When Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant squared off at the Pontiatic Silverdome three decades ago today, it was the kind of spectacle that will live on forever in professional wrestling lore.
You had the two biggest names in the sport at the time as well as the two biggest bodies — one standing 6’8″ and weighing in at 340 pounds, and the other an impossible 7-3, 529 pounds. It was a Redwood tree going up against a Sequoia.
As we all know, professional wrestling is scripted theater and things would be no different for Wrestlemania 3. The script that was penned for this particular matchup called for Hulk Hogan to win and retain his title. But as wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan tells it, there was some uncertainty about whether Andre would actually go for it.
“He could be an irritable giant,” Duggan told the Detroit News. “Everybody knew the script and the way the script was going to go, but Andre hadn’t said ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Nobody knew. There was a little tension backstage with that. Hogan didn’t know if Andre would go up in the slam.”
The “slam” being Hogan essentially dead lifting a quarter of a ton and slamming it to the canvas. Incredibly, he managed to pull it off and the 93,000 fans in attendance went absolutely nuts.
“When Hulk body-slammed Andre, I thought the roof was going to blow off the place,” said fan Lou Gamelin, who was there that night. “You never heard that stadium that loud for a Detroit Lions game.”
It was perhaps the most iconic moment in professional wrestling history and one that will be almost impossible to top, in both the magnitude of the moment and the sheer size of its participants.