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Chairshot Retro Review: WWF Championship 1988

Matt Davis is back with his second Retro Review, looking at the WWF Championship in 1988–the year of the Macho Man!

Matt Davis is back with his second Retro Review, looking at the WWF Championship in 1988–the year of the Macho Man!

Welcome to the second edition of the Weekly Championship Review on The Chairshot! THis will be a biweekly article here on The Chairshot because we have a lot to discuss! In starting, my question for you is; have you ever had a discussion with a friend or in a group online about who is the greatest champion of all time? What is your defense of your claim? Wins? Quality of matches? Lenth of reign? In this weekly article, I will be looking back one year at a time and evaluating one specific championship in each article, with a yearly grade ranking and overall grade ranking and as we progress through the years, I will reveal who I believe is the best champion of all time.

To start us off, I am going to discuss the most recognizable championship in the history of wrestling, the WWE Heavyweight Championship. These articles will not discuss the “Big Gold” World Championship, Universal Championship, or any other recognized heavyweight championship in WWE, those will be discussed in other articles. During these reviews, I will count matches aired on weekly television, PPV, and matches also released on VHS and later on home media.

Andre the Giant (February 5th, 1988 – February 5th, 1988)
Record: 0-0
Clean Losses: 0
Successful Defenses: 0

Recommended Matches to Watch:

  • Andre the Giant d. Hulk Hogan, February 5th, 1988, “The Main Event”

Thoughts: Well, this happened. Arguably one of the dirtiest championship switches in company history, Andre sold his soul to the Million Dollar Man because everybody has a price. Andre immediately gave the championship to DiBiase, and WWF Commissioner Jack Tunney interpretted this as vacating the championship. The WWF has never recognized DiBiase as champion during this time, so neither will I. The vacating of the championship led to the first ever tournament to crown a new WWF Champion at Wrestlemania IV.

Grade: N/A (it was a storyline, not so much a reign)

“Macho Man” Randy Savage (March 27th, 1988 – April 2nd, 1989)
Record: 20-3
Clean Losses: 0
Successful Defenses: 13

Recommended Matches to Watch:

  • Randy Savage d. Butch Reed, March 27th, 1988, “WRESTLEMANIA IV”
  • Randy Savage d. Greg Valentine, March 27th, 1988, “WRESTLEMANIA IV”
  • Randy Savage d. Ted DiBiase, March 27th, 1988, “WRESTLEMANIA IV”
  • Randy Savage d. Ted DiBiase [Steel Cage], June 25th, 1988, “The Ultimate Randy Savage Collection”
  • Randy Savage d. Ted DiBiase, July 31st, 1988, “Macho Madness”
  • Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan d. Ted DiBiase & Andre the Giant, August 29th, 1988, “SUMMERSLAM”
  • Randy Savage d. Ted DiBiase [Steel Cage], September 24th, 1988, “Randy Savage: The Unseen Matches of the Macho Man”
  • Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Hercules, Hillbilly Jim, & Koko B. Ware d. Ted DiBiase, One Man Gang, The Big Bossman, Haku, & The Red Rooster, November 24th, 1988, “SURVIVOR SERIES”
  • Randy Savage d. Bad News Brown, January 16th, 1989, “Best of the WWF Vol. 19”
  • Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan d. The Big Bossman & One Man Gang, February 3rd, 1988, “The Main Event II”
    Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, April 2nd, 1989, “WRESTLEMANIA V”

Thoughts: It’s extremely difficult to compare this championship reign to the previous one for several reasons, but it is obvious that this reign was far less as grandeur as Hogan’s 84-88 reign. But, if you weren’t a fan of Hulk Hogan in the 1980s, this was the reign that captivated your hearts. After Randy Savage had feuded with Ricky Steamboat culminating in their epic Intercontinental Championship match at Wrestlemania III, and the only logical step for Savage was to target the WWF Championship. He ended up winning the tournament and celebrating with his friend Hulk Hogan. They’d go on to form the Mega Powers, because Hogan couldn’t give Savage his moment and let Savage be the top man in the company, so they’d main event Summerslam and Survivor Series together, before imploding at The Main Event II in February, leading to one of the most famous Wrestlemania matches of all time at Wrestlemania V. (Besides WCW Superbrawl VIII, my guilty pleasure, Wrestlemania V is probably the second PPV I watched the most growing up on VHS.) Looking through this reign, Savage’s reign was a myriad of tags with Hogan, opposed to a quality top of the card championship reign. Of the 11 Recommended Matches, 4 are tag team matches, 2 are before he even won the championship, and 4 didn’t air on television and had to be searched out by fans to enjoy. That left his two main event Wrestlemania matches as the only major singles matches Randy Savage would have during this reign. Though he did have a fun feud with Ted DiBiase through the summer, none of it made it to television. Everyone knows that should have been the main event of Summerslam, but whatcha gonna do, brother? I am giving this entry an extra bonus point because every wrestling fan has accused their friends at one point or another of “Having them jealous eyes..yeahh”.

Grade (A+ through F ): “C+”

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Overall WWE Champion Ranking:
1) Hulk Hogan (January 23rd, 1984 – February 5th, 1988), “A”
2) “Macho Man” Randy Savage (March 27th, 1988 – April 2nd, 1989) “C+”

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