Retro Match Ratings For WWF WrestleMania 3, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com

Editor's Note: This show was selected by a member of our "Champion" level tier to review, who also used another reward to appear on the show.

Kickoff

Dark Order Discuss What Went Wrong And Original Plan For Infamous 'Phantom Punches' Segment
  • We get some of the cheesiest music ever to start things off, but Vince McMahon introduces Aretha Franklin to a huge pop. She sings an awesome rendition of America the beautiful.
  • I dunno who the hell is with the announce team, but she's an 80s celebrity.

Can Am Connection defeated Don Muraco & Bob Orton Jr. in 5:37
5.25/10

  • Zenk and Martel dominate as the super babyfaces they are. Everything about wrestling at this point is different. Sells, pins, bumps, firing up, etcetera.
  • It's funny that a move like the body scissors ends up in a pin.
  • Don Muraco is one of those guys I feel uncomfortable watching because of how roided up he clearly was. He does a terrible neckbreaker.
  • For Orton and Muraco, this is a pretty crazy pace. Muraco is a hell of a worker. Twice the size of anyone and still selling like crazy.
  • There's a dumb spot where Muraco accidentally back body drops Orton. An assisted body press gets the win for the Can-Am Connection.
  • The crowd goes nuts. The teams awkwardly hang out in the ring until the win is announced. Okay. This would have been below par, but the pace and the crowd really helped out.

Hercules (w/ Bobby Heenan) vs. Billy Jack Haynes is a double count out in 7:44
5/10

  • This is the BATTLE OF THE FULL NELSON. Oh.
  • This show is from 1987, but it feels like it's from 1990 or 1991 because of the production value and lighting and is throwing me for loop.
  • Hercules cracks Haynes with a crazy clothesline. Haynes is selling spots to the turnbuckle really well. Hercules follows up with a bad suplex and does the "unpin my opponent" spot.
  • Billy Jack Haynes was a cocaine smuggler who claims he saw two teenagers get murdered a few months later.
  • Backbreaker and press slam sets up the full nelson for Hercules. The announcers do a good job explaining that Hercules needs to lock the fingers.
  • Haynes is spitting everywhere. He gets some bad looking offense and a leg drop that I can't believe he did on a Hogan show.
  • Haynes has a full nelson on in the ring but they fall to the floor. Another Haynes full nelson outside the ring and both men get counted out.
  • Heenan attacks Haynes and the latter gives chase. Hercules cracks Haynes with a chain. These two would have twelve chain matches on house shows over the next three months. WWE used shows like this -- even WrestleMania -- to fill houses. They worked co-mains on Hogan house shows.
  • Haynes is BUSTED UP.

Haiti Kid, Hillbilly Jim & Little Beaver defeat King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook by DQ in 3:25
3/10

  • Calling everyone midgets (and Gorilla) doesn't age well. Bob Uecker joins for commentary.
  • I'm pretty sure they piped in music here.
  • Bundy's other Mania matches were a squash, a main event with Hogan, and a match with Undertaker.
  • Rowboat from the little people. Little Beaver's selling is hilarious. There's really no psychology in this.
  • Bundy tags in and stalks Beaver, who goes through the legs and dropkicks him. Jim is tagged in. Hillbilly Jim is a Sirloin Beef Sunsabitch.
  • A big clothesline and a bad elbowdrop ges a worse two count from an ancient ref. Jim Is bumping like a real ass here.
  • Beaver comes in to rile up Bundy. This is so bad and sloppy. Bundy slams Little Beaver and hits an elbow drop for a DQ.
  • His little people turn on him too. This was stupid. It was sort of an early "WrestleMania Moment."

Loser Must Bow
"The King" Harley Race (w/ Bobby Heenan & Fabulous Moolah) defeated JunkYard Dog in 4:22
5.5/10

  • Fabulous Moolah cuts a miserable promo ahead of this match. Heenan is the youngest part of this act.
  • Junkyard Dog had a special kind of charisma.
  • These two brawl, including JYD bumping to the floor off of a kick. Race whiffs on a headbutt on the apron to the floor, and gets sent back inside over the ropes with a clothesline.
  • Race's bumps in and out of the ring were awesome. He gets sent over the turnbuckle, too. He's about 44 at this point and has taken several big spots.
  • After being dominated for several minutes, Race gets a belly-to-belly suplex for an unceremonious pin that didn't go over well. Bobby Heenan had distracted JYD before.
  • This was way too short, but Harley Race's selling really put this over the top. This match translates well today.
  • JYD won't bow, instead hits Race with a chair. He puts on the robe. JYD would be out of WWE a year and a half later. This was 50/50 booking, and for what? JYD wouldn't wrestle for months, and wouldn't face Harley Race for another seven months. Weird in front of "93,000."

The Dream Team (w/ Luscious Johnny V & Dino Bravo) defeated The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers in 4:03
5.5/10

  • The "babyface team staying warm" in the ring is hilarious. Luscious Johnny V cuts a generic promo backstage. These didn't age well.
  • Jacques/The Mountie was only 26 here.
  • Ray backflips out of a hammerlock and hits an atomic drop. I can't believe the double team on Valentine ended up being okay.
  • Dream Team hits an interesting Gorilla Press/sledgehammer/backbreaker combo. Valentine applies a Figure Four that Jacques sells like crazy.
  • "I DON'T DEAL WITH MIDGETS, I DON'T LIKE MIDGETS!"- Heenan.
  • Brutus accidentally hits Valentine, allowing the Rougeaus to hit a HYPE RYDER. Dino Bravo cracks Jacques and puts Valentine on him for the pin.
  • Beefcake isn't happy with this, and his team leaves without him.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) in 6:33
5.5/10

  • I was not a big fan of Adonis or Piper. Piper says he won't be embarrassed by someone who wears a dress. He wears a kilt.
  • Adonis is like a precursor to four gimmicks. Buddy Rose, Brutus Beefcake, Rick "The Model" Martel and Shawn Michaels. He has a mirror, hedge trimmers and the physique of Rose.
  • They say that this is Piper's retirement match. It wasn't -- he'd wrestle 300 more times. Adonis would only wrestle a few matches before leaving WWF though.
  • The crowd is wild for this match. Piper cracks Jimmy Hart and sends Adonis over the buckle with the Flair bump. Hart is thrown into Adonis and both go over the top rope to the floor. Hart is then thrown into Adonis off the top rope.
  • Jimmy Hart is getting his ass kicked.
  • Adonis runs into Piper, and they duke it out. Hart sprays the gimmick in Piper's eyes, allowing a sleeper.
  • Adonis just quits on the sleeper hold and starts celebrating. Well, okay.
  • Beefcake's babyface turn is solidified here as he WAKES UP PIPER. Adonis cracks himself with shears and gets beaten with the sleeper.
  • Beefcake has a REAL tough time buzzing Adonis' head.
  • "The last time you'll ever see Roddy Piper competing in the squared circle." He was about to turn 33.

Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated British Bulldogs & Tito Santana in 8:52
5.25/10

  • Sometimes when I see a match like this, that could have just been Hart Foundation vs. British Bulldogs for the title, and they add parts to it and the crowd eats it up, it makes me realize that Vince thinks that still works.
  • There's a lot of brawling, which is really good. Bret misses a flying elbow, but lands on Davey's ankle.
  • Mary Hart is calling the match and explaining why she couldn't cheer for Hart Foundation,
  • There isn't a ton of action until Tito Santana tags in. He gets attacked by Anvil while trying to do the Figure Four on Davis.
  • Davey Boy PLANTS Davis with a sick Tombstone and a vertical suplex.
  • Pandemonium breaks loose and Davis cracks Davey with a megaphone and gets the win.

"The Natural" Butch Reed (w/ Slick) defeated Koko B. Ware in 3:39
5/10

  • Ventura's Buckwheat comments do not age very well. Same with his Chico comments.
  • My best memories of Butch Reed are the later days of Doom in WCW.
  • Reed is dropkicked outside the ring and Koko B Ware does a cartwheel.
  • I like that Ventura advocated Koko B Ware cheating since Reed did.
  • A Koko body press is turned into a Reed pin with the tights.
  • Slick attacks with the cane, but Santana makes the save. Why so many babyfaces showing up at the end and making saves?

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (w/ George "The Animal" Steele) defeated "Macho Man" Randy Savage (c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) to win the title in 14:35
8/10

  • Mary Hart is interviewing Miss Elizabeth and Savage is jealous. This is fantastic. Mary Hart did great.
  • Interested to see how well this holds up. Steamboat has some great arm drags.
  • Savage works off the ropes as well as anyone.
  • An awesome wristlock armdrag by Steamboat.
  • Savage got tied up in the ropes briefly. Savage breaks free and knocks Steamboat to the outside.
  • Steamboat gets knocked into the crowd, then Savage gets a double axehandle to the floor!
  • Another Savage axehandle connects in the ring, and a nice running elbow bat. The latter isn't an easy one to land.
  • The Savage Hangman connects and is a beauty. A lazy pin on a guwrench suplex from Savage gets kicked out of.
  • Monsoon acting like the hangman should have been a DQ is so lame, as is Ventura bitching about Savage being sent over the top rope.
  • Steamboat is making his comeback. A series of back and forth pins get kicked out of -- fast and furious. They reverse at least six or seven times.
  • There's a ref bump, and Savage has it won with a flying elbow drop, but no count.
  • Savage tries to grab a ring bell, and Steele takes it away from him. There's a hilarious kick to the back of the head from Savage.
  • Savage tries for the bell again, but Steele throws him off the top rope. Steamboat wins with a small package out of the body slam.
  • This is still a great match. Not "greatest match ever" territory in my estimation or anywhere near it, but for the time in WWF, it doesn't get a lot better.

Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Jake "The Snake" Roberts (w/ Alice Cooper) in 7:04
5.75/10

  • Jake Roberts cuts a promo with Alice Cooper, and comes out with him to no music.
  • I can't believe Honky Tonk Man was over. What a stupid ass gimmick this was.
  • Jake Roberts goes right after Honky Tonk, who keeps powdering out.
  • Both of these guy throw great punches.
  • Roberts gets posted and falls into the barricade. Kind of interesting that the entire ring area is raised.
  • Alice Cooper keeps helping Roberts up. So cheesy.
  • Honky Tonk works over Roberts while the announcers criticize him for not doing the Shake, Rattle and Roll.
  • Roberts has Honky Tonk in the ropes and wails away, landing a rocking chair spot on him.
  • Jimmy Hart distracts Roberts, who gets pinned while holding the ropes.
  • Roberts goes after Honky with the guitar and cracks it over the post.
  • Alice gets the snake out and they put it on Jimmy Hart.

Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Slick) defeated The Killer Bees via DQ in 5:44
4.25/10

  • Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik had some great heat. Trash being thrown into the ring. Duggan hits the ring with a 2x4 to stop the Russian National Anthem, and cut a patriotic promo to a huge pop.
  • If you like a lot of uneventful brawling and bear hugs, this is for you!
  • Iron Sheik does an honest to god gutwrench suplex, and a suplex front slam that wasn't supposed to be a suplex front slam.
  • Blair CRACKS Sheik with a flying knee, but the ref didn't see the tag.
  • Duggan hits Sheik with a 2x4 in the middle of a Camel Clutch. What the hell!? Hilarious
  • Duggan says if they don't wanna play by the rules, neither will they. USA chant.

WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) defeated Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan) in 12:00
5.5/10

  • Hulk Hogan cut a crazy promo backstage.
  • I miss flash bulbs at wrestling events. They're all over this match unlike anything I've ever seen.
  • Hogan and Andre have a great, iconic face off.
  • Hogan tries to slam Andre, but he can't. Andre gets a two count and goes to work on the back of Hogan.
  • Andre tosses Hogan with a slam. There's a constant roar in this crowd as we see another body slam.
  • Hogan makes a comeback with some turnbuckle smashes, but runs into the boot of Andre.
  • A really long bear hug is applied by Andre.
  • Hogan punches his way out, and runs into a chop, which he sells like an asshole. Andre kicks him right in the stomach
  • They go outside the ring, and Andre posts himself. Andre would be 41 this year.
  • One of the worst back body drops ever sees Andre throw Hogan on the concrete that Hogan exposed.
  • Hogan is a dickhead babyface cheater.
  • Inside the ring, Hogan drops Andre with a clothesline. Heenan is the absolute best at showing a sense of urgency here.
  • Big body slam, leg drop, Hulk Hogan wins
  • The place goes nuts.
  • This wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be, honestly.
  • You get the great shot of Andre and Heenan leaving on the cart.

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor


Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.

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