WrestleMania Retrospective – WrestleMania IV (1988)

Here’s Part 4 of our WrestleMania Retrospective series, looking back at past WrestleMania events as we march towards WrestleMania 29 on April 7th.

WrestleMania IV (1988)WrestleManiaIV
Tagline: What The World Is Watching!
Date: March 27, 1988
Venue: Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, NJ
Attendance: 18,165
America The Beautiful: Gladys Knight

At the first Royal Rumble in January 1988, Hogan and André had their official contract signing for a WWF Championship rematch.
The main feud heading into WrestleMania was between Hulk Hogan and André the Giant. 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.

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 involving a twin referees.

Immediately after winning the title from Hogan, André sold the title to Ted DiBiase; President Jack Tunney nullified this decision, and vacated the title.
Immediately after winning the title from Hogan, André sold the title to Ted DiBiase; President Jack Tunney nullified the decision,  vacating the title.

André became the shortest reigning WWF Champion with a reign of only 47 seconds as he sold the title to Ted DiBiase and received a large sum of money.

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 at WrestleMania IV, further explaining 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.

Hulk Hogan and André the Giant went to a draw by double disqualification in this event. This would be Hogan’s first WrestleMania match in which a disqualification occurred. This was Hogan’s first and only time going to a draw at WrestleMania.

Hogan and Andre also have the distinction of being the first two wrestlers in the history of the event to have a WrestleMania rematch. They had wrestled each other the previous year at WrestleMania III in what many deem the most famous

Bad News Brown turns on Bret Hart, at the 20-Man-Battle Royal
Bad News Brown turns on Bret Hart, at the 20-Man-Battle Royal

wrestling contest of all time.

The first match was a 20-man battle royal and the winner would receive a large trophy. After fourteen eliminations, the final three participants were Bad News Brown, Bret Hart, and JYD. JYD hit both Hart & Brown with several headbutts before they both decided to cooperate and they eliminated JYD. 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, thus turning babyface.

The Ultimate Warrior making his PPV Debut.
The Ultimate Warrior making his PPV Debut.

In his pay-per-view 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 three clotheslines on Warrior, who no-sold Hercules’ clothesline. Hercules fell to the mat each time during his unsuccessful clothesline attempts. The powerhouse Warrior countered a Hercules clothesline and hit a clothesline of his own. He pounded on Hercules outside the ring before reentering the ring where Warrior hit a forearm club. In the corner, Warrior hit him ten-count punches but Hercules made a comeback with an inverted atomic drop. He hit a half nelson suplex on Warrior who got his shoulder up first, as the referee counted, giving Warrior the win.

Baseball great Bob Uker getting more than he deserved when interviewing Andre The Giant
Baseball great Bob Uker getting more than he deserved when interviewing Andre The Giant

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.

Savage climbed up the top rope for a second

Randy "Macho Man" Savage with Miss Elizabeth Celebrating his WWF Championship Win
Randy “Macho Man” Savage with Miss Elizabeth Celebrating his WWF Championship Win

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.

Although the event was promoted as being at the Trump Plaza, it was in fact held in the adjacent Boardwalk Hall.

This WrestleMania featured 16 matches, more than any other WrestleMania.


WrestleMania IV Results

Over the top rope 20-Man-Battle Royal

• Bad News Brown won an by last eliminating Bret Hart.

Participants : 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.

First Round Tournament for the WWF Championship

• Ted DiBiase (with Virgil and André the Giant) defeated Jim Duggan.
• Don Muraco (with Billy Graham) defeated Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) by disqualification.
• Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Ricky Steamboat (with Little Dragon).
• Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Butch Reed (with Slick).
• One Man Gang (with Slick) defeated Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) by countout.
• Rick Rude (with Bobby Heenan) and Jake Roberts fought to a time-limit draw

Singles Match
• The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)

Quater Finals Tournament for the WWF Championship
• Hulk Hogan and André the Giant (with Ted DiBiase and Virgil) fought to a double disqualification.
• Ted DiBiase defeated Don Muraco (with Billy Graham).
• Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart).

Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
• Brutus Beefcake defeated The Honky Tonk Man (c) (with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue) by disqualification.

Six-man tag team match
•The Islanders (Haku and Tama) and Bobby Heenan defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) and Koko B. Ware.

Semi-Finals Tournament for the WWF Championship
•Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) defeated One Man Gang (with Slick) by disqualification.

Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
•Demolition (Ax and Smash) (with Mr. Fuji) defeated Strike Force (c) (Rick Martel and Tito Santana)

Tournament finals match for the vacant WWF Championship
•Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan) defeated Ted DiBiase (with André the Giant).