So if there’s one thing I learned yesterday, it’s that when you need something to draw money on the blog, go back to Hulk Hogan. Duly noted.
Onto the next disc of this set, as we move from the 80s and into the 90s!
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. One Man Gang (12.05.87)
Carrying on in Philadelphia, with the awe-inspiring commentary team of Dick Graham & Craig DeGeorge. Graham calls Slick the “alleged” Doctor of Style, which is pretty presumptuous on his part. If you’re going to question Slick’s credentials then I suppose you’re going to tell me that Tom Prichard isn’t the Doctor of Desire either? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen his doctorate. It’s a real thing. The man fought up his way from the streets and escaped the negative stereotyping of his people by earning a doctorate and this is how you treat him? Granted he was also a pimp but everyone needs a hobby. Hulk tries a headlock and gets shoved down, and then goes for the slam early and Gang falls on top for two. Gang uses the faithful clubbing forearms and Hulk goes into his patented Big Fat Heel Selling for a bit before running Gang into the turnbuckles and slugging him down. Slick comes in and Hulk beats him up, allowing Gang to put Hogan down for the nerve pinch. The man is a DOCTOR. Have some respect! Gang with the extended shoulder massage, really working the tension out of Hogan’s major stress points, and then Gang moves onto the back with some melodramatic axehandles that look like crap. That gets two, as we get the rare sight of Hogan bridging out of a pinning combination before fighting up. And then Gang beats him down again as I think Hulk is literally sleepwalking through this one. Like I’m pretty sure he took a couple of Ambien and someone accidentally sent him out while he was still unconscious. To further illustrate this point, Gang goes to the bearhug and Hulk stands there dozing for a while to sell that, but then elbows out of it. Gang with the big fat splash for two, but Hulk’s dose of coke finally kicks in to counteract the sleeping pills, and he hulks up before hitting the slam and legdrop to finish at 11:15. This was really, really, really bad and not even in the fun kind of way. Also, Dick Graham is awful. Woof. -** And then in a tease of things to come, Andre comes out to watch from the aisle, but then turns around and leaves without coming into the ring, as they get ready to reheat that feud again. Dick Graham of course completely misses the subtext of Andre wanting another title shot, and just thinks Hogan told him to “get lost”.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Ravishing Rick Rude (01.09.88)
From Boston, this is definitely a rarity because they allegedly did not care for each other in real life and never worked any kind of program after this. I believe this was on a Coliseum Video release at some point, though, because I’ve definitely seen it before. And yeah, this has the spot to start where Rude challenges Hulk to an arm-wrestling match on the mat, which is actually a fun and unique bit of business. And Joey Marella even gets in on it, diving down to check the arms on the mat, and Hulk has a mini-Hulk up and flashes Rude three times to win that battle after selling for a bit. With Rude stunned at that turnaround, Hulk slugs away in the corner, rams him into the turnbuckle, and tosses Rude to the floor after beating up poor Bobby Heenan for literally no reason. Rude works the arm, but Hulk takes him to the corner and follows with a suplex before missing an elbow. Rude drops elbows on the neck and goes to the corner for more abuse, but Hulk fights him off and then chases after helpless Bobby Heenan again just to be a jerk. Rude attacks from behind on the floor and uses a chair behind the ref’s back, but that only gets two. Rude with the chinlock and he turns it into a sleeper spot on the mat while Rude has a LONG conversation with the ref about something. Were they planning supper for later or something? Hulk fights out, but Rude catches him with the body vice and thinks he’s won the title. So he stupidly releases Hulk with no bell and goes up to hit a flying fistdrop for good measure, but Hulk of course makes the comeback and drops the leg at 11:44. And then we never got the match again! Too bad, it was a fun bit of business that was different from the usual big boot and legdrop formula match and they were a natural pairing. ***
Hulk Hogan & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Ted Dibiase & Virgil (03.12.88)
From Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, I was hoping that this was one of the legendary lost matches where Dibiase was “WWF champion” and wearing the belt to the ring, but we’re well past that week. The babyfaces clear the ring to start and Hulk slugs away on Dibiase in the corner and follows with a corner clothesline before running him into Bigelow’s head. Bam Bam comes in and they pinball Ted in the corner. Hulk takes him to the various corners and chokes Ted out on the ropes, but turnabout is fair play as Andre saves his boss and chokes Hogan out in turn from the floor. Dibiase goes to work in the corner and Virgil comes in with a headbutt and adds a clothesline for two. Andre adds more choking from the floor and Virgil does his own, and then Dibiase completes the trifecta of choking from the apron. This gives us a nice subtle spot as Dibiase hits a pair of corner clotheslines while Andre holds the tights and prevents Hogan from getting away. That gets two. Dibiase with the chinlock sleeper while Nick Bockwinkel explains the science behind it on commentary, and then adds that Dibiase is doing the hold like he is “to be a jerk about it”. Meanwhile Andre bullies the timekeeper and demands that the bell be rung. I’m just saying, I’d do what the Giant says. Man says “ring the bell”, I’m asking “How many times?” Finally Hogan escapes the heels and makes the hot tag to Bam Bam, and he runs over Dibiase but gets tripped up by Andre. This allows Virgil to come in for more abuse and choking and they somehow manage to completely fuck up an irish whip into the corner spot. Bigelow comes back with a press slam and elbow for two, but Dibiase saves and accidentally drops the elbow on his own bodyguard. Hogan drops the leg for good measure and Bigelow finishes Virgil with the big splash at 10:00. And then Andre lays waste to the babyfaces, but Hogan throws chairs into the ring and chases him off. Virgil looked like one of the worst professional wrestlers alive in this match but it was a lot of fun. **1/2 Hulk and Bigelow do some posing afterwards and this probably should have been a thing that drew money in the near future, but it just wasn’t gonna happen for Bigelow for various reasons.
Hulk Hogan v. King Haku (10.16.88)
From the LA Arena, featuring my nightmare team of Rod Trongard and Superstar Graham on commentary. And speaking of nightmares, Hulk is wearing the stupid fucking fist helmet here. They had a pretty good match on SNME so hopefully this one is in the same orbit. Haku attacks while Hebner is checking Hogan’s kneepads for foreign objects. Given that he wore a WEAPONIZED HELMET to the ring, I’d say that’s a good idea. Hulk quickly fires up and beats up helpless manager Bobby Heenan for literally no reason, and then drops elbows on Haku and boot rakes the face. Corner clothesline follows, but this time Heenan trips him up in revenge for the prior abuse. Hulk chases Bobby because he’s such a sore loser, and this allows Haku to hit him from behind and take over with some Tongan martial arts. Hulk with the slam, but he misses an elbow and Haku goes to work with the nerve pinch. Hulk tries to fight up, but the trapezius pain is too overwhelming and he goes down again. Haku keeps coming with a double throat chop and goes back to the SHOULDER MASSAGE OF DOOM, but Hulk somehow makes the comeback and fights out of it. And then he puts his head down like a moron and Haku gives him the thrust kick to the floor to make him pay for being so stupid. Hulk manages to get back in and Haku hits him with more Tongan blows and adds a suplex, but that only gets two. Shocking. Hulk makes the comeback (really? That was the big near fall spot? A suplex?) and tries to finish, but Bobby grabs the helmet and demands Haku run Hogan’s head into it. Of course that backfires and Haku is the one who goes down, and Hulk drops the leg at 9:00 to finish. Hogan got the pin WHILE WEARING THE ILLEGAL HELMET! What kind of shitty refereeing is THAT? This man is a CHEATER and here’s proof on DVD! Also, I’m not convinced that Haku wouldn’t have shattered the crappy helmet with his head. This match was bullshit and you all know it. I bet he hid a pair of brass knuckles in his tights as well and the ref just didn’t get a chance to find them during the patdown before Haku attacked. *1/2
Hulk Hogan v. Big Bossman (12.17.88)
Back in the LA Arena again two months later, and hopefully Bossman will serve up some justice in retribution for that Haku match. Thankfully Hogan leaves his helmet at home this time. Hogan of course is the first one to cheat, attacking Bossman on the floor and stealing the nightstick, and then hitting him with a chair on the floor! WHAT KIND OF A ROLE MODEL IS THIS MONSTER? Slick runs into plead for mercy, but of course Hulk beats him up too and then hits Bossman with a back suplex and cuffs Slick before slapping him around! Well at least now we know his true colors years later. He actually slaps the Slickster around, probably for making a joke about dating his daughter, and I bet he called him “Boy” while he was doing it. We’re seeing the worst of humanity in the Hulkster here. He takes Bossman down and goes for more unwarranted racially motivated abuse of the handcuffed manager, and then drops elbows on the Bossman. Thankfully Bossman comes back with a clothesline to stop the ugly run of orange-on-black violence at ringside and chokes Hogan out on the ropes, thankfully unlocking his manager from the literal chains he was enslaved in by Hulk Hogan. Bossman with a piledriver for two. Another try, but Hogan backdrops him over the top rope and then goes after Slick again for literally no reason, which results in him walking into the Bossman slam. Bossman follows with the big splash and Hulk makes the comeback. Bossman sends him out and runs him into the ringpost and then gives Hulk a taste of his own corrupt medicine by cuffing him for doing 55 in a 54. Sadly, Hulk dodges a blind charge before Bossman can finish him, breaks the cuffs, and finishes with the legdrop at 9:11. I hope Hulk offers compensation to Bossman for breaking those handcuffs like that and then stealing the nightstick. Those things aren’t free. Also Hulk walking around the ring with the nightstick hanging out of his tights is a bit…questionable. *1/2
Wrestling Challenge sees Hogan cutting a whiny promo about how he just put Liz on his shoulders on SNME because that’s what Savage would have done! Pretty defensive there, Hulk. And in fact Hulk claims that SAVAGE is the jealous one, which is clearly bullshit that is proven by the very footage that Hulk was showing here! You don’t just put someone’s wife on your shoulders or steal a hug from her at Survivor Series! Obviously this man had lust in his eyes and Randy Savage was 100% right to call him on it.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage (06.03.89)
From Boston, two months after Wrestlemania and this feud is still red hot. Savage throws a chair into the ring and then grabs a Hogan poster from some mouth-breathing Boston fan at ringside and tears it up. Hope the kid went home and cried afterwards. Serves him right for having such a horrible wife-stealing role model. Savage continues the mindgames, cutting a promo on Hogan about how he’s gonna pin him, and then runs away and makes Hulk wait. Hulk waits until Savage is in the ropes and attacks, so Savage runs him into the corner and goes up with the double axehandle, then drapes his robe onto Hogan and steps on him. Savage goes up for another axehandle, but he stops to celebrate and Hulk comes back with an atomic drop and slugs away, sending Savage onto the announce table at ringside. Back in, Hulk elbows him into the corner and follows with the Axe Bomber, then throws Savage over the top. Savage begs for mercy and Hogan tries to beat up Sherri, probably because she wouldn’t give into his lustful advances like Liz did, and he tosses Savage back in and chokes him out like a big orange cheat. Sherri rightly slaps him and tries to run him into the ringpost to defend herself from his unwanted advances, but of course Hogan tries to backhand her until Savage heroically saves with a knee to the back from the blindside. Back in, Savage chokes him out to hopefully teach him how to treat a lady. Savage with a kneedrop for two and he goes to a chinlock, but Hulk escapes and then goes after Sherri again and trips on the apron while trying to put the moves on her. You’re married, Hulk! Leave her alone! Savage goes up with a double axehandle for two, but Hogan makes the comeback and puts him on the floor with the big boot. Savage pulls him out and they brawl out there, but Hogan of course cheats and sends him into the post. Sherri dives onto him, trying to save her man from this cheating monster, but Hogan threatens a helpless woman and gets so wrapped up in trying to seduce another man’s manager that he’s counted out at 13:00. WASN’T ONE SEX TAPE ENOUGH FOR YOU, YOU PERVERT!? Oddly this is the second match on this set where Savage beats Hogan by countout and then steals the title belt. ***1/4
Hulk Hogan v. Earthquake (04.30.90)
Fun fact: The MSG show this is from was the last one shown on WWE 24/7 here in Saskatoon before my cable company pulled the plug on the channel for good. That was a dark day for me. Quake attacks and beats Hogan down, but stops to pose and Hogan comes back with a corner clothesline. Hulk hits a pair of clotheslines and goes for the slam, but he gets distracted by Jimmy Hart and that allows Quake to run him into the post. Back in, Hulk tries a bodypress and Quake casually catches him with a slam and drops a pair of elbows on him for two. Quake misses a blind charge and Hulk tries a slam, but good luck there. So Hulk slugs away in the corner instead and tries another slam, but Quake falls on top for two this time. Take the hint, Hulk! Quake goes to a bearhug and Hulk punches out of that, so Quake puts him down for the butt splash and that gets two. Hulk makes the comeback with the usual and Jimmy Hart runs in for the DQ at 8:38. Just a normal paint by numbers Hogan v. Big Fat Heel match, before the point when the Quake feud really caught fire. **1/2 And then Hogan slams him afterwards, but it doesn’t count in my books because the match was over.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Sgt. Slaughter (04.24.91)
Off to London for this one, which the narrator describes as “A battle for America on foreign soil.” Yeah that makes sense. This show was broadcast live on Sky and then packaged into a couple of Coliseum video releases at the time, with matches on “Rampage 91” and “World Tour 91”. They’re both on the Network if you want to check them out. I mean, they’re pretty boring shows, so I wouldn’t. But you might. I dunno. Slaughter and Adnan attack and Hogan fights them off and catapults Slaughter into the post after some abuse. Hulk slugs away and follows with a clothesline, but Slaughter rakes the eyes and sends him to the floor to take over. Back in, Slaughter goes after Hogan’s burn scar on the forehead and slugs him down for two. More clawing at the forehead for heat while Hogan walks around with what looks like a maxi pad stuck to his face. Back in, Slaughter gets two and follows with a backbreaker for two. Sarge goes up and gets slammed off by Hogan, but Hulk misses the elbow and Slaughter gets the abdominal stretch. He just barely holds the ropes, so lazy that he can’t even cheat properly, but Hogan reverses to his own. So Slaughter boots him down to set up the camel clutch, and Vince is pretty sure Hogan is going to submit to this one. But of course Hulk overcomes the odds and breaks free, until Slaughter rakes the maxi pad again and Hogan is DOWN. So Slaughter goes up and drops a knee on the back for two, at which point Hogan makes the comeback. FOR AMERICA. IN LONDON. The ref gets bumped and Slaughter finds a chair, but he falls down while trying to swing it for some reason and then beats on the unconscious ref with it. And then he charges with the chair and accidentally throws it to the floor in an embarrassing spot. So Adnan readies the TALCUM POWDER OF DOOM, but hits Slaughter with it and Hogan gets the pin at 16:30. This one should have remained Unreleased and been swapped out with the Desert Storm match from MSG instead. *
Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair (12.29.91)
From MSG, after Hogan was stripped of the title at Tuesday in Texas. Hulk backdrops Flair before he can even get his robe off, and clotheslines him to the floor. They brawl at ringside and Hogan chokes him out with the bandana before they head in the ring again, and Hulk slugs away in the corner and follows with a corner clothesline to set up a Flair Flop. And then Hulk chokes him out with his wrist tape! Flair bumps out of the corner and hits the floor again, trying to escape this maniac, but Hulk follows him out there and runs him into the post. Flair runs away again and tries to go into the ring, but Hulk hits him with a big boot and sends him to the floor again. Hulk suplexes him on the floor out there and back into the ring for more abuse, and Flair takes ANOTHER bump over the top and out to the floor. Hulk runs him into the post and chops him on the railing, and back in for a headbutt, but he goes after helpless manager Mr. Perfect and that allows Flair to clip him in the knee. Perfect runs a chair into Hogan’s knee and Flair goes to work on it, and NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL. Well, no one’s going to school at the moment because they’re all shut down for the year due to Covid19, but you know what I mean. Hogan escapes the figure four and Flair tries to go up, but Hulk slams him off the top and now he works on Flair’s leg and wraps the knee around the post. Back in for a kneecrusher and Hulk gets his own figure-four. THAT’S NOT FAIR TO FLAIR! So Perfect runs in and Hulk does the cradle gag while holding the figure-four, but Perfect manages to get a pair of brass knuckles to Flair in the chaos and it’s LIGHTS OUT FOR HULK. But that gets two and Hulk makes the comeback and no-sells Flair’s chops, but the big boot puts Flair on the floor again. Hulk chases and runs him into the post, then takes the cheap countout win at 10:15. Well that was some weak sauce but the match was extremely fun. ***1/4
Join us tomorrow as we wrap up the last disc, and I don’t even know what’s coming up. I’m assuming we’re off to WCW next? Who knows, but this set is a lot of a fun and I haven’t seen hardly any of it so I’m enjoying myself and I’d already call it a strong recommendation so far after 2/3 of it.