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Monday, December 18th 2017.
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Best of the WWF Vol. 17

by Scrooge McSuck

- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is our host, on location trying to get into Madison Square Garden. Interesting choice for a set-up, I guess. Gene pops up periodically, talking to random marks and being denied access to the front of lines. No cuts, no buts, no Coconuts, or whatever the phrase is.

- Ken Patera vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchie Martin):

Pulled from the May 27th, 1988 card held at Madison Square Garden. The month prior, their match was delayed due to a post-Arm Wrestling Match beating. Roger Kent and Superstar Billy Graham calling the action, which means it's time to hit mute. Bravo attacks from behind, but Patera quickly clears him from the ring following an arm drag and slam. Back inside, Patera goes for an early Full-Nelson, but Bravo makes it to the ropes. If only it were 1999, when 90-second matches between superstars was the norm... Whip to the ropes, Patera with a back elbow, followed by an elbow drop. He takes Bravo out of the corner with a monkey flip, forcing him into a retreat, again. Patera brings him back in with a slam, and pounds away some more. Whip across the ring, and Patera posts himself on a charge attempt. Damn if he didn't do that every match. Bravo with a piledriver.Full nelson attempt is blocked, and Patera goes back to hammering away. He tries for a monkey flip out of the corner, but this time Bravo counters with a reverse atomic drop. Bravo follows with an elbow drop for two. Bravo slaps on a chinlock, and this eats up a bit of time. Bravo goes for another piledriver, but Patera counters with a back drop. Patera "hammers away", since that's all he can do. Whip to the ropes, and he hits another elbow. Patera with a slam for two. Small package for another two count. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Patera comes back with a sunset flip for two. Whip to the corner, and Patera follows with a clothesline. He slaps on the full nelson, but Bravo grabs the ropes. Patera goes after Frenchie for whatever reason, allowing Bravo to plant him with the side suplex for the three count at 7:11. That seemed like a predictable finish, but it was mostly watchable, if not a bit boring.

Sam Houston vs. Big Boss Man:

Pulled from the July 23rd, 1988 card held at the Philadelphia Spectrum. This is fairly early in the Boss Man's run, having only made his television debut about a month or so earlier. I've stated this many times before, but for whatever reason, incredibly overweight heel Boss Man appeals to me more than slimmed down babyface Boss Man. Houston complains about Boss Man's badge, back when he wore a real one in the ring. Boss Man shoves Houston around to start. Lockup, and Boss Man pounds away. Whip to the ropes, and Houston clamps on with a front facelock. Boss Man escapes with clubbering blows, and lays him out with a headbutt. Whip to the ropes, and Houston comes back with a sleeper hold. Boss Man escapes by tossing Houston over the top rope. Houston pounds away from the apron, but gets squashed like a bug trying to re-enter the ring via a sunset flip. Boss Man stretches him out with a version of the surfboard, then changes things up by settling into a chinlock. Houston's attempts at a comeback include either a resthold or punching. Houston rocks the big man with a clothesline, then takes him down with a series of knee lifts. Houston heads to the top, but Houston, we have a problem, as a missile dropkick only gets a one count. Houston goes to the top again, but this time Boss Man catches him with a powerslam, and that's all she wrote at 7:07. Basically a live-event version of a squash match, with Houston showing very little other than sporadic offense.

- Recycled from an episode of Superstars of Wrestling, it's the coronation of King Haku. Following a near-career ending injury to Harley Race, the King title was shuffled to Haku, who had most recently just been broken up from the Islanders. Pretty much every heel is in the ring to honor the occasion, including Andre the Giant. I tend to hate segments like these, but Haku really was an underrated worker for his time, and he never really got much in terms of pushes, so it's cool.

The British Bulldogs vs. The Bolsheviks:

(Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid vs. Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov)
Also from the July 23rd card from the Philadelphia Spectrum, and we've still got Lord Alfred and Billy Graham calling the "action." Can't say I know much of what either team was doing at the time, but after a few moments of deep thought, I guess the Bulldogs had issues with the FABULOUS Rougeaus, and the Bolsheviks were touring, doing jobs to the newly aquired Powers of Pain. Lots of stalling to start, with the crowd being incredibly Anti-Bolsheviks. You didn't hear many "So-and-So Sucks" chants in 1988, except from places like Boston and Philadelphia. Lockup (finally), and Smith shoves Zhukov back into the corner. Davey Boy with a pair of arm drags, then settles into an armbar. He continues working the arm, sending Zhukov to the buckle. Dynamite tags in, and quickly goes for a headlock. Whip to the ropes, and Dynamite with a shoulder tackle, followed by a double noggin-knocker. Dynamite with a charging clothesline for a two count. Snap suplex, but Volkoff breaks the count. Dynamite goes for a DDT, but Volkoff nails him with a weak clothesline, and that allows Zhukov to cover for the three count at 4:46. Are you fucking kidding me? Not only did the Bulldogs job to these losers, but with absolutely no offense other than a clothesline that looked like it came from a retirement home? Wow, I know the Bulldogs weren't exactly high priority anymore, but this is what I call being jobbed.

The Rockers vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers:

(Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Jacques & Raymond Rougeau)
Pulled from the July 25th, 1988 card held at Madison Square Garden. Interesting choice here, considering we've got a freshly debuted team in the Rockers, and an equally fresh heel turned Rougeau Brothers, so it's a game of pick 'em when it comes to who goes over. Michaels and Jacques start. Lockup, and we get a clean break. Jacques grabs a side headlock, and gets boo'ed for it. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross ends with Jacques connecting with a dropkick. They shake hands, and another series ends with Michaels coming off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Michaels with an arm drag, and Jannetty tags in to work the arm. Raymond with a cheap shot from the apron, allowing Jacaques to take control. Whip to the corner, and Jannetty with a dramatic over-sell. Raymond slams him across the knee of Jacques, but that only gets ttwo. Whip to the ropes, and Jacques with an abdominal stretch. Raymond with a crescent kick to the chest for a two count. He slaps on his own abdominal stretch, but Jannetty manages to escape with a hip ross. Jacques with a dropkick, followed by a splash for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Jacques misses a body press. Both teams get the tags, with Michaels taking it to Raymond. Whip to the ropes, and Michaels connects with a dropkick. Jacques gets taken over with an arm drag, and now everyone is in the ring for the pier-six brawl. The Rougeaus end up being sent into each other, allowing Michaels to plant Raymond with a slam, and come off the top with a fist drop. That only gets two, thanks to the interfering Jacques. More brawling, and Michaels heads back to the top, only to get shoved off by Jacques, allowing Raymond to make the cover for three at 8:39. Hmm... interesting... my sources say this might've been clipped down a considerable amount of time. Good match, for what was here. The Bulldogs run down to protest the finish, setting up their match at MSG the next month, for SummerSlam.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
The Honkytonk Man vs. Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake:

Pulled from the August 6th, 1988 card held at the Boston Garden, and this one is quite the epic of bad wrestling. Honky has "Peggy Sue" with him, which is clearly Jimmy Hart in drag. Beefcake counters this by bring a valet with him as wall, "Georgia", which to anyone with any sense of vision, knows is George "the Animal" Steele. Yes, he was still hanging around in August of '88. Steele even has his doll Mine dressed for the occasion. We get lots of stalling, which isn't unusual for a Honkytonk Man match. He finally attacks, from behind of course, pounding on the Beefer in the corner. Beefcake responds by ramming Honky to the buckle 10-times (thanks to the crowd for counting for me)., Beefcake with an atomic drop, followed by more goofing around. Beefcake pounds away some more, offering "Georgia" some shots as well. Beefcake mounts Honky in the corner for more punching. Beefcake with a clothesline, and it's time for the Sleeper! Beefcake with a trio of elbow drops, no doubt a spot he ripped off from the Hulkster. Whip to the ropes and the Sleeper is applied, but "Peggy" and "Georgia" get involved, and somehow Honky recovers enough to bonk Beefcake with the mega phone for the tainted three count at 6:01. Short and inoffensive wrestling, but the gimmicky sideshow attraction was pretty dumb. Georgia eats a buckle to sooth "her" troubles.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Strike Force:

(Ax & Smash vs. Tito Santana & Rick Martel)
Pulled from the July 11th, 1988 episode of Prime Time Wrestling, with Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes calling the action. Strike Force had been chasing Demolition in WrestleMania rematches all spring, but this was their first nationally televised encounter since. Ax and Martel with a lockup to start. Martel manages to escape the corner unharmed. Martel pounds on Ax with rights and lefts, which Ax retaliates with his clubbing axehandle blows. Whip to the corner and Martel goes for a cross body, but Ax catches. Santana comes in with a dropkick, putting Martel on top for a two count. they connect with a double clothesline, and soon go to work on the arm. Santana with a knee drop for two, then back to the armbar. Smash tags in and pounds away, but soon gets taken over and has his arm worked over, too. Smash with a knee to the midsection of Santana to escape. Ax tags in, gets taken over with another arm drag. Whip to the ropes, and Santana with a body press for a two count. Santana with an armbar, but he wanders to close to the ropes and takes a cane shot to the back. Smash comes in to pound on Santana with clubbing blows and slaps on a bearhug. Whip to the ropes, and Ax with an elbow. He misses an elbow drop, but Santana still can't make the tag. Whip to the ropes, and this time Santana comes back with the Flying Jalupeno. Martel gets the hot tag and lays into Ax. Martel with a pair of dropkicks. Whip to the ropes, and he takes Ax over with a back drop. He slaps on the Boston Crab, buit Smash breaks it with a clothesline, sending Martel to the floor. He follows, and bashes Martel over the back of the head with a chair. Ax follows them out, and they hit the Decapitation elbow from the apron, and Martel plays dead very well, getting counted-out at 7:44, and doing a stretcher job, taking him off television until Royal Rumble the following year. Good match, but the post-match beating is really the only thing that makes this match any different than anything else these two teams did together.

Lumberjack Match: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Andre The Giant:

We're back to the August 6th card from the Boston Garden for the final match of the tape. Andre complains about the 2x4, so Duggan is forced to hide it from the ring. Andre pounds away on Duggan once things finally kick off. Duggan slugs it out for a while, until a headbutt turns it back into Andre's favor, and he follows with choking in the corner. Andre with another headbutt, followed by more clubering blows. Andre changes up his cheating offense with some biting, then knocks Duggan out of the ring with a big chop. Andre continues to control with the same token offense, until Duggan offers a comeback with elbowsd to the midsection. Andre cuts it off, knocking Duggan out of the ring following another headbutt. Back inside, Andre drops ass on Duggan over and over, shouting at "Ho!" to mock him. Andre with more choking, and Duggan with another valiant attempt to make a comeback. Duggan comes off the ropes with a clothesline, trapping Andre in the ropes. Duggan takes this time to unload a flurry of blows, but Andre eventually frees himself and undoes one of the turnbuckle pads. Andre with a headbutt, and he sends Duggan into the exposed steel. He goes for another, but rams his own head into the buckle instead. Duggan rams him into the buckle a few more times, then lays him out with his charging clothesline. Duggan grabs his 2x4 and breaks it over Andre, knocking him to the floor. The Lumberjacks try to help, but Andre makes short work of them. Back in the ring, Andre KO's Duggan with a roundhouse right, rams him into the exposed buckle, and drops an elbow for the three count at 7:51. Despite the unfavorable PBP, this was very watchable, and the crowd was pretty into it. Afterwards, the Lumberjacks brawl until the faces clear the ring. Joy to the world, indeed.

Final Thoughts: Hmm... anyone else notice that heels went over in all the matches featured, and the non-wrestling segment honoring the new King was promoting a heel, as well? Weird. Anyway, not a bad collection of matches, and I like the pulls from local arena cards rather than "Coliseum Exclusives." There's definitely some bad stuff, like the Bulldogs/Bolsheviks match, and to lesser extents, Patera/Bravo and Beefcake/Honky. On the positive side, the Rockers/Rougeaus, Demolition/Strike Force, and Andre/Duggan matches were all worth a look. Everything is pretty short, so all negatives are minor. Check it out if you find a copy, or just look for the few matches online worth watching

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