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  1. Hulk Hogan defends the WWF World Heavyweight Title This is just pure spectacle, and pro wrestling when it is at its best - when it can capture the 'big fight feel' or real sports but fuses it perfectly with entertainment and theatrics. Its got the setting, the venue, the crowd that enhances the two guys perfectly, and both Hogan and Piper come across as megastars. Both have the big special entrance - Piper with the marching band, Hogan with Cyndi Lauper. You get the extra celebrity tie in with Mr T at ringside (and Bob Costas as ring announcer). Is the match a 'technical classic'? No, but it doesn't need to be - its pure emotion and intensity and has a terrific pace throughout. Piper in particular is fantastic here, managing to balance right on the line of being underhand enough to preserve heel status and show that Hogan is superman, without straying into being a chickenshit that wouldn't be able to live with the champ. On the one hand, you would want it to go longer, but on the other, it didn't need rest holds and padding out time - it works for being an intense sprint that never lets up, with the brawling fitting the frantic nature of the occasion and the hatred going in. It doesn't have a finish, but ultimately it sets up the first Wrestlemania main event and it wants you leaving more. Just great stuff (*** 1/2).
  2. WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant - Wrestlemania III My favorite running gag of Titans was Parv always asking after every Hogan/Andre 1980 match how it compared to Wrestlemania III and finally Pete got wise and watched it. It always got a laugh out of me. I don't really have a new take on this match. I sit right where pretty much everybody who has watched this match. It feels enormous, but it is not a good match. I really wanted to be able to construct an argument for it, but it is not there. It is amazing Andre competed for another three year after this because he looked to be in a lot of pain. I did really like Hogan's selling in this and the general back psychology that resulted from him trying for the bodyslam too early. That bearhug was just long and what followed was pretty lame. Detroit just loved Hulkamania. Hulk Hogan was just so perfect for the 1980s America. The clothesline that knocked Andre off his feet got a huge pop and that bodyslam was awesome. A great spectacle, but too late in Andre's career for a great match.
  3. I am biased and try to stay away from the WWF/E as much as I can. Other than a handful of periods in time, it is not for me. So a few years back I was watching the SWS promotion and they had a working relationship with the WWF and some of those mixed matches were pretty good depending on who was in them. After watching the Grizzly Smith Dark Side of the Ring I decided to see what Jake the Snake matches I had. Not many...but I found one from my AJ Classics and I thought 'what the heck! Let's see how these WWF vs Japan matches are!' Jake Roberts vs. Big Bossman - I wanted to like this but skip it. It was Bossman beating up Jake at a snails pace and sneering at the crowd. Jake was good but this wasn't really his forte. Bret Hart vs. Tiger Mask - Full match, a lot of the reviews in the Match Discussion Archives are about a clipped version. This is a good match. I'll be frank Bret can be a boring wrestler without a good story or an opponent who he knows well. So we're 0 for 2 here. Misawa was an upper midcard guy here and wrestled like one. The problem aren't those things though. The issue is that they had them wrestle a longer match. 15-20 minutes...Bret's the guy to do it but again he didn't know Misawa & Misawa isn't supposed to be showing up Hart. 'Cause I'm going to be honest, Misawa in later 1990 had IT because Baba took off his restraints of the mask/character/position in the company...this wasn't that Mitsuharu though. Shoehi Baba / Andre the Giant vs. Demolition - This was fun but only because it was short. Demolition do nothing for me. Jumbo Tsuruta / King Haku vs. Curt Henning / Rick Martel - All right! This is a match up that I never knew I needed to see...but it did not disappoint! All guys are great workers and speak English and probably shared some locker rooms over the years so we were getting great moves and fun sequences. Not only that but some drama too! This was a very good match...scratching on the door of greatness. Randy Savage vs Genichiro Tenryu - Randy with Sherri Martel (who was as much a part of the match as the guys) vs Mr. Puroresu. And in the Dome, Tenryu lives up to that. Like New Mr. Puro Kobashi, Tenryu just embodies the style and sport. So it was a treat to have him face a lunatic like Savage...who I think is an embodiment of American style with the fashion, promos, but the in ring excitement to back it up. Like the above tag bout, this was really good stuff...the fans were loving this! Hulk Hogan vs Stan Hansen - Have no doubts, this is a great match. I avoid Hogan matches but, this is not something to miss especially if you enjoy Stan Hansen. If you have never seen Hansen then this may be your best entry point. At thirteen minutes, we get distilled Lariat - Unsinkable Battle Ship Hansen vs Hulk -I'm in Japan where they still think I'm a badass- Hogan and they live up to it all in my view. I did a big write up and took screen shots to send my dad...it was that great. I mean not to spoil it but give you a taste, we get double blood! Those last three matches are worth checking out for sure. They aren't in that order on the full show or even on the AJ Classics but this is how I would have booked it. Thanks for reading! Keep safe!
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