December 18, 1988
From the Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA
Your hosts are Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon
This week, we will see the “Brother Love Show” with guest Hulk Hogan from “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” Also from SNME we will get the Jim Duggan vs. Boris Zhukov match. Also in action will be the Brainbusters, Ted DiBiase and Brutus Beefcake.
Brutus Beefcake vs. Jim Atkinson
These two start off by fighting against the ropes as the announcers talk about Beefcake’s poster as the company kept naming off merchandise at every opportunity for the holiday season. Beefcake catches Atkinson as we hear from Bass in an insert promo talk about how fun its going to be when he gets his hands on him. Beefcake hits a neckbreaker then puts Atkinson away with the sleeper (2:20). After the match, Beefcake snips off some of Atkinson’s mullet.
Thoughts: Basic match as they used this to hype the Beefcake/Bass feud.
WWF Special Report with Lord Alfred Hayes. This is where they showed Hogan’s appearance on the “Brother Love Show” from SNME. After that airs, we hear from the Big Bossman as he promises to rip Hogan apart with his bear hands for putting his hands on Slick and using handcuffs. They intensified an already hot feud between Hogan and Bossman.
An ad for the Royal Rumble airs.
The Brainbusters w/ Bobby Heenan vs. “Jumping” Jim Brunzell & “Leaping” Lanny Poffo
Brunzell is unable to hide his displeasure over being a TV jobber here. This was the same taping Brian Blair got fired at so I wonder if they were going to do the job and that was the reason. Poffo’s poem was about Heenan garnishing the Brainbusters wages. Brunzell and Arn start off as they end in a stalemate. Brunzell then fights off Tully and tags out as Poffo runs wild. Poffo tries a hurricarana but Arn trips Tully to make it turn into a powerbomb of sorts. The Brainbusters beat on Poffo as we get an insert promo from the Rockers as they refuse to back down to the Brainbusters. Poffo finally breaks away and tags out as Brunzell runs wild until Arn punches him in the gut and Tully finishes him off with a slingshot suplex (3:42).
Thoughts: Solid action. Brunzell looked decent here and the Brainbusters were just a great team. Brunzell was already gone from the company by the time this aired. More importantly, they are going forward with the Rockers vs. Brainbusters feud.
Sean Mooney is in the Event Center. Big Bossman promises to beat anyone who stands in his way with a nightstick. Koko B. Ware once again talks about moving up the ladder and to do that you have to beat somebody. He then puts over the fans and their letters. Well, its not like he had anything else to do with his promo time.
Nito Gomez vs. Bad News Brown
Heenan is back on commentary. Bad News beats on Gomez as we get an insert of Brother Love on the cover of “WWF Magazine.” Bad News continues to beat on Gomez until he puts him away with the Ghetto Blaster (1:45).
Thoughts: Quick match as they briefly touched upon the Bad News/Savage feud.
Mooney is back in the Event Center. We hear the same awkward Blue Blazer promo that we did last week and the same promo from Andre the Giant and Heenan as they assure Andre is not afraid of snakes.
“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil vs. Tim Horner
Horner refuses a payoff then catches DiBiase with a back suplex for two. He follows with an arm drag and a dropkick but ends up running into a back elbow smash. DiBiase is livid as he stomps away then hits a clothesline as Hercules is shown in an insert promo telling DiBiase he did not buy a slave but rather his worst nightmare. Back to the match as DiBiase hits a gutwrench suplex and a powerslam before putting Horner away with the Million Dollar Dream (2:38).
Thoughts: Decent action here. Horner made his WWF debut and established himself as a TV jobber. It was a step below what he was doing in the NWA at the time.
Gene Okerlund welcomes Jake Roberts to the interview platform. He asks Jake about humbling Andre with Damien as we see a clip of that. Jake laughs and says it goes to show you everyone has something to fear. Jake says he is not scared to fight and Andre is embarrassed over fainting on National TV. Not the greatest promo from Jake but it meant we were getting more of his feud against Andre.
King Haku w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Scott Casey
Heenan tries to get the crowd to bow for Haku as Gorilla hypes up the Royal Rumble PPV. We hear from Harley Race in an insert promo as he tells Heenan and Haku while they will be bowing to the real king shortly as he actually cut a solid promo here. Haku takes control after dodging an elbow drop but Casey fights back. Casey hits an atomic drop but charges and gets caught with a thrust kick as Haku gets the win (1:49).
Thoughts: They are still trying to hype the Haku/Harley feud but its off to an ice cold start.
Mooney is in the Event Center and runs down the Royal Rumble card. Those in the Rumble match include: Akeem, Jake Roberts, Big Bossman, Hercules, Andre, Rockers, Brainbusters, Ron Bass, Greg Valentine, Bushwhackers, Red Rooster, Koko B. Ware, Powers of Pain, Tito Santana, Bad News Brown, Ronnie Garvin, Demolition, Ted DiBiase, Brutus Beefcake, Honky Tonk Man, Mr. Perfect, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan. The only two Mooney did not announce were Big John Studd and Rick Martel, which Okerlund already did on “Superstars of Wrestling” so if you caught both shows, you would have seen all 30 guys have been announced.
We then see Jim Duggan defeat Boris Zhukov from SNME.
Back in the Event Center, we hear from Jimmy Hart & Honky Tonk Man as Honky puts himself over as the greatest while Demolition calls out Mr. Fuji and the Powers of Pain in promos we have seen already.
Next week we will see Jake Roberts, Demolition, Big Bossman, and the Ultimate Warrior in action. Plus, an interview with Mr. Perfect and more!
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show to be honest. You got to see a few SNME if it was something you missed and the action was fine. Plus, you could piece together the complete list of Royal Rumble match competitors if you also caught “Superstars of Wrestling” as they apparently kept the returns of Martel and Studd a secret here. Just one more episode of Challenge left in 1988 and do not worry because I will be heading straight through 1989.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/24/88
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/25/88
Monday: WWF Madison Square Garden 12/30/88
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/7/89