WrestleMania 4: The rise of the Mega Powers
Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the next edition of WrestleMania Rewind! Last time, we had covered one of the best WrestleManias of all time, WrestleMania 3. Many things happened in that edition of WrestleMania, with Savage – Steamboat classic being the match of the night, and one of the best matches of all time, and the Hogan – Andre confrontation, which will always be remembered for that one moment when Hogan scooped Andre and dropped him on his back. That is one image that will stick in your mind no matter how old you grow, and is one of those rare moments that the people from the 80s would proudly tell their children and grand children. In the end, the WrestleMania at the Pontiac stadium was a massive success.
Following the previous edition would always be a mountain to climb for the WWF and for Vince McMahon. One thing had changed in between though, a monumental change in the landscape of the WWF. Hulk Hogan was no longer the WWF Champion, as he was defeated by Andre to end his record 4-year run as the champion of the Organization. Following his win, Andre sold the WWF title to the Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase Sr. Following this, then on-screen President of the WWF, Jack Tunney, vacated the WWF Championship, which would be decided at WrestleMania 4, which saw last year’s rematch between Hogan and Andre during the second round of the event.
The other interesting thing to note about WrestleMania 4 (And a reason why Donald Trump is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year), was that the event was held at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The whole WrestleMania 4 was revolved around the vacant WWF Championship, and the quest of the superstars to win the title. So without further ado, let us get down to business as we look back at WrestleMania 4, in 1988.
Bad News Brown wins the 20 men battle royal
The first match of the night saw a 20 men battle royal for a trophy. The match saw superstars such as Bret and Jim Neidhart, Bad News Brown, Harley Race, JYD and more. The end came when JYD was eliminated by Hart and Brown, and while Hart wanted both to share the trophy, Brown deceived Hart and eliminated him. After the match, Hart attacked Brown, thus turning face.
14 – man tournament for the vacant WWF title
Ted Dibiase (With Virgil and Andre the Giant) defeated Jim Duggan
In the first round of the tournament, The Million Dollar man Ted Dibiase Sr. defeated Jim Duggan, to advance to the next round.
Don Muraco (With Billy Graham) defeated Dino Bravo (With Frenchy Martin) by disqualification
In the next match, Muraco defeated Dino Bravo when Bravo tried to use the referee as a shield, to advance to the next round. In this edition of WrestleMania, the card was stacked with matches, and so, the event went for complete 4 hours!
Randy Savage (With Miss Elizabeth) defeated Butch Reed (With Slick)
In the next match of the tournament, Macho Man defeated Butch Reed to go on to the next round.
Greg Valentine (With Jimmy Hart) defeated Ricky Steamboat (With Little Dragon)
The other participant of the famous WrestleMania 3 match, Ricky Steamboat lost to The Hammer, thus getting knocked out of the tournament.
One Man Gang (With Slick) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (With Oliver Humperdink) by a count out
In the next match of the evening, One Man Gang defeated Bam Bam Bigelow in a short, painful encounter (Painful to my eyes that is).
Rick Rude (With Bobby Heenan) and Jake the Snake Roberts fought to a no contest
Two of my all time favourites battled it out next, as Rick Rude took on the Snake, and both went to a time limit draw, thus getting knocked out of the tournament.
Ultimate Warrior defeated Hercules (With Bobby Heenan)
The next match saw the PPV debut of Ultimate Warrior, as he squashed Hercules.
As Hogan and Andre were the final ones to battle for the WWF title, both were directly sent to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Quarterfinals for the WWF Championship
Hogan and Andre (With Virgil and Ted Dibiase) went to a double disqualification
Hogan and Andre went to a double disqualification as both men hit the other with alien weapons in front of the referee, who disqualified them both, thus eliminating both the men from the tournament!
Ted Dibiase defeated Don Muraco (With Billy Graham)
Ted defeated Muraco to advance into the semi final round in the tournament.
Randy Savage (With Miss Elizabeth) defeated Greg Valentine (With Jimmy Hart)
The Macho Man beat The Hammer to advance into the semi final round along with Ted Dibiase Sr.
Brutus Beefcake beat The Honky Tonk Man (With Jimmy Hart and Piggy Sue) by disqualification for the WWF Intercontinental title
The next match on the card saw Beefcake, who was a good guy now, taking on THTM for the WWF IC title. The match ended when Jimmy interfered, hitting the referee with the megaphone, thus disqualifying THTM, although THTM retained the title, as it doesn’t change hands due to DQ.
The Islanders (Haku and Tama) and Bobby Heenan defeated The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and Davey Smith) with Koko B. Ware
Arguably the match of the night. Good in ring action followed by some interference by The Weasel. The match ended when Islanders threw Heenan onto Koko for the pin and the win.
Randy Savage (With Miss Elizabeth) defeated One Man Gang (With Slick) by disqualification
The semi final match saw Savage taking on One Man Gang. OMG was disqualified when the ref caught him trying to attack Savage with Slick’s cane, thus sending Savage into the finals against Ted Dibiase, who had went to the finals directly as Andre and Hogan were both disqualified.
Demolition (Ax and Smash with Mr. Fuji) defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) for the WWF Tag team Championship
The match for the WWF Tag team titles saw Demolition taking on the champs, Martel and Santana. The end came when Smash attacked Santana with Fuji’s cane behind the ref’s back, and pinned him to win the WWF Tag team championship.
Randy Savage (With Miss Elizabeth) defeated Ted Dibiase (With Andre the Giant) to win the WWF Championship
The finals of the WWF Championship tournament saw a beat up Savage taking on a relatively fresh Dibiase. Giant was in Dibiase’s corner, and hence, Hogan came down to even the odds being in Savage’s corner. The end came when Andre tried to interfere, allowing Hogan to nail Dibiase with a chair, and enabling Savage to hit his elbow drop for the pin, and to win the WWF Championship!
The PPV ended with Savage – Elizabeth – Hogan celebrating the victory in the ring. This led to the formation of the most powerful team in the 80s, the Mega Powers. This WrestleMania was stacked with a lot of matches, and most of them ending in the 6 minute range.
Analysis: **1/4 (Out of 5 stars)
This brings us to the conclusion of yet another WrestleMania Rewind. This PPV was not as great as the previous edition, but since Savage became the WWF Champion, it went down as one of the more interesting WrestleManias. Join us tomorrow as I cover the next edition of WrestleMania, as we continue to build steam heading into this year’s edition.
Read the rest of the WrestleMania rewind series here