April 9, 2006
WWF Wrestlemania III
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, March 29th 1987
The story of Wrestlemania III seems to have been told a million times. We’ve all heard it. How the WWF managed to fill the Pontiac Silverdome with 93,173 fans. To this day the number of seats sold still seems staggering (and somewhat debated). However, the story of Wrestlemania III and the legacy it has left behind need not be debated. The epic feud of Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant is so memorable that it is still spoken about today. Andre, a long time fan favorite, had been a good friend of World Champion Hulk Hogan. Then one night on WWF Superstars Andre The Giant (under the guidance of Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan) turned on his former friend and challenged him for the WWF World title at Wrestlemania III. At first Hogan was reluctant but a few weeks later he accepted and the contract was signed. World Champion Hulk Hogan would defend his title against the undefeated Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III. Wrestlemania III was the mother of all pay-per-views when it aired and it went on to become the most successful pro-wrestling event ever promoted.
This is the PPV version. The show begins with Vince McMahon welcoming the fans to Wrestlemania III and then introducing Aretha Franklin to sing “America The Beautiful.” Vince has claimed this was one of the most emotional moments of his life as he had finally fulfilled his dreams. Judging from the size and amount of people in the Silverdome, I'm not surprised Vince would be choked. It's a mind-boggling sight.
*The Can-Am Connection vs. Cowboy Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco
Jesse Ventura calls Muraco "the tank" and it easy to understand why. Don Muraco is huge here and this is prior to his 'roided-up baby face run. Rick Martel and him start and surprisingly Martel drops Muraco with a shoulder block. The tide changes swiftly as Muraco corners him but the Can-Ams counter with a double monkey flip on Muraco before double hip tossing Bob Orton. Orton and Muraco head outside to regroup then Orton returns to grapple with Tom Zenk. The Ace Cowboy manages to get Zenk into a full nelson but when Muraco comes in to double team he ends up waffling his own partner with a thunderous punch. Tom Zenk works on Orton's arm then Muraco's. It looks like the Can-Ams are dominating until Zenk is caught with a knee on the apron. The heels take control for a short while until Orton and Zenk collide. A hot tag is made to Martel who goes crazy on Muraco. All four men go at it and in the confusion of the brawl Muraco backdrops Orton! A well placed double crop kick sends Orton packing and Muraco is finished with a high cross body and schoolboy trip for the pin. **1/2
Match Analysis: Decent opener. There was tons of action but it was a brief match and the heels dominated very little (a bit of a spot-fest). Still it was fun.
Recap of the Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules feud.
Mean Gene is with Hercules and Bobby Heenan. Hercules cuts a strange promo alluding to mythological metaphors. Bobby Heenan keeps it simple for the humanoids claiming, “For the record it's Billy Jerk Haynes."
*Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes
Herc and Billy Jack have a stare down like to bulls before locking up. Billy Jack Haynes dominates the first half of the bout with an impressive press slam followed by an attempt at the full nelson. Hercules manages to avoid get stuck in the submission hold by grabbing the ropes. A chop-fest ensues and then Billy Jack Haynes whips Herc into the buckle. Herc responds to Billy Jack Haynes corner charge with a killer clothesline and BJH really sells it! Herc begins to dominate the rest of the match focusing on BJH's back with stomps, some rough turnbuckle treatment, and a back drop. A suplex gives Herc a count of two. BJH makes a comeback stopping Herc from a second suplex and doing one of his own but his back gives out. This prompts Herc to give BJH another backbreaker before delivering a press slam of his own. Hercules manages to get the full nelson on, but he neglects to lock the fingers and as a result BJH makes a comeback. He still sells his back injury though but is able to apply his own full nelson on Hercules. Hercules wastes no time in grabbing onto the ropes for the break but both end up spilling onto the floor. Billy Jack Haynes again applies the full nelson and both men are promptly counted out. Heenan attacks Haynes from behind and Haynes begins to chase The Brain around the ring. This gives Herc the chance to grab his chain and nail Billy Jack with it. A post-match assault ensues, Billy Jack blades, which gives Hercules the moral victory. **
Match Analysis: The bout was decent enough but ended in typical non-blow off fashion and the feud wasn't really furthered after this. Weird. The post-match blade job was great though.
Mean Gene is with King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Little Brook.
Bob Uecker joins the broadcast booth for the next match.
Mean Gene is with Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver (get your head out of the gutter).
*King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Little Brook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver & The Haiti Kid
This is about as awful as it sounds and one might wonder why the hell the WWF didn't just put a Demolition vs. The Islanders tag match on the card instead. Granted the midgets get in some decent (and by decent I mean standard) wrestling moves during the early goings but most of it is overshadowed by zany cartoony antics. Little Beaver annoys the hell out of Bundy and teases going head to head with him. Jesse says he wants to see Bundy put the big ka-bosh on one of these midgets...can't disagree with him on that. Beaver continues to bug Bundy until the big guy has had enough and squashes the little twerp like a bug. Bundy is DQ'd because of it though and all the midgets and Hillbilly protest against Bundy's viciousness. DUD
Match Analysis: This match sucked only redeeming aspect was Bundy squashing Beaver.
Mary Hart is interviewing Miss Elizabeth when The Macho Man interrupts and hams it up for the camera. Mary Hart asks Liz "is it always this way?" No wonder they divorced.
Junkyard Dog/The King Harley Race feud recap.
Mean Gene is with Harley Race, Heenan, and Moolah. Never really understood (or remember) why Moolah was ever with Race. Strange…
Uecker freaks out about Moolah for whatever weird reason and leaves the broadcast booth in lust to find her.
Mean Gene is with JYD.
*The Junkyard Dog vs. “The King” Harley Race
Pre-match stipulations are that the loser must bow to the winner. Heenan tries to interfere right off the bat and it gives the opportunity for Race to attack JYD. The two brawl then Race does a cool spot where he does a diving head butt from the apron onto JYD. He misses though and hits the floor. Ouch! Back in the ring, JYD goes down on all fours and delivers rapid head butts that Race sells like crazy. Heenan distracts JYD giving Race the chance to belly to belly him for a quick pinfall victory. 1/2* After the bout JYD is forced to bow so he does a little courtesy and when Race turns his back he clobbers him with a chair. What a sore loser!
Match Analysis: Too short to merit any good rating. There were some nice spots in this match but it was very brief.
Vince McMahon is with World Champion Hulk Hogan.
Mean Gene is with Luscious Johnny V, The Dream Team and newly arrived Canadian crony Dino Bravo.
*The Dream Team (with Dino Bravo) vs. The Rougeau Bros.
Bruti and Raymond start off and the Rougeaus get the upper hand with some excellent double-teaming. Valentine tags in and gets the same treatment. Everything goes fine until Jacques misses a high cross body. Then Valentine delivers some hard elbows and Beefcake stomps out Jacques. The Dream Team keeps Jacques in their corner with some double-teaming of their own. Heenan barges into the broadcast booth exasperated yelling that he's two for two tonight and on a roll. A Valentine figure four is thwarted with a rope break and a backdrop counter gives Jacques enough time to hot tag Raymond. Raymond comes in on fire and backdrops Valentine before slapping on a sleeper. Bruti attempts to intervene but ends up clocking his own partner. The Rougeaus execute their Rougeau Bomb finisher on the Hammer and Raymond goes for the pin. The referee turns his back distracted by Beefcake causing Dino Bravo to slip in and nail Raymond then put Valentine on top for the win. **1/4 After the match, Johnny V, Valentine and Bravo leave without Beefcake essentially turning their backs on him.
Match Analysis: A good tag bout but waaay too quick considering the excellent matches these two teams were having earlier in the year. Still, this watchable despite being a rush job.
Piper and Adonis feud video package including Piper going berserk and destroying the Flower shop. Good stuff.
Roddy Piper is backstage alone ranting and raving.
Mean Gene is with Adrian Adonis and Jimmy Hart.
*Hair vs. Hair Match: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis
This was supposed to be Piper’s retirement match as he was going to Hollywood, but he would be back in 1989 so over the years the meaning of this match has deteriorated. Adonis and Jimmy Hart enter the ring with hedge clippers and a mirror. Guess they’re psyched for this hair vs. hair match. Piper enters the ring to a standing ovation. Seriously, just listen to the crowd when Hot Rod gets into the ring. It’s crazy. The match erupts with slugfest. Then Piper removes his belt and begins whipping Adonis with it. Jimmy tries to interfere but Piper goes after him, which in turn allows Adrian to jump him and use Piper’s belt as a strap as well. Jess asks if this is a strap match and I’m asking myself why no one has been DQ’d yet. I guess the referees were very lenient because this is supposed to be Piper’s last match. The tide turns when Adonis is whipped into the corner and does a 360 onto the floor. The Mouth again tries to interfere but he ends up on the receiving end of a double noggin’ knocker with Adrian. Piper tosses The Mouth Of The South around some more to cater to the crowd, but Jimmy hooks his leg allowing Adrian to regain control. Adonis looks awful here as he runs through some slow offense. The match goes to the outside where Piper’s head meets the timekeeper’s table. Jimmy AGAIN interferes spraying arrogance into Piper’s eyes. Adonis goes for the sleeper and it’s “Goodnight Irene.” Piper attempts to break the hold in vain. Just as it looks like Adrian is going to win he releases the hold prematurely and celebrates with Hart. Then out of nowhere Brutus Beefcake makes a run in and revives Piper. Adrian attempts to nail Piper with the hedge clippers but ends up clobbering himself. Piper goes for the sleeper hold and it’s all over. *1/2 Beefcake wastes no time at going at Adonis’ hair with a clipper (foreshadowing his Barber gimmick) while Roddy restrains the Mouth like a schoolyard bully. Comedy ensues as Piper holds up the mirror to a bald Adrian Adonis, who is quite livid when he comes to. Adrian and the Mouth leave the ring in shame and disgust while Piper bids farewell to the fans. Some idiot fan jumps the rail and enters the ring to congratulate Piper. Piper (being the professional he is) embraces the fan regardless. Needless to say shortly afterwards security knocks the crazy fan on his ass.
Match Analysis: For a farewell match this left a lot to be desired technically speaking. However, the crowd heat was extraordinary. Also, at the time, this was a real emotional high for pro-wrestling fans, as everyone really thought this was going to be Piper’s last match. However, the fact that he would return two years later and still headline ten years on has certainly hampered the meaning of this match over the years.
A promo for the Wrestlemania III souvenir program is aired. Also available are a baseball cap and a t-shirt (modeled by the Can-Am Connection). The t-shirts actually look really nice with the Silverdome logo on the back.
The intermission has been edited out.
Mary Hart and Bob Uecker join Gorilla in the broadcast booth as Jesse Ventura heads down to ringside in order to be introduced to the crowd.
Howard Finkle introduces Jesse Ventura to the crowd as “the man who allegedly tells it like it is.” Jesse gives him static about it, shakes hands with the Hart Foundation (who are entering the ring) before leaving ringside.
An earlier interview of Mean Gene with The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis is aired.
*Six-Man Tag Team Match: The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis vs. The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana
The Bulldogs and Tito immediately clear the ring with Matilda and it’s a free for all on the outside. The crowd is really hyped for this one as Davey Boy Smith press slams Danny Davis onto the Harts on the floor. Ouch! Bret Hart rolls back into the ring and goes at it with Tito Santana. The Hitman tries to counter an Irish whip but is dropped face first onto the mat. A tag is made to the Anvil who has a stare down with Davey Boy. They lock up and Davey gets the upper hand. The Harts try some double team tactics but they are thwarted with a double noggin’ knocker. Quick tags between the Bulldogs and Tito as they work over Neidhart. Tito is backed into the wrong corner and Bret Hart and Danny Davis choke him in the corner while Jim Neidhart ties up the referee.
The Harts continue the assault until Tito leapfrogs over the Anvil and makes the hot tag to Davey Boy. Davey Boy Smith is on fire as he unloads on Neidhart before delivering a thunderous backdrop. He then tries to go after Bret, allowing the Anvil to nail him from behind and make the tag to the Hitman. Bret goes to the second turnbuckle for his patented elbow drop but misses. Dynamite tags in and he and Hart go at it. Dynamite goes for the pin following a head butt, but Neidhart breaks it up. Bret corners Dynamite and delivers a flurry of fists. Dynamite attempts to comeback with a snap-suplex but he fails after Neidhart nails him in the back (which was injured only months prior). Dynamite plays face in peril as Neidhart slaps on the camel clutch. A decapitation elbow drop gets two for the Harts. That was close. Danny Davis tags in for the first time and delivers one kick before tagging out. You should hear the fans boo Davis…it’s deafening. The Hart Foundation continues to relentlessly double team Dynamite in their corner and Mary Hart quips, “Dynamite better shape up or else we’re going to have to start calling him fire-cracker.” Davis tags in again and struts around the ring before delivering some weak offense on Dynamite. The Harts then slingshot Davis off the apron for a splash on Dynamite. However, Dynamite gets his knees up and Davis comes crashing down on them.
A hot tag to Tito Santana is made who comes in and beats the hell out of Danny Davis. After a flying forearm, Santana goes for the figure-four leg lock, but Neidhart breaks it up. Tito then tags Davey Boy in, who DESTORYS Davis. First with a clothesline that nearly takes Davis’ head off, then a thunderous head butt followed by depositing him neck first on the mat with a tombstone piledriver. Davis’ head bounced a foot off the mat on that last move. Davey Boy’s not done yet. A delayed vertical suplex sends Davis’ in orbit. He then polishes off the evil referee with his running power slam and foes for the pin. Unfortunately, Neidhart AGAIN breaks it up and a pier-six brawl erupts. In the midst of it all, Jimmy Hart tosses Davis the megaphone and he clobbers Davey Boy with it and gets the pin. *** Good match but the fans HATE the finish and boo the hell out of it.
Match Analysis: Pretty good six-man tag. Many thought the Bulldogs and Tito would go over since this was a non-title match and Davis deserved to get the snot beat out of him. Needless to say the finish nearly caused a riot. It’s also strange to see Dynamite Kid take the brunt of the punishment here as he was still recovering from his severe back injury (and he was back way sooner than he should’ve been just for Wrestlemania III).
Mean Gene is with Andre The Giant and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan is really hyped up for tonight’s main event.
*”The Natural” Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware
Jesse returns to the broadcast booth wearing a Wrestlemania III t-shirt. He tells Gorilla being at ringside in front of 93,173 fans is breath taking. That’s understandable; I’d be taken back by it all too. Koko B. Ware enters the ring to face Butch Reed, and Jesse tells us the “B” in Koko’s name is for Buckwheat. Can’t help but laugh at that one. Koko and The Natural lock up and there is lots of stalling. Reed finally breaks the stalling with a well-placed slug. He misses a clothesline though and Koko dropkicks him out of the ring. Koko dominates with some jabs of his own, but he puts his head down allowing Reed to deliver a thundering elbow. Reed continues to dominate with mainly punching and few thumbs to the throat. Koko makes a comeback with a high cross body but the momentum causes Reed to roll through with a handful of tights and get the pin. 1/2* After the bout, Koko attacks Reed and Slick intervenes nailing Koko with his pimp cane. Tito Santana makes the save and tears Slick apart (literally ripping off his clothes). Santana had an issue with Slick at the time, so the run-in makes sense. Tito and Koko double dropkick out Reed and then celebrate the moral victory with the fans.
Match Analysis: Not much of a match. Considering most of it was punching and kicking. Koko tried to heat things up but wasn’t given much offense. At least it was kept short.
A recap of the now classic Savage/Steamboat feud is shown where Savage crushed Steamboat’s larynx with the time keeper’s bell.
The Intercontinental Heavy Weight Champion Macho Man Randy Savage is in the interview center alone. Great promo.
Mean Gene is with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat who is really fired up for his match.
*Intercontinental Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
For a while there this match was widely regarded as the greatest match to ever take place inside a North American wrestling ring. The crowd is absolutely hyped for this one as the ovation for both Savage and Steamboat during their entrances nearly drowns out everything else. Miss Elizabeth, who is looking gorgeous as usual, accompanies Savage to the ring. Steamboat has George “The Animal” Steele in his corner. The two lock up and Savage goes for a go behind waist lock but Steamboat drops Savage before he can capitalize. Lock up again and this time Savage gives Steamboat a well placed boot to the mid-section. He follows it up with an Irish whip but Steamboat counters with some deep arm drags and a choke hold. I can’t think of anyone who does arm drags better than Ricky Steamboat. Savage takes a powder but Steamboat chases him back into the ring allowing Macho to level him. Macho wastes no time in going after The Dragon’s throat by choking him on the ropes then giving him an elbow. He misses a corner charge however and The Dragon nearly breaks off him arm with a wristlock slam. Steamboat works further on Savage’s arm but Savage regains the advantage with a handful of hair and a well placed elbow to the jaw. He then throws Steamboat over the top and The Dragon is hurt.
Savage ties up Steamboat on the apron and drops an elbow on his larynx. Macho snap mares The Dragon back into the ring and goes for a pin but only gets two. A vicious knee drop gets another two count. Savage attempts to smash Steamboat’s head into the turnbuckle but Steamboat reverses it. The Dragon goes to work with a series of knife edge chops. Savage gets tied up in the ropes and Steamboat further capitalizes. An exchange of Irish whip tie ups ends with Steamboat getting a high cross body for two. Steamboat follows up with another killer arm drag, then a few shoulder blocks for a series of two counts. Another Irish whip, and Savage nails the Dragon with a running high knee to the back. He then tosses Steamboat out of the ring, but he skins the cat back in, only to be clotheslined back out. Another knee to the back fires the Dragon over a ringside table and over the steel barricade. Ouch! George Steele helps Dragon back in but Savage simply tosses him out again. Savage drops an elbow from the top rope. Macho then throws The Dragon back in and does another double axe-handle from the top. Running forearm gets another two count. Savage clotheslines Steamboat on the top rope for another two. An atomic drop by Savage gives him another two count. Vertical suplex also only gets two! An exchange of blows ends with Savage raking Steamboat’s eyes. Gut wrench suplex still only gets two. Jesse complains that referee Hebner is making slow counts.
Savage attempts another atomic drop but Steamboat flips out of it and makes a brief comeback. An Irish whip and Savage kicks Steamboat when he puts his head down on a backdrop attempt. Macho then charges the Dragon but gets backdropped over the top and onto the floor anyway! Steamboat rams Savage’s head into the ring before tossing him back in and heading to the top. A karate chop off the top get a close two count but Savage’s leg reaches the rope. Steamboat relentlessly chops away on Savage, who is in deep trouble. Macho tries to get to the outside but Steamboat knocks him out anyway. Dragon goes to the outside to chase Macho and on the apron he gives a shoulder thrust to the midsection, followed by a sunset flip for a two count! Schoolboy roll up gets another two count! Double leg roll up gets yet ANOTHER two count! Small package also only gets two! Great pinning combinations have been executed throughout this match! Scoop slam by Steamboat followed by a slingshot that sends Savage right into the steel post. An under hook pin only gets two as well. A roll up from Steamboat gets two and Savage pulls his tights for leverage and sneaks in a pin fall attempt of his own. Savage uses Steamboat’s tights again and sends him shoulder first into the steel post. Another Irish whip tie up causes Steamboat to collide with the referee. Flying clothesline by Savage followed by his patented elbow smash for the three count…but there’s no referee present to make the count! A frustrated Macho Man heads to the outside and snatches the bell from the timekeeper. George Steele attempts to take it away but Savage stops that in a hurry. Savage heads to the top but the Animal pushes him right off sending him crashing to the mat. Savage slightly dazed rises to his feet and goes for a slam attempt but Steamboat reverses it into a small package for the three count! And Ricky Steamboat is the new Intercontinental Champion! ***** Wow! Nineteen years on and this match is still absolutely awesome.
Match Analysis: There is a reason this match has been considered one of the greatest of all time. The booking and build-up for the match was excellent to begin with, but in the ring the moves were crisp and well executed and the crowd reaction was hot. These are the type of matches that make pro-wrestling a true art and it’s hard to believe this was accomplished in just under 15 minutes (with 19 amazing pin fall attempts!). Clearly, this was the peak of Steamboat’s WWF career. The aftermath of this match is even stranger. After a series of cage match rematches (the very thought is mind boggling) the WWF pulled the plug on the Savage/Steamboat feud. Savage would eventually turn baby face and move onto bigger things while politics would cut Steamboat’s title reign short and he would be slowly phased out. It’s somewhat sad because had the WWF continued to push Steamboat, he may have been the one to pass the torch to.
Mean Gene is backstage with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Alice Cooper. Footage of the Snake Pit segments where Honky smashed his guitar over Jake’s head is shown.
Mean Gene is with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart.
*Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. The Honky Tonk Man
Jake wastes no time attacking Honky on the apron as he plays it up to the crowd. Honky bolts to the outside to get his Elvis gear off but Jake goes right after him and tears it off for Honky. The Snake tosses Honky back in by he rushes to the outside again trying to catch his breath. Jake pursues him and delivers a slam onto the concrete. Back in again, Jake Irish whips Honky but is met face first with a knee when he charges. Honky begins to go to work with a series of rights. However, he misses one and Jake takes his head off with a short arm clothesline. A DDT attempt is thwarted as Honky ducks out to the outside. Jake goes out after him then goes for The Mouth. This gives The Honky Tonk Man the opportunity to whip Jake into the steel post. Alice Cooper helps Jake back in but Honky won’t let Jake into the ring. Finally back in, Honky Tonk slams The Snake and then plants a fist drop from the second rope. Honky stalls by playing to the fans and begins to set up for the Shake Rattle ‘n Roll but he doesn’t go for it strangely. When he finally does go for it, Jake backdrops him out. Honky corners Jake and delivers some punches from the second rope but The Snake counters with an inverted atomic drop. Honky is the first to his feet but Jake beats him to the punch. Honky begs for mercy but Jake sends him in orbit with another backdrop. Honky does a comedy bit where he seesaws between the ropes and Jake signals for the DDT. Upon attempt to execute the move though, Jimmy Hart grabs his ankle, which in turns provides enough distraction for Honky Tonk Man to schoolboy Jake from behind for the victory. *1/4 Jake chases Honky from ringside and then he and Alice Cooper abuse Jimmy Hart with Damien.
Match Analysis: Much better than I remembered but still not really a great match. Look what it had to follow though. The crowd was really into it though but personally I’m glad this match didn’t go on forever. The finish was lame but in the end we got to see Jake and Alice Cooper pick on Jimmy Hart.
Mean Gene Okerlund announces that Wrestlemania III has established an indoor attendance record of 93,173 to probably the biggest pop he has ever experienced.
*The Killer Bees vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik
Slick demands the fans to rise for the Soviet National Anthem. Volkoff begins to sing, but Hacksaw Jim Duggan interrupts it by clearing the ring with his 2X4. All four men go at it to begin with The Killer Bees getting the upper hand. Killer Bees begin fast tagging as they work over the left arm and shoulder of the Iron Sheik. A killer drop kick from Jim Brunzell nearly seals the deal but Volkoff breaks up the pin and the heels begin to work over Jumping Jim. Volkoff catches Brunzell in a bear hug but it doesn’t last long. Sheik comes in and delivers a gut wrench and vertical suplex for a two count. Irish whip but Brunzell delivers a high knee to Sheik. A hot tag is teased but the referee doesn’t see it. The Killer Bees are in trouble as Hacksaw begins to chase Slick and Volkoff around the ring. The chase leads inside the ring where Duggan clocks The Iron Sheik with his 2X4 as he had the camel clutch applied on Brunzell. This promptly disqualifies the Bees of course. ** After the bout, Duggan gets on the mic and cuts a promo on Sheik and Volkoff then starts a USA chant.
Match Analysis: Another short tag team match, which wasn’t bad but was too short and was marred by Duggan’s interference, to give it a cheap finish.
Mean Gene is with Andre The Giant and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan for their last minutes thoughts prior to this heavyweight title match.
A recap of the Hulk Hogan/Andre The Giant feud is shown.
Mean Gene is with Hulk Hogan for his last minute thoughts on arguably the biggest title defense of his career.
*WWF World Championship Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant
Howard Finkle introduces Bob Uecker as the guest ring announcer, and Uecker introduces Mary Hart as the guest timekeeper. Andre The Giant enters first with Heenan and they are both pelted with garbage. “Real American” hits and the Silverdome rumbles for Hulk Hogan’s entrance. This is the reason 93,173 fans came to the Silverdome that day. Once Hogan’s entered the ring, the legendary stare down between the two titans follows. The crowd is still roaring as a slugfest ensues. Hogan gets the upper hand and goes for a body slam, but Andre comes toppling down onto him for a pin. One…two…is it over? That was close. Apparently, Hogan managed to sneak out the back door. Andre thinks he won it. This is the famous “phantom pinfall” which the WWF would use as the vehicle to milk the Hogan/Andre feud for all it’s worth for another year. Hogan is hurt badly though as he is selling a lower back injury. Andre wastes no time going after Hulkster’s back with some slow offence. Andre taunts Hogan to get up following every blow. He corners Hogan and begins to crush him then delivers some headbutts. He misses one though and meets face first with the turnbuckle. Hogan makes a comeback, delivering some forearms before ramming Andre’s head repeatedly into the turnbuckle. Hogan’s misses a corner charge colliding with Andre massive foot. The Giant slaps on a bear hug and Hogan hangs on for dear life for what seems to be the longest two minutes. The fans get behind Hogan as referee Joey Marella checks his arm. It drops twice, but stays up on third and Hogan begins to pummel his way out of the hold. He breaks free and makes a brief comeback before running into one of Andre’s chops. Andre boots Hulkster out of the ring and the match goes to the outside. Andre attempts to headbutt Hogan but The Giant’s head hits the post. Hogan rips the mat off the floor, exposing the concrete. He then attempts to piledriver Andre on the hard floor. Yeah…not gonna happen. Andre fires Hogan back into the ring and gives him an Irish whip. He misses a boot however and Hogan strikes back with a clothesline that floors Andre for the first time in his career. Heenan is bent out of shape as Hogan begins to Hulk up. The crowd goes ABSOLUTELY WILD. Hogan slams all 520 lbs of Andre to the mat ending the 8th Wonder of the World’s career then finishes him off with the leg drop and gets the pinfall victory. * Hogan retains the WWF World Championship and Andre leaves the Silverdome with Heenan with a taste of defeat. Something the man had not tasted in 15 years, Jesse Ventura reminds us. Hogan celebrates as this historic Wrestlemania comes to a close.
Match Analysis: As for the match, well in terms of actual wrestling I’d give it * and that’s being quite generous. However, it’s the magnitude and drama of the match that makes it a classic and drew 93,173 fans to the Silverdome. So this match deserves the recognition that it gets.
Gorilla and Jesse wrap up the event and the show closes with the music of Aretha Franklin.
Jinsell’s Bottom Line: Wrestlemania III was the most successful wrestling PPV ever and it set the standard for other PPV spectaculars to follow. There is a reason that people still hold this event in high regard and view it as one of, it not the finest, Wrestlemania ever. In terms of a wrestling super card, this show is an excellent example. Hogan vs. Andre was the match that drew the crowd and had the great drama, but Savage vs. Steamboat stole the show. The rest of the show was great as well although some matches were too short (Rougeaus vs. Dream Team comes to mind). While I personally think some matches could’ve been done without (namely the midget match), the crap was kept relatively short and didn’t hurt the event at all. Bottom line, Wrestlemania III is a historic event that every wrestling fan must see at least once in their life. Highly recommended!