We are two weeks away from WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City, NJ at the Trump Plaza.  This would be the first time the WWF/WWE title was contested in an elimination tournament.  Andre the Giant had beaten champ Hulk Hogan in February, under questionable circumstances and subsequently, he sold the title to Ted DiBiase.  This title change was not allowed and the title was vacated a few days after DiBiase being awarded the belt.  WWF president Jack Tunney ordered a tournament be held at WrestleMania with Andre and Hulk getting first-round byes.

My disc for last week’s show would not read correctly so I had to skip to this episode.  Here’s the results from last week’s show, courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com:

3/7/88:- Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeated Jerry Allen via submission with the backbreaker at 6:48 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)- Jim Duggan fought Ron Bass to a double count-out at 15:16 when Duggan chased Bass backstage (2/22/88; Madison Square Garden)- Bad News Brown pinned John Stewart with the Ghetto Blaster at 3:11 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)

– Scott Casey pinned Barry Horowitz with a crucifix at 9:57 (2/17/88; Topeka, KS; Kansas Expocentre)

– Jake Roberts fought Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) to a 20-minute draw at 19:23 (2/22/88; Madison Square Garden)

– Iron Mike Sharpe pinned Brady Boone with a clothesline at 9:05, using the loaded forearm support (2/6/88; Philadelphia Spectrum)

– Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji) defeated Jim Powers & Paul Roma at 9:25 when Ax pinned Powers after Smash hit Roma with Fuji’s cane behind the referee’s back (2/16/88; Wichita, KS; Kansas Coliseum)

We are only two weeks from WrestleMania IV in Atlantic City and Bobby Heenan is ready for his match. Gorilla does not believe it though and he said Bobby always has something up his sleeve. However, this time it will be Frankie up one sleeve and Matilda up the other.

The Rougeaus v. Harley Race/Mike Sharpe w/Bobby Heenan-February 22, 1988-MSG

Oddball tag team of Race and Sharpe and the latter did not fare too well against the Rougeaus. Sharpe was subbing for Hercules, who he also subbed for on February 2 in Brooklyn, NY against Koko B. Ware. Heenan started by asking everyone to show their respect to The King. The Rougeaus were hot early and they delivered double dropkicks to their opponents. Gorilla questioned the pairing of the two heels saying he wasn’t even sure Sharpe and Race liked each other. Sharpe was isolated and double-teamed while Race kept distracting the ref accidentally allowing for more double teams. Sharpe finally made the tag and went to work on the Rougeaus and the heels did not look too bad. Race hit his piledriver on Jacques who was isolated for a bit.

Of course, Sharpe missed an elbow drop and allowed Jacques to tag in Raymond. However, Ray’s comeback wasn’t as good as expected. All four guys were in and the heels tried to irish whip the Rougeaus into each other but it backfired and the heels collided. Raymond grabbed Sharpe, Jacques came down on him from the top by sitting on him, and Ray rolled up Sharpe for the win. This was a solid match here and Sharpe was seemingly the weak link on the heel team.

Gorilla said he heard that Race slapped Heenan after the match for pairing him with Sharpe. Heenan denied this story and explained that Hercules could not make the match as planned and Sharpe graciously offered his services as a replacement.

Koko B. Ware v. Terry Gibbs-February 16, 1988-Wichita, KS

Here is a nothing match and quite short. Gibbs got the advantage for a couple minutes but Koko made his comeback and hit the Ghostbuster/brainbuster for the win. Gibbs was robotic but he had a decent look, almost like a slimmer Mike Awesome. During the match, Jesse asked Vince what sport did he excel at in ivy league school, sailing? Vince replied by asking him if he ever played Chinese checkers. This was also one of those matches where I did not realize Bruno was on commentary until Jesse pointed it out.

Gorilla pointed out that Koko has renamed his finisher the Weaselbuster for WrestleMania. Gorilla also called Heenan’s six-man tag with Koko, the Islanders, and the Bulldogs, an important match for Mania. Go figure.

Sam Houston v. “Dangerous” Danny Davis-January 25, 1988-MSG

Davis and Houston worked many house matches before and after this including one at the Pontiac  Silverdome in Michigan on January 1. Over his WWF career, Houston never got any big wins as his biggest was against Boris Zhukov in 1989. He lasted until August 20, 1990 when he was beat by “Iron” Mike Sharpe. In 1989 and 1990, he even lost several house show matches against The Genius. Houston looks like he belongs in the Village People with his cowboy costume. This was an ok match that was boring in spots but had a solid finish. Houston had the crowd behind him during his hope spots. Vince said he was a good-looking young cowboy. In addition, Sam came in ready to fight and controlled Davis’ left arm for a good couple minutes, even lifting up Davis out of a couple arm bars.

Bobby detected a barnyard aroma and Vince asked Lord Alfred if he had been naughty. During a hope spot, Houston exploded for a second but missed a cross body and went tumbling outside.

Bobby thought Davis was undefeated because Davis had told him that. Vince wondered what record book Heenan was reading. Sam had another hope spot as he tried to charge into Davis in the corner but Davis moved and Houston hit the buckles sternum first. Bobby said he thought Houston was trying to put on his cowboy hat without touching it, as it was hanging on the corner post. Davis had complete control but did some crap covers and ended up arguing with the ref over a count and Houston hit a small package for the victory.

Bobby and Gorilla discussed the IC title match between Honky Tonk Man and Brutus Beefcake at Mania. Bobby said many people thought Honky would end up losing the belt and looking like Moe from the Three Stooges after the match.

Young Stallions v. Barry Horowitz/Steve Lombardi-February 16, 1988-Wichita, KS
Get well

The Stallions worked a couple of shows with the Alaskans (Renslow and Wagner) prior to this match. This was a boring match but it was not exactly a squash match as Jim Powers played the face in peril for a few minutes. The heels could not get anything going initially but they eventually got rolling. Gorilla did ask Bobby if he had a good vet for after Mania and he responded by saying he was not an animal but Gorilla heard differently. They did a double clothesline spot and Powers finally tagged in Roma who had a good reaction for the tag. In the end, Powers hit a powerslam on Horowitz and pinned him.

Bobby’s tickets for Mania were lost in the mail and Miss Betty, his female friend was upset. She hated the fact that Vanna White was asked to be at Mania but not her. Gorilla also said that Donald Trump fits in with the WWF because they are about class.

Craig DeGeorge interviewed Hercules and Heenan about their recently signed match with the Warrior for Mania. Herc said the Warrior was condemned for breaking his chain and he must face him as punishment. Bobby said the Warrior did not even break the chain and that Hercules was pulling on it so hard that it broke. They are going to do all their talking from now on at Mania.

The Killer Bees v. The Islanders w/Bobby Heenan-December 26, 1987-MSG

Prior to the match, Bobby said the Islanders need no introduction and the only good thing about the Bees is they will never get their trunks mixed up. Bobby promised that in 1988 the Islanders would beat Strike Force and win the WWF Tag Team Titles. This match was about teamwork on the part of the Islanders and how it paid off. The Bees won out early as Tama complained to the ref and wanted a handshake from Brian Blair.

Anyone know who the ref is?  If so, send me a message.

He tried kicking him but Blair caught him and delivered an atomic drop. Brunzell came in but got pushed into the heel corner and escaped. It was mentioned that the Bees won a tournament in Canada last year. This was the Frank Tunney Memorial Tournament in Toronto on March 15, 1987 (credit:Vance Nevada). They beat Kamala and Sika, Bundy and Orndorff, as well as Demolition to win but later lost in a title match to the Hart Foundation. Blair came in but was double-teamed and isolated.

There really was not any heat during this match. The Islanders were on fire at this point and Haku hit a standing dropkick. Tama likes to eye rake and eye gouge a lot. Lord Alfred mentioned that Blair needs to think about tagging now. I guess it slipped his mind or something amidst the ass kicking he was receiving. Blair managed to drop Haku with a forearm smash but he went to the wrong corner and could not make the tag.

Tama then tried a suplex but Blair reversed it and crawled over Tama to make the tag. The only problem was the ref missed the tag. Soon, Blair exploded with a flying forearm on Tama and finally made the tag and Brunzell cleaned house. He put a sleeper on Haku that knocked him out. Tama came in to stop it but Blair chased after him. Now, all four guys were in but the ref pulled back Blair which allowed Tama to stop the sleeper and hit a diving headbutt on Brunzell. Finally, he draped the sleeping Haku onto Brunzell for the win.

In the end, Haku was still out of it. This solid but basic match had no heat. It still was the most interesting match on this show, by far.

Gorilla thinks the odds are against the Islanders at Mania. The Bulldogs are stronger and quicker and they have Koko in their corner. The Islanders only have Bobby in their corner. Bobby said that when you have him you do not need anyone else. He is like AAA, when you have trouble you call him. Gorilla should not worry about him at Mania.

Next week, courtesy of Heenan, the show will be in Atlantic City.
For those unfamiliar, I’ve been regularly covering WWF Primetime shows in 1988 at my site.  Feel free to check out all the past episodes leading up to this one there!  Contact me at stevesgraps@yahoo.com, on Twitter @stevesgraps (for more pics too), and here on the site.  Thanks.