The third instalment of this series where I look at an event I thought was great as a kid but on recently re-watching the event it’s nowhere near as good. Previously I’ve written about Wrestlemania 6 and Wrestlemania 9. This time it is the turn of Wrestlemania 4.
A bit of background first, after their historic feud and match at WM3, Andre had a rematch against Hogan on the first-ever edition of The Main Event in February. André controversially won the title from Hogan in a screwjob involving a fake referee and became the shortest reigning WWF Champion with a reign of only 47 seconds as he sold the title to the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. However, WWF President Jack Tunney vacated the title and ordered it to be decided in a 14-man tournament at Wrestlemania IV.
The fourteen men were: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Ted DiBiase, Jim Duggan, Don Muraco, Dino Bravo, Randy Savage, Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, One Man Gang, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rick Rude and Jake Roberts.
I should pre-empt my remarks here by stating that I love tournaments. I really do. The excitement and the luck of the draw make various tournaments really exciting however, taking that tournament style to Wrestlemania crated a lengthy, and at times very dull, event back in 1988.
As was the norm at the time, this event was bought solely on the aesthetics. Not solely the lure of the cover but the fact that it was a double video. Surely this would mean even more wrestling for my young eyes to feast upon. Sadly, while there is plenty of wrestling on the card it’s just that there isn’t all that much in the way of enjoyment to be taken from this event.
Sure there was a couple of good matches on the night, Greg Valentine v Ricky Steamboat being such a match and the final between Savage and Dibiase, despite the pair having competed a number of times already, is a very good match. There is some absolute garbage too: Hogan v an almost immobile Andre, One Man Gang v Bam Bam in a match that was essentially the trading of four arm blows before a lame finish, Rick Rude v Jake Roberts which was just surprisingly bad and the Ultimate Warrior v Hercules which served no purpose other than allowing those taking part in the tournament to have a toilet break.
I guess this could have been great had the WWF played out the opening rounds ahead of Wrestlemania with just the semi-finals and final taking place on the night. Sadly, this didn’t happen and what you got instead was an event filled with matches that suffered due to time constraints, contained too many count-outs and DQs for a Wrestlemania and a series of matches that are boring beyond belief. Don’t get me wrong, important from a historical perspective and a neat enough concept, it’s just a pity that the WWE failed in the delivery of it.