Over the past few years, the actual attendance figure for WrestleMania III at The Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, has become something more along the lines of grand lore than the facts touted by WWE.
According to WWE’s record books, the event, which took place on March 29th, 1987, was attended by 93,173 fans, a number which not only set a WWE attendance record at the time, but also set a new world record for indoor stadiums.
Journalist David Bixenspan has penned a new article over at Deadspin, attempting to decipher the actual WrestleMania III attendance figure, as throughout the years the figure reported by WWE has been labeled bloated and incorrect.
Bixenspan cites a conversation Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter had with Zane Bresloff, after which Bresloff faxed Meltzer ticket accounting paperwork which revealed the actual WrestleMania III attendance number to be 78,500.
The article continues to cite back-and-forth discrepancies as the great WrestleMania III debate continued, noting claims made by Bryan Alvarez of ‘Figure Four Weekly’, fan entries on Wikipedia, claims made on social media, and Bruce Prichard’s defense of WWE’s reported figure on his ‘Something To Wrestle With’ podcast. The article also brings into play the reported attendance for the Pope’s visit to the Pontiac Silverdome, shortly after WrestleMania in 1987, which has generally been reported as greater than WrestleMania III.
In the end, Bixenspan concludes that the reported WrestleMania attendance figure was likely exaggerated by around 5,000 people, and you can read the entire, detailed investigation at this link.