WrestleMania III

January 13, 2010

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a while, but stuff just keeps popping up and taking priority. As mentioned I’m trying to work my way through watching all of the WrestleManias in order and want to offer my thoughts on each show. I’ve done Mania 1 and 2 thus far and I’m now up to #3. I do need to offer one correction from my Mania 2 thought. Terry Funk was not the first WrestleMania participant that I got to work with in my career, Hulk Hogan was. How the hell I forgot the fact that I wrestled Hulk Hogan on many occasions I have no idea. So officially for the record I’ve worked with (actually been in a match with, not just on the same show) from WrestleMania 1 Hogan, and from Mania 2, Terry Funk, & Hulk Hogan.

Okay on to Mania three. The reviews should be a little more entertaining as we move forward because I’ll have more personal memories from them. I became a big WWE (Then WWF) fan some time between Mania 2 and 3, so this show was the first one I followed the build up for and was counting the days to. We didn’t have PPV capability where I grew up so my friends and I had to actually wait for the video release to see the show. We pre booked the VHS rental at our local video store and were standing in the store waiting for the guy to unpack the thing when it was delivered so he could rent it to us.

To this day I remember the angles and build to almost every match on this show, which is saying something considering I couldn’t’ tell you the whole line up to Mania 19, which I was booked on at there for, not to mention 16 years more recent.

As a recap I’ll just offer a quick comment or 2 on each of the matches.

Can Am Connection – Orton and Muraco: This was such a perfect, simple, basic match. This is a match from when wrestling was perfect. Nothing fancy, baby faces had awesome fire, blew a comeback and got the win. There wasn’t a single near fall; they just won with a neat cross body spot. Opening match on a big show this is what you do. Their job wasn’t to have the best match and steel the show, it was to make the crowd happy, get a pop and get out without burning out the crowd. Home run!

Hercules Hernandez – Billy Jack Haynes: Boy what a crappy finish, and Hercules’ whips were atrocious. A lot of real old school guy did this type of whip but wow does it look awful.

Bundy & Midgets – Hill Billy & Midgets: I know back in the day Bundy squishing the little guy was a big deal but I hated this match and thought back then and again watching it now.

Harley Race – JYD: This was the match that first helped me understand booking. My friends and I used to always try to predict finishes as well as the order the matches would be booked, and I just could for the life of me see them beating the Baby Face JYD in what I figured was the blow off match. Harley beat him almost completely clean out of no where with his finish; I was stunned. After this show Harley went on to work a program with Hogan and I realized each match is part of a bigger story and JYD as #2 baby face had to put over which ever heel was moving up to Hogan. My God Harley was a big bumper back in the day.

Rougeaus – Dream Team: I couldn’t have cared less about this match back then and thought it an even bigger waste today. Rougeaus were so much better as heels.

Roddy Piper – Adrian Adonis: Boy was Piper over here, because this match got a way bigger reaction than its quality deserved. Jimmy Hart worked his ass off in this one. I said this for Mania 2 but my God, Adrian Adonis was an awesome bumper.

Bulldogs & Tito – Harts & Davis: I was so into the Bulldogs vs The Harts program back then, this might have been the match I was most up for. I also remember back then hating Tito Santana being involved in this match. The pop on the hot tag was deafening. Dynamite worked this match with a broken back and I remember being terrified whenever he was in the ring.

Butch Reed – Koko B Ware: When I was a fan I would have likely been classed as a Smark and like Tito I hated Koko and to be honest didn’t care much more for Butch Reed. To top that off they had a crap match. At least it was short.

Savage – Steamboat: I remember this match blowing me away back then and it was still pretty dam terrific today. I hated George Steel back then and I remember being so pissed off that he was out there during this match. I wanted to kill someone when he ended up being part of the finish. One of the biggest changes from then till now; all of the nearfalls were roll up type things. They had a ton of them but neither guy was kicking out of big moves. Today guys kick out of everything.

Jake Roberts – Honky Tonk Man: The only thing in my notes after watching this match was “Blah” I liked Jake back then but this match was nothing (considering where it was on the show that was their job) and Honky Tonk had channel changing heat with me so I never paid attention to anything he did in the ring.

Sheik & Volkoff – Killer Bees: Another nothing match and this one was overshadowed by Jim Duggan’s interference. Jim Duggan was another baby face I had no use for as a fan so when he came out to announce that there was no way he was going to let Volkoff sing the Russian national anthem, “Because this is the land of the FREE…” I laughed my ass of at the irony

Hogan – Andre: This match was such a big deal and a prime example of why wrestling was better during the kayfabe era. A match of this quality today would get buried, but at the time this was awesome. The crowd was into it the crowd cared and the place exploded at the finish. Hogan did virtually nothing in this match; it was almost all heat, Hogan made a couple short comebacks, and finally hit the slam and the leg drop and one. Hogan was gigantic here.

On the whole this was a great show. The Silver Dome was so huge, the crowd was so hot and there were several great matches. Funny how times change though; I liked this show yet there were MANY bad matches I couldn’t have cared less about. Atmosphere and emotion was so different back in the Kayfabe era. Thankfully the celebrity guests were kept in check on this show, which was a huge step up from Mania 2, which was over run by horrible celebrity guests. Also to continue the people I’ve worked with from WrestleManias list going, there were four on this show. I did an in ring angle and a couple promos with Rick Martel in Winnipeg, MB some time around 1996, Jacques Rougeau was guest ref for my NBR PPV match in WCW and a short term member of Team Canada, Jim Duggan who was also a short term member of Team Canada in WCW, and of course Hulk Hogan who I worked with in WWE in 2002. Who would have thought when I was waiting in that video store for the Video release of this show that some 15 years later I would be co-workers with so many of these guys.

That’s it for now; WrestleMania IV will follow, as soon as I find the time to watch it. This should be a fun one, because I was actually in attendance live.

Lance