WWF WrestleMania III Results
March 29, 1987
Pontiac, Michigan (Pontiac Silverdome)
Results by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
A video shows the logo for WrestleMania III, and we go live into the Pontiac Silverdome to see a truly magnificent spectacle. Spectators are jammed into this giant domed stadium ready to watch this show. Vince McMahon is in the ring. McMahon says, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the magnificent Silverdome. And welcome to WrestleMania III! And now, here to sing ‘America The Beautiful,’ The Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin!”
Aretha Franklin is on a platform with her baby grand piano. Franklin sings “America The Beautiful” for the Silverdome. The piano is not mic’d well and sounds boomy, but the vocals are there. Franklin is accompanied by a trio of backup singers. Patriotic images are shown on the screen as she continues to sing. The crowd roars as she finishes and takes a bow.
Gorilla Monsoon is with Jesse “The Body” Ventura and special guests Mary Hart and Bob Uecker. They put over their excitement for WrestleMania III.
The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) vs. Cowboy Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji
It’ll be Muraco starting against Martel. They lock up, and Muraco shoves him off. They lock up again, and Martel applies a side headlock. Muraco whips him off, but Martel shoulder blocks him down. They lock up once again, and Muraco powers him to the corner. Muraco knees and clubs him before sending him to the opposite corner. Martel slingshots over him and hits a hip toss before connecting with a monkey flip for a two count. Muraco looks frustrated. They lock up again, and Muraco applies a side headlock. Martel whips him off, and in comes Tom Zenk. They hit a double-team monkey flip on Muraco. Orton runs in, and they catch him with a double-team hip toss. Orton and Muraco regroup at ringside with Mr. Fuji.
Orton tags in, and he applies a side headlock to Zenk. Zenk whips him off, but Orton hits a shoulder block. Zenk quickly hits a scoop slam. Orton stumbles into a right hand from Martel. Zenk connects with a hip toss and applies an arm bar. Zenk sends him headfirst into the top turnbuckle before hitting an arm drag. Orton gets up and applies a full nelson, but Zenk reverses it on him. Muraco runs in to interfere, but he accidentally hits Orton when Zenk moves. Zenk picks up a two count. Martel tags in and works on Orton’s arm. Zenk tags in, and Muraco tags in as well. Martel scoop slams Muraco. Muraco quickly sends him into the ropes and drops down. Orton quickly knees Martel in the back. Muraco hits a neckbreaker on Martel, and Orton hits a diving elbow off the second turnbuckle for a near fall. Orton applies a side headlock, but Martel whips him off. They bonk heads and both go down. Muraco quickly tags in, but Zenk soon tags in. The Can-Am Connection soon runs wild on Muraco and Orton. Orton is sent into Muraco, who gives him a back body drop. They knock Orton out of the ring before hitting Muraco with a cross-body for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: The Can-Am Connection
Mike’s Thoughts: Just a fast paced opener to try and get the crowd going at the start of the show. Tom Zenk and Rick Martel were just generic white meat babyfaces. Hard to tell them apart and they didn’t exactly ooze charisma in this one. Nice to see Bob Orton finally compete in a WrestleMania match rather than just being a manager. Just there for me. Not much to it.
We see footage of Billy Jack Haynes challenging Bobby Heenan to get out of his devastating full nelson finisher. Before he can apply the hold, Hercules attacked him from behind.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hercules. Hercules talks about using his chains to pull down the pillars of Rome. We’ll find out who the true master of the full nelson is here in the Pontiac Silverdome. Heenan says Haynes’ name is “Billy Jerk Haynes.”
Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
The bell rings, and they get in each other’s faces, butting heads. They circle the ring and lock up. Hercules quickly powers him off. They circle the ring again and lock up. Haynes powers him to the corner, and Hercules knees him after referee Dave Hebner gets in the way. Hercules punches Haynes down before sending him to the corner. Haynes avoids an avalanche in the corner before chopping him. Haynes connects with a military press slam before trying for a full nelson. Hercules quickly jumps out of the way. Heenan talks strategy with Hercules. Haynes chops away at Hercules, sending him to the corner. Haynes whips him to the opposite corner, but Hercules pops out of the corner and viciously clotheslines him.
Hercules stomps away at Haynes’ head. Hercules sends him into the ropes and hits a back body drop. Hercules viciously whips him to the corner, and Haynes stumbles out in pain. Hercules pulls him to his feet and sends him hard into the corner again. Haynes is in a lot of pain. Hercules connects with a suplex and covers, but he pulls Haynes’ shoulders up. Haynes fights back and goes for a suplex, but his back is too injured. Hercules punches back at him before hitting a military press slam. Hercules sets up and applies the full nelson, but he can’t lock the fingers to cinch it in. Haynes is starting to fade, and Hebner checks the arms. Haynes’ arms drop twice, but he keeps it up on the third. Haynes fights up and powers out of the full nelson. Hercules quickly clubs him in the back of the head. They hit the ropes and wipe each other out with a double clothesline.
They get up, and Haynes punches him before hitting an inverted atomic drop. Haynes clutches his back in pain. Haynes clotheslines Hercules down before sending him into the ropes. Haynes kicks and punches him before hitting a clothesline. Haynes drops a leg and goes to the second rope for a diving fist drop. Haynes sets up for a full nelson and applies the hold. Heenan is shouting instructions. Hercules pulls him to the ropes, and they fall out of the ring. Haynes catches him with a full nelson outside the ring and cinches it in. The referee counts them both out.
Heenan strikes Haynes from behind to break the hold. Haynes angrily stalks Heenan around the ring. Heenan gets on the apron to avoid Haynes. Referee Dave Hebner stops Haynes from attacking Heenan. Hercules wraps his chain around his fist and punches Haynes in the face. Haynes slowly gets to his feet and hits him again. Haynes is bleeding from the forehead. Haynes gets to his feet again, and Hercules lays him out with a third punch with the chain. Haynes’ face is a crimson mask. Hercules pulls him to his feet and cinches in the full nelson before throwing him down. Hercules and Heenan drive off in the cart with their arms held up.
Mike’s Thoughts: Call me crazy, but I liked this match. I liked it way more than I thought I would. I got what they were trying to do, I liked the full nelson teases, I liked the intensity. It was a little hard to take Billy Jack Haynes seriously as a strongman since he didn’t look big for that era, but that didn’t hurt the match too badly. The post-match beatdown was well done. Haynes got some good color there, which added to the intensity.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Littlebrook. Bundy says he wants Hillbilly Jim most of all, but if the other midgets get in the way they’ll be squashed. They’ll have to pick them up with a platter.
Bob Uecker will be on commentary for the next match.
Hillbilly Jim is with Little Beaver and the Haiti Kid. “Mean” Gene Okerlund asks about their upcoming match. Jim says he’s not worried about himself so much as his little friends. He’ll take good care of them out there. Jim then lifts them up.
King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Littlebrook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, and Haiti Kid
Little Haiti starts against Little Tokyo. Tokyo hits a headlock takeover. Haiti whips him off. All four get in the ring. Tokyo and Littlebrook bump into each other. Beaver and Haiti then grab their legs and do the rowboat. Littlebrook eventually tags in against Beaver. They lock up into the ropes before Littlebrook backs up. Tokyo tags in, but Bundy eventually comes in. Haiti and Beaver come in to square off against him. Beaver slides through the legs and dropkicks Bundy, but he doesn’t go down.
Hillbilly Jim tags in, and they start punching each other. Bundy sends Jim into the ropes, but Jim ducks a clothesline. Jim clotheslines Bundy and drops an elbow. Haiti and Beaver jump on Jim’s back to keep Bundy down, but Bundy still kicks out. Bundy hits a back elbow on Jim. Bundy applies a chin lock, so Beaver comes in and slaps Bundy! Bundy chases Beaver until Jim cuts him off. Bundy avalanches Jim in the corner. Beaver runs in and attacks Bundy again. Bundy scoop slams Beaver before dropping an elbow on him! The referee sees this and disqualifies Bundy!
Winners by Disqualification: Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, and Haiti Kid
Bundy goes to splash the unconscious Beaver, but Tokyo, Littlebrook, and Haiti pull Beaver out of the way. Blackjack Lanza is seen in the background motioning for them to all hurry up and get out of the ring.
Mike’s Thoughts: Not much to this one. This definitely feels like a match from a bygone era where “midget wrestling” was thought to be some kind of sideshow attraction. Kind of weird. Finish was also odd as Little Beaver really was asking for it from Bundy. The guy kept attacking Bundy, so Bundy put a stop to it and got punished.
Mary Hart is backstage with Miss Elizabeth. Hart asks Elizabeth if there’s any trepidation. “Macho Man” Randy Savage interrupts the interview and says he’ll answer all the questions. Hart isn’t happy with Savage stopping the interview, but he pulls Elizabeth away.
Video Package: “King” Harley Race vs. Junkyard Dog
“King” Harley Race is with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and The Fabulous Moolah. “Mean” Gene Okerlund says we could see a re-coronation tonight. Race says he’ll be crowned the king again. Heenan gives Moolah the crown and tells her to give it to the king after the match.
Junkyard Dog is then interviewed. It’s time for the dog to sit on the throne all alone with the crown on his head.
Loser Bows Match
“King” Harley Race w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and The Fabulous Moolah vs. Junkyard Dog
The bell rings, and they circle the ring. They lock up, and Race powers JYD into the ropes. JYD punches back at Race until Heenan pulls the ankle. JYD chases Heenan around ringside. Race attacks JYD getting into the ring, but JYD head-butts him down. Race quickly throws JYD out of the ring and kicks him down from the apron. JYD takes a hard bump on the floor. Race goes for a diving head-butt off the apron, but JYD moves! Heenan helps Race up, so JYD pulls Race up to the apron and reverse clotheslines him into the ring. JYD jacks the neck and sends him over the top rope again. Heenan checks on Race at ringside. JYD scoop slams Race into the ring before applying an abdominal stretch. Race quickly gets out with a hip toss. Race hits a falling head-butt, but JYD doesn’t feel it due to his 4 inch cranium. JYD sends him into the corner, and the momentum sends Race twisting out of the ring. Race gets in the ring, and JYD starts hitting some crawling head-butts. Heenan quickly distracts JYD, and Race soon hits a belly-to-belly side suplex for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: “King” Harley Race
Howard Finkel makes the announcement that Junkyard Dog must bow to the king. Race puts on his robe and sits in a chair. Heenan and Moolah get in the ring and order him to bow. Junkyard Dog gives two quick little curtsies. Race gets up to celebrate, so JYD hits him with the chair and steals the robe. JYD wears the robe while being driven away in the carts bringing the wrestlers down the aisle while Race’s music plays.
Mike’s Thoughts: Yeesh, Harley Race took some tough bumps in this match. Junkyard Dog looked way out of shape in this one. I’m so used to WrestleMania being a “face wins the day” show that it’s jarring to see the heels really get over three matches in a row. I like it.
We go backstage to see Vince McMahon with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Hogan says a lot of nonbelievers at the gym said this was his last ride. It ate him alive. As he headed for the sunset, he realized that sooner or later you have to live and die and face the truth. For André the Giant, he has to face the truth. All Hogan has to do is beat a 7’4” 550 pound giant. André needs to not only beat him but beat every Hulkamaniac in the world. If the dirty air doesn’t get you, the politicians will. In this case, it’s Hulkamania. Hogan can’t wait to see André go down to Hulkamania at the Silverdome. What’cha gonna do, André the Giant, when the real truth, the 24-inch pythons, and the Hulkamania runs wild on you?
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with the Dream Team along with Dino Bravo and Johnny Valiant. Valiant says the Dream Team are going to send the Rougeau Brothers down the tubes.
The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond Rougeau) vs. The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine) w/ Luscious Johnny Valiant and Dino Bravo
A woman dressed in a purple uniform takes Valentine’s robe at ringside. There’s more than one of them and they’re called “The Fed-erettes.”
Brutus Beefcake will start against Raymond. They lock up, and Beefcake applies a hammerlock. Raymond flips over him and hits an atomic drop. Jacques tags in, and the Rougeau Brothers double dropkick Beefcake out of the ring. Beefcake gets in the ring and tags Valentine in. Valentine and Jacques exchange punches. Raymond tags in and hits a standing cross-body block for a two count. Jacques tags in and hits a back elbow for a two count. Jacques has a whip to the corner reversed. Jacques tries for a springboard cross-body block, but Valentine ducks. Valentine drops some elbows before connecting with a scoop slam. Beefcake tags back in, and he stomps away at Jacques for a two count. Valentine tags in, and he clubs Jacques while Beefcake hits a backbreaker.
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan comes into the broadcast booth and shouts that he is 2 for 2, even though Hercules wasn’t victorious. Valentine applies a Figure Four Leglock, but Jacques gets to the ropes. Valentine goes for a piledriver, but Jacques hits a back body drop. Raymond tags in and kicks Valentine down. Raymond hits a back body drop and applies a sleeper hold. Beefcake comes off the second rope with an axe handle, and he accidentally hits Valentine when Raymond moves. Jacques tags in. The Rougeau Brothers hit a double-team spinebuster/flying seated senton. Beefcake distracts the referee. Dino Bravo comes off the second rope and hits Jacques with a flying elbow. Valentine gets the pin.
Winner by Pinfall: The Dream Team
After the match, Valentine turns his back on Beefcake. Bravo and Valiant follow suit and leave with Valentine. Beefcake is stunned and cannot believe what is happening. Beefcake seemed to have a problem with how they won the match.
Mike’s Thoughts: Not a bad match. The Rougeau Brothers were pretty good in this one. The breakup of The Dream Team wasn’t that great. It just kind of happened with no explanation. Kind of a dumb way to end a two year tag team. I have to say – Greg Valentine is pretty timeless. I saw him recently and he basically looks the same as he did in this match.
Video Package: Adrian Adonis vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviewed Adrian Adonis and Jimmy Hart earlier in the day. Adonis says Piper is not going to like the haircut he gets.
Hair vs. Hair Match
Adrian Adonis w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
This is Roddy Piper’s retirement match. They lock up, and they immediately start throwing punches. Piper takes a belt off and starts whipping Adonis. Jimmy Hart gets on the apron, so Piper grabs him. Adonis attacks Piper from behind and grabs the belt. Adonis starts whipping Piper’s front and back. Piper soon fights back and sends Adonis up and over the corner. Piper pulls Adonis into the ring, as well as Hart. Piper knocks their heads together. Piper whips Hart into Adonis, sending them both over the top rope! The crowd is going wild for Piper, who poses for them.
Piper gets Adonis in the ring and punches him before sending him to the corner. Hart gets on the top rope, so Piper throws him into Adonis. Hart rolls out of the ring and pulls himself up. Piper applies a side headlock, so Adonis whips him off. Hart grabs Piper’s ankles to take him down. Adonis clubs and punches Piper to the corner. Adonis sends him into the ropes for a stiff clothesline. Adonis uppercuts him before Piper responds with an eye poke. Adonis viciously elbows him down before kicking him out of the ring. Adonis bounces Piper off the timekeeper’s table. Piper is on wobbly legs at ringside. Hart punches Piper in the face. Adonis punches Piper as he gets in the ring and takes him down. Piper challenges Adonis to give him more, so Adonis punches away at him. Hart sprays some cologne in Piper’s face. Adonis applies Good Night Irene (sleeper hold) and takes Piper down. Hart grabs a pair of hedge clippers and prematurely celebrates. Piper fights up and backs Adonis into the corner, but Adonis doesn’t let go. Dave Hebner checks on Piper, and Adonis lets go. Adonis is celebrating as if he’s won. All of a sudden, Brutus Beefcake runs down and wakes Piper up. Piper gets fired up and punches Hart out of the ring. Adonis goes to hit Piper with the clippers, but he moves and hits himself when they bounce off the ropes. Piper applies the Sleeper Hold and takes Adonis down. The referee checks the arm and it goes down three times! Piper wins!
Winner by Knockout: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Brutus Beefcake grabs the clippers and starts shaving Adonis’ head. Piper quickly takes Hart down and stands on his chest. Hart struggles under the weight of Piper while Beefcake continues to shave Adonis’ dome. Adonis comes to, and Piper holds up a mirror for him to see. Adonis is furious and charges Piper, but Piper sidesteps him. Adonis can’t catch him and eventually leaves the ring.
Howard Finkel makes the announcement that Roddy Piper is the winner in his farewell match. The crowd gives Piper an unbelievable ovation. Piper gives Finkel a kiss on the head. A fan runs into the ring, and Piper shakes his hand before security tackles him. Piper rides off in the ring cart as the crowd cheers him on.
Mike’s Thoughts: Not a bad match. Piper looked awesome in this one. Adonis looked good as well. What a shame that Adonis didn’t stick around longer in the company. He was gone just a few months after this match for not following the company’s dress code they instituted, something arbitrary they’ve done throughout various points in their history for whatever reason. Adonis’ gimmick could have been money. Piper’s farewell allowed him to film classic films such as “Hell Comes to Frogtown” and “They Live.” Obviously in wrestling no retirement match is forever. Also, so random that this is how Beefcake became “The Barber.” It gets explained in later shows, but if you were watching this live in 1987, you had to be thinking, “Wait… what?”
Mary Hart and Bob Uecker join Gorilla Monsoon. Jesse “The Body” Ventura is not in the commentary booth.
Howard Finkel introduces Jesse “The Body” Ventura into the ring as the man who allegedly tells it like it is. Ventura takes exception with the “allegedly” part.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviewed The Hart Foundation, Danny Davis, and Jimmy Hart. Jimmy Hart says the Bulldogs and Tito Santana will have the biggest fight of their lives on their hands. There will be nothing left of them when they’re finished.
WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) and Danny Davis w/ “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart vs. The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana
Matilda the bulldog charges Jimmy Hart and scares him out of the ring. Santana attacks Neidhart at ringside and whips him into Bret Hart. The Bulldogs throw Davis out of the ring as well.
The bell rings, and Santana punches away at Hart before sending him to the corner. Hart goes to slingshot over him, but Santana catches him and pulls him down. Hart landed at a bad angle. Jesse Ventura takes Matilda away. Neidhart tags in, as does Smith. They lock up, and Smith applies a side headlock. Neidhart whips Smith off. Smith sends Neidhart into Hart and tags Dynamite Kid in. The Bulldogs head-butt Neidhart down. Santana tags in and wrenches the arm. Neidhart backs Santana into the corner and distracts the referee. Hart and Davis attack Santana. Neidhart attacks Santana again before sending him into the ropes. Santana leapfrogs Neidhart and tags Smith in. Smith hits Neidhart with a back body drop. Neidhart quickly elbows Smith in the face. Neidhart scoop slams Smith before tagging Hart in. Hart misses a flying elbow drop. Kid tags in and pulls Hart down by the hair before viciously sending him into the corner sternum-first. Kid clotheslines Hart before hitting a falling head-butt. Neidhart breaks up the pin. Hart punches Kid to the corner and takes him down. Kid fights back and goes for a suplex, but Neidhart attacks. Santana runs in to hit Neidhart. Neidhart tags in and applies a modified chin lock. Neidhart clubs the chest before tagging Hart in. The Hart Foundation hits a double-team backbreaker/flying elbow. Danny Davis tags in for his professional wrestling debut. Davis stomps Kid before tagging Hart in to boos. Hart punches away at Kid before tagging Neidhart back in. Neidhart punches Kid in the midsection before tagging Hart back in. Hart head-butts Kid before tagging Davis in again. Davis kicks Kid a few times before tagging Hart back in. Hart punches Kid down. Davis tags in, and The Hart Foundation helps him do a splash on Kid, but Kid gets the knees up!
Santana tags in and punches away at Davis. Santana sends him into the ropes for a scary back body drop. Santana knocks the Hart Foundation off the apron before hitting a flying forearm on Davis. Santana viciously punches away at Davis’ face before going for the Figure Four Leglock, but Neidhart stops him. Smith tags in and connects with a clothesline. Smith slams Davis’ face off Kid’s knee. Smith hits Davis with a kneeling piledriver before hitting a vertical suplex. The crowd is loving this. Smith flattens him with a Running Powerslam, but Neidhart breaks up the pin. Santana hits Neidhart with a flying forearm. Kid takes Hart down. Davis takes Jimmy Hart’s megaphone and hits Smith in the head with it. The referee turns around and counts the pin!
Winners by Pinfall: The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis
Mike’s Thoughts: Nice to see The Hart Foundation and British Bulldogs locking horns in a WrestleMania match even if they have to deal with Santana and Davis as co-stars in the match. The Davis story was interesting. Of all the times they showed video footage, here would have been a good time to show Davis screwing the Bulldogs and Santana out of titles.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with André the Giant and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Heenan says André will become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He is undefeated for 15 years as a professional athlete. Hulk Hogan has never faced a man like André. The clock is ticking in their direction, not Hogan’s. Hulkamania is dead. The door will be shut on it forever. André the Giant is the odds on favorite. No one can come close to beating him. André is ready.
“The Natural” Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Koko B. Ware
They circle the ring and lock up. Ware quickly sends him into the ropes and teases a punch. Reed quickly backs away. They lock up again, and Ware powers him into the ropes before backing up. Ware dances around the ring before locking up with Reed again. Reed punches Ware down before sending him into the ropes. Ware ducks an elbow and goes for a roll-up, but Reed holds the ropes. Ware dropkicks him out of the ring and celebrates. Reed gets in the ring, and Ware punches him in the midsection. Ware punches him down with a taped fist before sending him into the ropes. Reed quickly clubs the back to take him down. Frankie the parrot is seen at ringside. Reed punches Ware in the face. Reed punches Ware a few times to take him down. Ware reverses a whip to the corner and hits a hip toss. Ware punches away at Reed before dropkicking him down for a two count. Ware catches him with an inside cradle for a two count. Ware has a whip reversed and goes for a running cross-body block. Reed rolls through and grabs the tights for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: “The Natural” Butch Reed
Koko B. Ware attacks Reed in angle, so Slick hits Ware with his cane. Tito Santana runs down and attacks Slick before ripping away at his clothes. Slick runs away. Santana and Ware double dropkick Reed out of the ring and celebrate.
Mike’s Thoughts: Pretty much a nothing match here. Koko B. Ware wrestling on the biggest WrestleMania of all time is weird. Butch Reed is a guy that could have had a great career, but no showing a bunch of events derailed him and never let him recover.
Video Package: Randy Savage crushes the throat of Ricky Steamboat
WWF Intercontinental Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage says he was shocked when Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat returned, but he’ll take him out for good. History beckons the Macho Man!
“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Steamboat says this is his last opportunity at the Intercontinental Championship. They have reached their moment. As they climb in the ring and clash like two titans, but there can only be one winner. This dragon will scorch him and take the championship belt.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) w/ Miss Elizabeth vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat w/ George “The Animal” Steele
The bell rings, and Miss Elizabeth leaves the ring after helping Savage remove his robe. They circle the ring and lock up before quickly releasing. They lock up, and Savage applies a waistlock. Steamboat quickly whips him off, so Savage angrily gets out of the ring and escorts Elizabeth further away from Steele. Savage gets in the ring, and he knees Steamboat. Savage sends him to the ropes, but Steamboat ducks a back elbow. Steamboat hits a deep arm drag, slides through the legs, and hits another deep arm drag. Steamboat lifts him up by the throat for a few moments before slamming him down. Savage gets out of the ring to recover.
Steamboat chases him into the ring. Savage attacks Steamboat getting into the ring and kicks him in the ribs. Savage chokes him on the top rope and takes him down for a two count. Savage chokes him in the corner until the referee breaks him up. Steamboat sidesteps an avalanche and viciously wrenches the arm. Steamboat snaps the arm off the top rope before getting back in the ring to continue working. Savage quickly elbows him down. Savage sends him hard into the corner, sending Steamboat crashing out of the ring. George Steele approaches his friend Steamboat to check on him. Savage kicks Steamboat in the face to keep him out of the ring. Savage pulls him to the apron and elbows him in the throat. Savage stomps away at Steamboat, sending him back to ringside. Savage brings Steamboat in the ring the hard way before elbowing him down for a two count. Savage drops a knee on the chest for another two count. Steamboat blocks a shot into the corner and bounces Savage off the turnbuckle. Steamboat punches away at Savage before tying him in the ropes. Steamboat punches away at Savage before backing up. Savage boots Steamboat back before having a whip reversed. Steamboat comes back with a running cross-body block for a two count. Steamboat hits an arm drag and a shoulder block for a two count. Steamboat takes him down for another two count. Savage quickly knees Steamboat in the spine. Savage sends Steamboat over the top rope, but he skins the cat. Savage then clotheslines him out of the ring. Steele checks on Steamboat. Savage knees Steamboat in the back, sending him over the commentary table and into the front row. Steele retrieves Steamboat from the crowd and puts him in the ring. Savage sends Steamboat back out of the ring before going to the top rope. Savage hits a flying axe handle to the floor. Savage gets Steamboat in the ring and goes to the top rope. Savage hits another double axe handle before connecting with a running elbow for a near fall. Savage then snaps Steamboat’s injured throat off the top rope for another two count. Savage hits an atomic drop for yet another two count. Savage hits a suplex for a two count. Savage cannot believe it.
Steamboat begins to fight back with some punches. Savage quickly cuts him off and hits a gutwrench suplex for a near fall. Steamboat punches back, flips through a back suplex, and chops away at Savage. Steamboat sends him into the ropes, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Savage charges, but Steamboat hits a back body drop over the top rope! Steamboat bounces Savage off the apron before hitting a flying chop. Steamboat covers, but Savage gets a foot on the ropes. Steamboat sends Savage into the ropes for a chop, but Savage kicks out again. Steamboat clubs away at Savage until he rolls to the apron. Steamboat pulls him up on the apron and punches him down to the floor. Steamboat follows him out, but Savage gets in the ring. Steamboat shoulders him and goes for a sunset flip. Savage fights it before going down, and Steamboat gets a two count. Steamboat rolls him up for a two count. Steamboat catches him with a jackknife pin for yet another two count. Steamboat executes an inside cradle for a two count. Steamboat hits a scoop slam before catapulting him into the corner. Savage’s head bounces off the ring post, and Steamboat rolls him up for a near fall. Steamboat rolls him up again for a two count. Savage rolls through and covers, but Steamboat kicks out at two.
Savage quickly pulls Steamboat into the ring post shoulder-first by the tights. Savage reverses a whip, sending Steamboat into the referee. They take each other out with double clotheslines. Savage goes to the top rope and connects with a flying elbow drop, but the referee is still down. Savage hits the referee to wake him up, but he’s still down. Savage goes outside and grabs the bell from the timekeeper. Steele comes up and takes the bell, but Savage kicks him in the head. Savage takes the bell and goes to the top rope, but Steele flips him off to the mat. Steamboat counters a scoop slam into a roll-up. The referee comes to and counts the pin!
Winner by Pinfall and new WWF Intercontinental Champion: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Mike’s Thoughts: This match never gets old. I’ve seen it a bunch of times through the years and it really holds up. For years, this was THE match that so many claimed to be the greatest match in WrestleMania history. As the years have gone on, obviously there have been better, but this was the first truly great one on the show. I also daresay it’s probably one of the best singles matches of the 1980s in WWF up to this point. Before this it was freakshow big men lumbering through matches (that’s like 7/8 of this card) getting by on personality and good promotion, but not much of an in-ring product. This match set the tone for future matches to come in the New Generation, showed what smaller guys could do, and influenced a generation of wrestlers that saw it live. Great stuff.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Alice Cooper. Okerlund asks Roberts about Honky Tonk Man hitting him with the guitar during The Snake Pit. Roberts remembers the attack clearly. Jimmy Hart doesn’t have the man to take care of him. The Honky Tonk Man doesn’t have enough guts to take a shot at him. You need to make sure you take the best shot you have, and HTM didn’t. Roberts is still standing and can’t wait to have his way with him. Alice Cooper says he’ll be watching Roberts’ back the whole time. This is his hometown and the hometown of heavy metal.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts w/ Alice Cooper vs. The Honky Tonk Man w/ “Colonel” Jimmy Hart
Roberts attacks HTM as he’s making his entrance. Roberts brings him in the ring the hard way and jabs away at him. Roberts clubs him before having a whip reversed. Roberts quickly connects with a knee lift to the face. HTM gets out of the ring and tries to take his jumpsuit off. Roberts follows him out and punches him down before ripping the jumpsuit off. Roberts gets HTM in the ring, and he falls out on the other side. Roberts goes outside and scoop slams him on the floor. Alice Cooper likes what he is seeing. Roberts gets HTM in the ring and punches him back. Roberts sends him to the corner and charges, but HTM knees him back. HTM kicks away at the ribs before punching him in the face. Roberts ducks a punch and jabs him before hitting a short-arm clothesline.
The canvas sack in the corner of the ring is shown moving. Damian wants out. Roberts goes for a DDT, but HTM gets out of the ring. Roberts follows him out and goes after Jimmy Hart. HTM tries to blindside him, but Roberts cuts him off. HTM sends Roberts into the ring post, causing him to fall and crash into the barricade. That looked painful. Cooper helps Roberts up at ringside while HTM dances in the ring. HTM knees Roberts off the apron, and he falls back into the barricade. Cooper once again helps Roberts up. HTM pulls Roberts into the ring and hits a scoop slam. HTM goes to the second rope for a flying elbow. HTM gyrates like Elvis Presley and gets Roberts to his feet. HTM kicks him in the shoulder a few times. Roberts tries to fight back, but HTM simply ducks and takes him down. HTM sends him into the ropes for a back elbow. HTM drops a forearm before getting him to his feet again. HTM sets up for Shake, Rattle, and Roll, but Roberts gives him a back body drop. HTM quickly shoulders him in the corner and starts the 10 punches. Roberts counters back with an inverted atomic drop.
Roberts kicks and punches HTM back. HTM tries to beg Roberts off. Roberts sends him into the ropes and hits a back body drop. Roberts punches him to the apron. HTM is trying to get in the ring, but Roberts starts punching him, which causes HTM to fall back and bounce up like a seesaw. Roberts signals for the DDT and points at Damian. Roberts goes for a DDT, but Hart grabs the ankle. Roberts angrily turns, and HTM rolls Roberts up while grabbing the ropes for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: The Honky Tonk Man
HTM and Jimmy Hart celebrate at ringside. Roberts swings HTM’s guitar at him, but he ducks and it gets obliterated against the ring post! HTM runs away. Hart is in the ring, and Alice Cooper gets in to a big reception. Cooper removes his jacket. Hart is terrified. Roberts catches Hart in a full nelson. Cooper gets Damian out of the burlap sack and brings it near Hart. Hart squirms and kicks! Roberts throws Hart down and throws Damian on top of him. HTM quickly grabs Hart and they run away up the ramp. Roberts and Cooper celebrate in the ring.
We see replays of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Alice Cooper torturing Jimmy Hart with Damian before throwing it on him.
Mike’s Thoughts: Really fun match with Jake Roberts and the Honky Tonk Man. Roberts was so awesome in this. What a master of in-ring psychology he was. Every movement, every facial, every hold meant something. The selling was excellent. Kind of a lame finish, but the post-match stuff was a lot of fun, especially knowing how truly terrified Jimmy Hart is of snakes in real life. That wasn’t acting right there. Dude was straight up ready to flip his lid. Oh, and when Roberts swung that guitar and annihilated it against the ring post, if I was in the front row, I’d be terrified. How no one in the crowd got hurt on that is amazing.
Howard Finkel introduces “Mean” Gene Okerlund to the ring. Okerlund gets in the ring to a nice reception. Okerlund says we all are part of history at WrestleMania III. He has come to the Silverdome like the people to be part of this historic date, March 29, 1987. To their millions of fans all around the world and a special thanks as they have established a brand new indoor attendance record of 93,173! The crowd roars in approval.
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff come out to the ring with Slick, who is still wearing his ripped his clothes. Howard Finkel asks the crowd to please stand in silence while Nikolai Volkoff sings the Soviet National Anthem. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan runs down with his trusty 2×4 and clears the ring, swinging wildly. Duggan says Volkoff will never again sing that song because they are in America, the home of the free and the brave. There is a mini-American Flag on the 2×4.
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff w/ Slick vs. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell) w/ “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Sheik and Volkoff attack The Killer Bees from behind at the sound of the bell. Volkoff and Sheik attack them both in the corner. The referee tries to regain order. The Killer Bees turn them around and attack before sending them into each other. Sheik and Volkoff dosey-doe in the ring before the Killer Bees take them down. Volkoff is knocked out of the ring, and they double-team Sheik. The Killer Bees make some quick tags, attacking Sheik’s arm. They send Sheik into the ropes and hit a double-team hip toss. Brunzell jumps on Sheik’s neck and tags Blair in. Blair attacks the arm and wrenches it. Brunzell tags in and connects with a nice dropkick. Volkoff breaks up the pin.
Volkoff and Blair brawl in the ring. Sheik and Volkoff attack Brunzell in the corner. Volkoff tags in and kicks away at Brunzell. Sheik tags in and sends him into the ropes for a clothesline. Sheik picks up a two count. Volkoff tags back in and punches Brunzell in the ribs. Volkoff sends him into the ropes and catches him with a bearhug. Brunzell fights out, so Sheik tags back in and hits a gutwrench suplex for a two count. Duggan is pacing at ringside. Sheik connects with a nice suplex for another two count. Sheik sends Brunzell into the ropes, but Brunzell knees him in the face. Volkoff distracts the referee, who misses the tag to Blair. The referee kicks Blair out of the ring. Sheik takes Brunzell down and poses on the turnbuckles. Duggan is furious at ringside. Sheik applies the Camel Clutch to Brunzell. Duggan chases Volkoff into the ring and hits Sheik with the 2×4.
Winners by Disqualification: The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff
Jim Duggan says if Sheik and Volkoff won’t play by the rules, neither will they. There’s a new spirit in this building and he leads a “USA” chant.
Mike’s Thoughts: That was just a big nothing of a tag match. The finish was beyond dumb. Not often you see the face team getting disqualified blatantly like that.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with André the Giant and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. André says it’s not going to take him too long to come to the back with the World Championship belt. Heenan says André is going to make him famous, and he will go down in history as the manager of the Worlds Heavyweight Champion. Hogan better be ready!
Video Package: Hulk Hogan vs. André the Giant
“Mean” Gene Okerlund is backstage with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Hogan says he’s worried about all the people in and out of the Pontiac Silverdome. The whole Earth are going to shake. What are the 90,000+ Hulkamaniacs going to think when that happens? What are they going to think when The Giant hits the ground and the world shakes at his feet?
Howard Finkel introduces the guest ring announcer, “Mr. Baseball” Bob Uecker. Uecker thanks the crowd and introduces the timekeeper, Mary Hart. Mary Hart is driven down to the ring on the ring cart. The crowd gives her a nice hand. Blackjack Lanza helps her into the ring. She waves to the crowd and is helped out of the ring.
André the Giant w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Hulk Hogan (c)
The bell rings, and Hogan slowly approaches André the Giant. Gorilla Monsoon exclaims, “The irresistible force meeting the immovable object.” Hogan is talking to André, and André just stares down at him. André shoves him, so Hogan shoves him back. Hogan blocks a right hand and punches André back. Hogan goes for a scoop slam, but he collapses under the weight of the giant. André picks up a near fall. André is asking the referee is that really was two. André gets to his feet and clubs the back. André continues to club him, and Hogan writhes in pain. André motions to Hogan to get up. André picks Hogan up and viciously slams him down. Hogan shouts in pain. André again challenges Hogan to get up. André again scoops him up and slams him down. André then steps on Hogan’s lower back and walks over him. André pulls him up by the tights and sends him hard into the corner. André looks pleased with what he’s doing. André sends him hard across the ring into the opposite corner. André shoulders Hogan in the corner. Heenan shouts, “Again! Again!” André obliges and hits another shoulder before hitting a hip attack. André connects with a head-butt, and Hogan is in a lot of pain. André goes for another head-butt, but he hits the top turnbuckle when Hogan moves.
Hogan starts getting fired up and begins to punch André. Hogan hits a running elbow, but André doesn’t go down. Hogan chops the chest before bouncing him off the top turnbuckle ten times. André looks out on his feet. Hogan charges, but André boots him back. Heenan asks if André is ok, and he nods in the affirmative. André chops Hogan before applying a bearhug. André cinches it in, and Hogan shots in pain. The crowd has not stopped buzzing. After being trapped in the hold for a bit, Hogan begins to fade away. Referee Joey Marella checks on Hogan. The arm does not go down on the third time. The crowd roars as energy surges through Hogan and he punches out of the bearhug. Hogan connects with a flurry of punches, hurting his hand in the process. Hogan hits a pair of shoulder blocks, but André doesn’t go down. Hogan hits the ropes a third time, and André chops him down. André sends him into the ropes and big boots him out of the ring.
André follows Hogan out of the ring and chops him. André goes for a head-butt, but he hits the ring post when Hogan moves. Hogan pulls the ringside mats back and pulls André over. Hogan goes for a piledriver on the exposed floor, but André drops him with a back body drop. André sends Hogan into the ropes, but Hogan ducks a big boot and clotheslines him down! This is the first time André has been down in this match! Hogan gets fired up, and the crowd is going crazy. André slowly gets up… and Hogan scoop slams André the Giant! Hogan immediately follows up with a Leg Drop and covers to end André the Giant’s 15-year undefeated streak! The crowd is going insane!
Winner by Pinfall and still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan
Hogan is overwhelmed with emotion as he holds the WWF Championship up. Bob Uecker makes the announcement that Hogan is the winner to a big pop. Hogan points at André the Giant, who is at ringside. André the Giant is furious, as is Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. They get driven away on the ring cart, pelted by garbage the whole way back. Hogan celebrates in the ring, posing for the fans as the flashbulbs go off in droves. Hogan points up to the sky, thanking God for his good fortunes. Hogan celebrates wildly as he is driven off in the ring cart.
Replays are shown of the slam heard round the world.
Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura break down everything we just saw before throwing it to a video package of still photos of all the action from WrestleMania III.
Mike’s Thoughts: What an absolutely iconic moment. A clip I’ve seen basically all throughout my life: Hulk Hogan body slamming André the Giant. Just incredible. There’s really nothing I can add to it. It’s the moment that defines WWF in the 1980s. It was the peak of the Golden Era of Wrestling to me.
It’s an iconic match, but it makes me feel kind of sad because André looks like he’s in a lot of pain here and just trying to get through it. He had just been through back surgery due to the strains of acromegaly on his body and was wearing a body brace under his singlet here. Tough dude. I also love all the myths surrounding this match (mostly propagated by Hulk Hogan and his penchant for fairy tales) such as Hogan not knowing is André would show up, let alone consent to laying down for the 1-2-3. Of course, that’s just a silly legend and André was the consummate professional in this case (can’t always say that was the case throughout his career).
This moment, along with the Steamboat/Savage match, made this WrestleMania. It also, to me, firmly established WrestleMania as THE show forever. Thanks for checking out another one of my retro recaps.
Quick Match Results
— The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) def. Cowboy Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco
— Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules goes to a Double Count-Out
— Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, and Haiti Kid def. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Littlebrook via DQ
— “King” Harley Race def. Junkyard Dog in a Loser Bows Match
— The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine) def. The Rougeau Brothers (Raymond and Jacques)
— “Rowdy” Roddy Piper def. Adrian Adonis in a Hair vs. Hair Match
— The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis def. The British Bulldogs and Tito Santana
— “The Natural” Butch Reed def. Koko B. Ware
— Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. “Macho Man” Randy Savage to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship
— The Honky Tonk Man def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
— The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff def. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell) via DQ
— Hulk Hogan def. André the Giant to retain the WWF Championship
Thanks for reading!