The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Hulkamania Forever!
– This is a Coliseum video from 1990, as evidenced by the wrestling figure ad at the beginning, complete with “WWF” getting bleeped even in commercial form. This goes away on Tuesday, so I figured I should get it done since it’s 100 degrees F here in Saskatoon and I’m not getting to sleep any time soon anyway.
– Your host is Sean Mooney.
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage.
This is from London in 1989, with Liz in Hogan’s corner having apparently survived an encounter with an insane hairdresser armed with extensions and a curling iron. After some stalling, Hogan overpowers Savage on the lockup and then takes him down with the shoulderblock. Sherri, dressed more like a hooker than usual, tosses a chair at Hogan, but he catches it and takes a seat. Savage tries a headlock, but then runs away instead and we get some stalling. And some more, as Savage cuts a promo and then attacks Hogan from behind, only to get the worst of that situation. So after Hogan, sportsman that he is, beats up Sherri, he prevents Savage from doing the same to Liz and takes over in the ring. Hogan chokes Savage out, but when Sherri tries to report his rulebreaking to the ref, Liz dumps her into the ring! I never expected Elizabeth to get corrupted by someone like Hogan. Finally Savage gets a well-timed cheapshot and drops the axehandle to the floor, and back into the ring for another one. We hit the chinlock and Hogan powers out of it, but Savage head-fakes with a series of elbow attempts and then rolls him up for two by surprise. Back to the chinlock, which Hogan fights out of again, but he makes the mistake of going after Sherri again. Savage hits him with her purse and then drops the big elbow, but, well, you know. Big boot and legdrop at 14:03. Good entertainment value, not so much of a technical classic. **1/2
WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. “The Genius” Lanny Poffo.
From SNME #24 in November of 89. Hogan powers him out of the ring, but he gracefully returns and Hogan applauds it. Hogan slams him, however, and Genius is forced to use his amazing intellect to evade the big boot. He stops to write out a formula on one of his scrolls, which apparently spells doom for Hulk. How can you not love this match? They fight over a lockup and Genius gets a cheapshot, thus annoying Hulk. So Genius prances and minces while Hulk waits him out, until he’s ready to charge out with a lariat that nearly rips his head off. Tremendous. Corner elbow and atomic drop follow, and a backdrop suplex sets up the elbowdrops. Hogan hammers away while Mr. Perfect joins us at ringside and disrespects the belt by spitting gum on it. Hogan chases him, but runs into the post. Back in, it’s a Genius moonsault for two. Hulk Up Time, and Poffo’s reaction is classic, as he quickly eats the big boot after nearly shitting his pants in terror. So they trade backrakes as Genius desperately alters the game plan, and then Poffo takes a great bump as Hogan tosses him to the floor. He makes the mistake of chasing him out, however, and after tossing his victim back into the ring, Perfect clocks Hogan with the belt and the most famous upset in SNME history is complete at 8:35. ** Not a great wrestling match or anything, but for comedy value and entertainment it was tremendous.
– Dino Bravo and Earthquake attacking Hogan somehow segues into Hogan giving one his all-time great non-sensical egomaniacal promos about how Hogan is going to “save” the Warrior from the darkness, which is then topped by Warrior apparently speaking a foreign language that only insane monks who are stoned on PCP can understand.
WWF title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior.
Forget all the rest, this was the match that sold out the Skydome and the match that the whole card was judged on. The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying Warrior moreso than both the original viewing and the original rant in 1999, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. ***1/2 Hogan, however, should have left to go make a movie or whatever, but he DIDN’T, and Warrior’s reign was immediately sabotaged because he was stuck in the shadow of Hogan and left as #2 babyface, even when he was supposed to be drawing on top. That’s why Hogan was champion again in 1991, and why he was the smartest dude in wrestling for so long.
Hulk Hogan v. Earthquake
Quake attacks from behind and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS to subdue Hogan, but an elbow misses and Hogan slugs back. He follows with the corner clothesline and tries to knock Quake down with clotheslines, but then goes after Jimmy Hart instead of following up. Quake runs him into the post a couple of times, and they head back in for a powerslam and big fat elbow from Earthquake. Another one gets two. A quick bearhug and Quake pounds away in the corner, but charges and gets sent into the corner as a result. Hogan tries slugging again to set up a bodyslam, but that’s not happening. Hulk unloads the punches in the corner and tries another slam, apparently having learned nothing, and Quake falls on top for two. Geez, take a hint. Quake goes back to the bearhug as Gorilla discusses Hogan’s Immortality with Alfred. I never got that logic — he LOSES the match against Warrior, so that makes him Immortal? Didn’t that show pretty clearly that he was MORTAL? Anyway, Quake powers him down and looks to finish with the butt splash, but it’s hulk up, big boot, legdrop, and Jimmy runs in for the DQ at 8:31. I continue not to understand that finish — clearly Hogan had the guy beat, so how does it protect the heel to have him lose by DQ instead? Paint by numbers Hogan match. *1/2
– Meanwhile, on the Brother Love Show, Earthquake lays out Hogan and sits on him, sadly only putting him out of action until Summerslam. Hogan, in great pain, still has enough wits about him to clutch his gold chain, obviously terrified that Rene Goulet would attempt to pawn it so he could afford to eat.
– This sets up one of the lamest video packages ever done by the WWE, with a montage of Hogan beating up heels while the screen flashes “Hulk Rules!”, followed by an ominous organ arrangement of the theme to signify his injury at the hands of Earthquake, and then closing on a dramatic shot of his locker closing. GET WELL, HULK! Or don’t, whatever.
– Hulk Hogan v. Earthquake. Eh, not in the mood for this again, so let’s cut and paste and move on.
It should be noted that my father, who is a
noted sadist, printed out a huge “GET WELL HULK” poster and hung it in
my room while I was asleep, just to piss me off. Tugboat was supposed
to be in Hogan’s corner, but he ate one Ring-Ding too many and exploded,
so Bossman takes his place. I keep waiting for Tugboat to come crashing
through the backdrop in a Stormtrooper helmet during the pre-match
interview, but he disappoints as usual. TO THE MATCH! Hogan tries a
shove out of the lockup, but Quake is JUST TOO FAT! None of Hulk’s
subsequent lockups work, so he bails. Man, if THAT’S all it takes to
outthink Hogan, put me in there with him. Hogan tries a slam, and it
doesn’t work. Duh. A series of right hands doesn’t work either, until
he windmills his arm like Popeye, and then that one knocks him down,
presumably because of the increased momentum, but you’d really have to
ask one of the physics guys on RSPW/M. Hulk and Bossman double-team
Quake in full view of the ref, so Quake and Bravo double-team Hogan when
he’s not looking. Gotta love the hypocritical booking of Hogan’s
matches. See also: Motorcycle helmets with fists attached. Quake hits
a double-axehandle off the top and…STOMPS ON HIS HAND! Man, that’s
just MEAN! Someone tell Quake’s mommy. Quake gets a Boston crab, but
it’s Philadelphia so Hogan is able to make the ropes. Hogan bails again
(COWARD! ORANGE SKINNED FREAKISH CHICKEN!) and gets beate up by Bravo.
Back in the ring, as Earthquake misses a big elbow and Hogan goes for
the slam again (what a moron), but of course Quake falls on him for two.
Why? Say it with me, kids…HE’S JUST TOO FAT! Bearhug. Hey, that’s
what I was wanting to pick up the pace. Hulk always knows how to make
me happy. Hulk rips apart Hebner’s shirt while trying to escape. Don’t
ask me why. A couple of shoulderblocks stagger the Quake, and Hulk
actually tries a BODYPRESS, thus putting him in Jushin Liger territory
compared to his usual arsenal. Sadly, Quake catches him and slams him,
so we’ll never know the outcome of that particular experiment. Quake
hits the FAT-ASSED BUTTSPLASH OF DOOM and Vince mourns Hulk’s career,
but he doesn’t want the pin yet. Another splash, but Hulk kicks out.
See, ONE splash was enough to put Hercules in the hospital, but Hulk
takes TWO and then kicks out. Don’t you just LOVE the guy? Hulk up,
big boot, slam (this time it works, psychology be damned), but the 84th
Airborne runs in and both guys end up outside the ring. There’s a table
that is inexplicably at ringside, so Hogan slams Quake on it and beats
the count in at 13:17. The table doesn’t break. It should be noted
that if it HAD broken, ECW would have officially stolen their best idea
from the WWF. Just wanted to point that out. 1/4* The reason why
Hogan didn’t get a pinfall win eludes me to this day.
– Mean Gene has a word with Hogan on the set of Suburban Commando.
Hulk Hogan v. Ted Dibiase. Just the last couple of minutes of their title match from SNME #23 in October of 89. Hulk up and it looks like a Zeus run-in for the DQ, but Hogan cradles for the surprise pin instead. Good little match.
Hulk Hogan & Tugboat v. Dino Bravo & Earthquake.
This looks to be a dark match from a Superstars taping in 1990, before they gave up on Tugboat. Hulk starts with Bravo as Hayes notes that Hogan is not the kind of selfish wrestler who hogs all the glory for himself. Poor Alfred was obviously going senile even back then. After some stalling, Hogan powers Bravo into the corner and the faces double-team him and work on the arm. Speaking of Tugboat, since the angle is dead and buried now I can reveal that Dusty Rhodes tried hard to have Shockmaster be the mastermind behind Vince McMahon’s attempted murder, which I guarantee would have been better than whatever the eventual payoff would have been. Anyway, Hogan gets his showdown with Earthquake and pounds away in the corner, then follows with a corner clothesline and slams him on the first try. Tugboat comes in and slams Bravo, which is less impressive. Double boots for the heels, but poor stupid Tugboat gets double-teamed by the heels and slammed. Quake drops an elbow and Bravo comes off the top with a forearm for two. Double clothesline gets two. Blind charge hits boot and it’s hot tag Hogan, and he quickly rolls up Bravo for the pin at 8:13. Just a standard “send the crowd home happy” match. *1/2
Unless you LOVE Hogan v. Earthquake or haven’t bought any of the 134 DVDs that feature Hogan v. Warrior, take a pass on this.