SideShowBob: Why does this seem like the first real Wrestlemania as we know it? I think it’s because it took itself seriously. The names were by now familiar. The builds were far better, and are now available on the WWE Network. That shit alone is worth my $9.99/month (Seriously go watch the old shows). The visual of the arena is still awe inspiring. The matches weren’t great, the one obvious exception in Savage/Steamboat. It had the idea of the defining “Wrestlemania Moment” when Hogan slammed Andre. The rest of the card was what you could expect for its time – the tag teams were the workhorses of live shows. All in all, this is by far my favorite Wrestlemania for where I was at the time. This defined how a larger than life show should be done to me.
That said, Bundy is relegated to elbow dropping midgets, the Bulldogs and Tito lost to the Hart Foundation and Dangerous Danny Davis. Honkytonk beat Jake the Snake in a complete dud. Piper beat Adonis and didn’t retire, but we got They Live out of it. Brutus the Barber Beefcake was born. Butch Reed beat Koko B Ware. In a less recognized pop culture moment – This is when #THELEGEND Iron Sheik finally had that fucking jabroni Brian Blair Jim Brunzell in the #CAMELCLUTCH and was going to make him humble and fuck his ass in front of 93000 people until the Hacksaw run in and hit Sheikie with a cheap shot from the 2×4.. Yes THAT infamous rant was from this match and ironically it was Brunzell all along because Sheik threatened Blair. Also Hogan slammed Andre in THAT OTHER famous clip. Oh and yeah a returning Ricky Steamboat came back from his crushed larynx to face the dreaded Macho Man.
What this reminded me was how well a slow burn could work well when people give a shit about talent. Check out the SNME stuff and Prime Time shows from this era. Yes some of it is outright cheesy, but that was part of the charm. Check them out, check this out.
SIDESHOW’S SIDENOTE: My favorite band was/is Alice Cooper. My favorite series growing up was Friday the 13th. Favorite wrestler Jake the Snake Roberts. In what was my fandom’s perfect storm, Alice Cooper did several songs for Friday the 13th Part 6 on the Constrictor album AND was in Jake’s corner for this Wrestlemania all in a year. ’86-’87 was an awesome time my friends…
Kue: Third time around, and we start to see the traits that have come to define Wrestlemania take shape. The card itself is an improvement from the last two. Matches that stand out include Piper/Adonis, Harts/Bulldogs, and of course, the show stealer, Steamboat/Savage. I’d go so far as to say that match is definitely in the top five Mania matches of all time, if not in the top three.
The main event, while nothing technically spectacular, started two significant trends that are still strived for in contemporary Manias: the passing of the torch and the ever defining “Wrestlemania moment”. The bodyslam is still seen as the premiere of the latter mentioned trait.
In essence, Wrestlemania 3 had far more of a role in setting the stage for the significance and annual milestone event that is Wrestlemania today. And personally, it’s the ‘Mania that started making these events worth watching.
Joel:And just like that, WWF figures out how to actually put on an event. There’s a difference in saying that something is a big deal and actually acting like it’s a big deal. For the past two WrestleManias everybody on the show had been saying it was a big deal but besides the constant reminders, there was nothing about it that really felt like a big deal. This is where all of that changed. The crowd was a big help. It felt as if they were there for a purpose, not just because the wrestlers were in town on a convenient weekend. Added to that, the matches themselves felt more high profile. So much of the “big deal” that surrounded the first Wrestlemania was that the celebrities were in attendance, but this time it actually felt like the WWF was letting the actual wrestling and storylines be the most important part of the show. Also the tiny rings that people were carted in may look silly now, but they added to the pageantry of the event, something that the first two Manias were sorely missing.
Honestly what’s interesting is that there was a lot of WrestleMania III that was still pretty forgettable or just downright bad. The mixed tag team match is one that immediately comes to mind as a good example, but there is a reason that when people talk about how good Wrestlemania III was they are more than likely talking about one of two matches.
Obviously Steamboat/Savage is one of the greatest matches to be seen on any WWF/WWE event ever. That match had an effect on wrestling that in many ways can still be felt today. And while it’s a near perfect example of how the in ring work of a match should go, the same show has a near perfect example of how the build up to a main event should go. I see how the Main Events of WrestleMania I and 2 could be seen as the biggest match on the card, but Andre and Hogan is the first time there was a feud that felt so big that it could only be settled at WrestleMania. Even watching it again, it’s honestly surprising that Meltzer gave the match a negative four star rating. Yes what happened from bell to bell wasn’t all that impressive, especially considering it had to follow the IC title match, but the atmosphere surrounding the match was incredible, and nothing like it had happened up until that point. The match is one of the few times where the “unstoppable force meets immovable object” style of story actually felt believable and one of these men was going to have to achieve the impossible by the end of the show. That feeling of something huge, something monumental happening is an equally big part of WrestleMania and it worked perfectly for this main event.
Best WrestleMania so far: WrestleMania III no question.
Chris: And here’s where it mostly came together for WWF. Sure not everything is smooth about this one but they pulled off such a huge venue and had one of the greatest matches ever along with a main event that’s difficult not to get swept up in. Sure, the King Kong Bundy and the little people match was absurd and awful but man, the moment was great when Roddy Piper came down the aisle. It almost made me forget that he would eventually come out of retirement. There’s not a whole lot to be said about Steamboat/Savage that hasn’t been said a billion different times a billion different ways and same goes from Hulk/Andre. Hulk and Andre was such a great moment that it doesn’t even matter that the match itself was incredibly lackluster and it didn’t matter that Hulk had actually bodyslammed Andre a dozen times beforehand. It’s a marquee Wrestlemania that WWE has tried to duplicate for decades and it doesn’t always work for them but this one certainly did.
Tags: Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, ricky steamboat, Wrestlemania III