(Editor’s Note: This review was originally written in March of 2014.)
IT’S WRESTLEMANIA SEASON PEOPLE!!! Far be it from me, Ian R. Singletary, to not get involved in the holiday spirit. (WrestleMania is a holiday right?) We’re just several weeks out from the next edition of the grand spectacular of all events, which means I have a little time to Audit some of the legendary WrestleMania events. I think I’ve made the selections wisely as I try and cover some of the more memorable Manias in history. I only have so many weeks to work with, so obviously I’ll likely skip over some of your favorites, but I hope to review some of your favorites in the process. I can’t think of a better way to kick things off, then to head back to the 1980’s when WrestleMania was still young in time, but strong in spirit. We travel back to Pontiac, Michigan and the Silverdome for WrestleMania III.
WWF WRESTLEMANIA III
“BIGGER! BETTER! BADDER!”
It was March 29, 1987 from the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. And we have a 12-Match card on tap.
* WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
* Intercontinental Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat
* “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis (Hair vs. Hair Match, Piper’s “Farewell”)
* Tito Santana & The British Bulldogs vs. Tag Champions Hart Foundation & Danny Davis
* Junkyard Dog vs. “King” Harley Race (Loser Must Bow to the King)
* Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules
* The Can-Am Connection vs. Bob Orton Jr. & Magnificent Muraco
* The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team
* Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver & Haiti Kid vs. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Little Brook
* Koko B. Ware vs. “Natural” Butch Reed
* The Killer Bees vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik
We’ve got Vince McMahon in the ring, smiling from ear to ear as he knows he’s made himself a fortune. He welcomes us to WRESTLEMANIA!!!!
This was the last hump Vince had to make it over in his early goals for the company, and they were coasting after this for quite a while. Vince introduces us to Aretha Franklin, who’s sitting at a piano near ringside. Franklin sings “America the Beautiful” to get things going.
After Aretha finishes up, we see the ring filling up with wrestlers for the first match. Then we go up, way up, into the Silverdome where Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, Bob Ueker, and Mary Hart are standing by to set the stage for tonight’s big event. I have no idea what Mary’s wearing, but we’re ready for action, so let’s get things rolling!
(Can-Am’s vs. Muraco/Orton, Notes going in: The Can-Am’s were the new hottest attraction in the company, planned to be pushed to the moon. Martel was simply the man IMO and couldn’t really do wrong. I was sketchy on how well things would go based on their opponents going into this thing the first time I watched it. Muraco being the big plodding man, and Orton who liked to work on a body part, I just wasn’t sure how good this would be as a fast-paced opener. But we shall see!)
The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel & Tom Zenk) vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji)
Muraco & Martel are going to start this one off. Muraco tries to rough Rick up early, but Martel shows off his speed and tries a huracan rana but hooks Muraco under the arms, but they cover it up nicely and Martel gets 2 off it. The Can-Am’s with a double monkey flip on Muraco, and a double toss on Orton. Orton stumbles into the wrong corner and takes a shot from Martel. Zenk takes over in the ring with the Cowboy. Orton grabs a full nelson on Zenk, Tom reverses, Muraco tries a sneak attack but Zenk sees him coming. Orton reverses the full nelson again and Muraco rushes with a clothesline, but Zenk ducks and Muraco nails the Cowboy instead. Good tag team comedy spot to get things going. The Can Am’s work over the arm of Orton, but Muraco tags in. Zenk tries more of the same on Muraco, but as he bounces into the ropes Orton catches Zenk with a knee in the back RIGHT IN FRONT OF REFEREE JOEY MARELLA. Marella then has to pretend like he didn’t see it and even questions Mr. Fuji. Muraco with a swinging neckbreaker on Zenk, and Orton follows up with a forearm off the middle rope which would have worked had he still had the cast on. Zenk & Orton end up knocking heads for the double hot tag spot. Martel with an Irish whip and Muraco takes the Flair flip upside down in the corner to the apron. The heels take over, putting the Can Am’s in opposite corners but the faces reverse whips and send the heels into each other, and then a DOUBLE dropkick on Muraco, and Zenk dropkicks Orton out of the ring. The Magnificent one reverses a whip off the ropes on Martel, Rick comes back with a flying body block, but Muraco catches him. Don stumbles backwards and trips over a Tom Zenk school boy and Martel lands on top of Muraco for the 1-2-3 in 5:36.
Winners: The Can-Ams
(Post Match Thoughts: That was hot and fast. One thing about Muraco, even though he could be the drizzling shits at times during this era of the WWF, when it was time to turn it on, he did. Zenk & Martel were on their way to a major push in the WWF when Zenk, the delusional egomaniac, up and left the company, forcing Tito Santana to take his place. Strike Force was over, technically it should have been MORE over, but for some reason the fans were really eating up the white bread team of the Can-Am’s, and for good reason here. Orton & Muraco would also eventually break up by the summer, with Don going baby face… Zenk & Martel had a nice tag team thing going, as seen in this match, and kudos to Orton & Muraco who worked hard, showed their strengths in the match, and were exactly where they needed to be when it was time for a spot to go down… This was a perfect way to kick the show off, and they squeezed a lot into that 5 and a half minutes they had to work with. **3/4)
– A video package follows of the Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes feud. Hercules had a Full Nelson challenge going and Heenan challenged Haynes to accept the challenge. Haynes accepts, but is attacked by Hercules instead. Instant feud! It’s the battle of the Full Nelsons! After the video package, Mean Gene is with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hercules about Herc’s match with Billy “Jerk” Haynes.
– Forgot to mention, the “Federettes” are in full force here at WrestleMania, helping the wrestlers off the cart and taking their ring jackets and such. The mobile wrestling ring carts also make their debut at this particular WrestleMania event. They’d return at Mania 6.
(Notes going in: Hercules had recently decided to add the Full Nelson to his repertoire of moves, only after Billy Jack Haynes made his WWF return and was using the same hold as his finisher. As the video mentioned above shows, Hercules offered to challenge Haynes to break his full nelson, and when Billy accepted, it turned out to be a planned attack. Well now it’s time for a little revenge… Maybe… People forget and so I’ll say it again, Hercules could work back in the 80’s. Haynes had the ability to have a decent match when put in the right position. It’s power vs. power here, but I suspect these guys won’t bore us to tears. .)
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules (with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)
It should be noted Hercules had never used the full nelson until they needed to set up this match. Haynes had already been using it for his finisher, but Hercules claimed his was better. Lucky for them the full nelson is a very believable hold when you have a guy the size of Herc applying it. Dave Hebner is the referee, as the bell sounds the two men butt heads and exchange words. As the feeling out process starts, Hercules sneaks in a nice kneelift. Herc tosses Haynes in the corner but misses a rushing elbow charge and Hayes takes over. Hayes with a nice looking gorilla press slam, and he sets up for the full nelson, but Hercules rushes to the ropes to prevent it from happening. Haynes with chops galore on Hercules, and whips Herc into the corner but Hercules bounces back out with a STIFF ass clothesline. SWEET ass clothesline! Herc works over the back of Haynes. A lot of people forget how good Hercules actually was in the 1980’s for a guy with his build. Haynes fights back and tries a suplex, but he can’t get Herc up because of his hurt back. Great psychology there. Herc continues to work the back, and hits a semi-press slam of his own. Hercules applies the FULL NELSON, but fails to lock the fingers. Haynes goes down but fights his way back up and powers his way out of the hold! As Haynes breaks the hold, Herc clobbers him in the back of the head. The two men end up hitting each other with a double clothesline, but Haynes takes over. Haynes throws some clotheslines, and even lands a fisdrop from the second rope. Haynes LOCKS IN THE FULL NELSON, but Hercules staggers to the ropes and both men fall to the outside! Haynes reapplies the full nelson on the flor, now that don’t make much sense. Haynes spews this giant pile of saliva all over the back of Hercules, now that’s just nasty! Billy Jack won’t release the hold and both men end up counted out of the ring in 7:52.
Winner: No Winner – Double Count Out
Immediately after the count out, Bobby Heenan nails Haynes from behind. Billy drops Hercules and chases after the Brain around ringside. Bobby gets the attention of Haynes in the ring, and Hercules SMASHES Haynes with a fist wrapped in the steel chain. Hercules smashes Hayes in the head with the chain again as Billy is busted wide open. Nothing like some color in the 2nd of 12 matches. Adding insult to injury, Hercules slaps on the Full Nelson and tosses the bloody Haynes down to the mat. Good stuff.
(Post Match Thoughts: These were two big guys that could move, and actually get things done in the ring. Rather than your usual slow and plodding strongman match, these guys gave us lots to be excited about, from the head butting showdown to kick things off, to the feats of strength with the wicked clothesline and impressive press slams. IMO, Haynes likely wasn’t supposed to lose the Full Nelson when the two fell to the floor, which would make more sense than reapplying the hold. In all, I felt the finish was a little screwy, but the angle after the match made up for it. At least for me. I’ll go **1/2 including the post match bloodworks. )
– Mean Gene interviews King Kong Bundy, who is standing with his partners Little Brook & Little Tokyo. Bundy says he has no problem SQUASHING the midgets, it seems to disturb his own partners.
– Now it’s Mean Gene with Hillbilly Jim and his “little buddies”. Hillbilly is going to do his “doggest” to make sure nothing happens to his midget partners.
(Notes going in: Why is Bundy working THIS match? That is all…)
Mixed Tag Team Action
Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, and The Haiti Kid vs. King Kong Bundy, Lord Little Brook, and Little Tokyo
Bob Ueker joins commentary. A little square dancing with Jim and his buddies before the match. Hillbilly does the cartwheel, and that’s likely the most we’ll see from him in the match. Haiti & Tokyo get it going. Four man midget crisscross spot with the heels running into each other followed by a little row boat action. The two veterans Brook & Beaver take over in the ring while Ventura states he wants to see Bundy squash one of the midgets. Beaver sneaks a shot to the gut of Bundy. Brook tags in Bundy, and KKB wants at Beaver. Little Beaver with a DROPKICK on Bundy and KKB doesn’t even move, so Beaver immediately tags to Hillbilly. Fun spot there. Jim takes Bundy down with a big clothesline, but Bundy kicks out of a cover from all three of his opponents. Bundy takes over on Jim, but Beaver sneaks in and clocks Bundy in the head with his shoe. Bundy takes it out on Hillbilly, nailing the Avalanche in the corner. Beaver comes in to save Jim again, and Bundy SLAMS Beaver, then DROPS AN ELBOW on the little guy, and the referee calls for a DQ in 4:21.
Winners: Hillbilly’s Crew via DQ
Bundy goes to finish Beaver off with the big splash after the match, but Haiti Kid, and even Bundy’s own midget partners drag Beaver out of the way to protect him. Hillbilly Jim recovers and Bundy takes off out of the ring. Jim carries a nearly dead Beaver from the ring.
(Post Match Thoughts: As a youth, I LOVED the Little Beaver spots here. Even now, I give it a little chuckle, but what a shit match. Nothing happening here, and how does Bundy go from Steel Cage main event to THIS match. Any other match would have been fine. And then he can’t even put away Hillbilly Jim of all people? CUMMON!! I’m also not a fan of a Count Out and a DQ in 2 out of the first 3 matches on the show. What’s up with that? Watching Beaver get squashed is fun, but I’ve read things that claim Bundy put Beaver in ill health from this match and it eventually led to Beaver’s death years later. Who knows if that’s true. Beaver was up there in age at this point and it would have been nice of Bundy protected him a little better. Hillbilly carrying around the lifeless body of a midget was a little disturbing. I’ll give this match a 1/2* if only for the comedy spots and the Bundy killing Beaver thing. )
– Mary Hart attempts to interview Elizabeth, but the Macho Man cuts in before she can even speak. Savage cuts Liz off and Mary Hart wants to know if it’s always this way. Savage sends Liz off for the match, even though it doesn’t happen for quite a while.
– A good video package of what led up to the Harley Race vs. JYD match is shown, with Heenan & Race forcing the unconscious JYD to bow at the King’s feet.
– Mean Gene interviews “King” Harley Race, Bobby Heenan, and the “Queen of Wrestling” The Fabulous Moolah, just to squeeze her on the show.
– Mean Gene with the JYD, and as sure as he is black, he’s going to be the new King of the WWF! Chew on that bone, will ya!
(Notes going in: Going into this, the two men definitely had some issues, this wasn’t just a thrown together match. It culminated with Bobby Heenan forcing a nearly unconscious JYD to kiss the feet of the King. This match was signed with the crown on the line, this may have been the first time they worked a match like that. Anyway, the loser would have to bow before whomever walks out King. I was a HUGE Dog fan back then, and I always appreciated Race in the ring. When this first happened, this was easily one of the main matches I was anticipating to see. Of course back then words like “work rate” weren’t thrown around unless you got the dirt sheets, which I had no idea existed in the 1980’s. I knew I liked Race, I knew I enjoyed the Dog’s entertainment skills, and I was looking forward to this one..)
The Loser Must Bow to the King
The Junkyard Dog vs. “King” Harley Race (with Bobby Heenan & The Fabulous Moolah)
Bob Ueker shares his lust for Moolah and leaves commentary to go find her. Good luck with that! With a crowd this size, EVERYONE is getting paid, even Moolah gets an insignificant spot on the show. The Dog was just so over up until a certain point. If it weren’t for those demons and Hogan’s cock blocking, it was the skies the limit. Second time tonight Heenan distracts his charge’s opponent, but this time it doesn’t work so well. JYD sees Race coming and takes it to him. Harley does manage to toss the Dog to the floor, but Harley misses a headbutt off the apron to the outside mat! Race takes a backwards bump back into the ring, and a backwards bump right back out.
The Dog slams Race back into the ring and applies an Abdominal Stretch! Never seen that before from the JYD! Race hiplocks his way out, but Race drops a headbutt on the Dog’s head, and hurts himself! Dog with an Irish whip and Race takes a backwards bump out of the ring in the corner. Dog down on all fours with headbutts, but Heenan distracts the Dog and Race sneaks up with a nice looking Belly to Belly Suplex for the quick win in 3:20.
Winner: Handsome Harley
Moolah presents Race with the cape and crown, and now the Dog must bow to the King. The fans are against it, but JYD gives Harley a curtsy bow. But that’s not good enough, they was a full bow! The Dog stalls for a second, but keeps his word, cheap win or not, Race gets his bow from the JYD!
Harley turns to gloat and the Dog picks up the chair Race was sitting in and cracks it across the head of the King! The Dog leaves the arena with the King’s cloak around his shoulders in a feel good moment as a fan holds up a sign that reads “Beware of the Dog”!
(Post Match Thoughts: I can’t help but wonder how awesome this would have been in 1982. How big a difference 5 years can make. This was another instance where the match time is shorter than the actual feel. What I mean is that these guys crammed a lot of shit into 3:20. It was obviously no classic, but they made sure the Dog got off all his popular spots (besides the Thump) and Race took several of his fun bumps to the floor. This was basically a match without any of the middle stuff, it from the hot opening straight to the finishing sequence. You can’t fault them for that. Race got a perfectly fine match out of JYD, nobody was exposed, things were flowing at a good pace. All was well. And again, we get an awesome post match angle with JYD keeping his word and bowing to the King, but then blasting him with the chair. I’ve always loved the image of Dog leaving with the King’s cape. I’ll give it *1/4. If there’s one thing they’re doing tonight, it’s giving us something to remember from each match, even if they’re short.)
– It’s Vince McMahon with HULK HOGAN! Hulk talks about some people thinking this match with Andre would be the Hulkster’s “last ride”. Hogan does his usual ego maniacal spiel about beating a Giant is a piece of cake compared to beating Hulkamania, brother! Hulk is all fired up.
– Mean Gene with the Dream Team, Dino Bravo, and Johnny V. Mean Gene wants to know why Dino Bravo is with the Dream Team, but gets no answer.
(Rougeaus vs. Dream team Notes going in: The Rougeaus were still fairly new in the company and their milk toast baby face routine hadn’t gone stale yet. The Dream Team is on their last legs, they’ve been a solid team but it’s been almost 2 years and they’ve already done the Tag Team Title thing. I see this being an OK match. Dino Bravo gets a pay day as well. I like Dino Bravo outside the ring, that means he’s not INSIDE the ring.)
The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine with Johnny V and Dino Bravo)
Bravo has newly dyed his hair blond here, and I still don’t understand the reason Dino was inserted at ringside for this match, ignoring the obvious upcoming angle. The Rougeaus get things going on Beefcake, nailing a double dropkick before the Hammer tags in. Jacques & Raymond remain in control on Greg until Jacques misses a reverse body press from the second rope. As the Dream Team work over Jacques, Bobby Heenan walks into the broadcast booth with Jesse & Gorilla. Bobby says he’s 2 for 2 tonight and when Andre wins the title it’ll be 3 for 3. Gorilla points out that Hercules didn’t win his match, and that Bundy lost. Bobby says Haynes didn’t win so that counts as a win for Hercules in his book, and also Bobby says he had nothing to do with Bundy’s match because he doesn’t like midgets, so it doesn’t count. Greg Valentine with the FIGURE FOUR on Jacques back in the match. Jacques gets the ropes for a break, the Hammer tries a piledriver but Jacques counters with a backdrop. Valentine counters that into a sunset flip, but Jacques makes the tag to brother Ray. Raymond goes off on the Hammer and locks in his Sleeper finisher. Beefcake jumps off the second rope for the save, but Raymond moves and Beefer nails Valentine! This enables the Rougeaus to hit Greg with Le Bombe de Rougeau! Raymond jackknifes Valentine for the pin while Jacques fights off Beefcake. The referee is with the illegal men, while Dino Bravo sneaks in and comes off the second rope onto
Raymond to stop the pin. Dino puts Valentine on top of Raymond and the Dream Team steal the win in 4:02.
Winners: The Dream Team
Following the match, Valentine, Bravo & Johnny V start to leave ringside, leaving Beefcake behind. I get that Beefcake screwed up when he hit his partner, but this constitutes just separating a team? This turn just seemed so awkward, it was like Brutus could have left with them, but he stayed behind simply because he wasn’t invited. It just seemed like something was missing here to drive the point of the turn home. Anyway, the heels get on their little wrestling ring cart and take a ride to the back while Beefcake stands in the ring confused. So after two years of teaming, they split because Beefcake made one mistake, and they STILL WON THE MATCH! It’s not often a team wins a match, then splits right after.
(Post Match Thoughts: In all actuality, the Beefcake turn and the Bravo angle was expected to go down, but I’d have to think it could have been delivered better than this. As for the match, it was a match. Nothing fancy, just as I was expecting, but the Rougeaus worked hard and at a fast pace to keep things entertaining. If for nothing else it was there to work an angle. A confusing angle, but still an angle. I don’t see why the Beefcake couldn’t have cost his team the win since they were splitting anyway. I guess Dino Bravo couldn’t job, even when he’s not in the actual match. It gets over the upcoming “New” Dream Team, and sets up Beefcake’s abrupt face turn in about 15 minutes, which also made no sense to me. The Rougeaus would go on to prove to be far more entertaining as heels, but that’s for a different day. This match was just there, but look at the pattern, another memorable finishing angle, well it was supposed to be memorable anyway. The New Dream Team wasn’t all that great. Valentine was deteriorating as a performer to a certain degree, and he simply couldn’t carry the crap that was Dino Bravo. This match gets a *1/4)
– Highlights of the Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis feud play, with Adonis attacking Piper on his Pit, and Piper destroying the Flower Shop. Piper’s new Pit set would also feature an interview with Hart where Jimmy slaps Roddy around, Piper lifts Jimmy into the air, but Adonis attacks from behind and ends up putting Piper out with the sleeper. A match between the two leads to Adonis spraying his perfume into the eyes of Roddy. I had forgotten how many segments they did to build this match up, and they didn’t even show them all here. Really good work to give this feud a strong background.
– Roddy Piper in a quickie standalone interview. No retreat, no surrender!
– Mean Gene with Adrian Adonis & Jimmy Hart. Adonis has hedge clippers with him as he hints at using them to cut Roddy’s hair. The perfume atomizer, the full body mirrors, the hedge clippers, how many things were stolen from Adonis and recycled?
(Notes going in: I don’t know that any match was built up stronger than this one. I’m not taking away from Savage vs. Steamboat, or saying that this match was bigger than Hogan/Andre, but the months of building to this match, and the weeks of angles… It was just pure heat intensified. From Piper’s return in 1986 to the dueling Talks show segment, Bob Orton defecting from Roddy and joining Adonis with a PINK cowboy hat. The attacks, the beatdowns, Jimmy Hart’s interaction also played into this. Adonis was becoming a more serious and violent character, Piper was as crazy as ever. Then you add a hair stipulation to the match, and Piper claims this to be his final match. You’ve got yourself a big draw here. Did Hogan vs. Andre sell the card? Sure. Did Savage & Steamboat have the best match? Absolutely. But this one comes in a close third based on “importance”.)
Hair vs. Hair Match – Roddy Piper’s “Farewell Match”
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart)
Adonis enters the ring with the full length mirror and hedge clippers. Piper looks ready. Match starts off hot with piper whipping Adonis with the belt from his kilt. Piper goes after Hart and Adonis grabs the belt and starts whipping Piper with it. Crowd is H-O-T. Piper gets back on the offense, and both Adonis & Jimmy Hart take some awesome bumps all over the ring and out. What an excellent sequence of bumps by the heel duo! I can’t put it over enough. Jimmy winds up tripping Piper from the outside and Adonis takes control. Adrian takes Roddy outside and rams him into the time keeper’s table, then Jimmy Hart gets in a cheap shot in. Piper won’t back down, he keeps asking for more punishment. Adonis gets the referee’s attention and Jimmy Hart sprays the atomizer can of perfume (The Model’s gimmick years later) into the face of the Hot Rod. ADONIS APPLIES GOODNIGHT IRENE. The sleeper is on, Piper tries to fight it, but he goes down. The referee raises Piper’s hands twice and it falls, Adonis releases the sleeper, assuming Piper will drop a third time, but Piper keeps his arm up! Adonis prematurely celebrates with Jimmy Hart as the referee tries to tell them the match continues. Meanwhile, Brutus Beefcake, for some ungodly reason, shows up at ringside and revives Roddy Piper! (Yes I know Beefcake had a squabble with Adonis on Superstars)
Roddy gets back to his feet and locks the Sleeper on Adonis for the win after 6:52.
Winner: Rowdy Roddy
– Following the match, Brutus Beefcake grabs the clippers and starts to work on the head of Adonis. Piper has fun tossing Adonis’ hair around to the fans, and he stands on Jimmy Hart while Beefcake continues to do the cutting work. Beefer getting a little revenge for getting a snippet of his hair cut on TV from Adonis (accidentally) during a tag team match. Piper holds up the mirror after Adonis is revived. Adrian sees the mirror and goes berserk. Adonis eventually falls out of the ring and leaves ringside with Jimmy Hart’s jacket on his head. Roddy Piper gives his farewell to the fans. A fan even jumps in the ring! Piper plays it off and shakes his hand before all the agents congratulate him and Piper sails off into the sunset.. forever.. or two years.. whichever comes first.
(Post Match Thoughts: The actual match content really isn’t here, but damn that entire bumping sequence by Adonis & Hart has to be seen, especially for the time period. This was another case of working a hot opening and going into the finish. Adonis to get some heat for a minute or so, but that part wasn’t all that good so it’s probably for the best it was kept short. What can you say, all that heat going in, some wild bumping and belt shots, Hart cheating, the heel thinking he wins only for the face to come back and score the victory. It was a good story, and the after the match stuff was really over. Adonis sold it like a million bucks. I really don’t get what Beefcake had against Hart & Adonis to the point he had this much hatred, nor why he turned face just because Valentine left him, but I guess why ask why. It was a fun match with a warming sendoff for one of the true legends. **1/2 for the bumping sequence and the finish, the stuff in the middle was questionable at best.)
– We take a short intermission and return with the Fink introducing Jesse Ventura to the fans. Ventura gets his 10 seconds in the ring before our next match. That wasn’t really needed, but I could see him wanting to be down there.
– Pre-taped interview with Jimmy Hart, the WWF Tag Champions Hart Foundation, and the newest member of Hart’s clan “Dangerous” Danny Davis! Tonight, Davis makes his ring debut, if you don’t count all those Mr. X matches from the last 2 or 3 years.
(6-Man Notes going in: Tito, Bulldogs, Hart Foundation? All in one match? Well hell, this can easily rank in the top 2 matches on the show in regards to a wrestling capacity. The story here is that Danny Davis, once a trusting WWF official had recently been making questionable, if not downright blatant, bad decisions as a referee. Davis had been costing baby faces their matches left and right, including The Harts beating the Bulldogs for the WWF Tag Titles. Gorilla even goes as far back as prior to WrestleMania 2 when Davis was the referee when Savage beat Tito for the IC belt. Obviously Davis wasn’t turning heel yet over a year ago, but it was a good way to incorporate Tito into the angle here. Anyway, WWF President Jack Tunney had fired Davis as a WWF referee, and so Jimmy Hart picked him up as the new “wrestling referee”. This angle was hot as hell when it first went down. People sometimes forget just how over the angle was and how much heat Davis had at this time. Looking back, people remember Davis as mainly doing jobs, but you better believe this shit was over at the time.)
Six-Man Tag Team Grudge Match
Tito Santana & The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid)
The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) & “Dangerous” Danny Davis (w/Jimmy Hart)
Your referee for this one is the yelling referee, former wrestler himself, Jack Krueger. With Ventura down at ringside, we’ve got Mary Hart & Bob Ueker on commentary with Gorilla for the match. Jimmy Hart, after just taking an ass kicking with Adonis, he comes right back out for more action. What a trooper! The match gets going before the bell, with Matilda chasing the heels out of the ring, and the Bulldogs cleaning house on their foes, and then pressing Danny Davis out of the ring onto the Harts! Jesse Ventura leaves ringside on the ring-mobile and has Matilda with him. That was interesting. Back to the match Tito & Bret get things going with a little wrestling, but before too long everyone has been in, besides Danny. The faces have control until Tito is backed into the heel corner and is triple teamed. Mary Hart wants everyone to know she is not related to any of the Hart’s in the match. Santana escapes the Anvil and tags to Smith. Davey Boy with a nice backdrop on the Anvil, then Bret distracts Davey and the Harts take over for a brief second. Bret misses a second rope elbow on Davey,. and Dynamite tags in. Bret takes the chest bump into the corner and Dynamite drops a headbutt. Neidhart runs a distraction and the Harts are back in control, this time on Kid. Kid fights back for a snap suplex on Bret, but Anvil breaks it up and the Harts work over the back of Dynamite, even landing the Demolition’s “Decapitation” maneuver. Now Danny Davis tags in for the first time, takes a couple of cheap shots and tags back out, and the crowd is HOT at Davis. Davis tags in again, takes another couple shots, and tags back out. The fans are eating it up, booing the hell out of him. Davis tags in a third time and tries a splash, but lands on the knees of Dynamite. HOT TAG TO TITO. Santana goes after Davis, and knocks the Harts off the apron. FLYING FOREARM ON DAVIS, but Tito doesn’t cover. Santana goes for the Figure Four, but Anvil with a clothesline from behind. Tito makes it to Smith, and now Davey works over Davis. TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER on Danny and a vertical suplex! Davis is in another world.
Smith with the RUNNING POWERSLAM on Danny! Anvil stops the count, and Santana nails Neidhart with a Flying Forearm. We’ve got all 6 men in the ring. And during the confusion, Jimmy Hart tosses Davis the megaphone. Danny smashes the megaphone upside the head of Davey Boy and somehow manages to get the pin at 8:53 to the crowd’s dismay.
Winners: The Harts & Davis
(Post Match Thoughts: It was unfortunate to see Dynamite in there at less than 100%. I can’t imagine how bad off he was here and still managed to work the show, though we obviously didn’t get to see the Dynamite we were used to seeing. The heels went easy on old Dynamite, and Tito & Davey Boy really shined in the offense. Good stuff with Davis getting in his cheap shots throughout the match and stealing the win. Tito looked especially good during a period where it appeared he may have been slipping. Santana & Smith both got their revenge on Davis, beating the crap out of him, before he stole the win. The Harts were on as well. All around solid match, Dynamite gets a break here given the fact that he had no business even in the ring. Pretty much what a match should be. ***)
– Mean Gene interviews Andre the Giant and Bobby the Brain. The time is drawing near! Heenan does the talking while Andre stands there like a creepy statue. Hey, it worked. Heenan says Hogan had 3 good years as champion, but tonight Andre takes the title. Would you expect him to say anything else?
(Koko vs. The Natural Notes going in: Both guys had success prior to their WWF runs, especially a fan of Butch Reed. A bit of a size difference, but Koko always worked extra hard to get past that. This is one of those matches with no back story to it, so let’s get to the action.)
Koko B. Ware vs. “The Natural” Butch Reed (with Slick)
A shot of the announcers before the match allows Jesse Ventura to pimp the WrestleMania III tee he’s now wearing. Reed claims a hair pull right out of the gate, which is funny considering. Koko glides over a slam attempt, tries a roll up but Reed grabs the ropes, Ware dropkicks Reed to the floor. Back inside the ring, Koko telegraphs a backdrop and Reed lands the boom while Frankie tries to eat the ringside camera. Reed with a small flurry of offense before Ware reverses a whip into the corner and takes over with a hiptoss and dropkicks. Ware off the ropes for a body block, but Reed uses the momentum to roll on top and hooks the tights for the fast win in 3:37.
Winner: Butch Reed
Koko goes after Reed after the match, but Slick cracks Ware across the back with his cane. Before Slick & Reed can get an advantage on Ware, Tito Santana makes his way down, rips the suit off the Slickster, and Koko & Tito team up to double dropkick Reed from the ring.
(Post Match Thoughts: This wasn’t much of anything, with the time given it was all it could be. The opening went about a minute, the heat maybe a minute, the comeback a minute, and it was over. The match was really a DUD, not really the fault of the guys involved, but a Dud is a Dud. I’ll still give it a 1/4* because it was okay, and the after match stuff gave it a little more meaning.)
(IC Title Notes going in: Back near the end of last year, these two would compete in a match on WWF television which would end with Savage crushed the throat of Steamboat across the steel railing, and then again with the ring bell. The Dragon would be stretchered out of the arena where we would learn that he suffered a crushed larynx, and may never be able to speak again. Vignettes would air of Steamboat’s doctor advising against Ricky wrestling again, his wife Bonnie’s comments on the situation, and also clips of Ricky going through therapy in order to talk again. Steamboat would return to the ring on WWF TV in late January and continue his feud with the Macho Man. But the Dragon wasn’t the only one with issues in regards to Randy Savage, because George Steele had his own issues with Macho going back for over a year. Most recently an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event pitted Savage against the Animal, which led to issues with Ricky Steamboat both following that contest and later in the night during a Steamboat vs. Iron Sheik bout. This match is legendary so my expectations are already skewed. I already know this will be a damn fine match before I watch it again,)
– Pretaped interview with Randy Savage, all by himself. Intensity, intensity, intensity. Oooh Yeah!
– Mean Gene with Ricky Steamboat, and the Dragon is all FIRED up. There’s a pun there, somewhere.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy “Macho Man” Savage (c) (with Elizabeth) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (with George “The Animal” Steele)
The match starts off with the intensity you’d expect, quick maneuvering around the ring, Steamboat with some deep armdrags and picks Savage up in the air by his throat before Macho powders.
Ricky chases Randy around ringside and Macho takes over when Steamboat slides back into the ring. Savage misses a corner charge and Steamboat takes over on the arm of the Macho Man. Savage takes back over after managing to backdrop Steamboat out to the floor. Macho relentlessly goes after the throat and back of Steamboat. Macho Kneedrop into the sternum gets 2, and Steamboat retaliates chopping Savage and locking him in the ropes. Nice reversal spots by both men and Steamboat gets a body block, and more deep armdrags, but goes to the well once too many and Savage nails him with a high knee in the back.
Savage tries to toss Ricky to the floor, but Steamboat Skins the Cat back in, only to be met by a Savage clothesline that knocks Ricky to the floor! Macho then tosses Steamboat over a ringside table and into the crowd. Steele aids Ricky back to ringside. Savage with a double axe handle off the top to the Dragon on the floor. Inside the ring, Savage with another flying double axe handle, and a running elbow for 2. Savage does the leverage spot where he runs and jumps over the top rope and drops Ricky’s throat across the top rope. Savage with a textbook suplex for another 2. Steamboat fights right back with martial arts chops, but Savage goes to the eyes and hits a gutwrench suplex for 2. Macho tries an atomic drop but Steamboat slides over the back. The two men trade shots, Savage charges, but Steamboat backdrops him out of the ring!
Savage is thrown back inside and Steamboat comes off with a flying karate chop from the top. Savage gets his foot on the rope just before the 3 count and the fans really start to erupt. Steamboat starts going to work on Savage and Macho gets knocks to the floor once again. Savage tries to beat Ricky back in the ring but Steamboat hits a slingshot Sunset flip for 2. The Dragon with several more pinning positions for near falls, over and over, only gets him 2. Steamboat slingshots Savage into the corner post and rolls him up for 2! Ricky with a roll up for 2, Savage reverses for 2. Macho grabs Steamboat by the trunks and pulls him into the corner post. Randy & Ricky with reversals on whips and Savage ends up tossing Steamboat into referee Dave Hebner. Savage hits the FLYING ELBOW DROP but there’s no referee to make the count! Macho is being robbed!
Savage tosses down the time keeper and grabs the ring bell. He’s going to finish Steamboat off. Macho tries to climb the ropes with the bell, but George Steele snatches it away! Savage stomps the head of Steele and takes the ring bell back! Savage climbs to the top with the ring bell! But the Animal SHOVES Macho Man off the top rope! Savage takes a bad fall, the ring bell goes flying! Savage staggers to his feet and tries to slam Steamboat, but Ricky counters with a surprise small package and he gets the 1-2-3! Yes Ricky Steamboat wins the IC Championship after 14:35!
Winner: The Dragon
Steamboat leaves the ring in celebration, while Macho Man sulks with Elizabeth.
(Post Match Thoughts: There’s not much I need to sell you on here, almost everyone has seen this match, and if you haven’t you really need to. The intensity, the great natural ability, and yes even the pre-planning paid off in this one. Just a really great back and forth match, the tide was always turning, lots of near falls, it just kept you on your toes knowing that either man could win at any minute. Big win for the Dragon, who would blow it all away by asking for time off soon after. This was one of those matches that had everything you need for a perfect match. ****1/2.)
– Mean Gene stands by with Jake Roberts & Alice Cooper as Gene reminds the Snake what happened on the Snake Pit. Jake blames Jimmy Hart for planting the seeds because Honky doesn’t have the balls to come up with that attack on his own. Alice Cooper says he has Jake’s back and says Detroit is the hometown of Heavy Metal.
– Mean Gene now with Honky Tonk & Jimmy Hart. Honky talks about his current hit song “That’s All Right Honky Tonk Momma” (his original entrance theme). People want to hear Honky sing, not Alice Cooper!
(Jake vs. Honky Notes going in: Honky had just recently turned heel after a short run as a baby face which failed miserably. Jake was already receiving lots of cheers from the fans, even as a heel. This feud was the WWF’s way to turn the Snake into a full time babyface, when Honky appeared on an episode of the “Snake Pit” and blasted a guitar of the head of Jake. Supposedly, the ungimmicked guitar shot would lead to many neck issues with Jake over the next few years. Having one of the most hated characters in the WWF, Honky, crush Roberts with the guitar immediately turned Jake face and the feud was on. In a play on Jake’s dark character and to match up against the Elvis Presley wanna-be, Jake would find rocker Alice Cooper to act as his manager for one night only to counteract Jimmy Hart on the floor. This won’t be a wrestling classic, but should have plenty of fan response and psychology/heat.)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts (Alice Cooper) vs. The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart)
Was a little surprised since Jake came to the ring with Alice Cooper, that they couldn’t give the Snake some Cooper music for the night. Jake doesn’t even let Honky gets his gear off, yanking Honky into the ring and working him over with jabs and rips the suit off of Honky before the bell even sounds. Outside the ring, the Snake finishes pulling the Elvis suit off Honky and slams him on the floor. Back in the ring, Jake runs right into a knee from Honky in the corner. HTM works on Jake but misses a big roundhosue and Roberts comes back with a short clothesline and tries for the DDT early, but Honky slides to the floor.
Jake chases Honky out, but HTM reverses a whip and throws the Snake into the ring post, and the steel railing. Alice Cooper attempts to help Roberts back into the ring but Honky again knocks Snake into the railing. Fans are chanting for Jake while Honky comes off that second rope with his cousin’s flying fist drop. Honky works Roberts over and calls for the Shake, Rattle & Roll Neckbreaker but Jake counters with a backdrop! Honky keeps control, mounts Roberts in the corner with punches but Snake counters with an inverted atomic drop.
Jake comes back with a series of punches and Honky begs off. Jake with a backdrop and he fans are calling for the DDT. Honky ends up sitting on the middle rope and they play the rocking chair gimmick where Jake punches Honky and Honky keeps sitting back up for another one. Roberts now hooks Honky for the DDT! It’s time! Jimmy Hart grabs Jake by the ankle, distracting the Snake, and Honky rolls Jake up from behind with a hand full of tights for the win in 7:04.
Winner: Honky Tonk
Immediately after the match Jake grabs the guitar on the floor and literally swings for the fences on Honky’s head. Thankfully Honky ducks and Jake just destroys the guitar against the ring post. Jake then hooks Jimmy Hart in a full nelson while Alice Cooper toys with Hart by shoving Damien in his face. Jake finally throws Damien on Jimmy, before Hart & Honky finally flee.
(Post Match Thoughts: On one end, it was a Jake match, but then on the other end it was a HTM match, so you get and you give. It was a good little match, yet another match that is best remembered for the post match activities. *1/2)
– Mean Gene Okerlund climbs into the ring to announce that they have set a brand new indoor attendance record of 93,173.
(Bees vs. Volkoff/Sheik Notes going in: Another one of those matches with no real backstory, just a way to squeeze everyone on the PPV. Of course there’s always the USA vs. Evil Foreigners angle to play up. This is the spot on the card where you’d find a Divas match nowadays. Don’t expect much, but if they keep it short it should be fine.)
The Killer Bees vs. Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (with Slick)
Slick returns in his ripped up suit. Before the match can begin, Nikolai Volkoff tries to sing the Russian National Anthem, when Mr. USA himself, WWF newcomer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan” comes rushing to ringside and runs the heels out of the ring with his 2×4. Duggan gets on the mic and says that Volkoff can’t sing his Russian Anthem here, because this is America, by gawd. And Hacksaw is already more over than the Bees.
The foreigners jump the Bees to start things while Duggan paces at ringside. The Bees reverse rolls with the heels, the heels try a dosey-doe but the Bees still end up with the advantage and take over on the Sheik in the ring. Quick tags and double teams by the Bees on the Sheik. Brian whips Sheik into the ropes, drops down, SHEIK RUNS RIGHT INTO BRUNZELL’S DROPKICK! That’ll do it baby! But big old Nikolai breaks up the count and we get all four men in there. The distraction allows the heels to take over on Brunzell and work him over in the heel corner. The ring is still half filled with garbage from the fans during the opening Russian Anthem spot. Brunzell tries fighting back with a flying attack but Volkoff catches him with a bearhug. Jumping Jim escapes the bear hug but Sheik steps in with a gutwrench for 2, and another suplex for 2. Brunzell comes back with a high knee on the Sheik, Brunzell makes a tag but the referee misses it due to a Volkoff distraction. The ref forces Brian Blair back to the corner, and the heels double team Brunzell to the floor where Slick gets in a cheap shot. Duggan begins to chase Volkoff & the Sheik around ringside, while Sheik puts the prone Brunzell in the Camel Clutch! Duggan chases Volkoff through the ring, stops at the sight of the Camel Clutch, looks at the Sheik, looks at the fans, and just whacks the Sheik with the 2×4 across the back causing a DQ in 5:42.
Winners: The Sheik & Volkoff via DQ
Following the match, Duggan gets on the mic and has the fans chant USA at the heels as they run off in the night.
(Post Match Thoughts: This wasn’t really a bad match, seemed like more of a way to get Duggan over than anything. Duggan costs the Bees the match, but it was a good finish to counteract the nonstop cheating from the heel corner. *1/2)
– Mean Gene Interviews Andre the Giant & Bobby Heenan again. This time Andre speaks. He says it won’t take him long before he walks back the WWF Champion. Heenan says they’re ready and Hogan better be ready!
– A pre-match video airs on the history of Hogan & Andre’s friendship and demise.
– Hulk Hogan Interview with Mean Gene. It’s the final moments before the epic battle and Hulk Hogan knows he’s ready for the test!
– Guest Ring Announce Bob Ueker, and the Guest Time Keeper Mary Hart are announced for the main event. Mary decides to inspect the turnbuckles, pulling double duty I suppose. And it’s time!
(Main Event Notes going in: If you don’t know this story by now, shame on you. I couldn’t do this story as much justice as it deserves, I strongly recommend you checking out “WrestleMania Rewind” on the WWE Network for the rundown of this angle. Andre was there to congratulate Hogan when he won the WWF Title from the Iron Sheik, their friendship was documented in many tag team matches and rescues over the next several years. Andre returned to the WWF in early 1987 after filming the “Princess Bride” and dealing with some back issues, reportedly being “suspended” at the time. At that time Hogan was presented a large trophy for his time as WWF Champion, while Andre was honored with a much smaller trophy for 15 years of being undefeated. The seeds are planted as Andre stares at Hogan’s trophy and leaves the set of the Piper’s Pit prematurely. Things would continue as Andre would comment “3 years is a long time to be champion”. Andre would return to the Pit a few weeks later with Bobby Heenan acting as his new manager. Andre would challenge the Hulk for the WWF Title at WrestleMania. Hogan didn’t want to believe his friend had turned against him, so Heenan tells Hulk to “believe this” as Andre rips the shirt and the cross off the chest of the Hulkster. Roddy Piper asks Hogan, will he or won’t he wrestle Andre for the Title at Mania 3??? Hogan’s response? YYYYYEEEEEESSSSS!!!!! Let us not forget the Battle Royal from SNME where Andre disposed of Hulk like a sack of trash, always a great visual. And with just WEEKS to work with, the WWF manages to sell out the gigantic Silverdome with this one epic encounter! And that my friends is why this match has such a huge aura surrounding it. Will the wrestling be great? Not likely, especially considering Andre could barely move. But the electricity behind this match is really all that it needs to prevent itself from being a complete stinker, right?)
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant (with Bobby Heenan)
It’s time for the showdown of all showdowns. A true match of epic proportions. It’s the Hulk and the Giant for the first time in the era of Hulkamania, and for the first time ever their roles have switched when in the ring with each other. Now it’s Hogan the glowing hero vs. the evil Giant, who wants a last run at the top before heading off into the sunset. Referee Joey Marella signals for the bell and we’re all set to go! We get the epic stare down, that when you watch it to this day still feels larger than life. These two guys really were larger than life and the feeling of importance just exudes from them as they meet center ring. Hulk trembles with rage as the Giant gives him a shove. Hogan shoves Andre back. Andre tries a big right, but Hogan blocks and lands 3 big rights of his own and Hulk goes to SLAM the Giant in the early moments, but the weight forces Hulk’s back to give out and Andre lands on top for the cover! 1-2-3! That should have been it according to many sources. Hulk doesn’t make a typical kick out, instead he slides out and gets the shoulder up on the opposite side of the referee. So this played in well for the next year as Heenan continued to refer to Andre as the uncrowned champion based on this pinfall attempt. Andre signals it was a 3 count, Heenan yelling the same thing. It was definitely a near fall, Hogan just escapes an epic letdown only a minute into the match!
Wisely, Andre goes to the back of the Hulkster, and slams him like a sack of potatoes. You can see the back brace being worn by the Giant under his singlet just to keep him mobile enough to work the match. It shows you how much he went through just to be able to perform this match. Andre calls for the Hulk to get up before slamming him again and walking across his back! Good heel shit. Hogan sells it like he’s been rolled over on by a tank. Andre works Hogan over, whipping him from corner to corner, landing shoulder butts, butt bumps in the corner, and headbutts. Hogan finally dodges a headbutt in the corner and Andre hits the buckle. Hogan comes back, drilling the Giant with big right hands, a running elbow and some big sweat smacking chops across the chest of Andre taking him into the corner. Hogan drives Andre’s head into the top turnbuckle 10 times, but runs right into an Andre boot when he tries a clothesline on the Giant.
Andre goes to the Bearhug to wear the champion down. Hulk begins to fade, he goes weak in the knees and referee Marella checks the arm, it falls. A second time, and it falls again. Marella tries a third and final time, and assumes it’s over he starts to walk towards the time keeper but realizes that HOGAN KEEPS THE ARM UP! Hulk comes shaking back, breaking the beahug after over a dozen right hands to the Giant. Hogan tries to take Andre off his feet with a pair of shoulder rushes, but a third attempt sees Hogan run right into a big CHOP from the Giant! Andre sends Hogan into the ropes and hits a Big Boot… to the stomach, of Hogan. Hulk takes a bump to the floor, and Andre follows him right out. Andre backs Hogan up to the post and tries for a headbuut, but Hulk moves and Andre headbutts the ring post!
Hogan removes the safety padding from ringside and attempts to PILEDRIVE the Giant on the floor, but Andre counters with a slow motion backdrop and Hogan takes the lamest bump he could possibly take for the backdrop. It was just sad, especially considering the magnitude of this match and the money he was being paid. Take a fucking bump Hogan! At least Andre has an excuse. The Giant rolls Hogan back in the ring, and goes for another big boot, but Hogan dodges it and comes rushing back with a big clothesline and BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! Andre falls into the ropes with Heenan yelling in his ear, pleading with the challenger to get up. But Hogan starts to HULK UP!
Hogan can feel it now! The Power of Hulkamania enables Hogan to SLAM THE GIANT! And the BIG LEGDROP! 1-2-3! Hulk Hogan does the impossible, he defeats the “undefeated” Giant! Hulk Hogan is the winner after 12:28.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
(Post Match Thoughts: It wasn’t the prettiest thing, but nobody expected it to be. For all those who follow in suit to Dave Meltzer’s original review and rip the match without taking into consideration the situation, then just keep playing the sheep of the world. Even Dave by now, has had years to ponder his original comments and he knows the magnitude of this match. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t even good, but it set out and did what it was supposed to and for the internet nerds who were trained to turn their nose to anything that doesn’t resemble a 4 star match, keep in mind that this match somehow managed to entertain a good 93,000 fans in the arena, not counting the many more around the world. Everyone was talking about this match going in, and afterwards. It was in the news, it was in the schools, it was in the work offices, and everyone was talking about the epic match where Hulk Hogan slammed and pinned the Giant, not “did you see the lack of work rate involved”. So they did their job in this tax man’s opinion. The match itself really wasn’t more than a 1/4*, everything they brought to the table with the history and the aura about this thing jacks it up to ** for me. There really isn’t much to it, Andre couldn’t do a lot, but that Slam and the pin at the end was really the payoff.)
The show concludes with Hogan posing for what seems like 10 minutes, while Jesse & Gorilla send us home from high atop the Silverdome. The show plays out to Aretha Franklin’s hit “Who’s Zoomin Who” while featuring picture stills of the action from tonight’s event.
THE FINAL AUDIT: It’s WrestleMania III, by 2014 the name should sell itself. I’m not going to sit here and try and sell this show to you. Even the youngest of fans have at least an inkling of the importance of this show, I was just lucky enough to live through this boom period. Some people just focus on work rate, but WrestleMania has so many more standards than just match participation. The fans were into things all night long, the announcers were spot on, even the celebrity guests “got it”. Bob Ueker is likely one of, if not the best celebrity guest they were ever able to acquire from a “getting it” point of view. Bob never missed a beat on commentary, took the time to get to know the people involved, unlike most of those who would follow. Bob was just a true professional and really fit in. Mary Hart tried, and she did very well compared to pretty much any other female that came through the WrestleMania stages as a celebrity. Hart also “got it”, and she also tried to fit in. It was a case of two people who were genuinely happy to just be there as a part of the spectacle. Moving on to the production. Dear God, the production. The cameras, the lighting, the look, all the interviews and switching of angles, it was a whole new ball game at this show, and the WWF knocked it out of the park without a single hitch! Then they manage to squeeze just about every major star you could think of into the show. Twelve matches doesn’t leave room for a lot of long matches in a 3 hour period, but everyone did well with what they had to work with. One thing that could be said with the booking, if the fans were getting short changed in match time, they were getting memorable finishes, post match shenanigans, and other angles in between. If WrestleMania III did one thing, it left a memory of each match imprinted in your mind. The main matches gave the fans all the feel good moments (Piper, Steamboat, Hogan), while the heels went over where need be (Race, Harts, Honky). Another case of everyone coming to work, even if they weren’t all handed lengthy matches, they made sure to get themselves over, and it kept the energy of the night flowing.
Having gotten burned out on WrestleMania III by the 1990’s, I really haven’t sat through the entire show in quite some time. I’m actually glad I did. I had seen the show so much over the first decade that I thought maybe it was overhyped, but that’s simply not the case. It truly belongs among the best, because while there aren’t several five star matches, there are plenty of fun little memorable moments that will forever be embedded into my mind, and how many WrestleManias can you say that for? Then you got some great angles, the Savage/Steamboat classic, and the Hogan/Andre showdown . WrestleMania III gets a strong 8 out of 10 rating from me, that’s a good B / B+ rating. As far as recommendations go? In mean, come on, it’s WrestleMania III, of course you should check this show out, it has something for everyone. There’s no way you can watch this show and not find something you like on it. In case you weren’t sure by now, this Audit has been approved. Congratulations to WrestleMania III, the very first WrestleMania to be Audited, you have passed the IRS Audit and Review!
As I prepare for my next WrestleMania Audit, which will take place at the Skydome in Toronto, hint, hint. I want everyone to start dropping me a line with their personal requests. April will be Special Request Month, I’ll be taking the reader’s requests to Audit shows from both the WWF and WCW. Please no WrestleManias though, I have a feeling I’ll be burned out of those by then! Til’ next week, this has been the REAL I.R.S., Ian R. Singletary, catchya later, tax cheats!