Wrestlemania I-XXX Series. (4/30)

0

Wrestlemania IV (1988) –  “What the World is Watching”Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall

Wrestlemania IV drew 18,165 fans to “Trump Plaza”. Donald Trump’s casino was sponsoring the event. The attendance pales in comparison to Wrestlemania III, however the venue was sold out weeks in advance, The commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura remained. The show began with Gladys Knight singing a well-received America The Beautiful.

Before I delve into the sixteen match card, I would like to explain the WWF Championship situation. The title had been vacated due to controversy during a previous Hogan vs Andre match. A corrupt referee had made the pin fall, and Andre handed the title over to Ted Dibiase. The result was nullified, and the championship vacated, meaning Wrestlemania IV focused on a 14-man tournament to decide a new undisputed champion.


The participants included: Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Randy Savage, Ted Dibiase, One Man Gang, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Bam Bam Bigelow, Butch Reed, Dino Bravo and Jim Duggan.


Aside from the WWF Championship tournament, the Tag Team and Intercontinental Championships were also on the line. A twenty-man battle royal started the show, and the winner received a large trophy.

Match 1 – Twenty Man Battle Royal including Bad News Brown, The Bolsheviks The Hart Foundation The Killer Bees, Danny Davis, George Steele, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, The Rougeau Brothers, The Young Stallions, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, and Sika

This was a disappointing battle royal. Junkyard Dog appeared to be the fan favourite, but was eliminated at the end as Bret Hart and Bad News Brown joined forces (as both were heels). Somehow Bret never thought that Bad News Brown would attack him from behind as they celebrated the elimination of JYD. He was the last wrestler eliminated (like Wrestlemania II), and the best part about all of it was watching Bret Hart destroy the seven foot trophy afterwards. This was the beginning of a face turn for the Hart Foundation.


The WWF used Bob Uecker (again), Vanna White and Robin Leach as guest celebrities. Uecker spent most of the night looking for Vanna. She spent a lot of time with Gene Okerlund giving her choices for the tournament, while also having no idea who Bob Uecker was. Robin Leach read a proclamation for the WWF Championship tournament to the live audience after the battle royal, and he also carried the WWF Championship to the ring for the main event.


Match 2 – First round tournament match – Ted DiBiase (with Virgil and André the Giant) vs Jim Duggan

And the tournament began … with
Screwy Finish #1. The match was fitting of the overall tone of the tournament. As this was meant to be a singles tournament, Gorilla was displeased with Ted DiBiase having Virgil and Andre in his corner. Duggan was busted open at one point, which was probably unintentional. Andre tripped Duggan behind the referees back to give DiBiase the easy victory.

Backstage with Gene Okerlund, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake cut a promo with his trademark shears. It was an average interview, as he continued to threaten the Honky Tonk Man’s hair and Intercontinental Championship.

Match 3 – First round tournament match – Don Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham) vs Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin)


Considering the match only lasted five minutes, I enjoyed it. Muraco delivered a sweet gutwrench suplex early on (after completely botching a second rope elbow drop). Dino Bravo hit him with a nasty piledriver.

Screwy Finish #2 coming up. I was fooled by this finish completely until I saw the slow-motion replays  The referee was knocked down by Muraco as he ran towards Dino Bravo. What I didn’t see (as the camera wasn’t in position, and it was quickly done) was Dino Bravo pull the referee in front of him like a shield.

And here’s the screwy part. The match continued with the referee down, and Bravo hit Muraco with his side suplex finish. Bravo went for the pin cover, as the referee woke
up and crawled towards them. Instead of counting the pin-fall, the referee tapped Bravo’s shoulder three times … and the bell rang. I literally said “what the hell happened there?”, as we waited forever for a decision. Eventually they told us Muraco had won by disqualification, as the referee noticed Bravo’s use of him as a shield. Muraco would advance as DQ victories were allowed.


Match 4– First round tournament match – Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) vs Ricky Steamboat (with Little Dragon)

Steamboat carried his son, Richie Steamboat, down to ringside. I can’t say much about this match. The quality was clearly better than previous matches, but the ending was abrupt. Valentine rolled through on Steamboat’s trademark cross body, and used the tights to defeat Steamboat in just over nine minutes.

It was shocking to see Steamboat go down so easily, but I found out after the PPV that Steamboat was leaving the WWF, which explains it. The fans were robbed of a rematch between Steamboat and Randy Savage later in the night. Can we class that as
Screwy Finish #3? I think we can.


After the match we got to see the wonderful Donald Trump for a moment. Such a beautiful looking man, even in those days. After that we went backstage to Gene Okerlund, The British Bulldogs, Koko B. Ware, and Matilda. The Bulldogs explained how their dog Matilda, (who appeared docile) had gone under “weasel training”, to take down Bobby Heenan. I guess they expected Matilda to rip Heenan to shreds in the middle of the ring in their tag team match. That wasn’t going to happen obviously, but all their focus was putting Matilda over. She was the star.

Match 5 – First round tournament match – Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) vs Butch Reed (with Slick)

Ohhh Yeah! Randy Savage in his prime .. yeah. No one can stop Macho Madness. He was majorly over by this point, and the quality of his robes had improved a lot. Miss Elizabeth was carrying very expensive jewelry around her neck tool. The match against Butch Reed was short, and for the first time in this tournament, had no screwy finish. It was a squash match. The fans popped loud for the elbow drop.

Match 6 – First round tournament match – One Man Gang (with Slick) vs Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink)

Screwy Finish #4? Within three minutes, Bigelow fell to the outside. He tried to get back in but One Man Gang blocked his way, and the referee decided to count Bigelow out anyway. Never seen anything like it. Lame. We know how good Bam Bam Bigelow was, which made the match embarrassing.

Trending Stories