WWF January 1988: Yearly Review
World Wrestling Federation January 1988:
WWF World Championship Scene: (held by Hulk Hogan)
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan had to deal with a giant competitor to start of 1988. The challenger wasn’t a stranger to Hogan as it was the mighty Andre the Giant. Andre had lost to Hogan for the first time in his career at Wrestle Mania III. Andre managed to earn another title shot after being the final survivor at the Survivor Series 1987 main event, which saw a team captained by Andre and another by Hogan. Andre had promised Ted DiBiase, who was obsessed over getting the WWF World Championship, that he would give DiBiase the Title when he defeated Hulk Hogan, adding controversy to the pending bout with Hulk Hogan. However, before Hogan could wrestle Andre, Hogan had to deal with another former rival, King Kong Bundy. Hogan lost to Bundy by count-out at Saturday Night Main Event #13 and as a result defended the championship against Bundy at Saturday Night Main Event #14 on January 2nd, 1988. The odds were stacked against Hogan as Andre would be in Bundy’s corner for the match.
Hogan was able to pin Bundy at the event but afterwards was brutally attacked by Andre. Andre choked Hogan until Hogan was saved by several baby faces, mostly thanks to Jim Duggan who used a 2×4 on Andre a couple of times. Heading into Andre vs. Hogan II, Andre seemingly had all the momentum and looked prime to take the championship from Hogan which was to take place on February 5th, 1988 at the Main Event.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene: (held by the Honky Tonk Man)
Honky Tonk Man has held the WWF Intercontinental Championship since June 1987 where HTM pinned Ricky Steamboat on WWF Superstars. Honky’s constant statements of being the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champion caused a new rival for Honky. A newly baby face Randy Savage would challenge Honky for the championship on several occasions to prove that he is the greatest champion of all time. The feud’s turning point occurred on the SNME on October 3rd, 1987. After the Hart Foundation helped Honky retain the title by DQ, Honky shoved Miss Elizabeth to the floor before smashing a guitar over Savage’s head. Honky would continue to push Savage’s buttons by making advances towards Elizabeth, most notably at the 1987 Slammy Awards.
The climax of Honky vs. Savage would occur at the Main Event on February 5th, 1988.
WWF World Tag Team Championship Scene: (held by Strike Force)
Tito Santana and Rick Martel have held the Tag Team Championships since October 1987 where they defeated the Hart Foundation on a edition of WWF Superstars in an upset win. Strike Force’s first challenger to deal with were the Bolsheviks as they would have a best two out of three falls contest at SNME #14 on January 2nd. Strike Force were able to retain the titles winning both falls in under eight minutes. Everything seemed to be going well for the tag team in the early stages of 1988.
– Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the 1988 Royal Rumble last eliminating One Man Gang, who had the most eliminations of the Royal Rumble with five.
– Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine continued their feud which had been going on for almost a year. Beefcake saved Koko B. Ware from a post match beat down on SNME #14 and managed to cut some of Valentine’s hair. These two would feud until March 1988.
– The Islanders returned from suspension after kidnapping the British Bulldog’s mascot Matilda. Bulldogs would threaten Heenan on several instances and attacked the Islanders with dog collars on more than one occasion.
– At the Royal Rumble, Dino Bravo set the unofficial record in weight lighting by lifting 615lbs, although Jesse Ventura had allegedly helped Bravo lift the bar.
– Bad News Brown made his return to television after several years hiatus on the January 30th edition of WWF Superstars.
– Ultimate Warrior began to feud with King Harley Race and Hercules. Hercules ended up choking Warrior with his chain, viciously kicking off their feud.
– Ted DiBiase kept busy by feuding with Jake Roberts. DiBiase would manage to get a few victories over Roberts but Roberts would get a measure of payback by stalking DiBiase with his snake, Damien. Virgil, DiBiase’s bodyguard, would help DiBiase get the upper hand on Roberts and put the snake on Roberts, adding insult to defeat at a house show that took place on January 9th.
The rating for Saturday Night’s Main Event XIV is unknown.
Royal Rumble 1988 drew a 8.2 rating on the USA Network.