Ranking SummerSlam #19: 1988 - Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase

(The one where Elizabeth stripped to save the day)



A quick aside before we begin…For the record, this match is, to me at least, the line of demarcation between "matches that had major flaws" and "matches that were fine, no worse, but at least they weren't offensive or horrible." Honestly, this one could go in either group, so putting it here is a good spot. Anyway, back to the article.

I miss when tag teams mattered.

Tag teams definitely mattered in the late 1980s WWF. Or Hulk Hogan mattered in the late 1980s WWF.

Let’s get to it.

At WrestleMania IV, Macho Man Randy Savage won the WWF Championship after a long, boring tournament to cap off a long, boring WrestleMania. To be clear, the finale of the tournament – Savage defeating Ted DiBiase – was pretty damn good. It's just that the rest of the tournament was pretty damn bad. BIGPALE review here.

Anyway, Hogan was no longer champ, but he was still a prominent fixture in the main event scene. Hogan and Andre the Giant were still feuding, a program that dated before 1987's WrestleMania III. Savage and DiBiase were still feuding, so it was only natural that the good guys and the bad guys would team up. Kill two birds with one stone, right?

We got here when Andre and DiBiase put the boots to Savage during a promo, who then challenged the two baddies to a SummerSlam match against a partner to be named later – Hogan.

Thus was born the "Mega-Powers" comprised of Hogan, Savage and the latter's manager, the lovely Miss Elizabeth, fighting for the angels. On the other side you had Andre and Dibiase, the "Mega-Bucks," led by Bobby Heenan, a long-time Hogan foil. DiBiase's manservant Virgil was around too, although he's sort of a bit player in all this.

To top it off, The Mega-Bucks picked the guest ref for the SummerSlam match: longtime heel commentator Jesse "The Body" Venura, who showed up for the match wearing a Seinfeld-inspired puffy shirt and khaki bandana. Needless to say, this was great.

Note: This is only the first of two SummerSlam main events The Body reffed. We'll get to the second one later on.

So, you had a match with four wrestlers and four-non wrestlers. This seems like a recipe for an overbooked disaster, but the fact of the matter is that the match itself wasn't bad. Not an all-time classic, mind you, but it was not bad at all. The WWF booked the match itself well, having DiBiase and Savage do most of the actual wrestling. DiBiase was a top-notch ring psychologist, and he earned his paycheck here, bumping for the two faces like a champ.

Andre's work was limited. The big man was clearly slowing down as age and his gigantism were starting to take a toll, but he was good for his role, which was to be the unstoppable monster with impressive power moves. Andre would tag in, beat up Hogan or Savage for thirty seconds, and then tag out to DiBiase.

I've mentioned this before during this series, but the crowd was absolutely on fire here. They were cheering, standing, screaming and clapping all night long. Back before wrestling fans became all cynical and jaded, a decent-but-by-no-means-great match knocked everyone's socks off. People lost their damn minds when the heels did something illegal, or when a face got a hot tag, or when a manager interfered. These people were electric, and it helped make the match come off a lot better than it actually was.

The match devolves into all four men brawling at the same time, as Jesse ignores the heel's dastardly cheating, much to the chagrin of announcers Gorilla Monsoon and Superstar Billy Graham (who was brutally bad). Andre clears the ring of Hogan and Savage, who are left sprawling on the outside. Jesse starts counting the Mega-Powers out.

All seems lost for our heroes.

When suddenly, Elizabeth jumps on the ring apron in an attempt to buy her men some time. Jesse admonishes her, telling her to hit the floor, but she ignores him. Heenan and Virgil jump on the ring apron and Jesse stops the ten count as the match hits a standstill.

Then, out of nowhere, Elizabeth takes off her yellow skirt and starts pacing back and forth on the ring apron, much to the crowd's delight and confusion of the Mega-Bucks. All five men in the ring stand transfixed, as this lovely lady walking around in red underwear prances back and forth. Bonus points to Jesse's facial expression (I can't do it justice, but the look you see on people’s faces in "Independence Day" as they see the giant spaceship for the first time is in the ballpark) and DiBiase, ever the seller, spends the entire time rubbing his head and being confused.

Elizabeth "stripping" was a huge deal at the time. She was always portrayed as a virtuous and pure woman, a far cry from the bra-and-panties wearing Divas of a decade later. The very fact that WWF audiences had never seen anything like this made the fact that Elizabeth "stripped" (she took off her skirt and left her top on, so she was wearing what basically amounted to a bikini bottom) that much more of an impact.

Out of nowhere, Hogan and Savage come in like a house of fire, throw Andre out of the ring and hit their respective finishers on DiBiase for the win.

Would it shock you if I told you that Hogan, not the reigning WWF champ, got the actual pinfall? No?

What if I told you that Hogan's music, not Savage's, blared over the loudspeakers after the victory? Still not shocked? Didn't think so.

The post-match ends with that typical Federation Era posedown as Hogan and Savage flex for the crowd. The Mega-Powers would team together until exploding at WrestleMania V where Hogan would beat Savage for the strap. Typical.


Savage is so secondary to Hogan - despite being the champion - that he's even wearing Hulk's color scheme. (via

Curtain Jerker's Star Rating – Let's say 2¾. Seems about right.

Up Next – This one had the face job out and the crowd treated him like the heel

Also in this series:

#20 - Team WWE vs. Team Nexus

#21 - Rude vs. Warrior

#22 - Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus

#23 - Luger vs. Yokozuna

#24 - Hogan/Warrior vs. Slaughter/Mustafa/Adnan

#25 - Diesel vs. Mabel

#26 - Undertaker vs. Undertaker

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.