WrestleMania 3: The event that shook the world
Welcome to the next edition of our WrestleMania Rewind, where we take a look at the past editions of WrestleManias. I had already covered the past two WrestleManias, and if you haven’t seen them, you can do so here (WrestleMania 1) and here (WrestleMania 2). Today, I look back at possibly the WrestleMania that changed the wrestling business, and was hailed as the WrestleMania that revolutionized the industry. Today, we will go through WrestleMania 3.
WrestleMania has always been considered as the pinnacle, the grand daddy of Sports and Entertainment, and it is true in more ways than one. WrestleMania set the stage for globalizing the wrestling industry, and had transformed the concept of Pay Per Views in wrestling business. When Vince created the concept of WrestleMania, little would he had imagined that the PPV would take a life of its own, a legacy within itself. After the abysmal showing at WrestleMania 2, where it was an over kill, being done in three venues instead of one, we go back to our normal PPV mode, as WrestleMania 3 came to Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.
The main feud going into the event was touted as the biggest match of all time. The anticipation for the match proved it to be right. Hulk Hogan was in the midst of his dream run as the WWF Champion, taking on all comers and overcoming the odds everytime. He was good friends with Andre the Giant, who was still undefeated in the WWF. But Andre’s jealousy got the better of him, and he along with Hogan’s arch nemesis, Bobby Heenan, challenged Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania for the WWF Championship. And as the card stated, WrestleMania did get ‘Bigger, Better and Badder’.
The next big bout on the card was between Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat and ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Savage had viciously attacked Ricky and had injured him storyline wise. This resulted in Ricky returning and challenging Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania, and Savage had accepted the challenge. This WrestleMania has also set the record in United States (till 2010) to have pulled the biggest number in attendance (rumoured to be around 93, 173), although people have claimed it to be just a rumour, and the actual attendance to be around 78, 000. The revenue it generated was estimated to be around a staggering 10 million dollars, while the gates itself was around 1.6 million in ticket sales!
The show opened with Aretha Franklin singing ‘America the Beautiful’. Simply beautiful!
The Can–Am Connection (Ricky Martel and Tom Zenk) defeated Bob Orton and Magnificent Muraco
The opening bout of the evening saw the team of a Canadian and an American defeat the team of ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton and Muraco. The end came when Martel dropped Muraco with a cross body for the pin and the win.
Hercules (With Bobby Heenan) took on Billy Jack Haynes in the ‘Full Nelson Challenge’, which ended in a no contest
The background of the match was that the two specialists of the Full Nelson wanted to see who could do it better, and with Heenan being in Hercules corner, challenged Jack for a match at WrestleMania. During the match, both were counted out, and the end saw Hercules trapping Haynes in his Full Nelson.
HillBilly Jim, Haiti Kid and Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo
This match saw Jim with his midget team taking on Bundy with his own midget team (Your old specialty match). The end came when Bundy was disqualified for putting his hands on the opponent midgets (That wasn’t supposed to happen). *Yawn*.
‘King’ Harley Race (With Bobby Heenan) defeated JYD in a ‘Loser Must Bow’ match.
Harley, who had won the King of the Ring tournament, began making his opponents bow before him after he beat them. This led to JYD refusing to do it, and was settled in a match at WrestleMania, where the loser had to bow to the winner. During the match, JYD was distracted by Heenan, which led to Race taking advantage of it and beat JYD. After the match, as per the stipulation, JYD bowed his head a little before attacking Race with a chair, and then taking off with his robe.
The Dream Team (With Dino Bravo) defeated The Rougeau Brothers
Your typical tag team match. It centered around the animosity growing between Beefcake and Valentine. During the match, Beefcake accidentally hit Valentine, and before Raymond Rougeau took advantage of it, Dino assaulted him while the referee was distracted, enabling Valentine to pin him for the win.
Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis (With Jimmy Hart)
Background of the match was that when Piper took time off, Adonis took over his spot. This made Piper the fan favourite, as he wanted to get his talk show back. This led to their match at WrestleMania 3, which was billed as Piper’s retirement match, as he was leaving to make some movies. The match saw Piper beat Adonis with the help of Beefcake, and later cut his hair.
Danny Davis and Hart Foundation (With Jimmy Hart) defeated the British Bulldogs and Tito Santana
A basic 6 man tag. The end came when Danny hit Davey Smith with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone for the pin and the win for his team.
Butch Reed (With Slick) defeated Koko B. Ware
Reed made his PPV debut against Koko B. Ware and picked up the win with a roll up. Slick later tried to attack Koko, but Tito Santana came down for the rescue.
Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
One of the greatest WWE matches of all time took place at WrestleMania 3, with Ricky and Savage putting on the match of the night, and the match of the year. After 15 minutes of great action, Ricky rolled Savage for the pin and to win the WWF IC title.
The Honky Tonk Man (With Jimmy Hart) defeated Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts (With Alice Cooper)
THTM took on Jake for the next bout, and went on to win the match as Jimmy held on to Jake’s legs and THTM used the ropes as leverage.
Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff defeated the Killer Bees by disqualification
Before the match, Hacksaw came down as Volkoff was about to sing the Soviet National Anthem. During the match, when Sheik locked in his Camel Clutch, Jim interfered by attacking Sheik with his 2 x 4, thus getting them the victory.
Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant (With Bobby Heenan) for the WWF Championship
The match that was billed as the ‘Biggest match in Sports Entertainment’ followed up, as Andre took on Hogan in the main event of the night. Hogan went on to body slam Andre in what became one of the greatest moments in wrestling history, and covered him after his leg drop to retain his WWF title.
Analysis: *** (Out of 5 stars)
This WrestleMania marked the beginning of the boom of professional wrestling, with Hogan and Andre selling out the Silverdome. This PPV was also considered to be pivotal for the way the next editions of WrestleManias followed, with larger gates and revenues. All in all, it was a successful event, and one of the best WrestleManias of all time!
Join us tomorrow as we continue on our journey, till we reach the final week before this year’s mega event.
Read the rest of the WrestleMania rewind series here