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Superstar Sleeze

[1987-03-29-WWF-Wrestlemania III] Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant

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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.

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I watched this fully for the first time recently and reviewed it on my blog:

 

 

In a similar vein to Steamboat/Savage, you can’t look at Wrestlemania 3 without looking at the match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Once best of friends, turned bitter enemies by the opportunity to win the gold and be called WWF World Heavyweight Champion. The storyline leading up to this match is just great storytelling, and has been an angle I’ve been able to watch recently. Andre is reinstated off of a suspension at a meeting where he didn’t even show up. Jesse Ventura, outraged by this, spend the next month trying to work out why – the only other knowledge being the attendance of Heenan at the meeting. Whilst Ventura is sleuthing away in the background, we get Piper’s Pit adding layers to the developing story, as Andre gets rewarded for going 15 years unbeaten one week, whilst Hogan gets a (bigger) trophy for three years champion. Eventually, the momentous Piper’s Pit where Andre walks out with Heenan, challenges Hogan to a title match and rips off Hogan’s shirt and necklace in one go – just brilliant.

 

The match is never going to be a five star classic, but the build up and the anticipation of the crowd in attendance makes it over and above what it has any right to be. We get the ‘phantom three count’ early, where Hogan just about squeezes out of a pinfall after a bodyslam attempt sees Andre land hard on the champion. We get the standard Andre fare of chokes, headbutts and standing on his opponent, with Hogan’s comebacks timed well enough to give the crowd something to bite on, but generally leading to a big Giant chop or strike.

 

A bear hug sees a big lull in the proceedings, yet it is followed by both men heading to the floor, and Andre headbutting the ringpost! The structure of the match is a little off here, as Hogan (whilst suggesting a piledriver attempt) is poorly back body dropped onto an exposed section of concrete. However, within thirty seconds, Hogan is back in the ring, dropping the big guy with a lariat, the powerslam heard around the world and a leg drop for the three count. Whilst the amount of time spent selling largely matched up with how poorly the move was executed, it did feel like that should have been a bigger spot. In the end, the champ retains, and you should (and probably have) watch this if just for historical significance alone. Do yourself a favour, and try and dig out the angles leading up it also – simple storytelling at its best.

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Unpopular take: this is nowhere near as bad as everyone makes this out to be.

 

Andre is way passed it and very drunk, not a winning combination by any means. This is the Hulk Hogan show. He carries the giant to a serviceable match by selling his lumbering attacks like death. They milk everything can out of the staredowns and restholds to make up for time. They stare off at each other as the match starts, with Hogan immediately failing to slam Andre and nearly lose the match after he's crushed by Andre. This all sets up for that famous conclusion to this match perfectly. Andre works a bearhug on Hogan and it goes on for way too long, but it doesn't take the crowd out of the match. The reaction they get when Andre takes his first bump after getting knocked down by the clothesline is momentous. Hogan slams Andre and the rest is history.

 

It's hard to neglect the brilliant build-up and the historical significance of this match. The crowd eat up everything they see and that, along with Hogan working his ass off, makes this an easily digestible offering of 80s WWF.

 

★★¾

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