home | wrestling | flashback_reviews | wwe | house_shows

WWF at Philadelphia Spectrum
May 21, 1988

by Scrooge McSuck

Jake Roberts

- Presented on the PRISM Network from the famous Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA. Dick Graham and Roger Kent (in one of his first assignments of this short tenure) are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.

Jerry Allen vs. Steve Lombardi:

Nearing the end of the line for Mr. Allen as one of the bottom-level babyfaces. Lockup into the ropes and Allen gives a clean break. Lockup and Lombardi with a slam. He chooses to play to the crowd rather than follow-up on it. Whip is reversed and Allen with a back body-drop, followed by a slam, sending Lombardi out of the ring for a powder. Back inside, Allen goes to work on the arm with a wrist-lock. Whip and Lombardi with another slam. Allen boots Lombardi away with a mule kick and goes back to the arm. We get one of the world's ugliest fireman's carries I've ever seen. Lombardi escapes and they trade blows. Whip to the ropes and Lombardi surprises Allen with a clothesline to take control. Lombardi with another slam for two. Whip and Allen counters the back body-drop with a phantom boot. Lombardi rightfully no-sells and clotheslines Allen over the top rope. Back inside, Lombardi with a boot across the throat. Allen reverses a whip to the corner but charges into a boot. Snap mare out of the corner from Lombardi and into the chin-lock. Allen escapes with elbows and plants Lombardi with a slam. Lombardi brings up the knees to counter a splash attempt and puts the boots to him. Allen blocks a suplex and takes Lombardi over with his own. Allen sends Lombardi into the post with an atomic drop and unloads with boots to the midsection. Hip toss out of the corner and Allen comes off the ropes with a clothesline for two. ANOTHER SLAM for two. Whip to the corner and Allen surprises Lombardi with a sunset flip for three at 11:09. We found someone who was worse than Lombardi. *

The Young Stallions vs. The "Fabulous" Rougeau Brothers:

We're in the infancy of the Rougeaus' slow-burn heel turn, where they turned into obnoxious, insincere jerks. We get handshakes all around before the bell. Powers and Raymond start. Lockup to the ropes and Raymond gives a clean break. Lockup #2 and Raymond with a hip toss. Crisscross and a series of counters ends in a stalemate, so they shake hands again. Powers with an O'Connor Roll but gets sent out of the ring on the kickout. Raymond is a nice guy, though, holding the ropes open for Powers. Jacques in, and he asks for Roma to get in as well. Whip to the ropes and Jacques flips across the back of Roma into an inside cradle for two. He offers another handshake and tussles Roma's hair as the wink-and-nod to the crowd. Raymond tags in, but Roma wants Jacques back in there, they have unfinished business. Roma with a wrist-lock and monkey-flip, and now he's the one tussling Jacque's hair. He takes it surprisingly well before tagging Raymond back in. Raymond quickly picks the leg and Jacques comes off the ropes with a seated drop across the knee. The Rougeau's take turns working the leg, including the dastardly wish-bone. Crisscross and Roma catches Jacques with a drop toe hold. Powers in and they give Jacques a wish-bone before going to work on the leg. Roma goes for the Boston Crab, but Jacques fights for the ropes. Raymond in and he gets caught in the same predicament. Roma finally turns the Boston Crab over on Raymond, but he's able to get to the ropes. Raymond picks the ankle and Jacques with his own Boston Crab, and the crowd is aware enough to jeer the Rougeau's at this point. The referee is completely out of position for Roma's counter into a pinning situation. Roma blocks a hip toss and takes Raymond over with a back-slide for two. Whip and sunset flip on Jacques for two. Raymond with the blind tag, nailing Roma from behind with a forearm. Dick Graham is a COMPLETELY INCOMPETENT PLAY-BY-PLAY MAN, constantly missing spots throughout the match. Raymond meets knees going for a splash, allowing Powers to get the tag. He runs wild, slamming Raymond into the turnbuckle, going from one corner to the other. Whip and Powers applies an abdominal stretch. Whip and Powers with a powerslam for two. Heck breaks loose, Powers gets dropped across the top rope, and Raymond covers for three at 13:34. These teams worked a nearly identical match at MSG later in the month. Good match regardless of repetition. I'd drop the rating if the PBP was a factor. ***

Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Bad News Brown:

Fallout from WrestleMania IV, where Brown backstabbed Bret to win the 20-Man Battle Royal. It should be noted Bret wasn't full-fledge babyface at this point, but more of a heel with a legit gripe who was testing the waters. His babyface turn would begin once they introduced the idea he was splitting from his manager, Jimmy Hart. Brown attacks before the bell, pounding away with right hands. Whip and he takes Hart over with a hip toss. Bret counters a second attempt with his own, followed by a slam and elbow, sending Brown out of the ring for a breather. Back inside, Brown nails Bret moving in for the attack and sends Hart into the turnbuckle. Whip across the ring, Bret avoids a charge and aggressively rakes the eyes. He pounds away at the midsection and grabs a blatant choke. He pulls Brown from exiting the ring and grabs another choke. Hip toss out of the corner, followed by a slam and elbow drop. Brown charges and gets sent over the top rope. Bret brings him back in with a slingshot and Brown wants mercy. He offers a handshake, but Bret responds by spitting at his feet. Bret ducks a right hand, hits Brown with an atomic drop and gives his patented stomp across the sternum. Bret with the inverted atomic drop and elbow drop before grabbing another choke. Whip to the corner and Brown with a rough double boot to the chest as Bret charges in. He makes a rare trip to the top, but Bret pops up and slams him down. No cover, opting instead for some ground ‘n' pound. Brown counters the back breaker with a thumb to the eye and comes charging out of the corner with a vicious clothesline, followed by a leg drop for two. Brown with a slam and fist drop across the throat.

Brown tosses Hart out of the ring and smacks him across the midsection with the ring bell. Bret gets planted on the concrete with a slam as the referee has given up keeping a count on them. Back inside, Brown pummels Hart with right hands. Whip to the corner, with Bret taking the chest-first bump into the buckle. Bret reverses a second try, sending Brown into the corner instead. The comeback is short lived, as Bret misses an elbow from the second rope. Brown with some browbeating and slaps before arrogantly covering with one foot on the chest for a two-count. Brown nonchalantly climbs the ropes and misses a fist drop. Bret throws a series of forearms, followed by an elbow drop. Whip to the ropes and Bret with a back body-drop and leg drop for two. Bret with the back breaker for two. He tosses Brown out of the ring and gives him a receipt with a slam on the concrete. Back inside, Bret covers for a two-count. Bret with another back breaker and a snap elbow drop for two. Whip is reversed and Bret with a cross body press for two. Snap suplex for two. Whip and Bret with a fist to the midsection, followed by the O'Connor roll for two. Brown swings wildly with a right hand and gets caught in a sleeper but has enough to back peddle to the corner and force the break. Whip to the ropes, Brown slips out of a slam and hits the Hart Attack clothesline, but the TIME LIMIT HAS EXPIRED at the random 17:45. Post-match, Bret wants FIVE MORE MINUTES, but that never happens. This is a legit Hidden Gem, and worth checking out. Just a fight back and forth with non-stop action. Only thing I wish we had was a decisive finish. ****

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Andre The Giant:

The weekend after WrestleMania IV, Duggan KO'd Andre with his 2x4, setting up a strong couple of months as a headlining act through the Spring and early Summer. Kent tells us Andre has a restaurant in Montreal. STOP SHOOTING, KENT! Andre's reluctant to get in the ring while Duggan has the 2x4, a trick he'd use in future matches with Jake Roberts (the snake), JYD (his chain), and Hillbilly Jim (his horseshoe). We finally got a full-time WWF referee out there in the form of Joey Marella. Now Andre is unhappy with the level of noise coming from the crowd, so they just get louder. Andre catches Duggan off guard and strangles him. Andre with biting and a headbutt, knocking Duggan out of the ring. He rushes back in and tries a collar elbow lockup, only to get caught in another choke/nerve hold. Andre traps Duggan in the corner and crushes him with his body. Duggan slips out on the third try and quickly mounts Andre for a flurry of right hands. Andre cuts him off with a chops and grabs a bearhug. Duggan escapes by smacking the ears, only for Andre to reapply the hold. Duggan bites the face of Andre to force another break. Duggan goes back to throwing roundhouse rights. He staggers Andre with a pair of shoulder tackles, sets up for the three-point stance and knocks him into the corner with the big clothesline. He hits another clothesline, finally taking Andre off his feet to a huge pop. Duggan comes off the ropes for the knee drop but Andre punches him on the way down. They take it to the outside, with Duggan slamming Andre's face into the ring apron. Andre grabs the 2x4 from the table, whacks Duggan, and rolls back in for the Count-Out victory at 11:04. These two had better matches, but this was fine once the shtick and stalling ended (almost 4-minutes worth). *1/2

The British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware vs. Haku, High-Chief Afi, and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan:

I'm sure I've covered this in another old house show recap, but here it is again: Chief Afi (formerly Superfly Afi) was introduced as a 3rd Islander on the April 21st TV tapings from New Haven, CT, sporting full body tattoos from the waist down to below the knees of both legs. Tama would work his last date on April 24th from the Maple Leaf Gardens, leaving without notice in a dispute involving relative Sika being released after WrestleMania IV. The concept of the Islanders was soon dissolved as Harley Race was out indefinitely, and they had the bright idea to make Haku the new King, leaving Afi with nothing to do, and he would be gone after making a grand total of one appearance on national TV.

OK, with that out of the way, here we go. The Bulldogs have Matilda with them, for those that care about that. HEENAN starts with Koko. I should note Heenan is hiding in the corner. Dick Graham says Koko is without his COCKATOO Frankie. I'm not an expert on birds, but I'm 99.9998% sure that's a MACAW. Koko offers himself up to lure Heenan out of the corner and the plan works. He pounds away and sends Heenan flipping upside down in the corner. Now he can't even tell that AFI isn't HAKU. Afi complains about hair-pulling from Dynamite. Dynamite stops short of a leapfrog, nailing Afi with a clothesline and taking him over into an arm bar. THAT'S. NOT. HAKU. Both Kent and Graham are retarded. Haku, who's called Tama (kill me) comes in and gets sent to the corner with an atomic drop. Dynamite and Haku trade forearms until Haku takes him down with a back suplex. Crisscross and Haku misses a body press. Dynamite runs through him with a clothesline but Afi saves. Davey Boy with a snap mare into the chin-lock. Koko gives Haku a taste of the top turnbuckle and hits a beautiful twisting body press for two. Dynamite sends Haku to the corner but is met charging in with a clothesline. Afi with a flurry of chops and a terrible clothesline. Dynamite gets sent to the floor and worked over by Haku and Heenan. Back inside, Afi comes off the ropes with a headbutt for two. Haku with a series of back breakers, holding Dynamite across the knee for added punishment. Afi and Haku with quick tags, working Dynamite over in the corner. Dynamite blocks a suplex and counters with a snap suplex on Haku. They nail each other with a double clothesline and finally Davey Boy gets the hot tag. He takes Haku over with the delayed suplex but Afi saves. Whip and Davey Boy and Koko with a double clothesline. Koko with dropkicks to Afi and Haku. He traps Afi in an abdominal stretch, but Haku saves. Heenan with the blind tag, hitting Koko with a foreign object, and steals the fall at 17:15. You don't know how painful it is listening to two 50+ year old men with 30+ years of experience failing to identify two men for the better part of 20-minutes. Again, I'm not rating the match based on the piss-poor commentary. Decent action but felt like it went 5-minutes too long. **

"The Rock" Don Muraco vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine:

The angle where Valentine injured Superstar Billy Graham isn't taped until June 1st, so here we are for the sake of throwing these two together. Neither man has their manager at ringside, nor does Valentine have the shin guard. The geography masters at PRISM shorten Hawaii to "HA". Is everybody in Philadelphia dumb? At least I can hear Muraco come out to "Jesus Christ Superstar" instead of that awful WWE Network dub. Some local shlub is on assignment to referee this one, so we know it's important. Lockup to the corner and Muraco lets go, sending Valentine into the buckle. Muraco grabs a side headlock takeover and they teeter-totter on the canvas a few times for pin attempts. Whip to the ropes and Muraco with a shoulder tackle. Valentine catches him off the ropes doing a dive and drops him across the top rope. Valentine takes it to the outside, sending Muraco into the guardrail. Back inside, Valentine comes off the top with an axe-handle and signals for the Figure-Four. Actually, he just stretches out the leg to warm him up for the hold. He goes for it but Muraco counters with an inside cradle for two. Muraco starts no-selling Valentine's strikes, although it might be him struggling to breath, carrying all that extra weight from "hitting the gym." Valentine climbs the ropes and gets nailed on the way down. Muraco scoops him up and hits a shoulder breaker that Graham calls a "piledriver on the knee." KILL. ME. PLEASE. Valentine regains control but he still can't get the Figure-Four applied. Muraco and Valentine meet with a shoulder tackle and Muraco gets his neck caught in the ropes. Valentine ignores the referee's warnings to stop attacking and gets Disqualified at 9:46. SERIOUSLY? So-so match with a piss-poor finish. ¾*

- Mel Phillips runs down the lineup coming to the Spectrum on Saturday Night, June 18th: The Bolsheviks face The Young Stallions, Dino Bravo takes on "Former Olympic Great" Ken Patera, "The Outlaw" Ron Bass goes one-on-one with the Junkyard Dog, Bobby Heenan will step in the ring to face THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR (crowd loves that one) in a match where Heenan must wear a Weasel Suit if (when) he loses, The One Man Gang will go up against Bam Bam Bigelow, The Honkytonk Man defends the Intercontinental Title against Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake in a match where Jimmy Hart is barred from ringside, and in the MAIN EVENT, Andre the Giant will face "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in a return bout.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. "Ravishing" Rick Rude:

Final match of the night, and arguably the hottest angle in the company. Roberts doesn't allow Rude to enjoy the removal of his robe, quickly hitting the ring and unloading with left jabs and the right hook. He chases Rude around the ring and continues to pound away, hitting Rude with a stomach buster and knocking him over the top rope. Back inside, Roberts shrugs off some blows and hits Rude with a knee lift. He signals for the DDT but Rude bails out. He makes a move for Damian, drawing Roberts' attention and taking advantage of the situation. Roberts escapes a chin-lock with elbows to the midsection and takes Rude down with an arm drag. Rude pops right up, running through Jake with a clothesline. Roberts fights out of another chin-lock, sending Rude back peddling into the corner. Whip across the ring and Rude brings up the knee as Roberts charges in. Rude climbs the ropes and nails his signature fist drop, stopping to gyrate his hips before throwing (and missing) an elbow. Oh well, he remains in control, hooking a third chin-lock. Rude LOVED HIS CHIN-LOCKS. Roberts fights free and dares Rude to bring it, throwing a rude gesture his way. Roberts fires back with his signature jabs until Rude goes to the eyes to cut him off. Rude goes to the top again but Roberts causes him to straddle the top turnbuckle. Roberts continues to pound away, causing Rude to beg him off. No mercy shown, as Roberts hits the short-arm clothesline and signals for the DDT. Rude grabs the referee to block the move and nails Roberts with his back turned. Rude tries taking a walk, but Roberts chases him down. Rude sends Roberts into the post and celebrates over top. He drops down across the chest, but Roberts counters with a roll-up for three at 11:54. Post-match, Rude sends Roberts out of the ring, but Roberts has the last laugh, wrapping Damian around Rude and laying in with more lefts. Good match, reasonably short by their standards, but a little too much of the chin-lock, as usual with Rude. ***

Final Thoughts: It's hard to dislike a show, a WWF show, from 1988 where a match is in the 4-star territory, but the abysmal commentary from Dick Graham and Roger Kent is bad enough that I'd recommend avoiding this show, or at best, watching it on mute, which kills the fun of listening to the crowd. Shame too because this isn't a bad lineup. The opener is whatever, featuring prelim guys, but everything else works fine, and the bad stuff is kept short. Track down Bret vs Bad News, the commentary isn't too bad for that one, it's worth the look.

Sound Off!
Comment about this article on Da' Wrestling Boards!

back to Index