The NeelDown Video Review: WWF WrestleMania III

– I might as well of got to the biggest wrestling show ever sometime, but first …

– Firstly, I have a Puroresu review column up right here over at Puroresu Central, a great website owned by InsidePulse’s own Puro-expert Kevin Wilson. So go check that out, and then explore the rest of the site while you’re at it.

The NeelDown: WrestleMania III

– From the PACKED Pontiac Dome in Detroit, Michigan

– Hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura

The Can-Am Connection v. Magnificent Muraco & Bob Orton
I’m not even sure how this Muraco/Orton team came to be, but whatever. Zenk takes Muraco down with a shoulder to start and go to some double-teaming. Orton gains control and takes him down, as does Muraco. Martel gets the hot tag and the Can-Am Connection clean house. They deliver dropkicks to both guys, Orton’s sending him out of the ring, leaving Martel to crossbody Muraco for the win. Not much of a match here, just some good old faces v. heels action to get the crowd into things. *1/2
Winners: The Can-Am Connection

– Bobby Heenan wants Mene Gene to get it right, it is Billy JERK Haynes.

Hercules v. Billy Jack Haynes
Hercules attacks to start but misses an elbow and Haynes gives him a press slam. He tries the full nelson early but Hercules quickly slips out. Haynes chops away but falls victim to a STIFF clothesline out of the corner. Hercules stays in control with his stiff stuff and gets a suplex for two. Hercules adds a backbreaker and Gorilla says the name of the game is wit. Hercules locks in the full nelson. Haynes is almost out of it but he fights out in a stupid-looking seqeunce where Hercules actually isn’t even holding on to him and he’s fighting it. They collide with clotheslines and Haynes gets an atomic drop to finally make the comeback and then locks in the full nelson but Hercules makes the ropes and they fall to the outside, where Haynes locks it in again, and that draws a double count-out. Slow, slow, slow. 1/2*
Winners: (Draw)

Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid & Little Beaver v. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook
So each team has a pair of midgets and a hillbilly. I just love the comedic minds of wrestling writers, especially here during the heyday of midget wrestling. It’s kind of sad, if you think of the concept. Little Beaver and Little Tokyo go at it, as Monsoon adds there are “two of the best” in there. Bundy gets tagged in and Beaver dropkicks him to no avail, so he tags in Jim who takes him down with a clothesline and CRAZY ELBOW for two. A pile of midgets break up the pin. We see an empty arena clip of Jim saying Bundy won’t hurt his little buddies. Yeah, so I guess that is the storyline to this. Anyway, Bundy pounds on Jim in the corner and Beaver tries to get involved, but he gets slammed and elbowed, drawing a DQ on Bundy, so Jim’s squad wins. It was short and to the point, which is all I could ask for here. 1/4*
Winners: Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid & Little Beaver

Harley Race v. Junkyard Dog
Race punches him down to start and tries a headbut off the apron, but misses, in a weird spot since the camera missed it all and we just saw the rebound. But this is 1987, so I can let it slide. Back in Junkyard headbuts him down but due to some Heenan distraction Race gives him a belly to belly suplex for the win on a really ugly pin that looked like JYD nearly kicked out of. The stipulations here were that Moolah would crown the winner, and as she goes to crown the King, Dog attacks him and exits with the king attire in the mini-ring. Um … yeah. I guess the crowd liked the post-match stuff, but the match was short and pointless. -1/2*
Winner: Junkyard Dog

The Rougeau Brothers v. The Dream Team
The Rougeaus attack to start and get a double dropkick. Valentine gets tagged in and he gets leptfrog over twice and clotheslined for two. Jacques Rougeau (The Mountie) tries a high crossbody but Valentine dodges it and drops a few elbows then slams him down and tags in Beefcake who adds some knees and elbows and all that junk for two. Beefcake holds him up for an axe handle by Valentine and Valentine locks in the Figure Four. Jacques makes the ropes so Valentine tries a powerbomb, but that fails so he tries a sunset flip but gets punched. Hot tag to Raymond Rougeau who adds a backdrop and slaps on a sleeper. Beefcake breaks that up,

but hits Beefcake in the process and nail him with their double team shoulders finisher, pardon me but I don’t quite remember the name. The ref gets distracted, and Dino Bravo in his Canadian get-up, who had accompanied the Dream Team attacks the Rougeaus giving Valentine the pin. Nothing to see here. *1/2
Winners: The Dream Team

Adrian Adonis v. Roddy Piper – Hair v. Hair match
This is supposedly Piper’s “retirement match,” but we all know what relevance THAT has. Piper attacks with his belt to start but Adonis uses it himself. Piper sends him to the corner where he takes a WILD bump off the top and tumbles to the apron, which you usually wouldn’t see out of a man of his stature. Jimmy Hart tries getting involved, but Piper tosses him into Adonis. Piper beats down Hart again, for good measure, but Hart trips him up afterwards. Well, he should have been expecting it would come back to haunt him. That allows Adonis to rake the eyes and get a stiff clothesline. Piper pokes the eyes himself, but Adonis no-sells that and stomps him to the floor where Hart adds some cheap shots. Adonis adds some punches to dull things even worse. Piper gets caught in the ropes and Jimmy Hart sprays him in the eyes with something, allowing Adonis to lock in the sleeper. In an odd sequence, Piper seems to be out of it, but as the second arm drops Adonis accidentally lets go to celebrate with Hart and the clippers. Now Piper locks in his own sleeper and the crowd ERUPTS, and Adonis is out of it. Then Beefcake comes in to shave the hair of Adonis, which would spark his “barber” career. Bet you didn’t know that before you read this. I had heard rumors that in the sequence when they show Adonis his hair in a mirror he punches it and shouts “what the f*ck” loud enough to be heard on camera. Well, he does mutter some certain three words, but it is hard to make out what. Check it out yourself, if you’re fortunate enough to have a copy of this. I guess it was around **, but all it was worth was the shock value over the match quality.
Winner: Roddy Piper

The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana v. The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis
Danny Davis was the evil referee who screwed Santana out of the Intercontinental belt to Randy Savage. Brawl on the outside to start and Bret starts with Santana. They don’t do much, and now Anvil and Davey Boy go at it. Smith tags out to Dynamite who then quickly tags out to Santana in a useless sequence. Santana works on Anvil’s arm but gets leptfrog over and Davey Boy gets the tag who backdrops Anvil. Anvil acts like he’s begging off and attacks. Dynamite comes in, as does Bret, and Bret eats turnbuckle and a headbut for two. Dynamite tries a suplex but he gets illegally shot at and Anvil comes in to lock in a rear choke, then holds him in place for Bret to come in with a leg drop. Danny Davis comes in, punches Dynamite, and tags back out to Bret. Anvil comes in to continue working over Dynamite, who, yes Jesse, is NOT living up to his namesake! Davis comes back in and kicks the Kid in the gut twice before tagging back out to Bret. They try that again with Davis, but he gets caught and Santana gets the hot tag, and he beats the crap out of the evil referee that screwed him a year ago. Santana stops to dance and Anvil takes him out. Remember that Anvil has eyes like a HAWK on the apron. Davis takes more abuse via a piledriver by Davey Boy, a suplex, and the powerslam. Anvil breaks up that pin, as if it would have ended that way without giving Tito the pin. Big brawl ensues after that, and in the mist of the mess Davis wacks Davey Boy with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone to get the win. Good formula-based tag match. ***
Winners: The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis

– Might I add again that this crowd is FUCKING HUGE.

Koko B. Ware v. “The Natural” Butch Reed
Koko shows his quickness to start but the Natural goes downstairs and does some choking, but Koko gives him the flapping dropkick. Koko goes downstairs, which “may be the weak spot of the Natural” adds Monsoon. Koko rallies a comeback and gets another flapping dropkick for two. Reed rakes the eyes again, but Koko schoolboys him for two. Koko gets a crossbody but Reed rolls through and gets the pin. Short and quick glorified squash. *, Santana comes out and attacks Slick afterwards, who runs to the back getting pelted with what looks like orange peels.
Winner: “The Natural” Butch Reed

Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat – Intercontinental Championship
Since you’re reading a wrestling column right now, you should know about this match. This was the match that made Chris Jericho want to be a wrestler, and really, is the one of the true pinnacles of professional wrestling. This match is more worth seeing the event than Hogan’s slam, truth be told, and that’s reason enough, really. Steamboat intimidates him with hip tosses to start. Savage bails, but comes back in with a clothesline for two. Savage does some quick choking but misses a charge and Steamboat takes him over in a wristlock working the shoulder. He drapes the arm over the top rope and follows with some punches to it and back to the armwringer. Savage tosses him where Steamboat does some great “lay still” selling that catches George Steel’s eye. Steamboat tries coming back in but gets stomped to the floor. Back in Savage headbuts him down and drops a knee for two. Steamboat turns the tide for a bit and gets a crossbody for two and then back to the armdrag takedown and shoulder takedown for two. Feel the SPEED. Savage gets a high knee from behind and tosses Dragon where the Animal gives him a bearhug. Savage gives him a double axe handle from the top to the outside. Back inside Steamboat gets a leg tackle but Savage takes him down quickly for two. Savage gets a clothesline with such force that he slides out, but comes back in to make the pin for two. These near-fall quick speed sequences are what makes this match so legendary. A Savage suplex gets two. Steamboat tries chopping back into it but Savage thumbs the eye and gets a gutwrench suplex for two. Steamboat slips out of a backdrop suplex but falls victim to a bending knee. However he regroups and backdrops Savage to the floor in the knick of time. Steamboat goes up and gets a clothesline for two but Savage breaks up the pin via the ropes. The first good call of the night by Hebner, as Jesse Ventura might and did add. Steamboat gets a sunset flip coming from the apron for two. Schoolboy gets two. Jackknife pin gets two. GETS TWO! Small package gets two! After the crucifix there I think they officially tried every pin in the book, which just gives it a special feel in itself, rightfully. Steamboat scoops and slams then adds a slingshot and Savage gets caught in the corner, but falls out into a sunset flip by Steamboat that gets two. Crucifix pin gets two. Savage reverses it and grabs the tights FOR TWO. Savage sends him to the corner where he takes a post bump and Steamboat accidentally bumps into Hebner then turns into a Savage clothesline. Savage gets the elbow but no ref of course. Savage gets the bell and goes up top but the Animal shoves him off. Savage tries a powerslam but Steamboat reverses it and cradles him for the pin and the IC title, and the crowd goes into a FRENZY. Truly legendary, one of the greatest matches of all-time, and if you don’t agree with the rating, well, you shouldn’t be here. *****
Winner: Ricky Steamboat

Jake Roberts v. The Honky Tonk Man
We go outside and in for some Roberts brawling and he works the arm, then RIDS HIM OF THE ELVIS COSTUME! Good Lord. Honky tries playing cat and mouse but ends up getting caught, scooped, snd slammed. Roberts stays in control back inside but Honky escapes a DDT and takes him to the floor where he sends him to the rail. Honky tries to not let him back in, but that fails, and he gets the fist drop. Roberts evades the Shake, Rattle N’ Roll via backdrop and attempts the DDT, but Jimmy Hart grabs his leg. He goes after Hart, and Honky rolls him up for the big upset. Match was nothing really, except the upset highlighted it being special. *
Winner: The Honkey Tonk Man

The Killer Bees v. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
But FIRST, Jim Duggan debuts by interrupting the singing of the Russian national anthem. The heels jump then to start and that lasts for a little bit, but things slow down with Sheik getting isolated in the corner of the Bees. Bruznell gets the high dropkick on Sheik. Volkoff eventually gets the tag and they trade isolating Bruznell, at one point via a bearhug. Bruznell gets the tag but the ref doesn’t see it. Sheik would go on to lock Bruznell in the Cobra Clutch, but Duggan runs back out and wacks him with the 2×4 drawing the DQ. Not too bad, but the whole thing was just to showcase Duggan, so bleh. **1/2
Winners: (DQ)

– The Hogan/Andre hype promos take up a LONG portion next.

Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant – WWF Championship
Kayfabe would lead you to believe that this is the first encounter between these two, but technically it isn’t. I have nothing else witty to start you with here. Ventura calls this one the “biggest match in professional wrestling history.” Andre’s heat is UNREAL as he comes out to the biggest, loudest array of BOO’s I’ve ever witnessed. We start off with the historic, colossal staredown to start, which progresses into a shovefest. Hogan tries an early slam but Andre falls on top for a close two. Bobby Heenan thinks differently, however. That would injure Hogan’s back, letting Andre see an opening, I guess. So he slams Hogan down a few times, then it’s to the floor where Hogan meets post. Hogan tries to rally a comeback with punches and chops but a charge meets Andre’s size 19’s. Andre then locks in the BEARHUG OF DOOM, which lasts a while, but the crowd knows they are just waiting for the comeback, so it doesn’t really matter. Hogan shoulders out of it but is met with the overhand chop. They go outside where Andre tries a headbut but smacks his head on the post. Hulk exposes the floor by pulling up the floor mat and tries to piledrive Andre onto it, but obviously that fails and Andre does the logical backdrop counter out of it. Back inside Hulk is finally able to take Andre down, then, in the pinnacle and most famous event ever in wrestling, Hogan SLAMS Andre down and follows with the LEGDROP OF DEATH for the pin on the Giant, and he retains his WWF title. Without a doubt this was the biggest match in wrestling history, and while quality-wise this was somewhere in the 1/2* to * range, it would have easily been ***** in historic value. As it stands, I’ll combine the two and go with ***, depending on the way you look at the match it could go lower or higher.
Winner: Hulk Hogan

End of show.