Friday, June 24, 2011

Fantasy Friday: Hogan vs. Austin

Photo Courtesy: the Sun
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I'm starting a new feature here on Fridays.  It's inspired after a conversation I had with Buff Blogger Guy on his Internet radio show recently.  He had me on the show to talk about wrestling and we got into a discussion about some "fantasy" matches.  One of them was Hulk Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin.  So I've decided to give my thoughts on that contest and will come up with other dream matches in the coming weeks.

First,  for arguments sake, I'm going to compare the two icons over a 3 year time period.  In my opinion Hogan was at his peak between 1984 and 1987.  Austin from 1996 to 1999.  Both men won the WWF title several times.  Let's look at some of their key wins and title history over their 3 year peak time.

Courtesy: WWE
Hulk Hogan: (Remember this is just an analysis of 1984 to 1987)
Title History
WWF World Heavyweight champion (1 time)

Key victories:
Pinned the Iron Sheik for the WWF title at Madison Square Garden (January 1984)

Pinned Greg "the Hammer" Valentine at The Brawl to End it All (July 1984)

Beat "Rowdy" Roddy Piper by disqualification at The War to Settle the Score (December 1984)
 
Beat "Rowdy" Roddy Piper by disqualification at the Wrestling Classic (October 1985)

Pinned Terry Funk on Saturday Night's Main Event (December 1985)

Beat King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match at Wrestlemania 2 (April 1986)

Beat "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff by disqualification at The Big Event (August 1986)

Beat "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff in a steel cage match on Saturday Night's Main Event (aired January 1987)

Courtesy: WWE
Pinned Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3 (March 1987)


So over the course of 3 years, Hogan held the WWF title one time.  He pinned the Iron Sheik in January 1984 and continued to hold the belt until February 1988.  An impressive run no doubt.

His biggest win in this time period would have to be his pinfall over Andre the Giant.  Looking at some of his other big opponents, like Orndorff and Piper, he mostly beat by disqualification or countout.

There were other Saturday Night's Main Event appearances where Hogan either won by pinfall, DQ, or was involved in a tag team match.

I don't think anyone would argue that Hogan dominated this time period.  But also we have to keep in mind there weren't nearly as many TV shows or pay per views in this era.  Hogan rarely (if ever) defended the world title on Superstars.  And during this 3 year analysis Wrestlemania was still the only PPV on the WWF calendar.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin:  Some may argue with the time period I picked as Austin's peak, but I really feel like he did some of his best work in his early days in the WWF.  Not the Ringmaster stuff.  It wasn't until he shed that persona and really came out and started the Stone Cold era.  So let's look at his stats.  His analysis will be somewhat different than Hogan's because Austin won more titles during this 3 year period.

Courtesy: WWE
Title History & Key Wins:
Pinned Jake "the Snake" Roberts to become the King of the Ring in 1996.

Won the 1997 Royal Rumble (although Bret Hart had technically eliminated him and Austin snuck back into the ring)

Teamed with Shawn Michaels to beat Owen Hart & British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith for the WWF tag team titles (May 1997)

Teamed with Dude Love to beat Hart & Bulldog for the WWF tag team titles (July 1997)

Beat Owen Hart for the Intercontinental title (August 1997)  *surrendered the title due to injury.

Beat Owen Hart for the IC Title (November 1997) *lost the title to the Rock about a month later.

Won the 1998 Royal Rumble

Courtesy: WWE
Beat Shawn Michaels for the WWF title (March 1998) *lost the title to Kane in June 1998

Beat Kane for the WWF title (June 1998) *title was vacated in September due to a controversial pinfall in a triple threat match against Kane & the Undertaker

Teamed with the Undertaker to beat Kane & Mankind for the tag team titles (July 1998) *lost them back in August

Beat the Rock for the WWF title (March 1999) *lost it to the Undertaker in May 1999

Beat the Undertaker for the WWF title (June 1999) *lost it to Mankind in August 1999

Wow, as you can see Austin has a lot more title wins (and losses) than Hogan did over the course of his 3 years.  I didn't include key title defenses for Austin because there were so many matches in this time period because at that point the WWF was doing a weekly Raw and monthly PPV's.  The title was always being defended.

Another key opponent for Austin during this time was Bret "the Hitman" Hart.  Austin never got the pinfall over the Hitman, but he took Bret to the limit each time they wrestled and the two of them put on some excellent matches (Survivor Series 1996 & Wrestlemania 13 in 1997).

So who would win in a match between Hogan and Austin?  Hogan clearly was more dominate in his 3 years compared to Austin's, but as I mentioned, there were less events and I would argue a difference in opponents too.

Hogan holds wins over Piper, Orndorff, Andre, Valentine, Magnificent Muraco, Big John Studd, Bundy, Funk, Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Hercules, etc.

Austin's victories include Owen, Michaels, Kane, Undertaker, Rock, and Mankind.

Photo courtesy: WWE
WWF champion.  I've read (and heard) stories about this.  A lot of guys still have heat with him today.  However, I've not heard any ill will towards Stone Cold.

Hogan was GIVEN the ball and ran with it and took wrestling to new heights.  Hogan's size and look helped to get him over.  I'm not discrediting his legacy here by any means.  I think Austin came up with a gimmick, got himself over, and climbed his way to the top.  He TOOK the ball and ran with it.  It wasn't HANDED to him.

So as you've probably figured out, in week one of the Fantasy Friday, I'm going with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin over Hulk Hogan.  It's a close call. Again, I'm not taking anything away from Hogan or what he did for the industry.  Who knows what things would be like today had he not been the one who was given the opportunity to be at the top for so long.

What are your thoughts?  What other "dream" matches do you want us to analyze?  Post your comments.  Or leave them on our Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube pages.

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