Archive for Aretha Franklin

WWF WrestleMania III

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WWE open.  WrestleMania III!

Vince McMahon is in the ring to welcome us to the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III.  Then, he introduces Aretha Franklin to sing America the Beautiful.

The announcers, Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura, talk to special guests Mary Hart and Bob Uecker, then throw it to ring announcer, Howard Finkel for the first match.

The Can-Am Connection vs. “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. & Don Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji).  Muraco and Martel start.  Man, there are a lot of people in the Pontiac Silverdome.  Zenk tags in and they double team both opponents.  Orton and Zenk go at it.  Zenk slams Orton.  Orton stumbles into the wrong corner and gets decked.  They reverse each others’ full nelsons.  Muraco accidentally decks Orton.  Zenk covers for 2.  Martel tags in and works Orton’s arm.  Zenk and Muraco tag in.  The heels start to get heat on Zenk for a minute.  Martel tags in and runs wild.  Clusterfuck ensues.  The Can-Ams whip the heels into each other and Muraco backdrops Orton.  Orton gets sent out of the ring.  Martel hits a cross body on Muraco for the pin in 5:37.  It was fine.

Billy Jack Haynes/Hercules video package.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Bobby Heenan and Hercules.  Bizarre promo from Hercules.  Heenan cals Haynes “Billy Jerk Haynes.”  How clever.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez (w/ Bobby Heenan).  They’re feuding over who the master of the full nelson is.  They lock up and go at it.  Haynes press slams Hercules.  He goes for the full nelson, but Hercules scampers to the ropes.  Haynes punches Hercules.  Hercules DROPS him with a lariat.  Hercules back body drops Haynes and punishes his back in other ways, such as whipping him into the turnbuckles and suplexing him.  Hercules covers off the suplex, then lets Haynes up.  Haynes fights back, but Hercules clobbers his back.  Hercules continues to punish Haynes’ back.  Hercules goes for the full nelson, but can’t get his fingers locked.  Haynes hulks up and breaks the hold, but Hercules hits him in the back of the head.  Double clothesline spot.  Haynes hits an inverted atomic drop, a clothesline, some more blows, another clothesline, and a leg drop.  Haynes his a diving fist drop.  Haynes locks in the full nelson.  They go out together through the ropes and Haynes locks the full nelson in on the outside.  Double count-out in 7:53.  It was fine.  Heenan cheap shots Haynes.  Haynes chases him around the ring.  Hercules hits Haynes with his chain repeatedly and busts him open, then puts him in the full nelson for good measure.

Mean Gene interviews King Kong Bundy and his midgets.

Bob Uecker has joined Heenan and Ventura for commentary.

Mean Gene interviews Hillbilly Jim and his midgets.

King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, & Lord Littlebrook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, & The Haiti Kid.  They edit out “Don’t Go Messin’ With A Country Boy,” which is akin to blasphemy.  Haiti and Tokyo start.  Midget wrestling!  All four midgets run the ropes.  The heel midgets collide.  The face midgets do the row the boat bit with their legs.  Beaver smacks Tokyo silly, so Tokyo tags in Littlebrook.  Beaver hits Bundy in the gut, which pisses him off.  Bundy tags in.  Beaver dropkicks him to no effect, then tags in Hillbilly Jim.  Jim clotheslines Bundy, then drops an elbow.  Jim and the midgets cover for 2.  Beaver comes in and smacks Bundy with an object.  Bundy avalanches Jim.  Bundy finally has enough of his shit and body slams Little Beaver, then drops an elbow on him.  The referee DQs Bundy in 4:22.  No fair!  That midget was starting shit.  The four midgets and Jim chase Bundy off.  Poor Bundy.  The midget had it coming.

Mary Hart interviews Miss Elizabeth.  The Intercontinental Champion, Randy Savage interrupts.  Hart didn’t want to talk to him.

Race/JYD video package.

Mean Gene interviews Harley Race, Fabulous Moolah, and Bobby Heenan.

Bob Uecker apparently has a thing for Moolah.

Mean Gene interviews JYD.

Loser Must Bow To The Winner: King Harley Race (w/ Bobby Heenan & WWF Women’s Champion The Fabulous Moolah) vs. Junkyard Dog.  They brawl.  Race throws JYD out of the ring and tries a headbutt off the apron, but JYD avoids it!  JYD beats up Race.  JYD avoids another headbutt.  JYD whips Race into the corner.  Race Flair flips out of the ring.  Heenan distracts JYD, allowing Race to hit a belly to belly suplex for the pin in 3:22.  This sucked.  JYD bows, then hits Race with a chair.  JYD steals Race’s robe.

Vince McMahon interviews the WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan.  He cuts a bizarre promo.

The Rougeau Brothers are introduces, then we get a Dream Team interview before their entrance.

The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team (w/ Johnny Valiant & Dino Bravo).  Raymond and Beefcake start.  Atomic drop and a tag to Jacques.  Double dropkick to Beefcake.  Valentine tags in and hammers Jacques.  Tag to Raymond, who hits a cross body for 2.  Jacques gets back in.  Valentine avoids a cross body and hammers him, too.  Tag to Valentine, who drops a knee on Jacques for 2.  Tag to Valentine, and some double teaming by the Dream Team.  Bobby Heenan comes into the broadcast booth.  Valentine locks Jacques in the figure-four leglock.  Valentine goes for a sunset flip, but Jacques punches him and tags in Raymond.  Raymond locks Valentine in a sleeper.  Beefcake tries to save and accidentally hits Valentine.  Rougeaus hit a Doomsday leg lariat on Valentine and Raymond gets a jackknife cradle.  With the referee distracted, Bravo comes in and hits Raymond.  Valentine pins Raymond in 4:04.  It was alright.  Valiant, Valentine, and Bravo leave without Beefcake.

Adonis/Piper video package.

Adonis makes his entrance, then they show a pre-taped interview with Adonis and Jimmy Hart.

Hair vs. Hair, Roddy Piper Retirement Match: Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Roddy Piper.  They brawl.  Piper whips Adonis with his belt, then chokes Jimmy Hart with it.  Adonis hits Piper from behind, then whips Piper with the belt.  Piper whips Adonis into the corner.  Flair flip.  Piper pulls Adonis back in, and Hart along with him.  Piper knocks their heads together, then throws Hart into Adonis and sends them both tumbling out of the ring.  Piper pulls Adonis back in, beats him up, then launches Hart off the top rope into Adonis.  Hart trips Piper behind the referee’s back.  Adonis rakes Piper’s chest.  Ouch.  Adonis uses his amble bulk to knock Piper down, then scrapes at him some more.  They go outside.  Adonis rams Piper into the timekeeper’s table.  Hart hits Piper.  Adonis hammers Piper back in the ring.  Piper fights back.  Hart sprays perfume in Piper’s eyes.  Adonis locks Piper in the sleeper hold.  Adonis lets it go before the referee can check the arm the last time.  Brutus Beefcake comes in and shakes Piper awake.  Piper decks Jimmy Hart, ducks a shot from Adonis with the big shears he brought to the ring, and locks Adonis in the sleeper for the win in 6:55.  It was decent.  Beefcake cuts Adonis’ hair as Piper roughs up Jimmy Hart.  Piper holds up the mirror so Adonis can see himself.  Adonis punches the mirror and runs after Piper, but fails.  So this is Piper’s first retirement, and Beefcake’s face turn and the beginning the Barber gimmick.  A fan runs in and hugs Piper and shakes his hand before security tackles him and takes him away.  Piper rides off into the sunset.

Gorilla talks to Mary Hart and Bob Uecker.  Howard Finkel randomly introduces Jesse Ventura to the live audience.  Random.  Ventura buddies it up with the Hart Foundation.

Pre-taped interview with Mean Gene interviewing Jimmy Hart for the Hart Foundation and Danny Davis.  Davis was a crooked referee who screwed the Bulldogs and Tito Santana.  He was suspended for “life plus 10 years” as a referee.

WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana (w/ Matilda).  Before the match, Santana whips the Harts into each other, then Davey Boy press slams Davis out of the ring and onto them.  Tito starts with Bret Hart.  Ventura carries Matilda to the back.  Davey Boy and Neidhart tag in and have a power match.  Mary Hart clarifies that she has no relation to Jimmy Hart.  Tito tags in and works Neidhart’s arm.  Bret chokes Tito behind the referee’s back.  Tito leapfrogs Neidhart and tags in Davey Boy, who backdrops Anvil.  Hart tags in and goes for an elbow that Davey Boy avoids.  Dynamite Kid tags in and whips Bret frontwards into the turnbuckle.  Dynamite stumbles and hits a headbutt.  Neidhart helps Bret get the advantage on Dynamite.  Dynamite goes for the snap suplex, but Neidhart hits him in the back.  Tito goes after Neidhart every time he interferes.  Neidhart comes in and works over Dynamite.  Harts hits a double team backbreaker/elbow drop on Dynamite.  Davids tags in, puts the boots to Dynamite, and tags in Bret.  Major heat for that one.  Harts work over Dynamite.  “We’re going to have to rename Dynamite “Firecracker” if he doesn’t shape up here.” says Mary Hart.  Davis tags in again and gets his licks in, then tags back out.  Harts slingshot Davis into a splash, but Dynamite gets his knees up.  Hot tag to Tito Santana, who runs wild on Davis, decks the Harts, and beats up Davis some more.  Santana goes for the figure-four, but Neidhart decks him to prevent it.  Davey Boy tags in and beats up Davis.  Davey Boy tombstones Davis, years before it meant anything, then hits the stalling suplex, then the running powerslam.  He covers, but Neidhart saves.  Tito gives him the flying jalapeno.  Clusterfuck ensues.  Davis whacks Davey Boy with Jimmy’s megaphone for the pin in 8:52.  This was kind of excellent.

Mean Gene interviews Andre the Giant and Bobby Heenan.

“The Natural” Butch Reed (w/ Slick) vs. Koko B. Ware (w/ Frankie).  Ventura is back on commentary now.  They fuck off for a while, then lock up.  Reed takes the early advantage.  Ware tries a reverse cradle, fails, but dropkicks Reed out of the ring.  Ware tries to get some offense going, but Reed hits him in the back of his head and rattles his brains.  Frankie tries to peck the camera lens.  Gorilla says Frankie realizes Koko is in trouble.  Ware hip tosses Reed and hits some punches and a dropkick.  Ware gets an inside cradle for 2.  Koko hits a cross body, but Reed rolls through and hooks the tights for the pin in 3:39.  Koko nails Reed.  Slick attacks Koko with his cane.  Tito Santana comes out and rips Slick’s $3 suit off.  Koko and Tito hit a double dropkick on Reed.  Meh.

Savage/Steamboat history package.

Randy Savage cuts a promo, then makes his entrance.  Mean Gene interviews Ricky Steamboat.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Match: Randy Savage (c) (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ricky Steamboat (w/ George “The Animal” Steele).  They feel each other out a bit.  Savage bails to lead Elizabeth to another corner because Steele was too close to her.  Steamboat with a pair of his gorgeous arm drags and a double hand lifting choke (think a choke bomb without the bomb).  Savage attacks Steamboat’s arm, then slings him off the ropes and covers for 2.  Steamboat works on Savage’s arm.  Savage elbows Steamboat in the face.  Ouch.  Savage throws Steamboat out of the ring.  Savage pulls Steamboat to the apron  by his hair, then hits him in the throat.  See, that’s how this feud started.  Savage put Steamboat out for a while by hitting him in the throat with the ring bell, I think.  Steamboat fights back.  Savage gets tied up in the ropes.  Steamboat beats on him.  Savage escapes.  Steamboat hits a cross body for 2.  Another gorgeous arm drag, and a shoulder block for 2.  Savage knees Steamboat in the back.  Savage throws Steamboat out, but Steamboat skins the cat back in.  Savage clotheslines Steamboat out of the ring.  Steele tries to help him up, then recoils like a scolded child when the referee admonishes him.  Savage hits Steamboat from behind and sends him over the barricade.  Steele picks Steamboat up and puts him back in the ring.  Savage sends Steamboat out again and hits a double axe handle to the floor.  Back inside, Savage hits another double axe handle for 2.  Savage pulls Steamboat’s throat across the top rope for 2.  Atomic drop for 2.  Vertical suplex gets 2.  Steamboat fights back, but Savage hits a gutwrench suplex for 2.  Steamboat backdrops Savage out of the ring.  Ventura calls for a DQ, but the WWF never had that stupid rule.  Steamboat hits a diving karate chop for what looks like a 3 count, but Savage got his foot on the rope.  Steamboat drops him again in the middle of the ring for 2.  Steamboat gets a sunset flip for 2.  Steamboat gets a schoolboy for 2.  Steamboat gets a jackknife hold for 2.  Steamboat gets an inside cradle for 2.  This is getting awesome.  Steamboat catapults Savage into the corner and sunset flips him again for 2.  Steamboat gets a reverse cradle for 2, then Savage reverses it for 2.  Savage sends Steamboat into the referee.  Man, those referees are fragile.  Savage hits the diving elbow drop for a phantom 3 count, but there’s no referee.  Savage takes the ring bell from the timekeeper.  Steele snatches it away from him.  Savage kicks him in the head and goes up top with the bell, but the Steele pushes him off.  Savage picks up Steamboat, but Steamboat gets him with an inside cradle for the pin in about 14:42 (the bell was in the ring, so couldn’t be rung).  One of the most famous matches in WWE history, and while on previous viewings I didn’t think it lived up to the hype, but this time I was really into it and thought it was awesome.

Mean Gene interviews Jake Roberts and Alice Cooper.  They make their entrance, then we get a pre-taped interview with The Honky Tonk Man and Jimmy Hart.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts (w/ Alice Cooper) vs. The Honky Tonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart).  Roberts jumps Honky before the bell and kicks his ass and rips his jump suit off.  Honky gets the advantage and beats up on Roberts.  Roberts drops him with a short range lariat.  The snow the snake moving around in the bag.  Honky bails for unrelated reasons.  Roberts follows him and gets into into the post, then stumbles into the barricade.  Roberts makes it back to the apron with Cooper’s help, and Honky takes a break from dancing to knock Roberts into the barricade again.  Roberts finally makes it back inside.  Honky slams him and hits a first drop off the second rope.  Honky beats up Roberts.  Honky sets up his finish, but Roberts backdrops him.  Honky punches Roberts in the corner.  Roberts gives him an inverted atomic drop.  Roberts makes his comeback and goes for the DDT, but Hart grabs his leg.  Honky schoolboys Roberts and grabs the ropes for the pin in 7:05.  It was fine.  Roberts swings Honky’s guitar at him.  Honky avoids it.  Roberts smashes the guitar into the post.  Honky runs away.  Jake and Cooper introduce Jimmy Hart to Damien.

Howard Finkel introduces Mean Gene Okerlund, who announces the attendance at 93,173.  The real number is around 78,000, which is plenty impressive, but wrestling promoters are devout liars, especially when it comes to attendance numbers.

The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Slick make their way to the ring.  “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan runs down with his 2×4 to stop Volkoff from singing the Soviet national anthem.

The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Slick) vs. The Killer Bees.  Duggan marches back and forth at ringside.  Volkoff and Sheik Pearl Harbor the Killer Beers to start the match.  There’s a do si do spot, then the Killer Bees get the advantage.  The Bees make quick tags and work over Sheiky.  Volkoff and Sheik work over Brunzell.  Brunzell hits Sheik with a knee and makes the lukewarm tag.  The referee didn’t see it, so it’s a false tag.  Brunzell continues playing face in peril.  Duggan chases Volkoff and Slick around the ring.  Sheik puts Brunzell in the camel clutch.  Hacksaw chases Volkoff into the ring, then whacks Sheik with the 2×4 to cause the DQ in 5:43.  Hacksaw cuts a lame, but patriotic promo, and gets the crowd to chant “USA!”  Whatever.  Replays.  Double whatever.

Mean Gene interviews Andre and Heenan again.

Hogan/Andre video package.  The highlight is Roddy Piper saying “You damn betcha I can!”  I want to start saying that all the time.

Mean Gene interviews Hogan again.  Man, his promos are whack.  Did I just use the word “whack?”  I’ve been watching so much 80s wrestling, my brain is starting to rot.

Howard Finkel introduces Bob Uecker as the guest ring announcer and Mart Hart as the guest timekeeper.

WWF Championship Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan).  Epic staredown.  “The irresistible force meeting the immovable object.” says Monsoon.  They shove each other.  Hogan punches Andre and tries to slam him, but fails, as Andre falls on top for 2.  Andre attacks Hogan’s back.  Andre slams Hogan.  Hogan sells it like he’s having the hell beat out of him.  Andre works over Hogan in the corner.  Hogan sneaks out of the corner and makes his comeback with punches, elbows, and chops.  Hogan ramps Andre’s face into the top turnbuckle.  Hogan charges Andre and eats his boot.  Andre bear hugs Hogan.  Hogan FINALLY escapes and tries to get rolling again.  Andre chops him down.  Andre kicks Hogan out of the ring.  Andre accidentally headbutts the post.  Hogan pulls up a section of the floor mats and goes for a piledriver.  Yeah, that’ll happen.  Andre backdrops him out of it.  Back inside, Hogan finally manages to knock Andre down with a shoulder block.  Hogan slams Andre and hits the leg drop for the pin in 12:09.  Not a good wrestling match,  but it doesn’t matter, because this was all spectacle, and one of the most pivotal moments in WWE history.  Hogan does his posing routine.

Monsoon and Ventura talk for a minute, then we get a slide show set to Aretha Franklin’s opening performance to close the show.

And so ends perhaps the most famous show in WWE history.  It’s fun to watch, and much easier to sit through that some of the other older shows I’ve watched recently.  Savage/Steamboat was, of course, match of the night by a huge margin.

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