March to Mania · Pro Wrestling

MARCH TO ‘MANIA: Taking it to the next level

Wrestlemania 3 was arguably the biggest card the WWF produced in the 1980s. It set an indoor attendance record, which was recently broken by the NCAA tournament inside of Cowboys Stadium.

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Wrestlemania 3 (Results)

Date: March 29, 1987

Arena: Pontiac Silverdome (Pontiac, MI)

Attendance: 93,173

SUMMARY: Wrestlemania 3 took the event to new heights. There was a buzz about this card, and it took advantage perfectly of the popularity of Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. Don’t get me wrong, this card had plenty of forgettable matches. In fact, it you take away the Steamboat vs. Savage match, the undercard would have been abysmal. There was quite a bit of filler, and the strength of the card was the main event. The story went like this: Andre, who had gone an extended period without losing, challenging Hulk, the biggest star in pro wrestling and a man who considers him a friend.  All of those things elevated the stakes and gave the match a feeling that was truly once in a lifetime.

MY ENJOYMENT RATING: C-plus on an adjusted scale given the era.

FAVORITE MATCH: Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage. Am I really going to go against something that is widely considered one of the best Wrestlemania matches as my favorite match of the card? Of course, not. After watching enough slow, plodding wrestling in the moments leading up to this match, I was hyped to see a fast-paced match that used  pinfalls as a way to link the next sequence.

THINGS THAT MADE ME NOD IN APPROVAL: If Wrestlemania 2 set the bar for spectacle, then Wrestlemania 3 cleared it without issue. The video packages to lead into matches served as a nice primer for matches and gave youngins like me some good insight on the feuds leading up to Wrestlemania. The whole night was built around the impending match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and it had a big-time fight feel. Everything down to Jesse Ventura giving the tale of the tape when the men entered the ring to the flashbulbs going off taking pictures gave the feeling that you were witnessing something special. Then there was the Steamboat vs. Savage match, which is one of the top matches in Wrestlemania history. My goodness, this match looks so much better when it’s held up against others in its generation.

THINGS THAT MADE ME LOWER HEAD IN SHAME: Um. Where do I begin? The main event was terrible. The psychology of the match was built completely around the slam, but the moments leading up the slam made little sense and had little flow. While I’m sure Danny Davis got heat for being the heel referee who people wanted to see get his comeuppance, he was just intolerable and had go-away heat than legit “I want you to get your butt kicked” heat. Add that with the factors of sub-eight minute matches (minus the main event and Savage-Steamboat), you get yourself a card that I couldn’t help but force myself through.

RANDOM THOUGHT: Bob Orton and King Kong Bundy were apart of main event scenes in Wrestlemania 1 and Wrestlemania 2. Wrestlemania 3 highlights how quickly guys can fall. Orton opened the show in a meaningless tag match, while King Kong was reduced to working with midget wrestlers.

MY ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA CARD RANKING: Look, it’s on par with the other Wrestlemanias in terms of ring work. While Andre vs. Hulk was downright terrible, the pure image of Andre vs. Hulk was an image that will live in wrestling history forever. The slam will be an iconic moment. Due to its great importance, I rank it higher than the first two Wrestlemanias.

  1. Wrestlemania 3
  2. Wrestlemania 2 (Review)
  3. Wrestlemania 1 (Review)
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