December 17, 1988
From the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA
Your hosts are Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Vince McMahon
In action this week are Demolition, Andre the Giant, Big Bossman, and Hercules. Plus, Andre the Giant as guests of the Brother Love
Demolition vs. Nick Ferrari & Art Penna
Jesse still cannot believe that Mr. Fuji left Demolition, who are in control early. We hear from Mr. Fuji and the Powers of Pain in an insert promo as Fuji tells Demolition they are lost without him. Penna tags as Smash kills him with a clothesline before Demolition hits the Decapitation for the win (2:45).
Thoughts: The Demos vs. Powers of Pain feud worked better with both teams in the roles they were here but overall, it still felt underwhelming.
Brother Love Show with guests Bobby Heenan and Andre the Giant. Heenan starts talking as Andre does not even want Heenan to say the word “snake” as he freaks out when the word is even said. Heenan says he will not be responsible for what Andre will do to Jake as Andre remains petrified as the mention of the word snake. Andre pulled this off well but the angle is starting to get a bit ridiculous.
Steve Lombardi vs. Hercules
The announcers talk about the Royal Rumble match and how it now features 30 men as they talk up the match concept. Hercules stays in control then puts Lombardi away with the backbreaker submission (1:27).
Thoughts: From this point on in commentary they put over the Royal Rumble match concept. With it being a PPV event now, there is more of a focus.
An ad for the Royal Rumble airs.
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig vs. Nito Gomez
Vince lets us know that both Demolition and the Powers of Pain will be in the Royal Rumble match as they wonder if partners will turn on each other. Hennig beats on Gomez and hits his necksnap as we hear Hennig in an insert promo saying how he is undefeated and that 1989 will be another perfect year. Perfect then hits Gomez with the PerfectPlex for the win (2:05).
Thoughts: Hennig looked really good here but his character still is not over as a heel with the fans, although it would start looking upward soon.
Sean Mooney is in the Event Center. Ron Bass tells all of the “bleeding hearts” that complain about him they will feel the wrath of Miss Betsy.
King Haku w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Frankie Valdez
Vince tells us that Haku will be in the Royal Rumble. He also mentions how Harley Race wants to reclaim the throne. Haku beats on Valdez as Vince breaks the news that Big John Studd will be in the Royal Rumble. Harley Race is shown in an insert promo telling Haku he does not call him king and that the king is talking to him now, vowing to reclaim his crown. Haku then puts Valdez away with a thrust kick (1:42).
Thoughts: The fans were dead for this and most of them seemed unaware Race was turning face as he wore the same tights and everything. The bigger news was that Big John Studd was returning, although it ended up flopping.
Mooney is back in the Event Center. The Young Stallions are shown in the same promo from last week about how they will go through anyone. We then get the gem from last week when Dino Bravo & Frenchy Martin promise to make the Quebec Flag stand tall.
Big Bossman w/Slick vs. Pete Ketchum
Vince tells us their will be a posedown at the Royal Rumble between the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude, which will be decided by fan voting. Bossman slams Ketchum then beats him down. Bossman hits a backbreaker as Vince tells us that Bossman and Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal Rumble match then puts Ketchum away with a sidewalk slam (1:36). After the match, Bossman tosses Ketchum to the floor then cuffs him to the ropes and beats him with the nightstick.
Thoughts: Bossman’s new thing is to toss his opponent outside after the match then cuff him to the ropes. There were a lot of chants for Hogan here as that feud remains hot.
WWF Update with Gene Okerlund. This week’s focus is on the Royal Rumble. Okerlund tells us 30 men will be entered with a new participant joining every two minutes. He tells us Big John Studd will be returning then we get a list of other competitors including: Rick Martel (as Okerlund puts it made a miraculous return), Brainbusters, “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin, Andre the Giant, Ted DiBiase, Honky Tonk Man, Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, and Hulk Hogan. In addition, there will be a 2/3 Falls six-man tag match as Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Hart Foundation face off against Dino Bravo & Fabulous Rougeau Brothers. Plus, Rockin’ Robin defends the WWF Women’s Title against Judy Martin and Harley Race vs. King Haku in the “Battle for the Crown” as well as the posedown between the Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude. Garvin was just casually mentioned here. He made his TV debut on the 12/12/88 edition of “Prime Time Wrestling” but had not appeared on syndicated TV or even get any vignettes hyping his debut.
Conquistador #1 vs. Ultimate Warrior
Warrior clotheslines the Conquistador then tosses him to the floor and roughs him up out there. Back inside, Warrior hits another clothesline before putting the Conquistador away with the press slam/splash combo (1:32).
Thoughts: On commentary they hyped Warrior’s pose down against Rick Rude at the Royal Rumble.
The Bushwhackers are at a women’s boutique and keep picking up lingerie and shoving it front of the camera, asking their moms if they would like it then start picking up the clothes and say they would fit Bobby Heenan and the Bolsheviks. It ends with a girl in some of the lingerie coming out as the Bushwhackers are happy. This was crazy but it did put over the Bushwhackers as having fun, loving personalities.
Paul Brown & Rex Farmer vs. Honky Tonk Man & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/ Jimmy Hart
Vince thinks it is unusual for these two to be teaming up and does not believe they will be able to function as a unit because they are egomaniacs. Valentine chops Farmer against the ropes then hits a suplex. Honky tags and beats on Farmer now as Vince keeps going on about how Honky & Valentine havent proven anything because they are facing inferior competition as Jesse disagrees. Brown tags and does not fare any better then Valentine turns his shinguard around and gets the win with a figure-four (4:10).
Thoughts: The commentary was odd here. Vince kept saying how these two would not make a good team due to their egos, pretty much burying them on commentary. It also goes to show how Honky’s feud with Warrior is all but over as Warrior will be involved with Rude at the Royal Rumble.
Mooney is in the Event Center. Bad News Brown compares the WWF to communist Russia as he got fined for speaking the truth. Bad News goes on about how no one wants to get into the ring with him. Jake is then shown with the same promo he cut on Andre from the 12/11/88 edition of “Wrestling Challenge.”
Next week in action will be the Powers of Pain, “Rugged Ronnie Garvin, Bad News Brown, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Final Thoughts: Solid show this week. We got most of the Royal Rumble card announced as the majority of the show focused around that. The news that Big John Studd and Rick Martel are returning were big in different ways as well. Not a ton of storyline advancement here but they kept the current feuds fresh.
Monday: WWF Philadelphia Spectrum 12/17/88
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/18/88
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/24/88
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/25/88