|Tagline(s)||What the World is Watching|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||March 27, 1988|
|Venue||Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall|
|City||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
WrestleMania IV was the fourth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It took place on March 27, 1988 at the Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The main event was the finals of a fourteen-man tournament for the Undisputed WWF Championship, where Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase to win the vacant title.2 The main matches on the undercard were a twenty-man battle royal won by Bad News Brown,3 Demolition (Ax and Smash) versus Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel) for the WWF Tag Team Championship,4 and Brutus Beefcake versus The Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.5
The main feud (scripted rivalry) heading into WrestleMania was between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant. In January 1987, Hogan was awarded a trophy for his third year as WWF Champion while Hogan's best friend André was awarded a smaller trophy than Hogan's, for being undefeated in the WWF for fifteen years.6 Hogan congratulated his friend and said that André was the real champion of superstars all around the world, but6 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.6 Hogan begged André to drop Heenan, but Andre refused.6 André said that he had come to challenge Hogan to a World Championship match at WrestleMania.6 He then ripped off Hogan's Hulkamania shirt and tore off Hulk's gold chain, turning heel.6 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.7 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 Survivor Series match.8 At the first Royal Rumble in January 1988, Hogan and André had their official contract signing for a WWF Championship rematch.9 Their rematch took place on the first-ever edition of The Main Event in February, where André controversially won the title from Hogan in a screwjob plot involving a fake referee.1011 André then began the shortest reign as WWF Champion with a reign of only 47 seconds as he sold the title to Ted DiBiase and received a large sum of money.1112 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. WWF President Jack Tunney, however, vacated the title and ordered it to be decided in a 14-man tournament at WrestleMania IV.1011
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
The event began with Gladys Knight singing a rendition of "America the Beautiful". The first match was a twenty-man battle royal with the winner to receive a large trophy. 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. After fourteen eliminations, the final six participants were Brown, Bret Hart, Roma, 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 and pounded on him 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.1345
Before the fourteen-man tournament for the WWF 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, Ted DiBiase defeated Jim Duggan, Don Muraco defeated Dino Bravo by disqualification after Bravo pulled the referee in front of him, causing the ref to be hit by Muraco's finishing move, Randy Savage defeated Butch Reed, Greg Valentine defeated Ricky Steamboat, One Man Gang defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Rick Rude fought Jake Roberts to a time limit draw. The winners advanced to the quarterfinals while Rude and Roberts were both eliminated from the tournament. 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 snapped Hercules' chain and chopped him 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) which Hercules did sell. 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 picked 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 apply the hold properly. The Warrior then pushed his feet off the turnbuckle and both wrestlers 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.1345
The quarterfinals started as Hulk Hogan took on André the Giant. During the match, Hogan hit André in front of referee Joey Marella while André hit Hogan with a chair. 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 defeated Don Muraco13 and Randy Savage defeated Greg Valentine while 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. Brutus Beefcake took on Jimmy Hart's client, WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man for the title. 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. The bell didn't ring but it was announced that Beefcake won by disqualification, which meant that Honky was still the champion because a title does not change hands via a disqualification.1345
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.1345
The semi-final match of the WWF 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 versus André the Giant. Savage hit a hotshot on the One Man Gang before the big One Man Gang began his powerful moves. He overpowered Savage before he missed a big splash. He fell to the outside as Savage connected with a diving double axe handle, Savage then went for a scoop slam. The One Man Gang's manager, Slick, began taunting Savages's valet, Miss Elizabeth. She climbed to the apron to stay away from him. Slick jumped on the apron and handed OMG 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 Tag Team Championship against Demolition (Ax and Smash). 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.1345
The main event was the tournament final for the vacant WWF Championship between Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase. 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. 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 Andre's presence) took advantage and nailed DiBiase with a steel chair.14 Savage climbed up the top rope for a second elbow drop attempt and this time, he successfully hit Savage Elbow. He followed it up with a pinfall victory. He won the tournament and vacant WWF Championship. After the match, Hogan, Miss Elizabeth and Savage celebrated Savage's WWF Championship win.12345
Savage defended his newly won WWF Championship, primarily against DiBiase but also granted title shots to the One Man Gang. 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 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.15 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.16 Hogan and Savage met for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania V, with Hogan winning the title; Savage's reign lasted 371 days.17
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 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 storyline here was Rude advancing on a woman who revealed herself to be Roberts' wife, Cheryl. A furious Roberts attacked Rude following the encounter, with Rude later airbrushing an image of Cheryl onto his wrestling 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 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 "Outlaw" Ron Bass. At SummerSlam, Honky lost his title to a surprise opponent—the Ultimate Warrior, a muscular wrestler 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 taking a leave of absence to tend to his wife's illness.), with the British Bulldogs and the Young Stallions becoming Demolition's primary challengers.
Following Hart's elimination from the battle royal, he returned to the ring to attack Bad News Brown,18 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 and (according to WWF owner Vince McMahon, had received the most fan mail of any of his wrestlers).19 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 as a bonus to the Rougeaus. Hart also assisted Demolition in a successful Tag Team Championship defense against the Hart Foundation at SummerSlam.
|1||Bad News Brown defeated nineteen other participants by last eliminating Bret Hart3||Twenty-man battle royal||10:40|
|2||Ted DiBiase (with Virgil and André the Giant) defeated Jim Duggan20||First round tournament match||04:54|
|3||Don Muraco (with Billy Graham) defeated Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) by disqualification20||First round tournament match||04:53|
|4||Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Ricky Steamboat (with Little Dragon)20||First round tournament match||09:12|
|5||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Butch Reed (with Slick)20||First round tournament match||05:07|
|6||One Man Gang (with Slick) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) by countout20||First round tournament match||02:56|
|7||Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) and Jake Roberts fought to a time-limit draw.20||First round tournament match||15:00|
|8||The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)3||Singles match||04:29|
|9||Hulk Hogan and André the Giant (with Ted DiBiase and Virgil) fought to a double disqualification20||Quarter-final tournament match||05:22|
|10||Ted DiBiase defeated Don Muraco (with Billy Graham)20||Quarter-final tournament match||05:44|
|11||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart)20||Quarter-final tournament match||06:06|
|12||Brutus Beefcake defeated The Honky Tonk Man (c) (with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue) by disqualification20||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. Ware3||Six-man tag team match||07:30|
|14||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated One Man Gang (with Slick) by disqualification20||Semi-final tournament match||04:05|
|15||Demolition (Ax and Smash) (with Mr. Fuji) defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) (c)3||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||12:33|
|16||Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan) defeated Ted DiBiase (with André the Giant)2320||Tournament final for the vacant WWF Championship||09:27|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
|2||Sika||Junkyard, Hillbilly and Blair|
|4||B. Brian Blair||Brown and J. Rogueau|
|6||Jim Brunzell||J. Rougeau|
|7||George Steele||Disqualified for not entering the ring|
|18||Junkyard Dog||Hart and Brown|
|Winner||Bad News Brown||-|
|André the Giant||DDQ|
|André the Giant|
|One Man Gang||DQ|
|Bam Bam Bigelow||2:55|
|One Man Gang||CO|
|One Man Gang|
Pin-Pinfall; CO-Countout; DQ-Disqualification; DDQ-Double disqualification
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- Ted DiBiase: The Million Dollar Man, p.11, Ted DiBiase with Tom Caiazzo, Pocket Books, New York, NY, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-5890-3
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- (Hart 2007, p. 223)
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