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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (12.3.1988)

November 4, 2018 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (12.3.1988)  

-We’re in post-Dusty era, as TBS has appointed Jim Crockett interim head booker. This is an incredibly weird situation that TBS has put him in, as he’s now running the company he just sold, on the understanding that he’s only there until they find somebody better. The problem was, and you can actually kind of understand this…TBS couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that somebody could know how to run a wrestling company but not have good business acumen, so when they were looking for a booker, TBS looked at Jim Crockett and figured “This is the guy that we just bought out because he was balls deep in debt, why would be let him be in charge long-term?” So here’s the beginning of the extremely brief post-Jim Crockett but somehow heavily dependent on Jim Crockett era.

-Cold open: Dusty Rhodes fights it out with Animal in the studio, with the video cutting off just before…you know…the unpleasantness.

-Originally aired December 3, 1988.

-Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, and David Crockett.

ORIGINAL MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. DAVID ISLEY & TRENT KNIGHT

-The crew starts the entrance music, forgetting that Paul E. does pre-match shtick, and he riffs on that for a bit. This was actually, as Jim Cornette lays it out, the week that the Midnights vs. Midnights feud, the hottest thing they had done in months, started to go wrong. Jim Crockett, for whatever reason, apparently wasn’t impressed with Randy Rose, so he just started booking everyone to do time limit draws at house shows, and the feud started to cool off as a result.

-Condrey clotheslines Isley and stomps away. Knight throws some sad punches but gets whipped into the corner. Midnights keep up the beatdown and finally Condrey just nudges him with his foot until Knight is in his own corner and can tag out. Rocket launcher finishes.

-Paul E. suggests he has some moles in the babyface locker room, and he knows Bobby admitted in a conversation with his own son that he betrayed “Uncle Dennis.” So Bobby and Stan deserve whatever’s coming for them at Starrcade.

STARRCADE ’88: TRUE GRITT UP-DATE
-Seriously, fix that graphic. Magnum TA says he’s still looking for the right person to be his guest on Straight Talk with The Boss, which continues to be the worst name for an interview segment ever. It sounds like some name middle management would come up with for a meeting where employees can vent about what’s wrong with the company but then nothing is actually done. They also touch on the stipulation for the Starrcade main event, and now it’s confirmed, Ric Flair can lose the title on a DQ. No way Luger blows this one now!

STING vs. JOE CRUZ
-Cruz shakes Sting’s hand and smiles at him, and Sting just calls him out for trying to suck up and kicks his ass anyway. Stinger splash and the scorpion deathlock finish.

-David Crockett talks to Sting and asks him for an update on Dusty, and Sting basically tells him that’s a stupid question. He got stabbed in the eye and is pissed off.

-To my surprise, they replay the whole attack from start to finish, pixelating it so we’re protected from the horrific sight of Dusty’s face…oh, and the blood on it, also.

-Dusty Rhodes, with sunglasses and a big-ass bandage, says that the Road Warriors left while Dusty was still breathing, and now they have to risk living up to “an eye for an eye” at Starrcade Good promo by the Dream.

-Jim Cornette strolls in, still using his blood-stained white jacket as motivation leading up to Starrcade.

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS vs. BOB EMORY & EL NEGRO
-Cornette touts the heretofore neglected main event for Wednesday night at the Clash, Midnights vs. Surviving Horsemen. They work over Emory’s back while Cornette accuses Dangerously of being a con artist. Naaaaaawwwwwww. They work El Negro’s leg while Cornette asks for the location of the soup kitchen where the NWA rounds up its jobbers for TV tapings. The Veg-O-Matic finishes, after a nice bit where Eaton gets two, then walks away and asks Lane if he wants to get the win this week, so Lane tags in, walks over, and gets three. So have we finally settled on Veg-O-Matic as the name for that move then? Because Cornette seemed to have his heart set on “Sledge-O-Matic” the first few times.

-Jim Cornette’s rebuttal to the previous promo: You had Bobby Eaton’s phone number, why didn’t you call for a year and a half? Also, why did Bobby’s Christmas present for Dennis Jr. come back marked “return to sender”?

THE COMMANDOS vs. J.C. WILDE & KEITH STEINBORN

-Ray chops and slams Wilde. Boone tags in and headbutts him. Steinborn tags in and Ray boxes his ear. Wilde heads back in and they polish him off with the double splash.

RIC FLAIR (World Champion, with JJ Dillon) vs. JERRY PRICE
-JR clarifies that Ric Flair is the WORLD CHAMPION, not the Memphis City Limits Champion or the Carrot County Champion. Oh, shit, I just got this, the semi-shooty promos from last week were a knock on Super Clash III. That’s coming up, isn’t it?!

-Flair chops the shit out of Jerry Price and sends him to the concrete. Back in, a double underhook by Flair. Odd color coordination on the champ this week, with purple tights, blue kneepads, pink boots, green clovers, and yellow stars….mmmmm….sorry, got side-tracked. Anywhoo, the figure four gets the submission win. For Flair, to be specific.

-JJ Dillon is tired of people devoting 7 years of their lives to finding stipulations and trickery to screw Ric Flair out of his world title. Flair isn’t worried though.

BARRY WINDHAM (U.S. Champion, with JJ Dillon) vs. TONY SUBER

-Windham just lays into Suber with right hands and drops a knee on him. Chops and a standing dropkick as this is 100% a Horsemen crowd in the TBS studio, which would explain why Dusty’s promo was pre-taped. Flying lariat gets the three-count, even though the crowd chanted for the claw. Well…that’s heelish, I guess.

-Barry wants only the largest and heaviest job guys the NWA can find in preparation for Bam-Bam Bigelow. He’s in Starrcade for the long haul because he knows Bam-Bam doesn’t have a match longer than four minutes in him. They seem to be playing a rib on JJ at the end of the segment, as JJ looks around confused and says that all three commentators are gone, and just throws it to commercial himself.

RICK STEINER vs. RANDY HOGAN
-German suplex nearly kills the Randster. Steiner goes to ringside and gives a little girl his headgear and offers to let her finish the match, which brings Jim Cornette out to rant for 45 minutes about what bullshit that is, and then a belly-to-belly ends it.

-Alex tells Rick Steiner that he’ll keep an eye on Kevin Sullivan during the match at Starrcade.

-The Road Warriors almost literally snack on danger, as they use their spikes to cut up an apple and munch on it while threatening the Big Dust.

VARSITY CLUB (with Kevin Sullivan) vs. RANDY MULKEY & MR. PAIN

-Randy Mulkey comes out and says he can’t find Mr. Pain, but hes willing to wrestle a one-on-one match. Sullivan gives him an irritated slap across the face and tells him to go in here, and it’s a handicap match. Crowd is ten steps ahead of them on this angle and chants the name you’d expect them to chant as Mulkey takes a 2-on-1 beating. We actually break for commercial and return with Mulkey hanging on for dear life as the Varsity Club keeps dismantling him. We cut to a shot of “Mr. Pain” hiding in the audience, wearing a mask and tell-tale amateur wrestling headgear. Sullivan spots him right before Steiner launches into the ring and attacks the entire Varsity Club at once, then takes off running.

-David Crockett interviews Mr. Pain, who whispers to David that he’s really Rick Steiner, and his imaginary friend Ralph is really Alex in disguise.

-Paul Jones cleverly hypes the match at Starrcade while not explicitly mentioning the opposing team.

LEX LUGER vs. TERRY JONES
Luger goes scientific, applying a side headlock and an armbar. Torture rack finishes.

-Lex Luger tells us the NWA deserves a champ who doesn’t go out and get himself DQed!

-Oliver Humperdink promises he’s bringing every dirty trick and underhanded tactic in his arsenal to Starrcade.

BAM-BAM BIGELOW (with Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. MAX MILES
-Atomic drop and an armbar by the Bammer. Bam-Bam shows off his improved conditioning by doing push-ups before finishing with the gourdbuster.

-Barry Windham and JJ Dillon show up after the bell, and we have a brawl to close out the show.

6.5
The final score: review Average
The 411
Better pacing this week, with a few fun angles thrown in as I get the impression that the new owners want to make the Saturday 6:05 show a bit more of a priority than it's been.
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