Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 9/29/88

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

So as we are coming off the inaugural edition of Summerslam back in August, it was going to be interesting to see where things would go from there and into the next Survivor Series in November. Summerslam saw the culmination of the main feud in the company between the Mega Powers and the Mega Bucks, more specifically the singles feud between Randy Savage and Ted Dibiase which has been brewing since March. While that feud had pretty much run its course by this point, we have not seen much of Savage facing Andre the Giant in singles matches and it would make sense for those two to have some matches. Knowing the kind of wrestler that Savage is and that he tends to go at a fast pace, it would be pretty interesting to see how that would mesh with someone like Andre who has had a pretty good year thus far, but seems to be reaching that point of nearing the end of the line. It was going to be interesting as well to see if they would run this feud going into Survivor Series or if they will just make this a house show feud, but you figured that it was going to produce some unique matches and some great heat especially in MSG.

Since the big match at Summerslam, Andre would face Jim Duggan a few more times until September 9th when Savage and Andre would face each other, and they would continue to face each other with the matches ending in either a DQ or a double countout. Savage would quickly break from Andre when he faced Dibiase again on September 24th in a cage match which Savage would win, and he would face Dibiase again on September 25th which he would win again. It was pretty weird that they did have Savage and Dibiase face each other a few more times even after Summerslam, but it was only temporary as they were ready to run Savage and Andre on the house shows.

Andre and Bobby give a good promo before the match as Andre even forces Sean Mooney to refer to him as the new WWF Champion, showing the confidence that he had to become the new champion. Andre was still red hot as a heel as the crowd showers him with boos while Savage gets a huge pop from the crowd, and in a weird move Andre pours glitter all over Bobby as a way of celebrating their win I guess. The two men square off to start as Bobby stalks Elizabeth on the outside until Savage goes outside and scares him back, and he returns to the ring only for Bobby to once again stalk Elizabeth repeatedly as Savage keeps him at bay. An official finally comes out and tells Bobby he has to stay in his corner though Bobby refuses to listen and continues to go after Elizabeth, and the officials decree that Bobby must return to the locker room or risk a fine and suspension as Bobby reluctantly heads to the back. The official then tells Elizabeth she must stay in her corner or risk being ejected as well as Savage confers with her, and Andre grabs Savage from behind and chokes him as Savage tries to fight out. Andre knocks him down and pounds on him in the corner before hitting a headbutt which knocks him to the outside, and Savage tries to get back in the ring only for Andre to kick him back to the floor and Savage slides back into the ring. Andre kicks at him and takes him out to the apron as he pounds on him and brings him back into the ring, and he continues to pound on Savage and catches a kick attempt before choking him repeatedly. He continues to pound on Savage only for Savage to avoid the big boot and he hits a clothesline that causes Andre to get tied up in the ropes, and Savage backs the ref away from Andre and he chokes him as he again stops the ref from trying to untie him. He pounds on Andre and continues to choke him before stomping on him and pounding on him, and he tears at Andre’s face and continues to choke him until Andre gets freed and he nails Savage twice. Savage drives the knee into Andre’s head and stomps on him before pounding on him only for Andre to get a shoulder in, and he pounds on Savage before hitting a headbutt that knocks Savage to the apron. Savage returns to the ring and pounds on Andre before going up top and hitting an axehandle that knocks Andre down, and Savage goes up top again only to miss the flying elbow as Andre rolls outside to regroup. Savage rolls outside after him and he rams Andre into the table before rolling back into the ring as Andre grabs at Elizabeth’s ankle, and Savage goes outside and pounds on Andre before ramming him into the post as the ref calls for the bell. Andre rolls back into the ring as Savage checks on Elizabeth and he helps her to the back, and Andre grabs the title and celebrates with it as it is announced that both men were counted out and Savage is still the champion. Andre argues with the ref about the decision and the ref confirms Savage is still champion as Andre threatens him into declaring him the new champion, and the ref acquiesces and Andre throws him to the mat as the ref declares that Andre has been fined for his actions and the decision stands as Andre heads to the back with the title. Later in the show, Savage comes back out and said that he had an open contract to face Andre again, and he vowed to kick Andre’s ass when they fought again.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the 10 minutes they got and put on a pretty fun and energetic matchup. Savage was really hitting his stride in the ring by this point as the top dog in the company while Andre still had great presence as a giant, and they had pretty good chemistry here as Andre pretty much bludgeons Savage with Savage getting a few shots in. You could tell how the match was going to go as Savage pinballs around for Andre though he does get a few moments where he would get Andre in danger, but there were some points where you thought that Andre would become champion once again. It was interesting to have Bobby get ejected early for going after Elizabeth though Alfred made some good points that maybe Elizabeth should be ejected too since Andre was so distracted by her. The ending was a bit confusing as Savage was in the ring for a bit while Andre went after Elizabeth which was crazy to see, and the ref pretty much calls for the bell right as Savage goes after Andre so it didn’t make much sense for the decision to be a double countout. It was pretty cool to see Andre with the title on his shoulder and he looked really vicious in assaulting the ref to force him to announce him as the new champion, and the viciousness of Andre was still on full display though it was smart to keep the match under 10 minutes. However as we will see, this was pretty much just setting the table for the two to have a rematch at next month’s show which you know would be just as heated as this one. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and Savage, but they are not happy with the ending though they did pop when they learned Savage was still the champion. The match ends in a double countout and Savage manages to escape with the title, but this issue is not over yet.

Grade: ***1/2

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