WWE SummerSlam 1988 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Much like the inaugural WrestleMania did three years prior, WWE stormed Madison Square Garden with a night of highs, lows and much in-betweens with the first SummerSlam event.
The magic laid in a “surprise” moment of Ultimate Warrior beating Honky Tonk Man in a mere 30 seconds to win the Intercontinental Championship and Miss Elizabeth wearing a bikini bottom to distract the heels in the main event.
In terms of actual memorable wrestling contests, not quite as magical, despite a strong opener, which ultimately disappointed.
We’ll get to all of that fun stuff below.
– The opening match between The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers and The British Bulldogs set the tone for the event, with somewhat of a backstory of the Rougeaus trying to “suck up” to the crowd and the Bulldogs by faking American spirit, which they paid for early on. Kind of ironic that such a high-energy team like the Bulldogs had a real Bulldog mascot that seemed rather unenthused the whole match. The match itself was good, as the Rougeaus became progressively dirty as the match went on behind the referee’s back, in a great build to a hot tag to Davey Boy Smith. The action down the stretch looked like it was on its way to a babyface win but the time limit expiration was a let-down on that front. Post-match was okay with Rougeaus sucker-punching Bulldogs after trying to ask for five more minutes. Definitely stood out by the show’s end.
– The Bad News Brown-Ken Patera match was a mostly even contest as Brown attacked the Olympian right from the opening bell. At the same time, Patera was able to put in some convincing offense. Things went down in Brown’s favor, once he took advantage of Patera’s mistake. Interesting that it was looked at as an upset and we’re almost sure that all the concussion talk would be banned nowadays.
– The Mega Powers’ backstage promo put over the main event match with them and The Mega Bucks, as Hulk Hogan put over the crowd’s electricity, as did Randy Savage, who also spoke of Miss Elizabeth as the secret weapon. A vague statement that would have more meaning by the end of the night.
– The “Ravishing” Rick Rude-Junkyard Dog match started with the classic Rude men-insulting promo. It’s pretty funny he was willing to go for heat just by wearing his opponents’ faces on the front and back end of his tights. Oh, the pelvic thrusts. The match itself was okay, as Rude was on his way to a win thanks to Heenan being a distraction, until he showed Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ wife on his tights, prompting an automatic DQ when Roberts attacked Rude. Planting more seeds to an eventual showdown between those two.
– The Intercontintal Champion Honky Tonk Man backstage promo saw “Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart talk up his client, while HTM didn’t want the beans spilled about who the replacement opponent would be for the IC Title match. Part one of the clever set-up.
– The Bolsheviks-Powers Of Pain match was pretty straight-forward tag team wrestling. Bolsheviks and Slick set the tone by going for nationalistic heat and Powers Of Pain had a good showing as they ended up overpowering their way to victory.
– The Brother Love-Hacksaw Jim Duggan promo segment was a formulaic talk-show segment, that saw Love complain to Hacksaw that had no love, and defended other heels like Dino Bravo. Hacksaw swung around his 2×4, taunting Love to leave the ring. Love ddi the best with what he was given and since the segment was rumored to originally involve the National Wrestling Alliance’s Ric Flair, the turnout was far less than the hype provided.
– The Intercontinental Championship match between Honky Tonk Man and The Ultimate Warrior was quick with the intrigue of Warrior revealed as the surprise opponent. In a matter of 34 seconds, he became new IC Champ to a big pop. This worked because it felt genuine and nobody saw it coming. It was also somewhat poetic justice that a match would end such a long Title reign.
– Gotta love Heenan trying to stir things up about Mega Powers being scared while the Mega Bucks were confident. Nobody fed BS like his character did.
– The Don “The Rock” Muraco-Dino Bravo match was overshadowed by the bickering on commentary between Graham and Heenan. Pretty uneventful match that ended with Bravo getting the win. He was definitely a good heel with the upset win, but just nothing memorable.
– The Jesse “The Body” Ventura backstage promo addressed the controversy surrounding him accepting money from Ted Dibiase to accept the official role in the main event match. He said he wasn’t a fool for taking the money and pointed out it was stuffed into his pockets. Good promo.
– The Tag Team Championship match between The Hart Foundation and Demolition was an exciting bout that saw the momentum on the side of the challengers, who showed high-end offense, but all for naught, not able to overcome the antics of megaphone justice thanks to Jimmy Hart, who threw it in the ring.
– The Honky Tonk Man backstage promo saw him irate about being ripped off yet again, that he didn’t want to fight a “warrior.” He said he’d get the belt back, since he was the longest IC Champ to that point. This also felt genuine.
– The Big Boss Man-Koko B. Ware match was an interesting clash on paper – law vs. nature? Boss Man definitely had a presence to him back in the day. He was also a good classic heel, deliberately extending the match to cause more damage. Koko woke the crowd up with his comeback, hitting a solid missile drop kick. It wasn’t enough though as Boss overcame it to hit the big splash, racking up another win. You could see the real money in him. Also liked the cheap strike with the night stick post-match.
– The Ultimate Warrior’s backstage promo spoke of his Championship victory, in his own epic Warrior style, with the spaceships and the little warriors. The locker room was also enthusiastic with celebration.
– The “Mighty” Hercules-Roberts match carried on Roberts’ frustrations with Rude from earlier in the night. Also notable was Heenan absent from ringside, which commentary put over as a factor. Okay match that seemed to build up Roberts for a showdown with Rude in the future, as he won with the DDT and took out the snake.
– The main event tag match between The Mega Powers and The Mega Bucks had the original intrigue of seeing how Referee Ventura would judge the match since he was already bribed. Ventura made orders for the managers to clear the ring and yelled at Hogan. As for the match, it was your run-of-the-mill, feel-good main event, high in entertainment for sure. Elizabeth played a role in the finish by taking off part of her dress to distract the heels with her beauty long enough to let Hogan/Savage get back into things to get the win. Only in the 80’s, huh?
- The British Bulldogs (w/Matilda The Bulldog) and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers to a 20-minute time-limit draw
- Bad News Brown def. Ken Patera via pinfall
- Rick Rude (w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) def. Junkyard Dog via DQ
- The Powers Of Pain (w/The Baron) def. The Bolsheviks (w/Slick) via pinfall
- WWE Intercontinental Championship – The Ultimate Warrior def. The Honky Tonk Man (w/”Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart) to become new Champion
- Dino Bravo (w/Frenchy Martin) def. Don Muraco via pinfall
- WWE Tag Team Championships – Demolition (Champions) (w/Jimmy Hart, Mr. Fuji) def. The Hart Foundation via pinfall to retain
- The Big Boss Man (w/Slick) def. Koko B. Ware via pinfall
- Jake Roberts def. Hercules via pinfall
- The Mega Powers (w/Miss Elizabeth) def. The Mega Bucks (w/Bobby Heenan, Ted Dibiase, Virgil) via pinfall
Posted on August 30, 2015, in Throwback PPVs, Uncategorized, WWE and tagged "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Bad News Brown, Billy Graham, Bobby Heenan, Brother Love, Demolition, Dino Bravo, Don Muraco, Frenchy Martin, Gorilla Monsoon, Hercules, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Jesse Ventura, Jimmy Hart, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Koko B. Ware, Miss Elizabeth, Rick Rude, Slick, The Big Boss Man, The Bolsheviks, The British Bulldogs, The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, The Hart Foundation, The Honky Tonk Man, The Mega Bucks, The Mega Powers, The Powers Of Pain, The Ultimate Warrior, Virgil. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.