Yearly Review: WWF March 1988

 What’s going during the month of the WWF’s biggest show in 1988? Find out what happened at the show and the feuds that began shortly afterwards here. Leave your reactions to the developments below, too!

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently vacant)
With the WWF World Championship vacant, the main eventers had to keep
busy before the highly anticipated fourteen man tournament taking place
at Wrestle Mania IV, which took place on March 27th. Before Wrestle
Mania IV the WWF had another Saturday Night Main Event show which was
taped on March 7th. The event had some good progression for the title
tournament as the show featured Ted DiBiase defeating Randy Savage by
count-out. Afterwards, Andre the Giant attacked Savage until Hulk Hogan
made the save. Hogan, Savage, DiBiase and Andre are the favorites to win
the championship leading into Wrestle Mania IV.

At Wrestle Mania, favorites Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant wrestled
to a double disqualification which gave Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase a
rather easy road to the finals. Savage ended up pinning DiBiase in the
finals after Hogan returned to the ring and whacked DiBiase over the
back with a steel chair. Savage nailed DiBiase with the elbow drop and
won his first WWF World Championship.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene (currently held by: the Honky Tonk Man)

Honky’s feud with Brutus Beefcake started to heat up as their showdown
at Wrestle Mania started to get closer. Beefcake remained on a roll as
he defeated his former tag partner and now hated rival Greg Valentine at
the Saturday Night Main Event show taped on March 7th.

Beefcake and Honky’s feud continued at the March 9th taping of WWF
Superstars where Honky was going to sing for the fans. However, before
he could sing, Beefcake turned off the music and declared that he was
going to beat Honky for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle
Mania IV. Leading into the pay per view, Beefcake would have several
matches with both Valentine and Honky winning the matches usually by
disqualification.

At Wrestle Mania IV, Beefcake came close to winning the championship
but Honky’s manager, Jimmy Hart, saved the championship from changing
hands. Beefcake had the sleeper hold on Honky but before Beefcake could
win the title, Hart nailed the referee with his megaphone. Honky’s feud
with Beefcake was not over, though. Stay tuned.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene (currently held by: Strike Force)

Strike Force remained on a winning streak leading into the big showdown
against Demolition as they retained the championships over teams like
the Islanders and the Bolsheviks. On the other hand, Demolition suffered
a few loses to the Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers), the
British Bulldogs and the Rougeau Brothers on the house show market
leading into the title match against Strike Force at Wrestle Mania IV.

Despite losing several matches on the house show markets, Demolition
was able to defeat Strike Force to win their first WWF World Tag Team
Championship. Strike Force nearly retained the titles as Martel had the
Boston Crab on Axe until Smash nailed Martel with Mr. Fuji’s cane. Due
to the interference, Demolition member Smash pinned Martel to win the
tag team championships. This was the start of Demolition’s first tag
team title run.

Other Happenings:

– On the March 8th taping of Wresting Challenge, a feud between Ron Bass
and Junkyard Dog began. On the show, Bass choked JYD with Miss Betsy
after allowing JYD to pass by him to go to the ring. JYD got some
measure of revenge by attacking Bass on the March 19th taping of
Superstars. JYD attacked Bass during a tag match where Bass teamed with
One Man Gang against the Ultimate Warrior and Don Muraco. They would
have several matches on the house show market with JYD prevailing in
almost all the encounters.

– Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant began a feud at the March 9th taping
for WWF Superstars. On the show, Duggan was choked by Andre after
issuing a challenge to Andre. Duggan managed to fight back and whacked
Andre with a 2×4. Andre proceeded to flip out over the attack by
attacking several people at ringside. This incident saw Bobby Heenan
once again become Andre’s manager as prior to the incident, Andre was
owned by Ted DiBiase. Duggan was able to hold his own on several
occasions where Andre would try to attack Duggan after a match, but
failed. Duggan would team with Hulk Hogan to wrestle Ted DiBiase and
Andre the Giant on various house shows. The issues between Duggan and
Andre had actually started on January 2nd where Duggan saved Hogan from a
beat down by Andre. However, a feud between both men didn’t start until
March.

– At the March 19th taping of WWF Superstars a feud between Rick Rude
and Jake Roberts began. Rude would usually pick a female out of the
crowd to give a pre-match kiss. However, this time the female rejected
his advances. The female revealed to Rude that she was married to Jake
Roberts. Rude was slapped by Robert’s wife and after grabbing her was
attacked by Jake himself to kick off the feud. They would have a match
at Wrestle Mania which was also a tournament match for the vacant WWF
World Championship. They wrestled to a fifteen minute draw and both were
eliminated from the tournament as a result.

– The British Bulldogs’ conflict with the Islanders and Bobby Heenan
continued. Their matches on the house show market would typically end
with one team beating the other down with a dog leash. Heenan, who had
kidnapped Matilda (Bulldog’s mascot), tried to steal Koko B. Ware’s pet
parrot Frankie during a March 20th taping of Wrestling Challenge.
However, Heenan failed as the British Bulldogs made the save preventing
the kidnapping. At Wrestle Mania IV, Bobby Heenan and the Islanders
defeated the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware when Heenan pinned Ware
at the peak of the feud.

– At Wrestle Mania IV, Bad News Brown won a 20 man battle royal last
eliminating Bret Hart after double crossing Hart. After the match, Hart
attacked Brown and broke the winner’s trophy. This marked the first time
Bret Hart would become a baby face in the WWF.

– Wrestle Mania IV marked the last appearance of Ricky Steamboat in
the WWF for three years. On the show, Steamboat lost to Greg Valentine
in a tournament match. Steamboat would go back to the NWA and feud with
Ric Flair.

– The Ultimate Warrior won the feud between himself and Hercules as
Warrior pinned Hercules in less than five minutes. This is only the
beginning of Warrior’s mega push in the WWF.

Ratings/Buy-rates:

Saturday Night’s Main Event #15 drew a 10.0 rating on NBC.
Wrestle Mania IV drew a 6.5 rating on pay per view

Bob’s Reaction: 
I was really disappointed with the outcome of the tournament to crown a new WWF World Champion. I’m a big DiBiase fan and it just seemed like the perfect time to put the championship on the Million Dollar Man. He had so much momentum and a lot of heat. The WWF could have easily gone six months to a year with DiBiase holding the championship and have guys like Savage, Hogan, Duggan and even Bigelow chase after him during that time frame. I was happy that Hogan didn’t get a good run in the tournament and that Savage was given a run at the top as a face.

The rise of the Ultimate Warrior is apparent, and I’m not really looking forward to it. Warrior’s promos have always been confusing and rather uninteresting since I can’t understand what the hell he is talking about.

The loss of Ricky Steamboat to the NWA isn’t that big of a loss for the WWF, I feel like. Aside from his feud with Savage, he wasn’t really highlighted as a top guy from what I remember. Ricky’s greatest success came in the NWA and his return to the WWF in the early 1990s was more proof of that.

Rick Rude’s feud with Jake Roberts is a highlight on the undercard in my opinion. I thought the way they started the feud between Ravishing Rick and the Snake was very good and instant heat on Rude. The progression of that feud is one I’m most interested in seeing moving forward.

Lastly, this is memorable in the sense of Bret Hart getting a push in a singles role. This was giving the impression that the Hitman was going to get support and leave the tag division that he was involved in with Jim Neidhart. From the matches I’ve seen with Brown and Hitman, they had some decent chemistry and they often had one of the better matches on the house show market.

What are some of your thoughts on the WWF? Leave those below.

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