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WrestleMania IV

March 27, 1988

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ

Attendance: 19,199

Tagline:What the World is Watching!

Run Time: 3 hours, 33 minutes

RS: Trump is all over this one! This is the beginning of a long term relationship between McMahon and The Donald. After the massive success of WrestleMania III, the WWF decides to move to expanding their pay-per-view offerings, ditties called Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. They stuck to the formula; one location, massive card, plenty of celebrities. To give a bit of a set up, we need to visit the events of the first Survivor Series. Picture it: Thanksgiving, 1987. Hogan’s team loses to Andre’s team. After the event, Ted DiBiase offers Hogan some cold, hard cash for the title he’s held for three (THREE!!!) years. Hogan refuses (a defiant “HELLLLL NOOOOOOO”), but Andre shows up and chokes Hogan unconscious and promises he’ll win the title for Ted. At the Royal Rumble that January, Hogan and Andre signed a contract to fight the big rematch at the first Main Event on NBC. Andre beats Hogan (with the ugliest suplex in the world) in a controversial pin. It’s revealed that the referee who was assigned the match, David Hebner was swapped out for Earl, his twin brother, who was on the payroll of Ted DiBiase. Andre immediately takes the cash from Ted for the belt, but not so fast! President Jack Tunney rules that the belt can only change hands by pin or submission, so therefore Andre has surrendered the title, setting up the 14 man tournament at WrestleMania IV. Oddly, the rubber match of Hogan and Andre is in the second round of the tournament due to both being given a bye. Trump was so hooked and saw such promise in professional wrestling, he sponsored this and WrestleMania V, which is also billed as being at the Trump Plaza Casino and Hotel, but was actually held in Boardwalk Hall. Despite 93,000 at WrestleMania III, Jesse Ventura talks about how this event and it’s 19,199 seats sold out in “only two or three weeks.” I guess tickets sold slower when there was no Internet. I have a vague memory of renting the tapes of this show from Erol’s Video way back in the day.

TH: Whew, I feel like I’m catching up on 18 months of Days of Our Lives to understand the set up for this one. After the huge success of WrestleMania III, it definitely seems like the WWF is finding its formula, though of course the single-elimination championship tournament is a new wrinkle. Gladys Knight looks and sounds amazing for the opening rendition of “America the Beautiful.” (For those keeping track, that’s three absolute R&B/soul legends — Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Gladys Knight — plus, um, Mean Gene Okerlund who have performed the opening anthem.) Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon are back on announcing duties, without all the superfluous guest commentators from previous events (with the exception of “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker, who does a decent job.) Mean Gene is backstage for promos, and the immortal Howard Finkel is in the ring. The stage is set, Boardwalk Hall is hopping, and it’s time to light this firecracker…


  • 20-Man Battle Royal

RS: While he didn’t win it, this was definitely testing the waters for a Bret Hart push. I think that’s all I got to say about this, besides that WWE still doesn’t know how to call or regulate a battle royal. It doesn’t translate well for TV.

Junk Yard Dog in white tights and holding a chain
Junk Yard Dog, multi-year holder of the WWF World’s Hardest Head Title, aka The Concussy

TH: Jesse, Monsoon, and Uecker spend more time talking about everything but the action (if that’s the right word for it?) in the ring — Vanna White, Uecker’s baseball career lowlights, the size of the Battle Royal trophy, on and on. It feels like they just wandered in from the bar to find a wrestling event going on. With the tournament taking up most of the card for WrestleMania IV, it looks like the WWF used this match as an excuse to showcase the various tag teams — Hart Foundation, Killer Bees, Rougeau Brothers, The Bolsheviks, etc. who wouldn’t find a place otherwise. I liked the headbutt-off between Junk Yard Dog and King Harley Race, replaying their WrestleMania III meeting, and JYD chasing Bret Hart and Bad News Brown with his notoriously hard head. Dangerous Danny Davis returns from WM III but fortunately doesn’t stick around long. It’s early on but Jesse manages to slip in some racism already:  on Bad News Brown facing off with JYD and Bret, Jesse remarks, “You know, he’s from Harlem. This might be a typical Saturday night in Harlem.” Cue the eyerolls.

Robin Leach comes out to read a proclamation about the championship tournament, which I guess makes it official or something? I will never understand his fame for as long as I live.

  • Ted DiBiase, with Andre the Giant and Virgil vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (1st round tournament match)

RS: We got two future legends actually having their first WrestleMania matches. Duggan’s gimmick is basically just screaming “Hoooo” at the crowd. Ted is such a better wrestler. I forgot how good he was. 

TH: Ted’s such a terrific heel. One look at that coiffed hairdo and his dollar sign trunks and boots  and you know he’s an insufferable ass. Was Duggan’s gimmick supposed to be that he had a cognitive disability of some sort? The crossed eyes, the tongue sticking out, the stilted walk — it’s all very weird and maybe borderline inappropriate. I like how Jesse rags on Duggan’s lack of actual wrestling moves. Andre makes his first appearance in DiBiase’s corner and intervenes to help the Million Dollar Man walk away with this one. Decent start to the tournament!

  • Don Muraco, with “Superstar” Billy Graham vs. Dino Bravo, with Frenchy Martin (1st round tournament match)

TH: Superstar Billy Graham! His fashion sense has worn off on Muraco, who’s wearing tie dye. They also appear to share a love of steroids, as Muraco looks like one giant vein. Taking on Superstar as a manager seems to have made Muraco the face here, after being a heel in the last WrestleMania. Two big muscle dudes going at it, but not terribly interesting, unfortunately. Bravo picking up Muraco for the old-fashioned, legs-out piledriver is moderately terrifying. Even with the replay I’m still not exactly sure what happened for the finish

Don Muraco posing in a tie dye tanktop
Child of the 60s Don “The Rock, no the other one” Muraco

RS: Muraco, now going by “The Rock” (this was really confusing for me), is still just as boring to me. I’m excited to see Dino Bravo fight, though, this match was a slog for me. At least it was short.

  • Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, with Jimmy Hart vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (1st round tournament match)

RS: This easily could have been an Intercontinental Title match from back in the day. I didn’t feel like these guys really clicked well together but both are clearly skilled. These early tournament matches go by so quick. Maybe this match would have been better if they were given more than five minutes to do anything.

Ricky the Dragon Steamboat and his son in matching karate outfits. Both hold up "#1" fingers. Cute!
Get your karate outfits, kids, we’re going to Sears!

TH: How cute is Baby Steamboat in his little karate outfit? That kid is an absolute unit. He looks like he could probably beat at least six of the competitors from the Battle Royal. Danny Davis for sure. Ricky holds him up in the ring like he’s the Lion King. Gorilla uses “excellence of execution” to describe Ricky — I think he might owe Bret Hart a royalty for that. The Hammer sells some shots pretty impressively, dropping like a felled tree when Ricky hits him, but on the whole I agree with Rich that, while these guys are fantastic individually they didn’t have much chemistry here. 

  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage, with Miss Elizabeth vs. Butch Reed, with Slick (1st round tournament match)

TH: Great pop for Macho’s entrance music and some fairly uninspiring action, with lots of commentary from the announcer’s on Miss Elizabeth’s looks. Macho will be back in this tournament at least, so we can enjoy his genius some more. Hopefully we’ll even get a promo!

RS: This is a gimme, of course Macho is going to win. It’s his time.

  • One Man Gang, with Slick vs. Bam Bam Bigelow, with Oliver Humperdink (1st round tournament match)

RS: Mid-card big man vs mid-card big man. It’s weird to see Bam Bam as a face. We know neither one of these guys has a chance in hell to win this thing.

TH: Oh yeah, Bam Bam was over big time at this point. The fat guy-on-fat guy cross-body cracked me up, as their bellies got in the way of doing the actual move. This match was brought to you by Lipitor!

  • Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude, with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan (1st round tournament match)

TH: Rick Rude’s “I’m too sexy” schtick is so great. I remember my mom would roll her eyes and say “Oh give me a break” whenever he did his disrobing thing in the ring. Epic heel move, as is stopping mid-match to flex and pose. His old-school anchor tattoo always confused me — his hair’s too long to have been in the Navy; maybe he just really liked boats? I don’t know. A couple of technicians in the ring, these two don’t quite get it going, though maybe it seems slow because the previous matches were all so quick. I like Jake bringing Rick to the mat from a wrist lock, but there’s too many long, slow holds. Semi-related plug:  if you haven’t watched The Resurrection of Jake the Snake we highly recommend it.

Rick Rude pins an opponent and makes a kissing face toward the camera. His anchor tattoo is clearly visible on his right bicep.
Rick Rude, anchor aficionado

RS: My mom loved Rick Rude, but she was heel-lover. Whenever the announcers call attention to time limits on matches in a tournament, you know for damn sure it’s going to come into play. It came into play in this match. This match actually had a soft “boring” chant happening in the crowd. Some cool spots, like Rude dropping a fist on Jake from the top rope and a Damien cameo at the end of the match. This was definitely a drag of a match after some snappy quick matches. These two guys worked hard though, and gave a good match for the most part. I think the chant is mostly just from a drunken New Jersey crowd.

TH: I liked Jesse and Gorilla talking about how they have to be getting close to the time limit, and they have no idea how much time is elapsed. Like, isn’t that a thing that they should be tracking from the commentator’s table? What if NBA announcers were like, “Well, we have to be getting close to the end of the quarter here. Who knows how much time we have left, though? Welp, guess there’s no way to know.”

  • The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

RS: Two big guys just hitting each other. But, they put on a pretty interesting finish where you can’t tell who gets the actual pin. Glad they only went like three minutes. Ultimate Warrior is a sprint, not a marathon, and I just always find Hercules boring. 

Pixy stick candies, a pile of colored sugar with five striped straws
One of the Ultimate Warrior’s favorite powdered substances

TH: Hercules is making his appearance in his third WrestleMania in a row. (Spoiler alert:  he’ll be back in numbers V, VI, and VII as well. Hang in there, Rich!) As a kid I used to get so hyped up when the Warrior would come running in and shake the ropes. Watching him now, though, he reminds me of an 8 year old who’s been mainlining Pixy Sticks and Kool Aid all day. Hercules goes for the full nelson, which you’ll remember (or probably not) from WrestleMania III. I’m with Rich and  have no idea what happened with that pin (for the second time this WrestleMania). 

  • Andre the Giant, with Ted DiBiase and Virgil, vs. Hulk Hogan (Quarter-final tournament match)

TH: Of course we get the complete replay of the Hogan-Andre feud going all the way back to the events that set up WrestleMania III. Stop trying to manipulate my emotions, WWF! Andre looks tired before this even starts; he was in more or less constant pain during this time. Hogan doesn’t even get to rip his shirt off before Andre starts wailing on him. I wonder how much those ripped shirts from peak Hulkamania go for on eBay these days? After the finish, Hogan returns to the ring and slams Andre, seemingly trying to repeat the big moment from WM III but with all the drama and excitement removed. I’m not sure why Hulk hangs out posing in the ring after — he just got disqualified for hitting his former friend with a chair. Maybe go sit down and think about what you did, Hulkster. 

RS: Hogan comes in hot but Andre cuts that energy right out. The crowd just goes insane for Hogan. I’ve seen a lot of Hogan matches lately, and his gimmick for the most part is just get his ass beat, but then decide to randomly stop selling to his opponent, drop a leg and win. In this one, Hogan is really working hard to sell an over-the-hill Giant. Hogan nails Andre with a chair but doesn’t get a disqualification? Ah there it is — the ref took forever to make the call. Double disqualification! Again, the commentators already talked about what would happen if both men were disqualified, tipping their hand on the finish. I understand why this rubber match was mid-card.

TH: Oh snap, Macho Man promo time! He’s proclaimed that Macho Madness has been added to Hulkamania, an unstoppable combination for sure. “Nothing’s gonna stop one half of the Mega Powers from going all the way to the end!” Miss Elizabeth agrees, shockingly, that Macho is going to win the whole thing. 

  • Ted DiBiase vs. Don Muraco, with “Superstar” Billy Graham (Quarter-final tournament match)

RS: Someone dumped their beer on Ted as he walked to the ring. DiBiase is selling like crazy making Muraco (I’m not calling him The Rock) look entertaining and powerful. The winner of this match would have faced the winner of Hogan/Andre, so it’s pretty clever to give them the double DQ to avoid Ted possibly fighting either Andre or his arch nemesis without it being a main event. Ted wins with a weird clothesline? I’m still not used to these times where they don’t really have finishers, nor am I used to big-time wrestlers not having entrance music.

TH: With Hogan and Andre eliminated, the winner of this match gets a bye to the final round of the tournament, so the stakes have been raised! Muraco jumps right in before the bell, and follows up with a heck of a scoop power slam. These guys are a much better pairing than either of their first round opponents. Pretty cool spot to end the match, with DiBiase picking up Muraco to clothesline him on the top rope. Fun match!

Publicity still of tag team Demolition, members Ax (right) and Smash
Ax & Smash of Demolition. Nightmare fuel for young Tim; fond familial reminiscences for Rich

TH: Holy sh*t, it’s a Demolition promo! I used to be terrified of these guys. (I didn’t watch any wrestling except WWF as a kid, so I didn’t realize they were a total ripoff of the Road Warriors.) They promise “brutal contact” in their upcoming tag match. I can’t wait!

RS: Ax from Demolition had the same haircut as my grandfather.

  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage, with Miss Elizabeth vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, with Jimmy Hart (Quarter-final tournament match)

TH: The Hammer appears to shop at the bargain version of wherever Macho Man gets his robes. This is a power vs. speed match and Macho comes out smokin’, hitting a great driving knee on a prone Hammer. “Both of these guys are noted for their elbows,” says Gorilla, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say before. Trump at ringside looks bored, probably because nobody’s talking about him. These guys both take some licks and Jimmy Hart interferes several times, but Macho Man pulls it out with a great technical finish.

RS:  This one could steal the show. Macho looks resplendent — that’s the only way I can describe it. Hammer drops his “patented” elbow, which looks like a lazy People’s Elbow. Valentine is landing some hard shots, really beating on Macho, and gets an ugly suplex on Macho. Macho Man’s cocaine just kicked in. Why is there hair on the mat? And why is Monsoon calling Jimmy Hart “colonel?” Macho reverses a figure four into a small package pin and gets the win.

  • Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake vs. The Honky Tonk Man, with Jimmy Hart and Peggy Sue, WWF Intercontinental Championship

RS: Brutus looks like a Chippendale dancer. Never trust a wrestler with garden shears. I think Peggy Sue (actually Sherri Martel) is in a wig, so I bet it gets cut post-match. Gorilla and Jesse have told us about 10 times that the title won’t change hands on a disqualification or count-out. Wonder what’s going to happen? I enjoy that Jesse refers to the HTM simply as “Honky” throughout the match. HTM goes for the shake, rattle, and roll, but Brutus’s share of Macho’s cocaine kicks in and he “hulks up.” Jimmy Hart knocks out the ref as HTM is dropped in a sleeper, leaving both guys unconscious on the mat. Beefcake is cutting Jimmy’s hair! Peggy Sue splashes water on HTM and pulls him out of the ring. Big shock, Brutus wins by disqualification, as telegraphed by the announcing team. 

Head shot of Scott Valentine, who played Mallory Keaton's boyfriend, Nick, on Family Ties
80s heartthrob and Brutus Beefcake doppelganger, Scott Valentine. Image from

TH: Honky Tonk Man sang his own intro music, if I remember correctly. It’s decidedly not good, but I imagine the licensing fees on an actual Elvis song would have been out of reach. Wonder if Elvis Presley Enterprises had anything to say about the “Don’t Be Cruel” on HTM’s butt, though? Another burning question:  why TF does Monsoon keep calling Beefcake “Brutii”? Does he think that’s the singular form of Brutus? I’m not sure what’s happening, and Brutii’s spandex/fishnet tights combo are only part of the problem. I have a theory that Brutus was also Scott Valentine, who played Mallory Keaton’s boyfriend, Nick, on Family Ties. (That’s our second Family Ties reference in 2 posts, ladies and gentlemen.)

RS: Licensing fees were definitely out of the question for “Honky” considering most of their entrance music at this time is still crappy MIDI.

GIF of Andre the Giant choking Bob Uecker
Andre the Giant and Bob Uecker hug it out

RS: We go to a promo of Uecker being upset that his stalking of Vanna White hasn’t paid off when Andre shows up to talk about how he succeeded in knocking Hogan out of the tournament, killing Hulkamania. Andre grins revealing a mouth full of about 700 teeth. He grabs Uecker by the neck and shakes him, giving us that classic Wrestlemania clip we see in every Andre tribute.

TH:  Dang, Uecker sells that choke! He is probably better at this than he ever was at baseball.

  • The Islanders (Haku and Tame) and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and Koko B. Ware, 6-man tag team match

TH: Matilda the Bulldog is back! She chases the Islanders and Bobby The Brain out of the ring. Hope she doesn’t get kidnapped again like she did in WM III. I don’t know if I could take that emotional strain again. This is a great match by two stellar teams, plus Koko B. Ware for good measure. I love that the Islanders wrestle barefoot. Davey Boy continues to be a complete beast, lifting an Islander over his head and holding him for several seconds before the slam. Great closeup shot of Matilda on her platform by the ring; Jesse calls her ugly, forever sealing his status as a heel commentator.

RS: Heenan is wearing a dog training coat to protect him from dog bites, which is genius. Koko delivers a brilliant move countering a double team from the Islanders, using a snap mare take down and leg scissors at the same time. Heenan gets tagged in when Dynamite Kid is down, in standard fashion. Great ending with the Islanders using Heenan as a weapon, slamming him on top of Koko for the pin. After the match, Matilda chases and attacks The Brain. Good thing he had that trainer coat!

  • Randy “Macho Man” Savage, with Miss Elizabeth vs. One Man Gang, with Slick (Semi-final tournament match)

RS: Standard David v Goliath match. Slick gives Gang his cane but the ref catches him and disqualifies him. Predictably, Macho Man moves on.

TH: Macho’s back for his third match, with a new robe, and a new dress for Miss Elizabeth! I’d be tired just from walking to and from the ring that many times in one night. I like the move with Macho grabbing the beard and jumping over the top rope, clotheslining One Man Gang (OMG) in the process. OMG misses the big splash, which turns the tide for Macho. He jabs, drops some top-of-the-head elbows, and hits the double ax handle off the top to the outside. I don’t know how OMG thought he was going to get away with using the cane. Dumbass. 

  • Demolition (Ax and Smash), with Mr. Fuji vs. Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana), WWF Tag Team Championship

TH: After that earlier Demolition promo I am hyped for this. Demolition’s spiked hoods and shoulder pads always scared the crap outta me. I’m happy to see Tito and Martel back for this WrestleMania, too. We’ve got another speed vs. power matchup, with Martel and Santana flying all over the place, and Demolition with the ground & pound. The crowd is none too pleased with that dirty finish, and neither am I.

Tito Santana in white tights, with referee
National treasure and 4-time (so far!) WrestleMania participant, Tito Santana. Image from

RS: Demolition was one of my favorite tag teams growing up. They were scary and mean. Demolition isn’t fighting dirty here but they are walking just on the edge. Santana and Martel are bringing their normal speed stuff. Jesse continues with the Chico comments and makes a remark that Tito probably wishes he was still a taco salesman in Tijuana. There’s a weird pinning attempt where the ref slowed the count, saving Tito. I wonder if he was a little stunned and didn’t kick out quite as fast as he should have? Tito gives a hot tag to Martel. Smash is locked in the Boston crab and Mr Fuji gets on the ring and causes chaos. A cane smashes Martel on the back of the head, the referee wakes up to find Smash on top of him and 1, 2, 3 for the tag belts to change hands.

  • Randy “Macho Man” Savage, with Miss Elizabeth vs. Ted DiBiase, with Andre the Giant, WWF World Heavyweight Championship

TH: Robin Leach is back for some reason, bringing out the World Heavyweight Championship belt on a pillow. Bob Uecker is on deck for guest ring announcing duties, goofing and mugging to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as he makes his way to the ring, then Vanna White finally appears for her guest timekeeper slot. Maybe Uecker will finally get to talk to her tonight — and he gets a kiss! The look on his face is making me deeply uncomfortable. Anyway, on to the match. Andre causes problems immediately — this is gonna be an issue for Macho Man if he’s not careful. Rich will give you the ins and outs, but I just want to say that flying elbow at the end is a thing of beauty. It’s nice to see Randy, Elizabeth, and Hogan in the ring together at the end.

RS: This could be another classic. This is also probably as close as Ted DiBiase ever gets to the World Title. Hogan is so huge at this point, the crowd starts chanting for Hogan when Andre grabs Macho’s leg. The crowd stops watching the match and stares at the entranceway, looking for Hogan. The audience is definitely worked up, but it’s weird not seeing Hogan in a WrestleMania main event. I wonder if this was WWF testing the waters of a post-Hogan world already. Macho Man is fast and clean, despite this being his fourth(!) match of the night. Elizabeth suddenly leaves the ring area, most likely to get Hogan for backup. Hogan arrives with a chair to DiBiase while the ref fights with Andre. Macho Man gets up to see Ted is out, calls for the elbow, climbs and we begin the Macho Man era.

Best Match

RS: I’ll have to be a mark and say DiBiase v Macho Man. The match is compelling and you really don’t know who is going to win. This, with the Battle Royal, was definitely testing to see if the audience, and in turn the WWF, could survive a post-Hulkamania world. But, they couldn’t resist having him involved in some way. But, this is also seeming to be the development of the most beautiful and stressful wrestling friendship ever between Savage and Hogan.

TH: I would agree — the last match of the tournament, for the belt, ends up being the best one. Wonder how often that actually happens in a WrestleMania? Two really talented guys at the top of their games, plus, as Rich pointed out, the historic significance of the start of the Macho Man era. I liked Ted DiBiase vs. Don Muraco, too.

Worst Match

Orange poop emoji with eyes
Portrait of DJT, ca. 1988

TH: Any match where I had to look at Donald Trump’s stupid face at ringside for extended periods of time. Hogan got it right in his promo — I wish DJT had been swept away into the ocean by the power of Hulkamania (or whatever) back in 1988. Think about how much heartache we all would have been saved.

RS: Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules. I’ve never really understood Warrior and previous blog entries clearly voice my opinion on Hercules. Snorefest except for a clever finish.

Oh Sh!t Moment

RS: Hogan with the chair to DiBiase to cost him the match. Hogan is so over that he can blatantly cheat and everyone loves him anyway. He’s like the opposite of Stone Cold; he’s so good, he can be bad.

TH: Yeah, that was a real (ahem) stunner. I’d pick Savage off the top rope to hit that final elbow on DiBiase, who’s almost the entire way across the ring. You’ll believe a Macho Man can fly.

Overall Rating

TH: 3.5 out of 5. This is better than WM 2 for sure, and probably better than WM 1. I’d rank it behind WM III, which I gave 4 stars mostly on the strength of Hogan vs. Andre. The quality overall here is actually more consistent than WM III, with fewer dud matches. The tournament is an interesting idea in theory, but in practice just drags on way too long and takes up too much of the card. This is also our second WM without a women’s match — I’ll be interested to see if that trend holds. Overall, though, tons of big talent, some solid matches, and a smoothly executed event start to finish. I’m encouraged that we didn’t get a huge drop off in quality to correspond to the significantly reduced audience size.

RS: 3.5 out of 5. The tournament is just way too big. 14 entries, but most of the matches were somewhat compelling. It’s also fun to see a few new faces moving forward and getting test runs.  Hulkamania is far from dead, but WWF has to be happy to see Macho Man, Bret Hart, and Ted DiBiase get over with the crowd. The rating is also boosted by the prophetic and hallucinatory promo Hulk Hogan cuts on Donald Trump. These events are feeling more and more mainstream. It’s hard to fathom that there’s other wrestling happening in the US and the world with how powerful these events seem to be. WWF aired Survivor Series on Thanksgiving at the exact same time as NWA’s Starrcade. WWF also bullied cable companies and said any that offered Starrcade instead of WrestleMania would never be offered any other WWF event which cemented their power and influence. A dude named Ric Flair regained the NWA championship at that event. Jim Crockett Promotions was purchased by Ted Turner in November of 1988, creating WCW. WrestleMania’s success is definitely forcing more investment in professional wrestling. But, if you ask someone, anyone, to name a wrestler from the 1980’s, they’re going to say Hulk Hogan and his matches at WrestleMania. Big names like Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Dusty Rhodes, Michael Hayes, Sting, and the Road Warriors (all of whom end up in WWF at some point in their careers) are fighting in NWA/WCW. The same night as WrestleMania IV, NWA aired a free Clash of the Champions to get revenge for the Thanksgiving conflict. That show’s main event was Sting vs. Ric Flair that went to a 45-minute draw. NWA/WCW is coming, but WrestleMania and Hogan are now a part of mainstream American culture. Comparing cards now, and knowing I could have watched Clash for free on TBS, I probably would have picked that over this WrestleMania. 

In Memoriam

Andre the Giant, d. 1993

Ron Bass, d. 2017

Bam Bam Bigelow, d. 2007

Dino Bravo, d. 1993

Bad News Brown, d. 2007

British Bulldog Dynamite Kid, d. 2018

Howard Finkel, d. 2020

Mr. Fuji, d. 2016

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, d. 2017

Hercules, d. 2004

Oliver Humperdink, d. 2011

Junkyard Dog, d. 1998

Frenchy Martin, d. 2016

Miss Elizabeth, d. 2003 

Gorilla Monsoon, d. 1999

Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, d. 2018

Mean Gene Okerlund, d. 2019

Peggy Sue (Sherri Martel), d. 2007

“King” Harley Race, d. 2019

“Ravishing” Rick Rude, d. 1999

Randy “Macho Man” Savage, d. 2011

British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, d. 2002

George “The Animal” Steele, d. 2017

Ultimate Warrior, d. 2014

Nikolai Volkoff, d. 2018

Image of Bam Bam Bigelow in the ring, arms outstretched, in flame tights. Tattoos are visible on the undersides of both arms.
RIP Scott Charles “Bam Bam” Bigelow, d. 2007. Image from

9 thoughts on “WrestleMania IV

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