Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 4/25/88

The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

We are now about a month removed from Wrestlemania IV and there seemed to be a lot of questions coming out of that show in regards to where some guys were going, mainly the guys that were not involved in the tournament for the title. In particular, two of the guys that I’m sure a bunch of people were interested in where they were headed were the Ultimate Warrior and Hercules. Since he debuted in the summer of last year, you could tell that Warrior was a guy that seemed to be destined for big things even though he was still pretty raw and was still growing as a top midcard face. On the other side of the coin, Hercules seemed to be on a downward spiral as he was becoming one of the lower guys in the Bobby Heenan Family and was involved in this feud to make Warrior look strong. We did see them have a match at WM IV that saw Warrior defeat Hercules though not in convincing fashion, plus it was safe to say that the match was buried under the tournament and wasn’t the best match in the world. It would be interesting to see if they can improve in the ring especially since they were going to get a lot more time on this house show.

Since their match at WM IV in Atlantic City, they would continue to snipe at each other on TV and also continued their feud on the house shows though Warrior would also face Andre the Giant with Andre pinning Warrior in Italy on 4/3. Warrior would face Hercules again the night before in Landover with Warrior getting the win, and as mentioned it would be interesting to see how this match would play out with more time than at WM IV.

Hercules cuts a solid promo earlier in the night as he vows to prove that he is stronger than Warrior, and Hercules still had solid heat as a heel while Warrior gets a pretty good pop from the crowd. Warrior wastes no time and goes after Hercules to start the match as he grabs the chain and clears Hercules from the ring, and he swings the chain around and throws it aside as Hercules gets back in the ring. The two men have a staredown and exchange shoves before locking up with neither gaining an edge, and they lock up again with neither gaining the edge again as Warrior starts to fire up. They lock up a third time and engage in a test of strength with neither gaining an edge until Hercules yanks Warrior to the mat by his hair, and Hercules begs stalls in the corner and they lock up before engaging in another test of strength with Hercules yanking Warrior to the mat by his hair again. Hercules steps outside to stall and he taunts Warrior until Warrior grabs him by the hair and pulls him onto the apron, and he slings Hercules back into the ring and gets a kick in before pounding on Hercules and knocking him down. Hercules reverses a whip and Warrior ducks a shot before blocking Hercules’ punches and catching a kick attempt, and he dumps Hercules to the mat and pounds on him in the corner before whipping him into the other corner. Hercules catches him with a clothesline which Warrior no-sells and Hercules catches him with a back elbow, and he pounds on him in the corner before getting a knee in only for Warrior to block a whip by grabbing the rope. He catches Hercules with a clothesline and pounds on him only for Hercules to send him through the ropes to the outside, and Hercules goes out to the apron and stomps on Warrior twice before ramming him into the apron and both men roll back into the ring. Hercules grabs Warrior in a test of strength and brings him to his knee as he grinds down on him, but Warrior fights to his feet and backs Hercules into the corner before pounding on him. Hercules rakes the eyes and pounds on Warrior before driving the knee into his back, and he hooks a bearhug on Warrior and grinds down on the back. Warrior manages to fight his way out of the hold only for Hercules to catch him with a back elbow for a two count, and he hits a snapmare and drops an elbow on Warrior for a two count before hooking a headlock only for Warrior to whip him off and both men clock heads with Warrior falling on top for a two count. Hercules hits a short clothesline for a two count only for Warrior to duck a shot and he hits a powerslam for a two count, and Hercules pounds on Warrior who starts to fire up and he pounds on Hercules before knocking him down. He continues to pound on Hercules and hits a clothesline before pressing him up and slamming him to the mat which gets the three and Warrior wins the match.

The match itself was not that good as both men did what they could, but it was clear they were pretty limited and that going almost 13 minutes was a bad idea as they were winded by the last few minutes. Hercules was a decent worker by this point if he had the right guy to help him through the match, but it was pretty clear that Warrior was still fairly green in the ring and couldn’t go for too long. However, you could tell that there was something special with Warrior as he was already connecting with the crowd and he was making his character feel much different than anyone else at this point. It was also fairly obvious that these two guys’ styles clashed as they could only do so much, but it was interesting that Warrior won clean here on the house show as opposed to at WM where he could’ve used the clean win even more. This was a fine place to Hercules as he was pretty aimless by this point and his name was strong enough that he can put new guys over while still looking fairly strong. The crowd tried to stay into the match despite how long it was and they did pop pretty big for Warrior when he won. Warrior gets the win over Hercules and both men move on as Warrior would move on to the head of the Heenan Family over the spring.

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.