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WWF at Philadelphia Spectrum
by Scrooge McSuck
Feburary 6, 1988
- Presented on PRISM, taking place a mere 24 hours after the earth shattering "Main Event" special featuring Hulk Hogan being robbed of the WWF Championship after 4-years as the reigning Champion. It's such a big deal we recap it at the top of the broadcast! Dick Graham and Lord Alfred Hayes are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. The WWF ran a matinee in the Boston Garden the same day, with the same lineup, so we flipped a coin and decided to cover this show at the Spectrum. My copy is missing the Championship Match between the Sensational Sherri and Rockin' Robin. Sherri wins, for anyone wondering.
"Leaping" Lanny Poffo vs. Terry Gibbs:
After getting all hyped about the Main Event, reality comes crashing down and we start with the prelims. Got to start somewhere, right? I can't imagine Gibbs hanging around much longer as enhancement talent (and after a little research, he would be used sparingly for most of 1988, working his final show the day before SummerSlam). Poffo reads a VERY brief poem, kissing up to the locals about the Flyers. In what universe is Poffo 248 pounds? Lockup and Poffo shoves Gibbs on his butt. Lockup and Gibbs works the arm. Poffo counters with a back flip, forcing Gibbs to the ropes. Gibbs with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Poffo with an arm drag into the arm bar. Gibbs escapes with a slam but misses an elbow and Poffo goes back to the arm. Another escape from Gibbs leads to him getting caught in another arm bar. He forces a break in the corner and nails Poffo with a cheap shot before tossing him out of the ring. Back inside, Gibbs with an elbow drop for two. Back breaker for two. Poffo fights out of a bear hug but meets knees going for a senton. Poffo with another comeback attempt, complete with a rolling head-scissors. He takes Gibbs out of the corner with a hip toss and connects with a dropkick for two. Gibbs meets him in the corner with a boot but makes the mistake of going to the top rope. Poffo slams him down, slams him again, and finishes with the moonsault at 8:59. Typical prelim stuff. Poffo's offense looked nice. *1/2
George "The Animal" Steele vs. The One Man Gang (w/ Slick):
Oh God, please don't go longer than 5-minutes (and even that would be a miracle not to be a stinker). Steele attacks before the bell, sending the Gang out of the ring. He starts attacking Gang's attire, stomping on his vest, then giving it an elbow drop. Ric Flair ripped off his shtick from GEORGE STEELE! To add insult to… more insult, he puts on the vest AND Slick's hat and starts strutting around. Oh, My god… Slick with a distraction, allowing the Gang to "pearl harbor" him. Slick gets in a few shots with his cane as the Gang chokes Steele in the ropes. Steele suddenly no sells and gives chase around the ring, but the Gang catches up and smacks him with the bell IN CLEAR VIEW OF THE REFEREE. Back inside, Gang rakes the eyes. Whip and Steele counters a clothesline with biting of the arm. Gang fights free and bull rushes, only to get dumped over the top rope. Slick with another distraction. Gang crashes into Steele in the ropes and gently splashes him for three at 4:33. Post-match, Steele clears the ring and assaults a turnbuckle pad for his troubles. This was nothing but goofy comedy and kept reasonably short. ½*
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin):
I'm guessing this has a non-finish, with Steamboat rarely doing clean jobs and Bravo getting a singles push. Lockup and Bravo shoves Steamboat into the ropes. He wants a test-of-strength, taunting Steamboat with chicken gestures. Steamboat falls for the Marty McFly tactics and gets a boot to the midsection. Bravo tosses him over the top, but Steamboat skins the cat after whacking Martin with a kick and dumps Bravo over instead. Steamboat follows with a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. Back inside, Steamboat with a hip toss followed by a deep arm drag into the arm bar. Bravo escapes with a forearm. Crisscross and Steamboat with another arm drag and arm bar. They do another extended crisscross and Steamboat nails Bravo with a chop before going back to the usual. Bravo forces a break in the corner and lands a pair of headbutts across the ribs. Whip and Bravo with an elbow for two. Running clothesline for two. Whip and Steamboat surprises Bravo with a crucifix cradle for two. Bravo nails Steamboat out of the corner with an inverted atomic drop and lays him out with a clothesline for two. Bravo with a vicious piledriver. Instead of going for a cover, he hooks a chin-lock. Steamboat fights to his feet but Bravo pulls him down by the hair and drops an elbow for two. Bravo hooks a front face-lock and drives a knee into the midsection. Whip to the corner, Steamboat fights out with chops. Whip is reversed and Steamboat with a sunset flip for two. Leg sweep into a rolling cradle for two. Inside cradle for two. Steamboat with a swinging neck breaker for two. He goes to the top rope and hits a big chop for two. He introduces Bravo into the top turnbuckle, but Bravo has enough to sweep the leg and cover. The referee sees the feet in the ropes and breaks the count. Whip is reversed, sending Steamboat over the top rope. Bravo follows, slamming him face-first into the apron. Steamboat fires back with chops but is cut off with an eye rake. They continue to fight and the bell rings at 13:33 for a Double Count-Out. Back inside, Bravo pounds away and tosses Steamboat over the top rope. The timekeeper calls it a TIME LIMIT DRAW like a f*cking idiot. It was obviously a Double Count-Out. Bravo wants 5 more minutes, so Steamboat returns to ringside and works him over with chops. Martin comes in for the save but Steamboat fights off the 2-on-1 attack. Perfectly fine match, though the timekeeper is a complete idiot. **1/2
Sam Houston vs. "Dangerous" Danny Davis:
Good to see this barnburner of a rivalry bleeding over into another month on the house show loop. Is Davis the only WWF/E Superstar introduced from New Hampshire? I honestly don't know how Houston's over-the-top cowboy bullsh*t is supposed to get over as the babyface in the Northeast, especially when he's trading wins with a bottom feeder. The bell rings and Davis stalls outside the ring. Alfred talks about Davis' association with Jimmy Hart and "The Hart Corporation". Have another drink, Alfred. Houston leapfrogs the referee and brings Davis in with a slingshot. Deep arm drag into the arm bar. Davis escapes with a hair pull but Houston quickly regains control. Whip to the ropes, Houston catches a boot and spins Davis around for an atomic drop. Houston's luck runs out, missing a cross body and going flying over the top rope. Davis struts around like he's accomplished more than a well-timed duck. Houston blocks a suplex and falls on top of Davis for two. Davis remains in control and tosses him to the floor again. Houston comes back in with a sunset flip for two. Houston blocks another suplex and counters with his own. Davis tosses Houston AGAIN. FIND A NEW SPOT. Houston is getting angry and laps the ring before rolling in and unloading with lefts and rights. Whip and Houston with a diving clothesline. He hits Davis with the bulldog but they're in the ropes. Davis reverses a whip with a handful of tights AND hooks the rope for the three count at 9:42. Houston did some decent stuff, but Davis is a lost cause. ¾*
Hulk Hogan & Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. "Million $ Man" Ted Dibiase & Andre The Giant (w/ Virgil):
The Main Event, which means they're announcing a big return match later tonight for next month. Dibiase comes out with the WWF Championship around his waist and is introduced as the WWF Champion. This, along with the match from Boston, was a sought after piece of footage for tape traders back in the day. Hogan and Bigelow bum rush the ring, with Hogan going for Andre and Bigelow after Dibiase. Andre bails out, leaving Dibiase alone. Bigelow sends him to the ropes and Hogan nails him with a big boot. Bigelow ducks a wild right hand and nails Dibiase with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Hogan comes in (this crowd is RABID) and he takes shots at everyone. He sends Dibiase to the corner and charges in with a clothesline. He rakes the eyes of Andre so hard that Andre goes stumbling out of the ring. Dibiase plays the ping pong ball between Hogan and Bigelow. Andre comes in to save but Hogan isn't having any of their bullsh*t tonight. Whip and Hogan with the clothesline. Bigelow tags back in and they hit a double big boot. Bigelow comes off the ropes with a jumping headbutt to the shoulder. Dibiase reaches for a tag, but he's nowhere near his corner. Andre grabs hold of Hogan and blasts him with a headbutt to finally slow him down. The referee cuts off Bigelow, allowing Dibiase and Andre to double-team the Hulkster. Dibiase sends Hogan into the turnbuckle and hits a series of drifting fist drops for two. Andre with clubbing blows across the chest, and now it's Hogan rocked back and forth between the partners. Andre traps him in the corner and Dibiase charges in with a clothesline. Dibiase with another short clothesline before grabbing a chin-lock. Hogan fights back to his feet and escapes with elbows to the midsection. He comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle and a double clothesline puts both men down. Bigelow gets the hot tag, sends Dibiase to the corner, and runs through him with a clothesline. Bigelow with a press slam, but Virgil trips him up while running the ropes. Andre holds Bigelow in place for Dibiase to unload with chops. Dibiase goes to the top but Bigelow slams him down. Hogan tags back in, driving a series of boots to the midsection. Whip and Hogan with the big boot. He clotheslines Andre into the ropes and finishes Dibiase with the leg drop at 10:04. I don't think Andre ever tagged in. Good, exciting action that the crowd ate up with glee. ***
Jacques & Raymond Rougeau vs. Barry Horowitz & Steve Lombardi:
Quite a low position for the Rougeau Brothers, going against a team of guys who were used as enhancement scrubs on syndication. Jacques and Horowitz start. Lockup, Horowitz grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Jacques takes him over with a monkey-flip. Lombardi rushes in and gets the same treatment. Lombardi tries returning the favor and gets a stomp to the face for his troubles. Raymond grabs a side headlock as Lord Alfred talks about Lombardi being trained by Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin (sexual misconduct jokes are classy!). The Rougeau's thwart a double-team attempt and clear the ring with a pair of dropkicks. Back inside, Lombardi cheap shots Raymond, allowing Horowitz to nail him with a running high knee. Lombardi with a short clothesline and sends Raymond into the knee of Horowitz. Horowitz in with a knee lift and headbutt. Raymond gets caught in the corner for some double-team choking. Lombardi with a slam for two. Horowitz with a gut-wrench suplex and leg drop for two. Raymond teases a comeback but Horowitz cuts him off. Whip and Lombardi nails him with an elbow. Jacques gets the tag, but the referee misses it, of course. Lombardi with an inside cradle for two. Horowitz puts the boots to Raymond and takes him down with a Russian leg sweep. He goes to the top rope, but Raymond recovers in time to straddle him on the turnbuckle. Jacques with the hot tag, sending Lombardi to the ropes and hitting a diving elbow. Jacques with a slam and jumping knee drop. Back body-drop for two. Horowitz gets sent out of the ring with a dropkick and they finish with the Rougeau Bomb at 9:12. Basic stuff with a subdued crowd. *
Brady Boone vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
They really saved the best for the second half, didn't they. Boone is introduced from Portland, OR but the graphic reads "Seattle, WA." It's the Pacific Northwest, same thing. Lockup and Sharpe shoves Boone hard into the ropes. Boone uses Sharpe's momentum to send him into the corner and takes him down with a series of arm drags. Back inside, Sharpe grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Boone with a cross body press for two. Sharpe likes to take powders out of the ring. Back inside, Sharpe clubs Boone with the forearm brace and stomps him down to the canvas. Boone turns things around, sending Sharpe into the turnbuckle. Whip across the ring and Boone meets the turnbuckle himself on a failed charge. Whip to the ropes and Sharpe with a back body-drop for two. Whip and Boone comes back with a sunset flip for two. Boone with the O'Connor Roll for two. They botch something in spectacular fashion, I think Sharpe was supposed to throw a boot and have Boone catch it, but they fell all over each other. They take it to the floor, with Boone being thrown into the timekeeper's table. Back inside, Boone catches Sharpe by surprise with a diving elbow. Boone backs him into the corner and pounds away. Sharpe digs into his tights, loads up the brace, and whiffs on a right hand. Boone does a nonsensical back-flip out of the corner and gets whacked with the brace for being a show-off, enough for Sharpe to pick up the victory at 9:05. Standard prelim effort. *1/2
- The WWF returns on March 12th with Ted Dibiase defending the WWF Championship against Hulk Hogan. HUGE Card Subject to Change disclaimer there.
The British Bulldogs vs. The Islanders:
Final match of the night. The Islanders are without Heenan, but they do bring the invisible dog leash with them (and perform invisible animal cruelty), so we can expect that to factor into the finish. The Bulldogs don't waste time bringing the fight to the Islanders. Haku and Tama get whipped into each other, with Tama taking a powder. Davey Boy pounds away on Haku with forearms and grabs a headlock. Whip to the ropes and a shoulder tackle doesn't budge either man. Davey Boy blocks a roll up, misses an elbow, and then Haku misses a headbutt. Bulldogs with a double headbutt and Dynamite grabs a side headlock. Crisscross and Haku misses a cross body, giving Dynamite position to knock him over the top rope with a clothesline. Back inside, Haku backs Davey Boy into the corner, allowing Tama to tag in. Whip is reversed and another shoulder tackle stalemate. Davey Boy with a hip toss and Tama gets caught in the Bulldogs corner. Tama offers a handshake in a plea for mercy, but Dynamite isn't having it, sending Tama into the corner with a slingshot. The Islanders stall outside the ring, so the Bulldogs bring the fight again. Davey Boy with the press slam on Tama, dropping him throat-first across the top rope for two. Tama goes to the eyes of Dynamite and tags Haku in. Whip is reversed and Dynamite gets caught with a chop between the eyes. Haku pounds away with elbows to the top of the head. Whip and Haku with a clothesline, followed by a leaping leg drop. Tama makes the illegal switch, clubbing Dynamite with forearms. Dynamite trades blows with Haku and grabs a headlock but Haku counters with a back suplex. Haku with a shoulder breaker for two. Whip to the ropes and Dynamite takes Tama over with a sunset flip for two. Dynamite fights to his corner, but Haku creates a distraction, causing the referee to miss the tag. Tama with a slam but he misses the elbow drop. Davey Boy gets the hot tag and nails Haku with a clothesline. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER. He takes Haku over with the delayed suplex for two. Inside cradle for two. He connects with the running powerslam but Tama saves. Haku with a slam and Tama comes off the top with a splash for two. Heck breaks loose, with the referee getting shoved. Dynamite grabs the leash and lashes Haku and Tama with it, and it's a Disqualification victory for the Islanders at 13:06. Another questionable finish, but this time it makes sense with the Bulldogs working pissed off. Good match that slowed down a bit in the middle. ***1/4
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show, especially for a Philadelphia Spectrum lineup. The Main event of Hogan/Bigelow vs. Dibiase/Andre delivered, although you could feel a bit ripped off that Andre was more window dressing than a main piece of the match. Bulldogs/Islanders is worth a look, and hey, Steamboat got something decent out of Bravo. Only a handful of bad matches, usually kept short. I'd still recommend the Boston card, with the same lineup and results, just for the better production value.
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