1. Rick Martel and Tom Zenk (The Can Am Connection) vs Don Muraco and Cowboy Bob Orton
I am super excited for this. Wrestlemania III! The big one! Widely considered one of the top five Wrestlemania’s. Almost impossible to be worse than Wrestlemania II! So let’s get started!
At the time, Rick Martel was regarded as the best technical wrestler the WWE had ever signed, but had no tag partner who could keep up with his explosive speed and raw, animal power (citation needed)
Enter Tom Zenk. Zenk was designed to be the ultimate WWE tag partner. Under the direction of Gorilla Monsoon, McMahon combed the tombs of the greatest evil leaders in history to find cells with DNA traces. These long-dead genetic blueprints were combined to produce a clone with the genius of Napolean, the ruthlessness of Julius Ceaser, the daring of Hannibal and the shrewdness of Attila the Hun. He then cloned them and engineered Tom Zenk in a lab (citation needed)
The result was the Can Am connection, and this match.
Overall: Yo Joe! And trust me, that recap was more entertaining than the match
2. Billy Jack Haynes vs Hercules Hernandez
WM3 reportedly broke an indoor attendance record with 93,000 on hand to watch the event. The great thing about this is that every match – no matter how theoretically terrible – manages to crank the excitement up to 11.
It’s great because all the wrestlers are bringing their best game to the table. For example, this one should have been a really dull affair. Neither of these guys are too technically interesting, but man, do they ever put on a solid show.
It’s a theme through the whole event. Mediocre matches are elevated to fantastic matches.
This one ends with a double count out. Shrug. They do a decent job at keeping the energy high and Haynes gets cut after the match is over from repeated shots from Herc’s chain. I looked pretty closely, but I couldn’t see the cut, but Haynes got himself pretty deep it looks like.
Normally with a post-match beating by a heel, a superstar would normally come out and save the babyface, but there is no one who wants to save Haynes. I guess he is a loser?
Overall: Better match than it should have been. 3.5 / 5
3. Hillbilly Jim vs King Kong Bundy
I do not have high hopes for this match. Neither Bundy or Hillbilly Jim are very talented wrestlers, so I’m going to imagine this will be pretty dull. Also, has there ever been this significant a drop in booking from one wrestlemania to the next? Bundy went from the headline event at Wrestlemania 2 to this filth
As expected, this is not a great match. It ends with Bundy attacking one of the little people and a disqualification. The first mis-step in an otherwise good PPV, if you don’t count the creation of the horrible, horrible Tom Zenk
Overall: Awful idea that provided one minute of amusement. 2/10
4. Harley Race vs Junkyard Dog
Oh god. Damn. It. My nemesis JYD against the septuagenarian Harley Race. JYD is too terrible to wrestle well and Race is too old. There is nothing to like about this one.
Inevitably, JYD manages to get down to the mat for his patented head butts which allows for Gorilla Monsoon to unleash the quote of the PPV “Dog on all fours – that’s his favorite position”, I would have expected that from Jesse Ventura so well done Gorilla…well done.
The match has everything you’d expect from a JYD match. Shitty wrestling, headbutts, terrible selling of moves and dancing. I am delighted that this is the Dog’s last Wrestlemania. I am also delighted that Race beats him clean with a belly to belly suplex. Fuck you Dog.
Overall: Ha ha Dog sucks. 3 /1 4
5. Dream Team Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine vs Rougeau Brothers
I’m kind of confused, I really remember liking WM3 a lot more but I can’t think of why. This is another match where I’m kind of “meh” on the participants. I generally like a match with the Dream Team, but I never found the Rougeau’s very dynamic. Having said that, I do enjoy their signature move, the Canadian Crotch Catch
The match ends with Brutus turning face because… for no real reason. Like I can’t tell at all what happened. It’s probably the clumsiest turn in in WWE history. What do you think Tom Zenk?
Overall: Come on WM3, turn it around. 6/20
6. Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Adorable Adrian Adonis – Hair match
Piper! Yes! I cannot dislike a Piper match. This has been billed as a retirement match and the crowd is fired up and on their feet. For the first time, you really get how deafening it is when 90,000 people are on their feel screaming. It’s a fantastic ovation and Piper loves it.
The match doesn’t have much actual wrestling, just a lot of punching and kicking and whipping with belts. The crowd is on their feet and screaming for every move and it generates more excitement than the match deserves. Ultimately Piper gets hit with a spray of perfume and Adonis slaps on the sleeper hold, or as he calls it “Good Night Irene”. That’s… that’s actually kind of a great name. Good work Adonis.
Adonis drops the move too soon and Brutus comes out of nowhere to revive Piper. I guess this entire match was to set up Brutus as the Barber when he comes out to cuts Adonis’s hair. What a weird character that was, although I guess no more odd than a magic wrestling Zombie who got power from bottled dust
The best part of the match is the fan who comes out to hug Piper….
… and then gets immediately set on by security.
I am stunned he made it to the ring
Overall: Piper! Awesome! 89/10
7. Hart Foundation with Danny Davis vs British Bulldogs and Tito Santana
Finally! A Hart Foundation match! Why did we go three entire Wrestlemania’s before giving these guys their own match? I love Bret Hart, and anything these two do against the Bulldogs is fantastic, so I’m ready to settle in for a great match
This is technically a six man bout, with Tito Santana joining up with the Bulldogs and disgraced Referee Danny Davis teaming with the Hart Foundation. A professional wrestler and a 170 pound referee. That seems fair and even.
Gorilla reminds us that Danny Davis cannot be a ref anymore, he’s been suspended for life + 10 years. I guess Gorilla thinks Danny Davis is immortal? I think this was foreshadowing that Danny Davis was originally supposed to be the Undertaker?
This match is a great combination of excellent technical wrestling and seeing Danny Davis being beaten within an inch of his life. Davey Boy hits him with a jumping piledriver that would be literally illegal today. Like, 10 different types of banned.
The match obviously ends with the old megaphone-me-do and the quick pin and the Hart Foundation chalk up the win. Just a great match.
Overall: Davey Boy nearly killed a man! 8/12
8. Natural Butch Reed vs Koko B Ware
What is it with Wrestlemania 3 screwing up the entrance music? Isn’t Koko supposed to enter to “Love hits you like a piledriver“? Why is he coming down to what sounds like a song that is “Wow! Hallelujah!”?
Okay, Jesse is unbelievably racist in calling this one. He starts with “You know Gorilla, the B stands for Buckwheat. He told me he has another brother named Stymie.” He continues with “And what’s with the glove? I mean, Michael Jackson wears a glove, but Buckwheat don’t”.
Jesus Christ Jesse, you racist motherfucker.
The most interesting part of this match is the ending. Butch Reed gets a contested win by grabbing a handful of tights and guess who is down there telling the ref he made a mistake and correcting the wrongs? Tito Santana! Dude loves jumping into matches!
Overall: Honestly Tito, mind your own business. 2/139
9. Ricky the Dragon Steamboat vs Macho Man Randy Savage
This is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and I can’t disagree. It’s unbelievable. The lead up to this match generated insane heat, with Savage fracturing Steamboat’s Larynx with a ring bell.
There has been about a million words written about this match, so I don’t have much new to add. One thing I learned recently, apparently this isn’t Steamboats favorite match, due to how scripted it was. Savage was known to be a very detailed planner, and both wrestlers spent 3 months leading up to this match planning literally every single beat. The story goes that Steamboat preferred more fluid matches where you call the moves in real time.
Despite what Steamboat thinks about planning, this entire match is brilliant. The excitement goes through the roof, especially around about minute 7 when they go for about 10 pins in a 2 minute period. I don’t think there is one wrestler active today who could have pulled off this match.
Overall: No jokes, just a brilliant, brilliant match. 10/10
10. Jake the Snake Roberts vs Honky Tonk Man
I didn’t remember this at all, but this match had quite a bit of heat leading up to it. It was a result of Honky hitting Jake with a guitar in a segment of pipers pit.
What would be the draw to appear on Pipers Pit if you were a wrestler? The chances of being randomly attacked were like 70%. I guess it was no different than Jerry Springer. So just counting, three matches in this Wrestlemania were as a result of Piper’s Pit: this match, the Andre / Hogan match and the actual Piper / Adonis match.
This match is a pretty tame affair, with some decent moments, but nothing too great. Some standard back and forth that sees Honky winning with the ropes. Jake Roberts and Alice Cooper pause briefly to throw a heavily drugged python at a small man with a megaphone. That is the 4th time in my life I have written that exact sentence, but never once in the same context.
Overall: Ho hum: 6.4/11
11. Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff vs the Killer Bees
The Sheik and Volkoff against the Killer Bees! I could not be less excited. The match starts – as always – with the Russian national anthem being sung by Volkoff and oh god here comes Hacksaw Jim Shithead Duggan. I was wrong, I can be less excited and now here I am.
The crowd is pretty mellow considering this is the next to final match. There’s a couple decent pops, but nothing great. The one nice this about this one is how quickly it ends. The Sheik and Volkoff have the win pretty much clean when Hacksaw jumps in and shits all over everything and gets the bees disqualified. The crowd barely, barely cares.
Overall: Apparently I despised a great many wrestlers from the 80’s. Weird. 2/16
12. Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant
Here we go, the big one. Arguably the most famous match in all of wrestling history. There’s so many stories about this one. I like the mythology but I don’t buy some of them:
– Hogan said Andre was closer to 700 pounds than 500. I call bullshit on that. He’s not a fucking SUV, he’s a human man.
– Hogan said he didn’t actually know if he was going to win the match. What I do believe is that if Andre didn’t want to be slammed, then Andre wasn’t getting slammed. I think more what Hogan meant is he didn’t have pre-match commitment from Andre on the match, but I have trouble believing McMahon would have let the match go if he wasn’t sure Hogan was going to win
Anyway, the match is so lousy with mythology that it’s still entertaining to watch for the spectacle, although the match itself is nothing special. Lots of great posturing and the actual moment when Hogan slams Andre is one of the biggest pops you’ll hear in wrestling. Hogan drops the big leg and it’s 1-2-3 all over. A great end to a great (although not that great, on re-watch) Wrestlemania.
Overall: 9/10 for the history, 2/10 for the match