WWF WrestleMania IV
March 27, 1988
Atlantic City, NJ
The current WWF Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Vacant
Intercontinental Champion: Honky Tonk Man (6/2/1987)
World Tag Team Champions: Strike Force (10/27/1987)
Women’s Champion: Sensational Sherri (7/24/1987)
Basically every review I’ve ever read of WrestleMania IV considers reviewing the show a mind-numbing task. Its 3½ hours long (I have the Anthology DVD version) and not the best quality wise, but it’s actually a historically significant show. The WWF World Title was declared vacant for the first time since 1962 a week or so after “The Main Event” show due to the “Twin Referees” scandal/angle, and a 14-man tournament was created. 14-man tournament you say? Yep, since Andre and Hulk both had claims to the belt, they received byes straight to the quarterfinals and were scheduled to meet each other there. With the on-going McMahon vs. Crockett wars, the Crocketts fired the next shot by putting on the rather awesome first-ever Clash of the Champions on TBS. Since WrestleMania began to bore the crap out of most of its buyers, they stopped watching and tuned in to the NWA. The cable companies were pissed about it because both they and the WWF lost millions of dollars as a result. To say the least, these were interesting times.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura!
Gladys Knight forgot to bring her Pips, but she still manages to sing “America, The Beautiful” AND “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” all by herself!
- 20-Man Battle Royal (Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jim Powers, Paul Roma, Sika, Danny Davis, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Bad News Brown, Sam Houston, Jacques Rougeau, Raymond Rougeau, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zhukov, Hillbilly Jim, Harley Race and George “The Animal” Steele)
This was a good way to get a bunch of guys on PPV without having MORE matches. The winner receives a huge trophy, which becomes important later. It starts off like your typical battle royal with everybody punching on each other. George Steele is said to be in the match, but he’s hanging out on the floor when the bell sounds so I don’t know what that’s about. Sam Houston and Sika are the first two eliminated within the first minute. Brunzell nearly eliminates Davis out as the crowd stands to their feet. It’s amazing of the amount of heat that guy had. By the way, “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker back again this year to join us on some commentary for a few matches. As a matter of fact, he helps out Gene Okerlund by interviewing the heels prior to their matches. While nothing is really happening, Ventura and Uecker start up the running gag of the night, which is that celebrity guest Vanna White is in love with Uecker and he’s trying to find her all throughout the evening. Steele messes with Neidhart out on the floor and eventually pulls him out, which passes as an elimination if you’re keeping score. Blair gets eliminated by Bad News Brown and Raymond Rougeau. Brunzell gets dumped as he tosses Raymond out, compliments of Jacques Rougeau. JYD throws out Ron Bass and then gives the Bolsheviks a double noggin-knocker. Zhukov regroups and sends Hillbilly Jim out to the floor. Roma lifts up Davis in a fireman’s carry and throws him out to the floor, but then Roma’s partner Jim Powers gets tossed out on the other side of the ring by Bad News. We’re down to nine guys five minutes into this thing. JYD no-sells some Harley Race headbutts BECAUSE HE HAS A THICK SKULL BECAUSE HES BLACK! Patera sends out both Volkoff and Zhukov, but then Bad News rains on his parade by dumping out with the Bolsheviks. Race backdrops Jacques Rougeau out, but then gets punched out over the top to the floor by JYD. We’re down to the final four guys: JYD, Bad News Brown, Paul Roma and Bret Hart. Roma quickly gets dumped out by Bad News, as we’re left with two heels versus one face. Bret grabs JYD for a Bad News clothesline, but JYD breaks loose and Bret gets nailed. JYD works them both over with headbutts until Bad News until the numbers game gets to him. Bret and Bad News come to terms and double-team JYD until they finally get him out of there. Bret decides to pose because he trusts a guy named Bad News Brown and takes the GHETTO BLASTER (standing enziguri) for his stupidity. Bad News pounds on Bret a bit and we even see the chest-first corner bump before Bad News throws Bret out to win the trophy. (9:47) It didn’t really get interesting until near the end. Bad News Brown gets presented with the trophy, but Bret is MAD about the screw-job. He attacks Bad News from behind and tears the trophy up to signal a face turn. Gorilla Monsoon ~ “Don’t ever double-cross the Hitman.” What irony. *
“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” whore Robin Leach comes out to kick-start the title tournament.
- Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase (w/Virgil & Andre the Giant) – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
We get a lot of HOOOOOO’s to start by Duggan, but not much else in the first minute. Duggan wins a slugfest and then atomic drops DiBiase out to ringside with his goons. Back in, Duggan hits a clothesline and delivers the ten-count corner punch. Duggan then runs into a boot out of the corner, allowing DiBiase to take control of the match. Single-sledge from the middle rope gets two for DiBiase. DiBiase ducks low off a whip and Duggan gets a sunset flip for two. DiBiase comes right back with a running knee to the gut to set up his fist drops. DiBiase tries a suplex, but Duggan blocks and delivers one of his own. DiBiase is the first man up so he tries to come off the middle turnbuckle again, but Duggan catches him on the way down. Duggan connects with a clothesline and a slam to set up for the THREE-POINT STANCE, but Andre trips him up. Duggan grabs at Andre through the ropes and gets nailed from behind by DiBiase. He hits another fist drop and covers for three to advance to the next round. (5:04) DiBiase, Andre and Virgil celebrate in the ring, but Duggan grabs his 2×4 and chases them out of the ring! Nothing special. ½*
In the back, Okerlund admires Brutus Beefcake’s package!
- Dino Bravo (w/Frenchy Martin) vs. Don Muraco (w/Superstar Billy Graham) – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
Muraco comes back from a Dino beatdown to start with a whip-reversal, but then they totally blow a pump splash out of the corner. This is rough. Either they screw up an armdrag, or Bravo “put the brakes on Muraco” and gives him an elbow drop. Bravo follows up with a gutwrench suplex and pounds on Muraco some more until he misses a charge in the corner. Muraco works the knee for a bit and applies a spinning toe hold. Bravo kicks him off, causing Muraco to get his neck caught in between the ropes. Bravo hits a piledriver, but decides to pose instead of covering Muraco. When he does cover, he only gets two. Bravo goes for another piledriver, but Muraco backdrops out of it. They come up fighting after a double-clothesline, and then Muraco hits a running forearm. Muraco tries another, but Bravo pulls Joey Marella into harm’s way! Muraco checks on Marella, because he’s a great guy. Bravo sneaks up from behind and delivers the SIDE SUPLEX and covers, but the ref refuses to count because he’s disqualifying Bravo. Muraco advances. (4:55) They tried some psychology, but it went nowhere because of the finish. *
Bob Uecker tries to joke on the Honky Tonk Man, but Honky has to do is bring up Uecker’s all-time batting average to shut him up. The guy bats .200!
- Greg Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Ricky Steamboat – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
Steamboat’s already started bringing Richard Jr. to the ring. This was his last major WWF appearance, as he would soon be announcing his retirement. Eight months later, he shows back up in the NWA to put on the greatest series of wrestling matches North America has ever seen with Ric Flair. Definitely nothing wrong with this pairing. Valentine comes out of a headlock and then runs into a Steamboat armdrag. Steamboat twists on Valentine’s arm and then gives him a back kick. Steamboat chops him down for two. A couple shoulderblocks gets a pair of twos. Valentine tries to toss out Steamboat, but he skins-the-cat back in the ring. Steamboat dropkicks Valentine into the ropes for two. Valentine buries a knee into Steamboat’s abs to escape a wristlock to take over. Valentine delivers some elbows for two. Steamboat flips out of a back suplex and drives Valentine’s face into the top turnbuckle and then applies an armbar. Valentine comes out of it with an inverted atomic drop and follows that up with a clothesline. Valentine hammers on Steamboat for a while, but then he comes back with a chop for two. Steamboat tries a slam, but Valentine falls on top for two. Valentine delivers a gutbuster and then a headbutt to the groin. He goes for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Steamboat kicks him off into the corner. They trade some intense blows that end with Valentine flopping down on his face for two. Valentine resorts to sticking his thumb in Steamboat’s eye and then gives him a shoulderbreaker for two. Valentine goes up top and nails Steamboat with a single-sledge. Valentine tries for another FIGURE-FOUR attempt, but Steamboat punches out of it. Steamboat proceeds to ram Valentine’s face into the mat and then connects with the Top-Rope Chop for 1-2-NO! Steamboat drills Valentine’s face into the turnbuckle TEN times, and then tosses the ref aside to nearly get DQ’ed. Steamboat heads up top again, but this time it’s for the FLYING CROSSBODY! Valentine rolls through it, hooks the trunks and gets the three-count to move on to the quarterfinals. (9:11) Decent enough match, but I think they could’ve done a better one. **½
The British Bulldogs have Matilda back, and now she’s a Weasel-hunting dog! I hope Frankie isn’t watching, because I just saw Koko kiss Matilda on the mouth!
- Butch Reed (w/Slick) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
Savage gets caught in the corner to start, but then he blocks a head to the buckle and returns the favor. Reed blocks a suplex and gives one to Savage. Savage gets sent out to the floor after a hotshot off the apron. Back in, Reed takes forever on the turnbuckle but still manages to connect with a fist drop. Reed reverses a whip on Savage and drops with a clothesline. He heads out onto the apron and barks at Elizabeth. That allows Savage to catch him up on top and go to the other corner to deliver the MACHO ELBOW for the three-count. (5:09) Next match, please. ½*
Bob Uecker goes on about how he and Vanna are really hitting it off until Bobby Heenan stops by to RULE. He talks about the Bulldogs and Koko like they’re a waste of his time. That man is great.
- One Man Gang (w/Slick) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Sir Oliver Humperdink) – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
In case anybody knows anything about wrestling down in Florida, I was just watching a Mike Graham DVD with Oliver Humperdink getting under rookie Lex Luger’s skin back in 1986. This was Bigelow’s last major WWF appearance due to knee surgery. He wouldn’t return to the WWF until late 1992. Six months after this show, One Man Gang was repackaged as the African Dream Akeem and teamed with a newcomer named the Big Bossman to form the Twin Towers! Gang pounds away on Bigelow, but then misses a corner charge. Bigelow gets a few near-falls off a couple splashes and then delivers some headbutts. He comes off the ropes for something, and Slick pulls down the top rope to make Bigelow crash out to the floor. The ref didn’t see it, of course. Bigelow gets back on the apron and shoulderblocks Gang away, but then the ref signals for the bell and awards the match to One Man Gang via countout. Huh? (3:00) The ref counted Bigelow’s time on the apron as well, which I’ve never seen happen before. That finish made no sense whatsoever. CRAP
- Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. Jake Roberts (w/Damien the SNAKE!) – First Round WWF World Title Tournament Match
What only adds to the fact that Rick Rude is the one of the best performers ever is his tights. Whenever he was involved in a big feud, his tights would illustrate just what he wanted to be on your mind. Like for example, on his tights tonight he has a portrait of Jake Roberts’ wife Cheryl’s face printed on his behind because he was (and rumor has it, was swiveling his hips ON her in real life) trying to put the moves on Cheryl, which pissed off Roberts and instantly you have a feud. It definitely adds some heat to this tournament match. Maybe he just rubs on more oil than Johnny Nitro, but Rude makes Nitro’s abs look AVERAGE. They go real slow to start while shoving off a pair of tie-ups. Rude unloads on Roberts, but he comes back with slams. Rude rolls over into Damien’s corner and completely freaks out. Roberts works a wristlock and then maneuvers into an armbar. Rude backs Roberts into the corner to break loose and buries his shoulder into Roberts. Roberts comes out with a knee lift and goes for the DDT, but Rude escapes and runs out to Heenan. Back in, Roberts goes back to the armbar. You can tell they’re going for the 15-minute time limit. Rude breaks free and avoids a knee lift to take over. Rude clotheslines Roberts down and hooks on a reverse chinlock. Roberts finally throws him off, but Rude catches Roberts coming off the middle rope with a single sledge. Rude clothesline gets two, and we go back to the chinlock. Roberts elbows out, but then gets lifted up in the air and dropped straight down to the mat. Rude heads up top and delivers a top-rope fist drop for two with a very nonchalant cover. Rude returns to a chinlock and holds on through a back suplex escape attempt from Roberts. After a couple more minutes, Roberts finally escapes out with a jawbreaker. Roberts hits a backdrop and the short-arm clothesline. Will he get the DDT this time? No! Rude backs him into the corner. Rude cross-corner whips Roberts, but then he charges into a knee. Roberts connects with a gutbuster for two, but Rude comes back with a back suplex for two. Double-KO spot leads to Rude trying to get a cheap win out of the corner by using the ropes, but the time runs out at the two-count. (15:14) Both men are eliminated from the tournament and OMG gets a bye to the semifinals. The WWF never really did book time-limit draws very well with just anyone and Rude didn’t really come into his own until around 1991 when he left for WCW. *
Vanna White makes her first appearance with Mean Gene next to the tournament bracket board. She has no idea who Bob Uecker is. Gene asks for her predictions on the rest of the tournament, and she just kind of points to the one she’s told to like.
- Hercules (w/Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Oh man, it’s the Warrior’s PPV debut! Warrior snapped Hercules’ chain in half, so that calls for a MATCH! Warrior is so green at this point, and Hercules just isn’t the guy to help him not be so green. Warrior chops on Hercules in the corner, but Herc fights out and has to clothesline Warrior three times for him to sell it and fall to the mat! Warrior counters a short-arm clothesline and delivers one of his own. Warrior screws up a hotshot, so Herc backdrops him out to the floor. Warrior comes down on his feet and pulls Hercules out with him. They brawl and then get back in the ring where Hercules catches him in the eyes. Warrior nails him back with a forearm and then goes to a ten-count corner punch. Herc comes out though with an inverted atomic drop. Hercules surprises Warrior with the FULL-NELSON, but he doesn’t get his fingers locked just like last year! Warrior kicks off the corner and falls on top of Hercules for the three-count. (4:37) Wow, Ultimate Warrior sold absolutely nothing in that match. CRAP
Next up, we get a nice review of everything important that has happened concerning Hogan and Andre since their feud began.
- Andre the Giant (w/Ted DiBiase & Virgil) vs. Hulk Hogan – WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinal Match
I guess you could consider this the rubber match of the century! Andre attacks before the bell and hits his usual stuff until Hulk comes off the ropes with a couple forearms. DiBiase gets choked on the apron and then Hogan gives the heels a DOUBLE-NOGGIN KNOCKER! Unbelievable! Andre gets tied up in the ropes, so Hogan uses that time to rip off his shirt and pose. Meanwhile, DiBiase and Virgil help free Andre, but Hogan actually stops posing and starts punching away. Andre finally falls down for Hogan to give him some elbow drops, but Andre grabs Hogan and starts choking on him and moves to a nerve hold. Hogan powers out and delivers some clotheslines, but can he SLAM Andre again?! Virgil hops up on the apron while DiBiase sneaks in and gives Hulk a chairshot. No-sell! DiBiase drops the chair and jumps out of the ring. Hulk turns around and nails Andre in the head with the chair IN PLAIN SIGHT OF THE REFEREE! All Joey Marella does is take the chair away from Hulk and reprimand him, so Andre grabs the chair away from Marella and nails Hogan with it to draw the double-DQ. (5:22) Post-match, Hulk picks up the chair AGAIN and nails Andre with it and then chases DiBiase and Virgil to the back! Virgil gets tossed to the Hulkster by DiBiase for a suplex on the floor! Hulk then heads back to the ring and slams Andre out of the ring so he can pose for a few minutes. Definitely the worst booked of the three matches. CRAP
In the back, Macho and Elizabeth promise VICTORY!
- Don Muraco (w/Superstar Billy Graham) vs. Ted DiBiase – WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinal Match
No Virgil this time thanks to Hulk. Because of the double-DQ situation with Hogan and Andre, the winner of this one receives a bye straight to the finals. Muraco dominates DiBiase for the first ninety seconds until DiBiase rolls out and takes a walk. Graham looks like he’s going to nail DiBiase with his cane, but DiBiase backs off and gets back in the ring. He turns around and gets whipped into the corner, but then DiBiase pulls him into the corner. DiBiase delivers some blows to the mid-section and connects with his fist drops for two, but then he ducks low off a whip. Muraco isn’t able to capitalize, and DiBiase regains control. DiBiase tries an elbow drop off the middle-rope, but Muraco moves out of the way. Muraco hits some clotheslines, but DiBiase punches back and surprises Muraco with a stun-gun for the 1-2-3. (5:36) Short and inoffensive. *
- Greg Valentine (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) – WWF World Title Tournament Quarterfinal Match
These two go back and forth until Valentine hammers Savage off the top rope. He hits some elbows for two and then delivers a shoulderbreaker for another two. Valentine tosses Savage out to the floor and connects with an elbow off the apron before ramming him into the guardrail. Valentine keeps it up with the elbows while Savage is laid out on the apron. Back in, Valentine works on the leg out of nowhere and tries for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Savage grabs the ropes. Valentine starts working on the back with a suplex and a backbreaker for a pair of twos. Savage backs into the corner and kicks at Valentine before sending face-first into the turnbuckle. He slams Valentine and comes off the top with a double-sledge for 1-2-NO! Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron and almost takes a shot from Savage. He turns around to Valentine and gets nailed for it. Savage blocks a suplex and hits one of his own and comes off the top again for a double-sledge, but he gets caught on the way down and still manages to connect with Valentine’s face! Savage misses a middle-rope straddle, so Valentine goes for the FIGURE-FOUR again. Instead, Savage decides to cradle him up for the 1-2-3. (6:08) Give it another five minutes and it would be better than Valentine/Steamboat. **
Apparently, Vanna White still thinks Hulk is in the tournament.
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man (w/Jimmy Hart & Peggy Sue) vs. Brutus Beefcake
Gorilla ~ “Those shears are so sharp, they’ll cut paper!” Backstage politics aside, some people hate the fact that Honky Tonk Man was Intercontinental Champion for so long because he wasn’t that great a worker, but the crowds HATED this guy! In retrospect, it’s not so bad seeing someone luck their way to a 14-month long title reign. Slow start with Beefcake eventually connecting with an atomic drop to send Honky out to the floor for more stalling. Back in, Beefcake delivers ten head-to-the-buckles and then hits a High Knee to send Honky out again. Beefcake flips him back in off the apron, but then he misses an elbow drop. Honky takes advantage and hits some fist drops and such. Jimmy Hart cheats a little bit when the ref has his back turned to it. Honky goes for the SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL, but knees Beefcake in the face instead. He tries for it again this time near the ropes, but Beefcake hooks the top rope to block it. Beefcake hits a clothesline or two and grabs a SLEEPER. Honky starts to fade away, so Jimmy Hart hits the ref in the back of the head with his megaphone. Once Honky is KO’ed, Beefcake realizes what happened and goes out after Jimmy for a clip-job. Some other refs run down to revive the original referee while Peggy Sue pours a pitcher of water on Honky to wake him up so that they can LEAVE. No bell, but Finkel announces Beefcake the winner by DQ. (6:47) Maybe three wrestling moves in the whole wrestling match. You add on the horrible DQ finish, and you’ve got a completely worthless match. CRAP
Bob Uecker gets a visit from Andre, where he makes the classic “How about you get your foot off my shoulder?” line. Andre tells us that DiBiase paid him to take Hogan out of the tournament, so mission accomplished.
- The Islanders & Bobby Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware (w/Matilda the BULLDOG! & Frankie the PARROT!)
This is the big revenge match for the Bulldogs because the Islanders and Heenan dog-napped Matilda, and now they got her back. Heenan’s got a dog-handler’s suit on to fend against Matilda, and while you’d think he would just wear it for pre-match shenanigans, he wears it the whole match! Dynamite hits some quick stuff on Tama to start. Tama wants a handshake, but Dynamite’s no dummy! He fires back and catapults Tama out over the top rope and to the floor. Davey Boy tags in, but misses an elbow drop and allows Tama to tag in Haku. Davey Boy comes back and hits a high crossbody for 1-2-NO! They miss a crucifix, but Davey Boy gets it on the second try for 1-2-NO! Haku fights back with an arm wrench and tags in Tama. He grabs Davey Boy’s arm, but he comes out of it with a press slam. Tama breaks free and brings Haku back in. Davey Boy flips out of a backbreaker and tags in Koko. He connects with a nice dropkick and then delivers a headscissors/headlock takedown combo on the Islanders. Dynamite tags in and hits a clothesline, but then runs into a foot in the corner. Uh oh, Heenan tags in and puts the boots to Dynamite and tags in Tama. Tama hits a backdrop, but a pump splash hits knees! Warm tag to Koko, but he quickly gets caught ducking low off a whip by Haku. Heenan tags back in for more, but Koko fires back. Heenan goes shoulder-first into the ringpost with a dropkick, but then the Islanders attack Koko from behind. All six-men get in, and while the ref is busy trying to get the Bulldogs out of the ring, the Islanders lift Heenan up in the air and splash him down on top of Koko for the 1-2-3! HEENAN WINS! (7:34) I would’ve been just fine with a Bulldogs/Islanders match, because I know those four can do some good in there. It was still a fun match though. **
Jesse Ventura receives some time to pose for the New Jersey crowd in a rather homo-erotic outfit, and gets a Hogan-like reaction.
- One Man Gang (w/Slick) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) – WWF World Title Tournament Semifinal Match
Savage uses his speed to start and delivers a running hotshot, but then Gang overpowers him to slowwwww things down. Gang misses a splash nearly three minutes in for Savage to take over. Gang falls out to the floor for Savage to connect with the top-rope double-sledge. Back in, Savage goes for a slam, but that proves to be a ridiculous move. Meanwhile, Slick goes over and starts talking trash to Elizabeth and she gets up on the apron to get away from him. Slick walks away and gets up on the apron on the other side of the ring and tosses Gang his cane. He nails Savage with it and then tries to jab him with it on the mat several times, but Savage keeps rolling away. The ref finally turns around and sees Gang using the cane and DQ’s him for it to send Savage to the finals against DiBiase for a HUGE pop. (4:13) Post-match, Gang and Slick hug in the ring so Savage makes Gang fall on top of him with a double-sledge! GUYS DON’T HUG! Since there was no pinfall/submission winner, One Man Gang receives a title shot at the next SNME. CRAP
- WWF World Tag Team Champions Strike Force vs. Demolition (w/Mr. Fuji)
Smash smashes Martel to start until all four men get in the ring. A double-back elbow from Strike Force gets two on Smash, which causes Ventura and Monsoon to get into an argument about double-team moves. Ventura is all like, “We’ve just called FOURTEEN MATCHES, Gorilla! I’m tired! Shut up and quit arguing with me!” Ax comes in and gets caught in an armbar by Santana. Martel tags in and applies the armbar, but Ax headbutts out and tags in Smash. Santana tags in and gets caught in a bearhug and clotheslined by Ax! Nice! Santana gets caught in the Demolition corner and gets slammed by Ax for two. Santana forgets to lift up his shoulder off a pin attempt after a suplex by Smash. Ax tags in, but he ducks low off a whip and pays for it. Smash comes in and cuts off the tag to keep Santana in their corner, but Santana hits the FLYING JALAPENO out of nowhere. HOT TAG TO MARTEL! He’s got a couple dropkicks for both Ax and Smash, and then hooks on the QUEBEC CRAB. Santana grabs Fuji up on the apron, but the cane is already in Ax’s hands. Martel still has Smash in the Crab, and gets walloped by Ax. Smash covers and gets the 1-2-3. (8:02) Thus begins the longest WWF tag title reign to date of sixteen months. The most ironic thing about this was that Demolition would be dethroned by the very team who lost the NWA World Tag titles on this very night. Until then, Demolition rules. *½
- Ted DiBiase (w/Andre the Giant) vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) – WWF World Title Tournament Finals
Robin Leach brings down the brand-new winged WWF title belt that would be used until the night after WrestleMania 14. Bob Uecker still hasn’t found Vanna White, but he’s our guest ring announcer for the second year in a row. They finally meet as he calls Vanna out to be the guest timekeeper. The story here is that DiBiase received a bye and is rested, but Savage had One Man Gang to contend with, so he’s tired. This sets up the “Can he do it?” factor for the main event. DiBiase backs Savage into the corner in a tie-up. Savage punches out, but gets tripped up by Andre. Crowd chants “Hogan” while Hebner scolds Andre. Nice wrestling sequence by these two ends with Andre tripping up Savage again. DiBiase delivers a clothesline for two, but then Savage punches out of a sunset flip attempt. DiBiase comes back after a talk with Andre, but then Savage gets his running hotshot out of nowhere. A Savage high knee sends DiBiase out to the floor. Savage heads up to deliver a top-rope double sledge, but Andre stands in the way. Savage has had enough of this Andre character, so he sends Elizabeth to the back to get Hogan. DiBiase catches Savage from behind and delivers his repeated fist drops for two. DiBiase hits the chinlock as the crowd chants “Hogan” because they know its coming. Well, speak of the devil! Here he comes. Hogan grabs a chair and sits down in the corner to watch the match. Let the lady have the seat, brother! DiBiase gets Savage caught in Andre’s corner so he can grab him. That brings Hulk over for the save. DiBiase stays on top of Savage with a suplex for two. Gutwrench suplex gets two. DiBiase goes up top, but he gets caught and sent down to the mat. Savage heads up for the MACHO ELBOW, but DiBiase moves out of the way. MILLION DOLLAR DREAM! Andre gets involved and while he’s being reprimanded, Hulk climbs into the ring and nails DiBiase with the back with his chair! Once Savage gets to his feet, he heads up again for the MACHO ELBOW and hits it this time for the 1-2-3! (9:19) The Mega Powers celebrate as the show comes to close. Great match! DiBiase unsuccessfully chased the title throughout the year, leading to the creation of his own belt. ***
Final Thoughts: Plodding is hardly the word for it. Thankfully, I have the anthology DVD set which has been cut down to 215 minutes, instead of the 4-HOUR CHV version (mostly what appears to be with more meaningless interviews and such). While it’s historically significant for the title tournament, the wrestling does not hold up. It’s sixteen matches long, making it the longest WrestleMania ever. Recommended only for its history, not for its wrestling.