Tag Archives: andre the giant

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #10 – The Last Dinosaur

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: Hulk Hogan Slams Andre the Giant, WrestleMania III

The Book of Exodus in WWE’s lore, WrestleMania III is an event that will forever be shrouded in mythmaking. Although 78,000 is closer to the actual number of Pontiac Silverdome attendees, WWE claims that 93,000 people got together to worship WWE and more specifically, Hulkamania. Sure, there were other matches (Macho Man/Steamboat) and a slew of celebrities to “ooh” and “ahh” at (Alice Cooper), but the main draw was the bout which set the template for “big match” events: The irresistible force that was Hulk Hogan meeting the immovable object that was Andre the Giant for the WWE (then WWF) Championship.

Finally, after mucking about tag teaming with Mr. T and facing the human pillow King Kong Bundy, we got the first true WrestleMania main event. The night ended with Hogan valiantly slamming the giant and retaining his belt as the lowly giant was carted away with his evil manager Bobby Heenan.

Only that’s not the way I see it. When I watch this match, I see a man crowing over his fallen prey. I see a petulant warrior bragging about shooting the last white rhino. I see the fall of the last dinosaur.

It’s impossible to watch this match from a modern context and not think of all the events that have happened since. Hulk Hogan’s reputation has been irrefutably damaged long before his well publicized sex tape was released. His status as somebody who politicized to keep his spot long after he was worthy is well known, and from that standpoint, it is impossible to not see many of his big moments from 1990 on as the actions of a spoiled child. A leathery, balding child, but a child nonetheless.

Then you have Andre the Giant. Perhaps one of the most legendary figures of modern America. I honestly believe that in 100 years, Andre will be talked about in the same way as Paul Bunyan. Hell, Hogan is one of the first people to make him into a mythological figure. Hogan couldn’t decide what Andre was, as he guessed at his height with a margin of error between 1-12 inches, his weight within several hundred pounds, and the time of his death within several years. Andre the Giant stories are legendary, and the massive man just seemed to collect tale tales as he went along. He could drink more than 100 beers in one sitting. He stole a horse carriage with Dusty Rhodes in Central Park and passed out in a hallway where hotel attendants had to drape him in a piano cover. He’d drink crates of wine and force people to watch The Princess Bride with him. He could flip a car from when he was a teenager in France catching rides with Samuel Beckett. Because he lived in a time without the Internet, we will simply never know how much of Andre’s life was actually true, which may be the key ingredient as to why he is so special. These myths and his untimely death in 1993 ensured that Andre would never see the fall from grace Hogan and many others in the professional wrestling business have suffered.

Which brings us back to WrestleMania III. Watching in a modern bubble, we get a video package explaining this match. We find out Andre is justifiably mad that his buddy Hogan gets all the accolades for being champ for three years while he gets a passing mention that he has been undefeated for 15 years. There are many ridiculous things about this. Jesse Ventura’s Buckwheat shirt, Rowdy Roddy Piper’s portrait standing in the background, Hogan refusal to face his friend due to the honest to God fear the man has of Andre. That fear suddenly receding once Hogan gave perhaps the hammiest “Yes” in television history.

None of that matters once the two square off. Admittedly, Hogan looks pretty damn heroic as one of the few men to walk to the ring at WrestleMania III as opposed to taking the cart. Meanwhile, Andre gets pelted with boos and garbage despite the fact that he had to undergo back surgery to even attempt this match. Ventura speaks for all modern fans wondering why Andre never received a title shot in 15 years while Gorilla Monsoon meekly counters with “Well, he never asked.” Although a plausible statement (would you tell him “No?”), Ventura responds brilliantly with “Does thunder boom or does it ask for permission first, Monsoon?”

At this point, when the match starts, is precisely when this becomes one of many favorite WrestleMania moments. The reason it’s not higher on this list is, quite frankly, the in-ring action is awful by today’s standards. It is a zero. That said, taking in all the outside factors, it is hard to not feel something during this match. Not for the hero Hulk Hogan, but the visibly in pain Andre. It only takes a few minutes before the Giant makes his camp by the ring posts and ropes so he can lean on them to support his planetary weight. Andre barely moves during the match, and when he steps around the ring it is with small ones. The only impressive thing I can say is that, despite knowing Andre is nowhere near 100-percent, he tosses Hogan around like he was nothing. No doubt the stories of him losing his cool and flipping cars are possible, but this is not the story of the aging veteran getting his chance to shine at The Show of Shows, this is the story of the overblown doofus slamming a massive human being and keeping his belt as the last dinosaur rides away in shame as a fresh wave of garbage hits him.

From here, Hogan would continue to reach amazing heights in professional wrestling while Andre’s health continued to deteriorate. While Hogan’s real-life antics eventually came to light and damaged his reputation beyond repair, Andre has since become canonized as the patron saint of wrestling. No one can, or ever will match how much Andre has done for the business in terms of being a pillar to make people believe that this is something worthy of speculation and adulation.

One final Andre myth sticks with me when I watch this match. Late in life, Andre bought a ranch with many animals on it. When asked by longtime friend and former WWE referee Tim White about it, Andre said he liked being around animals. You see, they were the only things that did not stare at him like a freak or a monster. That was the lasting legacy of one of the kindest, most mythical legends the WWE leaves behind in their cannon, while an orange bozo gets all the glory.

God bless you Andre the Giant. Although this is one of the biggest WrestleMania moments of all time, I just wish that after 15 years, you wound up squashing Hogan and got your chance to shine in that massive stadium.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

 

 

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 32 Predictions

wrestlemania-32-logo

By Frank Lucci

Spring is here and the WWE is gearing up for their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania.

While ‘Mania 32 has had many setbacks, from injuries to….more injuries, the McMahons are soldiering on with who they have available. Despite many fans and critics ready to write the Pay-Per-View off, over 84,000  tickets have been sold for the event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This means that the WWE universe will at least make WrestleMania 32 a big financial win for the company and a memorable spectacle to behold regardless as to whether the event itself is a hit or miss. Here is Spaceman Frank’s ‘Mania 32 predictions.

Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback (United States Championship match)

It’s funny how without John Cena the U.S. championship has gone from respected belt to jerking the curtain on the pre-show. Kalisto is a great wrestler and fine champion who deserves a properly built match at ‘Mania. Instead he gets a newly turned heel in Ryback and nonexistent booking heading into the event. This could have been a promising feud, with Ryback really hammering home his “I hate small people” gimmick by taking out Kalisto’s tag partner Sin Cara and El Torito so the masked luchador has a personal stake in beating Ryback. At the end of the day, it’s  better than nothing. Kalisto wins to pop the crowd early.

The Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D. & Blonde (Lana, Summer Rae,Naomi, Emma and Tamina)

It’s the cast of Total Divas versus the female wrestlers not good enough to have a title match. With three good wrestlers out of ten (four if you merge Naomi and Alicia Fox into one person), this will not be a five star classic. Throw in Lana having her first match ever and the always controversial Eva Marie making the card and this could be a Botchamania highlight reel. Hopefully things will be kept short and fast paced so the women have a chance to put on a good match. Total Divas win because they have a show and the others don’t.

The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz

Last Summer the Dudley Boyz came back to the WWE and proceed to do fuck-all for several months. Last Fall the Usos also came back from injury and proceed to do fuck-all for several months as well (TIME FOR A ‘MANIA FEUD BROTHER!). Having the Dudleys turn heel and renounce using tables is a good idea, but this feud means very little with nothing at stake. This contest should have been for a title shot or at least a tables match to give fans something to look forward to. At least the match itself should be fun to watch. The Dudleys win because they are the veteran team  and The Usos can take the loss and still be cheered by the kids who miss Cena.

Kevin Owens (C) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)

Why the WWE decided this match needed to be a seven man ladder match and not the U.S. Championship match I have no idea. The WWE have an obvious money feud with Owens vs. Zayn, but apparently last year’s ladder match warranted a repeat. It also speaks volumes about the current roster depth that Zack Ryder and Sin Cara are rounding out the participants of this match. That being said, this could be a show stealer as there is loads of talent in the match who will be willing to put their bodies on the line for the belt. Owens has been a great heel and deserves to keep his title, so I see him taking advantage of his main rival Sami Zayn having wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas two days earlier to win the match and retain his championship.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

On paper this match is nothing special. However, the rumors for the last few spots in the match make the third annual battle royal intriguing. The Wyatts are not booked for WrestleMania, leaving many to expect Bray or Braun Strowman to win the match and comically oversized trophy. However, none other than Cesaro has been spotted in Dallas without an arm sling, leading many to assume he will be making an appearance after several months on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Bray, Braun and Cesaro are all potential winners as long as they actually get in the match, but if not i’m going with Heath Slater since the Social Outcasts were among the first participants announced and the surprise alone would spark a great reaction.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

It would be much more important if this was not the fourth match between the two grapplers.

Jericho is best as a heel and Styles is a perfect foil for him, but the two should have been kept apart more before ‘Mania. Considering that pretty much every Styles match with a popular WWE wrestler has dream match potential it would be better if the former “Mr. TNA” had a big name rival to take on instead of WWE’s most frequent part timer. This feud has not been bad, but at this point I expect Styles to win and move on asap.

The New Day vs. The League of Nations (3 on 4 handicap match)

Another curious booking decision by the WWE is to have the tag team championship not defended at WrestleMania. Even weirder is the fact that I feel like The New Day have beaten every member of the League repeatedly for the past few months. The New Day are one of the best things going in the WWE, but they need some real rivals stat or they could quickly fade into the background. This will be remembered more for whatever entrance and promo The New Day has beforehand than what happens in the ring, and there is no reason to believe the tag champs lose here.

Charlotte (C) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat match for WWE Divas Championship)

This feud has quietly been one of the better put together matches heading into WrestleMania. Charlotte has been great as the heel champ, Becky is the scorned friend and challenger with a score to settle and Sasha is the wildcard who can swing either way if push comes to shove. Throw in Ric Flair, Snoop Dogg and a potential return to the Women’s Championship the following night on Raw and this easily could top the men’s matches on the card. While Charlotte has been a worthy champ, Banks will beat Becky to win the belt, setting up Charlotte vs. Banks for a later date.

Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match: If Shane wins he controls Raw and Undertaker cannot compete at ‘Mania again if he loses)

Shane O’Mac coming back was great…until he started talking…and trying to throw punches…and they threw in too many stipulations into the match. Shane coming back should be great, but in 2016 there’s no reason he should be facing The Undertaker in one of his final matches. Blaming injuries is too easy, the WWE should’ve had someone available for one of their most legendary performers then the boss’ 46-year-old son. The WWE has been desperately trying to show Shane as a threat to Taker but I’d believe my dog is the queen of Neptune before I’d believe “The Money” beats The Phenom. Taker wins, everyone cheers and Shane probably bleeds a bunch.

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (Street Fight)

The street fight to end all street fights. Ambrose may have found a perfect opponent in Lesnar as he can go all out against The Beast while getting thrown around like a ragdoll. I can see the two going at it in the crowd as tens of thousands of people swarm the two men. Having WWE legends Terry Funk and Mick Foley giving Ambrose pep talks and lethal weapons (that couldn’t possibly be used in the match) is a nice touch. The only downside is that Ambrose is most likely taking the loss here, even though he’s been overdue for a big win for some time. This match will be physical and most likely the best worked match of all the big main events at ‘Mania and I see Lesnar taking home the victory after suplexing everything and everyone in sight.

Triple H (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

The WWE has backed themselves into a corner here.

With crowds refusing to cheer Reigns and slyly behind Triple H, this could end very, very poorly for WWE. While the crowd at last year’s ‘Mania were treated to a surprise Money in the Bank cash in, this appears to be Reign’s time to take home the gold. Reigns has done himself no favors in interviews, with condescending remarks towards adult fans who boo him. It’s no wonder that Triple H has the crowd behind him considering shite comments like that. The hottest mess in what is a hot mess of a card, Reigns wins the belt after the crowd loses their voices from booing so the WWE has an easier time piping in cheers on replays of the event.