February 5, 1988
From the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN
Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Vince McMahon
Vince asks Jesse about the show. Jesse predicts that all of the heels will win tonight. He really went out on a limb there.
We are shown a video package of Hulk Hogan working out at the gym. A lot of freeze-frames and close-ups were shown.
Gene Okerlund is with Jimmy Hart and the Honky Tonk Man, who promises not only to retain the Intercontinental Title but also take Elizabeth down to the Heartbreak Hotel and that Randy Savage will be stuck in the ghetto. After they leave and head to the ring, we hear from Elizabeth and Savage, who cuts a promo that is difficult to hear as Honky’s theme is blasting throughout the arena. Savage tells Honky that vengeance is his and will pay for what he did to Elizabeth
WWF Intercontinental Title Match: Honky Tonk Man (c) w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Elizabeth
Savage gets distracted by Peggy Sue as Honky gyrates in front of Elizabeth. Savage ends up chasing Honky out of the ring then catches up to him on the floor. He rolls Honky back inside and snaps his neck off of the top rope. Savage catches Honky with a few elbow smashes before ramming Honky’s head against Hart. Savage then warns Hart to stay away but as he re-enters the ring, Hart grabs his leg allowing Honky to land a few shots. Honky tries a sunset flip that Savage blocks but after a reversal sequence, Savage misses a corner charge. Honky whiffs on an elbow drop but Hart distracts him again as Savage chases him around. Hart ties up the referee and that allows Honky to hit Savage in the gut with the megaphone. Honky gets two off of that then applies a chinlock. Savage mounts a brief comeback that ends with a knee smash as Savage then gets shoved out to the floor. Honky rolls Savage inside before taunting Elizabeth then stomps away. Hart lands a cheap shot with the megaphone behind the referee’s back. Savage blocks a punch then fires away until Honky boots Savage and takes him down with a clothesline. Honky now ducks out and goes after Elizabeth while Savage is struggling to get up in the ring. Elizabeth is caught between Hart and Honky but Savage runs out and attacks Honky. Savage rolls Honky back inside and has him begging for mercy. Honky gets clotheslined to the floor as Savage flies out with a double axe handle as the crowd goes insane. Back inside, Savage slams Honky before hitting another double axe handle for a nearfall. Hart is up on the apron and gets slingshotted into the ring. Savage holds him up and avoids a high knee by Honky as Hart gets sent through the ropes then Savage puts Honky in a sleeper as the crowd is going mental. Peggy Sue tries to attack Elizabeth as Savaeg breaks the hold and heads outside. Honky tries a sneak attack but fails then Honky is sent into the post as Savage rolls outside and gets the win via countout (8:39) **1/2. After the match, Peggy Sue hands Honky his guitar as he faces off with Savage, who gets hit from behind by Hart with his megaphone. Honky is about to hit Savage with the guitar but Elizabeth dives in front of him. Honky stops then motions closer but Savage pops up and wrestles the guitar away as Honky bails. Savage then smashes the guitar against the mat as the crowd continues to go nuts for Savage, who celebrates with Elizabeth on his shoulder.
Thoughts: Not much of a match but the heat was off the charts and it told a good story. However, there was nowhere else for this feud to go other than down. This was, I believe, the first time Savage carried Elizabeth on his shoulder like this. If not, feel free to let me know. Either way, the crowd went mental for them.
We get highlights of the events leading to the Hogan vs. Andre rematch. After that, Okerlund is with Virgil, Andre, and Ted DiBiase, who makes a lot of money puns to put down Hogan and the Hulkamaniacs. Andre then laughs as he promises to squeeze the title off of Hogan. After they head to the ring and we see their entrance, Okerlund is with Hogan. The Hulkster warns Virgil, DiBiase, and Andre that the Hulkamaniacs will be keeping an eye out on them before promising to prove to the world he can beat Andre again.
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Andre the Giant w/ Ted DiBiase & Virgil vs. Hulk Hogan (c)
Hogan immediately goes after Andre with his belt but gets cut off by the referee. Jesse points out that he feels better because Dave Hebner is the referee instead of Joey Marella, who was the ref in the WrestleMania III match. The bell rings as Andre stands on the apron with DiBiase and Virgil as Hogan waves him into the ring. Hogan works the crow into a frenzy until Andre finally steps inside. Hogan attacks Andre then goes after DiBiase and Virgil and sends them both to the floor. Hogan stuns Andre with multiple punches and chops but is unable to knock him down. DiBiase and Virgil fail to distract Hogan, who stomps on DiBiase’s hand as his cash goes flying. Hogan hits a few clotheslines in the corner then hammers away some more as Andre remains on his feet. Hogan heads up top but Andre grabs him by the throat and slams him off. Andre then misses a falling headbutt as both men are down. Hogan gets up first and tries to cover but Andre grabs him by the throat and shoves him off. Andre chokes Hogan on the mat and keeps breaking before the five count. Andre sends Hogan into the corner with an Irish whip before hitting a scoop slam. Andre kicks Hogan in the back then chops Hogan down as Jesse believes Hogan will lose. The fans rally behind Hogan, who continues to get choked out as Jesse puts over the great job by referee Dave Hebner. Hogan eventually breaks a choke hold as the fans go nuts. Hogan chops Andre in the corner then takes Andre down with a clothesline from the middle rope. Virgil grabs Hogan’s leg and as the ref yells at him, Hogan hits a leg drop and makes the cover but the ref is still yelling at Virgil. Hogan breaks and tells the ref that he had the cover but Andre gets up and headbutts Hogan from behind a couple of times before hitting one sorry attempt at a suplex and makes the cover. Hogan gets his shoulder up after two but the ref keeps on counting and makes it to three. Hebner then grabs the title as Vince is yelling about this being a stupid mistake and awards it to Andre as we have a new WWF World Heavyweight Champion (9:05) **. Hogan is going out of his mind about how this was a two count. Okerlund comes into the ring and interviews Andre, who boasts about telling everyone he would beat Hogan then awards the belt to DiBiase. After DiBiase puts on the belt, Hogan chases him out of the ring. As the heels leave, a second referee comes into the ring and it also appears to be Dave Hebner. They talk as the announcers attempt to identify which referee is in fact the real Dave Hebner. Hogan grabs them both and lets them go as one of the ref boots the other and kicks him out. He then looks at Hogan as Vince says this ohter ref took the money as Hogan grabs him and presses him over his head, launching him at DiBiase and Virgil.
Thoughts: It’s tough to rate a match like this. Andre was in poor physical health and could barely do anything. And the finish was sloppy. However, the evil referee angle was brilliant. It worked great. The visual of Hogan launching the other Hebner at the heels was awesome as well. Not a spot you saw that often during this era. I also thought that Vince and Jesse sold the angle well on commentary.
As the Strike Force and Hart Foundation are in the ring for their match, we cut backstage to the locker room. Okerlund is with Hogan, who is quite distraught to say the least. Hogan asks how much did they spend on the plastic surgery (for the referee to look like Hebner) and that he had all of his bases covered as he is in disbelief over getting screwed over by a “penny-pinching referee.” They show the replay of the pin as Hogan’s shoulder was clearly off of the mat as Hogan continues to be besides himself. Great promo from Hogan. He acted like a loved one died over losing the WWF World Title, making it seem like the most important thing in his life.
We then see about twenty seconds of the tag match as the announcers speculate about the investigation that will likely take place as the result of the match.
Final Thoughts: As far as in-ring wrestling, this show wasnt impressive. However, the matches kept feuds going and the evil referee angle was brilliantly executed. Every wrestling fan should see the Hogan/Andre match for the angle. Sure the match itself was nowhere near as big as their WrestleMania III encounter but this angle was huge news and lead to the major storyline at WrestleMania IV. The next night at the Boston Garden show, DiBiase was introduced as the WWF World Heavyweight Champion and came out with the belt. Regarding the Tag Team Title match, sure it would have been nice to see but the reality was the feud was cold and Strike Force was just not all that over. I recommend this show for historical purposes.