Rebooking Wrestlemania 4
By Scott Keith on 22nd August 2021
Is it too late to rebook 1988's Wrestlemania? Or does it just make me look like a pathetic old guy? Either way, what do you think about this: instead of the goofy, bloated tournament they had, what if they did a round-robin tournament with just four guys, like WCW tried in 1989? I know you weren't a big fan of that particular event, but I think the idea itself was sound. Let me paint a picture for you: we start with qualifying matches on free TV leading up to the show. Hogan defeats Harley Race to win a spot. DiBiase defeats Duggan to get in. Andre defeats Bam Bam Bigelow, and Savage defeats Valentine to round out the final four. After WMIV's opening battle royal, we go to Mean Gene and Vanna White to explain the rules…
Mean Gene: In this special tournament, every competitor must face every opponent, and points can be scored in multiple ways. A win by pinfall or submission will earn the victor 15 points. If you win by disqualification or count-out, you get 10 points. A draw earns each competitor five points. But if you lose, you gain nothing.
Vanna: That's right, Mean Gene!
Mean Gene: Each match will have a fifteen-minute time limit, and all match victors will earn a head-to-head tiebreaker over their defeated opponents in the event of a tie, while a predetermined strength-of-victory formula will be employed to break ties in other scenarios. And at the end, whoever stands atop the rest of the field wins the WWF championship! Are you ready for the first match, Vanna?
Vanna: I sure am, Mean Gene!
Pomp and Circumstance begins playing, and Jess and Gorilla speculate over who Macho will be wrestling… and then Real American brings the corporate crowd to their feet.
Jesse: We're going to see the Megapowers explode!
Gorilla: We sure are!
Hogan and Savage wrestle for ten minutes. After Savage knocks Hogan down with a flying axe handle from the top…
Jesse: Macho is going for the flying elbow! If he hits it, it's over!
Gorilla: And he misses! Hogan with the legdrop! And there's the three.
Jesse: And Hogan starts off strong. He's put himself in prime position to win this whole thing,
Gorilla: Hogan trying to help Savage up, but Savage doesn't seem very interested in his help.
Jesse: Well, Savage is in deep trouble now. He's walking away from this match with nothing, and he still has to wrestle DiBiase and the Giant. How's he going to catch up with Hogan?
Gorilla: Dire straits indeed. But meanwhile, we've got another very interesting match coming up.
Jesse: That's right. It's gonna be DiBiase taking on the Giant. What's going to happen here?
DiBiase enters the ring, but Andre is nowhere to be found.
Gorilla: Where is the big man?
Jesse: I don't know, but DiBiase doesn't look too happy, does he?
Gorilla: I'm sure he paid out some money and was expecting a job to be done.
Jesse: Now how do you know that? Maybe he was looking forward to wrestling Andre and seeing who was the better man?
Howard Finkle: The referee has informed me that Andre the Giant has until the count of ten to approach the ring area, or he will be counted out of the match!
Gorilla: Well, there goes the count. Did Andre even make it here? I've not had verification from my sources that he's in the arena.
Jesse: 8, 9, 10. DiBiase is the winner.
Gorilla: But with only ten points to show for it. And no more freebies.
After a couple other matches, we start round 2 of the tournament.
Gorilla: And here's the Million Dollar Man again. What a bad draw he got. And there's Virgil, but no Andre in sight.
Jesse: And he'll be wrestling either Hogan or Macho. This will be a tough one either way.
Real American sounds, Hogan runs down to the ring and tosses DiBiase around like a rag doll. After a few minutes..
Jesse: And if Hogan wins this, he'll be virtually impossible to defeat in this tournament. All he'll have left is the Giant, who might not even be here!.
Gorilla: Well, let's face it, Jess. Ever since Hogan's first match here in the WWF against some poor guy whose name has been lost to history, he's been a dominant force. What's Virgil doing up on the apron? Get him down!
Jesse: The ref's trying to get him down… Woah, Hogan just wiped out Virgil and took out the ref with him!
Gorilla: It's chaos here in Atlantic City, and what's that?
Jesse: It's Andre! The big man is here!
Gorilla: The Hulkster is trying to figure out what's going on.
As Hogan approaches the ropes, Andre, from the outside, levels him with a chairshot to the head, and Hogan falls into the Million Dollar Dream.
Gorilla: The referee's coming to. What's DiBiase saying?
Jesse: He's saying “raise the arm.” Hogan might be out cold!
Gorilla: And there's one… two…. three times it drops. It's over!
Jesse: And that counts as a submission!
Gorilla: That counts as a miscarriage of justice, Jess.
Jesse: It doesn't matter when it comes to the scoreboard, Monsoon. DiBiase has defeated both Andre and Hogan and takes the lead! And he has only one match left, and that's against Savage!
Gorilla: Holy mackerel. And Savage has to wrestle in our next match first.
Jesse: That's right. He has to wrestle the Giant. Who knows if Savage will even make it to DiBiase?
Andre and Savage begin their match with Andre repeatedly trapping Savage in the corner, pounding and crushing him in turn.
Jesse: And what a spot for Savage to find himself in. No points, Andre pounding him into submission. Maybe he should just quit.
Gorilla: Highly unlikely.
Jesse: Andre just said something to him. Could you make it out?
Gorilla: Something about no more baby oil. Not sure what that was about.
Savage escapes the corner and begins to mount an offense, but the Million Dollar Man and Virgil, in Andre's corner, blatantly interfere with his comeback attempt.
Gorilla: Oh, come on. Give me a break. I suppose DiBiase doesn't even care if Andre's disqualified. Get them out of here, ref.
Jesse: He's talking to them right now. Wait a second!
Gorilla: It's the Hulkster! And there's a chair to the back of the Giant! That drops the tree!
Jesse: The referee didn't see it! He was too busy reprimanding DiBiase and Virgil! And there goes Macho up to the top rope.
Gorilla: Flying elbow.
Jesse: Hogan wipes out DiBiase and Virgil outside.
Gorilla: And there's the 1,2,3. Fifteen points for Savage.
Jesse: And you talk about a miscarriage of justice!
Gorilla: What's good for the goose is good for the Giant, Jess.
After a couple more matches, we start round 3, the final round.
Jesse: Well, Gorilla, there are only two matches left. What do you think we'll see first?
Gorilla: It's Andre! He's coming down to the ring now. He and Hulk have been going at it all night, and we'll finally settle this right now.
Jesse: And this gives Hogan a chance to take the lead in the tournament!
Hogan charges the ring and he and Andre go back and forth before DiBiase waves Andre off, and Andre exits the ring.
Gorilla: What's he doing?
Jesse: He's leaving. The Million Dollar Man just said, “We don't need it.”
Gorilla: Well, that will give Hogan the win!
Jesse: Yeah, but he ain't getting no fifteen points!
Gorilla: What? That's not right in my book, Jess.
Jesse: Your book don't matter, Monsoon.
We cut to Mean Gene and Vanna, who run down the scores.
Mean Gene: What a night of action! We have one match left: Macho Man Randy Savage versus the Million Dollar Man. Vanna, have you ever seen anything like it?
Vanna: No, I haven't, Mean Gene.
Mean Gene: Let's take a look at where we stand. The Million Dollar Man and the Hulkster, thanks to their two victories apiece, each have 25 points. But let's not forget, the Million Dollar Man, by virtue of his win over Hogan, possesses the head-to-head tiebreaker, putting him on top. Savage, meanwhile, has scored 15 points to put himself in third. Andre, of course, has no points, and his night is over. So that leads us to our final match. And folks, here's the math: if DiBiase wins his match against Savage in any way whatsoever, he wins the tournament and the WWF Championship title. Same thing if the match is a draw. However, if Savage wins by count-out or disqualification, DiBiase, Savage, and Hogan fall into a three-way tie, and the strength of victory formula is employed, giving Hogan his second World Wrestling Federation Championship. For Savage himself, there's only one path to victory and his first WWF Championship: he must score fifteen points with a decisive win by pinfall or submission. Let's get back to ringside!
Gorilla: Well, Jess, it's all come down to this.
Jesse: That's right. Both men have wrestled the Giant. Both men have wrestled Hogan. What do they have left?
Gorilla: Jess, that's not quite true.
Jesse: Well, you might be right. But that's why I give DiBiase the edge. And can you imagine beating Hogan and the Giant on the same night and not becoming the undisputed champion of the world? As far as I'm concerned, he should be King of the World.
Gorilla: Well, here's a man who's not King but is in fact the WWF President.
Jack Tunney enters the ring with the WWF Championship.
Howard Finkle: Ladies and gentlemen, the esteemed president of the WWF, Mr. Jack Tunney.
Tunney: Thank you, Howard. The following contest will determine the winner of the World Wrestling Federation Championship. To ensure that it is a fair contest, I have just made the following stipulation: both Mr. Hulk Hogan and Mr. Andre Roussimouf are barred from ringside due to their repeated interference tonight. If Mr. Hogan approaches the ring, Mr. Savage will be immediately disqualified.
Jesse: That would give DiBiase the title!
Tunney: If Mr. Andre Roussimouf approaches the ring, Mr. DiBiase will be immediately disqualified.
Gorilla: And that would give Hulk the title!
Tunney: It is my hope this will give us a fair and exciting contest. May the best man win!
Gorilla: Holy cow! If we don't get cooperation here, this thing will be over before it begins.
Jesse: Yeah, but I think the last thing Hogan wants is to give DiBiase the title.
Gorilla: Ane the last thing Andre wants is to give Hogan the title!
Jesse: And poor Macho has to hope everyone stays in their place and he can somehow defeat DiBiase in the middle of the ring.
Savage and DiBiase put on a wrestling clinic, but as time wears on, it appears Macho has little left.
Gorilla: Just two minutes left!
Jesse: And all DiBiase has to do is go the distance.
Gorilla: And there's the Million Dollar Dream!
Savage runs DiBiase back into the turnbuckle, dropping him. In one last desperation attempt, Savage goes for the flying elbow.
Jesse: Here it comes!
Gorilla: He misses!
Jesse: DiBiase got out of the way just in time!
Gorilla: And now he tosses Savage over the top rope.
Jesse: That could be a big mistake! If Savage is counted out, Hogan wins the title!
Gorilla: Maybe DiBiase is trying to run the clock out. We're getting down to that 30 second mark.
Jesse: The referee's count is up to 7.
Gorilla: Savage trying to get back in.
DiBiase grabs Savage from over the top rope and prepares to yank him in.
Gorilla: Suplex? No, maybe a slam attempt.
DiBiase pulls Savage over, but Savage hooks a small package on him as they come crashing down
Jess and Gorilla: Wait a second!
Savage pins DiBiase in the middle of the ring.
Jesse: The three count!
Gorilla: And there's the bell!
Jesse: I don't believe it!
Gorilla: Savage has won the title! Elizabeth is in tears! And here's Hogan to present him with the belt!
Jesse: I've seen that happen before, Gorilla. Savage, remembering a match from his past and almost on instinct employing that small package maneuver when he needed it most!
Gorilla: We have a new champion!
So…. what do you think? TLDR?
What exactly was wrong with the original tournament format?