WWF WrestleMania IV

Live from Atlantic City, NJ

Airdate: March 27, 1988

Attendance: 18,165 (17,000 paid)

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Due to the chicanery and shenanigans perpetrated by DiBiase and Andre, the WWF title was declared vacant by WWF President Jack Tunney. Hence, a tournament will crown a new WWF champion tonight.

In the ring, “Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomes everyone to the show, and introduces Gladys Knight who sings an excellent acapella rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

As the battle royal contestants fill up the ring, Bob Uecker joins Monsoon and Ventura to begin the show.

Match 1 (battle royal):


Bad News Brown, B. Brian Blair, Boris Zhukov, Bret “Hitman” Hart, “Dangerous” Danny Davis, George “The Animal” Steele, “King” Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, Jacques Rougeau, “Jumping” Jim Brunzell, , Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Jim Powers, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Roma, Ray Rougeau, “Outlaw” Ron Bass, Sam Houston, Sika


Rating: NONE

Summary: Not a very eventful battle royal whatsoever since the double-cross by Brown was the main highlight.

After the battle royal, the trophy is presented to Brown, but Bret re-enters the ring and dropkicks Brown out. He then smashes the trophy into smithereens. Hmmm…it’s early into 1988 and Hebner’s already screwed Hogan while Bret’s been double-crossed.

Ring announcer Howard Finkel introduces Lifestyles of the Rich and FamousRobin Leach who will present the new WWF champion with the championship belt. Leach proclaims the beginning of the 14-wrestler tournament—seven first-round matches and Hogan faces Andre in the second round guaranteed.

Match 2 (first round): The “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/ Andre the Giant & Virgil) versus “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan


Rating: **1/2

Summary: The odds were definitely not in Duggan’s favor here with Andre in DiBiase’s corner.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Beefcake who cuts a promo on Honkytonk Man.

Match 3 (first round): The “Rock” Don Muraco (w/ Superstar Billy Graham) versus Dino Bravo (w/ Frenchy Martin)


Rating: **

Summary: Poor finish to a match that had some momentum to it. Muraco will face DiBiase in the quarterfinals.

Backstage, Uecker interviews Honkytonk Man with Hart.

Match 4 (first round): Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat versus Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: ***

Summary: Good match that either wrestler could have won. Additionally, both wrestlers sold each other’s offense very well.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the British Bulldogs and Ware along with Mathilda. They’re ready to go “weasel hunting.”

Match 5 (first round): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus the “Natural” Butch Reed (w/ Slick)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: Very brisk match for Savage who will face Valentine in the quarterfinals.

Backstage, Uecker’s talking about Vanna White until Heenan and the Islanders interrupt him.

Match 6 (first round): One Man Gang (w/ Slick) versus Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)


Rating: *

Summary: Waste of Bigelow’s talent here, but Gang advances.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Hogan who cuts a delusional promo on Andre. Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having.

Match 7 (first round): “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) versus Jake “The Snake” Roberts


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Waste of fifteen minutes where neither wrestler looked good. The intentionally deliberate pace gave the finish away too. Due to the draw, Gang advanced to the semifinals.

After the match, Roberts opens the bag and chases Rude and Heenan from the ring with Damian.

Backstage, Okerlund indirectly gives away the finish by mentioning a “new” WWF champion being crowned tonight. What if Hogan wins? Regardless, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White assists Gene with the brackets. When Okerlund asks her about Uecker, White’s response was “Who?” Damn! Someone close the door! It just got COLD in here! When Okerlund asks her to pick the winners, she picks Hogan, DiBiase, and Savage.

Match 8: The Ultimate Warrior versus Hercules (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)


Rating: DUD

Summary: If Warrior was supposed to be Hercules’ understudy here, Hercules did a poor job of leading him. Warrior definitely needed more seasoning at this point in his career. This match had NO business being at WrestleMania.

After the match, Hercules attacks Warrior then chokes him with the steel chain. However, Warrior breaks free and swings the chain around recklessly. Wisely, Hercules heads for cover.

Sugar Ray Leonard, wearing a Hugo Boss pullover and Washington Bullets cap, is shown in the crowd.

We then revisit the history of Andre and Hogan from late ’86 up until this show. Hogan won the first match while Andre “won” the second. Who will win the rubber match? What are the odds?

Match 9 (quarterfinals): Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant (w/ the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase & Virgil)


Rating: *

Summary: Aggressive match? Yes. Overbooked match? Yes. Bad finish. You betcha!

After the match, Hogan comes off the ropes and annihilates Andre with the chair. DiBiase and Virgil try to remove Andre from the ring but are unsuccessful. Hogan then chases them backstage. Following that, DiBiase sacrifices Virgil to save his hide so Hogan delivers a suplex to Virgil in the aisle but doesn’t go down with him. OUCH! Upon Hogan’s return to the ring, he slams Andre to a big ovation then poses despite the double-DQ.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Savage with Elizabeth. Savage is ready to take it “all the way.” Is he trying to appeal to high school students with that reference?

Match 10 (quarterfinals): Don Muraco (w/ Superstar Billy Graham) versus the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/o Virgil)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: DiBiase advances to the finals with a clean finish over Muraco. Now he has a long break before the final match.

Backstage, Uecker’s still looking for Vanna. In the meantime, Mr. Fuji and Demolition join him and are ready for Strike Force to “go down.” Uecker fears that Halloween has come early.

Officially, Gang advances to the semifinals.

Match 11 (quarterfinals): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Best match of the tournament thus far. Valentine gave Savage a run for the money here but came up short.

Backstage, Okerlund runs down the status of the tournament with Vanna.

Match 12 for the Intercontinental title: The Honkytonk Man (champion w/ Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) versus Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake


Rating: *1/2

Summary: Sports-entertainment finish aside, the Honkytonk Man found another way to keep his title. Methinks something ingenious will need to happen to dethrone him.

Backstage, a worried Uecker still can’t locate Vanna, but Andre puts his hand on his shoulder to comfort him. Andre still claims to be undefeated and that DiBiase paid him to knock Hogan out of the tournament. When Andre states that “Hulkamania is over,” Ueckers asks him to remove his “foot” from his shoulder. Andre responds with a choke as Uecker provides the best facial expression.

Match 13 (six-man): The Islanders & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan versus the British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware


Rating: **

Summary: Creative finish to a lackluster match. I would have rather seen Bulldogs versus Islanders straight-up instead.

After the match, Smith leads Mathilda on a chase of Heenan. She catches him, but Heenan ultimately gets away.

Finkel then acknowledges the presence of Jesse “The Body” Ventura to a HUGE ovation. Upon removing his jacket, Ventura poses for the Trump Plaza faithful.

Officially, DiBiase has advanced to the finals via the double-DQ of Hogan and Andre.

Match 14 (semifinal): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus One Man Gang (w/ Slick)


Rating: *1/2

Summary: In spite of his long break between matches, Gang didn’t have what it took to beat Savage who advances to meet DiBiase in the finals.

After the match, Gang nails Savage with the cane sending Savage to the floor. While Gang and Slick share a hug in defeat, Savage mounts the top turnbuckle and gives Gang a double axe handle SQUISHING Slick.

Backstage, Okerlund and Vanna update the tournament bracket, but Vanna hightails it before Uecker can catch up to her. Speaking of Uecker, he states that he received letters from “Vance White.” Oh, brother.

Match 15 for the WWF tag team titles: Strike Force (champions) versus Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji)


Rating: **1/2

Summary: The positive reaction to Demolition by the Trump Plaza faithful showed which direction each team would be taking going forward.

Finkel then introduces Robin Leach again who carries the WWF championship belt with him. The Trump Plaza faithful try to steal the belt from him, but Leach was too SNEAKY for them. Finkel then introduces Uecker to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Taking the microphone, Uecker then introduces the guest timekeeper, Vanna White. They walk a lap around the ring as Uecker’s dream comes true. When Vanna kisses him, Uecker almost faints.

Match 16 (final): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase (w/ Andre the Giant)


Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Now THIS is what the Trump Plaza faithful paid to see as they leap to their feet in support of the Macho Man. While this match isn’t as fluid as their match at SNME XV, it is truly historic and worth seeking out.

After the match, Hogan presents Savage with the WWF championship belt instead of Leach. Hogan, Savage, and Elizabeth then celebrate the victory. Savage even puts the belt on Elizabeth’s shoulder and hoists her on his shoulder.

Conclusion: While the WWF thought it might be a good idea for DiBiase to win the title here by some form of chicanery, a bigger plan was put in place according to DiBiase.

Let me sum up the show with some pros and cons:


  1. Great atmosphere with excellent presentation.
  2. The main event, Steamboat-Valentine, and Savage-Valentine are noteworthy matches worth a second look.
  3. While it was extremely hokey, the running gag with Uecker had a proper pay-off both with Vanna and Andre.


  1. Although the atmosphere and presentation were top-notch, the crowd was filled with mostly casual and/or non-wrestling fans. They only popped for the main event players.
  2. This was an exceedingly long show. While some of the first-round matches were good, they shouldn’t have taken place here. In addition, the positioning of the six-man match was awful. I’ll also reiterate that Warrior-Hercules had no business being on this show.
  3. Some of the finishes were atrociously bad. For example, the countout in the Gang-Bigelow match could have been clearer, and the draw between Rude and Snake was unnecessary. If Roberts and Rude are programmed for a feud after this show, why not showcase it with a fiery double countout?

Nevertheless, since the Savage match is meaningful both to his career and longtime fans of his, this show is a must-see for all wrestling fans. As a former resident of Sarasota, I tip my hat to the “Macho Man” as his career in the main event began here.

See you for NWA Clash of the Champions!

Buyrate: 6.50

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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