#WF074 – Hulkamania 4
James Dixon: It just never ends does it? This is the 250th Hulk Hogan tape released by Coliseum Video in the space of four years. We start with highlights of Hogan’s first title win against The Iron Sheik, an incredibly famous bout that has been covered a few times elsewhere in this book. Just the finish here, with the post match celebration in slow motion. We get comments from fans next, talking about how much they love Hogan and Hulkamania. “Hulkamania IS wrestling” says the modest Hogan. I don’t doubt for a second that he really believes that.
Hulk Hogan vs. Bad News Brown
This is from Hershey, Pennsylvania in February 1989, the same show as the highly rated Rockers-Brainbusters match from Even More Saturday Night’s Main Event. I really like Bad News, he doesn’t feature anywhere near enough on these tapes. He starts strong and clubs away at Hogan, before choking him out. He misses a pair of elbows and Hogan fires back, knocking him out of the ring with a big punch. Hogan follows News and gives another punch. “There are going to be very little scientific abilities on display here” – Vince McMahon. Hell, at least he used to be aware of his talent’s limitations. Hogan with a head of steam as he brings News back in the hard way, and hits some elbow drops and the big boot. Instead of going for the legdrop, he rams News into the buckles, but it has no effect and News returns the favour. Charge in the corner eats a boot, and Hogan gives News an atomic drop which sends him back outside. Hogan sends News into the railing, but he gets sent into the post, only to move out of the way of a Bad News punch, and he ends up punching the post. No scientific ability is right, but at least Bad News hasn’t let himself be completely squashed here. This has been back-and-forth, with both guys exchanging control every few seconds. I have enjoyed it! News looks for a weapon under the ring, and when he can’t find one he goes to the back and brings out a shovel. Ok, that is pretty random. I can’t quite fathom what the point of that is. Hogan blocks it, but back inside Bad News hits a clothesline and we go into the heat. News hits a slam and drops a legdrop, but only gets two. A kick to the gut sends Hogan outside the ring, and News slams his head into the apron. Bad News chases Elizabeth, who is at ringside with Hogan, but he gets stopped. Boo. Bad News stops the beating and gets on the mike: “Look at your hero. Look at your champ. Look at him. Look at the faggot crawling like the dog that you are. You think I’m gonna give you some mercy? You think I’m gonna give you some mercy huh? No way, it’s Ghetto Blaster time fool!” Man, I fucking love Bad News Brown. News misses the Ghetto Blaster, and Hogan Hulks Up, hitting a high knee and the legdrop for the win. It’s a predictable end, but that match was a real surprise, what great fun. It was almost like an attitude era style brawl all the way though. Bad News calling Hogan a “faggot” wins this extra brownie points too. I wonder what GLAAD would have to say about that one.
Final Rating: ***
Hercules and Tito Santana get blackmailed into talking about what Hulkamania means to them. I would wager that it means good house show pay-offs and not a lot else.
Hulk Hogan vs. Ted DiBiase
We are at the Philadelphia Spectrum in March 1988 here, yet the idiotic commentary team of Mooney and Schiavone claim that for DiBiase to be WWF champion, he cannot buy it, he has to beat Hogan. Yeah nice one, except Hogan isn’t the champion you inept assholes. This is all Hogan early on, and DiBiase ends up on the outside a few times. Hogan unloads on DiBiase, and then goes through his extensive repertoire of cheating. The incompetents defend him choking out DiBiase with his wrist tape, saying that he has to do that. Why exactly? DiBiase has done nothing wrong to warrant it here. Actually, he has done nothing at all, he hasn’t hit a move. The “Killer Bees” attack Hogan, but it is all a bit suspicious as they are wearing masks and are FAR bigger than the actual Killer Bees. I smell something… A plot is afoot! DiBiase takes over after the Bees’ attack, and lands a few elbow drops for a two count. Hogan Hulks Up and hits the boot, but gets tripped by the Bees. DiBiase goes up top, but Hogan press slams him off and hits the legdrop, and that of course, gets the win. After the match, Hogan rips the mask off one of the Bees, but he has another on underneath and manages to escape before his identity is revealed. I wonder who it was! How frustrating. Awful match anyway, it was just a Hogan squash more than anything. Schiavone says it is another successful title defence for Hogan. No. NO! IT FUCKING IS NOT!
Final Rating: ½*
Steel Cage Match
Hulk Hogan vs. The Big Bossman
This match also features on The Best of Hulkamania. It is from March 1989, from MSG. It is not to be confused with a cage match they had on SNME two months later for the WWF title, which was pretty great actually. They actually had dozens of them; they did this match all over the circuit in early ’89. Bossman is packing some pounds in this, he is huge. I don’t think I have ever seen him looking quite so fat, and I am surprised Hogan manages to get him over for a suplex. Bossman tries to escape the cage, but Hogan joins him on the buckles and they go at it, with Bossman giving him a headbutt to send him crashing down onto the canvas. Bossman slowly tries to escape, but Hogan just reaches him through the bars before he can. They do the same superplex from the top of the cage spot as in the other match, but it is no less impressive. Credit to Bossman, he has some balls taking that. I wonder if he did the same bump in all of the cage matches they had? It’s a career shortening bump for sure. Hogan crawls for the door, but Bossman holds his legs and pulls him back in. Hogan goes to the eyes and bites him, but Bossman retaliates with a spinebuster. I won’t comment on the cheating from Hogan because it is a cage match and thus not illegal, but I will say that Bossman’s shirt is completely open and he has a cut above his eye, so he is close to done here. Slick throws Bossman his handcuffs and he chokes Hogan with them. Hogan fights back, but they ram each other face-first into the cage in unison and both go down. Hogan goes to escape, but Bossman stops him and gives him a headbutt. Hogan slams him in retaliation and then finds the handcuffs, wrapping them around his hand to knock down Bossman over and over again. He pinballs Bossman into the cage then drops the legdrop, and goes to climb out. Bossman is busted wide open now, presumably hardway from the cuffs. This has been pretty wild. Bossman deserved to work this match with Hogan on a pay-per-view. Slick gets involved, but Hogan takes him out and handcuffs Bossman to the ropes. Hogan climbs over the top as Bossman tries to escape, regardless of being cuffed, but Hogan makes it to the floor first and wins the match. Another really good cage match between these two guys, though the finish was very, very similar to the aforementioned match they had in May. This one was bloodier, so that helps it, and I would say it was probably on about the same level overall.
Final Rating: ***½
Hogan attends a horrid assembly with a bunch of WWF dressed kids and suffers through some really awful singing. For all he is a shocking role model in the ring, out of it he deserves credit for the positive messages he gave to children, even if he didn’t always practice what he preached. There is a bitter irony to watching him talk about staying away from drugs though.
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. The Honky Tonk Man
Next up, we are in Worcester, Massachusetts and it is July 1989. This time, Hogan is the champion. Before the match, Hogan cuts a promo basically saying that if Honky tries any shit with his guitar, he won’t sell it. We start on the outside, and Hogan has little trouble with Honky in the early going. Hell, he doesn’t even take his shirt and bandana off for the first few minutes. Well, it is only Honky, it is not like he is even approaching a threat, never mind a credible one. Jimmy Hart tries to save Honky, but Hogan gives them a double noggin knocker. Hogan follows Honky to the outside, but Hart nails him from behind with a guitar to take over. Hogan powers out of a chinlock and runs Honky into the top buckle, but gets caught with a desperation clothesline. Honky hits the Shake, Rattle and Roll, but instead of making the cover, he poses. What a dumbass! He had it there. Ventura is pissed off with him for not going for the cover earlier too. Jeez, just image if Honky was champion. What a sad day. Hulk Up nonsense, and Hogan twats Hart and Honky with the guitar on the outside of the ring, in front of the ref. Hebner just looks, half shrugs and then counts the match winning pin from the legdrop. Brief, and complete Hogan dominance once again.
Final Rating: ¾*
Hulk Hogan vs. King Haku
We go back a year to August 1988, and we are in Dayton, Ohio for this one, a Coliseum exclusive no less. Hogan is not the champion here again, but Schiavone says how another member of the Heenan family is looking to dethrone the Hulkster. Can they not see he is not wearing the belt? Do they even give a damn or are they just sleepwalking through this shit? Haku is on top early on, chopping, clawing and choking Hogan, until he misses a charge and gets caught with a slam. Hogan gives Heenan a punch to the head for his troubles too, as Haku bails. It is yet another example of an unprovoked Hogan acting like an asshole towards someone just because they happen to be there. You can get through life by just punching people you don’t like, that is the message we are getting here. Like I said, he is a shocking in-ring role model. Back inside the ring and Haku goes to the arm, pulling the hair to take the advantage. Schiavone is at it again, saying how Heenan is sure the time is right for Haku to be champion. Well, if he faces and defeats Randy Savage, then he will be champion. Seriously, this clear, pure idiocy is really beginning to rile me up now. Hogan cheats some more, with the new message being that two wrongs DO make a right, as he pulls Haku’s hair when he turns the tables and has control of his arm. Hogan catches a Haku kick and spins him into an atomic drop and a slam, but he misses an elbow drop, allowing Haku to regain the advantage with a nerve hold. In the midst of that, Hogan goes to duck a clothesline but Haku doesn’t even bother to throw one, resulting in Hogan charging into Haku’s chest, head down, like an angry rhino. It looked like a Hogan running headbutt, it was swell. Rarely do you see botches in Hogan matches, generally because they are so simple and repetitive that they are impossible to screw up. Haku hits a perfect savat kick to the top of the head, but Hogan Hulks Up, hits a slam and the legdrop, and gets the win. I have noticed, that Hogan is the only guy who wins consistently on his own video releases, because most of the wrestler profiles featured queer choices, with the subject getting beaten more often than not. Not Hogan though, the guy never lost! Standard Hogan match, but ok.
Final Rating: *¾
Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Andre the Giant
This match has a familiar feel to it. I have covered this a few times on other tapes as well, too many to mention actually. It is of course one of the most famous matches of all time, from WrestleMania III in March 1987. Jesse Ventura calls it the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling and for once that is not just hype. The stare down at the start alone is dripping with intensity. This level of match has never been recreated, because it was the two biggest stars of the decade, on the biggest stage, in front of the largest crowd. Nothing has come close in terms of spectacle since, and probably never will. The reason I think it will never be matched is because stars are created in different ways than they were in the 70s and 80s. Andre and Hogan had both been around the circuit, all over the world, for many years before this match. People believed that Andre had never been beaten in fifteen years, even if it was revisionist history on the part of the WWF. Hogan had an aura of being unbeatable as well, he had been the WWF champion for three years, which again is a reign length that will not be matched again. When you combine their respective histories and legendary statuses with the personal issue in kayfabe world that they used to be friends and no-one ever expected Andre to turn on Hogan, you have magic. Other matches since have been huge, epic and historical, but none to the level of this. The slam at the end from Hogan is also something that they have tried and failed to recreate, but it can never happen. Having Kane slam Great Khali at WrestleMania XXIII was not even on the same planet. This is obviously a horrid match for workrate fans, but that is not what it is about. Indeed, most wrestling fans can probably watch this match with their eyes closed and recite every spot. The match content didn’t matter, it was all about the spectacle. Required viewing for all wrestling fans, but you can certainly get hold of this in countless other places.
Final Rating: **½
Oh my, next we go behind the scenes on No Holds Barred. According to Sean Mooney, Hogan wowed the stuntmen with the things he could do, and delighted the audience by riding a bike. Easily pleased isn’t he? This is a long segment, which offers little in the way of revelations. It is just your generic look at making a movie, which is all it claims to be. I can take or leave this.
Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage
This is from August 1989 in Fresno, California. The match is also available on The Best of Hulkamania, reviewed in Volume #2. Hogan and Savage have had about a million different matches on these comp tapes, and their quality varies depending on Savage’s motivation. By late ’89 he was definitely on the road to not giving a shit. Is it wrong that I giggle when Mooney says: “this has got to have been a tough period for Miss Elizabeth.” Sorry. Hogan rams Sherri and Savage into the ring, and then tries the same thing with Zeus, who no-sells it completely. In the ring and Hogan takes down Savage with an elbow in the corner, before taking him down again with a clothesline, before choking him and shaking his ass at Sherri. I hate repeating myself, but Hogan is a terrible role model. This match is pretty similar to the one they had in Paris on a few of the other tapes, only with Zeus at ringside. Zeus gets involved and throws Hogan into the post, and back inside Savage puts on a sleeper, for a long, long time. This is pretty much Savage’s only offensive move so far. Hogan fights out and takes Savage down with a shoulder block, then drops an elbow. Sherri trips him as he runs the ropes and Savage takes advantage. Savage comes off the top with Sherri’s loaded purse, but Hogan kicks out and begins his Hulking Up routine, and this one is over. Rubbish.
Final Rating: ½*
Summary: A decent little Hogan tape this, with a few good matches. The Bossman and Andre matches are both available on numerous other releases, but if this is your option, they are here too. The Bad News bout is very different to the usual Hogan match, whereas the rest of the tape is exactly the opposite. No-where near the stunning standards set by Hulkamania 3, but nevertheless, a more than worthy addition to any Hogan collection. Of course, if you hate Hogan, it is a pile of shite. Mildly recommended from us.