James Dixon: Another in the seemingly endless stream of Hogan comps. This one is made up entirely of matches available elsewhere. Not exactly one for hardcore collectors.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is from August 1989 in Fresno, California. It is also available on Hulkamania 4, reviewed in Volume #1. Why bother putting matches on that you can already get on different Hogan tapes? He surely has had enough matches to vary things a little and put something new out. Hogan and Savage have had about a million different matches on these comp tapes, and their quality varies depending on Savage’s motivation. By late ’89 he was definitely on the road to not giving a shit. Is it wrong that I giggle when Mooney says: “this has got to have been a tough period for Miss Elizabeth.” Sorry. Hogan rams Sherri and Savage into the ring, and then tries the same thing with Zeus, who no-sells it completely. In the ring and Hogan takes down Savage with an elbow in the corner, before taking him down again with a clothesline, before choking him and shaking his ass at Sherri. I hate repeating myself, but Hogan is a terrible role model. This match is pretty similar to the one they had in Paris on a few of the other tapes, only with Zeus at ringside. Zeus gets involved and throws Hogan into the post, and back inside Savage puts on a sleeper, for a long, long time. This is pretty much Savage’s only offensive move so far. Hogan fights out and takes Savage down with a shoulder block, then drops an elbow. Sherri trips him as he runs the ropes and Savage takes advantage. Savage comes off the top with Sherri’s loaded purse, but Hogan kicks out and begins his Hulking Up routine, and this one is over. Rubbish.
Final Rating: ½*
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Greg Valentine
We go to the Philadelphia Spectrum next, way back in August 1984. You can also see this on the first ever Hulkamania tape, which is also reviewed in Volume #1. Hogan is wearing white, so you know this is from a long time ago. The massive “Spectrum” logo in the middle of the ring is somewhat distracting. It is something the WWF rarely did. In fact, the only major event I can remember with a logo on the canvas was WrestleMania XII, and it was awesome. WCW on the other hand, did it for every show in the nWo era. Back-and-forth to begin, until Valentine takes over and drops an elbow for a two count. Valentine always cut a very methodical pace, and it is no different here, as he combines clubbing blows with submissions to wear down the champ. “Some sort of death-lock here” says Schiavone about a leg submission. Come on Fat Tony, you are making Alfred Hayes sound competent. Valentine uses a chair to the legs, softening Hogan up for the figure four. Hogan desperately tries to take him down, but the Hammer is still too strong and clubs away. The shots no longer have an effect, and Hogan Hulks Up and takes Valentine down with the Axe Bomber. A suplex from Hogan, and he pounds away at Valentine with punches and then bites him on the head. You’re a babyface. A BABYFACE! At least his Hulking Up routine hadn’t become completely tedious and predictable by this point, and he is actually doing a few moves before the inevitable win. Though as I say that, Valentine surprisingly takes back the advantage and chokes Hogan. He throws him outside the ring and drops a forearm to the back from the apron. Hogan rolls back in and Valentine gives him a backbreaker and an elbow from the middle rope, for a two count. I wish Hogan worked like this in more of his matches, rather than doing his routine and then finishing. This has seemed much more like a back-and-forth contest, which is how a good match should be. Not that this is particularly great mind, but it is ok. Valentine misses an elbow and Hogan hits a clothesline followed by the big legdrop, and that finishes it. The finish was pretty much out of no-where. I actually liked that a little more than Lee did when he first reviewed it.
Final Rating: **
Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan vs. The Big Bossman
This match also features on Hulkamania IV. It is from March 1989, from MSG. It is not to be confused with a cage match they had on SNME two months later for the WWF title, which was pretty great actually. They actually had dozens of them; they did this match all over the circuit in early ’89. Bossman is packing some pounds in this, he is huge. I don’t think I have ever seen him looking quite so fat, and I am surprised Hogan manages to get him over for a suplex. Bossman tries to escape the cage, but Hogan joins him on the buckles and they go at it, with Bossman giving him a headbutt to send him crashing down onto the canvas. Bossman slowly tries to escape, but Hogan just reaches him through the bars before he can. They do the same superplex from the top of the cage spot as in the other match, but it is no less impressive. Credit to Bossman, he has some balls taking that. I wonder if he did the same bump in all of the cage matches they had? It’s a career shortening bump for sure. Hogan crawls for the door, but Bossman holds his legs and pulls him back in. Hogan goes to the eyes and bites him, but Bossman retaliates with a spinebuster. I won’t comment on the cheating from Hogan because it is a cage match and thus not illegal, but I will say that Bossman’s shirt is completely open and he has a cut above his eye, so he is close to done here. Slick throws Bossman his handcuffs and he chokes Hogan with them. Hogan fights back, but they ram each other face-first into the cage in unison and both go down. Hogan goes to escape, but Bossman stops him and gives him a headbutt. Hogan slams him in retaliation and then finds the handcuffs, wrapping them around his hand to knock down Bossman over and over again. He pinballs Bossman into the cage then drops the legdrop, and goes to climb out. Bossman is busted wide open now, presumably hardway from the cuffs. This has been pretty wild. Bossman deserved to work this match with Hogan on a pay-per-view. Slick gets involved, but Hogan takes him out and handcuffs Bossman to the ropes. Hogan climbs over the top as Bossman tries to escape, regardless of being cuffed, but Hogan makes it to the floor first and wins the match. Another really good cage match between these two guys, though the finish was very, very similar to the aforementioned match they had in May. This one was bloodier, so that helps it, and I would say it was probably on about the same level overall.
Final Rating: ***½
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant
This is of course one of the most famous matches of all time, from WrestleMania III in 1987. This has featured on at least a dozen WWF releases. We have covered it elsewhere in this book, but here is the review again: Jesse Ventura calls it the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling and for once that is not just hype. The stare down at the start alone is dripping with intensity. This level of match has never been recreated, because it was the two biggest stars of the decade, on the biggest stage, in front of the largest crowd. Nothing has come close in terms of spectacle since, and probably never will. The reason I think it will never be matched is because stars are created in different ways than they were in the 70s and 80s. Andre and Hogan had both been around the circuit, all over the world, for many years before this match. People believed that Andre had never been beaten in fifteen years, even if it was revisionist history on the part of the WWF. Hogan had an aura of being unbeatable as well, he had been the WWF champion for three years, which again is a reign length that will not be matched again. When you combine their respective histories and legendary statuses with the personal issue in kayfabe world that they used to be friends and no-one ever expected Andre to turn on Hogan, you have magic. Other matches since have been huge, epic and historical, but none to the level of this. The slam at the end from Hogan is also something that they have tried and failed to recreate, but it can never happen. Having Kane slam Great Khali at WrestleMania XXIII was not even on the same planet. This is obviously a horrid match for workrate fans, but that is not what it is about. Indeed, most wrestling fans can probably watch this match with their eyes closed and recite every spot. The match content didn’t matter, it was all about the spectacle. Required viewing for all wrestling fans, but you can certainly get hold of this in countless other places.
Final Rating: **½
Summary: The opening match is a waste of time, but the rest of the tape is well worth watching. Every match is different, which is a rarity on a Hogan comp. While all of the bouts on this tape are available elsewhere and thus nothing is exclusive or unique and this is thus pointless if you own the others, it is still a well condensed collection of some of Hogan’s better bouts for the new collector. Perhaps incredibly, this is recommended.