The Irresistible Force

wrestlemania3-05

“It’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object!”

Thirty years ago today, the most memorable stare-down in the history of professional wrestling took place in the middle of the Pontiac Silverdome, before some eighty thousand fans. At WrestleMania III, Hulk Hogan, the WWF’s flag-bearer throughout its global expansion of the eighties, was pitted against André the Giant, the icon and star of the seventies.

As the current legacy of WrestleMania behoves a generous amount of nostalgia, it’s easy to overlook the fact that, while obviously hugely important, I and II were not much to write home about, feeling more like glorified house shows with Mr. T and Ozzy Osbourne shoe-horned in. WrestleMania III, from the opening shot, feels different, progressive and special, not least for the iconic venue and raucous crowd. There were other touches, too; I particularly like how the wrestlers don’t walk the long aisle, but travel via a cart dressed as a miniature ring. High above and almost floating over the sea of humanity, the performers come off looking like bona fide stars.

André had been considering retirement the year prior; complications of acromegaly were contributing to a steady decline in his mobility. A huge star in overseas promotions, he actually worked retirement matches in Mexico and Japan, before the question of North America came up, where he hadn’t wrestled in months. It was during his time in England shooting The Princess Bride that he was tempted into the match by Federation boss, Vince McMahon – but not before surgery on his back in an effort to relieve his pain.

The Giant would return to WWF television in January 1987, turning evil, aligning himself with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan – right-hand man of countless Hogan rivals – and challenging for the title. Prior to the big match, they would only meet on one occasion, during a twenty-man battle royal, where the nasty Giant ejected Hulk with considerable ease. Coupled with claims that André had gone undefeated for fifteen years, Hulkamaniacs were probably quaking in their boots more than ever before. They cared. Looking back now, the storyline was executed so simply, but therein is its beauty; overdoing it was not necessary with such awesome characters. The buzz was off the scale.

Of course, with Hogan a limited wrestler at best, and André clearly in poor condition, the WrestleMania III match is not a five-star classic, to say the least. But, from the two locking eyes as the bell rings, to the moment Hogan lifts Andre up and slams him en route to victory, there is no clearer an example of how little that matters. For sheer spectacle, I can’t think of another match that really comes close; I first saw it at the age of twelve, seventeen years after the event – I’ve watched it countless times since, and it still has that special feeling. Testament to the moment’s totemic importance is the sheer number of times such a stand-off has been referenced, if not outright emulated – but never has it had quite the same impact as Hogan versus André, where The Giant generously passed the torch to the new ‘number one’, and the wrestling boom reached its apex, thirty years ago today.

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29 comments
  1. Bill Fufkin said:

    Brilliant to see you back, Jacob…you’ve been missed here. B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Bill – I can’t believe I was away for as long as I was. It’s nice to be back!

      Like

  2. z03luca said:

    Hi Jacob, long time I did not see you. I miss you. I hope you are OK. 🙂 Camilla

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Camilla – I’m fine and glad to be back! I hope you are doing well, too.

      Like

  3. The irresistible force is The Bulldog! Ha Ha… I am obsessed with them, as you can see 😂🤣😊

    Tamara

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Indeed. Don’t forget Bulldogs are Beautiful Day on April 21st! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I must go buy a new dress, then! I want to look extra nice for the Bulldog…lol 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dawnmarie said:

    Makes the Hulk look like a shrimp!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      He certainly did! André was awesome.

      WrestleMania III also had the fantastic Macho Man/Ricky Steamboat match, the build up of which comes to mind whenever there’s coffee about. Enjoy! 😛

      “CUP O’ COFFEE!” So darn good!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Haha – quite! Thanks, JP.

      Like

  5. Lee Hesketh said:

    Every days a school day with you Jay. Woa, Andre the Giant looks like he’s gonna kill the Hulk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Lee. Yes, the intensity was off the page – a perfect crescendo. Hogan was in his prime, and André had such mystique, he didn’t have to do much to intimidate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        So I see 😊 them eyes though!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeez, you’ve been super productive! So many drawings i now must catch up on! Good to see you’ve been feeling creative 🙂

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      Aw, well as I say, I’m relieved you think so as I’ve actually been thinking to myself how much of a slacker I’ve been of late! March in particular wasn’t especially fruitful. Hopefully we’re both on upward curves!

      Liked by 1 person

      • When i think of you, the word ‘slacker’ does NOT come to mind! You’ve done heaps!
        I think the year is just going so ridiculously fast….almost the end of April already! I look back and go “jeez, what have i actually done so far?” It’s scary!
        Yes, hopefully a time of action is beginning..like, NOW!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Aw, thanks ever so much – I’m sure my parents would disagree with you on that one! 😉

        Oh yeah. I say it every year, but… this year is going quicker than ever. This time last year feels like only a moment ago!

        When you say “time of action” I just want one of those movie clapperboards and to go, “aaaaaaand ACTION!” *clap*. Consider this the clap of the board 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, don’t listen to the parents, then! 😉 It depends on what ya value, i think. Like, my mum would call a weekend filled with getting her house clean, “productive”, whereas i would call it “a waste of of life”. Completing- or even just making progress with- a creative project is what *I* would call productive, and would feel good about it, but to a non creative person, it’d probably be seen as a frivolous way to use one’s time. Go with what YOU feel about it all 🙂
        Oh man, tell me about it! Every year goes quicker than the last….i guess it’s a relativity thing- as a 5 yr old kidly, a year is a 5th of your entire life, so it feels like an immense stretch of time, but the more years you’ve been alive, the less duration a single one seems to be in comparison to all the previous ones. It’s bloody frightening! Less and less time left to do anything, and that time is disappearing faster and faster every day! Eeek!
        Ha! Well i sure do need one of those! It’d probably be useful ( and a bit annoying after a while!) to have a person come along with such a clapperboard thingy every time we begin procrastinating 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Oh, don’t worry – I ignore them most of the time 😉 that’s why I continue! Well, I’m not here entirely to defy them, but y’know. 😉

        That’s very true, it is all relative. Nowadays I see ten or fifteen years for the fractions of time they really are.

        Oh my, what a thought. It would probably work for me, actually – a little enforced discipline. CLAP, right in your face. Then when you try and ignore it – CLAP CLAP CLAP, until you finally acquiesce. Hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good to hear 😉
        Yep, it’s so scary, too :/ Like, i read today that the Harry Potter books are now 20 years old!!!! 20!!!! Whut?! And that’s also the same amount of time that’s elapsed since i finished highschool. *faints*. And my kid will be 10 this year….but it honestly feels like about 3 years ago that she was a baby. Ay ay ay. Getting older totally makes me realise how youthcentric western culture is, though. I do not feel old. I don’t feel much different to when i was 18! When i see all the parents picking their kids up from school ( and even when i see the teachers!) , i see big teenagers playing at being *grownups*. It’s funny yet weird yet sad all at once.
        Haha, i reckon i’d end up having a fight with the clapper person! UNLESS they were seriously attractive or funny or something. That could work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Oh ‘eck! And it’s twenty years since I started school. Funny how twenty years can go by in a flash, then you have an hour that seems to last forever. I guess its more natural with your daughter, though, as she’ll always be your baby. 🙂

        Haha – well, an attractive clapper person would at least have you keen to impress – a possible distraction, though. 😉 I think I’d have to have either some scary teacherly figure, or a really delicate and sweet woman I’d feel too bad to ignore or let down!

        Liked by 1 person

      • True- i’ve had days where i feel as though a few hours must have elapsed, but it’s only been, like 45 minutes or somethig. Weird! Yes, there’s no getting away from it; she’ll always be a bubby to me!

        Yep, the attractive factor would motivate me to impress them with my productivity…but would also probably make me super anxious. The teacherly figure wouldn’t work on me, because i have too much of a problem with authority :P, but the lovely sweet person WOULD definitely work for me too. I’d feel awful letting, say, some sweet little grandma down!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Ha! That’s brilliant. Maybe there’s some way of automating the clapperboard with a little electronics? Bring it into the 21st century 😉 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I laughed when i saw it 🙂

        AH! I totally want to learn electronics just so i can make one now!

        Liked by 1 person

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