WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 3, 1988: The Review Of The Review

WWF Wrestling Challenge
Date: January 3, 1988
Location: Civic Center, Fort Meyers, Florida
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, Bruno Sammartino, Vince McMahon

So the Youtube guy has a new channel up so I’ll have a fresh supply of TV for you guys. We’ll start here with a pair of Wrestling Challenge tapings from early 88. We’re about four weeks from the first Rumble and about a month from the end of Hogan’s title reign. This was the lower level syndicated show but you’ll know most of the names on it. Let’s get to it.

Apparently this is a year in review show. This should be interesting.

Heenan bails for fear of Matilda and the British Bulldogs so Gorilla commentates on his own. I’m sure this has nothing to do with this show being a clip show.

Tag Titles: Strike Force vs. Hart Foundation

The Harts have the belts here. Joined in progress with Anvil hammering Santana in the corner. Off to Bret as Tito stays in trouble. Santana manages to whip Bret into the corner and there’s the hot tag to Martel. Anvil is in as well but gets his head punched off by Rick. Strike Force double slams Anvil and the Boston Crab gives them the tag titles very quickly. Too short to rate. Expect to hear that a lot in this show.

That was from November and now we go back to March for Wrestlemania 3, which just happened to be 25 years ago today. It’s just Gene announcing the attendance record.

Quick profile on One Man Gang who gives gordbusters to a lot of people, including a referee.

We get the conclusion of the Battle For Bam Bam, which was every heel manager trying to sign Bigelow who was the hot rookie. It wound up being Oliver Humperdink in a watered down version of Macho Man and Liz from the year before.

Clip of Bigelow winning a battle royal by eliminating Orton and Hercules at the same time to win. Just the ending is shown.

The Bulldogs talk about Matilda being sick since they got her back. I saw this promo a few weeks ago.

Clip of Honky Tonk Man going to the EVIL Hall of Fame by hitting Savage with a guitar. Him shoving Liz isn’t included. Liz brings out Hogan for the save. They shake hands but it’s not the famous handshake.

Savage says he’s coming for Honky. The usual crazy promo from Savage here.

Clips from the Survivor Series, namely the tag team Survivor Series match. This is a very underrated and often forgotten PPV. We also get Andre beating Bigelow to win the main event.

Don Muraco wins with a tombstone.

That leads us to clips of Billy Graham beating up Slick but getting beaten up by One Man Gang and Butch Reed. Muraco makes the save. This was the end of Graham’s in ring career.

Piledriver music video. The cameos in this are great.

Highlight reel of Demolition set to their always awesome theme music. This transitions into almost a regular music video.

We get some clips of Billy Jack Haynes/Ken Patera vs, Demolition which was actually a somewhat lengthy feud. By feud I mean Demolition killing them every time. For some reason this is of Brady Boone getting destroyed by three Decapitators until Haynes makes the save. There’s a Decapitator for him until Patera saves….and is promptly beaten down as well.

The Slammys happened in 1987 also. Hogan calls the fans a turn on and presents the Real American Award to Billy Graham. This is the longest segment on the show thus far.

Dibiase wants the title and offered to buy it from Hogan. Hulk says no in a sequence that takes about 5 minutes.

Beefcake says that making ugly people look better is a lost art that he’s going to try to make better. His next target: Greg Valentine. He debuts the hedge clippers.

Gorilla previews next week’s show and we’re out.

Overall Rating: D+. This is a very different kind of show. That being said, the show was pretty weak for the most part. The problem is the show is all over the place and there’s no straight narrative through it. By that I mean it’s like LOOK OVER HERE and then LOOK OVER THERE! Also, a total of about 45 seconds spent on Wrestlemania? That alone brings this down. It’s a regular show next time.

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