Saturday, August 10, 2019

Revisiting WWF SummerSlam 1988!

Taking a fond look back at the very first PPV spectacular from 31 freakin’ years ago!

By: Jimbo X

Well, here’s a little factoid that’ll make you feel old as shit — this year, the WWE is giving us the 32nd annual Summer Slam PPV spectacular. Yep, there’s been THIRTY-TWO of these motherfuckers over the years, which positively blows my friggin’ mind out the back o’ my skull.

Shit, I STILL remember being a little six year old shitbag and getting JACKED for SummerSlam ‘92, and my seventh grade ass getting PUMPED for SummerSlam ‘98 and my 18-year-old piece of shit self getting kinda’ excited but not that excited about the prospects of Summerslam ‘04. And here we are, 15 years after that, getting ready for yet another Brock Lesnar-main evented SS PPV. The more things change, the more they really don’t, I suppose.

With this year’s SummerSlam right around the corner, I figured it was worth our collective whiles to revisit one of the Slams of years past. I sought long and hard to find the full SummerSlam ‘91 card online — which, for my money, is unquestionably the zenith of early 1990s WWF — but couldn’t come up with anything that didn’t require accessing a Chinese website, so naturally, fuck that. I thought about doing SummerSlam ‘96 as a back-up, but finding that online, for whatever reason, was even more difficult, and like fuck I’m going to spend money on the WWE Network for this shit. Hell, I couldn’t even find a full, uncut upload of SummerSlam ‘95 — yep, the one with the immortal Diesel vs. King Mabel main event — on the Webs, so I ultimately settled on hitting up the Dailymotions and their one direct PPV rip from all the way back in 1988.

Now, considering I was like two when the PPV first aired, I have NO recollections of the show whatsoever. And while I watched a shit ton of WWF PPVs on VHS back in the day, I don’t think I ever rented this particular PPV, considering its match lineup is hardly anything to get too excited about. So yes, I reckon this will be my first ever viewing of the first ever SummerSlam event, which makes it several layers of meta, I realize.

So how about we fire this old VHS copy (that was LITERALLY taped off a cable box, 32 freakin’ years ago) and relive the wonder, the whimsy and the sheer spectacle of the inaugural SummerSlam festivities? Well, I don’t care, I’m going to anyway.

We start off with that BASED AF "What the World is Watching" opening and we're greeted with a long, lingering shot of the WTC, which I think we can all agree isn't eerie or anything in hindsight. Then we get this opening video with Bobby Heenan and the Hulkster and Andre and Virgil flashing money and Miss Elizabeth being all concerned and it's synthwave as fuck and I LOVE IT ALL. Of course, our announcers are Bobby Heenan and Superstar Billy Graham ... wait, that's not Jesse Ventura. Huh. Regardless, Superstar puts Hulk over BIG TIME while these old white guys pretend to choke each other in the front row. Oh, the 1980s ... and recreational cocaine usage. 

The Fabulous Rogueau Brothers make their way ringside to get our curtain jerker underway. Their opponents are the Britsh Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid. Fuck, that's a lot of drugs and steroids in one ring right now. So we've get the Limeys taking on the French Canadians. How am I supposed to cheer for ANYBODY involved in this shit? Davey Boy is in there first and he slams the SHIT out of Jacques head in the corner. Then he goes and hugs Raymond in the corner, because the French are naturally homoerotic, especially the ones from Canada. Ray drops Davey with a hard right and sling his ass in the corner. He goes for a monkey flip but Davey lands on his feet and Dynamite gets tagged in. Ray gets arm dragged and Superstar does a REALLY bad impersonation of Jesse the Body. Dynamite with a falling headbutt (not off the top rope) and an arm wrench. Davey Boy gets the tag and the fans start chanting "USA," because these people are literally retarded. Davey Boy with another arm wrench, then he
clobbers Ray good with a clothesline. Dynamite is tagged in and Ray goes for a sunset flip. Dynamite counters it and Davey is tagged back in. Time for another arm wrench. Ray struggles to get the hot tag and right on cue, Dynamite tags in Davey, who immediately locks in a headlock. Man, I bet Matilda has been dead for, like, 25 years now. Jacques finally gets tagged in and he starts kicking Davey Boy's hamstring. Time for the Indian Deathlock, your British bastard. Man, the WWF must REALLY hate the French Canadians, since they've had evil, effeminate Quebecers as heel tag team in EVERY decade since the 1980s. Ray gets tagged in and he continues working Davey's leg. The Froths double team Davey while the ref ain't looking, like we needed another reason to hit the French, and Davey Boy gets back dropped like a motherfucker. Jacques is tagged in and he starts doing this standing grapevine submission thingy. Raymond is tagged back in and, you guessed it, he keeps twisting Davey Boy's leg. Davey hits a monkey flip and Dynamite FINALLY gets the hot tag. Jacques gets suplexed and this crowd goes APESHIT. Man, late '80s WWF crowds were really something else, man. Ray gets tossed through the ropes and Dynamite slings Ray into the barricade. Man, I forgot how great and comfy Gorilla Monsoon's commentary was. Davey is tagged in and he powerslams Ray like a bitch, only for Jacques to break up the pin attempt. Davey bumps CRAZY for a back body drop and Jacques gets tagged in. If you did a shot everytime Superstar says "brother," you'd be dead from alcohol poisoning by now. The Froths double team Davey Boy in the corner some more, complete with the dreaded bodyslam to your tag team partner's knee spot that they stopped doing around the early 1990s for some reason. Jacques applies an abdominal stretch and and Davey Boy breaks up the submission, then Raymond comes in and puts Dynamite in an abdominal stretch of his own. OK, Jacques is the legal man again. He puts Dynamite in a double reverse chinlock, which is more dangerous than a single reverse chinlock, because it's double. Ray gets the tag and Davey Boy gets double teamed some more. Hey, why NOT another extended chinlock sequence right about now? Man, Raymond has the thinnest mustache of all time, ever. Dynamite, however, gets to his feet and rams Ray back first into the corner. Jacques gets the hot tag and punches Davey. Dynamite goes for a small package, but Jacques kicks out. Time for another abdominal stretch spot. Ray is in as the legal man, and he kicks Dynamite right in the intestine. Dynamite struggles to get to Davey, but the ref doesn't see the tag. Dynamite just chops Jacques and gingerly tags in Davey, then Davey slams Jacques BALLS FIRST on the top rope. Well, that was rather unheroic. All four men are duking it out in the ring  and Davey literally LAWN DARTS Dynamite on top of Jacques and the bell sounds, for some inexplicable reason. Oh, it's a time limit draw, that's why. Because if there's one thing I want out of a PPV I spent $29.99 on, it's an indecisive finish. The Froths suckerpunch the Bulldogs after the bell and run to the back, and the Bulldogs, naturally, chase after them. Well, that was pretty solid, especially for its time frame, although the anti-finish really hurt it. Let's call it a moderately above-average [** 3/4] affair and keep on trucking, why don't we?

Gorilla Monsoon then tells us that Brutus the Barber Beefcake WON'T be in action tonight because Ron Bass strangled him with a bullwhip on Superstars a week earlier. Shit, motherfuckers carved Brutus with a goddamn SPUR, man. Now that is some viciousness right there. Even better, the 'F puts a big red "CENSORED" X graphic all over the screen so we don't see Brutus' sliced up forehead. Which raises the question: if Brutus won't be in action tonight, WHO will take on The Honkytonk Man tonight for the Intercontinental Championship?

Anyhoo, Bad News Brown is already in the ring, awaiting the arrival of opponent Ken Patera, who comes out wearing an Olympics windbreaker and a haircut borrowed from Shelly in Friday the 13th Part 3. So Brown whups that ass for a while, only for Patera to hit a clothesline in the corner and fire back with a spinning elbow off the ropes. Holy shit, Patera LITERALLY looks like a roided up Richard Simmons. Brown rolls out of the way on an elbow drop and headbutts Patera into the ropes. Now Brown starts choking him and ramming his head into the turnbuckle pad. "That's a good way to get a concussion there, brother," Superstar says. Brown with another blatant choke, probably because he's black. Patera punts Brown in the head when he ducks on a failed backdrop attempt and Patera goes for a rollup. No dice. Ken lands another clothesline and a SHITTY backbreaker. Another small package only nets a one-count. Now Ken has a bear-hug applied, which I'm pretty sure is the flashiest hold in his repertoire. Brown uses a thumb to the eye to escape and Patera briefly locks in a full nelson. He hits Brown with an axe handle smash off the top and loses another full nelson. Patera with forearms in the corner, but Brown clobbers him off the ropes. "I believe both men are pretty well exhausted right now," Superstar says. Patera tries to charge Brown in the corner, but Brown rolls out of the way and Patera conks his noggin on the turnbuckle. And that, of course, allows Brown to hit the GHETTO BLASTER for the obvious one, two, three. Well, that wasn't good, but it really wasn't bad, either, I suppose. Feels like a [**] to me, so let's quickly forget it and move along.

Time for a promo for the Leonard/Lalonde bout on Nov. 7, 1988. SPOILER: Sugar Ray won.

Then we cut to the MEGA POWERS in the back with Mean Gene. Hulk says the tag-team is the most powerful thing in the universe and that, somehow, Miss Elizabeth will be utilized as their "secret weapon" against Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase later this evening. Well, consider me intrigued. 

Bobby Heenan accompanies Ravishing Rick Rude to the ring for his contest against the Junkyard Dog. Man, look at all those THOTS in the audience with their huge-ass Polaroid cameras. Of course, Rude has JYD's face airbrushed on his ass and pecker, which is a weird way to taunt your adversary, really. Rude, being the asshole he is, tries to Pearl Harbor JYD before the bell, only for JYD to back body drop Rick and headbutt his ass outta' the ring. Rude whiffs on a clothesline and JYD drops with a clothesline of his own. Then Rude hits his own clotheslines and clobbers JYD with a double axe handle off the top rope. LOL, JYD's gimmick is that he's LITERALLY a hard-headed African-American. Rude with a snapmare and chinlock. Superstar is basically an off-brand version of Dusty Rhodes on commentary. JYD fights out of it with some elbows, but Rude catches him with a boot in the corner. Rude immediately locks in another chinlock. LOL at that one skinny-ass cop in the front row who LITERALLY looks like a member of the Village People. JYD LITERALLY hits Rude's hand with his monster dong and Rude sells it like an Awesome Bomb and Rude hits him with a side Russian leg sweep, which Gorilla calls a "neckbreaker," for some reason. JYD hits a flying fist drop off the top, then Rude pulls his pants down to reveal another layer of airbrushed britches with Jake the Snake's wife on his balls and, of course, Jake the Snake comes running out to lead to the DQ. LOL at JYD mouthing "FUCK!" after being disqualified, though. Even better, you could see Rude's dick as the bulge right where Jake's wife's nose was. Man, that was really well-positioned. So yeah, the match pretty much sucked, but it was kinda' designed to, so don't take this [* 1/2] rating too harshly, will you?

Mean Gene interviews The Honkytonk Man in the back. Mean Gene tries to tell Honky who the "mystery opponent" is tonight but says he don't want to know who it is. Although Okerlund does give us this cryptic clue — he's truly a physical specimen. Huh ... the plot thickens.

Oh, the late 1980s — when people paid $50 to watch a make-believe Indian beat the shit out of an Elvis impersonator.

Slick is in the ring with The Bolsheviks, which is a really inspired choice for a manager/tag team combination, for sure. Nikolai Volkoff sings the Russian national anthem and here comes the POWERS OF PAIN, aka "NOT THE ROAD WARRIORS." OK, so The Barbarian is the browner of the two, while Boris is the Ruskie with the beard. Zhukov rolls to the outside for a breather while the mysterious "Baron" watches on from the middle of the aisle. OK, so it's Boris and Barbarian to begin, formally and shit. Barbie hits an elbow off the ropes and Boris starts a choppin'. "Look at the size of the cranium on Boris!" Gorilla says. The Warlord gets the tag and he slams Boris' head on the turnbuckle pads a couple of times and then he hits Boris with a belly to back suplex. Nikolai attacks Warlord from behind and slams his head into the turnbuckle pad while Boris tries to strangle his ass with cord. Boris gets the tag and Warlord has his jugular shaken against the ropes. Nikolai gets tagged in and Volkoff goes for another brief choke. Boris with a reverse chinlock, while Slick threatens to hit the Baron with his pimp stick on the outside. The Commies continue to double team Warlord, complete with Nikolai hitting the shittiest spinning knee to the stomach you've ever seen in your life. Warlord drops 'em both with a double clothesline and the Barbarian gets the hot tag. Nikolai gets body slammed and Boris eats a great looking heel kick. Boris gets big booted out of the ring and Warlord gets tagged in. Boris eats a double flying tackle and a powerslam. Barbarian climbs the top rope and hits the flying headbutt for our finish. Well, I've certainly seen worse in my day, for certain. [* 1/2]

Then there's a promo for the second annual Survivor Series, which Gorilla describes as a "family-type" event on Thanksgiving night. There's a bright red carpet laid out in the ring, which means BROTHER LOVE is making his way down the aisle. Man, this shit is some just plain scathing social commentary on the televangelist movement of the late '80s — it's certainly a lot more effective than most people would give it credit for, I can say that. Anyhoo, Brother Love's special guest is "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, so you just KNOW the rest of the segment is going to be canonically retarded. Duggan calls the audience a bunch of hos and calls Brother Love a "phoney." Then he pretends his patented 2x4 is a sniper rifle and pretends to shoot people in the crowd at random. Brother Love urges Duggan to be more like Dino Bravo, and Hacksaw tells him that not even Canadians like Bravo and that he better NEVER question his loyalty to Old Glory. Then Duggan LITERALLY threatens to sodomize Brother Love with his 2x4 and gives him to the count of five to get his yellow-bellied ass out of the ring. So, naturally, he bails at four. Well, it was kind of a throwaway sequence — especially for a PPV broadcast — but I thought it was entertaining. Moderately.

Time for another Leonard vs. Lalonde promo. "November's going to be a big month for all you Pay-Per-Viewers," Gorilla says. Then Gorilla makes fun of Sugar Ray for retiring three times already and I legitimately chortle. 

The Intercontinental Championship is on the line next. Colonel Jimmy Hart accompanies to The Honkytonk Man to the ring. And his mystery opponent is ... THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR! Warrior hits a scoop slam, a shoulder tackle, a clothesline and a body splash. And that, folks, is the ENTIRE match, with the whole thing going barely a minute. Naturally, the audience goes APESHIT as the Warrior claims the title. Shit, how am I even supposed to rate that, folks?

Time for that awesome synth-as-fuck opening montage again, and here comes Bobby the Brain to give us a "special report" on Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase. He says Andre is reading The Wall Street Journal in the locker room, The Million Dollar Man is looking at four cases of money and Virgil is just "enjoying all of it." Man, this is the most late '80s thing imaginable. 

Our next bout is Don "The Rock" Muraco taking on Dino Bravo, alongside manager Frenchy Martin. Man, why were there so many evil, cowardly French Canadians in the WWF back in the day? LOL at Gorilla telling Martin to go back where he came from, "probably France." Muraco tries to rile up the crowd but nobody gives a fuck who he is. Collar and elbow tie-up to begin and Dino gets a clean break in the corner. Time for another tie-up. Don drops him with a shoulder charge and follows suit with a hip toss, a body slam and a Judo arm toss. Bravo rolls to the outside while Frenchy shows off his sign reading "USA is NOT OK," so it's obvious he's a democrat. Muraco with some more elbow shots and an arm wrench. Then Bobby the Brain says something about freedom of speech and Superstar responds with a great one-liner about Frency loving that American dollar. So Don hits a million billion hip tosses and now he's working Dino's arm again. The only thing Don is good for is changing oil on tour buses in Hawaii, per The Brain.

Holy shit, Bobby the Brain ruled. Dino hits an inverted atomic drop and Don retaliates with a Russian leg sweep, which Gorilla, of course, calls "a neckbreaker." Don with a back body drop, then he clobbers Frenchy. The ref takes the shittiest bump of all time, Bravo hits the shittiest side suplex of all time and yep, that's what gets him the W. Well, that was ... uneventful. Let's call it a [**] effort and keep chugging along. 

Sean Mooney is in the back with Jesse the Body. Mooney asks Jesse how he can be an impartial special guest referee when he's taking bribes from the Million Dollar Man. He says something to the effect that only an idiot wouldn't take free money, which I guess secretly makes The Body a Bernie Sanders loyalist. 

Up next, it's tag team action as the Hart Foundation takes on DEMOLITION. Looks like it's going to be Bret and Ax to begin. Ax with a body slam, but he misses on the follow-up elbow drop. Bret unloads on Ax  and goes for a reverse roll-up. It's just a two count. Smash gets arm-dragged several times and the Anvil gets tagged in. Ax kicks Anvil in the back while he's running the ropes and Smash continues to clobber Neidhart. Bret gets the hot tag and punches the fuck out of everybody. Smash eats a dropkick and Hart takes a shoulder-first bump into the turnbuckle post. Ax tries to bend Bret's arm on the ropes and calls him "a sonofabitch" while Smash punches him silly. Superstar says we REALLY need two referees overseeing this shit, which, yeah, isn't a bad idea, really. Smash hits Bret with a dope looking shoulderbreaker, then he goes for a wonky arm lock  submission. Ax gets tagged in and it looks like he's trying to HUMP Bret's injured arm into submission. Smash slings Bret into the metal turnpost on the outside and the announcers wonder why The Anvil is just standing there doing nothing like a retard. Well, there's your answer right there. Back in the ring and Bret hits a desperation clothesline. Bret makes the tag but, of course, the ref didn't see it so Bret's gotta' eat more turnbuckle post. Then Neidhart gets the hot tag for real and he dropkicks Ax and clotheslines Smash out of the ring. Then he does a SLINGSHOT PLANCHA to the outside and it's fucking great. Anvil powerslams Smash in the ring but can only get a two-count. Bret is tagged in and he lawn darts Neidhart into him. Smash kicks out of that, too. Bret with a backbreaker, but Ax pulls him off his tag team partner before the three-count can be registered. Mr. Fuji climbs the apron and the Anvil punches him a couple of times. Naturally, this gives Jimmy Hart ample time to throw Smash his megaphone, which he promptly uses to clobber Bret in mid-piledriver. Smash makes an opportunistic pin, and yep, that's the three-count, fellas. That could've been a really good tag showcase, but as is, it was merely above average — le's say it was [** 3/4] material, and the tape, it doth continue.

Following yet ANOTHER Leonard/Lalonde promo, we throw it to the back, where Mean Gene is interviewing the Honkytonk Man. "I said I'd wrestle anybody, but I wasn't going to wrestle a Warrior," he says. He vows to win the IC title back, but ... yeah, he never did.

It's funny because she's also fat and has no sense of self-awarness on the matter.

Up next it's the Big Boss Man (managed by Slick) taking on Koko B. Ware. LOL at this fat bitch in the audience holding up a sign that says the Boss Man needs to do time ... in a gym. Koko, of course, brings his parrot with him, but unfortunately it doesn't fly around the arena plucking out eyeballs like in that one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Bossman tosses Ware to the outside, then Koko hits Bossman with a dropkick. The Bossman gets tied up in the ropes and Ware gets a couple of free shots in before his foe is untangled. Superstar wonders why they let the Bossman wrestle while he has a fucking pair of handcuffs on his person, which again, is a great observation. Bossman with a big fat splash in the corner and follows suit with a clothesline, but the Bossman lets him up at two. Now Bossman's doing a stump puller submission, but Koko rolls out and kicks Bossman right in his big, fat, pumpkin-like head. Then Bossman hits Koko with a running balls to the back of your head splash on the ropes, a scoop slam and then he goes up top. He misses on the flying fat man splash and crotches himself on the adjacent turnbuckle pos. Koko starts popping Bossman with some Sugar Ray Leonard-like combos and then he fucking ROCKS Bossman with a dropkick. He goes for a body splash, but Bossman kicks out at two. Then Bossman hits his swinging sidewalk slam — or, as Gorilla calls it, "that side move of his" — and that's what gets him the three-count. In the post-fight antics, Bossman whacks Koko with his nightstick while Frankie just sits there on his perch, like "yeah, everybody on the card tonight is going to be dead in 20 years, for sure." Anyhoo, that was way more entertaining than it probably should've been — let's give him a decent [** 1/2] rating for mildly exceeding our expectations.

Hey, who DOESN'T want another Survivor Series promo? Too bad, 'cause we're getting it anyway.

We throw it to Sean Mooney, who's interviewing the Ultimate Warrior in the back. As always, his promo is absolutely indecipherable and likely the direct result of heavy cocaine usage. God damn, Mooney deserves an award of some kind for keeping a straight face through all of that.

Next, it's Hecules taking on Jake "The Snake" Roberts, whose theme music is fucking great. But you already knew that by now, surely. Hercules tries to Pearl Harbor Jake in the corner then Roberts signals for a DDT. Hercules, of course, bails to the outside for a quick breather, then the two get into a fistfight. Jake hits a textbook body slam and applies a side headlock. Herc counters with a back body drop, but Jake maintains the headlock. Herc gets to the ropes and breaks the hold. Hercules headbutts Jake in the abdomen and drops him with a hard right hand to the jaw. Herc with a couple of standing elbow drops and a sloppy snapmare. Now he's working a reverse chinlock. Superstar said that's a good move to use, since you can use the opportunity to talk mad shit to your opponent. Herc hits a clothesline, but Jake kicks out at two. So Herc, naturally, applies ANOTHER reverse chinlock. This must've been Randy Orton's favorite match when he was a kid. LOL at Gorilla saying "nobody ever beat anybody with a reverse chinlock, but it's a start." Jake finally gets to his feet and reverses the hold into a hammerlock. Then Herc elbows him clean out of the ring, then Jake jaw jacks Hercules over the top rope. Gorilla Monsoon says something about Jake reaching for "something" that gives him extra energy and intestinal fortitude, and sometimes, the substance abuse jokes are TOO low-hanging, even for me. So Jake hits Herc with another proto Stunner and drops Herc with another hard right. Roberts follows suit with a clothesline and he signals for another DDT, but Herc back body drops his ass. Jake goes for a knee lift but Herc easily avoids it. Herc with a body slam and another standing elbow. Jake kicks out at two.  Herc goes for another body slam, but this time Jake sneaks out the backdoor and THAT is when he hits the DDT. And you KNOW Herc ain't kicking out of that shit right there. In the post-match antics, Jake pulls out Damian and shoves its head right in Herc's face. All in all, that was pretty enjoyable. Nothing great, obviously, but certainly an above average [** 3/4] caliber affair. And considering Jake was probably high on 1988 New York City crack at the time, the fact that it was as good as it was is nothing short of a minor miracle.

Alright, let's flashback to the July 9, 1988 episode of WWF Superstars, when The Million Dollar Man and Andre the Giant beat the fuck out of the Macho Man, all while Virgil holds Miss Elizabeth against her will and makes her watch the savage beating unfurl. Fast forward to the July 23, 1988 episode of WWF Superstars, where Andre and Dibiase accept Savage's challenge to a tag-team match at SummerSlam.  One week later, Savage announces his tag team partner's going to be ... you guessed it, Hulk mothefuckin' Hogan. Then ANOTHER week later Brother Love says Jesse the Body, the guest referee for the match, is deathly afraid of Andre the Giant, then Andre comes out and he's only like four inches taller than Jesse. Then Dibiase bribes Ventura with a couple hundred dollar bills, which is like $2.3 million in today's USD 'cause of inflation and shit. 

Time for the main event. The Fink introduces special guest ref Ventura first, who doesn't have any entrance music. Of course, Jesse being Jesse, he ISN'T wearing the standard zebra shirt. The heels come out, also sans music, and the fans go APESHIT as Macho Man and the Hulkster come out. For a minute there I thought Randy's cape read "Megan Powers," and I was all like "who the fuck is that?" Also, I'll just come out and say it — Miss Elizabeth was NEVER that hot. Come fight me. 

Yeah, Randy looks plum goofy in the red and yellow trunks and boots. Jesse chews out Hogan while he unties and reties the turnbuckle pads for no discernible reason whatsoever. Looks like it's going to be Randy and Andre to begin. Ted is quickly tagged in and he beckons for Hogan to enter the fray. Hulk is tagged in and Ted immediately rakes the eyes. Hogan hits an atomic drop, then he and Savage pinballs Dibiase back and forth with knuckle sammiches. Hogan takes Ted off his feet with a clothesline and Randy gets the tag. Randy slams Ted's head in the corner a couple of times and Hulk is tagged back in. Hogan hold up Dibiase so Randy can axehandle his ass off the top rope. Hogan and Savage hit Ted with a double boot, but Dibiase kicks out at two. Hulk with a series of standing elbow drops, then Andre headbutts his ass. Jesse admonishes Elizabeth for standing on the apron and Andre gets the tag. He keeps rubbing his ass on Hogan's chest, which I guess would hurt ... a little bit. Now Andre has a blatant choke applied. Now he's giving Hogan ... a shoulder massage? He converts that into a side sleeper hold and Dibiase starts clobbering him with punches and lands a clothesline. Hogan, of course, kicks out at two. Dibiase goes for a sleeperhold, but not the Million Dollar Dream. Hulk gets to his feet, briefly, before Ted drags him back to the canvas. Now Dibiase is hitting Hogan with some skyscraper knees to the ribs. And then Hulk HULKS UP, only to wipe Ted and himself out with a double clothesline. Oh fuck me, I am enjoying this WAY more than I should be. Randy gets the hot tag and he starts landing roundhouse rights galore. Dibiase gets backdropped and then he gives him the old Ricky Steamboat over-the-top-rope trachea-crusher move, followed by a flying axe handle smash to a standing Million Dollar Man. Savage lands a flying body press off the ropes, but Dibiase is right back up with a clothesline of his own. Andre gets tagged in and now he's ass grinding Macho Man into oblivion. Ted is tagged back in and he suplexes Savage. Randy kicks out at two. Dibiase with a backbreaker, but Ted gets nothing but mat on a falling ... uh, fall to the canvas off the top rope? Hogan is tagged in and he suplexes the SHIT out of Dibiase. He slugs Andre real good and Savage climbs the top turnbuckle, only for Ande to get a foot up on the aborted flying axe handle attempt. Meanwhile, Hulk applies a sleeperhold to Dibiase, unaware that Andre is right behind him and ready to launch his ass over the top rope. Both of the faces are rolling around on the arena floor while Miss Elizabeth climbs the apron. She pulls off her skirt and shows off her red panties and Jesse is all like "mmhm, that's some pussy right there." Apparently, the PG striptease causes Jesse to stop the countout, which allows the faces to re-enter the fray. Macho Man hits the flying elbow, Hogan hits the atomic leg drop and Ventura — with a little help from Venture — records the three-count. In the post-match antics, the faces do a pose-off while "Real American" plays over the P.A. system, which is pretty much the  most 1988 way to end ANYTHING imaginable.

When you get so high on cocaine, you pretend to crank an invisible lawnmower with Macho Man Randy Savage.

Well, nobody in their right mind is going to call the [***] main event a masterpiece, but it was certainly entertaining and got the most out of what little wiggle room it was allotted. Dibiase and Savage certainly did their part to hold the meat of the match together, and considering Andre was virtually half-dead heading into the match, for the most part the Hulkster managed to successfully work around his in-ring limitations. It made the crowd happy and even a jaded asshole like myself has to admit I got into it way more than I anticipated — it’s probably not worth going out of your way to watch, but it’s nonetheless a much better match than it had any right to be.

As for the show as a whole, it was fairly mediocre. There were a lot of mildly above average matches on the card, but nothing at all truly memorable, even the main event tag. There are certainly worse WWF shows from the late 1980s, but I also think it’s safe to say this is one of the company’s middle of the road PPVs from the era, no matter how you slice it. I mean, as bad as some of those Rumbles and Manias were, at least they managed to cover up the poor in-ring product with lots of entertaining cultural ephemera; here … not so much. 

Considering it’s the very first SummerSlam and all, it definitely has some historic merit, but there’s really nothing here that you absolutely can’t miss as an old-school rasslin fan. Pretty much any NWA card from ‘88 outdoes this one all the way around, and outside of a few brief glimmers of late eighties nostalgia, there ain’t much working for this one at all.

Who knows if SummerSlam 2019 will be a homerun or a three-and-out failure — although the latter certainly seems more likely than the former. Regardless, it’s pretty much a given that this year’s PPV spectacular will offer a SUBSTANTIALLY better in-ring product than what we got out of the original SS … and for that, all of you ungrateful contemporary smarks ought to be plum grateful. Soiboys and flippy shit and thigh slaps or not, I’m DEFINITELY taking today’s WWE over its 1988 counterpart … and SS’88 is proof positive that, at least in one categorization, Donald Trump’s America DEFINITELY has Ronnie Reagan’s America beat and down for the three count.


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