WWE Vintage Collection Report (02/22/09)
WWE Vintage Collection Report: 22nd February 2009
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
The WrestleMania Road Trip continues. This week it’s the turn of WrestleMania III, held on March 29th 1987, at Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome, in front of 93,173. This attendance figure shattered the world indoor record.
Vignettes from Piper’s Pit open the show. Hulk Hogan is awarded for a three-year championship tenure, while friend Andre the Giant is honoured for a fifteen-year unbeaten streak. After Jesse Ventura stirs up trouble, Andre appears on the Pit with Bobby Heenan in tow. Hogan asks Andre why he’s with Heenan. Heenan asks Hogan why he’s never given Andre a title shot. A shaking Hogan turns down Andre’s request, citing their friendship. Andre rips Hogan’s shirt off then departs. Piper presses Hogan for an answer. Hogan regains his courage and accepts the match.
Four matches are highlighted from this much hyped, memorable event and the commentators are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.
“Cowboy” Bob Orton & The Magnificent Muraco w/Mr Fuji
vs The Can-Am Connection
The Can-Am Connection were Rick Martel and Tom (don’t call me Z-Man) Zenk. The full match airs. Orton was going by his moniker of ‘Ace.’ Orton shoulder tackles Zenk before walking into a slam. Zenk works the arm. Both trade full nelsons until Muraco inadvertently nails his own partner. Can-Am continue to work Orton’s arm until Muraco comes in. Zenk slams, but Orton knees the back to swing the tide. Muraco hits a swinging neckbreaker, while Orton comes off the second rope with a kneedrop. A mid-ring collision leads to the Can-Am hot tag. Martel whips Muraco upside down onto the apron. Zenk brings him back in. Can-Am reverse a double Irish whip resulting in Muraco backdropping Orton. Muraco eats a double dropkick and a single Zenk dropkick takes Orton over the top rope. Muraco trips over a crouched Zenk as a Martel cross body wins it. Here Are Your Winners: THE CAN-AM CONNECTION. This was a fine five minute opener. The heels bumped well for the faces. Zenk would depart WWF shortly after this, following a contract dispute. Tito Santana replaced him and Strike Force was born.
A WrestleMania Road Trip moment sees Okerlund announce the record attendance to the fans inside the Silverdome.
Inside an empty Pontiac, Roddy Piper tells Okerlund he is retiring after WrestleMania III. Piper admits his mistakes, but he’s apologising for none of them. The only mistake he hasn’t corrected is Adrian Adonis. Instead of retiring now, Piper wants to hang around for WrestleMania III, the greatest event ever, because when he beats Adonis, he wants us all to see it. Win, lose or draw, March 29th Piper retires, but he’s not going out a loser, as he’s worked too hard to get to where he is. Okerlund says he doesn’t know anyone in entertainment and sports except for Rocky Marciano who ever retired at the peak of their career. Piper is determined to hang it up and he doesn’t mind what fans say. Piper finishes by quipping ‘may there be a half an hour in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.’
Okerlund is now backstage with Adrian Adonis and Jimmy Hart. Adonis has a pair of shears and Hart holds a mirror. Okerlund speculates on Adonis getting a hair cut. Hart says you spell wrestling as A-D-O-N-I-S. Adonis dubs himself the adorable one and clipper claude. Adonis wonders how Piper would like his hair cut, mentioning a baboon’s behind, a Princeton and an Oxford. Adonis says Piper’s going to like it with wrestling and Irene (Adonis’ finisher) and she has no high heels or sneakers. It’s just python like arms and so is the trimmer. Piper’s was by far the much better promo.
Hair vs Hair Match
“Adorable” Adrian Adonis w/Jimmy Hart vs Rowdy Roddy Piper
During a previous Piper sabbatical, Adonis replaced Piper’s Pit with the Flower Shop. After running down Piper, Adonis formed an alliance with Piper’s former sidekick Bob Orton. When Piper returned in late 1986 and as the two shows came under the spotlight, Orton, Adonis and Don Muraco ambushed Piper with red lipstick. Piper retaliated by destroying Adonis’ set with a baseball bat. Following back-and-forth ambushes, this Hair vs Hair match was signed. The closing stages are shown. Piper gets double teamed and Hart sprays him with Adonis’ fragrance. Adonis applies a sleeper dubbed ‘Goodnight Irene.’ Adonis foolishly breaks the hold before Piper’s arm drops a third time. Thinking he’s won, Adonis starts to celebrate with Hart. Cue Brutus Beefcake running in. Beefcake was sheared by Adonis earlier in the show after Greg Valentine and Dino Bravo formed the new Dream Team without him. Beefcake revives Piper who decks Hart. Piper ducks an Adonis shot with the shears, as they bounce off the ropes hitting Adonis. Piper slaps on his own sleeper and Adonis fades. Here is Your Winner: ROWDY RODDY PIPER. Post match sees Beefcake shave and cut Adonis’ hair to cement his face turn. This was the birth of Beefcake’s barber gimmick. Piper places a boot over Hart’s head to stop him from interfering, before tossing locks of the sheared hair into the crowd. Piper shows Adonis his new look in the mirror resulting in Adonis punching it away. Adonis takes off with Hart’s jacket covering his head. Piper kisses Howard Finkel on the forehead then shakes hands with a fan who hops the barricade. Security tackle the fan as Piper rides off into the sunset to make “They Live.” Instead of embarking on a feud with Beefcake, Adonis left for the AWA, before his untimely death a year later in a road accident.
During a TV Intercontinental Title match, Randy Savage crushes Ricky Steamboat’s larynx with a bell shot. Fast forward to another event, George “The Animal” Steele carries Elizabeth to the back to pave the way for Steamboat’s return. Officials stop him from getting to Savage. Before their matchup, both cut promos.
Savage admits to being in a state of shock when Steamboat came back. This time, in front of the largest audience in the world, not only will Savage embarrass and pin Steamboat, he will put him out of wrestling for good. Savage boasts of being the lord and master of the ring. Steamboat will find that out, from one athlete to another.
Okerlund tells Steamboat, despite having George “The Animal” Steele in his corner, this will be his last shot at Savage and the Intercontinental Title. Steamboat says the day has finally come, they have reached their moment to climb into the ring. He and Savage will clash like two titans but there will only be one winner.
Macho Man Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat w/George “The Animal” Steele
Most of this classic match airs. Savage takes Elizabeth by the hand to lead her away from Steele, who has a crush on her. Steamboat uses armdrags and a tree choke/slam. Savage gains the advantage after getting Steamboat to chase him outside. Savage chokes Steamboat along the top rope. The announcers put Savage over as a fighting champion during his year + reign. Savage misses a charge in the corner so Steamboat works the arm. Savage uses the hair to throw Steamboat off the ropes and into a backelbow. Savage sends Steamboat over the top rope and doesn’t let him back in. From behind, a running knee sends Steamboat over the barricade and into the crowd. Steele assists Steamboat back to the ring apron. Savage pulls him in, only to throw him back over the top rope again. Savage hits a couple of top rope double axehandles. Savage jumps over the top rope bringing Steamboat’s throat down across it. Savage desperately tries and fails to put Steamboat away with an atomic drop, suplex and gutwrench suplex. Steamboat counters a back suplex, but Savage immediately thwarts a backbodydrop attempt with a boot to the head. Steamboat manages to backdrop a charging Savage out of the ring. Following commercials, Steamboat is in the midst of a comeback. Savage sustains a small package, slam and slingshot into the ringpost. Savage escapes a sunset flip pin attempt. Referee Dave Hebner ducks a wild Savage lunge as the two trade rollup attempts. Savage hooks the tights to send Steamboat into the ringpost. Hebner gets in the way as Savage whips Steamboat into him. Savage hits a clothesline and his patented top rope elbow. Frustrated there’s no-one to count, Savage heads out to get the ring bell. Steele snatches it away so Savage kicks him in the head. With Savage holding the bell and perched on the top rope, Steele throws him off. As Savage tries a slam, Steamboat rolls through, hooks the leg and gets the pin and the Intercontinental Title. Here is Your Winner: RICKY “THE DRAGON” STEAMBOAT. What a fantastic match with great continuity of the dastardly Savage working Steamboat’s throat. The crowd were hot having been made to wait for this big matchup. That’s a novelty that’s all too rare today, especially when you look at the two main title matches for this year’s WrestleMania. As Elizabeth cries and Savage protests, Steamboat celebrates with Steele. Ventura thinks Steamboat should cut the belt in half and give half to Steele, blaming Steele’s interference for the title switch. Not long after this, Steamboat would take a leave of absence and Honky Tonk Man would usurp him to embark on his own historic Intercontinental reign.
Before the biggest Main Event in sports entertainment history we hear from Champion and Challenger. After hanging and banging, Hogan heard non-believers in the gym saying this was his last ride. This ate him alive and, feeling the fury, Hogan ripped off his shirt before realising sooner or later you have to face the truth. For Andre, it’s time to face the truth. All Hogan has to do is beat a 7’4, 550lb Giant. Andre has to beat every Hulkamaniac, every little Hulkster in the world and everyone who doesn’t take any shortcuts. They usually say if the dirty air doesn’t get you, the politicians will, but in this case it’s going to be Hulkamania and the reason it’s going to get him is it’s the purest form of truth there is. Hogan can’t wait to see Andre go down at the feet of Hulkamania in front of 90,000 + in the Silverdome. Hogan asks Andre what he’s gonna do when the 24 inch pythons and Hulkamania runs wild.
Okerlund is with Andre and Heenan. Okerlund is privileged to be standing next to the most extraordinary athlete of all time. Heenan does all the talking as Andre stares into the camera. Heenan confidently says Andre will become the heavyweight champion of the world. The man is undefeated for over 15 years as a professional athlete. Hogan has never been in the ring or met a man that’s bigger, stronger, taller, or that weighs more than him. The clock is ticking in their direction. Hulkamania is over, dead. The door is going to be shut on the history book of Hulk Hogan once and for all. All of the wrestling world is picking Andre as nobody can defeat him, or come close. Heenan notes butterflies in his stomach and adrenaline pumping as he’s getting ready to manage the heavyweight champion of the world. Heenan tells Hogan he’s had three good years, but has nothing to look back on. It’s all over. This was a great promo.
Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant w/Bobby Heenan
The guest ring announcer is Mr. Baseball Bob Uecker. The guest timekeeper is the host of Entertainment Tonight, Mary Hart. Andre stares down Hogan. Following shoves and Hogan punches, Hogan goes for an early slam, but Andre falls on top for a two count. Andre takes control with shots to Hogan’s back and a slam. A commercial break clips the action as Andre boots Hogan out of the ring. Andre heads outside, Hogan avoids a headbutt and Andre hits the ringpost (in truth Andre hits his own hand, as his head goes nowhere near the ringpost). Hogan removes some mats, but Andre counters a piledriver with a backbodydrop. Back inside, Hogan ducks a big boot ands drops Andre with a clothesline. Hogan hulks up, finally delivers the slam heard around the world and drops the legdrop of doom for the 1-2-3. The wrestling was forgettable but the iconic moments of the match are unforgettable and live long in the memory. Here is Your Winner: HULK HOGAN.
This was one of the greatest WrestleManias in history and all of the best parts were squeezed into today’s show. I definitely recommend purchasing or watching WrestleMania III for those who haven’t already done so. Our ‘WrestleMania Road Trip’ continues next week so I’ll see you then. Shaun.
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