Recreating WrestleMania III with the Current WWE Roster
A few weeks ago I attempted to recreate WrestleMania X-7, arguably the greatest pay-per-view of all time, with the wrestlers that the WWE currently have at their disposal.
It yielded some interesting results with the best the PG era has to offer comparing unfavorably to the talent of the Attitude Era.
This time, I have attempted to take this experiment one step further by trying to recreate the highlight of the "Rock 'N Wrestling" era, WrestleMania III.
This was truly the clash of the titans and could give WrestleMania X-7 a run for its money as the greatest "Mania" of all time.
Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat had one of the greatest matches of all time for the Intercontinental title with an exhibition of back and forth wrestling that drew the fans in with every near fall.
It also featured the main event to end all main events as Hulk Hogan collided with Andre the Giant in a dream match that drew the crowd in their thousands.
93,173 fans packed into the Toronto Silverdome breaking the indoor attendance record for a live sporting event.
It took place at the height of "Hulkamania" and it is likely that wrestling will never again achieve this kind of mainstream popularity.
However in the following slideshow, I will try and recreate the magic of WrestleMania III with the current WWE roster
The Can-Am Connection Versus Bob Orton and the Magnificent Muraco
The Can-Am connection were a short-lived tag team featuring Rick Martel and Tom Zenk. Martel was a talented Canadian wrestler while Zenk was a converted bodybuilder.
There are clear parallels to be made between the WWE careers of Martel and Cody Rhodes. They both started off as tag team wrestlers before warping into a self-obsesses, narcissistic gimmick.
Rhodes became "Dashing" while Martel became the "Model" and Rhodes looks set to follow in Martel's footsteps by having a fairly successful singles run.
Zenk was lost in the shuffle in the WWF and eventually decided to leave therefore the perfect equivalent for him is Ted Dibiase.
Dibiase has not been used correctly for over a year and, although he has potential, does not look like getting off the ground any time soon.
Rhodes and Dibiase were of course multiple tag team champions together and a Legacy reunion has been teased recently on Smackdown.
The only wrestler currently in the WWE that has used the "Cowboy" gimmick similar to that of Bob Orton would be Skip Sheffield.
Sheffield is a powerhouse and it is likely that when he returns he will be drafted into the tag team division possibly as a member of either the "New Nexus" or the "Corre".
But it is extremely difficult to find a modern day equivalent for Don Muraco. The former Intercontinental champion was an established star when he took part at this event and the WWE's lack of emphasis on the mid card mean that there is no one credible enough to fill his shoes.
Jack Swagger also possesses an amateur background and they share similar gimmicks with both of them claiming superiority.
A Sheffield-Swagger duo would be interesting if somewhat random but they are the closest I can get to two big stars of the '80's.
2011 Equivalent: Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase versus Skip Sheffield and Jack Swagger
Billy Jack Haynes Versus Hercules
The feud between these two muscled monsters was based around who was the stronger.
In a direct competition of strength, they fought each other to a double count-out.
They are both shining examples of Vince McMahon's preference for bodybuilding giants over talented wrestlers.
I can think of two present-day superstars that possess little wrestling talent but can be guaranteed of their future with the company based on the way they look.
Some things never change and Vince's way of thinking is one of them which is why there are places in the WWE for Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan.
This match would not be expected to deliver on the technical wrestling front but would impress some fans based on the awe factor
2011 Equivalent: Mason Ryan versus Ezekiel Jackson
Hillbilly Jim vs King Kong Bundy
This match was in actual fact a mixed tag with two midgets on either side. The fact that the only midget wrestler left with the company is Hornswoggle make this match impossible to recreate.
However Hillbilly Jim versus King Kong Bundy is the typical story of the lovable gimmick character being bullied by the monstrous heel.
We saw this recently with Santino Marella and Sheamus. However, although Santino fits the bill perfectly for Jim, Sheamus is not quite as monstrous as King Kong Bundy.
Kane is the classic example of a monster character that can fluctuate between the main event and the midcard.
Kane's recent heel runs have all involved serious angles often with the Undertaker but the "Big Red Machine" has been known to engage in some wacky storylines in his time.
Bundy went from facing Hogan in a steel cage match for the title to this comedy affair while Kane has gone from two "Mania" confrontations with the Undertaker to a five second bout with Chavo Guerrero.
I would not put it past the WWE to book Santino versus Kane somewhere down the line.
2011 Equivalent: Santino Marella versus Kane
Harley Race Versus the Junkyard Dog
At this point in his career, Harley Race was a tough veteran who had achieved everything there was to achieve in the wrestling business as a former World Champion in the rival NWA.
He was enjoying one final singles run with the WWF before hanging up his boots and this was the Hall of Famer's only WrestleMania appearance.
The fact that he remained undefeated on the "Grandest Stage of them all" is only one of the reasons why Harley should be compared to the Undertaker.
At this stage, the Phenom is winding down his career and looks only to set to appear at the big pay-per-views with WrestleMania 28 potentially his last stand.
The Junkyard Dog's strength and brawling style is similar to that of the Celtic Warrior Sheamus.
The Irishman would also be a credible opponent for the Undertaker and the two should be able to produce a good to decent match.
2011 Equivalent: The Undertaker versus Sheamus
Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake Versus the Rougeau Brothers
Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake were paired together as a tag team largely because the creative office had no other plans for them.
One man that seem to have been lost in the shuffle on Raw and another who is going nowhere on Smackdown are Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett.
With the tag team division going from bad to worse sticking two talented mid card heels together could act as a catalyst for improvement.
McIntyre's methodical style of inflicting pain on his opponents holds similarities to Valentine's tough approach back in the day.
Wade Barrett and Brutus Beefcake have similar looks and both fit into the "tough guy" role with ease.
Therefore the second incarnation of the Dream Team would be a partnership between the "Chosen One" and the former Nexus leader.
The Rougeau brothers were both decent workers who were never really taken seriously as a tag team due to their outlandish gimmick.
The newly reformed team of Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder have that same feel of a comedy team comprised of two decent to good workers.
Unfortunately this match feels more appropriate for Superstars than for WrestleMania.
2011 Equivalent: Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett versus the Major Broskis
Roddy Piper Versus Adrian Adonis
Roddy Piper's legacy as a WWE Hall of Famer was cemented by his legendary heel run and his epic battles with Hulk Hogan.
Almost as a direct result of his ultra-successful heel run, Piper was able to get over very quickly as a face.
The Miz has recently started to attract his fair share of supporters from the crowd and it is extremely over with the IWC.
Many fans have stated that if Miz turned, he could have a very successful face run that could make him into a bigger star than he already is.
Like Piper, Miz is more renowned for his mic skills than his wrestling ability but, also like Piper, he is very capable of producing a great match.
Adrian Adonis' gimmick was an over the top version of Cody Rhodes' "Dashing" incarnation but there were vast differences and Rhodes has already been used on this card.
So I have decided to use someone else who, although working within the bounds of a slightly different gimmick, is adept at acting arrogant and narcissistic.
His name is Alberto Del Rio and he shows similar vanity and self-obsession to Adonis but with a slightly different character direction.
2011 Equivalent: The Miz versus Alberto Del Rio
The Hart Foundation and Danny Davis Versus the British Bulldogs and Tito Santana
At this point in his career, Bret Hart was a talented worker who was held back by his shy nature during interviews.
He developed and improved over the course of his career but at WrestleMania III, he was still very green at selling himself.
Michael McGillicutty is a second generation superstar like Hart and, while, he is not in Bret's league inside a wrestling ring, he is probably the best worker to come from the Nexus.
Given time to develop a more convincing persona, I feel that McGillicutty has potential and the WWE should give him a run in the tag team division outside of the Nexus.
His partner would be a former team mate and someone who could play the powerhouse role of Jim Neidhart.
The team of Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris is a legitimate duo that could be involved in some great matches and angles.
Danny Davis was a rookie at this stage so he could be played by anyone from NXT, probably Johnny Curtis as they are both relative unknowns.
The Hart Dynasty are actually a model of the British Bulldogs. with David Hart Smith playing the powerhouse role of his father, Davey Boy Smith.
Combined with Tyson Kidd's agility and in-ring prowess that are a result of growing up watching the Dynamite Kid in action, this team should never have been split up.
The wily veteran and in-ring technician Tito Santana was on his last legs in the business at this point and therefore could be played by William Regal.
2011 Equivalent: Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris and Johnny Curtis versus The Hart Dynasty and William Regal
Butch Reed Versus Koko B. Ware
Butch Reed's slicked blonde hair and arrogant persona ties in with the formerly platinum blonde Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler's more generic look has so far done him no favors and the "Blonde Bombshell" gimmick suited him perfectly.
Koko B. Ware attempted to get over by being a good person and he had very little character depth.
The Hall of Fame's most surprising inductee was very similar to Kofi Kingston and Ziggler against Kofi is a standard mid card WWE feud.
2011 Equivalent: Dolph Ziggler versus Kofi Kingston
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ricky Steamboat Versus Randy Savage
Arguably the greatest match of all time, while Andre and Hogan were the main attraction, Randy Savage's clash with Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental title undoubtedly stole the show.
It was a roller-coaster ride for the 93,000 in attendance that were emotionally invested in the match and were drawn in with every near fall.
A work of art from two of the all-time great workers in wrestling history was a fitting bout for WrestleMania.
The only modern-day wrestler that can compare to the "Macho Man" is CM Punk who can easily transition between face and heel in much the same way as Savage.
Punk is the best talker in the wrestling business today and every single Savage promo was worth writing home about.
In a land of bodybuilders and slow giants, Savage became one of the few main-eventers that combined charisma and personality with an intense in-ring style that produced many a five star match.
In the same way, Punk is the complete package of 2011 with in-ring ability and promo skills that are hard to rival.
Ricky Steamboat was an extremely underrated performer and, while a World Heavyweight Champion in the rival NWA, he never rose above mid card status with the WWF.
This could have something to do with the fact that he did not have the impressive physique or uncharted charisma that Vince McMahon likes in his superstars.
Steamboat's WWF story was very similar to Christian who, until a few months ago, had been constantly overlooked in main event feuds.
He has also been a World Champion with the WWE's main rivals, TNA, but has always had difficulty elevating himself above the upper mid card until quite recently.
Christian is a serious talent and a match with Punk is definitely a match that could steal, or save, any show.
2011 Equivalent: CM Punk versus Christian
The Honky Tonk Man Versus Jake Roberts
John Morrison's rock star gimmick has shades of what the Honky Tonk Man portrayed in the 1980's. Many fans have also commented on the fact that Morrison's mic skills are better when he is playing an arrogant heel.
When he is a babyface, he tries to be Cena by making immature jokes that pander to the PG rating but he cannot pull it off as he does not have Cena's charisma.
It is much easier to picture Morrison as World Champion in an arrogant rock star gimmick which would make his character even more similar to Honky Tonk despite the complete difference in wrestling style.
There is the obvious point that both their characters revolve around snakes and both of them slither around the ring in serpentine fashion.
But Orton is also adept at convincing the fans that he has a sadistic nature which harks back to Jake's despicable actions that led to "Mean" Gene Okerlund describing him as a "bona fide sicko".
There are also similarities between their finishing moves as, in those days, the DDT, like the RKO today, meant the end of the match with no chance of kicking out.
2011 Equivalent: John Morrison versus Randy Orton
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff Versus the Killer Bees
Professional wrestling has always loved to exploit wartime tensions with Nazi and Bolshevik gimmicks becoming a feature of the 1950's and '60's.
Perhaps the most infamous example of playing on the fans' patriotic feelings was Sergeant Slaughter's feud with Hulk Hogan where Slaughter's betrayal of America led to death threats and bomb scares.
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff were two such characters with the Sheik representing Iran and Volkoff clearly representing the old Soviet Union.
Vince McMahon recently attempted to bring back this gimmick with Hassan and Daivari who were supposed to portray terrorists.
This angle was ended when the WWE went too far and foreign villains that represent actual foreign tensions are a thing of the past in wrestling.
However the Great Khali's recent heel turn and alignment with Jinder Mahal looks set to create a powerhouse tag team with two heels of a foreign origin.
It will be interesting to see whether Mahal is pushed off the back of his association with Khali as the WWE are yet again trying to market an Indian superstar to increase interest in the subcontinent.
There is only one tag team today that resembles the Killer Bees insofar as they are unlikely to ever split up as they do not have the required skills to make it on their own.
I am talking about the Usos who have wrestling talent but lack charisma and have never been serious contenders for the tag titles.
The Killer Bees, despite being a fixture in the division, were also never booked to win tag team gold.
2011 Equivalent: The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal versus The Usos
Hulk Hogan Versus Andre the Giant
John Cena's "Superman" gimmick where he stands strong and never gives up in the face of adversity is a rehashed version of the unstoppable force that was "Hulkamania".
Cena and Hogan were both given main event pushes and became the face of the company based on limited ring skills coupled with a distinct ability to sell themselves with charisma.
The combined merchandise sales generated over the years by these two mega-stars would be off the charts.
They have also both been well-known for overcoming outrageous odds in a superhuman fashion.
Cena has never been able to achieve the same mainstream popularity as Hogan but he is still a household name to a lot of non-wrestling fans.
Unfortunately the only giant left in the WWE is the Big Show and while there would be a huge pop for Cena slamming Show, this match and this feud has been done to death.
If it was built up in the right fashion and if Cena and Show had been kept apart their whole careers and if the WWE had been more committed to building the Big Show as an immovable object, it might be a point of interest.
But it would still not draw the same amount of money or be as big an attraction as Andre the Giant's battle with the "Rock 'N Wrestling" poster-boy.
2011 Equivalent: John Cena versus Big Show
Bobby Heenan had a huge part to play in the Hogan-Andre storyline and he also managed several other of the wrestlers on the card.
Managers had an integral role to play in those days and they could add something to feuds as well as sparking their own feuds out of nowhere.
I was of the opinion that after Michael Cole's feud with Jerry Lawler, he should not return to the announce desk as there would be no way to redeem his character.
The WWE have attempted to make everyone forget about Cole's heel antics as he is now a neutral commentator.
But he could have continued to play the obnoxious heel that everyone loves to hate in a managerial role.
He would have been nowhere near as good as Heenan as he lacks the quick wit or wrestling brain but he could have still formed a stable of all the heels he has favored over the past few months.
Jack Swagger could play the Mr Perfect role in the "Heenan Family" equivalent and it could eventually lead to a successful face run for "All-American".
We have already seen how much the crowd pops for an attack on Cole and Alex Riley's newfound popularity is largely due to his actions against the "Voice of the WWE".
Cole could rekindle his relationship with the Miz and the "Awesome One" could become the champion-elect of Cole's stable following into the footsteps of Ric Flair and his association with Heenan.
There are so may talented wrestlers in the WWE today that could benefit from a mouthpiece and Cole could have been that man but it seems that the WWE have once again missed the boat.
2011 Equivalent: Michael Cole
The Final Word...
Feel free to post comments as to which card you prefer, debate the comparisons and whether you think I am completely off the mark with some of my equivalents.
If you like the article and would like to see my attempt at a WrestleMania X-7 recreation, here is the link.