Live from Hamilton, Ontario

Airdate: January 24, 1988

Attendance: 16,200

Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

“Why pay for a bunkhouse when there’s a free Rumble on TV?” – Avid wrestling fan in the late ‘80s.

Match 1: “Ravishing” Rick Rude versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat


Rating: **1/2

Summary: A better finish would have put this match a lot higher on my scale. While Rude generated some good heel heat with his posing and mannerisms, the crowd, as you would expect, was solidly behind Steamboat.

On the platform, “Mean” Gene Okerlund stands alongside spotter Ventura for Dino Bravo’s weightlifting exhibition. Seriously? A weightlifting exhibition? Where’s a squash match involving Hamilton’s favorite wrestler Iron Mike Sharpe? Regardless, Bravo, accompanied by manager Frenchy Martin, will try to break the 705lb bench press record. To begin, Bravo “warms up” with 415lbs. With ease, he presses it consistently. Ventura then augments the weight to 505lbs. Again, Bravo has zero trouble pressing it. Next, Ventura increases the weight to 555lbs. To say this is the bathroom/concession stand portion of the program would be an understatement. Nevertheless, yet again, Bravo has no issues.

Much to the Tiger-cat crowd’s chagrin, Bravo continues to 595lbs and succeeds. Ventura then graduates the weight on the bar to 655lbs, and Bravo lifts it with some difficulty. Finally, Ventura increases the weight to 715lbs (+/- weight of bar). Can Bravo do it? Since he cannot keep the obviously bored Tiger-cat faithful quiet, he storms off. After Ventura voices his support, Bravo returns. As Okerlund shouts that he (Bravo) did it, it’s obvious that Ventura assists Bravo quite a bit. Hey! I’ll never lift that amount of weight so why quibble about it?

Now that THAT’S over, let’s get back to wrestling, shall we?

Match 2 for the WWF Women’s tag team titles (2 out of 3 falls): The Glamour Girls (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus the Jumping Bomb Angels


First fall:

Second fall:

Third fall:

Rating: ****

Summary: Amazing stuff for 1988 as both the wrestling acumen as well as the high-flying capability of the Angels showed how incredibly talented they truly were.

After a commercial break, we revisit WrestleMania III and the main event between Hogan and Andre up until the failed slam that almost changed the titleholder and wrestling history. Next, we see a promo by the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase who wants to buy the WWF title. Following that, Hogan responds with a “HELL NO” to DiBiase’s offer. In rebuttal, DiBiase vows to buy the title one way or another. Afterward, we revisit SNME XIV when Andre attacks Hogan after a successful title defense., Subsequently, Andre vows to deliver the WWF title to DiBiase upon victory over Hogan.

After another commercial break, Okerlund hosts the contract signing for the WWF title match on The Main Event on 2/5. With Andre, DiBiase, and Virgil already in the ring, Hogan makes his entrance to a big ovation. As WWF President Jack Tunney and Hogan sit down for the signing, Andre makes them play the waiting game. DiBiase then gets on the microphone and runs down Hogan who signs the contract. Next, Andre peruses then ultimately signs the contract. DiBiase then calls for the “stamp of approval” as Andre rams Hogan into the table then dumps it on top of him. Can Hogan avenge this humiliation on The Main Event?

Match 3 (Royal Rumble):

Participants (20):

B. Brian Blair, Boris Zhukov, Bret Hart, Butch Reed, Danny Davis, Dino Bravo, Don Muraco, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, Jake Roberts, Jim Brunzell, Jim Duggan, Jim Neidhart, Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, One Man Gang, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, Tito Santana, and the Ultimate Warrior


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: As an experiment, this was a success. Certainly, it was better than the average battle royal as the staggered entries added necessary drama. In addition, it wasn’t all brawling as at least some wrestling took place. All in all, the crowd enjoyed Davis’ elimination as well as Duggan’s participation, yet, after some fine tuning, next year’s event could be even better.

After a commercial break, we revisit the contract signing from earlier. On the platform, Craig DeGeorge interviews Hogan who changed from his white shirt to a Hulkamania t-shirt. When he gets worked up, he rips the shirt off to make the young girls squeal.

Match 4 (2 out of 3 falls): The Islanders (w/o Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus the Young Stallions


First fall:

Prior to the second fall, we again revisit the “stamp of approval” from the contract signing. On the platform, DeGeorge interviews DiBiase with Andre and Virgil. Andre is ready for Hogan on 2/5.

Second fall:

Rating: **

Summary: Since the Islanders were feuding with the Bulldogs, I would have rather seen that match.

Conclusion: With the woman’s’ tag title and the Rumble matches, this is a must-see show. While it isn’t spectacular, those matches make this show worthwhile. On top of that, it promotes The Main Event on 2/5 which I cannot wait to see. I wonder if Jim Crockett’s show is as good as this one is.

Stay tuned for NWA Bunkhouse Stampede!

Rating: 8.20

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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