SideShowBob: Two things became apparent with this Wrestlemania. 1) As their budget grew, the Wrestlemania hype and packaging crew was starting to show what they were capable of, given the limitations of the time; and 2) ‘One Night Pay Per View Tournaments in WWF/E’ work great on paper but not so well in execution. This is as good as one of those gets. Macho Man’s arc was blatant, but he had the crowds support already. The rest of the tourney matches were crap, with the shock being Hogan or Andre weren’t crowned.
Speaking of Hogan Andre 2, the leadup to that was a complete mindfuck to kids of my generation. You were left wondering how the hell did they do that… Think I’m alone, go read the excerpt about this from Chris Jericho’s book. It was madness…
Speaking of madness, they couldn’t possibly pass on Savage Steamboat 2 in the same tournament right? Oh wait, yes they did.. Along with an absolute snoozefest time limit draw from Rude Roberts and a double DQ from Hogan Andre… WTF.
Highlights: The buid to this event, hands down. Go watch it on the network. Now. For the event, the Savage story arc. Matches weren’t his best but he was building well on his own, until Hogan had to interfere.. Also, don’t miss Demolition winning their match and the Battle Royale which turns Bret into a singles face character (for basically being a dumbass)
Kue: By far the best Mania so far, the tournament that was the basis of this event supplied everything that was needed: engaging feuds, compelling storylines, a number of good matches, and the crowning of a new main event talent. The draw of Hogan/Andre being taken care of in the early going was brilliant booking to shift focus on the rest of the participants and the domination of Dibiase’s faction. And Savage’s hard fought victories all the way up to his defeating DiBiase in the finals painted him as the deserving and fighting champion.
The battle royale was a good deal of fun. The six man tag between the Islanders and the Bulldogs had some good action. All in all, Mania IV was a damn awesome show.
BD: Sorry I missed WrestleMania 3 everyone, but my quick thoughts are that it’s amazing they did as well as they did with the scope given how horrible 2 was. 3 was just BIG in arena and attendance, and that was fuelled entirely by a monster main-event. That match is horrible without the historical perspective of Andre’s legend, plus we got an amazing Savage Steamboat match.
This one was really different, in a few good ways. The DiBiase Andre Hogan storyline was the first time a storyline of that magnitude was attempted in WWE on a grand scale, the tournament concept boistered it, AND no one expected the double-DQ between the most-likely winners of the tournament.
It introduced a MUCH-needed fresh face in the main-event in Savage (something WWE has been historically bad at most of the time) with Hogan’s assistance, but in a righteous way and where Savage came out still looking like a badass. It also was the first time they planned out a character like Savage a year out, as over the next year he’d turn heel to lose the belt to Hogan. Just good booking all-around.
Also the Warrior debuted. It was the start of a WWE that had a bigger cast of characters. Just a good show all-around. Not sure what the other jokers said, but I thought this WM is way under-rated.
Chris: I’m tempted to say that WWE needs to revisit the concept of a one-day tournament for Wrestlemania some time in the near future but as I’m thinking about it, I already think of all the ways current WWE would probably ruin it. WWE would telegraph the finalists weeks ahead of the event and they would choose two wrestlers the fans don’t want to get behind and will boo the main event out of the front door. Plus it’s difficult for them to promote certain feuds as a selling point because the matches would be put together as the night goes along. Also, WWE clearly had a precise plan to use this to build Macho Man even further so I wouldn’t go forward with this booking unless you had somebody very specific that you had a plan for beyond this tournament. Basically I’m saying that it shouldn’t be booked like the last couple King of the Rings or Andre the Giant Battle Royals in which they book a winner but don’t book a future for said winner. I agree with BD that this WM is way underrated but gets shadowed by the mass of Wrestlemania 3 but it’s definitely worth a watch.
Joel: The main story of this WrestleMania was the tournament for the title, but if you were to look at the promotional materials for the show you’d think we were getting an early version of “twice in a lifetime.” Imagine WrestleMania XXIX not only having the “twice in a lifetime” rematch as the main event with the foregone conclusion, but having the whole night based around a tournament where other guys are in meaningless matches because we all know this is just a convoluted way of getting the rematch that nobody cared about. That was my fear having seen the poster for WrestleMania IV and knowing that it was a night long tournament. So I was quite pleased to see that the Andre and Hogan rematch would end up being in the middle of the show and ending with neither one of them moving forward in the tournament. All at once the whole thing feels a lot more wide open than it had at the start of the show. While I didn’t love all of the matches at WrestleMania IV (four hours is a LONG time to sit through mid card matches when you have know idea of the buildup to any of them) I did really enjoy the overarching story of the evening. Dibiase’s alliance with Andre was used well, and the fact that he got a bye in the semifinal round worked to give him a realistic advantage over Randy Savage.
To be honest, I really didn’t expect a night long tournament to really work for a WrestleMania. I was expecting to give it a similar review to the one I gave WrestleMania 2: Good job for trying something different, but don’t ever do that again. But it turns out that it worked really well, and part of that was that what happened early in the tournament influneced later matches. Macho Man was wrestling the main event like he had already been in the ring three times that night. Could I have done without the Hogan interference at the end and the whole Hogan getting to be in the ring at the end to celebrate? Yes, it would have been nice to see Randy Savage get the title on purely his own merits, but I get that this is 1988 and in 1988, you close the show with Hogan in or near the ring. Still it did feel like a WrestleMania which means that slowly but surely they’re starting to figure this whole thing out.
Best WrestleMania so far: Still 3 but that’s not a knock on this one. It’s just that 3 is that hard to follow.
Tags: Andre the Giant, clashy ring attire, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, wrestlemania IV