WWF Superstars of Wrestling February 20th, 1988

February 20, 1988

From the Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, and Vince McMahon

In action this week we will see the Ultimate Warrior vs. King Harley Race. Plus, Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sika and a special interview with Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase as well as a WrestleMania IV Special Report

 

 

Sika vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Oliver Humperdink

Mr. Fuji is not here to accompany Sika. The match starts with Sika attacking Bigelow with some native foreign object. Bigelow fights back but Sika rakes the eyes as we get an insert promo from the One Man Gang and Slick, who promises Bigelow that the Gang will end his career in their first-round match at the WrestleMania IV Title Tournament. Back to the match as Bigelow is in control and gets the win with a slingshot splash (1:29).

Thoughts: Not much of a match, and Sika was beyond washed up at this point, but more of a platform to push the Gang/Bigelow feud, specifically their first-round match at WrestleMania IV.

 

 

WWF Update with Craig DeGeorge. This week’s subject is the decision made by WWF President Jack Tunney as we see a clip of him telling us the World Heavyweight Title is now vacant and a new champion will be crowned in a 14-man tournament that will take place at WrestleMania IV.

 

 

The Islanders w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Omar  Atlas & Rick Hunter

Heenan still has his dog leash and collar that he is holding with to mock the British Bulldogs. The match starts with the Islanders in control as we see an insert promo from Heenan, telling us we will find out a surprise regarding the Islanders and himself during the WrestleMania IV “Special Report. Vince points out that Dave Hebner is the referee here and assures we will never see two of them again. Back to the match as Haku is gauging Hunter’s face while Jesse is bad-mouthing Tunney. The Islanders use frequent quick tags as Tama yells and challenges the Bulldogs. Haku tags Tama then hits a backbreaker while Tama comes off of the top with a splash for the win (4:59).

Thoughts: This went on for far longer than necessary but did not drag that bad as Vince and Jesse kept things interesting on commentary. The main thing here was the upcoming announcement regarding Heenan and the Islanders.

 

 

DeGeorge is behind a chain link fence for a backstage interview segment. Randy Savage appears on the other side to plug his cage match as he teams with Strike Force against the Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation at the 3/5/88 Boston Garden show. Strike Force also comes out and they cut generic promos to hype the match.

 

 

Dino Bravo w/ Frenchy Martin vs. David Stoudemire

Vince accuses Jesse of cheating when he helped Bravo lift the bar to set the World Bench Press record. Before the match, Frenchy mumbles in French while the crowd remains quiet. Match starts with Bravo chopping Stoudemire in the corner as we get an insert promo from Bravo and Frenchy, which is all spoken in French. Back to the match as Bravo slams Stoudemire and drops an elbow. The mildly boos Bravo after some taunting as Jesse makes fun of Vince for knowing nothing about weight lifting or even wrestling for that matter. Bravo finally puts Stoudemire away with a side slam (1:49).

Thoughts: Bravo is struggling to get any heel heat and Frenchy is just an awful manager. These two are so bad they cannot even get fans to react to an evil foreigner gimmick in the 1980’s.

 

 

Ken Johnson vs. Junkyard Dog

JYD headbutts Johnson then fires away in the corner. He takes Johnson down with a clothesline then hits a pair of slams as Jesse predicts Andre will beat Hogan at WrestleMania IV. JYD then puts away Johnson with a powerslam (1:01).

Thoughts: JYD was barely featured anymore and with good reason: he was not in any sort of shape to wrestle.

 

 

Gene Okerlund is with Andre the Giant, who said he can beat Hogan in two minutes. He puts over how he beat Hogan at the Survivor Series and at the “Main Event” show. Andre then warns Tunney if he decides to interfere with him again. Virgil and Ted DiBiase walk out as Andre said DiBiase is the real World Heavyweight Champion. DiBiase remains pissed over being stripped out the title as Andre talks him up. Great interview by Andre here. He was awesome.

 

 

We now get a scroll of the local Closed Circuit locations where you can watch WrestleMania IV.

 

 

Phil Newkirk vs. Bad News Brown

Brown attacks Newkirk before Finkel can even complete his introduction. Newkirk still has his jacket on as Brown continues his beatdown. Jesse then tells Vince to not be hard on Brown because he is a product of his environment, the mean streets of Harlem, NY. Vince and Jesse go back-and-forth about the city of Harlem as Brown destroys Newkirk until putting him away with an enziguiri (3:18).

Thoughts: Newkirk had his jacket on the entire time. Brown was much more aggressive than what you would normally see on the WWF roster but the fans didnt know who he was and he barely got any reaction but he has also been here for about a month.

 

 

DeGeorge welcomes Bobby Heenan and Rick Rude to the interview platform. DeGeorge asks him about having members of the Heenan Family at ringside with him during his matches as Rude tells us that its because all of the women in attendance want him and needs the protection. Rude then gyrates on stage as Heenan puts over his physique before promising that he will become the next WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Rude’s gimmick was great and risque for the time. He was an awesome heel.

 

 

WWF Special Report with Craig DeGeorge. This is regarding WrestleMania IV as two other matches have been officially signed. The Islanders & Bobby Heenan vs. British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware. Matilda will make her return at the match. We get a promo from Islanders and Heenan, who jokes that Koko’s mother’s name is “Tupper.” Heenan and the Islanders then laugh and make fun of Matilda. After that we hear from the Bulldogs & Koko, who cuts his preacher-like promo while wearing a suit while Frankie is on his shoulder. Also, the Honky Tonk Man will defend his Intercontinental Title against Brutus Beefcake. Honky tells us he cannot be beat and no one will humiliate him either. Bob Uecker then tells us that he will be the guest ring announcer for the show and cannot wait to hit the craps table with DiBiase. Besides the tournament, we have two other matches added to the card.

 

 

King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Ultimate Warrior

Good reaction for the Warrior during his entrance. Race attacks Warrior before the bell. He then hits a piledriver and drops an elbow but does not go for the pin. Warrior fights back and chops Race over the top rope. Back inside, Warrior chops away. He then clotheslines Race and poses to the crowd but Hercules comes in and hits Warrior with a chain for the DQ (1:40). Hercules chokes out the Warrior with the chain as the bell rings. Warrior then grabs a hold of it and yanks Hercules down. Warrior swings the chain around in the ring by himself as Race and Hercules retreat up the aisle.

Thoughts: They are going with the Warrior push here as he fights off two guys from the Heenan Family. The crowd reacts to him but Warrior is really bad in the ring and seemed to be gassed at the end of this bout.

 

 

DeGeorge is now backstage behind the chain link fence as the Hart Foundation and Honky Tonk Man are on the other side. Neidhart tells us that Savage and Strike Force are like the scum stuck inside of the knots on the steel cage. Hart says that careers end inside of steel cages while Honky goes on about nothing in particular.

 

 

Next week in action we will see Strike Force, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, and the Honky Tonk Man. Plus, the announcement of more matches at WrestleMania IV and a special interview with Hulk Hogan.

 

 

Final Thoughts: This show heavily pushed WrestleMania IV. They did fine in that regard. And the addition of two new matches helps as they round out the rest of the show. They are also pushing the Ultimate Warrior, a newer act, and getting the audience more familiar with Bad News Brown as you can even see they have plans for him down the line. The booking has been fine here but it does feel a little stale at the top of the card.