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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (12.31.1988)

December 21, 2018 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (12.31.1988)  

-Originally aired New Year’s Eve, 1988.

-Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross.


-Holy crap, they actually built something from last week’s women’s match. How charmingly episodic of them.

-Misty butt-slams Dallas, who gets out immediately. Slingshot suplex by Misty on Linda Dallas as JR announces that the show is changing its time slot starting next week, to 7:05-9:05 pm. That could not have lasted long. Tony winks and nudges, suggesting that since the show is moving to a prime time slot, it should be called “Prime Time Wrestling.”

-Kat works Morgan’s leg. Zula, whose wrestling gear isn’t as racist as I was anticipating, takes a GREAT bump for someone her size from a double clothesline. Debbie works Zula’s leg over as JR indicates that the some of the women will be entering the managers’ mini-Stampedes at upcoming house shows. That sounds so fantastically terrible that I pray for a fan-cam to surface. Kat applies a Boston crab on Morgan as we pause for these important messages.

-We return with Zula getting her leg worked over while JR mentions a rumor that Zula used to date Abdullah the Butcher. Morgan tags in with what JR calls “a girl version of a powerslam,” but she misses a second rope splash, and Kat capitalizes with an abdominal stretch. Morgan comes back with a slam and hits a great missile dropkick. Mad Dog Debbie tags in and instantly gets laid out for a top rope splash from Misty Blue to finish. This was fine.


-Gilbert is now sporting Brutus Beefcake-style tights. Knight tries a hammerlock but Gilbert trips him and armdrags him. Gilbert works on the shoulder until Knight bails while JR and Tony go over the results from Starrcade, and JR speculates that Eddie’s next in line for a US Title shot. Gilbert stretches out Knight, then fires punches into him. Knight crashes on an attempted bodypress, and Gilbert finishes with the hot shot.


-Dog just swings Collins by his head through the ropes and onto the concrete. Back in, Dog applies a wristlock, and the letters in “THUMP” are peeling off his ass. Bearhug by the Dog, and then he switches to a neck vice. Headbutt and a Thump finish up.

-Eddie Gilbert reminds us not to drink and drive, and to follow his lead and get a designated driver.


-Both of them are established jobbers who are both ripped to the gills, but this seems to be a go at a push for Thompson, as the commentators put him over for the way his skills have evolved in 1988, and they’ve even gone to the trouble of planting a Curtis Thompson sign in the audience.

-Thompson looks pretty good here as he and Emory trade holds. They’re doing the same thing with Thompson that they’re doing with the Texas Broncos, where they’re kind of acknowledging how unrealistic it would look for Thompson to just suddenly start squashing people out of nowhere, so instead it’s a competitive match. Thompson blocks a hiptoss and just lays out Emory with a clothesline. Emory misses a corner charge and Thompson slams him down. Side headlock by Thompson. Emory gets free but runs into a powerslam to finish, and Thompson celebrates finally getting a win on TV.


-Commandos have facepaint now. Miles gets thrown to the concrete and sent into the commentary podium, and JR is funny, sounding more disappointed than shocked by it, like he just wants to go one week without it happening. Double avalanche on Miles, and McGyver comes in and gets bitten and choked out. Miles comes back in and gets “Commando-sandwiched” in the middle of the ring, and Commando Ray splashes him to finish it.


-Justice shoulderblocks Kendall Windham down and then bungles a hiptoss. Kendall takes control from there with a side headlock. Hogan comes in and falls victim to the trademark Windham family lariat. Windham works the arm and Dustin tags in. Another hiptoss almost goes badly for Justice again as everyone in the match seems guilty of forgetting that the TBS ring is smaller than the usual ring. Windham bulldogs Randy Hogan, and a big Rhodes elbow finishes.

-Missy Hyatt arrives in the NWA way way later than I thought she did to interview Sir Oliver Humperdink, who explains how a Bunkhouse Stampede match works. Sir Oliver addresses the rumors that women want to enter the manager matches and concedes that some of them might provide a challenge.


-Paul E. now has a broom in addition to his phone, and that has to be anybody else’s idea but his own. Condrey gets cornered by the jobbers while Paul E. goes to the commentary table to let us know that the broom is to clean the Midnight Express out of the NWA. Also, he doesn’t care what fans think of him, he agrees that drinking and driving is a bad idea. Bo Graham, who should have gone to the AWA and formed a tag team with Steve “Do It To It” Cox under the name “Get with the Program” Bo Graham, takes a beating and tags in Tony Suber. Suber takes his turn before they bring Graham back in and “sweep” him, which looks as stupid as it sounds. Vader bomb by Randy Rose, and the double goozle finishes.

-Paul E. runs down Ivan Koloff, as they’re trying to move the Original Midnights into something else now.


-Tommy Rogers is having an off week, in kayfabe, as Jackson actually suckers him into going to the top rope and gives him a shot right to the gut. He tries to follow with a suplex, but Bobby Fulton helps him with a gentle landing and then clears the ring. Randy Mulkey tags in and takes a missile dropkick to the mush. Jackson tags back in and he has a nice sequence of counters with Fulton. Fantastics do one of the British Bulldogs’ finishers, with Fulton lifting Jackson in a fireman’s carry and Rogers jumping off Jackson and splashing Mulkey to end it.

TV TITLE: MIKE ROTUNDA (Champion, with Kevin Sullivan) vs. RICK STEINER
-From Starrcade ’88. They’re giving away the WHOLE match for free on TV, I guess to atone for how heavily they edited the thing for home video.

-Kevin Sullivan is suspended over the ring in a shark cage. Fist fight to start and Steiner clears Rotunda out of the ring immediately. Rotunda tries working the arm, but Steiner just flings him off and applies a side headlock. Rotunda fights out and sends him into the ropes, but Steiner clotheslines him and Rotunda’s just plain having a bad night. Back in, he gets caught in a hammerlock. Rotunda gets something going with a suplex and headscissors. Steiner charges at him for a clothesline and Rotunda ducks and just whips him by his head out to the concrete, then follows him out there and rams him into the barricade to be sure.

-Rotunda stays on him with a chinlock and a clothesline, with Steiner breaking out a Hennig bump to sell it. Steiner fights back with his own clothesline, and it’s enough to put the fear of God into Rotunda. Steiner makes his comeback as Steve Williams drifts to ringside. Meanwhile, a powerslam by Steiner gets two. Belly-to-belly looks to finish, but Williams rings the bell and Teddy Long thinks it’s a time limit draw, so he stops the count. The timekeeper waves it off and Tommy Young comes to ringside to tell Teddy what happened. The confusion gives Rotunda ample time to recover.

-Due to the confusion, the cage has been lowered and Sullivan is allowed out right as Teddy Long restarts the match. Rotunda charges, Steiner gets out of the way, and Rotunda collides with Sullivan, knocking himself loopy and allowing Steiner to pin him instantly and take the belt. Holy shit the pop for that….Steiner’s gleeful victory lap after the bell is a great moment after a year of watching him get shit on by these two. Just a perfect ending.

-We go to the locker room for Ric Flair’s post-match promo from Starrcade one more time. Once more, Lex Luger just had his last chance, and Flair’s moving on.

-And we finish with a montage of everything else at Starrcade.

The final score: review Average
The 411
I think logically, they figured nobody was watching, but it's kind of interesting to see how they dealt with the "worthless" episode, as the whole show was kind of a series of experiments. Women get to shine, Eddie Gilbert gets a new look, a jobber gets a push, Paul E. has a dumb prop, the Fantastics workshop a new finisher. It was kind neat to see them deal with an off-week that way.