Written by: Scrooge McSuck from Da Wrestling Site
– Originally broadcasted on March 29th, 1992, and the title of this special is a direct nod to the fact that Hulk Hogan may or may not be retiring following the PPV. We’ll be seeing some classic Hulk Hogan moments from WrestleMania history, as well as a special interview with Vince McMahon. All matches are taped from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, MS, unless otherwise noted.
– Vince McMahon is our host of the evening, and he’s hanging around a dark studio decorated with large photographs from Hulk Hogan’s (WWF) career, just like you would see in any other traditional tribute show, at least from the 1970’s. Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are calling all the action.
WWF Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan © vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan):
Pulled from WrestleMania III, and probably one of the most captivating main events in the history of the event. We’ve got new commentary dubbed in by Monsoon and Heenan, since I think Jesse Ventura was working for WCW at the time, or maybe that pesky lawsuit about using his voice without compensation. It’s your call. It’s hard to watch and rate this match the same as from the original broadcast, because here it’s more of a back drop to Gorilla and Heenan just talking about Hogan, or whatever else comes to mind. Highlight joke of the match, during one of the rest spots, Heenan asks Gorilla if he can call the WrestleMania Hotline collect, because he left his wallet in another pair of pants. Gorilla responds “you left your wallet in another life!” Match is shown in it’s complete form, but the highlights, of course, are the opening 30-seconds with the staredown and failed slam attempt, and the final 30-seconds when Hogan slams Andre, then drops the leg for the three count at around the 12:00 mark, giving Andre his “first” loss by pinfall in his career. Match, historically, is worth watching every time it comes up, but not because it’s a good wrestling match. It’s easily one of the worst main events in that sense, but at the same time, it has this aura around it where you won’t even notice.
– We recap the program and all the significant happenings between theHulkster and Sid Justice. We start things out, at SummerSlam, when Hogan invited Sid, the special referee for his match, to join him for his traditional post-match posedown. Jump ahead, to the 1992 Royal Rumble. Sid is returning from injury, and does the unthinkable by eliminating Hulk Hogan. This is the WWF Edit Version, and in this one, Sid is boo’ed like he just commited a crime, while in reality, the live crowd actually was pretty much on Sid’s side against Hogan when it happened. Move ahead to the Press Conference to determine the new #1 contender for Ric Flair’s WWF Title, and yes, it’s Hulk Hogan. Sid throws a hissy fit, saying Jack Tunney’s decision was BOGUS! About a week later, on the debut of Saturday Night’s Main Event on FOX, Sid abandoned Hogan in their match against Flair and the Undertaker, finally officially turning heel. Then later once more, Sid destroys the set of the Barber Shop, because Brutus Beefcake tried to get in his face. Then he “breaks” Virgil’s nose following a squash match on SuperStars.
Hercules vs. Sid Jutice (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
Pulled from the Madison Square Garden card held on February 23rd, 1992. Hercules was a total scrub at this point, and I’m surprised he was actually still hanging around. I don’t know why Sid was given Harvey Wippleman as a manager. I don’t think he needed one, especially one of such a lower caliber compared to some of the more classic heel managers. Seriously, the guy went from managing lower card guys like Big Bully Busick and the Warlord, and suddenly is managing the guy co-main eventing WRESTLEMANIA? Sid gets on the house mic’ before the match and basically calls Hercules a loser, and offers him a chance to leave. Hercules refuses and attacks. Sid doesn’t take kindly to this, and powerbombs Hercules for the three count at around the 30-second mark. Hercules totally no-sells it too, popping up like nothing happened as soon as the count was made. Nice to make Sid’s deadly finisher look like total crap you piece of garbage.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper (IC Champion) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri):
Non-Title match, of course. Piper is scheduled to defend his Intercontinental Title against former champion, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels is set to take on El Matador, Tito Santana. It’s always weird to see Piper with a championship, since his most identifiable matches and moments were usually not associated with championships. Shawn was still pretty freshly turned heel at this point, so he’s still working out the kinks of the “Heartbreak Kid” persona. Sherri peaks under the skirt of Piper and laughs, then fondles her man. Okay? Piper taps that ass anyway, because sexually harrassing Sherri seemed to be his favorite pass-time for about a year. Shoving match, and the kilt comes off! Lockup goes into the corner, and they look like two middle school girls struggling to pull each others hair. Shoving match again, and now we get SLAPPING. Michaels with a headlock, and Piper rolls through a cross body for a two count. Piper goes for an atomic drop, but Michaels counters with a victory roll for a two count. Piper counters a dropkick with a slingshot into the post, and that gets a two count. Sherri gets on the apron and Piper plants one on her as we take a commercial break.
We return, with Michaels sending Piper over the top rope with a clothesline. Michaels follows out and rams Piper into the ring steps, then comes off the apron with a double axehandle. Piper recovers and they do a slugfest. Back in the ring, and Michaels hammers away with rights, then slaps on a chinlock. Piper escapes with elbows to the midsection, but gets caught coming off the ropes with a reverse crescent kick. Michaels goes for that weird back suplex finisher, but Piper counters with a punch. They slug it out again until Shawn thumbs the eyes. Heenan actually references WrestleMania 2 and Mr. T. Piper traps Michaels in the corner and punts him in the chest, crotching him across the top rope for his troubles. Piper with a knee lift, but his bulldog is countered, and we get a referee bump. Michaels takes Piper down with a clothesline, and Sherri tosses him her boot, and yes, Michaels KO’s Piper with it. What is this, a WCW Main Event circa 1996? Suddenly, Bret Hart hits the ring and tosses the boot to Piper, who returns the favor, but the referee sees it and disqualifies Piper at 8:11. Lame! Bret and Piper have words for each other after the match, even though Piper willingly accepted Bret’s help there. Piper does most of the shouting, so Bret casually tosses Piper his title belt and walks off. Pretty fun match, with very little dead spots.
– We recap the angle between WWF Champion Ric Flair and the Macho Man, Randy Savage. The match was originally announced with no backstory to it, thanks to the Hulk Hogan/Sid Justice program. Flair began taunting Savage after the match’sannouncement, claiming that Savage’s wife, Elizabeth, “was mine before she was yours!”, then proceeded to show off photographs that might or might not have been true. Either way, it got under the skin of Savage, who was always a paranoid maniac, and you have to give Flair credit for getting to his opponent so well. He found a way to get into the mind of the challenger without really doing anything.
Ric Flair (WWF Champion) (w/ Mr. Perfect) vs. “Jumping” Jim Brunzell:
In another time, this might actually be a pretty good match, but Brunzell was one of those jobbers with name recognition, like Barry Horowitz or the Brooklyn Brawler, which is a real shame because he was still a capable worker at this point of his career. Lockup into the corner, and Brunzell gives a clean break, while Flair gives a “Woo!”. Lockup #2, and Flair grabs a side headlock. Irish whip, and Flair with a shoulder block. Brunzell comes back with a hip toss, followed by a scoop slam and a side headlock takeover. Flair takes it to the corner and DOESN’T take a cheap shot. Flair thumbs the eyes and takes Brunzell to the corner for some punishment. Flair with a back suplex, followed by a knee drop for a two count. Flair with an inverted atomic drop, then chops in the corner. Brunzell comes back with rights. Whip to the corner, and Brunzell with a back drop. Irish whip, and Brunzell connects with his signature dropkick for a two count. Irish whip is reversed, and Brunzell with a sleeper, but Flair counters with an atomic drop to the knee, and the figure four ends things at 3:59. Not a bad squash match at all. I wouldn’t have minded seeing this one get a little more time, but you take what you get.
– Courtesy of some other show, Vince McMahon is standing by for a special interview with the lovely Mrs. Macho. Yes, for whatever reason, the WWF constantly refered to the couple of Savage and Elizabeth as Mr. and Mrs. Macho. Whatever. Possibly the longest interview in Elizabeth’s career, as she gets more than two lines in dialogue to work with. The short version is that Ric Flair has tarnished her reputation and made things unpleasant for her and Randy, and that at WrestleMania VIII, Randy Savage will defend her honor and give Flair what he deserves. Uh-huh.
WWF Championship and Intercontinental Championship Match:
Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion) vs The Ultimate Warrior (IC Champion):
Pulled from WrestleMania VI, with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan with new commentary dubbed over once again. Again, watching this match with an audio track other than the original with Monsoon and Ventura makes it hard to really sit through it again, as the entire match is just a back-drop to Heenan and Monsoon discussing various subjects for WrestleMania VIII and the 900 Hotline. For my original thoughts on the match itself though, it’s one of those classic main events where it’s not exactly the greatest wrestling match, but it has an energy behind it that makes it a very entertaining match that can be rewatched over and over again. There’s a few spots here and there that kind of make you shake your head, like Hogan selling a knee injury, then completely ignoring it, but these issues are very minor and not worth too much time into bickering over. Warrior goes over clean, a task that, at the time, put Warrior in a very exclusive club. Hogan’s “passing of the torch” moment really didn’t do much for Warrior, as the production crew focused more on the exiting Hulk Hogan rather than the arrival of the leader of the new generation of superstars. As much as people want to blame Hogan for Warrior’s downfall, it all started the second the title changed hands, in the production truck when someone gave the orders “focus on Hogan leaving the ring”.
– It’s time to recap another pretty big match-up for WrestleMania, between the freshly turned face Undertaker and his former partner in crime, Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Things changed though, at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Roberts was preparing to ambush Savage and Elizabeth, but the Undertaker had a change of heart, or whatever organ functioning on him, and thus Insta-Feud occurs! Things were solidified on the Funeral Parlor, when Undertaker stood up to Roberts, only to have Roberts slam his hand in a casket, then DDT Paul Bearer just for being Paul Bearer. Undertaker proceeded to no-sell a handful of chair shots, too.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Jim Powers:
More squash match fun! I’d like to mention how much I loved Jake Roberts “trust me” line from this heel run, and it’s something I’ve totally ripped off and used in my daily routine. Thankfully, it’s something that no one would ever associate with wrestling, thus making it all right to use without being embarassed. Jake is without his snake at this point, thanks to a ruling from President Jack Tunney. Lockup, and Roberts goes work with a wristlock. Powers escapes with an arm drag, and punks Roberts out for the moment. Powers with a side headlock, and holds on despite Roberts attempts to break it with a back suplex. Irish whip, and Roberts casually tosses Powers over the top rope. Roberts tosses Powers back in the ring, and hits his signature jabs and a roundhouse right. Roberts goes for a short-arm clothesline, but Powers ducks and pounds away. Whip to the corner, but Powers celebrates too much and gets nailed with the clothesline after all. Roberts with the DDT, and the three count is made at 3:06. Wasn’t feeling this squash. Powers looked really awkward for some reason, constantly playing to the crowd after accomplishing nothing, and Roberts just kind of did his thing.
The Natural Disasters vs. Kato & Barry Horowitz:
Even though this show is filled with squash matches, at least they’re all featuring some of the higher up and established Jobbers in these matches. The Disasters are set to challenge Money Inc., a freshly formed tag team consisting of Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster, for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The Disasters kind of turned face by default when Jimmy Hart aligned himself with Money Inc. and “won” the titles from the Legion of Doom. I say “won” because of speculation that it was a phantom title switch. Typhoon brings Kato into the corner, but misses a clubbing blow and Kato rakes the eyes. Kato tries for a hip toss, but Typhoon is too fat and he nails both opponents with clotheslines. Typhoon rams Kato into the corner, and Earthquake tags in and plants him with a powerslam. Quake with a jumping elbow drop, and now it’s Horowitz’s turn to take a pounding. Quake rakes the eyes and connects with an atomic drop, followed by a big stomp to the midsection. Quake with a back breaker, then quickly hits the Vertical Splash for the three count at 1:57. We don’t get to see the Tidal Wave? I’m very disappointed. Lame squash match, too.
– Promotional consideration paid for by the following… G.I. Joe, a Real American Hero! WWF ring with flag and championship belt! Need a little excitement? Snap into a Slim Jim! WWF Super WrestleMania, available now for the Super NES!
– We end things with Vince McMahon conducting a very special interview with none other than the Immortal, Hulk Hogan. Unlike any other interview Hulk Hogan had ever done before, as it’s just a more laid back and serious discussion on the future of Hulk Hogan and the WWF. Will Hulk Hogan retire for good after WrestleMania VIII? We don’t know, but we will find out. In one of those more classy and genuine moments, Vince McMahon thanks Hulk, himself personally and on behalf of all the Hulkamaniacs, for his contributions to the World Wrestling Federation.
Final Thoughts: Weird show, in comparison to the other Primetime specials. A lot of focus in recapping the big programs, like those Countdown shows leading up immediately before the PPV, and because it was a “tribute” show to Hulk Hogan, we were shown two matches in complete form that just aren’t as enjoyable because they are treated as just whatever thanks to new commentary. The plus side is that the lone fresh feature match was pretty good, and one of the squash matches was enjoyable, then there’s the Hogan interview that closed out the show. Not a bad waste of two hours, but it’s a weaker outing overall