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Ryan Pratt takes a look back at the huge main event that happened at Wrestlemania 3 between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship on this day in 1987.
Two former friends turned foes faced off in the main event of Wrestlemania 3 for the biggest prize in sports entertainment. The WWF Championship. This was one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in the history of professional wrestling. Two icons who arguably make up part of the Wrestling Mount Rushmore went one-on-one.
The seeds of this rivalry were planted over a series of months. On a January episode of Piper’s Pit, the Hulkster was presented with a trophy to celebrate three years of him being WWF Champion. Andre The Giant came out to congratulate Hogan, and gave his friend a rather firm handshake. On the following episode of Piper’s Pit, Andre was presented with a slightly smaller trophy for going undefeated in his fifteen years as a wrestler. Hogan came out to congratulate Andre, but took the spotlight and only really spoke about himself, causing The Giant to walk out of the segment. The following week, the two met again, this time Andre was accompanied by Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, who accused Hogan of being Andre's friend only so he would not have to defend the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against him. Hogan disputed this, but Andre challenged him to a match for his WWF Championship at Wrestlemania 3. Heenan, following Hogan's apparent disbelief, stated, "You can't believe it, maybe you'll believe this, Hogan" followed by Andre ripping off Hogan's shirt and crucifix, with the crucifix causing Hogan's chest to bleed. Hogan felt betrayed by The Giant, and accepted his request for a championship match. Andre eliminated Hogan in a 20-man Battle Royal on Saturday Night’s Main Event a fortnight before Wrestlemania, claiming he had the psychological advantage going into their match.
The ‘biggest main event in sports entertainment’ had former baseball player Bob Uecker as guest ring announcer and guest timekeeper was Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart. The challenger Andre The Giant and his manager Bobby Heenan were greeted with a chorus of boos and pelted with trash by sections of the 93,173 in attendance at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan as the two villains rode to the ring in a cart. In contrast, the WWF Champion walked to the ring to a huge ovation from the crowd. The two giants of professional wrestling stood off face to face in the middle of the ring. ‘The Irresistible Force’ versus ‘The Immovable Object’ was finally going to happen. Within the first two minutes, Hogan attempted to bodyslam the Giant but failed as Andre fell on top of him causing a pin attempt. The match went back and forth during the main bulk of it, and the result could have gone either way. The Hulkster dodged a big boot from Andre, with Hogan managing to clothesline his opponent and take him off of his feet for the first time in this bout. The WWF Champion was feeling the energy, and ‘Hulked Up’ to the delight of the fans in attendance. He somehow managed to pick up the 525-pound athlete and scoop slammed him to the mat, before delivering his famous leg drop and pinning Andre The Giant for the win. Hogan retained his WWF Championship!
‘The Slam Heard Around The World’ is one of the most illustrious moments in the history of ‘The Showcase of Immortals’. On the grandest stage of them all, Hogan pulled off the unthinkable, handing Andre The Giant his first-ever loss. This main event will live on in the memories of wrestling fans for generations.
Ryan Pratt is a feature writer for WNS, looking back at some of the most memorable events and moments in pro-wrestling history. You can find his work on WNS under the hashtag #TDIWH.
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