WWE Home Video Presents.... Hulk Still Rules (2002)
by Scrooge McSuck
- It's time to let out my inner-geek... by the time 2002 came around, I had officially made the transition of casual fan into hardcore "smart mark", checking the internet for any kind of wrestling related news, gossip, and harassment possible. When it was rumored that the New World Order was being brought in, the Hogan, Hall, and Nash version, I scoffed at the idea that any of them would ever step foot in a (then) WWF ring again. Even when the day of the PPV came, I had doubts that it was serious. Then they came out... Nash and Hall were whatever, but it was Hogan that really captured me again, and the live crowd as well, as he got the best and only sustained reaction of the threesome. A month later, Hulk Hogan was practically forced to turn babyface because of the live crowd (mostly) refusing to boo him. A week later, the red and yellow was back, and everyone was riding a wave of nostalgia.
It was also around this time that the WWE Home Video department was making a transition into how they formated their DVD's. Instead of only PPV's and horrible "spotlight" releases on various superstars and topics, Hollywood Hogan: Hulk Still Rules is one of, if not the, first DVD released with plentiful bonus features clocking in at nearly 6 hours worth of extra footage, mostly from Hogan's big run in the 80's, and a handful of other sprinkles tossed on top for padding. The downside to this DVD is the "documentary" portion, which seems to be half shoot and half kayfabed, which gets REALLY annoying at times. I'm going to be skipping it, unless you REALLY want to know about how Hogan slammed the 1700 pound, on his death bed Andre the Giant, while tearing every muscle in his back and losing feeling in both legs in front of the sold out crowd of 500,000 people at Madison Square Garden. OK, so maybe that wasn't the EXACT exaggeration of the Hulkster, but pretty darn close.
"The Fabulous" Hulk Hogan (w/ Fred Blassie) vs. Ted Dibiase:
From the December 17th, 1979 card held at Madison Square Garden... now THAT is what I call digging up some old school WW(W)F rasslin'. The referee can't possibly be any taller than 4'10". OH, this is Hogan's MSG Debut, and the Fink even mentions that during introductions. Lockup, and Hogan shoves Dibiase to the corner. Dibiase with a waistlock, then slaps on a Full Nelson, but Hogan easily powers free, then gloats about it. Lockup, and Hogan shrugs off a hammerlock. Hogan with a waistlock takedown, but Dibiase regains his composure and sends Hogan out of the ring following a pair of arm drags. Hogan spends a lot of time arguing with the referee. Lockup, and Dibiase grabs a side headlock. IRish whip, and a shoulder block stuns Dibiase, and a double axehandle to the back of the head sends him out of the ring. Every time Dibiase attempts to climb back in, Hogan kicks him back to the floor. Hogan brings Dibiase back in with a suplex, then drops a THUNDEROUS leg for a two count?! Hogan with a scoop slam, followed by an elbow drop for another two count. Hogan puts Dibiase down with an elbow, then clamps on a chinlock... then the bell rings for whatever fucking reason. Nice of the timekeeper to blow the spot. Dibiase fights back to his feet, but Hogan brings him back to the canvas. Dibiase uses momentum to ram Hogan into the turnbuckle and break the hold. Hogan is up first, but he misses an elbow. Dibiase gets "mad" ad pounds away to the delight of the crowd. Irish whip, and Dibiase with a pair of dropkicks. Whip to the corner, and Dibiase runs in with a shoulder. He tries a second time, but feels the cold, hard steel post and plays dead. Hogan with a back breaker, and a bearhug finishes it off at 11:17 to no initial reaction. Well, it was from a different time, so I guess me calling it dull and boring would be pointless. It had it's moments by late 70's standards, I guess.
Hulk Hogan (w/ Fred Blassie) vs. Andre The Giant:
Taped on August 9th, 1980, from the card cleverly dubbed Showdown at Shea (Shea Stadium, that is). It's unreal to see a WWF card taking place in the middle of a baseball field, with the actual grass and dirt visible. Contrary to the WWE History Rulebook, these two met quite a lot before WrestleMania III, but that's the smart mark dick in me. Andre was much more mobile at this point, and looks to be a bit slimmer. Vince McMahon is acting as ring announcer... that just seems a little surreal for a Andre/Hogan match, even if it was years before it meant what it is today. Lockup, and it's Andre that wins the battle of the first shove. Hogan grabs a headlock, but Andre is strong enough to lift him off the ground without any hands. Irish whip, and a shoulder block barely nudges the big man. Andre takes his turn with the headlock, and his is a bit more successful. Andre manages to do a version of a standing surf-board, and works the weird arm hugging restholds for a while. Andre finally lets go, and that transitions into a Hogan bearhug from out of nowhere. The crowd with a chant of "Andre" as this match is putting me to sleep. Andre escapes with a headbutt ,knocking Hogan out of the ring. Andre brings him back in with a suplex, but misses a follow-up splash. Hogan gets a few shots in before turning into Andre's bitch again. Andre with a slam, and it wipes the referee out in the process. Hogan recovers and attacks from behind, the manages to slam Andre (full rotation, too). Andre recovers and slams Hogan, and a splash finishes off Hulk at 7:46 thanks to a hell of a fast count. Nick Patrick should've taken lessons. Post-match, Hogan beats Andre down and busts him open with an elbow. Unnecessary for such a crummy match.
- We join a match between Bob Backlund and Samu of the Samoans, already in progress. The graphic marks this as from MSG, December 1983, but it's clearly from a television taping. The WWF Victory Magazinr banner in the background is very prominent. Backlund quickly gets fed up with the Samoans 3-on-1 shenanigans, so he walks out and brings back the Hulkster, fresh from AWA, and Vern Gagne might as well shot himself that second he came to the ring. Hogan and Backlund clean house of the evil heels and their manager, then Backlund gives the WWF fans watching at home his seal of approval for the Hulk. Nice little gem.
WWF Heavyweight Championship Match:
From Madison Square Garden, January 23rd, 1984. The match that started it all, and if you've never seen or even heard of this match, what rock have you been living under all your life? Hogan is very freshly returned from a stint in the AWA, and you know the old saying strike while the iron's hot... the crowd is very much into this one, of course. Hogan attacks from behind and pounds away. Hogan whips Shiek to the corner and follows in with an elbow. Hogan grabs the Shiek's robe and clotheslines him with it and starts choking away. Hogan unloads with rights, then connects with a clothesline, followed by a running knee drop. Hogan rakes the eyes and choke lifts Shiek, then tosses him back down. Irish whip, and Hogan with a big boot, but that only gets two. The roar of the crowd has yet to die down. Irish whip, and Hogan with a running elbow, followed by an elbow drop for another two count. Whip to the corner, but Hogan misses a charge. Shiek stomps away on the back of Hogan, finally mounting some offense. Shiek with a back breaker, but that only gets a one count. Shiek continues to work Hogan over, then loads up the boot, because he stomped three times so you know it's loaded. Shiek sweeps the legs and applies a Boston crab. Hogan quickly powers up, tossing Shiek off of him, but the Shiek recovers quickly, takes Hogan down with a gut-wrench suplex, then slaps on the Camel Clutch. Hogan fights back up to his feet, with the Shiek on his back, and rams him hard into the corner. Hogan hits the ropes, he drops the big leg on him, and we have a NEW WWF Champion at 5:34. To say the crowd goes nuts would be an incredible understatement. Hulkamania is here, indeed, Gorilla. Howard Finkel's announcement of the new Champion just makes it that much sweeter. Not half bad for the actual match, but for historical significance, the rating is off the charts and unrateable. Every wrestling fan, especially one of the WWF/WWE, needs to see this match at least once, and really, how hard is it to track down? It's available on about 40 different video tapes and DVD sets.
The Iron Shiek © (w/ Ayatollah Blassie) vs. Hulk Hogan:
- From the August 21st, 1984 episode of Tuesday Night Titans. Hulk Hogan is going to show us footage of himself training "Mean" Gene Okerlund for a match in Minneapolis against George Steele and Mr. Fuji. Hogan shows up at Gene's house early in the morning for some breakfast. Hogan hassles him for smoking a cigar and offers to make breakfast... raw eggs. Hulk downs them like he's Rocky Balboa. Next is some light jogging, in matching outfits and a bunch of yokels cheering them on. Gene stops for some hot dogs and beer, but Hogan is Captain Buzzkill. Next: Some 80's synthesizer weight-room training! Next up, it's jogging up the stairs in an empty stadium, first with Hogan carrying Gene on his back, and then, in an AWESOME bit, with Gene carrying Hogan, and struggling just to move. Gene-o-Mania is running wild! Cheesy at times, but entertaining.
WWF Championship Match:
From the Big Event, originally taped on August 28th, 1986, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This wasn't really a PPV or anything, but a super-sized house show with a beefed up crowd (see also: Wrestlefest '88 in Milwaukee, WI). This was pretty early in their program, so you know the crowd is jacked for it. Orndorff lays Hogan out with a clothesine before the bell, then pounds away. Hogan gains the upperhand, unloading with short rights. They continue beating the crap out of each other, with Hogan winning the slugfest. Back inside, and Hogan sends Orndorff back out with an elbow. Orndorff drags him out, but Hogan makes him pay for it with a face-first canvas slam. Hogan comes off the ropes with a clothesline, then drops an elbow. Whip to the corner, and Hogan comes in with another clothesline. Hogan with an atomic drop, then he heads outside to scare the beJesus out of Heenan. Orndorff gains the upperhand during the mayhem, putting the boots to the Champ. The action spills outside, and Orndorff takes Hogan down with a suplex on the puffy gym mats. Those things were pretty fun to land on, if memory serves correct. Orndorff drives a series of elbows into the throat of Hogan, but chooses to talk trash than follow up. The referee and Orndorff exchange words loudly until Orndorff drops a knee on Hogan for a two count. Orndorff with a scoop slam, followed by one of his signature elbow drops for another two count. Orndorff to the top rope, and he lands a jab in the throat on the way down. Orndorff signals for a piledriver, but Hogan back drops out of it. Orndorff regains control, with the age-old classic technique of biting. Orndorff with a back suplex, and he makes the most cocky pin attempt, and of course, only gets two. Hulk is up and PISSED, and a running high knee sends Orndorff into the referee. Hogan raises Orndorff's arm and lays him out with a short-arm clothesline (just like Orndorff did to him), then signals for a piledriver. Heenan interrupts things with a chair shot, KO'ing the Champion. The referee finally comes to, but he doesn't count, and instead calls for the bell at 11:06, awarding the match to HOGAN by Disqualification? Lame finish, but a solid match with a fired up crowd. You can't really ask for anything more in the early stages of a house show program.
Hulk Hogan © vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (w/ Bobby Heenan):
WWF Championship Match:
We're at the Pontiac Silverdome in front of 93,000+ (I don't care who says what, it's always going to be that for me) for WrestleMania III and the biggest main event to date in WWF History. I was so sure I had a fresh recap of this one, but alas, I don't, so here we go, one more time... We get the famous staredown with flashbulbs going off like crazy. Hogan immediately starts to Hulk Up and attempts a slam, but Andre's too big, and comes crashing on top for a VERY close two count. That near fall was enough to breath life into this program for the rest of the year, and into 1988. Andre goes to work on the back of the Hulkster, and plants him with a slam, then picks him up and does it again. To add insult to injury, Andre walks across the Champion's back. Andre yanks Hogan back to his feet and whips him into the corner. Andre's facial expressions of extreme confidence are usually lost when people complain about "how bad" this match is. Andre crushes Hogan in the corner with shoulders and his backside. Andre with a headbutt, but a second misses, and Hogan throws a few big rights and chops to rock the Giant. Hogan rams Andre into the turnbuckle ten times, but runs into a big boot to end his little attempt at a comeback. Andre with a big chop, then slaps on a bearhug. Hogan tries to slip his arms into the grip of Andre to relieve the preasure of the hold, but Andre tightens up the grip. Hogan starts to play dead, but the arm doesn't drop a third time, and he fights his way free with short right handed blows. Hogan hits the ropes, and another chop puts him back down on the canvas. Irish whip, and Andre with a boot to the midsection, knocking Hogan out of the ring. Andre follows, and accidentally rams his own head into the ring post. Hogan peels off the protective mat and stupidly attempts a piledriver, but Andre, with help of the ring apron, back drops Hogan onto the exposed floor. Back inside, Andre sends Hogan into the ropes, but he misses a boot, and Hogan levels Andre with a clothesline, taking the big man off his feet all night. Hogan is Hulking Up, and in the most historic moment in the history of the WWF, picks up, turns over, and slams Andre, then drops the big leg for the three count at 12:02 to retain the Championship. You have to crank up the volume on the television for that last thirty-seconds, it still gives me goosebumps. Not a technical masterpiece, and definitely half-way through Andre's physical condition became an issue in terms of mobility, but it was still a solid main event with a terrfic atmosphere and one of the iconic images of wrestling history. This is an all-time classic that should forever hold a free pass when it comes to cynical reviewers.
Hulk Hogan © vs. Andre The Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan):
- More from Tuesday Night Titans, and yes, it's the Python Powder segment, in it's entirety. Basically, it's Hulk Hogan making protein shakes for "Vicious Vince" and "Awful Alfred" and downing a packet of pills. The end result of the segment is Alfred Hayes getting sick from the taste and implying he is going to vomit. Bodily functions = Comedy gold in the WWF, no matter what decade or era.
Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Randy Savage & Zeus (w/ Sensational Sherri):
Pulled from SummerSlam '89, originating from the Meadowlands Arena in East Ruthorford, NJ. Here's a match I've long avoided recapping, but it's time to take my medicine. The whole No Holds Barred movie turning into a storyline was pretty dumb, and we'll leave it at that. Pre-match interviews and introductions eat up 10-minutes... what is this, the Attitude Era? Everyone starts brawling, with Zeus no-selling Hogan's offense. Hogan goes for a slam, but Zeus blocks, and chokes away. Beefcake makes the save and gets trapped in a bearhug for it. Zeus with more choking, then slaps a bearhug on Hogan. Savage with a scoop slam, followed by a double axehandle from the top rope. Savage with a running high knee and clothesline for a two count. Zeus tags in, and guess what... bearhug! Why do I torture myself?! They should've just done the big cage match here, that match was at least watchable. Savage tags in to do all the work, and hangs Hogan up across the top rope. Savage with a back suplex for a two count. Beefcake somehow gets a fake hot tag, and wipes out Savage with a clothesline and running high knee for a two count. Beefcake applies his signature sleeper hold, but Savage uses momentum to ram Beefer into the turnbuckle to break the hold. Now it's Beefcake's turn to play face-in-peril. Beefcake hops on Zeus for another sleeper hold, but Savage breaks it with a shot with the loaded purse. Savage attempts to cover, but Hogan keeps pulling him off. For no good reason, Savage goes after Elizabeth, then goes for another pin, but Hogan still won't allow it. Zeus tags in and chokes, practically skull fucking the poor bastard. Zeus with more choking, followed by choking. I sound like an EWR match recap when the worker is incredibly poor... and yes, I made an EWR reference in 2012. Savage tags back in and immediately a double clothesline puts both men down. Hogan gets the hot tag and walks in waggin' the finger. Hogan with an elbow on Savage and a sucker punch to Zeus. Irish whip, and a big boot sends Savage out of the ring. Hogan attempts a suplex, but Sherri sweeps the leg. Savage puts Hogan down with a clothesline, then comes off the top with his elbow drop, but Hogan pops up like nothing happened... and then people had the nerve to complain he only did it to Vader in '95? HE DID IT TO EVERYONE. Back to the match... it still stinks. Zeus comes in, to make it even worse. Sherri and Elizabeth get involved, and Hogan KO's Zeus with the loaded purse. Hogan with a slam and leg drop, and it's thankfully over at 15:10. After the match, Hogan, Beefcake, and Elizabeth work over SHERRI, and Beefcake clips off her obvious hair extensions to add insult to injury. Outside of a few decent spots, this one was a total dog and a horrible match to end the PPV with.
- Disc 1 Easter Egg: The Real American Music Video that debuted on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event in 1986. Total 80's cheesey goodness. Probably one of the, if not best, entrance songs in the history of the WWF.
- Note: I'm recapping all the matches in the order they appear on the DVD Menu, so if you're thinking I'm just randomly picking matches and going out of order, this is how the DVD is laid out... quite unusual and a little annoying, at times.
WCW World Championship Match:
From the 1994 edition of Bash At the Beach, and it's Hogan's first match in a WCW ring. I prefer the times when Bash at the Beach actually took place outdoors... made more sense. Looking back as a kid... this was a big deal, and actually had me flipping channels to catch some WCW television for the first time since 1991. Hogan wins... sorry for the spoiler, but if you didn't know that before the show took place, you're an idiot. They chatter until Flair shoves him back. Hogan puts Flair down with a shoulder, then shoves him clear across the ring. Flair ducks a lunge and struts to mild aprovement. Oh yeah, WCW fans weren't exactly on fire for Babyface Hogan, but he was still quite popular. Hogan ducks a Flair lunge, and struts in retaliation. Flair takes Hogan down and goes to work on the arm. Hogan eventually counters then takes him over with a cross armbar. When has Hogan EVER done that, outside of Japan? They head outside, and Flair uses Sherri as a sheild... as if Hogan wouldn't hit Sherri. we've only seen it every night for most of 1989. Back inside, and Hogan with a drop toe hold, but Flair grabs the ropes before more damage can be done. Hogan unloads with rights, whips Flair to the corner, and follows in with a clothesline. Hogan sends Flair to the ropes, but Flair avoids the boot, and Sherri becomes a Human Shield again. Flair with chops and a snapmare, but he misses the knee drop. Whip to the corner, and Hogan with another clothesline. Flair tastes the buckle a few times, but Sherri interrupts, allowing Flair to take out the knee from behind. Flair with a big chop, knocking Hogan over the top rope... remember, the "Over the top rope DQ" was still in effect at the time. Jimmy Hart and Sherri get in each other's faces while Flair continues to take Hogan apart. Back in the ring, and Flair works over the leg, but it's 1990's Flair rather than ruthless Mid 80's Flair.
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair (w/ Sensuous Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Hogan starts fighting back with his usual (punching), but Flair sweeps the legs and lays in with more chops. Whip is reversed, and Hogan with another clothesline, for a two count, this time. Flair quickly takes Hogan over with a snapmare, and slaps on a chinlock. Hogan escapes with elbows, and puts Flair down with shoulder blocks. Whip to the corner, Flair flips to the apron, and a clothesline knocks him off. Hogan follows, and takes Flair down with a back suplex. That's as much of a high spot as you're getting out of Hogan, any era or location in the world. Hogan brings Flair back in with a suplex, plays to the crowd and misses the leg drop. Like I said, this was Hogan past when he was a serious performer and was just a parody of what his character was. Flair goes for the Figure-Four, but Hogan counters for a two count. Flair tries again, and Hogan kicks him off. Flair tries again, and again, Hogan kicks him off. Heenan has the BALLS to claim Hogan hasn't wrestled in 2-3 YEARS... Flair with a suplex, and Hogan pops right back up. More finger wagging, more punching. Irish whip, big boot, but no leg drop, with Sherri pulling the referee out of the ring, then knocking out Jimmy Hart. Take that you little weasel! Flair clips the knee and Sherri comes in with a splash. Flair FINALLY applies the Figure-Four (if at first you don't succeed...), but guess what... Hogan doesn't lose! Sherri gets involved, Hogan nails her (what a gentleman), and Hogan applies the Figure-Four to Flair. Suddenly Mr. T comes down to kidnap Sherri (what the fuck is going on?). Flair nails Hogan with "brass knuckles", but it's HULK UP TIME. Hogan with the roundhouse rights, big boot, and leg drop, and we have a NEW WCW Champion at 21:20. You know, until the last 5-6 minutes, this was a pretty good match, although it was laughable at times with Hogan just suddenly posing and goofing around. Then the interference, ref bumps, nonsensical run ins (MR. T?!?!), and predictable finish really put a taint on the whole thing. Still a good match I guess, but one I don't care to rewatch again.
Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion) vs. Tiger Chung Lee:
It's really more of an interview from Tuesday Night Titans, broadcasted on October 18th, 1985, but in between we get this golden nugget (or turd), because that's how TNT was... guest comes out, talks, we see him in action or cutting another promo, then back to the studio to complete the whole thing. Hogan's blah-blah-blah is mostly about Big John Studd... that's a house show program that REALLY sucked. Jesse Ventura and Gorilla Monsoon are calling the action. Lockup, and Hogan nails Lee with a roundhouse right. Lee with kicks to the midsection (think Haku without talent), but Hogan no-sells them and slams Lee, forcing him out of the ring in the process. Hogan brings T.C. Lee back in with a sling shot, and connects on a back breaker for a two count. Hogan slaps on an armbar, and works the arm for a little bit. Lee takes it to the corner and nails Hogan with a cresent kick. Hogan starts Hulking Up (already), and it's three roundhouse rights, a clothesline, and big boot to finish off Chung Lee at 3:03. Just a squash... hey, has anyone ever seen a babyface Hogan squash match? No, I don't mean the last 90-seconds of all his matches ever... I mean a real scrub match. Hogan talks more in the TNT Studio, and suddenly Lanny Poffo, dressed in a SUIT OF ARMOR, recites a promo giving Hogan a verbal BJ. That was random. To end things, Hogan makes Lord Alfred show off his pythons.
Hulk Hogan (WWF Champ) & Gene Okerlund vs. George Steele & Mr. Fuji:
Taped in Minneapolis, MN on August 26th, 1984... I applaud the rarity factor, but this is going to be bowling shoe ugly. I miss the days of Jim Ross using terms like that to basically tell everyone a match is going to suck. I can't tell for sure, but this seems like it was professional hand-held footage, being taped among the crowd rather than a hard camera or ringside handheld, as you would typically see. Hogan and FUJI start, to my surprise. Hogan sends Fuji to the corner and takes him down with a hip toss. Hogan with a slam, and Steele tags in. Hogan mocks Steele's Animal-istic behavior, to the delight of the crowd. Steele with a few blows to the throat, followed by stompin', but Hogan no-sells and hammers away. Okerlund gets a cheap shot in on Fuji to a MONSTER POP... seriously, was Gene that big of a deal in Minnesota? Hogan high-five's Gene, which counts as a legal tag, so the referee forces Gene into the match against the Animal. Okerlund avoids a lunge from Steele and quickly tags out (feh), and it's Hogan's turn to beat the crap out of everyone. Okerlund gets a few shots in from the apron, while Hogan manhandles both opponents. Hogan pulls Fuji in, beats on him a little longer, gives about 16-seconds of offense before doing the Hulk Up routine. Hogan whips Fuji into the boot of Okerlund, then slams him on top of Fuji for the three count at around the 6-7 minute mark. For whatever reason, Jesse Ventura is there to complain about the finish, but I'm just glad it's over. A few cute spots with Okerlund aside, a garbage match to send the crowd home happy. Oh, Hogan and Gene do a posedown together, to REALLY send the fans home happy.
WWF Championship Match:
From Tuesday in Texas, and it's C&P time, again! In case you've forgotten, Undertaker defeated Hogan for the WWF Title at Survivor Series, with a little help from Ric Flair, but Jack Tunney ordered for an immediate rematch, This Tuesday in Texas, and he himself, the President of the WWF, carved the roast beast... whoops, wrong story. No, he just said he would be at ringside to make sure nothing shady happens. FORSHADOWING! Hogan bum rushes the ring, only to be attacked by Undertaker and Bearer (DQ!), but he fights everyone off. Hogan sends Undertaker to the corner and charges in with a clothesline, then mounts him for ten punches. Hogan an inverted atomic drop, despite Undertaker's attempts at trying to fight free. Irish whip, and Hogan with a clothesline and about the 9th eye rake. Undertaker blocks a slam, but Hogan fights him off again and ends up pulling off the slam, after all. Hogan with another clothesline, knocking Undertaker out of the ring. Hogan tries pulling him back in the ring, but they blow yet ANOTHER simple spot, as Hogan fails to get hung up across the top rope. Jesus, GIVE UNDERTAKER SOMETHING. Undertaker pulls Hogan out of the ring and works him over with shots to the throat and choking. Back in the ring, and more choking. Then to the corner for some more choking. Hogan escapes ramming Undertaker into the buckle, but "runs" into a knee in the opposite corner. Undertaker takes it to the corner, walks the ropes, and comes down with a clothesline across the back. We head outside the ring, and Hogan tastes the ring post. Back in the ring, and Undertaker with a Jaw Hold. What is he going to do, force pills down his throat? Last time I've seen this hold, Mama Fratelli did it to Corey Feldman in the Goonies. Hogan finally fights free (with an eye rake, of course), and Undertaker trips up hititng the ropes. Good GOD, how hard is this?! Whip to the corner, and Undertaker boots Hogan coming in. Again. Irish whip and Undertaker with a diving clothesline for a two count. Undertaker tries going "old school" again, but Hogan yanks him off this time. Suddenly, Ric Flair makes his way to ringside, as Hulk Hogan Hulk's Up. Hogan clotheslines Undertaker out of the ring, then Hogan goes outside and smacks Flair with a chair, who in turn falls into Tunney, knocking him down. Back in the ring, and Hogan rakes the eyes for the 67th time. Flair with the chair in the corner, but Hogan sends Undertaker into it instead, then knocks Flair off the apron. Hogan with the big boot, but Undertaker sits up. Bearer accidentally whacks Undertaker with the urn, Hogan empties it's contents, throws the ash into Undertaker's face, and school boys him for the three count and his 4th WWF Championship at 13:12. What a pile of crap. No chemistry, blown spots, repetetive spots, repetetive finishes, and a total ass for an ending really makes for a terrible main event. Of course, Hogan would be stripped off the title for such a lack of integrity, and a new champion would be crowned at the 1992 Royal Rumble.
The Undertaker © (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Hulk Hogan:
WWF Championship Match:
From a WWF card held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 19th, 1985. I've seen enough matches between these two to know this will suck. Lockup, and Studd shoves Hogan into the corner. Lockup and repeat. The enthusiam shown is quite minimal, if at all. Lockup, and this time Hogan wins the shove-off. Hogan's tan is REALLY out of control, here. He's looking quite over-cooked. Hogan goes for a slam, but fails. Studd clubs Hogan down and forces him into a test-of-strength. CHEATER! Hogan fights back, but a knee to the junk brings him back to his knees. They do the spot again, and this time Hogan blocks the knee and pounds away. They take it to the corner, and Studd slaps on a bearhug. Hogan breaks it for a moment, but Studd rakes the eyes and goes back to the bearhug... and now the rain comes, and within seconds, the ring is saturated by rain. Hogan escapes and gingerly charges into the corner, missing whatever he was trying to do. Studd goes back to the bearhug, as the rain coming down drowns out the commentary from Monsoon. You can see fans using their chairs for protection from the rain. The bearhug is basically half of the match. Hogan fights free and dares to do an atomic drop, and the action spills outside. They slug it out until Hogan sends Studd into the ring post, and beats the count back in for the cheap victory at 7:23. Awful match, before the rain started, and once that came down, the match basically came to an end, with a never-ending bearhug and then the rushed finish. Can't blame them, of course, but still... awful.
Hulk Hogan © vs. Big John Studd
WWF Championship, Flag Match:
From the October 5th, 1985 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event (the second episode, to be exact), and for you television buffs, clips of this match were featured in the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" episode titled "The Gang Wrestles For The Troops." We're coming to you from the Meadowlands Arena, which seems weird since SNME ended up being taped from typical taping locations along with Superstars and Challenge. We get intros, since Hogan didn't use Eye of the Tiger for this match. Back then, WWE just clipped the intros rather than re-dub them. Volkoff attacks from behind with rights and headbutts. Volkoff rips the shirt off Hogan and chokes him out with it. Hogan fights back, unloading with rights. Whip to the corner, and Hogan charges in with a clothesline. Irish whip, and Hogan with another clothesline, followed by an elbow drop. Irish whip, and a big boot knocks Volkoff over the top rope, onto the timekeeper table. Hogan follows and tastes the ring post for his efforts. Back inside, and Volkoff comes off the top with a double axehandle. Volkoff with a gorilla press into a back breaker, and it looked more impressive than it comes across reading it. Volkoff remains in control, but Hogan powers out of a piledriver attempt with a back drop. Volkoff pounds away more, but Hogan starts to Hulk Up, and, well, it's NIKOLAI VOLKOFF... we change the routine up, as Hogan unloads with rights, but a whip to the corner is reversed. Volkoff misses a charge, and Hogan drops the leg to retain the Championship at 5:17. Watchable match, short for television taping purposes. Can't go wrong when it comes to Nikolai Volkoff matches.
Hulk Hogan © vs. Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Freddie Blassie):
Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect (w/ The Genius):
From the April 28th, 1990 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, a few weeks removed from WrestleMania VI, and this is to put the finishing touch on a program that died halfway through February. The crowd is actually looking quite happy for Hogan (this was when post-production audience sounds were in full gear). Lockup, and Hogan shoves Perfect to the corner, and Perfect quickly ducks out of the ring. Back inside, they lockup, and Perfect takes Hogan over with a hip toss. The Genius prances around, wearing an obvious wig to cover the haircut Beefcake gave him. Back to the action, and Perfect takes off after taking a few slams. Perfect pounds away and whips Hogan to the corner. Whip is reversed, but Perfect slides out to avoid the big boot. Hogan follows this time, and wipes Perfect out, sending him into the ring post. Back inside, and Hogan continues to dominate with punches. Irish whip, and Hogan connects with a clothesline. Whip to the corner, and Hogan with ANOTHER clothesline. Hogan chops away and comes off the ropes with a running elbow. Hogan with another elbow into the corner, knocking Perfect out of the ring. The Genius tries to sneak attack, but Hogan lays him out. Perfect gets the scroll and nails Hogan with it while the referee's back was turned. Perfect stomps away, and I'm sensing a commercial break... We return, and the Perfect-Plex gets only a two count, as it's Hulk-Up Time. Hogan no-sells rights, hits some rights of his own, big boot, and leg drop to pick up the three count at 5:59. After the match, the Genius tries to attack, but Hogan lays him out and slams him over the top rope. An OK match for SNME standards, but it's a lesser quality Hennig match, mixed with a typical Hogan "end a program" quasi-squash.
Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant (w/ Lou Albano) vs. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby Heenan):
From the November 2nd, 1985 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. The previous episode of Saturday Night's Main Event featured Hogan making the save for Andre in another match involving Studd and Bundy, and I'm pretty sure they were working an Andre/Bundy series around the house show circuit around this time (The Colossal Jostle!). Hogan is wearing all white and Andre the Giant all red... I don't know, I just wanted to point that out. Was there ever an explanation for why Albano was suddenly Andre's manager? Hogan and Bundy with a shoving match to start, and Hogan comes off the ropes with a running high knee. Hogan scoops Bundy up, but Bundy grabs the ropes and hammers away. Hogan ducks a clothesline and fights back, sending Bundy to the corner and following in with a clothesline. Andre tags in and chokes Bundy with his singlet straps. Hogan with an axehandle from the second rope, but he gets trapped in the wrong side of town. Studd tags in, and bulldozes over Hogan with a shoulder. Hogan comes back with an atomic drop slam (try and picture it), then tags out to Andre, who unloads with chops. The referee gets bumped, and it's a big brawl, with the faces clearing the ring. Hey, the second referee looks like Joey Marella. We return from the commercial break, and Andre has Studd in a bearhug. Andre whips Studd into a boot from Hogan and lays into him with more blows. Hogan tags in and comes charging off the ropes with a clothesline. Andre tags in and knocks Studd out of the ring with a big boot. Andre tries to follow, but Bundy traps Andre in the ropes, then splashes Hogan, with the help from Studd. Double teaming on Andre takes place, until it's Hulk Up Time! Hogan nails Bundy with an axehandle and a big boot, then it's a double team effort on Studd courtesy of the Dream Team. In all the excitement, the bell rang at 5:25, a Disqualification victory for Hogan and Andre. Very energetic and entertaining match. Everyone just seemed very game for this one.
WWF Championship Match:
From the Wrestling Classic, a pay-per-view originally broadcasted on November 7th, 1985, and most often refered to as the true first PPV for the WWF (WrestleMania was carried on PPV by such a minimal amount of markets, it's only case is that it was available to at least 1 person, rather than the majority of cable subscribers). We immediately clip to the match getting started, with both men slugging it out. Piper dumps Hogan, but Hogan pulls Piper out, too, and they continue to brawl. Back inside, and they trade eye rakes. Piper thrusts to the throat, and another poke of the eyes. Whip is reversed, and Hogan charges to the corner with a clothesline. Hogan with a back suplex, followed by a slam and a pair of elbow drops. Hogan chooses to pound away with rights, rather than make a pin attempt. Piper uses well-timed referee interference to put Hogan down, but jumps off the second turnbuckle into a bearhug. Piper uses thumbs to the eye to escape, then pounces with a series of rights. PIper with a knee drop for a two count. Irish whip, and Piper slaps on a sleeper hold. Hogan nearly tears the shirt off the Abe Vigoda of referees on his way down to the canvas. Abe drops the arm, but on the third attempt, Hogan starts coming back to life. Hogan hoists Piper up on his back, and takes both Piper and himself over the top rope, to the floor. HIGH SPOT! Hogan rams Piper into the ring post to avoid a bulldog situation. Hogan with rights, and they take it back inside, slugging it out. Irish whip, and Hogan with a big boot, followed by an atomic drop. Irish whip, and Piper knocks Hogan into the referee. Piper grabs a chair and slams it across the back of Hogan, but Hogan blocks a follow up attack. Hogan smacks Piper with it and slaps on a sleeper of his own, WITH THE CHAIR STILL IN HAND. Suddenly, Bob Orton runs in and it's a Disqualification victory for Hogan at around 7:15. It doesn't take long for newfound buddy Paul Orndorff to clear Piper and Orton from the ring. This was before the days of "PPV blowoffs", so it's hard to argue against a cop-out finish.
Hulk Hogan © vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper:
1990 Royal Rumble Match... Kind of:
The DVD Menu incorrectly lists the date of the show as January 20th, but whatever. We're Joined in Progress, with Hulk Hogan coming to the ring as the 25th entrant of the match, and with Tito Santana, Rick Martel, the Ultimate Warrior, Haku, Jimmy Snuka, and the Honkytonk Man as remaining participants from this point of the match. I don't know why this was included, but whatever... Snuka ambushes Hogan upon arrival, and gets clotheslined out of the ring for his troubles. Hogan sets his sites on Haku next, and a big boot ends his night just moments later. Santana tries to eliminate Martel, but Warrior ends up helping Martel eliminate Santana! So much for the power of Arriba-derci. Shawn Michaels is #26, and in a LAUGHABLE booking decision, he gets to be in the ring for exactly 12-seconds, quickly being tossed out by the Warrior. Hogan tosses Honky, Warrior tosses Martel, and yes... it's down to Hogan vs. Warrior for the next 90-seconds, and the crowd goes nuts for it. They do a few shoulder block spots, with no one getting the upperhand. Criss-cross time, and a double clothesline puts both men down. And that's it. The Barbarian is next, and Rick Rude jumps the gun to work both of them over, until Hogan suddenly comes to life and accidentally eliminates Warrior while attacking Barbarian and Rude. Hercules and Perfect round out the field, and it comes down to Hogan and Perfect, with Hogan pulling out the probable victory. Sorry for the lack of detailed PBP, but it's the last 10-minutes of an hour long match... I'll get around to that show, in full, if I feel like doing it. It WAS a great Rumble, in it's entirety, but this little sampling gives us the Hogan/Warrior confrontation to tease a match between the two, and not much else.
Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Hercules, Koko B. Ware, and Hillbilly Jim (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Big Boss Man, Akeem, Ted Dibiase, King Haku, and The Red Rooster (w/ Slick, Bobby Heenan, and Virgil):
From the Survivor Series 1988 PPV, and another DVD Menu mishap: Listing this as "Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks." That was the main event of SummerSlam '88, and teams didn't have names at this point, and to top it off, Dibiase WASN'T the Captain, the Twin Towers were co-captains. Dibiase was running a mildly interesting midcard program with a freshly turned Hercules. Koko, HBJ, Haku, and Rooster are just filler. In the spirit of going out with fresh material, I won't rehash my recap of the PPV from years ago. Savage and Dibiase start... Lockup, Savage with a headlock and shoulder block. Dibiase retaliates with a clothesline, followed by a series of rights. They fight over a whip to the ropes until Savage comes back with rights of his own, followed by a clothesline. Hercules tags in, and chases Dibiase around the ring. Rooster tags in and connects on a jawbuster to Hercules. Rooster goes for the Sharpshooter, but Hercules fights out. Hercules with the lightests clothesline ever to put the Rooster down, and Koko tags in for his turn. Akeem tags in to pound away on Koko, then Haku gets his shots in. Hercules tags in again to exchange blows with the King of the WWF. Hogan finally gets the tag in and unloads with rights. Irish whip, and Hogan with a clothesline, followed by a pair of elbows and rake of the eyes. HBJ tags in and a double boot is only enough for a two count. Rooster tags in, and he unwisely goes for a slam. HBJ with a slam on the Rooster. Koko tags in and takes him over with a powerslam. Koko no-sells being rammed to the buckle, then nails his signature missile dropkick. Hogan tags in, lays out Rooster with a big boot, and Savage comes off the top rope with the elbow drop to finish the Rooster off at 6:11.
After about a minute of getting things under order, Savage and Haku have at it. Hogan quickly tags in to slug it out with Haku. Irish whip, and Haku connects with a dropkick. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Hogan follows in with a clothesline. Hogan with a slam, and Hercules tags in, coming off the ropes with a pair of elbows for a two count. Hercules with a headlock, but Haku escapes with a back suplex. Akeem tags in, as does the Hillbilly. Whip to the corner is reversed, but HBJ with a weird head scissors. Jim with a big boot, and he stupidly goes for a bearhug. Akeem easily crushes Jim in the corner, lays him out with a clothesline, then comes off the ropes with a splash for the three count at 9:56. Koko comes in with a dropkick from behind, then tags out to Hogan, who sends Akeem from corner to corner. Savage with a double axehandle off the top rope, followed by a pair of elbows. Hercules with rights and lefts, but Akeem still won't go down. Koko tags back in, but guess what... he misses the blind charge THAT ALWAYS MISSES. Bossman tags in for the first time, and finishes Ware off with the sidewalk slam at 11:47. Hogan comes in, and has his little confrontation with the Bossman. Hogan comes off the ropes with a clothesline and knocks Bossman into the corner with an atomic drop. They babyface team plays ping-pong with Bossman, and Hogan ends things with a clothesline into the corner. Irish whip, Hogan with a big boot, and he plants Bossman with a slam. Hogan hits the ropes, and Bossman has enough in him to put the Hulkster down with a spinebuster. Irish whip, and the Twin Towers put Hogan down with a double elbow. Haku gets a few shots in, then it's Bossman's turn again. Dibiase comes in next, and nails Hogan with a clothesline, then drops his signature fists for a two count. Hogan starts Hulking Up (uh oh...) and tags out to Hercules. Dibiase begs, but Hercules will have none of that. Whip to the corner, and Hercules with a back drop. Hercules with a knee lift, followed by some crummy clotheslines. Virgil trips Hercules up, and the distraction allows Dibiase to roll him up for the three count at 16:35. Dibiase continues jawwing at Hercules, allowing Savage to roll him up at 16:57.
Haku pounds on Savage with the usual, but misses a headbutt. Irish whip is reversed, but Hogan tags in and Savage sweeps the legs of Haku to prevent him making a tag. Irish whip, and Haku nails Hogan across the back of the head. Bossman tags in (so much for THAT strategy, Mega Powers) and puts a hurting on Hogan. Bossman casually slams Hogan, then makes a half-hearted pin attempt for a two count. Akeem tags in and does more of "the usual" (that would be punch, kick, or chop, depending on performer preference). Haku with a suplex on Hogan for another two count, then more of the usual from him before slapping on the vulcan neck pinch. Bossman tags back in, just as hogan was making his comeback, and plants him with a sidewalk slam. Bossman takes his sweet time heading to the top rope, and to no ones surprise, misses a splash. Savage gets the hot tag and strikes anything that has a pulse. Savage hits the ropes, and gets tripped by Slick to end that pretty quickly. Bossman with a bearhug on Savage, and things get out of control outside the ring, with Slick manhandling Elizabeth until Hogan makes the save. This draws Bossman and akeem out of the ring, and Bossman, the legal man, gets counted-out at 23:17. In the chaos, Hogan gets handcuffed to the bottom rope. Bossman uses the billy club on Hogan to add insult to injury, while Savage gets worked over by Haku. Akeem makes his presence felt in the ring as the "legal man", until Bossman helps him beat the crap out of Savage, drawing a very lame Disqualification at 26:01. Slick stays at ringside, allowing Hogan to KO him and for Elizabeth to pick his pocket for the handcuff key. Hogan makes it to the corner, tags in as an exhausted Savage fell into the corner, and Hogan quickly finishes Haku off with the big boot, slam, and leg drop at 29:10, making the tandem of Savage and Hogan the Survivors of the match. Afterwards, Hogan celebrates a little too much with Elizabeth for Savage's liking, but the tension really hasn't gotten too obvious... yet. Solid match, but less entertaining than I remembered. As a youngster who was going by memory, I always thought Hogan and Savage surviving the 4-on-2 odds was really cool...then I finally saw the show again, and not only was the 4-on-2 VERY short lived, but two of the remaining three were eliminated through lame cop-out decisions.
- We end the DVD List with various SNME teaser promos on such opponents as the Bossman, Honkytonk Man, and the Genius. Then, the real nugget of things... a promo a few weeks before WrestleMania X-8, where Hulk Hogan went face-to-face with the Rock... in stand-up display, form. Yep, it's the cardboard cut-out promo that followed up near vehicular homicide.
Disc 2 Easter Egg: Mean Gene Okerlund playing Tutti Frutti on an episode of Tuesday Night Titans, with Hulk Hogan playing bass guitar in the background. Cute little easter egg, I have to admit, but man, someone must've REALLY loved the 1984-85 era of Hogan and Tuesday Night Titans.
Final Thoughts: I think "random" would be the first word I would use to describe the choices for this DVD set, but another word that comes to mind is "sloppy." Sloppy research for the correct information, sloppy structure on how all the bonus features are set up, and very little rhyme or reason for anything being included. You've got a handful of quality matches, but the only real interesting part of the bonus features is the rarity factor. Remember, in 2002, the WWF/E was just starting to use their vast media history to their advantage, so stuff like the match in Puerto Rico or the tag match with Gene Okerlund hadn't seen the light of day in over 15-years. With more and more DVD sets and the launch of 24/7 and Classics On Demand, the rarity factor starts to lose points, but for it's time, this is a good choice for collection purposes. Don't expect much out of the quality of the matches, though. Most everything is really short or a complete snooze.
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