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  #1  
Old 12-23-2012, 06:12 PM
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Default Did WrestleMania IV Need The Tournament?

As we all know WrestleMania III was a historic event for the WWF. Even though there were two before it, WM3 is the show that created the mania legacy and established it as the biggest show of the year. We all know the main event was the heavily anticipated match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant which drew over 90,000 fans to the Pontiac Silver Dome. It was a perfect show for 1987. What about 1988? After an epic main event drew such a big house in 1987 the WWF had quite a challenge to make WrestleMania IV as compelling. What main event match could have possibly created the same buzz as Hogan vs. Andre? The answer is none. Since no individual match was going to generate as much excitement as Hogan vs. Andre the WWF came up with a one night tournament to crown a new champion. The WWF title was vacant and 14 guys were given the opportunity to become champion.

The idea seemed good on paper but as much as it wounds my old school soul to say it, WM4 was kind of boring. A tournament to crown a new champion seems exciting but with the stakes so high it makes a lot of the matches simply unnecessary. Even at eight years old I knew Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo was pointless. Even though WM4 was simply not going to be able to match up to WM3 do you think it would have been better if it was just a regular card and not a tournament? If you think so and want to add a little more go ahead and write out your WM4 card. Just remember this is non spam so if you’re only going to make up a card be sure to do so within the rules.
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:15 PM
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Here’s my WM4 card if they decided not to do the tournament. I’ll list the matches in the order I think they would have gone on.

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Hart Foundation

A solid tag match to open the show. The Rougeau Brothers are the faces and the Harts are heels. I always thought Bret’s face turn at WM4 was a little unusual since it didn’t involve Neidhart or Jimmy Hart at all. After WM 4 The Harts started having some problems with Jimmy but I don’t remember any explanation. I think a miscommunication here causes an upset win for the Rougeau Brothers and the seeds are planted for a Hart Foundation face turn but it doesn’t happen yet.

Ken Patera vs. Dino Bravo

Bravo just set the bench press record a couple months earlier and was getting a push as a powerhouse wrestler who hated America. Ken Patera was a US Olympic power lifter. Pretty simple. Bravo wins as he is on the way up and Patera is on the way down.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude

These two had a minor feud in early 1988 and wrestled against each other on the house show tour. This could have easily gone to mania. Rude would have gotten the win as he was a hot new mid card heel and Steamboat was out of the WWF after mania.

Don Muraco & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Butch Reed & One Man Gang

In late 1987 Reed and Gang stopped Superstar Billy Graham’s comeback with an attack that officially ended his in ring career. Muraco tried to save Graham which led to Graham becoming Muraco’s manager. Bigelow was popular and would have been a good partner for Muraco to try to neutralize the size of the Gang.

Jake Roberts vs. Greg Valentine

Not every match needed a feud or personal storyline during the early years of mania. Sometimes just putting two guys that have a similar place on the card together works. That’s what happens here.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

These two had a feud going and actually wrestled each other at the real WM4 so this stays as is.

Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (Steel Cage Match)

They had already wrestled each other twice by WM4 so I see this being the blowoff. The cage is there to give the match an extra boost since we’ve seen this match before. Cage matches were still a big deal so this would have created enough excitement to overcome a WrestleMania repeat. I’ll get into a bit more detail later. Hogan wins.

Junk Yard Dog vs. Bad News Brown

A bit of a calm down match after one of the main events. By 1988 JYD had fallen down the card so he would be used here to put over the newcomer.

Honky Tonk Man vs. Brutus Beefcake (IC Title)

Stays as is from the real card.

British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware vs. Islanders & Bobby Heenan

Stays as is from the real card.

Strike Force vs. Demolition (Tag Titles)

Stays as is from the real card.

Jim Duggan vs. Ron Bass

See Roberts vs. Valentine. Calm down match before the main event.

Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Savage (World Title)

Here’s my dilemma. Is Randy Savage challenging Ted Dibiase for the title a big enough match to main event WrestleMania? You’re probably thinking ‘of course it is, it really happened.’ It did really happen but it was not announced that way and wasn’t expected to sell the show. The tournament sold the show and Savage and Dibiase happened to be the finals. What if it was announced like a regular card? Is Savage vs. Dibiase good enough? I think it could have been if Hogan vs. Andre in the cage was also used to sell the show. Here’s the setup.

Everything goes down as it did up to the Main Event with Andre surrendering the title to Dibiase. Instead of Dibiase being stripped, he is allowed to keep the title. Hogan naturally wants a rematch for the title but since the guy that beat him isn’t champion anymore Hogan needs to get back in line for a title shot. The next SNME features a 20 man battle royal with the winner getting the title shot at mania. Hogan gets in the battle royal and Dibiase makes sure Andre is in there to eliminate Hogan. Dibiase watches from ringside and distracts Hogan allowing Andre to sneak up from behind and eliminate him. It comes down to Andre and Savage. Dibiase wants Andre to win so he can have an easy match at mania by paying Andre off. Savage is overmatched considering it’s a battle royal. Hogan returns to the ring to distract Andre and help Savage eliminate him. Dibiase is furious as Hogan and Andre fight on the outside and setup their mania cage match. Savage gets the title shot at mania and beats Dibiase with the same finish of the actual show but in a much better match since it would likely get more time and be Savage’s only match of the night.

This may not be the best card in the world but I think it makes for a bit of a better show than the tournament.
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2012, 08:06 PM
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Well Brain we have finally come to a topic where I actually disagree with you. I am a bit surprised you found Mania 4 boring. For me there is nothing like a well done tournament, and I believe this one was well done. I even made my own bracket for this event as a kid. It started out with a 20 man battle royal which is another one of my favorite matches in wrestling, and it even featured Bret Hart's face turn. It may not have been the official turn, but the seeds were at least planted when he attacked Bad News and broke up the trophy. We also had a tag title match with Strikeforce and Demolition. Entertaining match with Fuji's cane costing Strikeforce the titles, and basically their partnership as that event lead to their breakup a year later. I can see how you could say that the matches like Muraco vs Dino Bravo were useless, but that did kind of change when Andre and Hulk both got disqualified. I was in shock that one of the two of them were not going to be in the finals, and at the time I though damn, anyone can win this tonight. Lets talk about Savage and the way he was booked in the tournament. He had to beat Butch Reed in a hard fought match, then Valentine, followed by One Man Gang who was coming off of a bye. Savage was dominated in that match and won by DQ only after Gang tried using Slicks cane on him. Three matches down and then he has to face The Million Dollar Man also coming off a bye. My point here is the deck was as stacked against Savage about as high as any deck has been stacked against any wrestler ever, and he won anyway. After the performance he put on, what fan was not salivating for Savage to win the title, and when he did it was an awesome moment. I actually rewatched this event last Xmas when I got the Mania anthology and I was just into the tournament as I was as a kid. For me it was an edge of my seat night, and despite all of the odds being in favor of The Million Dollar Man, Savage still had his night. I can't see Wrestlemania 4 being done without that tournament. The matches may not have all been the greatest, but the atmosphere of there is going to be a change tonight more than made up for it in my opinion. For me Savage and the tournament were essential in trying to keep pace with Mania 3.
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2012, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by The Brain;

Everything goes down as it did up to the Main Event with Andre surrendering the title to Dibiase. Instead of Dibiase being stripped, he is allowed to keep the title. Hogan naturally wants a rematch for the title but since the guy that beat him isnít champion anymore Hogan needs to get back in line for a title shot. The next SNME features a 20 man battle royal with the winner getting the title shot at mania. Hogan gets in the battle royal and Dibiase makes sure Andre is in there to eliminate Hogan. Dibiase watches from ringside and distracts Hogan allowing Andre to sneak up from behind and eliminate him. It comes down to Andre and Savage. Dibiase wants Andre to win so he can have an easy match at mania by paying Andre off. Savage is overmatched considering itís a battle royal. Hogan returns to the ring to distract Andre and help Savage eliminate him. Dibiase is furious as Hogan and Andre fight on the outside and setup their mania cage match. Savage gets the title shot at mania and beats Dibiase with the same finish of the actual show but in a much better match since it would likely get more time and be Savageís only match of the night.

This may not be the best card in the world but I think it makes for a bit of a better show than the tournament.
Brain, I always find your topics compelling. I think in hindsight, It was a geat idea to have a tourney as Wrestlemania 4. The tourney is what gives 4 it's own distinct feel and appeal. Did it do a good job in following WM3 in terms of box office or legacy? No. But it did help to establish Savage as a main eventer and push DiBiase as a top heel because if you think about it, who was going to top Andre as the top heel when he was done? Andre was on his last lap so to speak. He was working very minimum after that with short term feuds like trying to establish Warrior as a top guy. So, WM4 succeeded as far as making new fresh stars.

Brain, you and I as well as HBsam31 were the same age when this PPV happened. If you felt like I did at the time, you would remember how much of a deuche Ted DiBiase was as the Million Dollar Man character. You remember how good it felt to see Savage as a face champion with Liz by his side, so you would have to admit that WM4 did at least push them in the forefront deservingly. The Andre/Hogan feud did'nt need the belt anymore. They were both bigger than wrestling at the time like how John Cena is now. They didn't need the title.

I think I understand what you mean by saying the ppv itself wasn't all that great, because most of those matches were dull and lackluster at best, but just on concept alone, I think the tourney was a great idea because of what I stated earlier...It gives WM4 it's own feel. Great post, your always entertaining and have great topics!
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by HBsam31 View Post
The matches may not have all been the greatest, but the atmosphere of there is going to be a change tonight more than made up for it in my opinion. For me Savage and the tournament were essential in trying to keep pace with Mania 3.
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Originally Posted by asiatic7 View Post

I think I understand what you mean by saying the ppv itself wasn't all that great, because most of those matches were dull and lackluster at best, but just on concept alone, I think the tourney was a great idea because of what I stated earlier...It gives WM4 it's own feel. Great post, your always entertaining and have great topics!
I think you guys have a good point here. I've actually thought about posting this thread many times but never did because I can't make up my mind how I feel about it. I actually loved WM4 as a kid despite knowing most of the people in the tournament didnít have a chance of winning. It just doesnít hold up very well for me. As I said before, tournaments are great on paper but when the stakes are too high you can easily eliminate more than half the field before the first match. Watching Dibiase vs. Muraco and Savage vs. Valentine was just a formality and you could feel that during the event. Something like KOTR works much better because anybody can win.

The tournament just didnít seem very competitive to me. Only one match went more than ten minutes and it wasnít even the final. Even Hogan and Andre only got five minutes. Cards like this just seem to go through the motions without any thought or effort until the final. I appreciate having Savage go over four guys in one night to become champion but the tournament just didnít seem like enough of a struggle for him. Going into the final his three prior matches combined to about 15 minutes. Itís like we were just automatically supposed to be extremely impressed that Savage beat four guys but when you really look at it he kind of cruised through the tournament. I would have liked it much more with one key change, and for those who have read my posts over the years youíre about to read this for about the tenth time.

Steamboat should have beaten Valentine. This would have set up Savage vs. Steamboat in round two. This would have been the competitive match that the tournament desperately needed. Just picture it. Savage vs. Steamboat at mania again one year after their classic match. This time both are face. Savage is on his way to the top and Steamboat is on his way out of the company. The fans are already behind Savage but another thrilling match with Steamboat puts them behind him even more. The stage could not be set more perfectly for Steamboat to return the favor (pardon the clichť) from WM3. Savage beats Steamboat in another thriller and they shake hands out of respect as Savage goes on to win the tournament. Savage, using so much energy to beat Steamboat, is now in more of an underdog position. Most importantly we get a great mania match. Thatís what WM4 was missing. There just wasnít a single match that stood out on the card.

Knowing there was going to be a new champion at WM4 was a key point in selling the show. It probably was necessary to follow WM3 with something more unique than a standard card like the one I proposed. I think a more competitive tournament with better and longer matches would have helped a lot and not leave me thinking about what else could have happened.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2012, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by The Brain View Post
Steamboat should have beaten Valentine. This would have set up Savage vs. Steamboat in round two. This would have been the competitive match that the tournament desperately needed. Just picture it. Savage vs. Steamboat at mania again one year after their classic match. This time both are face. Savage is on his way to the top and Steamboat is on his way out of the company. The fans are already behind Savage but another thrilling match with Steamboat puts them behind him even more. The stage could not be set more perfectly for Steamboat to return the favor (pardon the clichť) from WM3. Savage beats Steamboat in another thriller and they shake hands out of respect as Savage goes on to win the tournament. Savage, using so much energy to beat Steamboat, is now in more of an underdog position. Most importantly we get a great mania match. Thatís what WM4 was missing. There just wasnít a single match that stood out on the card.
After reading this it really makes me wonder why they didn't go this route. Was Steamboat in severe outs with Vince in that they wouldn't even let Steamboat win a match to get to the point of putting Savage over because you are right this would have been absolutely perfect. This would have given us the match of the night that I agree the ppv did lack. Wow I am still shaking my head at the fact that this rematch didn't happen. Would have made Savage's story all the most sweeter.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:19 AM
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I would have liked to see Ted Dibiase run with the title. What I would have done instead of having Andre hand him the title was having Ted win it in a fluke fashion similar to the poke of doom but not that bad. Then the WWF Cameras would have caught Ted handing Andre a briefcase before the match.

Then we could have shown that Dibiase pulled $5 Million out of his bank account and the next day Andre deposited $5 Million.

As for the Tourny at WM4... I think it really put Savage over...
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:30 PM
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Hereís my WM4 card if they decided not to do the tournament. Iíll list the matches in the order I think they would have gone on.

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Hart Foundation

A solid tag match to open the show. The Rougeau Brothers are the faces and the Harts are heels. I always thought Bretís face turn at WM4 was a little unusual since it didnít involve Neidhart or Jimmy Hart at all. After WM 4 The Harts started having some problems with Jimmy but I donít remember any explanation. I think a miscommunication here causes an upset win for the Rougeau Brothers and the seeds are planted for a Hart Foundation face turn but it doesnít happen yet.

Ken Patera vs. Dino Bravo

Bravo just set the bench press record a couple months earlier and was getting a push as a powerhouse wrestler who hated America. Ken Patera was a US Olympic power lifter. Pretty simple. Bravo wins as he is on the way up and Patera is on the way down.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude

These two had a minor feud in early 1988 and wrestled against each other on the house show tour. This could have easily gone to mania. Rude would have gotten the win as he was a hot new mid card heel and Steamboat was out of the WWF after mania.

Don Muraco & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Butch Reed & One Man Gang

In late 1987 Reed and Gang stopped Superstar Billy Grahamís comeback with an attack that officially ended his in ring career. Muraco tried to save Graham which led to Graham becoming Muracoís manager. Bigelow was popular and would have been a good partner for Muraco to try to neutralize the size of the Gang.

Jake Roberts vs. Greg Valentine

Not every match needed a feud or personal storyline during the early years of mania. Sometimes just putting two guys that have a similar place on the card together works. Thatís what happens here.

Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

These two had a feud going and actually wrestled each other at the real WM4 so this stays as is.

Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant (Steel Cage Match)

They had already wrestled each other twice by WM4 so I see this being the blowoff. The cage is there to give the match an extra boost since weíve seen this match before. Cage matches were still a big deal so this would have created enough excitement to overcome a WrestleMania repeat. Iíll get into a bit more detail later. Hogan wins.

Junk Yard Dog vs. Bad News Brown

A bit of a calm down match after one of the main events. By 1988 JYD had fallen down the card so he would be used here to put over the newcomer.

Honky Tonk Man vs. Brutus Beefcake (IC Title)

Stays as is from the real card.

British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware vs. Islanders & Bobby Heenan

Stays as is from the real card.

Strike Force vs. Demolition (Tag Titles)

Stays as is from the real card.

Jim Duggan vs. Ron Bass

See Roberts vs. Valentine. Calm down match before the main event.

Ted Dibiase vs. Randy Savage (World Title)

Hereís my dilemma. Is Randy Savage challenging Ted Dibiase for the title a big enough match to main event WrestleMania? Youíre probably thinking Ďof course it is, it really happened.í It did really happen but it was not announced that way and wasnít expected to sell the show. The tournament sold the show and Savage and Dibiase happened to be the finals. What if it was announced like a regular card? Is Savage vs. Dibiase good enough? I think it could have been if Hogan vs. Andre in the cage was also used to sell the show. Hereís the setup.

Everything goes down as it did up to the Main Event with Andre surrendering the title to Dibiase. Instead of Dibiase being stripped, he is allowed to keep the title. Hogan naturally wants a rematch for the title but since the guy that beat him isnít champion anymore Hogan needs to get back in line for a title shot. The next SNME features a 20 man battle royal with the winner getting the title shot at mania. Hogan gets in the battle royal and Dibiase makes sure Andre is in there to eliminate Hogan. Dibiase watches from ringside and distracts Hogan allowing Andre to sneak up from behind and eliminate him. It comes down to Andre and Savage. Dibiase wants Andre to win so he can have an easy match at mania by paying Andre off. Savage is overmatched considering itís a battle royal. Hogan returns to the ring to distract Andre and help Savage eliminate him. Dibiase is furious as Hogan and Andre fight on the outside and setup their mania cage match. Savage gets the title shot at mania and beats Dibiase with the same finish of the actual show but in a much better match since it would likely get more time and be Savageís only match of the night.

This may not be the best card in the world but I think it makes for a bit of a better show than the tournament.
Your answer to your question was answered in your paragraph about Savage and Teds match. Savage probably would NOT have been big enough to even carry the Main Event at WM5 if he didn't have WM4.

I think Vince and company did the right thing with the tournament because it allowed them to really put Savage on the map and set up the ground work for the Mega Powers exploding. The tournment win by Savage was a great way to build a secondary star to Hogan and set up like I stated a future Mania main event. If they went the traditional route, Savage isn't as big as he became in my opinion.

At the sametime I may be bias because unlike you I really ENJOYED WM4. To this day it is still my FAVORITE WM. I was 8 years old at the time BUT I say I may have been bias because Savage was ALWAYS my favorite wrestler. Even before he won the title I liked him more than Hogan and Warrior. So I guess it depends on the wrestling fan, to me the tournament was great and unique and is still the ONLY WM that didn't go your traditional road.
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  #9  
Old 12-24-2012, 12:51 PM
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I'm not going to disagree that the Tourney could have been done better, the problem they had was that most of the new "top guys" were new and not involved in WMIII.

DiBiase, Bam Bam, Rude, Duggan and One Man Gang were not in matches at the previous years show so using so many of them in the tourney was probably a mistake. It would be like a title tourney at this years Mania having The Shield, Cesaro, Big E. and Brad Maddox as half the bracket. Several guys who could have had a legit part in the tourney were involved in the Battle Royal. Bret Hart would have been a worthy opponent for a Ted DiBiase or Rick Rude.

The other thing they could have done was not have Hogan or Andre involved in it. That their rivalry had gone past the title and neither man was allowed to participate would have added a spin to the tournament that made it unique, we all kind of worked out neither would win but having it guaranteed from the start would have guaranteed interest.


If you were going without the Tourney, then I think Hogan Andre 2 would have worked in the cage, but without Andre's title win prior. Have Andre's career on the line if he can't win the title and DiBiase's attempted buying takes place right after he wins. Andre is appalled and swats DiBiase, leading to Virgil, OMG or Bundy and most of the heels attacking him and "injuring him" and Savage making the save.

Because of the controversy, Jack Tunney announces a new "event" called Summerslam, where the title controversy would be resolved with a one night "round robin" between Hogan, DiBiase, Savage and Honky Tonk Man (as the IC champ and top contender by rule)

Over the course of the night, Honky takes the pay off from DiBiase, shocks Hogan with a cheap DQ win but loses to Savage by someone "messing with him" and he loses it and challenges them, Warrior - Win as really happened.

Savage comes out on top after drawing with Hogan and DiBiase losing when Andre returns seeking vengence for his injury. After the match and Savage holding the title, he is attacked by his new foe.... Hulk Hogan who is furious at how events have turned out!
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:01 PM
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the thing is, wrestling was still seen as real to a lot of people back then, and it still had that real feeling. That tournament was kinda like an olympic tournament, Lithuania still plays against Japan in the olympic basketball tournament even though most fans know that neither will win the whole event, that was the way it felt with some of those matches, boring? maybe, maybe not. The truth is that maybe this tournament would've been better off at a lesser ppv or a SNME, it was a bit of a lack luster mania, MDM vs Macho would've been good if they pumped it up right and had MDM be champ leading in, too bad. Hogan definitely stole the spotlight from mach at the end. I once read that mach once pulled a gun on hogan in the locker room and told him to stop holding him down.
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