Road To WrestleMania XXX – Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan's WrestleMania

Via WWE.com

The Hulkster hasn’t had a match at WrestleMania since his match in 2002 against the Rock. But I thought it’d be nice to look back at the guy who carried WrestleMania in its early years and is back for the 30th one.

Hulk Hogan’s WrestleMania career

Hogan’s name is synonymous with WrestleMania, especially in the early years. He was in, or part of, the main event on the first nine shows. The main event for the first WrestleMania was possible because of Hogan, as well as Vince McMahon pulling strings to get pop culture stars like Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T associated with him. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T on Saturday Night Live? Check. Hulk Hogan and Cyndi Lauper on MTV? Check. Hogan and T with Richard Belzer? Okay, we don’t need to talk about that one.

The match wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t supposed to be. It was supposed to be a spectacle, which it was. Hogan and T beat Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff to send the Madison Square Garden folks home happy and WrestleMania was born.

As a young Hulkamaniac, WrestleMania 2 actually sucked me in even more. On Saturday Night’s Main Event prior to the big show, Hogan was attacked by King Kong Bundy and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in what Gorilla Monsoon compared to Pearl Harbor. Hogan was in the hospital and he was going into his WrestleMania 2 match-up with Bundy injured. But it didn’t matter. Hogan won the steel cage match to keep Hulkamania running hot and heavy.

WrestleMania III provided his toughest challenge yet in the 8th Wonder Of The World Andre The Giant. The angry giant turned heel on Hogan for the mere fact that Hogan never offered him an attempt to beat him. His reason? Well, Hogan was scared. Hogan’s reason? They were friends and Andre never asked. As part of the Bobby Heenan stable, all Andre did was not smile and stare a hole through Hogan and yet, he was the baddest heel of them all. Again, this wasn’t about the match. In fact, they had a bad match. But when Hogan picked up Andre to finally slam him, the pin didn’t even really need to happen. That was the first real WrestleMania moment.

The Andre vs. Hogan war didn’t end there. They faced each other as part of different teams in the Survivor Series and Andre won the match. They built to The Main Event which was on Friday, not Saturday which made it more special. Thanks to the twin Hebner referees, Hogan was screwed and Andre took the belt home. But Andre’s main inspiration for winning the title was to sell the belt to the Million Dollar Man. He didn’t read between the lines or something because president Jack Tunney deemed that no one was the champion. It would be up for grabs in a tournament at WrestleMania IV, which would be won by Randy Savage. Hogan and Andre had yet another match and both were disqualified. Hogan helped Savage win the belt by nailing Ted DiBiase with a steel chair in the final match.

What came after that was one of the greatest angles in company history. Hogan and Savage would become the Mega Powers (stealing from Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff who were the Super Powers). For all of 1988, they were shown as friends with Savage as the champion and Hogan as his trusty, and powerful sidekick. Yet Savage was jealous because Hogan was also friends with Elizabeth and would get too close for Savage’s comfort in celebration. They finally broke up on another special edition of The Main Event after Savage decreed that Hogan had jealous eyes for Elizabeth. At WrestleMania V, the Mega Powers exploded. It was arguably Hogan’s best WrestleMania match because Savage was such a good opponent for him. Hogan finally won a competitive match which ended the fantastic storyline.

At WrestleMania VI, Hogan faced The Ultimate Warrior who going to be the next big thing. It seemed like a natural passing of the torch for the Ultimate Warrior to win, but the Hulkamaniacs wouldn’t believe it until they saw it. Since Hulkamania was born, Hulkamaniacs had never seen Hogan pinned cleanly. His loss to Andre wasn’t a clean loss. Yet, when the Ultimate Warrior pinned him to win the WWF title, it was shocking and sad at the same time. A new sheriff was in town and that was exciting, but for many, there wasn’t a need for a new sheriff.

That would play out the next year at WrestleMania VII. Warrior didn’t hold the belt for the entire year. Instead, he lost it to the returning and now anti-American Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble. Hogan was back in the main event again and had to stand up for America by beating Slaughter.

By WrestleMania VIII, a dream match was upon us. Ric Flair joined WWF and just about every fan figured that by WrestleMania, they’d get their dream match. Instead, they faced each other at house shows in late 1991 and by the time WrestleMania came around, the idea was changed from Hogan vs. Flair to Hogan vs. Sid Justice/Vicious and Flair vs. Savage. Hogan vs. Justice didn’t have a title on the line, nor any real grudge except that Justice figured Hogan was a bit of a phony. The Justice/Hogan match wasn’t good, but it was still the last match on the show. It ended in a DQ win for Hogan and a return of the Ultimate Warrior who did a run-in at the end of the match.

Between WrestleMania VIII and WrestleMania IX, Hogan was away from the company as heat was on the WWF because of a steroid controversy. Instead of admitting to the problem and hoping for a public relations clean-up, Hogan made it worse by lying on the Arsenio Hall Show. But he was back before WrestleMania IX. He and Brutus Beefecake faced Money Inc. for the tag straps in the middle of the card (but were the biggest draw on the show). But after Yokozuna beat Bret Hart to win the WWF title, Hogan came to Bret’s rescue, accepted an impromptu challenge, and won the title from Yoko.

It would be nine years before Hogan made his return to WrestleMania. In 1994, he went to WCW and started a near seven year run with Ted Turner’s company. WCW died in 2001 and Hogan was back in WWE in 2002 as part of the nWo.

At WrestleMania 18, he faced the Rock in the biggest match on the card even though technically, Chris Jericho vs. Triple H was the main event. But Hogan and Rock stole the show. It wasn’t a perfect match or even an above average match, but for what they were trying to do, which was get the crowd to go crazy, they hit all the right notes. Hogan turned babyface during the match and by the end of it, he was well on his way to getting another title run even though he lost the match.

By the time WrestleMania 19 came around, it was time to do Hogan vs. Vince McMahon. They had a knock down drag out brawl that worked, even if it might’ve been too late for the match to mean as much as it could’ve. But Hogan would soon be gone again.

He missed WrestleMania XX, but was back for WrestleMania 21. He didn’t have a scheduled match, but was instead inducted into the Hall Of Fame. On WrestleMania Sunday, he did a run-in to help Eugene fight off Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari. His next two matches weren’t at WrestleMania, but were instead at SummerSlam in both 2005 and 2006. However, he did induct Mean Gene Okerlund into the Hall Of Fame at WrestleMania 22.

Hogan left again, worked some with TNA, but made his comeback to the company that he helped birth WrestleMania with a couple months ago.

Best WrestleMania match

Hulk Hogan has had very many Hogan-styled matches, but not one you’d consider classic. His most famous match is with Andre at WrestleMania III. After that, it’s his match with Rock at WrestleMania 18. But I think his best match was the culmination of his classic feud with Randy Savage at WrestleMania V.


Wwf wrestlemania 5 Hulk Hogan vs Macho Man part 1 by Xaristaker


Wwf wrestlemania 5 Hulk Hogan vs Macho Man… by Xaristaker

WrestleMania XXX

Hogan’s role at WrestleMania XXX is as the host. But really, his true role is being an ambassador for the WWE Network and WrestleMania brand. And hopefully, someone will run into his fist on the big day.

Previous profiles
Daniel Bryan
Batista
Randy Orton
Triple H
Brock Lesnar
John Cena

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