Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Summerslam 1988

The Mega Powers (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. the Mega Bucks (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Virgil)

So as we head towards the end of the summer of 1988, it was pretty clear that there were a lot of big things going on within the WWF and there had to be a big show to bridge the gap between Wrestlemania and Survivor Series. Now while we did have Wrestlefest back in July, you knew that was not going to be that big of a show and instead we would end up getting what would be the last PPV to comprise what fans would know as the “Big 4”. It was pretty obvious that this new show dubbed Summerslam would be treated as the biggest show for the summer and the fact that it would take place in MSG made it feel like a special show. Making the show feel even more special is the main event of this show which is the Mega Powers of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage taking on the team of Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant who would go by the name the Mega Bucks. We have seen throughout the year how hot the feud between Savage and Dibiase was and now adding Andre and Hogan into the mix made it feel even bigger, and the fact that they had this match here and did the singles matches back at Wrestlefest showed that this was going to be a major show that you had to see. Adding to that is the fact that Jesse Ventura was named the guest referee made the match even more intriguing as you wondered how he would sway in the match.

Since Wrestlefest which saw Savage retain the WWF Title against Dibiase and Hogan defeat Andre in a steel cage match, the two teams would mainly stay apart on TV as they would cut promos on each other to build this match. Savage and Dibiase would continue to feud on the house shows coming out of Wrestlefest and they would continue to trade wins while Andre would resume his feud with Jim Duggan until August when Savage would fight Andre on the house shows. On the 8/21 Superstars, we saw Dibiase attempt to bribe Ventura by stuffing money into his pocket and the next week, Ventura claimed that he would take money if given to him and he would call it down the middle. As mentioned, there was a lot of intrigue going into this match given how hot the feuds have been throughout the year and ultimately the wild card could end up being Ventura.

Hogan and Savage give a great promo early in the show as they put over their intensity and tease that Elizabeth will be their “secret weapon”, and in a unique bit Bobby interrupts Gorilla and Graham as he gives a report on the Mega Bucks and a phony report on the Powers. We then get an interview with Ventura as he puts himself over as the only man that can be the referee for this match, and he calmly says he will take any money that is given to him. Ventura gets a mixed reaction from the crowd as he comes out in all his glory and the Mega Bucks were red hot as heels as they come out brimming with confidence, and the Mega Powers get a huge pop from the crowd as they are ready for battle. The crowd is completely buzzing for this match and I like that Hogan and Savage are dressed alike to complete their unity, and in a weird move Ventura switches the tag ropes in the corners which was really never explained why. Savage offers to start the match for his team as Dibiase appears to start for his only for Andre to come in instead, and they lock up with Andre shoving Savage into the corner and he pounds on him before hitting a headbutt. Dibiase tags in as Savage escapes the corner and they square off until Dibiase demands that Hogan come in, and Hogan tags in and they lock up with Dibiase raking the eyes only for Hogan to block two shots and he catches a kick attempt before hitting an atomic drop. Savage and Hogan takes turns pounding on Dibiase until Savage knocks him down and Hogan gets a shot in on Andre, and Hogan hits a high elbow on Dibiase and tags Savage as they hit a double back elbow on Dibiase. They drop a pair of elbows on Dibiase and Savage rams him into the buckle repeatedly as Hogan tags back in, and Savage holds Dibiase as Hogan kicks at him and he rakes the eyes before ramming him into the buckles. He rams Dibiase into Savage’s boot and tags him in as Savage goes up top and Hogan holds Dibiase, and Savage hits an axehandle on Dibiase and then he drops a knee on Dibiase for a two count. Hogan tags in and they hit a double big boot on Dibiase for a two count, and Hogan hits a slam on Dibiase and drops a trio of elbows on him before going after Andre only for Andre to grab him and he hits a headbutt on Hogan. Savage gets in the ring and confronts Ventura as Andre comes in and hits a headbutt on Savage, and Andre kicks Savage to the floor as Dibiase drops an elbow on Hogan and tags Andre before stomping on Hogan. Andre sits down on Hogan’s ribs repeatedly and uses the rope to choke him before putting his boot onto the buckle and ramming Hogan’s head into it, and he hooks a submission on Hogan and takes him to the mat before using his strap to choke Hogan. Dibiase comes in behind Ventura’s back and gets a shot in on Hogan before returning to the apron and he tags in, and he kicks at Hogan as Andre gets a shot in and Dibiase pounds on Hogan in the corner. Dibiase hits a clothesline on Hogan for a two count and he drops a knee on Hogan before dropping a pair of fists on him for a two count, and Dibiase hooks another submission on Hogan who fights to his feet only for Dibiase to bring him back down to the mat. Dibiase continues to grind down on Hogan as Ventura checks the arm only for Hogan to fight to his feet and he breaks the hold, and he ducks a shot only for both men to clothesline each other. Savage gets the hot tag and fires up on Dibiase before whipping him into the corner and hitting a back elbow, and he hits a backdrop on Dibiase and then he leaps over the top rope as he hotshots Dibiase on the top rope. Savage goes up top and hits an axehandle on Dibiase before driving the elbow into his head only to miss a charge as he hits the corner, and Dibiase pounds on Savage only for Savage to block a ram into the buckle and he rams Dibiase into the buckle. Dibiase reverses a whip and Savage ducks a shot before hitting a high crossbody on Dibiase for a two count, but Dibiase catches Savage with a clothesline and tags Andre who gets a shot in on Savage and rams the shoulder into him repeatedly in the corner. He splashes Savage in the corner repeatedly and knocks him down before sitting down on him twice, and he hits a headbutt on Savage and tags Dibiase who gets a shot in on Savage and he hits a suplex for a two count. Dibiase hits a backbreaker on Savage and goes up to the middle rope only to miss the elbow, and Dibiase grabs at his feet only for Savage to kick him away and Hogan gets the hot tag as he kicks at Dibiase and pounds on him in the corner. He whips Dibiase into the other corner and splashes him before hitting a suplex as Andre comes in and Hogan hits a clothesline which knocks Andre down, and Hogan hooks a sleeper on Dibiase as Savage goes up top only for Andre to catch him with a boot to the face. Savage falls to the outside as Andre grabs Hogan by the back of the head and hits a pair of headbutts, and he tosses Hogan to the outside as Bobby, Virgil, and Elizabeth get on the apron. Ventura tries to regain control as the Powers regroup on the floor and the Bucks try to intimidate Elizabeth, but then in a shocking moment Elizabeth rips off her skirt and struts around in only her top and a red one-piece swimsuit. The Bucks and Ventura are left speechless as the crowd pops huge and the Powers do their handshake on the floor, and Savage goes up top as Hogan rolls back into the ring and Elizabeth throws the skirt at Dibiase to distract him. Savage hits an axehandle on Andre which knocks him to the floor and Hogan rakes Dibiase’s eyes as Savage knocks Virgil and Bobby off the apron, and Hogan hits a slam on Dibiase as Savage goes up top and hits the flying elbow. Hogan then hits the legdrop on Dibiase and Ventura makes the three count though he hesitates on the three count and Savage forces his hand to the mat. Elizabeth gets in the ring to celebrate and Hogan at one point holds her up in his arms which draws a look of confusion from Savage when Ventura points it out to him, but Savage shakes it off as they celebrate and pose for the crowd.

The match itself was just a lot of fun as both teams worked hard for the 14 minutes they got and put on a really good tag match. This match reminded me a lot of the main event of the first Wrestlemania though I think this match was better than that one, and it was a fitting end to this feud that has dominated most of the year. I think they were very shrewd in putting this match on here and having the two singles matches back at Wrestlefest as you could easily see those two matches here, but by doing it this way it makes this match and more importantly this show feel very special. It was cool to finally see Hogan and Savage team up after being allies for almost a year while Dibiase and Andre looked great as a team, but I think that it begins here where you could tell that Andre was starting to lose a bit of his aura. Hence why they had Dibiase work most of the match and Andre only came in sporadically throughout the match, and I also though Ventura did a fine job as referee as he wasn’t overbearing in the match and played it straight until the end. However, I think everyone will agree that the moment of Elizabeth ripping her skirt off is still one of the greatest moments in WWF history because it was so unexpected and you never thought you would see Elizabeth do that. But needless to say, it was a great moment as it fulfilled every man’s fantasy to see her in her underwear while it also makes the Powers look smart by using her to counter Bobby and Virgil and help them get the win. As mentioned, the crowd was red hot for the whole match and the sustained pop from when Elizabeth ripped the skirt off to the three count was one of the best stretches from a crowd that I’ve heard before. The Powers get the win over the Bucks and finally put to bed what could argue is the feud of the year 1988, and both teams move on though it would be interesting to see if this feud continues on the house shows.

Final Grade: ****

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