May 7, 1988
From the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, CT
Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Vince McMahon
This week’s featured match up will be Hillbilly Jim vs. Honky Tonk Man. Also in action are Strike Force, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, and the One Man Gang. Plus a live interview with Randy Savage and Elizabeth.
Strike Force vs. Terry Gibbs & Ron Rovishod
Jesse laughs over the fact Vince refers to Strike Force as former champions. Match starts with Strike Force working over Gibbs. Rovishod comes in and gets clotheslined as we now hear from fans as to whether or not Strike Force can regain the titles from Demolition. They were split on that. Back to the match as Rovishod tags in and gets beaten down and quickly put away (2:13).
Thoughts: While hyping up the Demolition/Strike Force matches that will be appearing on house shows, they were also promoting Demolition as an unstoppable force. Its clear to see who will be winning that feud.
WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. This week’s subject is Bad News Brown and how he cannot be trusted. We see a clip of Bad News double-crossing Bret Hart at the WrestleMania IV Battle Royal. Hayes also refers to his finishing move as the “Ghetto Blaster” as we see clips of him putting away jobbers with that move. We then hear from Bad News as he tells Hart what it will be like to get hit when he walks in front of his face. Big push here for Bad News as they are hyping up his finisher as a deadly move.
Bret Hart vs Van Van Horne
Bret beats down Van Horne to start. He hits a backbreaker then a fist drop and poses to a mixed reaction. The announcers put over how Bad News is undefeated as we get an insert promo of Bret, telling Bad News he learned to be tough from his father’s dungeon and that is why he is the greatest technical wrestler of all-time. Back to the match as Bret works a chinlock as the announcers wonder why Jimmy Hart and Jim Neidhart are not around as Bret finishes Van Horne off with a piledriver (1:55).
Thoughts: The crowd was about 70/30 in favor of Bret here as the commentators speculate the whereabouts of his manager and partner. Bret’s first solo push gave him the gimmick of a great technical wrestler, which he would use for a majority of his WWF career.
Gene Okerlund is at the Event Center. We hear from Andre the Giant as he hypes up his match against Jim Duggan at the 5/7 Boston Garden show. We also hear from Bad News Brown and Bret Hart as they hype up their match.
One Man Gang w/ Slick vs. Reno Riggins
Match starts with Gang beating on Riggins. Jesse puts over his power as Gang then gets the win with a front suplex (0:55).
Thoughts: Brief squash to remind us Gang is still a monster. No mention of his feud with Bam Bam Bigelow here as that is really just an afterthought at this point.
George “The Animal” Steele hypes up the WWF Ice Cream Bars by screaming the words “good” and “eat.”
Scott Colontonio vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
We see the feature in “WWF Magazine” over Jake’s confrontation with Rick Rude as Jesse blames it on Jake’s wife. Jake knocks Colontonio to the floor then brings him back inside and shortly after that puts him away with the DDT (1:08). After the match, he dumps Damien on top of his opponent as Vince is all freaked out on commentary.
Thoughts: Jake was more aggressive as usual, taking out his anger aimed at Rude on the jobber. Both Jake and Rude were brilliant during this feud.
Okerlund is back in the Event Center as we get more hype for the 5/7 Boston Garden show. We hear from the Honky Tonk Man and Brutus Beefcake hype their match as Jimmy Hart will be banned from the building. Jake Roberts also hypes up his match against Greg Valentine.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Bill Woods
DiBiase immediately attacks Woods before the bell. Woods then reverses an Irish whip and catches DiBiase with a hip toss. He follows with a slam as the crowd goes nuts. Woods still has his jacket on but DiBiase catches him with a knee. He hits a clothesline then hammers away until getting the win with the Million Dollar Dream (2:02). After the match, DiBiase shoves a $100 bill in Woods mouth.
Thoughts: I loved how DiBiase would give the jobbers a little bit of shine to get the crowd crazy before destroying them. They are also pushing his post-match gimmick of shoving $100 bills in his opponents mouth.
Craig DeGeorge welcomes Randy Savage and Elizabeth to the interview platform. The crowd is going nuts for them. He then looks over at DiBiase in the ring and tells him if he wants to get the belt he will have go through him, along with his “ugly” bodyguard. Savage then tells DiBiase he will have to pay his dues to get the title and that he is nothing more than a spoiled brat. DiBiase and Virgil approach the platform as DiBiase is screaming then they take off. Savage lets us know that Macho Madness is strong before calling Elizabeth the “first lady of wrestling” and his inspiration. Good TV segment to build up to the DiBiase/Savage feud. And they are really pushing Savage and Liz as a couple here too, with Savage constantly referring to her as his inspiration. They are overdoing that aspect a bit, IMO.
Before the next match, Bobby Heenan and the Islanders come out to the ring to face three guys. Heenan says they have a new Islander, High Chief Afi, who was formerly Sivi Afi and pretty much covered in tattoos now. The crowd did not seem to care.
Brady Boone & Steve Blackman & Outback Jack & vs. Haku & Tama & High Chief Afi
Yes, this is the same Steve Blackman who would re-appear again in the WWF nine years later. The Islanders attack their opponents before the bell. It settles down as the Islanders are beating on Blackman. Heenan is shown in an insert promo putting over Afi and how smart he was to find a 3rd Islander. Boone mounts a comeback but misses a corner splash as the Islanders take turns beating him down. Jack tags and lands a few shots on Haku but that didnt last long as the Islanders are beating him down in the corner. Jack tags Boone after missing an elbow drop and runs wild briefly until Haku stops him and hits a back suplex then Tama gets the win with a splash (5:52).
Thoughts: This died with the live audience. Also, this was the last TV appearance for both Tama and Afi. Tama was fired after no-showing a bunch of dates and I presume Afi was let go as this angle was dropped and there was no use for him after that. But this went on for far too long. I will investigate further into that and inform you all in a later review.
Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Hillbilly Jim
This is Jim’s first TV appearance since the 8/9/87 edition of “Wrestling Challenge.” Vince belts out a loud “yeehaw” as soon as Jim’s music hits. He then expresses his anger over the Honky Tonk Man as the match begins. Honky stalls as Vince says that Hulk Hogan will be here next week to face Boris Zhukov. Jim struts around after outsmarting Honky then they lockup. Jim hits a big boot then busts out a cartwheel. He locks on a bearhug and places Honky into the corner. Jim then misses a charge as Honky rolls him up and grabs his overalls for leverage and gets the win (2:07).
Thoughts: Just a cheap win for Honky. Jim was barely featured at this point and really only did house shows. In fact, this is Jim’s last TV match until July of 1989. The big news here was that Hogan was wrestling again on Superstars for the first time since his 5/23/87 match against Cowboy Bob Orton.
Okerlund is back in the Event Center. We hear from Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart hype up their match against Jake Roberts at the Boston Garden. Hacksaw Jim Duggan then tells Andre he will knock him down with his 2×4.
Next week in action will be Jim Duggan, Ron Bass, Brutus Beefcake, and Bad News Brown. Plus, an interview with Rick Rude and the featured match between Boris Zhukov and Hulk Hogan. We hear from Zhukov, whose Russian accent was awful and it made him sound mentally challenged here, then from Hogan, who rants and raves like a psycho until saying he will prove that himself and the Hulkamaniacs are the “superior race of people.”
Final Thoughts: They had the first Savage/DiBiase TV segment here as that is our new title feud going forward. They are continuing the feuds that were the result of WrestleMania IV fallout as well. Besides that, nothing else of note other than the debut of High Chief Afi, which was a flop.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/8/88
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 5/14/88
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 5/15/88
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 5/21/88