WrestleMania III was held on March 29, 1989, at the Pontiac Silverdome. The attendance of 93,173 is a North American indoor attendance record. This event represented the pinnacle of popularity for the sport in the 1980's.
The Attendance Question:
The attendance figure is highly disputed because someone allegedly reported that "someone on the inside" said the real number was around 75,000. My opinion is that the numbers do add up. The 62,000 attendance for WM 8 has never been disputed. The Silverdome fits over 20,000 more for football then the RCA dome. In addition, the floor configuration at this event was much more crowded than the floor at WM 8 which featured many large gaps in the seating arrangements. These two observations make me believe the 93,000 number. Bleacher Report has taken a different path to prove the 93,000 number which also makes sense.
The Biggest Main Event Ever:
Whereas the previous events needed celebrities, there was no doubt that the main draw for this show was Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant. The match was billed as the first meeting between these men. It was described as the irresistible force vs. the immovable object.
The Events Leading to this Match:
Hulk and Andre were best friends. Andre was suspended but for some mysterious reason his enemy Bobby Heenan had the suspension lifted. Over the course of several episodes of Piper's Pit, it became known that Bobby Heenan was Andre's new manager and he wanted to fight Hulk for the title at WrestleMania III. A larger version of the belt was created for Andre in case he won the match.
The Match :
Hulk Hogan almost lost the match several seconds in when he couldn't body slam Andre. Ten minutes later, Hulk was able to slam Andre and hit the leg drop for the historic win. It was the end of Andre's undefeated streak.
The match of the night was Ricky Steamboat vs Randy Savage. In addition to the match being for the I-C title, Steamboat was out for revenge because Savage injured his throat a few months earlier. Another major event saw the first retirement match of Roddy Piper's career. He went on to film the movie They Live.
This event was one of the watershed moments for the new Pay Per View industry. The WWF seeked to keep this revenue stream for themselves and created the Survivor Series and The Royal Rumble to thwart Jim Crockett's attempts have a successful PPV. Jim Crockett would return the favor when WrestleMania IV rolled around.
Random Event Facts:
- This would be the final time that Hulk successfully defended the title at WrestleMania.
- Hogan and Andre had fought previously and Andre wasn't undefeated.
- A few months later, the legitimacy of the sport was revealed when mortal enemies The Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan were arrested for drug possession when they were riding in the same car.
- Rick Martel & Tom Zenk beat Don Muraco & Bob Orton
- Hercules Hernandez & Billy Jack Haynes fought to a double-count out
- Hillbilly Jim, Haiti Kid, & Little Beaver beat King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo , & Lord Littlebrook by DQ
- "King" Harley Race pinned Junkyard Dog and by stipulation forced JYD to bow to him
- Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake beat Jacques & Raymond Rougeau
- In a hair vs hair match: The retiring Roddy Piper beat Adrian Adonis
- Danny Davis & Tag Champs The Hart Foundation beat The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana
- Butch Reed pinned Koko B. Ware
- I-C Title: Ricky Steamboat won the title from Randy Savage
- The Honky Tonk Man pinned Jake Roberts
- The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff beat The Killer Bees by DQ
- WWF Title: Champion Hulk Hogan pinned Andre the Giant