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Thread: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

  1. #41
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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Sounds fun enough. Odd the main is so highly rated.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Quote Originally Posted by KTK View Post
    Sounds fun enough. Odd the main is so highly rated.
    It's not too bad. Brutus was already sorta an underrated worker and his days as a heel was probably his best time period.


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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Madison Square Garden
    March 15, 1991


    Marty Jannetty vs Pat Tanaka w/Mr. Fuji
    This looked good on paper. It's a back and forth match with Tanaka using Jannetty's paranoia over Fuji interfering to regain the advantage from time to time. Jannetty takes a hellacious bump to the outside when Tanaka avoids a splash in the corner. Tanaka got in several good super kicks, chops (Including one great one that sent Jannetty flying over the top rope) and hit trademark spinning double palm thrusts. The only real downside to the match was a long stretch where Tanaka was desperately trying to untie a turnbuckle pad, but the knot was too tight. It's embarrassing and Tanaka was forced to improvise. The ending is pretty swell with Tanaka going for a Tombstone Piledriver, but Jannetty reverses it into an Owen Summerslam 1997 Piledriver for the victory. Killer way to end the match. Perfectly fine house show opening match, but Shawn Michaels vs Tanaka would have been better. 2 3/4 Stars.

    Koko B. Ware vs The Mountie w/Jimmy Hart
    The rematch of a Royal Rumble match so important that it was removed from the Coliseum Home Video. It seems as if Frankie the bird is sick of Koko, as he's not even here tonight. Man, dumped by a parrot. That's rough. Even rougher is that this match can barely be considered more than a squash. Mountie controls the vast majority of the match while always yelling out "I'm the Mountie!" There's a great spot where The Mountie would kick Koko in the gut and then yell for him to get up. It's very Chris Jerichoesque. The Mountie also has an unique spot where he'd hold on Ware arm behind his back and the other behind his head and then would ram his head into the turnbuckle. Koko can't get anything going and loses after Mountie chokes him out to get the three count. I don't know how it's legal since Mountie is visibly choking Koko, but Gorilla Monsoon acts as if it's legal. Whatever. The Mountie had some fun antics, but this reeked of being a squash. After the match, Mountie handcuffs Koko to a rope and zaps him a couple of times with the cattle prod. SQUASH.

    The British Bulldog vs The Warlord
    Oh boy, not only do you get to see these two wrestle at Wrestlemania 7 (A week away), but here we get to see the practice match! For once, Bulldog isn't the most powerful wrestler in the match. The result is that he has to use his speed to try and get ahead. That doesn't work well as Warlord controls the majority of the match by using his strength. You can sum up Warlord's offense with power moves and being caught holding the tights while trying to get the pin. Bulldog eventually comes back and there's a few nice near falls. Finally, Warlord misses a charge in the corner and Davey Boy Smith rolls him up for the surprise victory. After the match, Warlord attacks Bulldog and slaps on the Full Nelson to add a little more heat to their Wrestlemania 7 match. Despite how horrid this match looks on paper, these two had some decent chemistry. All of their matches were far better than you'd expect. Thanks to the extra time, this would be superior to their WM 7 bout. 2 1/2 Stars.

    Tugboat vs The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
    Paul Bearer's MSG debut. A complete and utter squash for Taker. The commentators kill time by hyping up his Wrestlemania 7 match against Jimmy Snuka. Bobby Heenan keeps things interesting by noting that Undertaker's performance dictates where Bearer holds the urn. If he's doing well, Bearer holds the urn up high and away from his body. If Taker's in trouble, Bearer clutches the urn in close. Tugboat can barely get in an offensive move, but it's still a mildly interesting match. Taker wins with a falling elbow drop from the top rope. SQUASH.

    The Hart Foundation (c) vs Earthquake and Dino Bravo w/Jimmy Hart - WWE Tag Titles
    This would be the final time Bravo and Quake ever teamed up. After Wrestlemania 7, Bravo would be phased out of the company until he's just making the occasional appearance before his death two years later. The ending to this seems pretty obvious. The Harts are heading into Wrestlemania as champions. So they can't lose the belts and you don't want them to look bad. At the same time, Earthquake needs to look good. So the ending is built around the Harts getting lucky and beating Dino Bravo. After the match, Earthquake squashes Bret Hart to make it clear that he's still a threat. The actual match was quite good. Early on, there was some quick double team moves against Earthquake before Bret became the face-in-peril. As you can expect, the portions with Quake in the match was better than Bravo. My only real issue is that they didn't give us the hot tag to the Anvil. Still, the result was perfect and it could have nicely set-up Harts vs Natural Disasters for the summer had the Harts retained the belts at Wrestlemania. 3 Stars.

    The Barbarian vs Jim Brunzell
    Brunzell is in his world traveler phase of his career. It wouldn't be too long after this that he'd wrestle for the horrible UWF while still coming back to job once in a while. Despite starting off as an obvious squash, Brunzell had a comeback near the end that made me believe there could be a huge upset. The comeback revolves around Brunzell working over the left leg of Barbarian and then showing heart by remaining in the match. Barbarian misses a huge middle rope elbow drop. Brunzell ends up being surprised with a big boot that nearly knocks his head off of his shoulders. Barbarian picks up the win. Surprisingly good. 2 1/2 Stars.

    The Texas Tornado w/Virgil vs Ted DiBiase
    This played off more as an angle than a match. Before the match, Von Erich made fun of DiBiase for losing Virgil as his bodyguard. To rub it in his face even more, he had Virgil in his corner. DiBiase controlled a large portion of the match, but he's clearly distracted by Virgil's presence. When DiBiase goes to suplex Von Erich into the ring, Virgil grabbed DiBiase's legs so Von Erich falls on top of him. While still having his legs held down, DiBiase shockingly is pinned by Tornado. The post-match revolves around Gorilla Monsoon claiming he didn't see Virgil doing anything wrong and that they don't have an instant replay of it. Bobby Heenan is going crazy. Ha. This was fine as a way to build up the Virgil/DiBiase Wrestlemania 7 match. Von Erich looked like a complete fool though. 2 Stars.

    Shawn Michaels w/Marty Jannetty vs Kato w/Mr. Fuji and Tanaka
    The match was broken down into three parts. The early going was fast pace with both guys flying around. It's rather exciting and felt more modern than what you'd see from an average 1991 WWF match. The second part revolves around Kato slowing the match down with the ever dreadful nerve hold. The pace picks up for the final part where Michaels makes his comeback and scores a couple of near falls. The excitement increases with both guys coming so close to winning. In the end, it's a Mr. Fuji distraction that allows Tanaka to come in and smash Michaels with Fuji's cane. By time the ref turns around, Kato has Michaels pinned with a backslide. Really fun match that would have set-up a tag match between the two teams at Wrestlemania 7. Instead, Fuji points out what he did to commentator, Bobby Heenan, and suddenly it becomes clear. Heenan and Fuji worked out a deal for the Orient Express to weaken the Rockers for Heenan's Haku and Barbarian at Wrestlemania. Michaels was on a roll in early 1991. 3 1/4 Stars.

    Just for fun, I decided to see what the B crew was up to on this night. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

    Jimmy Snuka defeated the Brooklyn Brawler
    Greg Valentine defeated Haku
    Tito Santana defeated Paul Roma
    The Nasty Boys defeated the Bushwhackers
    The Legion of Doom defeated Demolition
    Jake Roberts & the Big Bossman defeated Rick Martel & WWF IC Champion Mr. Perfect
    Randy Savage defeated the Ultimate Warrior in a steel cage match

    Roberts/Boss Man vs Martel/Perfect has some potential, but I'd say this MSG show was the superior of the two March 15, 1991 shows. Even the WCW show (Ric Flair vs El Gigante) that day didn't look as good as this.

    Sgt. Slaughter (c) w/General Adnan vs Jim Duggan w/Hulk Hogan - WWE World Title
    Hogan's wearing army fatigues, so you know he means business. This was the one man show with Slaughter carrying the workload. In the first half, he's a human pinball, bumping for every Duggan move. When Slaughter took over in the second half, he continues to entertain by his over the top cheating. He's even nailing Hogan with a chair and choking him with a TV cable. It builds up to the ending where Hogan nails Slaughter with a 2x4 when the ref is busy with Adnan. This creates an awesome moment where Duggan and Slaughter are both struggling to get on their feet. They take turns standing and falling. Finally, Duggan goes for the cover, but Adnan runs in and breaks up the fall to draw the DQ. Hogan runs in to help his buddy, but Slaughter destroys both babyfaces. It's an awesome scene with Slaughter having to be restrained by a half dozen referees. The best part is that while Hogan makes his own comeback and beats up Adnan, he's unable to get his hands on Slaughter. Slaughter looks like a beast going into their Wrestlemania. Despite knowing their Wrestlemania match sucked, this match really made me want to see it again. A watchable match with a great angle. 2 1/4 Stars.

    Overall
    Wrestlemania 7 would take place a week and a half after this event. If nothing else, this show added interest in the main event, Virgil/DiBiase, Bulldog/Warlord and reminded us several times about Rockers/Faces of Fear. The amount of squashes surprised me, but the squashes helped create a house show devoid of any poor matches. It's not as if 1991 was a killer year, so that's a huge plus. The usual suspects (Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels) delivered the two best matches of the show. It's not an amazing show by any means, but it flowed nicely, built up a bigger show and there wasn't anything truly terrible. Good times.

  4. #44
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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Philly Spectrum
    July 18, 1987


    Brady Boone vs Al Horowitz
    For some reason, Barry Horowitz is identified as "Al". This show occurred on a Saturday night. Horowitz had only debuted for the WWE midway during the week. Brady Boone was brand new too, having only debuted two weeks earlier. Neither guy had even appeared on television up to this point. As a result, there's a small group of fans chanting "Boring" from the start of the match. As always, Boone is impressive with his creative moves including an awesome looking leg take down. Lord Alfred Hayes predicts that Horowitz will have a great career in the WWE. Ha. Horowitz controls the match while heeling it up. It's all fine undercard stuff. Boone picks up the win in the heatless match with a roll-up and a nifty looking bridging cover. It looked like Boone had won over a few fans with his impressive moveset. Good performances by both guys, even if neither guy had a reason to be over. 2 1/4 Stars.

    Rick Rude vs Scott Casey
    Keeping up with the theme of the show, Rick Rude was still very new into his WWE career. Rude had only debuted a month and a half earlier, but had yet to debut on TV. Meanwhile, the "Veteran" of the show thus far, Scott Casey had been in the WWE since early June and had a couple of TV matches under his belt. Casey works over Rude's arm for a little bit early on before Rude takes over. Rude heels it up by breaking up his own covers. It's a similar story as the first match, only it lacks anything as interesting as Boone's moveset. Rude picks up the win after a slingshot suplex. Sadly, the Rude Awakening wouldn't be debuted for another six months. 1 3/4 Stars.

    Koko B. Ware vs Nikolai Volkoff
    While Koko is practically a long time veteran compared to the other men on the show thus far, he's only been in the WWE since the previous August. So he hasn't even finished his rookie year. Sign of the night: "Free The Sheik" Ha. Man, you can tell this match took place in Philly. Of course, this was shortly after The Iron Sheik was busted with cocaine in his car. Anyways, this was a dull match without any real story. In other words, it's practically every Koko match ever. The highlight was Volkoff doing a very random cartwheel. Koko wins after surprising Volkoff with a missile dropkick (AKA, the one thing Koko does well). Bah. This sucked. 3/4 Star.


    What the fuck?

    The One Man Gang w/Slick vs Outback Jack
    Outback had been in the WWE since the previous November. Meanwhile, Gang is another really fresh face, having only debuted on television in mid May, two months ago. This was a virtual squash with Slick not even having to interfere or distract Outback to allow Gang to remain in control. In fact, Outback's only time on offense was during the start of the match. After a comeback-less ending, Outback is pinned following OMG's Master Blaster (A shitty looking front suplex). The only nice thing I can say about this is that it wasn't boring. Gang's 747 Splash was such a better finisher than the Master Blaster. Good dominant win by Gang, who was preparing for a short Hogan feud. 1 3/4 Stars.

    Rick Martel vs Tama w/Haku
    Martel's partner, Tom Zenk, had left the WWE a week before. In fact, they hadn't even announced it on television yet. So now Martel is in the awkward position of being a tag team wrestler, in the middle of a tag team program, but without a partner. In a pre-match interview, Martel more or less calls Zenk a pussy for leaving the WWE and teases the idea of possibly having found a new partner. Keeping with the "New" theme, the Islanders have only been heels for a month and a half after turning on the Can-Am Express. As always, a solid match between Martel and an Islander. Martel had an extra fire in him in the early going. Tama controlled a large portion of the middle before Martel made his comeback. Tama got a little overconfident as he went for a top rope cross body, but Martel rolled through and got the surprise pinfall. After the match, Haku and Tama double teamed Martel until extra refs came out. Not only did you have a quality match, but they put over the story of Martel needing someone to watch his back. Highly productive little match. 3 Stars.

    George Steele vs Danny Davis
    Danny Davis had only been wrestling under his real name since March after being suspended as a referee for life by Jack Tunney. A lot of stalling early on with Davis not wanting to lock up with Steele. Davis finally gets and remains in the ring after he pulls out a pair of brass knuckles. Hitting Steele with it a couple of times only knocks Steele down for moments. Finally, Davis tries again, but Steele grabs the brass knuckles and knocks Davis out in front of the ref. Steele gets DQ'd. After the match, Steele entertains the fans by eating a couple of turnbuckle pads, hugging a poster of Miss Elizabeth, bringing a couple of kids into the ring and then offering the kids some of the stuffing from the turnbuckle pads. It's your typical post-Savage feud Steele. Basically, it's more of a segment than a match. I imagine the segment is so much more entertaining in person than having to watch it on TV twenty-five years later. I'm not going to rate it since it'd be unfair due to how entertained the fans were and that it wasn't meant to be a workrate match. George Steele was so vastly entertaining though. I'm rather bummed that I never got to see him in person during his babyface prime. Not Rated.

    Killer Khan vs Lanny Poffo
    Killer Khan had just returned to the WWE a couple of months before. You may better know Lanny Poffo as the Genius. If you're a newer fan, it's the guy and gimmick that Damien Sandow has completely ripped off. This was a lot of fun. Unlike a lot of other monsters, Khan increases the entertainment value in his matches by being so bizarre. Half the time he's hitting you, he's doing a Mankind-like squeal. Having been dominated by this unorthodox man for the entire match, Poffo mixes it up by increasing his intensity by biting at the forehead, choking and punching Khan. All of that has little effect on Khan as Khan picks up the win after a middle rope knee drop. An entertaining squash to put Khan over as they prepare to run a Khan/Hulk Hogan house show program. 2 1/2 Stars.

    The announcer announces the date for the next Philly Spectrum show of August 15th. Thus far, the following matches have been announced:

    Kamala vs Koko B. Ware
    Greg Valentine vs Brutus Beefcake
    Haku vs Rick Martel
    Hercules vs Ken Patera - Whipping Match

    Yeah, good luck selling that show out with those announced matches. I have to admit, Martel vs Haku sounds great though. Looking at the results of the show, the unannounced matches aren't appealing in the slightest. What a lame duck of a show.

    The Honky Tonk Man (c) vs Bruno Sammartino - WWE IC Title
    Honky had been IC champion for only a month. Sammartino made getting an entertaining match out of HTM look easy. The first half was all Bruno working over the arm of Honky. Most of the offense was Bruno cranking back the arm of Honky in a hammerlock. Each time Bruno cranked the arm, the crowd counted. Once Honky took over, he worked over the back of Sammartino. In a fun spot, the fans would try counting the punches of Honky. Whenever Honky would hear the fans chanting along, he'd stop and yell at them. Each time this happened, the fans would count along louder and louder. Eventually, Bruno came back and the two battled on the floor with Bruno getting back in the ring before the ten count. Sammartino wins by count-out, but Honky retains the belt. It's only after Bruno leaves that Honky gets on the mic and calls Bruno a coward for leaving. Sometimes, pro wrestling is just easy. A way over Bruno and a quality heel like Honky made for one of the few entertaining Honky Tonk Man matches. 2 3/4 Stars.

    Overall
    Thanks to running three separate tours, it kept a lot of quality off of the show. In case you're wondering, The Hart Foundation vs Jim Brunzell and JYD (Filling in for the injured Brian Blair) and Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage headlined the other two touring groups. What does make this event interesting was all of the fresh faces. Between guys debuting, returning, just turning heel and just becoming champions, this feels like a completely different WWF show than you'd catch at the start of the year. Not surprisingly, Rick Martel and Islander Tama had the match of the night. Other highlights included Bruno Sammartino working his final match at the Philly Spectrum and the WWE's early monster pushes of The One Man Gang and Killer Khan. Both men would play a pivotal role in Hulk Hogan's remaining 1987. There may have not been a whole lot of quality ring work, but it's a fun little two hour B-show featuring a very different looking WWF.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Anyways, this was a dull match without any real story. In other words, it's practically every Koko match ever.
    Bullsheeeet.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Sarcasm or have I finally found someone that enjoys Koko's matches?

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Koko was great at everything. Sold like a master, timed everything perfectly, hit offense well, was a really good face, AWESOME heel, and he had the greatest brainbuster in existence. Good/great matches with Flair, Dundee, Valentine, Tommy Rogers, Rude, Haku, Tito, was the best guy in a lot of good tag matches. A good-great match with someone like Flair or Dundee doesn't look like it's saying much, but Koko was genuinely terrific pre-WWF and there's nothing I've seen from WWF Koko that makes me think he deserves the crappy rep he has. Hell I've seen 2000s Koko against random indy dudes (and DISCO INFERNO) where he looked good. Where is this bad Koko stuff? I don't doubt the Volkoff match could be a pile of nothing, but I would be surprised if Koko looked bad in it. Volkoff was boring as hell.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    I'm the complete opposite. I can't stand Koko in the WWE. Part of the problem of his matches was that most of them were the same. If Koko was winning, it was most likely by some sort of roll-up. I've reviewed a lot of Koko WWE matches since I started doing reviews and I'm not sure if I've dug any of his performances. His matches are generally unentertaining, unimportant and Koko's so much smaller than the rest of the roster that I don't know how he even got his job.

    Along with Boris Zhukov, Jimmy Snuka, Honky Tonk Man and Dino Bravo, I dread any time I see that a Koko match is next.

    Now, Koko's missile dropkick where he lands on his feet? That is awesome.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    LA Sports Arena
    July 15, 1988


    The Big Boss Man vs Scott Casey
    Boss Man had debuted on television about a month earlier. Slick is nowhere to be found, so I'm guessing he's managing One Man Gang somewhere else in America. The one thing that really struck me about this match was how much smaller Casey is compared to Boss Man. I know Boss Man was at his biggest at this point, but I always thought of Casey as a fairly big man himself. Yet, he's a few inches shorter than Boss Man. Casey impresses me a little by skinning the cat early on in the match. Just looking at Casey, you wouldn't expect him to be able to do that. Boss Man controlled the majority of the match with a bear hug. Not a lot of action, but they managed to keep it from being boring. Boss Man won with a Boss Man Slam out of nowhere. A nice extended squash to keep Boss Man looking good as he waits until his feud against Hogan to begin. After the match, Boss Man handcuffs Casey to the ropes and hits him a couple of times with the nightstick to get that gimmick over. 2 Stars.

    Speaking of Slick, checking the 1988 results, I'm guessing he's managing One Man Gang as he wrestles Koko B Ware in an extremely poor looking C show. How poor is it? The biggest match is Hercules vs Ken Patera. The A show looks to be the event from Houston, Texas where all three champions (Savage, Honky and Demolition) were defending their titles (Against DiBiase, Brutus and Powers of Pain). Damn, it's pretty rare to have a show with all three champions.

    The Rockers vs Los Conquistadors
    The Rockers have only been around on TV for a month. The early going with the Rockers in charge was great. It was fast pace, full of high flying spots and the crowd was into everything. The Rockers really came off as a breath of fresh air as this new breed of babyface tag team. It's once Los Conquistadors takes over, that the action drags on a bit and I'm bored. It's not even that Los Conquistadors are doing anything wrong either. They were double teaming a lot, switching places without tagging, distracting the referee when Marty would get the hot tag and everything else that a heel team should do. However, they just weren't entertaining and the crowd's lack of reaction during that period seems to agree with my opinion. Everything after Marty's hot tag until Shawn hits a top rope fist drop to allow Marty to pick up the win is once again entertaining though. Probably the most interesting thing about the match was how much the commentators were teasing a Demolition/Rockers match. It's pretty odd since the two teams never really feuded in 1988. Anyways, good showing from the Rockers even if they against one of the weaker tag teams in the WWE. 3 Stars.

    Andre The Giant vs Jim Duggan
    These two have been feuding since Wrestlemania when Andre cost Duggan a tournament match against Ted DiBiase. It had to be right around this time period that they had a surprisingly great lumberjack match at MSG. Due to Andre's health, he works a very smart match where he didn't have to do a whole lot. Most of the match is built around Andre choking Duggan for 4 seconds, letting go and choking him again. We got to see the standard hands around the neck choke, the side headlock choke and the singlet strap choke. Just for extra measure, Andre even bit Duggan on the neck and his fingers. A lot of selling by Duggan before he makes his comeback by biting the nose of Andre. There's a huge pop for when Duggan finally knocked down Duggan. After hitting one 3 point stance closeline, Duggan attempts a second, but Andre got a giant boot up and Duggan ran into it. Andre covered and won with his feet on the middle ropes. Let me repeat, Andre the Giant, a 500 pound giant, got a dirty pin with his FEET ON THE ROPES! It's an amazing sight and makes me love Andre even more. This was surprisingly solid despite the few moves used. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. An Andre who could barely move was still an amazing worker. 2 Stars.

    The Ultimate Warrior vs Bobby Heenan
    After his debut in October and killing time by facing the well known jobbers of the time, Warrior quickly started a feud with The Heenan Family at the start of the year. This was highlighted with a power vs power feud against Hercules that was showcased at Wrestlemania 4. This was your standard Heenan match. Warrior dominated the majority of it until Heenan pulled out a foreign object. While the object helped at first, eventually Warrior grabbed the object away from Heenan and that led to the finish of Warrior winning by putting Heenan asleep in a sleeper hold. After the match, Warrior put an unconscious Heenan into a weasel costume, complete with claws, to humiliate Heenan. Heenan sells the humiliation great. The post-match was great, but it took too long to get there. There was a ton of stalling and I don't feel as if they needed to have a 10+ minute segment for something so simple. Anyways, this was just a test run for their weasel suit match at Wrestlefest '88. 1 1/2 Stars.

    Jim Neidhart vs Bad News Brown
    An extension of the Bad News/Bret Hart feud that began at Wrestlemania 4. After a couple of awkward months where Bret was working as a babyface and Neidhart was still a heel, Neidhart finally sided with Bret Hart in firing Jimmy Hart. Thus, Neidhart's now a babyface for the first time in his WWE career. This match was designed to make Bad News look good. Neidhart sneaked attacked Brown to start the match, but Brown simply made his own quick comeback to dominate the match. Brown showed how much smarter he was than Neidhart by sideswiping a running shoulder block to send Neidhart to the outside. When Neidhart tried ramming Brown's head into the top turnbuckle, Bad News just no sold it and even rammed his head into the turnbuckle a few extra times for fun. Finally, the end is built around both guys trying to get back into the ring before the ten count. Neidhart thought he had it won, but Brown sneaked behind him and hit his Ghetto Blaster for the win. Even though I'm not a fan of Bad News Brown, I loved the booking. Brown actually came across as a guy who mattered and was so far out of Neidhart's league. For a guy you brought in exclusively to work with Savage and Hogan, that's the way to go. Better than you'd expect. 2 1/4 Stars.

    Jake Roberts vs Rick Rude
    After their draw at Wrestlemania 4, things heated up between Rude and Roberts when Rude tried to put the moves on Cheryl Roberts, Jake's wife. Despite having a great match, these two never had a good match together. I think part of the problem is that Rude is so much better on defense. At the time, Rude may have been the best seller in the WWE. Instead, these two worked a dull match with Rude on offense for the majority of the match. At least three times in the match, Rude locked in a reverse chin lock and sat on it for far too long. While commentator, Superstar Billy Graham, tried to claim that the hush from the crowd was out of disbelief, it's really because of the boredom. The action did pick up near the end with Jake's great comeback, I particularly liked Jake taking a couple punches from Rude and asking for more, but we get the fuck finish of Rude sliding into the ring before a 10 count to win by count-out. Easily, the best part of the match is the post-match event where Jake put Damien on Rude and Rude sold like crazy. If only the rest of the match was that entertaining. Just as poor as their Wrestlemania 4 match. 1 1/2 Stars.


    Rude vs Damien - far more entertaining than Rude vs Roberts.

    Overall
    Just a fun little night of WWF action. Take away the interviews during intermission and this show was barely an hour and a half long. Seeing as it was such a sort show and it lacked any champions, you can't complain too much. The Rockers debut at the LA Sports Arena showcases the style they'll be known for any already being known for producing the MOTN. Even guys like Jim Duggan and Bad News Brown entertained me more than they normally did. With the best match only being 3 stars and the other matches hovering around 2 stars, it's not really worth going out of your way and catching. It was, however; a productive show. Out of the six matches, four highlighted a particular feud going on. A couple of matches showcased a guy, who the WWE was building up to be the next short term top heel. Even the one match that wasn't built around a feud or building up a top heel (Tag match) had some purpose of establishing the Rockers as a solid midcard tag team. Overall, it's a very 1988 WWE show.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    LA Sports Arena
    January 29, 1989


    Sam Houston vs Barry Horowitz
    It's the battle of the lowcarders~! Surprisingly, Horowitz would go on to become the bigger WWE star. This was a surprisingly long match (Nearly twenty minutes) with a lot of arm work. Houston hit a lot of arm drags and locked in a lot of arm bars. When Horowitz got a chance to go on offense for the first time, he went after the arm. Horowitz was an amazing heel. He's always patting himself on the back, trying to get the unfair advantage by holding ropes and even faking injuries to regain the advantage. The match does suffer from some poor timed spots and Houston botching a couple of moves, but it's still a highly entertaining match from two guys you normally shouldn't care about. The ending is pretty perfect with Horowitz locking in a Boston Crab (He had been working over the back for most of the heat sequence). After so many deceitful tactics from Horowitz, Houston pulls a fast one by reaching up and patting Horowitz on the back. Horowitz thought it was the ref letting him know that Houston gave up. Horowitz let go of the hold and by time he realizes what really happened, he's surprised with a bulldog, Houston's finisher, to end with Houston picking up the victory. Houston was a little sloppy, but Horowitz was on his game tonight. WAY better than you'd think. 3 1/4 Stars.

    Rick Rude vs Brutus Beefcake
    Balls. That's what this match was all about. Most of Rude's offense was built around hitting Brutus rather low. Were they low blows or were they above the waist? We never find out, but Rude sure did focus on that area. When it was time for Brutus to make his comeback, he does so with a reverse atomic drop, where Rude sells it as if it was a low blow. The ending comes out of nowhere when Brutus attempted a sunset flip, but Rude countered it into a pin attempt, complete with the hands on the ropes. Normally I wouldn't say this, but they could have stretched this Brutus match out even longer. They had a fun little match where Rude's time on offense was entertaining and didn't rely on rest holds. I was pleasantly surprised that we didn't see some sort of count-out though. A lot of the Brutus/Rude matches around this time ended by count-out or DQ. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. 2 1/2 Stars.

    The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs King Haku - WWE IC Title
    On paper, this looks like an easy squash win for Warrior. Instead, the match is built around making Haku look good. Every single time Warrior had something going, Haku would cut him off. By the end, it became a joke of seeing how long Warrior could be on offense before Haku would fairly regain control. This wasn't a Haku, who needed to cheat or have Bobby Heenan distract Warrior, this was a Haku who won exchange after exchange. Even when the end comes and Warrior is setting up his finishing stretch, Haku briefly stops it. Eventually, King Haku's run of good luck against the much bigger star ran out and Warrior pinned him to successfully defend the IC Title following a big splash. The best part of booking Haku as the star of the match is that Warrior won cleanly. So, you're only making Warrior look even better by besting the quality opponent. Everyone wins! I thought Haku could get something fun out of Warrior, but this was far better than I could have expected. Haku was so fucking underrated. A rare quality match from Warrior's first IC Title reign. 3 Stars.

    Andre the Giant vs Jake Roberts
    The main event of the show. These two have been battling since Andre began helping out Rick Rude in his feud with Roberts. Unfortunately for Andre, Roberts found out that the Giant was afraid of snakes. Andre's fear of snakes plays into the story of the match due to Andre forcing the referee to order Jake to put Damien under the ring. This led to Jake trying to get a head start on Andre by tying him up into the ropes and then choking him. Andre freed one of his arms and that was enough to give him the control of the match. Poor Jake spent most of the match being choked out whether by Andre's hands or laying under the bottom rope and having Andre step on the bottom rope so it chokes Jake out. Dealing with such a monster like Andre made Jake actually go to the middle rope where he jumped off onto Andre. Knowing that he can't beat Andre on his own, Jake pulled out Damien and ran Andre off for the ten count. Jake wins by count-out. After the match, Jake tries attacking Andre with Damien, but a part of Damien wraps around Andre's wrist. So in the chaos of trying to sell Jake trying to attack Andre, he was also trying to free Andre. Due to all that commotion, Jake ends up being bit by Damien. By time the camera leaves, Jake's wound is bleeding pretty well. This was fun though. Everything was built around Damien or Jake's inability of being a match for Andre unless he has the snake. For what it counts, this was a good deal better than their upcoming Wrestlemania 5 bout. 2 Stars.

    "And that snake looked that man right in the eye and said, ‘You stupid old man. I'm a snake.'"

    Demolition (c) vs The Powers of Pain w/Mr. Fuji - WWE Tag Titles
    A rematch from the Dec '88 LA Sports Arena show where it ended in a double DQ. These two teams have been feuding since last fall. At the Survivor Series, everything changed with Mr. Fuji turning on Demolition to join up with Powers of Pain. That made the Demolition turn face and Powers of Pain become heels. The match had three stages. The first was Demolition in easy control. The second stage is ushered in with Mr. Fuji nailing Ax with his cane. Ax played the face-in-peril until The Warlord ran into an elbow by Ax. That led into the final stage where Demolition looked to have the win in hand, but Mr. Fuji came in with his cane. Before he could hit Smash, Ax grabbed the cane from him and nailed The Warlord with it. That caused a double DQ finish. It's a rather fun match for only being six minutes long, but I have to wonder the purpose of it. It seems like the same exact match as they had the previous match. Without any sort of gimmick added to the bout and having the same finish, why bother running the same match two months in a row? Pretty baffling. 2 Stars.

    The Red Rooster vs Danny Davis
    Bobby Heenan paid off Danny Davis to hurt The Red Rooster. Let me sum up this match - reverse chin lock. Just keep rereading those three words until you're sick of them and you'll have a good idea of what I had to go through. For 15+ minutes, I had to endure the agony of watching Danny Davis act as if he's some technical wizard in his refusal to do anything other than a reverse chin lock. There were two crowd reactions during the match. Dead silence and loud boos. Even the commentators was making not-so-subtle references to how bad this was. After the match (Rooster won with his Chickenwing submission), Terry Taylor shrugged as if he didn't know what the fuck he and Davis just did. I knew this was going to suck, but I figured the WWE would at least make it nice and short like all of Rooster's other matches leading up to Wrestlemania 5. Instead, Danny Davis found a way for me to hate a Red Rooster match more than I already have. Fuck, Danny Davis sucks. 1/2 Star.

    Jake Roberts comes out and challenges Andre the Giant to a fight. Andre comes out, but only agrees to a fight if the money is right. It's all just one big distraction to allow Rick Rude to sneak attack Roberts. Andre and Rude does a number on Jake before some WWE officials come out to break up the two-on-one attack.

    Greg Valentine vs Jim Neidhart
    The Hart Foundation have been battling all of Jimmy Hart's clients since they dumped him last year. The story of the match was built around Valentine's shin guard, the heartbreaker. Valentine only fully takes over when he gets a good kick to the side of Neidhart's face with the heartbreaker. Despite the commentators not saying anything, there looked to be at least one other shot by Valentine with his shin guard. Then the focus shifted to Valentine working over Neidhart's leg to weaken him for the Figure Four. Neidhart's hardly as good of a seller as Bret Hart, but Neidhart tried his best. Finally, Neidhart had enough of Valentine's crap and removed the heartbreaker. With the heartbreaker in his hands, Neidhart is held back by the referee, allowing Valentine to roll Neidhart up for the surprise (And distracted) pinfall. I feel like I've seen that finish before with Valentine. The match was fine, but like all Neidhart singles matches, it's not worth checking out. More than anything, it just made me wish we could have seen Valentine vs Hart instead. 2 1/4 Stars.

    The Rockers vs The Brainbusters
    Find me a single bad Rockers vs Brainbuster match and I'll shoot you in the face because you're a liar, my friend! Yet another great match between the two. The first half was dedicated to the shine and featured some comedy. While Arn Anderson was denied a tag in because the referee didn't see it, the Rockers kept switching places behind the refs back. Thanks to how honest the Rockers are and the fans backing them up, the referee always believed they were telling the truth when they claimed they did, infact; tag. The other portion of the comedy comes from The Brainbusters' inability at regaining the advantage with a two-on-one advantage. You either had Marty take care of both guys on his own or Shawn Michaels would come in and prevent any attacks. All great comedy. Everything changes with the Brainbusters becoming a little more crafty in their strategy. That allowed The Brainbusters to work Shawn over with Michaels becoming the face-in-peril. Once again, highly enjoyable. With Marty getting the tag, that brought on the finish of the match with the Brainbuster proving they still had a few tricks up their sleeve with Arn clipping Marty's knee while Jannetty was trying to suplex Tully. With Tully covering Marty, Anderson held Jannetty's legs down to allow for the dirty win. It's been a bit since I've seen their other matches, but this one seemed a bit different in style from their other great matches from around this time period. Perhaps it's just because of the lack of Bobby Heenan. The only real negative of the match was that the referee (Some chump I've never seen before) had to be shoved a few time to remember his spot (IE. Stopping Anderson from entering the ring after the ref didn't see the tag). But really, who gives a shit? Rockers and Brainbuster delivery the greatness yet again. Take your pick between this and the March Boston Garden match for your best Brainbusters/Rockers match. 4 Stars.


    And that's why they're called the Brainbusters.

    Overall
    What a difference a year makes. There's a reason why 1989 is my favorite year for pro wrestling. Despite the WWE not being as good as WCW, they still had a killer year thanks to good booking. Here you have another great match between The Rockers and The Brainbusters, a possible WWE MOTYC might I add. The IC title match was way better than I could have ever expected. The opening match between two lowcarders that no one cared about was out of this world good. Most of the rest of the card is pretty damn solid. The only real blemish on the show was The Red Rooster vs Danny Davis. That may now be my least favorite WWE match of 1989. And trust me, that's saying something with all of the Boris Zhukov matches I've seen. Still, for a random house show where I'm content with only seeing one 3 star match at best, this exceeded my expectations. If you don't factor in storyline implications, this show was even better than the '89 Royal Rumble that took place a couple of weeks before. A house show beating out a PPV? I'm happy.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Boston Garden
    April 22, 1989


    Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes opens the show with a rundown of some of the matches you can expect tonight. We'll see the first Rick Rude vs Ultimate Warrior match since Wrestlemania! *Looks up 1989 results and sees that it wasn't actually their first match since Mania* You lying bastards!

    Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart vs The Blue Blazer
    You have the experienced veteran heel against the inexperienced rookie babyface with tons of potential. Their roles were showcased with how they worked on the others body parts. The Blue Blazer worked over Valentine's left arm in a fair way. On the other hand, once Valentine is finally able to go to work on Blazer's knee to set-up the Figure Four, he does so by cheating by twisting the leg around the middle rope. Hayes actually makes a great call to further highlight Blazer's rookie character. While the arm work is good, Blazer is working over the arm Valentine doesn't use for all of his chops and blows. Furthermore, every time Blazer goes for a cover, he doesn't hook the leg. So even though Blazer dominated the majority of the match, he's making these little rookie mistakes. With the heartbreaker shin guard in place, Valentine tried to lock on the Figure Four, but Blazer managed to counter or avoid it three separate times. From there, Blazer goes to the air for a series of high spots with quick covers. It's a top rope crossbody that Valentine catches him and slams Blazer to the mat. With a fistful of tights, Valentine scored the win. Yet again, Blazer's inexperienced caused him to make the mistake of relying on high spots too often and it ended up costing him the win. For Valentine, the Figure Four was already not working for him, so his veteran experience to know when to catch Blazer was the sole reason why he lucked into the win. Great little story and probably the best Blazer match I've seen in the WWE. 3 1/4 Stars.

    The Barbarian w/Mr. Fuji vs Jim Neidhart
    A power vs power match. The only catch is that for once in his career, Neidhart isn't the most powerful wrestler in a match. This resulted in a series of spots where Neidhart would try to bounce off of the ropes, but Barbarian would easily foil Neidhart's plans. They kept repeating this until finally Neidhart managed to knock Barbarian down by closelining him over the top rope to the floor. This earned Neidhart a pretty big reaction. From there, the match goes into the finishing stretch with Neidhart being successful in his power moves. With the ref looking the other way, Mr. Fuji tripped Neidhart up when Neidhart was bouncing off of the ropes. While Neidhart grabs Fuji, Barbarian ran up behind him and...kicked him in the ass. That somehow allowed Barbarian to steal the victory. God bless Alfred Hayes as he tries to claim it was a knee to the lower back, but with the replay, it's clear that Barbarian's boot nailed Neidhart squarely in the ass. Such a wacky finish. Good story even if it wasn't the most exciting match. 2 Stars.

    In the back, Tony Schiavone interviews Tito Santana. Santana denies Rick Martel's claim that Martel carried him all of these years. In their match tonight, everyone will find out who carried who. I love you, Tito, but you were a horrific talker. Anything past "Arriba!" is giving Tito too much to say.

    Rick Martel vs Tito Santana
    During Tito's entrance, Martel ran out from the back to sneak attack Santana. The assault continues with Martel targeting the knee and using a steel chair to further the damage. Due to Santana being unable to perform, the referee has postponed the match until later in the night. Good angle when you normally don't see this sort of thing from house shows.

    Demolition (c) vs The Twin Towers - WWE Tag Titles
    A feud based entirely around who has the better theme music. Not really, but it should have been. The story was all about domination. Up until this point, Demolition had easily dominated every other team in the WWE. The Twin Towers are different. They're bigger and stronger. The question of the match is then "Can Demolition dominate the Twin Towers?" They actually did just that in the early going by focusing all of their attacks on the arms of both Akeem and Boss Man. Finally, Twin Towers took over when Akeem took a cheap shot on Ax. Ax played the face-in-peril for awhile, which was just fine since Twin Towers cheated (Using tag rope to choke Ax) and used plenty of double team moves. Finally, Smash got the hot tag to go into the finish. Thanks to a ref bump, Demolition wasn't able to get the win after a double Hot Shot on Akeem. Boss Man nailed Smash with the nightstick, but the referee saw it to call for the DQ finish. The feud must continue~! A fairly underrated feud that just worked thanks to The Twin Towers having the one thing the Powers of Pain didn't quite have - the believability of beating Demolition. These two teams knew how to have simple matches with fine stories while building up to the hot finish that left room for a rematch. Better than you'd expect. 3 Stars.

    The Genius vs Jim Powers
    This is actually the in ring debut of the Genius gimmick for Lanny Poffo. Ugh. Jim Powers. The Twin Towers was a case where the WWE found a way to use Akeem where he wouldn't look like his normal terrible self. For some unknown reason, the WWE broke up the Young Stallions so that Powers and Paul Roma could be singles JTTS. It's not to say the Young Stallions were a good team, they weren't, but they were bearable. Jim Powers on his own is an entirely different story. On the plus side, since Powers isn't working against an equally poor heel (Dino Bravo or Boris Zhukov), the Genius is able to add some value to this match. The Genius added some comedy to the match in spots where Powers would outsmart the Genius. From there, Genius went on the defense, employing a series of headstands to counter holds. The biggest appeal of this new gimmick for Poffo was his finisher. Picking up the win, The Genius won with a beautiful looking Swanton Bomb he called the Honor Roll. First time using it and it's already the best looking finisher in the WWE at this point. Love the Genius, but Powers did his best to drag the match down a little. 1 1/2 Stars.


    The debut of the Honor Roll.

    Bad News Brown vs Brutus Beefcake
    Since Brown is bald, the backstory of sorts is that Brutus wants to cut Brown's beard. Most of the story of the match is built around Brown jumping Brutus before the match and keeping control. It's not exactly riveting action. Towards the end, Brutus attempts the Sleeper, but Brown crushes him in the corner. Once again, Alfred Hayes proves to be on his game by pointing out how smart Brown was to realize he needed to do something quick to counter the Sleeper. Ending revolves around Brown retrieving Beefcake's scissors so he can cut Brutus' hair. The ref tries to stop brown and during the argument, Brutus sneaks behind Brown and rolls him up for the surprise pinfall. Brown then chased the ref out of the ringside for his trouble. Even though like all other Bad New Brown matches, the match wasn't good, it was actually a good start to a potential feud. I don't believe it translated to a TV feud though. 1 3/4 Stars.

    Tito Santana vs Rick Martel
    More of an extended angle than a traditional match. Once again, Martel didn't even wait for the bell before he tripped Santana up and slammed Tito's wrapped up knee against the ring post a few times. Martel continued the assult in the ring while the commentators called for the referee to stop the match. Finally, Tito made a short comeback. While in the corner, Santana wouldn't stop attacking Martel. The referee kept getting between the two to push Santana back, but Tito would always shove the referee away. During the last exchange of this spot, Martel used this distraction to get an apparent headbutt to Tito's midsection (Possible low blow) to then cover Santana. Martel stole the victory with his feet on the ropes. Great performance by Tito with his selling and the fire near the end. Loved the angle and it only made me want to see a rematch where Tito would get a fair shot against Martel. 2 1/4 Stars.

    Honky Tonk Man cuts a promo on Hillbilly Jim. It seems as if Hillbilly Jim has been saying some negative things about Honky on WWE TV. Honky's upset, not because of the comments, but because Hillbilly Jim didn't also mention that Honky shake, rattle and rolls. Gah, you suck so much, Honky.

    The Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs Hillbilly Jim
    Okay seriously, is this some cruel joke on me? Hillbilly Jim does some wackiness. Honky cheats thanks to Jimmy Hart's interference. Kill time for a little over five minutes. Hart distracts Hillbilly Jim again long enough for Honky to roll him up for the surprise victory to steal the win. This is now fourth time someone has stolen the win. Twice the exact same finish with the manager providing a distraction for the roll-up victory. It's not like I expected this to be good, but it could have at least had an original finish. At least this was short. In fact, not counting the angle based match with Strike Force, this was the shortest match of the night. 1 1/2 Stars.

    Before the main event, I wanted to see what the A crew was doing on this night. In Philly, you had the Brainbusters vs Bushwackers, Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect, Jake Roberts vs Ted DiBiase and Hulk Hogan vs Randy Savage. Biggest downside is that you also had Boris Zhukov vs Paul Roma that just screams death to me. Meanwhile, a C crew was in Winston-Salem, North Carolina as well on this night. As expected, the star power is a lot lower (Tom Magee vs Tim Horner~!), but it also had The Rockers vs Rougeau Brothers, Ron Garvin vs Haku and Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd. Overall, I'd say this B crew had the best looking show.

    Rick Rude (c) w/Bobby Heenan vs The Ultimate Warrior - IC Title
    These Warrior/Rude house show matches are a guilty pleasure of mine. They always have a rocking crowd, showcases Rude's amazing overselling skills (A positive unlike Mr. Perfect's terrible overselling) and an attempt at making Rude look like he belonged out there with Warrior. The early going had Warrior mauling Rude, mostly working over Rude's back. Rude may be my favorite heel seller ever. He had a knack for finding the right amount of over-the-topness, without making it unbelievable. Rude made a short comeback to work over Warrior's back. Head into the home stretch and Warrior recovers and all of the backwork on Rude comes into effect when Warrior tries to score the win and the title with a series of power slams. Each time, Rude kicks out, making him look far better than most of Warrior's opponents. Knowing he can lose his title at any time, Rude takes the easy way out and escapes to the back. Warrior begins to follow him, but with Bobby Heenan coming into the ring, Warrior returns to try and get a little revenge for Heenan costing him the IC Title. This allows Warrior to make it back to the ring before the 10 count. Warrior wins by count-out. The feud must continue~! You had a little story, a loud crowd, great selling, both guys looking good and a promise that the feud would continue? What else could you want in a match? 3 Stars.


    ♫I want Sexual...Healing♫

    Overall
    For some little house show, this felt like a pretty big show. While it wasn't the very first Rude/Warrior match since Wrestlemania, it is their first North American match since Wrestlemania as they previously wrestled in Italy earlier in the match. So that's pretty meaningful. While the Genius may have only been a lowcarder/manager, it is the debut of this memorable gimmick for Lanny Poffo. In addition, it's the first Demolition vs Twin Towers match. So you get to see Demolition's transition from feuding with Mr. Fuji and the Powers of Pain to going against the Twin Towers at house shows (While oddly feuding with The Brainbusters on TV). Not only was the Santana/Martel match TV like angle, it was also their very first match fighting after Rick Martel turned on Santana at Wrestlemania. The rest of the card may not have any real importance, but you do have Owen Hart's best match as the Blue Blazer. All in all, you have several good matches and so much more importance than you'd have on an average house show. If the WWE had brand PPV's at this point in time, this was big enough to be a Smackdown PPV. I'm pleasantly pleased.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Madison Square Garden
    Dec 26, 1987


    SD Jones vs Iron Mike Sharpe
    A lot of stalling in this as the majority of the match was just Sharpe stalling with humiliation spots. Sharpe would fall over chairs into the steel railing and tie himself up in the ropes with SD Jones taking advantage of it. Typical house show type of an opener. Despite getting in very little offense, Sharpe would pull out the win with surprising Special Delivery after Jones ducks a lariat, but Sharpe nailed a lariat-like strike to the side of Jones' face. It's not the first time I've seen a heel spend the entire match getting humiliated, but then somehow winning it all. It's an...unique story. I'm always up for a little Mike Sharpe for the undercard. * 1/4

    The Rougeau Brothers vs The Conquistadors
    The Conquistadors have only been wearing the masks for a month or so at this point. The first half saw the rare, but fun babyface cheat and switching places behind the ref's back spots. The Conquistadors took over with a long face-in-peril sequence by Jacques. Returning the favor, the Conquistadors would cheat behind the ref's back. During this sequence, there's a great little spot that was set-up with Jacques being tied up in the ropes. While tied up, a Conquistador jumped and splashed him (I'm not sure how much that could hurt against the ropes though). However, when the Conquistador attempted it again, Jacques managed to untie himself and move out of the way. The Conquistador ended up missing and diving over the top rope and hitting an unintentional suicide dive on his partner. Eventually, Raymond made the hot tag and proved why he was the superior member of the Rougeaus with his offense of various kicks against the Conquistadors. The Rougeaus picked up the win with the Quebec Crash. Granted, the move didn't come off looking too good since Raymond pulled the Conquistador far too close to the corner, but I still love that finish enough to be okay with it. **

    Jim Duggan vs Sika
    Sika's coming to the end of his singles run with the WWE (Mid 1986-WM 4). Duggan killed some time with an armbar. I can't say the match is very interesting, but what do you expect with these two? After a lot of brawling, Duggan picked up the expected victory with the 3 point stance closeline. Short enough it's forgettable and not unbearable. 3/4 *

    Sherri Martel (c) vs Rockin' Robin - WWE Women's Title
    The last women's title feud before the title was ditched until Alundra Blayze signed with the company in 1993. Sherri had been champion since the summer when she defeated The Fabulous Moolah. Thanks to Robin working over Sherri's arm in the first half, the match had some direction that you so rarely see in WWE Diva matches. Even when Sherri takes over control, Robin continues to use her head. When she's sent to the outside, Robin sneaked under the ring so she could come out from the other side of the ring and drop kick Sherri to the outside. Robin's strategy going into the match costs her as she's so determined to try and win the match with a middle rope elbow. The first attempt saw Sherri move out of the way. When Robin tried it again, Sherri got her knees up with Robin crashing down hard. Sherri easily covered Robin for the win. For a WWE woman's match, it was above average. **

    Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart vs Brutus Beefcake
    The Dream Team explodes! Valentine just recently left the New Dream Team (Survivor Series '87 being the final time together) to be managed by Jimmy Hart again. In fact, I'm not even sure if Valentine and Hart were together again on TV yet. Brutus has been a face for about eight months or so, but is already really over. These two worked a fun little brawl that turned into Valentine slowly working over Brutus while not taking him too seriously. Even Jimmy Hart yells for Valentine to try and pin Brutus instead of going for weak covers. Eventually, Brutus takes over and looks to have the match won with the Sleeper when Jimmy Hart steals his scissors in order to distract Beefcake. Somehow, Brutus Beefcake acts even more idiotic than Jim Duggan as he chases Hart to the back to try and get his cheap scissors (And they're not even the big hedge clippers kind!) back. Valentine wins by count-out. On a fairly uneventful show, this was decent enough. ** 1/2


    After the match, Brutus comes back to fight with Valentine some more. Valentine is run off when Brutus gets his pair of scissors back.

    Ricky Steamboat vs Rick Rude
    If you've seen their Royal Rumble '88 match from the next month, this follows a similar formula. Steamboat controlled the early going by working over Rude's arm. Rude sells it well and eventually takes over. There's a lot of nearfalls and there's a funky finish (This time the time limit expired rather than a reverse decision). Yet, this match is a lot better. So what's the difference? Steamboat is still motivated at this point. A Steamboat that cares is a beautiful thing. There's a few great Steamboat selling moments when Rude begins to work over Steamer's back. During a hope spot, Steamboat tries to body slam Rude, but his back is in too much pain. Later, during the near fall exchange, Steamboat once again went for a body slam, but his back went out on him and Rude fell on top for a two count. Steamboat even remembers to not let his hand fall down three times when he's stuck in a submission, unlike during their Rumble match. Once the time limit draw occurs, the action continues with Rude attacking Steamboat thanks to a Heenan distraction, but Steamboat makes his own comeback. This was the type of story that could have easily started a great feud between the two. Instead, they only had a couple of random matches before Steamboat left. This would be Steamboat's last great WWE match. Significantly better than the Rumble re-match. *** 3/4

    Intermission interview time. Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart cuts a promo on Brutus Beefcake. Hart wants the WWE to ban Beefcake's scissors. Valentine wants the WWE to ban the sleeper. For whatever reason, rather than Brutus feud with Greg Valentine, he would begin to feud over Hart's other singles client, Honky Tonk Man.

    Next up is Jimmy Hart and Honky Tonk Man. They hype the main event stipulation of Jimmy Hart being locked in a shark cage to ensure he doesn't interfere in the HTM/Randy Savage match. There's a few funny lines of Honky mentioning crashing down and Hart being terrified at the thought. Honky announces that his girlfriend, Peggy Sue, is in town and she's more than willing to take care of Miss Elizabeth.

    For whatever reason, my DVD is missing the following three matches:

    Dino Bravo w/Frenchy Martin vs Koko B. Ware
    I can't say I'm disappointed in not being able to watch this. After spending the last year as a JTTS, Martin had just been transferred into the managerial role for Dino Bravo. Bravo picked up the win with a side suplex. With how terrible Bravo and Ware were, this had a good shot at being the worst match of the night.

    The Islanders w/Bobby Heenan vs The Killer Bees
    Unlike the other two matches, I managed to find a copy of this since it eventually aired on Primetime Wrestling on March 14, 1988. The Islanders had just started a feud with the British Bulldogs after they dognapped the Bulldogs' mascot, Matilda. The opening minutes saw the Bees easily in control while Tama especially had a tough time getting anything going. Once the show came back from commercial, the Islanders were in control with Blair playing the face-in-peril. Most of the action is alright, but isn't anything special. Things improve in the final few minutes when Islanders distract the referee so he misses a Killer Bees hot tag. From there, Blair managed to duck a Tama closeline and nail a flying forearm so that he could finally get the hot tag to Brunzell. You had the exciting ending with all four men in the ring with Tama hitting a middle rope headbutt on Brunzell behind the ref's back. The Islanders win after Tama pulls Haku on top of Brunzell. Last few minutes made hunting down this match worth it. ** 1/2

    Cowboy Lang and Karate Chris Dube vs Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook
    Dube and Lang? Who are these nobodies? I demand to know where the A list babyface midgets are! Where's the Haiti Kid? What about Little Beaver? Anyways, Lang pinned Littlebrook with a sunset flip. I don't mind missing a midget match.

    Back to my DVD for the main event:

    Honky Tonk Man (c) w/Peggy Sue vs Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth - IC Title
    Jimmy Hart is locked in a shark cage and suspended above the ring. Peggy Sue sure is sensational looking. In typical HTM fashion, he proceeds to have an underwhelming match with a quality opponent. It's just ten minutes of fighting with Savage having the advantage, but Peggy Sue is there to interfere. Eventually, there's a ref bump just as Savage was nearly ready to put away Honky. Honky attempted Shake, Rattle and Roll, but Savage countered it and tossed Honky to the outside. As Savage attempted a top rope double ax handle, he catches Peggy Sue manhandling Elizabeth. The distraction allows Honky to nail Savage with the IC Title. Savage is unable to make it back into the ring when the referee recovers and the bell is rung. Instead of Honky winning by count-out, it's revealed that he's been DQ'd for the belt shot. The fans aren't happy, but there is a little positive that came out of this. The whole idea of removing Jimmy Hart from the equation, but Honky introducing Peggy Sue was a good way to build up this storyline title reign of Honky being an undeserving champion, but he always finds a way to cheat his way into retaining. The problem is that you never had the proper culmination of Savage winning the IC Title from HTM. If nothing else, Jimmy Hart in a shark cage was fun. **

    After the match, Randy Savage attacks a now freed Jimmy Hart and Honky Tonk Man. Savage grabbed Peggy Sue by her blond hair, but it's revealed to be a wig. She ends up running off before anyone got a good look at her. Who is Peggy Sue?!

    Overall
    With only a few days until 1988 began, this sure had the feel of an '88 WWF show. That is not a compliment by the way. Honky Tonk Man's matches rarely do anything for me, so to have him in the main event against one of the WWE's best wasn't too thrilling. After being the stars of MSG in the second half of 1987, I found myself really missing Strike Force. They were always good for a quality tag match. Having the Islanders and Rougueas is normally good, but neither team were given a great opponent. The two main positives to the show are the storyline matches and the great Steamboat/Rude match. The latter ends up being the only real reason to check out this show. Meanwhile, the Beefcake/Valentine match felt like it meant something especially knowing that Beefcake would be feuding with Jimmy Hart's main guy for a large portion of 1988. Of course, Savage vs Honky Tonk Man felt like it mattered and was yet another chapter in their long and sadly lack of enjoyable ending feud.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Boston Garden
    May 2, 1987


    Nick Kiniski vs Frenchy Martin
    Kiniski is the son of former NWA World Champion, Gene Kiniski. For the most part, he found minimal success in the business so he didn't last too long. You can still sometimes find Nick teaming with Kevin Kelly (WWF's Nailz) on old episodes of AWA on ESPN Classic. Despite being in the WWE for about nine months, Kiniski never made it past TV jobber. Since Martin's in the same spot, the fans do not have a single reason to care about this. Throughout the match, you can hear some boring chants. I wouldn't call it boring though. Perhaps a little too overly simplistitic, but Frenchy was a decent old school heel and Kiniski had some good babyface fire. The problem with Kiniski is that he was still so green. There was several moments where he was just standing around while Martin was on the mat. Go for the pin, kid. Funny enough, despite being a Kiniski, Nick looks more like Greg Valentine. From the tights, lack of pads and hair, Nick is Valentine if The Hammer had a smaller gut. After a heat sequence, Kiniski managed to pick up the win following a bridging German Suplex. Pretty uncommon to see back in those days for the company. Kinkiski would leave the company two weeks later. * 3/4

    Demolition w/Mr. Fuji vs The Islanders
    Demolition are still fairly new. In fact, Mr. Fuji had only been managing them for a couple of weeks on TV. Yet, they're already starting to get into their groove of cheating behind the ref's back. Meanwhile, The Islanders are just killing time until they turn heel on the Can-Am Connection and join up with Bobby Heenan at the end of the month. The match does a nice job of showcasing both team's directions with the Islanders looking really good, but Fuji is there to interfere when needed. The ending sees Smash nailing Tama with Fuji's cane in the neck to allow Ax to throw a hand over Tama's chest. Demolition shows cheating pays off while Islanders are in need of someone to watch their back. Fairly short Southern tag style match that has to be one of Demolition's first enjoyable matches. Had this just been a few minutes longer, it would have been a fun little hidden gem. ** 3/4

    Sivi Afi vs Iron Mike Sharpe
    Afi was brought into the WWE in 1986 to be Jimmy Snuka's replacement. The fans never cared about him so he was quickly depushed into being a JTTS. Afi's pretty terrible and he makes me long for 1989 Jimmy Snuka. Now THAT'S a bad sign. There's a few botched spots including an armdrag where Sharpe lands on the back of his head. Despite being the babyface, Afi randomly throws in some heel spots such as biting Sharpe's forehead and raking Sharpe's eyes with his bare feet. What a dick. Sharpe managed to pick up the win by rolling through a top rope cross body and surprising Afi with a handful of tights. If nothing else, it's fun to watch Sharpe overact. * 1/4

    Hulk Hogan (c) vs King Harley Race
    These two always had good chemistry. I think part of the appeal is how much of a brawler Race was compared to the other main eventers in the Federation. It made the series of matches stand out from other Hogan matches. Here, Race manages to have an even contest thanks to a lot of headbutts, brawling on the outside and eye rakes. Even though Race is cheating, there's times when he's getting the advantage legally too (IE. Surprising Hogan with a closeline). Late in the match, Race goes crazy with a series of headbutts to Hogan. This set-up a super rare blade job. And oh boy, Hogan sure does bleed. The visual of a bloody forehead Race (All from Hogan's blood) still falling down into headbutts is so great. My only complaint is that the finish is a little abrupt. Moments after busting Hogan open, Race went up top for a top rope headbutt. Instead, Hogan moves out of the way and then rolls Race up for the three count. It doesn't really matter though as it's a fun Hogan match and the blood makes it stand out. *** 1/4

    After the match, a bloody Hogan challenges Race to re-enter the ring, but Race opts to just go back to the locker room. With Hogan turning his back, Race returns and lays Hogan out with a couple of crown shots. At this point, Hogan's covered in blood, Race has some blood on his chest and forehead and the ring mat looks like the scene of a murder. I love it.


    In the back, Hulk Hogan cuts a promo on Harley Race. Hogan challenges Race to a match without any rules for the next show in Boston. Not only will Hogan put the belt on the line, but if he loses, he'll retire from wrestling. Coming next month - Hogan/Race II: The Texas Death Match!

    The Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs Ken Patera w/Jake Roberts
    This was supposed to be Honky vs Jake Roberts, but Roberts was injured by HTM and Kamala at a SNME taping a few days ago (Which actually airs tonight). So taking Jake's place is the recently released jailbird, Ken Patera. To my utter amazement, I actually enjoyed this. Honky is one of my least favorite wrestlers ever and Patera's my pick for worst babyface wrestler of 1988 for the WWE. So to put them in the same match, I was expecting a trainwreck. Instead, Patera started the match by throwing Honky around with some slams. Jake Roberts proved to be entertaining as every time the referee was distracted by a complaining Jimmy Hart, Roberts would slide Damien's tied bag against a prone Honky, freaking HTM out. Once Honky went on the offense, he spent his time working over the arm of Patera. Throw in some Patera manhandling near the end and Patera picked up the win after Roberts tripped Honky and Patera landed an elbow. Who would have thought that all it took to make Patera entertaining was Honky Tonk Man?! ** 3/4

    After the match, Honky began complaining about the Jake cheating. The annoyance caused Patera to slap the Full Nelson on Honky to give Jake time to pull Damien out of his bag. Before Jake can throw Damien on Honky, Jimmy Hart hit Patera with the megaphone. Honky and Hart escaped. While Roberts checks on Patera, an on the loose Damien, slithers through the bottom rope and goes under the commentator's table. HUGE kudos to Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes for remaining so calm. I know if a large python was under a table and at my feet, I'd be freaking out!

    Hulk Hogan came out to the ring and repeated his backstage challenge for the fans in the building. Next time the WWE is in Boston, Hogan wants King Harley Race in a match without rules. If Hogan loses, he'll retire from wrestling. Hogan/Race II: The Texas Death Match!

    Sika w/Mr. Fuji vs Pete Doherty
    If there's one thing missing from modern WWE shows from Boston, it's the lack of the Duke of Dorchester. If you're unable to find the Duke to be entertaining in his troll-like gimmick (Troll as in the creature under the bridge, not online troll), then you're heartless. Fun little brawl with a lot of wacky antics by Doherty while Sika no sells everything. Sika wins with a Samoan Drop where he lands all of his weight on the Duke's chest. It looks so painful. SQUASH.


    Brutus Beefcake vs Johnny V
    Just another angle-based squash match. Beefcake just started the barber gimmick after Johnny V and the New Dream Team ditched him at Wrestlemania 3. Beefcake got in some revenge before putting Johnny to sleep with the Sleeper. Beefcake wins. SQUASH.

    After the match, Beefcake cuts a few locks of V's hair. In a moment I've never seen before, the referee threatened to reverse the decision if Beefcake doesn't wake Johnny out of his sleep. Eventually, Beefcake gives in and wakes Johnny V up with a slap on the neck. Odd.

    The Hart Foundation (c) w/Jimmy Hart vs The British Bulldogs - WWE Tag Titles
    So if you were in Boston on May 2, 1987, you had two choices for your WWE fix. You can either go to the Boston Garden to see this show or stay home and watch SNME 11. If you stayed home, you got to see The Hart Foundation vs British Bulldogs in a 2 out of 3 falls match. If there was one thing these two teams were good at, it's putting on a quality match in little time. With the total time clocking in at around eight minutes, you get a compressed version of a Southern tag. Dynamite ended up playing the face-in-peril with the Harts double teaming Dyno and distracting the referee so the hot tag to Davey Boy isn't legal. Finally, Davey Boy gets the (Legal) hot tag and there's some nice excitement when Bret is thrown to the outside and there's a belief that Bulldogs could win back the tag titles. Instead, Jimmy Hart tried to use his megaphone behind the ref's back, but Davey Boy blocks it. Losing his cool, Davey Boy knocks out both Bret and Neidhart with the megaphone to draw the DQ. Good short match. ***

    After the match, Davey Boy presses Jimmy Hart and throws him over the top rope onto the Hart Foundation.

    Overall
    The '87 Wrestlemania Revenge Tour nears the end with an enjoyable Boston show. With Andre now gone for the next several months, Hogan needed some new TV and house show rivals. The match and angle with Harley Race was a hell of a good one and the following month Texas Death Match is one of the better Hogan non-PPV title defenses. Not surprisingly, the two tag matches were positive additions to the show. If I'm not mistaken, the Harts/Bulldog feud would just about be over after this night. Although their match on this show is good, their SNME match was even better. It's on the Best of SNME DVD if you haven't seen it yet. The most appealing aspect of the show was being able to enjoy the Honky/Patera match. It baffles me how much fun those two can create against each other when you have Jake Roberts in the role of a manager. With the exception of the JTTS vs JTTS matches, everything else delivered.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Sam Houston Arena
    Dec 10, 1987


    Your commentators are the amazing team of Bruce Prichard, Mike McGuirk (The female ring announcer), and The Duke of Dorchester - Pete Doherty. Has there ever been a weaker commentating team in WWE history? Although, I'll admit that the Duke is fun in a wacky sort of way.

    Sam Houston vs Dusty Wolfe
    Do you know how you can tell that Houston sucked? Here he is, wrestling in the arena that is named after him and he's still jerking the curtain. You never saw the great Madison Square in the opening match of MSG! Like always, Houston bores me to tears with his arm drags and arm bars. It's not even that he comes off like he's working over a body part. Instead, I honestly get the impression that he only knows those two moves! The one thing that Houston did do that I loved was his Austin Aries-like escapes from Wolfe's head scissors. You didn't really see wrestlers in the WWE work out such a strategy to escape from that move back then. Wolfe's a competent heel though. Not great, but he does his role well enough that he gets the intended response out of me. After a Houston botch late in the match, Houston wins the match with his finisher, the bulldog. Which brings up another annoyance with Houston. If his move is the bulldog, why does he always work over his opponent's arm? Houston really sucks. 3/4 *


    Sam Houston: Wrestling Superstar.

    Hercules vs The Junkyard Dog
    The battle of the chains~! Just to show how cheesy I can be, this is sorta a dream match for me. Oh sure, the match wasn't good and I wasn't expecting it to be, but it's a match between the top babyface with a chain vs the top heel with a chain! Alas, they didn't go with the obvious finish of Hercules using his chain to beat JYD. Most of the match is slow going as Hercules keeps being thwarted by JYD's headbutts. The most creative one being when JYD was losing a test of strength, so he headbutted Herc's knee. JYD actually had a little intelligence! Hercules picked up the win when JYD charged at him in the corner, but Hercules got a knee lift to JYD's sternum. With his feet on the ropes, Hercules gets the three count. Not good, but not offensively bad like the first match. * 1/4

    Demolition w/Mr. Fuji vs Billy Jack Haynes and Brady Boone w/Ken Patera
    In storyline, Boone and Haynes are cousins (Which was started back in Portland) due to how similar they look. Demolition had attempted to injure Boone, so Haynes and Patera made the save. Now that Patera is hurt (I want to say by a member of the Heenan Family?), Haynes is stuck teaming with his little cousin. Personally, I'm glad he is because Boone was the best part of the match. Boone was such an underrated talent and it's just a shame he came into the WWE a decade too early. Most of the match is just Demolition slowly working over a member of the Portland cousins before the other face is tagged in to have a similar fate. Not exactly exciting. Fuji gets in his one big spot of the match when he nailed Haynes with his cane and when Boone came over to help his big cousin, Fuji gave him a shot too. Yet another botched finish as the top rope appeared to be slippery as Boone couldn't get his footing. As Smash tries to press him off of the top rope, Smash just falls on his back with Boone landing on him with his head landing hard on the mat. Smash picked up the win with a hotshot. Once again, not good, but still better than the previous two match. * 1/2

    Rick Rude vs Paul Orndorff
    Rude's first WWE feud. So after Rude joined the WWE, he quickly joined forces with Bobby Heenan. Heenan began talking up Rude as having the best body in the WWE. This didn't sit well with fellow Heenan Family member, Paul Orndorff. Orndorff finally had enough and turned face and dumped Heenan for a second time. Tonight, Orndorff's pissed and he assaults Rude from the bell and throughout the match. We're talking a fast pace attack, brawling on the outside and choking Rude with some wires. All of this portion of the match is really entertaining. Rude's sole time on offense was spent with a boring nerve hold. I'll admit, even if it's dull, it makes sense. Orndorff had been on a roll and Rude desperately needed to slow Orndorff down. The nerve hold accomplished just that. Once Orndorff recovered, it's back to brawling on the outside. Orndorff attempted a sunset flip from the apron into the ring, but Rude dropped to his knees and stole a pinfall while holding the middle ropes. Rude wasn't the better man, so he had to lower himself to trying to win by any means. Great story. Probably Rude's first good match in the WWE. I'll admit, I'm surprised it was with Mr. Wonderful. ***

    One Man Gang w/Slick vs Brutus Beefcake
    On paper, this looked horrible. Yet, maybe it's because I've already seen a Sam Houston match, but I found myself pleasantly surprised at the harmlessness of the match. OMG took a giant bump off of a simple punch that nearly caused me to forget all of my negative feelings for the guy. Seriously, you just don't expect a man the size of Gang to jump up for a punch bump. The rest of the match is just Gang working over Beefcake's knee before Brutus made a comeback. Beefcake's comeback is short lived when Slick grabs his leg in order to distract him from a Gang attack. OMG picked up the win following an elbow drop. For a Gang/Akeem, this is a 5 star match. **

    After the match, One Man Gang tries to cut some of Beefcake's hair, but Brutus makes his own comeback to save his hair.

    Strike Force (c) vs The Hart Foundation - WWE Tag Titles
    It's been a month since Rick Martel forced Jim Neidhart to submit to the Boston Crab to win the tag titles for Strike Force. Excellent match with the first half being all Strike Force working over the arm of Bret Hart. Unlike that lousy Sam Houston, both Martel and Santana used a variety of arm holds to keep things interesting and not making it seem as if that's all they knew. Variety is the spice of life. Everything built up to Santana nailing the Flying Forearm on Bret, but Neidhart broke up the fall. That led to Bret getting the tag to The Anvil and poor Santana was forced to play the face-in-peril for the nearly the rest of the match. Great stuff with the Harts blocking a Strike Force hot tag time after time. One such moment came after a double down. Neidhart came in the ring to draw Martel in too. Rather than pull Bret to his corner, The Anvil instead threw Bret on Tito to try and get the pinfall. It may not sound like much, but it's a different sort of tactic that helps engage the viewer. Finally, the Hart's cheating backfires as Tito moves out of a Bret dropkick, resulting in Neidhart being dropkicked out of the ring. A hot tag causes the fans and myself to cheer on Martel before he puts Bret into the Boston Crab. Neidhart attempts to cheat by bringing in a belt to hit Martel (The ref was distracted by Tito as Santana knew what Anvil was doing), but Santana manages to turn the ref in time to see the strike. Strike Force wins by DQ. I would have preferred a clean finish, but this was great. *** 3/4

    The Ultimate Warrior vs Iron Mike Sharpe
    Warrior had only debuted on TV a few weeks ago. Warrior's look was still a work in progress. The hair is a little too normal and he doesn't have any color with the ring gear. This was just an extended squash with Sharpe only getting in a little offense near the end with a few clobbering blows. Warrior ends up winning following the press slam. I suppose it had some interest in terms of a non finished Warrior character. SQUASH.

    Ricky Steamboat vs Outlaw Ron Bass
    A fresh looking match for Steamer. Steamboat looked good early on in using speed and his agility to easy stay a step ahead of Bass. Once the Outlaw took over, the match became pretty dull. If you've never seen Ron Bass wrestle, he's a boring version of Stan Hansen. Eventually, Steamboat made his comeback with a top rope karate chop. Steamboat won with a running crossbody. Man, couldn't Steamboat have at least done a top rope crossbody? Steamboat made this marginally interesting. ** 1/4

    Greg Valentine vs Ken Johnson
    Johnson doesn't even have a good look for a jobber. He looks like a dad that won a radio call in contest to wrestle at the Coliseum. Fun fact: Ken Johnson is the real name for Slick. Short squash with Valentine always in control. Near the end of the match, Valentine screamed "Where's Beefcake?" Valentine won with a Figure Four. If Warrior/Sharpe was a house show squash, this was your average TV squash. SQUASH.

    Hulk Hogan (c) vs Ted DiBiase w/Virgil and Andre the Giant - WWE World Title
    Despite feuding with each other for awhile, it seems like DiBiase and Hogan never wrestled each other in singles matches. It never happened on PPV, SNME, MSG (Not counting their '79 match) or any of the weekly shows. Really weird. This was a stereotypical house show match with a heavier emphasis on letting the fans have fun that to put on a competitive match. Hogan humiliated and easily dominated all three men in the early going. After Hogan started a sequence of walking on the back of DiBiase, Andre grabbed Hogan's ankle, the next time Hogan hit his side of the ropes. The referee stopped the match, ordered Andre to return to the back and fined the poor guy $2,000. Jesus, that's strict. Once the match was restarted, DiBiase jumped Hogan, but the heat sequence just set-up Hogan's infamous comeback. The only difference is that Virgil tried to interfere, so Hogan used his head to sucker DiBiase into accidentally kneeing Virgil off of the apron and then pinning DiBiase with a roll-up. Fun for the rarity of seeing Hogan vs DiBiase, but that's about it. **

    Overall
    The WWE at the Sam Houston Coliseum is an interesting history. They had only begun running shows there in May 1987. After nine shows, they randomly stopped. In fact, this was the last show. So, why did they stop? The WWE just couldn't fill this small arena up. Minus the Paul Boesch Retirement Show that drew a sell out of 12,000 fans, every other show had lousy draws. Here you have an A show with Hulk Hogan and the tag team champions, yet they only drew 2,000 fans. That's pretty pathetic (Almost as pathetic as Sam Houston's wrestling ability). It is worth mentioning that WWE's favorite Houston arena, the Summit had only one show in 1987, before the WWE returned full time in 1988. So it's possible the Sam Houston Coliseum was merely used to bring the WWE to Houston while the Summit did whatever it did to prevent them from running WWE shows. The lackluster history with the Sam Houston Coliseum nicely sums up the show. Most of the show feels very skippable with only the Hart Foundation vs Strike Force and maybe Rick Rude vs Paul Orndorff worth being watched. I don't mind watching lousy house shows, but I want them to at least feel special. This didn't even do that.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    I think I enjoy the gifs in this thread more than anything else if I'm being honest.


    The EC: Good for Business.

    =======================================================
    ~~||*
    CLICK TO CHECK OUT THE WWF 2001: THE ICON INVADES BTB *||~~​
    ~~||* CLICK TO CHECK OUT THE WWE MMVI: THEN. NOW. FOREVER BTB *||~~
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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Quote Originally Posted by The EC View Post
    I think I enjoy the gifs in this thread more than anything else if I'm being honest.
    I'm not sure if I should say "Thank-you" or "Fuck you, pal!"

  17. #57
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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    It's the highest form of praise, I assure you.


    The EC: Good for Business.

    =======================================================
    ~~||*
    CLICK TO CHECK OUT THE WWF 2001: THE ICON INVADES BTB *||~~​
    ~~||* CLICK TO CHECK OUT THE WWE MMVI: THEN. NOW. FOREVER BTB *||~~
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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Quote Originally Posted by The EC View Post
    It's the highest form of praise, I assure you.
    Eh, I'll settle with a flaming bag of poo on your steps along with a box of chocolates.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Madison Square Garden
    October 16, 1987


    Outback Jack vs Jose Estrada
    Outback Jack may have had little talent, but he had a catchy theme song if you don't a little cheesiness. And really, who doesn't love teh cheese factor? Jack's most used offensive move was pulling up his pants. You're already wearing a belt, why can't you keep your britches up?! Other popular (And by popular, I mean virtually all Jack does) moves are punches and a headlock. Outback Jack is really not any good. Jose Estrada, on the other hand, has a really good look for a JTTS. He looks like a real superstar, which sets him apart from the majority of the jobbers. If that isn't enough, Estrada a decent heel to boot. So yeah, Jack controlled the first half with his onslaught of pulling up his pants and punches~! Eventually, Estrada took over and things improved. It doesn't matter though as Jack and his pulling up his pants powers finishes Estrada off with a power slam for the victory. What gives? New York isn't good enough to see the Boomerang finisher?! * 1/2


    Before the next match, Bobby Heenan gets on the house mic to announce the WWE commentating debut of Nick Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel had only been AWA Heavyweight Champion five months prior to this. Bockwinkel joins Monsoon for commentary while Heenan returns to the back.

    The Killer Bees vs The New Dream Team w/Johnny V
    Bockwinkel was an unusual heel commentator. The big difference between the Bock and others is that he was a calm and rational heel. Rather than making outrageous claims, Bockwinkel would just argue with Monsoon after Monsoon is bias towards the faces. On to the match, Brunzell played the face-in-peril for awhile. Bravo and Valentine didn't cheat much, but they did distract the referee so he'd miss a Killer Bees hot tag. So rather than keep building up for the hot tag, the Killer Bees opted to just hide under the ring to put on their masks. With the referee unsure of who's who, Blair enters the ring and easily takes over. The Bees switch another two times illegally before Blair picks up the win with a top rope sunset flip. For a babyface team that cheated a lot, the Bees sure didn't find much success in the WWE. This wasn't too bad with the appeal of listening to Bockwinkel's first WWE gig while enjoying the Killer Bee's cheating ways. ** 1/4

    Ivan Putski vs Iron Mike Sharpe
    Putski had just returned to the WWE in September after being gone since January 1986. This was mostly just an extended squash. First half saw a lot of spots designed to put Putski over by humiliating Sharpe. In a fun spot I've never seen before, Putski managed to block a Sharpe full nelson. Instead of just pulling Sharpe's arms down and moving away, Putski brought Sharpe's arms down and then Putski locked his hands together. The result is Sharpe being stuck by his wrists. Sharpe even wails "I can't get out!" Sharpe briefly made a comeback by hotshotting Putski. Putski recovered quickly and ended up beating Sharpe with the Polish Hammer. Fun return for Putski although it'd be short lived. Putski would once again leave the WWE before the end of November. The Polish Hammer wouldn't work another WWE match until 1997. SQUASH.

    Rick Rude w/Bobby Heenan vs Paul Orndorff /Sir Oliver Humperdink
    The Heenan/Humperdink issue had been going on ever since the debuting Bam Bam Bigelow turned down Bobby Heenan and signed Humperdink as his manager. After that, Orndorff turned on Heenan and then signed with Humperdink as well. Prior to the match, Orndorff challenged Rude to a pose down. Really boring stuff and fairly illogical as even though Rude doesn't have much build, he has major defination. Meanwhile, Orndorff has one arm bigger than the other. The fans vote Orndorff as the obvious the winner. On to the match and it doesn't get much more exciting. It's mostly back-and-forth without anything doing much for me. The chaotic finish begins with Orndorff punching Heenan off of the apron. Nick Bockwinkel went and checked on his former manager, but Humperdink ends up holding Heenan for a second Orndorff punch. As Rude re-enters the ring after brawling with Orndorff, the referee doesn't see Heenan nail Orndorff with a chair. Rude wins by count-out. After the unprovoked attack, I'd say Orndorff deserved being screwed. You know, the more I watch of Mr. Wonderful, the less impressed I am. By this point, I'm not sure if I'd even consider him to be good. Not entirely dull of a match, but not interesting either. * 3/4

    Don Muraco vs Sika w/Mr. Fuji
    Muraco had turned face back in August after having a falling out with partner, Bob Orton(Along with manager, Mr. Fuji). With Muraco lined up against Fuji's Sika, this is sorta part of the Orton/Muraco feud. A simple back-and-forth match with Sika using his giant feet against Muraco. For Muraco, he hasn't completely allowed his workrate to go in the garbage as he would in '88, so it was surprisingly better than I would have expected. Sika is pinned following a top rope knee in his face by The Rock. **

    Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth vs Killer Khan w/Mr. Fuji
    A late '87 Savage match without Honky Tonk Man. I'm in heaven! Killer Khan is a really fun wrestler. He has the unusual monster style that Kamala and Sika had (Both were actually managed by Fuji too), but there was some real skill behind him too. Unlike in the previous match, Fuji actually got involved several times in the match. The first set of cane shots behind the ref's back allowed Khan to go on the offense for the first time since his Pearl Harbor attempt failed. Khan's problem though is that he's easily distracted. It was wasting time by taunting Miss Elizabeth that allowed Savage to regain control. However, once again Fuji got involved as Savage went after him, allowing Khan to hit him from behind. The fun finish began with Khan attempting to spray green mist in Savage's eyes, but Savage caught it in his taped up hands. After smearing the mist in Khan's eyes, Savage manages to get the win following the flying elbow smash. Practically the same finish as the Hogan/Khan match, but it's still a great finish. Savage knows how to get the best out of his opponents, Fuji was a devious bastard and I love what little Khan I've seen. Sadly, Khan would retire from wrestling a couple of months later. Best match of the night. ***

    Superstar Billy Graham vs Butch Reed - Steel Cage Match
    So these two had been feuding ever since Graham returned after a surgery. I'll be perfectly honest, I thought this was going to suck HARD. Graham's about as mobile as Hulk Hogan in the 2000's. It's not as if Butch Reed ever did anything for me either. Instead, I was treated to a great little heated brawl inside of a cage. Butch Reed did a fine job at carrying Graham. Attacking Graham as he was entering the cage, Butch got in some good heel heat by choking Graham with his own bandana before tying the bandana to the cage. Later on, Reed focuses on the surgically repaired hip. Later still, Reed stoops as far to pull out a pair of brass knuckles, but keeps missing the Superstars. That's when the barely capable to walk Graham made his comeback by stealing the brass knuckles and knocking Reed out before Graham walked out of the cage door. So much better than it had any right to be. I'm a sucker for matches where it just looks like a knockout fight with one guy just trying to survive. Easily Butch Reed's best WWE match. *** 1/4

    Billy Jack Haynes vs Nikolai Volkoff
    Yeah, I'm really not looking forward to this. We just had the main event of the night and then we have one more match after this (Which I'm really looking forward to). So placing a Billy Jack Haynes match in this position isn't the wisest thing. As expected, they have an unremarkable short match after Haynes attacks Volkoff during his singing of the Russian nation anthem. Volkoff thought he won with his feet on the bottom rope, but the referee caught it. While arguing with the referee, Volkoff is poorly rolled up by Haynes to lose the match. At least they kept it short. * 3/4

    Before the final match, The Fink announces the scheduled matches for the next WWE event at Madison Square Garden. On November 24, 1987, you will see:

    - Jake Roberts vs Danny Davis
    - Ted DiBiase (MSG "Debut") vs Ivan Putski
    - Jumping Bomb Angels (Return from Japan) vs The Glamour Girls
    - King Kong Bundy vs Bam Bam Bigelow (MSG debut)
    - Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov (MSG debut) vs The Killer Bees
    - Cowboy Bob Orton vs The Ultimate Warrior (MSG debut)
    - Rick Rude vs Paul Orndorff
    - Honky Tonk Man (c) vs Randy Savage - WWE IC Title

    Eh, not the best looking B show ever. Although, the Jumping Bomb Angels vs Glamour Girls is a really good match.

    Strike Force vs The Islanders - 2 out of 3 Falls
    Oh yeah. These two teams have been feuding ever since the Islanders scared Tom Zenk enough to make him leave the company. The first fall was all Strike Force. Great stuff with a fast pace. Santana hit one of the most effective looking Lou Thesz Presses I've ever seen. After Tama breaks up a Figure Four, Haku threw Santana to the outside, injuring Santana's knee. A lot more knee work follows before Santana loses the first fall following a double running headbutt by the Islanders. During the rest between falls, the Islanders are like a pack of dogs circling Santana while Martel has to stand over his partner. The second fall is really short with Martel giving the Islanders a piece of their own medicine by reversing a Tama inside cradle while the referee is busy with Haku. Santana scores the pinfall with the unbreakable reversed small package. Once again, The Islanders act like a pact of dogs looking to get in a couple of cheap shots while Santana can't even stand up during the rest period. Third fall finally sees the hot tag to Martel after moving out of the way of the Islanders' double running headbutt (Psychology~!) is missed on Santana. Martel is a house of fury and every other cliche line you can think of for a babyface. Martel ducked out of the way from a Tama running knee strike, which inadvertently hits Haku, sending him from the apron to the floor. Martel rolled Tama up to score the third fall to win the match. The fact that not every second half of '87, first half of '88 show had an Islanders/Strike Force match is a disappointment. They had some great chemistry together as shown by this match. You have plenty of Santana face-in-peril work by Santana and a hot finish with Martel. Match of the night by far. Strike Force may have not lasted long together, but they were a huge asset to the WWE tag division. *** 3/4


    Overall
    Quite an unusual B show. Typically, the B show was always main evented with an IC Title match. Instead, this show doesn't see any champions and has a main event of Billy Graham vs Butch Reed. Normally, a show without any champions would be considered a C show, but there's far too many stars on here for that to be true. Being curious, I decided to check out the attendance numbers for the show, to see if the lack of champions affected it's numbers or if Graham was enough of a draw to keep them up. As it turns out, they had a sell out of over 19k fans. Meanwhile, the next MSG B show (Honky defending the IC title) drew 2k less fans. The last MSG show with a Hogan title defense (June vs Harley Race) only drew 14k. Color me surprise, Graham was a draw! Despite a weak start, the show found it's groove in the second half. As expected, both Strike Force vs Islanders and Savage vs Khan were both good. The biggest surprise (Other than the attendance numbers) was how much I enjoyed the Reed/Graham cage match. You even get a little bit of historic significance with the WWE debut of Nick Bockwinkel. It may have taken some time, but the October MSG show ended up being rather fun. If you want to watch the show, skip the first half and just enjoy the quality second half.
    Last edited by Jim; 06-16-2013 at 03:24 PM.

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    Re: Going to the matches - Reviewing WWF House Shows

    Another great review. I have one question. Where I can find all these old WWE house shows?

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