The Mania of March- The Spotlight on Wrestlemania 4

WrestleMania 4:

A lot of people don’t seem to look back as fondly when it comes to  Wrestlemania 4, for whatever reason, but to me it was great for a few reasons.  First, obviously I’ve said in the past what a big fan I am of gimmick matches and these include tournaments.  To me, there was always something pretty cool about seeing a wrestler have to compete three or four times in one night especially if that wrestler was versatile like a Bret Hart or, as was in this case, a Randy Savage.  From there, I also think that in looking back at this show, it was pretty cool to see Randy Savage get the spotlight.  It was all about Hulk Hogan in late 1980s WWF and so it had to be pretty shocking to see him and Andre get eliminated early.

As a bonus gimmick match there was also a battle royal on this show and I’m a huge fan of battle royals.   I remember the first time I saw this show, which was not live as I was still just a toddler, being surprised Bret Hart made it all the way to the final two and got a chance to shine.  Bret was still a part of the Hart Foundation for a few years after this and it was rare that a tag team specialist would get a chance to shine on his own at the time.

As a bit of a personal story related to Wrestlemania 4, as many of you know, the show was four hours long (This, just like the tournament, was one of the real promotional points of the show). Since it was so long, the coliseum home video of the show featured two different video tapes to accommodate the length of the show.  One day I was at a friend’s house and I offered to trade him one of my tapes for his copy of Wrestlemania 4, we were probably about 7 years old at the time, as I had never seen Mania 4.  I had heard that there was a tournament and a battle royal on this show and thought immediately that this would be the show for me.  Well, he gave me the tape but it ended up being only the first part of Wrestlemania 4.  I never realized this until I got home and watched the show only to see the second half was missing entirely and what’s funny is I didn’t know about this until the tape abruptly shut off midway through the show.   I kept rewinding the tape and cleaning assuming that there must have been something wrong.  Where were the finals of the tournament?   I actually had my mother call his mother to tell her son he gave me a broken tape.  Suddenly my friend laughed and admitted he didn’t give me part two and was screwing me.  And you thought the Montreal Screwjob was bad? He admitted that he wanted both my tape and the only parts of Wrestlemania 4 to really mean anything, the semi finals and the finals of the tournament.  Even though this upset me a bit, I still watched the first part of that Wrestlemania dozens of times if for nothing else but the Battle Royal.

What I also remember during this time was that I got my first ever WWF board game (This may have been a year or two later but it focused a lot on the time period of Wrestlemanias 3 and 4).  It was called the Wrestlemania VCR board game and it was pretty cool.  You would move around the game board and in doing so would eventually end up on a VCR square.  You would then turn on the tape and there would be able a 30 second clip of a match.  Whoever landed on the square would get to choose which wrestler they wanted in the clip and then whichever wrestler gained the upper hand during the clip, that player would get to move space.  So let’s say it was Hulk Hogan for the red team and Randy Savage for the blue team so you pick Hulk Hogan and in the clip he hits a legdrop and gets a pinfall victory, you would move up 10 spaces.  I played this game with my poor mother at least 100 times until we eventually memorized the tape inside and out.

Well that’s going to do it for me today but be sure to check out my review of Wrestlemania 5, coming up later today.  Until then take care and please feel free to share some of your favorite moments of Wrestlemania 4!

All Photo Credit: WWE

The Mania of March- The Spotlight On Wrestlemania 3

Wrestlemania 3:

This was the first Wrestlemania I was alive for but I’ll admit that I never saw the full show until I rented the tape from a wrestling store here in Queens in the late 90s. That said, I probably have seen Hogan and Andre as well as Steamboat and Savage so many times I can’t even remember.  These two matches are the perfect example of how two matches can be so different but both still be so memorable in entirely different ways.  I feel like depending on the type of fan that you are, you either remember Wrestlemania 3 for Savage-Steamboat or Hogan-Andre.  If you’re more into the classic moments, it’s Hogan and Andre, whereas if you’re more into the classic matches, then its Steamboat-Savage.  There are so many of today’s wrestlers from Chris Jericho to the Hardys that have credited that Savage and Steamboat match as being an inspiration.

Aside from those two great matches, Wrestlemania 3 cannot be mentioned without talking about the 93,000 + plus fans that were in attendance.  I remember specifically that if you watched the home video they showed the fans as they were running to the arena or filing in after a long tailgate, which sadly isn’t on the network).   It really made Wrestlemania feel like a massive event.  Then of course when they brought you into the arena you were immediately him with that great screenshot of the crowd that just looked incredible.  I can’t imagine how amazing it must have been to be in that arena.  When I went to WrestleMania back in 2011 in Atlanta, I remember sitting way up in the nosebleeds and looking out going, “wow it’s amazing to see a wrestling show in such a large venue.  Well there were at least 20,000 more fans live for WrestleMania 3 and with the show taking places in the middle of the day, you could probably look out and see everyone, it had to be incredible.

From here I loved how the show started with Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring, welcoming the crowd to WrestleMania 3.  If you remember the risk that Vince took with the first WrestleMania, just two years earlier, it was nice to see him being able to soak in the massive success that the event had become.  I always thought it would be cool for Vince to kick off every show like but obviously that would have been hard to do as he became the villainous Mr. McMahon.  I remember that at some point a few years back WWE put out a history of WrestleMania DVD and a pop u video like version of WrestleMania 3.  Hearing Vince on those sets get choked up when talking about how he was thinking about his dad when he was welcoming the crowd to WrestleMania and how he knew his dad would be proud   This makes it mean that much more and is definitely something I can relate to.

Lastly, I also really get nostalgic for the motorized carts that brought the superstars to the ring because the aisle way at the Silverdome was so massive.   This just made the superstars look larger than life.  I also love the idea of Greg Valentine leaving Brutus Beefcake off the cart while the announcers ponder how he would get to the back, was walking not an option?  In any event,  I wish they would bring those carts back for like an old school Raw some time.

Well that’s going to do it for me but be sure to come on back tomorrow where we will take a look at WrestleMania 4!

All Photo Credit: WWE