WWF House Show 1/9/1988
Written by: Bob Colling
World Wrestling Federation House Show
From: Philadelphia, PA
This is an afternoon show that had a reported attendance of just over 10,000. That’s double the attendance there was for the last afternoon show in Philadelphia that I reviewed. It looks like a strong card, too. Oh boy, Craig DeGeorge looks like a teenage boy on commentary.
Opening Contest: Dino Bravo vs. SD Jones: Probably the weakest match of the show and it’s not a bad idea to just get it out of the way. There’s just no way that SD has any chance in hell of winning a match at this point in his career. Early into the match, Bravo delivered a cheap shot while against the ropes and got control of the match. SD came back to trip Bravo and kicked his way out of a test of strength knocking Bravo down to the canvas. Bravo sends Jones to the floor where Frenchy Martin is hanging out. Jones gets distracted by Martin and Bravo attacks from behind. Dino stomps on Jones in the ring to keep control of the match. Jones fights back after avoiding a clothesline and got the crowd behind him as he knocked Bravo down after a headbutt. Bravo withstands that and hit a side slam to win the match. (*1/4. There was a little bit of hope for Jones, but the action wasn’t overly great or anything. It did go by kinda of fast for an eight minute match.)
Second Contest: Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior: They lockup but neither man budges and Rude complains about a hair pull a few times. Warrior slams Rude face first onto the canvas and Rude rolls to the floor to regroup. Warrior backs Rude into a corner and delivers several overhand strikes. Rude stops Warrior with a few right hands and tries to send him across the ring but Warrior hangs onto the ropes and stalks Rude backwards. They go for a test of strength with both men struggling to get the advantage. Warrior gets the upper hand and Rude drops to his knees. Warrior proceeds to stomp on Rude’s hands and sends him into the corner hard back first. Warrior sends Rude across the ring a second time and plays to the crowd. Rude crashes to the canvas after a third time being sent into the corner. Warrior locks in a bear hug right in the middle of the ring. Rude tries to fight out but Warrior just squeezes harder. Rude drops down and nearly has his arm drop three times as Warrior lays him on the canvas and nearly wins with a bear hug. Warrior lifts Rude and hits a scoop slam after letting go of the hold. Warrior casually drops Rude down to the canvas and Rude begs off. Warrior puts Rude in another bear hug. Rude gets out of the hold be seemingly hitting a low blow and Warrior drops to the mat. Rude continues his offense with an atomic drop for a two count. Rude keeps Warrior on the canvas with a nerve hold but Warrior isn’t going to give up or pass out.
Warrior powers to his feet and elbows his way out of the hold backing Rude into the corner. Rude misses a shoulder strike hitting the top turnbuckle. Warrior attempts a big splash but Rude gets his knees up to block it. Rude takes Warrior over with a snap suplex before heading to the top rope. Rude leaps off hitting a fist drop but Warrior powers out at two. Rude keeps Warrior on the canvas with a nerve hold. Warrior elbows out but Rude stops him with forearm strikes. Warrior nails Rude with a clothesline a few times to keep control of the bout. Warrior comes off the ropes with a shoulder block and Rude is struggling to get up to his feet. Rude sidesteps Warrior tossing him to the floor. Warrior gets onto the apron but Rude knocks him to the floor again and taunts the fans. Rude knocks Warrior off the apron again sending him to the floor once again. Warrior pulls Rude to the floor and they brawl leading to a double count out finish. (**. It was enjoyable for what it was as they didn’t really stall or anything. Considering Rude had to run off to Boston to face Hogan later in the night, that’s probably why it was kept simple.) After the match, Warrior sends Rude into the ring post.
Third Contest: Brutus Beefcake vs. Greg Valentine: Former tag team partners collide. Beefcake starts the mach hammering away on Valentine and sends him into the corner head first. Brutus delivers an elbow drop to the lower midsection of Valentine. Valentine is begging off again but is rammed head first onto the canvas. Beefcake also rams Valentine head first into the corner a few times. Beefcake sends Valentine across the ring and drops Valentine with a right hand. Beefcake works over Valentine with a series of elbow strikes and stomps on Valentine knocking him to the apron. Jimmy Hart pulls Valentine to the floor to allow him to regroup as Beefcake plays to the crowd. Beefcake gets nailed by Valentine while the referee was out of position. Valentine comes off the ropes and delivers an elbow strike on Beefcake. Valentine continues to hit Beefcake with elbow strikes. Valentine delivers an elbow drop for a two count. Valentine keeps control Brutus with several elbow strikes to the face. Valentine has a rear chin lock on Beefcake but isn’t going to get a submission. Valentine nails Beefcake with a clothesline for a two count. Valentine delivers several elbow strikes on Beefcake taking him down to the canvas but can’t keep Beefcake down. Beefcake gets on top of Valentine delivering right hands. Beefcake jabs Valentine several more times knocking Valentine down. Beefcake clotheslines Valentine and signals for the sleeper hold. Beefcake clubs away on Valentine on the apron.
Valentine tries to go for the figure four but Beefcake kicks him away each time. Beefcake delivers an elbow shot in the corner and Valentine again crashes to the mat. They trade several right hands until Beefcake no sells a few elbow strikes. Beefcake pummels Valentine but runs into a big boot. Valentine goes for a slam but Beefcake gets the sleeper hold on Valentine! Beefcake grabs Jimmy Hart on the apron and Valentine accidentally knocks him off! Beefcake decks Valentine to the floor, too. Beefcake knocks Valentine off the apron with a right hand. Beefcake hooks Valentine hitting a suplex back into the ring. Valentine rolls over as Jimmy Hart had Beefcake’s foot down and that allows Valentine to win the match. (**. It’s not a bad match as there was some decent action. That finish is just popping up all the damn time.)
Backstage, Judy Martin and Lelani Kai are interviewed before their match. The guy interviewing them really comes across like a creep. Jimmy Hart says they’ll do anything it takes to keep the tag team titles. Kai says they are unbeatable and Martin says they are going to take the jump out of the Jumping Bomb Angels.
Fourth Contest: WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions Judy Martin & Lelani Kai vs. Jumping Bomb Angels: This one goes fifteen minutes and I’ll be honest, I’m far more interested in the remaining of the card and want to go get to that as quickly as I can. Late in the match, all four women are brawling in the ring. Martin wins the match following a front suplex.
Fifth Contest: WWF Intercontinental Champion Honkytonk Man vs. Randy Savage in a steel cage match: The fans seem to be pretty rabid for this cage match. Honky tries to run to the door but Savage cuts him off and Honky backs away. Honky tries to escape over the top but Savage brings him down to the ring and rams Honky head first onto the top turnbuckle several times. Honky staggers around and is met with an elbow strike. Savage delivers another elbow strike and a kick to the gut. Savage rams Honky head first into the top turnbuckle several times, too. Honky flops around on the canvas before being choked over the top rope. Honky eye rakes Savage and beats on him for a moment before trying to leave but is stopped. Savage goes to send Honky into the cage, but Honky counters and sends Savage into the cage face first. Honky continues to work over Savage with right hands. Savage fights out of the corner with jabs. Honky stops Savage with a double axe handle strike and comes off the ropes to hit an elbow drop. Honky scoop slams Savage followed by a forearm drop. Honky tries to casually walk out of the cage but Savage stops him by grabbing his foot. Honky stomps on Savage and chokes him on the canvas. Honky works over Savage with right hands and a quick clothesline. Honky goes to leave through the door again but Savage quickly gets over there to stop the champ. Savage punches Honky a few times with right hands and nearly escapes through the door but Honky grabs his ankles! Honky gets sent face first into the cage! Savage is looking for the door but isn’t going to the right corner. Savage begins to climb the cage but Honky stops him on the top with right hands. Honky brings Savage back into the ring and hammers away on Savage. Honky delivered a head butt, and drops down across the top rope. Savage stands on the top of the cage, clearly capable of escaping. Savage instead leaps off the top of the cage to hit a double axe handle. However, it looks like Honky may have delivered a strike to the gut and both men are down. Savage crawls to the corner and grabs the ropes looking to escape. Savage slowly makes his way to the door opening but Jimmy Hart slams the door onto Randy’s head! Honky goes to escape but Savage has his ankle. Well, he did have him and Honky manages to escape with Jimmy pulling him out. (**1/2. The match was kind of basic, but the crowd was heavily into it. There was some good stuff going on here. I was about to be annoyed with Savage essentially no selling the cage door spot, but it ended up costing him the match.) After the match, Savage attacks both Honky and Jimmy in the ring. Savage gets some revenge hitting an elbow drop off the top onto Honky. I seem to recall a time when a cage door smashing you in the head you’d be out for months. Savage was barely impacted by it.
Sixth Contest: Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid vs. The Conquistadors: Well, this is just going to be another extended squash match to put the British Bulldogs over. I don’t really recall a time the Conquistadors ever won a match. They may have, but I just don’t ever remember it. The Bulldogs dominate the match and make short work out of their masked opponents. Smith tosses Dynamite into the air and he this a diving headbutt for the win. They sure did look good in there.
Backstage, Ted DiBiase is interviewed with Virgil by his side. DiBiase says you can never underestimate a man with a lot of money. He keeps proving that everyone has a price for him. DiBiase knows that WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan has a price. It’s not over just because Hogan said no. He went out and bought Andre the Giant. Andre has promised to deliver the WWF World Championship to him. DiBiase knows what WWF officials are doing. DiBiase knows that they are trying to get rid of him before the match involving Hogan and Andre. DiBiase says he’s the master of embarrassing people and promises Jake Roberts that if the snake comes out then Virgil will take care of him.
Seventh Contest: Jake Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase: DiBiase tries to cheap shot Roberts but backs away when Jake blocks them. They yank each other down by the hair with Roberts doing it last and DiBiase struggling to his feet. DiBiase works over Roberts with a few right hands. Roberts jabs DiBiase knocking him to the corner. DiBiase rolls to the floor to regroup. They go with a test of strength with DiBiase dropping Roberts to his knees. Roberts gets to his feet and goes for a DDT but DiBiase slides to the floor. DiBiase controls Roberts with a few right hands but a knee lift sends DiBiase to the canvas. Roberts goes for another DDT but DiBiase slides to the floor. Roberts sends DiBiase into Virgil on the floor. Roberts does it again and rams DiBiase into the ring. Virgil backs away from Roberts and DiBiase hit an elbow drop to work over Roberts in the ring. DiBiase clotheslines Roberts coming off the ropes. DiBiase chokes Roberts over the bottom rope for a few moments. DiBiase delivers an elbow shot and a few stomps. DiBiase takes Roberts down with a sleeper hold. Roberts tries to get his snake but DiBiase plus him away and delivers an elbow drop. Roberts drops DiBiase with a jaw breaker. Roberts jabs DiBiase and connects with a short arm clothesline. The snake bag is in the middle of the ring. Roberts stomps Virgil when he tried to get into the ring. DiBiase knee lifts Roberts from behind and rolls Roberts up for the win. After the match, DiBiase gets tied up in the ropes and Roberts gets his snake out. DiBiase is panicking but Virgil comes in from behind and Roberts puts the snake on him. DiBiase gets free and Virgil slides out of the ring. (**. I was glad they actually had a finish to the match as I was expecting a DQ or something cheap. It was a decent undercard match and an effective win for DiBiase since he’s the top heel in the company.)
Backstage, WWF Tag Team Champions Strike Force are interviewed before their main event match with the Hart Foundation. Martel knows this is going to be a tough match for them. Martel says they are prepared to prove that it wasn’t luck when they won the titles. Tito chimes in and makes the same point that Martel did. Santana says the longer they team the better they get.
Main Event: WWF Tag Team Champions Tito Santana & Rick Martel vs. Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart: Martel and Hart kick off the main event with Hart working over Martel in the corner. Martel avoids Hart and hits an arm drag out of the corner. Hart bails to the floor to regroup. Martel takes Hart down to the canvas and works over the left arm with a hammerlock. Hart gets out of a hammerlock putting one on Martel. Martel nearly wins with a rollup before controlling the left arm of Bret. Santana tags in and they double team Hart with a strike to the midsection. Hart scoop slams Santana and tags in Neidhart who misses a fist drop. Santana twists the arm of Neidhart to keep control of the bout. Jimmy Hart trips Santana while Martel was distracted by Bret. Neidhart tosses Santana to the floor and distracts the referee to allow Bret to get several cheap shots in. Bret rolls Santana into the ring and Neidhart chokes Tito. Neidhart backs away from the corner and Bret chokes Tito while the referee is distracted, again. Bret tags back in and takes Santana down before delivering a forearm drop. Santana goes for a sunset flip but Bret kneels down and punches him. Neidhart tags back in and gets a two count after Bret delivered a headbutt. Santana elbows Neidhart but here comes Bret to keep control with elbow strikes. Bret drives Santana down with a backbreaker for a two count. Both Tito and Bret go down after colliding shoulders. Martel gets in the ring and goes after Neidhart but doesn’t accomplish anything. Neidhart puts Bret onto Santana but they only get a near fall. Santana rams Hart face first into the top turnbuckle and tries to tag in Martel. Bret recovers to prevent the tag from taking place. Santana sends Bret chest first into the corner and finally makes the tag to Martel. Neidhart is tagged as well but Martel pummels him and dropkicks Bret. Martel sends Neidhart into Bret and hits a cross body off the ropes for a two count. Strike Force elbow strike Neidhart and Martel puts the Boston Crab on Neidhart! Santana decks Hart but Hart comes in with a megaphone and whacks Martel to cause the disqualification. (*1/2. Well, they never really got into a different gear. I think they are capable of a good match and this sadly just didn’t deliver that.)
It’s not a great show, but I felt like it was enjoyable enough that I don’t regret spending two hours watching it. The cage match was something I was most interested in and thought it was fine, just wished it went a little longer. It’s a solid overall show.
Thanks for reading.