Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 10/24/88

“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) for the WWF Championship

As we head through the month of October and come towards the end of what has been a pretty hot year, it was going to be interesting to see how things would play out in particular for the WWF Champion Randy Savage. We were beginning to gear up towards Survivor Series and you figured that he would lead a Survivor Series team for the show, but the question was if he would team with Hogan and who the opponents would be. He was still in the midst of this house show run with Andre the Giant and one would think that the feud would see TV at some point, but throughout October it seemed like they were going to transition Savage into another feud that is tied to Hogan. At the same time, it seemed like they were getting ready to transition Andre into another feud so it looks like that this feud was just going to be on the house shows and not even see a TV match. It’s too bad because given how hot the feud has been and has stayed pretty hot throughout the year, but there was a bit of a thinking that it was time for Savage to move on from Andre and the residuals from Wrestlemania IV.

Since their last match back at the September MSG house show, the two men would continue to feud throughout the beginning of the month with their matches usually ending a double countout. On the 10/5 Superstars taping, Savage would defeat Bad News Brown and on 10/7 he would defeat Akeem, and then Savage would alternate between Ted Dibiase and Dino Bravo over the month while Andre took some time off. On 10/16 in Providence, the WWF held its fourth annual King of the Ring which Savage took part in to defend the crown he won the previous year, and he would make it to the finals before losing to Dibiase thanks to Virgil. He would continue to face Dibiase on the house shows while also having some matches with King Haku before coming back to MSG here for a return match with Andre. It was pretty interesting that they had Savage move away from Andre and had him face some different opponents, but you knew that they would bring out the big guns here for this show.

For the second straight month in a row, the two men face off in the middle of the show as Savage gets the huge pop from the crowd though the arena does have a decent amount of empty seats, and Andre was still red hot as a heel. In a bit of continuity because of what happened in the previous match, it is announced that Bobby and Elizabeth must stay in their respective corners and if either moves from their corner at any point, their charge will be disqualified. It is also announced that if Savage is counted out during the match, he will lose the title so the odds are stacked against Savage who was already the underdog against Andre again. Savage wastes no time and charges at Andre to start the match only for Andre to grab him in a choke and he chokes him repeatedly, and he nails Savage and hits a headbutt which sends Savage to the outside. Savage returns to the ring and Andre gets a kick in before pounding on him in the corner and he continues to choke him, and Andre hooks a submission on as Savage tries to fight out only for Andre to pound on him and he keeps the submission on. Savage again tries to fight out only for Andre to choke Savage with his strap and he pounds on him, and he continues to grind down on Savage who tries to fight back and he fires up on Andre. He pounds on him in the corner and tears at his face only for Andre to get a shot in and he shoves Savage to the mat, but Savage rams the shoulder into the ribs twice only for Andre to get a knee in and he pounds on Savage. Andre hooks another submission on Savage who tries to fight his way out and he backs Andre into the corner as Andre hits a headbutt to the back of the neck, and he goes back to the submission on Savage and he pounds on his back. Andre rips the padding off the buckle and Savage gets a kick in before hitting an axehandle, and he pounds on Andre and nails an elbow to the head before hitting a pair of running axehandles. He continues to pound on Andre who blocks a ram into the buckle and he gets a shot in only for Savage to tear at his face, and he continues to pound on Andre who hits a headbutt and Savage continues to pound on Andre. He hits another running axehandle on Andre who gets caught up in the ropes and Savage stomps on him before pounding on him, and Savage goes up top and hits an axehandle that knocks Andre down before going up top again only to miss the flying elbow. Andre rolls outside to regroup and Savage goes up top as he hits an axehandle on Andre, and Bobby leaves his corner and checks on Andre briefly as Savage crawls back in the ring only for Bobby to grab at his legs which draws the DQ and Savage retains the title. After the match, Andre gets back in the ring as Savage kicks at Bobby and he avoids an elbow from Andre, and Savage rolls outside and pounds on Bobby who rolls inside and Savage celebrates with Elizabeth before heading to the back. Andre flips out at ringside as tears up the commentary table and chases them away before heading to the back as the crowd showers him with boos.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the 7 minutes they got and put on a solid title match though it was not quite as good as their match the previous month. I think the heat for the previous match was much hotter than this one though again it doesn’t help when there are a number of empty seats in the arena and those that did show up did their best to keep the energy up. I like how they played up on the previous match by forcing Bobby and Elizabeth to stay in their corners, but it didn’t really come into play that much until the end as they could’ve had Bobby try to sneak around when the ref wasn’t looking. I also thought the countout stipulation was a bit weird since both men were counted out the previous month and it would’ve made more sense for Savage to get counted out by himself which would make more sense. Even though this one was a bit shorter than the previous match, both men did keep the energy up as Andre is still doing his best and Savage takes a beating while making his usual comebacks. The crowd, as mentioned, was pretty hot for the match and they did pop for Savage when he won. Savage gets the win over Andre by DQ and retains the title, and it will be interesting to see if we get one more match or if both men would move on to something else.

Final Grade: ***

Author: Steve Riddle

I have been a wrestling fan since 1993 and that is probably my biggest love, with movies being a close second due in part to being employed at a movie theater for over 9 years.