Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Characters
This focuses on one man only, Hulk Hogan. Hulk is arguably the biggest wrestling star in the history of the sport so a third DVD set is certainly not overkill, especially considering that these are some very rare matches that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day.
This focuses only on Hogan’s WWE, AWA and WCW work, starting with his early appearances in the WWE in 1979 and going all the way up to his 2002 matches on SmackDown!
I actually prefer the WWE collections this way, with the three discs acting as one long program that is full of matches.
—Disc One (2:49:36)—
There’s a scene of a vault opening and a Hogan montage follows. I find it interesting they completely overlook his AWA work now. A little history of Hogan is narrated by someone (don’t know who it is) which means I don’t think we’ll have a host for this collection. Anyway he basically says the vault has been opened and some of Hogan’s long-lost treasures have been unearthed. They show a clip of a Georgia Championship Wrestling match and I wonder why that wasn’t on here!
–Hulk Hogan vs. Harry Valdez–
This is a very early Hogan match that was scene on Championship Wrestling way back on November 13th, 1979. I think this was Hogan’s debut? I feel like I’ve seen this before but I guess I haven’t since I can’t find it in my wrestling star-database. Hulk was managed by Fred Blassie here. I like the nice touch on the DVD of posting on the screen the announcers for the match. I hope they continue that. Hogan shoves off Valdez to start and powers out of a side headlock by tossing Valdez. Hogan powerslams the poor jobber twice before connecting with his leg drop. That was before that was his finisher. Hogan tosses Valdez into the corners before slugging him down. Another bodyslam follows (3 for this match) before knee-dropping him and suplexing him. The body vice over the shoulder ends this at 2:50. It certainly got across that Hogan was a powerful monster here, but it is a squash and gets my usual squash rating: ½*. Hogan cuts a promo after his match and said he’ll take out the top stars of the WWE.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Backlund(c) for the WWE Title–
This is from April 12th, 1980 at the Philadelphia Spectrum and isn’t it amazing that Hogan would challenge for the WWE title just months after his debut? There was no commentary for this so Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are doing the work here. The ring announcer says this is the first of two main events. I wonder what the main event would’ve been. Maybe a Slaughter and Patterson match-up? Backlund was in the second year of his title reign. Backlund starts with a handshake that Hogan ignores at first and then obliges to. They lock-up and Hogan shoves Backlund off to the corner. Hogan tries another lock-up that Backlund ducks out of. Hogan takes Backlund down with a waist lock that Backlund wiggles free of and he trips up Hogan and Hogan bails to the outside. Hogan asks for a test of strength when he returns and Backlund obliges. Hogan wins because it has already been shown that he’s stronger than Backlund. Backlund gets back to his feet so Hogan knees him down. Backlund maneuvers out of it and grabs a side headlock. Hogan lifts Backlund up and seats him on the turnbuckle. He tries a cheapshot but Backlund blocks and Hogan cowers away. Backlund grabs another side headlock and Hogan can’t seem to push him off. Backlund works that into a takeover which Hogan breaks but Backlund is too quick for Hogan and he hooks it in again. Hogan breaks and bodyslams Backlund and follows with an elbow drop but Backlund is up quickly and retaliates with some of his own before going back to the side headlock. Hogan frees himself and blocks a shoulderblock but Backlund wises up the second time and slips around him and school boys him for two. As Hogan is in another side headlock Lawler starts talking about Hogan shaving his back and his chest and Lawler copying him. That’s a great story. Hogan powers out of the side headlock and in one motion he lifts Backlund and slams his back into the corner before hitting a backbreaker over the knee. He covers but only for one. So Hogan takes Backlund down and applies a hammerlock in a seated position. Backlund gets up but Hogan grabs the tights and pulls Backlund down into an armbar. Backland actually slams out of that with only one arm only to get booted in the chest by a rising Hogan. Hogan keeps on the arm and wrist of Backlund. Backlund frees himself but gets hiptossed right back into an arm-scissors. Backlund gets to a vertical base and almost lifts out of it but Hogan stays on it and rolls through to keep the arm locked. Backlund does power out of it and he starts throwing dropkicks at Hogan. Hogan sends Backlund to the corner and catches him with a bearhug on the rebound and this didn’t bode well for Backlund since this was one of Hulk’s finishers at the time. Backlund cymbals his way out of it and piledrives Hogan and covers for one. Hogan turns over and covers for one, too. Backlund tries a splash but he lands on the knees of Hogan. Backlund suplexes Hogan for two but Backlund is just as worn out as Hogan. Backlund snapmares Hogan but misses a legdrop and it’s another double count from the ref. Hogan hoists Backlund on his shoulder for an airplane spin which Lawler chuckles at. Backlund headbutts Hogan in the gut and he airplane spins Hogan but they both tumble to the outside. Backlund spins on the outside and sends Hogan back in. Backlund is too dizzy and he falls down on the outside. He’s counted out at 28:57, giving Hogan the victory but Backlund holds onto the title since Hogan didn’t win via pinfall or submission. This was a fantastic match given that it was 1980. Actually this was a fantastic chess match no matter what year it was. The only downside I thought was that it started off slowly and Backlund did repeat one of the spots. ****1/4.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Steve King & Angelo Gomez–
This handicap match is from All-Star Wrestling dated September 10th, 1980. There’s a handicap match between Hogan and Gomez on the Hulk Still Rules DVD from January, 1980. Hogan just overpowers the two jobbers, even catching both with a bearhug. He bodyslams one of the jobbers onto the other and covers both for the pinfall at 2:47. This was a really boring squash. DUD. We also see McMahon interview Blassie and Hogan and Blassie reveals to everyone, including Hogan, that Blassie just got a blank contract that would feature Hulk as a centerfold. McMahon jokes that Hogan will be in Mad magazine. This is just really weird. McMahon asks if it is a nude centerfold and Blassie is incredulous that McMahon would even ask something like that. Hogan calls himself a super-hero.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant–
This is from MSG and it took place on September 22nd, 1980. This is another one without original commentary so the King and JR are doing it. Gorilla Monsoon is the special referee for this match. Andre goes right after Hogan and the two slug it out. If you’ve only seen Andre in the Rock N’Wrestling days, then you would be surprised at how lithe Andre is here. He deteriorated very rapidly around 1985 and by 1987 he was really just a shell of what he is here. Andre tossed around Hogan, and forearms him in the corner. Gorilla has to step between them and Gorilla is the only one who could’ve done that. Hogan bails to the outside after Andre whacks at him again. Hogan is mounting no offense now and Andre hooks him in a side headlock which Hogan turns into a bearhug. Hogan keeps working the back and even fells the big giant. He legdrops the back and drops elbows, which is a good plan on the Hulksters part. Andre fires back with knife-edge chops but he misses the giant splash. Andre comes right back with a bearhug. Andre takes out the leg of Hogan but he buggers up his back in the process. Hogan BODYSLAMS Andre, which shocked the crowd, but when he tries another one Andre falls on top of Hogan and Gorilla quick counts him to end this at 12:18. This is a very interesting match. I guess revisionist history in the WWE in 1987 was wrong when they said Andre was never bodyslammed. This was a very different match from their 1987 one when Andre was hardly mobile. This was actually not too bad and I could get into the storyline of this match. **1/2.
Hogan became a movie star when he starred in the Rocky movie and he found himself gone from the WWE and with the AWA. Hogan would start turning to the crowd instead of away from them, marking a big turn in the character.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan–
Rod Trongard is the announcer here. This is just labeled as AWA – May 5th, 1981. I guess no one knows where this took place? This is going to be tag rules and immediately Hogan is double-teamed by Bockwinkel and Heenan, who was starting to be called the Weasel by this point. Hogan ducks out and the two heels manage to clothesline each other and Hogan rips his shirt off. He cleans house and Bobby does his dramatic oversell before performing a double noggin knocker. The heels take a breather until Bockwinkel returns and locks-up with Hogan. Hogan shoves him off; right into Heenan. The heels continue trying to double-team but Hogan always gets the upper hand and Bockwinkel and Heenan keep colliding. Hogan catches Bockwinkel with a side headlock in the corner but Bockwinkel is close enough to tag in Heenan and Heenan just stomps away at Hogan. Hogan releases the hold but he starts Hulking up and he pummels Heenan. He sends him into the corner and Heenan shoulders himself on the ringpost. He goes after Bockwinkel, too. He diverts his attention onto Heenan and this allows Bockwinkel to axe-handle Hogan from behind. Heenan gets back to the ring and tags in Bockwinkel who goes to work on Hogan. Hogan is double-teamed and choked by the dastardly duo but Hogan clotheslines Bockwinkel down and drops an elbow for two. Heenan makes the save and he starts untying the top turnbuckle. Bockwinkel is atomic dropped but Hogan falls victim to more chicanery and the heels are back in control. The ref can’t stop this double-team at all. Hogan is sent into the corner ringpost from the apron but he puts on the brakes and elbows down Heenan and Bockwinkel. Hulk is in complete Hulk-up mode and Bockwinkel’s shots have no effect. Heenan tries in vain to harm Hogan but he’s choked out by Hogan. Bockwinkel attacks from behind with an axe-handle and covers for two. Hogan kicks out, sending Bockwinkel onto the ref, knocking him out. Heenan tries using a foreign object on Hogan but Hogan uses it on Heenan instead. Heenan is sent to the corner and out of the ring leaving Bockwinkel to get sent headfirst into the turnbuckle ten times. It’s big boot time and the leg drop ends this at 14:39. It is amazing how Hogan refined his matches to this point and he would basically work the same big moves for the rest of his career. This was Hogan like he was in the WWE in 1984. This was a fun tag match that showed Hogan beating the two heels but it wasn’t exactly high on things like move sets and decent in-ring moves. I liked it for what it was. **1/2.
Hogan would return to the WWE, win the title from the Sheik in 1984 and he would hold it for three years. His popularity shot through the roof and this led to the first Wrestlemania and Hogan headlined the main event with Mr. T. This leads to Mr. T and Hogan in a Grocery Store to buy things they need to work out. This is from a TNT episode that aired on March 22nd, 1985. If that aired in 2005, the grocery store would’ve been wrecked. Hogan would be top dog in the WWE for a long while and would take on all challengers, including the up and comer in the next match.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Randy Savage for the WWE Title–
This is from a Detroit House Show from April 26th, 1986. Jack Reynolds and Ken Resnick are calling the action here. I’ve never heard of either of those guys. Macho Man comes out without music and he gets a pretty decent cheer. I wonder where in Detroit this is. This is the white-trunk, American-made wife beater variant of Hulk Hogan. Savage charges with his robe and drapes it over Hogan to stun him. Savage lands some shots in with the title belt until the referee pulls it from his hands. Savage elbows Hogan down (while still wearing his headband and glasses) and connects on a double axe-handle off the top. Savage goes up high again and lands another double axe-handle. Hogan gets up quickly as Savage argues with Liz. Hogan slugs Savage down and finally the glasses are off. Hogan puts the glasses on to mock Savage and could that be where their love-hate relationship started? Hogan dumps Savage to the outside and he drives the shoulder of Macho into the ringpost. Hogan brings Macho back in and he finally takes off the glasses. Those glasses lasted more than two minutes in this match. Hogan blows a kiss to Liz, who is still on the apron, before going back to Savage. Savage dugs at his tights and tosses him to the outside. Savage stomps at Hogan outside and brings him back in. He tries sending him headfirst into the corner but Hogan blocks and it is Savage that has his head driven into the turnbuckle (complete with huge oversell). Hogan slams at Savage with rights before chopping him down. Hogan sends Savage to the corner and follows with a clothesline. Hogan gets atomic dropped to the outside and when Hogan stalks Savage, Savage hides behind Liz. We have a bit of a stall here as the two stare each other down. Hogan spits in the direction of Savage before he bails. Hogan comes in and Savage is right on top of him. Hogan is dumped and Savage hits the trademark axe-handle from the top to the outside. The match starts falling apart as it seems both guys are out of things to do. Savage gets another double axe-handle and he completes the hat trick before they go back into the ring. Savage chokes Hogan over the top rope before covering for two. Savage clotheslines Hogan down for two. Savage hits his flying elbow-drop and it should be all curtains but this is Hulk Hogan. Hogan kicks out with authority before he starts Hulking up. Hogan tries the Big Boot but Savage grabs the top rope and falls to the outside. Savage crumples at ringside and Liz tries to stop him from advancing so Hogan literally picks her up and puts her aside. Hogan tries a back drop in the ring but Savage counters with a boot to the face. Savage heads upstairs and jumps off but Hogan lifts up the boot to block. Hogan covers and that gets the pinfall at 11:48. I’ve never actually seen that end a match. Savage is pissed and he tosses Hogan to the outside, grabs the belt and hits a top rope smash to the back of Hogan. Savage has the belt strapped around him but Liz can’t quite get it on. Hogan gets his belt back and Savage runs to the back. That was a weird finish and a weird match in general. This may have been one of the first times these two worked together because they were all over the place. I didn’t get the story of the match. Savage didn’t do his usual match and Hogan didn’t do his and it just didn’t gel. **.
–Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog vs. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy–
This comes to us from a Maple Leaf Gardens show from May 4th, 1986. Well, looking at these four guys doesn’t really scream work rate, does it. We’re joined by Gorilla Monsoon and Ken Resnick on commentary. Studd and Bundy have Bobby Heenan with them. I like the Maple Leaf Garden show because of the ramp that leads right into the ring. Studd still had his $15,000 challenge according to Resnick, even though Andre collected on that at Wrestlemania I. Studd and JYD start this off. Were they feuding at this time? JYD starts with headbutts that sway the big one. JYD tries a bodyslam but Studd grabs the top rope to block and bodyslams JYD in response. Hogan is tagged in but Studd slugs away at him. Hogan slugs back and tries a bodyslam but Studd blocks that and bodyslams Hogan. Hogan blocks a clothesline and bodyslams Studd! Bundy runs in and he’s bodyslammed, too! JYD runs in and headbutts Bundy to the outside. Bundy and Studd recuperate at ringside as the announce team claim Hogan is $15,000 richer. Studd returns and he loses a slugfest to Hogan. Hogan uses the big head of JYD to slam Studd’s head into and JYD is tagged in. Studd is headbutted into his corner and Bundy makes his first appearance in the match. JYD reverses an Irish Whip into the corner and it is Bundy’s turn to receive some headbutts. Hogan is tagged in and he clotheslines Bundy down and covers for two. Bundy is up first and it’s time for Hogan to get double-teamed in the corner. Hogan escapes to JYD and he headbutts Bundy down but misses a diving headbutt and now he sells it. If his head doesn’t hurt against bone, why would it suddenly hurt when it hits the mat? Well, it’s JYD’s turn to play face in peril. JYD blocks a Studd backdrop attempt with a headbutt and he makes the tag to Hogan. Hogan slugs down Studd, atomic drops him and legdrops him. He covers but Heenan runs in to break up the pin. That draws the DQ at 9:35 and Hogan’s ready to lay into Heenan. However, he sees Bundy about to avalanche JYD so he throws Heenan into the corner instead and Heenan takes the avalanche. This was a very weird tag match. They really could’ve built the JYD heel in peril stuff, with more vile double-teaming to get more support from the crowd. The ending seemed very rushed and this could’ve been a much better 11-12 minute match. It wasn’t as bad I feared it was and these guys actually worked well together. Sure it was mostly punching and kicking but the match was well-paced in getting the crowd support (except that it was shortened). **1/4.
We head to All-American Wrestling and Jake Roberts’ “The Snake Pit.” He has a title in his hands and he’s talking about March 29th, 1987, which ironically was when this episode of AAW aired. This is the build to Wrestlemania III and Hogan’s big battle against Andre. The odds are against Hogan according to Jake. This new belt is the special one for Andre the Giant should he win. Hogan says he doesn’t care about the odds and will walk away with the belt.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Kamala for the WWE Title–
This is from a Houston show dated June 26th, 1987. Jim Ross and Lawler record commentary for this match that probably hasn’t been seen by anyone since the people in the crowd saw it. Where the hell are they finding this stuff? Hogan comes out with the new belt we just saw from the previous segment. JR and King talk about Kamala’s history and I wonder why King can’t announce like this on Raw? He’s actually informative and normal. Hogan and Kamala trade shoulder blocks to no effect. Hogan goes off the ropes again and Kamala leapfrogs him! Hogan tries a bodyslam but Kamala chops out of it. Kamala drives some knife-edge chops into Hogan as JR and King talk about the managers of Kamala at ringside in the form of Mr. Fuji and Kimchee. Hogan ducks a knife edge and he slugs away at Kamala, sending him into the corner, too. Kimchee gets to the apron and Hogan focuses on him, leading to Kamala attacking Hogan from behind. Kamala puts Hogan in a nerve hold that almost puts him down, but Hogan manages to revive from it. Kamala chops Hogan down and hits a splash for two. Kamala fells the Hulkster again and teases going upstairs until Kimchee talks him out of it. Kamala starts firing away but Hulk starts Hulking up. Kamala tries to escape but you can’t escape Hulkamania. Hulk connects with the big boot before bodyslamming Kamala. The legdrop ends this at 6:26. That was a very quick match. Kimchee attacks Hogan from behind and now Fuji runs in. They hold down Hogan as Kamala heads to the top but Hogan powers out of it and sends Kamala running from turnbuckle to turnbuckle. Kimchee is stuck in the ring with Hogan so Hogan bodyslams him and puts on the beekeeper hat of Kimchee. I said this was short and that is a great thing in this case. If it had gone any longer than 7 minutes the crowd would’ve been put to sleep. There wasn’t much these two could’ve done besides the usual big beast beats on Hogan until he makes the big comeback and finishes with the legdrop. **.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Killer Khan for the WWE Title–
This is a Boston Garden match-up from September 12th, 1987. I’ve never actually seen a Killer Khan match. Khan is managed by Mr. Fuji (obviously). Gorilla Monsoon and Duke Doherty are calling the action. Duke has one of the most annoying voices I’ve ever heard calling a wrestling match. Khan is bootless and he starts off with a cheapshot, attacking Hogan while he still has the belt on. Khan chops him down and Fuji chokes him with his cane while the ref isn’t looking. Khan drives the title belt into Hogan’s back twice, all in view of the referee, until the ref finally takes it away. Hogan makes it to his feet and tries spitting the green mist at Hogan but Hogan ducks and it’s the ref that takes the brunt of the attack. Another referee runs down to check on the other one as Khan chokes at Hogan and tosses him to the outside. Khan has totally controlled this so far. The fans are just pumped for this match and are really popping for the Hulkster. Khan thrust kicks Hogan but misses a kneedrop. Hogan starts coming alive and he slugs away at Khan. He clotheslines Khan down a pair of time and now it is Hogan’s turn to choke Khan using the tape he had wrapped around his fist. Hogan mocks the karate moves of Khan before booting him in the gut and raking his back. Khan is dumped to the outside and Hogan walks out the other side, grabs a chair and whacks the back of Khan. The referee saw the whole thing but I guess Hogan gets a freebie this match, or maybe he’s letting him go for Hogan getting whacked with the belt earlier. So Hogan gets in another chair shot before chopping at Khan. Hogan jaws at Fuji but walks into a throat chop thrown by Khan. Khan puts Hogan in a nerve pinch and you know it’s a special DVD when it features two matches with a nerve pinch back to back. Disc Two starts with One Man Gang so we may make it three in a row. Hogan’s almost out thanks to the nerve pinch but the fans power him back to life. Hogan shoulderblocks Khan down twice but a third try is blocked with a chop to the chest. Khan bodyslams the champ and heads to the second rope. Khan hits his “patented” knee drop so that must be his finisher. If it is, then Hogan will kick out of it and start Hulking up. Well, he does so it must’ve been Khan’s finisher. Khan tries spitting at the Hulked up Hulk but Hogan blocks with his hand. So Hogan rubs the mist from his taped hand into Khan’s eyes. Khan falls down and the legdrop ends this at 9:35. This was actually a really good match. Hogan was never the best in the ring but his timing was great. He was always able to change up his matches a bit, too, depending on who he worked with. I’m gaining new respect for Hogan watching this, at least the Hogan from the first title reign. We’ve seen a lot of different looks from Hogan and I’m impressed how good he made Khan look with controlling the action. I really loved the ending with blocking the spit, too. ***1/2.
—Disc Two (2:56:32)—
Disc Two starts with the explosion of Hulkamania, to his cartoon, his movies, and all the toys you could handle.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. One Man Gang for the WWE Title–
Dick Graham and Craig DeGeorge call the action from this match held at the Philadelphia Spectrum on December 5th, 1987. We have a lock-up to start that is won by OMG, as he shoves Hogan to the corner. Hogan grabs a side headlock which OMG breaks and he shoulderblocks Hogan down. Hogan fells the big guy with a high knee but when he tries a bodyslam One Man Gang falls on top of him for two. OMG clubs at Hogan and he tries sending his head into the turnbuckle but Hogan blocks and does it himself, ten times. Hogan tries to clothesline OMG down but the Slickster interjects himself and Hogan is distracted. OMG grabs the Nerve Pinch (three times in a row on this collection!) and somehow Hogan finds the power to break it! OMG clubs Hogan some more before putting his hands down on the mat to try to power a pinfall out of Hogan. Hogan actually bridges out the first time before getting back to his feet. OMG knees him in the gut to stop his momentum and he tosses Hogan into the corner. OMG keeps on the back (which is good strategy, because how can he bodyslams OMG without a bad back) and that leads to the Bear Hug, which makes sense. Hogan gets out of it but is clotheslined down. OMG lands a splash and covers but Hogan kicks out and starts, “Hulkisizing,” as one of the announcers put it. Hogan sends OMG from corner to corner before bodyslamming the behemoth. The leg drop finishes at 11:13. Slick tries to attack from behind but Hogan catches him, takes his hat and tosses him to the outside. Andre the Giant makes it to ringside to look at Hogan before going to the back. This was really slow and boring but I have to say, it was cool how Hogan switched it up a bit here. OMG working the back made sense, the heel controlled most of the action and Hogan knew when to make his comebacks. His first title reign featured him in some very good and different matches so far. This would fall in the different variety. **.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Ravishing Rick Rude for the WWE Title–
This should be an interesting match-up. This comes to us from the Boston Garden and took place on January 9th, 1988. Gorilla Monsoon and Jimmy Hart are the announcers here. I’ve never heard Jimmy announce. Rude badmouths the boys in the crowd so the ladies can enjoy him. Heenan jaws at Hogan before the match, too. Heenan challenges Hogan to arm-wrestle Rude but Hogan just wants to wrestle! Rude shoves Hogan into the corner a pair of time and Rude poses to the crowd before asking for an arm-wrestle. Hogan obliges and this they arm-wrestle on the mat. They do it with the left hand and after Hogan struggles he just slams the hand of Rude down three times. Rude is reeling and so Hogan slugs him down before slamming his head into the turnbuckles. An atomic drop is oversold by Rude and he falls to the outside. Heenan ends up on the apron and he gets slugged off. See, that was unnecessary, Heenan didn’t do anything and Hogan put his hands on him for no reason. Gorilla notes that this 4-minute match has gone on longer than he thought and Hart tells him never to “unestimate” Heenan. Rude pulls Hogan down by the hair to hold onto an armbar. Hogan responds to the hair pulling with some of his own before suplexing Rude. He tries for an elbow drop but Rude rolls out of the way and he goes on the offensive. Hogan starts to fight back but Heenan pulls the leg of Hogan and Hogan chases Heenan. He rolls back into the ring and right into the boot of Rude. Rude brings in a chair and he smacks it on the head of Hogan. Rude covers but Hogan’s foot makes the ropes. Rude locks in a sleeper and Hogan’s almost gone but his hand doesn’t drop the third time. Hogan tries a comeback but Rude boots him in the gut and Rude puts him in a backbreaker. Rude drops Hogan and starts to celebrate but Hogan never quit! So Rude heads upstairs and hits a fist-drop, but it looked like Hogan was supposed to lift the boot, or that’s what Rude thought he was gonna do. Rude covers but Hogan kicks out and Hulks up. Hogan sends Rude to the corner and follows with a clothesline before bodyslamming Rude and hitting the legdrop to end this 11:40. I can’t believe how different this was than the one before it and Hogan really was able to work with all these different types of people. It wasn’t a MOTYC or anything like that but it was perfectly acceptable wrestling. There were dead spots (like when Rude was on offense, which was most of the match) but it wasn’t actively bad. **1/2.
–Hulk Hogan & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Ted DiBiase & Virgil–
This is from Maple Leaf Wrestling dated March 12th, 1988 Craig DeGeorge and Nick Bockwinkel (WTF?) are the commentators here. This must’ve been after Bammer’s appearance in Survivor Series where he made quite a splash, but he was gone soon after that and didn’t return until 1993. Andre the Giant is in the corner of Virgil and DiBiase while Oliver Humperdink is in Bam’s corner. Hogan and Bigelow slide into the ring where DiBiase and Virgil quickly attack. They are subdued and Bigelow whips both of them into a big boot and both are tossed. DiBiase and Bigelow start and Bigelow shoulderblocks down DiBiase and tags in Hogan. DiBiase begs off but that doesn’t work. Hogan slugs at him in the corner and follows with a clothesline. Virgil charges in but he’s slugged down and we have an opportunity for a double noggin knocker. He even sends DiBiase into Bigelow’s head. Bigelow is tagged in and he atomic drops DiBiase into Hogan and DiBiase gets pinballed between the two. DiBiase takes a double big boot and gets sent head first into the corner. Hogan clotheslines him down. Hogan gets too close to the heel corner and Andre reaches in and attacks him. DiBiase keeps the referee occupied while Virgil and Andre double-team him. Virgil comes in and he gets in his TERRIBLE offense. He can’t throw a punch and he just looks so green here. Virgil mimics Hogan before choking him. Andre gets some more shots in before DiBiase is tagged in. DiBiase puts Hogan in a chinlock but Hogan breaks free. Both of them clothesline each other down and Hogan is able to make the hot tag. Bigelow pounds at Ted in the corner and bodyslams him. He tries going off the ropes but Andre trips up Bigelow and this allows Virgil to tag in and take control of Bigelow. Bigelow fights back and elbowdrops Virgil. He covers but moves out of the way of a charging DiBiase and Virgil gets the elbow. Hogan runs in and tosses DiBiase before pushing Bigelow onto Virgil, which is good for the pin at 10:06. That was an unexpected ending. Hogan and Bigelow fight off the heels and bring in chairs to the ring to ward off the heels at ringside. I’m surprised Bigelow got the pinfall here. Virgil was out of place here, Bigelow was okay, Hogan was his usual self and DiBiase really carried this to something worthy of being slightly above average. **1/2.
–Hulk Hogan vs. King Haku –
This comes to us from Los Angeles and it took place on October 16th, 1988. This is the main event of the evening and Rod Trongard and Billy Graham bring us the action. Haku has Bobby Heenan with him. Hogan comes out with a crazy Roman Gladiator helmet. There’s a fist on the top in lieu of feathers and it is emblazoned with Hulkster on the top. Who the hell made that? I wonder how many times Hogan wore that atrocity? Haku blasts at Hogan before the bell and he thrusts away at Hogan in the corner before BITING him. Haku karate chops Hogan in the throat until Hogan gets up quickly and fires away at Haku. Hogan even slugs Heenan off the apron. Hogan back rakes Haku before charging with an elbow and elbowdropping Haku. The crowd is totally into this match right now. Hogan whips Haku in the corner and follows with a clothesline and Haku drops to the mat as Hogan panders to the crowd. Hogan clothesline Haku down and goes off the ropes (possibly for a legdrop) but Heenan trips up Hogan. Hogan chases Heenan around the ring and back in and Haku is waiting there with some stomps. Haku dropkicks Hogan and covers for two. I just hope that while Haku works over Hogan we see a nerve pinch. Hogan comes back and bodyslams Haku but he misses an elbowdrop and Haku goes to work on the shoulder before APPLYING THE NERVE PINCH!!!!! YES!!! Four out of the last six matches have featured this dreaded rest hold. Unfortunately, these heels haven’t been scouting Hogan because they’d know that move was never successful in winning the match. Heenan must’ve told Haku this because Haku breaks the hold himself. Wait, nevermind. Haku thrust chops him down and goes back to the nerve pinch. Sure enough, Hogan revives before being put out and he elbows out of the nerve hold. Hogan tries a back drop but Haku catches him and side kicks him out of the ring. Hogan almost gets counted out but Haku breaks the count to allow Hogan to get in so he can pin him in the ring. Hogan makes it in and he’s in bad shape. Haku chops him in the throat before suplexing Hogan. Haku covers but Hogan kicks out with authority. Hogan Hulkisizes, shrugs off Haku’s blows, hits the big boot and panders to the crowd. Heenan gets to the apron with the helmet and Haku is able to poke Hogan in the eyes. He tries to drive Hogan into the helmet but Hogan blocks and Haku’s the one whose face meets fist. Hogan puts the helmet on, hits the legdrop and covers for the pinfall and the victory at 8:50. He tosses Heenan as well. That was hysterical that Hogan beat Haku while wearing that ridiculous helmet. This was a fun 9-minute match. Haku had some decent offense in here and I like how Hogan could almost make one believe the heel had a chance. I never knew how versatile Hogan was during his pre-90’s days. ***.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man –
This is also from LA and it was about three months later than the previous show (December 17th, 1988). We have the same announce team, too. Were there different announce teams depending on the location? The Boss Man, looking a lot stockier than he was in his face run has Slick with him. Boss Man swings away with the night stick that keeps Hogan out of the ring, so Hogan wisely tricks Boss Man into coming outside and Boss Man is sent into the ringpost four times. Hogan puts the night stick into his pants before whacking Boss Man with a chair. We end up in the ring and Hogan blasts away, still with the club in his pants. Hogan takes out his stick and Slick leaps on the back of Hogan. The referee takes the club as Hogan backs into the corner, sending Slick against the turnbuckles. Hogan ducks a charging Boss Man and it is Slick that gets avalanched. Boss Man is side suplexed and he’s out. So Hogan handcuffs Slick to the bottom ring. He slugs Boss Man down and slaps Slick. Hogan returns to the ring and clotheslines Boss Man before whipping him to the corner and following with another clothesline. Hogan goes back outside to slap Slick some more. That is just unnecessary! Hogan gets back and sends Boss Man into the top turnbuckles before bodyslamming Boss Man. He drops a pair of elbows and goes outside again to slap Slick. Hogan telegraphs a back drop so Boss Man holds the ropes to block and clotheslines Hogan down when Hogan gets up. Boss Man unlocks the handcuffs and Slick is freed! Boss Man connects with his patented butt splash while Hogan is draped on the middle rope Boss Man piledrives Hogan to the mat and covers for two. Boss Man tries another near the ropes so Hogan back drops Boss Man onto the camera man. Hogan can’t get anything going from this since Slick holds his legs down. Boss Man gets back into the ring and hits the Boss Man Slam (before it was his finisher) and hits a splash. He covers but Hogan kicks out and we’re Hulkisizing! Boss Man eats a big boot that sends him to the outside. Boss Man pulls Hogan outside and sends him into the steel ringpost. Hogan gets handcuffed and Boss Man brings him back into the ring. Boss Man misses an avalanche (crotching himself in the process) and Hogan uses the power of the Hulkamaniacs to break the chains, slug Boss Man down and hit the leg drop to end this at 9:10. This was pretty cool. I thought the big boot would’ve ended it but it didn’t and there was a new, interesting, element thrown in thanks to the Boss Man character. Hogan poses after the match with the billy club in his pants and the cuffs still on him. These two had an oddly good chemistry together. ***.
The last two matches were listed as title matches, but Hogan had lost the title to Andre on February 5th, 1988 and it was won by Randy Savage at that year’s Wrestlemania. Randy would hold the title for a year until losing it to Hogan at Wrestlemania V. Speaking of that Wrestlemania, we get a clip of Wrestling Challenge from February 25th, 1989 where Hogan cuts a promo on Macho Man. Savage started getting jealous of Hogan and how he acted with Liz and Hogan addresses some of those issues, including saving Liz at Survivor Series and celebrating with her on Hogan’s shoulders
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the WWE Title–
This is a Boston Garden match from June 3rd, 1989. Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes are calling the action and Savage had already recruited Sherri as his manager by this point. Hogan tosses a chair into the ring which Hogan catches before Savage tears up a poster that a fan had at ringside. We have a massive stall to start with Macho getting on the mic to cut a promo on Hogan. He promises to beat Hogan tonight. Finally, Savage attacks with his cape to momentarily stun Hogan. He tosses him to the corner and drops an axehandle off the top. Savage drapes the cape over Hogan and heads back upstairs. Another axe-handle follows and Savage panders to the crowd. Of course, he’s unaware that Hogan has gotten back to his feet and Savage is atomic dropped off the second rope. Hogan slugs Savage to the outside but quickly pulls him back in. He sends him to the corner and follows with a back elbow. Hogan drives another elbow into Savage and tosses Savage over the top rope to the outside. Hogan follows to the outside and Savage hides behind Sherri. Hogan charges anyway and Savage tries escaping into the ring. So Hogan catches him and slams his leg into the apron before slamming his head into the announce table. Hogan catches a Savage boot attempt, turns him around, slugs at him and lifts him up in a two-handed choke. Sherri gets on the apron and she slaps Hogan. So Hogan charges at her and he gets kneed in the back and to the outside by Savage. Sherri tries sending Hogan into the ringpost but Hogan prevents that. He stares down Sherri and this allows Savage to come in off the apron with an axe-handle to the back. Savage clotheslines Hogan down and covers for two. Savage stomps at Hogan, Sherri gets in some cheap-shot choking, and Savage hooks Hogan in a sleeper. This knocks Hogan out, but not before his third arm falls down. Hogan elbows out of it and shoulderblocks Savage down. Savage tries dropping down so Hogan can run over him but Hogan stops and drops an elbow to the back. Hogan goes off the ropes again but Sherri trips him up. Hogan is draped on the second rope so Savage butt splashes him. Savage clotheslines Hogan over the second rope before hitting an axe-handle off the top (with a foreign object no less) and covers for two. Hogan does the power kick-out, Hulkisizes way on up and hits the big boot. That sends Savage to the outside. Hogan follows and sends Savage into the ringpost. Sherri prevents Hogan from getting back into the ring. Savage sees this and knocks Hogan into the steel barriers. Savage sneaks back in and is awarded the match via count-out at 12:56. Savage celebrates with the title in the ring, but the title can’t change hands on a count-out obviously. Hogan comes in to get his revenge. A double noggin knocker for Sherri and Savage. Savage is tossed to the outside, and Sherri is atomic dropped right to the outside, too. Hogan celebrates afterwards. Most of the DVD is Hogan just celebrating. For some reason, this match didn’t click with me. Both Savage/Hogan matches have been rather boring. However, it was cool seeing Savage get a victory of Hogan and there was enough different about this match to separate it from the first one on the set. It was slightly better than that first one because I think Savage knew how to work a little bit better by this time. ***.
Hogan went from the Savage feud to one that people still talk about: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI. Hogan was ready for the challenge; emotionally, morally, spiritually and physically as he tells us in this Challenge promo from March 31st, 1990.
Of course, WWE fans will know that Hogan lost the title the next night to the Warrior in probably one of the biggest main events of all time. Hulk wouldn’t go away. His next big match was against Earthquake and that took him through the summer of 1990.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake–
This is an MSG match from April 30th, 1990. Hogan slides into the ring and right into the stomps of Earthquake. Hogan’s music is still playing as Hogan is getting beat down. Hogan responds and slugs Quake into the corner. He sends him to the other side and Hogan follows with a clothesline. Hogan continues with elbows but he can’t knock Earthquake down. Another clothesline sends Quake down to one knee. Hogan prepares to slam Quake but first deals with Hart at ringside by slugging him off the apron. Hogan follows Hart but Quake is right behind him and Hogan is sent into the ringpost. Hogan gets back in the ring and tries a body splash but Quake catches him and powerslams him. Quake drops a pair of elbows and covers for two. Hogan is sent to the corner and Quake tries to charge but Hogan ducks out of the way. He tries to bodyslam Quake but he just hurt his back doing it. Hogan slugs Quake into the corner again where he does the standing punches – good for twelve of them. Hogan tries another bodyslam. He lifts up Quake but Quake falls on top of Hogan for two. Quake bearhugs Hogan, which is smart to work over the bad back Hogan got while trying to slam Hogan. Hogan doesn’t go out long enough for a submission but he’s out long enough for Quake to hit the butt splash. Hogan is able to kick out at two and the Hulkisizing is in full motion. Hogan slugs at Quake, hits the big boot and connects with the legdrop. He covers but Hart comes in to break up the pinfall and earn Quake the DQ at 8:40. Hart gets tossed into Quake but Quake just shrugs him aside. The two continue squaring off and this time Hogan is able to bodyslam Earthquake. This was an okay match, especially considering the two people involved. It was in the same vein as the Andre match but not as long and Quake was more mobile. **.
Hogan wouldn’t have to wait long to get the WWE Title back. In fact, he would be challenging Iraqi sympathizer and American traitor, Sgt. Slaughter for the belt. Hogan cut a promo on Slaughter on the Wrestling Challenge before Wrestlemania that was aired on March 23rd, 1991. WWF is actually heard here (who forgot to bleep it?). Hogan just says that America, God, and Hulk will win out on Sunday.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Sgt. Slaughter for the WWE Title–
I guess this was Slaughter’s rematch. It took place at London, England on April 24th, 1991. Vince and Roddy (the Superstars announce team at the time) are calling the action here. Slaughter is pelted with garbage on his way to the ring. Adnan attacks Hogan from behind which allows Slaughter to attack from behind. The two stomp at Hogan but Hogan is up quickly and it is double-noggin knocker time! Hogan sends Slaughter to the corner and Slaughter goes up and over to the outside. Hogan takes a Union Jack flag from a kid at ringside and then chokes Slaughter with it! Way to disrespect their flag, jackass! We head back to the ring and Hogan backdrops Slaughter after sending him to the corner. Hogan has a bandage on his face and he’s still selling the fireball to the face Slaughter gave him after Wrestlemania. Hogan brings Slaughter in and sends him into the turnbuckles any way possible, either by slamming his head into them or slingshotting Sarge into them. Hogan clotheslines Sarge down but the match is getting more boring by the second so it is time for the heel to take over. And Sarge does take over. It’s a thumb to the eye and Hogan is dumped, allowing Adnan to get shots in now. Hogan gets to the apron and Slaughter catches him and starts tearing at the wound of Hogan. He slugs Hogan down and covers for two. Hogan gets double teamed some more and the fans are just dead silent. Hogan is sent outside and sent into the steel barricade. Slaughter hits a backbreaker and covers for two. Slaughter heads upstairs but Hogan catches him and tosses him off. Hogan tries an elbow drop but Slaughter rolls out of the way. Slaughter keeps working the back of Hogan, who appears to have been cut open (but only mildly bleeding). Slaughter works in an abdominal stretch and since he’s a heel, he uses the ropes for leverage. Hogan hiptosses out of it but Slaughter goes right back to working the back of Hogan. Slaughter locks in a Camel Clutch but Hogan says he’ll never give up. Hogan powers out of it and sends Slaughter into the ringpost through the middle ropes. Slaughter is up first and stomps the back of Hogan. Slaughter heads upstairs and drops a boot to Hogan’s back. He covers but Hulk kicks out and he’s right there with the Hulkisizing. A big boot isn’t able to knock down Slaughter so Hogan slugs at Slaughter. Slaughter shoves him off into the ref and the ref is bumped. So Slaughter punches Hogan in the throat and Mustafa tosses in a chair. Slaughter hits the ref with the chair (it’s a plastic lawn chair by the looks of it) but misses Hogan. Slaughter tries to hit Hogan again and the chair was SUPPOSED to slingshot off the ropes and hit Slaughter but Slaughter drops it and Hogan improvises with a big boot. Mustafa gets in there and tries to throw powder in the eyes of Slaughter but it misses, Slaughter is down, and the big boot ends this at 16:19. Without reservation I can say this is the worst match on here so far. It was so damn boring. Hogan’s opening segment was boring, Slaughter’s heel tactics were dreadful and this was even worse than their Wrestlemania main event. ½*.
1991 saw Ric Flair make his debut in the WWE and he claimed to be the REAL world’s champion, complete with the big gold belt he brought with him from the NWA/WCW.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair–
This was one of those dream matches that never seemed to come to fruition on a major PPV in the early 90’s. They did wrestle, though, as this MSG match from December 29th, 1991 proves. This would be the rematch of their bout that was featured on Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 90’s. We’re joined by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan on commentary. Perfect and Flair double team Hogan on his way in but Hogan ducks a double clothesline, Perfect bails, and Flair back dropped and slugged to the outside. Flair had his robe on the whole time. Hogan follows, sends Flair to the barricade and slugs away. He rolls Flair back in and Flair finally takes his $10,000 robe off. Flair begs off but Hogan doesn’t care. Hogan sends Flair to the corner and Flair bails to the outside. Hogan follows and chops away at the Nature Boy. He sends Flair into the ringpost and Flair does his little flop on the mat. Flair comes back with a knife-edge of his own but Hogan no-sells. Hogan hits a big-boot that again sends Flair to the outside. Hogan follows and chops away like he was cutting down a tree. Hogan actually connects with a back suplex on the mat. Hmm, Gorilla just says this is New Year’s Eve but the DVD says it is from the 29th. I assume it was recorded on the 29th and aired on the 31st. Hogan and Flair bring it back to the ring and Hogan slugs away at Flair in the corner. Flair is sent to the corner and he does his over and out bit. Hogan follows but Flair catches him this time. He tries to send Hogan into the ringpost but Hogan blocks and reciprocates. Hogan chops away some more and it seems he likes doing that. Flair begs off once inside the ring but he gets headbutted down. Perfect gets to the apron and Hogan diverts his attention. This allows Flair to kick the leg of Hogan and Flair goes to work. Flair rams the leg on the apron and Perfect gets in a cheapshot with a chair. Flair tries for a figure-four but Hogan kicks him off. Flair tries again and Hogan’s able to block again. Flair heads upstairs and you know what happens next. Hogan decides that turnaround is fair play and he wraps the leg of Flair into the ringpost. Hogan hits a kneecrusher and he puts Flair in the figure four. Heenan literally has a heart-attack at ringside. Perfect comes in to stop it but Hogan small packages him. Perfect sends brass knucks to Flair as Hogan dispatches of Perfect. The ref was talking to someone at ringside the whole time. Flair knocks out Hogan with the brass knucks and covers. Hogan does his power kick-out and begins his hulkisizing. Flair tries to stem the tide with chops but that doesn’t work when Hogan’s like this. Hogan hits the big boot but Flair rolls to the outside. Flair rakes the eyes of Hogan but Hogan sends Flair into the ringpost. Hogan rolls in as the bell rings at 10:09. It looks like it is Hogan via count-out. This was a great match and my only knocks against were a) it was too short and b) Flair didn’t have a long enough portion to control the action as the heel and really work over Hogan’s leg. I wish Hogan would’ve sold the leg more like Flair did. Other than that, it was wildly entertaining for the 10-minutes it was and these guys could’ve gone 15 minutes at a Wrestlemania with no problem. ***1/4
—Disc Three (2:33:03)—
I fear this disc will feature a HUGE dip in quality. Hogan signed with WCW in 1994 and Hogan would lead the revitalized the WCW/WWE war. Hogan became the new face of the company and he won the WCW title in his very first WCW match. Other WWE stars followed suit, including Randy Savage and the two teamed up for this next match.
–Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair & Vader–
This is from Slamboree held on May 21st, 1995. Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan are in on commentary here. I reviewed this already on Classics.com when it was WCW month. The Renegade (a Ultimate Warrior knock-off) appears to be in Hogan’s corner. Hogan and Vader start things off. Wait, I mean stall things off. Vader corners Hogan and pounds away but Vader misses one shot so badly that even Bobby Heenan points it out. It’s so bad that Hogan has no choice but to fight back. He clotheslines Vader to the outside where Randy follows with his patented top-rope axehandle. Vader comes in and double clotheslines the two before tossing Savage. Flair attacks Savage as the referee is distracted because he’s Ric Flair and that is what he does. Savage makes it back and gets chopped in the corner only to have Savage fight out of that. Flair is sent to the corner and he flips onto the apron; running right into a Hogan big boot. He staggers to the entrance before flopping down. Hogan drags him back to the ring where he’s clotheslined right back to the outside by Savage. Flair returns with a poke to the eyes but Savage is able to tag in Hogan. Flair tries a chop but that doesn’t do anything. Hogan follows with a clothesline before Flair goes to the eyes. Flair heads upstairs and is tossed off. Hogan puts Flair in a figure four. Vader tries to stop him but the ref wards him off. So Arn Anderson comes in and Hogan small packages him while still holding Flair in the figure four. That’s a great way to stop an attacker, rolling him up. Hogan lets off the hold to usher Arn to the outside and this allows Flair to take out Hogan’s knee. There’s a huge giant standing at the entrance apron and this looks like the first appearance of The Giant, Paul Wight. Meanwhile, Vader suplexes Hogan and celebrates but doesn’t see Hogan get right back up. Hogan tries a back drop but Vader sees it and just bowls him over. Vader whips Hogan to the corner and Hogan does the slowest run I’d ever seen. Usain Bolt he is not. Vader avalanches him and drops the Vader Bomb. Instead of covering Vader wants a top-rope Vader Bomb. That misses. Flair is tagged in but can’t stop the hot tag to Savage. Savage back drops Flair and pounds away at him in the corner. Savage whips Flair and tries to follow up but runs into an elbow. Flair heads upstairs and for the second time this match he’s tossed off. Savage with a flying elbow drop and a cover but Hogan distracts the ref (Why?) and Arn pulls Savage to the outside. Savage goes after Arn but runs into Vader instead. Renegade prevents any other sort of double-teaming from occurring. Vader connects with a moonsault on Savage that gets two. Flair comes in and fires away with chops but Savage counters with a clothesline. Savage makes the hot tag to Hogan and he cleans house, bodyslamming both Flair and Vader (and ripping every muscle in his back as a result). Hogan gets a big boot but when going off the ropes for the leg drop Arn trips him up and Hogan re-injured his bad knee. Flair covers but Hogan kicks out and hulks up. Vader and Savage are brawling on the outside as we head to a wide angle shot to see everything. Arn interferes again but hits Flair with an axehandle off the top. Hogan leg drops Flair and this is over at 18:56. While an entertaining match it wasn’t OMG good. ***.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Vader for the WCW Title in a Steel Cage Match–
This is from Bash at the Beach, held on July 16th, 1995. This was actually held at a beach for those wondering. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary here. A bunch of Baywatch girls and Dennis Rodman bring Hogan to the ring. Hogan charges at Vader right away and chokes him with his yellow shirt. He punches him ten times in the corner, climbs up a bit more and stomps him ten times! That was interesting. Hogan follows with an axe-handle from what looked like the first rope. Hogan elbows Vader and chops at him but Vader doesn’t go down. Hogan tries sending Vader into the cage but Vader blocks. Vader tries and this time it is Hogan that blocks. Eventually it is Hogan that gets sent into the steel cage first. Vader pounds away at Hogan in the corner. Vader manages to collide with his Mastodon armor so Hogan dons it and headbutts Vader with what the announcers think is steel. Vader responds and hits a Vader Bomb on Hogan. A second Vader Bomb hits and Vader covers but Hogan kicks out at two. Vader spears Hogan into the cage and sets up for a senton off the top but Hogan rolls out of the way. Vader looked to fall a bit hard there. Vader is sent to the corner and Hogan follows with a clothesline. Hogan tries a bodyslam but Vader falls on top of Hogan for two. Hogan tries a second time and this time he bodyslams him. Hogan hurts his back in the process so Vader takes advantage and hits a splash off the second rope for two. Hogan kicks out and Hulkisizes himself on up. Vader can’t stop Hulkamania. Hulk sends Vader pinballing from side to side before eating a big boot. That doesn’t topple the big van so a boot to the gut does (which was supposed to be a boot to the face). The Taskmaster and Zodiac (Brutus Beefcake) run out but Dennis Rodman is there to send them running to the back. Hogan hits the leg drop and panders to the crowd. He hits a second one and panders to the crowd again. Hogan makes his way over the top of the cage but Vader catches him on the top rope. Hogan chops him off and this allows Hogan to climb to the outside and end this at 13:14. This was bad on a lot of levels. First, the ending was one of the worst I’ve seen from a cage match. Wow, Hogan chops him off the top and slowly climbs out to win. Second, it was so boring and Vader didn’t have a good portion to control the match to build sympathy for Hogan. It just misfired on all accounts. *.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Sting–
This is from Monday Nitro and it took place on November 20th, 1995. Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and Steve McMichael are calling the action here. Macho precedes Hogan to the ring (wearing a cast) and both are rocking black and white colors. That’s something since this was about 6 months before New World Order would use those same colors to revolutionize the sport. Hogan sneaks in through the crowd (and gets some heel heat for this) but doesn’t Pearl Harbor Sting. Hogan is sans ‘stache. Hogan shoves Sting and Sting fires back with punches and kicks. Hogan reverses an Irish Whip and sends Sting to the corner. He slips his way into a follow-up clothesline. Hogan is wearing cowboy boots right now. I don’t understand that. Sting dropkicks Hogan to the outside and Sting follows. Hogan’s up quickly and he sends Sting into the barricade before suplexing him. We head back to the ring where Hogan gets in the dreaded back-rake. Sting sneaks in a cross-body for two Heenan is fantastic on commentary. McMichael mentions fighting with his brother (because Bischoff says Hogan and Sting are HUGE friends) and after his whole monologue Heenan throws in, “but he’s 9!” Heenan is awesome. Hogan works on the arm of Sting with a wrist-lock but that’s easily countered by Sting. Hogan counters that with a full-nelson into a side headlock. There’re a lot of restholds here today. Sting tries a Stinger Splash but Hogan catches him and bearhug him. Hogan releases (I suppose even he knew that there were too many restholds in this match) so he elbows Sting down for two. Hogan bodyslams Stinger for two as Bischoff welcomes watchers of ‘that other show.’ Sting comes back with boots to the leg of Hogan. He softens the leg for about 10 seconds before applying the Scorpion Death Lock to Hogan. Hogan powers out of the Death Lock and for the first time he’s able to Hulkisize without the mustache! Sting runs into the big boot but misses the legdrop! Hogan actually sells the injured leg and Sting puts Hogan back in the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan screams in pain (help me lord, he’s gonna break my leg) but the Dungeon of Doom runs in to ruin what was turning into a decent match. Sting and Hogan actually work together and clear the ring but they fall victim to the GIANT coming into the ring. Savage hits him with a chair but that hardly fazes him. So Macho is chokeslammed down. Hogan and Sting clothesline the Giant with the chair out of the ring. You ready for World War III? This ended with a Double-DQ (I think) at 9:34. There were way too many restholds but the ending segment with Sting working the leg was well-done. Of course, Sting should’ve worked the leg a lot longer but that’s TV matches for you. **1/2.
Hogan co-founded the New World Order in the summer of 1996 and changed WCW and wrestling as we know it. Hogan would become a heel and he would play that role mostly till the end of WCW.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. The Giant for the WCW Title–
This comes to us from Souled Out and it took place on January 25th, 1997. Bischoff and DiBiase are calling the action here. If you don’t know what Souled Out is, it was the New World Order PPV that was run. Basically it was the nWo doing their own introductions (badmouthing the faces) and since it was so focused on the heels the crowd was really quiet that night and confused. Some of the Dallas Cowboys follow Hogan to the ring. Hogan slugs away to start but those shots have no effect on the Giant. Giant chops Hogan out of the ring and Hogan takes a breather. He slides back in after the Giant chases so he can axe-handle him on the Giant’s way back in. Hogan delivers some very weak boots to the gut of the Giant. The two connect with a double clothesline but the Giant is up first. He boots at Hogan and sends him headfirst into the corner. They end up outside and Hogan and Virgil try to double-team the Giant and send him into the barricade but he blocks and Giant sends the both of them into it. We return to the ring and Hogan tries a shoulderblock (which fails) so he tries a small package (but can’t package the Giant up) so the Giant casually bodyslams Hogan. We end up back outside and Hogan tosses salt into the eyes of the Giant. Hogan chokes him with a piece of tape but that doesn’t seem to help him for long since the Giant picks up Hogan and stretches his back over his knee. The Giant heads upstairs (!) but misses an elbowdrop. Hogan covers but Giant kicks out at two. Hogan tries the big boot but that doesn’t knock the Giant down. So Hogan bodyslams (barely picking him up) and hits the legdrop. Hogan celebrates to the crowd but doesn’t see the Giant get up. Hogan eats a chokeslam and the Giant covers but the ref doesn’t do the three-count because he’s a New World Order ref. The Show covers three times and each time Hogan doesn’t kick out but the ref says he does. The Giant chokeslams the ref, chokeslams a charging Buff Bagwell, Virgil, Bubba (no idea who he is), Jim Neidhart and Syxx but Hogan runs in with a guitar that Bischoff gave him. They knock the Giant out, Hogan breaks a wooden chair over his back and he ends by spray-painting N-W-O 4-Life on the Giants back. Hogan asks who’s next. Let’s call this the Sportz Entertainment Finish at 12:00. This was brutal to watch. Giant and Hogan had no chemistry together, they were really boring, the crowd wasn’t into it and the run-ins were just ridiculous. The sad thing was this actually headlined a PPV event. ½*.
We talk more about Hogan dominating the WCW with the N-W-O. A new competitor would start in the WCW and he would challenge Hulk for the title.
–Hulk Hogan vs. Bret Hart–
This took place on Monday Nitro on September 28th, 1998. These guys had never wrestled before since Hogan had left WWE before Hart really headlined the company. Although if Wrestlemania IX were booked differently they could’ve had a match at Summerslam. Hart has no entrance music here and is sporting the WCW US title, which is not on the line tonight. The two work over a lock-up which leads to Hulk coming off the ropes and shoulderblocking Bret down. Hogan goes behind Bret and takes him down, though it looked more like he fell on top of Hart. Hart reverses that and drops some knees into the arm of Hogan. Hogan clotheslines Hart down, bodyslams him but misses the three follow-up elbow drops. Hart knocks Hogan to the outside and Hogan pulls Hart out with him. Hart sends Hogan into the ring-post but Hogan quickly regains the advantage by dropping Hart’s injured knee into the ringpost. He does it again and Hart does a nice job selling that leg. Hogan wraps the knee around the ringpost and works it over some more before bringing him into the ring and applying the spinning toe-hold. Sting runs out and gets into the ring. He shoves Hogan and it looks like Sting will be aiding Hart in his corner. He, Konnan and Lex (who just ran down) roll Hart out of the ring and try to convince Hart not to continue. Some EMT’s walk down and bring Hart to the back as Sting takes over the match. So Sting fires away at Hogan and Hogan responds with back-rakes and chops. Hogan sends Sting to the corner and follows with a clothesline. A back suplex follows for the Hulkster. Hart’s rolled to the back and all of a sudden Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell attack Luger and Konnan. Hart limps back to the ring as Hogan slams Sting into the steel steps. They get back to the ring and Hogan misses a dropkick. Sting connects with the Stinger Splash and applies the Scorpion Deathlock. Bret gets in and cheers Sting on but as soon as Sting locks it in, Bret DDT’s him. So get this, Bret is disqualified (at 9:57) for interfering on a match that originally started with Bret in it. Only in WCW. So Bret puts the Sharpshooter on Sting. That is your classic heel turn. Hart attacks Sting’s leg with a chair and even puts crotches him using the steel ringpost. Konnan even recovers and runs down to the ring but only to bring Sting to the back. I really enjoyed this. The first five-minutes with Hogan and Bret were really entertaining, with Bret selling the leg and Hogan working on it, and the sports entertainment stuff in the last five minutes was fun to watch, too. We’ll go *** for the whole thing.
So we skip past about 4 years (I’ll recap: WCW kept getting worse, they got bought out by WWE and Vince brought back the New World Order). Hogan was with them and he wrestled a huge match at Wrestlemania with the Rock that turned Hogan face. The interview from the next night’s Raw (March 18th, 2002) is included here. Hogan gets a massive ovation from the crowd that lasted quite a long time. Hogan thanks the fans and he thanks the Rock (although the fans are clearly anti-Rock here). Hogan says the two will square off again. After that night, Hogan returned to the yellow and red and he would even win the WWE title from Triple H at Backlash. That turned out to be a huge mistake (giving nostalgia a title) but that’s for another day. Hogan would challenge fellow old-timer, Ric Flair, in this next match.
–Hulk Hogan(c) vs. Ric Flair for the WWE Undisputed Title–
This is from the May 12th, 2002 Raw. Lawler and Ross are calling the action and Ross mentions how Flair is the owner of the WWE at the time. I remember that. Flair runs into a couple of shoulderblocks to start out this match and Flair ends up bailing to the outside and grabbing a chair. Flair intends to use it but the ref grabs it from him. So the ref gets shoved and surprisingly the ref shoves Flair back! The ref runs away and Flair runs into Hogan again. Flair tries chops in the corner but Hogan’s having none of it. I should point out that Hogan still has his bandana on. Hogan responds by pounding on Flair in the corner. It’s funny. I was listening to Hulk Hogan on the Jim Kerr morning show on Q104.3 and he talks about headlining the first episode of TNA to go head-to-head against Raw in a match against Flair saying it’s been a decade since they last wrestled (even though it’s been only 8 years) and it’s a “dream match” for fans. I would question that last part. Maybe it would’ve been a dream match 25 years ago, but not now. Anyway, Flair does the usual (flop, gets pressed off the top rope) before low-blowing Hogan and going to work on him in the corner. Hogan’s bandana FINALLY comes off while Flair stomps at Hogan. Hogan is tossed to the outside and Flair tries driving his head into the ringpost but Hogan blocks, chops, and sends Flair face-first into the steps. We get back into the ring and Flair pokes Hogan in the eyes and starts kicking at his leg. Flair tries a knee-drop which is somehow blocked and Hogan puts Flair in the figure-four. Flair makes it to the ropes and ends up on the apron so Hogan suplexes him back in. Hogan tries an elbow drop but that misses. Flair chops at Hogan and again Hogan no-sells. I guess it is time for the hulkisizing. Flair big boots Hogan down and hits the legdrop. He covers but X-Pac runs in to break up the pinfall. This is a no-DQ match it seems. Hogan dumps X-Pac so the Big Show runs out. Bradshaw runs down to take care of the Big Show and off all of them go into the crowd. Flair is about to put Hogan in the figure four but he’s met by a charging Austin. Flair gets Stunned and Hogan finishes with the legdrop at 8:46. The ending was really cool but this was obvious it was a match between two really old guys who were past their primes. **.
Hogan would lose the title to the Undertaker a week later. Hey, does that make Taker the only one who beat Hogan TWICE for the WWE title?
–Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H–
This is a #1 Contender’s Match for the WWE title and it took place on SmackDown and aired on June 6th, 2002. Cole and Tazz are calling the action and Cole says that this could be the biggest main event in SmackDown history. The two battle over a lock-up to start. The ref makes them break and HHH sneaks in a cheapshot. Triple H whips Hogan to the corner but Hogan explodes out of there with a clothesline. Hogan punches Triple H to the outside and Trips sells his injured elbow. Hogan sends Triple H face-first into the steps and slugs HHH into the crowd. Hogan pulls him back to ringside and tries sending Triple H into the ringpost. Triple H is able to reverse that and we return to the ring. HHH elbows Hogan down and elbowdrops him for two. HHH locks in a sleeper and Hogan almost succumbs to it but he’s able to elbow out of it and Hogan grabs his own sleeper. HHH counters with a side-suplex for two. Hogan kicks out and begins his Hulkisizing. Hogan gets the big boot but Triple H rolls out of the way of the leg drop. HHH tries a Pedigree but Hogan backdrops out of it. He hits the legdrop and covers but HHH kicks out at two. Hogan thinks he’s won and celebrates until the ref tells him otherwise. Of course, by this time HHH has made his way to his feet and he Pedigrees Hogan to become the #1 Contender at 6:44. This is exactly what it should’ve been – short and sweet. Triple H tries to help Hogan up but Hogan shakes him off. Triple H leaves until Hogan calls him back in. Hogan’s music hits and Hogan starts to leave but Triple H says they have unfinished business and they start doing the usual Hogan celebration. Triple H seemed to enjoy himself here. We’ll go with the passing grade of **.
Hogan’s return to the WWE and coming out of the main event scene found him teaming with Edge, who was a huge Hogan fan (and was even at Wrestlemania VI). They beat Billy & Chuck for the Tag Titles at the July 4th SmackDown and they defended the titles the next week.
–Hollywood Hogan & Edge(c) vs. Billy & Chuck for the WWE Tag Team Titles–
This is a rematch the week after Edge and Hogan won the titles and it was from the July 11th, 2002 SmackDown. Chuck and Edge start and Edge flies at Chuck with a flying forearm. A spinning heel kick follows and that draws in Billy. Edge sends Billy into Hogan’s fist before dumping Billy. Billy returns to hit a tilt-a-whirl on Edge and Chuck takes advantage with some shoulders into Edge in the corner. Billy & Chuck double-team Edge and B&C’s manager, Rico, gets in some cheapshots, too. I can’t believe it’s 3 minutes into the match and it’s already the face in peril part of the match. Edge manages to DDT Chuck but he can’t make the tag. So Edge hits an inverted DDT and he makes the hot tag to Hogan. Hogan (still with the bandana) clotheslines B&C down, issues the big boot to both and tries for the leg drop only to have Rico interfere and trip up Hogan. So Edge takes care of Rico with a spear. Billy comes back with the Fame-Asser on Hogan and covers but it’s time to Hulkisize Me. Big boot, Leg drop, buh-bye (at 6:41). Chuck gets speared for good measure, too. See, this was the best use of Hogan that the WWE had at the time. He got to stand on the mat while Edge did all the work in the ring and got tagged in to hit his big moves and get a good reaction from the crowd. Technically speaking, having a 6-minute tag match was kind of ridiculous, especially with Edge playing face-in-peril after only four minutes but it sent the crowd home happy and was actually fun to watch. **1/4.
We don’t really have an intro for the next match, just Hogan wrestling Angle. Could this be a potential TNA match-up?
–Hulk Hogan vs. Kurt Angle–
We close with this SmackDown match that took place on August 1st, 2002. The winner of this will face Lesnar next week. Hogan shoves Angle down after a pair of lock-up attempts for Angle takes down Hogan and goes to a front-headlock. Hogan breaks and grabs a wristlock before clotheslining Angle down. Angle tries a hiptoss that is blocked and countered by Hogan and Angle gets clotheslined to the outside. Back inside, Hogan slugs at Angle until Angle realizes he’s half Hogan’s age and in better shape so he’d better slug down Hogan, which he indeed does. Angle tries a suplex but Hogan counters into one of his own. Angle comes back with a short-arm clothesline for two. Angle chokes Hogan over the middle rope before going to a chinlock (including using the ropes for leverage). Hogan tries powering out only to get back suplexed. Angle brags to the fans but Hogan is back up. He back drops Angle, bodyslams him, elbowdrops him and covers for two. Hogan tries for the big boot but Angle catches his foot, trips him and up, and goes for the Ankle Lock. Hogan kicks him off and a second big boot attempt hits. Hogan tries for the leg drop but Angle pops up and Angle Slams Hogan. He covers but that only gets two. That should’ve ended it. Why kill Angle’s finisher on someone like Hogan, especially at this stage in his career. Angle grabs the Ankle-lock but Hogan reaches the ropes. The ref doesn’t break the hold and Angle just pulls him back off. Hogan is able to AGAIN break up the ankle lock by kicking off Angle and conveniently into the ref. Angle grabs a chair and charges but right into another big boot. The leg drop follows and Hogan covers but there’s no ref! Brock Lesnar runs out and he’s knocked off the apron. Angle hits Hogan with the chair but the ref is now awake and Hogan is awarded the match via DQ at 10:30. Angle tries stomping Hogan out of anger but Hogan hulkisizes for the last time on this DVD and Angle gets his comeuppance. Hogan does get F5’ed and it’s interesting to end this collection with Hogan on his back. Well, Angle did his best but he’s no miracle worker. Angle carried the match the best he could but Hogan was too worn down by this time to keep up with him. Still, this was his best match on here from his second WWE run. ***.
We end with a look at Hogan’s career and Hogan’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Disc One was a fantastic look at the early career of Hogan. This DVD more than any other showed that Hogan could work with a lot of people. His match with Backlund was very good, and the string of three matches at the end were vastly different (save for the ending, of course) and I really liked how Hogan busted ass like this in front of the fans in what were essentially house shows. Disc One was great because it didn’t focus on just the big matches they usually do (the Wrestlemania Main Events) but showed Hogan in between those big matches and how he was actually building his character. Disc Two continued with a wide variety of guys that Hogan wrestled and his first WWE title run showed him working a bunch of different kinds of matches and shows Hogan was very versatile in those early days. Yeah, as the collection wore on it started to get more mundane since Hogan basically worked the same match from about 1991 on to even now in TNA. Disc Three does round out his career nicely, but as time goes on it’s harder to find “rare” matches just because everything was televised. The first two discs rocked, the third disc was understandably poor but overall this shows Hogan in a very good light and even some Hogan haters would find the first two discs interesting to watch.
The extras are all included on Disc Three.
1) Around The World (2:12)
This is from the lifeless Nassau Coliseum and it took place on September 7th, 1984. Gorilla is in the locker room and is with Hulk Hogan. Gorilla says this is at Nassau, as does Hogan, and then the little blurb on the bottom says it is MSG. Oops! Hogan says he’s been around the world and has beaten everyone!
2) Hogan and Mr. T (2:01)
This comes to us from Tuesday Night Titans airing on March 7th, 1986. Hogan talks about his bad ribs thanks to Bundy and Muraco and he brings out Mr. T to talk about the battle code of ethics. Mr. T was just really annoying here.
3) Back to Square One (1:37)
This is from an MSG show that took place on February 23rd, 1992. Hogan says it is back to square one at the place where Hulkamania was born.
4) The Mega Maniacs (4:02)
This appeared on Wrestling Challenge on March 13th, 1993. This was my least favorite era of Hogan’s. Jimmy Hart managed the Mega Maniacs, a team comprised of Hogan and Beefcake. Hogan hypes his upcoming match with Money Inc at Wrestlemania IX. Hogan debuts Beefcake and his new mask. Hogan shows how well it works by whacking the briefcase into his head.
5) Hulk Hogan and Rod The Bod (2:58)
We head to Bach at the Beach 1996 (July 16th to be exact) for this one. Hogan has Dennis Rodman with him. Hogan is talking about his upcoming match with Vader in the steel cage and he’s happy Dennis will be there as an enforcer.
6) The Darkness of the Doom (2:25)
This segment took place on the November 13th, 1995 Nitro. Hogan is wearing black and is cutting a promo from the Dungeon of Doom. That would explain why he was dressed in black during his Sting match.
7) Times Have Changed (3:01)
We go back to Nitro for this clip and it aired on September 2nd, 1996. This is an early New World Order black and white promo. He is hyping World War III. I still love the look of these early promo’s.
8) Hulk Hogan and the Heartbreak Kid (4:34)
This is from the April 25th, 2005 Raw. Coachman is talking about Shawn and Hogan teaming up for their upcoming Backlash match. Coach is acting very heelish here which is quite entertaining. HBK sends Coach away and brings out Hogan who brings out Mean Gene. They’re hyping a match against two guys I’ve never heard of before.
This is the standard Fullscreen/Dolby Digital 5.1 offering WWE usually puts out. It sounds great and it looks great and that’s all you need. WWE always gets high marks here.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a big fold-open DVD case with the standard liner notes containing the match listings.
D) Easter Eggs
None on this collection.
We start with the usual array of WWE commercials (WWE Classics on Demand, The Marine II, WWE Home Video, SmackDown! Top 100 Moments, Batista’s “I Walk Alone”, a National Guard spot and of course the Don’t Try This At Home message). This was a surprisingly good collection. In fact, if this were just the first two discs I’d say this is an easy recommendation. The third disc took a big drop in quality however, points I mentioned in the Feature Review. The extras were just throw-away promo’s that were tacked on to fill out Disc Three. What I loved about this is that there were some really cool matches featured during Hogan’s heyday in the WWE and they are ones you’d never really expect to see on a DVD. Because of that, this does get a nice rating, but Disc Three really hurts the heights this DVD could’ve achieved.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever