Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #95 Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant (WWF Championship, Wrestlemania III)

(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348409?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=wrestlemania&contentId=67696440&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Of course, this match had to be in the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List. It represents the peak of 1980s WWF, and is the main event one of the most popular WrestleManias of all time. Vince McMahon had gambled everything on WrestleMania I and it had paid off spectacularly. The card of Wrestlemania III is exactly what WWF was at the time: style over substance. There are twelve matches on the card, with a three hour duration. Most of the matches last little over five minutes. The only other match worthy of note is the classic match pitting Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat.

Hogan vs Andre cannot compare to that classic in match quality. However, the feud behind the match is still one of the best WWF feuds of all time. It is a classic story of greed destroying a friendship. Andre (driven by Bobby Heenan) turned on Hogan (his best friend) to get a shot at the WWF Championship. Not only the feud, but the story during the match is sound as well: Andre had never been body slammed before (a fiction, of course, but a necessary one), and Hogan wanted to do it.

The dreaded bear hug!

The execution leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Hogan was never the best wrestler (the John Cena of the 1980s) and relied on showmanship, rather than wrestling ability, to carry a match. Andre can barely walk even before the match starts, let alone during the match. Hulk attempts a bodyslam early on and fails, hurting his back. After that early excitement, what follows is deathly dull. Andre slows down to a snail’s pace. He slaps a bear hug that looks ineffectual for what seems like an eternity. In one absurd moment, Hogan tries to piledrive Andre on the concrete outside (why, if he couldn’t bodyslam him?). Andre tries to reverse it, but obviously has difficulty lifting Hogan. So Hogan has to flip himself over Andre’s body.

However, the match isn’t about the match; it’s about the finish (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!).

Hogan body slams Andre to a thunderous ovation (rising the crowd out of sleep). The ‘slam heard round the world’ is followed by Hogan’s leg drop and the pinfall. I breathed a sigh of relief that the match was over.

VERDICT: 3/10. Obviously not on the list for match quality, but on it for one of the most memorable moments in WWF/E history (‘the slam heard round the world). Watch the last two minutes. The match isn’t worth it!

(Click here for #96 Charlotte vs Natalya, NXT: Takeover)

Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!

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