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WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #14 – January 2, 1988

WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #14 – January 2, 1988

It’s a new year for the WWF, and as we enter 1988 we head toward Wrestlemania IV. Hulk Hogan is approaching his four year anniversary as champion, a feat that would be unheard of nowadays, and has faced multiple opponents and has decimated all of them. However one man decided to try his hand again, after a loss at Wrestlemania II, King Kong Bundy regrouped and decided to take one more shot at the unstoppable champion. This time Bundy had an ace in the hole, Andre the Giant, who would be at ringside with Bobby Heenan for the challenger. Unfortunately for King Kong Bundy, Andre got caught tripping the champion and was ordered back to the locker room, leaving Bundy with Heenan, but the dastardly duo had a backup plan. When Hulk Hogan went after Bundy on the floor, they put the plan in motion. As Hulk tossed the mammoth challenger back in the ring to finish him off, Bobby Heenan capitalized on the moment and grabbed the ankle of the Champion. Hulk was unable to get back in the ring, and was counted out; giving Bundy the win he so wanted, but not the title. A furious Hulkster knocked Bundy out of the ring and gave Bobby Heenan the beating he deserved. This brings us to tonight, as Bobby Heenan is no condition to be at ringside, he has secured the services of Andre the Giant to be the manager of King Bundy in this epic rematch. All this and much more, tonight on Saturday Night’s Main Event!!!

We open with the vintage thirty second interviews, which were always a cool way to start the show, and first is Jake Roberts, as they invite Sika & Mr. Fuji to a New Year’s Party. Jimmy Hart asks Greg Valentine what you get when you combine Koko B. Ware and his bird Frankie, one bird and one bird brain! Strike hard, strike first, Strike Force, Bolsheviks beware! Slick promises tonight there will be a real Russian Revolution, and it’ll be your heads that will roll, and wish all their fans a happy New Year! Bobby Heenan says last time the ref forced Andre to leave ringside, and that won’t happen tonight as Andre is officially in Bundy’s corner. They start a chant of Bundymania. Hulk calls it a cheap shot and a cheap victory, and says if he has to go through the Giant he will prove Bundymania is dead and Hulk-a-mania lives forever. That sends us to the opening video, then to Vince McMahon. Vince welcomes us to Landover, Maryland along with Jesse Ventura. Vince says on behalf of Jesse, Happy New Year. Jesse says don’t speak for him, and he looks at the camera and says Happy New Year. They then go over tonight’s card as we go to Hulk Hogan and Mene Gene, as Hulk is warming up for the match tonight. Hulk calls Gene, little man, and says he’s in shape to cross the biggest desert, etc. Hulk says it will only be a happy New Year if he gets his hands on Andre, Gene back to Vince. Jesse says Hulk is nervous and is sweating, which is hilarious. Gene is now with Slick and the Bolsheviks, Boris Zhukov & Nikolai Volkoff; Gene asks Slick if he is impressed with Strike Force. Slick says they are not impressed; they are depressed as Strike Force is sending Capitalist propaganda. Slicks says the Bolsheviks are peaceful and bring goodwill, he then talks about Russian President Gorbachev coming to talk with him about strategy with the Bolsheviks as they head down the aisle.

1. Strike Force v. Bolsheviks. Slick calls the fans dummies and tells them to stand up for the singing of the Russian National Anthem. Vince cuts them off, and they show the highlights of Strike Force winning the tag titles from the Hart Foundation, as Gene is with Tito Santana and Rick Martel. Tito says he’s proud of himself and his partner, Martel says 1988 will be the year of Strike Force. Tito says their opponents may be big and tough, but they have plenty of heart. Yeah, that and two bucks will get you a coffee! Jesse says Strike Force will have a problem, as they can’t pull hair tonight with both Bolsheviks being bald. Tito and Boris start out, and Boris takes Santana down with the shoulderblock, but runs into a powerslam. Boris with an armdrag, but Tito answers back with one of his own. Tito tags in Martel and they double team Boris, and Martel works the arm, as they make frequent tags and work the arms. Boris able to tag Volkoff in, but Martel rolls him up for a near fall, than a small package for another near fall. Nikolai with a knee to the gut, and tags in Boris, and Boris eats buckle, as Tito tagged in. Boris misses the clothesline and Boris gets caught in a crossbody. Nikolai breaks the pin, and with Martel distracting the ref the Bolsheviks double team Tito. Nikolai now in and chokes Tito down, as Jesse applauds the use of the ropes from the Bolsheviks as Boris tagged in. Boris with a nice belly to back Suplex for a near fall, from there Boris goes to a rear headlock. Tito tries to fight back, and Boris slams him but misses the elbow. Tito uses his speed to tag in Martel who opens up on Boris. Martel hiptosses Boris, than nails a sleeping Volkoff, and goes for the Boston Crab as Tito holds Nikolai back. Boris has no choice but to submit, giving the first fall to Strike Force, as we go to commercial. We come back for fall two, and Tito dropkicks Volkoff out and Strike Force double team Boris. Martel goes for the Crab again, but Nikolai breaks it up. The ref busy with Tito and Nikolai comes in and works over Rick. Volkoff with a gut wrench Suplex for a near fall. Nikolai press slams Martel and drops him across his knee, and then tags in Boris. Boris hammers the back of Martel, using his head as a battering ram, than tags Volkoff back in. Nikolai has Martel in the corner and opens up on the French Canadian. Martel hits a mule kick to send Volkoff back, and tries to make the tag, but Volkoff catches him. Volkoff goes for a backdrop, countered into a sunset flip, but Nikolai kicks out easily. Both men collide, and they are both down. Nikolai tags in Boris, who accidentally shoves Martel into Tito and the tag is made. Tito dropkicks both men and hits the flying forearm on Boris for the pin, but Nikolai breaks it up. The ref busy again with Martel and Nikolai grabs the cane. Nikolai goes to nails Santana with the cane, but Tito moves and Nikolai cracks Boris in the head. Martel dropkicks Volkoff out as Tito covers Boris for the victory. 3/5 a good tag match, as it was very fast paced considering it was the Bolsheviks. Nikolai never got enough credit, as he was very impressive in the ring. I think his 95 run tarnished what he did in the 80’s. Now over the Gene who is with Mr. Fuji who’s holding a big jar of Mustard. We know its mustard, because it’s written in big black letters on the jar. Subtlety, thy name is WWF TV! Gene asks Fuji about the mustard, as Sika brings in a huge loaf of bread, and Fuji says this is dinner. Gene says is this dinner for Damien? Fuji says no, Damien will be in the bread and be a hot snake, as Gene sends it back to Vince. Mr. Fuji and the wild Samoan Sika make their way to the ring, as Gene is with Jake now. Gene asks is Jake is concerned, and he says no, because once you step in the ring you need to worry about DDT. Jake says he goes in the back door where no one is looking, and says he will twist Fuji into a pretzel as Gene sends it back to Vince.

2. Jake Roberts v. Sika. The bell rings, and they lock up, and Sika overpowers Jake in the corner. Jake avoids contact and armdrags Sika twice, then into an arm bar. Sika misses a punch, and Jake fires back twice, Sika whips him in, but misses the clothesline. Sika goes for a kick, but Jake holds the ropes, Jake gets Sika in the corner and tries to whip him in, but Sika holds on. Jake gets caught charging in, as Sika backdrops Jake, and rakes the scales of Snake. Fuji with a cheapshot nails Jake in the ribs with the cane. Never trust anyone with a cane, that’s the lesson learned tonight. Sika with a nerve hold, as Jake tries to fight back, Sika whips Jake in, but Jake comes back with a knee lift. Jake fires off with the left hands, but gets caught coming off the ropes, as Fuji grabs the ankle. Sika tosses Jake in the corner, but misses the charge, and Jake rolls him up for the win. 1.75/5 not a good match, the ending was quick and sudden too. Just not a good match for Jake, expected better. Jesse calls it a fast count, as Jake goes to get Damien and Sika charges at him. Jake backdrops Sika out of the ring, and Fuji alone with Jake. Jake kicks Fuji in the gut and nails the DDT on Fuji, than dumps Damien on top of Fuji. Sika gets Fuji out of the ring, as Jesse points out the Fuji never lost his hat, as we go to Gene with Heenan, Bundy and Andre. Gene asks if Heenan is not going out there, and Andre will be. Heenan says that is correct, as doctors will not clear him, so Andre will be there. Bundy says Hogan attacked and tossed Heenan around but won’t do that to him or Andre. We now get the recap of the Hulk/Bundy match from last month. We once again get another interview with Hogan, who talks about getting beat by Bundy last month. Hulk says some of the Hulk-a-maniacs think he may lose again, as he says President Regan is a Hulk-a-maniac and he had a summit meeting with the President. Hulk says he will take out Bundy and get his hands on the Giant, as he heads down the aisle.

3. Hulk Hogan v. King Kong Bundy. They lock up, and both men jockey for strength, and Hulk wins it, Bundy charges in, and Hulk moves. Hulk rams Bundy into the four corners, and chops the big man down. Bundy runs into the big boot, and tumbles to the floor; Andre quickly comes over to give advice to Bundy. Bundy back in the ring and Hulk continues where he left off, as he whips Bundy in and nails a lariat sending Bundy outside again. Andre helps Bundy again, and he slowly gets back in, and locks up with Hulk. They wind up on the ropes, and Bundy goes for a cheapshot, but Hulk blocks and takes Bundy down, then goes to an armbar. Hulk works over the arm, as this is the most scientific moves I’ve seen from Hogan so far on SNME. Bundy pulls Hogan down by the hair, and locks on an armbar of his own. Andre yells he didn’t pull the hair, as Hulk comes back and nails a pair of shoulderblocks which don’t move Bundy. A third attempt avoided and Bundy with a back elbow knocks the champ down and then back to the arm. Bundy really works over the arm, and takes Hulk down by the hair again, and the ref missed it again. Bundy continues to work the armbar, as I’m impressed by Bundy’s scientific skills. Hey, for Bundy this is Bret Hart style wrestling!! Hulk finally fights out and slams Bundy, but misses the big elbow drop. Bundy returns the favor and slams Hulk, but misses two elbow drops. Hulk back with a pair of forearms, and a corner clothesline, as he goes to whip Bundy in, but reversed. They keep reversing the whip, and Hulk has to leap has to leap over the ref, who dropped down to avoid hitting him. As the ref is the corner with Hulk, Bundy nails the Avalanche crushing the ref, but misses the big splash, as Hulk nails a big elbow to the head of Bundy. Hulk punches Bundy to the floor, as the ref gets stretchered out, and we have a new referee as Bundy gets some time to rest and get advice from the Giant. We go to commercial as they get the ref out, and we come back to the match resumes. Bundy rakes the face of Hogan, and nails the big clothesline on Hogan then drops a knee for a near fall. Bundy chops Hulk in the ropes, and sends him to the floor, and catches Hulk coming back in, sending the champ to the floor. Andre wants a faster count, but if Hulk gets counted out Bundy wouldn’t get the title, so that makes no sense, and Jesse points it out. Hulk finally back in, and Bundy with a shoulderblock knocking the champ down, and goes to a rear chinlock. Andre keeps yelling at Hebner to ring the bell, who’s Andre think he is Vince. It’s almost a decade to soon for the Screwjob! Hulk whipped in the corner, and Bundy nails big Avalanche as Bundy picks up the fallen champion. Bundy whips Hulk in again and then he hits a second Avalanche, and Bundy doesn’t cover him but goes for the big splash, and gets a near fall. Hulk begins the Hulking Up, and reverses Bundy’s whip in the corner, sending Bundy to the mat and drops the leg for the three! 3.75/5 a surprisingly good match, as Bundy surprised me with the working over of the arm. After the match, Andre gets on the apron and Hulk calls him in, as Jesse can’t believe Hulk is calling out Andre. Andre waves him off and drops back down, and Hulk begins his posing, but suddenly Andre quickly, well as quick as Andre moves, grabs Hulk from behind. Andre headbutts Hulk and starts to choke down, and the Hulkster is going down quickly. The British Bulldogs charge in and try to pull Andre off, Andre releases Hulk and rams the Bulldogs together and heaves them out of the ring, and right back to Hulk. JYD, Strike Force and Jake Roberts come in and they try to get Andre to release the choke and Andre doesn’t budge. Hacksaw Jim Duggan finally breaks the hold by nailing Andre with the 2X4, and as Andre goes after Duggan, the others roll Hulk out. Andre holds the title high, as they help Hulk to the back. We come back from commercial, and Jesse is with Jimmy Hart and Greg Valentine, who say they are happy to see Jesse instead of Gene. Jesse wishes them luck, and asks Greg about his relationship by Jimmy, and Greg says he has never been happier. That sounds very gay, as he calls Brutus the Fruitcake, and Jesse sends it to Gene. He is with Koko, who says Greg is nothing but featherweight, Koko’s interviews really sucked, seriously. How the hell did he get in the hall of fame before DiBiase, Savage or even Kamala? Just saying is all.

4. Koko B. Ware v. Greg Valentine. What a zoo WWF was in 88, Bulldogs with Matilda, Koko & Frankie & Jake with Damien. They quickly lock up, and Greg sends Koko in the ropes, and he comes back with a shoulderblock. Greg catches Koko coming in and drops him on the ropes, then follows with the elbow drop. Greg hammers Koko down, and goes for the legs, but Koko fights him off. Koko gets caught in the corner and Hammer pounds him down, as Valentine climbs the ropes and drops a forearm across the head. Hammer continues to pound on Koko, as Jimmy yells at Koko through the megaphone, as Greg has a rear chinlock on the Birdman. Valentine drops an elbow on the head of Koko, and tosses him outside the ring. Greg catches Koko coming in, and hammers Koko, then whips him in and hits a clothesline for a near fall. The crowd suddenly erupts, as we see Brutus Beefcake coming to the ringside area. Jesse disputes this as Jimmy Hart is a manager and Brutus has no business out there. While Greg is distracted, Koko able to get three pin attempts on Hammer. Greg rolls out of the ring, and demands Brutus gets sent back, and the ref sends Brutus back as we go to commercial. We come back, as Hammer whips Koko in the corner, and chops him down. Hammer has had the majority of the offense in this match, as Koko is getting destroyed here. Greg slams Koko, and climbs the ropes, but Koko catches him and tosses Greg to the mat. Koko opens up on Greg, and hits a nice dropkick, and then a headbutt sends the Hammer down. Birdman climbs the rope, and drops the fist in the head of Valentine, and goes to a headlock, but Greg drops Koko down across his knee. Greg gets Koko in the figure four leg lock, and Koko has no choice but to submit. 2/5 basically a squash, but Greg is always solid in the ring. After the bell, Greg puts the figure four back on Koko, and Brutus makes the save. Greg bails out of the ring, and Jimmy is alone with Koko. Koko grabs Jimmy by the ankle, as Brutus slides in and Brutus starts to cut Jimmy’s hair, but Jimmy weasels his way out. We go to commercial, and when we come back we see the replay of Andre choking out Hulk Hogan from earlier tonight. Gene is with Heenan and Andre, and Gene says the actions of Andre were horrible. Andre said it felt so good to squeeze the neck of Hogan and he wants to do it again. Heenan says he will deliver the title to Andre, as we go to commercial. We come back and Gene is now with Jesse, as Jesse is glad to see Hulk get choked down. Gene says Hulk is in the back getting better, as Jesse pretends to wipe his eyes. Jesse says he’s glad he doesn’t have to listen to that braggart, and proclaims this the year of the Giant. Vince joins Jesse and Gene as they close the show, and we see the recap of Andre getting hit by Duggan.

Match Recap:

1. Strike Force beat The Bolsheviks in two straight falls at 7:55 3/5
2. Jake Roberts pinned Sika in 3:35 1.75/5
3. Hulk Hogan pinned King Kong Bundy in 12:09 3.75/5
4. Greg Valentine beat Koko B. Ware in 7:30 2/5

An ok show, not the best show, but the Hulk/Bundy match was good as was the tag match. The Jake match was brutal though, as it was too short and just ended abruptly. The last match was too long though, as it was just a squash. They should’ve flipped the length of those two, and it would’ve been better. Still not bad as it built to our next show, which features the biggest rematch in WWF history.

Strike Force/Bolsheviks

Jake/Sika

Hulk/Bundy

Valentine/Koko

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