#WF085 – Hulkamania Forever

Arnold Furious: One of many WWF releases dedicated to the face of the company during the 80s; Hulk Hogan. The time period covered is from late 1989 to late summer 1990. Hogan was still WWF champion at the start of this period before slipping into a temporary role and a feud with Earthquake. Aside from the Warrior feud from early 1990 and the potential but not actual feud with Mr. Perfect, it’s not one of Hogan’s better years in the business.

 

WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Macho King Randy Savage
This is from London. Commentary from Tony Schiavone and Lord Alfred Hayes. GOD SAVE US ALL. Liz is managing Hogan and Sherri managing Savage. Unfortunately this is a) house show Savage who doesn’t give a damn and b) Savage who isn’t getting along with Hogan after getting buried in the midcard after losing the title at WrestleMania V. Thus, Savage spends most of the match strolling around the outside of the ring, doing nothing. Perhaps ahead of his time, Savage stops off for a mid-match promo. Or perhaps not. He’s just killing more time. Hogan stops off to beat up Sherri, which gets an enormous pop from the misogynistic cockney tosspots in the crowd. Liz trials her Sapphire spot where she tips Sherri up when the Sensational one is on the ropes. They’d re-use the spot to great success at WrestleMania VI. Sherri’s boundless enthusiasm even gets Savage motivated. Briefly. They run a nice series of missed elbow drops and the gusto finally kicks in for Savage only for him to go straight into a chinlock. The beauty of working in a foreign environment, like England, was that the fans were so starved of big stars and big time wrestling that they’d pop for anything. Even nothing. They go back to the elbows with Hogan connecting this time before Sherri, once again, interjects. Savage sneaks in a loaded purse shot but refuses a three count so he can hit the elbow instead. That’s not the Randy Savage I know and love. Anyway, flying elbow and Hogan pops right back up. It’s the REVIVING ELBOW. Elbow drops off the top are so refreshing to 1980s babyface main eventers. Hogan finishes with the legdrop and beats up Sherri some more. Bad pacing on this one. Really slow and dull for the most part. Savage had issues with Hogan in this era and it was apparent every time they wrestled.
Final Rating:

 

Hulk Hogan vs. The Genius
Keeping it in the family; from one Poffo to another. This is in Topeka, which makes it the Saturday Night’s Main Event match from November 1989. The Genius tries to get over his graceful style but this ain’t dancing, boy. It’s decent psychology as it serves to get Hogan all pissed off with the lack of contact. I love Genius stopping off to do a few sums, which leads to his mathematical prowess orchestrating an armdrag. Hogan gets enraged with Genius doing cartwheels and girls stuff. I hope it’s not roid rage. Mr. Perfect comes out to stick his gum to the title belt. I wish they’d put the strap on Perfect in 1990. Genius uses the weight of numbers to set up a sloppy moonsault. Regardless of quality, it’s still a moonsault in 1989. Cool stuff. Hogan responds by slamming Genius over the top rope, which looked extremely unsafe. At least Hogan has the common sense to not attack Perfect, which is rare for him as he usually instigates contact, and that allows Perfect to look smarter and lay him out with a belt shot. Genius wins on count out and the heels steal the WWF title to boot. Goofy at times but decent considering who was involved.
Final Rating: **¼

 

WWF Championship
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. The Ultimate Warrior (c)
Warrior’s IC title is also on the line but the WWF title is the important one. Because this has never been done before -pitting the two biggest babyfaces in a company against each other- the crowd reaction is interesting. In particular because there’s no heat at all. Just massive pops, everywhere. Hogan is smart however and makes a point of being cockier and calmer, which sets him up as the heel and the leader of the match. You can’t have Warrior leading a match, which is why he’d never have been any use as a heel. Early tests of strength come up even. Again, Hogan being super-smart by taking it one step at a time and letting the crowd dictate things. If they let them go slow and build, he’ll go that route. And they do. Warrior taking Hogan to his knees in the test of strength really gets the crowd going. Part of it is how stunned they are, part of it is them rallying behind their own particular favourites and the rest is kicking back and enjoying the spectacle. They’re not working hard, they’re working smart. As Hogan powers his way back into the bout there are the first hints of jeers, although the pop is huge too. When they move up to big moves, with Hogan hitting a slam, Warrior no-selling and Hogan selling the receipt, the crowd get very excited. Hogan blows his knee out and the masses sense evil intentions and boo like hell, assuming they have a screwy finish planned. When Warrior goes after the knee there’s a mixed response, so Hogan goes to the eyes and any semblance of heel/face alignment is gone. Every man for himself. I don’t really understand Hogan giving up on selling the knee but I guess they just wanted to tease a shit finish to get the crowd excited for what they actually had planned. Hogan gets the better of a big chunk of the match once he’s mobile again, and it’s mainly due to his experience and Warrior’s inexperience in big matches. He has better ideas and it’s rare he settles into a rest hold, although that does happen with a dull chinlock segment. What follows is brilliant, as Warrior starts no-selling and Hogan gets freaked out by someone actually no-selling him like he no-sold so many others. Warrior goes right into a bearhug, which is disappointing, but I guess he needed the rest because he just couldn’t work long matches without it. Although every rest hold is treated as a potential finish, which is why it works. Warrior’s bearhug drains Hogan to the point where his arm drops twice. Warrior accidentally bumps the ref but then takes a header into the canvas and he’s OUT. Hogan claims the 3-count but there’s no ref. Hogan can always claim that as a victory. The selling in this is just epic. They started doing the fatigue selling after the opening exchange and by the near falls coming into the finish, they look like zombies. Warrior gets his splash finish and Hogan KICKS OUT and HULKS UP. Crowd goes insane because now we’re into typical Hogan territory; drawing strength from an opponent’s finishing move, rallying late in the match and eventually no-selling. Big Boot. Legdrop, but Warrior moves and splashes Hogan for the pin and all the gold. This had a sense of epic about it. Sure, it’s slow, but every spot means something. I’m not keen on Hogan’s “injury”, because it didn’t go anywhere. Otherwise it was a suitably big conclusion to WrestleMania. After the match, Hogan presents Warrior with the title and raises his hand. It’s a true passing of the torch. Had Hogan stepped away from the main events forever, he’d have gone out classy. Of course he’d be back in the title picture and end up being on top long after he should have been. I guess he wasn’t happy with putting someone over cleanly, because he didn’t do it conclusively again until Bill Goldberg came along. It has to be said that Warrior, with all the momentum in the world, really screwed up the title reign. Although the WWF didn’t help him much, largely feeding him midcarders in squash matches until Hogan’s undercard angles got so hot they felt the need to put the title back on him. Hogan himself (kayfabe) considered retirement before an assault from Earthquake got him back on track.
Final Rating: ****

 

Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
From April 1990, right after WMVI. Hogan got beat up by Quake before ‘Mania and blamed him for the loss. Hence this chance at revenge in MSG. Quake wasn’t established at the top end yet so the crowd don’t really buy into this like they would later in the year. I don’t really understand a lot of Hogan’s logic against Quake. Like going for a crossbody and getting caught. Why is he going for a crossbody? For starters it won’t work against a bigger guy and secondly he doesn’t do crossbodys normally, so the fans can see it for what it is; a set up spot. Quake doesn’t have scary mobility or speed so Hogan can go through the motions against him. Hogan would win quite easily if he wasn’t so obsessed with slamming Quake. He just keep going for it. I think his brain has become infected with whatever orange madness covers his skin. Quake works a bearhug for a while before going for his butt splash finish. Hogan kicks out, naturally, thus killing Quake’s credibility before he’s even built a reputation. How do you get a finish over? Have people actually job to it! It’s simple really. Hogan has it won with the legdrop but Jimmy Hart jumps in for the protective DQ, although Hogan already kicked out of Quake’s finisher and had him pinned clean. I don’t understand any of this booking. Hogan even slams Quake after the match is over to completely kill him. Hogan got this all wrong. He blew off the feud before it started and then they ran with Quake until an actual blow off match that has no finish. Stupid and majorly counterproductive.
Final Rating: ½*

 

The Brother Love Show
This is Quake exacting revenge on Hogan for ruining his main event career before it even began, which got sufficient heat to lead to a marquee match at SummerSlam. Earthquake’s finisher might suck but at least Hogan put it over here. Hogan was so close to “retirement” that he gets the music video treatment afterwards. TELL ME A LIE, AND SAY THAT YOU WON’T GOOOOO. I do love the slowed down ‘Real American’ music to demonstrate the potential tragedy of the situation. If only Quake had a decent finisher this might have been a great segment.

 

Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake
Quake had been on a mini-rampage since WrestleMania and eliminated Hogan’s original corner man -and Beefcake replacement buddy- Tugboat. Hogan didn’t sweat it and just replaced him with Big Bossman. Quake has fellow Canadian and Jimmy Hart stable member Dino Bravo in his corner. The WWF had been trying hard to get this angle over to give Hogan a reason to not be in the WWF title match or involved with Warrior. The whole angle reminds me of King Kong Bundy as he injured Hogan in order to set up a big Hogan comeback and PPV main event. Quake isn’t good in long matches due to his lack of moves and conditioning. Hogan, like a lot of big stars, ignores that and figures he’ll be the man capable of having Quake’s first good long match. The only thing Hogan comes up with is hitting the fatigue selling at the opening lockup. It’s after the first two times he gets punched off the apron that I figure the only reason Jimmy Hart is out here is to take bumps, seeing as Quake can’t. It doesn’t help that Bossman just strolls in there and double teams with the Hulkster. It’s not a tag match! Bossman was quick enough with a DQ when he was refereeing earlier and yet here he thinks he’s above the law. Who does he think he is? Steven Segal? Quake brings some goofy selling that doesn’t fit into the match, at all. Earthquake sits on Hogan and Vince McMahon starts eulogising the former champ but he kicks out of a second one and starts no selling. He gets a big slam, which they’ve built up to with him failing beforehand. Bravo stops the pin after the legdrop with Hart jumping in there too. I don’t like the booking where the DQ rule just goes out of the window because it suits them. I don’t see why Hogan couldn’t just go over with the legdrop and I don’t even like Hogan. The actual finish is far more disappointing as he slams Quake on a table and wins on count out. The attempts to get Quake over made no sense to me. There are only so many times you can watch Hogan battle another monster, especially after Zeus, before it gets tiresome. Quake was never a main event talent. He was just a big dude with a crap finisher. They couldn’t even finish the feud off here because they wanted Quake strong for the house show circuit. It doesn’t help that the feud was a replica of the Bundy feud, which didn’t make sense to me either.
Final Rating: *

 

Feature: Suburban Commando
Look, look, Christopher Lloyd and Shelly Duvall are in this! It’s not just a load of crap, honest, sayeth the WWF. To be fair to the Hulkster, this is probably his best film, which admittedly isn’t saying much. Hogan basically shills the movie and then adds in that he’ll be back for the WWF title afterwards, which pretty much summed up his WWF career. Win world title, lose it by “passing torch”, make a movie, spend the whole time talking about winning the title again, win the title again.

 

Hulk Hogan vs. Ted DiBiase
JIP and yet we had two FULL Earthquake matches. Besides this is more about Zeus who’s hanging around at ringside yelling. It seems odd they go from late 1990 back to mid 1989 on the timeline. Ted doesn’t get much unless Zeus sets it up. Zeus jumps in when DiBiase can’t put Hogan away, they miscue and Hogan wins with a bizarre roll up. Even though Zeus had grabbed Hogan and it was blatantly a DQ. Not sure why one part of the Zeus angle is on here but the rest isn’t. Not that I’m complaining. Ted gets the Million Dollar Dream but Jake Roberts saves. Again, a weird selection.
Final Rating: Not rated (Clipped)

 

Tangent: at this point I’m getting really sick of hearing ‘Real American’. It’s good entrance music but it gets a wee bit repetitive when you hear it before and after every match and get a video with a remix of it too.

 

Hulk Hogan & Tugboat vs. Earthquake & Dino Bravo
This is a Coliseum Video exclusive, which you can be relieved about if you’ve not got this tape, because it means you’ll never see it. Commentary on this one comes from Alfred Hayes and Sean Mooney! Thanks for that. Generally the WWF had the common sense to pair Hogan up with a good worker or have a good worker on the opposite team to keep the pacing up or create exciting moments. His best option for a good match here? Jimmy Hart. Jimmy is forced to jump onto the apron so someone takes a damn bump in this match. Bravo having to encourage the salty sailor Tugboat into jumping for him is embarrassing. The only decent bits of wrestling come from Hogan re-running his typical Earthquake match as they’d had it a dozen times by this point. Everything with Tugboat sucks. Hogan rolls up Bravo for the win. I’m so glad Coliseum Video held this gem back for an official release. I’d have been disappointed to buy a tape and discover this wasn’t on it.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

Summary: Hogan vs. Warrior is available elsewhere. Nothing else is worth seeing. Most of the tape focuses on Hogan’s disappointing feud with Earthquake so you know it’s no good.
Verdict: 44

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