It’s always fun to revisit things from your childhood. Wrestlemania IV, despite watching it nearly nine years after its original airdate.
So let’s see if the show holds up.
Wrestlemania 4 (Results)
Date: March 27, 1988
Arena: Trump Plaza (Atlantic City, NJ)
SUMMARY: The WWF title was held up in abeyance after Andre the Giant tried to sell the title to the Million Dollar Man. With the title suspended, the WWF opted to hold a tournament featuring the “top” 14 superstars to battle it out in a one-night tournament. Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan received a bye and met in the quarterfinals, hoping to recapture the amazing visual of Wrestlemania III. The match didn’t deliver, but it didn’t matter as this night was about the Macho Man.
MY ENJOYMENT RATING: C-minus on an adjusted scale given the era.
FAVORITE MATCH: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase. I had to scrape to find a match that didn’t bore the living daylights out of me. Aside from this match, the two men involved in this bout had decent bouts in their quarterfinal match-ups, but this match was the far most enjoyable to me, even with the overbooking.
THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: I love tournaments. I love brackets. Brackets are by far the best thing ever. The idea that someone would need to win more than one match to become champion is something I love about this card. I liked the different outfits that Macho Man and Ms. Elizabeth wore. I appreciate the minor details. Other than that, I really wish I had more, but this was the extent of my enjoyment.
THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: I would have LOVED to see Steamboat vs. Savage again in the quarterfinals, but instead, I got a decent match between Greg Valentine and Macho in second round. The finishes of many of the tournament matches felt unsatisfying. The 15-minute draw between Jake Roberts and Rick Rude was just painful and felt like it was supposed to eat up 15 minutes rather than tell a compelling story of two men trying to win a match to keep the dream of winning the belt alive. I don’t even want to bother listing out everything bad about this. You just have to trust me. A lot of terrible to decent matches with terrible or forgettable finishes.
RANDOM THOUGHT: The really popular way to cut a promo on this card was to yell as loudly as you can into a microphone without really saying anything. I’m still trying to decipher Hulk Hogan’s promo of slamming Andre to the mat so hard that a tidal wave comes, drowns New Jersey and Donald Trump and the Hulkamaniacs have to swim on the back of the Hulkster.
MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: Nostalgia is a funny thing. Many wrestling fans my age remember very distinctly this card, but it wasn’t for the match quality or anything that happened on the card itself. Instead, what many fans remember is the two VHS tapes that made up the event as a home video, which featured a built-in intermission to give those viewers a nice opportunity to switch out the tapes. I loved this card as a kid, but as someone who comprehends pro wrestling a little better this show was terrible. That being said, it’s still better than the first ‘Mania.