WWC Anniversary Show 1988: Hot Night In Bayamon
Date: September 10, 1988
Location: Bayamon Stadium, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Commentator: Hugo Savinovich, Brad Batten, Bert Batten
This is the first full Puerto Rico show I’ve ever done and it’s from the World Wrestling Council. Hot Night in Bayamon is their anniversary show for the year but I’m pretty sure this isn’t a complete version. Odds are it’s a trimmed down home video which is about as good as you can expect for something like this. I’ll be lost most of the time for this so bear with me. Let’s get to it.
Savinovich and a tag team called Double Trouble welcome us to the show and run down the card. Their commentary was recorded after the event.
Jimmy Valiant/Rufus R. Jones vs. Wild Samoans
Thank goodness there are English announcers. The Samoans in question here are Afa and Sika. From what I can tell this is the third match on the card but the first two might have been dark matches. We finally get a bell after a lot of standing around. Jimmy goes after Afa while Rufus knocks Sika (father of one Roman Reigns) out to the floor.
Things settle down again until it’s Afa vs. Valiant. Jimmy teases dancing with Afa before dropping down to hit him low. Sika takes a right hand off the apron as we’re still waiting for this to get going. The Samoans’ heads are rammed together before Rufus comes in and elbows away. More dancing ensues and Sika is getting annoyed. Sika grabs a headlock but Jones dances his way to freedom.
Back to Afa who doesn’t mind the chops in the corner but a low blow finally puts him down. They botch a spot where Afa was supposed to hit Sika when Rufus moved but Afa stopped his punch. The hot tag brings in Jimmy who clean house before Rufus hits a dancing low blow of his own. Jones gets double teamed in the corner but he basically shrugs it off and crawls over for the tag off to Jimmy. The referee keeps Rufus out as the Samoans throw Jimmy over the top for the DQ.
Rating: D. Oh man this wasn’t very good. Valient was ALL look and having fun with the crowd and was absolutely horrible in the ring. The Samoans were just doing the basics here but the live crowd seemed to like it a little bit. Jones and his dancing schtick got really annoying and I’ll never get why low blows are fine but something like going over the top is a DQ. Yeah that’s a standard rule, but priorities people. This was more about star power than anything else as all four were known names in America.
Assuming the Wikipedia page for this show is accurate, the show is going out of order now as there was another match (airing later) that took place between the tag match and the following match.
Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title: Mr. Pogo vs. Ricky Santana
Santana is defending and this is apparently a very big feud. The champion jumps Pogo to start and is all fired up. A middle rope forearm sends Pogo out to the floor for a breather. Back in and Pogo takes him into the corner to hammer the champion down to take over. They head back outside where Pogo holds up the title like a true villain would. Santana trips him up and wraps Pogo’s leg around the post.
A slam puts Pogo down on the floor and things slow down again. Back in and a sunset flip gets two for the champ but a manager distraction lets Pogo get in a cheap shot to take over. Pogo slams Ricky’s head into the mat and pounds away before we hit the nerve hold. Santana finally fights back and is all fired up again, hammering away at Pogo’s head.
He makes the mistake of going after the manager again though and Pogo takes over, only to miss a middle rope splash. Ricky misses the top rope version though and Pogo tries a cobra clutch. Santana fights out of it but runs into a big right hand. Pogo sends him out to the floor and knocks him off the apron with a football tackle. Ricky comes right back with a sunset flip for the pin to retain.
Rating: C-. WAY better match here though it could have been about two minutes shorter. Santana was young and in good shape, making him seem almost like a pretty boy with some fire in him. Pogo was a decent monster heel who probably did a lot more with run ins and segments than in the ring.
Pogo and the manager beat Santana up and put him in the Cobra Clutch, making him foam at the mouth.
Tag Team Titles: Batten Twins vs. Sheepherders
The Twins (Brad and Bart) are defending and I believe they’re the commentators called Double Trouble. The Sheepherders are better known as the Bushwhackers. This match was much later on the card, going on second to last. The stalling immediately begins with the champions heading outside and posing a bit. Back in with the champions doing the do see do bit into a double dropkick to send the champions outside.
Bart shoves Luke into the corner to start as it’s really strange to hear commentators talk about a match they’re participating in. Luke comes back with a hard clothesline to take over. Butch comes in without a tag but Bart dropkicks both guys down and rams the Sheepherders’ heads together to send them back outside. Off to Brad vs. Luke for an awkward segment culminating in Brad dropkicking him down for two.
Luke comes back with a knee to the ribs but misses a middle rope headbutt. Brad dropkicks Luke tot he floor again and for some reason there’s no hot tag. Luke quickly comes back in and the twins switch behind the referee’s back. It’s not really clear if the twins are heels or faces based on their actions. More switching behind the referee’s back has Luke in trouble until Butch trips let’s say Brad up to take over.
A belt shot to the back gets two and Bart tries to help, only allowing Luke to throw Brad over the top and out to the floor. Butch rams him into various hard objects outside but he’s able to sunset flip Luke for two back inside. It’s off to Butch legally for a change and a forearm to the chest gets two. Luke hooks a chinlock as Savinovich talks about how complicated it is to have the commentators being in the match.
Luke misses a middle rope headbutt and the hot tag brings in Bart. He hooks a quick sleeper on Luke and everything breaks down. Luke is whipped into Brad but it’s Butch being knocked to the floor. Brad hits a top rope cross body on Luke but the referee goes down, allowing Butch to hit Brad in the head with a flagpole, giving the Sheepherders the pin and the titles.
Rating: C. This was a pretty solid tag match with a basic brawler vs. high flier(ish) formula. The screwjob ending would have had the fans near a riot so the reaction was exactly what they were shooting for. The twins reminded me of someone like the Killer Bees so they would have fit in really well for something like this.
Another referee comes out and tells the first referee what happened so the Battens get the belts back.
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Danny Spivey
Two more guys here for name value. They stall to start as the announcers talk about some rivalry from when these guys played football. Danny tries to work on the arm but gets chopped back into the corner. Spivey kicks him in the ribs to take over and bites Wahoo’s forehead open. He drives some elbows into the cut and we’re already in the chinlock. The hold stays on for a good while before Danny kicks him in the head for two. Wahoo comes back with a low blow but charges into a boot to the jaw in the corner. The referee pulls Danny’s feet off the ropes, allowing McDaniel to grab a really bad rollup for the pin.
Rating: D. Spivey wasn’t bad but Wahoo was just big and old at this point. The match wasn’t anything to see and like I said was just there because both guys are known names. McDaniel would somehow stick around another EIGHT YEARS doing this kind of stuff, which is good for him but rather annoying for the fans that had to sit through his matches. He was very entertaining back in the day but not so much by about 1985.
Chicky Starr vs. Invader #3
The card continues to be all over the place as this and the previous match have swapped places. There’s actually a story here as Starr had invited a guy named the Super Medic to be on his interview segment but Medic was really Invader #3 in a fake mask. Starr’s man Manny Fernandez had put Invader out recently and it’s time for revenge. We see Starr get his head shaved so stitches can be put in to kill some time. Starr vs. Invader #1 was a feud that ran over TWENTY YEARS. Let that sink in for a minute before you complain about Cena vs. Orton again.
Invader #3 attacks Starr before the bell and the fight is on fast. He punches Starr out to the floor with ease and Chicky is in really early trouble. Chicky is already busted open so Invader sends him into the post for good measure. Back in and Invader bites at the cut to bust him open even further. Starr finally hits him low to get a breather and atomic drop has about the same effect.
They slug it out with Invader taking over off a headbutt. Starr begs off but gets kicked in the ribs to put him right back down. More biting of the forehead ensues and a big right hand to the head sends Chicky outside. Starr comes back with a kick to the side of the head but Invader just punches him down again. Invader chokes against the ropes but Chicky hits him low to take over again.
The announcers continue to praise Starr as they’ve gone full heel on commentary after starting the night as standard good guys. That’s interesting but I’ve never seen anything else on the twins. Invader gets two off a spinning cross body but Starr rolls it over into a two of his own. Starr blocks a monkey flip and drops an elbow for the VERY sudden pin. There didn’t seem to be any cheating in there eiither.
Rating: C. This was a blood feud but I’m not sure why you don’t have Chicky cheat to win there. I like the idea of the story and it works well enough, though this was about two months after Invader #1 was accused of killing Bruiser Brody so I’m assuming #3 was there to fill in. Starr seemed like an interesting character.
Ronnie Garvin vs. Iron Sheik
This is the match they skipped earlier in the night and it seems like more name recognition. Sheik jumps him to start as the announcers talk about how they’re both former World Champions though for different organizations. Sheik chokes away with his head gear but Garvin comes back by raking the back and pulling down the trunks on a rollup attempt.
Sheik comes back with a poke to the eye and a chinlock but Garvin fights up with a top wristlock. Garvin comes back with a BIG chop before they ram heads. Sheik crawls over for two and puts on the camel clutch but Garvin quickly escapes. He crotches Sheik against the post over and over before putting on the sleeper. Sheik escapes as well but gets dropkicked out to the floor. Garvin follows for some brawling and only Ronnie beats the count back in.
Rating: D+. Pretty standard match here and the brawling wasn’t bad. That being said, I have no desire to watch either of these guys in late 1988 and I don’t think many American fans would either. Garvin winning was the better call after the Starr match and thankfully it went by fairly quickly.
Huracan Castillo/Miguel Perez Jr. vs. Bobby Jaggers/Dan Kroffat
This is hair vs. hair and based on the commentary, Jaggers is one of the top heels in the promotion. You might know Kroffat better under the name Phillip LaFon. Jaggers and Kroffat hold the now defunct Carribbean Tag Team Titles. Castillo and Perez, later part of Los Boricuas in the WWF, are a regular team sometimes called the Puerto Rican Express. It’s a brawl to start with Perez and Castillo sending the heels out to the floor.
They head over to the scaffolding with Jaggers getting nailed in the head with a chair. The fight continues around the stadium with Miguel slamming Jaggers down and stomping away but slipping and falling on his face. Things settle down and actually get back in the ring with Jaggers taking Perez into the corner but quickly tagging out to Kroffat. The good guys hiptoss Kroffat down and a double dropkick has Dan reeling.
Kroffat is cornered but comes back with a low blow to Perez. It doesn’t seem to have much effect though as the tag brings in Castillo for a vertical suplex to Dan for two. Back to Miguel who gets driven back into the corner and nailed by Jaggers’ whip. Perez reverses a charge into a German suplex for two on Kroffat but Jaggers throws Miguel to the floor.
Kroffat powerbombs Miguel for two and it’s off to Jaggers for some forearms. Bobby allows the hot tag to Castillo and everything breaks down. Miguel is sent to the floor but gets back in just in time to break up a cover off a Hart Attack. Castillo backdrops Kroffat to the floor and into the mud but Kroffat nails him with a spinwheel kick. Everything breaks down again and Castillo falls on top of a monkey flip for the pin on Kroffat.
Rating: C+. This was a bit slow at times and could have used a minute or two trimmed off but it was entertaining enough. This was the basic formula of bullies vs. young speed and it’s going to work almost every time. It felt like another match that would have been a lot better had I gotten to see the buildup.
The losers get their hair cut post match.
The announcers hype up the main event.
Hercules Ayala vs. Carlos Colon
This is a fire match, meaning there are a bunch of what look like socks strung outside the ring and lit on fire. They’re not on the ropes, meaning there are two sets of ropes around the ring. It’s an awesome visual. They slug it out to start as the announcers actually explain the story: Colon was named Wrestler of the Year but Ayala beat Colon up and shoved his wife at the acceptance speech.
Ayala knocks him down and hits Colon with what looks like a can. Carlos stupidly touches the fire but makes a comeback with right hands and a headbutt. Another low blow puts Hercules down and Ayala’s face is shoved into the fire. Oddly enough it doesn’t seem to cause much damage. The fires start going out and the match becomes a lot less interesting in a hurry. Colon misses a middle rope legdrop and Ayala slowly kicks him around the ring. Carlos avoids a knee drop and puts on the Figure Four for the submission.
Rating: D. Well that happened. The backstory was good but man alive did it start looking stupid when the flames went down. At that point it’s just a boring match that only lasted a few minutes. Colon is beloved in Puerto Rico though so the fans went nuts over this. It really didn’t work though.
Carlos puts the hold on again to get some revenge.
The announcers wrap it up.
Overall Rating: D+. There was some decent stuff here but it feels dated and came off like a bunch of names being brought in because they’re names. That doesn’t work without the stories to back it up and really doesn’t work when you would have had the Mega Powers about to explode at this point. It’s not a terrible show but without the stories, it was a bunch of not great wrestling with some decent stories. I’ve seen worse though.
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