The Way Too Long Review of Hulk Hogan’s Unreleased Collector’s Series: Disc One

Reviews, Wrestling DVDs

At a Secret Meeting in Titan Towers, Circa Summer of 2009

DVD Director: Okay gentleman, we need a new DVD set in time for the holidays.  Black Friday is coming.  Any thoughts?

Technician #1: Chris Jericho?

Entire room breaks out into spontaneous laughter

Technician #1: Ha, no seriously.  How about the best of Jim Ross humiliations?  Fans love to see that frozen-faced fat ass get tortured.  Can’t get enough it!  At least that’s what Vince says.

Director: Sounds good, but I hear he’s about to buy the farm.  Better way until afterwards.  Cash in on the sympathy market.  Cha-ching!

Technician #2: Guys… hear me out.  I’m going to say three words and just let it simmer:  Best.  Of.  Hornswoggle.


Director: Yeah, well we should hold off on that until he wins the Royal Rumble.  I think they have 2011 penciled in.

Technician #2: That’s going to be awesome.

Director: Gentleman, these are all terrible ideas.  We need something fresh.  Something that hasn’t been done.

Technician #3
: Or we can put another Hulk Hogan DVD out.

Director: I like.  I like.  BUT… we’ve already done two, and every possible Hogan match that people would want is already in one of those two sets.  There’s nothing left.

Technician #3: Well, we could take all the other matches we had laying around waiting to shoe-horn into other DVDs as filler material that nobody could possibly want, put them all together, and release it as a three-disc set.

Director: That’s brilliant!

Technician #3: And just to hammer home what an incredibly shallow cash-in this is, we’ll give it the most uninspired name possible.  Something like, I don’t know, Hulk Hogan’s Unreleased Collector’s Series.

Director: That’s it, I’m sold.  Guys, start putting this thing together.  I’ll go let Vince know.  He’ll be thrilled.  I mean, it’s not like Hogan is going to accept a big money offer from a rival promotion just days after tens of thousands of copies of this set are printed up.

At least that’s how I pictured it going down.  Anyway, I know that Hulk Hogan isn’t exactly one of the IWC’s favorite wrestlers.  My re-posting of his Ultimate Anthology DVD was not one of my more widely-read reviews.  Perhaps that was because it was for an older set, or perhaps the trolls had better things to do.  Either way, it didn’t go over well, and I actually took a tiny bit of heat for giving the set a thumbs up.  Well, what else could I do?  It literally was what it advertised itself to be: every Hogan match you could possibly want.  It wasn’t full of great wrestling, but they have sets devoted to good workers for that.  It also contained mostly repeats from other sets, something I’ve busted on in the past.  In the case of the Ultimate Anthology, I let it slide because that set was the only one I could see someone who got out of wrestling DECADES AGO buying on a nostalgia trip.  Not even the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection or the Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior would lure in guys who quit watching after the Hulkamania era ended.  But that set?  Without question it did.  It’s one of the best selling WWE sets ever with nearly five-times as many copies sold as Chris Benoit or Bret Hart’s sets.

Now I know you jaded IWC mega-nerds can only take so much “Big Boot, Leg Drop, 1-2-3” so I really did my homework on this set to make sure that it’s loaded with enough history and fun facts to make this worth reading for pretty much anyone.  Since people are always saying “source please.”  So just to make it clear: I don’t make shit up and I don’t quote sources that are unreliable.  Or, if I do, I make a note of it.  In the month preceding the release of this set I watched a lot of shoot interviews from 80s era WWE guys.  I highlighted various pieces of Hulk Hogan gossip and haterizing from several wrestling biographies and other assorted wrestling books.  And if needed, I hit up old issues of the Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Torch just to make sure.  So for those of you that say ‘source’ I say this: do some fucking reading.

Oh yes, and I’m on Twitter now.  You can check out my tentative ratings for Wrestlemania 26 matches on it.   You could call them the Way Too Short Reviews.

-Live from… well my computer.

-A voice over tells us that Hulk Hogan was indeed a pretty big star.  No fucking shit?  And hey, he won some big matches and had catchphrases.  Did you know that?  But then we get some brief clips of him training and some very bad footage of him as Sterling Golden.

Match #1
Hulk Hogan vs. Harry Valdez
11/13/79 WWE Championship Wrestling

I’m fairly certain this was Hogan’s first match in the company.  Hogan has long aqua-blue tights for this one, plus his chest hair is shaved in the shape of a mushroom cloud.  Or possibly one of those little cartoon tornados that Snoopy gets over his head when he gets pissed.  Hell, I don’t know.  Freddie Blassie is his manager, and if there’s anyone who I would love to see get a DVD, it’s him.  Modern fans cannot appreciate how influential he was as a heel in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s.  I would highly recommend his biography “Listen Up You Pencil Neck Geeks” to any fan, even if you’re not into watching pre-cable era matches.  His stories are well told, hilarious, and very insightful towards the evolution of professional wrestling.  And actually, as a worker he was very good in the ring.  He wrestled an 80s style in the 50s and some of his peers hated him for that.  But he was damn good.  Certainly not the nicest guy ever, but what I always respected about him was that he understood that times change and that wrestling is better now then it was then.  Unlike guys such as Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, or Verne Gagne, he wanted to see wrestling become faster paced and more entertainment based, and he always encouraged the next generation to try and keep changing the style and never settle for the status quo.  That’s real class.  They don’t make them like him anymore.

To the match.  Lockup and Hogan shoves Valdez down.  Another lockup and another shove.  The WWE was pretty slick whenever they booked jobbers against Hogan, making sure they were as short as possible so that Hogan would look gigantic.  He also was always directed to stay close to the camera side of the ring and for his opponent to be behind him so that he looked even bigger.  These are the kind of tricks they’re using with Sheamus right now.  Another lockup and Valdez gets a headlock.  This will not end well.  Hogan picks him up and simply tosses him across the ring.  Some pretty feeble stomping by Hogan and a couple big slams follow.  Leg Drop hits, but it’s ’79 and that’s not his finish yet.  Hogan whips him from corner to corner, and then fires off his crappy punches.  Another slam and then a knee drop.  Vertical suplex hits, then Valdez gets stuck in a backbreaker and that’s that.

DUD Total squash and Hogan had some really feeble crap going for him here.

-After the match, Freddie talks about what a stud Hogan is.  We then go to the voiceover who talks about how ‘after only one year’ he gets a shot at the championship.  Actually since the match in question takes place in April of 1980 and Hogan debuted in November of 1979, that’s about six months.  Which was basically how things normally happened in the WWE at the time.  A mega heel would debut, squash the shit out of some jobbers for a good long while, and then be put into a feud with the champion.  He would then tiff with an upper-midcarder and move on.  So don’t buy the “He was so good he was instantly a main eventer” shit they sling in these sets.  It’s not like he was Brock Lesnar or anything.

Match #2: WWE Championship
(c) Bob Backlund vs. Hulk Hogan
4/12/80 from Philadelphia, PA

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do the honors here as this really is a match that never was used for television or later video.  They keep up kayfabe, which is fine.  Usually when something is cut completely from TV it’s because the match was no good and they left it on the cutting room floor.  Plus, this match goes nearly 30 minutes.  That’s fairly ominous.  Anyway, this is a pretty neat match-up, historically speaking.  Backlund was Vince Sr.’s favorite wrestler, while Hogan was Junior’s.  The elder McMahon had been peeved at Hogan from the beginning for his refusal to play an ethnic hero.  They had previous success with the Italian hero (Bruno Sammartino), the Hispanic one (Pedro Morales), and various others.  Vince Sr. wanted Hogan to be an Irish hero, which is where he got the name Hogan from.  He ordered Hulk to dye his hair red and had tights with a shamrock made for him.  Either Freddie Blassie or Gorilla Monsoon (depending on who’s telling the story) was sent to supervise the dye job.  According to Hogan, he saw himself in the green shamrock wrestling gear and thought he looked stupid.  He didn’t want to dye his hair red either.  Reason why?  He heard red dye makes you go bald.  No joke.  So he dumped the dye out and told Vince Sr. that he wouldn’t do it.  The old man was going to tell Hogan to hit the road, but Vince Jr. convinced his dad that Hogan had more value as a heel due to his size and look and that he could have a successful program with Andre the Giant if they built him up right.  But the older Vince, who normally was a pretty easy going guy, never let it slide and the first chance he got he fired Hogan for asking for time off to film his part in Rocky III.

To the match.  Backlund offers up a handshake, which Hogan almost ignores, but then he accepts it.  Didn’t see that coming.  Lockup and Hogan shoves Backlund to the corner and does a few muscle poses.  Another lockup but they quickly release.  Hogan goes for a lockup but Backlund swings him around and into the corner with it.  Another lockup and Hogan goes back to using the power and tosses Backlund into the corner.  Another lockup is ducked by Backlund, who knows how to play the subtle mind games.  Lockup and Backlund goes to a waistlock, which Hogan turns around on.  They get to the mat and Backlund uses his skills to almost grab advantage so Hogan bails to the corner.  Lockup and Backlund to the waistlock again.  Hogan reverses and goes for an amateur takedown but Backlund out-wrestles him.  Hogan gets pissy so he charges and Backlund trips him up twice and Hulk bails.  He stalls as he climbs back in the ring, then calls for a test of strength.  We tease it for a while, with Backlund drying his hands first.  They slap it on and have a standstill on it for a bit.  Hogan starts to win and gets Backlund down to his knees with the double-knucklelock.  Backlund tries to fight to his feet so Hogan kicks him down.  Both guys work the hold, and then Backlund rolls out of the hold and trips up Hogan again for a standstill.

Circle and a lockup and Backlund grabs a headlock.  Hogan runs Backlund to the corner and puts him on the ropes.  He tries to punch Backlund off the top with the dreaded clenched-fist, but Backlund smacks away at him and we have another standstill.  Lockup and Hogan goes for a top-wristlock, but Backlund counters out of it.  Lockup and Backlund gets a headlock.  Hogan tries to shoot off but Backlund actually drags him in the headlock as he bounces off the ropes.  Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler tell us how much damage a headlock does to the ears, especially when guys did it back in the day.  Thank god they picked Ross and Lawler, as they’re really putting this match over.  And hey, the match is actually pretty good.

Backlund takes Hogan to the mat with the headlock and they work it a bit.  Hogan gets to his feet and shoots Backlund off and goes for a shoulderblock, but nothing comes of it.  Hogan hits a hiptoss but Backlund rolls through it and gets a dropkick and another headlock-takeover.  Hogan tries to muscle Backlund over and gets two, but Bob keeps the move on.  Hogan has enough with this wrestling crap, so he gets to his feet and shoots Backlund off and slams him.  Elbow drop hits, but Backlund is resilient and pops up.  He can do that stuff too, so he slams Hogan and drops his own elbow.  He then takes Hulk over with another headlock-takeover.  Hogan tries to get a near fall or two out of it, and then they get back to their feet.  Again, they actually work the hold instead of just laying there, which makes all the difference.  To their feet, where Hogan shoots off.  Backlund goes for a shoulderblock but Hogan braces up for it and it doesn’t work.  Backlund goes for another and Hogan braces again, so this time Backlund fires off a schoolboy for two.  Awesome psychology here.

Lockup and Backlund gets another headlock-takeover.  And again, Hogan tries to get a near-fall out of it.  Now Backlund is pissed and he cranks on the lock a few times, and then rolls Hogan over for two.  Hogan to his feet and he fires off a backbreaker, which might end up being the first offensive move that lets him take control.  Meanwhile, Jerry Lawler relates a story about how Hogan was one of the first guys he knew of that actually groomed his body hair, and that he shaved his own back by attaching a straight razor to a shoehorn to do it.  Lawler thought that was ingenious and copied it himself.  Back to the match, and Hogan finally has control with various kicks.  Hogan fires off a version of an Oklahoma Stampede, only he finishes with a backbreaker instead of a slam.  It only gets one and the fans pop and chant for Backlund.  Hogan snatches Bob’s arm and clubs at it, and then ties it back in a hammerlock.  Backlund tries to fight back so Hogan yanks him down by the trunks and drops his leg across the arm.  Hogan holds an armbar, but Backlund gets to his feet.  In a scary moment, Backlund struggles for a slam, and when he finally gets it Hogan ends up getting dropped on the point of his shoulder.  Yipes.  Still looked good though, and Hogan’s upper body is so dense that I doubt it even bruised him.

Hulk retains control by kicking Bob in the ribs.  He goes to the arm, changing from armbar to wristlock.  Backlund fights back with some punches and a shoulderblock, but Hogan catches another charge with a hiptoss.  He then drops his leg horizontally on Backlund and ties up the arm with his leg.  Backlund struggles for a bit and then flips Hogan over for two.  Hogan’s kick out rolls him back into the position he had and the armlock is retained.  Backlund tries to roll out of it but Hogan rolls with him and keeps the hold on.  Awesome spot sees Backlund roll Hogan up for a two count, then dead-lift Hogan with one arm while Hulk keeps himself grapevined around Bob’s other arm.  But he can’t quit get him up high enough and Hogan rolls back into it.  Backlund catches his breath and tries it again, and this time he gets Hogan up high enough to place him into the corner ropes.  Awesome sequence.  He then bitch slaps Hulk and fires up the crowd.  Hogan is pissed and charges, but Backlund catches it and slams him, then fires off a dropkick.  He gets a little overzealous and tries whipping Hogan from corner to corner, but Hogan reverses the second whip and Backlund bounces off the turnbuckle and into a bearhug.  Fans are seriously scared and legitimately believe Backlund is in trouble now.  We end up on the mat where Backlund has to concentrate on keeping his shoulder up.  Backlund gets to his feet and boxes Hogan’s ears to escape, but he’s still woozy so Hogan applies the hold again.  Back to the canvas, where Backlund tries to fire himself back up.  Hogan won’t let go of the hold, so Backlund muscles up and fires off a nasty piledriver.  Both guys are out but Backlund keeps the pace up by draping an arm over for two.  Hogan kicks out strong enough that his arm ends up draped over Backlund for two.  Fucking nice!  Backlund goes for a splash or a forearm drop but Hogan gets his knees up.

Hogan is up and goes for a vertical suplex.  The cameraman tries to give us a cute angle for it and actually makes me legitimately dizzy in the process.  I had to take a minute after that, and even Jim Ross had to make a comment.  Hogan is still pooped and only manages to drape an arm over for two.  Hogan goes for another suplex but Backlund blocks and fires off his own, even delaying it for a bit.  Fans are in a total frenzy as Backlund drapes an arm over for two, and again Hogan’s kick-out causes his arm to drape over for two.  They need to bring that spot back.  The referee is keeping the match at a fast pace by counting quickly so that the double KO doesn’t get too boring.  And it doesn’t.  Jim Ross notes that the official is not working by the hour.  Snapmare by Backlund but a Leg Drop misses.  Hogan snatches Backlund up in a long airplane spin.  He gets himself quite dizzy, and Lawler notes that this points out his lack of experience.  Hogan goes for a double-sledge but Backlund punches low and snatches Hogan up in a fireman’s carry, then does his own airplane spin.  Hogan’s so much bigger that it’s a spectacular visual.  Both guys end up tumbling out of the ring.  Backlund reapplies the airplane spin on the floor, but he releases Hogan on the apron and then falls dizzy on the floor himself.  The referee counts quickly and Hogan ends up winning via count-out.  Man, I really wish this had a clean finish.

****3/4 Two matches into the set and I’m already eating crow for the earlier “no four-star matches” comment.  This was a great match, and likely as close as Hogan has ever come to having a technical masterpiece.  Don’t get me wrong, Bob Backlund completely carried everything here and then some.  Regardless, this is the highest rating I’ve ever given to a Hulk Hogan match.  His previous high was ****1/2 and it was a tag match with Genichiro Tenryu against the Road Warriors that is certainly not going to appeal to everyone.  Here both guys kept up a great pace that prevented the green and endurance-challenged Hogan from ever hitting the wall.  I thought the ending was lame.  I usually don’t score against count-outs, but this was one of the worst examples of one I’ve seen.  If it had been any other spot used to cause Backlund to be counted out, I think I would have given this the full five-stars.  For real.  It just kept me totally entertained from start to finish and more then once surprised me.  Of course, this match is more of a testament to Bob Backlund’s ability, but what are the odds that he will ever get his own set?  And suddenly I’m more optimistic for this collection as a whole.  Of course, in about, oh, three more matches, we’re going to hit the Hulkamania era and the quality of this set will likely disappear as fast as his hair did.

-Of course, Hogan didn’t win the championship.  And to clear up any bullshit rumors, some of which I’m guessing comes from Hogan himself, he was never penciled in to win the belt during this run.  The company was always based around strong babyface champions and Hogan didn’t fit into that mold.  Nor was he as charismatic as Superstar Billy Graham, at least at the time, so a heel title run was out.  In truth, Hogan’s later babyface run was pretty much like what Graham would have been like if Vince Jr. had gotten his way and convinced his dad to keep Graham as the champion and turned him babyface.  Anyway, so following the loss to Backlund, they started to build up Hogan for Andre the Giant and started putting him in 2-on-1 handicap matches, such as the one you’re about to see.

Well I’m about to see.  You’re about to read about.

Match #3
Hulk Hogan vs. Steve King & Angelo Gomez
9/10/80 All Star Wrestling

Both guys try to tie up Hogan’s arms but get tossed down.  So both guys go for the legs.  That works even worse.  So back to the arms where the two jobbers wind him up, but again he throws them off.  Noggin-knocker and a scoopslam to Gomez.  Low-impact brawling by Hogan, then Gomez goes for a waistlock.  Hogan backs him to the corner, and then fights off King.  He slaps a bearhug onto both guys at the same time.  Backbreaker to Gomez, then one to King and that’s all she wrote.

DUD Although really, this deserved a No Rating.  The last match went thirty minutes and they needed something small to fill up the disc.  Honestly, I would have rather had a promo.

-Speaking of which, he does get a promo after the match.  Hogan does muscle poses while Freddie Blassie cuts a promo about how Hogan is doing a centerfold for the most popular magazine in the world, with a circulation of over four-million.  Vince McMahon actually gets a pretty funny quip in.  “I didn’t know Mad Magazine had such a circulation!”  Blassie says that the magazine has a huge circulation.  “National Lampoon?”  Blassie ignores these slams by McMahon and keeps shilling how in-demand Hogan is, and then declares that it’s a nude magazine.  Hogan then gets on the stick and declares he is everyone’s new hero and idol.  He now wishes to be known as “Super Hero Hulk Hogan” which is about as well received as To Catch a Predator among Catholic Priests.

-So now it’s time to talk about the Hogan/Andre feud, which is what Hogan’s entire WWE run at this point was meant to lead to.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that Hogan was the first credible challenger to Andre, at least in the WWE.  The claim that Andre was undefeated was dubious at best, as he had challenged for the NWA Championship at few times and came up short.  That said, Andre was more of a special attraction and as such he never really had programs with people that required the trading of wins and loses to keep the fans coming back.  And he was charismatic enough to lure the fans in.  I actually think the Great Khali has Andre-like potential and as a babyface is actually pretty charismatic.  It’s a shame the WWE debuted him as a heel and as a legitimate threat to the World Title, because it never would have worked.  Andre the Giant wasn’t exactly Lou Thesz in the ring either but the fans liked him because of his easygoing, almost jovial personality, and Khali has that in spades.  Such a waste.

Match #4
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
9/22/80 Madison Square Garden
Guest Referee: Gorilla Monsoon

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are on commentary again, which I’m guessing might happen a lot in these early discs.  Andre doesn’t wait for the introductions to be made and ends up locking up with Hogan.  Gorilla Monsoon is the guest referee.  He was a pretty big guy and he looks downright tiny when he gets sandwiched in between these two.  Good visual, which I’m guessing is why he was here.  Monsoon lets it go and calls for the bell to start the match.  Andre maneuvers Hogan to the corner and smashes his ass into him.  Monsoon tells him to get out of the corner.  Andre asks if he can just hit him once with a clinched fist.  Monsoon says no.  Andre is like “Ah shucks.”  Then Hogan takes Andre into the ropes and tries to club him there, but Monsoon yanks Hogan by the hair.  So Andre goes back to the clubbing blows, then a big chop.  Monsoon tells Andre to not pull the hair.  Andre gets Hogan to the corner and Monsoon blocks him from punching.  Ugh, so annoying.  These guys are fucking huge.  All they have to do is take two steps in any direction and they will end up in the ropes.  They circle and Andre fires off a clubbing blow, causing Hogan to bail.  After a long stall, Hogan returns to the ring and gets double-underhooked by Andre, who then preps Hogan for a skull crusher (no relation to Miz’s finisher) and hits it.  Hogan begs off, so Andre goes to drag Hogan around by the hair some more.  But he’s gassed from moving around so Hogan slaps on a bearhug.  Well that was out of nowhere.  This goes on forever.  I rag on Big Show from time to time, but there’s absolutely no question he’s a better athlete then Andre was.  Same with Khali as well.  Jim Ross points out on commentary that Andre didn’t lift weights or work out, he was just big naturally.  Even in the 70s he required long rest holds after minimal action in the ring.  Makes one wonder what he would have been like if he had done some cardio training.  Then again, given that he lived a few years longer then he was expected to, maybe it would have just made his heart give out on him sooner.

Hogan tries to lift Andre up and his back gives out.  Andre collapses to the mat while Hogan clutches at his injured back.  Andre is still in hibernation so Hogan drops a forearm on him, then a leg, then an elbow.  Andre doesn’t really sell these as he’s too gassed to.  I get that he’s a legend and stuff, but good lord was he boring in the ring.  Hogan is having to stomp and kick at him, and then fires off a blatant choke.  Andre hasn’t been off the mat for a while now, so Hogan slaps on a chinlock.  Andre escapes with a pull of the hair.  Hogan has to oversell everything while he waits for Andre to wake up.  He goes back to work by grinding his knee into Andre against the ropes, but finally the sleeping giant is awake.  Hogan goes for another bearhug but Andre headbutts out of it.  He fires off some chops and clubbing blows.  Scoopslam by Andre but a big splash misses and he’s wiped out again.  Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are keeping themselves amused by talking about how big Andre was and what life was like for him.  Hogan goes for a double-sledge but Andre slaps on a bearhug.  Yea.  I hope people watch this and realize how good the Wrestlemania III match was in comparison.  Andre fires off some clubbing blows and a big headbutt, and then slings him off the ropes.  Andre grabs a leg and then dives down on it, but legitimately tweaks his back doing it.  Hogan is feeling good so he picks up Andre for a big bodyslam.  The fans go into stunned silence from it, even though I’m pretty sure a few other guys such as Don Leo Jonathan had done it as well.  Hogan goes for another slam but Andre falls on top and Monsoon quickly counts the three.

DUD Incredibly boring, slow paced, lacking psychology, or anything that remotely resembles decent wrestling.

-Hogan’s star was on the rise and he ended up appearing in Rocky III, which was the excuse Vincent J. McMahon had been waiting for and he told Hogan he would never work in New York again.  That was okay, as the AWA wanted him to capitalize on his mainstream status.  Verne Gagne signed Hogan with the intent of making him a monster heel that his son could then beat to give him the credibility needed to put the championship on him.  Hogan’s pre-debut vignettes got him so over that he practically debuted as the top babyface in the company.  Gagne hated Hogan’s feeble punches and lack of technical skills but loved the money he drew, so he reluctantly put Hogan in the main event.  According to Hogan, he offered him the championship but expected him to marry his daughter in exchange for it, and Hulk balked.  Years later Triple H would say “Deal!”

Match #5
Hulk Hogan vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan
5/2/81 AWA

Bockwinkel is the champ here, but the title is not on the line.  A lot of people assume that Nick Bockwinkel wasn’t happy working with Hogan.  Actually, Nick himself says that Hogan was one of his favorite opponents because Bockwinkel liked to take big bumps.  Verne Gagne wasn’t a fan of over-selling moves, but Hogan was one of the guys who he could do that against without looking cartoonish.  The heels don’t wait for the bell and double team Hogan by grabbing his arms and kicking away.  Hogan fights back by slamming them into each other.  Punches for all and the fans are hot for everything Hogan does.  Another noggin-knocker, this time with Heenan on the apron and that sends him to the floor.  Bockwinkel bails as well.  Hogan warns the ref to check Heenan for weapons, but instead we get a long stall.  Things settle down and Bockwinkel finally gets towards the ring.  Lockup and Hogan slings him into Heenan.  Nice comedy spot sees Hogan offer up a type of knucklelock for Bockwinkel, in an attempt of having a tug-of-war of sorts.  Nick accepts and gives his free hand to Heenan.  Hogan yanks and whips Bockwinkel to the corner while Heenan is launched over the top rope and on his ass.  Another noggin-knocker and another bail by the heels.  Let’s stall some more, shall we?  Lockup and Bockwinkel grabs a headlock.  Hogan shoots him off just as Heenan is coming into the ring, and he ends up running into the Brain.  They really telegraphed that one.  “Boy is their timing off!” says the announcer in one of those shoot comments not meant to be a shoot comment.  Double-knucklelock and Bockwinkel tries kick Hogan, but it all gets no-sold and Hogan muscles him down.  Heenan tries to sneak in but Hogan spots him, so Heenan bails to his corner.  Chinlock by Hogan with a knee in the back of the head while the fans give Bobby holy hell.  Bockwinkel makes the tag and Heenan stomps Hogan to death.  Hulk likes Bobby enough to sell it for about five seconds, then he Hulks up and punches him in the corner.  Bockwinkel tries to save but Hogan gives them another noggin-knocker, and then sends Bobby into the corner.  Hogan tries to punch Bockwinkel out of the ring but Bockwinkel gets caught in the ropes taking the bump.  Heenan is the legal man and he gets punched to the floor as well.  Bockwinkel punches Hogan in the throat, and then accepts a tag from Bobby.

Clinched fist to the throat by Bockwinkel, then he takes Hogan to the corner and frees Bobby up to choke him.  They grind Hogan’s throat on the top rope, then Bobby hangs him up.  Front-facelock by Nick is actually a chokehold and the ref catches him.  Meanwhile, Bobby frees the tag rope for some cheating.  Hulk blocks a punch by Nick and smacks him down.  Clothesline and an elbow drop gets two for him.  Shoot-off and Hogan lowers his head into a kick.  Tag to Bobby who has the tag rope.  The fans are just totally heated up for this whole sequence as Bockwinkel distracts the referee.  Bockwinkel and Heenan were geniuses at the psychology of this.  Bockwinkel tags back in when he’s satisfied that Bobby has put Hogan away.  Bockwinkel brawls him on the apron and Heenan comes around to join him.  Hulk blocks a shot and throws Nick away, and then turns his attention on Bobby.  Big elbow to Heenan’s skull, leaving Nick all alone.  Bockwinkel slugs away but Hulk no-sells and hits a big wind-up punch.  Heenan gives it a try but fails as well and Hulk lifts him up to slam him into the turnbuckle.  Bockwinkel saves by hitting a double-sledge to Hogan’s back and covers for two.  Hulk does a power kick-out and wipes out the referee in the process.  Heenan has knuckle dusters and tries hitting Hogan, but Hulk takes them and smacks Bobby down with them.  Hogan brawls both guys around and sends Bobby into corner, where he tries to go up and over, but ends up legitimately blowing his knee out when he lands on the apron.  Listen for the sickening “CLANK” when Heenan lands.  Given how cheap Verne Gagne was, I bet he never bothered to pad the crossbar in the corner.  Fucking OUCH!  Ten-ram to Bockwinkel, then the Big Boot and the Leg Drop wins the match.  Fans are slightly happy to say the least.

*** Started a little sloppy but Bockwinkel and Heenan have such incredible timing that they could keep all the fairly generic cheating seem fresh.  Really, the Hogan formula was almost totally established by now and any heel that’s offense was credible enough and who had enough steam to go ten minutes or so with minimal resting was bound to get a watchable match out of Hogan.  These guys were no exception.

-Hogan jumps to the WWE and we jump ahead four years to a Tuesday Night Titans skit from March 22, 1985.  It’s Hulk Hogan and Mr. T shopping for groceries.  Mr. T pitches Hogan on buying raisins, which you need to get mean.  I heard Hitler ate six bowls of Raisin Bran a day, so I guess the mystery of why he did all that stuff is solved.  Mr. T wants to get his favorite juice.  He gets some carrot juice and some wheat grass, which also makes you mean.  I’m not sure what Stalin ate, but Pol Pot sounds like a wheat grass type of guy.  Hogan says he doesn’t want milk in his, because it’s for babies.  Mr. T demands some bananas and shares one with Hulk.  He says that you need them to swing, like a jungle gorilla.  Then their drinks are finished.  Hogan gags and winces at it.  “JESUS, T!”  I’m sure you guys will say that he said “Jeeze” but it sounded like JESUS to me.  “It will make you mean!”  Jesus Christ, doesn’t anyone drink Jack Daniels to get mean anymore?  Anyway, that’s the end of the skit.  Horrible overall.  There was talk of a Tuesday Night Titans DVD but thankfully it died down.  That stuff is better used as filler anyway.

-Shortly after the first Wrestlemania, Randy Savage made his debut and took off as easily the top heel in the company.  We’ve already had one pre-Wrestlemania Savage/Hogan match hit DVD, and now it’s time for another.  These two had a feud so hot that they kept delaying the big payoff match for it.  When negotiations with Nikita Koloff fell through, the WWE decided to go with Savage/Hogan instead.  But they were drawing record-setting gates at house shows and they decided to keep it off TV for as long as possible.  King Kong Bundy replaced Savage in the Wrestlemania 2 main event, but Savage kept squaring off with Hogan every time the WWE was going to a market that hadn’t seen it before.  The only reason their feud wasn’t considered the top draw of 1986 was because Hogan started his feud with Paul Orndorff and that ended up playing in more places and for longer.

Speaking of which, Nikita Koloff was to be the challenger to Hogan for Wrestlemania II, but Nikita refused to do it on the grounds that he didn’t want to job to Hulk Hogan.  Mind you, he would have been one of the highest paid performers in the company and he would have gotten half of the biggest cut of the biggest gate for the biggest show of all time, but he simply didn’t want to lose one match.  It’s fucking unbelievable.  It would be like an actor saying he would only accept ten million dollars to play Abraham Lincoln and then saying he can’t get shot at the end.

Oh right, Hogan DVD.  Sorry.

Don’t give me that look.  Next time YOU write the review for a three-disc Hogan set and see how hard it is to keep yourself entertained.

Match #6: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
4/26/86 Detroit, MI

Jack Reynolds & Ken Resnick are the commentators.  I gave the previous Savage/Hogan match I reviewed one-star.  It was a major letdown, especially considering I had heard good things about their matches from this timeframe.  Hopefully this one is better.  Savage jumps Hogan to start using his robe and tries to choke with it.  He grabs the title belt and smacks Hogan with it.  The referee stops him from doing it a second time.  Elbow to the face by Savage and a sledge off the top rope.  We’ve already started completely different from the previous Savage match from his set, and thank god for it.  Savage hasn’t even taken his shades off yet because he’s that cool and evil.  He drops another sledge off the top and then goes to chat with Elizabeth, and that was a big mistake as Hogan recovers and takes him down.  He then swipes Savage’s shades and puts them on to wrestle in them a bit.  He dumps Savage to the floor, still wearing the shades.  It worked for Savage but Hogan looks like a bit of a douche.  He loads up Savage on his shoulder and rams him into the post, then breaks the count.  Back in the ring, Hogan lifts Savage up with a double choke and tosses him down.  Somewhere in the process he loses the shades.  Hogan blows Elizabeth a kiss.  I liked Liz when she had a very subtle heelish edge about her.  Not really big at all, just a “Yeah, my guy is a total paranoid madman, but damnit, he’s my paranoid madman!” vibe.  Hogan turns around and tries to punch Savage but gets pathetically dumped between the ropes.  Savage bails to punch Hogan on the floor, then stomps him in the head while he tries to climb back in.  Slam into the guardrail by Savage and he bails back in.  Hogan tries to crawl back so again Savage stomps him in the head.  Back in, Savage tries to slam Hogan into the corner but Hogan blocks and does it himself.  Savage begs off but by the power of Greyskull, Hulk has the pooooowwwweeeeerrrr.  Meanwhile, you can tell this wasn’t really meant to be taped for viewing because the hard camera doesn’t have the seats around it cleared and as a result when the douchebag fans raise their arms up it blocks the lens.  Still, common sense should tell anyone not to put your fucking arms in front of a camera.  The WWE should have the security issue them a polite warning, like a gentle curb stomp.

Clothesline by Hogan, then a clothesline in the corner, which Savage does his crazy bumping off of.  Atomic drop sends Savage up and over to the floor.  Savage uses Elizabeth as a human shield.  The announcers are stunned, presumably because they had not seen Savage wrestle over the past, oh, nine months he had been with the company.  Hogan decides not to kill Elizabeth to get to Randy.  If only he knew how it would end for her, he might have gone for it.  Anyway.  Hogan gets back in the ring and Savage apparently spits at Hogan, but we don’t see it because the camera is focusing on Liz.  We stall and Hogan spits on Savage, and then bails himself.  Weird.  Savage jumps Hogan as he climbs back in the ring, and then dumps him between the ropes, then fires off a sledge from the top and to the floor.  The announcer declares that he’s seen Savage come off heights of 20 to 25 feet with that move.  Holy hyperbole, Batman!  Even Michael Cole would blush at that statement.  Savage drags Hogan back in by the hair, then beats him down on the apron and pushes him off.  Savage drops another sledge off the top.  This one almost goes bad as he loses his footing and barely avoids disaster, but he crumbles pretty well after hitting the floor and avoids blowing his knees out in the process.  He brawls Hogan around ringside and then drops ANOTHER sledge to the floor.  I like the move and stuff, but come on, this is getting excessive.  Back in where Savage chokes Hogan on the ropes and covers for two and two.  Shoot-off and the diving clothesline for a VERY close two.  Hogan usually wasn’t good at dramatic near-falls but that was a good one and the fans totally bought it.  Elbow to the skull by Savage and he climbs.  Flying elbow hits for two as its HULK UP TIME~!!  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell, punch, punch, punch, and the Big Boot which knocks Savage out of the ring.  Elizabeth begs for mercy but Hogan picks her up and moves her out of the way.  Back in, Hogan shoots him off but lowers his head into a kick.  Deja Vu.  From my Randy Savage DVD review…

Big Boot knocks Savage out of the ring.  Elizabeth begs for mercy, so Hogan picks her up and sets her down out of the way.  Back in, Hogan shoots off Savage but lowers his head into a kick.  Savage climbs and hits the flying elbow… for two.

So what’s next for this match?  Savage climbs and goes for the flying elbow… but Hogan gets his feet up and knocks him out.  He actually scores the pin off of this.  After the match, Hogan gets jumped by Savage who uses the title belt.  He then makes Elizabeth snap the title belt around his waist.  He tries to bail with the title but Hogan recovers and carries Savage back to the ring.  He shoots off Savage and tries to beat him with the title belt but Randy bails and escapes.

** Better then the match whose review I just quoted, but still not very good.  The truth is Savage and Hogan didn’t have tremendous chemistry with each other, a product of their bizarre working relationship I’m sure.  I would personally still go with the 2/23/90 Saturday Night’s Main Event match as the definitive Hogan/Savage match, and I still only have it at ***1/2, with the ***1/4 Wrestlemania V match following it but hurt by lack of heat.

-Hogan was the top babyface, and it’s not a stretch to stay that Junkyard Dog was right behind him in terms of popularity.  JYD had issues with drugs that ultimately prevented him from being used as a top attraction in the company, and that’s a shame.  Under Bill Watts, Junkyard was a big time attraction and even made the most racist of shit-kicking southerners cheer him on.  Sadly, according to most wrestlers, he was on cocaine almost all the time and had become physically out of shape.  He was never a great worker but he was very good at timing his comebacks and selling good enough during the heat of the match to keep the fans attention.  By 1986 his mind wasn’t in the game anymore and most of his positive skills in the ring were gone.  The WWE really did have all the intentions of going as far as possible with him, and when he was hired in 1985 it was made clear to him that he was the backup plan in the event that a serious injury befell Hogan.  Bottom line: don’t do drugs.  I actually think the WWE could run a successful advertising campaign on the subject based around all the guys who lost their careers and their lives to substance abuse.  Junkyard Dog, Mr. Perfect, Jake Roberts, and on and on.

Anyway, JYD’s role in the company was often based around feuding with guys who were in Bobby Heenan’s stable.  It was usually people who had just concluded their feud with Hulk Hogan.  In essence, Dog had become the 80s equivalent of Gorilla Monsoon or Chief Jay Strongbow.  The WWE since its launch had always quickly built monster heels up to feed to their babyface champions.  They would get the big main event payday, and then work with the WWE’s long-term midcard guys like Monsoon or Strongbow before jumping to another territory.  This is one of the few aspects the WWE has since dropped from the way it books its shows.  They’ve always kind of stayed close to their regional roots in terms of booking mentality and building the company around strong babyface champions (which is why long-term heel title reigns like JBL’s are so significant) but the quick feeding of monsters to the champion hasn’t been seen since Diesel was on top.  When Snitsky got really hot following his feud with Kane I figured they would end up bringing it back, but they didn’t.  It’s just part of the evolution of the business.

Match #7
Hulk Hogan & Junkyard Dog vs. King Kong Bundy & Big John Studd
5/4/86 Maple Leaf Gardens

The heels are the “Team That Cannot Be Slammed” which isn’t that bad as far as gimmicks go.  In regards to Bundy and Studd, I’m actually a big fan.  Bundy doesn’t really get credit where it’s due for being a good worker with a good understanding of what his role should be in a match.  He never attempted to prove he could actually do scientific wrestling, even though he actually could.  I’ve seen video proof.  Studd I’ve heard actually was a good wrestler early in his career, but I’ve never seen anything of him in his prime.  The injuries piled up for him and he lost speed and mobility.  But I was never really one of those people to hate big men for the sake of hating, which is the IWC’s official pastime.  It’s even more popular then hating on Triple H or trying to come up with reasons to justify Chris Benoit’s murders.  Heck, I was never a fan of the Big Show but I’ve managed to warm up to him when he started tagging with Chris Jericho.  I can learn to accept anything.

To the match, and thankfully Gorilla Monsoon is one of the commentators this time.  This might actually be a Slam Match, because Monsoon is talking about how money is on the line.  Studd and JYD start off.  Studd tries to get Dog trapped in the corner but JYD fights off with various brawling moves.  He tries to slam Studd but it doesn’t work and Studd fires off one of his own.  Studd tells Hogan that he’s next, and demands a tag.  Nice.  Very refreshing to have Studd play a heel that wasn’t a chickenshit.  Studd gets the advantage with some punches, then blocks a Hogan comeback.  He makes good on his promise to slam Hogan, then likes it enough to fire off another.  Then Hogan comes back and slams Studd.  Bundy comes in and gets slammed as well, which I guess makes Hogan $15,000 richer, but the match continues.  The heels bail, and then the evil genius that is Bobby Heenan declares “Don’t let him hiplock you again!”  Even the announcers get a chuckle out of that.  Has anyone in the history of the business ever had better comedic timing then Bobby the Brain did?  I doubt anyone could be considered close.  Back in, Hogan brawls Studd around and tags in JYD.  Bundy makes a tag and takes Dog to the corner, but he gets reversed on a whip to the corner and eats a big headbutt.  Tag to Hogan and he shoots off Bundy for a clothesline.  Bundy really sells this very well and takes the bump with gusto.  Hogan offers up a punch for Studd and then covers Bundy for two.  Bundy gets Hogan to the wrong corner and tags Studd in.  Studd quickly fires off a bearhug.  Tag to Bundy before this can get boring, and he chokes and grinds Hogan into the ropes.  Scoopslam and a knee drop gets two.  Clothesline by Bundy gets two.  Running knee drop misses and JYD gets the tag.  He fires off some headbutts and a clothesline, but a diving headbutt misses and the Dog is now the face in peril.  Studd gets the tag and stomps away.  He draws Hogan in and gives the heels a chance to cheat.  Elbow drop by Bundy gets two.  He goes to a trap-hold hold, muscles down on it, and then covers for two.  Tag to Studd for some stompery.  Shoot-off and Studd lowers his head into a kick.  Hot tag to Hogan.  Clothesline in the corner and an atomic drop.  Leg Drop hits for Hogan but Heenan runs in to draw the DQ.  Like many such matches, I don’t get what difference it makes if Hogan gets the pin there or not.  He hit his finish, the third count was coming down, and there were no titles on the line.  A job is a job, so why not give the fans a clean finish?

**3/4 Not completely bad but not quite good enough.  Firing off those slams right off the bat kind of hurt what I figured would be the structure of the match.  They got the main angle finished right out of the starting gate and had nothing of significance to build towards after it.  The tag formula always works as long as everyone in the ring is competent and follows it to the letter, but I think they should have saved the slams for the finish.

-Now to the Snake Pit with Jake Roberts from March 29, 1987.  Well, they got the date completely wrong as 3/29/87 was in fact the day of Wrestlemania III.  This is sometime before that, as Jake is in the middle of his feud with the Honky Tonk Man.  Jake is still a bit of a heel here, and he has a special custom-made title belt that the WWE commissioned for Andre the Giant on the grounds that they didn’t believe Hogan could win.  Very cool angle.  The belt is nearly as tall as Hogan is, but Hulk no-sells the ominous sight of it and says that the odds makers have it all wrong.  Decent promo.

As a side note, since the question is commonly asked why a Hulk/Roberts feud was teased but never went anywhere, the truth is that Jake was so cool and unique among those meant to be fed to Hogan that the fans started cheering for Roberts.  They didn’t actually turn on Hogan, but they were happy enough to cheer both guys, and that was considered a major no-no during that era when the Hogan formula was going on.  After a few house shows where the crowds ended up split, the feud was cancelled and all remaining house show dates were reshuffled.  Roberts himself feels no bitterness towards this.  In fact, he considers himself a failure for not being able to get heat off of Hogan, since he was one of the only guys who failed to do so.

Match #8: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Kamala
6/26/87 Houston, TX

If you need extra help getting entertainment from this set, just mentally replace “Real American” with “America: Fuck Yeah!” as Hogan’s theme music whenever he’s fighting one of those filthy non-American types.  Especially when he wins the match.  Never failed to crack me up.  I always wondered why they never did a storyline where Hogan learns that he was really born in Canada.  I mean come on, it practically writes itself.


When you’re stuck up north and you want to cry.


You can move to the states or you can wait to die.

Ba ba bomp bomb bananana

You have to learn French, even though it’s not right

The queen’s on our money because we’re full fright


Crappy sports teams and Grizzly Bears!


Fight for what’s right?



Our wrestling stars were our only hope.


Until Benoit killed his family like a total dope.

Ba ba bomp bomb bananana

All we have left is Bret and Jericho

And their ability to draw does really blow


We don’t show women getting beat in the head.


We’re squeamish and we’re wussies.



Yeah that’s not going to get me any hate-mail.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do the honors again.  Lawler was Kamala’s first opponent once he came up with the gimmick.  Conflicting reports on who came up with the Kamala gimmick, and I’ve even heard two versions of it personally from the man himself.  Once he said Lawler came up with it, and in the other he said that he came up with it while just shooting out some off-the-wall ideas with Jerry Jarrett.  Either way, the gimmick was very successful and especially caught on in Texas for WCCW.  Tape quality is pretty washed out, but again a lot of the stuff in this set was never meant to be shown in the first place.  It was either used for training, for chopping up for use in video packages, or was intended for use in Coliseum Home Video compilations and got rejected.  Believe it or not, being rejected for a home video release isn’t necessarily a bad sign.  If you ever wondered why those videos tended to be so bad, the reason was simple: the WWE only used the worst matches for it.  It was thought that if people could rent a video of all the great matches, nobody would order pay per views or watch the television shows, so the WWE filtered out any and all really good matches.  That policy stayed on until around 1992 when the next generation, guys like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, started to get phased in.  I thought that was a nice little bit of info for you readers.

So to the match.  Both guys get a shoulderblock but that goes nowhere.  Another shoulderblock goes nowhere as well.  Kamala leapfrogs Hogan and hits a shoulderblock that works and Hogan backs away to regroup.  Hogan stalls and then goes for a slam, but Kamala clubs him down, and then works him on the mat with various karate chops and stomps.  Mr. Fuji passes Kamala a cane to choke Hogan with.  Then more chopping.  Hogan starts to roll out of the way of those diving chops, and then fires off some punches.  He rams Kamala into the turnbuckles, and then hits a clothesline in the corner.  Kim Chee up to the apron, where he gets knocked down.  Kamala very meagerly uses this chance to take him down.  That looked horrible.  I’m guessing this match wasn’t one of those ‘too good for home video’ affairs.  Now to a nerve pinch.  Hogan’s arm drops twice but he’s still alive.  Kamala chops him and slams him, then hits the big splash for two.  Another slam and Kamala climbs, but Hogan is out of position so he has to climb down and chop some more.  It’s HULK UP TIME~!!  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell.  Kamala, who’s supposed to be a simple-minded primitive, is the first and possibly only Hogan foil to get what this means and so he bails to grab Kim Chee.  But then he runs right back to Hogan to accept his punching, Big Boot, LOOK AT THIS, HE SLAMMED HIM~!  Leg Drop follows, America fuck yeah!  After the match, Kim Chee attacks and dumps the referee.  Fuji and Chee hold Hulk for a big splash off the top, but Hogan gets rid of them.  Kamala begs off and gets smacked around, and then Chee gets smacked around.  AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!  Jim Ross points out that, to Hogan’s credit, he grew up a fan of the sport and knew that he had to do to keep the fans involved and make sure that they would leave happy.  Which is a nice way of saying that when a match sucked he would stick around and make sure everyone had fun as they filed out.

DUD Just really a terrible nothing match.  Everything left in this set until we hit the third disc is either going to hit that three-star level or miss in spectacular fashion.

Match #9: WWE Championship
(c) Hulk Hogan vs. Killer Khan
9/12/87 Boston Garden

I miss the old Boston Garden.  The new one just doesn’t work.  Hated the name “Fleet Center” too.  It sounds like something you stick up your ass when you can’t have a bowel movement.  Censorship note: they do NOT filter out Monsoon calling Hogan the “Greatest Professional Athlete in the World Today” which I guess had been an issue on 24/7 and allegedly some DVDs.  Khan is most famous as the man who was given credit for breaking Andre the Giant’s leg in a match.  In fact, the injury was a cover for the back surgery that Andre needed to have.  It didn’t do much for Khan’s career, and he was gone from wrestling in the WWE shortly afterwards.  This was part of his comeback attempt.  I dug around looking for stuff on him and found nothing.  Sorry folks.

To the match, where Khan jumps Hogan before the bell and chokes him with a rope.  Then Fuji gets a choke in with a cane.  Khan takes the title belt off of Hogan and whips him with it.  Khan isn’t much older then Hogan here but he certainly looks and moves like a fragile old man.  He slowly loads up some green mist on the ropes and tries to spit it on Hogan but gets the referee instead.  He wasn’t very good at the mist anyway.  It looked more like green spit.  Another referee comes down while Khan brawls Hogan around and dumps him to the floor, where Fuji stabs him with his cane.  Back in, where Khan stomps away.  Double thrust to Hogan’s throat, which Hogan actually bumps with gusto off of.  More alleged karate chops and a thrust kick, but a knee drop misses and Hogan is back to life.  A punch and a clothesline with his wrist tape, then another and a blatant choke by Hogan.  What a good sport.  Hogan spits on Khan, kicks him in the gut, does a double-chop to his shoulders, and various other heelish moves.  Hogan then gingerly dumps Khan to the floor.  Hogan grabs a chair and clubs Khan with it, and then chops him.  The referee is letting all this go.  The heel announcer is going nuts, complaining that Hogan is cheating despite his size and champion’s advantage.  It’s all true!  Another chair shot, and then Hogan rolls him back in.  Hogan starts to jaw with Fuji and gets clubbed down.  More really lame shots from Khan and then a trap-hold.  Hogan actually makes some attempt at working the hold, but it sure looks like Khan is giving him a massage.  Hogan’s arm drops twice, but he’s still alive.  I’m not, but he is.  Shoulderblocks by Hogan, but then he charges into a big chop.  Scoopslam and a knee drop off the second rope by Khan, which is his finisher.  But it’s HULK UP TIME~!  No-sell, no-sell, no-sell.  Khan tries to do the green spew again, but Hogan gets his hand up, and then rubs it in Killer Khan’s face.  Well, that’s a unique counter to that move.  Big Boot, Leg Drop, AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!

DUD If Khan had laid off of his terrible brawling moves and wrestled, it might have been okay.  Eh, not really.  This was a bad period for Hogan, as he was basically out of opponents who could look good within the context of the established Hogan formula.  Of course, the smart move would have been to change things up a bit.  Instead, they took the title off of Hogan completely so that his next run would somehow seem fresh.  I’ll say this about Vince McMahon: He can get momentum going for his company and sustain it for years, but once it’s time to roll out the next generation, he always holds onto the old formula too long.

THE STORY THUS FAR: Even with the amazing Backlund/Hogan, this set is already worse then I figured it would be going in.  Nine matches, over half of which are DUDs and four of which fall under that magical three-star number I go with as a passing grade.  Looking at the rest of the lineup, I don’t see too many options for this set to be saved.  Apparently the Backlund/Hogan match can be downloaded off of, so take that option.  Stay tuned over the next couple days, but don’t hold your breath for a thumbs up.

Thanks to Red (aka Red & Yellow) for the editing.

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