January 15, 2011
Wrestlemania’s Greatest Matches
Release Year: 1994
We see the opening for the video.
Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to Wrestlemania’s Greatest Matches. He hypes the two matches from Wrestlemania III as we get to our first match.
Note: The original commentary from the Wrestlemania III matches is edited and replaced by new commentary from Gorilla Monsoon and Stan Lane.
1. Hulk Hogan pins Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) after a legdrop at 11:58 to retain the WWF Championship. (Wrestlemania III – 3/29/87, Pontiac Silverdome)
The buildup: Both Hogan and Andre were presented trophies for their accomplishments, though Andre’s was smaller than Hogan’s. Then, on an episode of Piper’s Pit, Andre, flanked by Bobby Heenan, challenged Hogan to a title shot, then sealed the deal by ripping off Hogan’s shirt and cross. The stage was set for the biggest main event in history.
Analysis: This is what a Wrestlemania main event should be. The buildup was amazing, with the shocking heel turn, and the crowd was at a fever pitch. The two biggest stars in wrestling at the time face to face. The match itself is what you would expect. Hogan is not one to carry anyone and Andre is getting worse and worse as the years take their toll on his body. The heat was awesome, with the early almost 3-count where Hogan got out at about 2 and 15/16. Andre would dominate until the end, when Hogan pulled out a true “Holy Shit” moment when he slammed Andre, bringing one of the biggest pops ever. A legdrop later, and Andre is no longer undefeated. Legend has it that Andre could have been a jerk and squashed Hogan if he wanted, but gave up his legacy for the greater good of the company. He deserves a lot of credit for that. Also it was cool to see Bobby in his all white suit. Bad match, but the buildup, heat, and energy more than makes up for it. Grade: 3
2. The Steiner Brothers defeat the Headshrinkers (w/ Afa) when Scott pins Samu at 14:22. (Wrestlemania IX – 4/4/93, Caesar’s Palace)
WM Debuts: The Steiners, the Headshrinkers, and Afa
Analysis: A pretty good match, as these two teams basically pound the hell out of each other. This is reminiscant of the old school tag team PPV matches, as two teams face off with the winners possibly getting a title shot in the future. Both teams are on the rise, and both were in the title hunt. The Steiners dominate early with wrestling, until the Shrinkers take over after Scott takes a vicious bump over the top rope. Scott gets picked apart until he gets the tag to Rick. The next few minutes have chaos ensue until Scott gets the win after the Frankensteiner on Samu, almost seriously hurting him as Samu has to adjust to protect himself. For now, the Steiners win and the Shrinkers take a step back, but not for long. Grade: 2
Gorilla Monsoon hypes the next match on the tape as we go back to WM III.
3. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (w/ George “The Animal” Steele) pins “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) with a small package at 14:33 to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (Wrestlemania III – 3/29/87, Pontiac Silverdome)
The buildup: During a match between the two, Savage would injure Steamboat’s throat with the ring bell. This was the anticipated rematch and it didn’t disappoint.
Fun Fact: This match was named PWI’s 1987 Match of the Year and voted by the WWE superstars as the fourth greatest match in Wrestlemania history.
Analysis: As we know, Hogan and Andre drew the crowd for this show, but this was the match that stole the show. Savage and Steamboat go hold for hold and move for move for 15 minutes and leaves the crowd on the edge of their seats. Both men came into the match with high expectations and left with their careers better than they were. Savage became a bonafided star and had bigger goals for his future. Steamboat gets his revenge and the strap, but sadly it would go downhill for the Dragon from here. If you have not seen this match, go watch it. It is truly what a Wrestlemania match should be. Grade: 5
4. Bret “The Hitman” Hart pins “Rowdy” Roddy Piper by reversing a sleeperhold at 13:50 to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (Wrestlemania VIII – 4/5/92, Hoosier Dome)
Analysis: What a great match. We all know that Piper is a great street fighter, but could he get down and wrestle with the Hitman? The answer is a resounding YES. Piper goes toe to toe with Hart, as they trade holds until Piper hits Bret with a vicious left hand that busted Hart open. Piper would take control until Hart regained momentum with crisp wrestling. We then get a ref bump and Piper thinks about hitting Bret with the bell, but the crowd turns on him and makes him throw the bell away. Piper tries the sleeper, but Bret counters it with a surprise pin to win the belt. Piper also does the classy thing handing the belt to Bret. This is perhaps Piper’s best match since his dog collar match with Greg Valentine, and Bret continues to build his resume. Piper drops the strap and is near the end of his run, Bret is once again champ, but would soon be shot up to the main events by the end of the year. A great hidden gem on what will become a very underrated show. Grade: 4
Gorilla thanks us for joining him and looks forward to all the great matches coming up from Wrestlemania as he bids us goodbye for now.
Final Analysis: Overall, a very interesting selection. Obviously with only an hour run time, you could only get a few matches, but the choice was unique. Steamboat/Savage is an obvious for any Wrestlemania collection as is Hogan/Andre more so for the historical significance. The other two I probably wouldn’t have picked, but considering these tapes were being released with the same events represented, they felt the choices had to be mixed up. In any case, it’s a good tape and a good hour killer. Final Grade: B-