WWF Wrestling Challenge April 17th, 1988

April 17, 1988

From the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, IL

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

In action this week are Brutus Beefcake, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Strike Force, and the One Man Gang

 

Strike Force vs. Dusty Wolfe & Chris Curtis

Strike Force takes control early as we get an insert promo from Demolition and Mr. Fuji, who warn Strike Force about what will happen if they face off again. Wolfe grabs Santana from the apron and tags in but Santana quickly regains control and shortly after that hits the flying forearm for the win (2:17).

Thoughts: They are still pushing rematches between Strike Force and Demolition. At this point, it was fine as the division was getting stale.

 

 

WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. This week’s focus is on Rick Rude and the “Rude Awakening” he has been given to women after his matches as we see a replay of what happened after Rude finished his match last week. They did an excellent job at getting Rude’s gimmick over.

 

 

“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Reno Riggins

Riggins surprises DiBiase with an armdrag but gets pummeled afterwards. We get an insert promo from DiBiase, telling us he always gets what he wants and the gold belt will be around his waist. DiBiase then hits a powerslam before putting Riggins away with the Million Dollar Dream (2:13). After the match, DiBiase asks Virgil for a $100 bill and shoves it down Riggins’ throat.

Thoughts: The story with DiBiase is that he still has a plan to get the World Title. He’s been more aggressive in the ring as well, and the new finisher has been a welcome addition to make him seem like even more of a threat.

 

 

Gene Okerlund is in the Event Center. He talks about the WrestleMania IV battle royal as we hear from Bad News Brown, who tells Bret Hart that he will be nice and leave a little bit on him left after getting destroyed so they can turn him into fertilizer. Bret then lets Brown know the whole world knows he is just a “double cross” and cannot put fear into him as he woke up every day and went to the “dungeon” and promises to bust up Bad News in half. Bret’s promo was rather weak as they are pushing the first singles feud of his WWF career.

 

 

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. Gene Watson

Barber backs Watson into the corner as Heenan calls him out for picking on Jimmy Hart. We then get an insert promo from Hart, still wearing a beret, warning Beefcake he will cut his hair. Back to the match as Beefcake works over Watson before putting him away with a sleeper (1:59). After the match, Beefcake cuts Watson’s hair.

Thoughts:  Beefcake is now feuding with not only Honky but also his manager. They’ve done a great job with the haircut gimmick.

 

 

Frank DeFalco vs. “The Outlaw” Ron Bass

Bass destroys DeFalco to start as Gorilla plugs the newest edition of WWF Magazine, featuring Elizabeth on the cover and an article on Bass. Back to the match as Bass maintains control until putting DeFalco away with the gourdbuster (1:40). After the match, Bass chokes out DeFalco with Miss Betsy as he drags him across the mat.

Thoughts: This episode’s theme is getting wrestler’s gimmicks over and that’s what they did here with Bass and Miss Betsy.

 

 

Okerlund is back in the Event Center. We hear from the Islanders and Bobby Heenan as they laugh and talk about destroying the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware again.

 

 

Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Terry Gibbs

The crowd goes nuts for Jake. Gibbs backs away from the snake bag as Jake is in control. He works the arm for a bit then hits a knee lift. Gibbs gets a knee up on a charge then follows with a slam. However, Gibbs misses an elbow drop the Jake catches him with a short-arm clothesline before putting him away with the DDT (2:25). After the match, Jake dumps Damien on top of Gibbs.

Thoughts: The DDT remains the most over finisher in the company with the live crowds. Jake is still in need of a feud, which will be happening soon.

 

 

Craig DeGeorge is on the interview platform with Bobby Heenan, who has a special announcement. Heenan says that once again, he is the manager of Andre the Giant. But first, he wants to address the cheap move Hacksaw Jim Duggan made by knocking him unconscious with his 2×4. Duggan himself comes out with his 2×4 as Heenan bails. Duggan tells us he is on “weasel watch” and will be wherever Heenan is and it doesnt matter if Andre is around. Duggan then follows Heenan to the announcers table as Heenan bails yet again. The Heenan announcement makes sense after he pleaded with Andre to not go down to the ring and attack Duggan. They’ve really done a great job setting up this feud.

 

 

One Man Gang w/ Slick vs. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo

Duggan is now on commentary, replacing Heenan. Gang starts by destroying Poffo in the corner. Poffo tries to fight back but Gang hammers away as we get an insert of Duggan and Gorilla on commentary as Duggan challenges Andre to come and find him. Gang then chokes out Poffo before getting the win with his front suplex (1:25).

Thoughts: This segment was really a continuation of the prior segment. Gang’s feud with Bam Bam has really cooled off and barely been featured.

 

 

WrestleMania IV Report with  Gene Okerlund. This is footage from the post-Mania press conference as Randy Savage welcomes Elizabeth, calling her his inspiration. We then see Hulk Hogan telling us that “Macho Madness” will live just as long as Hulkamania. Watching the post-show conference setup was a different look and I thought it worked. It also made it clear that Hogan was endorsing Savage as they are seemingly going to push the Mega Powers.

 

 

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Mark Young

Valentine grounds Young, who is able to escape. Young works an arm wringer but Valentine breaks that up with a knee to the gut before hammering away. Young comes back with a pair of arm drags then busts out a cartwheel. Valentine chops Young down then tosses him to the floor. Young fights back from the apron then gets two with a dropkick. Valentine works over Young in the corner but Young comes back with a sunset flip from the top. Hart is on the apron offering words of encouragement as Valentine hits a back suplex then drops an elbow before putting him away with the figure four (3:57). After the match, Heenan comes out to taunt Duggan for a bit then leaves.

Thoughts: Well, they give Mark Young (son of WWF agent Chief Jay Strongbow) an awful lot of offense here. He tried hard to be a high-flyer but was way too scrawny to be taken seriously. Plus, he was not good in the ring. Anyway, the stuff with Heenan and Duggan at the end really shows how serious they were about the Andre/Duggan feud to let it dominate the episode.

 

 

Back at the Event Center, we get the same promos from the Bolsheviks and Young Stallions that we did from the 4/16/88 edition of “Superstars of Wrestling.”

 

 

In action next week will be the Ultimate Warrior, Islanders, Junkyard Dog, and Bad News Brown as Duggan paces around the announcers area while Heenan screams.

 

 

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a good show. They spent a lot of time getting over the wrestler’s gimmicks and have a strong TV feud in Andre/Duggan. Plus, they broke the news about Heenan once again being Andre’s manager, even though they never explained why that was the case after DiBiase bought his contract just three months prior. I like how they are re-establishing the Mega Powers too. Overall, a solid show.