He hits a clothesline but picks Ware up at the count of two from a cover. He drapes Ware across the second rope and brings his weight crashing down on him. He hits a bodyslam and then goes up to the top rope but misses (sort of) a splash (sort of). They decide to go with “Boss Man made contact on the splash” and Man whips Ware into the turnbuckle. Ware avoids a charge and hits a series of right hands. He goes up top and blasts Man with a Missile Dropkick and a big splash for two. Man comes back by (sort of) dumping Ware to the apron. Back in the ring Man hits the Boss Man Slam (called “that patented side move of his”) for the win at 5:56. That was fun enough for a big man versus little man squash, but Big Boss Man would become a much better worker later on.
MATCH #9: Hercules vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
For as much as they’ve put over the Jake Roberts versus Rick Rude feud, I have to wonder why they didn’t just run that match. Bobby Heenan is conspicuous by his absence, as Hercules is a member of the family. Roberts tries an early DDT and Hercules wisely takes a powder. Back in the ring Roberts blocks a series of punches and hits a bodyslam. Roberts locks on a headlock, and is able to hang on when Hercules tries to back suplex his way out of it. Hercules reaches the ropes to break the hold, and then drops Roberts with a headbutt to the midsection. He drops a couple of elbows and then locks on the reverse chinlock. That doesn’t last too long, and Hercules follows up with a clothesline for two. Hercules then goes back to the reverse chinlock, which according to Monsoon no one has ever beaten anyone with. Roberts breaks the hold but quickly gets elbowed to the floor. Hercules hits a couple of forearms to the chest, and then Roberts catches him and pulls him to the floor. Roberts tries to pull him in the ring but Hercules snaps his neck off the top rope and goes right back to the reverse chinlock, but this time Roberts hits a jawbreaker to break it. Now Roberts unleashes a series of punches and hits the short-arm clothesline, but when he goes for the DDT Hercules backdrops him. Roberts tries a knee lift but Hercules moves and he crashes into the turnbuckle. Hercules does this little dance before elbow drops that I find hilarious. Roberts slips out of a bodyslam attempt and hits the DDT! That’s enough for the three-count at 10:09. For anyone who complains that Randy Orton uses too many chinlocks, try sitting through a Hercules match.
MATCH #10: The Mega Bucks: “Million Dollar” Man Ted DiBiase & Andre the Giant vs. The Mega Powers: Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Hogan lets the Champ Savage start with Andre the Giant. That lasts about 10 seconds before DiBiase tags in. DiBiase says he wants Hogan. Savage obliges, and the Mega-Powers ping-pong DiBiase, despite Ventura’s protests. Hogan hits a clothesline and then makes the tag to Savage. The Powers are making quick tags and wearing DiBiase down. Hogan drops three elbows on DiBiase and then tries to take a cheap shot at Giant, but that backfires as Giant catches him and delivers a headbutt. What a great spot, someone needs to steal that. Giant and Savage both enter the ring illegally, and in the chaos the Bucks take over. Ventura mostly stays out of Giant’s way as he works on Hogan, taking him down a nerve hold. Of course Giant uses his singlet strap to choke Hogan. Hogan is being isolated in the Bucks’ half of the ring. DiBiase wears Hogan down with a reverse chinlock. Hogan escapes the hold and both men clothesline each other. They get back to their feet and Hogan makes the tag. Savage is a house afire, sending DiBiase into the lights with a back body drop. He clotheslines DiBiase’s neck off the top rope, and then hits the double axe handle. He charges at DiBiase in the corner but the Million Dollar Man moves. Savage stays in control hitting a high cross body for two. DiBiase comes back with a hard clothesline and then tags the big man. Giant takes Savage down in the corner and squashes him. DiBiase is back in and he hits a vertical suplex for two. He goes for the falling elbow off the second rope but Savage moves. The Champ makes the hot tag to Hogan, and he’s all fired up. Hogan suplexes DiBiase. Giant comes in illegally and gets met with a hard clothesline. Savage goes to the top rope presumably for the elbow, but Giant gets a boot in his face. Meanwhile Hogan has DiBiase in the sleeper. Giant breaks that hold with the patented headbutts, and then he throws Hogan to the floor. Both Powers are on the floor and Ms. Elizabeth gets on the ring apron. Ventura tries to get her off the apron, but she won’t go. Heenan and Virgil get on the apron as well. Then, in one of the greatest moments in SummerSlam history, Elizabeth takes off the bottom of her dress to scandalously show off her legs. All the men in the ring are distracted by the sights, allowing Hogan and Savage to get back in the ring and dump Giant to the floor. Hogan bodyslams DiBiase and then Savage hits the big elbow. Then Hogan puts the finishing touch on with a Legdrop for the pin at 14:49. That was very reminiscent of the main event of the first WrestleMania, but better. Solid structure, great heat, and an awesome finish make this the perfect main event for the first SummerSlam.