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What If Ted DiBiase Won The WWF World Championship In ’88?

It has been highly rumored that at WrestleMania IV Ted DiBiase was scheduled to win the WWF World Championship, but due to political bickering backstage, that never happened. Instead, Randy Savage won the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania IV by beating DiBiase.

I’ve wondered for a while how DiBiase went his entire career without winning the WWF World Championship. I think it’s safe to say that from 1988 to 1991 DiBiase was one of the best singles wrestlers to play the heel role that the WWF had to offer. Of course, he formed a tag team in 1992 and continued to be a great heel there too.

Anyway, I decided to take a look back to the WWF in 1988 and do a fantasy booking of having DiBiase be the man to win the WWF World Championship instead of Savage.

In having DiBiase win the championship at WrestleMania IV, I wouldn’t have him win it cleanly. This is where you can use Andre the Giant to help DiBiase win the title and start an Andre vs. Savage feud while DiBiase feuds with some upper midcarders to kill some time before SummerSlam. That’s right, I wouldn’t have DiBiase feud with Hogan right after WrestleMania.

But first, I’d have DiBiase associated with Bad News Brown. The idea would help in two ways. Having Bad News and Andre by his side, it would cause Hogan and Savage to have to get past them before being able to get to DiBiase. That fills some time. Ideally, I’d have Hogan work with Bad News and Savage work with Andre on the house show market.

As for DiBiase, I’d have him stay busy with Jim Duggan and Brutus Beefcake. That sounds weak on paper, but the intent is not to have it be the main program. Yeah, that’s probably not popular for the WWF World Championship, but at the early stages of the title reign, that would have to happen. Besides, this could help with adding tag team main events on the house show market with any combination of DiBiase/Andre/Brown taking on Hogan/Savage/Duggan.

SNME #16 can see DiBiase beat Duggan and move on to a more capable challenger like Jake Roberts or a young Bam-Bam Bigelow. If I were to use Bigelow here, he would have to get some big wins over established guys leading into a showdown with DiBiase.

It would be different than what happened in real life, so lets go with it. Bigelow over the course of a few months would win matches against guys like Bossman, One Man Gang and Dino Bravo for instance. On television Bigelow would have to be pushed as a title contender and guys like Mean Gene could bring that up to DiBiase. That’s when a feud between Bigelow and the enforcer of sorts, Bad News Brown could begin. For some reason, I see them having entertaining brawls.

Hogan and Savage would stay busy with DiBiase and Andre and keep the main event from SummerSlam with Savage pinning DiBiase instead of Hogan getting the win. That could set up a rematch later down the line.

The momentum that Bigelow would have by now would include a victory over Bad News Brown at SummerSlam 1988. This could lead to a title match with DiBiase at SNME #17 where DiBiase gets help from Andre to retain the title.

The next major pay per view would be WWF Survivor Series 1988. Off the top of my head this is where Hogan, Savage, Bigelow, and maybe a tag team like Strike Force could team up against DiBiase, Andre, Bad News and a tag team like Demolition. Once again, DiBiase would be pinned by Savage and that would set up a title match at Royal Rumble 1989.

At the Royal Rumble, DiBiase retains the title. I’m not sure if I’d have interference involved or not. I think it would be a clean victory to give DiBiase some creditability leading into WrestleMania V. Who would I have DiBiase defend against at WrestleMania V?

Nope, not Hulk Hogan. That’s the easy choice to have there. Instead, I’d push the Ultimate Warrior a year earlier than he was. That may be too soon, but Hogan was cluttering the main event scene too much and it was rather repetitive. You have a fresh babyface like Warrior win the Royal Rumble and square off against DiBiase at WrestleMania V doesn’t hurt anyone.

Besides, Hogan could easily stay busy with a match with Rick Rude or Big Bossman. I’d probably pick Bossman just because they had some really good matches on the house show market back in 1989 any way. They worked well together, in my opinion.

Yes, I’d have Ultimate Warrior win the WWF World Championship and feud with DiBiase, Andre and Bad News to close out 1989.

What do you think of this idea? Would you be for or against it? Feel free to share your comments below.

Thanks for reading.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Couple things: Strike Force wouldn’t be at the ’88 Survivor Series, because I believe Rick Martel wasn’t back from his injury yet, which is why Tito was on Jake Roberts’ team by himself. And the stipulation that the winnner of the Rumble gets a title shot at Mania didn’t start until 1993 (otherwise Wrestlemania would have been headlined by Big John Studd that year…yikes). But I like the fantasy booking–I would have had Savage win the belt from DiBiase, maybe at the Rumble with help from Hogan, and then fast-track the MegaPower Meltdown to keep the Mania V main event the same, since it drew such huge numbers for the WWF at the time.

    I’ve heard the rumors about DiBiase winning the title at Mania IV too, but I’m not sure I believe them. Not that DiBiase didn’t earn or deserve a title run, because he totally did, but… a heel leaving Wrestlemania as champion? Maybe ten years later, but in 1988 this would have been unheard of.

    November 14, 2012
    • Bob Colling #

      This was all done in a “perfect world” type of situation. I think having a screwy finish at WrestleMania IV to give the title to DiBiase would be alright way to go about things and make DiBiase a red hot heel, too. Thanks for the comment, Dave!

      November 14, 2012
  2. Gord #

    HTM confirmed this rumor in one of his shoots – he refused to job to Savage at Main Event I so Savage got the title at WMIV. From what I remember, Hogan would have won the title back at the first SummerSlam.

    DiBiase deserved to have the title back then, but I think it worked out perfectly the way it did. The Savage-Hogan friendship turned feud was great.

    February 27, 2013

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