We have covered a lot of firsts already in this diary and we have many that are still on the horizon. The first Starrcade is always revered and remembered for its main event. The first WrestleMania is in the pop culture ethos for its celebrity involvement.
SummerSlam is sort of the red-headed stepchild of WrestleMania. While it is the second biggest show of the year in WWE, it never gets the pomp and circumstance that the Grandest Stage of Them All receives. Its first show is remembered for two particular moments and they are pretty miniscule in the long run.
What about the rest of the show? I have some fond memories of it as a child, but is the show largely forgotten for a reason?
What are we talking about again?
PAY PER VIEW NUMBER SIXTEEN- WWF SUMMERSLAM 1988
Written on 8/5/14
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE: The classic WWF intro with the logo forming over some water and Mean Gene saying “What the World is Watching”. A sky shot of MSG, NYC and the Twin Towers is shown before the old school Royal Rumble song plays with an awesome intro video of all of the participants in the main event. Seek it out. It’s great.
-Gorilla talks and we see that he is accompanied by fucking Billy Graham on commentary. I might be in for a long night. The crowd counts down in the background for the show to start even though it already has. Good lord, Graham’s shirt is beyond hideous. Gorilla already seems frazzled by Graham’s crap.
-The Rougeaus enter without music, but waving tiny flags to loud boos. This gimmick is still brilliant and sadly underused. The Bulldogs and Matilda enter and this could get very violent considering Jacques and Dynamite Kid’s history.
MATCH NUMBER ONE: The Fabulous Rougeaus vs The British Bulldogs w/Matilda
-The Rougeaus offer a handshake while Graham creams over Davey’s muscles.
-Davey only bangs Jacques’ head in the buckle for the count of six…twice.
-Raymond’s moustache is a little too Hitleresque.
-Nice cartwheel out of a monkey flip by Davey.
-Jacques is pretty funny trying to get the crowd behind Ray on the ring apron and failing.
-Graham is going to blow up on commentary saying “brother” and “man”.
-Someone had to adjust Matilda as she stands on her perch. Bitch won’t stay still.
-I’m starting to notice that the 1980s tag match formula has the face team dominate the first half of the match before it ends in a…oops, not yet.
-Jacques trips Davey and the heels finally get the advantage. Jacques follows it up with good leg work. He is the early MVP of the PPV.
-Dynamite is hit with a stiff cheap shot on the apron by Jacques. That…was…real.
-Graham has no grasp on time or counting. I’m surprised it took this long to name him LVP of the PPV.
-Dynamite gets the hot tag and rails off some vintage snap suplexes, headbutts and belly to back suplexes. They aren’t bad considering he can barely move.
-Graham is barely intelligible.
-Jacques totally stuffs Dynamite with a bell to back. Every time they touch, I think they are trying to kill one another.
-Raymond just dumps Dynamite onto Jacques’ knee. Nice.
-Each team has faked like three tags.
-Jacques might be the smallest guy ever to do a running splash.
-If Raymond was ever worthy, Tom Selleck could totally play him in a movie.
-Another good double team by the Rougeaus: Raymond superkicks Dynamite in the stomach while Jacques has him in an abdominal stretch.
-Dynamite gets the tag following a long beat down after a simple chop. Davey dangerously Gorilla Presses Jacques on the top rope.
-The Bulldog Launcher hits Raymond as Jacques has the ref distracted. Then, the bell rings.
WINNERS: Time Limit Draw in 19:04
-There was never a time limit announced. If there was one announced, I’m guessing it would be for 20 minutes? The crowd boos and the Rougeaus hug. Then, they sucker punch the Bulldogs, who then chase them out of the ring. Graham says that match will finish in the shower. Ask Bruiser Brody.
FINAL WORD: Did the timekeeper fall asleep? This is why Billy Kidman times the shows now. Besides that, a good match that one would expect from these four talents.
-Footage of Brutus Beefcake getting beaten by Ron Bass airs. Bass chokes him and digs into his head with a spur. This terrified me as a kid, with the giant X on the screen censoring Beefcake bleeding. You can still see some of it. You can also see Shawn Michaels debut on PPV as one of the guys running out to help Brutus, who has been pulled from his IC Title match with the Honky Tonk Man.
-Bad News Brown jaws with someone in the crowd as he waits in the ring. The Olympics song plays for Ken Patera, who gets jumped as soon as he gets in the ring.
MATCH NUMBER TWO: Bad News Brown vs Ken Patera
-Patera looks like an old lady that goes swimming at the YMCA.
-Patera hits a sloppy clothesline and a sloppy elbow to start.
-Two men with real credentials are wrestling except they don’t have wrestling ability.
-Patera’s selling is fairly crappy. All Brown has in his repertoire is punching.
-Freight Train and Jeff Hart could do this match better.
-Bearhug. I check ESPN.com and I agree that RGIII came back too early last year.
-Bad News Brown has Chris Hero’s physique nowadays.
-A sloppy whip in the corner finally gets the crowd to boo this.
-Ghetto Blast that jailbird!
WINNER: Bad News Brown in 6:37 after a Ghetto Blaster.
-The replay shows Patera running into the ring post and the finisher. Graham should just handle the replays because he wasn’t bad at it.
FINAL WORD: If I was hammered drunk and thrown into the ring, I would be able to wrestle a screwdriver to a better match than that.
-FUCK YES!!! The Sugar Ray Leonard vs Donny Lalonde promos are still on this show!!! 11/7/88 is going to be huge! The music is so vivid to me.
-I see Vladimir in the crowd. How old is he?!?! Plus, there is a close up of a fat, little kid dressed as Macho Man.
-Mean Gene interviews the Mega Powers backstage. Hogan calls Macho Man “the Dude” and I want to see Big Lebowski reworked to see that now. They talk about Elizabeth being their secret weapon and she blows the camera a “kiss of death.”
-My foot gets to tapping as Rick Rude enters with Bobby Heenan. We see a lady with a weird ass 1988 camera in the crowd. Rude cuts a promo on “these inner city sweat hogs” and takes his robe off, showing JYD on his tights. God, that is beautiful. Rick Rude is the new MVP of the PPV. Sara Lee doesn’t have shit on JYD, as he brings them cakes.
MATCH NUMBER THREE: Rick Rude w/Bobby Heenan vs Junk Yard Dog
-Rude lands directly on his ass from a JYD backdrop.
-Graham says that the bald spot on JYD comes from headbutting trucks and Cadillacs. Graham is an enigma because that wasn’t bad, but I can barely understand him the rest of the time.
-Rude punches JYD everywhere but the cranium. I’m tired of hearing about JYD’s head.
-Rude resorts to a chinlock like Randy Orton way too much.
-Rude tries to wring JYD’s arm, but ends up crotching himself again. I’m revoking his MVP status because that was ridiculous.
-Rude stands on the top rope and pulls his tights down to reveal Cheryl Roberts’ face underneath. He jumps off with a fist drop.
-A crazy man has hit the ring!!!!
WINNER: Rick Rude by DQ in 5:31 after Jake Roberts runs in and attacks Rude.
-Post match, Jake profusely apologizes to JYD. That is a good touch. Today, the other face would help beat Rude up immediately and act like the match wasn’t important.
FINAL WORD: Jake’s run in was the best part of the match. Rude’s tights were a close second.
-Mean Gene interviews Honky Tonk Man backstage. Jimmy Hart has to hate his hair right there thanks to Brutus Beefcake. Gene keeps trying to tell Honky who his opponent is going to be, but keeps getting interrupted by the cocky champion who wants to be surprised. It is effective even though it telegraphs the upcoming title change a little too much.
-Slick and the Bolsheviks are in the ring. Graham states that Slick’s first name is “Oil”. Nikolai fucking sings again and the Powers of Pain’s sweet theme interrupts him. They are followed on camera from their locker room along with the Baron.
MATCH NUMBER FOUR: The Bolsheviks w/Slick vs The Powers of Pain w/The Baron
-Another match starts with the heels jumping the faces at the bell.
-The Bolsheviks suck. There isn’t a joke there. I don’t care. Boris is better than Nikolai, but Boris Karloff would have been a better wrestler than Nikolai.
-This is constantly sloppy.
-The Warlord’s double colored hair and beard is asinine. Everything about it makes me think of Charlie Murphy talking about men wearing androgynous shit in the Chappelle Show Prince sketch. Get ready for two more of those references.
-Warlord hits a nice power-up belly to belly suplex.
-It is weird seeing the Barbarian clap on the apron trying to get the crowd involved.
-Why was the Baron’s time as the Powers of Pain’s manager so short? Did he just not want to wear that face paint anymore?
-Nikolai’s spinning roundhouse kick sucks every kind of dick. He is the LVP of the PPV AGAIN. Why isn’t he in the worst wrestler ever discussion?
-The Barbarian comes in like a badass, stiffs Boris and Nikolai can’t do shit once again.
-Nice combination. They could have stayed faces. It would have worked.
WINNERS: The Barbarian pins Boris Zhukov in 7:20 after a powerslam by the Warlord and a flying headbutt by the Barbarian.
-Once again, Graham was good on the replay. Bless his heart, he is trying.
FINAL WORD: When the Warlord is the second best wrestler in the match and it isn’t a one-on-one match, you have certain expectations. They were met.
-A short, sweet and simple Survivor Series 88 promo airs. Gorilla follows it up by talking about food.
-A red carpet is in the ring and here comes Brother Love. Can someone tell me how this gimmick was ever considered able to draw money? Heat, yes. However, he didn’t wrestle!!! He hits his catchphrase right out of the gate and his talking makes me want to grate cheese. He looks like my old landlord.
-Hacksaw Jim Duggan is his guest, who enters wearing his own shirt. Duggan says he came out for two reasons. One of them is just to yell “HOOOOOOOOOOOOO” and the other is to tell Brother Love that he is a phony. As Love’s music still plays, Love criticizes him and Duggan just sticks his tongue out and HOOOs some more. What a worthless segment especially when it becomes about Dino Bravo and love of your country.
-I appreciate the unbleeped WWF. Love starts to poke Duggan in the chest repeatedly and Duggan, in no uncertain terms, threatens to sodomize Love with his 2X4. He gives Love to the count of five to leave and he finally skedaddles at four.
-Another boxing promo plays. Gorilla and Graham are on camera afterwards and Graham’s shirt looks like Jesse Ventura and Jesus with glitter hair. Or that new cat from Shalamar, Micki Free. Graham can’t say Lalonde’s name, but I couldn’t either.
-Cool, Cocky and Bad hits and Honky comes out. Graham says he has held the title for two years. Again, he’s trying. Honky dances and relishes the spotlight one last time. Fink starts to introduce his opponent and he doesn’t know who to say. Honky asks for anyone. Son of a bitch, here it starts. The crowd explodes…
MATCH NUMBER FIVE: IC TITLE MATCH-The Honky Tonk Man (Champion) w/Jimmy Hart vs Ultimate Warrior
-Honky even got the jump on him!
-Warrior’s ADD energy includes a couple tackles, a typical sloppy clothesline and…
WINNER: Ultimate Warrior in 0:34 to win the title after a running splash
-The crowd becomes unglued, mostly to see Honky finally get beat and Warrior might be seizing. As Rich would say, “WORKHORSE TITLE!”
FINAL WORD: If I have to watch a Warrior match that doesn’t involve Randy Savage, that is the perfect length of it.
-The opening video plays again, which is fine by me. Heenan runs into the commentary booth to give an update on the main event. Andre is reading the Wall Street Journal, DiBiase is counting money, Virgil is standing in the corner and the MegaPowers have moved their dresser in front of their locker room door. Graham and Gorilla kick him out.
-Gladiator music is still stupidly leading Don Muraco into the arena and he is still stupidly rocking that tye-dye shirt for Graham. Dino Bravo enters with Frenchy Martin, who is holding a sign like Lodi or Steven Richards. He talks his frog language into the microphone before the bell rings.
MATCH NUMBER SIX: Don Muraco vs Dino Bravo w/Frenchy Martin
-Not this again. At least Heenan is staying on commentary and not letting Graham talk.
-There is a cop in uniform just sitting in the front row.
-This match is already better than their Mania encounter because the moves look sort of correct.
-These two have the chemistry of a head of lettuce and a battery. Dino just weirdly jumped on a hip toss to prove my point.
-They are still talking about the weightlifting record from the Rumble earlier in the year.
-Dino wrestles like your brother who is trying to not hurt you in your bedroom while you both wrestle.
-Frenchy gets nailed on the apron and the ref is accidentally standing between the two competitors, which allows Dino’s weak finish to be put on display.
WINNER: Dino Bravo in 5:29 with a sidewalk slam.
-Graham requests a new referee despite the relatively clean finish.
FINAL WORD: Dino Bravo’s finisher is a transitional move for Kevin Nash. Scratch that…Dino Bravo and Rosa Mendes share a finisher.
-Sean Mooney is backstage with Jesse Ventura, who is refereeing the main event. That was Jack Tunney’s idea. Jesse talks about accepting DiBiase’s money just because it is money. Mooney is better than Craig DeGeorge by a hair. Literally, only his hair is better.
-The Hart Foundation is in the ring, obviously a priority of Vince. They get a good reaction from the MSG crowd anyway. Demolition enters with Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart, which makes the group look like the worst Village People tribute band ever.
MATCH NUMBER SEVEN: TAG TITLE MATCH- The Hart Foundation vs Demolition (Champions) w/Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart
-Ax looks like Gene Simmons now.
-Bret already looks like the best wrestler on the roster.
-Wouldn’t it be considered a triple axe handle when Ax does it? #WeakOfTheWeek
-Bret is thrown into the corner shoulder first and Fuji cracks him with his cane. Neidhart runs Jimmy Hart off to the back.
-Smash is very precise with his shoulderbreaker.
-Bad camera angle: it looks like Ax is screwing Bret’s hand.
-The commentators rake Neidhart over the coals for not helping Bret when he is outside on the other end of the ring.
-The referee misses the babyfaces’ tag for the second time tonight.
-He sees it soon afterwards and Neidhart gets the crowd LOUD. What follows makes Neidhart the new MVP of the PPV. Bret slingshots his partner from the apron to the floor onto Demolition and then Jim hits a nice powerslam for a great nearfall.
-Fuji takes some punishment from Neidhart so that Jimmy Hart can run back out and costs the babyfaces the match.
WINNERS: Smash pins Bret Hart in 10:48 to retain the titles after Ax hits Bret with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.
-The replay shows everything. That is what it is for, I guess.
FINAL WORD: It wasn’t as good as the opening match, but it furthers the theory that the tag division for the WWF in the late 80s carried the in-ring work.
-The third Leonard vs Lalonde promo plays. Vince was trying to make money in any other medium.
-Honky is backstage with Mean Gene. The other heels try and console him, but he can’t be contained. He throws stuff and cuts a good, angry promo. He wants his belt back and said he would wrestle anybody, not a “warrior”.
-The Big Boss Man is in the ring with Slick. Instead of focusing on the new monster, the camera focuses on a woman’s sign calling Slick a horse. Koko B. Ware enters to Piledriver. He looks like Kevin Hart and Morris Day had a baby.
MATCH NUMBER EIGHT: The Big Boss Man w/Slick vs Koko B. Ware w/Frankie
-Another match starts with the babyface getting jumped.
-Boss Man gets tied in the ropes and Koko splashes him in an interesting spot. This match is incredibly frantic and close to being full of botches at every step, but it hasn’t happened yet.
-Graham keeps complaining about all of the stuff on Boss Man’s attire. He seems legitimately pissed about it and threatens to straighten it out himself instead of going to Tunney.
-BIG splash in the corner.
-Boss Man hits a big clothesline and picks Koko up during a pinfall. No one does that cocky heel shit anymore.
-The crowd oohs and ahhs when Boss Man squashed Koko in the corner.
-Boss Man barely misses a splash from the top rope. He gets right up and winds up crotching himself on the top rope.
-Koko hits an enormous missile dropkick from the top rope and a cute splash for a two count with a big kick out.
-One mistake in the corner by Koko leads into one sloppy looking finishing move.
WINNER: The Big Boss Man in 5:56 after a Boss Man Slam
-After the bell, Boss Man hits Koko with his nightstick and Graham wants a suspension. Frankie don’t give a fuck.
FINAL WORD: This was a curious little match. It had some fun moments, some awkward moments and some bad moments. That means it was the best singles match on the show so far.
-The Survivor Series promo plays for the third time. They are hitting the rule of threes with that preview and the boxing video as well.
-The first PPV promo of the Ultimate Warrior!! Mooney and some other babyfaces are with him in the locker room. He talks about Parts Unknown and all of the little Warriors and his spaceship. As the camera zooms out, all of the other babyfaces have left while he talks his nonsense.
-Hercules is in the ring. Those chains are starting to look rusty. Heenan is not at ringside. Jake’s theme plays and he enters for what could be a decent match.
MATCH NUMBER NINE: Hercules vs Jake Roberts
-Hercules wants Damien moved backwards. Jake does and Herc tries to jump him, but he gets caught.
-One finger twirl and the crowd is ready for the DDT. Hercules naturally escapes the attempt.
-Nice back and forth punches are blocked after the ref stops trying to prevent them from throwing closed fists.
-Jake holds the headlock on after Hercules gives him a belly to back. This has contained some unique spots so far.
-Hercules’ thighs look exactly like Sheamus’.
-Hercules hits a nice clothesline on Jake. He is really good with the right person and not Warrior.
-The commentators talk about Heenan’s whereabouts and they hope he is stuck in an elevator or lost in Times Square.
-A long rest hold gives the crowd time to blow air horns.
-Jake takes some shots on the apron (punches, that is) before pulling Hercules out over the top. Hercules clotheslines Jake’s neck on the top rope to get the advantage back and locks in the chinlock again.
-Jake hits a chinbuster soon after and the jabs start.
-The short arm clothesline gets the crowd amped again. Hercules counters the DDT attempt with a backdrop and then trips Jake on a big knee lift attempt. This has been a good back and forth match.
-Jake with a quick counter and THERE IT IS!!!! The crowd explodes and that will do it, even after a few seconds before the pin attempt.
WINNER: Jake Roberts in 10:09 after a DDT
-Jake retrieves Damien and puts it on Hercules. Moving on!
FINAL WORD: A decent little match. Hercules continues to be a solid hand to put babyfaces over and Jake could pee in the ring and the crowd would still wait for the DDT. Something tells me he HAS done that before.
-The WWF Flashback from the Main Event in July shows Andre and Ted beating up Savage while Virgil holds Liz. There is too much Craig DeGeorge in this clip as the next clip shows him announcing Jesse Ventura as the ref while the heels laugh and hold money. Macho then announces Hulk as his partner.
-The next clip shows Jesse on the Brother Love Show. Love talks about fearing Andre and Jesse threatens him when the heels come out and intimidate him before slipping some cash into his jacket pocket.
-Gorilla is great here, honestly not knowing what Jesse will do, setting the stage for that wonderfully. Fink announces the Body to a mixed reaction. Jesse is wearing the same shit he had on when he was at the club. Jesse, you know where you got that shirt and it damn sure wasn’t the men’s department!
-The heels enter and the MegaBucks sounds like an evil company in some movie. DiBiase had the jump on Tyler Breeze’s seasonal residence idea.
-The crowd pops for the MegaPowers, who enter to Macho’s song for once. They are decked out in too much yellow and red if that is possible.
-Jesse is being really forceful with his prematch instructions across the board. He even changes which corners have the tag ropes. Graham and Gorilla talk about that having no purpose. It does build harmless suspense.
MATCH NUMBER TEN: The MegaBucks w/Virgil and Bobby Heenan vs The MegaPowers w/Miss Elizabeth with Special Guest Referee Jesse Ventura
-The bell finally rings and Andre starts hammering Savage early before Ted tags in and wants Hogan. What a strangely confident heel move.
-Ted is punched back and forth by the Powers in the corner followed by a good double team elbow. What if they were just a tag team after this? I think it would work really well.
-The Powers hit a double big boot. Ted is really getting destroyed. Two headbutts by Andre get the heels back on top and Jesse has ZERO control of this match. Sort of like Minnesota, right?
-Andre loves working on Hogan’s trapezius.
-It is weird seeing Hulk take the punishment and not being lazy on the apron.
-30,000 people can fit in MSG, according to Graham.
-Jesse Ventura is wearing Reeboks.
-Ted and Hulk collide with a double clothesline.
-Savage gets the hot tag and DiBiase is so sweaty already. He does that sweet flip off of his head again.
-You can tell that Andre is taking it easy on Savage.
-NEVER MIND THAT SHIT! Andre just legit smashed Randy’s face with his ass twice in the corner.
-DiBiase whips out a suplex, backbreaker and missed back elbow from the second rope.
-Hulk tags back in and DiBiase is working for all four guys basically. Another late MVP of the PPV case being made for the Million Dollar Man.
-Andre runs in and sloppily gets knocked down. The match starts to break down. Macho is booted off the top rope and Andre interrupts a Hogan sleeper. The heels are now going for a count out.
-Liz jumps on the apron to stop the count. Heenan and Virgil are on the apron now, too. Jesse has stopped caring.
-Liz takes her skirt off and DiBiase is the only one complaining and not enthralled. How much did Macho Man bitch about this ending?
-Hogan and Savage share an awesome handshake on the floor. Savage’s double axe takes Andre out. DiBiase is slammed, elbow dropped and Hogan gets the final hit. Jesse hesitates after the two count and Macho forces his hand down.
WINNERS: Hulk Hogan pins Ted DiBiase in 14:49 after a legdrop
FINAL WORD: It was a paint-by-numbers WWF tag team main event, but it was good for what it needed to be. Plus, we got to see Liz's legs.
-After the bell, Liz jumps into Hulk’s arm and Macho shoots them a look. THE SLOW BURN!!!
-Hulk spins Liz’s skirt around before throwing it into the crowd. The posing starts and Liz directs which way the Powers go. She even poses a little bit. Her presence and smile are just great here.
-Hogan puts Liz on Macho’s shoulders and his hand went on her butt. THE BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Why didn’t Hogan dress like Savage?
-The Powers let Liz out of the ring and Gorilla signs off as the babyfaces exit
THE LAST IMAGE: The SummerSlam 88 title card.
THE WRAP UP
FINAL MVP of PPV: There weren’t a lot of strong candidates, so I’m going to give it to the guy who popped the crowd in the purest way and made my eyes open wider than anyone else: Jim Neidhart.
FINAL LVP of PPV: It was a two man race, but I can’t penalize Billy Graham because he honestly tried and had a couple decent moments. So, screw you once more, Nikolai Volkoff.
MY FAVORITE MATCH: The Fabulous Rougeaus vs The British Bulldogs
MY LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Bad News Brown vs Ken Patera
WWE HALL OF FAMERS IN ACTION: 10 (Junk Yard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, Ultimate Warrior, Don Muraco, Bret Hart, Koko B. Ware, Jake Roberts, Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant)
DEARLY DEPARTED IN ACTION: 10 (Davey Boy Smith, Bad News Brown, Rick Rude, Junk Yard Dog, Ultimate Warrior, Dino Bravo, Big Boss Man, Hercules, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant)
FINAL THOUGHT: This was the epitome of a one match show in terms of substance and build. Everything else was uber-filler (except the IC Title change). Some of it wasn’t bad, but it was very unnecessary. The nostalgia of the show make it a close call, but MULLET DOESN’T RECOMMEND
NEXT TIME: After the first of many diary recaps, we travel back to Richfield, OH for the 1988 Survivor Series. Bad News Brown will get mad when someone taps his butt that isn’t on his team.