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30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania IV

Because of the WWE Network, fans can now watch every single WrestleMania from start to finish.

30 Days of WrestleMania: Looking back at WrestleMania IV

"Macho Man" Randy Savage. (AP Photo/WWE)
"Macho Man" Randy Savage. (AP Photo/WWE)

Because of the WWE Network, fans can now watch every single WrestleMania from start to finish.

So, for 30 days leading up to WrestleMania XXX, we will take an extensive look back at each event from the very first, to the most recent.

Here's the WrestleManias we've covered so far:

WM I | WM II | WM III |

WrestleMania IV

Date: March 27, 1988

Venue: Trump Plaza (Boardwalk Hall), Atlantic City, N.J.

Attendance: 19,199

Match Results:

Bad News Brown wins 20-man battle royal

Ultimate Warrior def. Hercules w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Intercontinental Championship – Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake def. Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue via disqualification

The Islanders (Haku & Tama) & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan def. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid) & Koko B. Ware w/Matilda

World Tag Team Championship – Demolition (Ax and Smash) w/Mr. Fuji def. Strike Force (Rick Martel & Tito Santana)

WWE Championship Tournament:

Round one – “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/Virgil and Andre the Giant def. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Round one – Don Muraco w/”Superstar” Billy Graham def. Dino Bravo w/Frenchy Martin by disqualification

Round one – Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/Jimmy Hart def/ Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

Round one – Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Elizabeth def. “The Natural” Butch Reed w/Slick

Round one – One Man Gang w/Slick def. Bam Bam Bigelow w/Olvier Humperdink by count-out

Round one- “Ravishing” Rick Rude w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts went to a draw

Round two – Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Virgil ended in a double disqualification

Round two – “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/Virgil def. Don Muraco w/”Superstar” Billy Graham

Round two – Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Elizabeth def. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/Jimmy Hart

Round three – Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Elizabeth def. One Man Gang w/Slick via disqualification

Finals – Randy “Macho Man” Savage w/Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan def. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/Virgil and Andre the Giant

Observations:

- Although Hulk Hogan dominated the first three WrestleManias, WrestleMania IV was essentially the coronation of Randy Savage. It was truly his night and a showcase as to why he is considered one of the greatest men to ever step foot in a ring. He wrestled four times on the night and really didn’t take a breather in any of them. He went 100 percent in each one of them and wasn’t given a considerably short one so that he could ease his way through to the next round. Hogan may have been the most valuable player of this particular era, but Savage was the MVP of this night. It was quite possibly his finest hour as a performer in the ring. I know WrestleMania III was and still is considered one of his greatest performances, but from a pure individual standpoint, this night in 1988 was Savage at his best.

- What was even more amazing about Savage and his four matches was that he wore a different robe to the ring for every one of them. Not only that, but Miss Elizabeth wore a different dress to match his robe in every one of them as well. That was an accomplishment in it of itself.

- The reason why Savage worked four matches was because for the first and only time, WWE held a one-night, single-elimination tournament at WrestleMania. The tournament was for the vacant WWE Championship and featured 14 competitors. Something like this could work today, but it should probably remain unique to just this event. It’s what makes WrestleMania IV so memorable.

- Having a one-night tournament with 14 people is enough to fill up one show, but WWE also had five other matches on the card bringing the grand total to 16 on the night. There could have been more if there wasn’t for double disqualifications during the tournament that gave Ted DiBiase and One Man Gang byes. On the WWE Network, the show runs just over three-and-a-half hours. The show was originally advertised to be four hours. That’s something that could definitely not work today. It’s hard enough for people to stay into a three-hour show, but four hours? That’s pushing it quite a bit.

- There were a lot of backstage interviews during this event. Among them were Bob Uecker interviewing various wrestlers along with his running theme of trying to find Vanna White, which was pretty funny. Speaking of White, she was with “Mean” Gene Okerlund analyzing the brackets for the title tournament. Those two aspects of the backstage segments were good, but there were two strange ones as well. First, Okerlund was admiring Brutus Beefcake’s outfit and for some reason said, “What a package.” Then, Hogan’s promo on Andre the Giant was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. He started off talking about Andre the Giant and somehow found his way to talking about saving Donald Trump and saving his family from the end of the world or something. Now I see why WWE gives its wrestlers scripts for their promos, so they don’t wander off into some post-apocalyptic nonsense like Hogan did back in 1988.

- As usual, Bobby Heenan was wildly entertaining. Heenan wrestled with the Islanders against the British Bulldogs and Koko B. Ware in a dog bite suit, so he could avoid the wrath of Matilda. Then, Heenan actually worked the match like a normal wrestler. For those who don’t know, Heenan wrestled before he became a manager, so he was comfortable with working in the ring.

- Strike Force’s music was awful. It was even worst after you heard Demolition’s music, which was way more rugged and cool. Then you hear Strike Force’s music and it just sounded like someone who was going to get beat up was coming to the ring.

- Bob Uecker was the ring announcer for the main event for the second year in a row. That’s a pretty cool feather in his cap.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
About this blog
The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

Vaughn Johnson Sports Producer
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