Hulkamania is immortal, we’ve all seen it. Hogan was the face of the WWE during its meteoric rise to mainstream and international success in the mid 80’s, the Golden Age as it's called. His exaggerated good versus evil formula helped put wrestling over, and launch the WWE to unprecedented success in the wrestling business. He was a crossover star, recognized by everyone- the Muhammad Ali of wrestling.
Unfortunately, Hulkamania ran wild, and ran wild, and kept on running, even as it got old and slow. As wrestling fans’ taste changed with the times, Hogan remained the same. As other wrestlers became more popular, Hogan continued to thrust his big pythons into the picture, perpetually stealing the spotlight from the better wrestlers around him. Hogan managed to appear in every WrestleMania main event for nine years, whether he was scheduled to or not. What’s truly impressive is the manner in which Hogan inserted himself into another wrestler’s spotlight. The sheer lunacy of the thin story angles, designed to protect his stature, ironically tarnish his legacy. Hogan never understood that one of the few times he acted unselfishly, putting over the Ultimate Warrior, is one of his most fondly remembered matches. He obviously didn’t understand the magnitude of this moment as he continually squandered similar chances for years with each era’s successive talent. His fear of being outshined denied us dream matches against the likes of (in their prime) Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin.
Hogan dominated the WWE until they were in trouble, brought his tired act to WCW, where he rejuvenated his career as a heel for a few years, before again growing stale until they were out of business, and then assisted in killing off TNA. He is a blackhole, extremely powerful, his ego sucks in everything around him, not allowing anyone else to be seen. While you can’t blame a guy for looking out for himself, you have to think that as a wrestler, it’s in his best interests to keep the wrestling business alive and healthy. But “what’s a wrestling company gonna do, when Hulkamania comes stumbling through?”
10 10. The Iron Sheik
9 9. WrestleMania IV
8 8. Lingering at WrestleMania VI
7 7. The Match that wasn’t
6 6. “The Double Main Event”
5 5. Bret Hart
Another match that should have happened. When Hogan sucked it up and passed the torch to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI it made for a classic WWE moment. Hogan had the opportunity to do that with the new face of the WWE, Bret Hart. Of course Hogan likes to do one thing, beat unstoppable monsters. He definitely doesn’t like to be outshined by a far more talented and relevant baby face. This means wrestling fans were denied another potential classic match and Hart was denied being put over by the Hulkster.
4 4. Sucks up to Japan
3 3. Creative Control in WCW
2 2. Sting, Starrcade ’97
In one of WCW’s few masterstrokes, Hogan turned heel and joined the nWo. He and the nWo began to terrorize the WCW roster, and it seemed like nothing could stop them. In a further genius move, Sting and his colourful persona had disappeared only to reappear as Crow Sting. He would perch in the rafters and descend like Batman to dispense dark justice to the nWo thugs. The angle had major heat, and was leading up to a highly anticipated clash between Sting and Hogan at Starrcade ’97. Starrcade had a massive buy rate as a PPV and this was all due to the anticipation of Sting vs. Hogan. It was the peak of WCW as a company.
However Hogan saw to it that Sting’s year-long buildup would be completely squandered. Instead of Sting exploding on Hogan early in the match (or at all), giving the crowd the gigantic blow off they yearned for, Hogan immediately put him in a headlock, and beat him around the ring for the majority of the time. The crowd watched Hogan boringly control the match as it crawled it’s way to the finish. The finish had a ton of potential. The idea was that referee Nick Patrick would give Hogan a fast count over Sting and freshly-defected WWE superstar Bret Hart would make his first appearance on a WCW card and overturn the fast count, allowing Sting to be victorious.
1 1. Shawn Michaels
In yet another potentially classic match between two of the greatest figures in WWE history, Hogan failed to understand the appeal of fans watching two faces duke it out in a cross-generational dream match. Michaels pitched the match as his character “needing to know” if he ever could have beat the Hulkster, while Hogan forced the formula into yet another retread of his matches from 20 years prior. After Michaels compromised with Hogan, agreeing to lose at SummerSlam but win at the next PPV, Hogan double-crossed him at the last minute.
He stated that due to injury he could only perform the SummerSlam match. Michaels had lost his chance to beat Hogan and was forced to play heel like it was the 80’s. Michaels however, fought fire with fire. If Hogan wanted to be selfish, then Michaels would make him look like a fool. The Heartbrea Kid, in typical fashion, stole the show (essentially by himself this time) by giving an absolutely hilarious performance, overselling everything Hogan hit him with to cartoon-like proportions. Once again, Hogan’s ego turned a potential classic, into a joke. At least Michaels fed us some comedic gold. He also ripped Hogan a new one while imitating him in a promo, bordering between shoot and kayfabe.
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