WWF House Show 8/13/1988
Written by: Brian Bayless
August 13, 1988
This is the WWE 24/7 On Demand version, which omits the Ron Bass vs. DJ Peterson match. I’m sure that was a barn burner.
From the Los Angeles Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Superstar Billy Graham & Gorilla Monsoon
Tonight, Randy Savage will face off against Andre the Giant with the WWF World Heavyweight Title on the line.
Black Jack vs. Sam Houston
Jack was subbing for the Iron Sheik, who was fired at this point. He wears a mask and has a good physique and went by the name Jack Armstrong, who was a local enhancement guy for a few companies throughout the 80’s. Graham thinks Houston needs to get to the gym and start pumping iron. Jack stalls to start off the match. Houston catches him with an armdrag as Graham tells us Houston actually looks confident for once. Man, Graham was not a fan of Houston. Jack does some more stalling before Houston works a side headlock as Graham now says Houston is on top of his game tonight. Make up your mind, Superstar. Houston goes back to the side headlock then fires away. Houston hits a dropkick then goes back to the side headlock. Jack catches Houston with a knee smash then hits a slam but misses an elbow drop as Houston goes back to the side-headlock. Jack rakes the eyes in the corner and lands a few shots but Houston comes back with a bulldog as that gets the win (5:47) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Terrible match. Jack was one awful wrestler and besides that, the commentary was horrific. The bad commentary was the theme of the night for this show, sadly, as it would only get worse from here.
Barry Horowitz vs. Blue Angel
For those wondering, the Blue Angel is in fact Owen Hart under a mask in what would be shortly known as the Blue Blazer. The mask is the same but he is wearing different attire. Angel works the arm to start. He takes Horowitz over with a hiptoss after a springboard that pops the crowd. Angel works a hammerlock then kips up to take Horowitz over with an armdrag. Angel uses a standing monkey flip for two but Horowitz takes over after a headbutt. Angel regains control and works the arm and maintains that even after a fast-paced Irish whip sequence. Horowitz stalls in the corner then jaws at the crowd before Angel hits a hammerlock slam then goes back to the arm until Horowitz catches him with a super kick. Horowitz then gives himself a pat on the back before using a slingshot guillotine against the bottom rope. Horowitz chokes Angel out with his foot then pokes Angel in the eye. He whips Angel into the corner then pats his back again after standing on top of Angel. He rakes Angel’s face across the ropes then gets two with a double underhook suplex. Horowitz works a front facelock but Angel powers out. Horowitz catches Angel with a high knee and covers for two. Backslide gets two. Horowitz uses a mat slam but Angel starts fighting back in the corner. Angel comes back with a crossbody off the middle rope for two but Horowitz decks him with a forearm smash. He snaps Angel’s neck off of the top rope after that. Angel gets two with a sunset flip but Horowitz gets up and takes back control. Horowitz heads up top after a Russian leg sweep but takes too long as Angel kips up then slams Horowitz off. Angel heads up and flies halfway across the ring with a missile dropkick. Angel chops away in the corner then follows with a suplex. Angel then comes off of the top with a knee drop as that gets two. Backbreaker gets two. He hits a slam then heads up to hit a moonsault as that gets the win (14:57) ***1/2. The crowd gave Angel a standing applause.
Thoughts: Really good match. This was a heavily praised match at the time, mainly due to Angel, who worked at a much faster pace than anyone else in the company. He looked incredible here and rapidly became a fan favorite. Horowitz did a fine job in his role as well but Angel was the standout. On commentary, they bitched the entire time about not using enough body weight during pinfall attempts. They also continued this for the rest of the show.
The Bolsheviks vs. Powers of Pain
The Powers of Pain run out to attack the Bolsheviks as they were singing the Russian National Anthem as the fans applaud. Superstar is going out of his while pointing out the physiques of the Powers of Pain. The match settles down as Volkoff brags over the fact he shoved the Barbarian in the corner. Zhukov tags and lands a few shots but the Barbarian catches him with a powerslam for two as Volkoff made the save. Volkoff drags Zhukov back to the corner and tags in as the Warlord now enters the match as they battle over a test-of-strength. Zhukov tries to break it up but accidentally hits his own partner. Warlord powers out of a front facelock then tags the Barbarian as the Powers of Pain use frequent quick tags to stay in control. Warlord misses a charge as Volkoff starts working over the back as the Bolsheviks are cutting off the ring. The Warlord fights back then hits the Bolsheviks with a double clothesline and finally makes the tag as the Barbarian comes in to minimal crowd reaction. He looks great here though, even throwing some super kicks. The Warlord tags after Volkoff got knocked to the floor then the Powers of Pain hit Zhukov with the powerslam/diving headbutt combo for the win (9:07) *1/2.
Thoughts: The crowd was into the PoP when they interrupted the Russian National anthem and during the finish but were quiet for the rest of the match. This was better than their match at WrestleFest and at SummerSlam at least. The Barbarian looked good here but the other three stiffs were largely terrible. Watching the Barbarian retroactively, he really was an underrated talent (I realize many people are sharing this sentiment today as well but I’ll gladly take a seat on this bandwagon). He got saddled with a partner who stunk and later on in goofy stables until teaming with Meng but he was a solid power wrestler.
Curt Hennig vs. S.D. Jones
Jesse Ventura joins on commentary, because he was spending time in Hollywood. Jesse notes how Curt’s father is Larry Hennig as he puts him over for being tough. S.D. shoves Hennig into the corner a few times then grabs a side headlock. Graham tells us that S.D. walked through Watts to prepare for this match. Hennig breaks the side headlock by getting both of his feet on the middle rope as S.D breaks it by dropping Hennig down. Hennig comes back with a drop toehold but S.D. escapes and works a hammerlock. Hennig gets dumped outside but re-enters and cheap-shots S.D. after a break. Hennig stomps away then grabs a reverse chinlock as the announcers completely ignore the match. Hennig misses a clothesline but catches S.D with a backbreaker S.D fights back but ducks his head as Hennig boots him in the face for a nearfall. Hennig targets the back then applies another reverse chinlock. S.D. breaks out and hits a headbutt then shoves the referee out of the way to hit Hennig with an inverted atomic drop. Hennig is tied up in the ropes as S.D. stays on the attack, with Hennig taking over-exaggerated bumps. Hennig is able to fight back but gets caught with a powerslam for a nearfall. S.D. is gassed and throws a punch then all of a sudden Hennig starts firing away as no one in the crowd or on commentary cares about this match. S.D. fights back again but Hennig catches him with a clothesline for the win (13:06) 1/2*.
Thoughts: Dear lord this was crap. S.D. took a majority of the match and the crowd was absolutely dead for this one. The finish was poor too as Hennig was basically treated as being on the same level as S.D., which pretty much killed the interest of the crowd. This had no business going over thirteen minutes.
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Andre the Giant w/ Bobby Heenan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) w/ Elizabeth
Graham gives Elizabeth credit for being out there with a “maniac” like Heenan while only weighing “97 lbs.” Savage chases Heenan away after he started harassing Elizabeth then agent Chief Jay Strongbow came out as we learn Heenan is ejected. He refuses to leave then is told Andre will forfeit the match if he does not leave. The match starts after Heenan is escorted away. Savage uses his speed to elude Andre until they lockup. Andre headbutts Savage then traps him in the corner until Savage rolls outside for a breather. Savage heads back in as Andre chokes him out before working a nerve hold. Andre then uses the strap on his singlet to choke out Savage behind the referee’s back. Savage ducks outside after Andre sent him down with a headbutt. Savage re-enters and catches Andre with a boot in the corner. Savage comes off the top with an elbow smash but Andre uses another headbutt before applying a bearhug. Savage eventually escapes then ties up Andre in the ropes after a clothesline. Savage rakes Andre across the face before stomping away. Andre gets out and chops Savage a few times in the corner as he starts to rough up Savage. More choking from Andre in the corner then he takes off the turnbuckle pad and rams Savage’s head off of the exposed steel. Andre misses a headbutt and is stunned as Savage hits a bunch of turnbuckle smashes as Andre finally drops down. Savage then climbs up top as the place goes nuts then hits a flying elbow drop but Andre shoves him off during the pin attempt. Savage misses a knee drop and they fight outside. Savage rolls in to beat the count then Andre takes Elizabeth down by the leg and holds her as Savage runs out for the attack. Andre rolls back inside and thinks he won, as he holds up the title belt, as we learn both wrestlers have been counted out (10:24) *1/2. Superstar says he can see Elizabeth’s swollen ankle all the way from where he was sitting.
Thoughts: Not that exciting but they played up the big man/little man dynamic well enough and considering Andre’s condition, they did okay. Plus, they set up for a rematch down the line to give Savage a new house show feud after DiBiase.
Gorilla is shown backstage interviewing Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude, who will be facing Jake Roberts tonight as they hype up the match and the feud. After that, Gorilla is with the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, who are smiling and waving tiny American flags. They talk about having good news but first, they will be facing the Hart Foundation tonight. Jacques then says they will be moving to the United States and set up a number, 1-800-Fabulous, where we can tell them where we want them to live in the United States. The Rougeaus were awesome here.
Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. Hart Foundation
Raymond and Neidhart start off the match as they go back-and-forth. Neidhart sends Raymond outside with a dropkick as the Rougeaus re-group outside. Jacques and Bret are now in the ring as Bret refuses a handshake offer as the announcers reference Stu Hart’s Dungeon. Bret then agrees and reverses an Irish whip as Jacques rolls over him then poses as they both retreat to their corner. Hart then drops an elbow to block a monkey-flip attempt after an Irish whip sequence. Bret then blocks a sunset flip attempt by Raymond as the Hart Foundation are in control as they beat on Raymond in the corner. Bret gets a nearfall with a backbreaker then applies a chinlock. Jacques ends up tripping Bret from the outside behind the referee’s back as the Rougeaus double-team Bret in their corner. The Rougeaus use quick tags to maintain control then Jacques puts on a reverse chinlock. Jacques hits a splash for two after they hit Bret with a dropkick/slam combo then Raymond works a front facelock. Bret tags but the ref did not see that as the Rougeaus double-team him while the ref is tied up with Neidhart. Bret manages to get a small package for two then tries a comeback but Jacques stomps him down. Bret then reverses an Irish whip and bounces Raymond off of the corner as both men are down. The Rougeaus take back control as Bret is doing everything he can to reach the corner. Bret ends up blocking a monkey flip in the corner then hits Raymond with an inverted atomic drop before making the tag. Neidhart runs wild on both of the Rougeaus then the match breaks down. Bret piledrives Jacques but the ref was ordering Neidhart back on the apron but Raymond comes off of the middle rope with an elbow then rolls Jacques to the floor then ends up pinning Bret (17:41) ***.
Thoughts: Good match but the finish was really weak. Sure, it sets up for a rematch but Raymond’s elbow was really soft and Bret was lying there for several seconds before getting pinned. The rest of the match was good though and the story of trying to outperform each other at first before getting more aggressive is a good one.
Randy Savage heads down to the ring. The fans go nuts as Savage tells Andre that Elizabeth is scared and hurt and that she is only “103 lbs.” The Superstar short-changed here by 6 lbs, apparently. Savage then tells Heenan that he is signing an open contract and that means anytime he gets Andre in the ring, he is going to “kick his ass.”
“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Heenan is not here due to being ejected from the building after harassing Elizabeth. Before the match, Jake tells Rude he disappointed him for not wearing the tights that feature is wife and since he is now disappointed, the only thing left to do is to kick his ass. The bell rings as Roberts chases Rude all over the ring. Rude kicks Jake after he ducked his head on a backdrop attempt then lands a few shots but ends up getting hit with a knee lift. Jake knocks down Rude then goes for the DDT but Rude slid outside. Back inside, Jake lands a few punches but gets caught with a slam. Rude misses a fist drop from the top rope then avoids another DDT as he takes a breather outside with trash being tossed at him. He re-enters and tries to stall as Jake is fired up. Jake taunts Rude after failing to sneak up on him then they head outside after Jake sent him through the ropes. Jake roughs him up outside then works the arm back in the ring. Rude heads out as his arm is hurt but Jake decides to slam it against the steel post. Jake continues to attack the arm then grabs the snake bag but Dave Hebner stops that from happening. Jake taunts Rude while working an armbar but after that gets caught with a clothesline. Jake rolls outside and sneaks behind Roberts to shove him against the post. Back inside, Rude sends Jake into the corner then clutches his injured arm. Rude works a reverse chinlock then sends Jake down after he powered out and begins to gyrate over him. Jake then shoves Rude off and reverses an Irish whip into the corner as both men are down. Rude blocks a pair of DDT attempts then hits a backdrop before shoving Jake to the floor. Rude keeps knocking Jake off of the apron then starts to gyrate. Rude then tries to slam Jake back in from the apron but Jake held on to the top rope and slingshots himself as he falls on top of Rude and gets the win (13:24) **1/2. After the match, an irate Rude stomps on Jake.
Final Thoughts: Much better than their usual snoozefests they were having during this feud. I loved how Jake started off the match with his promo and they told a solid story, with Jake out for revenge while Rude attempted to taunt him about his wife yet afraid of getting his comeuppance.
Final Thoughts: For a televised house show, it was fairly decent overall. However, the commentary hit a new low with the Gorilla/Graham duo. Graham was as bad here as anyone I’ve heard in the color commentary position. And Gorilla was terrible as well. They brought out the worst in each other. The Blue Angel vs. Horowitz match is definitely worth a look and the Harts vs. Rougeaus and the main event were solid as well.