January 17th, 1988
From the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, TN
Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon
In action this week will be Jim Duggan, Demolition, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, and the Ultimate Warrior.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Gino Carabello
Funny moment as Carabello nearly falls off of the ropes after taunting the fans. The match starts with Roberts grabbing side headlock as Heenan talks about the Islanders no longer being suspended. Roberts works the arm as the crowd chants for the DDT. Roberts clotheslines Carabello with a clothesline and follows with a slam. He then blocks a sunset flip with a punch and sets up Carabello for the DDT and the win (2:17). After the match, Roberts dumps Damien on top of Carabello.
Thoughts: Roberts was really over here, which isnt a surprise.
Craig DeGeorge is talking about Dino Bravo, putting over his wrestling ability then said next week will attempt to break the world bench press record by putting over 705 lbs. We are then shown an insert promo from Bravo and his manager, Frenchy Martin. This is all in French. We also learn that the Glamour Girls will defend the WWF Womens Tag Titles against the Glamour Girls “next Sunday”. We get promos from both, with the Bomb Angels speaking Japanese. Of course, “next Sunday” means the Royal Rumble show. or as its being called here, the “Rumble Royal.”
Demolition vs. Omar Atlas & Rex King
Match starts with Demolition destroying Atlas as Heenan states he was tipped off on the whereabouts of Matilda and let Jack Tunney know, which led to the Islanders suspension being lifted. King tags in as Ax hammers him down. Smash is in and also beats the piss out of King as the announcers put over the dominance by Demolition. Poor King continues to get his ass kicked then finally tags out. Atlas also gets beaten up as the announcers bicker over whether or not the Islanders have been suspended. King is now back in as Demoliton hurts him some more until he gets out away with the Decapitation (4:07). Demolition got a good amount of cheers for the win.
Thoughts: A long squash match but the fans dug Demolition. With Billy Jack Haynes done with the company, their feud against him and Patera was done and left Demolition with nothing to do except for destroying jobbers on TV.
Gene Okerlund is talking about the “Rumble Royal” and some of the matches including Rick Rude vs. Ricky Streamboat and the Islanders vs. Young Stallions in a 2/3 falls match. Ron Bass comes in and puts over the Rumble match and how you have to be mean, nasty, and willing to do anything necessary in order to win the match. Bass was solid at cutting promos.
We hear some more from Bad News Brown, who says it is time to hear about bad news. Gorilla notes he will create some controversy in the WWF.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Joe Mirto
The fans chant along with Duggan as we get an insert promo from King Harley Race, who tells Duggan he is nothing special and that there is only one king in the WWF. Heenan bails as he has something to do as Gorilla calls the match solo. Duggan hammers away on Mirto and hits him with a backdrop. Duggan then lands a few more shots before getting the win with the Three Point Stance (2:16).
Thoughts: Quick win for Duggan as his feud against Race continues.
Van Van Horne vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude w/ Bobby Heenan
Rude stands still while no-selling Van Horne punching his abs. Rude then murders Van Horne with a short-armed clothesline and takes control of the match. A “weasel” chant breaks out as Rude stays on the attack. Rude stops to flex his muscles and softens Van Horne up until he puts him away with the Rude Awakening (reverse neckbreaker) after flexing his arm and blowing a kiss (2:16).
Thoughts: Rude’s heel work was masterful here and this was the debut of the Rude Awakening as his finisher. He no longer used the backbreaker submission.
Craig DeGeorge is talking about the “Rumble Royal” show, which takes place next week. He runs down the rules: 2 men start in the ring and a new entrant enters every two minutes. You are eliminated by going over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor and the last one left is declared the winner. Slick enters with Butch Reed & One Man Gang and says despite hating going to Canada, they have to go there for the Rumble Royal as there is money on the line. Reed then talks about the Rumble match for a bit until it ends.
Young Stallions vs. The Conquistadors
Match starts with Powers hitting #1 with a pair of armdrags. #2 tags in as the Young Stallions hit him with a few double team moves until Roma works an armbar. We get an insert promo from the Stallions, who tell us the New Years Resolution is to go become the best tag team in 1988. #2 attacks Powers behind the referee’s back and hammers away but misses a splash. Roma tags and runs wild then he tags Powers, who gets the win with a powerslam (3:25).
Thoughts: Dull match as the Stallions get a win heading into the Rumble show match against the Islanders.
DeGeorge is on the interview platform with Ted DiBiase, Virgil, and Andre the Giant as they hype the Andre vs. Hulk Hogan match on February 5th. DiBiase talks about Andre getting screwed at WrestleMania III and how the people didn’t believe he could buy whatever he wanted. DiBiase then tells Andre he knows he can beat Hogan but wants to know how. Andre assures DiBiase that he will squeeze him until the belt falls off of his waist and has a million reasons to be happy and when he gets the belt, he will give it to DiBiase. DiBiase then lets Hogan know that he will be the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Good interview as this angle has been superb so far and will continue to get better.
Ultimate Warrior vs. Brian Costello
Match starts with Costello getting clotheslined over the top rope as Heenan threatens to expose the Ultimate Warrior. Gorilla lets Heenan know that Warrrior is gunning for Rick Rude as Warrior suplexes Costello back into the ring. Warrior then hits a press slam before putting Costello away with a splash (2:01).
Thoughts: On commentary, they kept teasing a potential conflict between Warrior and Rude. Warrior’s popularity continues to soar.
“The Natural” Butch Reed & One Man Gang & The Bolsheviks w/ Slick vs. Killer Bees & “Leaping” Lanny Poffo & Rick Hunter
Before the match, Nikolai Volkoff tries to sing the Russian National Anthem but Blair dropkicks him from behind. Blair takes Zhukov down with a hiptoss then dodges an attack that has the Bolsheviks collide with each other. Zhukov uses an eye rake to break free from Brunzell and tags Volkoff. Brunzell gets a reverse rollup then works the arm before tagging Poffo. The heels quickly beat on Poffo, who tags out to Hunter. Reed takes Hunter down with a high knee then a press slam into a gutbuster. Gang tags in and puts Hunter away with the front suplex (2:45).
Thoughts: The writing is on the wall for the Bees as they had to team with these scrubs. They’ve been together for 2.5 years at this point anyway and never really got over to the point where they could become champs. And now, it seems like they are setting them up with a feud against the Bolsheviks and that is a dead-end feud.
DeGeorge is with Brutus Beefcake, who tells us that 1988 is going to be “one heck of a year” then pulls out a small plastic cone that he will yell through in order to aggravate Jimmy Hart. Beefcake says he will make sure all of the fans have these so they can yell at Hart. Beefcake then talks about cutting hair of others. Decent segment here.
Next week, we will see Dino Bravo attempt to break the bench press record. Also in action will be the Islanders, Ted DiBiase, and Strike Force.
Final Thoughts: Solid show this week. They hyped the “Rumble Royal” a lot and we saw a solid interview from DiBiase and Andre. The action was alright too. Nothing here was terrible either.