The WrestleMania Flashback series continues, with probably the easiest set of highlights to center around. WrestleMania III featured several tremendous matches, but two stick out for obvious reasons and one of them is widely considered the greatest match in WrestleMania history.
The Pontiac Superdome in Detroit hosted the event, with a record crowd of 93,173 fans in attendance. That record stood as the largest recorded attendance for an indoor sporting event. And it would remain so until the NBA finally broke that record with the 2010 All-Star Game.
When people think of WrestleMania III, a couple of matches come to mind. The first being the Intercontinental Championship match between then-champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. This was nothing short of 15 minutes of solid gold between two of the top stars to ever step in the ring.
This whole feud started because of Savage attacking Steamboat prior to a title match. They had several bloody matches, that finally concluded with a final showdown at WrestleMania. This battle went in and out of the ring, and fans saw the involvement of George "The Animal" Steele. He was at ringside after becoming infatuated with Miss Elizabeth, who was in the corner of the reigning champion.
Steele factored into the match, as he stopped Savage from using the ring bell on Steamboat. Savage climbed to the top turnbuckle with the bell, but Steele pushed him off and caused him to crash to the mat. Savage made back to his feet and attempted a scoop slam, but Steamboat countered and roll him up for the pin to become champion.
Savage would challenge Steamboat again throughout the year, but was unsuccessful. Steamboat would eventually lose the belt to The Honky Tonk Man, and Savage turned into a fan favorite later that year.
Another match that was highly anticipated was the confrontation between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Andre had turned on Hogan after the champion received a trophy for holding the title for three years. When Andre was presented a smaller trophy for being undefeated for 15 years, Hogan came out congratulate him and subsequently became the focus of the celebration.
Just moments into their historic encounter, Hogan tried to bodyslam Andre but his weight was too much and the champion collapsed to the mat. Andre took over immediately and went to work on Hogan's back, even stepping on him at one point. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, in Andre's corner, shouted directions at ringside as he taunted Hogan.
The match spilled to the outside, where Andre inadvertently went face-first into a ringpost. Hogan saw the opportunity to take advantage, pulling back one of the protective mats off the floor. But he made a mistake by trying to piledrive Andre on the floor, as Andre lifted him up and dropped him onto the floor.
Andre rolled him back into the ring and whipped Hogan into the ropes. But he missed a big boot and Hogan responded with a clothesline that knocked the big man off his feet. Then moments later, the unthinkable happened.
As Andre got back to his feet, Hogan was waiting and he bodyslammed Andre in a moment that has been documented countless times over the years. Hogan followed up with a signature leg drop and pinned Andre to retain the WWF Championship. The 93,000-plus in attendance at the Pontiac Silverdome erupted as Hogan's hand was raised in victory.
Those two matches were just a part of the spectacle that was WrestleMania III. This coming weekend, we'll take a look at WrestleMania IV, V, and VI on our trip through history as we approach the April 7 extravaganza at MetLife Stadium.