WWF WrestleMania III 3/29/1987
March 29, 1987
Attendance: Somewhere between 78,000 and 93,000
Closed Circuit Attendance: 441, 000
Buy Rate: 8.0
Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura
1) The Can-Am Connection defeat Magnificent Muraco and Bob Orton when Rick Martel (Richard Vigneault) pins Muraco with a Flying Cross Body at 5:36
Fun Fact: The Can-Am Connection is Tom Zenk and Rick Martel, both from the AWA (more reasons Verne Gagne hates Vince McMahon). Zenk was a tag team specialist mostly, but Martel has a bigger line on his resume. Martel actually held the AWA World Heavyweight Title for a time in 1984, defeating Jumbo Tsuruta. He held the title until he was defeated by Stan Hansen in East Rutherford, New Jersey in early 1985. Now he makes his WWF re-debut. He had actually held the WWF Tag Team titles in the early 80’s with Tony Garea.
Scott: Our opener is a rudimentary tag team match involving two newcomers, and two men who are due for a change. Muraco has really been pushed down the heel chain in the past couple of years, and after a schmozz in the opener of last year’s Wrestlemania, he jobs in the opener this year. A change was definitely in the air for him, and he would get it in the form of a face turn and a “medicinal” upgrade. Orton was running on borrowed time, as his role as Roddy Piper’s bodyguard is over (more on that later in the review). So his shelf life is close to up, as this is his last PPV appearance. He’s in his third Wrestlemania, but this is his only match. Not a bad little opener, as the crowd is jacked for pretty much anything. Can-Am gets the win, but by November Martel would have a new partner, a new team name, and some new hardware. Grade: 2
Justin: A pretty fun opener due to the fast pace and the hot crowd. The Can-Am Connection was a fun little team, and I wonder if they would have gotten the push that Strike Force would get if Zenk didn’t bail on Vince a few months after this. Martel was always a great wrestler, and that is evident here, as he bounces around the ring and eventually picks up the pin on Muraco. As Scott said, the heel team is fading quickly. Orton and Muraco had helped Adrian Adonis put Roddy Piper out of action at the end of 1986, and since then have just floated around fighting random face opponents. They drop the match here, which is Orton’s sendoff and Muraco’s final PPV match as a heel. Grade: 2
2) Billy Jack Haynes (William Haynes) and Hercules (Ray Fernandez) wrestle to a double count out in a “Full Nelson” match at 7:54
Fun Fact: Billy Jack Haynes is an Oregon native who as recently as 1985 was US Tag Team Champions with Wahoo McDaniel in Mid-Atlantic. He arrived in mid-1986 and lasted as long as early 1988, but this was his only PPV appearance. He would show up in WCW in 1990 and wrestle as the masked Black Blood, but other than that he never resurfaced in the big time.
Scott: This match between two power guys was a little underwhelming. It was sloppy and with no real flow, as they spent most of the time trying to cinch the Full Nelson on each other. The best part was after the match. After the double countout, Haynes was going after Bobby Heenan. So, Herc grabbed his chain and beat the shit of him. He punched him a few times, and even drew blood. Hercules left the heel on top. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I guess Vince didn’t think there was a future for Billy Jack, so punk him out in front of 93,000 people. Haynes would never be on PPV again. Grade: 1.5
Justin: An OK power match here to determine who had the best Full Nelson. Of course, these two are lucky they weren’t in this feud when the Warlord was around, because he would kill both of them. Hercules beats on Billy Jack for a while, before Jack makes the comeback and the two tumble to the floor, where Jack hooks the Full Nelson on Hercules, causing both men to be counted out. Not sure why they did the cheap ending, but Hercules comes out on top anyway when he bloodies Billy Jack after the match. The visual of the blood covering Billy Jack’s yellow tights and the bright blue mat (due to the outdoor sunlight) is pretty neat, and allows Herc to leave looking like a badass. Grade: 1.5
3) Hillbilly Jim (Jim Morris), Little Beaver & Haiti Kid defeat King Kong Bundy (Chris Pailles), Lord Littlebrook & Little Tokyo by disqualification at 4:26
Scott: Wow, midgets. I can’t believe with the bravado and pageantry that Wrestlemania II had, there were no midgets at that show. So, we have a nice 6-man tag joke match with last year’s main event heel. Boy, did Bundy fall far. Very far. However, for me there is a silver lining to this cloud. Little Beaver was baiting Bundy on for most of the match. Bundy finally caught him, and slammed him to the mat. Mind you the rule for the match is midgets fight midgets and Hillbilly Jim fights Bundy. With Beaver down, Bundy drops the big elbow, and is DQ’d. Even his midgets found it offensive. Big deal. If I were Bundy I would have lined up the 4 midgets and crushed them into shit puddles. Ok, that was a bit much. That’s how much I hate midget wrestling. As expected, the match sucked. Grade: 1
Justin: Quite the mess here, as the highlight is guest commentator Bob Uecker riffing on the midgets with Jesse. I always like Uecker, as I thought he was one of the better guest commentators they brought in, and I wish they used him at more PPVs. Now, as far as the match itself, there isn’t much to say. We have four famous midgets battling it out, which is entertaining enough I guess, but probably unnecessary. I understand the point of comedy matches to spell the crowd, but the crowd didn’t really need to be spelled just yet. Bundy drops about as far as you can drop in a one year span, and Hillbilly Jim is lucky to be on a PPV. Bundy putting the kibosh on the midget was quite funny though, and is definitely a classic Wrestlemania moment. That said, however, I think they could have just had Bundy vs. Jim and called it a night, but I guess Little Tokyo needed his cut of the WM3 gate. Grade: .5
4) Harley Race defeats Junkyard Dog (Sylvester Ritter) with a belly-to-belly suplex at 3:23
Fun Fact: Harley Race was a world renowned wrestler who had been an 8 time NWA Champion. He had dominated the NWA region and, in 1983, graciously passed the torch to his successor, Ric Flair. In late 1986, he decided to finally make the jump to the WWF. He handed over the NWA Missouri Championship and packed his bags to head north.
Scott: What happened to Harley Race? 3 years before he had won his 8th NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Now he comes to the WWF, and gets a “King” gimmick. He looks like he aged 20 years once he got here. Now, he’s feuding with a really broken down JYD. It’s evident that JYD has seen better days, and his matches are getting shorter and shorter. After a cheap win, the stipulation stated that the loser had to bow down to the winner. Well, he sort of did. Then he belted Race with a chair. Kind of a nothing match, but to me a sad case study in how a superstar who stopped taking care of himself just broke down. Race would be king until an injury in 1988. Grade: 1.5
Justin: Just 4 years earlier, and this is a dream match around the world. But, in 1987, it is a matchup between legends on their last legs. I hate to call them washed-up, because they truly deserve better than that, but they had definitely seen better days. Despite losing, it’s a nice sight to see JYD ride out of the ring on the cart to a huge ovation. Race takes a few nice bumps, but it’s not enough to save this mess. Race wins, but JYD gets the last laugh. Grade: 1
5) The Dream Team defeats The Rougeau Brothers when Greg Valentine (John Wisniski Jr.) pins Jacques after Dino Bravo (Adolfo Bresciano) interfered at 4:02
Scott: This was a match that served three purposes. First, it was a debut of The Rougeaus, a very talented team from Montreal whose father is a famous French-Canadian booker and announcer. Second is the emergence of Dino Bravo as a big time heel. Bravo was a dark-haired babyface, and former WWF Canadian Heavyweight champion. Now, he’s a blond haired heel. His career is pretty solid, but his death is even more tragic. More on that in future reviews. For now, he makes a big impact, hitting a double axe-handle and costing the Rougeaus the match. Third, and most importantly, is the change of Brutus Beefcake. He came in as a member of the Dream Team, but at one point in the match he accidentally hits Valentine instead of Jacques. Regardless of the fact they won the match, but Valiant and Valentine kicked out their former partner. They left him in the ring and took Bravo as one of their own. Valentine and Bravo would form the New Dream Team, while Beefcake would totally change his image. Just check out the next match. Grade: 2
Justin: A pretty decent tag match that solely exists to explain the Beefcake face turn. The Rougeaus are a great tag team, but don’t really get to show their stuff off just yet, but that is OK, because once they turn heel in 1988, they become a premier team in the WWF. The Dream Team had a great run in 1986, but the time had come to end the partnership. Bravo and Valentine would make up the New Dream Team for the rest of the year, but would go their own ways by 1988. The match could have been better if they weren’t so focused on the storyline, but you can’t win them all. All in all, this is a nice debut for the Rougeaus and a sad end to one of the top teams of 1986. Grade: 2
6) Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs) defeats Adrian Adonis (Keith Franke) in a Retirement Haircut match when he knocks Adonis out with The Sleeper at 6:55
Fun Fact: This feud started in October 1986, when Piper, then a heel, went on vacation (on-screen and off). He trusted his good friend Adrian Adonis to keep Piper’s Pit going until he got back. Well, Adonis changed the whole set from plaid to petunias. Piper’s Pit became The Flower Shop. When Piper came back from vacation he was not amused. He returned to find his bodyguard Cowboy Bob Orton wearing a pink cowboy hat. Piper would be beat down by Adonis, Orton and Magnificent Muraco. The feud simmered throughout the weeks, including Piper destroying the Flower Shop with a baseball bat. A haircut stipulation was added and Piper also announced this would be his retirement match. Also, the week before this PPV, Adrian Adonis accidentally shaved Brutus Beefcake’s head, which would come back to haunt him.
Scott: The crowd really starts to heat up with this one, as they were rabid to see Hot Rod win his swan song. He was the first real example of a heel that fans liked so much, they had to turn him face. The match itself was average, but the mere marking out of the end was enough for me. In the climax, Piper was slowly taking Adonis out with the sleeper, and the match ended. Then out of nowhere, the now lonely Brutus Beefcake would come out, and help Piper shave Adonis’ head. The Silverdome crowd was off the hook, and one of the biggest feel-good moments in Wrestlemania history. Piper’s retirement wouldn’t last, as he would be back on camera at Wrestlemania V, and back in the ring by the Survivor Series in 1989. Adonis sadly would make his last PPV appearance here. His life would tragically end in a van accident in Nova Scotia in 1988. Grade: 3
Justin: If you can’t get lost in this match and moment, then you shouldn’t be a wrestling fan. The build up was amazing, the crowd was pumped and the excitement is off the charts. The long burn to Piper turning face was a year in the making, and to see him finally embrace the fans on his way out the door was a great moment in wrestling history. Adonis was in pretty bad shape at this point, but pulls it all together for one last hurrah, and he does his best to put Piper over in his “last” match. Adonis wouldn’t last to the next PPV, as he was fired soon after this show and then died soon after. Beefcake solidifies his face turn after the match and gets his revenge on Adonis for the haircut he got a week earlier. Piper gets a hero’s sendoff as he rides into the sunset, ending a magnificent career…for now. This is a top notch moment that has to be seen to be truly understood. Grade: 3
7) The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (Daniel Burielli) defeat The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana (Mercedes Solis) when Davis pinned Davey Boy Smith after he used Jimmy Hart’s megaphone at 8:52
Fun Fact: This feud, believe it or not, started way back on February 8, 1986. That night at Boston Garden, Tito Santana lost the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage. Savage was in a back suplex, and in mid-air he whacked Tito in the face with a foreign object. Davis didn’t see it and Savage was the new IC champ. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the WWF had a ready-made storyline. In late-1986, Davis would start blowing matches, messing things up, like slowing counts. Of course, it was always the face that got screwed. Finally in January 1987 he screwed the British Bulldogs in a Tag Team Title match in Rochester, and the Hart Foundation were the new champs. Davis was a full-blown heel and President Jack Tunney stripped him of his refereeing duties. To set up the match, they went back to the archives and found Davis refereed the Santana/Savage match. So, might as well use it to get Tito in the match.
Scott: The crowd was fully awake now after the last match, and this match continued the groundswell of excitement. The match was exciting, with quick tags and constant action. Dynamite Kid wrote in his book that he was battling major back problems, but you really couldn’t tell from this match. Davey Boy Smith was still fairly green, but was getting better. Tito is, well, Tito. As for their opponents, The Hart Foundation were the champs, and very technically sound. Both Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart trained under Bret’s legendary father Stu Hart. Bret’s career was just getting started, and he’d win his first Wrestlemania match here. A good match that continues to get the show into high gear. Grade: 3
Justin: A fun, fast paced six man match with a good storyline keeps this show mowing along. Danny Davis was a fun little heel during this run and it allowed them to get the titles of the Bulldogs without blatantly jobbing them out to the Harts, who needed the titles much more than the Bulldogs did. After winning the straps, the Harts finally started to gain some heat and legitimacy, and would use this title run as a stepping stone to becoming one of the greatest tag teams ever. The action here is quick and non-stop, and the crowd enjoys every minute of Davis getting his ass handed to him by the faces, but isn’t impressed when Davis picks up the tainted win. The Harts roll along as the Bulldogs are now pushed aside for a bit. Davis would hang on for another year, but this was his peak as a wrestler. Tito picks up another Wrestlemania loss, with many more still to come over the years. Grade: 3
8) Butch Reed (Bruce Reed) defeats Koko B. Ware (James Ware) with a roll-up while holding the tights at 3:39
Fun Fact: In the summer of 1986, Butch Reed, alongside manager Slick, was banished from the NWA: Central States territory when he lost a loser-leaves-town match to Bruiser Brody. Then, in the fall of ’86, both men signed on with the WWF. Slick took part of in an angle where he agreed to take over managing half of the ailing Freddie Blassie’s stable. After a few weeks, however, it was clear that Blassie had to call it quits, so Slick took over the whole operation, specifically the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. A month or so later, Slick debuted the “Natural” Butch Reed as a prized acquisition.
Scott: Not much of a match here, just a chance to debut two new superstars. Butch Reed was a big-time heel in Memphis, and had a high-profile feud with The Junkyard Dog in that time. Koko B. Ware, The Birdman, was also in Memphis. He was also a heel as part of the tag team The PYT’s with Norvell Austin. Unlike Reed, Koko came to the WWF a babyface with a bird, Frankie. He was one of the WWF’s most popular stars, but never really came up from the ranks of mid-card sideshow. Here he loses (cheap, of course) to “The Natural”, who was being groomed as a bona-fide heel star. We’ll discuss in our next review how he alone botched a chance to become Intercontinental champion, which was a catalyst to one of the most ridiculous Intercontinental title reigns in WWF history. Grade: 2
Justin: This is just a squash match to get Reed over and show him off to the crowd, as they had some plans for him down the road. Koko starts his long 6 year trek as popular jobber to the stars, a role he plays well. Reed is managed by another newcomer, the Doctor of Style, Slick, who would become one of the most well known managers in WWF history. Reed looks decent here and Koko sells the beating pretty well, but that is about all there is to say, really. Grade: 1.5
9) Ricky Steamboat (Richard Blood) defeats Randy Savage (Randy Poffo) to win WWF Intercontinental Title with a small package at 14:33
Fun Fact: This legendary feud started in November of 1986. Savage was defending the IC Title against Steamboat, when he draped Steamboat over the railing and dropped a double axe-handle on the back of his neck, driving his throat into the railing. He then put Steamboat into the ring, and was DQ’d when he came off the top rope with the ring bell and drove it into Steamboat’s throat. This was one of the most awesome angles at that time, and put Savage over as a big time heel. Steamboat sold it like he was shot, and was out of action for a few weeks. He came back on December 14 in Hartford (a show Scott was at) to protect his friend George Steele from the same fate. From there, the slow burn grew and grew until the title match was announced for Wrestlemania.
Scott: What can you say? If you are a wrestling fan, this has to be in your top 3 in the greatest matches list. Both these men put everything on the table for 93,000 in the Silverdome and millions watching on PPV at home. Steamboat was already established as one of wrestling’s best mat technicians, but it was Savage that everyone was surprised at. Savage was a solid performer in Memphis, but so far in his WWF tenure he used stalling tactics and dirty tricks to get through his matches. On a big stage like this, “Macho Man” would have to do a little more than that to keep his title, and keep the fans jacked. Well, Savage crossed the line from heel asshole, to bona fide WWF superstar. My brother and I were on the edge of our seats watching this match, wondering who would get the 3-count. There were a total of 23 two-counts (I counted), 16 by Savage. Every possible combination of moves and roll-ups could not keep Steamboat down. In the climax, with referee Dave Hebner down, Savage went outside to get the ring bell and injure Steamboat again. George “The Animal” Steele would take the bell from him, but a boot to the head would get Savage the bell back. As he went to the top rope to hit Steamboat with the bell, Steele would push Savage off the ropes and the bell goes flying. Savage gets up, and lifts Steamboat up for a bodyslam. As he does, Steamboat hooks his leg, and rolls him into a small package as the revived Dave Hebner counted 3. Steamboat was the new Intercontinental Champion, but Savage also established himself as a force in the WWF landscape. The commentating of Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura also reached the levels we’re used to, as both were on their respective sides in the match. This was one of many examples of how Jesse Ventura spun his story so well, you almost were rooting for the heel. Regardless, it’s the first perfect match of the modern PPV era, and #1 on my list, even after almost 2 decades. Grade: 5
Justin: I think Scott said it all, really. This is an amazing match from all angles: workrate, storyline, psychology, drama, characters with depth, commentary, big event feel and a hot crowd. If you could find a negative thing to say about this match, go ahead, because I can’t think of any. The angle that led to this match was crafted perfectly, as it set Steamboat up for some major sympathy and also gave Savage an injury to work on during the match. These two put an exhibition like no other and pretty much wrestle balls to the wall for 15 straight minutes. This match officially turned Savage from Memphis chickenshit heel into workrate phenomenon and further establishes Steamboat’s legend as one of the greatest wrestlers ever. It is a well known fact that Savage and Steamboat went into this match with the goal of stealing the show, which they clearly did. This PPV broke attendance records and drew a huge audience because of Hogan vs. Andre, but this PPV is always remembered and is legendary because of Savage vs. Steamboat. Grade: 5
10) Honky Tonk Man (Wayne Ferris) defeats Jake Roberts (Aurelian Smith, Jr) with a roll-up using the ropes as leverage at 7:16
Fun Fact: Honky Tonk Man’s heel turn is one of the most interesting of all time. After his brief run as a face, the WWF asked fans to write in and vote whether or not they like HTM. The fans answered with a resounding NO, so the bookers revamped his character and gave him the legendary Elvis impersonator gimmick that he carries to this day.
Scott: Another entertaining match, but not too much that the crowd would be burnt out by the main event. Roberts was a heel when he entered the WWF about a year ago, but the fans (like Piper) took to him so much he was eventually turned face. Alice Cooper would second him to the ring, one of only a few celebrities involved this year. His opponent is a man who came in as a tweener friend of The Junkyard Dog but the fans never warmed up to, so now Honky was being showcased as another heel newcomer (there were a lot of them at this Wrestlemania). The match was entertaining, as Roberts was pinned by nefarious means. It didn’t spare Jimmy Hart from Roberts’ partner, Damien. The big python chased Hart and Honky down the aisle. So the match served two purposes successfully: It got a cheap win for Honky, and it ended with the fans happy Damien was out of the bag, and Roberts face heat returned. Grade: 2.5
Justin: This was a pretty big upset at the time, as the Honky Tonk Man was seen as not much more than a joke wrestler who would be cannon fodder for the true stars. Well, Vince had other plans here, as HTM picks up the shocking win over the freshly faced out Jake Roberts. A few weeks prior to this show, Honky assaulted Jake on his talk show, the “Snake Pit,” and whacked him over the head with his guitar (a legit one that hurt Jake’s neck, not the cheesy Jeff Jarrett version). Jake vowed revenge, but was unable to pick up the victory here, although he and Alice Cooper get the last laugh when the unleash Damien on HTM and Jimmy Hart. A quick little time killer here, and not much else to talk about. Grade: 2
11) Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik defeat the Killer Bees by disqualification when Jim Duggan interferes at 5:41
Fun Fact: Jim Duggan was a huge star in the UWF and Mid-South regions during the early 80’s. He won numerous titles, including the Louisiana Heavyweight Title, the Mid-South Tag Titles and the North American Title. He had big feuds with Ted DiBiase, Krusher Khrushchev and Dick Slater. He was a huge raw in the South and regularly brought big houses to the Louisiana Superdome. But, as was the case in the late 80’s, when Vince called for him, Duggan made the jump to the big time.
Scott: Just a filler tag match to spell the crowd for the main event. Both these teams were reaching the end of their line. The Bees were just a fun little face team to enjoy on the house show circuit and Superstars. They may have had a random title shot here and there, but nothing to write home about. This would be the last PPV together for Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. The former tag team champions had a brief run, but the Sheik would get fired for having Hash and Coke in his car with Jim Duggan on the Jersey Turnpike. Volkoff would then get a new tag team partner, and they would debut in November at the first Survivor Series. That fact makes me wonder why Sheik/Volkoff actually won this match. Speaking of Duggan, this was his PPV debut as he came in for the Bees. In one of many DQ matches he’d be in, he’d whack Sheik with the 2X4 for the loss. Ugh, can’t wait to watch these debacles over the next 6 years. No matter, it’s time for the big one. Grade: 2
Justin: A brief tag match with sole intention of introducing Hacksaw Duggan as a patriotic everyman who lays out the evil foreigners. I’m sure Duggan and Sheik were slated to feud for a while, but Sheik was fired shortly after this show. The Bees were always fun to watch, as they worked well together and played the sympathetic face role well. They would have their biggest WWF moment at the next PPV. As Scott said, Volkoff and Sheik’s run as a top heel tandem ends at this show, just two years after their monumental upset title win at Wrestlemania I. Grade: 2
12) Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) defeats Andre the Giant (Andre Rousimoff) to retain WWF World Title with a Legdrop at 11:58
Fun Fact: This all started on the 1/17 edition of Piper’s Pit, when Hulk Hogan was awarded with a trophy for being World Champ for 3 years. The following week, Tunney awarded a similar trophy to Andre the Giant for being undefeated throughout his career. The trophy was quite smaller than Hogan’s, and when Hogan came out to support his friend, Andre walked out without saying anything. The next week, Jesse Ventura and Piper promised they would bring out each man the following week to iron out their differences. Then, on the memorable February 7, 1987 edition of the Pit, Andre came out with Bobby Heenan, turned heel, and demanded a title match for Wrestlemania. Hogan pleaded with Andre, but Andre then ripped off Hogan’s shirt, but more importantly, his cross. Holy shit, this was fucking huge. A week later, Hogan accepted the challenge. We were off and running.
Scott: This is without question the biggest main event in professional wrestling history, and may still be so. Andre the Giant, the biggest superstar ever (size-wise), is in his first PPV main event. Hulk Hogan is the WWF Champion and the biggest superstar at that moment. There was only one main event that could put 93,173 in the Silverdome, and this was it. Jesse says on-air this is the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling, and he wasn’t lying. The match itself was about what you’d expect. Andre was in pretty bad shape at this point, as the disease that made him the size he was also was not stopping, and breaking him down. On top of the fact that Hogan, as good a superstar as he was, couldn’t carry a napkin, so this was no Steamboat/Savage. It was full of drama and psychology, including the phantom 3-count in the first 15 seconds of the match. Hogan went for a slam, and Andre fell on him. Referee Joey Marella counted 3, even though Hogan barely got his shoulders up. It was a source of storyline controversy throughout the year. Hogan won the match, and was on top of the professional wrestling world. This feud with Andre would continue, but in terms of heat it doesn’t get much better than this. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A wrestling promotion DREAMS of the day that they can put on a match like this. The buildup was HUGE, the heel turn SHOCKING and the crowd was f’n pumped to see Hogan beat the unbeatable Giant. Andre is practically booed from the second he rolls to the ring until the moment Hogan slams him. The Silverdome was rocking, and Vince McMahon knew he had created one of the greatest moments in the history of wrestling. I think a lot of credit has to be given to Andre, for sacrificing his long legacy and unbeatable nature for the greater good of the WWF. He was a true larger than life legend and did his best to help the future of the sport. This match has to be seen to be understood, because you just can’t describe the buzz in the crowd throughout the whole shebang. I also love how Bobby Heenan changed his suit for the Main Event, as he is decked out in all white for his crowning moment. Just an unbelievable match and storyline and blowoff, and its hard pressed to find anything like it throughout history. Grade: 3
Scott: This was the big one. After watching the first two Wrestlemanias and being impressed but not blown away, this was it. It had everything: A hot crowd, a good balance of matches, a few celebrities, a 5-star wrestling classic, and an unforgettable main event. There’s been plenty of Wrestlemanias since, and other big time shows. This one is still the standard bearer. There is a lot of debate over which one is the best: III, VI, X, XVII, XX. Those Wrestlemanias are usually mentioned as the best. Justin and I will certainly get to those, and you can make your own decisions. This one is certainly one of my favorites, because it clinched it for me as a fan. You can’t get wrestling out of my blood now. The match that hooked me was Snuka/Muraco in the cage in 1983. The show that sealed it was this one. After the clusterfuck of Wrestlemania II, Vince got this one perfectly right. Final Grade: A+
Justin: This is the perfect definition of a major wrestling super show. It had everything you could want: pageantry, storylines, celebrities, workrate and epic confrontations. The crowd is massive and hot the whole time, never once dying down. It is just an amazing show to watch and be in awe of. This was the absolute peak of wrestling in the 80’s as far as popularity and mainstream recognition go, and is the predecessor to the huge Wrestlemania events of today. Sure, there may be better Wrestlemanias and even better Summerslams as far as pure match quality go, but no other show has the true BIG EVENT FEEL of Wrestlemania III. If you call yourself a wrestling fan, I sure hope you have seen Wrestlemania III in its entirety at least once in your life. Final Grade: A+
MVP: Hogan/Andre (For making the show)
Runner Up: Savage/Steamboat (For stealing the show)
Non MVP: Paul Orndorff (For not even being at the show)
Runner Up: King Kong Bundy (For going from main event to midget abuse)
All Time PPV Active-Wrestler Roster
“Special Delivery” Jones
King Kong Bundy
Andre the Giant
Big John Studd
Davey Boy Smith
Dory Funk, Jr.
Billy Jack Haynes
Koko B. Ware
Honky Tonk Man
PPV Rest in Peace List
“Playboy” Buddy Rose (Wrestlemania I)
“Special Delivery” Jones (Wrestlemania I)
Uncle Elmer (Wrestlemania II)
Adrian Adonis (Wrestlemania III)
Haiti Kid (Wrestlemania III)
Little Beaver (Wrestlemania III)
Next Review: 1987 Survivor Series