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  #11  
Old 03-14-2009, 12:10 PM
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A great thread indeed.

I felt WrestleMania II was taking risks by being held in 3 different locations, but it didnt hurt ticket sales and it gave it a "country-wide" appeal, but it definatly was an odd concept. Anyhow, the matches that stick out to me would be the main event of course, the battle royal that took place between WWF/NFL stars and the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship match between Savage/Steele. But again, this even kind of suffered from a house show appeal at the time, but that would fade with WrestleMania III, but I did feel WM2 was a better attempt than WM1.

The image that everyone will always remember from this event was the shot of Hogan standing on top of the cage before the match and tearing his shirt off, classic stuff.
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  #12  
Old 03-14-2009, 03:57 PM
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Wrestlemania 3
Date: March 29, 1987
Location: Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (Detroit), Michigan
Attendance: 93,173
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
America The Beautiful: Aretha Franklin

Now we hit the big time. This is the first time when Wrestlemania was built up as the mega event and also it’s the first time we get a few Mania traditions. For one thing, it’s the first time we get the huge main event. While the tag match and Hogan/Bundy were big matches, to say they were nothing compared to Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant is the understatement of the century.

It was also the first time we had a Mania that featured a really big midcard match in the form of what might be the greatest wrestling match of all time. There was far more backstory to these matches this time which is always a good thing as it causes far less filler. It can easily be argued that this right here is the true birth of Wrestlemania as we know it.

Can-Am Connection vs. Bob Orton/Don Muraco

That being said, let’s get to the first contest! Shockingly enough, it’s kind of a filler, but at the same time it really doesn’t feel like one. We have the short lived tag team known as the Can-Am Connection (Tom “Z-Man” Zenk and Rick Martel) against Bob Orton and Don Muraco, managed by Mr. Fuji. Now the CAC was an interesting team. They were kind of the Rockers before the Rockers.

Both were young, in shape, handsome, and fast paced workers. They were in line to be the face challengers to the Hart Foundation but Zenk left after a strange argument that we’re still unclear on and Martel was paired up with Tito Santana to form one of my all time favorite tag teams in Strike Force, who went on to beat the Harts for the belts.

But anyway onto the match. Yet again, about as basic a tag match as you can get with speed against power and that’s a combination that rarely fails. This is tag team wrestling 101 and it’s done about as well as you could ask for in a situation like this.

CAC plays the role of the young kids that aren’t that experienced against two veterans getting their first shot on the big stage to perfection. Orton gets his arm worked on and completely no sells it less than a minute later which just made me shake my head. This match boarders on a squash as the CAC are really never in trouble at all and win with a cross body on Muraco.

Rating: B+. The lack of selling by Orton and the absolute dominance by the CAC keep this from being a great match but for a warm up match for Wrestlemania that was designed to get the crowd into the show, this was done perfectly. I think I voted for this as best Mania opener ever, which I still think isn't a stretch.

Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes

Next up we have Hercules against Billy Jack Haynes in a battle of the full nelsons. Simple story here: two powerhouses that both use the full nelson. A few weeks prior to this, Haynes had offered to let Hercules put the hold on him to see if he could break it. Hercules, a heel, attacked him and knocked him out with the hold, leading to this match at Mania.

The match starts off pretty fast with some hard hitting shots. Hercules takes over and all this seems to be about is getting the full nelson on the other. It’s really just a brawl which is fine as they keep it relatively short here. It’s always fun to see two big strong guys hammering on each other. Hercules has the pin and pulls him up which leads to the comeback.

Hercules gets the hold on first but it’s not on full which lets Haynes get up. Haynes eventually gets his nelson on but Hercules launches both of them to the floor where Haynes gets the hold again but we get a double count out. Haynes chases Heenan and Hercules blasts Haynes with the chain and Haynes is busted open really deep sending blood everywhere.

Rating: C-. Decent match between two brawlers that was given the right amount of time. It wasn’t supposed to be a classic and it wasn’t. This match was all about a single hold and that’s what ended the match. Went as well as it could have so it gets a decent grade.

King Kong Bundy/Lord Littlebrook/Little Tokyo vs. Hillbilly Jim/Little Beaver/Haiti Kid

There’s little story to this if any and why midget wrestlers are involved is beyond me. Bob Uecker is on commentary which is good as he’s fairly funny for someone that has no wrestling experience. The rules are simple here: big vs. big and small vs. small.

This match if nothing else proves that Bundy against Hogan was thrown together because there was nothing left. He goes from main eventing Wrestlemania to this? WOW. This is pretty short with the midgets doing most of the work. I get the idea here is that they're supposed to be professionals and interesting but how can you argue that they're anything but a novelty?

They go back and forth with Uecker giving some funny commentary. I'm not a fan of these kind of matches at all. They fill time here which isn't saying much until Bundy is tagged in. Hillbilly gets beaten down by him and then Bundy slams and elbows one of the midgets causing a DQ. Hillbilly carries him to the back in what is a far cry from Superman carrying Supergirl but I'll take what I can get I guess.

Rating: F. Seriously, what were they thinking here? This match managed to get a few minutes on the biggest show of all time. I guess you could call this the final remnant of the old days when midget matches were popular, but I'm still not getting the point of this. Nothing match and a total filler if there ever was one. And again, how did Bundy fall so far in a year?

Elizabeth Promo. This doesn’t happen as Macho comes in and says he’ll answer any questions the interviewer has. The interview never happens as Macho sends Liz away.

Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race

Limited story here. Race was the King of the WWF at the time and on a SNME he had faced the JYD. JYD had said he wouldn’t bow to anyone and after Race had knocked him down he tried to force JYD’s head down to bow. The loser here has to bow to the winner. Race stalls like the true old school master that he is. Heenan gets involved and there goes Dog after him.

Naturally this fails him completely but since Dog has a very hard head most of Race's shots have little to no effect. Race goes for a headbutt on the floor and Dog moves so Race rams his face into the floor. That can't be nice at all. Gorilla and Jesse argue about managers which is always entertaining. You could tell there was a lot of respect between them.

Abdominal stretch goes on and Gorilla of course complains about it. Did he ever not complain about that hold? Race goes for a headbutt and nearly knocks himself unconscious in the process. Nice job there champ. On all fours now, which Gorilla says is Dog's favorite position. Heenan gets up on the apron and allows Race to recover and catch a belly to belly to win it.

Rating: D+. Nothing special at all here as it was another four minute match. The right guy won though as Race was far better as far as wrestling talent went but it was surprising to see a guy like Dog, who was very popular, losing like this mostly clean. This was fine I guess.

Post match Dog bows but then pops Race with the chair and steals the crown and robe like a true jerk.

We hear from Hulk Hogan in one of the best cocaine induced promos ever. Seriously, if anyone believes that these Hogan promos aren’t drug induced then they’re far beyond what I can help. Hulk apparently thinks today is a big deal.

Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team

Before we get a really weird promo from Johnny V and Dino Bravo on the Rougeaus. Johnny V is nuts but I like him. On with the match. The Dream Team is Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake if you were wondering. The key to this match is the Dream Team arguing for the entire match for no good reason.

Brutus tried to break up a sleeper but hit Valentine by mistake. Rougeaus hit their finisher but Bravo comes in, hits one of them and puts Valentine on Rougeau. The other three then leave Brutus in the ring, signaling the start of his face turn that lasted until 1994.

Rating: D+. Didn't do much as it was more for the angle than the match obviously. Not a bad match at all, but nothing mind blowing. This was another way too quick match that I couldn't get into due to simply being too short. Also the Dream Team is worthy of a major blowoff like this? Really? Pretty weak little match but technically pretty ok.

Adrian Adonis vs. Roddy Piper

Now we get to another of the famous matches here in Roddy Piper’s retirement match which has become a running joke in wrestling. The idea is that Piper went down with an injury and when he came back, Adonis had taken over Piper’s Pit and turned it into the Flower Shop.

They beat on each other for awhile until Piper thought he was an actor because of They Live (I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum) so he decided to retire. Since then he’s wrestled on and off for over 20 years. A key to this match is both men use the sleeper hold as their finisher. The loser is going to get a haircut apparently.

Adrian is in his most famous gimmick here so Piper, being the MAN'S MAN that he is, hated him. There was a lot more homophobia in wrestling back then, at least in kayfabe. Well not really as any character like that is treated oddly. Those ring carts are still sweet stuff. Adonis says he'll win. Piper busts out a belt and wipes out Adrian with it before taking a few shots of his own.

Hart gets involved a few times as this is little more than a comedy match for the most part. He finally gets something right though as he pulls Piper's leg to give Adonis the advantage. Piper gets sent into the table and it's all Adonis here. Back in the ring now with Piper saying bring it on.

Jimmy sprays perfume in Piper's eyes and Adrian gets Good Night Irene, his sleeper finisher, and Piper goes down fast. He drops twice but Adrian lets go before the third drop, thinking he's won. Brutus Beefcake runs down to wake Piper up (Adrian had accidentally cut Beefcake's hair recently so it makes sense) and Piper gets his own sleeper to end this.

Rating: C+. It’s a standard Piper match which is always fun. This was just a comedy match but at the end of the day piper's career was never about what he did in the ring so how can I really complain here? This was no classic or anything but it was fine and the fans cheered a lot because of it. PIper didn't wrestle again for over two years so Piper lived up to his word for a good while at least.

Post match Beefcake cuts Adonis' hair. A fan runs in as he leaves.

Hart Foundation/Danny Davis vs. Tito Santana/British Bulldogs

This match is pretty much all backstory. Danny Davis used to be a referee but he would cheat for the heels. He cheated Tito out of the IC Title and gave it to Macho Man and cheated the Bulldogs out of the tag titles and handed them to the Harts. He was banned “for life plus ten years”, which lasted about a year or so and he was back again as a referee. The idea here is that he’s completely inept at wrestling and all of his opponents want to kill him and Jimmy Hart, including the Bulldogs’ bulldog Matilda.

Davis will run in and kick someone maybe twice and then bail, more or less making this a 3 on 2 handicap. Hearing the commentators sing Bret’s praises is nothing but amazing as his singles push wasn’t coming for at least another year and a half and his real singles push was almost 3 years away. The kid really had talent and you can see it here.

Before the match Jesse went down to ringside to be introduced to the crowd so we have Gorilla, Bob Uecker and the host of Entertainment Tonight so the commentary is just bad right now. Uecker has some good one liners but the woman is just mindblowingly annoying. Davis misses a splash letting Tito get tagged in and he nearly kills Davis. The faces alternate with just beating the living fuck out of him including a tombstone from Davey which was just odd to see for some reason.

The ending of the match was just awful though. Davis gets the hell beaten out of him taking all three of the faces’ finishers with the last being the powerslam. Bret breaks up the pin, and less than 10 seconds after getting powerslammed, Davis gets the megaphone tossed to him and drills Davey with it for the pin.

Rating: C. The ending was just horrible to me as Davis, a referee, no sells a tombstone, the forearm and the powerslam? With guys like the Bulldogs, Santana and Hart in there, this should have been great. At best it was ok and the ending lost that for them.

Heenan and Andre do a promo here with Andre looking absolutely creepy by not moving an inch. Weirdest part of this interview: Heenan is at least 4 inches taller than Okerlund.

Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware

Remember how I said there was less filler on this show? This is some of that filler. There’s no reason at all here for this match other than to let Reed get a squash here and then the post match attack. The best part of the pre match stuff is a shot of Jesse and Gorilla in the broadcast booth which is at least a few hundred feet away from the ring with Jesse showing off his Wrestlemania 3 t-shirt.

As he shows it off he starts showing off his bicep and the way he talks about it is just funny. Anyway, on with this waste of time. If there has ever been a match of a weird combination this is it. Koko is the epitome of a jobber. What did he ever win in his whole career? Reed on the other hand is a great example of someone that had it all but never could put it together. He was even lined up to be a member of the Horsemen.

He had the look, the name, the power, everything you could want but he never could put it all together and I’ve never been sure why. Anyway, this is a pretty bland match as Reed reverses a bad cross body and uses the tights to win. After the match Slick beats up Koko with the cane until Tito runs out and beats up Slick for some reason and rips up his suit.

Rating: N/A. This match was a bad squash. It had no point and the match was just boring. Easily the worst match on the show.

Savage rants about how he's going to end this tonight.

Steamboat says the Dragon is going to scorch Savage's back.

Intercontinental Title: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat

I think I now know why the previous match was in the place it was. There’s nothing I can really say about this match that hasn’t already been said. In case you don’t know the backstory, here it is. About 3 months before Savage had been defending the title against Steamboat and during the match had put Steamboat’s throat over the guard rail, went up top and landed a double axe handle, driving him throat first into the rail.

Steamboat had a crushed larynx and allegedly his career was over. Savage had a match on Superstars and Steamboat’s music hit and the crowd went insane. Epic staredown ensues and the match was made for Mania. Between then and Mania, George Steele kidnaps Liz to continue their year long feud so Steele was in Steamboat’s corner.

Savage can't keep up with him to start and Steamboat dominates with armdrags and then a big old choke. Steamboat works the arm and Savage is in trouble early. Savage throws him to the floor though and now it's Ricky in trouble. Very nice back and forth stuff to start. Savage goes for the throat which is the part of Steamboat that he hurt earlier so there's your reasoning.

They keep going back and forth with Steamboat hammering away to get Savage caught in the ropes. They're moving rather fast out there and Dragon keeps throwing out that armdrag. Ton of near falls in a row for both guys. Dragon Skins the Cat but gets knocked back to the floor. Savage hits a knee to the back of Steamboat to send him over the table and into the crowd.

Jesse yells at Gorilla for saying Steele helping Steamboat back in is cheating and calls Gorilla out of being hypocritical when another heel manager helped his guy back in early. Double axe to the back of the head of Steamboat on the floor and the count is on. Gorilla wants Savage disqualified for some weird clothesline thing. That was odd.

Savage gets a gutwrench suplex for two. Here comes Steamboat again though and he sends Savage over the top with a beautiful bump to the floor. He jumps OVER the referee to hit a big chop on Savage for two. They crank it up again for more near falls all over the place. Savage eats post on a slingshot and that only gets two. He manages to grab Steamboat and send him into the post shoulder first.

And there goes the referee. Savage gets the elbow but there's no referee for the count. Randy goes out to get his trust bell but Steele shoves him off the top and his head cracks into the bell. Both guys are down though. Savage picks him up and in the famous ending, Steamboat rolls through into a small package for the pin and the title to blow the roof off the place.

Rating: A+. As I said before, likely the greatest match of all time. Nothing but an A+ the whole way with these two beating the living hell out of each other and never slowing down a bit. Apparently all of these spots were planned out months in advance in Savage's house in Florida which worked very well as there are zero bad spots here that I can think of. Excellent match and something everyone should see at least once if not more than once.

Jake Roberts vs. The Honky Tonk Man

This all started on Jake’s interview segment the Snake Pit where Honky hit him with a real guitar. See today, the guitars Jeff Jarrett uses are fake. They’re made to explode the way they do. The one Honky used was a real one and didn’t break.

Some of the material legitimately got stuck in Jake’s neck and allegedly that’s what got him addicted to alcohol and drugs to alleviate the pain. Believe that if you want to. Anyway, that more or less started Jake’s face turn and for God knows what reason, rocker Alice Cooper is in Jake’s corner. Also factor in that Jimmy Hart is deathly afraid of snakes.

There’s really not much here. It’s about 7 minutes long so it gets some time but Honky really hadn’t established the character that made him legendary yet, so this isn’t what you’d expect. It’s a very slow paced match that was I think designed to give the people a breather after the IC Title match. They go back and forth for awhile but Jake goes for the DDT and Jimmy grabs his foot. Honky rolls him up and grabs the rope for the pin. After the match, Jake and Alice torment Jimmy with the snake to end things.

Rating: C. It’s nothing special and is little more than a breather for the fans between the two mega matches. This was allegedly a double turn according to some people but that is just stupid as both guys already were in their more famous roles. This was a pretty ok match but dude, they're following Savage vs. Steamboat. Like anyone cares about what happened here.

We get Gene Okerlund to announce the world attendance record of 93,173. No matter what you think of the show, that’s freaking amazing. This also gets you the beginning of the long running joke with Jesse and Gorilla of Jesse wondering whether or not he and Gorilla are counted in that.

Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs. Killer Bees

More or less the same review of the previous match but in tag team version. This is another filler to bridge the gap between the two big matches. As Volkoff is singing, Jim Duggan runs out with the 2x4 and stops the song. This is a really dull match with the Bees using fast moves against both big guys but eventually getting caught.

Duggan is on the floor playing cheerleader throughout the whole thing. Duggan starts chasing Volkoff for some reason while Sheik has one of the Bees in the camel clutch. They go into the ring and Duggan looks at Sheik and for no reason at all, blasts him over the back with the board. Even the commentators are at a loss for why he hit him. It just made absolutely no sense at all.

Rating: D. This match was boring as hell and the ending made less sense than an Iron Sheik promo. Again this was just filler and a way to get the crowd all fired up for that whole biggest match of all time thing coming after it. There was very little thought in this one as the buildup was weak on Superstars. All that being said though as I said in the previous rating, dude they're right before Hogan vs. Andre.

World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

This match has been called the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling and that very well may be true. It was the first true super main event in Wrestlemania history. Here’s the story: Hogan and Andre used to be friends and even tag partners. They celebrated together when Hogan won the belt over 3 years ago. Hogan ran in to save Andre a few times from being beaten up by Bundy and Studd.

Fast forward a year and Hogan is being given a trophy for being World Champion for three years. Andre is given a slightly smaller trophy for not losing a match in 15 years. He looks at the trophies and just walks away. A few weeks later, they have a face to face interview on Piper’s Pit. Andre tilts Hogan’s head up at him and says “Look at me when I’m talking to you. I’m here for one reason: to challenge you for a world championship match at Wrestlemania.”

Hogan is stunned and says he can’t do it. Andre grabs Hogan’s shirt and the cross he wears and rips them off, stunning Hogan. Piper asks him if he’ll fight him and Hogan screams YES!!! You really have to understand how big this was at the time. Andre was like Taker as far as mystique goes, but 10x moreso. This would be like Hulk Hogan coming back today and challenging John Cena to a match.

Hogan cuts one of the most famous promos of his career before the match, saying that the world is going to fall at his feet after the match. Hogan always had that little hint at implying he was God in his promos but never flat out said it.

Andre comes out and the booing is mindblowing. In something that I find funny, he waves to the fans on the way down to ringside. Jesse gives the tale of the tape, which is all of Andre and Hogan’s measurements, showing that as big as Hogan is, Andre is so much bigger. Bob Uecker is the guest announcer and after introducing Andre, says three simple words: and, his opponent. After that, the fans just lose it. Hogan’s music hits and nothing else matters at all.

Gorilla puts it best by saying “The roof of the Silverdome is about to explode here!” In a great camera shot, you get a wide angle shot of the arena with the spotlight on Hogan which really shows how this whole show has been building to this one moment. Hogan gets in the ring and it’s on. I won’t go into detail here either as I’m sure you’ve all seen this at one time or another. Every word of commentary is famous here as I can almost quote the whole match to you.

Within 15 seconds, Hogan goes for a slam and we nearly get a pin. That is a point that is used for over a year as Hogan might not have gotten his shoulder up in time. The way the camera is set up you really can’t tell if he did or not. This was something that a lot of people, Hulk included, were worried about going into this match. See, today in wrestling, no one would ever change the ending to a match. In this case, Andre had agreed to lose.

The problem that Hogan had was if he did a single thing during the match to offend Andre, Andre would pin him and there wasn’t a damn thing Hogan could do if Andre chose to do that. That’s how big and strong Andre truly was. There wasn’t a man in wrestling that could legitimately beat him in a real fight at the time.

He easily could have turned it into a shoot and annihilated Hogan. That’s where the controversy came from: when Andre landed on Hogan, Hogan literally couldn’t kick out. Andre shifted his weight at the last second and Hogan got a shoulder up just in time, but it was so close that it looked like the match lasted 15 seconds.

The in ring work here is really pretty bad, but no one cared. This match was all about the meaning of what was going on and the truly epic nature of the match. No one really knew who was going to win here and it was a legitimate possibility that Hogan would lose. Andre more or less beats the living fuck out of Hogan the whole match until the very end. Hogan gets some shots in here and there that do some damage and Andre is clearly worn out at the end of it.

The crowd is almost stunned that Hogan is being dominated. They brawl on the floor for a bit and then head back into the ring. Andre misses a boot and Hogan clotheslines him, knocking him down. The fans go insane at the sight of this. Hulk Hulks Up and he has the crowd in the palm of his hand at this point. In what might be the most mous scene in the history of wrestling, Hogan slams Andre in a completely unplanned spot.

Even the commentators are in awe at this point as Hogan drops the leg and wins the match. Andre was so bit at the time that Hogan ripped his ab muscles to pieces slamming him and was out for a few months. The music plays and Heenan and Andre get into the cart that takes them to the back as Heenan has his head in his hands, wondering what just happened. Hogan poses as we close the show with the fans absolutely going nuts.

Rating: A. The match itself is pretty bad but the historical significance is second to absolutely nothing. Now I've seen a lot of people (including his majesty Mr. Meltzer) say this was a horrible match and all that jazz. In short: SCREW YOU ALL. Get the damn sticks out of your asses and have some damn fun for once. If you don't get chills watching the staredown and the slam, then go watch something else.

You have Hogan and Andre who can barely move at all. What are they supposed to do out there? The entire idea here was to have a major showdown and that's exactly what they did. THis match was epic, still is epic and will always be epic. Anyone that says this wasn't a great match that did exactly what it was supposed to do is a fool, and i don't care who I have to argue this with.

Overall Rating: B+. I went back and forth between B+ and A- here. This is the first truly historic Wrestlemania and the first to truly be the spectacle that is has become today. Easily the two biggest matches are the singles title matches that are still incredibly famous today. There’s far less filler than before and the matches have much more solid stories to them.

This show is more famous for its historical aspect than the in ring stuff and that’s just fine. It’s not the best Mania of all time, but it’s up there. Definite recommendation to see this if you never have, or if you just haven’t watched it in awhile, if nothing else just for the history lesson
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  #13  
Old 03-14-2009, 11:33 PM
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Norcal is right. The sight of Hogan coming into the Silverdome with the long walk down the aisle and the spotlight on him is absolutely amazing. The fans had been waiting all night long for one single moment and this was it. Andre and Hogan looked like good versus evil and it came off perfectly. Nothing else mattered at that moment and the match came off as well as it could have. Absolutely sweet show and amazing moment.
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  #14  
Old 03-14-2009, 11:34 PM
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WM3 was ridiculous. From the amazing size of the crowd, to the epic showdown, THIS is what wrestlemania is all about. Never after have we seen a showdown of this magnitude, although I personally feel it could be argued that Ultimate Warrior Vs Hulkster in front of 68 thousand at the SkyDome could be argued as equal. Regardless. There is just no way to describe Hulk Hogans entrance, how load and chaotic it was. Hulkamania running wild by the strength of very nearly 100,000 people.

The staredown at the beginning of that match was the stuff legends are made of. truly cinematic. Awesome.
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:50 PM
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Mania III definitely stood apart from I and II. Mania I was cramped and tight around the ring, much like a traditional boxing match. I found this to be very distracting from the in-ring stuff. Mania II was just kind of a chaos...essentially Wrestlemania I in 3 different locations. It was definitely a crazy idea, but I think it took away from the event. Mania III, however, indeed was the beginning of Wrestlemania as we know it today. The attendance record itself shows the direction that the WWF was taking with the show...in that it was to be far more than just an ordinary wrestling show. It was a wrestling show combined with an awards ceremony and the Super Bowl.
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Old 03-15-2009, 08:05 AM
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This is the WrestleMania that put the world on it's ear, and from coast to coast and all over the world all eyes were on the main event. I remember I was 9 at the time I believe, and I can remember adults, kids and teenagers all over the place were talking about who was going to win and apparently there were even bookies taking bets on the title match according to my dad. It was really big stuff at the time. I watched it live with my parents and I remember being crushed when Steamboat beat Macho Man because Randy Savage was my favorite wrestler at the time, but looking back it's not so bad now and it was a classic bout. I loved the fact that there was so many people there and the card was like 16 or 17 matches, thats what a WrestleMania should be about, showcasing matches and doing it in front of a massive live audience. This was wrestling gold people.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:25 PM
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Wrestlemania 4
Date: March 27, 1988
Location: Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Attendance: 18,165
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
America The Beautiful: Gladys Knight

This show was in a way a turning point and in a way a step backwards for the WWF. There was no way that Wrestlemania 3 was going to be topped. The problem was, after Hogan had beaten Andre the previous year, there was no one left to challenge him that would be seen as a legitimate contender. The only option was a rematch with Hogan and Andre, but Andre was hurting badly here and would need time off after the match.

Also, the title had to be taken off of Hogan for awhile to refresh his character. Now this whole show is based around one incident that took place two days after I was born on a live broadcast called The Main Event. After everyone had seen Hogan allegedly get pinned the previous year, we all needed a rematch. In between there was a new PPV developed called the Survivor Series that was established solely to continue Hogan and Andre’s feud. Now that is a sign of a huge feud.

So, on February 5, 1988, we got one. Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant for the World’s Heavyweight Championship on free television. You may hear about Raw getting a 4.3 and it being huge. This show got a 15.8. That is a record that has never even been remotely approached and never will be. Anyway, this time around Andre had Ted DiBiase in his corner. Hogan knocks Andre down and leg drops him, but there’s no referee because of Virgil, DiBiase’s body guard.

Hogan goes after Virgil as Andre gets up. Andre headbutts Hogan a few times and lands a butterfly suplex and covers him. Hogan clearly gets his shoulder up at two but the referee doesn’t stop his count. Andre is declared the champion and immediately hands the belt to DiBiase, who had spent months trying to buy the title from Hogan. Immediately after this, another referee comes down that is literally identical to the referee that just called the match.

It’s the Hebners, that no one ever knew were identical twins. On Sunday, the President of the WWF Jack Tunney declares the title vacant and announces a one night, single elimination, 14 man tournament to determine the undisputed champion. Hogan and Andre both get byes into the second round as they were the two that started all this.

If you can handle anymore history about this show, this was also one of the first true battles in what would become WCW vs. WWF. WCW (the NWA but for the sake of sanity we’ll call it what it would become), had a PPV in November called Bunkhouse Stampede. Vince had come up with the Survivor Series and wanted to force WCW out of the spot.

He threatened to not allow the PPV companies to air Wrestlemania if they didn’t air the Survivor Series instead of Bunkhouse Stampede. The PPV companies gave in and a huge majority aired Survivor Series while only a handful aired WCW’s show, which they had initially agreed to show. Fast forward five months and it’s time for Wrestlemania 4. WCW is still ticked off about November.

One thing you have to factor in is PPV was a VERY different thing back then. In 1986 there was 1 WWF PPV which was Wrestlemania 2. In 87 there were two, 88 had 3 with the introduction of Summerslam and 89 had 4 which I believe was the standard until 1991 or 1992. It wasn’t until about 1996 that the PPV schedule became what it is today. But anyway, WCW had to retaliate so they came up with what was called the Clash of the Champions.

What this was more or less was a PPV on free television. Beginning at the same time as WM 4 but ending almost two hours earlier, COTC clearly pulled away a lot of viewers. It was headlined by Sting vs. Ric Flair for the World Title in what just about everyone agrees was the night Sting established himself as a legitimate superstar. The war was on and it would heat up soon but we’ll get to that later. Let's get to it.

20 Man Battle Royal

Boris Zhukov, Brian Blair, Danny Davis, George Steele, Harley Race, Hillbilly Jim, Jacques Rougeau, Jim Brunzell, Jim Neidhart, Jim Powers, Junkyard Dog, Ken Patera, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Roma, Bad News Brown, Raymond Rougeau, Ron Bass, Sam Houston, and Sika.

After that long winded explanation, the show is underway in a completely unrelated 20 man battle royal. There’s a huge trophy for the winner which just looks out of place in a wrestling match. Before the match Bob Uecker joins up with Gorilla and Jesse for the first match. Also on the show is Vanna White but she won’t be seen until later. Anyway back to the match.

Big names in this include Bret Hart, Bad News Brown who I always was a mark for, JYD and Harley Race. It’s really a who’s who of the midcard and not much more. This is the first of 16 matches on the card so this is going to be a LONG night. A subplot in this match is George Steel who is in the match but never actually gets in the ring. Pretty standard battle royal with various people punching and kicking each other as people are randomly eliminated.

The final three are the JYD, Bad News Brown and Bret Hart. The heels team up on JYD and eventually eliminate him. The pair agree to split the winnings but Bad News hits an enziguri on Bret and throws him out. Post match, Bret comes in and beats up Brown before destroying the trophy.

Rating: C. It’s hard to rate battle royals as it’s really just waiting until the end. Not much here but the post match stuff is fun to see. It’s time for the first match of the tournament which has time limits of 15 minutes. Robin Leech reads a proclamation that no one cares about to kick us off.

First Round Match: Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase

Before the match, Jesse explains that only winners advance and that in the case of a draw both are eliminated. First round matches have 15 minute time limits, second are 20 minutes, third are 30 minutes, and the final has no limit.

DiBiase has Andre and Virgil with him for this match. Pretty simple match as we have a power brawler against a technician. Pretty back and forth which is fun but you knew the way this was ending before it starts. Duggan goes for his finisher and Andre grabs his foot and punches him as DiBiase hits him with a knee and pins him to advance.

Rating: C-. Fine for what it was, but predictable. Duggan was more or less a walking definition of cannon fodder here as DiBiase was destined to go on to the finals here and continue to be the top heel in the company. This was a decent enough match but it really wasn't anything special at all.

Beefcake talks about winning the IC title tonight.

First Round Match: Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo

Bravo has Frenchy Martin with him who was a pointless manager that was around for a year or two. Muraco has Billy Graham who has him wearing tye dye. This leads to Jesse continuing one of his running jokes that Graham stole the idea from him. Gorilla counters with “Graham was world champion once too.”

Jesse says that he never went for it that hard and Graham beat a weak champion. Funny antics always. Anyway, this is power vs. power here and not incredibly great. They trade power moves and holds for awhile until Muraco starts to get the advantage. End comes when Muraco hits the ropes and Bravo pulls the referee in leading to the DQ.

Rating: D+. Nothing of note here in a rather boring match. Muraco was again just filling in space and not really worth much. Bravo was floundering around for the vast majority of his WWF career and this was certainly no exception. Pretty boring match and it never went anywhere at all.

Bob Uecker is with the Honky Tonk Man who says Brutus isn’t going to cut any hair tonight.

First Round Match: Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine

Now this match is a match that changed Steamboat’s career. Allegedly he asked for some time off to be with his newborn son and Vince said no way. Dragon was gone a few months later and was in the NWA again, although he would up as a world champion there, so take it however you want it.

What are you expecting here? Of course the match is solid. It’s back and forth all match with Dragon chopping the hell out of Valentine and then bumping like a madman. We see a shot of Donald Trump at ringside. Dragon and Valentine go back and forth and put on a solid match with Dragon pulling away at the end. He goes up for a high cross body but Valentine rolls through it and uses the tights for a pin.

Rating:C. Not bad but not great, could have been very good with another 7-8 minutes. These two are the epitome of old school and the match more or less was as well. Valentine could have been something very special if not for Hogan coming in and changing wrestling for all time. Steamboat was gone very soon after this.

Bulldogs and Koko have trained Matilda to be a weasel dog. Heenan’s nickname was Weasel in case that made no sense at all.

First Round Match: Randy Savage vs. Butch Reed

Reed has a great chance for the upset here don’t you think?

*steps on all the crickets*

Reed was supposed to be a big deal but that never came to pass. He was even scheduled to be a Horseman but again it didn't happen. I never got the appeal of him but that's just me. Liz looks GREAT in blue. Reed struts to start and Savage can't get anything going for the most part. Again I ask those that say Savage was a power guy: when was this ever the case? I've never seen it.

Jesse and Gorilla agree that Steamboat losing to Valentine is an upset. That's rather odd indeed. This is rather boring to put it mildly. Reed hits a fist drop off the middle rope for no cover as it's all Reed here. Savage gets some punches in but gets his head taken off with a clothesline. Reed goes up to the top like an idiot and talks FOREVER before getting slammed off. Elbow sends Savage to the semis.

Rating: D. Too short to get anything going but the elbow is always as sweet as hell. Reed's jawing was just kind of stupid and I don't get the point in having him dominate the vast majority of this one only to have a pair of moves end this. It wasn't horrible but it needed more going on than what it had if that makes sense.

Heenan and the Islanders say that they’re not worried about Matilda or the Bulldogs.

First Round Match: One Man Gang vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

I can feel Irish’s jaw hitting the floor from here. Bigelow has Oliver Humperdink with him while Gang has Slick. Those might be the best manager names ever. Gang continues to be one of the worst big men of all time. Bammer is impressing me here, even throwing up a cross body block. For a guy weighing 393, that’s damn impressive. Bam Bam dominates and is going for something but Slick pulls the rope down sending him to the floor for a count out in a cheap finish.

Rating: N/A. Decent clash of titans but the ending was just awful. Bigelow was supposed to get a huge push soon after this and it just never came, which I believe was due to a knee injury. Again though with less than three minutes, how into it can I get when almost a minute of that is brawling on the floor?

Hulk Hogan then says that he’s going to slam Andre in one of the most insane promos I’ve ever seen. He talks about the fault line breaking off and everyone falling into the ocean and how Donald Trump would be smart enough to let go of his materialistic possessions and dog paddle with his wife and kids to safety.

Then Hogan talks about taking all of the Hulkamaniacs on the largest back in the world and dog paddling and backstroking all the way to safety. If they’re on his back and he backstrokes, wouldn’t they kind of drown? God bless cocaine.

First Round Match: Rick Rude vs. Jake Roberts

Rude is about as perfectly evil as you can be and he plays it beautifully. Jake’s music was just awesome always. This match is solid but a tad boring. One of the great things about it though was you had no idea at all who was going to win it which to me is what makes a match better. What’s the point in watching a predictable match barring being a diehard fan of either person in it?

There was a red hot feud between these two a few months before this and it didn't ever get the proper blowoff that it should. This match is about fifteen minutes long and maybe 5 minutes or more is chinlock. Jake escapes and goes for the DDT but can't get it and then back to the chinlock. The draw is clearer than any draw should possibly be. They might as well just have a big sign advertising it.

These two go back and forth but the pace is just too slow. Crowd breaks out a boring chant more than once. Jake keeps wanting the DDT the whole match and Rude keeps trying to get out of it. Finally we get down late in the match and the draw looms over us. After a much better ending, we get to that point and the One Man Gang is in the semifinals.

Rating: D. Solid ending but getting there was a bit painful. I think this match is 40% chinlock. Don’t like the draw either. There were stretches of probably five minutes where I had ZERO to talk about due to it being nothing but bare basics and chinlocks. The crowd is officially dead now so hopefully we get something to perk them up again.

We go to a big bracket to see Vanna White give her limited thought on the tournament. Nothing special here. Vanna looks better with straight hair.

In case you got lost, here’s the updated brackets

Hogan vs. Andre

Dibiase vs. Murago

Savage vs. Valentine

Gang gets a bye and is into the third round already

Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules

Nothing special to this feud at all as they're simply fighting over who is stronger than who. Nothing more to it than that. No entrance for Herc here. Warrior is nothing special at all here and is just a guy that destroys jobbers and runs to the ring. They ram into each other which gets them nowhere and then lock up.

Three clotheslines from Hercules take down Warrior which stuns Jesse. This is a lot of striking and the occasional power move. In short, it's very boring indeed. They fight on the floor and tease a countout but get back in in time.

Warrior gets the punches in the corner but Herc gets an atomic drop out of the corner. Full nelson goes on mostly but Hercules can't get the fingers locked so Warrior can walk up the turnbuckle and drop backwards before shooting a shoulder up for the pin. Warrior clears the ring with the chain post match.

Rating: D. Oh man this was bad. Neither guy was worth a damn thing but at least it was short. This was a rather boring match and somehow Warrior would be in the big undercard match the following year and the main event the year after that. This was pretty bad though but like I said it was only about five minutes long.

REALLY long recap of the Hogan Andre feud.

Second Round Match: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

Andre has DiBiase and Virgil with him for this. Much faster pace than last year’s match which to me is an improvement. Andre just goes off to start this match. Hogan breaks it up with some running punches/forearms but DiBiase gets on the apron. Hogan rams them together with the all time best name move: the Double Noggin Knocker. Andre’s offense here is just so simple that it’s great.

This is one of those matches where you can tell Andre just has nothing left so they're going with REALLY basic stuff to make it look like he's still awesome when he can barely move. It says a lot that he wrestled at two more Manias and appeared at #7.

Hogan gets in control, Andre chokes him. Hogan gets knocked down, Andre sits on him. Hogan starts running, Andre turns his back to him and Hogan falls down. It’s so simple yet so effective. Hogan comes back and signals for a slam but DiBiase cracks him with a chair as the ref is distracted. Hogan nails Andre with the chair, Andre hits Hogan with it in one of the worst chair shots I’ve ever seen. Not because of how Andre swung but Hogan just looks awful taking it.

Someone with Hogan swinging first it’s a double DQ and both men are eliminated, meaning the winner of DiBiase and Muraco is in the finals. Hogan hits a running chair shot to knock Andre down then chases off Virgil and DiBiase before going back to slam Andre and pose.

Rating: C. These two getting together is always awesome and the faster pace made it a lot better this time. That being said, the match wasn't much at all. Andre was DONE at this point and everyone knew it. He was trying though so I'll give him a ton of credit for that. The ending was the only real way to get rid of both of them to set up a new champion so that’s fine too. Just not long enough to be a great match though.

Randy Savage says good things about Hogan but says one of the Mega Powers will win the title.

Second Round Match: Ted DiBiase vs. Don Muraco

Winner goes to the finals. Muraco tries hard here but absolutely no one thinks he has a chance in this match. This is one of those matches that you could easily have cut out and no one would have really cared at all. It's ok and Muraco used to be awesome. The problem is that now he's nothing special at all and everyone knows it.

DiBiase gets dominated early on but catches Muraco in the corner with a slingshot kind of move to break the momentum. Matches like this show me just how good DiBiase is in the ring. He’s simply a master out there. His bumping is just amazing. I wish he would have gotten a run with the title around this time as he certainly was at the top of his game as a heel.

I'm still trying to figure out why this match is getting PPV time. Do we need five minutes for this match? It's Don Muraco for crying out loud. Muraco charges at him but is picked up and lands a great stun gun to get the three count. Good finish.

Rating: C+. As short as it was I liked this match. It showed what DiBiase could do when he was on his own and that he really was indeed a solid wrestler. Muraco is a great foil for him as he’s trying hard but is just outmatched. Fun little match all around and very few if any mistakes in it. Really liked it.

Mr. Fuji and Demolition don’t like Uecker or Strike Force. Demolition was just awesome in all regards. Their promos were no exceptions at all.

The Fink reminds us that because Snake and Rude went to a draw that the Gang is in the semifinals already.

Second Round Match: Greg Valentine vs. Randy Savage

Same idea here as in Steamboat and Valentine. Do you really expect a bad match from these two? The battle of the elbows begins and it’s pretty solid the whole way though. There’s almost no wasted movement in this match which is just awesome. As expected, it’s all Valentine to start.

Hammer was a guy that could have been a lot better and something really special if not for the whole Hogan changes wrestling forever deal. He was that good back in the day and a world title contender. Time passed him by though and it showed badly.

He works over all of Savage without much of an emphasis on the knee. Valentine was the resident Figure Four dude at this time so it would make sense for him to go after. I guess that's why he's going to lose here.

Savage just starts going off on him from out of nowhere which is just kind of cool for some reason. It’s finally broken up when Savage goes for an axe handle from the top and gets punched in the stomach. Savage reverses the figure four into a small package even with Valentine’s should clearly up.

Rating: C+. Seriously, what did you expect here? Of course it’s a solid match. Fast paced with a good ending means a good grade. It was a bit too short to get anything going but they tried at least. Savage would obviously go onto bigger things but Valentine's career had pretty much peaked by this point.

Vanna White is back again. She’s still annoying.

Intercontinental Title: Brutus Beefcake vs. Honky Tonk Man

Standard Honky Tonk match with him just getting beaten to death as the face looks like there’s no way he can lose. Here’s a few reasons why Honky is miles ahead of Santino. The commentators talk about how he’s the luckiest wrestler alive. He also gets some offense in. A big reason is because Santino tries to be funny. Honky tries to be serious and comes off as funny. Subtle, yet a key difference that made Honky better.

Finally, Honky had a signature move that won him matches. Honky was just much more believable as IC champion and this is a prime example of it. Brutus runs Honky around to start and nothing comes out of it. Jimmy gets involved and Honky takes over. His offense was shall we say limited? This goes on for far longer than it's possible to stay interested for. Gorilla and Jesse crack jokes to fight the boredom.

Brutus puts on the sleeper but Hart hits the ref with the megaphone. Peggy Sue, Honky’s girlfriend (played amazingly by Sherri Martel) pours water on Honky to wake him up after Brutus chases Jimmy Hart under the ring and is seriously looks as if he’s trying to rape Hart. Just a bad image. He pins him down to the stairs and cuts his hair. Honky wakes up and runs with Hart.

Rating: D+. Decent match, but standard for Honky. He never really got away from that one formula of his which is kind of good actually. It worked, so why change it? When you blow the roof off the Garden like they did when he finally lost the title you must be doing something right. Match was nothing you wouldn't expect from a Honky IC Title defense.

In for some reason one of the most famous promos of all time, Andre runs into Bob Uecker and reveals that DiBiase’s master plan centered around Andre eliminating Hogan. Uecker tries to mention something and Andre chokes him in what I believe was an unplanned spot.

Islanders and Heenan against Koko B. Ware and the British Bulldogs

Backstory-the Islanders had dog napped Matilda a few weeks ago for no good reason. This is the Bulldogs’ chance to get revenge. Koko is there because they needed a third face that could fill up a spot. Heenan comes out in an attack dog handler’s outfit which looks like an untied straight jacket. Cool idea actually.

This is more or less seven and a half minutes of this: the heels beat down a face, Heenan gets in like two kicks, the face gets up because Heenan only got in like two kicks, Heenan runs and tags out, we repeat that.

Pretty bland match here that is a filler. Heenan does a little but nothing of significance. Islanders launch Heenan into the air to slam him down onto Koko for the pin. Exact same thing they did last year with the Bulldogs.

Rating: D+. Filler that was the same match that happened in the previous year’s six man. Did they really think that little of the Bulldogs? Can you tell I'm getting bored with this show? This is another great example of a match that had no business being on this show. It wasn't any good anyway and the dog did nothing between the beginning and ending.

Jesse Ventura poses for the crowd. DiBiase is announced as having a bye into the finals.

Semi-Final Match: Randy Savage vs. One Man Gang

You know the drill by now. Savage gets beaten up, comes back, gets beaten up a little more, Slick throws in the cane, ref sees it, DQ.

Rating: D. This match was more or less nothing. We knew almost as soon as Hogan and Andre got eliminated what the finals would be. Why should I care about this match when there’s not even an elbow?

For some reason we see Vanna White talking about the tournament AGAIN and still no one cares.

Tag Titles: Strike Force vs. Demolition

Strike Force had been champions for six months at this point but are somehow still considered transitional champions. Demolition had been around a little over a year at this point but were just now the dominant force that they became famous for being. Martel and Smash start us off. Jesse thinks that the Boston Crab, the move that won the titles for Strike Force, won't work on Demolition because they're too big. The hold beat Jim Neidhart though. That's kind of an odd statement to make Mr. Governor.

Jesse can't tell Demolition apart. We get a big brawl seconds in and finally get back to the starters. Does that make Tito the first guy off the bench? Strike Force hits double teaming to start which causes Jesse and Gorilla to fight a bit. Tito plays Ricky Morton for a bit as the big guys pound on him.

Tito gets the forearm out of nowhere to put Axe down. Jesse says he learned that in the MFL: the Mexican Football League. I give up. Off to Martel who cleans house. He manages to get the Boston Crab on Smash who is screaming. Fuji gets up to distract the referee and drops the cane, which promptly is wrapped around Martel's cranium. Smash crawls on top to win the titles.

Rating: C-. This was about as formula based as you could get but the pop at the end sends it over the peak a bit. Demolition looked awesome here and would go on to hold the titles for a mind blowing year and a half which is never going to be touched. Strike Force was more or less done here as they lost the rematch and Martel was out for about 8 months and he turned heel in his first match back with Santana. Nothing great here, but certainly historic.

WWF World Title: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase

This was a very interesting match at the time because no one knew who was going to win it. That to me will always make a match better. From what I’ve heard the original plan was to have Hogan get to the finals with DiBiase and lose thanks to Andre, eventually getting the title back at Summerslam while Savage would win the IC title from Honky either here or at Summerslam. However, Honky refused to do it and they made this the plan. I like the first one better I think.

Anyway, Andre and DiBiase are here against Savage and Liz. Andre keeps cheating so Savage whispers to Liz and everyone knows what’s coming as for about two minutes no one is watching the ring. This is about as simple of an explanation as you could ask for regarding the problems that would plague Savage's reign.

What possible reason do we need Hogan out there for? Rather than having him out there and taking part of the spotlight, why not have Savage make the Superman comeback and get the title on a rollup when Andre can't make the save? Instead we have Hogan coming out there, making himself the focus or at least half of it. This right away makes Savage look like a weak champion because Hogan made the save and Savage would have lost without him.

This is the kind of stuff that Savage would be paranoid about and have big delusions over over time. They’re proven right as Hogan comes through the curtain to even the odds. Savage looks dead in the ring which is what he’s supposed to do. The fans are all looking at him now because he's the new thing they see out there. Anyway, DiBiase mostly destroys Savage with nothing too special as Savage is just dead.

Great false finish as Savage goes for the elbow and the place goes nuts but he misses it. Million Dollar Dream and Savage tries to get to the ropes but Andre pulls it back. Ref warns him and Hogan comes in and nails DiBiase with a chair leading to the elbow and a new champion! Post match sees something very interesting as Hogan, Savage and Liz celebrate. For those that can read lips, you can see Savage say to Hogan, “Please let me have my moment.” Hogan doesn’t leave, and that my friends, started the real life feud between these two.

Rating: B. We had seen these guys WAY too much tonight which is the problem with tournaments. We just get sick of these guys. Savage had 4 matches at this show. He’s one of the best ever but four times in a show is just too much.

Overall Rating: D+. The big problem is how predictable it is once Andre and Hogan are gone. After that you knew it would be Savage or DiBiase. Overall, this Mania is just too long. Ringing in at about 4 hours, there just isn’t enough here to warrant such a time. Savage winning was indeed mind blowing at the time and this show sets up a year’s worth of feuds including the first ever Summerslam where Hogan and Savage faced DiBiase and Andre.

The main issue here is that there were sixteen matches on this. Think about that for a minute. SIXTEEN MATCHES. That's the vast problem here. Did we really need to see guys like Muraco and Bravo in the tournament? Or did we need to have the six man? This show really could have used 30-60 minutes cut out of it and then it would have been far more watchable.

The other thing this leads to is Hogan and Savage trying to share the spotlight as the Mega Powers which ultimately leads to their split and the main event of next year’s Wrestlemania. Other than that, not a lot really comes out of this show. It’s a decent PPV if you want to see just about every 80s wrestler alive perform but if you’re looking for solid matches, just watch a handful of them or you’ll be asleep by the middle of the show.
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  #18  
Old 03-15-2009, 11:29 PM
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Wrestlemania 1
Date-March 31, 1985
Location-Madison Square Garden, New York City
Attendance-19121
National Anthem-Gene Okerlund
Announcers-Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura
This just came up on WWWE 24-7 today, so I made my son sit down with me and watch it. It wasn't as great as the first time I saw it, and I understand what you mean by "glorified house show". He totally marked out though. Interesting...

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Tito Santana vs. The Executioner

Rating: C. Considering itís the first ever match at the biggest show that would ever exist, I didnít know what to expect. Itís certainly not bad, but doesnít really set a good first foot forward for Wrestlemania if that makes sense.
I'd agree here. Santana looked amazing, but there really wasn't much chemistry going on here, and it brought it down a little. To anyone who has only started wrestling recently, please watch this match, and see Santana execute a picture perfect dropkick. It was pretty. Pretty enough that I hit rewind and watched it again.

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King Kong Bundy vs. Special Delivery Jones

Rating: N/A. Nothing here to rate.
Yep. That's about it. Bundy's promo was interesting, and SD was definitely way too hyped up to get squashed. Three avalanches isn't worth putting on a WrestleMania. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.

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Matt Borne vs. Ricky Steamboat

Rating: B. Borne really did have a lot of talent in the ring, and if you put him in a match with one of the greatest workers of all time, do you really expect a bad match?
This match was the first time Zack went nuts. He loved seeing Steamboat in the ring, and even I was flashing back to being 5 years old and seeing him wrestle. He's a true ring technician, and it showed here. Borne wasn't bad, but his job was basically to sell anything Ricky did.

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David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake

Rating: D-. I was so bored I almost fell asleep. Absolutely nothing at all of note and it was just done to get Bruno on the show.
I think you rated this too high. David didn't do anything special the entire match, and didn't even do much once Johnny V and Bruno hit the ring. Brutus looked great, but it was odd not seeing him as "The Barber" yet.

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IC Title: JYD vs. Greg Valentine

Rating: C-. It was short and to the point, but in thise case that wasn't a good thing. Valentine can wrestle with anyone, so why waste him here with JYD?
This match had me scratching my head. the ending was horrible, and the match really didn't look good. Valentine did his part, and JYF looked good when he kept it to punches and kicks, but the headbutts threw me off. I know it was the gimmick, but it looked really stupid, and had me regretting being a fan of his. Even my son said "What the heck is he doing?", when JYD was on all fours and charging at Valentine.

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Tag Team Titles: U.S. Express vs. Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik

Rating: B-. Not much here, but what they had was at least passable. It was the standard U.S. versus the evil heels which is a formula thatís hard to mess up if anyone in the match knows what theyíre doing, and these people knew.
This match kind of surprised me. I didn't remember it at all from previous viewings, but it was really good. Rotundo and Windham were pretty impressive, and Sheik and Volkoff played a good heel throughout the match. The crowd was even into it, which makes me wonder why the current WWE treats the tag titles like the red-headed stepchild.

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Body Slam Match: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd

Rating: B+. The wrestling was awful, but the crowd was going crazy the whole time. Classic example of a match where the crowd played a key factor.
I can't help but agree here also. The wrestling was pretty bad, and we all knew the slam was coming. There was no way that Andre was going to lose, and Studd was hated way too much for people to not want to see him slammed. It was pretty unexpected how it happened thouh. Match was slow, and the slam came quick.

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Womenís Title-Wendi Richter vs. Lelani Kai

Rating: B. This match was billed as half of the double main event. Think about that for just a bit. The Womenís Title match, main eventing Wrestlemania. If that doesnít tell you how big Lauper and Richter were, nothing will.
Lauper was great here. Richter put on a good show in the ring, but Lauper really sold this as a main event to me. Richter's promos were great, and Lauper's energy was excellent. We all knew who would win, but it was fun to watch anyway.

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Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. vs. Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff

Rating: B. Basic tag match, but why was this a tag? It just made little sense and there was no drama to it at all. Hogan didnít even win with the legdrop. Fun little match, but not for the main event of Mania.
The match itself was a little hokey, and didn't scream "WrestleMania main event" to me. Piper's entrance was great, and his heat was amazing. I can't help but be stunned that so many people forget what a great heel he was. He was main-eventing the first ever WrestleMania, getting a ton of heat, and played his gimmick as great as ever. Orndorff was pretty basic here. Mr. T was a lot better than I remember, and sold the match well. Hogan wasn't at his best, but he didn't need to be. The ending baffled me a little. If WrestleMania was meant to make Hogan a star, how could they let an Orton mishap decide the outcome? And, no hulking up? No leg drop? It was all just odd. And, Liberace crepped me out a little.

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Overall rating: C-. This show clearly isnít famous for the wrestling as thereís only 2-3 good matches on the card. What this show is famous for is the idea of a supercard in the biggest arena there was in the biggest city there was with celebrities, national coverage, and a huge main event. The idea was amazing but no one knew what they had here and it shows. For its time this was mind blowing. Now itís just average at best. Watch it for the last three matches and skip the others.

So what do you think? Am I right or am I crazier than George Steele? Let me know and let's hear your take.
I agree with just about everything you've siad here. Except, anyone watching needs to watch Tito and Steamboat's matches as well. They weren't either of their bests, but they were great in the ring, and no one should miss an opportunity to take it in.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by klunderbunker View Post
Rating: A. The match itself is pretty bad but the historical significance is second to absolutely nothing.
I almost feel remotely guilty and bad, because you wrote a huge ton on this Pay per view and you have amazing review ability.. and I'm gonna shit all over it, because of this one tiny paragraph.

Bottomline.. it's shit. The match, yes, absolutely was horrid. But the historical significance is honestly just as bullshit. In the end, I'm sorry, it will always be Andre the Giant (more or less, just that, a 'random' Giant) against the mega star of the Company.

It's like David against Goliath more or less. Only, I think more people felt David was honestly going to die, and I doubt anyone even back then, felt Hogan had any chance of losing.

You said it was unplanned for Hogan to bodyslam Andre, but how do you know? Because kayfabe said so? Were you there? That spot couldn't of seemed more planned to be the mega portion of the match. And Hogan tears something, to add to it. IN the end, the "biggest historical moment" is honestly the worst put together piece of shit in the history of the company.

It's surrounded by a horrible match, a Giant that was truly beginning to have a hard time moving around in general, and a guy that (as you said, that I never knew) hurt himself by merely bodyslamming someone, that apparently he wasn't suppose to, to begin with. (which means, he broke away from what was meant to happen) One of the W.W.F's greatest moments was arguably one of their worst, and the ONLY.. I repeat, ONLY thing that makes it worth remembering.. was the fans reaction. Because back then, they weren't who we are, now.

WrestleMania III might of been better than I and II, but not because of this match. Because the fans interacted a billion times better, to most of the whole show.

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Originally Posted by klunderbunker View Post
Overall Rating: B+. I went back and forth between B+ and A- here. This is the first truly historic Wrestlemania and the first to truly be the spectacle that is has become today. Easily the two biggest matches are the singles title matches that are still incredibly famous today. There’s far less filler than before and the matches have much more solid stories to them. This show is more famous for its historical aspect than the in ring stuff and that’s just fine. It’s not the best Mania of all time, but it’s up there. Definite recommendation to see this if you never have, or if you just haven’t watched it in awhile, if nothing else just for the history lesson
This Mania truly does recap what all WrestleMania's have strived to become. Entertaining, through mirrors and magic tricks. (so to speak) Savage/Steamboat was about the only match, actual match, that was worth remembering for being great in-ring work. But in the end, especially in today's industry.. it's not really about in-ring work anymore, so much as storylines that build up the match itself.

The funny thing is, Hogan/Andre isn't in all honesty as big as Hogan/McMahon, through a "historical standpoint". But because the time span between those Mania's are so different, Hogan/McMahon barely causes a ripple, while Hogan/Andre caused a fucking Tsunami. It's all in how the fan's interacted.. and the fans from that era, will never be matched, especially to the IWC filled arenas of this era.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:51 AM
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Have to disagree on Hogan/Andre, as I already did and I was hoping someone would go here.

I've been watching the mid 90s Manias lately and Bret is on top at this point. Over his career he's said that the reason his time on top wasn't as successful was mainly due to one thing: no one gave him the rub. I think he's got a great point here. We all knew how great he was in the ring and no one is going to argue that. However, he has the same issue that JBL had when he was thrown into the main event: neither man had the big win to put them there. Bret never beat Hogan, Warrior or Savage to give him that moment that people could look at and say, "Bret Hart just got the defining win of his career." That really hurt his early time with the belt because he wasn't looked at as a main event player for a long time but as a very good midcarder that was in over his head. At WM 9 he is defending the title and is viewed as a huge underdog. had he beaten been rubbed the right way, that might not have been the case and the mid 90s could have been different.

My point to this is simple: Hogan beating ANdre was that rub. I definitely agree that the match is shit because it is. However, this match is all about the significance of what happened. It cememted Hogan as the undisputed top guy around. Until then, people could point to Andre and say he could have a claim to the title. When Hart was on top people could say "who did he ever beat." Had hogan not beaten Andre, people could have said who did he ever beat? His biggest feud for the title at that point had been with who, Orndorff and Bundy? (the Piper feud was rarely over the belt that I remember). Hogan needed the huge title win and that's what Andre gave him.
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