And the start of a long title reign.
Date: March 27, 1988
Location: Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Commentators: Jesse Ventura, Gorilla Monsoon
Well the crowd is only about 1/5 the size of the one we had last year but there are even more matches this year. This is a one idea show: we’ve got a tournament. The WWF Title is vacant due to the ending of Hogan vs. Andre II at The Main Event (for you ratings people, this show earned a 15 rating on NBC live on a Friday night. Wrestling used to be HUGE.) when there was a twin referee brought in to cost Hogan the title. The title is now vacant and will be decided tonight. Let’s get to it.
Before I forget, it should be noted that as this aired, the NWA (WCW) was airing the first live Clash of the Champions for free on TBS. That show would have one of the best matches the company ever produced with Sting challenging Flair for the world title for the first time.
Here are the tournament brackets.
Bam Bam Bigelow
One Man Gang
Gene welcomes us to the show and presents Gladys Knight to sing America the Beautiful.
Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jim Powers, Paul Roma, Sika, Danny Davis, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Bad News Brown, Sam Houston, Jacques Rougeau, Ray Rougeau, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zhukov, Hillbilly Jim, Harley Race, George Steele
Just for a big trophy here. Steele chills on the floor and Bob Uecker is in on commentary here. Sam Houston is put out quick as is Sika. Brunzell is sent to the apron by Nikolai but he makes the save. Both Bee’s are sent to the apron but Steele pulls Neidhart out to the floor. Both of the Bees are put out as is Ray Rougeau as the ring is thinning out a bit. Dog puts Bass out but has to fight off the Bolsheviks.
Hillbilly Jim is put out and Roma puts Davis out as well. We’re down to nine and Powers is out too. We’ve got Volkoff, Zhukov, Hart, Roma, Jacques Rougeau, Race, Brown, Patera and Dog. Race and Dog headbutt each other with the canine man winning. Nikolai is dumped by Patera and Zukov gets the same treatment.
Patera is pulled to the floor by Volkoff as Race and Rougeau go out. So it’s JYD, Hart and Brown to go. Dog gets on all fours to headbutt both heels but they finally catch up on him with some double teaming. He gets dumped out and Hart and Brown seem to be willing to split the win. Brown of course turns on Hart and dumps him out to win the trophy.
Rating: D+. This was nothing of note other than the potential beginning of Bret’s first aborted singles push. The problem with battle royals is the same most of the time: there’s no reason for most of them to happen and with no story, there’s not much interest in the match. Sometimes you’ll get a good one, but this wasn’t it.
Brown stands next to the trophy (which stands about 6’0) but Bret jumps him and destroys the trophy.
Fink explains the tournament structure (mainly time limits and saying it’s winners only advancing) and introduces Robin Leech (hosted a show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) to read a proclomation.
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Ted DiBiase vs. Jim Duggan
DiBiase is one of the favorites here as he tried to buy the title which started the whole mess. Andre and Virgil are with him here. Ted immediately hides in the corner as the Battle of Mid-South begins. Duggan wins a slugout and an atomic drop puts DiBiase on the floor. I could watch DiBiase fall over the top all day. He was always great at falling over and made it look like a science.
Back in and Jim clotheslines him down before pounding away a bit more. DiBiase charges into a boot in the corner and hits a middle rope ax handle for two. Duggan comes back with a sunset flip of all things for two and to give Jesse a shock. A suplex puts DiBiase down and he jumps into a punch in the ribs to slow him down even more. Duggan slams him down but Andre trips him before the three point clothesline can be launched. Jim looks at Andre but gets caught in the back by a knee, sending DiBiase to the quarterfinals.
Rating: C-. DiBiase’s flipping was a good touch and they got to do some decent stuff in less than five minutes. That’s one of the problems with tonight’s show: since there are so many matches they have to keep things short. Duggan would eventually feud with Andre in some surprisingly decent matches.
Gene is with Brutus and while looking him up and down says “Brutus this is incredible what a package.” After that unintentional comedy, Gene asks Brutus if he’s worried about Jimmy Hart interfering in the IC Title match tonight. Brutus says Hart will get a haircut if he intereferes.
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Dino Bravo vs. Don Muraco
Bravo shoves him back into the corner to start to win the first power battle of the match. Muraco hammers him down and tries something like a Vader Bomb but basically just lands next to Bravo instead. Dino comes back with an elbow to the face and a gutwrench suplex for no cover. A knee in the corner misses Muraco so he starts hammering on the knee.
A spinning toehold has Bravo in trouble but Don gets kicked away and gets his head caught in the ropes. Dino uses Muraco’s own piledriver to get two but a second attempt is countered with a backdrop. They clothesline each other but it’s Muraco up first. He hits a flying forearm which works so well that he tries it again, but Bravo pulls the referee into Muraco for the DQ.
Rating: D+. this was slow and plodding but it wasn’t horrible. Muraco was far better when he was less muscular and evil and this part of his career never quite worked that well. One very nice thing here is Jesse freaking out when Bravo got disqualified but then saying it was correct when seeing Bravo pull the referee on the replay. It’s very refreshing to see something like that.
Bob Uecker warns Honky Tonk Man about getting beaten up by Brutus. Honky makes fun of Uecker’s batting average and threatens to backstroke up the Mississippi River. Uecker: “You guys ain’t never coming to my house!”
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Greg Valentine vs. Ricky Steamboat
Should be good. Steamboat brings the future Richie Steamboat to the ring with him in matching outfits. Feeling out process to start with Steamboat taking him down via an armdrag. Gorilla says Ricky has excellence of execution to coin a phrase. A few shoulders get two on Valentine so he throws Steamboat over the top. That of course doesn’t work on the Dragon so he comes back with a dropkick and a crucifix for two.
Valentine comes back with his usual elbows and forearms to put Steamboat down. He pulls Steamboat off the ropes so Ricky drops onto the back of his head. This allows Gorilla to bust out the term “external occipital protuberance”, to which Jesse replies “THE WHAT?” The voice Ventura says that in is hilarious. Apparently it’s that little bump on the back of your head. Steamboat reverses a suplex into one of his own and hooks an armbar. Jimmy Hart goes a rant of instructions to the Hammer which is such a lost art in wrestling.
Steamboat gets dropped on the back of his head, allowing for another discussion of whatever that thing is called. Gorilla: “External occipital protuberance.” Jesse: “Oh ok. Back of the head for all you normal people back there.” Valentine pounds away with elbows as Gorilla says they’re “right in the kisser, right between the eyes.” His biology knowledge is all over the place. Donald Trump is in the front row. Steamboat comes back with some chops for two but Greg puts him right back down with a gutbuster.
Valentine goes after the leg but the Figure Four is broken up. They chop it out with Steamboat taking over, only to charge into a boot in the corner. Valentine hits a top rope forearm but still can’t put the Figure Four on. Steamboat hits an elbow to the face and a top rope chop for two. He rams Valentine into the corner ten times and shoves the referee away when he tries to break it up. Ricky goes up and hits the cross body but Valentine rolls through to eliminate Steamboat.
Rating: C+. Like I said, decent stuff here although Steamboat would be gone pretty much immediately over wanting to take some time off. Vince said no so Ricky left wrestling for about nine months. Anyway, good stuff here from two guys that know how to work whatever kind of a match you ask them to. Valentine was great in a role like this where he wasn’t going to win anything but he could fill in a spot and do just fine.
Steamboat waves goodbye to the crowd so yeah this was it for him.
The British Bulldogs with their recently returned dog Matilda declare her a weasel dog for their six man against the Islanders and Heenan. Oh and Koko is here too.
Bobby Heenan gets a package and actually tips the delivery guy. Ok then.
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Randy Savage vs. Butch Reed
Macho and Liz come out in matching blue and Liz really is beautiful. She’s also one of the few females in wrestling that stayed classy (until Russo got ahold of her) for almost her entire run. This is power vs. speed with Reed getting Savage in the corner early on. Jesse asks Gorilla if he would buy a car from Slick (Reed’s manager). Gorilla says no. Jesse: “Not even a bright blue Caddy?” These two are just freaking fun together. They knew how to work off each other so well and it made the late 80s a ton of fun.
Reed pounds away on Savage and guillotines him on the top rope and out to the floor. Back in and Butch stomps on Randy a bit before elbowing him right back down. Savage gets in a kick to the face and fires off some punches, only to get clotheslined down again. Reed goes up top but takes WAY too long to jaw at Liz, allowing Savage to slam him down and drop the elbow for the pin. The pop when Savage hits the elbow is HUGE. You could hear it starting lasts year in Detroit and now it’s full fledged here.
Rating: C-. This was basically a squash until the very end. Savage was great at building up sympathy from the crowd which is why the pops were so huge when he won here. Reed would also head to the NWA soon after this to do nothing for a year before joining Doom. Not much to see here but again, the time crunch hurts things a lot.
Uecker talks about trying to get with Vanna White tonight when Heenan and the Islanders come in. Heenan: “You talk about writing letters. You had 700,000 votes for the Hall of Fame. You would have had more but you ran out of stamps. Heenan isn’t worried about the six man later.
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. One Man Gang
Gang pounds away in the corner to start and Bigelow is in trouble. This is one of those big guys that pound away on each other with basic stuff but it looks better because they’re huge matches. Bigelow comes back with a forearm and a low splash for two. Bam Bam pounds away and hits a headbutt and then about four more to take over. He hits the ropes and Slick pulls the rope down though and Gang pounds on him on the apron enough to cause a countout. Too short to rate but this was lame. I think Bigelow had a bad knee here too.
Hogan goes into one of his most bizarre and over the top promos here. He talks about slamming Andre and breaking the United States in half, sending Andre and his next two opponents into the ocean. The rest if going to be nearly verbatim because a description won’t do it justice. Talking about them falling into the ocean:
“And so will Donald Trump and all the Hulkamaniacs, but as Donald Trump hangs on to the top of the Trump Plaza with his family under his other arm, and as they sink to the bottom of the sea, THANK GOD Donald Trump is a Hulkamaniac. He’ll know enough to let go of his materialistic possessions, hang onto the wife and kids and dog paddle all the way to safety. But Donald, if somehow you run out of gas, and all the Hulkamaniacs happen to run out of gas, just hang onto the largest back in the world and I’ll dog paddle and backstroke (wouldn’t the people on his back drown?) all of us to safety.”
So Hogan has just declared himself Jesus. You knew it was coming eventually.
WWF World Title Tournament First Round: Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts
This is part of a BIG feud over Rude trying to get with Jake’s wife. Jake immediately goes for the part of Rude’s body that would mess with Rude the most: his face. Rude comes back with a slam and some right hands so Jake comes back with some slams of his own. Rude winds up in the corner with the snake and bails right into an arm wringer by Jake. Try as he might, Rude can’t fight out of the wristlock as it’s pretty clear this is going to last for awhile.
The hold is finally broken by Rude putting him on the top rope but Jake comes off the middle rope with a jumping knee lift to send Rick to the outside. Rude gets slammed again but this time the knee lift misses and Rick stomps away. Rick drops a knee and gets a VERY slow two count. We hit the chinlock and I open a book because we’re going to be here for a long time.
After about two minutes, Rude hits a token clothesline before hooking the chinlock all over again. Jake tries to fight back but gets launched into the head and dropped on his face. A top rope fist to a downed Jake gets two and it’s back to the chinlock. You can hear the fans booing now. Roberts tries a belly to back suplex but Rude still doesn’t break the hold.
Now the boring chants begin so Jake FINALLY hits a jawbreaker to get out of the hold and get the crowd going a bit. The short clothesline looks to set up the DDT but Rude rams him into the corner. Jake is suplexed out of a headlock for two and both guys are down. Rude tries a pin with his feet on the ropes and the time runs out. The fans are NOT happy with that one.
Rating: D-. What in this is supposed to be appealing? We don’t get a DDT, we don’t get any comeuppance for Rude, we don’t get a winner, and we don’t even get a beating for Heenan. This was long and very dull with at least five minutes out of fifteen being spent in a chinlock. If you need to have two guys get eliminated to prevent another match later, wouldn’t it make sense to have this one go fast instead of going the time limit?
Gene and Vanna White look at the brackets so we’ll do that too.
One Man Gang
Vanna has no idea who Bob Uecker is but she wants Hogan to win.
Hercules vs. Ultimate Warrior
They collide to start as the announcers recap the tournament. Hercules hits three straight clotheslines to put Warrior down to Jesse’s amazement. Warrior fires off some chops but gets backdropped out to the floor. They brawl on the floor for a bit as Heenan is reaching in his pockets. Both guys head back inside and pound on each other a little bit more with Warrior hitting the ten punches in the corner. Hercules comes out of the corner with an atomic drop and sends Warrior into the corner chest first. He puts on the full nelson but Warior climbs the corner and falls back ala Bret and Austin at Survivor Series 96 for the fast pin.
Rating: D+. Warrior was rapidly becoming a force but it wouldn’t be another six months before he finally hit something special. Hercules would be around for a few more years but would never do anything of note. This was just a filler match to bridge the gap between the first and second rounds of the tournament.
We recap Hogan vs. Andre, which I’m sure you know the story of, at least up to Mania III. After that, Andre disappeared for the summer until leading his team to victory over Hogan’s team at the first Survivor Series (Hogan was counted out). So anyway DiBiase debuted and wanted to buy the world title but Hogan of course said no. DiBiase instead bought Andre from Heenan and said go get me the belt.
This led us to Indianapolis and the first Main Event, which completely destroyed every ratings record ever for wrestling, drawing a mind blowing 15 rating and 33 million viewers live on NBC on a Friday night. Today, 5 million people watching Raw is reasons for a celebration for Raw. Anyway, there was a screwjob finish with Dave Hebner’s twin brother Earl debuting as an imposter and counting a pin while Hogan’s shoulder was clearly up. Andre gave the title to DiBiase which didn’t fly with President Jack Tunney, so the title was held up and we got the tournament to settle things.
WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan
Hulk charges into the ring but gets stomped down. DiBiase and Virgil are here in Andre’s corner. Hogan gets rammed into the corner and punched down by the giant but Hogan comes back with some forearms. He has to stop to beat up DiBiase and ram Ted and Andre’s heads together. Hogan chops Andre into the ropes and gets him tied up. DiBiase frees the arms but Hogan punches Andre down and drops some elbows, but the giant grabs him by the throat from the mat and takes over again.
Some standing choking ensues and Hogan goes down to his knees. That gets shifted into a nerve hold but Hogan fights up and fires away on Andre even more but can’t drop him. Hogan goes for a slam but DiBiase hits him in the back as Virgil distracts the referee. Hulk gets the chair away and hits Andre with the chair. Andre gets the chair away and hits Hulk with it, somehow drawing a double DQ despite Hogan clearly hitting Andre first.
Rating: C-. The match wasn’t much from a quality standpoint but they were at a far faster pace than they were last year. That’s probably the right idea given how messed up Andre’s body was at this point though. Anyway, this is all part of the Master Plan which we’ll hear more about later on. Not a terrible match but it’s really just there to say it happened.
Hogan chases Virgil and DiBiase down with the former getting suplexed in the aisle. Hulk goes back in and slams Andre before posing for a few minutes despite not winning the match. It’s still going. He didn’t pose this much at last year’s show.
Savage and Liz (now in pink) say that Hogan was cheated and that he’s never been defeated. Oh and Macho is going to win.
WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Don Muraco vs. Ted DiBiase
The winner goes to the finals because of the double DQ. Ted comes out alone here for the first time tonight. Muraco pulls him into the ring by the hair and we’re ready to go. A quick powerslam gets two and Ted is reeling. There’s a clothesline for another two and Ted tries to bail. DiBiase finally gets to the floor and Billy Graham (Muraco’s manager) tries to hit him with his cane. Back in and Don tries to pull him out of the corner but gets pulled into the corner himself instead. DiBiase finally has some control but misses a falling reverse elbow off the middle rope. Muraco makes a quick comeback but walks into a hotshot for the pin.
Rating: C. Not bad here but yet again the time hurts them a lot. There’s only so much you can do in about five minutes, although it was good to show that DiBiase could get a win on his own which he did here. Muraco would be gone pretty soon if I remember correctly. Not much of a match here but it wasn’t bad.
Demolition talks about hitting people over the head with ball bats and say they’ll win the titles.
One Man Gang’s bye is announced.
WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Randy Savage vs. Greg Valentine
Savage takes over quickly with a slam and a knee drop for two but Valentine comes back with a pair of forearms, the second from the top rope. A shoulderbreaker gets two for Valentine and it’s time for some more elbows. Greg throws him to the floor and rams Randy into the barricade a few times. More elbows to the head and chest follow as Savage is in a lot of trouble.
Back in and Valentine starts in on the leg but Savage quickly grabs a rope. A suplex gets two for Valentine and Randy is in trouble. All of a sudden Savage goes NUTS (he’s fine then) and pounds away on Hammer with the top rope ax handle. He loads up another one but they kind of collide instead. Savage misses a charge at the ropes and Valentine tries the Figure Four again, only to get rolled up for the pin to advance Savage.
Rating: B-. It’s the best match of the tournament so far but that’s not saying much. Also it’s one of the longer matches of the tournament at just over six minutes so that probably has something to do with it. Savage took a beating in this but managed to sneak out with a win which is always cool to see. The fans continue to pop huge for him too which is a great sign.
Vanna White has no idea who Bob Uecker is. We look at the updated brackets:
One Man Gang
Intercontinental Title: Honky Tonk Man vs. Brutus Beefcake
Sherri Martel is with Honky as Peggy Sue here which is a pretty amazing character change for her. This is during Honky’s insanely long run that drew a ton of money and is pretty awesome all around. Brutus hits a quick atomic drop and messes with Honky’s hair to play with his mind a bit. Honky bails to the floor as Jesse and Gorilla debate crooked referees. Back in and Beefcake rams Honky’s head into the buckle a few times as this is one sided so far.
A high knee sends the champion back to the floor but once back in, Beefcake gets caught by a shot to the stomach. Honky takes over and stomps away which is about the extent of his offense. He loads up the Shake Rattle and Roll but drops it and goes back to stomping. Honky tries it again but Brutus grabs the rope to block it. Beefcake pounds away a bit and grabs his sleeper but Jimmy knocks out the referee. Honky gets knocked but but there’s no referee so Brutus celebrates like an idiot. Brutus cuts Jimmy Hart’s hair for fun and Honky walks out. It’s a DQ I think.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here as this show is just going WAY too long at this point. We’re only about two and a half hours into it and we’ve got four matches left. Brutus was just another guy in there to not get the title off Honky, which adds him to a list of about 10 guys who couldn’t do it. Honky would get his soon enough though.
In a semi-famous bit, Andre talks about DiBiase paying him to eliminate Hogan (not really a surprise) and then chokes Bob Uecker.
Islanders/Bobby Heenan vs. British Bulldogs/Koko B. Ware
There’s actually a story here. Heenan comes to the ring in a dog handlers’ outfit (remember the package from earlier?) because Matilda, the dog mascot of the Bulldogs, is back from being dognapped, presumably by the Islanders. Koko is there because when you need a filler, you call Koko B. Ware. We start with Dynamite vs. Tama but it’s quickly off to Haku vs. Davey Boy for a nice power match.
Davey slams him down a few times and it’s off to a quickly broken chinlock. Back to Tama who is gorilla pressed up and down and it’s back to Haku. Jesse: “Heenan seems to be saving himself.” Gorilla: “Yeah for the senior prom.” Did Gorilla just make a sex joke? I can feel my childhood crumbling as I type this. Koko comes in for some quick shots but it’s back to Dynamite for the clothesline that Benoit copied from him.
The Kid charges into a kick in the corner and here’s Heenan for the first time. He stomps on Dynamite, gets hit once in his padded suit, and runs away. That’s about what I expected. Tama tries a Vader Bomb but hits knees, allowing for another tag to Koko. He pounds on both Islanders but Haku takes him right back down. Tama comes in with a top rope chop and Heenan gets his second tag. Heenan chokes a bit but misses a charge into the post. Everything breaks down and the Islanders drop Heenan onto Koko for the pin.
Rating: C. I told you Koko was worthless in this. The stuff with the tag teams was pretty solid but the rest of it was as dull as you would expect. These six man tags with the Bulldogs in there don’t go that well for them but this was their last try at it. This was basically a comedy match and it was only kind of funny.
Jesse Ventura is introduced to the crowd for some posing.
Ted DiBiase’s bye is announced.
WWF World Title Tournament Semifinals: One Man Gang vs. Randy Savage
Savage and Liz are in black for this one. Randy tries to lock up with him to start which isn’t his best play here. Gang shoves him into the corner and pounds him down then does it again for a few more minutes. A pair of splashes miss and an elbow sends Gang into the ropes and out to the floor. Savage tries a slam but gets choked down instead. Liz gets on the apron for no apparent reason as Slick throws in the cane, but Gang gets caught swinging it for the DQ.
Rating: D. Nothing to see here and Savage on defense can’t save most of a match. This is the second win over a Slick client of the night and he would spend the summer feuding with more of them. Gang was a decent big man but at the end of the day he was just another monster for a hero to vanquish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as people can make a great living like that, especially in the 80s.
Savage gets hit with the cane anyway but he still comes back and sends Gang into Slick.
The finals are DiBiase vs. Savage.
Bob Uecker can’t catch up with Vanna.
Tag Titles: Demolition vs. Strike Force
Strike Force is one of my favorite teams ever and is comprised of Rick Martel and Tito Santana. They had been champions for something like five months and are still considered transitional champions. Smash and Martel start things off and the former lives up to his namesake by beating Rick down. Everything breaks down quickly for a bit and the result is the champions in control. Tito comes in to work over the arm of Ax before it’s off to Smash for more arm cranking.
Demolition comes back with a standing Hart Attack before it’s back to Ax for a powerslam. Smash suplexes Tito down for two but an elbow drop misses. Ax comes back in and gets caught out of nowhere by the flying forearm (Jesse: “He learned that in the Mexican Football League.”). There’s the hot tag to Martel and it’s dropkicks a go-go. The Boston Crab goes on Smash but Tito goes after Ax. The forearm takes him down but Fuji slides in the cane. Rick gets blasted in the back of the head, giving Demolition their first titles. They would hold those belts for over a year and a half.
Rating: C+. Power vs. speed is always a good combination and that’s what you got here. Demolition was a pair of guys who beat the tar out of everyone they fought and that’s what they did here. It took a pair of Horsemen to get the belts off of them if that tells you anything about how awesome they were.
Robin Leech brings out the WWF Title belt.
Bob Uecker is guest ring announcer. Vanna White is guest timekeeper and she gives Bob a kiss.
WWF World Title: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase
Savage and Liz are now in white and Andre is with DiBiase. Macho blocks some punches in the corner but Andre trips him up like a jerk. Andre does it again and Savage is catching on that he’s got a problem. They trad some cranking on the arm and DiBiase’s sunset flip doesn’t work. A clothesline gets two for Randy and he sends DiBiase to the floor where Andre says go ahead and jump.
Realizing he’s in trouble, Savage sends Liz to the back the obvious reason (hint: the fans are chanting HOGAN). DiBiase hooks a chinlock and heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Hulk. The look on Hogan’s face and his jaws going all over the place make him look high as a kite. Ted pounds away in the corner and Andre pulls Savage to the outside. Hogan jumps the giant but Savage is in big trouble.
A gutwrench suplex gets two for Ted but he goes up top for reasons of general stupidity, earning that slam off the top by Savage. Randy tries a quick elbow but only hits the mat. DiBiase puts on the Million Dollar Dream but Hogan, ever the hero, comes in and whacks DiBiase in the bak with a chair. Savage runs to the top and the big elbow gives him his first world title.
Rating: B-. This was a decent match and the place went NUTS for the win, but they were both really tired and it slowed them down a lot. The Hogan cheating wasn’t really necessary and it made Savage look a bit weak, but at the end of the day it didn’t make that big of a difference. Still though, huge moment here.
Hogan insists on being in the ring for the celebration which really takes something away from it. The three celebrate to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. The moment at the end is huge, but the time it took getting there isn’t worth it. The problem with this show is that it’s WAY too long and there aren’t that many good matches on it. Sixteen matches are WAY too many to have on a single show and the fans were really burned out by the end. This should have been an eight man tournament with some slightly longer matches. Also this show is almost four hours long and the talent pool just wasn’t deep enough to support that back then. Nostalgia is really all that helps this show for most modern fans, but that’s not a terrible thing.
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