WWF House Show 12/17/1988
Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation House Show
From: Philadelphia, PA
The nosebleed seats are essentially empty as it looks like there isn’t a big crowd for this show despite a decent looking card.
Opening Contest: Sam Houston vs. The Red Rooster (Terry Taylor): Houston mocks Taylor at the start of the match which upsets Taylor. Houston takes Taylor down to the canvas but Taylor breaks free and backs away. Houston tries to get out of a wrist lock and controls Terry until Taylor gets his foot on the bottom rope and gets in Sam’s face. They shove each other and Sam slaps Taylor. Taylor leaves the ring and walks to the floor to get some counseling from Bobby Heenan, who is on commentary. Yeah, the venus is really empty. Houston blocks a slap and slaps Taylor a second time. Taylor jabs Houston but is met with a right hand. Houston gets tossed through the ropes to the floor. Taylor slams Houston face first onto the apron but comes back with a shoulder ram and a sunset flip from the apron. Houston nearly wins with a sunset flip and backslides Taylor for a two count. Taylor tosses Houston to the floor but Sam rolls back in and jabs Taylor several times. Houston comes off the ropes with a clothesline for a near fall. Taylor drops Houston throat first over the top to counter a Thez Press and wins the match. (*1/4. The finish was a little odd looking. They didn’t do much of anything for wrestling moves. Seemed like just a way to get Taylor some momentum.)
Second Contest: Mr. Perfect vs. Paul Roma: Roma shows off his power advantage sending Perfect into the corner. Perfect hip tosses Roma to get control but they just circle the ring. Perfect scoop slams Roma and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Roma hip tosses and scoop slams Perfect. Roma leaps off the middle rope to hit an overhand strike and Perfect rolls to the floor to regroup. Perfect wants to do a test of strength but Roma doesn’t seem overly interested. Roma goes for it and Roma drops Perfect down to his knees. Roma stomps on Perfect’s hands. Perfect chops Roma and bails to the floor afterward. Perfect runs the ropes and is stopped by an arm drag. Roma keeps control of the arm and wrenches on Perfect some more. Perfect breaks the hold with shoulder rams in the corner and tosses Roma hard into the corner. Perfect beats on Roma with strikes and a knee lift. Perfect hits a rolling neck snap before locking in a chin lock. Perfect rams Roma head first into the corner and continues with strikes. Perfect dropkicks Roma into the corner but misses a splash. Roma battles back with right hands and an atomic drop. Roma drops Perfect with a clothesline and continues to hammer on Perfect followed by a dropkick for a near fall. Roma counters a backdrop but gets rammed face first into the corner. Perfect finishes Roma off with the Perfect Plex. (**. A little bit better than the opener. Perfect comes across like a great wrestler and he announcers were heavy on putting him over. This accomplished in getting Perfect over, I’d say.)
During Beefcake’s entrance the announcer says, “It’s standing room only here” which is hilarious considering the left part of the arena is EMPTY.
Third Contest: Brutus Beefcake vs. Rick Rude: Well, a couple of fans in the front row are yelling “faggot” towards Beefcake. Rude shows off his body for the fans after Beefcake away. Beefcake shoves Rude away and struts before taunting Rude. Rude is claiming that Beefcake pulled his hair. Rude stalls on a test of strength with Beefcake. Rude kicks Beefcake in the midsection to get the cheap advantage. Beefcake blocks a big boot and teases a groin shot but settles for an atomic drop and Rude does his trademark sell. Rude rubs his butt on the middle turnbuckle to lessen the blow, apparently. Beefckae and Rude trade right hands several times with Beefcake pummeling Rude in the corner with strikes. Rude stops Brutus with an atomic drop. Rude keeps control with several strikes dropping Beefcake to a knee. Rude drives Beefcake face first into the canvas and controls Brutus with a chin lock. Beefcake stands up with Rude on his shoulders and hit an electric chair slam. Beefcake attempts a big splash but Rude gets his knees up to block it. Rude focuses his attack on the back of Beefcake getting a bear hug locked in. Rude drives Beefcake face first into the canvas and leaps off the middle rope to hit a fist drop. Beefcake stops Rude and slams Rude to the canvas. Beefcake jabs Rude several times dropping him to the canvas. Beefcake locks in the sleeper hold but Rude falls through the middle rope to the floor to break the hold. Rude sends Beefcake shoulder first into the ring post and rolls into the ring. However, the referee counted both men out thus there is no winner. After the match, Beefcake has his scissors and Rude is playing the crowd. Beefcake goes to cut Rude’s hair but Rude bails to the floor and runs backstage. (*1/2. They are capable of some good matches, but this one didn’t meet much for entertainment value. The finish was pretty cheap, too. I’m thinking that with the lack of a crowd they weren’t looking to put forth a huge effort.)
Fourth Contest: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty: Anderson and Michaels start off the tag match with Anderson yanking Michaels down to the canvas by his hair. Shawn kips up after another hair pull and they slap each other. Michaels punches Anderson but Arn tags in Tully who hip tosses Michaels. Michaels keeps control though and tags in Jannetty where they chop Tully to the canvas. Tully and Arn try to double team Jannetty, but Marty hit an arm drag and a double dropkick. Marty chases Tully on the floor but hits a dropkick back in the ring. Marty punches Tully and finds himself stuck in the wrong corner but fights his way out of it. Michaels comes in as well and they have a standoff. All four men are brawling with the Rockers clearing the ring. Arn shoulder blocks Michaels but Michaels comes back with an arm drag and a standing hurricanrana. All four men are in the ring with the Rockers again cleaning house. Tully wants to shake hands with Michaels but is instead met with a super kick and a hip toss. Tully rolls to the floor but Michaels chases him. Arn was waiting on the floor and clotheslines Michaels outside the ring. Arn stomps on Michaels to keep control in the ring choking Michaels as well. Michaels is sent chest first into Tully’s knee in the corner. Tully comes off the top with an overhand strike and tosses Shawn to the floor. Michaels punches Tully from the floor and hits a sunset flip, but Arn was tagged in and knee drops Michaels from behind.
Arn and Michaels trade shots in the corner with Michaels coming off the ropes to collide with Arn. Anderson stops Shawn with an atomic drop for a two count. Anderson puts Michaels in an abdominal stretch. Marty distracts the referee allowing Tully and Arn to keep control of Michaels. Michaels bridges out of a cover attempt by Tully and goes for a backslide for a near fall. Tully tags out to Arn as Michaels hit an atomic drop. Arn gets tripped by Michaels landing face first on the canvas. Marty gets the hot tag and cleans house on Tully and Arn. Marty slams Tully and rams them together head first. Michaels goes to the top and hit an overhand strike on Tully but Arn breaks up the cover. The referee is distracted as Arn chop blocks Marty on a scoop slam attempt and Tully manages to pin Jannetty. After the match, the Rockers super kick Tully and get their music played despite the loss. (**1/2. Some decent action and they for sure didn’t kick it into a higher gear than needed. Still, it was a solid tag match and a good undercard match to makeup for a lackluster start to the show.)
Fifth Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior vs. the Honkytonk Man: Warrior knocks Honky and Jimmy Hart down at the start and carries Jimmy to the backstage area. Warrior returns to the ring and hammers away on Honky. Warrior chokes Honky over the top rope before locking a bear hug on. Warrior sends Honky across the ring into the corner and Honky crashes to the canvas. Warrior drives Honky face first into the canvas. Warrior elbows Honky and attempts a big splash but Honky got his knees up. Jimmy Hart came back out and hit Warrior with his megaphone on the apron. Honky goes on the floor and works over Warrior sending him face first into the apron and hits Warrior over the back with his guitar! Honky works over Warrior with strikes in the corner but Warrior kicks his way out of the corner. Warrior misses a splash hitting the top turnbuckle chest first. Jimmy Hart gets on the apron while Honky is tying Warrior to remove a tassel off of Warrior but isn’t able to. Hart hits Warrior with the megaphone again. Honky is choking Warrior with a tassel now as the referee is distracted by Hart on the apron. Warrior looks to be passed out due to the choke. Warrior gets a second wind and clotheslines Honky. Warrior shoulder blocks Honky and gets one of his tassels to choke Honky with it. The referee is allowing it as Jimmy may have mistimed a distraction. Hart has powder bt Warrior tosses it into his eyes! Warrior press slams Hart into Honky and covers Honky for the win. (*1/4. It was pretty much what you’d expect it to be as it was a lot of smoke and mirrors. The constant distraction and whatnot keeps the focus off of Warrior’s lack of in-ring skill. At least this time there was a clean finish and likely end to Honky’s singles run.)
Sixth Contest: Danny Davis vs. Harley Race: Race may not be a king anymore but he’s still wearing the king gear. Race wins the match following a superplex. After the match, Race wants Bobby Heenan to bring out Haku and confronts Heenan at the commentary table. Heenan wants to shake hands but is instead slapped.
Seventh Contest: WWF World Champion Randy Savage vs. King Haku: Haku stalls a bit on the apron and Savage lets Haku into the ring. Savage and Haku get tangled up against the ropes but they break apart cleanly. Haku chops Savage to the canvas and continues to work over Savage in the corner with strikes. Haku shoulder rams Savage in the corner several times followed by an atomic drop. Haku delivers a karate kick and works over Savage with several more strikes dropping the champ to the canvas. The fans are very vocal about their opinion on Haku. Haku chokes Savage over the middle rope for a few moments. Haku drives Savage down with a back breaker a couple of times. Haku goes for a cover but Savage gets his boot on the bottom rope. Haku attempts a dropkick and crashes to the canvas. Randy tosses Haku over the top to the floor and rams Haku head first onto the ring steps. Savage pulls Haku to the apron but Haku reverses and chokes Savage on the apron. Haku knocks Savage down with a strike and maintains control working over Savage with more chops. Haku stomps on Savage in the corner followed by knee drops. Haku chops Savage into the corner but Savage makes his comeback with an elbow strike for a near fall. Haku kicks Savage to avoid a backdrop. Haku delivers a head ram to Randy’s midsection. Haku continues to work over Randy’s back with forearm strikes. Haku works over Savage in the corner with more head rams to the gut. Haku chops Savage in the corner and keeps Savage down with a snap mare. Haku tries for a submission with a nerve hold. Savage is able to send Haku to the apron as Haku has his arm wrapped up in the ropes. Savage stomps on Haku before ramming him into the corner. Haku cuts Savage off with a clothesline. Haku comes off the middle rope missing a head butt. Savage leaps off the top to hit an elbow drop for the three count. (**. It certainly didn’t feel like a big main event by any means, but the action was alright. The fans were rather brutal towards Haku with some of their heckling, but that’s typical Philadelphia crowd.)
Eighth Contest: Jim Duggan vs. Frenchy Martin: Dino Bravo is at ringside for his buddy Frenchy Martin. Duggan runs over Martin with a clothesline to win the match. After the match, Bravo attacks Duggan with several right hands. Martin is up and double teams Duggan. Duggan is tossed over the top to the floor. Bravo and Martin taunt the fans but Duggan is back with his 2×4 to run them from the ring.
Brother Love makes his way down to the ring for a segment. Love is here to speak to a young lady. The only thing that makes his guest special is that she is a guest of his. Love brings out Elizabeth as his guest. Love wants to ask her a few questions about accusations that Bad News Brown claimed recently. Brown wanted to know why he didn’t get any title shots and suggested that Jack Tunney was protecting WWF World Champion Randy Savage. Love suggests that parents cover the ears of their children for what he’s about say. Love wants to know what favors Elizabeth has been doing for WWF President Jack Tunney to protect Randy Savage. She thinks that Savage has an opinion for him and here comes Savage to confront Love. Savage threatens to splatter Love’s face around the arena. Savage says he’s going to do Brown a favor and will give him a title shot here in Philadelphia!
Main Event: Jake Roberts vs. Andre the Giant: Roberts tosses his snake under the ring to allow the match to happen without any issues. Roberts starts off with several right hands to stagger Andre. Andre uses his hips to push Roberts away. Roberts clotheslines Andre into the ropes and Andre is tied up in the ropes where Roberts chokes Andre for a few moments. Andre chokes Roberts against the ropes to get the control of the contest. Andre works over Roberts with overhand strikes. Andre controls Roberts with a choke hold and a sleeper hold. Roberts tries to break free and does so with an elbow strike. Roberts hammers away on Andre in the corner but a head butt staggers Roberts. Andre delivers a few shoulder rams in the corner. Roberts knee lifts Andre to knock Andre down to a knee. Roberts is signaling for the DDT! Roberts tries for the DDT but Andre holds onto the ropes and Roberts crashes to the mat. Andre chokes Roberts for a few moments. Andre casually sits down onto Roberts. Andre decks Roberts with a right hand to maintain control of the contest. Andre rams his back into Roberts a few times in the corner. Roberts comes off the middle rope to knee lift Andre and Andre falls down. That was an awkward looking moment as it looked like Andre was supposed to hit him. Roberts goes under the ring and grabs his snake bag. Roberts tosses the snake into the ring and Andre falls to the mat. Roberts knee lifts Heenan as the bell has sounded. Andre is touched by the snake and he panics running backstage with security. (*1/4. What a shock, but a lackluster main event and it felt like an angle advancement.)
On paper, I felt like it was a decent looking card. However, the small crowd probably impacted how much action we were going to get. There’s a couple of decent matches, but nothing worth sitting through the whole show or going out of your way to see. The most entertaining aspect of the show may be the ruthless Philadelphia crowd. They were brutal towards some of the talent, which surprised me considering the year. I can’t recommend the show.
Thanks for reading.