WWF at the Meadowlands Arena - September 11, 1988
by erick von erich
Originally broadcast on the MSG Network, this card is typical of the WWF's touring houseshows of the period. However, unlike going to a LIVE show, this broadcast has an added bonus with the commentary team of Sean Mooney, Lord Alfred Hayes and "Superstar" Billy Graham (NOT the Christian evangelist, but just as worthless)! As the show opens, all three guys pump up the card and the presence of Hulk Hogan. This was about two weeks after the inaugural SummerSlam, so Hogan's return was still big news.
Match 1: "Jumping" Jim Brunzell vs. "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig
Hennig's still a newcomer at this point, with all the heat of a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. Brunzell's ditched his Killer Bees get-up, wearing plain sneakers and tie-dyed tights. Mooney asks if Brunzell received the tie-dyes from Graham, but Graham rebuts: "no way brother! Mine are MORE RAD!" Brunzell starts off with a head scissors and takes Hennig down to work a hammerlock. Brunzell concentrates on Hennig's right leg as both guys trade holds and work the mat for a long time. Viva la AWA! Hennig even takes over with the AWA Eye-Poke! The match is mostly punchy-kicky. Hennig hasn't mastered his "Mr. Perfect" move-set just yet, but he does manage to over-sell a Brunzell punch with a flip. Brunzell makes a big comeback and nails a nice drop-kick, a monkey-flip and an atomic drop. Brunzell whips Hennig for another dropkick and covers him. Hennig has his foot on the ropes and for second, it looks like Brunzell has won. Brunzell irish-whips him, but Hennig reverses, catches him off the ropes with a scoop-slam and gets the pin.
Unscheduled, Bad News Brown comes to the ring. He runs down Hulk Hogan and says he'll beat him just like the 49ers did the Giants.
Match 2: Don "The Rock" Muraco vs. Greg "The Hammer Valentine"
The big grudge match that had toured since June '88, when Valentine took out Muraco's manager and mentor, "Superstar" Billy Graham. Muraco beats the tar out of Valentine for a good five minutes, while Superstar taunts Valentine from the broadcast table. Superstar rambles on, but it sounds like he's saying that Hulk Hogan will be presenting Muraco with 1988's "Real American Award". THAT angle went nowhere. Muraco gets a back-breaker and follows it up with a Boston crab, but Valentine grabs the ropes. For good measure, Muraco catapults Valentine's neck under the bottom rope. Valentine takes over and nails an elbowsmash off the top rope. They go Beyond the Ring and smash their noggins into the timekeeper's table. Back inside, Valentine works the legs and tries for the figure-four. Eventually, Muraco begins no-selling and takes Valentine on a tour de turnbuckles. Valentine Flop! Muraco removes Valentine's "Heartbreaker" shinguard and tosses it to Superstar. Whip and a big power-slam from Muraco. Swinging neckbreaker! Muraco goes for the reverse piledriver ...and the bell rings. Time limit draw! After things settle down, Valentine nails Superstar, recovers the shinguard and applies the figure four to Muraco. Superstar can't stands no more! He crawls into the ring and beings wailing on Valentine! Time limit decision wasn't too bad, and seeing Superstar get a little revenge was fun.
Match 3: Junkyard Dog vs. Hercules
This match was cropped and aired on Prime Time Wrestling sometime in September 1988. JYD clears the ring with a buncha' headbutts. Hercules catches him with a hangman on the ropes, clotheslines him and gets 2. JYD with a Russian leg sweep/grapevine suplex. Both guys hit the shittiest double clothesline since the invention of twine and collapse slowwwwwwly to the mat. Herc drops some knees and the excitement level. Herculean charging knee and then, a bearhug happens. JYD breaks it with a headbutt, then charges right into another knee. Herc comes off the second rope with an elbow before things "escalate" into a brawl. JYD headbutts and tries a slam. Herc manages to grab the top rope and stop the slam. They teeter around, until Herc lets go of the rope, allowing his momentum to carry him over and pin JYD. Sloppier than a blind Canadian eating a burrito.
Lord Alfred Hayes is in the locker room with Hulk Hogan. Hogan's sporting a customized "HLKSTR" license plate hanging on his back and his "war bonnet" helmet-- a big red gladiator-like helmet with a fist on the top. What's scary is that Hogan probably wore this thing as his everyday motorcycle helmet. Another reason why helmet laws should NOT be mandatory.
Match 4: Hulk Hogan vs. Bad News Brown
Hogan enters and gives the War Bonnet to Superstar for safe-keeping. Bad News attacks before the bell, stomping Hogan into the corner and choking him with his own t-shirt. Brown misses an elbowdrop, which allows Hogan to blast him in the bazooka and send Brown bailing. Brown returns to the apron and gets brought back in with a slingshot over the top rope. Hogan whips him into the ropes for a shoulderblock, then two elbowdrops and a Hulkster Eye-Stomp. Brown gets a few judo chops which are answered with a Hogan boot and an atomic drop. Hogan misses another elbodrop and Brown goes to work on his back. Hogan begins to "hulk up", but the ref gets knocked out. Brown steals the War Bonnet from Superstar and straps it on! Hogan rips it off him, then headbutts him with the War Bonnet. The ref revives in time to count the 3 count for Hogan. Mooney accurately notes that this has ended Bad News' unbeaten streak. Although for on-screen storyline purposes, Bad News was "undefeated" for another 6 months-- until March, 1989 when he once again lost to Hogan on Saturday Night's Main Event. This one had the War Bonnet....that one had a Snow Shovel.
Intermission time, with several commercial breaks while Lord Alfred Hayes interviews upcoming particpants. Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart talks about the Rougeau Brothers wanting to move to the US. Anvil: "They don't want ya' in New York! They don't want ya' in Los Angeles! They don't want ya' in Colorado Springs!" WTF? Colorado Springs?!! Cuz' whenever I think of big American cities, Colorado Springs is IMMEDIATELY after New York and LA!
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan has some Unkind Words for Ted DiBiase, even calling him "Theodore". Never realized it before, but Hacksaw's beard and hair were out of control at this point. The Jim Duggan of September 1988 would be a good casting choice for Wildman of Sgt. Rock's Easy Company!
"Ravishing" Rick Rude finishes out the interviews. Hayes mentions a recent incident where Jake Roberts de-pantsed Rude in the ring, for wearing tights with a likeness of Jake's wife, Cheryl. Rude plays it off by saying he wasn't embarassed at showing off his goods. He was embarassed because Jake snuck up behind him. Ahh.
Match 5: Blue Blazer vs. Barry Horowitz
Blazer still has his old mask, without the eye and mouth holes. This match is fairly similar to the duo's match in Los Angeles, which has become somewhat of a modern favorite. Hororwitz tries the armbar to start, but Blazer counters by walkng the ropes and flipping over. On two instances, Blazer works the hammerlock into a vertical powerslam. Horowitz leapfrogs Blazer off the ropes, hits a reverse thrust-kick, then catapults Blazer under the bottom rope (viva Muraco!). Blazer is whipped to the corner where he steals a page from his big brother's book with a THUNK! Victory roll and a small package score 2 counts for Horowitz. Horowitz controls for the next few minutes, hitting a backslide and a doublde-underhook suplex. Hororiwtz goes upstairs, but Blazer halts him and throws him across the ring. Blazer follows with a dropkick, backdrop, belly-to-belly suplex (Mooney: "a powerslam") and a top-rope splash to get the pin. Fans weren't really into this match and even Blazer's cool rope-walk-flip didn't get a big "oooo" .
Match 6: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil)
Fans are up for this match, however. The first 3/4 of this match is identical to the pair's WrestleMania IV match. It becomes blatantly clear when Virgil takes Andre's spot and reaches in to trip Hacksaw! The script changes a bit at this point, as Hacksaw hops out to pound Virg. DiBiase hits with a double axe-handle off the ring apron, then tosses Hacksaw into the timekeeper's table and railing. Back into the ring, for a DiBiase fistdrop off the ropes and another flying double axe-handle for a 2 count. DiBiase tries a vertical suplex, which Hacksaw blocks and reverses. DiBiase powerslams him then goes up top. Hacksaw catches him on the top, grabs him by the Million Dollar Junk, and throws him. Hacksaw lands a kneedrop then pummels DiBiase out of the ring. Virgil gets a few cheapshots and that's enough for Hacksaw to grab his two-by-four. He clears the ring with a swing n' a miss! DiBiase and Virgil leave, and it's a DQ loss for Hacksaw (even though he didn't connect with anybody, but Logic in Wrestling). DiBiase, you wussy, get back in there and take a TAP from the two-by-four!
Match 7: Hart Foundation vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
(Bret "Hitman" Hart & Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart vs. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)
Jimmy Hart was still about a week or two away from managing the Rougeaus. Harts attack and beat the fleur-de-les out of Raymond. Fans are all over the French-Canadian Rougeaus as someone throws a plastic FROG into the ring! It's on the ring apron for the entire match, with the camera crew getting a good shot of it during the restholds. Bret drops an elbow off the second ropes, then allows the exhausted Raymond to tag Jacques. The Harts use their usual heel double-teaming and pummel Jacques. Funny bit, as Raymond tries to get the crowd to start a "Go Jacques go" chant. Jacques gets a BIG BOOT on Hart and the Rougeaus finally take over. Raymond hooks a half-assed camel clutch, while Jacques hits his flying reverse elbow. After suffering an abdominal strecth, Hart makes the hot tag to the Anvil, who clears the ring. The Harts do their doubel-team irish-whip into the corner and then the Obligatory 4-Way Brawl occurs. While the ref is busy shoo'ing Anvil out of the ring, Hart hits a piledrvier on Raymond. With the ref's back turned, Jacques blindsides Hart off the top rope. Referee turns around and counts 3 as Raymond covers Hart. The Harts started to cut back on their heelish doubleteams, but used this formula for most of their matches for the next year.
Match 8: Jake "the Snake" Roberts (w/Cheryl Roberts) vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
This was a pretty big angle for the summer, set up by a "random" encounter back in May, between Rude and Jake's wife, Cheryl. Rude enters and asks all the "New Jersey Jerks" to keep the noise down, while he takes his robe off and shows us the body that Cheryl Roberts wants (umm....does that mean she should work out?) Jake enters and the brawl is on. Jake slams Rude's face to the mat, but misses the short-arm clothesline. Rude hits his own clothesline then works on Jake. Jake hits the turnbuckle and an audible SNAP is heard. The ropes appear very loose after this, so maybe they came undone a bit. Rude ties Jake's arms in the ropes, then hops out to flirt with Cheryl. Jake attacks from behind and smashes Rude into the timekeeper's table. That's about the THIRD time someone's been smashed into that same table-- ya'd think the timekeeper might move the darn thing. Rude lures Jake back into the ring and connects with a fistdrop off the top rope. Kneedrop and a hammerlock to the mat, while Rude flirts with Cheryl. Jake manages to flip Rude out of the ring and sends him to the post. Back inside, Jake gets a backdrop, a reverse back-breaker, short-arm clothesline and set up for the DDT. Rude counters with a backdrop and another fistdrop. Rude makes a nonchalant cover and poses for Cheryl. Rude nails a piledriver, but Jake reaches the ropes. Rude crawls over to flirt with Cheryl some more. She's had enough and reaches in to slap him. Rude is startled, allowing Jake to roll him up from behind and score the pin. Jake got a good handful of tights and Cheryl got to see a full moon. If you're keeping score at home, Rude probably holds the record for Most Career Ass-shots. Jake lets Damien out of the bag and sends Rude running away. Jake pulls Cheryl up on the apron where they perform the Greco Roman Lip-lock.
Why'd You Tape This??
On the syndicated TV shows, the WWF was painfully boring after SummerSlam. They were phasing guys out and their roster was probably at its weakest point of the 80's. For weeks, the only "Feaure Match" on Prime Time Wrestling was a re-run SummerSlam match. But here's a houseshow from the same doldrum period that's more entertaining than any of the garbage they were showing on TV--- despite the 219 headbutts that were in these matches. It's definitely MORE RAD than I expected.