Eric’s Blog: Twenty-five facts about WWF WrestleMania III

Today marks 25 years since the monumental professional wrestling event that was WWF WrestleMania III. The event that would purport to break the world’s indoor attendance record, the event headlined by three-year champion Hulk Hogan vs. former best friend and “undefeated” Andre the Giant, the event that encapsulates the incredible boom period of the 1980s somewhere between the petulant innocence of rock-n-wrestling and the glitz and glamour of global dominance.

With 25 years gone by, let’s take a look at 25 fun facts about this canonical event.

1) Sorry to start on a down note, but known deceased wrestlers, managers and wrestling personalities from that card include Gorilla Monsoon, Lord Alfred Hayes, Joey Marella, Hercules, Little Beaver, Little Tokyo, Fabulous Moolah, Junkyard Dog, Dino Bravo, Adrian Adonis, Davey Boy Smith, Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth and Andre the Giant.

2) Attendance for this show has been disputed for the whole of its 25-year history. Vince McMahon and WWE claim 93,173, which would have broken Pope John Paul’s attendance number at the time. Since then, Wikipedia cites 93,682 in attendance for the Pope’s visit. Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer frequently cite a faxed report from a Silverdome worker stating 78,000. And Hulk Hogan constantly increases the figure to the point where he may have slammed a 900-pound Andre the Giant in front of 17 million screaming Hulkamaniacs.

"Anybody want a peanut? YOU! You, Hogan! You want a peanut!"

3) The announced total combined weight of the two main-event participants – Hulk Hogan at an announced 302 pounds and Andre the Giant at 525 pounds – is the most of any singles WrestleMania main event.

4) WrestleMania III marks what some consider the furthest WrestleMania-to-WrestleMania dive down the card for one wrestler: King Kong Bundy, who headlined WM2 against Hulk Hogan in a steel cage for the WWF Title and then teamed with two midgets to wrestle Hillbilly Jim and two more midgets in the third match of 12. The match’s saving grace: Bob Uecker, who likened Little Beaver after a 450-pound Bundy elbow drop to “marinated mushrooms.”

5) The double countout ending to the Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules “full nelson challenge” would be the second of its kind in WrestleMania history – the first being Paul Orndorff vs. Magnificent Muraco at WM2 – and would not be the last – Brutus Beefcake vs. Ted DiBiase and Hacksaw Duggan vs. Bad News Brown at WM5, Roddy Piper vs. Bad News Brown at WM6, Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith vs. Vader & Mankind at WM13, and the first finish of Miz vs. John Cena at WM27.

6) The epic Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage match was, at that point, the longest match in WrestleMania history at 14:35, topping Hogan & Mr. T vs. Piper & Orndorff (13:13), David Sammartino vs. Brutus Beefcake (an excruciating 12:43), Piper vs. Mr. T (a laborious 13:14) and the British Bulldogs vs. the Dream Team (13:03).

"Alice who-per?"

7) Accompanying Jake “The Snake” Roberts to the ring for his match against the Honky Tonk Man was shock-rock icon Alice Cooper. (No More) Mr. Nice Guy would be the fourth recording artist to accompany a wrestler at WrestleMania, the others being Cyndi Lauper (in the corner of Wendi Richter at WrestleMania 1), Ozzy Osbourne (seconding the British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2) and of course Jimmy Hart (who performed with the Gentrys and managed many WWF superstars of the day).

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