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WWF @ Milan, Italy
by Scrooge McSuck
October 15, 1988
- Televised on Tele+2, with Dan Peterson calling all the action... since that would all be in Italian, Iím sorry if I miss any of the details. I know, Iím letting my paisans down. I have a few random live events on tap to sit through, and I guess Iíll start with one that is both short and a bit tougher to come by. Weíre still in the era of WWFís European Tours being a bunch of undercard crap, a glorified (and generously classified) B-Show, while the main headliners were still touring the states. According to TheHistoryofWWE.com, weíre missing one match (Race vs. Blair), but they also list a show, the same day, featuring Brian Blair, in the States. No way that can be accurate. As a surprise BONUS, hereís the lone match Iíve come across from the Roma show taped on October 16th...
Brian Blair & The Junkyard Dog vs. Akeem & Harley Race:
Only on a random European Tour will you see a tag team match this wacky. This was very shortly after the transformation of the One Man Gang into a walking joke for Vince McMahon to laugh at, and Harley Race is also just recently coming back from major surgery that included the removal of part of his intestines. Blair is still sporting his Bee gear, despite the team being broken up. Thereís only one reason to watch this match... Harley Race getting funky along with Akeem as they make their way to the ring. Why is Akeem slapping hands with fans like heís a babyface? The on-screen graphic incorrectly lists him as "Hakeem." Maybe they expected the Center of the Houston Rockets? I hope to God that reference is accurate... (one google search later) Nope. Damn. Blair takes Race over with a side headlock. Whip to the ropes, Blair cheap shots Akeem, then goes back to the headlock. JYD with a weak clothesline, sending Race over the top rope, to the floor. JYD with a bad snapmare, but a headbutt misses. Akeem with a slam, but an elbow drop misses. Blair with a flurry of rights and lefts. He heads to the top rope and hits a body press for a near fall. Whip to the ropes, Race trips up Blair, and Akeem with the 747 Splash for the three count at 4:26. DUD That was pretty bad. Literally the first half of that was a side headlock. I would give ľ* for Race bumping over the top rope, but then I would be making a mockery of the ratings system.
- And now, back to the October 15th card I planned on recapping in the first place...
"Leaping" Lanny Poffo vs. Barry Horowitz:
I wonder if Mr. Peterson is calling this a "Main Event in any arena in the country." Poffo reads a pre-match poem, in Italian. I mean, it was very basic stuff, but that was a nice gesture. Lockup and Horowitz quickly takes Poffo down with a hip toss. Horowitz with a slam, Poffo nips up to return the favor and knocks Horowitz to the floor with a dropkick. The camera sadly misses Poffoís adequately executed back flip. Back inside, Horowitz with a head scissors. Poffo bridges up and does an aerobics routine before escaping. Whip to the ropes, and a long criss-cross ends with Poffo taking Horowitz over with a back-slide for a near fall. Whip to the corner, Horowitz blocks a monkey flip and counters with an inverted atomic drop. Horowitz rakes the eyes across the top rope, takes Poffo over with a butterfly suplex, and drops the leg for a pair of two counts. Horowitz with his signature half-nelson cradle for another two count. Poffo teases a comeback, but a headbutt to the midsection slows him down, and Horowitz quickly regains control with an abdominal stretch. We return from a commercial break with Horowitz landing a dropkick for two. Whip to the ropes and Horowitz counters a body press with a back breaker. He heads to the top rope, but gets caught coming down with a fist to the midsection. Whip to the corner and Poffo with a reverse roll up for three at 7:01. ** Perfectly acceptable opener. Poffoís offense wasnít much, but Horowitz always worked like a man trying to impress for a push that never came (until 1995, when the roster was decimated).
Tito Santana vs. Andre The Giant:
Itís always a good day when you come across a rare match with Andre The Giant. He worked briefly with Santana at the Survivor Series, and a few months later in a Handicap Match that also featured Jim Powers (poor Tito). No idea why I made reference to all of that, since I didnít have anywhere to go with it. Just cool to see this. The crowd is really behind Tito. Andre quickly grabs him with a double-hand choke and sends Tito to the floor with a single headbutt. Back inside, Andre with more choking. Tito punches at the midsection, but goes down after another headbutt. I can see why they chose Tito... heís bumping his ass off to make Andre look good. Tito with elbows, but Andre quickly (eh...) grabs another chinlock, using the strap of his singlet to turn it into a choke. If your Bingo sheet needed an Andre bearhug to complete your game, then youíre in luck. Tito smacks the ears to escape and throws a few rights before Andre resumes domination. Andre removes the buckle, and shocker, headbutts the exposed steel. Santana rams him into the steel buckle again, and holy crap, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!? Santana with the Flying Forearm, taking Andre off his feet! Santana puts the boots to him as Andre struggles to his knees. He lands a few chops to slow Tito down. Whip to the ropes, Santana with a sunset flip, but Andre sits down on his chest for the three count at 6:53 (the finish of their sequence at Survivor Series). Post-match, Santana dropkicks Andre into the ropes, tying Andre up, and gets some post-match revenge. ľ* Not good, but still lightyears better than the abomination that Andre and the JYD produced in Paris earlier in the week (and featured on Prime Time Wrestling in early November).
"The Rock" Don Muraco vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:
Part of the ongoing series of matches based off of Valentine "permanently" injuring Superstar Billy Graham with the Figure Four Leglock during the Spring. Valentine promises that "the Hammer will smash the Rock into little pieces." Muraco looks so old and bloated, itís not even funny. He makes Dino Bravo look like a lightweight steroid abuser by comparison. Lockup to the ropes and Muraco is nice enough to give a clean break. Valentine not so much. Whip to the corner and Muraco with about half an effort on a Powerslam. Valentine catches him with his head down, driving an elbow across the back. He heads to the top rope and gets nailed coming down. Muraco with an atomic drop, sending Valentine taking a comical spill over the top rope, to the floor. Back inside, Muraco with a snapmare and elbow drop. Valentine takes another powder, luring Muraco into a prime position for a cheap shot. Weíre only 3-minutes in and Muraco is drenched in sweat. He makes Mike Rotunda look like a lightweight sweater (not the apparel) by comparison ... what do you mean I already used a similar joke in this match? Valentine goes for the Figure-Four but Muraco jabs him in the face to counter. Iím sorry, but Muraco looks like heís on the verge of having a heart attack. How can I focus on a match with someone looking this terrible? Muraco with the comeback, but the referee gets bumped before he connects with the Tombstone Piledriver (obviously not called that yet). Valentine gets a knee up in the corner and with the help of the ropes, rolls Muraco up for the three count at 7:09. *1/4 Valentine might as well have wrestled a broomstick super-glued to a sack of potatoes here. I donít think Muraco hung around beyond this European Tour.
WWF Womenís Championship Match:
The Sensational Sherri © vs. Rockiní Robin:
Even though the title switch had taken place in Paris about a week or so earlier, Sherri still comes out as the defending Champion because it hasnít been used for television yet. Way to ruin the mystique of wrestling! Robin knocks Sherri silly to open the action, but the camera was at a wideshot coming back from an interview in the crowd. Whip to the ropes and Sherri takes a dive to the floor to catch a breather. Robin follows, to the shock of Sherri. Maybe sheís not the best wrestler, but Sherri would sell anything and everything. Robin pulls her back in the ring by the hair and drops her for a near fall. Robin hangs onto a side headlock, using the hair to keep control. I guess itís supposed to be fighting fire with fire, but Sherri hasnít done any cheating yet. Criss-cross sequence ends with an ear smack and a series of kicks to the fanny. I miss when heels would look away from their opponent and point at their head to tell everyone how smart they are. Robin continues to control the match, hanging on with another headlock. Sherri just randomly decides to take over the match and hooks a Full Nelson. Robin counters and continues to cheat every time Sherri complains about a phantom incident. Sherri gets introduced to all of the corners, but avoids a charge. Sherri hooks a chinlock, using the ropes for leverage. Sherri with a series of near falls, trying to use the ropes each time. Sherri dumps her to the floor and sneaks up with a series of kicks. Robin pulls the ropes down on Sherri as we see a couple of mooks fighting in the crowd. Back in the ring, Robin hits a modified neck breaker for two. Whip to the ropes and Sherri lands a boot to the chest. She turns Robin over with a Boston Crab, but Robin counters for two. Sherri counters that with a handful of tights for two. Sherri with shoulders in the corner until Robin surprises her with a sunset flip for the three count at 14:24. So she won the Championship for a second time in one week? I guess this was Non-Title after all, but that still doesnít erase the ignoring of the title switch in Paris! **1/4 Not that Iím complaining, since it was an alright match, but how did this get the greenlight to have considerably more time than anything else on the show?
The British Bulldogs vs. Demolition (Tag Team Champions):
(Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid vs. Ax & Smash)
This is a Non-Title Match since we can expect the babyfaces will go over clean, and there sure as hell isnít going to be a title change. Ax and Davey Boy start. Ax pounds away with blows across the back and plants him with a slam. Smith avoids an elbow drop and unloads with forearm blows. Smash tags in and walks into a slam. Dynamite in with a side headlock, but a shoulder tackle does nothing. DK with a clothesline for two. Ax with cheap shots from the apron, allowing Smash to "smash" away at him. They take turns pounding away on DK and already resort to rest holds. Dynamite teases a suplex, but Smash interrupts. Whip to the ropes and DK cradles Smash for a two count. Double whip to the corner and Ax with a clothesline for two. He takes Dynamite over with a snapmare and hooks a chinlock. Was DK missing some teeth? I guess that places this show shortly after the incidient with Jacques Rougeau. Smash brings DK in from the apron with a suplex and slaps on a Boston Crab. Demolition take turns applying bear-hugs. Whip to the ropes and Dynamite nails Ax with a diving clothesline. Davey Boy gets the hot tag... but the referee didnít see it. Whip to the corner, Smash meets boot on the charge, and now Davey Boy gets the real tag. He pounds away at both Demolition. Dynamite comes back in and they whip the Champs into each other. Ax dumps DK over the top rope and doubles up on Smith. Dynamite recovers, heads to the top rope, and hits Ax with a body press for three at 8:08 despite Davey Boy being the legal man. * Not much to this one, but at least it was kept considerably shorter than their near half-hour long match from Paris.
Final Thoughts: Just a typical throw-away show from an overseas tour featuring the B-lineup. The WWF wasn't exactly rich in work-rate at this point, so everything basically lived up (or down) to the expectations, with nothing standing out, but nothing completely awful either, I guess. The highlight was the Tito/Andre match, even if the rating suggested otherwise. There's better stuff from Demolition/Bulldogs, the Women were a bit better than usual, and then you had an undercard battle of JTTS' and Don Muraco on the verge of death from some unknown source (cough:steroids:cough). If you enjoy whacky, random house shows like this, you know, like I do, hunt down a copy.
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