Recap – Wrestlemania IV
After Wrestlemania III, Andre stayed heel, but changed his loyalties from the camp of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to the corporation of wrestler and manager “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. Meanwhile, Randy Savage turned face and gained as a close friend and ally Hulk Hogan, forming the Mega Powers. Additionally, Ricky Steamboat lost the IC title to Honky Tonk Man, and the Hart Foundation lost the belts to Strike Force (made up of Tito Santana and Rick Martel).
Now, prior to Wrestlemania IV, in a stunning upset, Andre beat Hogan, winning the WWF Heavyweight title, ending Hogan’s 3+ year reign. In an even bigger swerve for the time, Andre turned around and sold the title to Ted Dibiase. However, coming to the rescue was Jack Tunney, WWF Commissioner, who declared the title change invalid and vacated the title. The new WWF champion would be determined at a Wrestlemania IV in a tournament.
I’ve already given my thoughts on tournaments, with my ROH “Road to the Title” review, and I’ve already mentioned there that they tend to suck, by the nature of the setup – since the wrestlers have to hold back to avoid burning out. That said, “Road to the Title” only got ***. Wrestlemania III, which had Steamboat vs. Savage, only got *** because of the crappy undercard. Yeah. This is going to suck – and I’m all out of booze.
So, kick back and relax, because there’s schadenfreude ahead.
Location: Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City NJ.
We start with “Mean” Gene Okerlund already in the ring, welcoming Gladys Knight to the ring to sing “America The Beautiful”. Some of the audience is singing along this time. Unfortunately the video package that accompanied the title appears to have been cut in favor of a slide show. After the first verse of “America The Beautiful”, suprisingly, Knight shifts gears and goes into the first verse of My Country ‘Tis of Thee
However, before the tournament, we’re giving those wrestlers who couldn’t make it in the tournament, or aren’t defending or contending for the IC or Tag titles this evening, a shot to get a PPV paycheck with an invitational battle royal. Our celebrity guest commentator is “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker, returning from Wrestlemania III. On the bright side Uecker does manage to pull off appearing legitimately enthusiastic about the event. I’d almost say he was actually a wrestling fan.
20-man Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal
Participants: The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart), The Young Stallions (Jim Powers & Paul Roma), Sika, “Dangerous” Danny Davis, The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & “Jumpin” Jim Bronzell), Bad News Brown, Sam Huston, The Rougeau Brothers (Raymond and Jacques Rougeau), Ken Patera (our Oregon Connection for the evening), Ron Bass, Junkyard Dog, The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukof), Hillbilly Jim, King Harley Race, George “The Animal” Steele.)
As before, I’m not even going to try to call this one, instead going for order of elimination, until it starts getting down to the end. Sam Huston gets eliminated first, with Sika shortly after. George Steele (who had been lurking outside the ring after rolling over the bottom rope, distracts Jim Neidhart and then pulls him over the top. Raymond gets eliminated, followed by both of the Killer Bees. Hillbilly Jim is out next, followed by Dangerous Danny Davis and Jim Powers. Nikolai Volkoff gets eliminated, followed by the other Russian and Patera.
JYD punches Race over the top rope. Who’s bowing now, bitch! Roma gets eliminated leaving us with Bad News Brown, JYD, and Bret Hart. Hart and Brown try to double-team JYD but it backfires. Hart and Brown regain their stride, and double-team the crap out of JYD before finally eliminating him. Hart and Brown celebrate in the ring, until Brown round-house kicks Bret’s head off, man-handles him a bit, before unceremoniously chucking him out of the ring.
Winner: Bad News Brown after eliminating Bret Hart at 9:13.
Rating: ** – A little better then the Wrestlemania II battle royal, but not by much. I still prefer the pacing of the Royal Rumble more.
The ringside referee’s bring in the trophy, which is taller than Brown is, by at least a head. Hart slides back in the ring, dropkicks brown out of the ring, and then smashes the trophy! Don’t cross the Hitman. Uecker excuses himself to go find Vanna White. Finkel briefly explains how a single-elimination tournament works and gives the time-limits for the various rounds (15-minutes for the first round, 20 minutes for the quarter-finals, 30-minutes for the semi-finals, and the final round has no time limit – and there must be a winner), and then introduces Robin Leach to read off a statement from Jack Tunney officially sanctioning the tournament. When Leach reads off the statement, “WWF” gets sort of silenced, with increased crowd noise covering up the silence.
First Round – “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase w/ Virgil & Andre The Giant
As Ventura says on commentary, we’ve got a brawler (Duggan) vs. a mat technician (DiBiase). Duggan builds some momentum early on. Duggan atomic drops Dibiase clear out of the ring. DiBiase comes back in and serves a plate of chops up to Duggan, before Duggan regains control again. For the record, I hate Jim Duggan. His in-ring walk annoys me, his exaggerated poses annoy me, his in-ring cries of “Hooooooooo” annoy me, and his really stupid “America is the land of the free, so think the right way or else” gimmick – when put on a face – annoys me. DiBiase gets a 2-count off a fist drop.
DiBiase keeps working over Duggan. Duggan manages to get a 2-count off a sunset flip. Duggan actually had the agility to do a sunset flip! Duggan and DiBiase both go for a suplex, before Duggan lands it. DiBiase goes for a 2nd rope something before Duggan reverses it. Duggan’s lip appears to be bust open. Duggan bodyslams DiBiase and gets ready for the Three-Point Stance Lariat, before Andre casually, smoothly grabs the bastards right foot and yanks it out from under him. This give DiBiase the opening he needs to get the pin.
Winner: Ted DiBiase by pinfall through shenanigans at 5:05.
Rating: *** – Not bad, actually. It was a likable match, and the cheap finish was fitting. Plus, Duggan did not advance.
We then go to Gene Oakerlund, interviewing Brutus Beefcake, who has taken the little haircut he gave to “Adorable” Adrian Adonis a year ago, and turned that into an entire gimmick.
Gene Oakerlund: Brutus, this is incredible, what a package.
Me: Gene, the last thing you want Tangency doing is imaging what size Brutus Beefcake’s package is.
Beefcake cuts a pretty bad promo (rhyming “all is said and done” with “champion”). Brutus, please don’t talk.
First Round – Dino Bravo w/ Frenchy Martin vs. “The Rock” Don Muraco w/ “Superstar” Billy Graham
Dino and Muraco lock up, with Muraco tacking control early on. Muraco is huge, much bigger then he looked at the last couple Wrestlemanias. I would not be surprised if he had ‘roided up to get himself a push. Muraco works over the legs of Bravo. Muraco locks on a spinning toe-hold. Bravo breaks out by kicking Don into the ropes, and flipping him into it so he briefly gets hung in the ropes. Dino uses this to gain some momentum before piledriving Don for 2. Dino goes for another piledriver but Don reverses it into a back drop. Don and Dino clothesline each other. Dino pulls a ref in front of him when Don goes for a running forearm. Dino hits a side suplex and goes for the pin, but the Ref calls for the bell, DQing Dino Bravo after his little stunt.
Winner: “The Rock” Don Muraco by DQ after Dino Bravo used the ref as a human shield at 4:54
Rating: ** – Frankly, not as good a match. The technical work by both men was good though, and I would like to see these two guys in a longer match.
So, Ted DiBiase will face “The Rock” Don Muraco in the quarter-finals. We go backstage where Bob Uecker rubs in his date with Vanna White to Jesse Ventura, before Jimmy Hart and The Honky Tonk Man “remind” him that he’s supposed to be interviewing them, and cut a promo on Beefcake.
First Round – Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Since Wrestlemania III, the Dream Team Mk. II (Dino Bravo & Greg Valentine) broke up, and “Luscious” Johnny V left the WWF, with Valentine becoming part of Jimmy Hart’s stable.
Greg and Ricky lock up. Steamboat got a series of deep armdrags and starts working over the arm of Valentine. Steamboat gets a series of near-falls. Greg clotheslines Steamboat over the top, but Ricky skins the cat. Ricky dropkicks Greg in the back for 2. Steamboat continues to work over Greg’s arm. Greg regains control and starts working Steamboat over by the ropes. Valentine reverses an armbar to an inverted atomic drop to regain control. Steamboat serves up a plate of chops for Valentine out of the corner for 2. Valentine hits a bodyslam for 2. Valentine goes down low for a headbutt. Greg goes for the Figure Four, but Steamboat kicks Valentine into the turnbuckle. Valentine and Steamboat then get into a Flair-esque stiff chop duel. (I’m so used to hearing the audience “Woo” when these go on). Steamboat gets a 2-count off a big chop. Valentine gets a shoulder-breaker for 2. Valentine goes up and hits a big double axe-handle off the top. Greg goes to lock on the figure four, but Steamboat breaks out. Steamboat slams Greg’s head repeatedly into the mat. Steamboat goes up top and goes for the big flying forearm for 2. Steamboat slams Greg’s head repeatedly into the turnbuckle and then goes back up top. Steamboat hits a high cross body, but Valentine rolls through for 3.
Winner: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine by pinfall through rolling through a cross-body at 9:01. Valentine advances to the quarter-finals.
Rating: *** – Very nice, and it got a decent length (for 80’s WWF) too. Again, these are 2 guys I’d like to see go longer.
We cut to Donald and Ivana Trump, sitting at ringside. Donald looks interested, Ivana… not so much. We go back to Gene Okerlund, who is backstage with The British Bulldogs with Koko B. Ware. Okerlund starts to call Bobby Heenan “The Weasel” but catches himself, netting himself a Hidden Highlight, setting up a tag match this evening between the Bulldogs & Koko vs. The Islanders and Heenan. I wonder if the stipulations will involve a weasel suit?
First Round – “The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ The Lovely Elizabeth
Despite Macho Man’s face turn, he still isn’t pulling down the second rope to let Elizabeth in to the ring – it’s still the other way ’round.
Reed takes control early on with some big power offense, before Savage stops a turnbuckle slam with some brief offense, before Reed reverses a suplex into one of his own. Elbow drop for 2 by Reed. Reed continues working over Savage. Reed goes for a back drop but Savage scouted it and gives Reed a boot to the mush. Savage gets a little offense in, but Reed reverses an Irish whip and hits Savage with a big shoulder block. Reed goes up top but stops to jaw-jack at Elizabeth, giving Savage time to recover. Savage tosses Reed off the top rope, and goes up himself. Flying Elbow for 3.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by pinfall with the Flying Elbow at 3:58. Savage advances to the quarter-finals and will face Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
Rating: ** – We actually have our first squash of the night, which is impressive considering this is a tournament in the 1980s WWF. And, for that matter, it was a Col. DeBeers squash – Savage won quickly, but not only did Reed get some offense in, but it was also made apparent that he deserved to be in the tournament.
We go back stage where Bob Uecker pimps the Wrestlemania Program, and again rubs in to Jesse that he’s dating Vanna – not him. Uecker, once again, continues to rub it in until Heenan and the Islanders (Haku and Tama) come in to “remind” him who he’s supposed to be interviewing. Uecker cuts a promo on Heenan, citing a veritable (and nonsensical) alphabet soup of agencies (including the CIA and KGB) that would be on them for kidnapping Matilda previously. (I don’t get that one… now if Heenan had kidnapped the Bolsheviks’ Husky or something, then I could see them somehow working that into a storyline.) Heenan verbally smacks down Uecker before moving on to cutting a promo on the Bulldogs.
First Round – One Man Gang (w/Slick) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Oliver Humperdink)
From the looks of things, One Man Gang’s gimmick could be summarised as “The Nasty Boy” – large tough (but not muscular-looking) man, with a mohawk who wears clothing that could later be described as “grunge”, who can’t particularly wrestle very well, but can brawl. Oh, and being that this is Slick’s fourth appearance in these recaps, I might as well give his gimmick. Slick is Not-A-Pimp. He’s a heel manager that is a smooth talking black guy, who wears very nice suits, a very nice hat that matches his suits, and carries a cane. However, he is Not A Pimp, because this is a family program, so we can’t say the word pimp. However, he sure looks a helluvalot like one though. (This is the same way that “Adorable” Adrian Adonis’ gimmick could be summarized as Not-Gay).
Anyway, if this match was in ECW, under extreme rules (or, hell, if it was any sort of -brawl match, this could be awesome). But it isn’t, so I’m smelling a certain amount of crap here. Hopefully Bigelow will be able to carry the match.
Gang starts with some early offense as the managers move out of the ring. Bam Bam reverses an Irish whip with a shoulder block does a cartwheel (!) and then goes for a pin for 1. This is awkward to watch, as the first match I ever saw with Bam Bam was his famous rematch with Taz at November to Remember (where Tazz Tornado DDT’d Bam Bam through the entrance ramp and finally made him submit to an ankle-lock.) Bam Bam gets a high cross body for 2. Bigelow keeps working over OMG. Bigelow floors OMG with a head butt, and then lands another headbutt drop to put an exclamation point on it. Bigelow goes to bounce off the ropes, but Slick pulls down the top rope, causing Bigelow to flip over. OMG keeps Bigelow from getting in the ring just long enough for the ref to count him out.
Winner: One Man Gang by count-out thanks to the interference of Slick at 3:00. One Man Gang advances to the quarter finals and will face the winner of Rick Rude vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Rating: * – A very poorly executed cheap finish – especially considering that the ref usually stops counting once the wrestler is up on the apron, which the ref didn’t do in this case.
We go back stage once more for an Okerlund interview with Hulk Hogan. Hogan and Andre, due to the circumstances surrounding the title changing hands, got a quarter-final birth, (Andre being the champion who was stripped of the belt, and Hogan being the person who lost the belt to Andre, and thus should actually have gotten an eventual re-match against the champion). Hogan cuts a Hogan Promo on Andre. Frankly, Hogan’s promo… is slightly more comprehensible then most of Warrior’s promo’s… but not by much. We get another shot of The Donald at ringside, showing that, yes, his hair has always been like that.
First Round – “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Start: 1:15:22. Finish: 1:30:36.
After Rude steps into the ring, he basically cuts a quick promo warning the men in the audience that they were in danger of losing their ladies once they see him take his robe off.
Rude and Roberts lock up. Rude shoves Roberts into the corner and poses. They lock up again, and Roberts strikes Rude’s face. As Rude is a vain heel, he sells it like he was cut. Rude unloads on Roberts with some big strikes and body slams. Roberts reverses a slam into a series of slams of his own. Roberts keeps Rude in the corner with Damian’s bag, to keep him thrown off. Roberts works over Rude’s arm. Rude hits a few strikes to knock Roberts down, but Roberts keeps the hold locked on. Rude finally manages to back Roberts into the corner to get him to break the hold, and Rude hits a few shoulder blocks and strikes on Jake. The ref backs off Rude, but Rude comes back for more, and gets a knee to the face for his trouble.
Roberts signals for the DDT, but Rude sees it and slides out of the ring to re-group with Heenan. Rude slides back in on 6, and locks up with Roberts, but Roberts locks the hold back on. Rude reverses with a whip, and they criss cross the ring. Roberts regains control and slams Rude. Rude goes for a bulldog, but Rude manages to break out of it, causing Roberts to go flying. Rude regains control with some big strikes. Elbow drop by Rude for 2. Rude slaps on a reverse chinlock to try and wear down Roberts. Roberts tried to break out of it and reverse it into another armlock but Rude gets the chin lock back on. Heenan distracted the ref for a bit while Rude turns the chin-lock into a choke-hold, and turning it back into the chinlock once the ref is looking again. Roberts gets to a vertical base – finally, and reverses the hold into an arm-drag. Rude goes up and hits a big flying forearm. Rude hits a big lariat for 2 and then applies the chinlock again.
Roberts breaks out of the chinlock again, bounces off the ropes only to get caught and slammed again. Rude goes up and hits a fist drop off the top for 2. Rude goes for the pin again, but once again for 2. Roberts tries to break out with a side-suplex but Roberts keeps the hold applied. Rude goes for a pin, gets 2. Roberts rolls to the ropes. Rude puts some boots to him and gets 2 count. One more time Rude applies the chin lock, and Roberts once more fights his way out with a Jawbreaker (you know the Stunner – like that). Roberts explodes with a series of strikes and a big back-drop and a short clothesline. Roberts goes for the DDT, but Rude shoulders Roberts into the corner, Rude goes for the big shoulder splash but Roberts stops it with a kick. Gut buster by Roberts (it’s like a backbreaker, but the opponent is face-down) for 2.
Rude hits a side suplex for 2. Both men level each other with a double clothesline. Rude rolls on top of Roberts for 1. Rude goes for a pin using the ropes for leverage… but the bell rings for a time-limit draw.
Winner: Time Limit Draw at 15:14 (I guess the timekeeper’s clock was slow). Neither men advance.
Rating: *** – Good wrestling from both men, and perhaps the longest singles match yet in the WWF. Very nice.
So, the breakdown for the Quarter-finals – Andre the Giant faces Hulk Hogan, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine faces “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase faces Don Muraco, and One Man Gang gets a bye.
Round 1 Rating: *** – Perfectly acceptable wrestling – nothing stands out. However, the use of the time limit here worked in the format’s favor – the absense of which actually ended up hurting the ROH event. However, we’ll see how well the quarter-finals end up holding up.
We now go back stage with Gene Okerlund and Vanna White in front of the tournament bracket. Okerlund interviews Vanna, asking for her picks for the quarterfinal round.
Hercules (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Start: 1:34:48. Finish: 1:39:25
Oh God. This match is Warrior’s Wrestlemania debut – though fortunately we didn’t have to hear him talk.
They both go for a shoulder-block and bounce off each other. They go for the shoulder-block again. They both shove each other and lock up, with Warrior getting Herc in the corner and serving up a plate of chops. Warrior wails on Herc for a bit, before Herc goes for a lariat, and Warrior no-sells. Herc goes for the lariat 2 more times before finally knocking him down. Herc goes for a short clothesline, but Warrior reverses it with one of his own. Warrior continues wailing on Herc. Herc backdrops Warrior out of the ring, and Warrior tries to skin the cat, but I guess either Warrior is too tall and his feet were already on the ground, or he didn’t have a firm enough grip on the ropes so he settles for dragging Herc out of the ring by his tights. Warrior tosses Herc back in the ring and continues to pound on Herc. Herc hits an reverse atomic drop on Warrior after taking the 10 mounted punches. Herc locks on the full nelson, but yet again Herc fails to interlace his fingers, so Warrior falls backwards putting, at first, both men’s shoulders on the mat, before Warrior rolls one of his shoulders up, causing Herc to get pinned.
Winner: The Ultimate Warrior by pinfall at 4:37.
Rating: * – Not a good match to begin with, though the psychology was good. However, frankly Herc, you got buried.
After the match, Gorilla and Ventura jaw-jack a bit, and we get a brief shot of Sugar Ray Leonard in the crowd, finally leading to a video package recapping the Andre-Hogan feud, which is at just over the 1-year mark.
Quarter-Final Round – Andre The Giant (w/ Ted DiBiase & Virgil) vs. Hulk Hogan
Start: 1:48:32. Finish: 1:53:55
Hogan and Andre start duking it out before the bell. Andre pounds the shit out of Hogan. Hogan hits a series of running forearms which bounce right off Andre. DiBiase gets up on the apron, leading Hogan to run over and shake him. Andre comes over to save DiBiase, only to have the two get noggin-knocked. Hogan chops Andre down and Andre gets tied up in the ropes. Hogan refuses to capitalize and decides to pose instead. Hogan hits another running forearm which slowly brings down Andre. Hogan drops a series of elbows and goes for a pin before Andre applies a choke hold, before switching to a hold on the trapezius muscles. Hogan eventually breaks out of the hold and hits a series of punches on Andre before hitting him with a big lariat in the corner. Hogan signals for a slam. Virgil gets on the apron to distract the ref while DiBiase slides in the ring with a steel chair and nails Hogan in the back with it. DiBiase drops the chair and slides out, and Hogan grabs the chair and goes to nail Andre with it, but Hogan nails Andre with it, right in front of the ref. Ref Joey Marella takes the chair from Hogan, only to have Andre take the chair from him and hit Hogan with it, leaving Marella no choice but to call for a Double DQ.
Winner: Double DQ due to foreign object use by both men at 5:23. Neither men advance, and the winner of DiBiase vs. Muraco gets a Bye.
Rating: ** – Hogan vs. Andre was good because it was the first time, and both men felt they needed to make it special. This, on the other hand, was meh.
After the match, Hogan keeps beating down Andre, and tries to beat down DiBiase, but DiBiase shoves Virgil at Hogan and makes a run for it, so Virgil gets taken out in his bosses place (though, to be fair, Virgil is an bodyguard, not an enforcer, so his “job” is to take the beatings his boss should be receiving). Andre gets left alone in the ring with Hogan, so Hogan bodyslams Andre. Ventura theorizes that DiBiase’s plan was to use Andre to eliminate Hogan so he could get more easily into the Finals, if not the double DQ itself. If that was the case, it would certainly push DiBiase straight into Magnificent Bastard territory. After the match, Hogan poses for several minutes for the fans. We get a brief shot of The Donald with what appears to be a legit smile on his face, and Ivana with a very fake smile on her face, which starts to fade as the camera goes to something else. At the top of the entrance way, as Hogan, finally, leaves the ring, he poses again for a little longer.
We once again go back stage to Okerlund, for an interview with Randy Savage. Savage cuts a rather nice promo on Valentine, and referred to Hogan and himself as “The Mega Powers” the first use of the term. Also, Elizabeth gets her first line in a Wrestlemania interview.
Quarter-Final Round – “The Rock” Don Muraco” (w/ “Superstar” Billy Graham) vs. Ted DiBiase
Before the bell, Muraco drags DiBiase onto the apron by his hair and starts smashing his head into ring-posts before slamming bodyslamming Muraco into the ring. Scoop powerslam by Muraco for 2. Muraco works over DiBiase. 2nd-rope fist drop by Don for 2. Muraco works him over some more. Don hits a standing dropkick for 2. DiBiase rolls out of the ring only to come face to face with Graham and his cane. DiBiase begs off and slides back in, but turns his back on Muraco, causing him to get worked over more often. DiBiase sits down in the corner. Muraco tries to pull him out for a slam, but DiBiase holds on and manages to jerk Muraco so he ends up over the top rope, lying on the apron. DiBiase works over Muraco with a series of fist drops. DiBiase gets a 2-count after a fist drop. DiBiase continues working on Muraco with a choke and then some chops once Muraco reaches a vertical base, before slamming Muraco and going up top. DiBiase goes for a 2nd rope elbow, but Muraco gets out of the way. Muraco regains control briefly, before DiBiase hits a stun gun for 3.
Winner: Ted DiBiase by pinfall with a stun gun at 5:34. DiBiase advances to the finals.
Rating: ** – Not as good as both men’s respective matches from the first round, but not total crap.
We go back to Bob Uecker backstage in the interview area, for an interview with Mr. Fuji and Demolition. Demolition can best be described as the WWF’s answer to the Road Warriors – at least until the WWF hired the Road Warriors.
Quarter-Final Round – Greg “The Hammer” Valentine (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. “The Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ The Lovely Elizabeth)
Valentine and Savage start to lock up, but Valentine hits a quick jab and leading to an exchange of strikes between the two. Savage gets a 2-count off a guillotine knee drop. Valentine gets a 2-count off an elbow drop. Valentine hits a shoulder-breaker for another 2. Valentine tosses Savage to the outside, before hitting a big elbow drop onto Savage’s neck on the concrete, followed by a series of chops. Valentine continues working over Savage, including a series of big elbows to Savage’s neck, before moving on to Savage’s legs. Valentine hits a big vertical suplex for 2. Backbreaker (though it more hit Savage’s kidneys) by Valentine for another 2. Savages regains some momentum, hitting a series of strikes and a bodyslam before going up top. Double axe-handle for 2. Savages reverses a suplex and goes back up top for another double axe-handle, but Valentine gets a strike in as well. Valentine rolls to the ropes and gets on the second rope. Save goes for the Bronco Buster (or something like that) but Hart spots it and warns Valentine to get out of the way. Valentine goes for the Figure Four, but Savage reverses it into a small package for 3.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by pinfall with a small-package pin at 6:07. Savage advances to the Semi-finals to face One Man Gang.
Rating: ** – Not bad, not great either. A little more technical stuff would have been nice, but this was more of a brawl than anything else.
Quarter Final Rating: ** – A step down for this round. Both of the matches for this round, as well as the Warrior vs. Herc match, stunk at worst, and were meh at best.We go back to Okerlund w/ Vanna White who run down the bracket for the Semi-Finals, which consists of Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang and… that’s the only match. DiBiase got a bye, so he doesn’t wrestle at all this round.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match – Honky Tonk Man (w/ Col. Jimmy Hart) (c) vs. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake
*Sigh* Yet another shit match. HTM and Brutus lock up. Brutus gets sent for the ride and HTM goes for the big boot, but Brutus spins HTM around for an atomic drop, followed by a noogie. HTM rolls out of the ring while Brutus styles and profiles (tm Rick Flair). Brutus slams HTM’s head into the top turnbuckle a few times, before sending him for the ride and landing a high knee. HTM rolls out to clear the cobwebs. Brutus drags HTM in by the hair. Brutus sends HTM for the ride, goes for a back drop. HTM has it scouted, goes for a big kick to the face, but Brutus avoids that and HTM lands on his tukkus. Brutus goes for a leg drop but HTM rolls out of the way and stomps the crap out of Brutus. Brutus continues to get hit in the face by HTM. HTM distracts the ref for a bit, so the Colonel can get a shot or two in. HTM goes for the Shake, Rattle & Roll but changes his mind and decides not to go for it yet. HTM lands a few hits and goes for it again, but because of the absurdly long lead in for the move (it makes The Worm look sudden by comparison) Brutus manages to hook an arm around the top rope to block it. Brutus lands a series of blows followed by a big back drop. HTM begs off. Brutus sends HTM for the ride and locks on a sleeper. Jimmy Hart finds himself forced to take drastic action, so he clocks the ref in the head with the megaphone, forcing a DQ (meaning HTM retains).
Winner: Brutus Beefcake by DQ due to a foreign object shot to the ref by Jimmy Hart
Rating:: ** – Honky Tonk Man tried to carry Brutus, but with Brutus there isn’t a lot to carry. Frankly, they shouldn’t have kicked him out of The Dream Team when they did – Brutus wasn’t ready for singles wrestling yet.
After the match, Brutus gives Jimmy Hart a haircut and ultimately, both HTM and the referee both get helped to the back. We then go to Bob Uecker in the back. Uecker doesn’t get too much of a head of steam started before Andre plunks a hand on his shoulder. Andre cuts an excellent heel promo on Hogan, and gives Uecker a little friendly choke.
Six-Man Tag – The Islanders (Haku & Tama) & Bobby Heenan vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) & Koko B. Ware
Dynamite Kid starts out for the Bulldogs and immediately starts working over both Islanders, with Tama being the legal man for the Islanders. Tama gets tossed over the top rope, only to get tossed back in. High cross-body by Dynamite for 2. 2-count off a slam. Kid gets a crucifix for 2. Tama finally gets control with an arm-bar, and Haku gets tagged in. Dynamite Kid press slams Haku, but Haku quickly regains control and tags in Tama. Dynamite and Tama chain some offense, before Dynamite tags in Koko. Haku comes in to help Tama, but both men get caught in a combination snap-mare ‘Rana! Koko tags in Dynamite, but Tama shuts him down quick and tags in Heenan, and delivers a series of strikes on Dynamite. Dynamite lands a kick to the gut on Heenan and Heenan tags in Tama again. Tama shuts down Dynamite and works him over a bit, before he goes for a corner splash which is blocked by Dynamite getting the knees up.
Dynamite tags Koko back in. Koko comes in like a house on fire, one that is quickly extinguished by Haku, who decides that when he really thinks about it, Koko reminds him a lot of Ricky Morton. Haku works over Koko before tagging in Heenan. Odd little note – the classic WWF logo that is all over the place is not blurred out. However, the letters “W W F” on the back of Koko’s tights are blurred out. Anyway, Heenan gets whipped into the turnbuckle and Koko starts to work him over, but the Islander’s come in for the save, with the Bulldogs running in after that. The Islanders clean house. The Islanders splash Heenan on top of Koko for 3.
Winner: The Islanders & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan by pinfall with a tag partner assisted splash by Heenan at 7:32.
Rating: *** – Not bad, not bad at all.
Another little Hidden Highlight – when Howard Finkel announces Ted DiBiase’s bye (with Ted in the ring), and the ref raises Ted’s hand, the look on the ref’s face can only be described as “I’m only doing this because it’s my job – I’d rather I wasn’t doing this because I don’t like you very much.”
Semi-Final – One Man Gang (w/ Slick) vs. “The Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Lovely Elizabeth)
Savage gets started immediately with a series of strikes as well as catching him on the top rope. Savage locks Gang in a side headlock, but OMG just rams him into the corner. OMG just about manhandles Savage. Gang gets a 2 count off a bodyslam. Gang drops an elbow for 2. Gang slams him again and goes for a big splash bug Savage rolls out of the way. Macho Man gets up in the corner, Gang goes for the big avalanche, but again Savage gets out of the way. Savage starts with a big series of strikes on Gang, ultimately knocking him out of the ring with a double axe-handle. Savage goes up top and hits a double axe handle on Gang on the floor. Slick helps OMG back in the ring. Savage goes for a body-slam, but can’t lift Gang. OMG hits a double-handed choke slam. Slick insults Elizabeth outside the ring. Savage saw this and accosts Slick, choking him while the ref’s back is turned, checking on Elizabeth. Slick tosses his cane to OMG, who strikes Savage with it repeatedly ultimately catching the attention of the ref, who calls for the bell.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by DQ at 4:06 – Savage advances to the final round.
Rating: ** – Not very good, frankly. It started with some promise, but by the end it ran out of steam.
WWF Tag Team Championship – Demolition (Axe & Smash w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) (c)
Smash starts for Demolition, Martel for Strike Force.. They both lock up, with Smash taking control early on. Martel goes for a high cross body but Smash catches him. Santana drop-kicks Smash, causing Smash to land on his back with Martel on top. Axe quickly comes in to attack Santana (and keep the ref from counting the pin). Demolition tries to whip Strike force into each other, but Santana reverses his whip, and Martel turns his momentum into a high cross body for a 2-count. Strike Force is now in control, Strike Force double strike and clotheslines Smash. Martel finally tags in Santana, and Smash tags in Axe. Both men work over Axe’s arm, but Axe breaks out and tags in Smash. Martel (currently the legal man) regains control with a hip-toss and tags Santana back in. Smash sends Santana for the ride, Santana goes for a flying forearm but gets caught with a bear hug. Axe gets the blind tag and clotheslines Santana in something not quite unlike a Doomsday device. Demolition double-team Morton^H^H^H^H^H^H Santana. Axe hits a power slam pin for 1. Santana tries to power out and regain control, but fails.
Smash gets tagged in and goes for the boot choke on Santana before Martel runs in for the save. Smash goes after Martel on the apron while Axe guillotines Tito on the ropes. Tito continues to get worked over by Demolition. Santana finally gets the tag to Martel, who comes in like a house on fire. Big Back Drop on Smash. Martel cleans house and locks Smash in the Boston Crab. Axe comes in to break it up, but Santana stops him, which unfortunately distracts the Ref. As the ref escorts Santana back to his corner, Mr. Fuji tries to hand Axe his cane, but Santana stops him again – however this knocks the cane out of his hands and leaves it lying near Axe. Axe rolls in, grabs the cane, and nails Martel with it (behind the ref’s back of course). Axe rolls out as Smash pins Martel, for the pin.
Winner: Demolition wins by pinfall with a foreign object shot and are the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
Rating: *** – A good tag team match.
Final Match for the WWF Heavyweight Championship – “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ The Lovely Elizabeth) vs. Ted DiBiase (w/ Andre The Giant)
Start: 22:27. Finish: 33:44
Savage is the the certified underdog in this match, having wrestled in all 3 previous rounds, whereas DiBiase has not only rested during his Bye, also has Andre at ringside with him.
Both men lock up, and DiBiase backs savage into the corner, but Savage powers out, only to get his foot hooked by Andre. Nice series of chain wrestling between the two, with Andre hooking Savage’s leg when he got near his sides of the ring. They start chaining arm holds again, before DiBiase gets Macho Man in the corner and hits a series of chops on him. DiBiase hits a clothesline for 2. DiBiase goes for a sunset flip but Macho Man avoids it. Macho man gets a 2-count after a big right hand. DiBiase levels Savage with some chops and then hits a boot to the mush. DiBiase goes for a clothesline but Savage ducks it and hits a running forearm, before guillotining DiBiase on the top rope.
Savage hops back in the ring and hits a high knee that sent DiBiase to the outside, but on Andre’s side of the ring. Savage goes up for an aerial maneuver, but Andre moves to block the attack. Savage then heads over to Elizabeth, whispers something to her and instructs her to head to the back. DiBiase hits a series of fist drops on Savage as the crowd starts a big “Hogan” chant. DiBiase locks Savage in a chinlock, as Elizabeth returns with Hulk Hogan (surprise – not). As DiBiase keeps the hold locked on, Hogan picks up a steel chair and sits himself down in Savage’s corner. DiBiase works Savage over in his corner, and then Andre starts to choke Savage when the ref’s back is turned, before Hogan runs over and starts wailing on Andre.
DiBiase hits a suplex for 2. DiBiase hits a gut-wrench suplex for 2. Bodyslam by DiBiase and he goes up top, but Savage catches him and tosses him. Savage goes up but misses the flying elbow. DiBiase locks on the million dollar dream. The ref gets distracted by Andre so Hogan takes advantage and clocks DiBiase with the steel chair. Savage, unaware of what just happened (apparently) goes up top one more time and goes for the flying elbow for 3.
Winner: “Macho Man” Randy Savage by pinfall at 11:17. Savage is the new, and undisputed (yeah, right) WWF Heavyweight Champion.
Rating: *** – It was a good match and probably would have merited another star were it not for the finish. However, for a match like this, to decide the WWF Heavyweight Championship, and to have a Face champion, but have the face win in such a heelish fashion (particularly in the 80s) doesn’t quite feel right.
Overall Rating: ** – There was a lot of potential here, and there were a lot of decent matches, but the slow middle, and the crooked finish in the main event felt wrong. Especially when you’re trying to find your undisputed champion.
After the match, Savage hoists Elizabeth up on his shoulders with the belt and celebrates with Hogan and Elizabeth.