Oh god, the menu music switches to “American Made” for this one. Time to brace myself. Considering that WCW doesn’t really have “unreleased” footage, I’m curious what they’ll dig up here.
So yes, we move ahead to 1994, with Hulk moving to WCW and apparently everyone embracing him completely. DUDE. Do I really have to sit through 2.5 hours of Hulk Hogan’s WCW matches?
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ric Flair & Vader (05.21.95)
So this is from Slamboree 1995, as we’re already broken away from the “Unreleased” gimmick here. Oh well. Not like I was paying much attention to WCW at this point anyway. So here’s some music weirdness: Although the menu music clearly uses “American Made”, the song is mixed out of the entrance for this match on the DVD. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR LEGAL MUMBO JUMBO, WWE. As noted in the Observer Flashbacks, there is a very sad story behind this match, as Jimmy Hart’s mother had died in a car wreck earlier in the day, but he still insisted on showing up for the match. What an incredible professional. The story behind this nonsense was that Flair returned from retirement BECAUSE REASONS and interfered in a Hogan-Vader strap match at Uncensored, where he ended up losing the match while dressed in drag despite not being part of the match in the first place. Vader wins a lockup battle with Hulk to start and throws marshmallow punches in the corner, but Hogan thumbs the eye and hits a clothesline, then follows with another one to put Vader on the floor. The Megapowers team up on Vader but he takes them both out with a clothesline and tosses Savage. Flair gets some shots on the floor, but Savage comes back in the ring and we get a Flair Flip into Hogan’s big boot on the apron for at least one cool spot in the match. Back in, Savage clotheslines Flair to the floor again and The Team That We Can’t Legally Call The Megapowers continues double-teaming Flair with more state of the art spots from 1985. I mean, the Billionaire Ted skits were a major misfire, but the message behind them wasn’t totally WRONG or anything. It was just incredibly ham-fisted and hypocritical. Hogan gets the figure-four on Flair and cradles Arn Anderson in another spot straight out of 1985, but Flair goes to the knee to take over. Vader slowly works a toehold while we cut to the entrance for our first PPV appearance of THE GIANT. Vader with a suplex and Hulk no-sells it and slugs away, but Vader runs him over and follows with a corner splash. This sets up the VADER BOMB, but a second one misses and Huckster manages to tag the Nacho Man. And then Savage immediately runs into an elbow from Flair in the corner to cut off his comeback. Flair goes up and gets slammed off by Savage to set up the flying elbow, but AA pulls him out and the heels beat on him outside. This brings the RENEGADE over to make the save, because if there’s one thing that makes sense it’s multi-time World champion Randy Savage, one of the most dangerously unhinged wrestlers in history, needing to be saved from Arn Anderson by rookie Renegade. TOTALLY. Back in, Vader with the moonsault for two on Savage but the crowd remains dead. Haven’t they seen the Renegade out there? And the Giant? STAR POWER. Flair and Savage slug it out and collide for the double down, but it’s hot tag Hogan and he runs somewhat wild for a bit until Vader takes out the knee again. The dastardly heels double-team him but Hulk makes the comeback on Flair. AA comes in and hits Flair by mistake, and Hulk drops the big leg, brother, and pins Flair to win at 18:57. In other news, the sun comes up in the morning. Film at 11. This SUCKED, with three old guys looking tired and past their expiration dates, plus Vader. *1/2 I think I liked it better in my original rant because I sat through 2.5 hours of garbage and this seemed better by comparison, but without that context it just doesn’t work. Thankfully the Flair feud revitalized Savage somewhat later on.
WCW World title, Cage match: Hulk Hogan v. Vader (07.16.95)
Yup, now we’re at Bash at the Beach 95. With HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS in attendance on the beach.
Hogan slugs away in the corner to start and hits an axehandle out of the corner. They slug it out and try to run each other into the cage with no success, but then Vader beats him down in the corner until Hulk runs him into his own helmet. And then Hulk puts the helmet on and headbutts him with it, but Vader hits him with a corner splash to take over again. Man, given the stories about Vader’s smelly gear, I wouldn’t be sticking my face into his stuff. Vader Bomb gets two and Hogan gets run into the cage as Vader slowly beats on him. Vader goes up and misses a splash, which allows Hulk to come back with a corner clothesline, but a slam attempt backfires and Vader gets two. Vader with the chinlock and they slug it out again. “I haven’t seen one wrestling hold” notes Bobby Heenan. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Hogan finally gets his slam, but he hurts his back in the process and Vader goes to work with a splash for two. So Hulk makes the comeback and no-sells a trip to the cage, then runs Vader into it a bunch of times and follows with the big boot. At this point Kevin Sullivan and Zodiac run in and get chased off by Dennis Rodman. So Hulk drops the leg on Vader and then stalls and poses and stalls and poses and then finally decides to just climb out of the cage instead of pinning the guy. So Vader follows him up, but Hulk fights him off and climbs out to win at 13:12. Not the worst, I guess. **
Hulk Hogan v. Sting (11.20.95)
From Nitro, apparently “not seen since its original airdate” according to the narrator. Yeah it was on WWE 24/7 so that’s bullshit. Even by 1995 standards this is a pretty huge match to give away on free TV. Dark Phoenix Hogan comes out of the crowd to show that he can attack from behind if he wants. Sting attacks and slugs away, but Hogan gets the corner clothesline and the crowd boos the ever-loving fuck out of him. Sting fights back with a pair of dropkicks to put Hulk on the floor, but Sting misses his splash and hits the railing. Hulk adds a suplex on the floor. Back in, Sting gets a bodypress for two, but Hulk takes him down and starts working on the arm. We get a laughable cross armbreaker and they trade headlocks on the mat before Hogan goes to a bearhug and the Axe Bomber for two. This crowd is not loving Hogan. Backdrop suplex gets two, but Sting comes back and now he goes to work on Hogan’s leg before going to the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan makes the ropes and Hulks up, but misses the legdrop and Sting gets another Scorpion. And then the Dungeon hits the ring for the DQ at 9:34. Very interesting how easily Hogan slipped into the heel role here and how accepting the fans were of it. **1/2
WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. The Giant (01.25.97)
Yeah, it’s from Souled Out. As it turns out, this was supposed to be Lex Luger in the challenging role, but Hogan wanted the Giant to turn for the spot. And then he immediately failed, which needlessly killed him as a top guy. Hogan of course cheats to gain the advantage and they fight to the floor, but Giant no-sells a bunch of stuff in the ring and slams Hogan. Hogan stalls for a while off that and throws the dreaded TALCUM POWDER OF DEATH in his face. Hogan chokes away while Bischoff talks about Hogan’s “23 and ¾ inch pythons”, which I’m assuming is the clever way to skirt the WWF legal team. Back in the ring, Giant gets a backbreaker and goes up, but misses a flying elbow and Hulk gets two. Hulk with the chinlock and the crowd actually gets behind Giant, so Hogan slams him and drops the leg. Giant no-sells it while Hogan does the comedy routine of not seeing Giant there waiting for him, and the chokeslam gets two because Patrick just pretends that Hogan kicked out. And then they repeat the joke three times just in case we didn’t get it. So Giant chokeslams the ref and everyone in the nWo runs in and gets beat up as well, but Hulk finally just lays him out with a guitar as there’s no finish. -** And Giant gets spraypainted to end the show as they just go with the laziest possible booking. It might have been like watching someone masturbate for 3 hours, but at least with that you get a payoff at the end. No such luck with this match.
Hulk Hogan v. Bret Hart (09.28.98)
Well at least this is a match I haven’t seen before. This is from Nitro and of course we will not be served any spicy Voodoo Chili on this DVD release. Bret was apparently the US champion at this point. I have no idea who was supposed to be the babyface here or what the issue was. Hogan grabs a headlock but Bret takes him down with a hammerlock. Hulk escapes and drops elbows, then tosses Bret to the floor and drops the knee onto the railing twice to injure it. Hulk continues working the knee by wrapping it around the post and then stomping on it in the corner. Hulk with a spinning toehold, which almost fooled me into thinking it was Dory Funk Jr. because they both have about the same amount of hair. So then Lobster Sting runs in for some reason and pulls Hogan off to prevent any more vicious spinning toeholds while Lex Luger and Konnan try to force Bret onto a stretcher and now we randomly get Hogan v. Sting instead for some reason. I don’t understand anything that I’m watching here on any level. So Bret was with the Wolfpac at this point? So Hogan gets a suplex on Sting for two while Bret is loaded into an ambulance on split screen, but then Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell attack the Wolfpac guys and Bret Hart limps back to the ring again while this is going on. I feel like I need a flow chart to explain what’s happening and why. So Sting makes the comeback on Hulk and Bret comes back in, and turns on Sting for the DQ to reveal that he’s apparently with the nWo all along? And they WONDERED why the WWF started beating their ass in the ratings every week? This whole thing was complete nonsensical garbage. Like, why didn’t Bret just turn on Sting and kick him in the knee in the first place? Why go through the façade of getting carried back on a stretcher and all that?
OK, so now we skip ahead to 2002. Sure, why not.
In a famous interview segment in Montreal, Hogan comes out to a monster ovation from the Canadian crowd the night after Wrestlemania and he’s suddenly the biggest babyface in the world again. Look, watching this segment and how Hogan was suddenly the biggest star on the show again, I can 100% see why they put the title on him. It didn’t work, but you had to try. And Hogan to his credit understand what’s going on and just stands there and lets the reaction get bigger and bigger organically.
WWE World title: Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair (05.13.02)
So this is from RAW and it’s already apparent that the Hogan train is nearly out of steam. They have “Real American” dubbed in here but I feel like it was “Voodoo Child” he was using in 2002. Flair was “Co-Owner” of RAW at this point and the announcers are all over him for booking himself into a World title match. Hulk no-sells the chops and slugs away with his own in the corner to set up the Flair Flop as the Toronto crowd is VERY forgiving of Hogan’s act at this point. Flair goes low to take over and they fight to the floor, but Hogan sends him into the stairs and back in for a backdrop. Flair goes to the knee as Hogan’s knees are so clearly shot and he’s moving like late stage Undertaker. Hulk beats Flair to the figure-four attempt, but Flair makes the ropes. So now Hulk randomly makes the comeback after taking most of the match already, and he drops the leg for two. At which point nWo X-Pac runs in, and then nWo Big Show, and then Bradshaw to make the save, and then finally Steve Austin, who hits Flair with a stunner to give Hogan the win with another legdrop at 8:43. I mean…he already had Flair beat with the legdrop already, why did we need all the other run-ins? *
Guys, I’m thinking I may spoken too soon with that recommendation previously.
Hulk Hogan v. HHH (06.06.02)
So Hulk has lost the title to Undertaker, but this is a #1 contender’s match. They tussle for the lockup in the corner to start and HHH slugs away on Hogan’s bald spot, but Hulk fights back with various punches of his own. They fight on the floor and do some lethargic brawling out there, and back in for more punches and kicks from the Game. And choking of course. He drops an elbow for two and goes to the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, but Hulk reverses to his own and HHH suplexes out for two. Hulk makes the comeback and hits the big boot and legdrop for two. Why am I not shocked that HHH kicked out of that. And then KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes clean at 6:44. SHOCKING that HHH was booked to kick out of the legdrop and then win clean with his finish over HULK HOGAN. And then of course Hulk has to call HHH back into the ring to put him over as the greatest of all time and toughest son of a bitch he ever faced. BARF. DUD
WWF World tag team titles: Hulk Hogan & Edge v. Billy & Chuck (07.11.02)
Hogan and Edge won the tag titles in an awesome match on July 4, and this is the rematch. Edge hits Chuck with the heel kick and tosses Billy, but walks into a tilt a whirl slam in the heel corner. They go to work on Edge and Chuck gets a clothesline for two, before Rico adds a kick on the floor and Chuck gets two off that. The announcers are more concerned with the main event later tonight, which will see Undertaker teaming up with rookie John Cena. Now there’s a name you don’t hear much about anymore. Chuck with a chinlock on Edge and he slugs away, but Edge comes back with a neckbreaker and makes the hot tag to Hulk. Hulk coming in as the pre-loaded ultimate hot tag guy was genius and sadly didn’t last long. Hulk cleans house, but Billy hits him with the fameasser for two. But Hulk makes the comeback with the usual while Edge spears Chuck, and the legdrop ends it at 6:14. Like, so simple, so easy. They could have been tag champions for MONTHS with this formula. Who did they even lose it to? **1/2
Hulk Hogan v. Kurt Angle (08.01.02)
From Smackdown and I don’t even remember them having a rematch after King of the Ring. Angle takes him down and works a facelock and then slugs away on the ropes, but Hulk comes back with clotheslines and blocks a hiptoss before hitting one of his own. Clothesline puts Angle on the floor and they brawl out there. Back in, Hogan runs Angle into the turnbuckles and winds up the Popeye Punch, but Angle beats him down in the corner to take over again. Hulk comes back with a suplex but Angle clotheslines him for two. Angle beats Hogan down in the corner again, but Hulk slugs back until Angle gets a suplex for two. We hit the chinlock as Angle slows it down for Hulk again, and then follows with another suplex. But Hulk pops up and makes a comeback with elbows for two. But then Angle reverses the big boot with an ankle pick and turns him over into the anklelock in a slick move, only to have Hogan kick him off immediately. Hogan with another big boot, but Angle comes back with the Angle Slam for two. So Angle pulls down the straps and locks in the anklelock, but this time Hulk fights out of it and the ref is bumped. Angle grabs a chair and Hulk boots it back in his face and drops the leg, but there’s no ref. This brings Brock Lesnar out to interfere, and Angle hits Hulk with a chair to draw the DQ at 10:31. Angle was trying but it’s just so sad to watch broken down Hogan plodding his way through WWE Style in 2002 and looking like a complete dinosaur. **
But hey, there’s also some special features on the disc to fill up the remaining space…
– First up, Hulk Hogan is interviewed by Gorilla Monsoon in Nassau Coliseum in September 84, as he talks about how Hulkamania is all over the world.
– From TNT in March 1986, Hogan cuts a promo with Mr. T about how he’ll come back from broken ribs and beat King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania 2. T just stands there yelling UH HUH and TELL ‘EM HULK in the background.
– From MSG, February 1992, Alfred Hayes interviews Hulk about entering a battle royale against Sid Justice. Apparently Sid has the same look that Charles Manson and Jeffrey Daumer did. That’s…harsh.
– From Wrestling Challenge, March 1993, Hulk cuts a promo about Money Inc. Apparently Jimmy Hart’s job is to dig a hole in the desert and bury their bodies. This disc has taken a decidedly dark turn. Oh, and Brutus Beefcake has an indestructible mask now that is resistant to any briefcase. Good god this was horrible.
– From Bash at the Beach 95, Mean Gene interviews Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman and Hulk says BROTHER about a million times, brother. Again, stuff like the Huckster skits weren’t necessarily wrong.
– From Nitro, November 1995, Hulk cuts a promo from the Dungeon of Doom while wearing a black mask and wielding a sword. OK then.
– From Nitro, September 1996, we get an nWo paid announcement spot from Hogan building up WarGames. This was a really good and different promo from him.
– From RAW, April 2005, Coach interviews Shawn Michaels about his upcoming tag team with Hogan and says they both have big egos and will self-destruct. Of course, he was completely right. But Shawn brings out Hogan and Mean Gene and does his promo, pretending to be on his side before turning on him down the road.
Like, come on, we get a SINGLE match from the AWA but multiple ones from Hogan’s disaster of a run in 2002? Not to mention that the entire third disc is comprised of matches that were already very much released, either on PPV or aired on NATIONAL TELEVISION. This one isn’t quite bad enough to drop my recommendation or anything, but there’s literally hundreds of hours of lost Hogan matches we could have gotten instead of the crap on the third disc that no one is nostalgic for. The first two discs in the set barely even scratch the surface of the 80s alone.
Oh well, I had a lot of fun reviewing this most of the way and I’d still say it’s worth picking up if you see it at a reasonable price.