The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan

Part Fifteen

In our last installment we saw Hulk Hogan took time off from wrestling in order to film his movie No Holds Barred. However by the summer of 1988, he returned to the World Wrestling Federation to help his Mega Powers teammate “Macho Man” Randy Savage against the combined forces of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant. The two teams were set to square off at the new WWF pay-per-view (PPV) SummerSlam.

 

The main event began with special referee Jesse Ventura making a flashy entrance.   Eschewing traditional referee attire for his regular Hollywood fashion (including a doo rag), Jesse soaked in the cheers of the fans. While Jesse favored the heels during his time as a color commentator, many fans admired his iconoclasm. However how would they feel if Jesse sold out to “The Million Dollar Man”?

Next came “The Mega Bucks” accompanied by DiBiase’s bodyguard Virgil and Andre’s manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The Mega Powers made their way to the ring with Elizabeth by their side.  After the referee ordered the non-participants out of the ring, things got underway with Andre squaring off against Savage.Savage had difficulty coping with the Giant’s tremendous size and strength advantage. DiBiase tagged in and demanded to face Hogan. Savage gave the fans what they wanted and tagged in the Hulkster.

 

The Mega Powers and the Mega Bucks seemed evenly matched with neither team being able to gain a sustained offense. Things took a turn for the worse when the Mega Powers finally seemed to have things going their way. Hulk Hogan had a sleeper applied to DiBiase and Randy Savage was poised to deliver his finishing move, the flying elbowsmash, to Andre. 

r a prone Andre raised his boot up at the last minute stunning Savage. Andre then headbutted Hogan from behind and the Mega Powers were both knocked out of the ring.

 

Referee Jesse Ventura began counting both men out. Up until now, “The Body” had called things down the middle and he seemed like he wasn’t going to change now. Hogan and Savage were in bad shape and it looked like they were going to lose by count-out. While the Mega Bucks would have preferred a pinfall victory, a count-out would still be a victory. Jesse continued counting until the Mega Powers unleashed their secret weapon.

Miss Elizabeth stepped onto the ring apron and began walking down it. All eyes turned to her when she took off her skirt, revealing her underwear beneath. The now even lovelier Elizabeth proved to be too much of a distraction for Ventura and the Mega Bucks and this distraction allowed the Mega Powers to regain their senses.

 

When Hogan and Savage saw that Elizabeth’s distraction was working, they shook hands. Then the Mega Powers jumped back into the ring, knocking Andre over the top rope. The Mega Powers then delivered the coup de grace to DiBiase with Hogan legdropping DiBiase and covering him. Jesse Ventura began counting but when it came time for the third count, he seemed to hesitate.  However Randy Savage made sure that Ventura did the right thing and he slammed Ventura’s hand down for the third count, sealing his team’s victory.

Following their victory, the Mega Powers celebrated in the ring with Hogan delivering his usual post-match pose-down.  Elizabeth hugged Hogan then Savage.  Miss Elizabeth had proven to be a valuable member of the Mega Powers team. Unfortunately as often happens in professional wrestling, the greatest of partnerships are often the ones most likely to end in tragedy.  Thus would be the case with the Mega Powers. 

 

Following his tag team win at the main event of SummerSlam with fellow Mega Powers' member Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Hulk Hogan worked house shows in singles competition against “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. While Hogan no longer held the WWF championship, he was still a main event star and headlined shows across the country. With Savage main eventing other shows and the Ultimate Warrior’s star on the rise, the WWF’s top tier of babyfaces never seemed stronger.

 

Now that Hogan had completed filming on No Holds Barred, he could devote his efforts back to the ring.  In addition to facing DiBiase at house shows, Hogan tangled with King Haku. Haku had been crowned king by his manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan after the previous king (Harley Race) had been legitimately injured by Hulk Hogan during a match on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Another opponent that Hogan faced during the fall was the Big Boss Man. Billed as a former corrections officer (which in fact he was), the Boss Man debuted in the WWF in June of 1988 was quickly put into a program with the Hulkster. The Boss Man attacked Hogan during a  segment of “The Brother Love Show” on the October 22, 1988 edition of WWF Superstars. The Boss Man’s manager Slick sprayed mace in Hogan’s eyes.

 

The Boss Man then handcuffed Hogan to a guardrail and proceeded to beat the Hulkster with a nightstick.  However the Big Boss Man hadn’t counted on the Hulkster’s resolve and he soon headed for the hills when Hogan lifted the guardrail he was after and chased after the Boss Man.

Hogan appeared on the October 29, 1988 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, taking on King Haku. While Hogan made short order of King Haku, the match was noteworthy in that Hogan was accompanied to the ring by Miss Elizabeth.  This pairing of Hogan and Elizabeth would eventually lead to the dissolution of the Mega Powers.

 

The Boss Man angle was a good way for the WWF to build up its upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) Survivor Series. Now in its second year, Survivor Series was being booked with a main event of the Mega Powers’ team against the Twin Towers’ (Akeem and the Big Boss Man) team.   

The Mega Powers team was an interesting mix with the Mighty Hercules (who had recently turned babyface after Ted DiBiase tried to buy him from Herc’s manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as a slave) joined by the less than impressive Koko B. Ware and Hillbilly Jim.  While the Twin Towers’ team had a weak link in the Red Rooster, it more than made up for this with its other members “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Haku.

 

The ten man elimination match began with the Mega Powers scoring an early pinfall when Randy Savage pinned the Red Rooster.   With their weak link eliminated, the Twin Towers’ took out the Mega Powers’ vulnerable teammates, with Akeem pinning Hillbilly Jim and Big Boss Man pinning “The Birdman” Koko B. Ware. Things continued to go downhill for the Mega Powers when DiBiase’s bodyguard distracted DiBiase’s opponent Hercules, allowing DiBiase to roll him up for the win (albeit with the help of a handful of tights).

The Mega Powers now faced 2-1 odds with the Twin Towers, DiBiase, and Haku now opposing them.  However Savage and Hogan rebounded when Savage pinned DiBiase (who was distracted by Hercules). The Mega Powers looked to use their momentum to eliminate another opponent but things went sour when the Big Boss Man and Akeem worked Hogan over outside the ring and handcuffed him to one of the ring ropes. The only good thing that came out of this was that the Boss Man was counted out. 

 

With Hogan handcuffed outside the ring, Savage was on his own against Akeem, Haku, and the Big Boss Man (who had returned to the ring despite the fact that he’d been eliminated).  The Twin Towers beat up Savage mercilessly.  When the referee tried to restore order, Akeem  shoved him, earning a disqualification.  The two Towers finally left the ring but the damage had already been done.   A badly beaten “Macho Man” was now on his own against a fresh Haku.

 

The WWF champion put on a spirited effort but it looked like he was fighting a losing battle. Then in an amazing reversal of fortune, Haku accidentally kicked Slick off of the mat apron and onto the unforgiving floor. With “The Doctor of Style” dazed, Miss Elizabeth searched his pockets until she found the key to the handcuffs holding Hogan.   She freed Hogan who then returned to his team’s corner. Somehow, Savage made it to Hogan and tagged his partner in. A rested Hulk Hogan made short work of Haku, hitting the legdrop and pinning Haku for the win.   Despite a shaky beginning, the Mega Powers had triumphed over the Twin Towers’ team.

Hulk Hogan celebrated with Elizabeth, undoubtedly thankful for her getting him free from the handcuffs. Once again, “The First Lady of Professional Wrestling” had saved the day for the Mega Powers. However Hogan and Liz’ celebration did not go over well with “The Macho Man”.   It was clear to the fans that Savage was not happy with the attention that Elizabeth was paying to Hulk Hogan. This seed of doubt would quickly grow, destroying what was arguably the greatest tag team in the WWF at that time. 

 

The tragedy that would lead to the Mega Powers exploding had not played out completely. Further events would put Hogan and Savage on opposite sides of the squared circle, events that we will examine in the next installment of “The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan”.

Thanks again to Graham Cawthon for his awesome resource page The History of WWE!

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