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WWF March 1988: Yearly Review

World Wrestling Federation March 1988:

WWF World Championship Scene: (currently vacant)
With the WWF World Championship vacant, the main eventers had to keep busy before the highly anticipated fourteen man tournament taking place at Wrestle Mania IV, which took place on March 27th. Before Wrestle Mania IV the WWF had another Saturday Night Main Event show which was taped on March 7th. The event had some good progression for the title tournament as the show featured Ted DiBiase defeating Randy Savage by count-out. Afterwards, Andre the Giant attacked Savage until Hulk Hogan made the save. Hogan, Savage, DiBiase and Andre are the favorites to win the championship leading into Wrestle Mania IV.

At Wrestle Mania, favorites Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant wrestled to a double disqualification which gave Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase a rather easy road to the finals. Savage ended up pinning DiBiase in the finals after Hogan returned to the ring and whacked DiBiase over the back with a steel chair. Savage nailed DiBiase with the elbow drop and won his first WWF World Championship.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Scene (currently held by: the Honky Tonk Man)

Honky’s feud with Brutus Beefcake started to heat up as their showdown at Wrestle Mania started to get closer. Beefcake remained on a roll as he defeated his former tag partner and now hated rival Greg Valentine at the Saturday Night Main Event show taped on March 7th.

Beefcake and Honky’s feud continued at the March 9th taping of WWF Superstars where Honky was going to sing for the fans. However, before he could sing, Beefcake turned off the music and declared that he was going to beat Honky for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestle Mania IV. Leading into the pay per view, Beefcake would have several matches with both Valentine and Honky winning the matches usually by disqualification.

At Wrestle Mania IV, Beefcake came close to winning the championship but Honky’s manager, Jimmy Hart, saved the championship from changing hands. Beefcake had the sleeper hold on Honky but before Beefcake could win the title, Hart nailed the referee with his megaphone. Honky’s feud with Beefcake was not over, though. Stay tuned.

WWF World Tag Team Championships Scene (currently held by: Strike Force)

Strike Force remained on a winning streak leading into the big showdown against Demolition as they retained the championships over teams like the Islanders and the Bolsheviks. On the other hand, Demolition suffered a few loses to the Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers), the British Bulldogs and the Rougeau Brothers on the house show market leading into the title match against Strike Force at Wrestle Mania IV.

Despite losing several matches on the house show markets, Demolition was able to defeat Strike Force to win their first WWF World Tag Team Championship. Strike Force nearly retained the titles as Martel had the Boston Crab on Axe until Smash nailed Martel with Mr. Fuji’s cane. Due to the interference, Demolition member Smash pinned Martel to win the tag team championships. This was the start of Demolition’s first tag team title run.

Other Happenings:

– On the March 8th taping of Wresting Challenge, a feud between Ron Bass and Junkyard Dog began. On the show, Bass choked JYD with Miss Betsy after allowing JYD to pass by him to go to the ring. JYD got some measure of revenge by attacking Bass on the March 19th taping of Superstars. JYD attacked Bass during a tag match where Bass teamed with One Man Gang against the Ultimate Warrior and Don Muraco. They would have several matches on the house show market with JYD prevailing in almost all the encounters.

– Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant began a feud at the March 9th taping for WWF Superstars. On the show, Duggan was choked by Andre after issuing a challenge to Andre. Duggan managed to fight back and whacked Andre with a 2×4. Andre proceeded to flip out over the attack by attacking several people at ringside. This incident saw Bobby Heenan once again become Andre’s manager as prior to the incident, Andre was owned by Ted DiBiase. Duggan was able to hold his own on several occasions where Andre would try to attack Duggan after a match, but failed. Duggan would team with Hulk Hogan to wrestle Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant on various house shows. The issues between Duggan and Andre had actually started on January 2nd where Duggan saved Hogan from a beat down by Andre. However, a feud between both men didn’t start until March.

– At the March 19th taping of WWF Superstars a feud between Rick Rude and Jake Roberts began. Rude would usually pick a female out of the crowd to give a pre-match kiss. However, this time the female rejected his advances. The female revealed to Rude that she was married to Jake Roberts. Rude was slapped by Robert’s wife and after grabbing her was attacked by Jake himself to kick off the feud. They would have a match at Wrestle Mania which was also a tournament match for the vacant WWF World Championship. They wrestled to a fifteen minute draw and both were eliminated from the tournament as a result.

– The British Bulldogs’ conflict with the Islanders and Bobby Heenan continued. Their matches on the house show market would typically end with one team beating the other down with a dog leash. Heenan, who had kidnapped Matilda (Bulldog’s mascot), tried to steal Koko B. Ware’s pet parrot Frankie during a March 20th taping of Wrestling Challenge. However, Heenan failed as the British Bulldogs made the save preventing the kidnapping. At Wrestle Mania IV, Bobby Heenan and the Islanders defeated the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware when Heenan pinned Ware at the peak of the feud.

– At Wrestle Mania IV, Bad News Brown won a 20 man battle royal last eliminating Bret Hart after double crossing Hart. After the match, Hart attacked Brown and broke the winner’s trophy. This marked the first time Bret Hart would become a baby face in the WWF.

– Wrestle Mania IV marked the last appearance of Ricky Steamboat in the WWF for three years. On the show, Steamboat lost to Greg Valentine in a tournament match. Steamboat would go back to the NWA and feud with Ric Flair.

– The Ultimate Warrior won the feud between himself and Hercules as Warrior pinned Hercules in less than five minutes. This is only the beginning of Warrior’s mega push in the WWF.

Ratings/Buy-rates:

Saturday Night’s Main Event #15 drew a 10.0 rating on NBC.
Wrestle Mania IV drew a 6.5 rating on pay per view

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