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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

3707 - NWA Bunkhouse Stampede '88



Shifting gears here... going from a miserable year for WWE to what some claim to be a rather miserable PPV event brought to you by Dusty Rhodes, Jim Crockett Promotions, and the National Wrestling Alliance. Well, considering how miserable I've been watching the McSon-In-Law Reign Of Terror in full swing bit by bit, I'm fairly certain that this will... look, this is the first time I'm watching this show. I've heard so many horrible things about this show and despite this, I'd really wouldn't mind giving a shot and seeing it for myself.

And I'm already regretting it... but why is that?

Did you not read the banner text?


Some context before we begin...

Bunkhouse Stampede '88 is the second PPV event from Jim Crocket Promotions. Their first attempt, Starrcade '87, didn't exactly go over well due to shenanigans from Vince, who not only booked the inaugural Survivor Series event that same weekend, but also threatened anyone showing Crockett's show to pull Survivor Series and Wrestlemania IV. Naturally, Crockett was left in the dust.

This second attempt at a PPV didn't fare much better, as Vince opted to air a free show on USA Network the very same night. The show in question. The inaugural Royal Rumble... and thus there's a reason why the Rumble is the revered event that it is today, while the Bunkhouse Stampede is a long, forgotten relic from days long gone.

First thing you notice right off the bat is that the show starts with an empty arena due to the PPV feed starting early and showtimes being all mixed up. The announcers (future WWF HOF'er Jim Ross and future senatorial aide Bob Caudle) try to claim that there're 6000 people in attendence, but from the looks of things, they'd be lucky if 600 people showed up for this thing.

And then we have the first match, which sees Nikita Koloff defending his NWA World Television Champion against one half of the U.S. Tag-team champions, Bobby Eaton. The match runs twenty minutes and ends in a time out. It is slow, it is boring, it is way too long, and despite the best efforts of Jim Cornette to keep the crowd awake, it clearly isn't working. Even typing this brief paragraph is starting to put me to sleep and I haven't seen the match in days. That's how bad it is and a truly horrendous start to a show that I have low expectations to begin with.

Larry Zbyszko defeated Western States Heritage champion Barry Windam with the help of Baby Doll's shoe to win the title in another long and dull match; though to be fair, this was only slightly better than the opener in that Larry and Barry can be good at times. This isn't one of those times, sadly.

Road Warrior Hawk defeated NWA World champion Ric Flair via disqualification when Flair hit Hawk with a chair; Flair retains the title. This was actually somewhat okay. It is the very epitome of "Flair wrestles a broom to a 3-star match." They tried and they managed the best match on the show, but that's not necessarily a good thing in the long term, considering the abysmal returns on the rest of the show.

And then we get to our featured attraction; the Bunkhouse Stampede, where eight guys are in a cage and the whole thing works like a battle royal; the goal is to get your opponents out of the cage until only Dusty Rhodes remain. Why do I say until Dusty remains and not the winner? Because Dusty Rhodes eventually wins the match by virtue of having created it in the first place. And he gets a cowboy hat for his trouble. Fuck me.

This match was a total farce. I mean, a total clusterfuck of a match. I'd like to have been an adult back in 1988 watching this show alongside other wrestling fans and asking them if they actually bought into this bullshit. I mean, for fuck's sake, the idea is to eliminate wrestlers by bringing them over the cage and knock them out. There is no way in hell you were going to try and keep the alure of it being "real" with such a stupid stipulation like this.

As I watch this "match" unfold before my eyes, my mind wanders to various points across space and time. I'm thinking about the end of the latest Avengers film and whether the follow-up will continue based on past iterations of the tale or go a different path. I'm thinking about whether I want to buy a pillow for my couch. I'm thinking of whether I want to build another Stellar Domination ship or go for a Command Cruiser in the Star Fleet Battles campaign. I'm thinking about whether I'd want to play another round of the horrid game X-perts or go with more Atari games on tonight's play session.

In short, I'm thinking about anything else BUT this "match" playing on TV... because it is a survival mechanism that keeps me sane while this bullshit is taking place. That's why I'm not mentioning any of the names here; beyond the beginning and the end of this farce, I don't recall a thing and that's probably for the best. It's as though any attempt to remember anything about this shitfest is met with fierce pain and a voice telling me "it's shit."

The match ends when Dusty knocks someone who vaguely looks like Barbarian off the cage with an elbow and he wins the match after a little over twenty-five minutes of bullshit. I don't wait for the closing credits; I turn the show off immediately and turn away in disgust. An absolute shit show of a main event.

Ho. Lee. Fuck. This was shit. Pure, undiluted shit. You only have four matches and only one was barely passable fare. The rest of the show was slow, boring, miserable, and just dragged for far too long. As for the titular Bunkhouse Stampede... GAZOOKS! is all I'm saying.

Shortly after this show, Dusty Rhodes was fired as booker and talent, finding himself in the WWF shortly after wearing polka dots. Jim Crockett Promotions would eventually be acquired by Turner Broadcasting.

A fitting punishment.

FIN.

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