With WrestleMania 1 and 2 in the hopper, Superfriends Universe and Fight Game Blog now bring you, our WrestleMania 30 for 30 – WrestleMania III podcast.
As Big D says at the start of the show, this is the big one. It’s one of WWE’s most historic shows of all time and we talk about it for over two hours.
Join Big D, Jason, and I for a comprehensive discussion about WrestleMania III.
Let us know what you think!
We’re down to the top ten.
10. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit – Wrestlemania X-Seven
The first 5 minutes of this match were surreal. You had two “smaller” wrestlers on Wrestlemania in front of 50,000-plus (really over 67,000) WWF fans, doing nothing but amateur wrestling. It was hold and counter hold….. AND IT GOT OVER…. it got over huge. I don’t think anything like that would have been envisioned in 1987. Heck, it wouldn’t have been envisioned in 1997. But Angle and Benoit were just that good, and while they would go on to have better matches, this remains a technical classic. It was the first time we witnessed their display of countering each other’s finishers which became a staple of their matches, and at the time that was really really cool. The finish was perhaps not what you’d ideally want from these two, but it’s non-conclusiveness left things open for rematches.
Winner: Kurt Angle
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania XIX
At one point in this match, I thought to myself that I was watching one of the greatest matches I’d ever seen in my life. In fact, as the match was going on, I thought this could possibly be the greatest match in Wrestlemania history. Kurt Angle was injured going into the match and there was worry that he wouldn’t be able to work. But this is Kurt Angle. You knew he’d be there. And he went on to have a fabulous performance. Brock Lesnar held his own and it was a match mixed with fast and hard hitting action. It fell off near the end as Brock tried a shooting star press and nearly broke his neck. There was a bit of a breakdown as Lesnar was in a fog, but Angle led him through to the finish. While the ending didn’t allow it to achieve its full greatness, it’s still one of the greatest Mania matches of all time.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
In late 1986, the main event was already being set up for Wrestlemania III. I remember watching Superstars of Wrestling and they held an awards ceremony on the Piper’s Pit. I had never seen this before so it looked like a big angle. And it was one of the biggest. Throughout Hogan’s career on top in the WWF, which started in late 1983, he was the guy, but Andre was always treated as just as special of an attraction. Hogan was the champ, but Andre was just as unbeatable. I honestly don’t remember him losing by pin fall from the time I started watching. Even Hogan would constantly point to Andre as the big man. During the awards ceremony, Hogan received a big trophy for being the champ and Andre came out to congratulate him. Then Andre received his trophy for being undefeated and Hogan came out to congratulate him. Andre seemed perturbed as if Hogan was coming out to steal his glory. Later, Andre famously ripped the cross off Hogan’s chest that made viewers understand that Andre wasn’t going to be so lovable anymore. The turn happened and Andre was now an unstoppable bad guy.
The turn was helped even more by Bobby Heenan who became Andre’s manager. Heenen was always such a great foil for Hogan. He managed King Kong Bundy, Paul Orndorff, and Andre who were three of Hogan’s biggest money opponents. Heenan was masterful here, painting the picture as to why Andre would want to wrestle Hogan. Heenan would go on to say that Hogan never offered Andre a shot at the title, Hogan never respected Andre, and Andre was sick of it. At the same time, Andre would just sit there with this careless look on his face as Hogan tried to convince Andre that Heenan was evil. Much of what Heenan said made sense though, and that made the angle for me. I could see why Andre wanted a shot at the title.
The other angle that had a huge affect on me as an 10 year old was Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage. Savage was tremendous in his portrayal as a win at all costs heel. They had a match where Savage draped Steamboat’s throat over the outside railing and jumped off the top rope and hit the back of his neck, thrusting Steamboat’s throat into the railing. He then used the ring bell to do the same thing, targeting Steamboat’s throat. Steamboat sold it like a champ as they carried him to the back while he was grasping for air. Vince McMahon was screaming and saying that Steamboat had swallowed his tongue. I hated Savage with a passion at the time.
Those were the two big matches for Mania III, but what also made this event was the fact that most of the rest of the matches were booked with some nice build. The Honky Tonk Man and Jake Roberts and JYD vs. Harley Race feuds ended with bad matches, but you remember the build. You remember Honky blasting Roberts with the guitar and JYD bowing and curtsying to Race before sucker punching him.