Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 was the fourth and final professional wrestling Bunkhouse Stampede event produced by Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner and it was the only Bunkhouse Stampede event to air as a pay-per-view (PPV) event. The event took place on January 24, 1988 from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
The main event was a Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede, which was won by Dusty Rhodes. The undercard featured Ric Flair versus Road Warrior Hawk for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, Barry Windham versus Larry Zbyzsko for the NWA Western States Heritage Championship and Nikita Koloff versus Bobby Eaton for the NWA World Television Championship.
Bunkhouse Stampede featured four professional wrestling matches that involved wrestlers from pre-existing rivalries, plots and storylines that were played out on Worldwide, Pro and World Championship Wrestling–Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP)'s television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a hero, villain or a tweener as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or a series of matches.
The main match heading into the event was the Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede. On December 26 edition of World Championship Wrestling, it was announced that Big Bubba Rogers, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, The Barbarian and The Warlord, Lex Luger, Road Warrior Animal, Steve Williams, Mighty Wilbur and Ivan Koloff had qualified for the Bunkhouse Stampede final and a Wildcard Bunkhouse Stampede would take place on January 1 to determine the final participant of the Bunkhouse Stampede. On the January 1 event, Dusty Rhodes won the Wildcard Bunkhouse Stampede to become the final participant of Bunkhouse Stampede. On January 24 edition of World Championship Wrestling, the final participants were announced for the Bunkhouse Stampede including Rhodes, Anderson, Blanchard, Barbarian, Animal, Koloff, Warlord and Luger.
Another predominant rivalry heading into the event was between Ric Flair and Road Warrior Hawk for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. At Starrcade, Flair defeated Ron Garvin to win the title. On December 6, Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal) defeated Flair and Arn Anderson by disqualification. On January 24 edition of World Championship Wrestling, it was announced that Flair would defend the title against Hawk at Bunkhouse Stampede.
On January 3 edition of World Championship Wrestling, Jim Cornette, the manager of the NWA United States Tag Team Champions Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) announced that Eaton would be the next NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and Lane would be the next NWA World Television Champion, resulting in a rivalry between Midnight Express and the US Champion Dusty Rhodes and the Television Champion Nikita Koloff. Rhodes and Koloff competed against Midnight Express in several Steel Cage matches at live events. This resulted in a Television Championship match between Koloff and Eaton at Bunkhouse Stampede.
When the live broadcast commenced, Nikita Koloff defended the NWA World Television Championship against Bobby Eaton in the opening match. Koloff started focusing on Eaton's arm but Eaton gained the control of the match. The action continued back and forth with both men exchanging moves. Eaton eventually regained momentum and performed a Diving Elbow Drop and a Hammerlock. Koloff finally got out of the Hammerlock but Eaton attacked Koloff again and performed a Missile Dropkick. Eaton applied another Hammerlock and Koloff got out of the move and tried to hit a Lariat, which he called Russian Sickle. However, Eaton caught Koloff's arm and applied a third Hammerlock. The action continued until Koloff performed a Russian Sickle and the twenty–minute time limit of the match expired. As a result, Koloff retained the title.
In the next match, Barry Windham defended the NWA Western States Heritage Championship against Larry Zbyzsko. Windham controlled the earlier part of the match until Zbyzsko began focusing on Windham's injured knee and continued to attack it. Windham eventually made a comeback by performing a Powerslam. He tried to perform a Diving Elbow Drop but Zbyszko continued to attack his knee. Windham countered with a Dropkick and tried to perform a Backdrop Suplex but he suffered some pain in his knee that allowed Zbyszko to get a near-fall. Windham eventually gained control of the match by performing a Gutwrench Suplex and applied a Sleeper Hold. Zbyszko held the ropes to be released and rolled out, causing Windham to follow him. Zbyszko shoved him into the ringpost. Windham tried to perform a Lariat but Zbyszko collapsed and Windham fell to the floor. Zbyszko took advantage and smashed Windham's face on a ringside table. The action returned to the ring where Windham tried to perform a Sunset Flip but Zbyszko countered it with a near-fall. Zbyszko tried to perform a Swinging Neckbreaker but Windham countered it into a Backslide. Zbyszko tried to perform a Piledriver but Windham countered with a Back Body Drop, allowing both men to get knocked out. Zbyszko missed a charge on Windham into the corner, allowing Windham to hit ten punches in the corner. The referee was attacked by Zbyszko and Windham tried to pin him with a roll-up. Zbyzsko's valet Baby Doll gave him her shoe and Zbyzsko hit him with the shoe to win the championship.
The final match on the undercard was for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Ric Flair defended the title against Road Warrior Hawk. Hawk did not have any effect of Flair's moves and he dominated Flair with his power moves. Flair started getting control of the match with a Low Blow and then followed it with an Eye Rake and a Knee Drop. Flair started getting control of the match until Hawk performed a Shoulder Neckbreaker and missed a Jumping Fist Drop. Flair applied a Figure Four Leglock. Flair eventually broke the hold and tried to climb the top rope but Hawk tossed him down. Hawk performed a Clothesline on both Flair and the referee. Flair was clotheslined outside the ring. He pulled Hawk outside the ring but was attacked by Hawk. Hawk powerslammed Flair and continued to dominate Flair. Hawk performed a Superplex and tried to pin him but Flair's manager James J. Dillon broke it with a Chair Shot. Hawk's manager Paul Ellering woke up the referee and Flair nailed Hawk with a chair to lose by disqualification and retain the title.
The main event was a Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede. The object of the match was to throw the opponent out of the cage door or send him out via the top of the cage for the elimination. The participants were Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, The Warlord, Dusty Rhodes, Ivan Koloff, Lex Luger and Road Warrior Animal. The action continued for the first fifteen minutes until Animal eliminated Koloff over the top of the cage. The action continued until Animal eliminated Warlord through the cage door and Barbarian performed a Big Boot, which he called Kick of Fear on Animal to eliminate him through the cage door. Blanchard and Anderson tried to double-team Luger to eliminate him through the cage door but all three of them were eliminated at the same time. Rhodes and Barbarian were the remaining participants and continued to fight each other. Barbarian performed a Diving Headbutt on Rhodes but was still unable to eliminate him. They climbed up on the ropes and eventually over the top of the cage. Rhodes performed two Bionic Elbows to eliminate Barbarian and win the Bunkhouse Stampede for the fourth consecutive time.
- Dark match: Sting and Jimmy Garvin defeated The Sheepherders (Butch Miller and Luke Williams) by disqualification (11:45)
- Nikita Koloff (c) fought Bobby Eaton (w/ Jim Cornette) to a time-limit draw in a NWA World Television Championship Match (20:00)
- Larry Zbyszko (w/ Baby Doll) defeated Barry Windham (c) in a UWF Western States Championship Match (19:16)
- Road Warrior Hawk (w/ Paul Ellering) defeated Ric Flair (c) (w/ James J. Dillon) by disqualification in a the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (21:39)
- Dusty Rhodes defeated Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, Tully Blanchard, Ivan Koloff, Lex Luger, Road Warrior Animal, and The Warlord in a Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede (26:21)
The event gave birth to a new rivalry between Lex Luger and the Four Horsemen, a group Luger left in late 1987 after losing the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. On March 27 edition of Clash of the Champions, Luger and Barry Windham defeated Horsemen members, the NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard to win the title. On April 23 edition of World Championship Wrestling, Luger and Windham lost the title back to Anderson and Blanchard when Windham betrayed Luger and joined Horsemen. Luger became the #1 contender for Horsemen's leader Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight Championship, unsuccessfully challenging him for the title at The Great American Bash and Starrcade.
|1983 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|1984 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|1985 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|The Great American Bash 1985 • Starrcade 1985|
|1986 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|The Great American Bash 1986 • Starrcade 1986|
|1987 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|The Great American Bash 1987 • Starrcade 1987|
|1988 World Championship Wrestling pay-per-views|
|Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 • The Great American Bash 1988 • Starrcade 1988|