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WWF at Los Angeles Sports Arena
by Scrooge McSuck
July 15, 1988
- Presented on the Z-Channel from Los Angeles, CA. Gorilla Monsoon, Superstar Billy Graham and Sean Mooney is your unique threesome calling the action, unless otherwise noted. In an unaired match, the Iron Sheik (yes, in 1988) defeated Terry Taylor (before he became a walking joke).
Scott Casey vs. The Big Boss Man
We are early in the Boss Man's run, having debuted on TV in mid-June. Superstar Graham whines about the idea of a law man going bad. Welcome to 2020, Superstar… oh wait, this was 1988. My bad. No Slick at ringside for this one. Monsoon complains about the buckles and "sharp star" on the Boss Man's ring gear. Casey shares the same complaints with referee Joey Marella. Boss Man reluctantly removes his badge as they continue to make a big deal out of it. Lockup and Boss Man shoves Casey into the ropes. Casey tries to use his sped advantage, but the Boss Man catches him with a wrist-lock. Casey counters, wringing the arm, but Boss Man tosses him over the top rope. Casey skins the cat back in, thumbs the eye, and goes back to work on the arm. Whip is reversed and Boss Man catches Casey with a back breaker. Boss Man punishes the back and applies a bear-hug. Casey smacks the ears, but Boss Man won't release his grip. They end up in the ropes, forcing the break. Boss Man continues to dominate, laying Casey out with a headbutt. Casey bites his way out of a second bear-hug. Whip to the corner and Boss Man meets a boot charging in. Casey blasts Boss Man with axe-handle blows. Crisscross and Boss Man with a sloppy sidewalk slam for three at 7:23. Post-match, Boss Man handcuffs Casey to the rope and gives him a taste of law and order. Decent showcase for the Boss Man, and Casey wasn't too bad looking. Only rough spot, unfortunately, was the finish. **
The Rockers vs. The Conquistadors
The Rockers, like the Boss Man, debuted on television about a month prior. Oddly enough, they come out to the Ultimate Warrior's theme music. I always thought the Rockers' theme was a less metal version of Warrior's, but this one doesn't fit them. I'll identify the taller Conquistador (Jose Luis Rivera) as #1, and the short one as #2 (Jose Estrada). Jannetty starts with Dos. Dos with a waist-lock takedown but Jannetty scrambles free. They do the spot again with the same result. Jannetty with a side headlock and cross body press for two. Uno comes in for an assist but Jannetty hits them both with a body press, assisted by a dropkick from Michaels. Michaels with a side headlock on Uno, followed by a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Michaels with a slam. Dos runs in as we get more slams and dropkicks to clear the ring for a second time, with the Rockers following them out with synchronized planchas! For reasons unknown, Jesse "The Body" Ventura comes to ringside, drawing a superstar reaction, and joins the broadcast position to jaw with Billy Graham ("I had pierced ears when Billy Graham had hair!"). Back to the action, Michaels works the arm of Dos. The Rockers take turns working the arm as I suspect this one is going long. Whip and the Rockers with a double diving elbow for two. Crisscross and Dos nails Michaels in the middle of a leapfrog. Uno in with a blatant choke. Whip to the turnbuckles, with Michaels doing the big flip in the corner. He surprises Uno with a sunset flip, but Dos nails him with a boot to the face. There's a lot of talk of Demolition, but the Rockers aren't anywhere in their league in 1988. Dos with a soft back breaker for two. Uno makes the illegal switch to prevent the tag. Michaels fights to his corner, but oh darn, the referee missed the tag, allowing the Conquistadors to double-team Shawn in the ropes. Dos with an inside cradle for two. Michaels continues to take a beating in the corner. Dos with a whip and elbow for two. Whip and Michaels punts Dos before finally making the hot tag to Marty (and the crowd goes nuts!). Marty sends Uno across the ring and takes him over with a back body-drop. He knocks Uno out of the ring with a dropkick and takes Dos over with a snap mare. Michaels assists him with a hip toss, dropping Jannetty across Dos. Uno tries to save, but Jannetty clears him out. Michaels from the top rope with a flying fist drop and that's good for three at 14:37. I'm positive Dos was the illegal man. Good match, but the Conquistadors didn't have much pizazz when getting heat on Michaels. ***
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Andre The Giant
These two started feuding immediately after WrestleMania IV, when an in-ring confrontation led to Duggan KO'ing Andre with his 2x4. Feuding with Andre, immediately after Andre worked with Hogan, is quite the endorsement for Duggan and his spot on the card. Why does the bell ring before Andre officially enters the ring? Andre complains about the 2x4. Didn't we see the same routine in the opener, WITH THE SAME REFEREE? I guess it's different with the heel doing the complaining. Duggan threatens to use the 2x4 before relinquishing it to Graham. If I'm Andre, I wouldn't trust him either. The crowd is HOT despite no action taking place. Andre finally attacks, grabbing a choke hold. He nails Duggan with a headbutt, sending him rolling out of the ring. Duggan charges back in and is cut off with another choke. Andre bites and nails Duggan with a chop, knocking him out of the ring again. Duggan tries locking up and gets decked with a right hand. Duggan's elbows aren't enough to force a hold loose, with Andre using the singlet strap to choke him some more. Andre with more punishment in the corner. Duggan is able to sneak out, causing Andre to ram himself into the turnbuckle. Duggan finds an opening and mounts Andre with a flurry of right hands. Andre quickly cuts him off, grabbing a bear-hug. Duggan smacks the ears to break, but only for a brief moment. Duggan throws short rights and a headbutt, but Andre keeps the hold applied. Duggan has one more rally in him, biting Andre's nose. That finally breaks the hold. Duggan throws some huge haymakers in the corner and rocks Andre with shoulder tackles. He sets up for the three-point stance and knocks Andre into the corner. He sets up again and knocks Andre off his feet to a MONSTROUS OVATION. Duggan gets nailed going for the knee drop. Andre pulls himself to his feet, boots Duggan attempting another charge, and uses the ropes to hold Duggan down for three at 13:06. ANDRE USED THE ROPES FOR LEVERAGE. That's being a f*cking heel. Post-match, Duggan whacks Andre with the 2x4 for being a big, stinky, wart-infested cheating giant. I had my reservations early, but this turned into a good story with Duggan showing his never-say-die attitude and pushing Andre to the limit. **1/2
- Intermission interviews with Jake "The Snake" Roberts and "Ravishing" Rick Rude.
Weasel Suit Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
Some quick backstory: Heenan arrogantly issued an open challenge because of his overconfidence in beating Koko B. Ware with plenty of outside help, so this is his comeuppance after being denied the right to first refusal. Warrior comes out to his theme music to confuse the marks. Warrior's only notable program at this point is doing the strongman feud with Hercules, so he's not the mega-star you'd expect him to be here. Warrior has the suit tied around his neck like a cape. That's certainly a unique look. Heenan tries to bail but the referee won't let him. THAT'S NOT FAIR. Warrior grabs Heenan by the arm and pulls him into the post. Heenan rolls in and quickly hops over the top rope, luring the Warrior in a game of cat-and-mouse. Warrior ducks out of view and creeps up on Heenan, grabbing him with a double choke-lift and dropping him on the arena floor. Back inside, Warrior sends Heenan into the top turnbuckle of three of the corners. Heenan digs into his tights for a foreign object and nails Warrior in the throat with it. Heenan keeps cutting Warrior off, but he's just delaying the inevitable. Whip to the ropes, Warrior blocks being hit with the weapon again, and lays into Heenan with chops. Whip to the corner with Heenan flipping himself upside down. Whip across the ring, Warrior grabs a sleeper, and Heenan is down and out at 7:25. Post-match, Heenan gets stuffed in the suit, and does his usual pratfalls to sell the embarrassment. This went a little too long for the gimmick and talent involved. *
Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart vs. Bad News Brown
It's easy to forget that when Bret Hart turned babyface in 1988, Neidhart didn't immediately turn with him, as they branched out into singles roles for most of the Spring and early Summer before officially ditching Jimmy Hart as their manager and collectively confirming their switch to the good side. Brown does some trash talk before the match, so Neidhart bum rushes the ring to engage in fisticuffs. Brown swings wildly and Neidhart nails him with a dropkick, sending him to the floor for a breather. Neidhart brings him back in with a slingshot and bites him. Whip to the ropes and Neidhart with a back body-drop before grabbing a choke. Snap mare and Neidhart with a shoulder tackle for two. Neidhart with more dirty tactics. I'd say he's working heel, but the commentary is all about the tension in the Hart Foundation/Jimmy Hart relationship. Brown avoids Neidhart diving off the second rope and pounds away with right hands. Mooney reminds us that Bad News is undefeated in the WWF. I always forget he carried that until the Saturday Night's Main Event leading into WrestleMania V (as far as nationally televised matches are concerned). Brown with a slam and elbow across the throat. Brown comes off the ropes with a leg drop for two. Neidhart fires back with boots to the midsection. Whip across the ring and Brown bounces out of the corner with a clothesline. Brown exits the ring and clubs Neidhart across the chest. Back inside, Neidhart no-sells Brown's blows and pulls down the straps. OH, HE DONE DID IT NOW. Neidhart clobbers Brown with a forearm and pounds away with short right hands. Brown side-steps a charge, sending Neidhart over the top rope. Brown follows, slamming Neidhart face-first onto a chair. Neidhart blocks being sent to the post and rams Brown into the turnbuckle. He no-sells it and levels Neidhart with a headbutt, laughing off the attempt. Brown with another headbutt and fist drop. Whip, Neidhart ducks a clothesline and grabs a bear-hug, but Brown escapes by raking the eyes. Brown makes a rare trip to the second rope and misses a fist drop. Neidhart with more rights and a dropkick. Whip and Neidhart with an elbow on the chin. He hits Brown with a shoulder tackle, knocking him out of the ring. Brown picks the leg and drags Neidhart out. They ram each other into the post, and somehow make it back in the ring. Brown from behind with the Ghetto Blaster finishes at 12:44. I was expecting nothing, but this was surprisingly decent. **1/2
Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude
Final match of the night. We know the deal, Rude made a sexual pass at Roberts' wife, and they've been at each other's throats ever since. Roberts sneaks in from behind and immediately unloads with left jabs and a right hook. He chases Rude around the ring and continues to punish him in the ring. He connects with a stomach buster, sending Rude to the floor again, and this time Joey Marella prevents Roberts from following. Rude tries to sneak in, but Roberts backs him up. Rude kicks Roberts questionably low and pounds away with forearms. Whip and Roberts surprises Rude with a knee lift. He signals for the DDT but Rude bails out. He grabs the bag with Damian, drawing Roberts out of the ring. He ambushes Roberts rolling back in, hitting him repeatedly with forearm drops. Rude goes to the chin-lock as Graham continues to hammer it home that Roberts is "fighting for his family." Roberts escapes but is laid out with a clothesline. Rude stands on his chest and arrogantly gyrates his hips. Rude continues to punish the neck and grabs another chin-lock, using the rope for added leverage. Roberts fights to his feet and escapes with elbows. Whip to the ropes and Rude punts Roberts attempting a back body-drop. Roberts scratches the back to break another chin-lock and rams Rude backwards into the corner. Whip across the ring and Rude brings up the knee. He creeps up on Roberts on the apron and hangs him up across the top rope. Rude climbs the ropes and comes crashing down with a fist drop. More posing from Rude, allowing Roberts to roll him up for two. Rude pops up and pounds on the back of the neck of Roberts to keep him on the canvas. Roberts breaks ANOTHER chin-lock with a jaw breaker. Rude keeps the pressure on while Roberts tells him to bring it. Roberts finally lands some blows, only to get cut off with a rake of the eyes. Rude goes high risk again, but this time it doesn't pay off, as Roberts straddles him across the turnbuckle. Roberts with a whip and back body-drop. He signals for the DDT but Rude hooks the ropes. Roberts audibles, landing a knee lift. He pants Rude pulling him to the middle of the ring and lays him out with the short-arm clothesline. Roberts pumps his hips at Rude and goes for the DDT again, but this time Rude hooks Joey Marella to block it. Roberts with a big clothesline, sending Rude over the top rope. Rude tries to run away but Roberts tracks him down. Roberts continues the beating, but he trips over the bag, allowing Rude to roll in for the cheap Count-Out at 17:49. Post-match, Roberts unleashes Damian, wrapping the snake around Rude and pounding away on him. The referee cuts him off, but Rude continues to sell for the snake before running away. Lame finish to a good match (minus the excessive use of chin-locks). ***1/4
Final Thoughts: Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, but I really enjoyed this entire card. The crowd being hot for most of it is always a big plus, and it seemed like everyone had their working boots on. Rude/Roberts really didn't over-deliver from my expectations like other matches did, but again, a hot crowd saves almost anything, and it was perfectly fine despite the usual resting from Rude. Not much to complain about, so I'll just give it a solid endorsement, and the show is available in the "Old School" section on the WWE Network.
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