Thursday, May 18, 2017

WrestleMania IV: Madness Takes Control

Randy Savage and Elizabeth (Photo: lylesmoviefiles.com)


WrestleMania IV – Trump Plaza – Atlantic City, N.J. – March 27, 1988

The WWF crowned a new champion at WrestleMania IV after Andre the Giant’s bizarre title win over Hulk Hogan on NBC’s live Main Event.

WWF President Jack Tunney did not allow Andre to sell the championship to DiBiase, so the belt was vacated. A 14-man tournament took place at WrestleMania IV to crown a new champion.

Hogan and Andre received first-round byes and faced each other in the second round.

1. 20-Man Battle Royale
Today, this battle royale is a WrestleMania tradition named after Andre. Bret Hart and Bad News Brown were the last two men in the ring after dumping out Junkyard Dog. 

The heels congratulated each other, but then Bad News hit the Ghetto Blaster on Bret and threw him out.

An enraged “Hit Man” returned to destroy Bad News’ trophy. This kicked off Bret Hart’s run as a singles babyface, although he did return to his tag team with Jim Neidhart at times.

2. Opening round: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase (with Andre the Giant and Virgil)

Andre tripped Duggan from the outside, and DiBiase hit a knee to the back for the pin.

3. Opening round: Don Muraco (with Superstar Billy Graham) vs. Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart)

Bravo got disqualified after the pulling the referee into Muraco’s path. He should have learned from Rick Rude’s match at the Royal Rumble not to try that tactic.

4. Opening round: Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart)

Valentine got the upset win when he reversed Steamboat’s bodypress off the top rope. This robbed us of a Steamboat-Savage rematch.

5. Opening round: Randy Savage (with Elizabeth) vs. Butch Reed (with Slick)

Savage slammed Reed off the top rope and hit the top-rope elbow for the pin.

6. Opening round: Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) vs. One Man Gang (with Slick)

Gang won by countout, and the decision was garbage. Bigelow was getting pummeled on the ring apron, and the ref just kept counting to 10. Bigelow should have just sold an injury and gotten counted out after his spectacular bump over the top rope.

7. Opening round: Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan)

The Cheryl Roberts feud hadn’t begun yet, so this was a long, boring match rather than a hate-filled slugfest. The 15-minute time limit expired and both men were eliminated. Gang got a bye into the semifinals.

8. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)
Both men’s shoulders were down after a back suplex, but Warrior lifted a shoulder and got the pin.

9. Quarterfinals: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (with Ted DiBiase and Virgil)

Hogan and Andre were both disqualified for hitting each other with a chair. This meant we would have a new champion, and DiBiase got a bye into the finals.

10. Quarterfinals: Randy Savage vs. Greg Valentine

Valentine went for the figure-four leg lock, but Savage hooked him in a cradle for the pin.

11. Intercontinental title: Brutus Beefcake vs. Honky Tonk Man (champion, with Jimmy Hart and Sensational Sherri as “Peggy Sue”)

Beefcake was putting the champion to sleep, but Jimmy Hart knocked out the ref with his megaphone. This gave Beefcake a win by disqualification, but not the IC title. Beefcake got some revenge by cutting Jimmy Hart’s hair.

Isn’t this a long show? Yes, it lasted four hours.

12. British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware vs. Islanders & Bobby Heenan

Heenan came out in a “dog-proof” suit that looked like a canvas straitjacket. “The Brain” actually got the win after the Islanders slammed him on top of Koko.

13. Semifinals: Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang

Gang grabbed Slick’s cane and used it right in front of the referee. That’s another DQ, and Savage is in the finals.

14. Tag team title: Strike Force (champions) vs. Demolition (with Mr. Fuji)

Here’s how to use a cane: attack your opponent when the referee isn’t looking! Demolition won the tag team title and got a big pop from the crowd, despite being heels.

15. WWF title tournament final: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase

Andre started to interfere, so Elizabeth ran to back and fetched Hulk Hogan as an equalizer. The strategy worked, as Hulk hit DiBiase with a chair to set up the top-rope elbow for Savage.

The Macho Man won the WWF title after wrestling four matches in one night – again. He and Elizabeth each appeared in four different outfits. Savage was the MVP for the second straight WrestleMania.

Hogan grabbed the belt from Robin Leach, who was supposed to present it to the winner. I bet Hulk never got on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” after that.

As a bonus, here are the results of the "I've Lost My Killer Instinct" Competition:

Bronze Medal: Koko B. Ware, for wearing "WWF" on his trunks

Silver Medal: Brutus Beefcake, for cutting Jimmy Hart's hair instead of trying to wake the referee to report that he had put The Honky Tonk Man to sleep

Gold Medal: Ricky Steamboat, for bringing his baby to the ring and then smiling and waving to the crowd after his loss

Next: SummerSlam 88

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