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Classic Graded: WrestleMania 3

Wrestlemania3
Grant Pominville via Flickr

WWE

Classic Graded: WrestleMania 3 Final Results and Grades

Much like the case with famous movie franchises, many go the extra distance and create a trilogy. WrestleMania 3 creates the original trilogy of the “grandest stage of them all” shows. Vincent Kennedy McMahon brings the end all, be all of sports entertainment once again.

History Lesson

WrestleMania 3 is notable due to the WWF claiming a record attendance of 93,173. It is the largest attendance of a live indoor event in North America at the time. The only WWE event with an official higher attendance is WrestleMania 32.

The event is the pinnacle of the 1980’s wrestling boom because of the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. The WWF sales say $1.6 million in ticket sales. The number of people watching via pay-per-view is roughly several million. Pay-per-view revenues are at $10.3 million, setting a record for the time.

The Can-Am Connection def. Magnificent Muraco & “Cowboy” Bob Orton

Final Grade: B

Pretty solid opening for this card. Can-Am Connection take turns chopping down Muraco. Both teams put on a good showing, showcasing each of their skills. Can-Am win with a Crossbody aided with a body trip.

Hercules vs Billy Jack Hayes ends in a double count-out

Final Grade: C+

Both men are fighting to see who the master of the Full-Nelson really is. Throughout the match, they lock on the submission. Hayes manages to lock in the hold, but it’s outside the ring and he allows himself and Hercules to be counted out.

Nothing to complain about; Very good match. It would’ve gotten a better grade if it ended decisively.

6-Man Tag Team: Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid, and Little Beaver def. King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, and Lord Little Brook via disqualification

Final Grade: C-

The midget wrestling is actually the best part of the match. All four little people do very well against each other. Then Bundy elbow drops Little Beaver and ruins all the fun.

Not very much action from the bigger guys, but that’s forgivable. The match is meant to be fun and it was. The ending just feels abrupt.

Loser Must Bow: King Harley Race def. Junkyard Dog

Final Grade: B-

I don’t know how Race does the straight plank flip over the ropes both in and out of the ring, but it’s really entertaining to see. Harley misses a Diving Headbutt off the apron to the outside. JYD hits his own set of Headbutts. Race gets the pin in the end, but JYD gets the last laugh when he fought off Race after the match.

The Dream Team def. The Rougeau Brothers

Final Grade: C

A solid match at both ends, but nothing insanely special. Valentine apparently breaks up with Beefcake after the match, which is the biggest surprise in this match. Otherwise, it’s very good all around.

Hair vs Hair: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper def. Adrian Adonis

Final Grade: C+

In what is supposedly Piper’s farewell match, he wins his last ‘Mania and forces Adrian Adonis to shave his head. Lots and lots of Sleeper Holds to go around here. Piper wins to a loud ovation from the audience. Luckily, this isn’t the last we see of Piper in the WWF/E.

The Hart Foundation and “Dangerous” Danny Davis def. The British Bulldogs and Tito Santana

Final Grade: C+

Danny Davis, a former referee turned heel because of his shenanigans, pins former WWF Intercontinental champion Tito Santana. I didn’t know Vince Russo was on the creative team in the late ’80s.

It’s actually a very well put together match and Davis’s pin makes sense the way it’s executed. All six men do fantastic. Bret and Jim are showing the world how great they will be in a few short years. Davey Boy and Dynamite Kid are one of the best tag teams of all time and any match they’re in prove that.

Butch Reed def. Koko B. Ware

Final Grade: C

Average match with nothing to complain about. Butch Reed and Koko do well here.

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat def. “Macho Man” Randy Savage to win the title

Match of the Night Winner

Final Grade: A

A masterpiece of a match. Steamboat and Savage put this match together, step by step, to perfect this, and boy does it show. Every move is crisp with little to no noticeable mistakes. The story of Steamboat’s crushed larynx plays a key part in this as Savage targets his neck throughout the match.

George “The Animal” Steele kidnaps Miss Elizabeth. That alone deserves it’s own “A” grade.

Honky Tonk Man def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts

Final Grade: B-

With their gimmicks, it’s sometimes forgotten Roberts and HTM are very good wrestlers. Roberts attempts the DDT several times, but HTM pins him with leverage from the ring ropes.

Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff def. The Killer Bees via disqualification

Final Grade: D+

Why did Jim Duggan rush the ring? That’s the biggest disappointment of the match. It was going great, then Jim Duggan hit Iron Sheik with a 2X4. Good action building to Sheik’s possible win. Then Hacksaw hit Sheik with a plank of wood.

WWF Championship: Hulk Hogan def. Andre the Giant

Moment of the Night: Hogan bodyslamming Andre

Final Grade: A-

Was this a technical masterpiece? No, of course not. But given the story and putting yourself in the moment of how huge this match was, it deserves an “A-“.

Andre tore the crucifix and shirt off Hogan, forcing the Hulkster to accept the giant’s challenge. Hogan shoulder tackles Andre, making the big man fall. Hogan appears to try to take a bump onto the exposed floor outside the ring, but it’s either timed wrong or Hogan got nervous on the way down and caught himself because it did not look good.

Iconic finish comes when Hogan famously slams Andre. Atomic Leg Drop, hooks the leg, 123, and Hulk still rules.

Overall WrestleMania 3 Final Grade: B-

The original trilogy wraps up with an iconic show. Two of the best and most memorable WrestleMania matches take place on this card. The Savage/Steamboat match still holds up, even thirty years later. Hogan slamming Andre is still one of the most unbelievable moments in wrestling history.

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Photo credit to Grant Pominville via Flickr

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