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WrestleMania III Review

March 9, 2009 | Posted by Rob McNew
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WrestleMania III Review  

-3/29/1987 from Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, MI

-Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

-Vince welcomes us to Wrestlemania, and throws it Aretha Franklin to perform “America The Beautiful”

The Can-Am Connection vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco (w. Mr. Fuji)

Muraco and Martel start things off. Martel hits a shoulderblock off the ropes, but Muraco is back with a knee in the corner. Martel hits an armdrag out of the corner and then leapfrogs into a pinning combo for two. Muraco comes back with a headlock, but Martel is able to tag out to Zenk. A double monkeyflip is delivered to Muraco and Orton comes in and gets a double dropkick. The heels regroup on the floor, before coming back in with Orton now tagged in. Scoop slam by Zenk, and then an armbar. Zenk rams the head of Orton into the buckle and armdrags out. Orton comes back and gets a full nelson, which is reversed by Zenk. Muraco tries to break it up but ends up hitting Orton instead. Tag to Martel who comes off the second rope onto the arm of Orton and then grabs a wristlock. Martel delivers a legdrop to the shoulder before making another tag to Zenk. Orton is able to get to Muraco who tags in and gets a slam. Zenk hits the ropes and gets a knee to the back from Orton on the apron. Muraco delivers Neckbreaker and Orton tags in. Orton hits the ropes and the two men collide in the center. Muraco and Martel both tag in, and Muraco gets flipped to the corner out of the ring. Orton comes in and Zenk is in as well as things break down. Muraco ends up backdropping Orton after some miscommunication and Orton then gets dropkicked to the floor. Martel comes off the ropes with a crossbody to Muraco and that finishes things at 5:37. Nice hot opener that warmed the crowd up nicely.

Winners: The Can-Am Connection (Martel pins Muraco-Crossbody **1/4)

-Recap of the events leading up to the Hercules-Billy Jack Haynes match.

-Mean Gene talks to Hercules and Bobby Heenan. Hercules apparently now thinks he is actually the Greek God Hercules.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules (w. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)

Hercules gets the early edge with some knees off a lock up. Irish whip sends Haynes into the corner, but a charge by Herc misses. Haynes comes back with a chop and a press slam which sets up a full nelson attempt. Hercules is able to escape trouble by getting to the ropes. Haynes whips Herc into the corner, but Hercules fires back with a clothesline. Backdrop connects off the ropes for Hercules, and that is followed by another Irish whip to the corner. Vertical suplex gets a two count as Hercules picks up Haynes wanting to dish out more punishment. As always it backfires as Haynes fires back, but is unable to deliver a suplex and Herc goes back on offense. Hercules delivers a backbreaker, and he begins to fire away again with fists. Herc delivers a press slam, and follows up with a full nelson. Haynes begins to fade in the hold but is able to come back and break it. Herc hammers from behind and whips Haynes into the ropes. They both hit clotheslines putting both guys down. Back to their feet and Haynes hits an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Herc hits the ropes and runs into a kick. Clothesline is followed by a legdrop for Haynes. That allows him to lock in a full nelson, but Herc falls to the floor. Haynes like an idiot locks in the full nelson again on the floor and both guys get counted out at 7:54. Haynes goes chasing after Heenan, but gets attacked from behind by Hercules with the chain busting him open. Boring match with a non-finish.

Winner: Draw (Double Count Out ½*)

-Mean Gene catches up with King Kong Bundy and his midgets, and gets the reply from Hillbilly Jim and his midgets.

Little Tokyo, Lord Littlebrooke, & King Kong Bundy vs. Little Beaver, The Haiti Kid, & Hillbilly Jim

Haiti and Tokyo start off, and it quickly breaks down to a four way criss cross with all the midgets. Tokyo and Littlebrooke collide and Beaver and Haiti rowboat the legs. Beaver tags in and gets a knee “to the boiler” to quote Bob Uecker on commentary. After a smack Tokyo tags out to Littlebrooke. Beaver gets stuck in the corner, and elbows both Tokyo and Bundy. Bundy tags in Beaver drop kicks him and runs like hell to tag Hillbilly. Hillbilly ducks a clothesline and delivers one of his own. All the midgets pile on to get a two count, but Bundy kicks them all off. Hillbilly hits the ropes and gets an elbow from Bundy. Bundy locks in a front facelock, but Beaver comes in and smacks Bundy in the face with a strap. He is able to escape Bundy’s wrath as he goes back to work on Hillbilly in the corner with an avalanche. Beaver runs in again and this time he gets caught. Slam from Bundy and an elbow drop draws the DQ since the big guys can’t touch the midgets at 4:23. Bundy goes for the big splash, but the midgets and Hillbilly make the save. Not a technical classic by any means, but an entertaining little mess. Who doesn’t love midgets?

Winners: Little Beaver, The Haiti Kid, & Hillbilly Jim (Disqualification-Midget Squashing *1/2)

-Mary Hart tries to interview Elizabeth but Randy Savage interrupts and delivers the standard awesome Savage promo. “Elizabeth, down that aisle yeah!”

-Recap of the JYD-Race feud

-Mean Gene gets a word with Harley Race, The Fabulous Moolah, and Bobby Heenan, and gets the response from JYD.

Kings Crown Match: “King” Harley Race (w. The Fabulous Moolah & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. The Junkyard Dog

The loser of this match must kneel and bow before the king. Heenan grabs JYD’s leg right away, so the Dog goes after him. That allows a sneak attack from Race, but the advantage is short lived as Dog delivers a headbutt. Race comes back with a headbutt to the gut, and dumps JYD to the floor. He goes for a diving headbutt off the apron, but JYD is able to move out of the way. Race gets a forearm on the way back in, and after another shot Race again goes flying to the floor. JYD slams Race back inside, and locks in an abdominal stretch. Race counters out with a hiptoss. He tries for a diving headbutt, but JYD’s head is too hard so he hurts himself instead. Race goes flying to the floor after an Irish whip to the corner. Back inside and JYD delivers the four-legged headbutts. Heenan jumps on the apron to provide a distraction, which allows Race to hit a belly-to-belly suplex to pick up the win at 3:23. JYD bows in front of Race, but then whacks him with a chair and wears Race’s robe out of the building. Horrible match by two guys past their prime. If this was 1980 instead of 1987 this would have been the main event.

Winner: “King” Harley Race (Pinfall-Belly-to-Belly Suplex ¼*)

-Vince interviews Hogan in the locker room as he prepares to face the 950 pound 10 foot Giant in front of 3 million people.

-Mean Gene talks to The Dream Team and Johnny V.

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team (w. “Luscious” Johnny Valiant & Dino Bravo)

Raymond and Beefcake start things off, and Beefcake gets a quick hammerlock. Raymond flips out and delivers an atomic drop, before tagging out to Jacques. Double dropkick connects as Valentine tags in. Tag to Raymond who hits a crossbody for two and tags out again. Backspring elbow from Jacques gets two, and a series of forearms connect to Valentine. Jacques tries a springboard crossbody off the second rope, but misses allowing Valentine to take control. After a series of elbow drops Valentine slams him and tags out to Beefcake. A series of stomps get a two count, and Valentine tags in again. Hammer comes off the top with a forearm into a backbreaker by Beefcake. Valentine locks in the figure four, but Jacques is able to get to the ropes. Valentine knocks Raymond off the apron, and goes back on offense. Piledriver attempt is blocked, and Jacques gets away and tags in to Raymond. Backdrop from Raymond sets up a sleeper. Beefcake tries to make the save, but hits Valentine instead. Jacques comes in with the coup de gras but the ref is tied up with Beefcake and Jacques. That allows Bravo to sneak in with a forearm off the second rope and Valentine covers for the pin at 4:03. After the match Bravo and Valentine leave without Beefcake. Decent match, but just here to set up the face turn for Beefcake.

Winners: The Dream Team (Valentine pins Raymond-Bravo-ference **)

-Recap of the Adonis-Piper feud, which leads up to the upcoming haircut match.

Hair vs. Hair: “Adorable” Adrian Adonis (w. “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

This is billed as Piper’s retirement match. 21 years later he competed in the Royal Rumble. Big slug fest to start, but Piper stored his belt in his trunks and whips Adonis with it. He goes after Jimmy, but Adonis attacks from behind and whips Piper with the strap. Piper reverses a whip to the corner and sends Adonis over the top to the floor. Piper brings both Adonis and Jimmy back into the ring and delivers the dreaded double noggin knocker, before throwing Hart into Adonis sending both heading over the top rope. Back inside and Piper whips Adonis into the buckle, and then throws Jimmy off the top rope into Adonis again. Piper hits the ropes, but Jimmy grabs the feet from the outside, which allows Adonis to take control. Clothesline connects to Piper and is followed up by an elbow. To the floor they go and Adonis rams him into the timekeeper table. Adonis gets back in the ring as Jimmy delivers a cheapshot on the floor. Back inside they trade blows, but Adonis again provides a distraction to the ref allowing Hart to spray perfume in Piper’s eyes. Adonis locks in his sleeper hold and puts Piper out with it, but lets go after the arm drops only twice and Piper gets the arm up on the third try. Beefcake runs in and revives Piper and he slaps a sleeper on putting Adonis out at 6:59. After the match Beefcake does the haircutting job which gives new birth to his face gimmick. Much like the midgets match this wasn’t a technical classic, but it didn’t have to be. Fun match with a hot crowd makes for thumbs up from me.

Winner: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Knockout-Sleeper **1/2)

-Jesse gets a special introduction from The Fink.

-Mean Gene talks to The Harts and Danny Davis.

The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (w. “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana

Matilda chases the heels to the floor where they run into an attack from Santana and Dynamite. Davey Boy press slams Davis out of the ring to the floor on the Harts. Back inside and Bret starts with Tito. Bret gets rammed into Dynamite’s boot and Tito tags Davey. Neidhart tags in and gets locked into a side headlock from Davey. Into the ropes goes Davey and Bret attempts a kick. Davey catches him and give him and Neidhart a double noggin knocker. Tag to Dynamite who comes in and the Bulldogs deliver a double headbutt to the Anvil. Another tag this time to Santana who locks in an armbar. Neidhart pushes him into the corner and Bret chokes from the outside. Santana leapfrogs a backdrop attempt and tags out Davey who hits a backdrop of his own. Distraction from Bret allows Anvil to attack from behind. Bret tags in and Neidhart hits a slam. Bret attempts an elbow from the second rope, but misses and Dynamite tags in. Irish whip to to the corner is followed by a diving headbutt. Anvil makes the save on the pin attempt and Bret takes control. Dynamite tries to come back with a snap suplex, but Neidhart attacks from behind to break that up. Neidhart tags in and slaps on a chinlock on Dynamite. Bret comes in after a backbreaker and delivers a decapation. Davis tags in and delivers a few stomps before quickly tagging Bret back in. Bret pounds away for a bit on Dynamite before tagging back out to Neidhart. Anvil takes his shots and again tags in to Bret who delivers a headbutt. Davis tags in again and delivers two kicks before tagging back to Bret. Tag again to Davis, and the Harts slingshot him in, but Dynamite gets the knees up. That allows him to make the hot tag to Tito who comes in and begins to beat the ever loving shit out of Davis. Backdrop connects, and after knocking the Harts off the apron a flying forearm connects. Tito won’t go for the cover and wants to dish out more punishment. Santana goes for the figure four, but Anvil breaks it up. Santana tags to Davey who continues the assault on Davis with a clothesline. He rams Davis into the head of Dynamite and delivers a tombstone piledriver. Davey Boy doesn’t want the pin either and instead delivers a vertical suplex. Running powerslam looks to finish, but Neidhart makes the save. That brings everyone into the ring, and allows Davis to knock out Davey Boy with the megaphone to pick up the win at 8:54. It’s the Harts and the Bulldogs. You can’t go wrong.

Winners: The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (Davis pins Davey Boy-Megaphone Shot ***)

-Mean Gene talks to Andre and The Brain

”The Natural” Butch Reed (w. Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware

Reed takes control off a lockup and pounds away on the ropes. Koko ducks a clothesline and goes for a rollup, but Reed holds the ropes. Koko give him a backdrop then that sends him to the floor. Reed regains control as Koko drops the head on a backdrop attempt and gets a forearm for it. After a few stomps Koko gets rammed into the buckle. Koko reverses an Irish whip into the corner and hits an armdrag on Reed coming out of the corner. Dropkick gets two for Koko, and a small package again gets two. Koko ducks a clothesline and comes off the ropes with a crossbody. Reed rolls through and grabs the trunks to pick up the victory at 3:39. After the match Slick attacks with the cane, but that draws out Tito who destroys Slick’s suit. Just a filler match, and not a very good one.

Winner: “The Natural” Butch Reed (Pinfall-Crossbody roll through ½*)

-Recap of the events leading to Savage and Steamboat

-Savage gives another promo. “History beckons the Macho Man!”

-Mean Gene gets the response from Ricky Steamboat.

WWF Intercontinental Champion-Randy “Macho Man” Savage © (w. Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (w. George “The Animal” Steele)

Steamboat hip tosses out of a go behind early, and Savage bails to move Elizabeth away from The Animal. Steamboat ducks and elbow and hits a pair of deep armdrags. Double handed choke sends Savage to the floor again. Steamboat chases on the floor, and gets caught by Savage back inside. Savage clotheslines Steamboat on the top rope and gets a two count. Savage charges into the corner, but comes up empty as Steamboat moves. Wristlock turns into an arm wringer, which Steamboat drops down on the top rope. Savage pushes off into the ropes and gets Steamboat coming off with an elbow. Savage fires Steamboat over the top rope to the floor to buy some time. Savage brings Steamboat up to the apron and elbows him in his throat. Finally Steamboat ends up back inside with a snap mare and an elbow gets a two count. Kneedrop gets another two, so Savage goes to ram his head into the buckle. Steamboat blocks and rams Savage instead. Into the ropes and chop ties Savage in the ropes, but he’s able to kick free. Crossbody connects for Steamboat getting two. Armdrag sets up a pair of shoulderblocks getting two. Savage comes back with a knee to the back, and fires him over the top. Steamboat skins the cat, but gets clotheslined out anyway. Savage follows and delivers a high knee to the back sending Savage over the timekeepers table and into the crowd. Animal carries Steamboat back into the ring, but Savage fires him outside again. Savage comes off the top rope with a double axe handle on the floor. Savage fires Steamboat inside and goes to the top rope again delivering a double axe handle on the inside. Running elbow gets two for Savage, and then he clotheslines Steamboat on the top rope for two. Atomic drop gets yet another near fall for Savage. Suplex gets another two count for Savage. They trade blows in the center, but Savage gets the better of it with a rake to the eyes. Gutwrench suplex gets two for Savage. Steamboat counters an atomic drop, and sends Savage into the ropes, but puts his head down and gets kicked on the backdrop attempt. Savage hits the ropes again and runs into a backdrop sending him over the top rope to the floor. Ventura apparently forgets that he’s not in the NWA as he calls for the DQ. Steamboat follows and sends Savage back inside before heading to the top. He comes off the top with a chop to the head, and gets two. Steamboat delivers a series of open handed chops which again sends Savage to the floor. Steamboat follows and gives Savage a shoulder from the apron. He comes in with a sunset flip for two. Steamboat ducks a right hand and a rollup gets two. Jacknife rollup, and small package also gets two for Steamboat. Bodyslam and a slingshot send Savage into the post. Sunset flip gets two for Steamboat, and a rollup gets two for both guys. Savage fires Steamboat into the ring post shoulder first, and then on an Irish whip reversal attempt the referee gets taken out. Savage hits the flying elbow from the top, but there is no referee to count. Savage goes to the floor to get the ring bell, and heads to the top rope with it. Animal snatches the ring bell away, but a kick and Savage gets it back. Savage goes to the top rope, but gets pushed off by Steele. Back to his feet Savage goes for a slam, but Steamboat catches him in a small package to win the match and the title at 14:36. What can I say about this match that hasn’t already been said? Best WWF match of the 80’s, and arguably the best non-gimmick match in Wrestlemania history.

Winner: NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion-Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (Pinfall-Small Package *****)

-Mean Gene talks to Jake the Snake and Alice Cooper. He also gets the response from Honky and The Colonel.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts (w. Alice Cooper) vs. The Honky Tonk Man (w. “Colonel” Jimmy Hart)

Jake attacks before the bell bringing Honky inside and attacking while he’s still in his jumpsuit. Knee lift sends Honky to the floor, and Jake follows to the floor and delivers a series of shots. Back inside the ring, and Honky bails again. Jake again follows and delivers a bodyslam on the floor. Honky gets fired inside and an Irish whip sends him into the corner. Jake goes for the charge, but runs into the knees of Honky Tonk. Honky grabs a wristlock, but Jake ducks a punch and delivers a short clothesline. Honky slips out of a DDT attempt and heads to the floor. Jake follows again, but this time gets whipped into the post. Honky delivers a knee to Roberts on his way in sending him back to the floor into the guardrail. Back inside Honky delivers a DDT, and then comes off the second rope with a fist drop. Double axe handle connects as Honky sends Jake into the ropes delivering a back elbow. Another double axe handle connects, and then a Shake Rattle and Roll attempt. Jake counters that with a backdrop, but Honky is back a shoulder sending Jake into the corner. Honky climbs to the second rope but gets slammed out of the corner. Jake gets the better of an exhange of blows and Honky tries to beg to no avail. Backdrop connects, and then Jake catches Honky in between the ropes with a series of punches. Jake calls for the DDT, but Hart grabs the foot from the outside. Honky rolls him up thanks to the distraction, grabs the ropes, and picks up the win at 7:05. Afterward Jake slams the guitar into the post as Honky narrowly escapes. That leaves Jimmy in the ring with Alice and Jake, so he gets the Damien treatment.

Winner: The Honky Tonk Man (Pinfall-Rollup **)

-Mean Gene announces to the crowd the new World Indoor Attendance Record of 93,173.

Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (w. Slick) vs. The Killer Bees

Volkoff tries to sing the Soviet National Anthem, but gets chased off by Jim Duggan. Heels attack early, and after a reversal Irish whip sequence Volkoff gets sent to the floor and that leaves Brian Blair in the ring with the Sheik. Insert humbling joke here. Blair quickly tags out and the Bees deliver a double elbow. Arm wringer by Brunzell sets up a tag to Blair. Quick tags until a double hip toss connects for Sheik. Blair hits the ropes and delivers an elbow to the shoulder, and goes back the arm wringer. Tag to Brunzell sees him hit the big dropick. Nikolai makes the save and everyone ends up the ring. Ref puts Blair out and allows the heels to double team. Volkoff delivers a knee to Brunzell before tagging in Sheik again. Double axe handle to the chin connects getting two for the Sheik. Brunzell gets rammed into the corner, and a tag is made to Nikolai. Brunzell ducks a clothesline, but jumps into a bearhug from Nikolai. Brunzell rings the bell to break the hold so Volkoff tags out. Gutwrench suplex connects for two from the Sheik. Vertical suplex gets another two count on Brunzell. Brunzell comes off the ropes with a high knee, and makes the tag to Blair. Ref was tied up with Volkof so he doesn’t allow it. Double elbow smash sends Brunzell to the floor. Duggan starts chasing Volkoff around the ring, while Sheik locks in a camel clutch to Brunzell. The chase on the outside ends up in the ring, and Duggan blasts Sheik with the 2X4 drawing the DQ at 5:43. Pretty good match with a shitty ending. Afterwards the Bees leave with Duggan not the least bit concerned that he cost them the match.

Winners: Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (Disqualification-Outside Interference **)

-Mean Gene gets the final word from Andre and Heenan.

-Recap package for Hogan and Andre

-The Champion gives his final thoughts to Mean Gene.

WWF Championship: Andre The Giant (w. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. Hulk Hogan ©

Bob Uecker handles the guest ring announcing, and Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart takes care of the timekeeping duties. The heat on Andre as he comes out is unreal as he just gets pelted with trash. Staredown to start, and both guys shove off. Hogan hits a few punches and goes for a slam, but Andre collapses on top of him. The ref counts to three, but waves it off as Hogan got the shoulder up. Andre pounds away at Hogan with a series of forearms to the lower back. Knee lift by Andre is followed by a pair of bodyslams. The assault continues as Andre walks right on the back of Hogan. Irish whip sends Hogan into the corner, and then again to the other corner. Andre drives a pair of shoulderblocks in the corner, and then delivers a headbutt. Hogan ducks out of the corner to get away from a second headbutt attempt. Hogan hits the ropes and delivers an elbow and follows up with a series of chops. Andre gets rammed into the turnbuckle ten times by Hogan, but gets his foot up to put Hogan back down on a charge attempt. Chop by Andre is followed by a bearhug. Hogan fades, but of course keeps the arm up on the third try. Hogan comes back and fires off a series of punches to break the hold. Hogan hits the ropes and delivers a pair of shoulderblocks, but runs into a chop on the third attempt. Big boot by Andre sends Hogan crashing to the floor. Andre follows and chops Hogan into the post. Andre goes for the headbutt, but Hogan moves and Andre butts the post. Hogan pulls back the mats and goes for a piledriver on the floor, but gets backdropped instead. Back inside they go and Hogan ducks a big boot and comes off the ropes with a clothesline that floors Andre. Hogan Hulks Up, and delivers the most famous bodyslam in wrestling history. Legdrop finishes things at 12:02 as Hogan retains. The match isn’t very good, but it really doesn’t matter. The atmosphere is tremendous, and this truly was the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling. And it remains so to this day. Hogan celebrates as the show ends.

Winner: STILL WWF Champion-Hulk Hogan (Pinfall-Legdrop ***)

The 411: What a difference a year makes. While Wrestlemania 2 was everything Wrestlemania shouldn’t be, the third installment was everything a Wrestlemania should be. Hulk and Andre in the biggest match ever, and Steamboat and Savage in one of the best matches ever. This is the show that truly established Wrestlemania as the Super Bowl of wrestling. Even the stuff that sucked on this card was entertaining. If there is one card that every single fan of pro wrestling must see, its this one.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  10.0   [ Virtually Perfect ]  legend

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