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WWE Retrospective: Why Hulk Hogan Was Always A Heel

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In 1996, Hulk Hogan did the unthinkable.

He joined Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in WCW and turned his back on all of his Hulkamaniacs. Hulk Hogan turned heel. For those of us who grew up with Hogan as the champion of training, vitamins, and prayers, it was a shock to say the least.

With 23 years since the turn and a whole network to sift through, it’s plain to see that Hogan was never a “good” guy. Watch any Hulk Hogan match, and you’ll see it in his limited moveset.

In addition to the big boot and the leg drop, Hogan was fond of eye-pokes and back-rakes. And he was prone to fits of immediate whining any time he lost, no matter the circumstances.

Even today, he refuses to let go of the spotlight long after it passed him by. He took to Twitter last week to complain that he should be recognized as a 13-time world champion, rather than a 12-time champ.

But the signs were always there. Here are five instances that prove Hogan was always a bad guy.

Hulk Hogan takes Savage's moment

5. WrestleMania IV – That’s Hulk Hogan’s Limelight, Brother!

In 1988, Hogan was slated to take a break from WWE to film No Holds Barred. Check out our story on lame WWE debuts to find out what became of that.

And so, a one-night tournament was scheduled at WrestleMania IV to crown a new WWE Champion. It was set to be a coronation for Macho Man Randy Savage.

Savage fought his way through four matches in one night to claim the title. That should be enough to set him up as Hogan’s natural and worthy successor. But if you watch the show back and listen VERY closely, you can hear the sound of a man stroking a Fu Manchu and saying, “That doesn’t work for me, brother.”

When Savage reached the finals to face “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, the exhausted Macho Man had only Miss Elizabeth in his corner. DiBiase had Andre the Giant.

So Hulk Hogan came out to even the odds. Okay. Sounds fair enough.

And it was, until Hogan ran into the ring and hit DiBiase with a chair while the referee’s back was turned. It wasn’t an evening-of-the-odds, either. Andre hadn’t done anything to interfere.

It was just Hogan being a dick.

As if interfering and robbing Savage of a clean win in his first championship win wasn’t enough, Hogan decided to hang out in the ring with Savage and Elizabeth until the show went off the air.

It was the last fans would see of Hogan for awhile. As we said, he was off to set box office records.

… anyway.

Hulk Hogan "claims" the gold

4. WrestleMania IX – Hogan Screwed Bret

Bret Hart faced Yokozuna in WrestleMania IX‘s main event with the Hitman’s WWE title on the line.

Hart had been champion for a couple of months, and he was really getting over with the crowds. Yokozuna was making a name for himself as a dominant heel. Hogan made it known that he wanted a shot at the winner.

The finish of the match came when Yokozuna’s manager, Mr. Fuji, threw salt into Hart’s eyes, allowing Yokozuna to claim the pin and the title.

The heroic Hogan made his way out to challenge this nonsense and demanded that Hart get a fair shake. The match was restarted immediat- I’m just kidding. Hogan came out to check on Hart’s condition and then immediately entered the ring to claim his shot at the title.

Twenty-two seconds, one big boot, and one leg drop later, Hulk Hogan was a five-time WWE Champion.

Hogan and Taker in Texas

3. This Tuesday In Texas – Ashes To Ashes

I feel like we don’t spend enough time talking about when Hogan defiled the remains of a dead person to win the WWE Championship.

No, seriously.

At Survivor Series 1991, Ric Flair interfered in the WWE Championship match and cost Hogan the belt to the Undertaker. Hogan was granted a rematch six days later at This Tuesday In Texas due to the controversial finish.

Sounds fair enough. Hogan got screwed, he gets a rematch. Except that Hogan won the match when he grabbed a handful of ashes from Undertaker’s urn and threw them in the Deadman’s face.

Now, to be fair, Undertaker and Paul Bearer attempted to knock Hogan out with the urn, and that led to Bearer hitting the Undertaker by mistake.

But why the insult to injury? I get being a real American and fighting for the rights of every man and all that, but where does desecrating the dead come in?

Hogan and Flair face off

2. Prime Time Wrestling – In Your Face, Brother!

As a result of all the screwiness with Hogan and Undertaker, the WWE Championship was vacated. Ric Flair won the title in the 1992 Royal Rumble match (we’ll get there), and now he needed a challenger.

On an episode of Prime Time Wrestling, WWE aired footage of a press conference to determine the number-one contender to face Flair in the main event of WrestleMania VIII.

On the dais, flanking WWE President Jack Tunney, were the potential contenders. Macho Man Randy Savage, Sid Justice (the runner-up in the Royal Rumble … we’ll get there), and … Hogan and Undertaker? Isn’t the fact that each of them cheated in consecutive matches enough to disqualify them?

Anyway, Tunney did what he always does and just reflexively named Hogan the number-one contender. And the celebration Hogan throws is just obnoxious to the nth degree. He basically invents the “Yes” chant and stops short of shouting “IN YOUR FACE!” at everyone at the event.

Dude! Don’t you remember what you just did at Royal Rumble 1992?

Electric Bento remembers …

Hulk Hogan in the 1992 Royal Rumble

1. Royal Rumble 1992 – Hulkamania Runs Sour

Like we said, the 1992 Royal Rumble match determined who would win the vacant WWE Championship.

Ric Flair had been in the match for an impossibly-long time after entering at No. 3, and the final three came down to the Nature Boy, Sid, and Hulk Hogan.

Sid was relatively new to the company, and he and Hogan had become fast friends on television. They were allies. They were TIGHT, BROTHER.

But the Royal Rumble match is all about every man for himself. And when Sid had the opportunity to dump Hogan over the top and inch closer to winning the championship, he took it.

Sid eliminated Hogan, and the Hulkster went apoplectic. Hogan, his eyes so wide they were almost touching his hairline, starts screaming to the fans about what a horrible injustice this was.

Meanwhile, Sid is in the ring basically saying, “Hey, sorry, dude. Just business.”

Cooler heads prevailed, and Hogan handled his loss with grace and dign- sorry, I couldn’t type that with a straight face. This is Hulk Hogan we’re talking about here.

No, he grabbed Sid by the arm and tried to pull him out of the ring while Flair pushed him out to win the match and the WWE Championship.

When WWE aired a recap on their programming a few days later, they edited out the crowd booing Hogan for his less-than-good sportsmanship. Because heaven forbid you should notice that this guy was, as they say in France, a complete dick.

All images courtesy of WWE.

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