James Dixon: This is the first from a set of tapes that began coming out in 1989. Like their 1985 predecessors, they were also called Coliseum Collector’s Series. They were similarly short in length, and thus more affordable than the two hour plus releases. Inevitably, the first is yet another Hogan tape! We start with a music video set to Hogan’s theme, highlighting him posing and the fans general adulation for him. It’s all very touching.
Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
This is from WrestleFest ‘88. We are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in July 1988. Andre and Hogan were of course involved in perhaps the most famous feud of all time, with big matches at WrestleMania III and IV. I predict that Andre won’t climb out of the cage… Andre wastes no time going for Hogan, and starts choking him out from the get go with Hogan’s ripped shirt. Hogan fires back with big shots and stands on Andre’s throat while trying to escape the cage. They can’t have moved more than two feet between them since the bell rang. Slow pace. Andre’s chops are absolutely vicious though. Andre tries to escape out of the door, but Hogan dives over to stop him. Andre locks on a Bearhug to stop Hogan punching him. Hogan escapes and tries to get out of the cage, but Andre knocks him off the ropes and hits an elbow drop. To call this scrappy would be very generous indeed. It is just a lot of standing around and holding each other, with the odd clubbing blow here and there. Hogan gets busted open from an exposed turnbuckle, and Andre takes advantage of this by ramming Hogan face first into the cage. Hogan comes back with a big boot to reel Andre, and a series of big rights send the Giant staggering and down. Hogan hits the legdrop, but Heenan comes in to prevent the escape. Andre no-sells the legdrop and then tries to climb out! Christ, that cage will fall and wipe out the front row! Hogan stops him and Andre gets tied in the ropes. Hogan takes out Heenan and ignores the door, choosing instead to climb over the top of the cage to win the match. Slow and boring, but considering Andre’s usual matches at this stage, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The blood gets it a star.
Final Rating: *
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Nikolai Volkoff
This also shows up on Saturday Night’s Main Event: The Greatest Hits. We go back to October 1985 for this. Hogan comes out to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and is wearing all-white. He throws me when he wears that, he is like a different guy. Volkoff jumps Hogan before the bell and rips his shirt off, choking him with it. Hogan comes back with a pair of clotheslines and an elbow drop. A big boot from Hogan is mistimed, and ends up being a polite toe to the chin. Volkoff doesn’t give a shit, and bumps it to the outside anyway. Volkoff throws Hogan into the post on the outside, and takes over back in the ring. Vince makes the claims that Hogan and Nikolai are the same weight, but Volkoff is stronger. I don’t think so somehow Vince, you mad bastard! Impressive bench press into a backbreaker from Volkoff, but Hogan thwarts a piledriver attempt with a back body drop. Volkoff fires back and hits a slam for two, but Hogan begins his Hulking Up routine. It is inevitably over. Hogan, bastion of political correctness, shines his shoes with the Soviet flag. He is a bit of a tail isn’t he? At least the match was short. For what it was, it wasn’t bad and the crowd remained hot throughout.
Final Rating: *½
Hulk Hogan vs. King Haku
There are no interludes between matches, we just cut right to the next match, keeping the tape moving at a steady pace. This is from October 1988 in Baltimore. It’s a shame Hogan is saddled with Elizabeth for this. The crowd is on fire for Hogan though, he was HOT back then. Haku jumps Hogan as the ref is checking his boots, and uses his martial arts to take an early advantage. He misses a punch and hits the ring, and Hogan fires back with some punches of his own. Hogan scratches Haku, which is revenge for Haku doing it to him moments before, but Ventura is right when he says: “I can’t believe Hogan would lower himself to that”. He has a good point. Hogan goes to the eyes moments later, further winding up Ventura. Haku back in control with the nerve hold, but Hogan soon fights out. Haku goes to the eyes then hits a nice savat kick, sending Hogan out of the ring. Ventura about Elizabeth: “She is worthless, she is worthless outside as a manager” Thank you! Haku measures Hogan on the outside for a chop, but Hogan pulls Heenan in the way. It’s a dickish thing to do. Then he has the gall to grab Haku’s crown and parade around the ring wearing it. Hogan was a real asshole at times. Haku gets back on top as the action returns to the ring, and a suplex gets two, then the Hulking Up routine means game over. The usual Hogan match, though it is not like you expect much variation on these tapes. Haku was a worthy opponent and made it bearable. Six minutes or so of watchable action.
Final Rating: **
We get footage of Hogan working out and making the best of his Python Powder supplies, but the whole montage is rather bizarrely set to Jake Roberts’ entrance song! Erm, run that one by me again Mean Gene!?
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Ted DiBiase
Worst. Sound system. Ever. Hogan’s music sounds like it has been piped in via tiny little headphones, whereas the droning ring announcer is LOUD and BOOMING. We are all over the place on this tape, with this from November 1987 in San Antonio, Texas. It doesn’t really matter when it comes to Hogan I suppose; all of his matches are near enough the same throughout his whole career anyway. Bruce Prichard, Pete Doherty and Mike McGuirk handle commentary duties. It’s a bit of a strange team that one! Has someone pressed some sort of alternate reality button for the last few minutes of this tape. Bruce Prichard was of course Brother Love, so it is hard to listen to him commentate without thinking of the gimmick. Doherty SHOUTS ALL THE TIME in his gravelly voice. He sounds like Elmer Fudd if he smoked 60 a day and had just caught Bugs Bunny shagging his wife. McGuirk sounds like Tippy Hedren in The Birds. “Nice move” is not good commentary. There is a lot of stalling early on, with Hogan picking fights with all three guys at ringside. We eventually get going, but it goes back outside the ring pretty quickly, with DiBiase ramming Hogan’s head into the ring. He won’t let Hogan back in, and keeps kicking him in the head when he tries. Sorry, I am finding it hard to concentrate… My god Doherty shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! I hate him. I actually hate him. The commentators are the pits, and they talk over each other constantly. You can see why they didn’t do this regularly! Hogan fights back and sends DiBiase upside down with a big shot, then proceeds to stand on his back a couple of times. Again, it’s a dickish thing to do, using your opponent as a human doormat. Disrespectful! The match gets stopped when Andre interferes, and he gets sent backstage and “fined $2000”. When we resume, DiBiase is in control, but not for long, as Hogan soon Hulks Up. Virgil stops the boot, but DiBiase accidentally clocks him, and Hogan rolls him up to win. At least we got spared the usual Legdrop of Doom finish. Good god Doherty got on my tits. The match was ok, but the commentating really ruined it.
Final Rating: *¼
Summary: This was non-stop one match after the other, brief workout montage aside. That was weird though. Why was it set to Jake’s music? It’s not like he wasn’t around, because this was released in 1989! I remain thoroughly baffled by that. You know, for a Hogan tape it really wasn’t all that bad. Everything was from 1988 or before, so he wasn’t lethargic and completely paint by numbers, and thus was actually quite watchable. There are no technical masterpieces or must-see matches, but it flies past quickly and is generally inoffensive. It is still not in any way “good”. If you love Hogan watch it, if you don’t then don’t bother.