We are only a short time away from WrestleMania IV at Trump Plaza for the WWF Title Tournament. Andre the Giant had previously beaten Hulk Hogan in Indianapolis, IN in February, despite suspicious circumstances involving the Hebner brothers. Andre then proceeded to give the belt to Ted Dibiase, in exchange for money but WWF President Jack Tunney vetoed that decision and vacated the title. A new champion will be crowned at WrestleMania IV!
It is the go-home show for WrestleMania IV and Gorilla is at Trump Plaza getting ready. He is looking for Bobby, asking the attendant if he has seen him, and he has never even heard of Heenan.
Next, we see Heenan trying to check in at the front desk but they can not find his reservation that Miss Betty made for him. The clerk says all they have for him was a Trump Plaza hat and Bobby was appalled at this and called the lady a bimbo. Bobby insisted that she call Donald Trump but she had not direct number to him and Heenan said he had it though. Gorilla finally met up with him and the lady and security all knew exactly who Monsoon was. Gorilla said he could stay in his suite but he had to use a roll away bed.
The Killer Bees v. The Conquistadors-Winston-Salem, NC March 9, 1988
This was a short, basic but very fun match with the Bees in control most of the time. The Bees kept getting the upper hand as the Conquistadors could not communicate very well. Blair put on an abdominal stretch and for some reason, Brunzell distracted the ref which allowed for an illegal tag and isolation of Blair. This led to all the usual tag match spots and hope spots including a tag that the ref missed. Then, the Bees managed to get their masks on and kept switching out illegally much like the Conquistadors had done earlier on Blair. The ref was totally lost by this point and I believe Blair came off the ropes with an elbow and got the win. The parts of this were very fun with the Bees switching out. The Conquistadors were Jose Estrada and Jose Rivera.
Gorilla and Bobby arrived at their suite and Bobby was very impressed. He stole something off a table but Gorilla said he would be frisked and searched before leaving the hotel. Gorilla told him not to touch anything but Bobby touched a chandelier and got smacked for it.
S.D. Jones v. Steve Lombardi-March 5, 1988 Boston Garden
This match was about as boring and basic as you can get. Jones spent most of the time selling and his comeback was slow and dull. Apparently, Terry Garvin was at the Boston Gardens to watch Lombardi during this match. I can’t seem to imagine anyone, even Garvin, desiring to watch this match. Heenan was shown at the hotel picking Jones to win this match because he would not pick someone associated with Garvin. Lombardi sure has a ton of back-ne. Lord Alfred said Lombardi has gotten some wins lately and Gorilla asked if this was when he was away. Gorilla said that Lombardi must have met up with Brutus Beefcake for his haircut and that he could not imagine anyone paying for his haircut. The only decent/unique part of this match was a hope spot where Jones kept rolling, trying to trip up Lombardi as he was running the ropes. The finish was a small package by Lombardi in the middle of the ring and no one could believe it. Lombardi finally got some heat for this match after he won. Tremendous dud here.
Bobby was back at the hotel and he did not want champagne that the waiter was handing out as he brought his own big bottle of sparkling water. He was trying to lay off stuff like that because he was training for his match at Mania.
We had a Craig update and he asked who would be champ after Mania. The show is sold out and he ran down the tourney. We saw very short promos from Don Muraco, Dino Bravo, Jake Roberts, and Rick Rude for their matches. We then got a Robin Leech promo as he was announced as the guy who would present the belt to the winner of the tournament.
Craig interviewed Hulk Hogan and he ran down the status of Hulkamania. He said it was in a positive upswing. Hulk saw the dollar signs in the eyes of Andre and Dibiase’s laugh after being handed the belt made his Hulkamaniacs cry. Hulk said his fans would never cry again and that Andre has never beaten him. Well, at least not in the last seven to eight years. Dibiase has no chance at Mania and he still saw dollar signs in Andre’s eyes. At Mania, he will prove that if you live by the buck then you die by the buck and the Maniacs will have the last laugh.
Heenan talked to his friends on the phone whom he promised tickets but could not make good with that promise. They are now going to rent out MSG and watch the show on giant closed-circuit screens in their own private viewing party. He said something went wrong with the mail as to why the tickets did not come through. Next, we got a Bob Eucker promo.
Gorilla and Bobby were playing blackjack. Bobby was given $8000 in chips to play but they were actually chocolate mints and they would not let him play. Also, he could not get a line of credit to play anything. He told Gorilla that he was too good of a player to play there anyway.
Hercules w/Bobby Heenan v. Scott Casey-Bristol, TN March 8, 1988
Hercules had just got done doing a few jobs to guys like Ken Patera and Ricky Steamboat, prior to this taping. Vince McMahon seemed to have a fascination with Bobby’s “posterior” during this match. He kept talking about it and saying how he could not wait until Mania to see Matilda bite him in that location. Scott Casey got some good offense in the beginning but things did not pan out too well for him in the end. Hercules threw him over the top rope but Casey held on and ran at Herc with a cross body on the other side, spilling both men outside to the floor. Casey gave him some shots outside and a suplex and backbreaker, inside the ring. However, all Herc had to do to stop him was hit him in the throat. Either Casey’s offensive moves are executed poorly or Hercules does have mythological powers in his hands. Vince can not wait to see Matilda’s face on a giant closed-circuit screen as she bites Bobby’s posterior. Casey got a short comeback but it was not much and lost via the torture rack and he got dumped with a backbreaker on Herc’s shoulders for good measure. This was not the worst squash I have seen but nothing too amazing. On a side note, Hercules and The Warrior went to a twenty-minute draw on January 22nd in Rochester! Anyone got a handheld of that one?
Bobby ordered some drinks for him and Gorilla and he gave the waitress a mint as a tip and then left for the health club at the hotel.
Greg Valentine w/Jimmy Hart v. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC
Poffo had a short poem that Vince was very excited about. I have no idea how anyone could think that this gimmick would work for a babyface. Valentine showed that he was the veteran by dominating Poffo with clubbing strikes and knees. He tried to hit Poffo from the top and got a fist in the gut as a result. They duked it out in the corner but Valentine dished out an eye poke to stop it and continued his dominance. Poffo got some hope spots but nothing major and then a comeback. There was even a small Poffo chant. He tried a leap in the corner and missed big, allowing Valentine to hit him from the top and put on the figure-four for the win. Pretty average squash but Valentine is always a fun watch. I can’t think of much historical stuff to say about Poffo other than Frenchy Martin beat him in Toronto in November 1987. He also took the fall during Boris Zhukov’s TV debut in that same year in Green Bay.
Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart v. Jim Evans-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC
Short squash match. Jesse Ventura said that one thing Honky has going for him is luck and that can not be easily overcome. Honky did some strikes, a clothesline, and the Shake, Rattle, and Roll for the win. Vince hates his hair and is eagerly anticipating Brutus Beefcake cutting it at Mania. Honky tried to sing and wanted to his music played but Brutus cut it off. He said that he would also cut off Honky’s hair at Mania.
Bobby is in the gym filled with archaic equipment that is probably housed in some fitness museum today. He is on the bike and Gorilla asked how long he had been going and he said he has not stopped peddling since he got there. Gorilla tried looking for an odometer but it was broke and Bobby said he was keeping track of his distance in his mind. Later, in another segment in the gym, Bobby was seen sweating and he said he would try to move around a lot during his Mania match. He also predicted Andre would win the title, if Rick Rude got eliminated.
George Petraski v. Junkyard Dog-March 8, 1988 Bristol, TN
Petraski had a build like an old-school wrestler, similar to Stan Stasiak, just fatter. He did not fare very well against JYD. At one point, he attempted a slam but it was blocked. Later, like a dummy, he tried for another slam which was also blocked. JYD hit a powerslam for the win and he had the crowd behind him the entire match. Petraski only worked a handful of matches in 1988 and for the WWF and ended up back there in 1992 under the last name Petrovsky. He was trained by Ox Baker and also worked some WCW and AWA as a job guy, under the name The Russian Brute. Wikipedia seems to also have him working with Angelo Savoldi in ICW earlier in the 80’s.
Interview with Dibiase and Andre about Mania. Dibiase said that no one will stop his destiny to become WWF Champion. All the Hulk-A-Morons have no faith in Hogan anymore because he is a loser. Andre said he was still undefeated and by the end of Mania, Hogan will still be the ex-champ.
Ken Patera v. Tom Stone-March 9, 1988 Winston-Salem, NC
It was pretty ironic that Patera faced a guy named Tom Stone. No intros for this one and it was a pretty boring squash. The only entertaining thing was Stone getting slammed on the floor outside. Patera won with the full nelson. Nothing but squashes is how this episode is ending up.
Bobby was getting a massage from a woman named Barbara. Bobby asked her to go a little harder but Gorilla took over for her. He went really rough on her until Bobby realized it was him.
WrestleMania report with Mean Gene running down all the matches. He called One Man Gang tons of fun. We saw short promos from Hercules, Ultimate Warrior, JYD, Harley Race, and the Bolsheviks.
Bobby was training on the boardwalk by running on the beach. He said his guys have been training there for a week.
Harley Race v. The Ultimate Warrior-March 5, 1988 Boston Garden
This was a rematch of sorts from the February 22nd show (January 26th event). Race made the Warrior look about as good as anyone could. In the beginning, he sold and bumped a ton for Warrior’s strikes including falling down the ring steps and getting his foot tangled in the railing of them. At one point, they collided and Warrior went down as Race bounced off the ropes and fell head first into Warrior’s crotch. Later, Race hit some headbutts and a piledriver and used Warrior’s momentum to fling him outside. He tried to suplex him back in but the Warrior got behind him and rolled him up for the win. Not a very good match here but who really expected one?
Heenan told Gorilla he drank a carrot, banana, sour kraut, and dill pickle health drink for his training. We got a very short Strike Force promo followed by the closing of the show as Bobby pushed Gorilla away on the boardwalk in a cart.
My goal is to do an update once a week for the next few weeks to catch up on things, including more Primetime episodes.
I am going to be giving away a back issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It is the March 24, 2003 issue with a look back at the history of the WWWF/WWF from Bruno Sammartino up until the start of the national expansion and Hulkamania. It is an amazing article and here are the ways to win it…
1…Follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps and look for my contest tweet and then re-tweet it to your followers
2…Email me at [email protected] and tell me you want to win
3…Comment on any post of mine on my blog at stevegraps.blogspot.com until March 1st
4…Refer anyone to my blog and have them do any of the prior three steps. Be sure to mention to them to note your referral.
From now until March 1st, you can enter and after that date I will put everyone’s name into a hat and pick one. I will contact you, get your info, and gladly mail the prize to you! You can enter as many times as you do any of the above ways but only once for number two!