WrestleMania III and the 10 Who Have Died

rewindI was watching Sportsnet last night, following the Leafs game, and they did a whole segment on UFC. I changed the channel. I have zero interest in UFC or MMA and I'm not ashamed to admit I don't get it at all.

I tweeted about this fact earlier today, and that prompted @pgvildys to tell me Wrestlemania might be returning to Toronto in 2012. That, naturally, got me thinking about Wrestlemania III at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

It was 1987 and I was still a big WWF fan. I knew it was fake, but it was my soap opera of choice. I loved the characters, the storylines and ate it up.

Here are the events that took place at WrestleMania III

  • The Can-Am Connection (Rick Martel and Tom Zenk) defeated Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco (with Mr. Fuji)
  • Billy Jack Haynes and Hercules (with Bobby Heenan) fought to a double countout
  • Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook by disqualification
  • Harley Race (with Bobby Heenan and The Fabulous Moolah) defeated The Junkyard Dog
  • The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) (with Johnny Valiant and Dino Bravo) defeated The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond)
  • Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis (with Jimmy Hart)
  • The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) and Danny Davis (with Jimmy Hart) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana
  • Butch Reed (with Slick) defeated Koko B. Ware
  • Ricky Steamboat (with George Steele) defeated Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth)
  • The Honky Tonk Man (with Jimmy Hart) defeated Jake Roberts (with Alice Cooper)
  • The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff (with Slick) defeated The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) by disqualification
  • Hulk Hogan defeated André the Giant (with Bobby Heenan)

Here are the participants that are no longer with us.

  • Hercules
  • Haiti Kid
  • Little Beaver
  • The Fabulous Moolah
  • Junkyard Dog
  • Dino Bravo
  • Adrian Adonis
  • Davey Boy Smith
  • Miss Elizabeth
  • André the Giant

I'm still sad about The Junkyard Dog.

jyd


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jason | getyouroj.com

MMA and UFC is gloried dog fighting and I know that by writing this someone might shit on me for saying so. But I digress.

There's another interesting statistic that is even more brutal than this one. It has to do with the number of wrestlers who at one point or another worked for WCW, World Championship Wrestling, in the late 90's, before it folded...
From

http://www.pwmania.com/newsarticle.php?page=272485189

In light of Chris Kanyon's passing over the weekend, it's interesting to note that a total of twenty-two talents who performed for World Championship Wrestling in 1998 have since passed away - nearly equal to a 25-man MLB roster. Likewise, a total of six wrestlers who performed for the World Wrestling Federation the very same year have since passed on (Big Boss Man, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Golga, Owen Hart, Road Warrior Hawk and Test). However, only two WWF performer deaths have been attributed to drug use while the WCW list is significantly greater.

In its entirety, here is the list of deceased talents who performed for WCW in 1998. With the exception of one performer, all deaths listed occurred before the age of 50.

» Bam Bam Bigelow - 2007 / 01 / 19 (45)
» Bobby Duncum, Jr. - 2000 / 01 / 24 (34)
» Brady Boone (referee) - 1998 / 12 / 16 (40)
» Brian Adams - 2007 / 08 / 13 (44)
» Chase Tatum - 2008 / 03 / 23 (34)
» Chris Adams - 2001 / 10 / 07 (46)
» Chris Benoit - 2007 / 06 / 24 (40)
» Curt Hennig - 2003 / 02 / 10 (44)
» Davey Boy Smith - 2002 / 05 / 17 (39)
» Eddie Guerrero - 2005 / 11 / 13 (38)
» Elizabeth - 2003 / 05 / 01 (42)
» Emory Hale - 2006 / 01 / 28 (36)
» Johnny Grunge - 2006 / 02 / 16 (40)
» Joey Maggs - 2006 / 10 / 15 (37)
» Kanyon - 2010 / 04 / 02 (40)
» Louie Spicolli - 1998 / 02 / 15 (27)
» Mark Curtis (referee) - 1999 / 09 / 08 (37)
» Randy Anderson (referee) - 2002 / 05 / 05 (42)
» Ray Traylor - 2004 / 09 / 22 (41)
» Renegade - 1999 / 02 / 23 (33)
» Rick Rude - 1999 / 04 / 20 (40)
» Rocco Rock - 2002 / 09 / 21 (50) "

But don't blame Ted Turner. Wrestling and death go hand in hand, in any terriroty.

April 11, 2010 @ 5:02 PM

The_Voice

@jason,

What are your thoughts on modern day wrestling with the WWE Wellness Policy? Are they doing enough to protect modern day wrestlers in their employ?

And is TNA the WCW of today? WWE recently banned unprotected head shots, and I saw last week one of the TNA guys (who looks like he's using more steroids than the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan ever did combined) taking an unprotected chair shot to head.

On the note on MMA: Don't you think the rules they've added over the years (no striking to back of the head, no elbows in a a 12 to 6 motion, no knees to the head of a downed opponent, no hits to the groin, etc, etc) have turned it into a sport no different (possibly even less violent) than boxing? A large number of fights end in submissions that cause no lasting damage to the fighters, while boxing is entirely about strikes, in particular, strikes to the head?

April 11, 2010 @ 5:28 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

@ The_Voice I'm not an MMA fan but as far as I know, only the UFC has such rules. That said, I am still not interested.

Now, if I was going to watch modern wrestling, it wouldn't be WWE. WWE is aimed at a very young demo, and no longer even allows blood.

No, TNA isn't the WCW of today. For starters, it doesn't have the money or resources to be a real #2 player. It DOES have the best roster in the business, and it's on a network condusive to delivering a interesting wrestling product. In theory.

I don't think unprotected chair shots is an issue. It's just whether or not the person knows what they're doing.

I'd let Bret Hart or The Undertaker give me chair shot to the head.

I would not let John Cena or Goldberg do anything to me.

You have to have been trained properly; you have to know how to protect someone in the ring and be able to trust that the other person knows how to protect you.

Ric Flair is 61 years old and can out-wrestle most young guys you see today other than guys like Kurt Angle and Rob Van Dam.

Anyway, "WWE" has sucked since 2001. It's not even worth talking about.

The "wellness" policy is bullshit. Do you think the third generation guys at the top get fired for failing? I don't. Just ask Randall Keith Orton.

April 11, 2010 @ 6:53 PM

Steve

"I'm not an MMA fan but as far as I know, only the UFC has such rules."

That's incorrect. Any regulated/responsible MMA organization in North america at least uses rules similar to those.

WWE's wellness policy is a tough call. Clearly it's not a total joke as there have been several instances where WWE has suspended people even though it messes up plans. At the same time there have been some rule changes over the years that allow the company to monkey with the suspension times and such. I also find it hard to believe that even though all failures are supposed to be public that there hasn't been a single main event star that's been dinged. The closest I can think of would be Jeff hardy, and his 2 failures didn't come when he was at the top of the card if memory serves. I want to believe in the policy, but wrestling people being the way they are I can't help but look at it with a somewhat sceptical eye.

April 11, 2010 @ 8:05 PM

The_Voice

First, sorry Mike for discussing this wrassling / MMA stuff :).

Regarding chairshots to the head:
http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/The_Specialists_34/article_40558.shtml

Yeah, pwtorch (like any other pro wrestling site) is very tabloidy, but I saw that chairshot from Homicide to (likely on steroids) Rob Terry, and the fact that it caused bleeding whether using a razor, means it was a pretty hard shot. Chris Benoit likely had brain issues from various impacts to the heads, and professional boxers have issues like crazy.

As for "best roster"... and yet the focus on a Hogan who can't wrestle, put Ric Flair in a wheelchair, midcard Desmond Wolfe, headline the Nasty Boys (until they got let go), have Orlando Jordan doing whatever it is he seems to be doing, focus on Bubba the Love Sponge, give the X-Division little to no air time, provide awkward heel turns (Beer Money Inc), and where the heck has Joe been?

Yeah, WWE has it's Hornswoggles, 1 minute 'diva' matches, John Cena (who's gaining my respect for his work ethic despite other issues), and other issues, but they still great talent that they use: Chris Jericho, The Undertaker (despite what anyone says, he and Michaels had two match of the years two years in a row), Jack Swagger, John Morrison, the Miz, the Big Show, and the list goes on and on.

Gah, I was having a wrestling fan moment there.

April 11, 2010 @ 10:33 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

I simply said they had the best roster in the business.

For seven or eight figures, chair shot me all you want. I mean you're hitting my hand, not my head. If you know how to do it right.

As for Chris Benoit, don't attribute that tragedy to one factor. There were several, one of which was a demotion.

Jericho is amazing at what he does. As for HBK and Taker... a little too banged up to have a "match of the year" but whatever floats your boat. I don't watch WWE it's geared towards 15 year Cena fanboys.

April 12, 2010 @ 7:29 AM

The_Voice

Unprotected chairshot to the head (which I was talking about) == NO HAND TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD.

Hand up to protect your head == protected chairshots.

If you actually watch TNA, then you would have seen the "NO HAND UP" unprotected chairshot to Rob Terry's head. These sort of chairshots (eg, no hand) are BANNED in the WWE, but are apparently PLANNED in TNA. Considering the statistically analyzed long term damaging effects of this, I don't think it's worth 7 or 8 figures... but whatever floats your boat.

But for your Benoit comment (yes, there were plenty of factors, but the autopsy and other factors point mainly to brain issues, possibly due to impacts to the head) and HBK / Taker comments (which seem WAAAY out there had you actually watched those matches... give me those HBK/Taker matches over a 3 minute X-Division spotfest), I don't see much point to trying to convince you otherwise.

April 12, 2010 @ 11:44 AM

The_Voice

For everyone's reference, here's an example of TNA wrestling (NSFW for violence... and Orlando Jordon... Mike, don't let your kids see this):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxGIJnvmGE8

The big muscle guy? That's Rob Terry. Tell me he's not on steroids.

At about 0:53 is the unprotected chairshot to the head (earlier there's a chairshot to the back).

And after all that, there's a bit with a wrestler named "Orlando Jordan" doing whatever it was he was doing... that's just strange. Tell you John Cena is so bad after seeing that whole segment.

April 12, 2010 @ 4:52 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

HBK is retired and The Undertaker can barely walk. If you want to call that a match of the year, go ahead. We all know most wrestling fans are lemmings. Plus they already did that match last year. Your boy Vince has lost it.

As for the chair shots.. ok, you win, ban them.

If you know anything about backstage WWE, something new is banned every week. That's what happens when a senile billionere's wife aspires to get into politics.

April 12, 2010 @ 5:35 PM

The 1-2-3 Kid

That's right, Undertake can't walk but you still say that TNA has a better lineup which is mostly made up with men over 50.

Maybe you should watch the match from WM 26 and tell us from there..People who assume should get an unpretected chairshot.

April 13, 2010 @ 11:45 AM

jason | getyouroj.com

Listen you WWE "mark", TNA isn't made up of guys over 50.

Last I heard not only did they sign Jeff "Meth" Hardy but they also signed my all time favourite from the real ECW days, RVD

Oh yeah, and what about Jay Lethal, Amazing Red, Generation Me, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelly, Shannon Moore, Douglas Williams, Beer Money, Matt Morgan, Desmond Wolfe, The Pope, AJ Styles, Abyss?

YOU'RE the one making assumptions chico, because I've actually taken a look at their product. Yeah, shame on Dixie Carter and TNA for making wrestling a little interesting again since the first time in 2001.

Oh, and I actually did see both HBK/Taker Wrestlemania matches, as can anyone who can type letters into a search engine.

The last one was far superior to this years, the second one reeked of Vince McMahon's stale desperation attempts at trying to market the same shit over and over.

If you WWE fanboys want to watch WWE go right ahead. I maintain than TNA has the better roster of in-ring talent, because it's the truth.

April 13, 2010 @ 2:24 PM

Chuck VD

while the others seem to be kissing Vinney Mac's butt, It's funny how Jason is kissing Vince Russo's ass who is booking some of the worst Television wrestling has seen since WCW. Huh. Russo. Bishoff. Hogan. Nash. Hall. XPac. Wow. It IS WCW from 12 years ago!

At least WWE has a champ under the age of 30 and is not is not being booked as a former wrestling star. All of TNA's good wrestlers are getting booked to be like the older ones. Stinks like Russo and Hogan power.

April 13, 2010 @ 5:08 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles was born in 1978

Is that TOO OLD for you???

No wonder Vince got rich off you lemmings!!!

Forget the facts eh?

April 13, 2010 @ 6:28 PM

"The Pope"

that was some toe tapping hand clapping pimp slapping tell it like it is right there

April 13, 2010 @ 6:30 PM

Steve

TNA has a great roster. the problem is that this roster is under the control of Vince Russo, quite possibly the worst writer in wrestling history. The only time Russo was remotely successful was when he had a still open to other people's ideas Vince McMahon filtering out his full on retard. If you don't believe that, go back and check out some 1999/2000 era WCW, and some TNA from late 2006 to now. The stuff he writes is nonsensical and infuriating, the kind of garbage that makes me wonder if the people in charge of TNA keep him employed because they're alergic to money. I'll give him this much though. It takes a special kind of ability to take the roster TNA has and use it to create what is for the most part nearly unwatchable TV.

Michaels vs. Taker from this year's Mania was a fabulous match, as was last year's. WWE isn't perfect, but when it's good it blows TNA out of the water. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Raw most weeks is stupid and useless, but for the better part of a year Smackdown has been fantastic. the new NXT show has potential if they can stop making it look like they're making shit up as they go, and some pretty good wrestling is hidden on Superstars a lot of weeks.

Bottom line is that there's good and bad to both companies, but TNA's bad is so ungodly awful that I can't blame anybody for not watching it or even to a point overlooking the good stuff because it's mostly lost in a sea of complete and utter shite.

April 13, 2010 @ 9:49 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

Breaking News: Smackdown is going to Sy Fy so NXT is likely done.

It sucks anyway.

As for Vince Russo if it sounded like I was defending him at all, I didn't mean to. However, shtting on him is easy, while giving him his due credit is unpopular.

I don't know why they keep Russo around. Dixie Carter seemingly trusts him, and he's tight with the "founder" Jeff Jarrett.

Anyway, competition is good. The fans win... and I'm just not interested in the stale product of WWE.

Clearly I'm not the only one, as back in the day The Rock and Steve Austin could draw a 5.0 - 8.0 rating, etc...

RAW gets a 3.0 these days...

and before you go and point out that TNA only draws a 0.9 rating, remember that they are in no postion to "fight" WWE despite what they are trying to sell as a "Monday Night War". They do not have the cash, and they are on a much smaller network.

Either way, I usually cheer for the underdog, not the greedy guy in the suit trying to force John Cena, Batista and Jack Swagger down my throat

April 13, 2010 @ 10:23 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

Sorry Mikey, one more quick point:

Oh and as for the "WCW from 12 years ago" comments

When WCW folded, those fans didn't just jump over to WWE. They ceased watching wrestling.

So isn't it possible some of the older stars TNA has picked up are of value?

Are you trying to tell me NO ONE wants to see hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in some sort of (mostly non-wrestling) capacity?

You're incorrect.

April 13, 2010 @ 10:29 PM

elvis

I just read these comments after Mike alerted us to the ongoing wrestling debate here and wow, you're a real douchebag jason. Is it possible to have a normal conversation with you at all? Ever?

April 13, 2010 @ 10:43 PM

jason | getyouroj.com

@elvis look at you with the personal attacks... but you suck at cutting a promo

Sorry if my pro TNA comments offended you... not.

April 14, 2010 @ 12:00 AM

The_Voice

@jason

Wrestling might never be as good as it was in the 90s hayday of the attitude era and the Monday Night Wars, but it certainly can't be any worse than the current state of TNA booking. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't book them properly, you have nothing. RVD deserves better treatment, as does the entire X-Division. It's too bad that to get that treatment, they'll likely have to go the route of Christopher Daniels, Sanjay Dutt, Petey Williams, and a slew of others that they replaced with Rob Terry, Orlando Jordan, the Nasty Boys and Sean Morley (even if the last two were only for a short period of time).

OH, and don't get me started on Bubba the Love Sponge.

AND UNPROTECTED CHAIRSHOTS TO THE HEAD. How can anyone look at that video and not wonder what kind of cumulative damage can be inflicted from stuff like that.

April 14, 2010 @ 12:24 AM

Chuck VD

Jason. I didn't say he was old. Read!!

"At least WWE has a champ under the age of 30 and is not is not being booked as a former wrestling star"

Where in this says he's old. I just stated that he older than 30 - which you helped me prove. Furthermore, he's being booked as being the next Flair.

Urgh.

April 14, 2010 @ 5:18 AM

Steve

I'll give Russo credit for bringing some fresh ideas to the WWF back in the mid 90's at a time when the company desperately needed a new direction, but even then he took a lot of his stuff from the ECW attitude of the time and then sold it to McMahon as his own. When he's working with an editor who can make those ideas flow and bin the true crap perhaps he has his place. but who is that editor? I ask because he needs one. when he's left on his own or with people who know as little as he does, WCW andTNA booking is what you get. Forget about drawing money, Russo's booking can't draw flies to a shit pile.

And you're forgetting what helped make WCW great back in the day, a day I might add which came before Russo got there. Yes there were the big name older stars like Hogan, but by and large those main event matches were horrible. The under card stuff with guys like Benoit and Mysterio and Jericho to name just a few were always the highlights of the shows. the names drew them in, but these other guys doing things that people had never seen before can't be overlooked.

As for all of the fans who stopped watching wrestling when WCW went under, if it's just because they want these older names or any style that simply isn't what WWE is offering, why isn't any other company drawing them all back in? Using your logic, all a company should have to do is say "hey, we're not WWE, come watch us," but it's not that easy. A lot of those people have simply moved on, and watching guys that were old then be 10 years older and booked 10 times more poorly isn't enough to bring them back. Yes the older names have value, but only when mixed in with the younger guys and an exciting show. And all this stuff about Spike TV being a smaller network that can't help TNA draw WWE type ratings is just ridiculous. You seem to have forgotten that it wasn't all that many years ago that WWE Raw was on Spike, and drawing 5's at its best there.

I will agree with you on one point. If TNA does well, everybody wins. Competition in any industry is a good thing. I shit on WWE and TNA quite regularly because I want them to be better not only for me, but for the sake of the business itself.

April 14, 2010 @ 6:36 AM

jason | getyouroj.com

I don't love the booking in TNA but the new regime has only been at it for a couple of months and it's not fair of you to dump all over it so quickly IMHO.

I also maintain that lately TNA has put on a much better show than RAW does, so I don;t even agree with what you're dumping on. Not entirely.

Newsflash, Russo now has WAY less power than Steve above seems to think. Hogan, Bischoff and Dixie Carter run the ship.

Steve says above that WCW's highlight was always the Cruiserweight Division. He's right. But it's the same in TNA. The X Division gets a lot of TV time, and rightly so. It's the cornerstone of TNA, and Hogan and Bishoff get that.

I think the booking could be much better because it is indeed frustrating. I agree. I don;t think RVD is being booked right at all, but it's too new to dump all over it.

I don't know why you guys think WWE is any different. HHH, HBK and Undertaker are old.

Bret Hart had two strokes and yet fought a 64 year old at WrestleMania... but somehow THAT'S ok because it's WWE.

Poor Bret, I love the guy, I've met him 5 times in a restaurant on King St. but that was an embarrassment.

Anyway, the WWE is over 50 years old TNA is not even 8 years old. Have a little patience.

And if you just want pure pro "wrestling", watch Ring of Honor.

April 14, 2010 @ 8:33 AM

Steve

Glad you mentioned ROH, I was going to come back and do that. I'd also ad DGUSA to that mix, and even JAPW if you're looking for a smaller company with a good mix of entertainment and good wrestling.

And if Russo has less power, why does much of the recent writing still stink of his style? Lock boxes? Key matches? Using guys' real names to make things seem more "real"? Matches with rules so complicated that the announcers can hardly figure them out? It's all there and more. So either Russo is still largely responsible for writing the shows or somebody who thinks learning from him is a good idea is.

Believe me, I hate dumping on TNA. I want them to do well like I said before. but plain and simple, TNA in its current form is largely terrible. and that they've only been around for 8 years thing doesn't wash. ROH has been around for about the same amount of time and their booking was never this shitty. the only difference between ROH and TNA is that TNA got the financial backing and ROH didn't.

April 14, 2010 @ 8:11 PM

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