Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 11/26/88

Hulk Hogan vs. the Big Bossman (w/ “The Doctor of Style” Slick)

So as we head into the final month of 1988, things were pretty interesting at the top of the card especially coming out of Survivor Series. Even though Randy Savage was still the champion, it was pretty clear that Hogan was starting to be re-positioned as the top guy despite still being a part of the Mega Powers. On the other side, after having the heel side being dominated by Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant for most of the year, now two new heels have become the main rivals for the Mega Powers in the Twin Towers of Bossman and Akeem. It is pretty cool to see how fast Bossman was shot up the card after debuting in the summer and even though the character was pretty weird, Akeem was a nice change for the One Man Gang as he seemed a bit stale. You could also tell this was a good challenge for Hogan as it gave him someone fresh to work with, and it would be interesting to see how the two would mesh on their own in a singles match.

The feud between the two would officially begin on the house show circuit at the end of September and would run through October with Hogan usually winning by countout, and on the 10/22 Superstars Hogan appeared on the Brother Love Show only for Bossman to attack him with the nightstick. It was then announced that the Mega Powers and Twin Towers would face each other at Survivor Series in a Survivor match, and at Survivor Series the Mega Powers would defeat the Twin Towers though there seemed to be some signs of dissension between Hogan and Savage. On the same night as this house show on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Hogan and Slick appeared on the Brother Love Show and Hogan would attack both men before handcuffing Love to the rope. Considering this would be the first time we see this match here at Madison Square Garden, the heat was pretty good for it and you knew that this feud was going to have some long legs.

Bossman was red hot as a heel and the Garden crowd showed him no love at all while they popped big time for Hogan, and I thought this deserved to be the main event given how hot the feud was and with Savage not being on the card tonight. The two men have a staredown to start the match until the ref takes the nightstick away from Bossman, and Hogan tosses Slick to the mat and pounds on Bossman before stuffing his bandanna down his throat and hitting an atomic drop that sends Bossman to the outside. Bossman regroups with Slick as Hogan comes out and tosses Slick aside before continuing to pound on Bossman, and Slick jumps on Hogan’s back as Hogan climbs onto the apron and tosses Slick into the ring.  He whips Slick into the ropes only for Slick to slide to the outside as Bossman returns to the ring and he nails Hogan from behind, and he pounds on Hogan in the corner and whips him into the other corner only for Hogan to catch him with a knee to the face. Hogan gets a kick in and rakes the eyes only for Bossman to fall on top of a slam attempt for a two count, and he pounds on Hogan and hits a headbutt to the back before choking him on the ropes and slamming down on his back. He chokes him on the mat with his boot and continues to pound on him before hooking a submission on, and he hits a slam on Hogan and taunts to the crowd only to miss the big splash. Hogan fires up on Bossman as Slick gets on the apron only for Hogan to knock him back to the floor and he continues to pound on Bossman, and Hogan hits a high elbow and a clothesline on Bossman who stays on his feet and Hogan continues to pound on him. Slick trips Hogan up from the outside and Hogan goes outside as he chases Slick back into the ring, and Bossman drives the knee repeatedly into Hogan’s back as Slick returns to the outside and Bossman pounds on him before hitting a spinebuster. Bossman hooks a bearhug on Hogan who tries to fight his way out only for Bossman to grind down on him, but Hogan manages to fight his way out of the hold and he ducks a shot only for Bossman to hit the Bossman Slam. He taunts Hogan and pulls him to the center of the ring before going up top only to miss the splash, and Bossman gets to his feet first and pounds on Hogan who no-sells his shots and he starts to hulk up. Hogan pounds on Bossman and hits the big boot before hitting a big slam on Bossman, and he drops a pair of elbows on Bossman and slams his head into the mat repeatedly before whipping him into the corner and splashing him. Slick pulls out a pair of handcuffs and hooks them to the top rope as Bossman rakes the eyes and he tries to cuff Hogan to the rope, but Hogan fights back and he cuffs Bossman to the rope before clotheslining him over the top to the floor and Slick tries to free him only for the ref to count him out and Hogan wins the match. After the match, Hogan grabs the nightstick and grabs Slick before throwing him into the ring, and Slick begs off as Hogan backs him into the corner only for Bossman to free himself from the cuffs and nail Hogan from behind which Hogan no-sells. He chases Bossman out of the ring with the nightstick as Slick retreats outside as well, and they head to the back as Hogan poses for the crowd before heading to the back himself.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard for the 11 minutes they got and put on a pretty solid match. As I had mentioned earlier, the heat for this match was off the charts and after being kept apart for a good while, the crowd was waiting for them to finally come to blows and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This was a good show of faith for Bossman in that he was put into a feud with Hogan after debuting back in the summer, and getting to main event a show at the Garden was another big show of faith for Bossman. As mentioned, this was a good feud for Hogan in that it gave him a fresh guy to feud with and a different kind of worker to be in the ring with, and they had really good chemistry as Bossman looked really good until Hogan made his comeback. The ending of the match wasn’t too bad either since you knew the feud was going to continue and build to something even bigger, and this was a just a small taste of what was going to be one of the hot feuds going into 1989. The crowd was red hot for the match and did pop big for Hogan when he won. Hogan gets the win over Bossman by countout and this feud is not even close to being over.

Final Grade: ***

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