Wrestler of the Day – August 11: Hulk Hogan

Today is Hulk Hogan.

Obviously no timeline here.

We’ll start with the biggest money match ever at the time. From Wrestlemania V.

WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage

This is huge and Savage is on fire here. As I said Liz is in a neutral corner despite never being Hogan’s manager as a singles guy ever. Savage comes out first for no apparent reason. Savage immediately heads to the floor to stall as you would expect him to do. The fans HATE him at this point after loving him like crazy a year earlier. Hogan finally shoves Savage down and it’s time to stall some more.

Back up and Hogan shoulders him down again for the third trip to the floor for Savage. As Jesse and Gorilla get in an argument over the value of managers, Savage grabs a headlock. Hulk shoves him off and Randy heads outside, only to hide behind Liz in a truly evil move. Back in again and Hogan actually uses a nice amateur move and hooks a front facelock. That wasn’t bad at all. Savage powers out of it (surprising as well) and pokes Hogan in the eye to take over.

A top rope ax handle gets one on Hogan and it’s off to an armbar. In something you don’t often see, Hogan is pulled down to the mat by his hair. It feels weird even typing that. Hulk uses a handful of trunks to launch Randy out to the floor and Jesse freaks out. Back in and a clothesline puts Randy down, followed by a series of elbow drops. Hulk is bleeding above the eye.

Randy gets in a shot to the face and puts on a fast sleeper which is transitioned into a chinlock. Hulk comes back with an atomic drop but an elbow drop misses. A shot into the buckle sets up a rollup with trunks for two on Hulk. Savage stomps on his fingers which ticks Hogan off. Hogan slams Savage to the floor where the champion doesn’t want Liz’s help. Hulk follows him out and rams Randy’s face into the barricade.

Savage escapes being posted and sends Hogan in by mistake. After sending Hulk back in, Randy yells at Liz a bit more and shoves her up the aisle. The referee ejects Liz, making the only interesting factor a nonfactor. Back to the floor and Savage drops the ax handle off the top to send Hogan throat first into the barricade. Savage goes after the throat with various evil measures but the elbow only gets two. Hulk Up, big boot, leg drop, new champion.

Rating: B-. It’s Hogan vs. Savage so these two are always going to have at least a watchable match, but at the end of the day this was pretty much designed to be a Hogan win and that’s what it wound up being. The smart move would be to have Savage keep the title by DQ or something, causing Hulk to chase the title until Summerslam for the title change. But instead we go with the easy (and not horrible) ending. It’s a good match here but not great.

From January 23, 1984 in MSG, the night that it all began.

WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Iron Sheik

This is it. This is the match that changes EVERYTHING. Sheik beat Backlund like a month earlier and Backlund is too injured to get his rematch here, so Hulk gets the shot instead. The place goes NUTS for Hogan’s entrance for the first of many occasions. This is Hogan’s return to the Garden after about three years. After being bored all night, the place is going nuts just from hearing “From Venice Beach, California.”

The bell rings and Hogan CHARGES at him in the corner before Sheik can even get his robe off. A clothesline with the robe takes down the champion and it’s all Hulk so far. Another big clothesline puts Sheik down before Hulk easily picks him up for a choke. Hulk, ever the hero, spits on Sheik to a huge ovation. Big boot gets two so Hulk hits a pair of elbows for two. Hulk FINALLY screws up by missing a running elbow in the corner and Sheik takes over.

The champion stomps away with those curled boots of his. I guess it’s a Middle East thing. A backbreaker puts Hogan down but he easily powers out at one. Off to a Boston Crab but Hulk powers out after about ten seconds. Sheik can’t get anything going here long term. A gutwrench suplex gets two for Sheik and (with an infamous erection for some reason) puts on the camel clutch that won the title. Hulk casually wags his fingers no and he powers out of the hold in less than thirty seconds. Hogan picks Sheik up, rams him into the buckle, drops the big leg, and as Gorilla puts it, Hulkamania is here.

Rating: A+. This was exactly what it was supposed to be as Hogan squashed Sheik here, basically selling nothing and escaping Sheik’s best move before beating him in less than six minutes. Look at this card: even the opener was a minute longer than this match. Hogan DOMINATED the champion here and left no doubt about who was better. After this, everything became about flash than substance, and for people who complain about it, let it go already. The change is over and it’s never going back. Absolutely perfect here.

Here’s Hogan’s WCW debut, from Bash at the Beach 1994.

WCW World Title: Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan

Again, they’re actually doing this in his first match with the company. Mr. T. is with Hogan for absolutely no apparent reason. Hogan’s arms have shrunk insanely now to the point that he looks like he MIGHT weigh 260. Hogan drops Flair then Flair shoves him back to the corner but that doesn’t last because Hogan has to dominate all. I really can’t believe this is his first match in the company.

The stupidity of that astounds me to this day. The fans are way into this of course, which is impressive as they didn’t really build to it at all. Naturally for about five minutes or so, the world champion who I believe held it for over a year three times or so is destroyed. Ah thank goodness: we’re doing the Flair formula and not the Hogan one, although I have a bad feeling it’s going to be a hybrid of the two instead.

Flair works on the bad knee and takes control while trying in vain for the submission that will never come. The announcers are of course biased as all goodness which can get a bit annoying but it’s something you get used to over the years. Sherri and Hart interfere a bunch and nothing comes of it. Throughout the match Hogan’s length of time between matches grows from about 14 months to three years.

Don’t you just love the over the top aspects of WCW’s commentary? Sherri pulls the referee out because we need more time and to go over the top here to make sure that this has the “big match feel” to it or something like that. Referee number two comes out to check on the figure four which Flair of course puts on the wrong leg. Naturally that’s not the ending either. Hogan Hulks Up and I wonder why Flair doesn’t run here. I’ve never gotten that.

When Hogan is up and going insane, why not just hit the floor and wait about three minutes? Heenan says this is the greatest match either of them have ever had. It’s not even the best match they’ve both been in at the same time that Heenan has called. Sherri misses a splash and Hogan puts him in the figure four. Flair is all like boy please and just moves Hogan’s leg off of his which I don’t think was supposed to be on camera.

Mr. T. grabs Sherri to validate his paycheck. An illegal object nails Hogan and he of course no sells it. Hulk Up time and the usual finishes. Naturally Hogan, the new world champion wouldn’t wrestle at the next PPV. Why should he do that? We have the NASTY BOYS to main event the show. Heenan’s recapping of it is great as he breaks into tears. He came to WCW to get away from Hogan and he’s world champion all over again. Bobby, that’s two ham sandwiches I owe you now.

Rating: B-. This was fine. Flair and Hogan usually put on good matches, but did they need to do this in the first match? Imagine the money they would make from having Flair cheat to win here and hold the title until maybe STARRCADE, you know, the BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR. Naturally we can’t do that though because we need to have Beefcake get a title shot there while Flair doesn’t even wrestle.

The match that brought wrestling to the main stage. From March 31, 1985.

Hulk Hogan/Mr. T. vs. Roddy Piper/Paul Orndorff

Piper comes out with the full New York Pipe and Drums band while Hogan and T come out to Eye of the Tiger. Advantage Hogan/T. Piper and Orndorff have Bob Orton as their second while Hogan/T have Jimmy Snuka. Advantage Hogan/T. This is looking kind of one sided isn’t it? Oh and Pat Patterson is the inside referee while Ali is the outside referee. The heels all hug and we’re ready to go.

Orndorff and Hogan get things going but Piper tags in before there’s any contact. Therefore T wants to fight Piper and they immediately head to the mat. T and Piper do some amateur stuff and T actually lasts long enough for a standoff. We get some staring until T hooks Piper in an airplane spin. Everything breaks down and Ali gets in to help break it up. Orton and Snuka try to get in as well but Ali glares Orton down.

Things break down again and the heels get rammed together until we get down to Hogan vs. Piper. Hulk rams Piper’s head into the mat over and over until it’s back to T. Hogan offers his knee as something to ram Piper’s head into and it’s back to the champion to send Piper to the outside. Orndorff jumps Hogan from behind and knocks him outside where Roddy blasts him with a chair.

Paul chokes away from the apron until T charges in for the save. Pat Patterson has to pull T off and you know he enjoys this in some way. A double atomic drop puts Hogan down and Orndorff hits a vertical suplex. Roddy comes back in to get in his punches and knee shots followed by an Orndorff top rope elbow to the back of Hulk’s neck for two. Paul goes up again but misses the knee drop and there’s the hot tag to T.

Orndorff and T brawl on the mat for a bit until Mr. gets in trouble via a Piper front facelock. That goes nowhere though as T stands up and makes the tag with no effort to be seen. Hogan pounds away but walks into a belly to back suplex. Orton and Snuka get in the ring for no apparent reason and as the referee calms things down, Orton comes in off the top with the cast but hits Orndorff by mistake to give Hogan the pin.

Rating: B-. Is it great? Not even close, but the point of this match was the crowd reacting to it rather than the match itself. It’s easily the best match of the night and while the only question coming into tonight was who was getting the fall. This was exactly what the fans wanted and that’s what this was supposed to be about. Nice main event here.

Now we’ll go seventeen years later to the dream match of all dream matches (save for Steve Austin but you get the idea).

We recap Hogan vs. Rock, which is the real main event of this show. Hogan talked about how he was a legend but then the people turned on him. Rock came out and said that it was Hogan that changed rather than the people. He said Hogan had talked about main headlining Wrestlemania after Wrestlemania, so how does he feel about headlining one more Wrestlemania against the Rock. Hogan said yes and got a Rock Bottom for his trouble.

Then a week later, Hogan hit Rock in the back of the head with a hammer and put him in an ambulance which he then rammed with a semi-truck. Since this is 2002 and one of the dumbest years ever in wrestling, Rock was back the next week. It’s one of those moments that was really REALLY stupid and not needed at all.

Hollywood Hogan vs. The Rock

Both guys get solid pops as this is an old WWF city, which means Hogan could set fire to a kitten orphanage and still be popular. The pre match chants seem to favor Hulk, but here are some Rock fans to counter them. They stare at each other and there’s the loudest pop for an opening bell I can remember. Hogan shoves him down to start and the fans go NUTS. You can tell Hogan is feeling it here. After a quick headlock Hogan runs him over and poses, sending the crowd further into a frenzy.

A clothesline puts Rock down as the crowd is almost completely one sided. Rock comes back with a jumping clothesline and the fans boo him out of the freaking building. Rock says just bring it and knocks Hogan to the floor with some right hands. Back in and Rock loads up the Rock Bottom but Hogan escapes and elbows out of it. He rakes his boot over Rock’s eyes to another big pop. There’s another big HOGAN chant for good measure.

A belly to back suplex gets two for Hulk and there’s an abdominal stretch for good measure. Hulk even adds in a rollup for two before raking Rock’s back. Rock escapes and comes back with some chops in the corner but walks into a chokeslam of all things from Hulk. He sends Rock out to the floor as this is still almost one sided so far. Rock goes face first into the steps and dropped on the barricade for good measure.

Hogan starts loading up the announce table but Rock fights back with right hands. Rock gets a chair but the referee takes it away, allowing Hogan to clothesline Rock down. Back inside and Rock is sent into the referee. Rock comes back with a lame spinebuster and the Sharpshooter. Hulk makes the rope but there’s no referee. Rock pulls him to the middle of the ring but there’s still no referee.

The fans just lay into Rock now with the Rocky Sucks chants as he checks on the referee. Hogan hits him low though and gets a pretty freaking good Rock Bottom for two. Hogan takes off his weightlifting belt to whip Rock’s back but Rock comes back with a DDT. There’s the Rock Bottom but Hogan HULKS UP. The fans absolutely lose their minds now as Hogan shakes his finger and hits the big boot, but the legdrop only gets two. Another big boot hits but the second legdrop misses. There’s the Rock Bottom again and a third for good mesaure. Rock nips up and hits the People’s Elbow to end it.

Rating: B. This is a hard one to grade but I think it’s a lot like the Hogan vs. Warrior match in the same building: the crowd carries it to a much higher level than it deserves to be at which is just fine. The crowd was completely eating up the nostalgia and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. Hogan would get one of the longest ovations in history the next night in Montreal and those two reactions were enough to put the world title on him for a month soon after this. It wasn’t the best idea in the world, but given those reactions I can understand why they did it. This was a very fun match and should have been the main event.

Post match they stare each other down with Hogan holding his ribs. Hogan extends his hand and Rock gladly shakes it. Hulk lets Rock pose but here are the Outsiders. They yell at Hogan and beat him down, but Rock runs back in for the save. Hall and Nash are dispatched and Rock and Hogan stand tall, apparently having made up after Hogan HIT ROCK WITH A HAMMER AND CRUSHING HIM WITH A SEMITRUCK. Rock has Hogan pose for the fans after the match in another nostalgia moment.

From one of my all time favorite shows, Summerslam 1990.

Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake

This is Hogan’s big return after being gone all summer due to an attack by Earthquake which broke his ribs. They lock up but Hogan can’t shove the big man around. Now Quake shoves him down a few times as Jimmy is losing his mind. Quake shoulders him out to the floor and Hogan takes a breather with Bossman. Back in and Hogan tries pounding away but Quake sends him into the corner to take him back down. Hogan gets a boot up in the corner and nails some clotheslines but Quake won’t go down.

After knocking Bravo and Hart off the apron, Hogan finally drops Earthquake with the big windup punch. All four guys get inside and the heels both take big boots to the face. The referee puts Bossman out though, allowing Bravo and Quake to hit a double slam on Hogan. A big elbow drop keeps Hogan down and a top rope forearm (from the 468lb Earthquake) to the back has Hogan down again. Off to a Boston Crab but Hogan tries to push his way out. That doesn’t work so Hogan looks to his left and realizes he’s about four inches from the rope for the break.

Bravo gets in some cheap shots on the floor but Earthquake misses an elbow drop back inside. Hogan finally gets to his feet (sidenote: Roddy Piper should not be allowed to cheer for Hogan. Ever.) but falls back down on a slam attempt. Off to a bearhug by Earthquake as the match slows down. Hulk punches out of it and tries a cross body like a schnook, earning the powerslam he gets as a result. Earthquake drops a pair of Earthquake splashes (seated sentons) but Hogan gets up at two to shock the crowd.

It’s Hulk Up time and there’s the slam but Dino distracts the referee after the legdrop. Jimmy comes in but gets tossed at Earthquake, sending everyone to the floor. Hart accidentally hits Quake with the Megaphone and Hogan slams the big man onto a table (it’s in Philadelphia after all)….for a countout? For the life of me I have no idea why Hogan didn’t get a pin here. I guess they wanted to save that for house shows, but it’s not like people wouldn’t want to see Hogan do it again live.

Rating: B-. The match itself was nothing of note but this is exactly what the fans wanted to see other than Hogan getting a pin. These two feuded on the house show circuit for the next four months or so, which really is amazing when you consider how basic the angle was that set it up. This falls into the fun category which is fine for a show like this.

Post match Quake chokes Hogan until Bossman blasts him in the back with a STEPLADDER. Quake finally drops him and looks at Bossman so the cop pulls out the nightstick to chase them off. Lots of posing ensues as you can see the house show rematches with any combination of these four guys being made up.

Here’s a title defense from Saturday Night’s Main Event II.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Nikolai Volkoff

I love the smelled of squashed Russians in the morning. After a long national anthem, here’s Hulk. He promises to win and keep the title and defend America. He comes out to Stars and Stripes Forever here in a nice touch. It’s a standard Hogan 80s match vs. a monster as Hogan gets jumped early but then makes his amazing comeback. Hogan knocks him over the top and Volkoff’s back rings the bell.

A ram into the post though has the powers of Russia in the lead and Hogan is in trouble. Jesse isn’t talking much at all here. Volkoff slams him and Hogan makes his comeback and finishes with a spinning legdrop. Yes I said spinning. Hogan spits on the flag and uses it to shine his shoes.

Rating: C. This was a run of the mill Hogan match which is what this was supposed to be. It got Hogan on national TV and let him beat up someone that most people were going to naturally boo. This is the epitome of what SNME was supposed to be about in the old days and it worked very well.

Here’s the highest attended event in WWF history….for about eight months. From the Big Event.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff

This is the hottest feud in the world as Orndorff had turned face to help Hogan with Piper and Orton but Hogan had more or less been a jerk (I don’t know about you but I’m STUNNED over that) to him and wouldn’t answer the phone when he was working out. Heenan then poked Orndorff into believing that Hogan didn’t ever care about him but that Heenan always would.

Orndorff, wanting to be accepted and not used, turned to the dark side and beat up Hogan at a big show to set up this which launched the hottest feud in perhaps ever at this point. This was the only reason that this whole show happened on such a huge stage, much like Hogan vs. Andre. The only difference here is that there wasn’t a Savage vs. Steamboat to balance it out. Also, Mania would have nearly 20,000 more people, or another Madison Square Garden on top of this. That’s just completely ridiculous.

They start off with just a big freaking brawl and the fans are WAY into this. This is more or less all punching and chasing until Heenan makes the stop and the heel takes over. Orndorff was a different kind of heel as instead of this big fat slob, he was small and athletic which was something new for Hogan. Also there were a lot of people that were siding with Orndorff as Hogan had really just been a massive prick to him.

Ladd really likes kissing up to Hogan. He’s getting into Vince territory, but then again Hogan has muscles and Vince is way too obsessed with musclemen. GOOD NIGHT that referee is slow. Paul dominates until Hogan starts to Hulk Up. He uses a jumping knee to the back of Orndorff and the referee is crushed. Hogan imitates Orndorff with the arm in the air for the clothesline which is how Orndorff turned on him.

He goes for Orndorff’s piledriver but Heenan runs in with a wooden stool to blast Hogan in the head. Why he had that is beyond me. For no apparent reason the referee wakes up and taps Orndorff to say that Hogan wins by DQ. Hogan wakes up and kicks his head in for no apparent reason other than being a dick. We get a replay with no commentary for no apparent reason before posing and credits take us out.

Rating: B-. This was all about the atmosphere and not about the match itself. Even still this was fine as both guys were over as free beer in a frat house in their respective roles and this was indeed a huge match. Hogan going over unclean was smart as it gave Orndorff a reason for a rematch which was required so all was fine here. I’m not sure I get why Paul was disqualified but it was Hogan’s world so there we are.

The other match that changed everything.

Sting/Lex Luger/Randy Savage vs. Kevin Nash/Scott Hall/???

In case you don’t remember, the WCW guys were selected by putting the names of the top 6 WCW wrestlers based on win/loss record over the past I think six months or a year in a hat and drawing them out. The others were Hogan, Taskmaster and Giant. Hall and Nash come out alone and don’t have names yet. Tony gives them their names here. Until then they were just the Outsiders.

I’m not one for six man main events but this feels huge. Partially because it is huge. Gene goes into the ring before the WCW guys are here to find out who the third man is or for that matter where he is. The build for the drama here is epic. They’re milking this for everything they can.

The commentators aren’t even trying to stay unbiased which for once is nice. Even Randy Anderson is taller than Gene. Buffer is almost as tall as Scott Hall. Wow I didn’t realize that. The bell rings and we actually start with a handicap match.

The paranoia of the announcers actually upgrade this, marking the final time the WCW commentators don’t make me want a stiff drink in the history of WCW. Luger and Hall start. Now we get to the interesting part about a minute in. It turns into a big brawl and Nash and Luger are in the corner. Sting launches a Stinger Splash and nails Nash.

He also nails Luger, whose head and neck are rammed into the turnbuckle/bar attaching the turnbuckle to the ring. He’s OUT. They bring out a stretcher to carry him to the back and we have a 2-2 match with the third man on the way out. Now this does a few things. First of all, it makes the Outsiders look like they have a chance. Being realistic, there was no three man combination in the world that could have beaten Sting, Luger and Savage at this point and looked dominant.

That’s a WCW All-Star team to put it mildly and it would have been a waste of time to try. By making it two against what would become three, it makes WCW, the faces, at a disadvantage as they should be (are you listening TNA?). Also, this throws out a tiny piece of meat to the smarks as Luger and Sting had been the top candidates to be the third man.

It opens a door for Luger coming back and never being hurt and it opens a door for Sting to have done that on purpose. Either way the match pretty much stops at this point while we wheel Luger out. Tony says the Outsiders planned that somehow. That makes no sense but whatever. Crowd is RABID here.

Savage comes in but when Nash goes for a big elbow he lands on Savage’s head so Sting has to come in. Nash beats the heck out of Sting as does Hall so Savage is going to get the hot tag. There’s no real penalty or reward if the Outsiders win. They’re doing something brilliant here as they’re pacing things out to the point where we forget about the third man.

That’s very smart booking and I’m in awe of how this match is going. Tony says the Outsiders should get hurt. Wow. I’m not sure if that’s awesome or not. Savage FINALLY gets the hot tag and you actually can barely understand the announcers over the crowd. Nash gets a low blow on him though…and here comes Hulk Hogan. Heenan asks which side is he on.

The Outsiders clear the ring….and Hogan turns heel, dropping a leg on Savage and then another one. To say the crowd is pissed off is an understatement. This is legitimately a shock as NO ONE, not Meltzer, not Keith, not Reynolds, no one called this and if they did they were wrong at the time because from every report I can find, this decision was made the day of or the day before the show as Sting was scheduled to be the third man until Hogan agreed to do it.

This was a legitimate shocker and it lived up to every bit of the hype. Hogan turning was the one thing that made this angle work as I’ll get into later on. This was a great moment and I was about to cry when it happened. The fans flood the ring with garbage as Gene gets in. Hogan cements his heel status by saying the fans need to shut up if they want to hear what he has to say. That line alone makes this promo.

He says the name and the rest is history. Hogan claims the success for making WWF. I’m shocked too. Hogan says he’s bored with WCW and is joining up with the Outsiders and calls them the new blood of WCW. This is the one problem I had with both this turn and Austin joining the Alliance in 2001. Both guys said they were bored with the companies they had been in and wanted better competition.

If you’re going to be fighting the company you used to work for, won’t you be fighting the same competition you were fighting before? Hogan’s title win was over Giant who he had fought at I think three PPVs and his first defense was against Flair and you know that history. That just never made sense to me.

He throws in the for some reason semi-famous line about Bischoff selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis which is actually true. Hogan runs down the fans and does his trademark line. Tony says Hogan can go away twice and we’re done.

Rating: A+. This was about launching the NWO. It worked.

Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan happened on Raw, March 11, 2002.

New World Order vs. Steve Austin/The Rock

This is the first time the NWO has ever competed together in the WWF. Rock and Hall start things off but a Hogan distraction lets Hall take over. This is a handicap match if that didn’t come through. Rock comes back and Hogan bails from the apron in fear. A clothesline gets two for Hall and it’s off to Nash. Rock pounds away but a sidewalk slam gets two for Nash. Snake Eyes puts Rock down and it’s off to Hogan.

Hogan pounds on Rock a bit and suplexes him down before Hall and Nash work Rock over a bit. There’s the hot tag to Austin who cleans house. Nash somehow botches a Thesz Press from Austin so Austin hits a spinebuster on Hall instead. Nash can’t even hit Austin in the head right so Austin clotheslines the Outsiders down. A big boot, the only move even Nash can’t screw up, takes Austin down and it’s back to Hall.

The fallaway slam gets two for Scott and it’s back to Nash. Kevin pounds on Austin in the corner and it’s back to Hall. A clothesline puts Austin down for two and now for the only time that I can EVER remember, it’s Hogan vs. Austin. Hogan pounds away with some punches and a chokeslam before tagging out to Hall. It only lasts 25 seconds, but that actually felt special. Hall chokeslams Austin down but the Razor’s Edge is broken up by a backdrop.

Austin’s comeback is stopped AGAIN by a clothesline but he takes Hall right back down. Hot tag brings in Rock vs. Nash and Rock cleans house….for about 20 seconds before Nash takes him down again. This feels like WCW all over again. Off to Hogan to clean up the Rock scraps, but Rock nips up to terrify Hulk. Nash of course stops the momentum and everything breaks down. In a REALLY anti-climactic ending, Hogan punches Rock, hits the boot and legdrop and gets the pin.

Rating: D+. Huge historical moment aside, this was a really odd match. It was basically a squash with the NWO never really breaking a sweat against two of the biggest stars of all time. Nash looked like he had never been in a ring before and the whole thing looked awful. Then again, this had Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan in a legal match so it gets an automatic pass.

Want to see Hogan put someone over? From Nitro on July 6, 1998.

WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. Goldberg

Goldberg’s pop is still big but it’s a slight step behind what it was earlier tonight. They loudly pop for the bell though and Heenan is already losing his mind for the match. Goldberg grabs a headlock to start and Hogan screams NO NO NO. A shoulder puts the champion down and the fans are making up for the slightly quieter pop on the entrance. Goldberg takes him down on a test of strength and the place is coming unglued.

Hogan comes back with some solid right hands and the weightlifting belt to the back but Goldberg easily takes it out of Hogan’s hands. He throws it to the mat and says bring it. A low blow slows Goldberg down and a clothesline drops him again. Hogan chokes a lot but misses some elbows, allowing Goldberg to hit a clothesline, knocking Hollywood outside. With the weightlifting belt back on, Hogan gets back in and shoves Goldberg outside one more time. Some chairs to the back have Goldberg in trouble and we hit the ring again.

A slam sets up a pair of legdrops (literally not mentioned at all by the announcers) as Curt Hennig comes to the ring. Tenay finally mentions the legdrops as Hogan hits what sounds like a third (camera was on Hennig) for two. Malone comes out and Diamond Cuts Hennig on the floor, allowing Goldberg to spear Hogan down. The fans literally rise up as Goldberg Jackhammers Hogan for the pin and the title. Heenan goes NUTS in the most passionate speech you’ll hear him give this side of a Flair promo.

Rating: B. This is a hard one to grade because the match wasn’t anything special from a wrestling perspective. What it was though was exactly what it should have been. Goldberg took a beating but came back and destroyed Hogan for the 100% clean pin. Hogan put him over completely clean here and it felt like a new star was made. That’s exactly what was supposed to happen here and the fans got what they were hoping for with no shenanigans. This is what Sting vs. Hogan should have been at Starrcade.

Let’s jump back to 1980 for the original version of a match. From Showdown at Shea.

Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

Yeah this works. Hogan has the traditional colors on but is a heel here. Cole keeps talking about Mania 3 and their FIRST MATCH EVER! This show and match was a big blow to Hogan’s ego that he lies about to this day. He claims that he and Andre drew this house but for the whole summer this and Larry/Bruno were the top feuds. One time was Hogan/Andre the top listed match and it got about 40% of a house full. 3 months later they came back and did the traditional listings resulting in a full house. Real World: 1, Hogan: 0.

It’s so weird seeing the yellow and red as heel colors. Foley fought Andre in Japan. I never knew that. Those ropes are LOOSE. Black elbow pads for Hogan which is a weird look. Hogan with a headlock to start as it’s a long feeling out process. Far different match than you would get at Mania. Foley talks about being at a Harley Race BBQ where Race has a picture of him slamming Andre. Take that Hulk!

We get some cool Andre stories which are just amazing every time. Hogan has a hairy back. Now that’s a weird one to write out. Bearhug by Hogan and this is a very slow match. Andre blocks a slam with a hammerlock. Down goes the referee as Hogan gets slammed. Hogan slams Andre and it’s just a normal move other than Cole and Foley babbling about it. Funny though. Andre gets a splash and a tainted count to win it from another referee. He got out but the referee counted it anyway.

Rating: D. Boring match here but these two are always fun together. This is the unspoken match as everything that Vince didn’t want you to know about at Mania time happened here. This was quick and more or less harmless though. I’m very surprised that this went so fast though, not even getting 8 minutes. Andre got busted open after the match.

Here’s a rarity: Hogan’s return from the AWA on January 1, 1980 in St. Louis.

Bill Dixon vs. Hulk Hogan

Oh my goodness! Now THIS is an historic moment. This right here is Hulk Hogan’s first match back in the WWF after being gone for about four years and becoming a superstar in Rocky III. He comes out to Eye of the Tiger and is way over. Hulk would jump into the world title scene in about two weeks, winning the title in about three weeks and holding if for four years.

Actually, this is being reviewed on the anniversary of his title win so that’s appropriate. Hogan takes him to the mat with a Fujiwara Armbar ala Del Rio. Dixon hammers away but Hulk comes back with a big boot, slam and the big leg (I’m assuming making its WWF debut) ends this. Total squash but the crowd reaction tells you everything you need to know here. This is history people.

This match should have headlined some big show but it only happened on some house shows and a later SNME. Here it is at MSG on December 17, 1979.

Hulk Hogan vs. Ted DiBiase

Yeah it’s the same guys you think it is. Hogan is NOTHING yet as he’s just a big muscle head with limited talent in the ring. Well I guess some things never change. He would become Thunder Lips in Rocky 3 a few years later and change his life forever. He even has Freddie Blassie as his manager and a big gold robe here. DiBiase is this young kid that used to have a midcard title but it was stolen by those pesky Brazilians and put into some tournament.

DiBiase is billed from Omaha, Nebraska of all places. This is Hogan’s MSG debut. Hokey smoke this is actually famous then. The inside of the robe is all rainbow colored. Vince is clearly about to orgasm on the spot at the sight of Hogan in tights. Hogan stalls but gets caught in a full nelson. It’s so weird seeing him at 26 and this green. DiBiase is incredibly popular and fast here. I feel like I’m in some parallel universe seeing DiBiase vs. Hogan with DiBiase as an over face.

Now I’ve never been one to make jokes, but Hogan is called the Fabulous One and has a coat with rainbow colors. I doubt this was intentional but it’s funny by mistake. Ted gets knocked to the floor and Hogan keeps hitting him which is kind of pointless. Hogan hits a legdrop which 8 years later would get you a 30 count but here it’s just a regular move and only gets two.

Hulk reminds me of a muscular Dolph Ziggler. This ends any connections between the two for the rest of time. Hogan puts on a chinlock and the bell rings which confuses everyone so I’m guessing it was accidental. Yeah it must be since the match just keeps going. DiBiase makes a standard comeback but the crowd loves it. A charge misses though and DiBiase passes out in a bearhug. Oddly enough the only two matches that I can think of that have ended like that have both involved Hogan.

Rating: C. Total formula stuff before the formula was written but that’s fine. Both guys were pretty new at this point so it’s not like you could ask for much of them otherwise. How in the world did this match never get a huge build and a huge blowoff 8 years later? Well depending on who you listen to that would be the Honky Tonk Man, but look up some of my other stuff for that since I’m tired of telling that story.

Here’s one of Hogan’s biggest matches in the AWA at a show called Super Sunday.

AWA World Title: Nick Bockwinkel vs. Hulk Hogan

Hogan is fresh off Rocky III and comes out to Eye of the Tiger. The arena, in a word, ERUPTS. I mean the place comes alive like I haven’t seen an AWA crowd ever do. Hogan is all fired up and immediately charges at Bockwinkel and points at the belt. He’s wearing a shirt that says WE WANT THE BELT and the fans are going nuts when he points at it. Find a copy of this as it’s one of the best Hogan entrances I’ve ever seen.

They introduce every major AWA executive for some reason and no one cares. In something I’ve never seen before, they do the big match intros and play Hulk’s music (Eye of the Tiger) again. The fans are still chanting Hogan and we’re underway. This is another match in a long running series of DQ’s and screwjobs and all that jazz. Bockwinkel stalls a lot like he’s an old car. Hogan pulls him into a shoulder block and the crowd pops again. We’ve been stalling for almost two minutes now.

Hulk shoves him out of a lockup but gets caught in a headlock. That gets him nowhere and Hulk runs him over again and Nick hides in the corner. A third shoulder block puts Bockwinkel on the floor and we’re at five minutes already. Bockwinkel finally gets in some offense by firing off some knees to the stomach. That gets him nowhere as Hogan fires off even harder knees and more of them as well.

Bockwinkel gets slammed down and rammed into the corner. We’re almost seven minutes in and this is total dominance so far. Nick finally gets in a shot to the ribs and a right hand to take over. Hogan will have none of that and easily kicks him out of the ring. Nick runs back in and throws on a front facelock. After maybe a minute of the champion in control, Hulk backdrops him down and we’re back to even.

Nick channels his inner JYD (was he a big name yet? I don’t think so) and rams some headbutts into Hogan’s ribs from all fours. Bockwinkel charges into a boot in the corner and Hogan takes over again. There’s the windup punch for two. Big clothesline sets up an elbow drop for two. The fans are really coming alive for these nearfalls. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Bockwinkel fires off some punches to slow Hulk down.

The punches stop working because Hogan Hulks Up and fires back at Bockwinkel who can’t stay on his feet. Powerslam gets a close two. The legdrop misses and both guys are down. Nick hammers on Hulk in the corner but Hogan kicks him back down. A pair of elbows gets a very slow two. Hogan misses a corner charge and gets caught in the sleeper, which is one of Bockwinkel’s finishers.

Hogan finally flips Nick down but the referee, who looks to be about 75, goes down too. The fans know what’s coming. Bockwinkel gets put in the sleeper again but Hulk rams him into the corner, crushing the referee again. A third sleeper goes on but Hulk dumps him over the top to the floor. Back in Hogan slams him down and drops the leg for the pin and the title.

Before the rating, a second referee comes out, says Hogan threw him over the top, and it’s a DQ win for Bockwinkel, causing trash to be thrown into the ring like the night the NWO formed. Hogan beats up Heenan and Bockwinkel post match to a huge roar from the crowd. Hogan says this is the people’s belt and that he’s the real champion.

Rating: B. The match was good as we had Hogan taking everything Bockwinkel had and continuing to come back. He broke the sleeper three times through raw power and had the people eating out of the palm of his hand for almost twenty minutes. It was the perfect kind of match to FINALLY change the title.

But that’s not what they did. What you have to remember is that this had been going on for a LONG time. I know of at least one other match where they did this, and I’d bet on this being the finish for a ton of house show matches between these two. This show would be the equivalent of a PPV for the AWA, but it was the same finish. That right there is one of the big factors that led to the downfall of the company (Note that I DID NOT say it was the final blow, because it wasn’t. The company was around for about 8 more years).

The problem was that Gagne didn’t want to change and wanted it to be about the old school style. Depending on what version of the story Hogan is telling, Verne wanted to give Hulk the belt (which I’ll believe) but he would have had to either A, give up his NJPW commitments which were very lucrative for him, B, marry a Gagne, or C, take lower than 50% of his merchandise sale demands. Let’s look at each of these separately.

If it’s the NJPW stuff, I can understand that. Hogan made a deal to be in Japan and he wanted to hold up to it. That’s fine. As for marrying a Gagne, that’s something I’ve NEVER agreed with. There’s this mentality at times of keeping it in the family, but in a case like this it makes no sense. Sign him to an exclusive deal or whatever, but let the marriage stuff go.

Finally, we get to what allegedly made Hogan leave: his merchandise stuff. Hogan allegedly demanded 50% of his merchandise sales to stay and Verne said no, so Hulk went back to Vince. In short, if this is true, Verne Gagne is an idiot. Yes, that’s a huge number, but LISTEN TO THE FREAKING PEOPLE. The place EXPLODED when Hogan came out and that kind of reaction wasn’t touched for the rest of the night. The people wanted to see something new (Bockwinkel and Gagne traded the title for two days shy of FOURTEEN YEARS) and that was Hogan.

The common expression you hear is that the money is in the chase. The problem here is that the chase had been done for the better part of a year at this point and there was no reason to keep doing it. The fans stopped caring and therefore buying tickets because they stopped believing the title was going to change. If you don’t believe the money is in Hogan as the champion, I’d point you to the WWF from January 23, 1984 to February 5, 1988.

At the end of the day, it was a bad business decision by Gagne. The stuff he had done did indeed work in the past and had gotten him this far. The problem was that Hogan was unlike anything he had ever had to work with before. Any money they lost in the merchandise would have easily been made up by additional revenue from house shows or the additional merchandise they sold because of Hogan. The company was certainly not dead after Hogan left but it was nowhere near what it could have been and it became a shell of itself in the years to come.

Thankfully this did happen on PPV once. From The Wrestling Classic.

WWF Title: Roddy Piper vs. Hulk Hogan

Hogan, in white tights, is jumped by Piper during the music. This is more or less a token title defense here as it’s pretty much fallout (8 months later) from Mania. It’s of course a brawl from the start as nothing else would work for these two I guess. This reminds me of a UK game as it’s blue and white. That automatically makes this awesome. Hogan is dominating early so all is right with the world.

The referee stops a punch though, allowing Piper to punch Hogan. God bless sensible officiating. In something you don’t see often from Hogan, he uses a bearhug. His weight and size was rarely talked about as he was always against monsters, but he was bigger than about 90% of wrestlers ever. That’s saying a lot.  This is about as standard as you can get as I feel like I’m watching a house show.

The sleeper is the submission hold of choice here and there’s the arm popping up on the third try. In a cool spot, Hogan runs at the ropes and dives over to break the hold. Yes you read that right, Hogan jumped. I’ll give you a minute to recover from that. Uh oh we have a ref bump. Piper drills him with a chair and of course being hit by a professional athlete with a large and heavy object made of steel isn’t enough to hurt Hogan at all.

Hogan gets Piper in a sleeper (yes you read that right) but Orton runs in for the DQ in another cheap finish. Orndorff makes the save. Gorilla says that Orton was effective. How? He caused his man to get a DQ and therefore it’s the same result as him getting pinned, but then again what do I know?

Rating: C-. This was generic, but then again it wasn’t bad at all. These two had a great chemistry together as there’s such a perfect natural rivalry that you can’t plan or script here. I always wanted for Piper to win the title, even for a month or two. Can you imagine the money that the rematches would draw? Dang that would have been FAR better as the main event of Mania 2. Anyway, this wasn’t bad or great, but it was more bad than good because of the ending.

Time for a cage match! From Saturday Night’s Main Event XXI.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man

This is in a cage remember. Slick says that the surprise is Zeus. He stands on the steps and slams the cage door, blocking Hogan’s entrance. Dang it I was hoping I was done with this guy. Ok here’s the concept of Zeus. Hogan made a movie called No Holds Barred.

The main villain in that movie was named Tom Lister, playing the character of Zeus, a monster fighter that was a crazed wrestler. Hogan played a character that more or less was himself named Rip. At the end of the movie, Rip beats Zeus as you would expect him to. So what this would be is Zeus the character coming after the actor that played the character Rip.

In other words, a character played by an actor is coming after a character played by a character played by Terry Bollea. Now here’s the big problem: LISTER CANNOT WRESTLE. Vince of course contemplated putting him vs. Hogan in SkyDome at Mania 6 for the title. Yeah around this time WWF was in REAL financial trouble until Mania saved the freaking company. Anyway, this is Zeus’ debut.

Remember, this is a movie character going after an actor that played a character that beat his character up. Yeah it was idiotic but oddly enough few got the problem, mainly because most kids were so freaked out by Zeus, including me, that they didn’t get how stupid this was. Oh and remember Hogan hasn’t even come to the arena yet.

We get a clip of No Holds Barred, showing Zeus beating up a street fighter. That movie needs to be on DVD. It just does. Hogan comes out and can’t get in. Zeus beats Hogan down as you would expect. Remember, this would be like Christian Bale claiming to be Batman beating up Liam Neeson. Not Ra’s-as-Ghul, but Liam Neeson. Boss Man dominates early but here comes the champion as you would expect.

See here, the fans are cheering and money was coming in. BIG difference to today. He hits what would be called a spinebuster on Hogan but doesn’t have a name other than “look at that maneuver!” Boss Man gets over the top of the cage but since Boss Man can’t climb down with any kind of speed, Hogan gets there in time. We then get the mega spot of the match, which really isn’t much by today’s standards.

With Boss Man on the top of the cage and Hogan on the top rope, Hogan suplexes Boss Man to the mat. I think it’s because of the size and era that this is considered such a great bump. They’re up about 45 seconds later and everything is fine. Boss Man has handcuffs which don’t work of course. Ah never mind it’s just a chain. Both guys get rammed into the cage and they’re both down.

This time it’s just for a few seconds though. Boss Man is bleeding a bit. The usual stuff ends it as Hogan goes over the top to get to the floor. For those of you that don’t remember, Slick is more or less Pope minus wrestling. I forgot to mention that Slick runs in and there’s a mix up, causing Boss Man to get cuffed to the rope. Hogan beats Slick up afterwards.

Rating: B-. It’s a Hogan cage match. That’s all there is to it. The bump is nice, but other than that there just isn’t much here. Hogan vs. a monster was where he was at his best and this came off just fine. It’s no classic or anything, but for a TV match this was quite good.

Here’s a WCW match that continues to blow my mind every time I see it. From Uncensored 1996, and my favorite match review ever. The review of this one match is longer than the reviews for some full episodes of Smackdown and Impact but it’s worth it.

We recap the feud with Hogan and Savage against the Alliance. More or less what happened was simple: the Alliance challenged Hogan to a 4-1 cage match, but WCW wised up and realized Hogan carrying a match like that could expose him too much, so they threw Savage in there too. Now, how did the Alliance put out this challenge? Was it by beating down Hogan?

Was it by destroying something he held dear and valuable? Was it by making threats to his family and home? Nope to all three. They sent him a telegram. Let me repeat that. The feud and match were set by a group sending Hogan a telegram. That’s so freaking stupid I can’t even make fun of it. I truly can’t. They sent him a telegram. I can’t get over that. Something else I notice: there hasn’t been a single mention of Randy Savage all show.

It’s been nothing but Hogan. The team is known as the Alliance to End Hulkamania. In the build up from the announcers there’s no mention of Savage. What in the world is wrong with these people? Why am I trying to figure that out?

Hogan/Randy Savage vs. Alliance to End Hulkamania

The Alliance is Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Meng, Barbarian, Lex Luger, Taskmaster (Kevin Sullivan), Z-Gangsta (Zeus from the late 80s) and Ultimate Solution (big fat strong guy that never did anything other of note in wrestling. He did play Bane in Batman and Robin though in case anyone is interested.) Now you might be wondering how this is going to work. Well until about 3 minutes before the bell rings, so was everyone else.

Literally, they didn’t know what they were going to do until the day of the show. That’s your brilliant wrestling company at work. The idea would be this. You have a ring with three cages on top of it. In other words, there’s a ring with a cage over it that’s very tall and has a top of in. The top of that cage is the floor of a second cage. That cage has six sides, all made of cage. There’s ANOTHER of those on top.

The match starts up at the top for no apparent reason. The idea is that it’s more or less a gauntlet match. There’s two guys on top, four in the middle cage and two in the bottom cage and Hogan and Savage have to win in all three cages. Yep, that’s it. In a match that’s supposed to be all about violence and called a Doomsday match, we have a freaking gauntlet with regular pins and submissions. Let’s get to this.

Michael Buffer is in the ring doing introductions for this as I have a feeling that this is going to take a LONG time. He asks if they’re ready. He asks it again. I wonder if they’re going to break it down after the match. The cage I mean. Oh Brian Pillman is supposed to be in this but he’s left for ECW at this time where he would be for all of a day or so and then on to WWF.

Flair comes out sans belt or any acknowledgement that he’s champion so you can see where the priorities are. Oh we also have to wait for them to all climb up the steps to get to their cages too. Barbarian has been banned from wrestling in most countries in the world too. You learn something new every day. Zeus (I refuse to refer to him as Z-Gangsta more than I have to) and Ultimate Solution aren’t here yet. His original name was Final Solution.

I’ll give you two guesses as to how that went. So we’re starting with Anderson and Flair at the top so we’re starting with the Mega Powers vs. Anderson and Flair. Tell me, what’s wrong with that as a main event? I’d like that FAR better. Luger left WWF for this. That’s just sad. They finally just give up and call Hogan a superhero. Naturally the camera follows him up the stairs as my fear of heights is kicking in.

Dusty says the fans have been waiting for days in and around this building. Just go with it. Once they finally reach the top we start immediately and also immediately we see the massive problem: the fans can’t see a thing. They’re about thirty feet from the ground (which of course hits as high as 65 so far according to Brain) and the lighting is awful. Also, this is before the days of the Titantron.

If they had that, this would be ok. No actually it wouldn’t be but it would have been better. The people watching the PPV from home have a hard time seeing this so imagine what it’s like for the fans there. They’re dead quiet too after the opening maybe 10 seconds because reality has set in. Oh Arn is wearing a full black body suit for no apparent reason.

Heenan says what I think might have been hidden jabs at WCW by saying “What a great thing for television!” and “Only here in WCW!” Those are either fed to him or shots at the brilliant minds who came up with this. Actually no. They’re not worthy of sarcastic praise. They’re freaking idiots. I mean seriously, WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??? If you’re going to do a cage match, fine.

If you’re going to do a big cage match, fine. If you’re going to do a gauntlet cage match, that’s fine too. Actually that’s kind of an interesting concept. However, DO IT WHERE THE PEOPLE CAN SEE IT. My goodness how hard of a concept is that? What’s the most important aspect of any show? How about being able to see it? The fans here might be able to make out someone next to one side of the cage but other than that, nothing.

And don’t even bother staying if you sit across the arena and don’t have binoculars because you’re screwed. Sting and Booker won the main event already. I can’t get over how ridiculous this is. Seriously who thought this was a good idea? Oh and there’s a referee up there too even though it’s Uncensored and therefore unsanctioned. There’s also a massive pole in the middle in case Hogan wants to shoot a Brooke Hogan video up there.

They go to a wide shot to just further show how stupid this is. We can hear the wrestlers talking which is usually covered up by the crowd. Maybe they can see as there’s a pop for Hogan ripping the shirt off. Heenan says this is better than the World Series or the Super Bowl. Yes it does Bobby, yes it does. Hey we’ve hit 70 feet in the air! Heenan redeems himself a bit with the line of all a manager can do here is hope they have a client in the morning.

We get a random reference to some woman named Becky in Denver. Ok then. Tony sums up the match perfectly: the fans wanted to know what the Doomsday Cage was so they’re finding out here. Well thanks for that Tony. In other words, we’re going to throw out a cool sounding name and say Hogan is in it against a bunch of guys that we’re only going to vaguely mention and say to find out, pay up.

Once you hook them, you don’t have to do anything. They did the same thing with the Elimination Chamber in 2002, but the difference was that match wasn’t bad. It certainly wasn’t great but I’ve seen far worse matches. Exhibit A is being reviewed at the moment. In the ultra violent match, we get double figure fours.

Heenan’s comedy is all that’s holding the pieces of this in place. Notice I didn’t say together but just in place as they would likely want to run away and join a witness protection program or something. Zeus and Solution didn’t wrestle again after this. They were the smart ones I guess.

Dusty says if you have a chain length fence (who doesn’t?) just go lay on it to see what this is like. Bobby: Then call your neighbor over and slap the figure four on him! Then put the figure eight on your Doberman! Bobby Heenan, I love you very much. You need massive amounts of therapy and medication, but I love you. Flair drops something from one cage to the other which is never explained or mentioned again.

My guess would be the will of Flair’s career since it’s dead at this point. Hogan and Savage throw powder, which is likely the remains of the cocaine they needed to agree to this. They go through a trapdoor to get to the next cage, and Anderson and Flair are eliminated. WOW. Ok so wait. All they had to do was get through a door? They didn’t have to pin someone or get a tap out but just go through a door?

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m done. I’m going to stop trying to make sense of this match and that’s all there is to it. This just doesn’t make sense at all but for some reason they insist that it does. Bobby says Boris Karloff would love this. Not really but ok. Hogan has a chain and beats on Sullivan with it. They’re down about 12 feet now so the crowd is a bit more into it.

It’s the Faces of Fear (Meng and Barbarian) on Savage and Luger and Sullivan on Hogan. This room has a door in the middle of it so it’s like two small cages. Actually there’s a reason for it though which will come up in a minute. After being beaten on by two grown men and a steel chain, Hogan is fine and manages to get the chain away to lock the door (which didn’t have a lock before but whatever) and trap Meng and Barbarian inside.

A shot of the cage from the floor makes this look a lot better as in essence they’re fighting on top of a regular cage. That’s not bad I guess. Anderson and Flair drop to the second cage and are trapped as well. Where’s my wah wah music when I need it? Heenan says it’s a maze with no way in or out. Yep other than the doors they came in through, the doors they leave through or the path that the referee points them through to get to the end.

Speaking of doors they go out of one and fight on the stairs which is kind of scary when you think about it as there’s no wall to save them there. Sullivan is actually over halfway out as Heenan says that he’ll be spam if he hits. I’ll infract him if he does. I don’t want any spam in my reviews. Savage and Luger are still in the cage by the way. According to Brain everyone is on their feet. They have to be to see this I suppose. They’re more or less quiet by the way.

Luger gets loose and we’re out on the floor. Yep, they got out of the cage and while the rules stated earlier in the match said that Hogan and Savage just needed to get down to win, they apparently are going to keep going. Hey, we’re having a Doomsday Cage Match, so let’s fight in the ring! Yep, they’re fighting in the ring. Luger and Savage are fighting by the cage with Hogan and Sullivan in the ring.

The four guys in the upper cage break out and head down the cage. Now this could be cool: Hogan and Savage 6-2 in the arena. Well ok I can go with that as at least its easier to see. It’s more or less the same thing as the previous match but…that’s….why are the other four just leaving? They just walked back to the dressing room. Anderson and Flair are supposed to, but the Faces of Fear are still in this legally, but who cares about that? That would MAKE SENSE!

Hogan is beating on Luger in the ring while Savage is having boards thrown at him. Apparently the Faces of Fear have been eliminated. Oh ok I think I’ve got it now: the rules are as follows. Hogan and Savage had to go to the top of the cage where they had to either pin or get a submission from Flair and Anderson but they were allowed to have an alternate way of winning because Hogan made a large donation to the Save the Wombat Foundation.

Next up they had to get pins or submissions on some combination of the Faces of Fear, Sullivan or Luger, but they were able to lock the Faces of Fear into a cage and therefore receive a Federal credit for preventing an international assault and battery charge since both men are international ambassadors sent by the King of Tonga to study wrestling (that’s actually not made up if you can believe that. That’s legit true).

Now at the beginning the rules stated that they simply had to get to the floor to win, however there was a clause stating that if there was a high percentage (17 or greater) of time spent on discussing the social habits of Bulgarian monks in the 15th century by the four in the second cage during the battle in the first cage, then simply getting to the floor wouldn’t be classified as a win.

In that case a pin in the other ring would work. However, that won’t work either because Lex Luger’s lawyers feel that the population of fire ants in this match were misrepresented so therefore a simple pin in the ring won’t work either, and the final two members of the Alliance to End Hulkamania, which has founded new chapters in Laos, Manhattan and the North Pole, fighting off the evils of Hulk-Chi-Min, Hulk Maritoni and Hulk-a-Claus, must be equally represented in this match, which must end via pinfall in the original ring.

HOWEVER, it will be allowed for former members of the Alliance to reenter the match under the Columbus Act which also founded Ohio in 1776, but also said that wrestlers were unlawfully evicted from the match via an international treaty can be allowed to return. ANYWAY, now that we’re back to the match, let’s continue here but I need to make sure this remains logical. It’s very important to keep that going here.

They’re all at the ring now and we have more bad chair shots. I love how the graphic under the split screen says Doomsday Cage Match despite a significant lack of cage. Here’s Ultimate Solution and Zeus. According to the clause listed above, we head back to the original cage for the showdown.

Yep, it’s Hogan and Savage in a no tag tag-team match against two big strong guys. How do they come up with these things? Sullivan is lurking around as I feel he needs to register. I’m sure there’s something in this match for him too. There must be a tournament somewhere.

As if this wasn’t riveting enough, we hit a bear hug. Hey now, it’s time for the rematch of the match that didn’t happen seven years ago in another company that we’re not going to mention but imply that everyone knows anyway because that’s how we roll. Ultimate Solution (hereafter known as porkchop for no other reason than I have the Doug song in my head) picks up Savage and has him in position for a slam, prompting Dusty to wonder what he’s going to do with him.

Heenan says that he picked Savage up like a 100lb infant. Tony says there’s no winning or losing but only surviving. Yeah I’d agree. Whose career can survive this match? Here’s Arn and Flair again as apparently their plan to eliminate Hulkamania is just to stomp them and punch them and slam them a lot. Yep, that’s the epic plan. Tony is holding out hope despite a few seconds before saying it’s hopeless. I love that top level journalism there Tony!

Keep it up and one day you might be able to get a better job like selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis! They actually argue over how many people are in there against Hogan and Savage. To get off of that we point out that this started with a telegram. Somehow that’s an improvement. Naturally they ask if Hulkamania can survive instead of Hogan and Savage.

It amazes me that he got so little respect over the years. He was nuts, but dang could he wrestle. In one of the best unintentionally funny moments I can ever remember, the powder that Hogan and Savage have spills out and within 5 seconds Brutus is there to help them. That’s just greatness. Also they’re almost face down in it. Could this get any funnier? Now the interesting part is what Brutus does for them.

He brings them weapons to even the odds, instead of actually sticking around to help fight like a friend would. Nope he brought them something to help them fight off the forces of evil. What does he bring? Does he bring brass knuckles? Maybe a club? Perhaps a couple of chairs? Nope. He brings frying pans. Brutus Beefcake brings a pair of frying pans to help save his friends. Where in the world do I start?

Let’s see: how about WHY DID HE HAVE FRYING PANS??? Was he making bacon in the back or something? Does he tend to carry cookware around with him? Did the barber shop fall through? I guess he couldn’t repair the window after Shawn broke it so he became a chef. Somehow, that is the most logical thing I’ve said all night. There’s five minutes left so let’s get through this if we can.

Luger comes back in with a glove that they imply is loaded. He sets to hit Savage but Macho ducks (that sounds like an upgrade to Duck Hunter) and Luger stops, but then starts again to hit Flair and turn face I guess. Hogan and Savage turn to leave but Savage runs back in and pins Flair while everyone else kind of stands around and lets it happen. WOW. So did they forget the whole pin thing too I suppose? Heenan is pissed off and leaves and we’re finally done.

Rating: -F. This is below an F. We’ve gone so low that we’ve went past Z (which stands for Zeus not Z-Gangsta blast it) and we’ve reached negative letters. That’s how insane this was. I mean it made no sense, the rules I laid out might as well have been the real ones because nothing stayed the same as it was in the beginning, you couldn’t see a thing if you were in the audience, the match was exactly the same thing that it had always been with Hogan surviving, and the plan was just to beat them up a lot? Take note fans: never, I mean never, send a telegram in your life. You can see what it can lead to.

The passing of the torch. From Wrestlemania VI.

WWF World Title/Intercontinental Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior

This is title for title. It’s one of those matches where both guys are built up to the point that neither can lose and the fans are completely split on who they want to win. That’s REALLY hard to pull off and I don’t remember a better execution of something like this ever before. The shot of Warrior on the ropes doing his pose as Hogan comes to the ring still sends chills up my back.

They stare each other down and both guys shove the other into the corner. We get the famous test of strength with Warrior taking over to start. Jesse is STUNNED but Hogan fights back up and takes Warrior down to his knees, giving us one of the most popular .gif’s in the history of the internet (implied oral sex if you’re not familiar). Hogan trips Warrior down and drops an elbow for one but Warrior pops up and no sells a slam. Warrior slams Hogan down and clotheslines him to the floor where Hogan might have hurt his knee.

Back in and the brawl is on with Hogan’s knee being fine and not ever mentioned again. Hulk takes over and pounds away at Warrior’s head before getting two off a pair of elbow drops. Off to a front facelock and a small package for two. Hogan hooks a chinlock and pounds away on Ultimate’s head. After a brief break we’re right back to the chinlock followed by a belly to back suplex for two for Hulk.

There’s chinlock #3 and you’re not likely to ever hear the fans freak out as much from someone fighting out of a chinlock as you get here for Warrior. A double clothesline puts both guys down and Hebner counts VERY slowly, which is the right idea here. Warrior grabs the ropes and starts Warrioring Up before hitting some clotheslines. A suplex gets two for Warrior and it’s off to a bearhug on Hulk.

Hogan fights out of the hold with some solid rights to the head but on the breakup, the referee is taken down. Warrior hits a pair of ax handles off the top and starts to get fired up. The shoulder block misses though and Hulk drives him head first into the mat, but there’s no referee. Warrior suplexes Hogan down but there’s still no count. A rollup gets a VERY close two for Hogan and it’s time for the punches.

An elbow sends Warrior out to the floor and Hogan gets posted. Back in and Warrior snaps off some clotheslines followed by the gorilla press into the splash. That gets two and it’s time to Hulk Up. Hogan pounds away and hits the big boot, but the legdrop misses. Warrior hits a fast splash for the surprise pin to win the title and shock the world.

Rating: A. That’s likely high but the crowd here REALLY helps this one. This is a match that just works and there’s almost no other way to put it. I don’t think there’s much of an argument over this not being Hogan’s best match ever and it’s easily Warrior’s first or second best ever depending on your taste about next year’s entry. Either way, this is a great match and one of those matches you have to see at some point as part of being a fan.

Hogan hands Warrior the belt and leaves in the cart, partially stealing the spotlight but it’s not as bad as I remember.

Is there anything else that could close it out? You better know where this is from.

WWF World Title: Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan

Hogan walks to the ring and the ovation is unreal. To put it simply, this is the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling. We get the historic staredown and we’re really supposed to believe that Hogan is nine inches shorter than Andre? It’s like three at most. Hogan punches away to start but goes for a slam a minute into this and falls down, giving Andre a very close two. That right there would fuel the rematch requests for the next year. Hulk’s back is hurt and Andre starts taunting him. A big forearm hits Hogan in the back and Andre slams him twice. Andre pounds away very slowly and hits a few headbutts.

Hulk fights back up with some forearms into the head. A running elbow staggers the Giant and Hogan sends him head first into the buckle ten times, only to charge into a boot to slow things right back down again. We hit the bearhug and Hogan is in trouble. This lasts for a LONG while until Hogan punches his way out of it, possibly hurting his hand in the process. Hulk rams into him a few times but charges into a chop to put Hogan down again. A boot to the ribs knocks Hulk to the floor but Andre headbutts the post. Hogan tries a piledriver of all things but is easily backdropped down.

We head back in for the legendary ending sequence. Hogan ducks a big boot and clotheslines down. It’s Hulk Up time and in the most famous scene in wrestling history, Hulk Hogan slams Andre the Giant to blow the roof off the place. The big legdrop makes Hogan immortal and the title is retained.

Rating: B. Ok here’s the thing: if you think this is about the wrestling itself, you have completely missed the point here. This was about making Hogan look like the biggest star ever and to say it did that is an understatement. On top of that, the match isn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a masterpiece or anything like that, but the match is nowhere near as bad as it’s made out to be. This was exactly what it was supposed to be.

My original conclusion was going to be something like “yeah it’s Hulk Hogan. You know the rest.” Then I started going through this stuff and my mind got blown a bit harder. I thought things like “the highest attended show ever….for like eight months until Hogan did it again.” It’s amazing how big this guy was and still is to this day. There will never be anyone close to doing what he did for wrestling and having the impact that he had. There’s only one and that’s all there was room for.

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  1. Ted says:

    Hogan was never my guy. Nothing against what he accomplished. He was just never the one I wanted to watch.

  2. Heyo says:

    You’ve ever seen his Japan work? I saw a match against Great Muta, and his style is completely different. There’s still a lot of brawling, but he actually used some technical moves out there as well.