WWF Wrestlemania 4
Live from Trump Plaza, it's WRESTLEMANIA IV! Gladys Knight, singer of one of my favorite Bond themes (License To Kill), sings a medley of patriotic songs to start the show.
Bob Ueker joins the commentary booth. Men involved in this match: Young Stalions, Hart Foundation, Sika, Danny Davis, Killer Bees, Bad News Brown, Sam Houston, Rougeau Brothers, Ken Patera, Ron Bass, JYD, Bolsheviks, Hillbilly Jim, Harley Race, George Steele. Traditionally shitty battle royal. The first probably 5 eliminations were completely missed by cameras. Things eventually come down to Bret, Bad News, and JYD. Bret and Bad News team up to eliminate JYD, and Bad News turns on Bret. SWERVE! Bret destroys Bad News' brand new giant trophy.
Robin Leach comes out to read a scroll to announce the start of the tournament.
Jim Duggan vs Ted DiBiase
The Rat Pack EXPLODES! Andre and Virgil are out with Ted. Ted bumps like a freak for DOOGUN. Ted is definitely on the list of crazy bumpers who don't get enough credit. It also clearly contributed to his career ending as soon as it did, so there's always that trade off. Play that in contrast to Duggan, who appears to never have learned how to take a bump, and as a result, can still go out and do matches 30 years later at gas stations and pizza shop parking lots. It really is fascinating at how poor he was at all of the in ring stuff. To the point where you'd think he never even got trained. Andre causes a distraction and Ted wins with a fist drop.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Brutus Beefcake comes in. Gene looks directly as his dick. "Brutus, this is incredible. What a package!" Now, he was talking about Bruti's weird tights, but he was staring at his dick. And then got very excited over the fishnets. Was Mean Gene secretly gay this whole time and I never noticed? That'd be pretty neat, actually. Very ahead of its time.
Dino Bravo vs Don Muraco
The Rock is now accompanied by Superstar Billy Graham, who looks awful, coming down with a cane and wearing a weight belt over a super flowy shirt for some reason. So much muscle, so much mass, so much gas. Don hits the most hilarious Vader Bomb, where Dino wasn't anywhere close to being in position, so Muraco had to land on his feet and then fall. Muraco works the leg. Muscle bound dudes doing technical work. Weird. After a ref bump, Dino hits the side slam for the win. Not sure what the ref bump was for, because Dino didn't actually cheat while the ref was down. He just hit Don from behind, which he could have done at any point. The decision is reversed and Muraco wins by DQ for Dino pulling the ref in front of Muraco.
TO THE UECKER. He's trying to bang Vanna White tonight. Jimmy and HTM are in a foul mood tonight.
Greg Valentine vs Ricky Steamboat
Richie Steamboat makes his WM debut! Imagine if Steamboat in his physical prime had been in a company that had athletic wrestling as a rule. This is a VERY slow match centered around Steamboat's face selling. Donald Trump is watching from ringside, looking bored as shit. Speaking of shit, I'm positive the guy next to him watched people take shits. What a creepy looking fuck. There's a strike battle in this, which was pretty strange for 1988 WWF. Hammer rolls through the cross body to get the win.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Matiltda, the Bulldogs, and Koko B. Ware are going weasel hunting. Koko kissed that dog in the mouth.
Butch Reed vs Randy Savage
This JHV of Michael Jackson's BAD for Butch is amazing. About an hour into this show, the crowd is already dying off. I'm sure it has nothing to do with all the juiced up dudes who get tired in 3 minutes trying to do 5-10 minute matches where the other guy has to conserve his energy for later matches. Literally the only offensive moves Macho hit were a few punches, a slam from the top, and the elbow.
TO THE UECKER. Bob keeps talking about Vanna White when the Islanders and Brain interupt him.
One Man Gang vs Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam's sax music is amazing. Just two fatties in spandex play fighting in front of a future president. This sure isn't any good. Awkward finish where Bam Bam got counted out while being on the apron, but the announcement for it didn't come until 30 seconds later.
TO THE MEAN BROTHERJACKDUDE. FE FI FO FUM, DUDE. "From New York down to Tampa, Florida, the fault line is going to break off, and as Andre The Giant falls into the ocean, as my next two opponents fall to the ocean floor and I pin 'em, so will Donald Trump and all the Hulkamaniacs. But as Donald Trump hangs on to the top of the Trump Plaza with his family under his other arm, as they sink to the bottom of the sea, thank GOD, Donald Trump, for Hulkamaniac [sic], he'll know enough to let go of his materialistic possessions, hang on to the wife and kids, dog paddle with his life all the way to safety. But Donald, if something happens, you run out of gas and all those little Hulkamaniacs run out of gas, just hang on to the largest back in the world and I'll dog paddle us backstroke all of us to safety!"
Rick Rude vs Jake Roberts
What a killer line up for this show. It's a shame the matches have fucking sucked. This starts out very tit-for-tat type stuff, and then Jake works a wrist lock like a fiend. Jake hits a flying knee lift, which was pretty neat. Brain is clearly nervous about this match. Jake misses his running knee lift, which I don't think he's ever hit if he actually runs across the ring to hit. That fucked his world up, as it tends to do. After Jake spends so long with a wrist lock, Rude spends just as long doing chin locks. Oh shit, a Flapjack Norton from Rude! Shout out to Minnesota. Trump seems to be very much enjoying this, though. Jake's short arm clothesline literally knocked the snot out of Rude. Some big bombs once they got away from wear down holds, including a backdrop driver from Rude. The match ends up going to the time limit right as Rude was about to steal the win. Definitely the best match so far, but nothing great. They'd certainly have better matches in the next year or so.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Gene is in front of the bracket board and brings in Vanna White. Vanna gives her predictions on the quarter finals.
Hercules vs Ultimate Warrior
Not a tournament match, but look at the MUSCULATURE! Just two jacked as fuck dudes hitting each other with no technique. It's amazing how stiff these guys are. Not in the wrestling stiff way, but muscle bound stiff way. You know these dudes never even considered a stretch in their lives. This ends with the Bret/Piper finish, but with Warrior countering the full nelson. Warrior wins! Herc tries to choke Warrior with his chain after the match, but Warrior just spins it around like an asshole.
A recap of the Hogan/Andre feud.
Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant
It was at least year's event that Hulk defeated The Giant and cemented his legacy. However, a month ago, their rematch saw Andre dethrone the Hulkster through nefarious means, creating the need for this tournament in the first place. Hulk runs to the ring, right into the giant. Andre seems a bit more mobile, or at least more motivated, than their Main Event match. It's similar to their previous match in the sense that Andre doesn't bump and leans on Hogan the whole match. Ted brings a chair into the ring, and since both Hogan and Andre used it, the match was thrown out and both were eliminated from the tournament. Hogan slams Andre after the match. Hulk then does his big pose down, but mother fucker, you're out of the tournament. Get out of the fucking ring. No one else who got eliminated got to spend another 5 minutes in the ring with his music playing. Jesse pointed out he's never seen a man so happy to lose his chance to get his championship back. Gorilla thought it was classy, as Hogan was giving the people what they came to see. No, Gino, he was HOT DOGGING AND GRANDSTANDING.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Macho says Hogan was cheated, not defeated. The Madness is now multiplying with the momentum of Hulkamania, and nothing is stopping him from winning the belt tonight. But...Hulkamania doesn't have much momentum right now. He lost to Andre in February, got eliminated from the tournament tonight.
Don Muraco vs Ted DiBiase Quarter-Finals
Ted now is on his own, since Hogan beat up Andre and Virgil. Jesse makes a valid point: The ref rang the bell before Ted was in the ring. The match therefore shouldn't even count. Ted won with a hot shot OUTTA NOWHERE, and advances straight to the finals.
TO THE UECKER. Bob is still trying to bang Vanna. She was supposed to meet him, but Demolition showed up instead.
Randy Savage vs Greg Valentine
OMG got a bye and will face the winner of this match. Not much to look forward to. Greg is working the arm. Crowd is dead, Macho is taking it easy because he still has two more matches. It's just so...dull. Macho wins with a small package OUTTA NOWHERE.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Gene thinks Vanna is hiding from Bob. She's never even heard of him.
Honky Tonk Man vs Brutus Beefcake WWF Intercontinental Championship
Fuck. Jimmy laid out the ref when Brutus had HTM dead in a sleeper. Despite no bell ever ringing, Brutus celebrates like an asshole. Brutus cuts Jimmy's hair again. And that's that. Fuck this show.
TO THE UECKER. Bob gets Andre instead of Vanna. "Hey, how about getting your foot off my shoulder?" Lol. Andre reveals that Ted paid him to make sure Hogan didn't advance in the tournament. Obviously. He then chokes Bob.
The Islanders/Bobby Heenan vs British Bulldogs/Koko B. Ware
There's still an HOUR left in this show. At least Dynamite can walk this year. He quickly slingshots Tama over the post. Jesse is such a mark for Haku. Brain pairs off with an already down Dynamite, which is amazing. Imagine those two having an actual match when both were in their physical primes. Unsurprisingly, Brain and Dynamite let their partners do most of the work in this. Bobby is wearing a K9 trainer suit, which seems like it should be totally illegal based on all the buckles, straps, and padding. The Islanders flap jack him onto Koko for the win. Bulldog tries to have Matilda attack Brain after the match, but Matilda could not give less of a fuck about any of this shit.
There's a random segment where Jesse gets to flex for no reason.
Randy Savage vs One Man Gang
The winner will face Ted Dibiase for the title. GEE, I WONDER WHO WILL WIN. Fuck this show. Fuck OMG. Gang got disqualified for TRYING to hit Randy with Slick's cane. He didn't actually hit him with it before the DQ. He did after, though.
TO THE MEAN GENE. Vanna and Bob just miss each other. Seems like she's been trying to avoid him. It was actually some guy named Vance White that had sent him all of those letters.
Demolition vs Strike Force WWF Tag Team Championships
Smash and Martel begin. Smash begins by smashing. Then Ax comes in and axes. Power vs speed/technique match, for sure. Tito ends up as the FIP, getting utterly...demolished. He finally makes the hot tag to Martel, and Martel gets Smash in the Quebec Crab. Tito stayed in the ring to beat up Ax and Fuji, which distracted the ref. This allowed Ax to hit Rick with Fuji's cane. One ref bump later, we have new tag team champions.
Ted DiBiase vs Randy Savage WWF Championship
Before the match, all the celebs on the show make an appearance. Bob finally gets his kiss from Vanna, Trump grabbed Vanna's pussy, Robin Leach presented the new championship belt.
Don't forget that they had this match on TV two weeks prior. A long TV match. Andre makes his presence felt immediately. Crowd tapped out at least an hour and a half ago. The reaction isn't even that big when Liz goes to the back to bring Hogan out. It's 1988 and this show has been so long and boring that Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan are getting mild reactions. This match has NOTHING going on in it. Shit. Hogan hits Ted with a chair. Macho hits the elbow. RANDY SAVAGE IS THE NEW WWF CHAMPION! Of course, Hogan is the first man in the ring to pose with the belt.
It's amazing that a show with Hogan/Andre, Ted/Macho, Macho/Valentine, Valentine/Steamboat, Roberts/Rude can be so shitty. It's such a SLOG. None of the matches live up to any expectations you'd have, even reasonable ones. Macho basically does nothing in any of his 4 matches, Hogan gets more time to celebrate his LOSS in the middle of the show than Macho gets to celebrate his win in the main event (and Hogan is there for that, too). The crowd doesn't seem very excited, and they pretty much died off before the show was even half over. If you have to watch it, I'd suggest to play it smart and watch it in 20-30 minute chunks over a few days. Otherwise you'll be bored to tears and might literally fall asleep like I used to as a kid watching tape 1 of this event. It probably took me 5 years to see the second part of the show.
Jake/Rude is by far the match of the night, and it's just a really solid house show match. This show has 16 matches. All of 3 of them went over 10 minutes. One of them was the battle royal. One of them wasn't the main event.