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The Name on the Marquee: WWF Superstars of Wrestling Challenge (03.13.88-3.20.1988)
Posted by Adam Nedeff on 03.25.2010



-I’m missing the March 12 Superstars, so rather than just reviewing one show for the weekend, we’ll do three shows covering two weekends…

WWF WRESTLING CHALLENGE – MARCH 13, 1988

-We’re in Topeka, KS.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

BRITISH BULLDOGS vs. IRON MIKE SHARPE & TERRY GIBBS
-Given that Heenan is live in the arena, there’s a fairly simple way to build this match that they don’t bother with: The Bulldogs could simply chase him off before going to the ring. Buuut they don’t. Oh well.

-Davey Boy armdrags everything that moves, and then Dynamite tags in and backdrops Gibbs. Heenan is nervous about Wrestlemania IV, which, incidentally, will be a happening. Meanwhile, Sharpe makes use of the sinister armbrace, but gets bodypressed by Davey Boy for two. Davey works the arm and brings in Dynamite for a double shoulderblock. Meanwhile, Gorilla runs down the Wrestlemania IV card and Heenan replies, “This is the worst Wrestlemania I’ve ever seen!”

-Gibbs gets cleared from the ring and Dynamite gets press-slammed on top of Iron Mike with a diving headbutt for three.

SPECIAL REPORT WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craig goes over the card for the big day once more. Slick has already considered the possibility of One Man Gang meeting Butch Reed in the tournament…who would be the winner? “The Slickstah!!!”

GREG “The Hammer” VALENTINE (with Jimmy Hart) vs. SPECIAL DELIVERY JONES
-Heenan mentions that Jones is undefeated in the Caribbean. Well, bully for him, then. Valentine ties him up very quickly and drops a series of knees into the ribcage before going to work on the leg. He backs Jones into the corner and unloads forearms. We get pre-recorded words from Greg mentioning that he’s been in every Wrestlemania so far, but this one is his biggest opportunity ever.

-Jones gets his token comeback with headbutts and punches. He goes for a legdrop, but Jonesamania isn’t running wild and Greg rolls out of the way. Figure four gets the submission.

-Craig DeGeorge tells us about Wrestlemania IV, which includes “several terrific matches.” Hacksaw Jim Duggan twiddles his lips for some reason, and actually cuts a GREAT promo about how Wrestlemania IV is giving 14 men a chance to accomplish what every one of them thinks about while they look in the mirror and brush their teeth. Ted DiBiase gives a rebuttal. Craig reminds him that he’ll have to win four matches to get to the title, and DiBiase tells us he doesn’t care if he has to win four matches or five matches. Well, that’s great Ted, but, no, seriously, you only need FOUR.

“The Rock” DON MURACO vs. RICK RENSLOW
-No Billy Graham again this week. Commentators mention Muraco’s history as Intercontinental Champion. He holds wins over Pedro Morales and Pat Patterson, and the Brain muses, “Who HASN’T beaten Patterson?”

-Muraco dropkicks and snapmares Renslow. Piledriver finishes handily.

OUTLAW RON BASS vs. SCOTT CASEY
-It’s YOUR separated-at-birth squash match of the week. Casey comes off the top rope with a bodypress right away. Flying headscissors sends Bass in every direction, and Casey rolls him up for two. Bass fights back with a belly-to-belly. Elbow misses, and Casey goes right back to work with a dropkick. Bass dodges a second dropkick and we get pre-recorded words from Bass, promising to eliminate 12 people in the battle royal at Wrestlemania IV. And, uh, I suspect the others will die from grief, leaving him the winner.

-Elbow by Bass, then a blatant choke. AWFUL-looking neckbreaker gets the win for the Outlaw. Nice to see Casey show some life in there this week, though.

-Craig DeGeorge gets words from Honky Tonk Man and Brutus Beefcake regarding the Intercontinental Title.

-Bob Uecker of TV’s “Head Cheese” tells Ted DiBiase that not everybody has a price. $1,000 is all it takes for Bob to change his tune.

DINO BRAVO (with Frenchy Martin) vs. GARY JACKSON
-Frenchy unleashes another merde-y promo on the crowd before Dino goes to work with an elbow and an inverted atomic drop on Jackson. Piledriver by Bravo, followed by a scary-looking back suplex that almost drops Jackson straight on his head. Side suplex finishes.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craig talks to the Hulkster himself. The Pythons are larger than ever (no argument there; even by his own standards, Hulk looks gigantic this week) and he’s out to get back that symbol that unites all the Hulkamaniacs together.

WRESTLEMANIA IV REPORT
-There’s a big battle royal coming! Danny Davis & The Hart Foundation aren’t picky about which one of them, exactly, will win! The Young Stallions are hungry and ready to win!

-Ultimate Warrior warns Hercules that he felt the power that makes the sky rumble, and he will again! Hercules tells us that he and the Warrior are a match made in heaven. Aww, that’s cute.

-Strike Force isn’t afraid of a lot of facepaint and screaming. Demolition is glad that Strike Force is brave enough to show up, because breaking bones will be a lot of fun.

-Oh, and let’s not forget the tournament. Jake Roberts will teach Rick Rude to dance to a new tune! Slick is tired of hearing about a “used-to-be” like Randy Savage!

-Tickets are shockingly still available.

YOUNG STALLIONS vs. TOM STONE & GEORGE PETRASKI
-Roma dropkicks Stone and Powers comes in to work the arm. Meanwhile, here’s Bad News Brown out of nowhere to remind us that he walks alone, so a battle royal doesn’t cause too much trouble for him.

-Bodyslam by Stone, and in comes Petraski to miss an elbowdrop. Stallions go to work on the arm while Heenan has a panic attack about the upcoming six-man tag. Stallions have an extended contest to see who has the best arm wringer before finally finishing with a powerslam. Gorilla tells us they’re looking forward to the Wrestlemania IV battle royal, almost as much as they look forward to reading their fan mail.
“Dear Jim Powers,

Did you ever notice that your finisher is a Powerslam and your last name is Powers? I just realized it kind of sounds like the move is named after you. I’m still chuckling!

Signed,
Jim Powers”
-Craig DeGeorge gets words from Hercules and Ultimate Warrior. Again.

-End of the show. And a week went by…

WWF SUPERSTARS OF WRESTLING – MARCH 19, 1988

-We’re in Winston-Salem, NC.

-Building manager Bucky Dame welcomes us to the show.

-Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, and…nobody else. Damn, an era ended during that episode I didn’t have.

HONKY TONK MAN (Intercontinental Champion, with Jimmy Hart) vs. JIM EVANS
-We get pre-taped words from the Beefer, promising that Honky will sing the blues at Wrestlemania IV.

-In the ring, Honky clotheslines Evans and finishes with Shake, Rattle, & Roll. Damn, Honky’s in a hurry for something. Oh, I guess he’s going to sing and dance for all his fans…

-But first, Brutus Beefcake shows up on the interview platform and offers some taunts at Honky, ruining his night.

UPDATE
-Craig wonders who will win the tournament at Wrestlemania IV? We get words from Don Muraco and Dino Bravo, who have very different opinions on the answer to that question. We also get words from Jake and the Ravishing One.

-Also, we get a reminder that Wrestlemania IV will NOT be shown on home TV, it’s going to be on pay-per-view and closed circuit TV.

-Robin Leach looks forward to seeing the “Ringstyles” of the Rich and Famous.

STRIKE FORCE (Tag Team Champions) vs. JOHN ZIEGLER & IRON MIKE SHARPE
-Sharpe misses an elbow and Martel seizes the opportunity to work the arm. Demolition offers some words, vowing to win the belts at Wrestlemania IV.

-Sharpe has a little bit of luck with Tito Santana, thanks to the sinister arm brace, but Tito fights right back and Strike Force goes to work on the arm again. More brace-assisted blows from the Iron One until Ziegler tags in and gets a double-clothesline for his trouble. Bodyslam by Martel, followed by a hiptoss. Flying forearm finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase. Jim Duggan is a buffoon and he’s out of his league when it comes to the tournament. Andre the Giant says he has defeated Hulk Hogan three times, so Wrestlemania IV is going to be just another day for him.

-Vanna White shows us some of the outfits she’s thinking about wearing for Wrestlemania IV.

KOKO B. WARE (with British Bulldogs) vs. PETE SANCHEZ
-Sanchez shoulderblocks Ware, but runs into a hiptoss and backs off. Dropkick and a series of armdrags by Koko. Bodyslam puts Sanchez into position for the missile dropkick, and the ghostbuster finishes.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Bobby Heenan. He signed to wrestle three human opponents, not a rabid mutt and a vulture lurking around ringside. We go to action from a Wrestling Challenge taping (but not aired on that show) where Koko is fighting Rich Rude. He has a decided advantage, so Heenan grabs Frankie and runs back to the locker room with him. Koko takes off from the ring to get his bird back. Ya know, they really should have done that angle BEFORE the match was signed.

-Jake “The Snake” Roberts reaches Bob Uecker how to hold Damien.

RICKY “The Dragon” STEAMBOAT vs. DAVE WAGNER
-Do you realize this is the first time Steamboat’s been on TV since the tournament was announced? People were surprised that we didn’t get the Quarterfinal Savage-Steamboat rematch, but in hindsight, it’s actually pretty obvious what Steamboat’s future holds. We get words from Greg Valentine, promising to let the steam out of Steamboat.

-In the ring, Steamboat works the arm and chops Wagner. Thrust kick and a chop to the neck, followed by a slam by Steamboat. Another chop between the eyes and Steamboat goes to the top and connects for a flying bodypress, and that’s it.

ONE MAN GANG (with Slick) vs. RICK HUNTER
-Gang attacks Hunter from behind and stomps him into the mat. Shots to the chest by the Gang while Bam-Bam Bigelow and Oliver Humperdink. They promise that the 747 is going to go down. Meanwhile, Vince clarifies that there’s some confusion about Wrestlemania IV and that it will not, in fact, be shown on home TV. HA HA, Vince has to explain that he’s the one making you pay money for wrestling. Score one for the NWA.

-Back to the ring, Gang finishes with a gourdbuster while Jesse explains that closed-circuit giant screen TV allows you to see and appreciate exactly how big the One Man Gang is.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Hulk Hogan was sickened by the sight of his title belt around Ted DiBiase’s waist, and he wants vengeance on behalf of all the little Hulksters who cried the night that he lost the belt.

WRESTLEMANIA IV REPORT
-Gene Okerlund announces that Gladys Knight and the Pips will open the show with “America the Beautiful.” I’m sure that there couldn’t possibly be a terribly fascinating story behind it, but is there any reason that the Pips ended up dropping out?

-Hercules and the Ultimate Warrior exchange words about power and strength and things that rumble.

-We get words about the battle royal from Junkyard Dog, King Harley Race, and Slick on behalf of the Bolsheviks.

-Gene reminds us that Wrestlemania IV is not going to air for free; it will be on pay-per-view and closed circuit TV.

“The Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE (with Andre the Giant & Virgil) vs. SCOTT CASEY
-Shoulderblock and an armdrag by DiBiase, and he pauses for sufficient celebration of his early advantage. Hammerlocks are exchanged and reversed. Hacksaw Jim Duggan steps in to say DiBiase had better not be looking forward to the second round of the tournament, because Jim Duggan is looking for HIM!

-Series of chops and a beel throw by DiBiase. Clothesline and a slam, and the second rope backward-falling elbow finishes.

-Craig DeGeorge reminds us that Wrestlemania IV will not air on home TV; it will air on pay-per-view and closed circuit TV. He then talks to the Honky Tonk Man. Honky emphasizes over and over again that Brutus Beefcake will not cut his hair, not at Wrestlemania IV, not ever. Honky would say years later that he was cutting that promo more for Vince McMahon to hear that than for Brutus.

One more show to go!

WWF WRESTLING CHALLENGE – MARCH 20, 1988

-We’re in Bristol, TN.

-Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan.

RANDY “Macho Man” SAVAGE (with Elizabeth) vs. BRIAN COSTELLO
-I got it! Seth Rogan! That’s who Brian Costello reminds me of! Damn, that’s been driving me crazy for the past few months.

-Savage shoves Costello into the ropes while Gorilla announces that the WWF will not air on home TV, and this Friday in USA Today, there will be a complete list of closed-circuit locations. So check for that. Ricky Steamboat promises one more classic confrontation if he and Savage win their first round matches. I loved Classic Confrontation when I was a kid. Those rebus puzzles were so clever.

-Anyway, Savage unleashes his usual arsenal, neck-snapping, and a bodyslam, and the flying elbow finishes handily.

SPECIAL REPORT WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craig announces that Wrestlemania IV will not air on home TV. However, you can watch it on closed-circuit screens so big “that a bead of sweat will be as large as Andre the Giant’s hand.” A battle royal will be a part of Wrestlemania IV. We get the same comments we heard earlier from the battle royal participants.

-Koko B. Ware got Frankie back, and he joins the British Bulldogs in offering a stern warning to Bobby Heenan.

ISLANDERS vs. DAVE STOUDIMIERE & MARK YOUNG
-Heenan stays at the broadcast table this week because he’s curious what kind of things Monsoon says about his men when he’s not around. Young comes off the top rope early and gets a pair of sudden two-counts on Tama. Haku tags in and fares a little better, trapping Young in a side headlock and shoulderblocking him. Meanwhile, Heenan tries to talk tough about the intense training he’s doing with the Heenan Family, but Gorilla just shoots him down and talks about how scared he must be.

-Meanwhile, Stoudimiere is wiped out with a backbreaker from Haku. Top rope splash by Tama gets the win.

-Gene Okerlund talks to Brutus Beefcake, who compares Honky Tonk Man & Jimmy Hart to a disease that he’s going to eradicate from the WWF. It’s either a coincidence or Brutus is a genius with regards to his gimmick because barbers used to function as doctors. Honky Tonk Man says that Brutus doesn’t deserve a title shot, but then, wielding his guitar, he says, “you’ll get a shot.”

HERCULES (with Bobby Heenan) vs. RENO RIGGINS
-Quite a pop for Riggins for whatever reason. Hercules rams him into the turnbuckle, then slams him down. He snapmares Riggins into position, but misses an elbow. Riggins tries to mount a comeback, but gets elbowed down. Hercules tries to smother him with a mighty open palm while Ultimate Warrior cuts another promo about rumbling skies.

-Hercules tosses Riggins to the floor, then brings him back in for a vicious clothesline. Torture rack gets a submission.

-Gene Okerlund reminds us that Wrestlemania IV will not air on home TV, but if you tune in on pay-per-view or closed circuit, you know, that’d be great. Strike Force and Demolition offer some comments about the big day.

“The Natural” BUTCH REED & ONE MAN GANG (with Slick) vs. MIKE RICHARDS & ERIC COOPER
-I can’t remember where I put my iPod after I walked in the door tonight, but I can remember that Eric Cooper was the Gang’s first opponent on TV. Shit.

-Reed starts with a choke on Cooper and pauses to celebrate. He clotheslines Cooper and stomps away while we get pre-taped words from Slick. He’s looking forward to Wrestlemania because the odds are on his side with two men in the tournament.

-Gang & Reed double-team Cooper. Richards tags in to take his share of the assault from Reed. Gang tags in and gets the win with the gourdbuster.

JAKE “The Snake” ROBERTS vs. TOM STONE
-Jake works the arm for a while and elbows Stone in the corner. Stone yanks him down by the hair and applies a wristlock to take control while Gorilla reminds us that Wrestlemania IV will not air on home TV. God almighty, were the fans really THAT confused by this?

-Jake works the legs on Stone by spreading and stretching them. Stone moves away from an elbow and goes on the offensive with punches. Jake blocks an Irish whip with a short clothesline, and the DDT gets the win.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craig talks to Ted DiBiase and the insufficiently-lit Andre the Giant. The Million Dollar Man offers choice words for Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He’s the man who helped take the belt away from Hulk Hogan. Interesting camera shot there, with DiBiase bragging about how HE got the belt while the camera pans over to Andre the Giant. It didn’t lead to anything, but that would have made a nice “seed” to plant. Andre proclaims that he’s still undefeated, and he’ll stay that way after Wrestlemania IV.

WRESTLEMANIA IV REPORT
-Gene Okerlund is excited about Gladys Knight and the Pips kicking off the show.

-We cover the tournament. Don Muraco vows to put Dino Bravo to the test. Greg Valentine vows to sink the Steamboat. Randy Savage vows to be ready, dig it.

-We get words from Robin Leach. He’ll be there! Nothing makes me more pumped for a show than an obvious and irrefutable statement.

-Gene reminds us that Wrestlemania IV will not be shown on home TV.

BAM-BAM BIGELOW (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. TERRY GIBBS
-Gibbs manages to back Bigelow into a corner and unload a series of punches on him. Bigelow fights back and hiptosses Gibbs. Rick Rude gives a warning to Bigelow AND One Man Gang, saying it really doesn’t matter which one he ends up facing.

-Back to the ring, Bigelow headbutts Gibbs and drops him with an elbow. Avalanche by Bigelow, and a diving headbutt gets the win.

-Craig DeGeorge talks to Hulk Hogan about the changes in his behavior lately. Training, prayers, and vitamins did fine for 4 years, but when DiBiase began throwing his money around, Hulk decided that the rules didn’t apply anymore. Whatcha gonna do?

I'm gonna plug Game Show Utopia and call it a week, Hulkster.


The 411: They're going into overdrive hyping the big show and actually doing a better job in this block of shows than they have been of making Wrestlemania IV seem exciting and worth my money. Not a GREAT week, but better than what we've been seeing.
 
Final Score:  6.3   [ Average ]  legend





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