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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Superstars of Wrestling Challenge (02.20.88)

February 25, 2010 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Superstars of Wrestling Challenge (02.20.88)  

WWF SUPERSTARS OF WRESTLING – FEBRUARY 20, 1988

-We’re in the Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, PA, which Vince notes is the home of an amusement park called Hersheypark. Wow, thanks for clarifying that.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Bruno Sammartino, and Jesse Ventura.

BAM-BAM BIGELOW (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. SIKA
-Sika attacks at the bell with a “Samoan fly swatter.” It doesn’t take long for Bigelow to make a comeback with elbows. Sika goes to the eyes while Slick drops in to taunt Bam-Bam on behalf of the Gang.

-Back to the ring, Bigelow takes control one more time with a hard clothesline. Slingshot splash finishes quickly. DAMN, Sika just can’t come back from that devastating loss to Special Delivery Jones, can he?

UPDATE
-We recap Jack Tunney’s official proclamation from last week. Craig helpfully clarifies that the tournament at Wrestlemania IV can only have ONE winner. Craig also makes Baby Jesus cry by noting that we might have a Savage-Steamboat rematch in the quarterfinal round.

-Stridex helps wipe out pimples and open pores to wipe out the pimples you DON’T have.

ISLANDERS (with Bobby Heenan) vs. OMAR ATLAS & RICK HUNTER
-Bobby is still carrying an empty leash to the ring, which horrifies Vince way, way more than it should. He assures us that Matilda is on the comeback trail.

-Tama & Atlas trade arm wringers. Tama gets the advantage and connects with an elbow to the jaw. Double headbutts by the Islanders. Haku sends Atlas into the ropes and meets him with a dropkick. Bobby Heenan drops in and promises a surprise in the Wrestlemania IV report coming up later in this hour.

-Hunter tags in and gets chopped all to hell. Tama tears at his face, and Haku chops him down a little bit more. Nerve hold by Haku. Hunter breaks free with kneelifts, but can’t take advantage. Haku puts him in a hammerlock and works the arm for a spell. He attacks Hunter’s face a little more. Chop from the top rope by Tama, and he pauses to issue a challenge to the Bulldogs.

-Haku tags back in as this squash just shockingly keeps going. More chopping by Haku. Hunter reverses an Irish whip and runs into the foot of Haku. Haku gives him a backbreaker and puts him into position for a top rope splash by Tama, and that finally wraps up this bout.

-Gene Okerlund tells us about the big card coming to Hartford on March 16…the Royal Rumble is coming to Connecticut! Yeah, seriously. They actually ran a SERIES of Royal Rumbles in 1988 after the USA special drew a gigantic rating. Sound logic, indeed, but surprisingly, the house show gates for the Royal Rumble ended up being pretty underwhelming, and they scaled it back to just one big show a year.

-Come with me to KFC!

-Order your tickets to Wrestlemania IV today!

DINO BRAVO (with Frenchy Martin) vs. DAVE STOUDIMIERE
-Vince argues with Jesse about the validity of the World’s Strongest Man claim. Dino and Frenchy say some words in French to argue their case. Hey, they’re talking a language different from my language! Boo!

-Dino slams Dave and drops a big elbow. He hammers Dave and rams him into the turnbuckle. Side suplex gets the win.

JUNKYARD DOG vs. KEN JOHNSON
-I think this is the same guy getting squashed by Baby Shawn in the Wrestling Gold series. He doesn’t have much better luck here, getting headbutted down by the Dog, and then clotheslined. Slam by JYD; he goes for the rolling headbutts, but Johnson eludes that. He charges at JYD, and that’s a mistake because the Dog catches him and makes it a Thump for an easy three-count.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase. As far as he’s concerned, he’s 3-0 against Hogan, with Wrestlemania III, Survivor Series, and The Main Event all under his belt. So Wrestlemania IV is going to be just one more triumph for him. Ted DiBiase steps in and complains about fighting bureaucracy in the WWF. Beware, Hulk Hermes.

-See Wrestlemania IV on closed-circuit TV at the Garde Theater!

-Richard Pryor is about to make his move, in Moving! Rated R.

BAD NEWS BROWN vs. PHIL NEWKIRK
-Bad News attacks before the bell and Newkirk winds up wrestling the whole match with his jacket on. That might be too generous a term; he’s actually just absorbing a total ass-kicking with his jacket on. Vince again mentions that his father was born in Harlem, and Jesse suspects that Vince is the son of a Globetrotter. Well said, Jesse.

-And that’s as much as there is to say about this match. Ghetto blaster finishes eventually.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craig’s guest is Rick Rude. He assures us that the only reason that the Heenan Family hangs out at ringside is because they like the women who flock toward Rude; it has nothing to do with helping him fend off opponents. Bobby Heenan declares Rude to have the best body in the WWF, citing his Slammy Award as proof.

-SegaScope 3-D puts the action in YOUR face!

WRESTLEMANIA IV REPORT
-Two matches have been signed outside of the tournament: Bobby Heenan & The Islanders will face Koko B. Ware & The British Bulldogs…Matilda will BE THERE! Bobby tells us that “everybody is talking about the six-man tag team match,” even though it’s literally just now being announced.

-In other action, Honky Tonk Man will defend the title against Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Honky tells us, “Randy Savage couldn’t do it…you can’t either!”

-Returning to Wrestlemania this year will be the special guest ring announcer, Bob Uecker of TV’s “Brocktoon.” Bob tells us he’s looking forward to hitting the craps table with Ted DiBiase.

-Twix is a popular candy bar.

ULTIMATE WARRIOR vs. KING HARLEY RACE (with Bobby Heenan)
-They had Warrior & Race feud briefly, hoping to turn Warrior into a more skillful wrestler by osmosis. It didn’t last, but it led to one of my favorite e-mails ever to Wrestlecrap back when RD did a weekly mailbag column. A reader told a story about meeting Harley at an indy show and asking him about opponents that he hated working with. Race tried to say he hated working with Ultimate Warrior, but couldn’t remember his name, so he just called him “The Faggot Indian.” That story always stayed with me for some reason.

-Race attacks quickly with a piledriver. Warrior is dazed but not out, so Race tries elbows. Warrior fights back with a series of chops that sends Race tumbling over the top rope. Warrior follows him out and pounds away, then sends him back into the ring. More chops by the Warrior. It looks like it might be an easy victory for Warrior, but along comes Hercules with the chain. He strangles the Warrior with it, but Warrior makes his own save and steals the chain, clearing the ring with it.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Oliver Humperdink about the Royal Rumble in Hartford. Humperdink is actually hoping to draw #1 just so Bam-Bam can show off.

WWF WRESTLING CHALLENGE – FEBRUARY 21, 1988

-We’re once in again in Salisbury, MD.

-Your host is…okay, they’re doing that thing again where it’s Mean Gene Okerlund opening the show, but it’s Gorilla and Bobby on commentary.

KILLER BEES vs. DEMOLITION (with Mr. Fuji)
-Blair & Ax trade punches. Ax takes control and axes Blair down. Hard elbow by Ax. Elbow drop misses and the Bees trade off to work the arm. Ax stops the momentum with a forearm and makes the tag. Smash tags in and gets double-teamed. We get pre-recorded words from Demolition, promising that Strike Force’s worst nightmare is about to come true.

-Meanwhile, Brunzell gets a near-fall from the second rope. Blair steps back in and tries to work Smash’s arm, but gets bored with it and goes for a sleeper instead. Smash breaks it but gets rammed into the corner for two. Kneelift by Smash and Ax finally resorts to a little chicanery with a knee from the apron. He tags in and gives Blair a boot to the head. Ax & Smash trade off with clubbing blows. Blair drops Smash with, of all moves, a flying forearm. Hot tag to Brunzell and he handles Demolition without much trouble. Dropkick on Smash gets a near-fall, but Ax makes the save. We have a brawl in the ring and Brunzell gets a cane to the throat behind the referee’s back, and that gives Demolition a big win.

SPECIAL REPORT WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-The World Title is vacant, apparently.

JUNKYARD DOG vs. STEVE LOMBARDI
-Lombardi, we are once again reminded, is a graduate of the Terry Garvin School of Self-Defense. JYD shoves him through the ropes. Back in the ring, Lombardi gets hiptossed and headbutted all around. Lombardi gets some token offense, but gets rammed into the turnbuckles ten times. Thump finishes.

DINO BRAVO (with Frenchy Martin) vs. PHIL NEWKIRK
-It sorta bothers me that the jobber has tights monogrammed BK. Don Muraco assures us that he knows how good Dino is, but he plans on being THAT much better at Wrestlemania IV.

-Hard chop and a slam by Dino. Elbow draws a round of applause from Frenchy. Piledriver could finish, but Dino likes what he likes, so he goes for the side suplex and THEN calls it a day.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The difference between a winner and a loser is attitude, and after Wrestlemania IV, Rick Rude’s attitude will change.

HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN vs. TERRY GIBBS
-Duggan chases Gibbs out of the ring. Back inside, Gibbs gets shoved down. He charges at Duggan and gets slammed down. Kneedrop by Duggan and he takes the brawl to the floor while Ted DiBiase angrily gripes about having to be in a tournament after all the trouble he went to trying to buy the title.

-Back to the ring, Gibbs gets Flair-slammed, and the three-point stance gets the win.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Randy Savage. Even with sunglasses on, he can see the flaws in Butch Reed.

ONE MAN GANG (with Slick) vs. WELLINGTON WILKENS
-Wilkens has a bizarre haircut that looks like Brian Bosworth’s barber had a massive seizure. Clubbing blows and knees by the Gang. Slick shows off the WWF Magazine with a profile on One Man Gang.

-Back to the ring, Gang just keeps laying on the beating. Gourdbuster gets the win.

-We go back to the tug-of-war with Hercules and the Warrior. Chaos ensues.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-This week, Craig talks to the Ultimate Warrior. Hercules is about to step into a world that he knows nothing about. And a lot of things break.

WRESTLEMANIA IV REPORT
-Needless dub o’ the week has the Wrestlemania 93-97 theme music dubbed in. Craig goes over the new matches signed this week. I’m just going to whip out a theory here, and it’s mine and I’m basing it on nothing I’ve read: I’m guessing that they originally wanted Bulldogs vs. Islanders & Heenan as a handicap match; I’m guessing that the Bulldogs balked at jobbing to Heenan, and that’s why Koko got shoehorned into this match, because there is absolutely NO reason for him to be there.

OUTLAW RON BASS vs. VAN VAN HORNE
-Bass gets a near-fall early on, but changes his mind and just decides to beat on VVH for a little while longer. Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan warns area veterinarians to keep some cages available for three bulldogs and two birds once he’s done at Wrestlemania IV.

-Back to the ring, Bass clotheslines VVH. Back suplex by the Outlaw could finish again, but he’s not satisfied yet. Kneelift and a faceplant by Bass still isn’t enough to satisfy him. Pedigree finally gets the pin.

-Gene Okerlund has a word with Slick. Randy Savage hasn’t got a prayer at Wrestlemania IV because Elizabeth is so stupid she once got hit by a parked car. SNAP!

See you next week. Here’s Game Show Utopia.

The 411: And this is about where we start getting a little disenchanted. I mean, obviously, Wrestlemania III was going to be a tough act to follow, but Wrestlemania IV was as bad an attempt as was possible. We're looking at six weeks of building to a show that's going to be 50% mystery meat and the rest is non-feuding filler material. And after building such interest in the Bulldogs/Islanders feud, they've just completely cut the guts out of it by tossing Koko into the mix. No disrespect to Koko, but after watching the Bulldogs shedding tears for their tortured, abused companion for two months, it's a little jarring to suddenly have the match hyped by a guy dancing and singing "Ooooooo, we're gonna get down, babyyyyyy!"
 
Final Score:  3.8   [ Bad ]  legend

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Adam Nedeff
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