THE SPECIALISTS Nostalgia Review: WWF Wrestlefest 1988: Hogan vs. Andre in a Cage; Brown vs. Hart; Rude vs. Roberts; Ultimate Warrior vs. Heenan
Jul 21, 2008 - 1:55:03 PM
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By: Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Specialist
This week’s look at wrestling nostalgia takes us back 20 years to July 31, 1988 and the WWF Wrestlefest 1988. This show was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. The attendance was a very strong 25,866.
The announce team was Sean Mooney on play by play and color commentary was handled by Superstar Billy Graham and Lord Alfred Hayes.
1. Jacques and Raymond Rougeau defeated the Killer Bees; Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair in 13:57. Brunzell, owner of the best dropkick in all of professional wrestling; started with Jacques Rougeau. Since the Bees were doing the clean job; they were on offense most of the match. Although mid-way through the match, the Rougeau Brothers double-teamed on Blair to build some heat in the match. After a hot tag to Brunzell, Brunzell cleaned house and used his drop kick and a figure four for near falls. When Brunzell went for the body slam on Jacques, Raymond hit Brunzell and Jacques fell on Brunzell for the pin. Decent opening bout.
2. Bad News Brown defeated Bret Hart in 6:31. Hart and Brown had worked extensively together in Calgary Stampede Wrestling and were having a small feud. Hart was working a mid-card singles wrestler that was known for making other wrestlers look good as the company didn’t see a future with Hart. This feud was used as a vehicle to make Brown look like a credible heel challenger for Hulk Hogan. Brown tried to end it with his finishing move, the Ghetto Blaster, but Hart moved out of the way. Hart threw Brown over the top rope and hit a plancha over the top rope. Back in the ring, Hart hit several near falls on Brown with a backbreaker and a high crossbody block, but Brown kicked out. Hart rolled Brown up but Brown reversed it and held the tights for the pin. Hart was awesome in this match. After the match, Jim Niedhart came out and helped Hart clear the ring of Bad News Brown.
Gene Okerlund interviewed Jimmy Hart and the WWF Intercontinental Champion, the Honky Tonk Man.
3. Jim Duggan defeated the Honky Tonk Man by disqualification in 4:41. Duggan controlled the match, mostly with punches, until Jimmy Hart distracted Duggan and the Honky Tonk Man took control. Duggan regained control and went for his finishing move, only to have Jimmy Hart grab Duggan’s leg for the interference. Duggan went after HTM and Jimmy Hart after the match was over. At least it was a relatively short match, because it wasn’t good. Duggan destroyed HTM’s guitar in the middle or the ring. This was the best thing about the match.
4. The Powers of Pain, the Warlord and the Barbarian, defeated Boris Zuhkoff and Nikolai Volkoff, the Bolshivek’s in 6:48. The POP were two huge men, both wearing face paint and were McMahon’s first attempt at developing his own Road Warriors tag team. The Barbarian even wore his hear in a semi-mohawk while the Warlord wore the reverse mohawk. The POP dominated the match with the finish coming when Warlord bodyslammed Zuhkoff and the Barbarian delivered a flying head butt off the top rope for the pinfall.
5. Jim Neidhart defeated Lanny Poffo in 2:37. This was before Poffo became The Genius. Poffo recited a poem before the match and threw frisbees into the crowd. Neidhart attacked Poffo from behind to start the match. Poffo got very little offense in the match with Neidhart using power moves for the majority of the match. Poffo tried for a flying body press, but Neidhart turned it into a powerslam for the pin.
6. Ravishing Rick Rude and Jake Roberts wrestled to a double disqualification in 15:52. Rude came out to his music and told the “fat, ugly dirt ball dairy farmers” to keep the noise down while he took his robe off. I love that guy. Roberts and Rude were feuding after Rude had put the moves on Robert’s wife. Roberts attacked Rude from behind and chased him around the ring. Rude bailed to the outside to buy some time. Roberts grabbed his snake from ringside and Rude got the advantage on Roberts when Roberts climbed back into the ring. The pace slowed as Rude didn’t have much of an offensive repertoire in 1988 and clamped on a rear chin lock for several minutes. Rude went for a pin and Roberts reversed it into a rollup for a near fall. Roberts made his comeback and when Roberts went for the DDT; Rude pushed the referee underneath him and Rude fell on the ref to lessen the impact of the DDT. Rude walked out of the ring and Roberts followed him outside for the weak count out finish. Rude went back into the ring to pose and Roberts draped the snake over Rude’s back. Match itself wasn’t that good.
7. The Ultimate Warrior defeated Bobby Heenan in 4:58 in a weasel suit match. The loser of the match has to wear the weasel suit, which everyone knew going in would be Heenan. The weasel suit was actually owned by Heenan and he had been doing this gimmick match for several years in the AWA, but I believe this was the first time it was done in the WWF on major card. Heenan’s neck was in bad shape by this time and he didn’t want to be taking anymore bumps than he absolutely had to in this match. Heenan ran from Warrior early in the match and when Warrior caught him, Heenan used a foreign object to build heat. Warrior made his comeback, carefully throwing Heenan into the turnbuckles. Heenan took a couple of safe bumps and Warrior used the sleeper to put Heenan out. Warrior then put Heenan into the suit and Heenan walked around in the suit, trying to take it off. Heenan was such an incredible performer.
8. In a match for the WWF World Tag Team Championship, Demolition; Axe and Smash defeated the British Bulldogs; Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid to retain the titles in 7:05. Demolition was McMahon’s first attempt to copy the Road Warriors gimmick, dressing Demolition in chains and spikes and managed by Mr. Fuji. Demolition worked on the Bulldogs, first Smith and then the Dynamite Kid to build heat to Smith’s comeback. One cool spot was when Smith pressed Kid over his head and threw Kid onto Smash for a flying heat butt. Fuji distracted the ref and Smith and Axe hit Kid with Fuji’s cane and Smash pinned Kid. Average match as the Bulldogs were not allowed to have much offense.
9. Dino Bravo defeated Ken Patera in 3:31. Patera attacked Bravo before the opening bell. Match was mostly punching and kicking with a couple of clothes lines. Bravo used a belly to back suplex for the pin.
10. In the main event, Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant in a steel cage match in 9:52. Did anyone really believe that Andre would be able to climb over the top of the cage? Andre was managed by Bobby Heenan in this match, sans the weasel suit. Andre started out with a choke hold on Hogan, using his own t-shirt. Hogan tried to climb out, but Andre tied the t-shirt to the cage and chopped Hogan in the chest. Andre tried to reach the cage door, but Hogan untied his shirt and stopped the Giant. No bumps in this one, with Andre falling down on the ropes and then to the ground after a couple of Hogan punches. Hogan tried to climb out, but Heenan entered the ring with Brass knuckles. Hogan hit Heenan and the Giant with the knux and then climbed over the cage to win. Not much of a match, but ok for what it was.
Summary: This wasn’t a great event with no great matches and nothing worth going out of your way to see.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s look back at wrestling nostalgia. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, go to www.midwestmarketsolutions.com/blog to view my blog site.
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