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WWF At Boston Garden
January 9, 1988

by Scrooge McSuck

Strike Force

Presented on NESN on a date that may or may not have been January 9th (likely not), it's the World Wrestling Federation. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted.

"Special Delivery" Jones vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:

Yay, haven't seen enough of this combination ranging from all years between 1984 and 1990 (yes, even in 1990 these two did prelim house show matches!). Sharpe doesn't waste time hiding on the apron to avoid contact. Sharpe goes to the eyes, but Jones fights him off and sends him back out of the ring with an arm drag. Monsoon vaguely talks about Sharpe being locked in the building overnight before (Sharpe suffered from OCD and stayed in the shower for so long people forgot he was there and locked him in). Back inside, Jones avoids a dropkick (I'm not making that up) and drops a leg across the midsection. Monsoon claims wrestlers who walk out don't receive any of the purse money, the winner gets the losers share, too. Jones rocks Sharpe with a headbutt and traps him in the ropes. Sharpe finally frees himself and clobbers Jones with the leather brace on his right wrist. Whip to the ropes, Jones catches a boot and kicks Sharpe questionably low. Sharpe escapes a standing toe hold and pounds away. Is it normal for a man to grunt for so long, uninterrupted? Whip and Sharpe with an elbow for two. Jones no-sells being rammed to the turnbuckle and throws left hands. Monsoon calls attention to a scar on Jones' back and wonders if he was in Vietnam (Heenan says a normal night in Antigua). Jones with a slam for two. Jones with left hands in the corner and a blatant choke. Sharpe digs into the tights, loads the brace, and KO's Jones for three at 8:34. How cold is a cucumber, and is it a good thing to be colder than that? Just your basic prelim stuff. The commentary was more interesting than the action. *1/2

The British Bulldogs vs. The Conquistadors:

I love the Conquistadors hometown of "Somewhere in Latin America." The Bulldogs were in the thick of the "Matilda has been dognapped" storyline that helped the WWF build a mailing list through tricking fans into sending a dog "get well" cards. Davey Boy and Dynamite Kid have words for Heenan, sending him away from ringside. That was a short night for Heenan at the commentary table. Davey Boy starts with the shorter Conquistador, so call him #2. Lockup and they jockey for position. Smith does his usual rolling to counter a wrist-lock and catches the Conquistador off the ropes, throwing him onto his partner with a press slam. Back inside, Dynamite with a series of snap arm drags to clear the ring again. Dynamite with a snap suplex on Conquistador #1. Davey Boy snap mares him out of the corner and grabs a chin-lock. Whip and Davey Boy with a cross body press but Conquistador #2 saves. The Conquistadors take control in their corner. Dos with a snap mare and forearms. Whip to the ropes and Uno with a back body-drop. He covers after a fist drop but Davey Boy presses him high up in the air to break. Smith with a sunset flip on Dos, but the advantage remains on the side of the Conquistadors. Uno with a slam but misses the elbow drop. Dynamite in with a hooking clothesline, followed by a slam and headbutt from the second rope. Whip and Dynamite grabs a sleeper, but Dos saves. Both men to their feet and Dynamite with an inside cradle, again broken up. Dynamite gets dumped and worked over on the outside by Dos. Back inside, Dos with a back breaker for two. Like Davey Boy, Dynamite kicks out with vigor. Snap mare into another cover, with the same result. Uno tries his luck and doesn't fare much better. Dos grabs an abdominal stretch, and yes, he has help for some illegal leverage. The Conquistadors switch off without the referee realizing it. Dynamite fights out of a camel clutch. Davey Boy makes the save from a sleeper, but the Conquistadors switch again. Dynamite teases a comeback but can't get Dos up for a slam. Dynamite with another comeback, finally tagging in Davey Boy. H sends Uno to the ropes and takes him over with a back body-drop. Slams to both Conquistadors, followed by a clothesline on Uno for two. Davey Boy with the delayed vertical suplex for two. Piledriver and he pulls Uno off the canvas. He plants Uno with the Running Powerslam, but Dos saves. Dos gets dumped and Davey Boy press drops Dynamite onto Uno with a headbutt for three at 13:57. Good match, but it went a little long and didn't have much heat with the Conquistadors being bottom of the barrel guys. ***

Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase (w/ Virgil):

This seems out of left field, but Dibiase's opponents didn't have a traditional pattern his first few months in action. I remember seeing clips of this on the Acclaim VCR WrestleMania game and immediately sought out the show (this one) that it came from to see the whole thing. Heenan returns to ringside, so that's good news. Lockup into the ropes, Dibiase gives a clean break and complains about Roberts' clenched fist. Lockup again and Roberts blocks two attempts at a cheap shot. Roberts goes to work on the arm. Dibiase counters with a handful of hair, then Roberts returns the favor. Roberts slips out of a slam and sends Dibiase out of the ring following a flurry of jabs and a right hook. Back inside, Dibiase convinces Roberts to accept a test-of-strength. Dibiase wins, surprisingly clean. Roberts rallies, only for Dibiase to boot him in the midsection. Again, Roberts retaliates, but is unable to hit the DDT. Dibiase fights out of a wrist-lock but is caught with a knee lift. Roberts teases the DDT again, and for the second time, Dibiase slides out of the ring to avoid it. Roberts follows him out and gives Dibiase and Virgil a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. Virgil creates a distraction, allowing Dibiase to hit Roberts rolling into the ring with his signature fist drop. Dibiase with a blatant choke and flying elbow for a two-count. Whip to the ropes and Dibiase with a clothesline. We slow things down with a long chin-lock. Roberts drives a shoulder to the midsection and goes for the bag. Dibiase cuts off whatever Roberts' intention was, only to get nailed with a jaw breaker. Roberts fights out of the corner with rights and lefts. He lands the short-arm clothesline and signals for the DDT. Virgil goes for the bag, drawing Roberts' attention. Dibiase tackles Roberts into the corner, rolls him up, and hooks the tights for three at 10:56. Post-match, Roberts traps Dibiase's arms in the ropes and teases giving him the Damian Treatment™ but Virgil takes the bullet, buying Dibiase time to escape his prison and flee. Good for what it was. **1/2

Jerry Allen vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin):

You'd think this is surprisingly one-sided, but Bravo just recently ended his affiliation with Greg Valentine and is in the early stages of his newfound singles push, so it's logical to start with someone lower on the depth chart. Lockup and Bravo shoves Allen into the ropes. Allen grabs a side headlock but can't do anything with a shoulder tackle. Monsoon grills Heenan on the whereabouts of Matilda, sending Heenan away from ringside, again. Allen with a dropkick, but a back body-drop is countered. Bravo works Allen over in the corner as Monsoon hypes Bravo's upcoming attempts to break the world bench-press record. Bravo with a slam and elbow drop for two. Allen fights out of a chin-lock, but the comeback is short-lived. Bravo with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a back suplex for two. Bravo with a gut-wrench suplex, but he misses an elbow drop. Allen with a cross body press for two. Bravo nails him with a boot in the corner and finishes with the side slam at 3:38. Just a quick showcase for Bravo. *

WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan):

It wasn't often you'd see Hogan vs. Rude. In fact, this might be the only televised one-on-one match between the two. Rumor has it that Hogan wouldn't work a program with Rude because he wasn't a giant and his physique (at least from the waist up) was arguably better. Jimmy Hart is calling the action in Heenan's place. Heenan gets on the microphone to bark at Hogan that Rude is the International Arm Wrestling Champion and challenges Hogan to give him a run for his money. Lockup and Rude shoves Hogan into the corner. Rude challenges him again. Hogan accepts, and they lay down on the canvas to get in position for this impromptu Arm-Wrestling Challenge. They follow through on the left-handed grapple. Hogan starts Hulking Up and slams Rude's wrist back not once, not twice, but THRICE. Lockup and Hogan with a hard throw into the corner. He unloads with right hands and slams Rude face-first into the turnbuckle. Hogan with an atomic drop, sending Rude over and out, then for bonus points, takes a shot at Heenan on the apron. Back inside, Hogan pounds away with more right hands and goes to work on the left arm. Rude counters and grabs the hair to bring Hogan to the canvas. Hogan fights to his feet and blatantly pulls the hair. He takes Rude over with a suplex but misses an elbow drop. Heenan picks at the leg, drawing Hogan out of the ring. Rude cuts him off re-entering the ring with a pair of elbows. Rude follows Hogan to the floor and whacks him with a wooden chair (referee distracted) but Hogan gets a foot on the ropes at two. Hogan fights out of a chin-lock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Rude cuts him off on the ropes with a boot and hoists Hogan over his shoulder into the back breaker! Rude releases the hold despite no signal from the referee. Rude goes to the top rope and hits a flying fist drop. Hogan kicks out and HULK UP TIME™. Hogan with rights and a clothesline into the corner. He plants Rude with a slam and comes off the ropes with the leg drop for three at 11:43. Post-match, Virgil grabs Hogan in a Full Nelson for Dibiase to whack him with the belt. Hogan fights them off, only briefly, and gets clobbered with his own WWF Championship, busting him open. To add insult to injury, Dibiase drops dollar bills across the Champion's body. Match was fine, but Rude was still relying heavily on long rest spots that cool things down too much. **1/2

WWF Women's Tag Team Championship Match: The Glamour Girls (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels:

One of the hundred matches these two teams had over an 8-month stretch, and all of the ones I've seen have been good, so I expect this to follow suit. I'm surprised the Glamour Girls have entrance music, and it's not some stock music that was used over and over like "Crank it Up." Judy Martin and Itsuki Yamazaki start. Martin wastes no time putting the boots to Yamazaki. Whip and Martin with an awkward clothesline. Yamazaki tries to put up a boot in the corner but gets swept out. Whip and Yamazaki comes back with a dropkick and hair mare. Noriyo Tateno in with boots and a front face-lock. Leilani Kai in with a hip toss and boot to the chest for two. They lockup for a test-of-strength and Kai puts Tateno down to gain control. Tateno rolls through and reverses the pressure. Whip to the ropes and Tateno with a high knee, followed by a dropkick. Martin reluctantly tags in and gets caught in a head-scissors. Yamazaki with a rolling takeover into a cross arm bar. Yamazaki with a flying wrist-lock, unfortunately sending Martin into her corner and allowing Kai to tag in. Yamazaki escapes a press slam and hooks an Octopus Stretch. Martin tries to save and gets caught in the same hold by Tateno. Yamazaki with a delayed slam and Tateno comes off the top with a flying knee drop for two. The Bomb Angels take turns working over the leg if Leilani. Martin tries to save Kai again but gets dropped on her face. Yamazaki with an enzuigiri and a modified suplex for two. Whip and Kai users her modest size advantage to bulldoze Yamazaki on the rebound. Martin cuts off Tateno coming in and throws her with a handful of hair. Kai with a dropkick for two. Kai tries doing something near the ropes but Tateno slams her down. Martin with a distraction to prevent the tag. Tateno avoids a sandwich avalanche and Yamazaki comes in, dropping both Kai and Martin on their rears. Whip and a diving forearm followed by a dropkick for two. Yamazaki with a hair mare and missile dropkick. She throws Kai in by the hair, plants her with a slam, and nails her off the ropes with an elbow for two. Butterfly suplex into a bridge, but the shoulder is up. Whip is reversed and Martin yanks Yamazaki by the hair. Martin comes in behind the referee's back, hits a gourd buster (forward suplex), and Kai covers to retain at 10:57. HIGHWAY ROBBERY. Non-stop action, but a few sloppy spots. I don't think it's possible for these four women to have a bad match together at this point. ***

Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart):

The Dream Team EXPLODES! There was a physical altercation on the syndicated shows to give some fire to their house show program. Beefcake taunts Hart with a mini-foam-replica megaphone, so that must be new merchandise the WWF is forcing people to promote. Heenan is back on commentary. Beefcake gets on the microphone, cutting his promo through the foam megaphone. WHAT A GOOF. At first, I thought he was screaming "Attica!" like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, but he's saying "haircut." Beefcake wins an opening slugfest and sends Valentine into the turnbuckle. Beefcake blocks a boot and connects with an atomic drop. Valentine sweeps the legs and grabs a blatant choke. They trade blows and there's not much heat to this one. Monsoon tells us the story of Valentine ending Jay Strongbow's career as nothing happens and the crowd sits on their hands. Valentine takes control and drops a headbutt across the midsection. He signals for the Figure-Four but Valentine boots hm away. Beefcake charges into the corner with an elbow, giving Valentine an excuse to do his timber bump. Beefcake unloads with a flurry of right hands and signals for the sleeper. Valentine reverses a whip but misses a charge to the corner. Beefcake hooks the sleeper hold, but Valentine is alert enough to make a move, only for it to backfire. They take it to the floor, with Beefcake throwing more punches. Hart strikes Beefcake, IN CLEAR VIEW OF THE REFEREE, but the referee still counts Beefcake out at 8:04. Post-match, Valentine continues to put the boots to Beefcake and tease giving him a haircut, but Beefcake blocks the attempt and clears the ring. Match was underwhelming with a weak finish thanks to poor positioning of the spot. *1/4

WWF Tag Team Championship Match: Strike Force (c) vs. The Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart):

Tito Santana and Rick Martel won the belts from the Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) in November, so it makes sense to run the loop for a few months with rematches. This may surprise some, but "Girls in Cars" doesn't pop the audience (let the record show I do enjoy the song and instrumental, so pox on them). Martel and Bret(t) start. At this point, Hart's name wasn't listed regularly, so who knows when they decided to drop one of the "t's". Lockup into the corner and Bret with a forearm across the chest. He puts the boots to "Lucky Pierre" and sends him across the ring. Martel leaps over a charge and sends Bret to the outside following an arm drag. Back inside, Martel works the arm. Heenan gloats that Dibiase paid him so well for Andre's contract that he'll never have to step in the ring again… FORESHADOWING. Whip and Strike Force with a double fist to the midsection. Santana with a big slam and back to the arm bar. Bret fights free and tags in Neidhart, who is immediately hit with a cross body press for two. Whip and Bret pulls the ropes down on Martel, causing him to go tumbling to the parquet floor. Back inside, Neidhart with a knee across the throat. The Foundation take turns choking Martel in the corner, drawing Santana in to distract the referee for some double-team efforts. Martel nails Bret with a forearm from out of nowhere, but the comeback is cut short with an inverted atomic drop. Whip to the corner and Neidhart meets the boots charging in. Hart whips Neidhart into Martel with a shoulder tackle, but Santana saves from the pin attempt. Bret cuts off a sunset flip attempt and pounds away with rights. He comes off the ropes with an elbow drop for two. People today would freak out at Heenan constantly calling Santana and Martel "La Bamba" and "Lucky Pierre." Whip to the ropes and Bret and Martel bop heads for a double-down. Neidhart rolls Bret on top of Martel for a near-fall. The referee missed that and a hot tag to Tito. Martel avoids Bret being whipped into the corner and dumps Neidhart over the top rope. Santana finally gets the hot tag and runs wild with right hands and slams. Whip and the flying forearm on Bret but Neidhart saves. Santana hooks the Figure-Four but Neidhart whacks him with the megaphone for the Disqualification at 12:37. Good but unspectacular match with another weak finish. **3/4

Final Thoughts: A pleasantly surprising card, with solid work up and down the card, and the weak matches kept reasonably short. Some of the finishes were better than others, but the era was built on rematches and needing to protect the stars in the first (and sometimes second) encounters. Hogan/Rude, the Glamour Girls/Bomb Angels, Roberts/Dibiase, Strike Force/Foundation, and even the Bulldogs/Conquistadors are worth checking out, making this an easy show to recommend.

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