|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||March 27, 1988|
|City||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Venue||Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall|
|Tagline(s)||What the World is Watching!|
WrestleMania IV was the fourth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on March 27, 1988, at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall[a] in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The announced attendance of WrestleMania IV was 19,199.
The main event featured as the finals of a one-night fourteen-man single elimination tournament for the Undisputed WWF Heavyweight Championship, in which Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase to win the vacant title. The main matches on the undercard were a twenty-man battle royal won by Bad News Brown, Demolition (Ax and Smash) versus Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) for the WWF Tag Team Championship, and Brutus Beefcake versus The Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship.
André vs Hogan
The main feud heading into WrestleMania was between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant, similar to the year before at WrestleMania III. In January 1987, Hogan was awarded a trophy for his third year as WWF World Heavyweight Champion while Hogan's best friend André was awarded a smaller trophy than Hogan's, for being undefeated in the WWF for fifteen years. Hogan congratulated his friend and said that André was the real champion of superstars all around the world, but André exited the arena before Hogan's speech was finished. In February, on an episode of Piper's Pit, Andre announced his new manager, Bobby Heenan, Hogan's longtime enemy. Hogan begged André to drop Heenan, but André refused. André said that he had come to challenge Hogan to a WWF World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania III, before ripping off Hogan's Hulkamania shirt and golden cross necklace, turning heel. This culminated in their historic match at WrestleMania III in March, where Hogan defeated André to retain the title. During the match, he set a WWF record by scoop slamming the 520-pound Frenchman.
At the first Survivor Series in November, André, One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Butch Reed and Rick Rude defeated Hogan, Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, Ken Patera and Bam Bam Bigelow in a traditional Survivor Series match. Shortly after the Survivor Series, Hogan defended his WWF World Heavyweight championship against Bundy, Andre sneak-attacked Hogan, choking him to the brink of rendering him unconscious, relenting only after several of the face wrestlers came in to pull Andre away. Ted DiBiase, a relative newcomer to the WWF, was portrayed as "The Million Dollar Man", an evil millionaire gimmick, offered Hogan a large sum of money to sell him the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, to which Hogan refused. DiBiase knowing Andre's desire to decisively defeat Hogan, and his own desire for the championship, DiBiase enlisted Andre to win the championship for him, and at the first Royal Rumble in January 1988, Hogan and André had their official contract signing for a WWF World Heavyweight Championship rematch. Their rematch took place on the first edition of The Main Event in February, where André controversially won the title from Hogan in a screwjob plot involving referee Dave Hebner's identical twin Earl Hebner being used to count the decisive fall.
After a reign of less than a minute, André then sold the title to DiBiase and received a large sum of money. Andre revealed, in an arena interview with DiBiase a few weeks before the event, that he planned to take a year off and go on a cruise with the money DiBiase was paying him once he secured the title for him, thereby providing the explanation as to why Andre would sell off the belt he had wanted himself at WrestleMania III just a year earlier. Owing to the status of the championship not having been won in a wrestling match, WWF President Jack Tunney, however, vacated the title and ordered it to be decided in a 14-man tournament at WrestleMania IV. As previous champions, André and Hogan would get a bye to the second round of the tournament, but would face each other in their second round matchup.
The Mega Powers
Hogan would form an unlikely alliance with former enemy and top challenger to his WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Randy "Macho Man" Savage (which was later known as the Mega Powers). Savage had been an egomaniacal heel during most of his first two years in the WWF, but in the late summer of 1987 began a slow face turn. The friendship, then, was formed when Hogan (at the persuasion of Savage's valet, Miss Elizabeth) saved Savage from a 3-on-1 attack by The Honky Tonk Man, and Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). Although Hogan and Savage teamed together at untelevised house shows, nothing more was made of it on national television until shortly before WrestleMania IV, when Hogan rescued Savage from a brutal attack by Andre the Giant, DiBiase and Virgil.
Lower on the card, Brutus Beefcake had set his sights on the WWF Intercontinental Championship, held by The Honky Tonk Man. Beefcake, who had the gimmick of that of a haircutter, would regularly cut wrestler's hair after matches had previous experience of Honky, and had vowed "to cut his ducktail hair." Honky, meanwhile, had gained a reputation as a cowardly, closet champion, frequently relying on outside interference from manager Jimmy Hart (or his "girlfriend" Peggy Sue) to win matches, or intentionally getting himself counted out or disqualified to retain his championship with the champions advantage.
Having debuted the year previously, in his first major feud, The Ultimate Warrior began battling with Hercules over who the stronger, gladiatorial-style superstar was in the WWF. During a match on WWF television, Hercules attacked Warrior with his steel chain after a chain match.
The British Bulldogs and The Islanders had feuded since the late fall of 1987, after the heel Islanders attacked Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid during a match and kidnapped their bulldog mascot, Matlida, from ringside. Several times, Haku and Tama would come to ringside with a dog collar and leash, pretending that a dog was on the end of the leash, as a way to gain a psychological advantage over Smith and the Dynamite Kid. The Islanders' manager, Bobby Heenan, had gone off on several tangents about animal mascots being allowed at ringside and drew Koko B. Ware into the feud when he also made derogatory (and at times threatening) remarks about Frankie, a macaw that Ware brought to ringside for his matches. This would lead to a Six-man tag team match with manager Heenan tagging with the Islanders.
The event began with Gladys Knight singing a rendition of "America the Beautiful". The first match was a twenty-man[b] over the top rope battle royal with the winner to receive a large trophy. After fourteen eliminations, the final six participants were Bad News Brown, Bret Hart, Paul Roma, Harley Race, Jacques Rougeau, and Junkyard Dog. Race hit a back body drop on Rougeau sending him over the top rope before Junkyard Dog punched him over the top rope. Brown dumped out Roma as Junkyard Dog was left to battle Hart and Brown. The duo double-teamed him and Hart caught Junkyard Dog as Brown clotheslined Junkyard Dog but Junkyard Dog sidestepped and Hart was hit with the clothesline. Junkyard Dog hit both men with several headbutts before they both decided to cooperate and they eliminated Junkyard Dog. Hart decided that he and Brown would share the trophy but Brown betrayed him and hit him with a Ghetto Blaster before eliminating him over the top rope to win the battle royal. Brown was presented with the trophy, but Hart attacked him from behind and broke the trophy. It was the first step of The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) turning babyface over the next few months.
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
|Bob Uecker (Main Event)|
|Special Guest Timekeeper||Vanna White (Main Event)|
Before the fourteen-man tournament for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship then began, Robin Leach from the TV show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" read a special proclamation outlining the special circumstances that led to the WWF holding the tournament. In the first round, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (with bodyguard Virgil and André the Giant) defeated "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, "The Rock" Don Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham) defeated Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) by disqualification after Bravo pulled the referee in front of him, causing the referee to be hit by a flying forearm from Muraco.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated "The Natural" Butch Reed (with Slick), Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (with "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart) defeated Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, the One Man Gang (with Slick) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink), and "Ravishing" Rick Rude (with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan) fought Jake "The Snake" Roberts to a time limit draw. The winners advanced to the quarterfinals; Rude and Roberts were both eliminated from the tournament, giving the One Man Gang a bye into the semifinals. As former champions, André the Giant and Hulk Hogan were given a bye and directly qualified for the quarters.
In his pay-per-view (PPV) debut, The Ultimate Warrior faced Bobby Heenan's client, Hercules. Warrior and Hercules locked up with Warrior chopping Hercules in the corner. Hercules tried to fight back and he hit two clotheslines on Warrior, who no-sold them before a third from Hercules knocked him down. The Warrior then countered a Hercules clothesline and hit a clothesline of his own (with his non-preferred left arm). He pounded on Hercules outside the ring before re-entering the ring where Warrior hit a forearm club. In the corner, Warrior hit him with ten punches, but while the Warrior was looking at the referee, Hercules had the presence of mind to pick Warrior up off the second rope and hit him with an inverted atomic drop. He then tried to apply his Full Nelson finisher but could not lock his fingers behind Warriors head. The Warrior then pushed his feet off the top turnbuckle and both men fell to the mat in a pinning position. The Warrior then got his shoulder up at the count of two and the referee continued to count Hercules, giving the Warrior the win. Hercules then attacked The Warrior with his chain, choking him with it before Warrior fought back and managed to get the chain from Hercules causing him to flee from the ring.
The quarterfinals started as Hulk Hogan took on André the Giant. During the match, Hogan hit André with a chair (brought into the ring by Ted DiBiase who had hit Hogan with it) in front of referee Joey Marella, before André grabbed the chair and hit Hogan with it. After both men hit each other with the chair, they both were disqualified by Marella and, as a result, they both were eliminated from the tournament. In the following matches, Ted DiBiase (without either André or Virgil after Virgil had been Suplexed in the aisle by Hulk Hogan) defeated Don Muraco and later, Randy Savage would defeat Greg Valentine. Meanwhile, the One Man Gang received a bye in the quarter-finals, due to Rick Rude and Jake Roberts having wrestled to a time limit draw in the first round. Gang would face the Savage in the semi-finals.
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake took on Jimmy Hart's client, WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man for the title with his girlfriend "Peggy Sue" also in his corner. The challenger connected with an atomic drop at the outset of the matchup. Beefcake hit Honky with a high knee, then missed an elbow drop on Honky, who took control with a second turnbuckle fist drop. He went for the Shake, Rattle & Roll on Beefcake but instead kneed him in the face. He went to the top rope to do some high-flying but Beefcake hooked the top rope and clotheslined Honky before applying a sleeper hold. Honky's manager Jimmy Hart hit the referee with his megaphone (accidentally, but legitimately knocking the referee out). The bell didn't ring but it was announced that Beefcake won by disqualification, which meant that Honky was still the champion.[c] With Honky Tonk "sleeping" in the ring, Beefcake then chased Jimmy Hart and upon catching him, held him down and gave him a haircut with Hart kicking and screaming. Beefcake then set his sights on Honky Tonk, but before he could then cut Honky's hair, Peggy Sue revived Honky by pouring a pitcher of water over him.
The Islanders (Haku and Tama) and their manager Bobby Heenan took on The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and Koko B. Ware. Dynamite landed some quick hits on Tama who tried to shake hands with Dynamite but he catapulted Tama over the top rope. Smith tagged in but missed an elbow drop on Tama, allowing Tama to tag Haku. Smith hit a flying crossbody on Haku for a near-fall. Smith went for another pin but Haku kicked out again. Haku hit an arm wrench and tagged Tama. Tama grabbed Smith's arm and came out of it with a military press slam. Tama tagged in Haku who put Davey in a backbreaker but Smith flipped out of it and tagged in Koko. He hit Haku with a missile dropkick and a Frankensteiner. Dynamite tagged in and clotheslined Haku before ran into Haku's boot. Heenan tagged and stomped Dynamite before tagging in Tama. Tama hit a back body drop on Dynamite but missed a big splash. Tama tagged Haku while Dynamite tagged Koko. Heenan tagged in but was dropkicked in the corner by Koko, who the Islanders attacked. This prompted the Bulldogs to enter the ring. All six men brawled in the ring as the referee sent the Bulldogs to the corner while the Islanders picked up Heenan and threw him on top of Koko, leading to a pinfall win.
The semi-final match of the WWF World Heavyweight Championship tournament began featuring Randy Savage against the One Man Gang while Ted DiBiase received a bye in the semi-finals due to the double disqualification of Hulk Hogan and André the Giant. Savage hit a hotshot on the One Man Gang before the 450 lb (200 kg) One Man Gang began his power moves, easily overpowering the 237 lb (108 kg) Savage before he missed a 747 splash. He fell to the outside as Savage connected with a diving double axe handle. Savage then went for a scoop slam which predictably failed. The One Man Gang's manager Slick then began taunting Savage's valet Miss Elizabeth, who climbed to the apron to stay away from him. Slick jumped on the apron and handed One Man Gang his cane. He nailed Savage with it and attempted to jab him as he lay on the mat but Savage kept rolling away. The referee saw the One Man Gang using his cane and disqualified him and awarded the match to Savage. As a result of the win, Savage advanced to the finals to face Ted DiBiase for the vacated WWF title.
Before the final round, Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) defended the WWF World Tag Team Championship against Demolition (Ax and Smash) with their manager Mr. Fuji in their corner. Smash nailed Martel before both teams began brawling in the ring. Strike Force hit Smash with a double back elbow for a near-fall. Santana applied an armbar on Ax before Martel tagged in and applied an armbar but Ax headbutted him and tagged in Smash. Santana tagged in but was caught in a bear hug and was clotheslined by Ax. He hit a big scoop slam and suplexed Santana. Ax tagged in but ducked off a low Irish whip. Santana hit a flying forearm smash on an interfering Smash and tagged in Martel who dropkicked both Ax and Smash a number of times and applied a Boston crab on Smash. Santana grabbed Mr. Fuji up onto the apron, allowing Ax to get his manager's cane. He nailed Martel with it as Smash covered Martel for the pin. As a result, Demolition became the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
The main event was the tournament final for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship between "Macho Man" Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) and "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase (with André the Giant, but still no Virgil). Savage was tired due to his semifinal match against the big One Man Gang, while DiBiase took advantage of his freshness as he had received a bye in the semifinals (André had earlier revealed in a backstage interview with Bob Uecker that DiBiase had paid him to keep Hogan out of the tournament in any way possible to allow DiBiase an easier passage to the Final). He dominated most of the match but in the end, Savage made a comeback and tried to hit a Savage Elbow on DiBiase but DiBiase moved out of the way. He applied a Million Dollar Dream on Savage. With the referee distracted due to interference by André the Giant, Hogan (who had been brought down mid-match by Miss Elizabeth on request by Savage to neutralize André's presence) took advantage and nailed DiBiase with a steel chair. Savage climbed up the top rope for a second elbow drop attempt and this time, he successfully hit the Savage Elbow. He followed it up with a pinfall victory. He won the tournament and the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Hogan, Miss Elizabeth and Savage celebrated Savage's WWF Championship win.
Savage defended his newly won WWF World Heavyweight Championship, primarily against DiBiase but also granted title shots to others such as the One Man Gang and Bad News Brown who had physically attacked WWF President Jack Tunney on a Brother Love Show segment after suggesting that Tunney was protecting Savage by accepting 'favors' from Elizabeth. Hogan, meanwhile, took a leave of absence from the WWF during the late spring and part of the summer to film the movie No Holds Barred. André the Giant, meanwhile, was placed in a feud with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. However, the DiBiase-André alliance was renewed when the two attacked Savage during a television taping for the WWF's syndicated Superstars of Wrestling. Savage vowed revenge and, when DiBiase and André countered by offering to meet him in a tag team match with a partner of his choosing, Savage chose Hogan as his partner, re-solidifying the Hogan-Savage alliance as The Mega Powers. The two teams—with the DiBiase-André team dubbed the Mega Bucks—met in the main event at the inaugural SummerSlam, with Hogan and Savage winning the match. Due to a variety of factors, the Mega Powers alliance soon broke apart, with Savage turning heel following a tag team match against The Twin Towers (Akeem and the Big Boss Man) on The Main Event. Hogan and Savage met for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania V, with Hogan winning the title; Savage's reign lasted 371 days.
Of the other WWF World Heavyweight Championship tournament match-ups, the André-Duggan feud was born partly out of André interfering in Duggan's first-round match against DiBiase. Shortly after WrestleMania, Hacksaw confronted André in the ring after the latter was finished trampling a jobber and demanded a match; André seemingly laughed off Duggan but suddenly attacked and headbutted, violently shook and choked him repeatedly. Duggan was able to grab his 2-by-4 board and knock André out. A feud was also developed from Jake Roberts and Rick Rude, who had battled to a time limit draw, but the story line here was Rude advancing on a woman who revealed herself to be Roberts' real life wife, Cheryl. A furious Roberts attacked Rude following the encounter, with Rude later airbrushing an image of Cheryl onto his tights a few weeks later and Roberts making good on a threat to strip him of the pants if he were seen wearing them in the ring.
The Honky Tonk Man continued to feud with Brutus Beefcake over the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship during the spring and summer of 1988, with Honky continuing to avoid sure defeat by getting himself counted out or intentionally disqualified. Beefcake was granted a "final" match at SummerSlam, but was sneak attacked by Ron Bass one week before the event. At SummerSlam after the longest Intercontinental Championship title reign in history, Honky lost his title in just 28 seconds to a surprise opponent—the Ultimate Warrior, a muscular superstar the WWF at the time saw as younger, stronger and more charismatic.
Demolition granted a series of rematches against Strike Force and also battled The British Bulldogs for the Tag Team Championship. The Demolition-Strike Force feud came to an end in June 1988 when, during a televised match, Ax and Smash injured Rick Martel by repeatedly using their finishing move, the "Demolition Decapitation" on him. (In reality, Martel was granted a leave of absence to tend to his wife's illness). The British Bulldogs and The Young Stallions, and later another power team, The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord), became Demolition's primary challengers.
Following Bret Hart's elimination from the battle royal, he returned to the ring to attack Bad News Brown, setting up the newcomer Brown's first major feud in the WWF. More significantly, Hart, despite being a heel, was increasingly popular with the crowd; according to WWF owner Vince McMahon, Hart had received the most fan mail of any of his WWF Superstars. After briefly considering splitting up the Hart Foundation, it was decided to turn both Hart and Neidhart face and fire Jimmy Hart as their manager. While Bret Hart began his singles feud with Brown, the Hart Foundation would soon begin feuding with The Fabulous Rougeaus, who were undergoing a slow heel turn in the spring of 1988 due to their sneaky, insincere personalities. Jimmy Hart retaliated by agreeing to be the Rougeaus' manager, and (in storyline) claiming he was still legally the manager of Hart and Neidhart, and giving his percentage of the Hart Foundation's earnings (25%) as a bonus to the Rougeaus. Hart also assisted Demolition in a successful Tag Team Championship defense against the Hart Foundation at SummerSlam.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2018)
Rob McNew of 411Mania.com
WrestleMania IV received mixed to poor reviews from critics. Most reviews criticized the show's length as well as the number of matches. Rob McNew from 411Mania.com gave the show a 3.5/10 rating when reviewing the show, claiming the show was "bad". McNew was frustrated by the number of matches on the show, and the size of the tournament, saying "This show could have been so much better had they trimmed the tournament down to eight guys from fourteen. Instead we got a bunch of short matches, none of which ended up being memorable. The show had its moments, and isn’t all terrible. Just way too long. Savage-Dibiase provides a great moment, but the rest of the show is a pass." Retoprowrestling.com were also highly critical of the show's length, calling it "a chore to watch", and that "there's probably nothing wrong with a wrestling pay per view running nigh on four hours, but when about three and a half of those hours don't actually feature much in the way of entertainment, it often feels like you've spent your entire weekend just watching this one show."
However, John Powell, from SLAM! Wrestling called the event "excellent", saying that the show's greatness comes from its unpredictability. Powell, says that the show was "another tricky venture for Vince McMahon and he hits the jackpot again." Powell was very positive about the show's tournament, stating that it and Savage's title win was the highlights of the night.
|1||Bad News Brown won by last eliminating Bret Hart[d]||Battle Royal||09:44|
|2||Ted DiBiase (with André the Giant and Virgil) defeated Jim Duggan||First round tournament match||04:54|
|3||Don Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham) defeated Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) by disqualification||First round tournament match||04:53|
|4||Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Ricky Steamboat||First round tournament match||09:12|
|5||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Butch Reed (with Slick)||First round tournament match||05:07|
|6||One Man Gang (with Slick) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) by countout||First round tournament match||02:56|
|7||Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) ended in a time-limit draw||First round tournament match||15:00|
|8||The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)||Singles match||04:29|
|9||André the Giant (with Ted DiBiase and Virgil) vs. Hulk Hogan ended in a double disqualification||Quarter-final tournament match||05:22|
|10||Ted DiBiase defeated Don Muraco (with Billy Graham)||Quarter-final tournament match||05:44|
|11||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart)||Quarter-final tournament match||06:06|
|12||Brutus Beefcake defeated The Honky Tonk Man (c) (with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue) by disqualification||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||06:30|
|13||The Islanders (Haku and Tama) and Bobby Heenan defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and Koko B. Ware||Six-man tag team match||07:30|
|14||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated One Man Gang (with Slick) by disqualification||Semi-final tournament match||04:05|
|15||Demolition (Ax and Smash) (with Mr. Fuji) defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) (c)||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||12:33|
|16||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Ted DiBiase (with André the Giant)||Tournament final for the vacant WWF World Heavyweight Championship||09:27|
|André the Giant||DDQ|
|One Man Gang||04:05|
|Bam Bam Bigelow||02:55|
|One Man Gang||CO|
|One Man Gang|
Pin-Pinfall; CO-Countout; DQ-Disqualification; DDQ-Double disqualification
- The venue was referred to as the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino during the broadcast.
- The participants were Bad News Brown, The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zhukov), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell), Danny Davis, George Steele, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond), The Young Stallions (Paul Roma and Jim Powers), Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, and Sika.
- Like other professional wrestling championships, they can only be won or loss by pinfall, submission or knockout unless stated in the stipulations placed before the match.
- The other participants included were: Boris Zhukov, Brian Blair, Danny Davis, George Steele, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, Jacques Rougeau, Jim Brunzell, Jim Neidhart, Jim Powers, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Roma, Raymond Rougeau, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, and Sika.
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