Thursday, January 23, 2014

30 Favorite Moments in Hulkamania History

Photo Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

January 23, 1984 wrestling changed forever.  Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden and began a phenomenon called Hulkamania.  That single action set the wheels of change in motion for wrestling and started the evolution of sports entertainment.  You can argue 'til the cows come home, but Hogan's victory that night is one of the most significant things to ever happen in wrestling.  Now, 30 years later, here are my 30 favorite moments in Hulkamania history.

Hogan & Andre
Photo Courtesy: WWE
1. The Slam Heard 'Round the World, Wrestlemania III, March 29, 1987: I was 14 years old when Hogan wrestled Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III.  I knew the two had faced off before, but I didn't care.  This seemed to be the most significant match in Hogan's three year run as WWF Champion.  It also was the most serious threat (at least in my teenage eyes) to the Hulkster's reign.  I'm still impressed he scooped up the big man and dropped the big leg, pinning the unbeaten giant to retain the WWF championship.

2.  Larger than Life, WWF House Show, December 27, 1984: This was my first live wrestling experience.  It was a WWF House Show in St. Louis, Missouri.  Hogan headlined, pinning Brutus Beefcake.  I was 11 years old.  Seeing Hogan up close and in person was amazing.  He really was larger than life.

3.  Hulkamania is Born, Madison Square Garden, January 23, 1984: I was new to wrestling when Hogan battled the Iron Sheik that winter night in New York City.  I had no idea then, what kind of impact the title change would bring.  Long gone were the Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammaratino days of the WWF.  There was a new kid on the block and he was going to lead the way of change for the business.  Love him or hate, it's hard to deny Hogan's victory that night changed things forever.

4. The Birth of Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania, March 31, 1985: Being the champion, it only made sense for Hogan to main event the first ever Wrestlemania.  It proved to be a star studded affair that saw Hogan pin foe Paul Orndorff after a backfire cast swing by Cowboy Bob Orton.  Hogan and Mr. T won the match, and a new friend in Orndorff who was dumped by Roddy Piper and Orton.

Elizabeth, Hogan, & Savage
5.  Mega Powers, Activate, Saturday Night's Main Event, October 3, 1987: "Macho Man" Randy Savage was being assaulted by the Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation, when Miss Elizabeth ran to the back.  I had no idea who she'd return with, but I marked out like crazy when she was pulling Hogan's arm and leading him to the ring.  I got goosebumps when the Hulkster saw what was happening and assured Liz he'd help.  The Mega Powers formed that night, which was a huge boost for Savage's career too.

Warrior & Hogan
Photo Courtesy: WWE
6.  The Ultimate Torch Pass, Wrestlemania VI, April 1, 1990: This seems like it would be more of an Ultimate Warrior moment, but I think this was significant as it really did appear Hogan was ready to fade off into the bright lights of Hollywood.  For whatever reason it wasn't meant to be, and the Hulkster eventually returned to his spot at the top of the WWF.

7.  Double Trouble, The Main Event, February 5, 1988: The Hulkster lost the WWF Title for the first time that night, due to a screw job by Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant, and Earl Hebner.  This match was live in prime time on network television.  I watched in shock that night and shed more than a few tears.  Oh and yes, I was nearly 15 years old at the time...

8. The Rock 'N Wrestling Connection, The War to Settle the Score, February 18, 1985: This was the kickoff for Wrestlemania.  Hogan faced Roddy Piper on MTV that night.  The WWF had been on the network before with Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter leading the way.  Hogan's match with Piper ended in a disqualification and drew Mr. T and Paul Orndorff into the fold.  This also led to the cartoon series, action figures, and other merchandising and main stream cross overs.  I'd still say Piper is one of Hogan's greatest rivals of all time.

9. Mega Meltdown, The Main Event, February 3, 1989: Hogan and Savage had enjoyed more than a year of tag team bliss.  But it all came crumbling down when the duo faced the Big Bossman and Akeem on the second installment of The Main Event on NBC.  Even though the Mega Powers won the match, Savage went nuts, battering Hogan with the WWF belt.  This set up the main event to Wrestlemania V, where Hulkamania once again reigned supreme.

10. For Life!, Bash at the Beach, July 7, 1996: Notice this is the ONLY WCW mention in this blog.  I wasn't a big fan of WCW Hogan.  I guess I'd grown tired of him by this point.  This night marked the end of Hulkamania as we knew it. After 12 years of soaking in the cheers of the crowd, Hogan turned heel, joining the Outsiders Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.  The trio formed the New World Order and took wrestling to a whole new level and ramped up the whole Monday Night War between WCW and WWF.

11. Occupied!, WrestleCon, April 6, 2013: While attending the Chikara show at WrestleCon during Wrestlemania 29 weekend, I got a chance to see Hogan up close again. He was signing autographs at the convention and had come over to the wrestling side to use the restroom.  I was in line to do the same, and I say in line because security had blocked the door, only allowing the Hulkster in restroom.  Eventually we got to go in, and Hulk and I passed each other at the sink.  Good to know he has good hygiene.

12.  Rocked!, Wrestlemania X8, March 17, 2002: Hollywood Hogan had recently come to the WWE, nearly a year after Vince McMahon purchased WCW.  Still a heel, Hogan took on the ultra popular Rock.  During the course of the match, the fans rallied behind Hogan, and his corner mates Hall and Nash didn't like it.  They turned on Hogan, promoting the Rock to make the save and during the black and white Hogan back into the yellow and red Hulkster.

13. Ready to Rumble, Royal Rumble 90 & 91, January 19, 1990 & January 21, 1991: I'm counting this as one memory.  Hogan became the first Superstar to ever win back to back Royal Rumbles.

Bossman vs. Hogan
Photo Courtesy: WWE
14. He's a Boss, Man, Saturday Night's Main Event, April 18, 1989: One of Hogan's biggest rivalries during his second reign as champion came against the Big Bossman.  The two faced off in the big blue steel cage, which saw the Hulkster suplex the former correctional officer from the top.  Of course Hogan won the match, and impressed many fans with the bold maneuver.

15. Salt in the Wounds, Wrestlemania IX, April 4, 1993: Hogan came out to right the wrong done to WWF Champion Bret Hart.  Yokozuna had just won the match and the title with the help of Mr. Fuji and his salt.  Foolishly, Fuji immediately challenged Hogan, which the former champ accepted, ducked a handful of salt and leg dropped his way to another reign as champion.  Sure Hart got the shaft, but Hulkamania was alive and well again, at least for a few months...
Hogan in the Hall of Fame
Photo Courtesy: WWE
16.  Livin' in the Hall of Fame, April 2005: After many ups & downs, Hogan gets inducted.
17.  Hulkamania Dies, Survivor Series 1991: Hogan dropped the title to the Undertaker, huge upset.
18.  Rage in the Cage, SNME, January 187: Hogan & Orndorff "tie" in a cage match.
19.  Ultimate Survivors, Survivor Series 1990: Hogan & Warrior stand tall at the end of the show.
20.  Priceless!, Wrestlemania IV, March 1988: Hogan costs the Million $ Man the WWF Title.
21.  Piledriven, WWF Superstars, April 1986: Orndorff turns on Hogan after a year of friendship.
22.  Tuesdays with Hulk, Tuesday in Texas, December 1991: Hogan regains the title from 'Taker.
23.  Real American, Wrestlemania 21, April 2005: Hogan saves Eugene for Muhammad Hassan.  
24.  No Justice, Wrestlemania XIII, April 1992: Hogan beats Sid by DQ, Warrior saves the day.
25.  Not Ready for Prime Time, SNL, March 1985: Hogan and Mr. T hosted Saturday Night Live.
26.  Two for the Road, Wrestlemania II, April 1986: Hogan beats King Kong Bundy in a cage.
27.  No Holds Barred, The Movie & The Match, 1989: Personally, I liked the movie.
28.  Employee of the Year, Wrestlemania XIX, March 2003: Hogan beats McMahon, gets revenge.
29.  One More Time, Backlash, April 2002: Hogan beats Triple H for his final WWE championship.
30.  Livin' on the Edge, SmackDown!, July 2002: Hogan's first tag team title run with Edge.


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