WWE has released footage from a legendary but rarely-seen match between Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan at Shea Stadium in 1980 – seven years before their classic title bout at WrestleMania III.
The entire “Showdown at Shea” match is featured on an all-new Andre the Giant DVD, which features a HBO documentary on the life of the 7’4” legend and a collection of his classic match-ups.
Hogan’s victory over Andre at WrestleMania III is arguably still the most important match in WWE history – a defining moment for the business and the blueprint for all major shows since.
It was billed as the pair’s first ever match-up, but Andre and the Hulkster had already met at the Shea baseball stadium in Queens, New York.
Long before the days of Hulkamania, the match is now a historical curiosity, with Andre as a top babyface and Hogan playing a young, cocky heel managed by “Classy” Freddie Blassie.
The Shea Stadium match even saw Hogan pick up and body slam Andre – a feat replicated to huge fanfare at WrestleMania III.
But this early match would see Andre get the win over the future WWE champ with a 500lb body splash.
The event was headlined by a highly anticipated steel cage match between Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko.
It was the last of three “Showdown at Shea” super-cards that WWE promoted at the stadium in 1972, 1976, and 1980.
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Before home video or the WWE Network, the Shea Stadium shows became part of wrestling lore – much talked about but rarely seen by modern fans.
Shea Stadium – which was the home of the New York Mets and also hosted The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania in the US – was demolished in 2009.
The Andre the Giant DVD is released on May 6.
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