Monday, March 5, 2012

Mania Memories: A Giant Mania

The immovable force vs. the irresistible object
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I was in 8th grade when Wrestlemania 3 came out, and it was without a doubt the biggest wrestling show up to that point.  I would argue today that it is still one of the all time greats (I know, I'm a mark for old school, but I really do think it's stood the test of time)

The show centered around the main event, Hulk Hogan accepting the challenge of his biggest opponent ever, Andre the Giant.  The Giant and Hogan were BFF's prior to the show.  Andre turned on Hogan during an episode of Piper's Pit, in a move that made total sense.  Andre wanted a shot at the title.  Nothing wrong with that, but that made him bad, well that and aligning with Bobby Heenan.  Back then, the WWF didn't do face vs. face matches very often, so Hogan needed a challenge as he had run wild on the competition up to that point.  And Wrestlemania 3 needed to deliver.  The previous year's card was lacking in my opinion, and a blockbuster main event was just what the doctor ordered.

There are rumors online that Nikita Koloff came very close to signing with the WWF around this time and was going to be Hogan's opponent at Wrestlemania 3.  As much as I like Nikita, I'm glad this did not happen, as I still think Hogan and Andre (although the match was less than desirable) is one of those marquee Mania matches that is exactly what the show is supposed to be about.  Big names going head to head (in this case it wasn't the first time, but it was new to the new batch of WWF fans back in 1987)

Steamboat pins Savage
As important as the world title match was, the one match on the card that has truly stood the test of time is the Intercontinental title match between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat.  Twenty-seven years later, fans still call it (I'm in that group) one of the greatest Mania matches of all time.  The two put on a highly competitive match, filled with plenty of near falls.  The match itself was nearly perfect.  I'm not sure how crazy I am about George Steele's involvement in the finish, but none the less, the match rocked.  My biggest complaint comes with the aftermath and the very short reign Steamboat ended up having with the IC title.  I felt like (and had hoped) it would propel Steamboat into the world title picture at some point.

Big slam!
But back to my original point, and remember, I was a teenager when this was going down, I totally marked out for Hulk Hogan slamming Andre to win the match.  It's one of those moments that defined Wrestlemania.  I dare say it's the first true Wrestlemania moment in the history of the extravaganza.

What are your thoughts on Wrestlemania 3?  Post them here or on Facebook.

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