Written by: Brian Bayless
November 26, 1988
From Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY
Your hosts are Rod Trongard, Superstar Billy Graham, and Lord Alfred Hayes
Matches tonight include Hercules vs. Ted DiBiase and Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bossman
Barry Horowitz vs. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo
Poffo’s pre-match promo was about how he came to kick Horowitz’s butt. Poffo takes Horowitz down to start after a lockup as Graham babbles on about Poffo spending time in the gym. Poffo continues to outsmart the overly aggresive Horowitz as Graham is still talking about his favorite subject, which is body weight. Poffo works a side headlock after catching Horowitz with a hip toss. Poffo then uses the referee to flip out of a wirstlock as Hayes points out how that is against the rules while Graham downplays the incident. Poffo uses a flying headscissors then Horowitz ducks outside after a criss-cross. Horowitz heads up the aisle while Poffo mocks him for being a chicken. Horowitz comes back to the ring then Poffo slingshots him back inside and works another side headlock as Graham says this will not help him win the match. Poffo tries a monkey flip but Horowitz counters with an inverted atomic drop as he finally takes control of the match. Horowitz targets the back then starts using various cheap heel tactics. Poffo slugs Horowitz down and hits a slam after Horowitz hurt his back. Poffo misses a somersault senton then Horowitz gets two with a gutwrench suplex. Horowitz now works an abdominal stretch as he uses the ropes for leverage when the referee is not looking. Poffo gets out and starts fighting back. He tosses Horowitz in the corner but gets his eyes raked as Horowitz goes back to the abdominal stretch. Poffo manages to get two with a backslide but Horowitz goes back to the abdominal stretch. Poffo breaks up the hold with a hip toss but gets caught with a backbreaker. Horowitz hits a double underhook suplex and heads up top but gets punched in the gut. Poffo kicks Horowitz in the corner then catches him with a sunset flip for the win (12:33) **.
Thoughts: Too many restholds here but Horowitz did get some heat and looked good in the match. Really not much more to add other than that.
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig vs. Paul Roma
Hennig takes control to start. Roma catches him with a hip toss and a slam then Hennig roll outside after Roma used a flying headscissors. Hennig heads back in but Roma reverses an Irish whip and takes Hennig down with an armdrag. Roma works the arm until Hennig stiff arms him and uses a knee smash. Hennig fires away in the corner then uses his neck snap before applying a chinlock. Roma mounts a comeback but that ends after Hennig pulls up on a dropkick. Roma gets dumped to the floor then Hennig sends him back out again before bringing him in with a vertical suplex. Hennig tosses Roma to the floor for a third time as the crowd boos. Hennig spends too much time taunting the crowd as that allows Roma to get in and hit a backdrop. He then hits an atomic drop and a clothesline as the crowd is loving this. Roma hits a dropkick then heads up top with a flying body press as that gets two. Roma charges at Hennig but gets caught with a hotshot then Hennig gets the win with a fisherman’s suplex (8:35) **3/4.
Thoughts: This was a good match. Roma showed tremendous fire and looked great on offense as Hennig was able to get a lot of heel heat, something he has been struggling to do since he debuted the Mr. Perfect character.
After the match, Mr. Fuji comes out to tell the crowd he is no longer the manager of Demolition and now manages the Powers of Pain. Fuji said Demolition was not respectful and calls Roma a punk. He then attempts to rough up Roma but eats a dropkick as that brings out the Powers of Pain as they destroy Roma, who ends up leaving on a stretcher. An effective segment not only to put over the Powers of Pain as threats but to really sell the double-turn from Survivor Series for those who had not been aware what happened.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Hercules
Before the match, DiBiase tells Hercules he owns him and will beat him until he realizes this. Hercules runs down to the ring and they start brawling. Hercules hits a backdrop then sends DiBiase to the floor with a clothesline. Virgil distracts Hercules but its not enough as he stops DiBiase’s sneak attack. He hits a clothesline then uses ten turnbuckle smashes in the corner. Hercules gets caught coming back into the ring after chasing DiBiase around as DiBiase hammers away in the corner. DiBiase stays on the attack and hits a flying double axe handle as the crowd boos. DiBiase continues to beat on Hercules, who manages a comeback until DiBiase rakes the eyes. Hercules gets tossed outside where DiBiase stomps him from the apron. Back inside, DiBiase gets booted after ducking his head but dodges an elbow smash as DiBiase lands a few fist drops. DiBiase gets two with a suplex then he stands over Hercules and slaps him around. DiBiase heads up but misses an elbow drop then he misses a charge in the corner as Hercules starts firing away. DiBiase begs for mercy as Hercules kicks him in the chest. Hercules hits a knee lift then a pair of clotheslines before catching him in a powerslam. The crowd goes nuts as Hercules stands over DiBiase and slaps him in the face in the same way DiBiase did to him earlier. Hercues puts on the full nelson as DiBiase gets his feet on the top rope and pushes back as Hercules knocks down the referee. Hercules puts DiBiase in the backbreaker submission then breaks to hit Virgil as he came off of the top. Hercules tosses Virgil outside then heads over to DiBiase, who pulls out a foreign object from his trunks, and punches Hercules then covers as the ref was getting up and gets the win (9:06) **1/2. After the match, DiBiase slaps Hercules around and stuffs a $100 bill in his throat. DiBiase now holds up Hercules for Virgil, who has the chain, but Hercules kicks Virgil then ends up slamming DiBiase before chasing them both off with his chain.
Thoughts: Solid match to continue their program. The crowd went nuts when Hercules made his comebacks as DiBiase did a great job here, especially when it came to selling. This was fun to watch.
S.D. Jones vs. Akeem w/ Slick
Akeem dances around after showing off his strength. S.D. mocks Akeem’s dance after escaping from the corner then lands a few punches. He ducks his head and gets kicked as Akeem mocks S.D. by slapping his own butt. Akeem takes control until missing a charge in the corner. S.D. fights back then finally knocks Akeem off of his feet. He beats Akeem down in the corner but runs into a back elbow smash and shortly after that Akeem hits a splash for the win (4:42) 1/4*.
Thoughts: This was not good at all. Akeem should have destroyed S.D., who would leave the company about a week later.
WWF Tag Team Title Match: Powers of Pain w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Demolition (c)
The crowd goes nuts for Demolition. All four men immediately start brawling in the ring. Demolition clears the Powers of Pain from the ring and go after Fuji but the PoP’s come back in as the match settles down. Ax beats down the Barbarian as Demolition is firmly in control. The Barbarian hits Smash in the throat as the PoP’s briefly take control until Smash clotheslines the Warlord. Fuji whacks Ax with his cane as the ref was distracted as the PoP’s take control as Hayes points out how Demolition will now realize how much of a loss Fuji is to them. Ax catches Warlord with a back elbow smash then tags Smash, who runs wild. The match breaks down as Fuji comes in to whack Smash with his cane but Ax runs in and knocks Fuji down as the ref rules the match as a double disqualification (5:59) *1/2 .
Thoughts: This match had a lot of heat and it was chaotic. The Barbarian was in the ring for most of the match and that was for the best since Warlord looked rough here. The double-turn saved this feud, which had little buzz heading into Survivor Series.
Nikolai Volkoff vs. Iron Mike Sharpe
Sharpe attacked Volkoff, who was singing the Russian National anthem. The crowd seems confused by the prospect of cheering for Sharpe, who takes control. Volkoff pulls Sharpe outside and hits a spin kick before sending him to the floor. Back inside, Sharpe fights back with overhand chops but this crowd does not care. Volkoff regains control and chokes Sharpe against the ropes. Sharpe fights back again and chokes out Volkoff. He then hits a dropkick for two and readjusts his arm band but misses a charge in the corner then misses another one as Volkoff rolls him up and grabs a hold of the tights for the win (5:27) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Bad match. Odd seeing Sharpe as a face and he showed some fire but these two lumbered around the ring and the crowd did not care at all.
Howard Finkel introduces Fred Blassie to the crowd. Greg Valentine is out for his match and extends his hand but Blassie blows him off and ends up replacing Graham on commentary.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Tito Santana
Blassie tells us he turned down Valentines’ hand shake offer because he does not approve of the shinguard he uses. These two go back-and-forth to start. Valentine ducks outside after a breather then ends up targeting the leg. He hits a forearm smash from the middle rope then applies a chinlock. Tito fights back and works a side headlock as this match is dragging so far. Valentine ends up kicking Tito in the leg after a break and goes back to work on that. He slams Tito’s leg off of the post and ring apron but Tito fights back and hammers away. Valentine boots Tito down then drops four elbow drops and gets a two count off of that. Rollup gets two as Valentine is acting nonchalant. He goes back to working the leg then Tito pulls him down by the tights and starts hammering away as the crowd comes back to life. Tito heads up top but Valentine catches him with a punch to the gut. Valentine once again goes back to working the leg and gets a few nearfalls. Tito manages a small package then dodges an elbow drop as both men are down. Tito catches Valentine with a knee lift then starts firing away as Valentine drops. Tito now works over the leg of Valentine. Valentine nails Tito and turns around his shinguard as he tries the figure-four but Tito turns that into a small package for a nearfall. Valentine tries again for the figure-four but Tito shoves him to the floor. Valentine drags Tito outside where they brawl. Valentine rolls inside just before the bell ring as Hayes believes Valentine is the winner but it turns out this is a time-limit draw (18:13) **1/4. After the match, Tito clears Valentine from the ring.
Thoughts: This got heated towards the end but the first half of the match was horrible. It was like watching two guys wrestle in slow motion and it had no heat. Looks like these two will going at it again as they retouch upon their feud from three years prior.
WWF Women’s Title Match: Sensational Sherri vs. Rockin’ Robin (c)
Graham is back on commentary. Robin gets her brother, Sam Houston’s, theme music. Sherri attacks Robin before the bell and yanks off the belt. Sherri is pissed over the fact Robin defeated her for the title in France several weeks ago. Sherri hits a dropkick then works the arm. Sherri stays in control as she mainly uses kicks but whiffs on a dropkick then Robin fires away. Sherri shakes off Robin after a clunky reversal sequence then tarts choking her out. Robin fights back then chases Sherri around the ring and surprises her with a tap on the shoulder. Back inside, Robin gets two with a powerslam but misses a crossbody as both women are down. They get up and brawl in the corner where Robin is able to surprise Sherri with a sunset flip for the win (8:25) **.
Thoughts: The crowd was silent for this too and seeing how the Women’s Division was never featured on TV you cannot really blame them. They both tried as the story was Sherri’s anger over losing the title cost her the match here.
Finkel runs down the 12/30 MSG show. Matches include Red Rooster vs. Blue Blazer, Mr. Perfect vs. Koko B. Ware, Rick Rude will appear to choose a lucky lady from the crowd to get the Rude Awakening, Powers of Pain vs. Demolition in a No DQ Match, Dino Bravo vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a Flag Match, and Bad News Brown vs. Randy Savage. And for those wondering, I will be reviewing that show as well.
Big Bossman w/ Slick vs. Hulk Hogan
Hogan starts firing away as soon as he enters the ring. He rips off his shirt and shoves it in the Bossman’s mouth before sending him over the top rope with an atomic drop. Hogan heads outside where Slick jumps on his back and carries Slick up to the apron and dumps him inside but Bossman runs in from behind for the save. Bossman targets the back of Hogan until he runs into a boot in the corner. Hogan tries a slam but Bossman falls on top for a nearfall. Bossman once again targets the back but Hogan fights back and starts chopping away. Hogan almost knocks Bossman down but Slick trips him up. Hogan chases Slick around and ends up getting stomped by Bossman as he re-entered the ring. Bossman hits a spinebuster then works a bearhug for a couple of minutes as Hogan is just able to get his arm up on the third hand raise by the referee. Hogan fights out and ducks underneath a clothesline but gets caught in the sidewalk slam. Bossman does not cover and starts yelling at Hogan before heading up top and missing splash. Hogan gets up first and lands a few punches before hitting the big boot. Hogan then signals for the slam and hits that before dropping a pair of elbows. Hogan then slams Bossman’s head off of the mat then panders to the crowd but Slick attaches the handcuffs to the ropes. They mix it up in the corner where Hogan cuffs Bossman then clotheslines him to the floor as the crowd is out of their minds and count along with the referee as Hogan wins via countout (10:57) **1/2. After the match, Hogan tosses Slick into the ring but Bossman breaks out of the cuffs for the save as he then flees with his manager when Hogan raised up the nightstick. Hogan then puts the nightstick in his tights and starts posing.
Thoughts: Another solid match. They stuck to the same finish and formula used on the 11/12 show at the Philadelphia Spectrum. This feud, which was doing great at the arenas, will continue.
Final Thoughts: Overall, it was decent enough show. The main event was insanely over and they had some other decent bouts and a great crowd. The commentary was awful, especially when you are subject to Graham going on all show long about body weight, physique, and dietary habits, but it could have been worse believe it or not as Trongard was actually alert here, unlike two weeks ago at the Spectrum.