OSR: WWE WrestleMania 4 Review
Back at the beginning of 1988, the WWE Championship was declared vacant by then-president Jack Tunney. Stemming from the controversial ending to a match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant on Saturday Night Main Event. A championship tournament was scheduled to determine the new champion at WrestleMania IV. Coming from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, WrestleMania IV set out to determine a new WWE Champion. The WWE WrestleMania IV review looks back at this event, which was the beginning of the Donald Trump-Vince McMahon business relationship…
Coming from Boardwalk Hall, part of the Trump Plaza complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The opening shot looked at the fallout from Saturday Night Main Event in February 1988 where Andre the Giant defeated Hulk Hogan to capture the WWE Championship. However, in a shock twist, he was to a mere minutes later sell the championship to Ted DiBiase. All of this controversy saw the championship being vacated. With commentators Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura, the show was quickly underway.
1. Open Invitational Battle Royal Match
The opening contest was a invitational Battle Royal match, whereby the winner would receive a trophy for their victory. This could have possible being the idea of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal came from. Eventually, it was down to Bret Hart and Bad News Brown/
Brown took advantage of Hart, by eliminating him in order to win the match. As Brown celebrated, Bret Hart attacked Brown; he then destroyed the trophy in the process. Considering the character of Bret at the time, this was surprising to watch and served as a reminder to Bret Hart circa 1997.
Winner: Bad News Brown
2. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase (w/ Virgil and Andre the Giant)
The opening contest of the tournament saw Hacksaw Jim Duggan face Ted DiBiase. The Million Dollar Man had Andre to his side, who had received a bye to the second round. Interestingly the commentators teased a potential match between Andre and Ted as a possibility.
A nice refreshing outlook from the Monsoon and Ventura something missing from today. The match was fairly quick, with Ted picking up the win thanks to the distraction from Andre. With 14 matches on the card, this might be common feature.
Winner: Ted DiBiase
3. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin) vs. “The Rock” Don Muraco (w/ Superstar Billy Graham
The second match of the tournament saw two strong men face off. It was always nice to see the color of Superstar Billy Graham in the corner of Muraco. Muraco advanced to the next round, after Dino Bravo moved the referee in the way of an incoming Muraco.
Winner: “The Rock” Don Muraco
4. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Steamboat was incredible to watch as he executed perfect lock ups, arm locks and the basics for a cracking wrestling match. A favourite spots, saw a simple Scoop Slam by Ricky that Valentine reversed, which looked very authentic. Even if it was Ricky who implemented the reversal.
Whilst it may have being a short match, both men were able to capture the imagination of the fans. Greg Valentine was able to pick up the sneaky win following a roll up reversal from the cross body.
Winner: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
5. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: Butch Reed (w/ Slick) vs. Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)
“OOOO Yeah Macho Man” was in the house and ready to begin his journey to greatness. Other than impersonating Macho Man, not much attention was paid to the match. Eventually, Savage picked up the win to advance to the next round.
Winner: Randy Savage
6. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: One Man Gang (w/ Slick) vs. Bam Bam Biglow (w/ Oliver Humperdink)
In the next first round tournament match, two mammoth men competed in a big man match up. This eventually saw Bam Bam being counted out, which allowed One Man Gang to advance to the second round.
Winner: One Man Gang
7. WWE Championship First Round Tournament Match: Rick Rude (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
This was easily been the best match of the card; mainly as they went the full 15 minutes and were given the opportunity to tell a story. Most of the matches have been short and didn’t really showcase much. This was a very enjoyable match, which would have been even better with no time limit.
Winner: Time-Limit Draw
8. The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan)
A match with two power houses; The Warrior and Hercules. Most of the match was showing off power and trying to knock each other down. There were far too many clotheslines with no effect. Amusingly, the crowd was fairly silent for the entire match.
Hercules tried to pin the Warrior with a suplex, however he had forgotten he had his shoulders pinned. Warrior kicked out at two, but the referee counted to three.
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior
9. WWE Championship Second Round Tournament Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Ted DiBiase and Virgil)
Giving their previous offering including WrestleMania III, not too much can be expected from this match. To the credit of Hogan, he had plenty of energy which allowed him to do well against Andre. After he was unable to knockdown Andre, Ted DiBiase and Virgil interfered.
At this point, Hogan and Andre began hitting one another with steel chairs. This resulted in the referee disqualifying both men, which meant neither man advanced in the tournament. After chasing DiBiase and Virgil out of the arena, he then slammed Andre before celebrating.
Winner: No-Contest, Double Disqualification
10. WWE Championship Second Round Tournament Match: “The Rock” Don Muraco (w/ Superstar Billy Graham) vs. Ted DiBiase
Muraco spent most of the match with the advantage. Ted was able to capitalize by planting Muraco onto the ropes, whereby he was effectively choking him. Ted picked up the three count to punch his way into the finals.
Winner: Ted DiBiase
11. WWE Championship Second Round Tournament Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)
One Man Gang was in the ring, as Howard Finkel announced that he automatically advanced to the semi-final. In the final second round match, Macho Man faced The Hammer. The match should have been pretty decent.
It was interesting how the heavyweights were split with the more athletic stars. Sadly the match was nowhere as good as it should have being. In the end, Macho Man was able to beautifully reverse The Hammers Figure 4 Leg Lock to be victorious.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
12. WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Honky Tonk Man (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue) vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
Next was the Intercontinental Championship match. Near the end of the match, Beefcake was able to send Honky Tonk to sleep with the sleeper hold, however as he knocked out the referee as a result of a distraction from Jimmy Hart.
Beefcake chased Jimmy Hart around the ring, eventually catching him and chopped off his long hair. Hilariously, Peggy Sue entered the ring with a water bottle to revive the The Honky Tonk Man. The match ended in a disqualification victory for Beefcake.
Winner: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake via Disqualification
13. Bobby Heenan and The Islanders (Kama and Haku) vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and Koko B. Ware
What on earth was Bobby Heenan wearing? He was wearing a protective jacket which looked ridiculous. With it being 6-Man Tag, The Brain was competing. Bobby finally got into the ring and puts up a fight – kicking Dynamite in the ribs.
Interesting point to note, on the WrestleMania anthology DVD version of WrestleMania IV, Koko’s logo on his butt was blurred out. As the match concluded, Heenan entered the match as all six men brawled. Heenan pinned a knocked out Koko for the victory.
Winners: The Islanders and Bobby Heenan
14. WWE Championship Semi Final Tournament Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. One Man Gang (w/ Slick)
One Man Gang was able to get a bye into the semi-finals, so could he take advantage of Macho Man? The match was fairly even until Slick distracted Miss Elizabeth. Slick then gave his cane to the One Man Gang who hit Randy Savage with it.
The referee saw the weapon being used and disqualified The One Man Gang. This allowed Randy to advance to the finals. The match was really quick, whereby it seemed like WWE were trying to think of all the various endings possible.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage
15. WWE Tag Team Championship: Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) (c) vs. Demolition (Ax and Smash) (w/ Mr. Fuji)
This was one of the longer matches on the card. Martel applied a Boston crab on Smash. Santana grabbed Mr. Fuji onto the apron, which allowed Ax to get his manager’s cane. He nailed Martel with it as Smash covered Martel for the pin, crowning new Tag Team Champions.
Winners: Demolition, to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship
16. WWE Championship Tournament Finals Match: Ted DiBiase (w/ Andre the Giant) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth)
Andre The Giant caused a massive disadvantage for Macho Man, as he was constantly getting involved in the match. Eventually Miss Elizabeth walked to the back, bring out Hulk Hogan to even the score.
The chaos continued, as DiBiase applied the Million Dollar Dream on Savage but this wasn’t seen as the referee was distracted by Andre. Hogan then nailed Ted with a chair. This allowed Savage to hit a second Flying Elbow Drop to capture the WWE Championship.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage, to capture the Vacant WWE Championship
In brutal honesty, it took several attempts to watch this event. It featured a huge card with 16 matches, which was insane and that included a large number of byes. With that number matches, they all seemed rushed and didn’t really give anything to the imagination.
The match of the night was between Jake Roberts and Rick Rude as they utilized the 15 minutes well. The other matches were generally quite dull, and WWE overused the disqualification ruling to rush through matches quickly. In terms of importance, Macho Man was able to solidify himself on the night. Other than that, there isn’t too much to really inspire you with.