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on 29 August 2014
I bought these two classic Summerslams as, for some reason, I had never seen either before (actually I may have seen ’89 as a kid but I remember nothing about it). I have reviewed them both separately.

Summerslam 88

Considering this was the first ever Summerslam event, it is curiously low key and lacking in spectacle. No fireworks, no pageantry to speak of, and no Vince McMahon yelling throughout. I’m no fan of Vince’s commentary skills, but one feels they may have been better employed to sell this event than Gorilla Monsoon and Billy Graham’s dull play-by-play and non-existent banter. With Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan utilised elsewhere on the show, there is little to keep the viewer interested from a commentary perspective.

This problem is accentuated by the middling to poor standard of in-ring action. Very few of the matches are notable and none would be worthy of inclusion on any ‘best of’ collection. We kick off with a promising match between the British Bulldogs and the Fabulous Rougeaus, which is mildly entertaining in parts, albeit too long and indeed goes to a time limit draw. Some might say a bizarre piece of booking for the opening match of a new pay-per-view. This is followed by Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera, an uninspiring match on paper and only slightly better in reality. Things go up a notch when the excellent Rick Rude enters the fray with Junkyard Dog, but the match is not particularly memorable. We are then treated to surely one of the worst-conceived matches ever when four talentless lumps face off in the form of the Bolsheviks and the Powers of Pain. The resulting fare is predictable.

With the matches failing to inspire, things are made worse by interminable, recurring advertisements, video spots and interviews to promote an upcoming boxing match in Las Vegas between Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde. It transpires Vince McMahon was promoting the fight and therefore wanted to give it as much airtime as possible. Sadly it simply serves to slow down the show and lose any modicum of momentum.

The next match provides some interest in that long-time Intercontinental Champion the Honky Tonk Man was to defend the belt against a mystery opponent. This opponent proves to be the Ultimate Warrior and the resulting squash lasts less than a minute. This was probably fun at the time but in hindsight its brevity just highlights the dullness of the rest of the card. Speaking of which, the next match is a complete non-event featuring Dino Bravo and Don Muraco, which appears to interest no one - the only high spot being Heenan’s appearance on commentary. Somewhere in amongst all this is a horrible interview skit between Brother Love and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, which I would encourage even the die-hard to skip.

Of the three matches leading up to the main event, all promise more than they deliver. The Hart Foundation and Demolition had some great title matches over the years, but this isn’t one of them. A lively encounter between Big Boss Man and Koko B. Ware is an improvement, albeit oddly placed on the card (incidentally, Ray Traylor must be deserving of a WWE tribute DVD by now). Jake Roberts then takes on Hercules in another awkward affair that flatters to deceive. This leads us to the main event. The ‘Mega Powers’, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, take on the ‘Mega Bucks’, Ted Dibiase and Andre the Giant. This is a main event straight out of a house show, and looks like it. The match holds almost no interest beyond the actual appearance of the participants, who raise the bar in star power quite considerably. Ultimately the finish is as expected, although granted the image of Miss Elizabeth’s underwear is *ahem* memorable and was probably quite shocking at the time.

All in all Summerslam 88 was not a good start for the event which would become an annual fixture. Perhaps lessons would be learned ahead of 1989’s instalment…

Summerslam 89

I’m happy to say that the 1989 edition of Summerslam was a vast improvement on the first year. There is far more energy about the event, the matches are better and the quality of the commentary is in a different league. The excellent pairing of Tony Schiavone (during his relatively short WWF stint before becoming synonymous with WCW) and Jesse Ventura call the action and raise the standards immediately. It was a rare moment of humility from Vince Mcmahon to allow an actual specialist commentator like Schiavone onto a pay-per-view, something he would only repeat in future with Jim Ross.

As stated, the matches on offer are of a higher quality all round. The opener is an exciting tussle between the Hart Foundation and the Brain Busters – Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard – which is better than anything on the previous year’s card. This is followed by another fun battle between Dusty Rhodes and the Honky Tonk Man. It is clear that the matches are much better received than in 1988,which suggests the leg work had been done beforehand to get fans on board.

A short and rather pointless match follows between Mr. Perfect and Terry Taylor’s dire ‘Red Rooster’ gimmick, which results in a routine victory for Perfect. This in turn is followed by an entertaining six-man tag (or as entertaining as these stop-start matches can ever be) involving the Rockers and Tito Santana facing the Fabulous Rougeaus and Rick Martel. The match is well-booked, featuring as it does four or five excellent wrestlers who are proficient at story-telling wrestling. Hey, 1988 - this booking stuff really isn’t rocket science...

The first ‘big’ match of the night is an Intercontinental title bout between Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude. It’s a very good bout and owes a lot to Rude putting the Warrior over for the baying crowd who were urging the latter to victory. Then, in amongst several interview spots we are served up a second six-man tag, which may have been pushing it. Demolition and Jim Duggan take on Andre the Giant, Akeem (AKA the One Man Gang) and Big Boss Man. In fairness it’s another decent match and doesn’t drag as these things sometimes can.

As the build-up starts for the main event, we get two relatively uninteresting singles matches. The first features Greg Valentine and Hercules, and is thankfully kept short as it mostly serves to build some kind of feud between Valentine and guest ring announcer Ronnie Garvin. Whether this feud was ever resolved has probably been lost in the annals of history due to lack of interest. Following this, Ted Dibiase takes on Jimmy Snuka in a reasonable match which ends in a dull count-out finish, something common in the WWF at the time.

And so, we are led to the main event. Clearly a lot of build-up had gone into this and I can imagine being swept up in it had I been watching at the time. Randy Savage had recruited the monster Zeus, who is impervious to pain, to defeat Hulk Hogan who in turn allies himself with Brutus Beefcake (a man with very little going for him bar his in and out of ring friendship with Hogan). Sadly, Zeus is actually the Hollywood actor Tiny Lister Jr. who had starred with Hogan in the dreadful ‘No Holds Barred’ wrestling movie. His wrestling ability being non-existent, he employs the bear hug and the choke hold as his only maneuveres. Still though, the match delivers as a proper main event. Savage is his usual faultless self while Hogan performs as consistently as ever. Sherri and Elizabeth get involved too. It’s a good finish to a very reasonable card which definitely suggests improvements were made on the previous year.

Summerslam would go on to become a huge event for the WWF/WWE and remains so to this day. These two events show it in its embryonic stages. In all honesty, the WWF had similar issues with all of their flagship PPVs in the 1980s – the first Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and even Wrestlemania all fell flat in some respects – but quickly learned lessons and improved on them in following years. I for one am glad they did.
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on 31 August 2016
summerslam 88 is rough around the edges, more of a 80's wwf supercard show than a wwf ppv but definitely a good start to a summer tradition, summerslam 89 is the start of the summerslam ppv, better production values & obviously a step forward to where summerslam is today
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on 12 January 2015
Where the proud tradition of Summer Slam began.... The good old days, cheesy but good old days.
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on 4 January 2013
With the other dvd I got like this one...it went down very well for a christmas tree present..bought back memories
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2010
SummerSlam 1988 is largely remembered for two things; The Ultimate Warrior destroying the Honky Tonk Man in half a minute to lift the Intercontinental Title and the "shocking" twist in the main event when the delectable Miss Elizabeth led her Mega Powers to victory by removing her skirt to distract the referee (she obviously was a big fan of Bucks Fizz). 22 years later, there's not an awful lot more to look fondly back on.

The opening match, pitting the Fabulous Rougeau's against the British Bulldogs is a quality encounter, albeit one marred by a non-finish, whilst there is some entertainment to be found in the Demolition/Hart Foundation tussle. Those two matches aside though the undercard is largely pitiful. Matches like Bad News Brown Vs Ken Patera, Dino Bravo Vs Don Muraco and The Big Boss Man Vs Koko B Ware would be booed out of the building on WWE Superstars these days, never mind on a pay-per-view and whilst comparing match quality from different era's of the WW(F)E is in someways a pointless task there is no getting around the fact that there is just very little of Summerslam 1988 that is worth watching.

Much like its predecessor, SummerSlam 1989 largely relied on its Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage tag team main event (this time with the two as opponents rather than partners). And whilst Brutus Beefcake and Zeus are largely useless, the chemistry between Savage and Hogan means we get a perfectly acceptable main event. Much like the previous year as well, we get a great tag team opener as well as the Brainbusters (Arn Anderson and the awesome Tully Blanchard) tackle the Hart Foundation. Throw in a decent six-man tag pitting Rick Martel and The Rougeaus against Tito Santana and The Rockers and a cool Ultimate Warrior/Rick Rude battle (Rude nearly always dragged a watchable encounter out of the Warrior) and you at least have some quality action on the undercard.

Still, like a lot of WWF shows of this period there's a fair amount of filler. Hercules against Greg Valentine and Mr. Perfect against the Red Rooster are so short you wonder why they bothered and a potentially interesting bout betwewen Ted DiBiase and Jimmy Snuka is marred by a non-finish.

There are some good tag-team battles on this Tagged Classics set and they alone almost make this a "three-star" set for me. However there are just too many matches that are inconsequential filler for this to be given even a middle review.
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on 17 November 2010
I won't go into the events themselves, because if your a old school WWE/WWF fan these will be part of your collection! However I will state that the quality on some of the Tagged Classics DVD's isn't the best. It's evident that the masters have not been looked after, as they are prone to video lines/glitches. But furthermore: We own most of the main events on VHS video and are trying to replace those with the DVD's. In particular Summerslam 89 is missing about 1 minute of footage present on the VHS release. It's during an interview with Ted Dibiase (Million Dollar Man) Though on the VHS version we have their is a video glitch, so maybe Silver Vision removed some of the footage because of that glitch? I did email Silver Vision, but there response was they are the exact same as the VHS releases...(clearly there are edits here as I own both) So be warned if your a serious collector!
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on 12 June 2009
The first thing to remember when looking back at these early WWF events is that they should be judged by the standards of that particular time. Of course, a lot of the content can't compare to the high athleticism of today but they are still very entertaining to watch especially if you were a fan at the time and are taking a trip down memory lane.

Summerslam 1988

The inaugural Summerslam was held in 1988 at Madison Square Garden and is remembered really for two matches. The first being the Ultimate Warrior's crushing victory over the Honky Tonk Man, putting to an end the longest Intercontinental title reign of all time. The Warrior was still on the rise in terms of popularirty but the Garden went ballistic when he burst onto the scene to despatch Honky in about 30 seconds! The second is of course the main event where WWF World Champion Macho Man Randy Savage teamed with then best friend Hulk Hogan to defeat Andre The Giant and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase in a decent match in which Miss Elizabeth distracted the Mega Bucks duo by removing her skirt which raised a few eyebrows at the time.

The rest of the card wasn't much to write home about with the exception of Demolition's World Tag Team Title defence over the Hart Foundation which was probably the best of the night. The 20 minute time limit draw between The British Bulldogs versus The Fabulous Rougeaus wasn't bad, neither was the bout between Koko B.Ware and the Big Bossman but the others offered little or nothing. The Ken Patera/Bad News Brown match was particularly dreadful.

Summerslam 1989

The second annual Summerslam was an improvement on the original and once again featured a tag team main event, this time pitting Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake against Randy Savage and "The Human Wrecking Machine" Zeus (actor Tiny Lister). The match wasn't bad and went down well with the hot crowd in New Jersey, especially when Zeus felt 'pain' for the first time towards the end of the bout (Tony Schiavone sounded like he was about to explode on commentary!).

Elsewhere Ravishing Rick Rude pulled another good match out of the Ultimate Warrior in the Intercontinental Title rematch from Wrestlemania V; The Rockers & Tito Santana had a very good match with The Rougeaus and Rick Martel; and once again the Hart Foundation took the match of the night honours, this time against the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard). Greg Valentine versus Hercules was a stinker, although it did help continue the feud between Valentine and Ronnie Garvin; the Jimmy Snuka/Ted Dibiase bout should have been a lot better but wasn't helped by the cheap finish; the second six-man tag was never going to be anything special and neither was the Dusty Rhodes/Honky Tonk Man match. Mr. Perfect squashed The Red Rooster in the only other match on the card.
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VINE VOICEon 14 September 2004
Summerslam is another WWE PPV that's been given the "Tagged Classics" treatment. Summerslam 88' and 89' are both included in this special 2 disc set.
Summerslam 88' was the first of its kind and was headlined by a tag-team match between The Mega-Powers (Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage) and The Mega Bucks (Ted Dibiase & Andre The Giant). Back in the day, this was considered a huge box-office attraction, because the TV shows were many made up of short squash matches and interviews.
Summerslam 88' opens up with an enjoyable tag-team match between The British Bulldogs and The Rogeaus'. Unfortunately, it takes a while for the card to get back on track after this (most of the following matches are either awful or just average).
The WWF Tag-Team Title Match between The Hart Foundation and Demolition is easily the best match of the entire card, and Boss Man VS Koko and Jake Roberts VS Hercules are pretty decent.
The main event (Hogan & Savage VS Dibiase & Andre) is fairly entertaining, but stands out due to the involvement of the Mega-Powers' "mascot", Elizabeth. In what was considered a little racy at the time (and perhaps that's why this got a "15" rating back in the day), Liz removes her skirt and exposes her underwear during the closing moments of the match (obviously tame by today's standards, but pretty ground-breaking back in the more "family friendly" days).
Summerslam 90' is a slight improvement on the first one. There are some terrible matches to endure (particularly Dusty Rhodes VS Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine VS Hercules), but there are some great ones to look forward to as well. Probably the best match of all is the exciting and well-paced 6-Man Tag between Tito Santana, The Rockers, Rick Martel and The Rogeau's. In second place is The Hart Foundation VS The Brain Busters, which sadly, is a non-title affair.
Also worthy of mention is the decent IC Title bout between Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude, and a fairly good 6-Man bout pitting Demolition and Jim Duggan against The Twin Towers and Andre.
The main attraction is Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake VS Macho King and Zeus. Despite the involvement of a useless non-worker (Zeus, star of the film No Holds Barred), this is enjoyable fare, with some great interference from both Elizabeth and Queen Sherri.
Looking back on both events, it's clear that WWE and wrestling in general has advanced tremendously since the 80's and early 90's. However, this is still great nostalgia for long-time fans like myself who like to look back on the wrestlers and the matches that they watched growing up. There's enough here to make this another fairly interesting "Tagged Classics" release.
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on 26 October 2007
summerslam 88 was the last hurrah for so many of the established stars of the early 80s in the wwf and in these two pay per views. summerslam 89 though shows how things had changed as some new legends and stars were now at the front. summerslam 88 gets off a fine start in a match between the british bulldogs and the rougeou brothers. can englands finest dispatch the all american boys?

in one his last ppvs ken patera takes on bad news brown but this isnt in any way memorable. another early 80s star then takes on one of the new generation as the ever poular junk yard dog squares of against rick rude. only worth watching really for 2 awesome entrance themes. and for the ovation for the JYD in his last ppv. in their first ppv the massive powers of pain square off against the bolsheviks but apart from an impressive finish and athleticism from the barbarian theres nothing of note here.

we then get a brother love show with hacksaw jim duggan, NEXT

the honky tonk man vs ? brutus beefcake cant make it so an open challenge is met by the ultimate opponent? can the longest ever intercontinental champion keep the gold ot this open challegne a big mistake. (i think we all know what happened here)

yet another ppv departee as don muraco has a wrestlemania rematch with dino bravo. again nothing noteworthy until the hart foundation, new crowd faves take on tag champs demolition. how will the harts fare without former manager jimmy hart?

koko b ware then takes on ppv newboy the very BIG boss man and the overweight cop pummels the bird man but this is actually a half decent match. just before the main event jake the snake battles hercules (certainly interesting to see how hercs physique changes from summerslam 88-89). the main event features wwf champ macho man and hulk hogan against andre the giant and the million dollar man who have virgil and bobby heenan in their corner. but what tricks will hogan and savage have it theirs/ does liz have a trick up her skirt for special guest ref jesse ventura?

summerslam 89 as per norm opens witha non title tag match, new champs the brain busters dont put the gold on the line as they only won in weeks earlier (how times have changed ) and the hart foundation step up to challenge. extremely excellent match between 2 superb teams.

new wwf star dusty rhodes then takes on the honky tonk man but will the elvis lookalike be left singing the blues? (a scene is then cut out from here where a sign dropped in an interview with rick rude, when the sign dropped mean gene yells "fcuk it" its edited out but can be found on youtube). rude is defending the gold against the man he beat for the title the ultimate warrior in one of the best matches of the night. Before that match there was an excellent 6man tag with tito Santana/rockers taking on rougeous/martel/

we then have the 2nd of two 6 man tags as king duggan/demolition take on the twin towers and andre the giant(the powers of pain are named on the back of the cover but its the twin towers. whether the powers were to appear i dont know but i doubt it) can size overcome guts? can the demos get revenge on andre for costing them the tag gold?

next up we have hercules vs greg valentine with rugged ronnie garvan watching on in the most boring match of the night, superfly jimmy snuka then returns to ppv against ted dibiase but despite a great end for snuka the match is rather lame.

The main event between brutus beefcake/hulk Hogan and zeus/macho man is rather lame though apart from tony schiavone and the crowd going nuts.

Worth watching I spose
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