Before I start the review for this one, just a quick note about the format. They are doing some kind of elimination tournament for the WWE Heavyweight Belt. I think this has something to do with Hogan dropping the belt under suspicious circumstances to Andre? I don’t quite remember. I think it happened during a King of the Ring.
Either way, this is like a 16 man mini survivor bracket where if you win your match you go on to the next round.
1. Battle Royal Invitational
Right off the top, I’m pretty excited for Wrestlemania IV because I’m pretty sure there is no Junkyard Dog or Hacksaw Jim Duggan at all. But wait! Who is that in the background of this Battle Royal Invitational?
Briefly, here’s the rundown of who is in this one: Hart Foundation, The Cock Hungry Young Stallions, Seka, Dangerous Danny Davis, The Killer Bees, Bad News Brown, Sam Houston (!), The Rougeaus, Ken Patera, Outlaw Ron Bass, Junkyard Dog, The Bolsheviks, Hillbilly Jim, King Harley Race and George Steele.
So to summarize, they have taken all of my least favorite wrestlers and thrown them in the ring with the Hart Foundation.
Bob Euker is guest commentating with Jesse and Gorilla. The match is so dull that they spend 2 minutes talking about Vanna White. The eliminations happen really quickly over about 7 minutes to get to the final three – Bret Hart, JYD and Bad News Brown. Oh shit, I think JYD might win this. Probably as sort of a “thanks for a career, here’s your stupid WM win” kind of thing. Sort of like Scorsese and the Departed.
Wait! JYD is eliminated! This is great! He didn’t get jack shit. Sort of like Scorsese and Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas! The match ends when Bad News Brown throws out Hitman pretty easily. As Brown is grabbing his trophy, Hitman drop kicks him out of the ring and I think Bret Hart is a good guy now.
Overall: Ultimately, Scorsese was robbed a bunch of times.
2. Round 1 Elimination Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase
Well this should be something. I don’t love Dibiase that much, but he’s at least a very talented, technical wrestler. Hacksuck Shit Fuckhead is barely one step above a 10 year old wrestling his stuffed animals. The match starts with some shitty moves because Hacksuck is shitty. Dibiase keeps trying to wrestle and Hacksuck just keeps punching him in the face. Which I guess is a pretty good strategy.
Eventually, Dibiase gets the upper hand and I – as always, when Hacksuck is being assaulted – am fully, rigidly erect. I violently masturbate as the beating continues.
Andre ends up interfering and Dibiase gets the pin. I ruin my pants.
Overall: Literally the best match I’ve ever seen because Hacksuck lost. 100/100
3. Round 1 Elimination Match: Dino Bravo vs. The (other) Rock Don Moraco
Did I just hate every wrestler in the WWE stable in 1988? I can’t imagine enjoying this match. Honestly, I don’t remember any of this. I’m not even sure I’ve actually watched WM IV before.
Right off the top, this is a really clumsy match. Moraco might be a terrible wrestler. They’re both about a second off of their moves.
Neither of them move very well and the action goes back and forth until they hit the sweet, sweet double clothesline. I can never stay mad at any match that features that move. Eventually Moraco accidentally hits the ref who for some reason disqualifies ….Dino Bravo? It makes no sense. That’s like a bunch of Saudi Arabians attacking your country so you launch a decade-long war on Iraq.
Overall: That ref was the Decider. 10 points for the double clothsline
4. Round 1 Elimination Match: Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine
Finally! Wrestlers I like. I will actually pay attention to this one and try not to make jokes. The action starts off pretty standard for Steamboat. Deep arm drag takedowns, that move where he goes over the top rope and then pulls himself up. All pretty standard until he tries to get a pin on Valentine and… completely misses the move.
What the fuck, Wrestlemania IV. Is there something about Trump Plaza that is throwing off the timing of your moves?
Steamboat is a little off his normally perfect game. Valentine basically punches him a bunch of times and then goes for the figure four. Steamboat kicks him away and then they chop each other for awhile. Both Valentine and Steamboat land moves off the top rope, but neither can get the pin.
Eventually Steamboat goes for the High Cross Body off the top rope and he over rotates and ends up underneath Valentine. I feel like Steamboat loses 90% of his matches this way.
This ends with a long, 10 second shot of Donald Trumps horrific, horrible face in the crowd.
Overall: Donald Trump should classify his face as a bio-hazard
5. Round 1 Elimination Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Natural Butch Reed
This one starts off with Elizabeth being the hottest thing of all time. I have no greater context for that statement, just… she’s super.
For anyone keeping track, here is how Butch Reed is doing so far in the PPV’s since he showed up.
1. Eliminated really quickly in the ’88 Royal Rumble
2. Eliminated by Hogan very quickly in the first Survivor Series
3. Beats Koko B Ware in WM III which is as impressive as beating Koko B Ware in WM III.
So far a pretty underwhelming start for Butch Reed, especially for a guy who was rumored to be on his way to winning the intercontinental belt. According to Wikipedia: Reed no-showed a set of TV tapings where he was booked to win the title, resulting in the championship instead being put on The Honky Tonk Man. However, in a shoot interview, Reed has said this is untrue. In fact, when the Honky Tonk Man won the title from Steamboat in June 1987, Reed was shown celebrating with Honky and other heel wrestlers in the locker room although, in fairness, that was a taped segment
Anyway, Butch Reed beats up Macho for awhile before Macho slams him off the top rope and nails him with the flying elbow. A pretty quick, easy match. Butch is not on a roll
Overall: Would Butch Reed have had more or less success if he was “The Unnatural Butch Reed”? Discuss.
6. Round 1 Elimination Match: Bam Bam Bigalow Vs. One Man Gang
Thanks to Survivor Series ’87 and Bam Bam’s great performance, I’m really excited to see this match. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.
< five minutes later >
What the hell was that miserable piece of shit? Honestly, what on earth was that garbage supposed to be? I’m so disgusted that I’m not even going to review the match
Overall: Leave me. I’m upset
6.5 Hogan Promo
There’s a break in the action for an entertaining promo with Hogan. While being interviewed backstage he effectively tells everyone that Andre is so big that when he falls it will crack the fault line of the East Coast and everyone will fall in and probably die a horrible death. For those that are lucky enough, the Hulkster will take you on his back and dog paddle you to safety
I guess you had to see it.
7. Round 1 Elimination Match: Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Jake The Snake Roberts
Okay, so this should be a good one, right? Jake Roberts and Rick Rude look like a before / after fitness program picture.
The match starts off with an exchange of body slams before moving into what feels like 19 minutes of arm bars by Jake Roberts. Eventually Rick Rude goes on the offense and the match heats up a little…. until he goes for the 6 minute headlock and the pace comes right back to a screaming halt.
Well this whole thing is as dull as dishwater. My new prediction is they’re going to get to the 15 minute time limit and both get eliminated. And they are going to make us feel every second of the entire tedious, dull 15 minutes.
The crowd starts to agree with me and the chant of “boring” starts up. For those counting, we’ve had about 2 minutes of arm bars, 7 minutes of headlocks and about 2 minutes of actual wrestling. Jake eventually goes on the offensive, pulls of his short clothsline, goes for the DDT but can’t nail it.
And yep, they hit the 15 minute mark and both get eliminated.
Overall: I didn’t think it was possible, but this might be worse than Wrestlemania II
8. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules Hernandez
Before this match even starts, I’m going to predict that Hercules is beaten quickly put the Warrior over
And…. I was wrong. It’s an actual match, albeit a fairly crappy one. It ends when Warrior falls on top of Hercules and both of them are kind of in the pin position and the ref does the three count. Herc thinks he’s one, but it turns out he’s pinned himself by accident and the winner is Warrior.
Overall: For anyone counting (me I guess), that’s now 4 matches in this event where the ending has been a variation on “Oh guy thinks he won it but OH NO HE DIDN’T HA HA”
9. Round 2 Elimination Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
Here we go, Wrestlemania III all over again. We’re up to the third PPV that has milked this feud, that’s some impressive traction.
Andre attacks Hogan immediately, which is a great strategy. You know what else is a great strategy against Hogan? Don’t put him in a choke hold. How do his opponents not know this? If you’re managed by Bobby The Brain Heenan, you’ve got to know this, right? How would the planning for a match against Hogan work?
Andre: So my plan is to use my giant fists and punch Hogan a lot, like punch him tons, right in his dumb face.
Brain: Good, good. That’s all good. What else?
Andre: Okay, well then I’m going to headbutt him and maybe even step on him.
Brain: That’s great stuff. How are you going to put him away?
Andre: I’m going to slap on a choke hold and then when he –
Brain: Okay, stop. I’m going to stop you right there.
Brain: Listen to me. Don’t slap a choke hold on Hogan.
Andre: Like do it after more punching?
Andre: … then I should do it sooner?
Brain: No, you’re not getting this. Do not, under any circumstances, put a choke hold on Hogan.
Andre: Why.. why not?
Brain: He’ll Hulk out. He always Hulks out. The choke hold makes him hulk right the fuck out. Don’t do it. It’s right there in his name. Hulk Hogan.
Brain: Stop. No chokes.
Anyway, Hulk powers out of this choke hold and hulks right the fuck out. Some things happen and Hogan and Andre end up beating each other with a chair, which seems like a pretty reasonable end.
They’re both disqualified and Hogan re-slams Andre for good measure.
Overall: Is this even a legitimate Wrestlemania? This is terrible so far
10. Round 3 Elimination Match: The (Other) Rock Don Moraco vs. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase
Okay, this one starts off with some pretty good energy with Moraco throwing out some good power moves. They go back and forth for a bit and Diabiase wins clean. It’s a very fast match. I don’t have many jokes, so here is a funny strip from Dinosaur Comics
Overall: I would chew an entire cup filled with glass for just one semi-decent match
11. Round 3 Elimination Match: Randy Macho Man Savage vs. Greg The Hammer Valentine
So before this starts, just an FYI that One Man Gang got a pass through because Hogan and Andre eliminated each other. On with the show. Macho comes out to a huge pop. He was easily as popular as Hogan at this point.
I completely don’t remember this WM, as I’ve mentioned a few times, but here’s my prediction. Macho is going to win this match, but Valentine will slap on the figure four at some point so Macho has a bad knee for the last match. He’ll face off against Dibiase in the final round to win the title. Let’s see what happens
Valentine gets the upper hand pretty quickly and beats up Macho for a bit. Macho tries to show some offense but it doesn’t really take. The beating continues and Valentine goes for the figure four. Ha, I told you that was going to happen and –
“not so goddamn fast” says Macho via the caption above. He nails the small package for the three count. Macho moves onto the next round with no knee problems
Overall: Pretty decent match, if one sided
12. Intercontinental Match: Honky Tonk Man vs. Brutus The Barber Beefcake
Honky Tonk comes down to the ring with “Peggy Sue” who I’m pretty sure is Sherri Martel. And credit where credit is due, she’s not a bad dancer. Beefcake comes out to no music and a mediocre response.
The match starts off with a lot of posturing from Beefcake and playing up for the crowd. The crowd barely, barely cares because Beefcake has all the in-ring charisma of Sam Houston
Here’s something more interesting than this match. I just learned that Sam Houston is Jake Roberts’ younger brother. Another interesting fact – Scary Sherri was trained by Donna Christanello (remember her from the ’87 Survivor Series?).
Anyway, this match – and time – continue to progress. Eventually Brutus gets Honky in the sleeper but Jimmy Hart clocks the ref with the megaphone to get the disqualification
Overall: I feel like I’ve been watching this dumb event for 3 lifetimes
13. The Islanders with Bobby Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs with Koko B Ware
Oh my god. Oh my god. How fucking long is this stupid Wrestlemania. Why are we having a tag match? Please just let this end. I can’t keep doing this.
The match is a pretty decent affair as the Bulldogs always keep the energy high. For some reason the DVD I’m watching is blurring out the back of Koko’s tights so I focus all my energy in trying to figure out what’s written on them.
Sadly, I am never able to figure out the mystery. Eventually Heenan pins Koko (honestly, doesn’t matter how) and the Islanders take the win
Overall: The match ended which makes is a 10 in my book
14. Round 3 Elimination Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang
Alright, so Savage comes out for the third time tonight to take on the One Man Gang. After this one, the winner is going to take on Dibiase.
It’s no exaggeration to say Macho Man is single-handedly carrying this Wrestlemania by himself. Aside from the odd one off match, this whole event has been a real Wrestlemania II.
One Man Gang mostly dominates this match, punctuated by small periods of offense from Macho Man. The pace is interrupted when Slick threatens to slap Miss Elizabeth because late 80’s wrestling was just a different time.
The match ends with One Man Gang beating Macho Man with a cane, so Macho gets the win by disqualification
15. Tag Team Title Match: Strike Force Vs. Demolition
To give Macho Man time to rest, they stick a Tag Match in. Demolition comes into the ring, but not to their classic entrance theme: “Here comes the Ax, here comes the Smasher, the Demolition, walking disaster”. Just some generic crud.
Interestingly, Demolition is getting some cheers throughout this match. Jesse and Gorilla get in a fairly heated argument about a double team from Strike Force with Jesse eventually commenting that the night has been too long to keep arguing.
The match goes back and forth, with Smash eventually using Mr. Fuji’s cane on Rick Martel. Ax gets the pin and we have new Tag Team Champions. The win gets a fairly huge cheer from the crowd, but it could also be Stockholm Syndrome kicking in
Overall: One more. I can do this
16. Fucking finally the last fucking match. Macho Man vs. Dibiase
I don’t give a shit. Hogan interferes, Macho Wins the belt. Fine.
Overall: I’m going to bed. This was the worst Wrestlemania ever