Here’s Part 3 of our WrestleMania Retrospective series, looking back at past WrestleMania events as we march towards WrestleMania 29 on April 7th.
WrestleMania III (1987)
Tagline: Bigger! Better! Badder!
Date: March 29, 1987
Venue: Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
America The Beautiful: Aretha Franklin
Hall Of Famers: Bob Orton, DON Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Bobby Heenan, “King” Harley Race, The Fabulous Moolah, The Junkyard Dog, Greg “The Hammer”, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Bret Hart, Tito Santana, Koko B. Ware, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Hulk Hogan, André the Giant, Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Mean Gene Okerland, Howard Finkel
WrestleMania III held the the record for 23 years as being the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America with 93,173 in attendance. The record was broken February 14, 2010 when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game with an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium.
The WWF generated $1.6 million in ticket sales ($3.1 Million in 2012 dollars) Nearly one million fans watched the event at 160 closed circuit locations in North America. With
several million, watching on pay-per-view. Pay-Per-View revenues were estimated at $10 million. (Almost $20 million in 2012 Dollars)
The main feud from WrestleMania IIi stemmed from André the Giant’s turn and betrayal of his ally, the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan, which began when Hogan was presented a trophy for being the WWF Champion for three years. André, his friend at the time, came out to congratulate him.
Shortly afterwards, André was presented a slightly smaller trophy for being “undefeated in the WWF for 15 years” and Hogan came out to congratulate André, but
ended up being the focal point of the interview. Annoyed by this, André walked out during Hogan’s congratulation speech and not long after that, on an edition of the interview segment Piper’s Pit, Bobby Heenan, a long-time Hogan adversary, announced himself to be André’s new manager. André then challenged Hogan to a title match at WrestleMania III and attacked Hogan, ripping off Hogan’s T-shirt and crucifix necklace.
While Andre vs Hogan will go down as one of the most iconic matches in WrestleMania history, if not the most. One legendary match, that is widely revered to be one of the best WrestleMania matches of all time, saw the late Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, for the Intercontinental Championship.
Rock singer and Detroit native Alice Cooper was in Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ corner during his match with The Honky Tonk Man, at WrestleMania III. The Honky Tonk Man
had attacked Roberts with a guitar on Roberts’ interview segment The Snake Pit, which legitimately injured Roberts’ neck.This event began Roberts’ turn into a babyface as well as the feud between the wrestlers, which culminated in their WrestleMania match.
Twenty years later, the WWE returned to Detroit for WrestleMania 23, showing footage from WrestleMania III, having Aretha Franklin sing “America the Beautiful,” and having Kane scoop slam The Great Khali.
WrestleMania III Results
• The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) defeated Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji)
• Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules (with Bobby Heenan) fought to a double countout
• Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook by disqualification
• “King” Harley Race (with Bobby Heenan and The Fabulous Moolah) defeated The Junkyard Dog in a Loser Must Bow match
• The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) (with Johnny Valiant and Dino Bravo) defeated The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond)
• Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart) in a Hair vs. Hair
• The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) and Danny Davis (with Jimmy Hart) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana
• Butch Reed (with Slick) defeated Koko B. Ware
• Ricky Steamboat (with George Steele) defeated Randy Savage (c) (with Miss Elizabeth) for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
• The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Jake Roberts (with Alice Cooper)
• The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (with Slick) defeated The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) by disqualification
• Hulk Hogan (c) defeated André the Giant (with Bobby Heenan) to Retain The WWF Championship