Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Savage
27 May, 1988
Madison Square Garden; New York City, NY
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
This match took place shortly after Savage won the championship over DiBiase in the tournament finals of Wrestlemania 4. There had been a match in MSG between the two a month earlier, which DiBiase had won by countout with interference from Virgil. This was the rematch.
The match starts off nice and hot, with Savage going after DiBiase. It was crazy how much heat DiBiase had at this time. For as many bad things as you can say about Vince McMahon, the "Million Dollar Man" gimmick was a brilliant one, and DiBiase was definitely the perfect man to play it (although supposedly the first choice was actually Nick Bockwinkle). DiBiase ends up getting his nose busted open early, but the shenanigans of Virgil at ringside allow DiBiase to take control of the match.
From a psychological standpoint, this is a very basic match. Neither Savage nor DiBiase really do anything crazy; this match is mostly a punch-kick brawl inside the ring. However, both are well above average with their crispness, and both men worked the match well. While most people will remember Savage for being bat-shit-crazy, he is a highly underrated seller. In this match, he makes DiBiases' basic offensive repertoire look devastating. Savage really looks like he is taking the beating of his life from DiBiase.
What I really hate hate hate about this match is that the last move before Savage makes a comeback is a Piledriver. Yes, the most devastating and believable move in the entire wrestling world is used just before Savage makes a valiant comeback. What. The. Fuck. Making it a billion times worse is Roger Kent & Superstar Graham putting over how devastating the piledriver is on commentary, and mentioning how someone is going to be killed from that move someday.
I am also not a big fan of the finish. Yeah, it made no sense for Dibiase to be pinned here, since he was the hottest heel in the company and was going to be coming back against Savage the next month in a cage match, but after the screwjob the month before, I would have liked to have seen a more definite conclusion here - maybe a ref bump courtesy of Virgil so they could still set up the cage match. It could have been worse though, I'm nitpicking...