Historic moments in Wrestling History Part 5: Hulk Hogan slams Andre the Giant

In this week’s instalment of the series, Richard Hoy-Browne looks at possibly the single most iconic moment in WWE history

Context

The first two WrestleManias had been runaway successes, and the now annual event had become the biggest date in the wrestling calendar. With the pressure of having to hit a home run for the third year running, as well as the added strain of having to fill the vast capacity of the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan, the WWF had to provide a headline match that would sell out the arena as well as convince the by now blossoming Pay-Per-View audience and the still stable closed circuit patrons to part with their hard earned cash.

Hulk Hogan was by now one of the most recognisable faces in America, whose marquee name alone would draw substantial interest. However, for the WWF to really hit the jackpot they would need to do the unthinkable – they would need to turn Hulk Hogan’s good friend Andre the Giant into quite literally the biggest bad guy in wrestling.

Ever since Hogan’s arrival in the WWF, he and Andre were always referred to as the best of friends, with Andre being the first to celebrate with Hogan after ‘The Hulkster’s’ title win over The Iron Sheik. Andre would state on numerous occasions that he had no intentions of challenging for the WWF title while Hogan was champion, simply enjoying wrestling and watching his pal Hogan carry the WWF title.

This would all change at a ceremony which celebrated the achievements of the two men.

In a fantastic, subtle piece of storytelling, Hogan and Andre would be awarded a trophy each. Hogan’s trophy was in recognition of his three year reign as WWF Champion, Andre’s for his ‘fifteen year unbeaten reign’ (even by wrestling standards this was a ridiculous stretch). The only problem was that Hogan’s statue dwarfed Andre’s, and this didn’t sit well with the giant, who stormed off the set of ‘Piper’s Pit’ as Hogan came out to congratulate him. The seed had been sown.

On the next addition of ‘Piper’s Pit’, Hogan was confronted by Andre, who had Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, wrestling’s premier heel manager by his side. As Hogan tried to plead with Andre to see sense and leave Heenan behind, Andre challenged ‘The Immortal One’ to a match at WrestleMania III, with Hogan’s title on the line. The sight of Andre tearing not only Hogan’s shirt but the crucifix from his neck remains a powerful image to this day. Hogan would soon accept the challenge and the main event for the third instalment of WrestleMania was set – Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant for the WWF Heavyweight Championship.

The Slam Heard Around the World

To be perfectly honest, Hulk Hogan vs Andre the Giant was a truly awful contest (especially as it had to follow the Intercontinental title match between ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Ricky ‘The Dragon Steamboat, which is widely recognised as one of the best matches in WrestleMania history). Despite the lack of exciting ring action, the spectacle of the bout itself made this one of the most legendary matches of all time, with the climax going on to become the  single most iconic moment in WWF/E history. 

Following a stare down which brought the enormous crowd to their feet (more on them later), Hogan and Andre plodded through an uninspiring opening which was only sparked by Hogan’s failed attempt to slam the Giant, which led to a near fall as the weight of Andre collapsed on ‘The Hulkster’ like a bungalow. Hogan eventually ‘hulked up’, gaining his second wind after knocking Andre to the ground with a clothesline, which was the first time a lot of the fans had seen Andre leave his feet. With the crowd at fever pitch, Hulk Hogan picked up Andre the Giant and body slammed him to the canvas, following it up with his patented leg drop for the pin.

What happened next?

The footage of Hogan slamming Andre would become the defining image of the WWF, and remains its most iconic moment to this day.

Wrestlemania III would be another roaring success, with close circuit and pay-per-view records broken. The WWF still claim that over 93,000 were in attendance to witness the event, which is very much open for debate. But hey, this is wrestling.

Hulk Hogan still dines off the story of the slam, and has with every re-telling made Andre both taller and heavier. If Hogan is to tell this story in ten years time, statisticians have worked out that Andre will be thirty nine feet tall and weigh seven metric tonnes.

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect