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Pro Wrestling

1988

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This is a list of various things that took place in 1988.

Significant events

Unknown date

  • David Woods buys Continental Championship Wrestling from Ron Fuller and renames the promotion as the Continental Wrestling Federation. Under Woods' ownership, the CWF later lands a national TV deal with cable sports network SCORE

January

February

  • Following his sale of Continental Championship Wrestling and his retirement as an active competitor, Ron Fuller establishes USA Championship Wrestling in Knoxville
  • 5 - The WWF debuts The Main Event on NBC as a spinoff of Saturday Night's Main Event, marking the return of wrestling to prime-time network TV for the first time since 1955 (when the DuMont Network cancelled Wrestling from Marigold Arena). The main event sees André the Giant defeat Hulk Hogan to win the WWF Heavyweight Championship in controversial fashion (a referee had counted the pinfall, even though Hogan's shoulder was clearly up), then sell the belt to Ted DiBiase (as part of a storyline focusing on DiBiase's efforts to become champion, by hook or by crook). More than 33 million viewers tune in to watch the match, and the broadcast's success led to future prime-time specials

March

  • 7 - During a match against Hulk Hogan that would air that weekend on Saturday Night's Main Event, Harley Race seriously injures himself when an attempted stunt -- Race laying Hogan across a (non-gimmicked) table outside the ring and attempting a diving headbutt, but Hogan rolling out of the way to cause Race to crash through the table -- went wrong, and the metal trim around the table's edge pierced Race's abdomen. Race continued the match to its intended conclusion (Hogan scoring a pinfall victory) without any apparent ill-effects, and would compete in a battle royal at WrestleMania IV three weeks later as scheduled, but fell ill shortly after WrestleMania and underwent surgery. With Race forced to take a hiatus, the WWF began an angle where Race's manager, Bobby Heenan, blamed Hogan for deliberately taking out Race and vowed revenge. Race returns late in 1988 as a tweener, competing on an André the Giant-captained team at the Survivor Series but then going on-camera at an event at Philadelphia Spectrum (aired on PRISM), calling Heenan a "weasel" (and slapping his face) before demanding a match against Haku
  • 27 - Jim Crockett Promotions presents the inaugural edition of Clash of the Champions on TBS in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ric Flair retains his NWA World title by battling Sting to a 45-minute draw in the main event

April

  • 22-23 - The third (and what would be final) NWA Crockett Cup Memorial Tag Team Tournament is held in Greenville, South Carolina (Night One) and Greensboro, North Carolina (Night Two). On Night Two, Lex Luger and Sting win the Crockett Cup tournament by beating Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson in the final, while Ric Flair retains his NWA World title via DQ loss to Nikita Koloff in a non-tournament match prior to the final

May

June

  • The first "Brother Love Show" -- WWF writer and producer Bruce Prichard as a stereotypical evangelistic preacher -- talk show segment, patterned after "Piper’s Pit," debuts. At first a part of WWF Wrestling Challenge, the segment soon moves to the WWF's flagship program WWF Superstars of Wrestling.
  • 25 - A steel cage match at New York City's Madison Square Garden between WWF Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase famously ends with a fan climbing onto the cage, perhaps to grab Virgil (DiBiase's bodyguard, who, as part of the preplanned series of events leading to the finish, was attempting to interfere in the match). Virgil quickly pushes the fan away before security pulls him off and takes him into custody; the match then continues to its intended conclusion -- Savage slamming the heads of DiBiase and Virgil together before escaping the cage and retaining the World Heavyweight Championship. On the live MSG Network broadcast (and later included in all replays and home video footage), play-by-play announcer Roger Kent and color commentator Superstar Billy Graham remind fans to never attempt to become involved in the action. While it is neither the first nor last incident of unplanned, unscripted fan interference, this remains one of the most famous, and DiBiase recalled the incident in his autobiography and later interviews

July

August

September

  • Learning the Ropes, a Canadian-produced situation comedy starring NFL football star Lyle Alzado as a high school teacher who moonlights as a professional wrestler, debuts on CTV in Canada and in United States in syndication. The program features stars from the National Wrestling Alliance, and will have a one-year, 26-episode run

November

  • Jim Crockett Promotions is purchased by TBS owner Ted Turner and renamed World Championship Wrestling
  • 7 - WWF parent Titan Sports holds its first-ever non-wrestling pay-per-view as it presents a boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde
  • 24 - The Survivor Series is held for the second year in a row in Richfield, Ohio. The most notable storyline development would be the beginning of a slowly evolving angle where WWF Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage was growing increasingly irritated over getting second-billing to Hulk Hogan (despite not being champion) and Hogan's increasingly overly friendly relationship with Miss Elizabeth. Heel commentator Jesse Ventura picks up on this and interviews Savage backstage after the event, at which time Savage insists things are fine. For the rest of 1988 and going into 1989, the storyline has it that the two are still friends, although subtle hints continue to be dropped that all is not well between the two

December

Births

Unknown

January

February

March

May

June

July

August

September

October

December

Deaths

May

July

September

Debuts

Unknown date

September

Retirements

Unknown date

Events

January

February

March

April

May

June

August

September

October

December

Pay-Per-View events

January

March

July

August

November

December

Title changes

March

April

May

August

September

October

  • 3 - Top Gun wins the NWA Pacific Northwest title from The Grappler in Longview, Washington
  • 10 - The Grappler regains the NWA Pacific Northwest title from Top Gun
  • 15 - Tatsumi Fujinami wins the NWA Pacific Northwest title from The Grappler in Portland, Oregon. Fujinami is awarded the title when Grappler fails to beat him within thirty minutes in a special challenge match aired on Portland Wrestling on Portland station KPTV
  • 29 - The Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk) win the NWA World Tag Team title from the Midnight Express in New Orleans, Louisiana

December

See also

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