March 29th, 1987
From the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, MI
Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon
Vince starts off the show in the ring welcoming the crowd before kicking it over to Aretha Franklin as she sings "America the Beautiful." She did a fantastic job with the song.
Gorilla and Jesse are with Bob Uecker and Mary Hart. Uecker compares the atmosphere of the show to the World Series.
Can-Am Connection vs. Don Muraco & Cowboy Bob Orton w/ Mr. Fuji
Martel takes Muraco down with a shoulderblock to the delight of the crowd. Muraco then roughs him up briefly until Martel floats over and hits some attempt at a hurricarana that gets two. Tag to Zenk as they both take Muraco down with a monkey flip. Orton comes in and he gets taken down before bailing as the heels regroup with outside with Fuji. Back inside, Zenk catches Orton with a slam then works the arm. They then trade full nelsons until Muraco accidentally hits his own partner as Zenk gets a two count off of that. Martel tags and he works the arm of Orton. Muraco tags as Zenk slams him down. Orton catches Zenk with a knee in the back as the camera shows Fuji smirking. He tags and roughs up Zenk briefly until they collide. Hot tag to Martel as he runs wild on his opponents. The match breaks down then the Can-Ams reverse Irish whips as Muraco backdrops Orton to avoid collision. The Can-Ams dump Orton then Martel hits Muraco, who got tripped up by Zenk, with a crossbody for the win (5:37) **1/2.
Thoughts: The match was all action and a total showcase for the Can-Am Connection, who spent about 90% of the match on offense. Muraco & Orton were just used to put these two over and at this point in their careers, that was for the best. I wonder what would have happened had Zenk not bolted the WWF because this team was very, very over.
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules w/ Bobby Heenan
The match starts with both guys butting heads until they are separated by the referee. They then fight over a lockup until Hercules catches him with a cheapshot. Hercules misses an attack in the corner then Haynes hits him with a press slam that looked very impressive. Hercules scurries to the floor when Haynes attempted a full nelson as he regroups outside as this match has been quite intense so far. Back inside, Haynes hits a bunch of hard chops but ends up running into a clothesline as Hercules is in control of the match. Hercules targets the back of Haynes for a while, even pulling up on a pin attempt after a suplex. Haynes tries to fight back but is in too much pain. Hercules hits a backbreaker then locks on the full nelson but is unable to lock his fingers as Haynes breaks free after a struggle. Both men are now down after clotheslining each other as Haynes is up first and fires away. He hits an inverted atomic drop then follows that with a pair of clotheslines before locking on the full nelson. Hercules reaches the ropes then both men spill outside where Haynes reapplies the hold until the referee rings the bell as the match is ruled a double count-out (7:52) **3/4. Heenan boots Haynes in the back then gets chased but distracts him enough to allow Hercules to sneak in and bust open Haynes with his chain then putting on the full nelson.
Thoughts: Solid power match. These two had good chemistry together in the ring and this was no exception. The finish of this match led to a series of "Chain Matches" at house shows as their feud continued.
Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook & King Kong Bundy vs. Little Beaver & Haiti Kid & Hillbilly Jim
The rules are that the midgets can only face off against each other and not the big guys. Match starts with the midgets doing a criss-cross spot as Bob Uecker has joined the booth and starts cracking a bunch of jokes. Lots of stalling from the midgets until Bundy is tagged in and heads after Beaver, who is not backing down. Beaver crawls beneath Bundy's leg before tagging Jim. He hits Bundy with a clothesline then drops an elbow as both Beaver & Kid pile on Bundy during the pin. Bundy now beats on Jim then grabs a front facelock as Beaver runs in and slaps him with his shoe. Uecker then lands his legendary line about there being "beaver all over this place." Beaver then tries to save Jim from Bundy and gets slammed then drops an elbow that looked like it killed him as the ref rings the bell for the DQ (4:19) 1/4*. After the match, Bundy attempts a splash but all of the midgets pull Beaver out of the way. Bundy then leaves the ring when Jim confronts him as Jim now holds Beaver in his hands as Beaver sells it like he is dead.
Thoughts: The match itself was all stalling but Uecker was gold on commentary and Bundy squashing Little Beaver was memorable at least.
Mary Hart is with Elizabeth and tries to talk with her but Randy Savage comes in and cuts her off then tells her to leave after messing with Hart.
Loser Must Bow to the Winner
King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog
Moolah holds the crown and cape of Race as she stands with Heenan and Race on the motorized cart to the ring. She was the presenter of those items, replacing singer Samantha Fox in that role. Match stats with a lockup then JYD chases around Heenan after he grabbed his leg. Race beats on JYD when he re-enters the ring. Race kicks him to the floor then misses a falling headbutt from the apron. JYD clotheslines Race back into the ring then sends him back to the floor after ringing his bell. JYD brings Race back in with a slam then locks on an abdominal stretch but Race counters with a hiptoss. JYD fights back as Race takes another bump out to the floor then JYD uses crawling headbutts when he gets back to the ring. Heenan then distracts JYD as Race comes from behind and gets the win with a belly-to-belly suplex (3:23) *. After the match, Race sits in a chair awaiting a proper bow from JYD, who gives a bow then as Race gets up to celebrate, JYD hits him from behind with a chair then puts on his cape as he leaves the ring and heads back on the motorized ring cart to the back.
Thoughts: Race bumped like a madman to make this better than it looked on paper but it was too short to be memorable or anything. The finish was fine as JYD didn't need the win as he was over and the fans loved him stealing the king attire so it was a good call.
Vince McMahon is in the locker room with Hulk Hogan, who declares victory tonight.
Rougeau Brothers vs. Dream Team w/ Johnny V. & Dino Bravo
Bravo is sporting the bleach blond hair for the first time in the WWF here. Raymond and Beefcake start off the match. The Rougeau's hit a few double team moves as the Rougeau's use their speed. Valentine takes control after ducking a crossbody attempt by Jacques as Heenan joins on commentary as he claims that he is undefeated so far tonight. He even buried Bundy, saying his match doesn't count and that he does not deal with midgets. Jacques counters a piledriver attempt and makes the tag as Raymond runs wild. Beefcake attempts to hit him from behind but accidentally nails Valentine and starts to freak out as the Rougeaus hit Valentine with the Rougeau Bomb but the ref gets distracted and that allows Bravo to come off of the top and hit Raymond as Valentine covers for the win (4:03) **. After the match, Beefcake gets left behind by his guys as they no longer want anything to do with him.
Thoughts: Short match but it was all action. The segment was designed to turn Beefcake and as you will see later, it worked out quite well. And going forward, it looks like Bravo will team with Valentine.
Hair vs. Hair Match
"Adorable" Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Roddy Piper
Piper walks out to the ring instead of taking the cart. He also received a deafening pop. Match starts with a brief slugfest until they start whipping each other with a belt. Piper sends Adonis out to the floor the drags him and Hart inside. He gives them a double noggin-knocker before sending them back outside as the fans are going mental. Piper unloads on Adonis in the ring as Hart climbs up top but Piper launches him at Adonis. Piper maintains control until Hart trips him up. He beats on Piper then tosses him outside and rams his head off of the timekeeper's table. Back inside, Adonis continues to beat on Piper, who eggs him on, then they have a slugfest. Adonis distracts the ref as that allows Hart to spray Piper in the face with perfume then Adonis locks on the Good Night Irene. Piper tries to fight back but fails. The referee raises his arm twice then on the third Adonis lets go thinking he has won but Piper's laying on the mat with the arm up. The referee tells Adonis and Hart that the match has not ended as Beefcake slides into the ring and wakes up Piper, who is now alert. Adonis has the clippers that were handed to him by Hart then swings them at Piper but misses and he ends up hitting himself in the face off of the rebound in a spot that looked completely ridiculous. Piper locks on the sleeper as the fans are all going mental then he gets the win (6:13) ***1/4. After the match, Beefcake hands Piper the clippers then starts to shave the head of Adonis while Piper grounds Hart to the match with his foot. Piper starts to toss the hair of Adonis out to the crowd then asks for the mirror. Adonis sees himself then flips out as he chases around Piper, looking like a goof in the process. Hart and Adonis retreat up the ramp with their heads covered as Piper gets a standing ovation in the ring. A fan comes out to congratulate with Piper, who looks shocked then celebrates with him before he gets pummeled by security. The camera pans away from that. Piper then leaves on the cart.
Thoughts: This match had a ton of heat and it was a blast to watch. Sure, a few spots looked bad but most of it was solid brawling. They gave Piper the big win in his sendoff and they also created a new face in Beefcake, who was to feud with Adonis. However, Adonis was fired less than a month later immediately following the 4/27/87 House Show in London, Ontario.
We get a spot of Mean Gene schilling all sorts of WrestleMania III merchandise.
Hart Foundation & Danny Davis w/ Jimmy Hart vs. British Bulldogs & Tito Santana
Mary Hart and Bob Uecker have replaced Jesse on commentary. Match starts with Tito whipping Neidhart into Bret on the floor then the Bulldogs toss Davis on top of them as the fans are going crazy. Back inside, the faces use quick tags to maintain control. Both teams go back and forth for a but until Neidhart cheapshots Dynamite as Bret takes control. Gorilla refers to Bret as the "Excellence of Execution" as he beats on Dynamite some more. The Harts double-team Dynamite then tag Davis, who kicks Dynamite a few times while he is down before tagging out, looking proud of himself. The fans absolutely hate Davis. Dynamite continues to take a beating with but is able to get his knees up when the Harts slingshot Davis in for a splash then makes the tag to Tito. The fans go nuts as Tito beats the piss out of Davis. He attempts the figure four but Neidhart takes him down from behind. Davey tags in and destroys Davis, even using a tombstone piledriver. Davis is selling like a champ then Davey hits the running powerslam but Neidhart breaks that up too. The match then breaks down as Davis whacks Davey with the megaphone behind the referee's back and gets the win (8:13) ***. Davis gets carried out of the ring as Jimmy Hart celebrates.
Thoughts: Fun match. The faces destroyed Davis when he was in the ring as the fans were thrilled to watch it take place. And the finish was fine as they had to establish Davis as a major threat for those facing the Hart Foundation.
"The Natural" Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Koko B. Ware
Match starts with Reed stalling as Koko is getting the best of him. Reed blocks a reverse rollup but turns around and gets dropkicked then rolls out to the floor. Koko celebrates with a cartwheel as Reed and Slick consult outside. Back in the ring, Koko ducks his head and gets hit with a forearm smash as Reed takes control of the match. Koko comes back with a hiptoss then fires away. Dropkick gets two. Small package gets two. Koko tries a corssbody but Reed rolls through then grabs the tights for the win (3:38) *. After the match, Slick beats on Koko with his cane but Santana runs out and starts destroying Slick and ripping his clothes off. Slick retreats then Koko and Tito hit Reed with a double dropkick as Jesse goes on about how Tito and Koko are sore losers.
Thoughts: Koko did good but Reed looked bad here. And this was really just designed to prolong the Reed/Santana feud.
WWF Intercontinental Title Match
Randy "Macho Man" Savage (Champion) w/ Elizabeth vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat w/ George "The Animal" Steele
The storyline leading up to this has been built perfectly and they also pushed the story that this is the last shot at the title Steamboat will receive. Match starts off with Steamboat landing a pair of armdrags then using a lifting chokehold on Savage before tossing him down as the action is fast-paced to start. Steamboat gets caught coming back in the ring after chasing around Savage. The ref yells at Savage for choking out Steamboat, who comes back with a lifting wristlock as he goes to work on the arm. Savage catches him with a back elbow smash then sends him to the floor as Steele is concerned. Savage attacks Steamboat as he tries to re-enter then drops a knee for two. Steamboat fights back as Savage is tied up into the ropes. He hammers away until Savage boots him down. Steamboat comes back with a crossbody after a reversal sequence that triggers a really fast-paced sequence ending with Steamboat getting kneed in the back. Steamboat skins the cat but Savage clotheslines him over the top rope then sends him over the guardrail with a running knee smash. Savage comes off of the top with a double axe handle as Jesse goes off on how the referee should be counting out Steamboat. Back in the ring, Savage gets several nearfalls as he cannot put away Steamboat and gets increasingly frustrated as a result. Steamboat fights back with chops but gets booted in the face. Savage charges but Steamboat backdrops him to the floor. He gets some energy then lands a flying chop but Savage got his foot on the rope just in time as the fans all bought that as a win. Steamboat is now in control as he gets a few nearfalls as the pace remains quick. Jesse says that this is one of the greatest matches that he has ever seen as Steamboat gets a slam then slingshots Savage into the post. The crowd is loving this as they trade rollups. Savage pulls Steamboat into the post then accidentally rams Steamboat into the referee, who is out cold. Savage hits a clothesline then hits the flying elbow smash but the referee is still down. He then yanks the bell from the timekeeper as Steele tries to take it away but gets kicked down. Savage climbs up top with the bell but Steele shoves him off as they try to tell us that the bell rammed Savage in the head despite that not even being close. Savage goes for a slam but Steamboat counters it into a small package and gets the win (14:35) *****. The crowd goes ballistic for Steamboat's win, who celebrates with Steele.
Thoughts: Man, this whole storyline between Steamboat and Savage was just incredible. From the minute Savage attacked Steamboat with the bell until Steamboat got his revenge by winning the IC title this feud sucked you in and got both guys over huge as a result. Even the commentators put over just how incredible this match was and between every factor you could possibly consider when deciding on rating a wrestling match, it still gets ***** in my book. I don't see how it can get anything less.
Jake "The Snake" Roberts w/ Alice Cooper vs. Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart
Jake immediately attacks Honky as he drags him over the ropes. He then sends him outside where he delivers some more punishment, even tearing off his suit. Honky tries to escape but gets slammed down on the mat. Back inside, Honky gets his knee up as Jake charges. He then works the arm for a bit until Jake ducks a swing and takes him down. He attempts a DDT but Honky slips out hen heasd outside, where he is met by Jake. Honky then sends Jake into the post as Jake sells it like he got killed as Cooper helps him up. In the ring, Honky slams Jake then hits a fist drop from the middle rope. Honky maintains control then tries the Shake, Rattle, and Roll but Jake counters that with a backdrop. Honky tries for mounted punches in the corner but Jake hits an inverted atomic drop then fires away. Honky begs for mercy but Jake whips him against the ropes and uses a backdrop. Honky gets caught between the ropes as Jake hits him a few times then signals for the DDT but Hart grabs his leg then Honky takes him down and rolls him up as he holds onto the ropes for leverage and gets the win as Jesse hails this as a major upset (7:04) **1/2. After the match, Jake bashes Honky's guitar as Honky escapes but Hart is trapped in the ring as Cooper backs him up until Jake holds up Hart so Cooper can put the snake on him. The fans love this by the way. Honky finally comes back to get his manager as they get pelted with garbage while Jake and Cooper stand in the ring as the fans applaud.
Thoughts: Another fun match. And just like with JYD, Jake did not need the win here as he was over and got his chance to celebrate They put this over as a major upset for Honky as his heel act continued to shine.
Gene Okerlund gets introduced by Howard Finkel as he comes into the ring. He alerts the fans that they are all apart of history in the making as they have set the largest indoor attendance record of 93,173 people. The announcers put this over big,as you would expect.
Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff w/ Slick vs. Killer Bees
Before the match during Volkoff's rendition of the Soviet National Anthem, Jim Duggan runs out and clears the ring as the fans go crazy, pelting the evil foreigners with garbage. Match starts with the Bees getting attacked from behind. The Bees then reverse a double Irish whip as they take control. The fans are as quiet as they have been all night here, only getting loud when led into chanting by Duggan. The Bees work over the Sheik for a bit. Volkoff makes the save after Brunzell hit a dropkick as the heels are now beating on Brunzell in the corner. Brunzell is able to break up a bearhug from Volkoff with a bell clap but Sheik tags and hits a few suplexes for nearfalls. Brunzell comes back with a high knee then makes the tag but the referee did not see it take place as he orders Blair back on the apron. The fans hit Sheik with garbage as Duggan chases around Volkoff and Slick then whacks Sheik with the 2x4 as he had Brunzell in the Camel's Clutch for the DQ (5:43) **1/4. After the match, Duggan references Hammurabi's Code before getting all patriotic on the heels.
Thoughts: Good action here. Sadly for the Bees, they were nothing more than a backdrop for Duggan's feud against Sheik & Volkoff. They even have more heat for the Sheik vs. Duggan match on the next episode of "Superstars of Wrestling." This segment did the trick.
Okerlund is with Bobby Heenan and Andre the Giant, who tells us that it will not take him too long to become the next champion. Heenan then gloats about how he is going to be the manager of the next WWF Champion.
We are now shown a video recap of the history between Andre and Hogan.
Now, Okerlund is with Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster promises that the whole earth will shake when he wins this match.
Howard Finkel introduces guest ring announcer, Bob Uecker, who then announces the guest timekeeper, Mary Hart. This went long, presumably to kill time before the main event.
WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match
Andre the Giant w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan
The building erupts as Hogan makes his entrance while Jesse flat-out says that this is the biggest match in the history of wrestling. And he is correct. The match starts with a long staredown as Andre does not budge. They shove each other then Hogan blocks a punch and fires away. He tries a slam but fails as Andre falls on top and gets a nearfall as Jesse plays it up like the match almost ended. Andre goes to work on the back, taunting Hogan to get up. Poor Andre is struggling to even perform a punch. He slams Hogan, who has been selling like a champ, Andre slams him again then walks over Hogan's back as the fans rally behind Hogan. Andre targets the back again as he whips him into the corner. Hogan finally escapes the assault and fires away as he tries to knock him down. He slams his head into the turnbuckle several times as Andre is dazed. Hogan then charges but runs into a boot in a spot that did not look too good. Andre kills Hogan with a chop then locks on a bearhug as the fans are getting worried. Heenan screams at the ref to ring the bell as Hogan is struggling. This is one long bearhug by the way. The ref raises Hogan's arm but he is able to keep it up after the third time then starts to Hulk up as he hammers away while Andre maintains the hold. Hogan finally escapes but runs into a chop. Andre then boots Hogan through the ropes and follows him out as he chokes him out then Hogan drops down as Andre headbutts the post. Yikes, that spot looked like shit. Hogan pulls back the padding and tries for a piledriver but Andre counters that with a backdrop. Back inside, Hogan ducks a big boot then comes back with a clothesline that knocks Andre down as the crowd goes bananas. Hogan hulks up again then slams Andre down as the crowd goes absolutely insane then drops the leg for the win as the crowd erupts (12:07) **1/2. After the match, Hogan poses in the ring for a few minutes as Jesse calls him an egomaniac.
Thoughts: Out of all the matches that I have rated, this was the toughest for me. One on hand, it was the culmination of a tremendous angle. It also was the main event of the show that set the indoor attendance record. And every single fan was on the edge of their seat watching as the suspense was great. They also stuck to a simple formula that worked. However, Andre was really broken down here and could barely move. I actually credit Hogan for doing a fine job of selling all throughout the match. He really kept things together. Some of these spots actually looked embarrassing, like Andre headbutting the post. Regardless, this is a must-see match and the reaction Hogan gets for slamming Andre is one of the loudest you will ever hear at a professional wrestling event. I know a lot of people will disagree with my star rating but I feel like I explained myself well enough to make it credible. Well, as credible as I can anyway.
And of course, we get the photo montage to close the show set to Aretha Franklin's "Who's Zoomin Who." I love this montage. The photo montage told the complete story of every match too.
Final Thoughts: One of the best WrestleMania's ever. Probably the best. I don't care what anyone says. When you take in the fact that this show had so many hot storylines heading in with all sorts of memorable moments thrown in between, you got a chance to see a masterpiece. And this show was a masterpiece. Modern fans are probably aware of the show but not the feuds, angles, or character development that was happening the months leading up to this. I don't think any WrestleMania has come close in that regard as far as storyline development. The huge crowd and reactions to just about anything were the result of the great product the WWF was putting out at this time. By all means see this show if you have not already as you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan.