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Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania III Review

May 12, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania III Review  

Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania III Review

– The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel & Tom Zenk) defeated Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco @ 5:37 via pin [**½]
– Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules went to a double countout @ 7:44 [**]
– Haiti Kid, Hillbilly Jim & Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook @ 4:24 via DQ [DUD]
– King Harley Race defeated The Junkyard Dog @ 4:22 via pin [*]
– The Dream Team defeated The Rougeau Brothers @ 4:03 via pin [**]
Loser Has His Head Shaved: Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis @ 6:54 via submission [**½]
– The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Danny Davis & Jim Neidhart) defeated The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana @ 8:52 via pin [***]
– Butch Reed defeated Koko B. Ware @ 3:39 via pin [*]
WWF IC Title Match: Ricky Steamboat defeated Champion Randy Savage 14:35 via pin [*****]
– The Honky Tonk Man defeated Jake Roberts @ 7:04 via pin [**]
– Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (w/Slick) defeat The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell) @ 5:44 via DQ [**]
WWF World Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Andre The Giant @ 12:01 via pin [*]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

FYI, this is a FRESH review. I’ve discussed the event several times, watched it several times, written columns based on it, but never fully reviewed it. Thanks Coronavirus & FS1.

– Vince welcomes us to WrestleMania, and throws it Aretha Franklin to perform “America The Beautiful.”

The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel & Tom Zenk) vs. Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco: Muraco looks to use his power game to begin, but Martel picks up the pace as the Can-Ams take control with double teams, working over Orton as Zenk controls. Muraco in and accidentally takes out Orton as our babyfaces maintain control. Orton cuts off Zenk and take control with double teams. Wholesale changes to Muraco & Martel, Martel is all fired up and makes the big comeback, dumping Orton and the cross body and trip win it for out babyfaces. The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel & Tom Zenk) defeated Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco @ 5:37 via pin [**½] This was a nice short and solid opener, with the babyfaces picking up the win to get the show off to a positive start. I loved the Can-Ams, but they were not long for WWF as Zenk powdered.

– Heenan cuts a promo with Hercules to hype our next match.

Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes: This is a battle of the full nelson. They go power for power early on, Hercules attacks with knee strikes until Billy fires back and hits a press slam. He follows with chops and strikes, but Hercules cuts him off with a clothesline. Hercules takes the heat, working the back to set up the full nelson and covers for 2, pulling up Billy. Billy fires up and is cut off as Hercules goes back to working the back. He follows with strikes, a press slam and the full nelson follows, Billy powers out but Hercules follows with strikes as they work into a double down. Billy fires up, making the comeback, and taking control. The fist drop follows and the full nelson follows. They spill to the floor and Billy keeps the hold… for the double countout as Heenan attacks. Billy chases, and Hercules attacks with the chain to lay out Billy, busting him open. Hercules then locks on the full nelson. Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules went to a double countout @ 7:44 [**] This was an ok power vs. power battle with a flat finish, and honesty it went too long. Flip the time of this and the opener and the show is off to a better start. The post match beat down was solid.

– Bundy promos ahead of our next match. Hillbilly Jim then comments.

Haiti Kid, Hillbilly Jim, & Little Beaver vs. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, & Lord Littlebrook: The midgets begin with the babyfaces controlling. They double team Tokyo, Littlebrook tags in and Beaver cuts him off as Bundy tags in. Jim joins him and follows with a clothesline. They dog pile Bundy, he kicks out and cuts off Jim. Beaver slaps his ass, but Bundy hits an avalanche on Jim. He follows with strikes, Beaver bites Bundy but Bundy slams him. The elbow drop follows for the DQ. Post match, all the midgets save Beaver and Jim fights off Bundy. Haiti Kid, Hillbilly Jim & Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook @ 4:24 via DQ [DUD] Trash, not even fun in a special attraction way, but at least it got Bundy over as an asshole.

– Mary Hart interviews Elizabeth as Savage interrupts and ends the interview.

King Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog: Heenan & Queen Moolah are out with Race. The loser must kneel & bow to the winner. Junkyard Dog attacks with strikes he chases Heenan who distracted him allowing race to attack. Dog fires back, hits a head butt but Race dumps him and misses the head butt to the floor. Back in and Junkyard Dog controls, dumping Race, who could still bump well. Junkyard Dog slams him back in and works an abdominal stretch. Race escapes, hits head butts but Junkyard Dog no sells, and dumps Race again. Back in as Junkyard Dog hits head butts, takes out Heenan and Race hits the belly to belly for the win. Post match, Junkyard Dog must bow & kneel to his king. He bows, and then lays outrace with a chair shot, crowning the king. Junkyard Dog then poses with Race’s robe. King Harley Race defeated The Junkyard Dog @ 4:22 via pin [*] This was bad, Dog was horrible and for as much as I love Harley, he was well past his prime.

– Vince interviews Hulk Hogan, hanging and bangin, heading to the mountains with people doubting him in tonight’s match. All he has to do is beat a giant, but Andre has to beat all the Hulkamaniacs to win. WHATCHAGONNA DO BROTHER?

– Lucious Johnny V and the Dream Team, with new addition Dino Bravo are interviewed.

The Dream Team vs. The Rougeau Brothers: The Rougeaus get he already in the ring treatment; Johnny V & Dino are at ringside. Ray and Beefcake work the opening stretch, with Ray taking control as the double dropkick follows. Valentine cuts off Jacques, they trade as Ray tags in and hits a cross body for 2. Jacques misses the high cross off the ropes, Valentine takes control and Beefcake tags in, taking the heat. The Dream Team follow with quick tags and double teams, and the Valentine figure four follows. Jacques fights to the ropes, Ray is dumped and Jacques fights and makes the tag. Ray runs wild and the sleeper follows, Beefcake accidentally hits valentine and Bravo attacks and rolls Valentine onto Ray for the win. The Dream Team defeated The Rougeau Brothers @ 4:03 via pin [**] This was short and ok for the time given. There was dissention in the ranks with the Dream Team, you have to wonder if this will have an impact on the show at some point. That’s foreshadowing.

Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis: This was supposed to be Piper’s retirement match, but pro wrestling happened. Jimmy Hart is at ringside. They brawl at the bell, Piper whips Adonis with a belt and Hart distracts Piper so that Adonis can whip Piper. Piper battles back, dumping Adonis and then drags he and Hart into the ring and runs them together. He dumps them and back in, throws Hart into Adonis. Hart trips up Piper, Adonis takes control and to the floor, it’s all Adonis. Back in and they trade, Hart gets involved, sleeper by Adonis but Piper keeps fighting until he fades. Adonis releases the hold early and celebrates. But then Brother Bruti arrives, revives Piper and Piper locks on the sleeper and wins. Post match, Beefcake not only turns full babyface, but transitions to the barber, as they cut Adonis’ hair. Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis @ 6:54 via submission [**½] This was short and solid; used to “say goodbye” to Piper while launching the Beefcake face turn in the process, and plays to the crowd well. Jimmy Hart was a bump machine here and was great. This is a public service announcement to go watch some old Adrian Adonis, he was a spectacular worker pre-weight gain, but could still go at times after gaining the weight. He’s so fucking good and doesn’t get talked about enough.

The Hart Foundation vs. Tito Santana & The British Bulldogs: Jimmy Hart & Matilda are at ringside. Davis was the former crooked referee, suspended for life plus 10-years, and was the official responsible for costing the Bulldogs & Tito their championships. The faces jump the bell to get some revenge and take early control, as Tito isolates Bret. Jessie Ventura steals Matilda, as Jim & Davey tag in and work power for power as Davey runs Jim into Bret. Dynamite tags in for double teams, Tito joins in and gets cut off in the heel corner. Tito battles back, tags in Davey who runs wild. He tags in Dynamite and he works over Bret, delivers head butts until Bret cuts him off with strikes. Jim attacks from behind and grounds Dynamite. Double teams follow and Danny finally tags in, and tags back out for some good heat. Bret controls, tags in Jim and they continue the heat on Dynamite. Danny tags back in, attacks with kicks, gets cut off and Tito tags in, runs wild on Danny and hits the flying forearm. Ground and pound follows, and Jim cuts off the figure four. Davey tags in and he runs wild on Danny, double teams with Dynamite follow and Davey follows with the tombstone and suplex. The powerslam connects and Jim makes the save, it breaks down and Danny sneaks the pin during the melee following a megaphone shot. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart, Danny Davis & Jim Neidhart) defeated The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana @ 8:52 via pin [***] This was a good piece of business, with the good workers (Bret, Tito, & Dynamite) carrying the load, while everyone else played their roles well. It was enjoyable.

– Andre & Bobby are interviewed, and Bobby says Andre will win the championship. Andre is “undefeated for 15-years” and Hogan “has never been in the ring” with someone like Andre.

Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware: Slick & Frankie are at ringside. They lockup and work to the ropes. Lockup and Reed overpowers Koko, follows with strikes but Koko follows with a dropkick to dump him. back in and Koko follows with strikes, Reed backs off and then quickly cuts off Koko. He follows with strikes, Koko counters with a hip toss and rights. The dropkick follows and that gets 2. Reed rakes the eyes and Koko fires back, hits a cross body but Reed rolls through with the tights for the win. Post match, Slick lays out Koko with the cane until Tito makes the save and rips off his suit. Butch Reed defeated Koko B. Ware @ 3:39 via pin [*] It was short but bad. I like Koko a lot, but Reed outside of Mid-South was largely trash minus the Doom run.

– We get a video package to set up Savage vs. Steamboat, and promos from both. HISTORY BECKONS THE MACHO MAN!

IC Champion Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat: Elizabeth & George Steele are at ringside. Steamboat controls early on outwrestling the champion with a flurry of beautiful arm drags, the tree slam until Savage cuts him off. He tries to dirty it up, Steamboat battles back and attacks the arm of Savage until Savage dumps him. Savage then starts attacking the previously injured throat of Steamboat, grounding things and keeping the challenger on the floor. Back in and Savage grounds things, picking up near falls until Steamboat starts to fire back and ties him up in the ropes. They work into counters arm drags follow by Steamboat until Savage cuts him off with the running knee strike. Steamboat skins the cat back in and then gets dumped. Savage attacks on the floor, and Steele helps Steamboat back in but Savage dumps him again and follows with the double axe handle to the floor. back in and Savage hits another and covers for 2. He stuns Steamboat over the ropes and covers again for 2. Savage keeps picking up near falls, but Steamboat keeps kicking out and fires up until Savage cuts him off, again covering for 2. Steamboat counters back with chops, dumps Savage and back in, Steamboat heads up top for the huge chop for 2. Steamboat delivers more chops, dumps him and back in, the sunset flip gets 2. Steamboat follows with cradles for near falls, hits the slam and catapults Savage to the post and cradles him for 2. Savage counters with the tights and that gets 2. Savage posts him and we get a ref bump and a double down. Savage then hits the elbow drop and covers for about 10 as the ref is down. Savage goes out and grabs the ring bell. He is about to drive it into Ricky’s throat, but Steele sneaks up and pushes him off the top rope. Savage goes for a slam and Steamboat counters to a small package on the way down and we have a new champion! Ricky Steamboat defeated Champion Randy Savage 14:35 via pin [*****] I love this match, always have and still feel it’s amazing with effortless work from both men with a great crowd. Hogan & Andre got the people in the building, but this was the first Mania classic, and due to that, holds an extremely important place in Mania history as both Steamboat 7 Steele get some revenge on Savage. They had a great story heading in, and in terms of pure in-ring skill, execution, and delivery, it absolutely smokes everything on the first four Manias; 5 then finally gives us something REALLY worth watching in Strike Force vs. The Brainbusters & Hogan vs. Savage.

– Mean Gene interviews Alice Cooper & Jake ahead of our next match. Honky Tonk Man then promos, promising to win, sing, & dance,

The Honky Tonk Man vs. Jake Roberts: Alice Cooper is out with Jake, Jimmy Hart is with Honky Tonk Man. Jake attacks right away, runs wild and Honky Tonk Man powders. Jake follows, works him over and disrobes him. Jake follows with a slam, strikes and back in maintains control. Honky Tonk Man cuts him off and grounds things. Jake fires back with the short-armed clothesline, but Honky Tonk Man powders. To the floor, Jake gets posted Honky Tonk Man shoots him to the barricades. Cooper ties to help Jake up, and back in, Honky Tonk Man hits a slam and second rope fist drop. He follows with strikes, and grounds things. Jake counters shake rattle and roll, hits an atomic drop and follows with strikes. The backdrop connects and Jake then rocks him with strikes in the ropes. The DDT is stopped by Hart and Honky Tonk Man cradles him with the ropes to win. The Honky Tonk Man defeated Jake Roberts @ 7:04 via pin [**] It started off hit and quickly faded as Honky Tonk Man‘s heat segment really slowed momentum. It was ok overall, but the finish was extremely flat.

– Post match, Cooper and Jake trap Hart and bust out Damien to please the crowd.

Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik vs. The Killer Bees: The heels attack at the bell and take early control. The Bees battle back and clear the ring. They double team Sheik and work quick tags, isolating him as Brunzell hits the dropkick for 2. Volkoff in, it breaks down, the heels isolate Brunzell, and follow with double teams. Volkoff controls, Sheik tags in and hits the suplex for 2. Brunzell battles back, tags in Blair and the ref didn’t see it. They dump Brunzell, Jim Duggan (speaking of guys who were bad post Mid-South) attacks the heels with the 2×4 for the DQ; because ‘MERICA! Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (w/Slick) defeat The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell) @ 5:44 via DQ [**] It was ok, the Bees were really good, but the finish sucked.

– Andre vows to win the title from Hogan as Heenan is beyond excited for his client to win and more importantly beat Hogan. Hogan they cuts a totally coked up promo Herb Abrams would have appreciated.

Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant: They stare down, Hogan Hulks up and attacks with strikes and ails at the slam as Andre falls on him for 2. This allows Andre to take the heat, working the back and ribs of Hogan. Andre is really hard to watch here a he looks like he’s about to fall over on basic stuff but manages a slam. Andre keeps him grounded, and then works him over in the corner. Time stands still as Andre works him over, Hogan finally starts to fire back and works over Andre in the corner until Andre cuts him off with a big boot. The bear hug follows, Hogan fights but starts to fade until he Hulks up and punches his way out. Andre cuts him off and hits boot to the gut, dumping Hogan. He follows, delivers chops and ends up head butting the post. Hogan peels up the mat, but Andre sort of backdrops him to escape. Back in and Hogan hits the axe bomber and takes down Andre. HOGAN FINALLY FIRES UP AND SLAMS THE 9-FOOT TALL, 800-POUND NASTYY GIANT; FOR GOD, COUNTRY, AND MR. MCMAHON… AMEN! THE GIANT ISN’T SHOOTING ON THE HULKSTER TODAY BROTHER BECAUSE WWE PUTS SMILES ON FACES! The leg drop finishes it. Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Andre The Giant @ 12:01 via pin [*] This is considered the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling by many, and it was certainly one of not the most important ones for the company. Disputed attendance aside (I counted, it’s actually 93,069… nice), putting that many bodies in the Silver Dome was impressive; it simply worked. The match is not good in any way shape or form; but is one I completely appreciate for its historical importance. I can appreciate matches that aren’t technically very good. I see that they drew a huge crowd, that the crowd hated Andre and that it was the Hogan vs. monster formula. But it is also obvious that the match suffers, mainly due to Andre’s deteriorating physical condition. Andre’s back was so bad that he was barely mobile, and the more I go back to watch the match, I have a really hard time watching it on certain viewings. Just because it was one of if not the biggest matches in wrestling (certainly for WWE) that doesn’t make it good. They accomplished exactly what they wanted to with the match; Hulkamania was an even bigger phenomenon than it was going in as he defeated the mystique of the giant. It wasn’t pretty, but it made a lot of money and in reality made the WWF the undisputed big dog in wrestling.

 photo The411onWrestling-KHC15_1A_zps84kblpqb.jpg

The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 114. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Kevin Pantoja look at current state of NXT & review WWE MITB 2020; Jerome Cusson joins to talk Dark Side of The Ring: Cocaine and Cowboy Boots: The Herb Abrams Story. The show is approximately 149-minutes long.

* Intro
* Looking at The State of NXT w/Kevin Pantoja: 2:00
* WWE MITB 2020 Review w/Kevin Pantoja: 46:05
* Dark Side of The Ring: Cocaine and Cowboy Boots: The Herb Abrams Story w/ Jerome Cusson: 1:41:20

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– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

The final score: review Average
The 411
WrestleMania III is obviously an extremely historic event, and in many ways, the show that made WrestleMania into the event that it has become today. The big gate, the big scope, the money-drawing man event, and the first Mania classic all are on display. But much like Hogan vs. Andre, historic significance alone doesn’t make this a good show. At the end of the day, WrestleMania III is insanely important, a milestone event, and one that did big business, but is ultimately a solid wrestling show that is fondly remembered as better than it actually is by many… and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.