(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
March 29, 1987
The show starts off with some sexy smooth jazz as the WrestleMania logo flies onto the screen. Vince McMahon is in the ring and he goes into full Mr. McMahon mode as he welcomes us to WrestleMania III. He then welcomes us to the Superdome…I mean Silverdome, brother! Then, he introduces Aretha Franklin to sing “America the Beautiful”. Aretha is sitting at a grand piano and plays a slow whispery version of the song, while what looks like Dynamite Kid’s doppelganger looks on in the background.
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are in the commentator’s box with special guests Bob Uecker and Mary Hart. Bob is a former baseball player and actor and Mary is the host of Entertainment Tonight. Bob says that he feels like he’s back in the World Series, despite the fact that he didn’t actually play in the last Series he was at. Jesse says that he’s pumped and ready and Mary tells him that she can tell while standing so close. Whoa! Easy there, Jesse!
The Can-Am Connection vs. Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Howard Finkel announces the first match and tells us that it is a tag team contest. Somewhere, Teddy Long can be heard telling him, “Once more with feeling, playa!” I can’t help but notice that Muraco appears to be wearing his sweatshirt inside-out. He quickly takes it off before anyone else can see. As far as The Can-Am Connection, they are Rick Martel & Tom “Z-Man” Zenk. Rick is from Canada and Zenk is from America, hence the name of the team.
Muraco and Martel start the match and they have a couple of stalemate lock-ups. Martel manages to take him down with a shoulder block, which makes Muraco angry. He shoves Rick into a corner and batters him for a bit, before being taken down with a hip toss and a monkey flip. Martel gets a blind tag and both men come in to perform a double monkey flip on Muraco, so he tags out to Orton. Orton comes in, but he begs off from a double team and bails to the outside. He comes back in, but gets slammed and caught in some armbars. Zenk tags in and we get dueling full nelsons from Zenk and Orton. Muraco comes in and tries to get a cheap shot, but he hits Orton by mistake. Martel tags in and locks in an armbar. Orton tries to pull the hair to get out, but Martel holds onto the arm and brings him back down to the mat. The two men end up colliding with each other, so they both tag out to their partners. Muraco does a Flair bump in the corner, but gets slingshotted back into the ring. Muraco and Orton then try to double Irish whip the two men into each other, but it’s reversed and Muraco instinctively hits a back body drop on his own partner as he comes running. The Can-Am Connection then hit a cross body/schoolyard trip-up combination and get a 3 count. They celebrate kind of awkwardly in the ring afterwards.
This was a fun little opener. It wasn’t too long and they kept it rather exciting. The Can-Am Connection wouldn’t last too long as Zenk apparently complained backstage that Martel was making more money than him. Martel would soon team up with Tito Santana to form Strike Force.
Winners: The Can-Am Connection
Next, there is a video package covering the Hercules/Billy Jack Haynes feud. They show footage of Heenan daring Haynes to come out and attempt to break Hercules’ full nelson. Haynes arrives and turns to allow Herc to put on the move, but Heenan gets in his face. Haynes shoves him, so Hercules attacks Billy from behind. He then locks on the full nelson and refuses to let go of it.
Mean Gene is backstage with Hercules and Bobby Heenan. Gene says he is excited to see the match between Herc and Billy Jack, but Heenan corrects him to say that it’s “Billy Jerk”. Hercules says that it’s the same old story as thousands of years ago when he used his chains to bring down the pillars. Wait, does he actually think he’s the real Hercules? Have they done a concussion test on this man? He then says that Haynes will feel his wrath and they will find out who is the real master of the full nelson. Heenan closes by once again telling Gene that it’s “Billy Jerk”.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan)
Billy Jack comes to the ring and we get our first glimpse of the electric ring carts that chauffeur the wrestlers to the ring. They use these since the walkway is so long. I always liked those ring carts. They look like mini versions of the wrestling ring. Haynes is wearing a sparkly jacket, a large hat, and a choker with the word “Oregon” written on it. Hercules and Heenan are out next and the fans chant “weasel” at Bobby. Fink does his announcements and the two men butt heads before the bell rings.
The two men lock-up to a stalemate. Referee Dave Hebner tries to break them apart, but he’s unsuccessful. Hercules knees Haynes in the gut, but he misses an elbow in the corner. Haynes chops him and then press slams him, before going for a full nelson. Herc quickly scrambles away from the move. Hercules then clotheslines Haynes down and Billy seems stunned. He falls over when he tries to get to his feet. Herc then whips Haynes from corner to corner and suplexes him. He covers, but he lifts him up before the 3 count and Heenan seems a bit annoyed at this. Haynes tries to reverse a suplex, but he sells that his back is hurt, so Hercules starts targeting it. He then hits a press slam and grabs a full nelson, but he can’t lock his fingers. Haynes starts to fade, so the ref checks the arm. He barely keeps it up on the 3rd drop and starts to power out with snot running down his face. The two men end up hitting a double clothesline and are slow to get up again. Haynes fights back with a couple of clotheslines, which makes Jesse quip that it’s the only move Haynes knows. Haynes then grabs his own full nelson and he clasps his fingers. Herc fights to the ropes and the two men tumble to the outside. They fight a bit and Haynes gets another full nelson on the floor, but this causes both men to be counted out. After the bell, Heenan tries to attack, but Haynes stalks him around the ring. Heenan lures him back inside, where Hercules nails him with the chain and keeps hitting him until he starts bleeding. He then grabs the full nelson and shakes him around, flinging blood all over the place. He finally lets him go and leaves with Heenan.
This started off as a decent little power match. It was going pretty good until the lame ending. The end kind of made Billy Jack look a little foolish. I think their match at The Big Event was better, but they did a good job here of continuing the feud. I was surprised by the use of blood. There’s more blood in some of these early WWF shows than I realized.
Winner: Double Count Out
Mean Gene is backstage with King Kong Bundy and his team of midgets, um, I mean little people. Gene says that he heard that big trouble comes in little packages. Bundy corrects him and says that big trouble comes in 450-pound packages. He then threatens to squish all of the members of the other team. He says they’ll have to clean them up with a blotter. His teammates look at him like he’s crazy the entire time that he speaks.
Bundy and his team ride to the ring on a cart before we go back to Mean Gene. He’s now with Hillbilly Jim and his team. Jim says he’s not too worried about himself because he can handle Bundy. He says that he’s more worried about his little buddies. He tells them that he will do his “doggest” to make sure everything is okay out there. He then picks up the two little guys and holds them as they end the interview.
Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid, & Little Beaver vs. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, & Lord Littlebrook
This match is contested under mixed-tag rules. The midgets are only supposed to fight the midgets and the big men only fight the big men. Sadly WWE lost the rights to the song “Don’t Go Messin’ with a Country Boy”, so we get generic banjo music instead, which is way too loud. Gorilla still references the song on commentary, despite the fact that we can’t hear it. Bob Uecker joins the commentary before the match starts and he jokes that one of the midgets remind him of an ex-girlfriend. Jim and his team do a little square dance in the ring and Jim even does a cartwheel before the match starts.
Tokyo and Haiti start off the match and it doesn’t take long before all four midgets are in the ring doing some criss-cross action. They end up in a four-way row boat spot for a little comedy and the ref is giving them leeway in the ring. One of them keeps loudly saying, “AYE AYE AYE!” Tokyo tries some throat chops to Beaver, but he gets slapped in return. On commentary, Jesse jokes that he wants to see Bundy squash one of them. He says they’ll have to pick him up with a spatula. Bundy tags into the match and it almost looks like Jesse will get his wish, but Beaver dives between Bundy’s legs and attempts a dropkick that does nothing. He quickly tags in Hillbilly Jim. Bundy clubs away at Jim, but he misses a clothesline. Jim hits one of his own, followed by an elbow drop. All of Jim’s team try to dog-pile on top of Bundy, but it only gets a 2 count. Bundy is angry and knocks Jim down, before grabbing a front facelock. Beaver keeps running in to interfere, so Bundy has enough and slams him. He then hits an elbow drop and the ref calls for a DQ because Bundy attacked a midget. Bundy goes for a splash, but the midgets pull Beaver out of the way. Everyone, including Bundy’s own team, are mad at him and run him off. Jim then lifts up an unconscious Little Beaver to check that he’s okay, while Bundy rides to the back on a cart.
This was just silliness to lighten the mood. They kept it short, so it was relatively harmless. Some of the spots were kind of fun. I’m sure Vince thought that it was hilarious as this wouldn’t be the last time that he brought in midget wrestlers.
Winners: Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid, & Little Beaver (by DQ)
Mary Hart is backstage with Miss Elizabeth. She says, “I’m here with Miss Elizabeth whose pleasure, it is all mine.” What, is she Yoda? Who talks like that? She asks Elizabeth if she’s “trepidatious”, but before she can answer, Savage walks into frame. “Ooh, trepidatious is the word!” Savage says. He says that Mary must be fascinated with the Macho Man and tells her that she can ask him any questions. Mary says that she wanted to talk to Elizabeth and Randy replies, “About the Macho Man?” Mary then asks if Savage is always this way. Savage says that fascinating is the word of the day before telling Elizabeth it’s time to go. Mary protests that she never got to ask Elizabeth any questions and Savage tells her that Elizabeth’s phone number is on the back of his license plate. Male fans were reported to be making a mad dash for the parking lot to find Savage’s car.
Next, we get a recap of the Junkyard Dog/Harley Race feud. They show a promo from Race. He’s wearing a cape and crown and says that he’s the king of wrestling. He says that everyone will bow to him. Then, they show a promo from JYD, who says that America has no king and that his parents taught him to only bow to god. They then show footage of JYD trying on Race’s cape and crown, before he fights off Heenan. Race jumps him from behind and tries to force him to bow.
Mean Gene is backstage with Harley Race, Bobby Heenan, and The Fabulous Moolah. Moolah is holding a red cushion for the crown. Gene says that there could be a new king or there could be a re-coronation for Race. Race says it’s a re-coronation and tells him to keep it that way. Moolah says that it will be an honor to crown Harley and watch JYD bow. Heenan then tells her that he’s entrusting her with the crown jewels before placing the crown on the cushion. Moolah looks annoyed by this, for some reason.
In the commentary box, Bob Uecker is smitten by Moolah, as he watches Race and company ride to the ring. He says that the moon is full and so is he! He then takes off his headset and leaves, as Gorilla and Jesse laugh.
Mean Gene is now with JYD. He asks if JYD will be wearing the crown after the match and he replies, “Just as sure as I’m black and the day is sunny, Mean Gene!” He then says that Race has been sitting on the throne too long and it’s time to move aside and let the dog sit there.
Loser Must Bow Match: Harley Race (w/ Bobby Heenan & The Fabulous Moolah) vs. The Junkyard Dog
Junkyard Dog comes to the ring and we get a nice camera shot from the back of the cart. JYD barks for the crowd. He gets into the ring and Race bails because JYD has his chain. My OCD is slightly bothered by the off-center crown on Race’s tights. I can’t tell if it’s designed that way or his trunks are twisted.
Heenan immediately tries to trip up JYD at the start of the match, so he bails outside to chase him. Race catches him coming back into the ring and stomps on him for a bit. JYD tries a headbutt, but Race throws him outside and goes for a diving headbutt off the apron. He moves and Race splats on the mat, so JYD rolls back inside. He knocks Harley out again and then slams him over the ropes before locking in an abdominal stretch. Race manages to hip toss him out of the hold and hits a falling headbutt, but JYD’s hard head causes Race to take the brunt of the move. Race is then whipped to the corner, where he takes one of his crazy bumps over the top. He gets back into the ring, but JYD meets him with some crawling headbutts. Heenan gets up on the apron to distract JYD and this allows Race to hit a belly-to-belly suplex and pin him for a 3 count. JYD is frustrated by the loss, as Race dons his cape and sits in a chair. He waits for his bow, so JYD gives him a half-hearted curtsy and a bow. Race is satisfied, so he stands up, but JYD attacks him and hits him with the chair. He then takes Harley’s cape and crown for himself. Jesse is disgusted by JYD’s behavior, but Gorilla likes it. Harley’s music plays, even though JYD is the one leaving on the cart. Gorilla calls it a “moral victory” for the JYD. I don’t think that was very moral.
I don’t understand the booking of this one. They had JYD lose pretty much cleanly and then had him attack Race like a heel. I see nothing has changed over the years. Even back in the 80s, the WWF babyfaces were bullying jerks, for some odd reason. It’s kind of a glimpse into the psyche of Vince McMahon. The match itself wasn’t too bad, short as it was. I get that Race is getting on in age at this point, so I understand why they kept it short.
Winner: Harley Race
Vince McMahon is backstage with Hulk Hogan. Hogan talks about riding his Harley (Davidson that is, not Race). He says that people were telling him it was his last ride. He tells us that he felt the fury as he ripped his t-shirt while riding. Whoa, that’s dangerous Hulk. Don’t be doing that! He says that he realized that someday he will have to live and die and face the truth. However, he says that Andre will also have to face the truth and that truth is Hulkamania and the training, prayers, and vitamins. He tells us that all he has to do is beat a giant, but Andre has to beat him and all his Hulkamaniacs and all of those who don’t take shortcuts. He says that if the dirty air doesn’t get you then the politicians will, but in this case it’s Hulkamania that’s going to get Andre because it’s the purest form of truth. He finishes by saying he can’t wait to see Andre go down at his feet. WHATCHA GONNA DO!? Vince spends the entire interview giving Hogan a look like he’s trying to guess how much coke Hogan has done beforehand.
Mean Gene is backstage with The Dream Team, Johnny Valiant, and Dino Bravo. Poor Valentine is doing his best to peek his head into the shot from behind everyone. Gene asks why the Dream Team needs another man in their corner. Johnny calls Gene “Mr. Curiosity” and then talks a mile a minute. I can’t understand most of it, except for the line “parlez-vous scrambled eggs, Grandma!” I don’t speak scrambled eggs, but I do speak a little fried eggs. Dino then speaks some French before Valiant shouts some more nonsense.
The Dream Team (w/ Johnny Valiant & Dino Bravo) vs. The Rougeau Brothers
The two teams come down to ringside and Gorilla points out that it’s not a 6-Man Tag. He wants to know why there are so many people at ringside and Jesse tells him they’re advisers. Gorilla and Jesse then spend a moment marveling at Valentine’s new robe. Gorilla says it looks like one of Jesse’s, but he says he only grows feather boas on his farm.
Brutus and Raymond start and for some reason Beefcake has the most ridiculous looking mullet. There are some agile reversals by Raymond, followed by a nice double dropkick by both Rougeaus. Jacques comes in and starts trading forearms with Valentine, before tagging back out to Raymond. Ray hits a cross body for a 2 count. Jacques comes back, but he misses a cross body of his own from the second turnbuckle and the Dream Team begin working him over for a bit. Brutus holds him up in a press slam position, while Valentine comes off the top with a forearm. At this point, Heenan joins the commentary for the match. He brags that he’s 2 for 2 tonight, but Gorilla points out the midget match. Heenan says he wasn’t out there for that one, so it didn’t count. Meanwhile, Valentine gets a Figure Four, but Jacques gets to the ropes. Valentine then goes for a piledriver, but gets back dropped for his trouble. Raymond tags in and gets a sleeper hold. Beefcake attempts to jump off the top rope onto Ray, but he accidentally hits Valentine instead. The Rougeaus then hit a double team move off the top that basically is a flying crotch to the face. Raymond goes for a jackknife pin, but the ref is busy getting Jacques out of the ring, so Bravo seizes the opportunity to dive onto Raymond. Valentine then pins Ray for a 3 count. After the match, Brutus gets left in the ring. His teammates are fed up with him for messing up, so they give him a rude gesture and leave on the cart without him.
This wasn’t much of a match. There were some good spots, but this was done mostly to set up the breakup angle. Their match at The Big Event was better. This would, of course, be the end of this incarnation of the Dream Team, but it’s not the last time we’ll see Beefcake tonight. More on that in a bit.
Winners: The Dream Team
Next, they show a recap of the Piper/Adonis feud. They show footage of Orton and Adonis attacking Piper on an episode of Piper’s Pit. Then, we get footage of Piper returning the favor by destroying Adonis’ Flower Shop set. Piper yells that the war has just begun. There is footage of Jimmy Hart slapping Piper, so Roddy chokes him, but Adonis attacks from behind. He gets a sleeper on Piper and knocks him out cold. There is more footage of Adonis spraying perfume in Piper’s eyes before we go to a promo from Roddy. He says that he won’t lose to someone in a dress and he says that there is no retreat and no surrender.
Adonis and Hart ride to the ring, but the show cuts to a pre-taped promo from the duo. Mean Gene is interviewing them. Hart tells him that you spell wrestling A-D-O-N-I-S. Poor Jimmy, he never learned how to spell. It’s a wonder that he managed to write songs. Adonis is holding a pair of hedge clippers, which he will apparently use to cut Piper’s hair. Hmm, what an interesting addition to his gimmick. It sure would be a shame if someone were to steal it. Adrian calls himself “Clipper Claude”, as he opens and closes the clippers. He asks Piper how he wants his haircut, like a baboon’s behind? He then asks how he’s going to like it, before telling him he will like it with wrestling and Irene. He says that Irene doesn’t have high heels or sneakers, but she does have python-like arms. Whoa, that’s gimmick infringement, brother! He then closes by opening and closing the clippers some more.
Hair vs. Hair Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart)
This is billed as Piper’s retirement match, win or lose. He would be leaving to pursue acting for a while. Of course, this is one of those wrestling retirements, which means it doesn’t last. He does stay out of the ring for a decent amount of time, but let’s just remember that he would be main eventing WCW PPVs 10 years after this. Piper opts to walk to the ring instead of riding one of the carts. He’s only one of two people to do that tonight. Jesse jokes that we will either see a Bald Scot or Humpty Dumpty.
Piper pulls out a belt to start and begins whipping Adrian with it. The ref doesn’t DQ him, but Jesse is complaining on commentary about it. Adonis attacks and takes the belt away, before using it himself. Piper nearly gets his hands on Hart and Gorilla says that he, “Nearly got that little sh…twerp.” Hart tries to interfere again, so Piper gives him and Adonis a double noggin’ knocker. He then whips Adrian into Hart and the two men tumble over the ropes. Piper brings Adrian back in and punches him into the corner, before throwing Jimmy on top of him. Hart finally manages to interfere successfully by tripping Roddy, so Adonis takes advantage. He gives Piper a front and back rake, before taking him down with a clothesline. He then knocks Piper out of the ring and slams him head-first into a table. Hart gets in some cheap shots as the ref is distracted. They fight back inside, where Piper beckons Adonis to bring it. Hart uses another distraction to spray perfume in Piper’s eyes and Adonis gets a sleeper hold. Piper starts to fade, so the ref checks his arm, but Adonis foolishly lets go before the 3rd attempt. He acts like he won, despite the ref waving him off. Brutus Beefcake then shows up, for no apparent reason, and wakes up Piper. Roddy gets a sleeper hold of his own, while Beefcake chases Jimmy Hart away. Adonis passes out and Piper gets the win. Beefcake reenters the ring and grabs the clippers, so I guess they are his now. Brutus then grabs the electric razor and slowly starts chopping off bits of Adrian’s hair, while Piper keeps Hart subdued. The razor doesn’t work very well, so they’re only able to take out small chunks, before they finally call it enough. Piper tosses bits of Adonis’ hair into the crowd and then holds up a mirror so that Adrian can see what he looks like. Adonis angrily punches the mirror, before bailing to the outside and high-tailing it to the back with a jacket over his head. A fan runs into the ring to celebrate with Piper, who looks amused as the officials tackle the fan.
This was a fun little match. It wasn’t a classic or anything, but it told a good story and was entertaining. I think it’s funny that one of the most memorable aspects of Beefcake’s gimmick was blatantly stolen from another wrestler live on PPV. They never really explained why Beefcake was there. I guess he really liked the look of those hedge clippers and wanted them.
Winner: Roddy Piper
Mary Hart and Bob Uecker join Gorilla in the commentary booth, but Jesse is missing. Mary asks where he is and Gorilla says that he insisted on being introduced to the crowd before the next match. They cut to the ring, where Fink introduces Jesse as “the man who allegedly tells it like it is”. Jesse admonishes him for this remark.
Gene is backstage with The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis. Gene says that time is running out for Jimmy Hart. Jimmy says that they’re going to unleash the newest member of the Foundation, Dangerous Danny Davis. Hart tells Tito Santana, “If you want a war, you’ve got a war!” Uh oh, is Hart about to start the nWo? He then calls the Bulldogs the biggest crybabies he’s seen and tells them to hold their heads high because there will be nothing left after they’re done with them.
The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana (w/ Matilda the Bulldog)
The Hart Foundation are the current tag team champions, but their belts are not on the line in this match. Their partner, Danny Davis, is a former referee. He’s playing the crooked ref gimmick, much like Nick Patrick would years later. He was instrumental in causing both the Bulldogs and Tito to lose their titles. Since he was suspended as a ref, the Hart Foundation trained him to wrestle. Gorilla tells us that Davis is suspended for life plus 10 years. The Bulldogs come to the ring with their pet bulldog, Matilda, in tow. They arrive at the ring and put Matilda inside, where she immediately goes after Jimmy Hart. Hart hilariously freaks out and bails to the outside. The Hart Foundation follow him, but Tito jumps them and Davis gets press slammed onto them. As the match begins, we get a shot of Jesse Ventura high-tailing it to the back with Matilda in his arms. No one seems that concerned, except for Mary Hart, but the commentators just make jokes about it.
Tito and Bret start the match and go through the usual chain wrestling start. They end up tagging in Davey and Anvil and Davey rams Bret and Anvil’s heads together. On commentary, Mary Hart assures us that she is not related to Jimmy Hart in any way. Meanwhile, Tito tags in, but the Hart Foundation take control and choke him in their corner. They use some ref distractions to lay a beating on Santana. Tito manages to finally outmaneuver Anvil and get a tag to Davey. He gets a back body drop on Anvil, but Bret distracts him so that Anvil can take over again. Eventually, Dynamite is able to tag in and whips Bret into the corner for his famous chest-first bump, before hitting Bret with a falling headbutt. He makes a cover but Anvil breaks it up. Every time Dynamite tries to fight back, the Hart Foundation use double teaming and distractions to maintain control. Once they have Dynamite down, Danny Davis finally tags into the match. He gets in a couple of kicks, before tagging out once more. They keep Dynamite subdued in their corner and Mary Hart jokes that they’ll have to rename him “firecracker” if he doesn’t fight back. Danny Davis comes back in for some silly looking kicks, but he tags out quickly. The Hart Foundation then end up slingshotting Davis over the top for a splash, but Dynamite gets his knees up on the move and tags out to Tito. The fans go crazy as Santana back body drops Davis and then hits the flying forearm. He punches Davis and goes for a Figure Four, but Anvil breaks it up. Tito tags out to Davey, who clotheslines Davis and slams him into Dynamite’s head. Davey then does a nasty looking Tombstone to Davis, followed by a suplex. Then, he hits the running powerslam, but Anvil breaks up the pin again. Tito comes flying in with a forearm to knock Anvil out of the ring, but the ref is distracted by trying to regain control. Davis uses the opening to clock Davey with the megaphone and pins him for a 3 count. The fans boo loudly as the heels celebrate and leave the ring.
This was a great match. The crowd was absolutely hot for the entire thing. They did a good job of building Davis as this slimy little heel.
Winners: The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis
Mean Gene is backstage with Heenan and Andre. Andre is completely still and staring off into space. You’d almost think he was a statue. Heenan says that Andre will be champion and talks about how he’s undefeated. He says that Hogan has never faced anyone as big as Andre. You know, except for those times in the early 80s when Hogan faced Andre, but we won’t speak of those. He then says that the clock is ticking in their direction and Hulkamania will be dead. Heenan says that he has butterflies in his “stomachs”. Stomachs? What is he, a cow? He says that he knows Hogan feels the same. He then finishes by saying that Hogan had 3 good years, but he won’t have anything to look back upon and reiterates that Andre will be the new champion.
Butch Reed (w/ Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware (w/ Frankie)
Reed and Slick are already in the ring, as Slick talks to the camera for a moment. Koko is out next, with his parrot Frankie. Jesse jokes that the bird would make a good soup. He also calls Koko “Buckwheat”, which I’m not sure would fly today. Jesse then notices that the camera is behind him, so he shows off his WrestleMania t-shirt and then flexes. “Ooh, look at the arm!” he says. Before the match, we get some great camera angles with Frankie in the foreground. I hope that bird is well trained. It would suck if it got spooked and flew off into the crowd. We then see that Koko is wearing one glove, like Michael Jackson. Jesse says that Tunney needs to start checking those gloves.
The match starts off with a little stalling by Reed, until he backs Koko into the ropes and punches him. Koko reverses some moves and hits a nice dropkick that sends Reed over the ropes. Koko celebrates by doing a cartwheel. Somewhere backstage, Hillbilly Jim challenges Koko to a cartwheel contest. Koko punches Reed down and Reed begs off, but Koko is having none of it. He whips Reed into the ropes, but he telegraphs a back drop and gets knocked down. We then get more shots of Frankie, who mugs for the camera. What a prima-donna. Reed stomps Koko and slams him into the turnbuckles, but Koko reverses a whip and hip tosses him. He goes for a cross body, but Reed reverses it and pulls the tights on a pin for a 3 count. After the bell, Koko punches Reed, so Slick gets into the ring and hits him with his cane. Tito Santana materializes out of thin air and attacks Slick. He rips up Slick’s suit, so Slick pulls away and runs to the back with his suit in tatters. Tito and Koko then double dropkick Reed out of the ring and he joins Slick on the retreat. Tito and Koko dance and celebrate as they ride the cart to the back.
This wasn’t much of a match. It didn’t serve much of a purpose. I’m not even sure that these two were feuding. Also, where did Tito come from? It’s a long walk from the back, so he had to have started before the attack happened. Is that Tito’s gimmick during this time? He comes out to randomly help wrestlers?
Winner: Butch Reed
Next, they show a recap of the Savage/Steamboat feud. There is footage of Savage injuring Steamboat’s throat on the guardrail and with a ring bell. A doctor then marvels at Steamboat’s rate of recovery. Then, they show footage of George the Animal Steele carrying Miss Elizabeth away from ringside. After that, they show footage of Steamboat returning to confront Savage in the ring.
Randy Savage is backstage by himself. He says that he was in a state of shock when Steamboat returned. He says that he will embarrass him in front of the largest audience in the world and put him out of wrestling for good. He then calls himself the lord and master of the ring, before saying that Steamboat can’t be with him. He finishes by exclaiming that history beckons the Macho Man!
Savage and Elizabeth ride down to ringside before they cut to Mean Gene with Ricky Steamboat. He’s doing some karate poses as Gene introduces him. Gene says that this could be Ricky’s last shot at the Intercontinental Title. A raspy-voiced Steamboat says that the day has finally come. The minutes, the seconds, they have reached their moment. He says that they will clash like titans, but there will be only one winner. He then says that this dragon will scorch Savage’s back and see new horizons. His dubbed over music nearly drowns out the last part of his promo.
Intercontinental Title Match: Ricky Steamboat (w/ George the Animal Steele) vs. Randy Savage (c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth)
Steamboat comes to the ring with George Steele. This annoys Jesse as he doesn’t think Steele should be there because he’s just going to go after Elizabeth again. Jesse then talks about how Savage has the champion’s advantage and doesn’t have to beat Ricky. He talks about how Savage would keep his title, but lose the winners money. I like it when the commentators bring that up. It makes the wins seem more important.
The match starts with some back and forth action, but Savage quickly bails outside to move Elizabeth away from Steele. He comes back in, but Steamboat catches him off guard with some arm drags and a lifting choke. Savage bails and lures Steamboat into following, so he can catch him coming back inside. He pulls Steamboat onto the apron and goes after his throat with an elbow. He then keeps him at bay by attacking when he tries to get back into the ring. Finally, he snap mares him over the top rope and gets a 2 count. Steamboat manages to block a slam attempt and chops Savage into the ropes, where he gets tied up. Steamboat attacks, while the ref tries to free Savage, and Jesse admonishes him for it. Ricky then hits a cross body for a 2 count of his own. Savage hits him with a running knee and tries to toss him out, but Steamboat skins the cat back inside, so Randy simply tosses him out again. He then sends Ricky into the guardrail and goes back in for a breather. Steele tries to help Steamboat up, but the ref warns him about it. Savage hits a flying axehandle onto Ricky and throws him inside to hit another one. He then goes back to the throat by dropping him across the top rope. Steamboat finally manages to back body drop Savage over the ropes. Jesse says it should be a DQ, but that’s not a rule in the WWF. Ricky sends Savage back in and hits a flying chop off the top, but only gets a 2 count. He then tries multiple types of pins for a few 2 counts and the crowd is going crazy for every near fall. A worn out Savage wildly swings at the ref, who thankfully moves. He finally regains control by pulling Steamboat into the corner. Savage then reverses an Irish whip and accidentally wipes out the ref. Randy hits the flying elbow drop, but there’s no ref to make the count. Savage then decides to go outside and grab the ring bell. He has to yank it out of the timekeeper’s hands, but Steele tries to stop him. He pushes George away and climbs to the top rope with the bell in hand, but George recovers and shoves Randy into the ring. Steamboat grabs him and rolls him up in a small package for a 3 count and the crowd go crazy. Jesse complains about Steele’s interference and says Steamboat better give half of the belt to George for his help.
This match is an all-time classic. It’s one of those matches that still holds up. I’m not a huge fan of the ending, but I don’t think it takes too much away from the match. The crowd absolutely loved it.
Winner: Ricky Steamboat (New Champion)
Mean Gene is backstage with Jake Roberts and Alice Cooper. Gene brings up Honky Tonk Man hitting Jake with a guitar and shows him the footage. Roberts says that Jimmy Hart must have planned the attack because Honky doesn’t have the guts to do it himself. Gene then asks Alice Cooper if he will keep tabs on Hart. Alice says that he’ll watch him all the way and he will be Jimmy’s nightmare. Cooper then says that this is his hometown and the hometown of heavy metal.
Roberts and Alice Cooper head to the ring to a great reaction, before we go back to Gene. He’s with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart. Gene says that Betty Lou will be ringside, but Honky corrects him that it’s “Peggy Sue”. Honky says that everyone came there to hear him sing and they will get it. He says that no one wants to hear some nightmare music from Cooper. He then says that Alice Cooper will never get his hands on Jimmy Hart. He finishes by saying that he will sing and dance for all those who support him, but he gets cut off as they go back to ringside.
The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Jake the Snake Roberts (w/ Alice Cooper)
Jake Roberts had been getting increasingly good reactions, so the decision was made to turn him babyface. This was done by having Honky Tonk Man attack him with a guitar. The problem is that someone forgot to give Honky a gimmicked guitar. He hit Jake with a real one and damaged some discs in Jake’s neck. The damage would plague Jake’s career for years and the pain contributed to Jake’s drug and alcohol problems. Honky has denied this over the years and says that Jake is lying, but I tend to believe Jake on this one.
Jake attacks Honky before he can even get into the ring. He tries to reverse it, but Jake hits him with a knee lift, so Honky bails to the outside. He tries to get his jumpsuit off, but Jake attacks again and pulls it off for him. Roberts throws Honky into the ring, but he slides back out the other side. Jake pursues him and rolls him into the ring. Jake charges the corner, but Honky gets a knee up and starts beating on Jake. He stomps him and punches the arm, but Jake reverses it into a short-arm clothesline. We then get a camera shot of the snake bag and it’s moving. Honky bails to the outside, but Jake follows. This is a mistake, as Honky sends him into the ring post and goes back inside to dance a little. Alice tries to help Jake back into the ring, but Honky attacks Jake. He then nails Roberts, sending him back into the guardrail. Cooper helps Jake up again, as Jesse complains on commentary. Honky pulls Jake into the ring, slams him, and hits a fist drop off the second turnbuckle. He then starts softening up Jake for his finisher. He slowly beats him down, before attempting The Shake, Rattle, & Roll. However, Jake back drops him out of it. Honky then takes him to the corner for 10 punches, but Jake turns it into an inverted atomic drop. Honky begs off, but gets back dropped and punched onto the apron. He gets caught up in the ropes and keeps rebounding for more punches. Jake pulls him inside and signals for the DDT to a great reaction. He goes for it, but Hart grabs his ankle. This allows Honky to roll up Jake and use the ropes for leverage for a 3 count. Jake chases him to the outside and tries to hit him with the guitar, but Honky ducks. The guitar explodes on the ring post and Honky runs, leaving Hart behind. Alice gets into the ring, as Jake grabs Hart in a full nelson. Cooper gets the snake and they threaten Hart with it, as he legitimately freaks out. The story is that Jimmy was so afraid of snakes that he struggled against the full nelson and strained his neck. Jake finally lets go, so Alice throws the snake on him and Jimmy runs for his life.
This was an alright match. For such a heated rivalry, I was expecting something more. I’m sure they were drawing the feud out because at the time house shows were the primary source of money. Most feuds were heavily contested and blown off on the house show circuit. PPVs were more special attractions.
Winner: The Honky Tonk Man
Fink then introduces Mean Gene to make a special announcement. Gene gets into the ring and announces the now infamously exaggerated attendance number. I’m not getting into that whole discussion. Needless to say, there were a lot of people at this event, either way.
The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Slick) vs. The Killer Bees
So, is this the match that made Sheik infamously hate B. Brian Blair? I haven’t delved too deeply into that real-life rivalry. All I know is that Sheiky really doesn’t like him. I digress. Sheik and Volkoff ride to the ring with Iran and Soviet flags in hand. For some reason Slick is managing them now. Where’s Blassie? Slick is still wearing his tattered suit. He tells Fink that Nikolai wants to sing the Soviet national anthem. Volkoff starts to sing, to loud boos, but Hacksaw Jim Duggan runs down to interrupt. He runs them out of the ring with his 2×4 and grabs a mic. He says that Volkoff won’t sing that song because this is the home of the free. Wouldn’t that mean he’s free to sing? The Bees then come to the ring and Gorilla calls them excitement personified.
Sheik and Volkoff attack the Bees before they can even take off their jackets. Duggan stays at ringside to watch their backs, but he doesn’t help them here. The Bees reverse some Irish whips and try to send their opponents into each other. However, Sheik and Volkoff perform a do-si-do to get out of it. The Bees then take control of the match with double teaming and frequent tags. They hit a double hip toss and then spend some time working on Sheik’s arm. Brunzell hits a really nice dropkick, but Volkoff breaks up a pin attempt. Brian tries to come in to stop the attack, but this distracts the ref. Sheik and Volkoff use this opportunity to work over Brunzell in their corner. Nikolai grabs a bear hug on Brunzell, but he hits a head clap to get out of it. Volkoff quickly tags out before Brunzell can and Sheik hits some nice suplexes for a couple of 2 counts. Brunzell finally fights back with a high knee, but the ref doesn’t see his tag and doesn’t count it. Duggan ends up chasing Volkoff around ringside and into the ring, as Sheik grabs a Camel Clutch on Brunzell. However, Duggan can’t help himself and hits Sheik with his 2×4, causing a DQ. Duggan gets the mic again and says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. He then says, “If you don’t want to play by the rules then noother do we!” Noother?? Oh geez, Duggan is an idiot.
I know that these teams are capable of better than this. It wasn’t too bad, but Duggan had to ruin it. I just don’t like Duggan. I’m sure that will endear me to some of my readers.
Winners: Sheik & Volkoff (by DQ)
Mean Gene is with Heenan and Andre again, but this time he wants to talk to Andre. Andre says that he’s going to the ring and it won’t take him long to come back with the WWF Title around his waist. Um, Andre I don’t think it will fit, buddy. Heenan then says that Andre is ready and Hogan better be as well.
Next, they show a recap of the Hogan/Andre feud. They start with footage from ‘84 when Hogan first won the WWF Title. Andre pours champagne on Hogan’s head and tells him he’s proud of him. Then, they show footage of Hogan saving Andre from a beating by Studd and Bundy, followed by footage of them having a tag match with each other. They show footage of Andre being presented with a trophy on Piper’s Pit. Hogan takes over the interview segment, which annoys Andre. He ends up leaving without the trophy. Then, they show Jesse Ventura on Piper’s Pit saying he will produce Andre next week if Piper can produce Hogan. Piper agrees. The next week Andre shows up with Bobby Heenan and Hogan wants to know why Andre would align with him. Andre says he wants a WWF Title Match, but Hogan says that he doesn’t want to fight a friend. Andre rips off Hogan’s t-shirt and crucifix necklace, which cuts Hogan’s chest. He throws the shirt and necklace on the ground before storming off with Heenan. Piper then asks Hogan if he will give Andre a title shot and Hogan screams “YES!!!!!!!” as the crowd go crazy.
Mean Gene is with Hogan backstage. Hogan says that he hopes Pontiac Michigan can recover. He says he didn’t realize that the Silverdome was in danger. He’s not worried about the fans inside. He’s worried about those on the outside because when he gets his hands on “the big nasty giant” the ground will shake. He also says he’s not worried about the rest of the world. They will see the match, but this match has turned the whole state upside down. He wonders what everyone will think when the giant hits the ground and feels the wrath of Hulkamania. He says that the whole world will shake at his feet and then flexes his way off screen. This is pure coked-up Hogan. He almost sounded villainous in this promo.
Fink introduces us to the special guests for the night. He introduces Bob Uecker to be the special ring announcer. He waves to the crowd as he rides to the ring and someone throws a t-shirt at him. Uecker then takes over announcing and introduces Mary Hart as the guest timekeeper. Someone also throws a t-shirt at her. What’s up with that? She’s smart enough to take off her high heels before entering the ring. She’s not about to trip on TV.
WWF Title Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan)
Andre and Heenan ride to the ring as the fans boo and throw trash. Andre is unfazed by this, as he waves to the crowd almost sarcastically, but Heenan is visibly annoyed. Hogan opts to walk to the ring, much like Piper earlier. He gets into the ring and stares a hole through Andre as he rips his t-shirt. The two men continue staring daggers and Hogan slowly walks towards him. Hogan is mouthing something to Andre, but we can’t hear what he says.
The two men shove each other to start and Hogan starts throwing punches. He goes right for the body slam, but he collapses under Andre’s weight and barely kicks out at 2. Heenan couldn’t see his shoulder, so he argues that it was a 3 count. Andre then starts working over Hogan’s back with clubbing forearms. Hogan tries to grab at Andre’s leg, but he slams Hulk’s head into his knee. He then pulls Hogan up and slams him a couple of times, as Heenan taunts Hogan to get up. Andre then steps onto Hogan’s back and stands on him for a second, before pulling him to his feet and whipping him into the corner. He takes him from corner to corner and shoulder’s him into the turnbuckles, before backing into him and squashing him. Andre goes for a headbutt, but Hogan moves and Andre hits the turnbuckle. Hogan goes for a clothesline, but Andre gets a boot into his face and then locks in a bear hug. Hogan tries to break it, but can’t, so Andre holds the hug for a while. Hogan starts to fade and the ref checks his arm. He barely keeps his arm up on the 3rd drop and starts punching his way out of it. He tries to shoulder block Andre over, but gets chopped down and then booted out of the ring. Andre follows him and goes for a headbutt, but misses and hits the post instead. Hogan then pulls up the ring mat to expose the floor and attempts a piledriver. That’s rather heelish of him. Andre back drops Hogan out of the move and the two men go back inside the ring. Andre misses a big boot and Hogan is finally able to knock him down with a clothesline. He then begins to hulk up and the crowd go crazy. Hogan grabs Andre and manages to slam him to an almighty pop from the crowd. He then hits the leg drop and covers for the 3 count. Hogan celebrates as a dejected Heenan and an angry Andre leave the ringside area. They ride to the back as fans throw more trash and Hogan continues to pose in the ring. Jesse says that he might have to come out of retirement to take the title from Hogan. He then jokes that Hogan’s next defense might be against Uecker. Come on, don’t give Vince any ideas!
Considering how immobile Andre had become at this point in his career, this match was about as good as could be expected. This one is remembered more for its hype and spectacle than for being a great match. It more than served its purpose. The fans went crazy for the slam. The WWF would make it out to be the first time Andre was slammed. It wasn’t. It wasn’t even the first time Hogan had did it, but most people don’t remember the times before.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
They show us some replays of the end of the match. Gorilla says that there was no doubt that the shoulders were down for the 3 count. Hmm, is that foreshadowing? Do they plan that far ahead? Gorilla and Jesse then recap the show and Jesse complains that Steamboat stole Savage’s title. As they talk, I notice that Jesse has a jewel inserted into his butt-chin. That’s odd.
The show then ends with some still photos over Aretha Franklin’s singing from earlier.
This was a very good show. It’s the first WrestleMania that truly felt like the grand spectacle that it was meant to be. Nothing on the show was actively bad and there were quite a few memorable moments. This is definitely a thumbs up from me and a recommendation to watch.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @PaulDMatthews78. Normally I would review the next PPV that falls chronologically between the NWA and WWF. However, the next two shows occurred on the same exact night. Whenever I run into this problem I will alternate between the two companies based on which one I did last. Therefore, my next review will be Starrcade ‘87, followed by Survivor Series ‘87. I will explain in more detail the story behind why both shows were on the same night in my next review.
Thank you for reading.