As the road to WrestleMania XXX continues to get smaller as the days go by, we here at eWrestlingNews.com will continue to refresh your memory on some of the legendary moments in the history of WrestleMania.
In this edition of our “WrestleMania Moments” series, we’re going to look back at both WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V, both of which took place at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. For the first — and to this day — only time in history, back-to-back WrestleMania events were held in the same venue.
Part one of this two-parter will focus on the build-up to WrestleMania IV, where the vacant WWF Championship would be decided in a one-night tournament.
WrestleMania IV took place on March 27, 1988 and featured the aforementioned one-night tournament to crown a new WWF Champion. Leading up to the big event, on the first ever edition of “The Main Event,” a live Friday night show that aired on NBC as a spin-off of the popular “Saturday Night Main Event” program, Andre The Giant defeated Hulk Hogan to become the new WWF Champion.
This is where things get a little complicated.
During the match, which was officiated by Dave Hebner (or so we thought), a controversial finish took place. Andre pinned Hogan, however Hogan’s shoulders were clearly not on the mat. After the match, Andre sold his title — as we found out was planned all along — to “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, only for a second Dave Hebner to come running down to the ring.
So here’s the story, at least as far as the angle played out on television. DiBiase had paid an “unknown” to undergo plastic surgery so that he would look identical to Dave Hebner, the assigned referee for the bout. As it turns out, this “unknown” was actually Earl Hebner, the identical twin brother of Dave. Andre won the title thanks to the screw job finish courtesy of the fake Dave Hebner, and then quickly sold the title to DiBiase.
So in a weird way, the 1997 Survivor Series pay-per-view was not Earl Hebner’s first time screwing someone out of the WWF Championship in a main event.
To make a long story short, “WWF President” Jack Tunney would vacate the title and put it on the line in a 14-man tournament that would play out at WrestleMania IV. The tournament would feature “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, “Magnificent” Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “The Natural” Butch Reed, One Man Gang vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant, which was guaranteed as a rematch directly in the quarter-finals.
Hogan and Andre would end up fighting to a double-disqualification, eliminating both from the tournament.
The finals featured Savage and DiBiase. DiBiase had Andre in his corner, and after consistent interference from Andre, Savage’s valet — Miss Elizabeth — ran backstage. After a minute or so went by, Elizabeth came back out with Hogan. Hogan — with the assistance of a steel chair — ended up helping Savage defeat DiBiase to become the new WWF Champion.
Now “best friends,” Hogan and Savage formed a unit that would become known as “The Mega-Powers.” As a tag-team, it seemed like nothing could stop this unbeatable force. Eventually something did come between these two, and that was the lovely Miss Elizabeth. Jealousy turned to rage and before you know it, the stage was set for WrestleMania V.
In our next installment of “WrestleMania Memories,” we’ll take another trip down memory lane to tell the story of the breaking up of The Mega-Powers and one of the best build-ups to a main event in WrestleMania history, as “Macho Man” Randy Savage defended his WWF Championship against former ally-turned-enemy, Hulk Hogan.
Until then, make sure to leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below. You can also hit me up directly at Facebook.com/MattBooneWZR.
For those of you who have missed the previous editions of our “WrestleMania Moments” editorial series, check out the following links: