WrestleMania III Review

Image Credit: (Payne/Sportskeeda)

WrestleMania 38 is now 31 days away and I decided as a hype for the event why not review every WrestleMania to date. Next up is WrestleMania III (3) which was held in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. Fun Fact: The Main Event of WrestleMania 3 was almost Paul Orndoff vs Hulk Hogan as Andre was in severe pain at the time and needed to get back surgery. If he could not go last minute Orndoff was going to take his place.

Who Commentated the event?
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura

Match #1: The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) vs Bob Orton and Don Muraco w/Mr. Fuji

The PPV starts with abeautiful performance by Aretha franklin who sings “America the Beautiful” and we hed into the starting tag team matchup. The Can-Am Connection is kind of a terrible name to have for a tag team but when I looked into why they were called that It makes a sense. Rick Martel is a Canadian wrestler and Tom Zenk is an American wrestler so when they both formed a tag team they would pay tribute to there nationality by combining Canada and America together thus the Can-Am and they were now a connection as a tag team. It is actually creative.

So this match starts off with Don Muraco and Rick Martel and it is a classic case of Power vs Quickness. Then Martel tags Muraco in and they hit this excellent tag team manevuer called the Double Monkey Flip on Muraco. Later in the match Bob Orton and I loved the chemistry between the too when Martel has a hold on the arm and Orton pulls Martel’s hair. Martel still has a hold on the arm and has a great counter to keep the hold on the arm and prevent Orton from tagging Don Muraco. Eventually Muraco gets tagged in and takes a Ric Flair upside down bump in the turnbuckle. At the end of the match Muraco backdrops Orton by accident and both Martel and Zenk hit a few dropkocks on both of them. Martel then hits a crossbody with Zenk tripping Muraco and 123 the Can-Am Connection wins the match in 5:37

This was a pretty good opener for WrestleMania. The crowd was clearly liked this match. I did as well and I wish that there was a few more minutes in this match up and more offense for Muraco and Orton but it is a nitpick. I just wish Zenk stuck around longer as I felt Martel and him would have been a great tag team with time.

My 5 Star Rating: (3/5)

So in the hype up to the Hercules matchup a video package aired describing this match as the battle of the Full Nelson move as it was both wrestles finishing moves. Once the video ends Hercules and Bobby Heenan were interviewed and Heenan cut a solid promo.

Match #2: Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules w/Bobby Heenan

This match started utalizing the small ring ramp to transport wrestlers to the ring. I think it was very cool that they used this at WrestleMania as it gives the crowd a good look at each wrestler and it made them look awesome.

So the match starts with Hercules and Haynes tying it up until Haynes takes over and power slams Hercules. Hercules then goes to the corner as Haynes tried to put an early full nelson on him, Hercules then clotheslines him after an Irish whip to the corner. Manu back and forth moments happened in this match with both wrestlers trying to lock the full nelson. Hercules then locks it in on Haynes who powers out of it. So we get to the end of the match where Billy Jack Haynes locks in the full nelson but Hercules made it to the rope. Both men get out of the ring and yet again Haynes locked in the Full Nelson outside of the ring and both men were counted out.

So the match ends in a Double Count out and Hayes decided to go after Bobby Heenan. So Hercules grabs the steel chain that he always brings during his entrance and hits Haynes in the head many times which would bust him open. Haynes bleeding was a solid visual but Hercules would finish him off by putting him into a full nelson.

I mean this was a decent match but it wasn’t that great of a match. But I love the Post Match as it made Hercules look strong and continue the feud. Well for a little while as Haynes would not last too long with WWE and would eventually be released in January of 1988.

My 5 Star Rating: (2/5)

Match #3: Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid and Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook

So keep in mind before we get to this match the rule here is that the smaller wrestlers have to face the smaller wrestlers  (Little Tokyo, Lord Littlebrook,Haiti Kid and Little Beaver) and the bigger wrestlers (Hillbilly Jim and King Kong Bundy) face to each other. If a small wrestler hits a big wrestler or either or they get Disqualified. Keep that in mind I am not done with it yet.

So for this match there is a guest announcer and it is Bob Uecker who was decent commentating in this matchup. But man what a fall from last year for King Kong Bundy here was a guy who main evented last year’s WrestleMania and took on Hulk Hogan the face of the company to in a comedy match with Hillbilly Jim. Went from being serious to being a comedic joke.

So remember when I mentioned that rule earlier of no Small vs Large wrestler in this match well. Little Beaver constantly gets involved and attacks King Kong Bundy many times. Uhh Ref your going to DQ him for that? No. Ok so Jim got the tag and both lockup which then resulted in a clothsline and elbow drop to bundy. So then came Bundy turn when he decodes to attack Beaver who constantly gets in his way. Bundy than slams Little beaaver and hits him with an elbow drop resulting in a DQ win for Hillbilly Jim. Oh now you have a DQ for the no small vs large wrestler fght.

By the way that Elbow Drop Bundy gave to Little Beaver was not supposed to happen. Bundy went off the script and elbow dropped Little Beaver. So Apparently the reason why he did this was that the other wrestlers (Little Tokyo, Lord Littlebrook, and Hati Kid) were late in stepping in to shield Beaver. So Bundy decided carried on dropping the elbow on a man one-eighth of his body weight. Want to know the worst part, that elbow drop ended Little Beaver’s wrestling career.

So I thought this match was just a bunch of nonsense. Terrible story, terrible booking and just a waste of time.

My 5 Star Rating: (0.5/5)

Match #4 Harley Race w/Bobby Heenan and The Fabulous Moolah defeated Junkyard Dog

Now whoever lost this matchup was forced to bow down to the opponent. Both men entered the ring and it was clear that Junkyard Dog was over by the crowd’s reaction. So the match is surprisingly a quick one but man Harley Race sold a lot in this match especially the flying headbutt from the apron of the ring to the outside of the ring which he misses. It looked too have hurt because of the way he landed. I saw it and I immediately said ouch. So Harley is back in the ring and continues to sell Junkyard Dog’s moves a lot. Junkyard dog is hitting Harley with his own version of headbutts until Bobby Heenan out of nowhere distracts him and Race is allowed to recover hit the belly to belly suplex and get the win at 4:22.

This was not a good match and I was not a fan of the finish. One move on Junkyard Dog and thats it. He goes down like that. In the post match Junkyard Dog bows to Harley and then hits him a few times with a chair. Definitely a down for me but the only saving grace here is the way Harley Race sold in this match.

My 5 Star Rating: (1/5)

So after the match came a promo from Hulk. he tells a story of many telling him that his latest motorcycle ride was his last ride. But he makes a great promo about Andre facing the truth of Hulkamaniacs and does a great job hyping the match later tonight.

Match #5 The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) w/Johnny Valiant and Dino Bravo vs The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond)

Not going to discuss much here as it was a 4 minute match that was boring. It was mainly focused on the Dream team as leading up to this event they were having issues. Dino Bravo made his return to the WWE and with a new look as he bleached his hair.. So the Rougeaus came into the ring and well it started off alright but then Beefcake hits Valentine by mistake so the Rougeau’s could take over until Dino Bravo interferes breaks the pin and helped Valentine get the win.

This was a throwaway nothing match. I did find it weird and a bit lazy how they supposedly turned Brutus Beefcake into a face. It just did not feel right at all. But Overall not impressed. By the way Bravo would take over Beefcake’s spot in the Dream Team and well it never really went anywhere. The team then later disbanded after a few months.

My 5 Star Rating: (0.5/5)

Match #6 Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart in a Hair vs Hair Match

A Hair vs Hair match is when a wrestler looses a match they have to get there hair shaved off. So the match starts and Piper immediately goes after Jimmy Hart but Adonis saves Hart. Piper than comes back in the match and adonis gives a tremendous bump after he was Irish Whipped to the corner. So Jimmy Hart tries to get involved and Piper punishes him bu throwing him to Adonis who once again takes a bump outside of the ring. I got to say Adrian Adonis is fantastic in this match and is selling Piper moves very well. So later in the match Jimmy Hart sprays perfume into Roddy piper’s face (That spray technique always makes me think of Rick Martel Arrogance’s but that will be talked about later). Adrian Adonis puts him in a sleeper on piper and the ref is doing the arm test to see if he lost consciousness. Piper arm was raised and dropped 2 times but 3 is needed in order to win. Adonis for some reason decides to let go of the hold thinking he won but obviously didn’t. Brutus Beefcake than comes out to help Piper wake up. When Piper is up he immediately goes after Adonis. Adrian misses a shears shot to the head of Piper and accidentally hits himself. Piper locks in the sleeper and he wins the matchup at 6:33. Boy Piper is still over with the crowd in this matchup as the crowd goes crazy in the end of the match and during adonis’s hair being cut by Beefcake which started his barber gimmick.

This was another great match. for both wrestlers where the right man won. This match was the birth of the barber gimmick for Brutus Beefcake. For a guy Adrian Adonis’s size he moves very well. I just wish the ending was a bit cleaner and better but its a nitpick. This would unfortunately be Adrian Adonis’s last appearance in WWE as he would leave for the AWA and NJPW. Unfortunately, Adrian Adonis would pass away on July 4th, 1988 after a terrible car accident that also kill 2 other wrestlers in the car.

My 5 Star Rating: (3.5/5)

Match #7 Danny Davis and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) w/Jimmy Hart vs Tito Santana and The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid)

Many wondered including myself why this match is a 6 man tag match. Well there are two reasons 1 being in Storyline and the other one in real life) In storyline Danny Davis’s gimmick was being a crooked referee rigging matches. His shenanigans led to the Bulldogs and Tito Santana loosing their respective titles. The Hart Foundation were the tag team champions i this match so story wise it makes sense. The real life reason why this was a 6 team match was well Dynamite Kid had a bad back injury and this injury changed the Dynamite Kid as he was never the same wrestler ever again.

In this matchup both Mary Hart and Bob Uecker are also on commentary as well in this matchup. I got to say again Bob Uecker was solid commentating in this matchup as well. Oh and I forgot to mention as well this was Danny Davis’s first match as a wrestler in the company

So every wrestler enters the ring. I legit was laughing when both Davey Boy Smith plus Dynamite Kid brought in there mascot bulldog Matilda to the ring and Matilda just chases Jimmy Hart in the ring. I don’t know why but I thought it was funny that Matilda immediately went after him. So Jesse Ventura leaves commentary and takes Matilda backstage so the match can start with Bret hart and Tito Santana. Santana after the match starts tags in Davey Boy who gives both members of the Hart Foundation a Double Noggin Knocker. So Davey tags Dynamite in and Dynamite gives a headbutt to Bret Hart. While watching Dynamite perform in this match I could immediately tell that his back is badly hurt. In fact the three heels even at one point all get offense on Dynamite and it shows how tough he was in the ring to take this punishment with a bad back. So we fast forward and once Tito gets tagged in and gets the team on track Davey is in the match and he hits a Tombstone Piledriver and then a running powerslam on Danny Davis. Then the End of the match happens where Jim Niedhart (Who interfered with pins way too many times in this match) a big brawl takes place and Danny Davis hits the Dynamite Kid with the megaphone and gets the pin at 8:52

This was another good match and Danny Davis looked pretty well. Dynamite did well even with the back injury. I love the story but I did not like how Danny Davis just pops up after taking all that big offense from Davey Boy Smith and gets the pin. I think it would have been a lot better if Danny Davis tags in Bret and in the whole brawl Danny Davis hots Dynamite with the megaphone and then Hart pins him. But overall I give it a thumbs up.

My 5 Star Rating: (3.5/5)

Match #8 Butch Reed w/Slick defeated Koko B. Ware

I am not going to go long with this matchup as this was a squash match to make Butch Reed look good. It might just be me but this match felt like a bathroom break for the fans in attendance. Butch Reed wins after catching Koko B Ware who tried a crossbody and pins him by holding the tights for leverage.

After the match Tito Santana comes out and saves Koko from a beatdown from Slick and Butch Reed. Honestly if this match was cut from WrestleMania not much would have been effected. This was a waste of time.

My 5 Star Rating: (1/5)

Match #9 Ricky Steamboat w/George Steele vs Randy Savage w/Miss Elizabeth for the Intercontinental Championship

So this match came to be in storyline Randy Savage crushed Ricky Steamboat’s neck against the barricade and using the ring bell as well. Steamboat once he came back from his injury wanted revenge for Savage crushing his throat. It is a simple yet great story to tell.

So both Macho Man and Ricky Steamboat both cut excellent promos. Savage best line in that promo is when he states that “History beckons the Macho Man…yeah!”. Oh its so great and this promo is one of the many examples why he is one of the best talkers ever. I love Steamboat in his promo saying that they have reached there moment. I also like that Steamboat had bought George Steele to ringside as Steele and Macho were still in a feud together.

So both are in the ring and you know what I am just going to say this now. This match stole the show. Steamboat does a fantastic job with hitting arm drags throughout this match. Savage does an excellent job working the crowd and taking shots to Steamboat’s neck trying to reinjure it. Steamboat takes over and starts working the arm. So Savage was trying to throw Steamboat over the top rope but Dragon decides to pull himself back into the ring (Skinning the cat) which is always impressive to see any wrestler do. Macho successfully then gets him out of the ring and his his ax handle out of the ring from the top rope. So later on in the match Steamboat is in the ring and he dives off the top rope. Then the ref takes a bump and gets knocked down. The ending of the match was when Savage hits the diving elbow and due to the ref being knocked out nobody was there to count it. So Savage grabs the ring bell to try and re-injure Steamboats neck. George Steele sees this and shoves him off the top rope. So both are back up and out of nowhere Steamboat hits a surprising small package pin and wins the matchup in 14:35.

This is an easy 5/5 rating as it is one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time. Both Macho and Ricky Steam boat were fantastic in this match.

My 5 Star Rating: (5/5)

Match #10 The Honky Tonk Man w/Jimmy Hart vs Jake Roberts w/ Alice Cooper

I got to say I love the Honkey Tonk Man’s attitre and gimmick as he is an Elvis Presley impersonator. I just think it was great gimmick that was perfectly made for a heel. This match starts of well but there were way too many times where Honkey just keeps avoiding the DDT in this match. Jake goes to work on him and throws a few punches into his trademarked clothesline. Honkey Counters and tries to hit his finisher The Shake Rattle and Roll but gets countered. In the end of the match the Honkey Tonk Man gets the win after Jake was distracted by Jimmy Hart while setting up the DDT and Honkey Tonk Steals one at 7:04.

This was a dissapointing matchup but the post match was cool to witness. BTW did you know Jimmy Hart actually got hurt post match as he had real life fear of snakes and suffered a really bad neck strain. The Post Match saved this from being a bad match.

My 5 Star Rating: (2/5)

Match #11 The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff w/Slick vs The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) 

So both Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik are in the middle of the ring where Volkoff is singing the Russian national anthem. Jim Duggan actually runs into the ring to stop this singing as his gimmick is a american patriot. By the way throughout this match garbage was just all over the ring and I am shocked that before this match started that they did not sweep the ring.

So the match begins and the the Killer bees go right to work countering their moves and hit a ton of tag team moves. Jim Brunzell took a chunk if the punishment throughout the match and even got a gutwrench suplexed by the Iron Sheik. So Volkoff distracts the ref and as a result misses the tag in so Jim Brunzell has to stay in the match. In the end of the match the Iron Sheik locks in the Camel Clutch and Jim Duggan decides to hit Sheik with a 2×4 resulting in a DQ win for Sheik and Volkoff at 5:44.

This was not a good match and It makes no sense why the Killer Bees are okay with Jim Duggan interfering in the match. Why are they also celebrating as well when they leave the match as they lost? This was just Jim Brunzell getting beat up. So this was more focused on Jim Duggan Debuting than on the match.

My 5 Star Rating: (1/5)

Match #12 Hulk Hogan vs André the Giant w/Bobby Heenan

So the entrances are here and man Hulk Hogan was so over the fans loved him. Andre enters and while the fans are booing it is clear that Andre is in a lot of pain right now. I feel so bad for him because his back is clearly in bad shape. By the way this match was hyped as the biggest main event in sports entertainment which it was by the fan reaction.

So the match starts with a stare off and Hogan fires punches and tries to slam Andre but fails to do so. Andre then goes to work on the back and slams him multiple times. Hogan then gets into the corner and Andre continues to work on him. Andre misses a headbut in the corner and Hogan escapes. Hogan actually stuns Andre in this match by punshing and choping him. Heck he even rams his head in the corner turnbuckle many times. Andre boots Hulk and puts him in a long bearhug.

So there out of the ring and Andre works on him and he attempts a headbutt and hits the ringpost on the outside. Hogan removes the padding on the outside of the ring exposing the floor. Hulk Hogan decides to try and give a piledriver to Hulk Hogan on the concrete floor. But my goodness I know Andre is injured but this has to be one of the worst backbody drops that I have ever seen. It was such a safe bump that it did not look great. So we get to the end of the match and Hogan actually clotheslines Andre the Giant which at the time was rarely seen. When Andre got up Hogan lifts him up and slams him. Hogan then hits the Leg Drop for the pin and Hulk Hogan retains at 12:01.

Now this was a great match but I would not give it a 5/5. Especially with that terrible backbody drop on the concrete/wooden floor which was just awful. But besides that the Match was really good and I gave an extra half star as Andre was injured in the match and he pulled through. But this was no question a legendary matchup and big one for the Hulkamania era.

My 5 Star Rating: (4.5/5)

Final Review of WrestleMania 3

Obviously this WrestleMania was a lot better than the 1st and 2nd edition. I loved many matches here including Steamboat/Macho, Adrian Adonis/Piper, Andre/Hulk, and many more. But there were negatives like the whole nonsense Bundy match, Butch Reed, and the Killer Bees Match. Commentary was good and I was happy with Bob Uecker as a guest commentator as well.

I am going to give WrestleMania 3 a B+

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