Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
WWF House Show
Date: December 10, 1987
Location: Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Bruce Pritchard, Mike McGuirk, Duke Doherty
Oh that commentary team is going to kill me today. Not really sure of what to expect on this card as I haven’t seen the details of it. The matches would probably be fallout from Survivor Series and leading up to the Rumble….which doesn’t tell us much at all as that was more or less Andre vs. Hogan and that’s about it. Anyway, I love the late 80s so let’s get to it.
Dusty Wolfe vs. Sam Houston
Who do you think is going to be the crowd favorite here? Sam is the half brother of Jake Roberts and is a small cowboy. This commentary team is already annoying. McGuirk (a woman in case that wasn’t clear) barely knows anything, Pritchard (Brother Love) isn’t bad and Doherty is an annoying cartoon character. Houston almost dances every step he takes in this weird shuffle kind of movement.
Houston locks on an armbar and then does it a few more times. This goes on way too long in what should just be a squash. McGuirk is trying but she sounds like a total amateur, saying stuff like “Yep” and “all right” etc. Doherty is trying to be funny I think and is failing completely. This is like a 3 minute match stretched out to eight minutes. Houston gets out of a headscissors and sends Wolfe to the floor.
Hey look it’s back to the armbar! Ok, this is a great example of what I talk about on occasion. Working on the arm is fine, but mix it up! There are a lot of holds to use on any body part, so use more than one of them or the fans get bored. Houston pounds away on the head and they botch a spot where Houston was supposed to use the ropes to slingshot himself over Wolfe’s head (you’ve seen it done a ton of times) but he misses and his back hits Wolfe in the face. Bulldog ends it just after that.
Rating: D. Boring match here that went on WAY too long. The arm work could have had about two minutes chopped off of it and no one would have cared. Houston was just boring most of the time with the eternally lame cowboy gimmick that hardly ever gets over for a face. Weak opener.
Hercules vs. Junkyard Dog
Oh dear. Hercules takes some headbutts and hits the floor with a bad headache. Dog blocks a bunch of strikes and Hercules heads to the floor again. Dog looks bored out of his mind here. Hercules wants time out. Bruce: “There are no time outs in professional wrestling.” This is being said while Dog stands there waiting. I love mild irony like that. A hip toss puts Hercules on the floor again. This is rather dull stuff and Dog of course isn’t going to do anything to make it any better.
Back in the ring (for now) and a guy named HERCULES is afraid to try a test of strength. The Dog of course cheats once he gets the hold he wants and headbutts Herc in the knee. Back to the floor four a fourth time now as I guess he’s using psych…..he’s using psych…..no I can’t say it. Back in and Hercules hammers away with literally nothing but punches for two.
Off to some kicks to the head which do nothing at all to the Dog. See he has a hard head. Full Nelson can’t go on and the fans like the JYD. He rams Herc into the corner a few times as I wish someone would do to me so that I could black out and not have to watch this match anymore. Double clothesline and both guys go down. Doherty has one heck of a lisp. Headbutt and elbow miss for either guy and that’s about it as Herc gets a knee to the chest and puts his feet on the ropes to end it.
Rating: D-. This was boring beyond belief. Dog didn’t do more than 5 moves the whole match and Hercules might have hit four. Terribly boring match here with the Dog looking bored out of his mind yet he was still cheered relentlessly. Dog was done after Mania 4 for all intents and purposes if I remember right.
Brady Boone/Billy Jack Haynes vs. Demolition
Ken Patera is managing the less famous guys for no apparent reason. Boone is famous for going to high school with Nikita Koloff, Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect among others. Brawl to start as Doherty thinks Demolition are aliens. The ring is cleared kind of and we start with Boone and Smash. Haynes and Boone are REALLY proud to be from Oregon.
Apparently Demolition tried to injure Boone so this is something like a revenge match. Off to Axe who is tossed around by Haynes. We get the required interference from Smash and Fuji as Demolition takes over. McGuirk talks about Demolition and Fuji being ugly. Thanks for your contributions here. Haynes manages a suplex but can’t do anything about it and here comes Ax.
Boone comes in a bit later. He looks like Barbarian in the face actually. He can sell fairly well too. Ax vs. Boone at the moment with Ax in control. This isn’t a squash and it’s not supposed to be which makes this a more entertaining tag match. Sunset flip by Boone but Ax makes a good tag on the way down to save himself. O’Connor Roll doesn’t work on Smash and it’s back to the neck crank.
Boone gets a nice counter to a back drop and brings in Haynes. Somehow he moves like a house on fire. Wouldn’t a house on fire stand still? Powerslam to Smash gets two as it breaks down. Double clothesline puts Smash down and Boone messes up a cross body off the top and a hot shot ends him to give Demolition the win.
Rating: C+. This was surprisingly good. Boone is a guy I’ve only seen a handful of times and I’ve barely seen Haynes outside of his feud with Hercules. This wasn’t bad actually with Demolition having to take some time here and therefore you get a good match out of it. Nice little treat here and definitely the best match of the night so far.
Rick Rude vs. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff vs. Heenan here. The ring announcers messes up where Rude is from and Rude corrects him. Is the announcer R-Truth’s white father or something? McGuirk seems to like both guys here as far as bodies go. Orndorff hammers away to start and gets a backdrop. No Heenan on the floor here for Rude. Out to the floor and it’s all Orndorff. Rude offers a left handed handshake which gets him nowhere as Paul takes him down with a clothesline.
Can anyone sell an atomic drop like Rude can? Now Orndorff wants a handshake but as he comes in for it he gets his eyes raked and Rude takes over. Sunset flip is blocked by Rude but a handful of tights gets him over for two. Rude sends him to the floor and gyrates a bit. Back into the ring it’s a nerve hold, the mating call of the sandman. By that I mean it puts people to sleep, not that it brings in a drunken “wrestler” that used alcohol references as names for his moves.
This stays on for awhile as you can see that Rude is just kind of kneeling and not putting any pressure on there at all. Orndorff fights up but misses an elbow to stop the momentum and kill the crowd all over again. Here’s the real comeback with Orndorff hammering away and getting a dropkick. We hit the floor and as they come back in, Rude grabs the top rope to block a sunset flip to counter what he couldn’t earlier.
Rating: C+. Pretty decent match here as you have two upper midcard guys going at it. Of course Orndorff would turn heel soon and join Heenan who he had feuded with forever. Rude was still just kind of there but a guy named Warrior would change that in about 18 months. Wow that’s a long way off.
One Man Gang vs. Brutus Beefcake
Brutus is still in his possibly sexually questionable tights. He’s also incredibly popular here despite not being much in the ring. Gang is of course a generic big man monster. Barber hops on the middle rope to balance out the height of the Gang. They lock up and Beefcake goes up the corner again where the threat of a punch makes the Gang back off. This time Brutus actually gets in said punches and hammers away including sending Gang flying to the floor off a single punch.
Beefcake works on the arm as Gang is moving far more than usual out there. OMG (funnier than it used to be) kicks him in the ribs and here comes the fat man. With Brutus on his back Gang grabs the leg like it’s for a half crab and leans forward for a cover of come kind. More leg work by Gang which is kind of odd to see. Here’s the comeback and a high knee puts the Gang down. Slick interferes and a shot to the back sets up a big elbow drop to end it.
Rating: C. Not exactly a good match from a workrate perspective but they did a great job of getting the crowd into it which is the right idea. Beefcake used a total of one move that wasn’t a punch, but hammering away on a giant is certainly the right idea, as there isn’t much you can do to a guy his size. Nothing great but all things considered, not bad.
Post match Slick and the Gang fail at giving Beefcake a haircut.
Tag Titles: Hart Foundation vs. Strike Force
Strike Force had won the titles about a month or so before this and this is match #857 or so between them. Still though, it should be awesome. The Harts jump the champions as they hit the ring but Strike Force fights them off. No Jimmy here for some reason. We stall for a good while before it’s Bret vs. Martel to start us off.
Martel cartwheels out of something (nearly kicking Bret in the head) and gets a cross body and sunset flip for two. They are MOVING out there. Tito comes in as Bret goes to the floor to hide. Thankfully it’s short and it’s back to Tito working on the arm. He cranks on an armbar which really is looking painful.
Martel comes in for no apparent reason and Neidhart comes in to block him. The referee gets Jim out and the champions tag without the referee seeing it at all. Apparently this is all cool. Who are the heels here again? Martel cranks on the arm a bit and does the ever important thing of mixing up the things he does to it. After some quick double teaming it’s back off to Tito and the flying forearm gets two.
Anvil comes in with no tag but he says he did. Well that’s on the referee then for being an absolute idiot. Jim takes over on Tito and Bret adds some cheating while Martel tries to get in. Little things like those are what make matches great. Tito gets tied up in the ropes as it’s all Foundation here. The fans chant for Tito and the Harts keep doing such basic cheating that they get the fans further and further into the palms of their hands with every second.
Bret gets the backbreaker for two. The crowd is into this as this is very good heel vs. face stuff. Anvil breaks up another tag to kill the crowd (in a good way) all over again. They run the ropes and collide with Bret possibly having hurt his knee. Both partners come in and Jim puts Bret on top for a VERY close two. Tito sends Bret into the corner chest first as Bret would do almost every match.
Anvil AGAIN stops the tag though and chokes away as Bret and Martel chase each other around the ring for awhile. The Harts try to cheat again but Bret accidentally hits a running knee to Jim. THERE’S the hot tag to Martel and the fans are literally on their feet. It’s dropkicks all around and we get the Boston Crab (the hold they won the titles with) to Bret. The referee tries to get Tito out and Anvil hits Martel with the belt. The referee misses that but Tito picks it up to hold the Harts off. Somehow Strike Force wins despite the referee having no idea what Jim did.
Rating: B. The ending holds this back but seeing the GREAT job of getting the crowd into this was impressive. They kept building on the whole “they can’t get Martel in” until the tag finally was made and the place erupted for it. That’s how you work a crowd and considering this was on a house show, that’s impressive beyond belief. This would have been a good PPV match and it’s on a house show. Great stuff, questionable ending aside.
Mike Sharpe vs. Ultimate Warrior
Well this should be quick. Warrior sits him on the corner to start and threatens to hit him in the back of the head. Warrior’s face paint looks like it’s already half off. Shoulder blocks get Sharpe nowhere and Warrior casually steps to the side to avoid a dropkick. That’s a perfect counter as he’s the last person you would expect something clever from. After Sharpe hits the floor for a bit Warrior gets a leap frog and a slam to send him right back outside.
Sharpe wants a test of strength. Why does this seem like it’s REALLY FREAKING STUPID??? Sharpe goes to the ribs with some boots and down goes Ultimate. Wow that was incredibly odd to type. Warrior fights up but misses a charge into the corner. After being hurt for about 3 seconds he hammers Sharpe into the corner and takes over. Press Slam ends this.
Rating: D+. Just a squash here with a slightly added amount of time. Warrior was never in any real danger here but you could tell they were still protecting him heavily by not having him in there that long. That’s definitely the right idea but at the same time it got rather repetitive quickly, as it did here.
Ron Bass vs. Ricky Steamboat
Bass holds him off with a whip so the Dragon goes out and grabs a chair. Naturally Steamboat speeds things up and gets a quick sunset flip for two. The cat is skinned and Steamboat gets what we would call a rana for two. For some reason the cameraman wearing a Hulkamania shirt makes me chuckle. Bass takes over and gets a clothesline but walks into something like an enziguri (granted it hit the back but no one knew what it was supposed to be at this point anyway) to send Bass to the floor.
Back in and Steamboat grabs the arm to take the bigger man down. I know it’s basic but it’s about the smartest thing you can do so there’s a reason it’s that common. McGuirk is like Booker T as all she really says is an occasional move in the ring. Steamboat tries to speed this up again but walks into a hot shot to finally shift control to Bass. Piledriver gets two.
Bass hammers away with a knee drop (called Knee-monia by Doherty and making me want to take a knee to the head so I hopefully forget that joke) to the head and various other basic offense for two on a few occasions. Pretty weak swinging neckbreaker gets two. Off to the chinlock now and Steamboat’s face is all crushed up, making it look hilarious.
Here’s the comeback and Steamboat goes up for the top rope chop. Steamboat can’t keep anything going here as a clothesline takes him down again. Out of absolutely nowhere, Steamboat gets a cross body not off the ropes to end this. Surprising endings like those are always fun, especially for the live crowd.
Rating: C-. Never been a fan of Bass but it’s hard to argue against Steamboat in the late 80s. Not bad here but really just a way to kill about ten minutes. Steamboat would be gone in about five months and would head back to the NWA where he would win the world title in February of 89.
Greg Valentine vs. Kenny Johnson
Valentine was finally out of tag teams and would get a mild heel push that really went nowhere. Johnson is pale, hairy and has huge tights. I have no idea what to say here as this is a total squash. Valentine beats on him for about two and a half minutes, Johnson gets in a few punches and the figure four ends it. Just a squash.
WWF World Title: Ted DiBiase vs. Hulk Hogan
DiBiase has Virgil and Andre with him. Both are listed as seconds. So he has two seconds? There’s a “that’s still not a three count” joke in there but it’s really bad so I’ll pass. Hogan comes straight at him with the belt and DiBiase runs. The place erupted for Hogan to say the least. Hogan pulls him right in and the fight is on. He beats on Ted and DiBiase heads to the floor to hide.
That gets him nowhere but Andre makes Hogan go back into the ring. Virgil is pulled into the ring and both he and DiBiase take big boots to send them to the floor. Hogan keeps posing and the fans keep getting louder. We finally get going and Hogan uses his wrestling skills to take DiBiase to the mat. We hit the floor and DiBiase finally takes over a bit. Ted stomps away and chokes Hogan a bit and Hogan does his always interesting version of selling.
Hogan starts his comeback and sets for the leg drop but Andre trips him up. Hogan yells at Andre….and wins by disqualification? That’s it? We get a six minute main event? Seriously? Apparently not as we’re not only going to continue but Andre must leave ringside and has been fined two thousand dollars! I’ve never heard of that before but it’s still pretty cool.
DiBiase jumps Hogan and might have hit him with a foreign object to take over. DiBiase hammers away on him with his usual stuff but Hogan Hulks Up and the big boot puts DiBiase down. Virgil gets on the apron and DiBiase hits him with a knee. Hogan grabs a fast roll up to retain the title. His day was coming very soon though.
Rating: D+. The match was pretty worthless for the most part although the nice little switch in there was a nice change of pace from the usual stuff. It’s always cool to see a different ending like that as if nothing else it makes the fans think they’ve seen something special which is the entire point of a house show.
Hogan calls DiBiase and Virgil into the ring but of course they won’t go. Lots of posing takes us out.
Overall Rating: B-. This was pretty good for a house show with the crowd being red hot all night and the matches being pretty good overall. The main event is a little lackluster but it wasn’t supposed to be a classic. Good stuff overall as this wasn’t supposed to be a great show. I’d assume the IC Title was defended as the main event of another show which is something you got a lot of the time back in the day. Fun stuff that took a bit to get going.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!