From iconic matchups with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy Savage, to the rise of the Ultimate Warrior and the rise of tag team wrestling, the 1980s was a decade that truly shaped the landscape of wrestling. WWE. It was an era before Raw, SmackDown and until 1985, an era before WrestleMania.
Many of the game-changing and era-defining matches still have their place in history. Almost everyone was rooting for Hulk Hogan to defeat Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, but that trend wasn’t the case for every match of the ’90s. suspense and Gameboys. This list will examine 10 major game results from the 1980s that left fans divided.
10 Ricky steamboat vs. Randy Savage – WrestleMania 3
Macho Man and Ricky Steamboat had arguably the best match for the Intercontinental Championship and the best WrestleMania match of all time. Savage planned the match move by move, and Steamboat’s injury added to the drama. The match had excellent storytelling, with both fighters displaying psychology in the ring.
Steamboat won with a small package, taking Macho Man by surprise. Some forget that this great matchup ended Randy Savage’s 414-day reign as champion, which was his only run with the title.
9 Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage – WrestleMania 5
The matchup between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage at WrestleMania V was the high point of their rivalry. Adding to the drama, Miss Elizabeth was in the neutral corner. The build up to the match was fueled by tension between the former teammates as The Mega Powers disbanded.
During the match, both men displayed their signature moves, with Savage delivering a Savage Elbow, but Hogan ultimately emerged victorious, pinning Savage after a Leg Drop to claim his second WWE Title. Many fans thought this was the night “Macho Man” should have happened, since Hulkamania was running out of steam in 1989.
8 Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbyszko – WWE Showdown on Shea
The final “Showdown at Shea” in New York featured an impressive lineup including Greg Gagne, Pat Patterson, Antonio Inoki, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Tony Atlas, Ken Patera, Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales. The steel cage match between Sammartino and Zbyszko stole the show, with both men dominating the world of wrestling in the ’70s fighting back in 1980.
Zbyszko started strong, but Sammartino eventually won by coming out of the cage after a brutal beating on his former student. Zbyszko had started to build up the heat and he fought Sammartino closer than ever in this match. Bruno was also coming off his prime in 1980, which left some fans surprised that he walked out of Shea Stadium the victor.
7 Team Hogan vs. Team Andre – Survivor Series 1987
The 1987 Survivor Series featured a highly anticipated main event elimination match, pitting André the Giant, One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Butch Reed, and Rick Rude against Hulk Hogan, Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, Ken Patera, and Bam Bam. Bigelow. The match was noted for its serious tone. Hogan was counted out. Many fans assumed that Team Hogan would walk out of the main event as the victors, many were split with Andre leaving the event as the sole survivor.
6 Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco – WWE on MSG Network
During his time as Intercontinental Champion, Don Muraco had a feud with his former tag team partner, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who had become a popular good guy. They had a steel cage match in October 1983 at Madison Square Garden, which Muraco won. Snuka made history by performing his Superfly Splash from the top of the cage on Muraco after the match. Many argued that Snuka should have earned the victory by performing his Splash during the match, rather than afterward. Some fans even falsely assume that Snuka won this match.
5 Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan – WWE’s Main Event
Hogan’s first WWE Championship reign was the longest of his career, lasting 1,474 days. Rather than end his years title at WrestleMania or a rising star, Hogan lost his title in a controversial match to Andre the Giant in 1988. Andre the Giant is a legendary wrestler who deserves all the praise for the success of he. in the ring, however, his title reign was barely legitimate.
Andre was recruited by Ted DiBiase to end Hogan’s reign as champion. In the match, Hogan clearly raised his shoulder, but the crooked referee counted three, and Andre was declared the champion. Andre handed the title over to DiBiase, and it was later vacated by WWE Chairman Jack Tunney. The entire ending left fans mixed.
4 Bob Backlund vs. Harley Race – WWE on the MSG Network
The NWA vs. WWE of 1980 between Bob Backlund and Harley Race was a rare occurrence that will never be repeated in WWE’s current wrestling monopoly. The sold-out Madison Square Garden witnessed a brutal back-and-forth match that lasted over 35 minutes, resulting in both men bleeding profusely.
Backlund eventually applied a sleeper hold on Race, but Race earned a disqualification by grabbing the referee and shoving him into Backlund just seconds before possibly losing his title. Both NWA and WWE fans wanted this to go in his favor, as a unified champion would have been a big deal in this era for the wrestler or company.
3 Royal Rumble 1989
Although it was the first 30-man Royal Rumble event and WWE was still figuring things out, the surprise winner was Big John Studd, who eliminated Ted DiBiase for the victory. Many expected Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage to win.
The stakes weren’t as high for the Rumble in 1989 as they are in modern WWE, but most fans wanted to see a big-name star emerge victorious. The first two Rumbles left some fans scratching their heads with Jim Duggan winning the first.
2 last warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man – SummerSlam 1988
The Ultimate Warrior won high-profile matches on TV against the Honky Tonk Man and even won the Elvis impersonator’s WWE Intercontinental Title in just 31 seconds at SummerSlam 1988. The Ultimate Warrior made the Honky Tonk Man look like a joke. Many fans argue that Warrior’s pumpkin not only took the heat off of Honky Tonk, but also delegitimized his great reign as IC champion.
1 The Iron Sheik vs. Bob Backlund – WWE on the MSG Network
Bob Backlund is an underrated WWE Champion with the second longest reign in history at 2135 days. He had memorable rivalries with wrestlers such as Greg Valentine, Don Muraco, Sgt. Massacre and Jimmy Snuka. However, Vince McMahon wanted a younger, more charismatic champion in Hulk Hogan, so Backlund was forced to cede the title to Iron Sheik. Backlund was a highly respected champion and his loss to Iron Sheik was an ending some fans weren’t ready to see despite his long tenure as WWE Champion.