The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan

Part Twenty Five

Following their confrontation at the 1990 Royal Rumble, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were scheduled to appear on the January 27, 1990 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event against the team of Mr. Perfect and The Genius.

 

The show opened with color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura telling his broadcast partner Vince McMahon that there was no way that the two massive egos of The Warrior and Hogan could work together. He predicted victory for the Perfect/Genius team.

 

Shortly thereafter, the two teams were interviewed backstage. Ventura interviewed Poffo and Hennig. The Genius boasted of his previous win over Hogan on the November 25, 1989 edition of SNME and praised their team’s combination of brain and brawn. Mr. Perfect sneered arrogantly and made it clear who he thought was going to win.

Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were interviewed by “Mean” Gene Okerlund. Hogan talked of the dream team of the two strongest forces in the universe (he and the Warrior) and predicted defeat for their opponents. The Hulkster predicted that the Warrior would press slam the Genius and Mr. Perfect high up into the darkness. The Ultimate Warrior spoke of how when two powerful chemicals made up of strength and intelligence combined, they initially boiled and bubbled over.

However once they combined, they settled into an inseparable bond capable of overcoming anything that intelligence and perfection could create. Hogan told Okerlund that when the Hulksters and the Warriors combined mind, body, and soul, the dream team would become the ultimate nightmare for perfection and the genius.

The Ultimate Warrior ran to the ring by himself and Jesse Ventura noted that the Warrior/Hogan team hadn’t entered together, another sign of their egotism. As the match began, Hogan squared off against Mr. Perfect. The Hulkster got off to a quick start against Perfect, slamming him to the mat.

 

When The Genius tried to interfere, Hogan slammed him as well. Hogan tagged in The Warrior who attacked Perfect and The Genius outside the ring, delivering a double noggin' knocker. It was clear that the WWF champion and Intercontinental champions were in firm control of the bout.

 

While his partner was in the ring struggling against Hulk Hogan, The Genius grabbed his metal tablet that was at ringside and began writing something down on it. Jesse Ventura wondered why The Genius was writing a poem while Mr. Perfect was being pummeled inside the ring. The answer became clear when the Hulkster sent Perfect out of the ring with a big boot. The Genius exited the ring and subtly passed the tablet to his partner.

 

As Hogan followed Perfect out to the ring floor, Mr. Perfect blasted him in the head with the tablet. Perfect tried to follow up with a chairshot but fortunately the Hulkster ducked and the chair struck the ringpost. However the damage had been done and Perfect threw Hogan into the ring, stomping and kicking him.

After a quick tag to The Genius, Perfect delivered a flying axehandle to Hogan from the second rope. Things began to look bleak for Hogan as he continued beating him down. The Hulkster seemed to be at Perfect’s mercy so he delivered his finisher The Perfectplex. Then in an audacious display of arrogance, Perfect broke up the count. He tagged in The Genius who went for a moonsault. However the Hulkster raised his knees, knocking the wind out of The Genius. When Perfect tried to dive off the top rope onto Hogan, the Hulkster lifted his leg and Perfect crashed into Hogan’s boot.

 

The Hulkster crawled to his corner and tagged in the Warrior. The Warrior quickly cleaned house and delivered a press slam to The Genius. The Warrior bounced off of the ropes, preparing to make his Ultimate Splash. As he did, Hogan made the blind tag. Mr. Perfect blocked the Warrior from making the body splash, but the Hulkster wasted no time and delivered his leg drop to Poffo for an easy 1-2-3 victory.

After the match, The Hulkster and the Warrior celebrated their victory in the ring. Mr. Perfect and The Genius showed what bad sports they were by returning to the ring and attacking the victors from behind. Perfect kneed the Hulkster in the back, knocking him out of the ring and leaving The Warrior in a two on one situation. The Warrior fought them off as Hogan staggered back into the ring to help his teammate.

 

However Hogan made the mistake of tapping The Warrior on the shoulder and the Warrior responded with a vicious clothesline that floored Hogan. Realizing that he’d struck The Hulkster down by accident in the heat of battle, The Warrior tried to make amends. A furious Hogan shoved the Warrior and The Warrior shoved Hogan back. The two men got in each other’s faces as Jesse Ventura reminded Vince McMahon that he’d predicted that Hogan and The Warrior couldn’t co-exist.

The Main Event aired live on February 23, 1990 from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  The Hulkster was scheduled for a WWF championship defense against “Macho King” Randy Savage. This match had the special stipulation of undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing Champion James “Buster” Douglas serving as referee (“Iron” Mike Tyson had been scheduled to referee but this change after he lost the title to Douglas in a huge upset).  Randy Savage (accompanied by manager “Queen” Sherri Martel) warned Douglas to call things down the middle. Sherri predicted that Hogan wouldn’t have the title for his WrestleMania VI match against The Ultimate Warrior.

 

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed the Hulkster. Hulk Hogan said while he didn’t know Douglas personally, they seemed to have a lot in common. They both scraped their way up from the bottom all the way to the top. Douglas also seemed to share the Hulkster’s values in believing in God, yourself, your family, and your country. They were both chosen to lead the masses to higher ground. However Hogan warned Douglas that if he didn’t have these qualities and didn’t call the match down the line, he’d be WWF champion and undisputed boxing champion, too.

The Hulkster entered the ring, ripping off his t-shirt as Sensational Sherri and the Macho King bailed out of the ring. Both competitors had to wonder about how Douglas would call the match. In a pre-match interview with Mean Gene, he promised to knock out anyone who got out of line. While Douglas was a tough man, he was not a referee so how would his inexperience affect the match? Perhaps knowing this, Douglas was assigned as the outside referee while Dave Hebner served as inside referee.

 

The Hulkster showed his strength advantage over Savage by shoving him down to the mat. The Macho King bailed out of the ring repeatedly when he failed to overcome Hogan’s offense. When Hogan went to go outside the ring, Buster Douglas stopped him.

Savage rallied and kneed Hogan out of the ring. The Macho King went to the top rope for an aerial attack but Douglas stopped him. Back in the ring, outside interference by Queen Sherri backfired and Savage accidentally knocked her off of the mat apron onto the unforgiving floor. The WWF champion had things in control. Jesse Ventura speculated that Hogan was going for the quick win. However when Hogan bounced off of the ring ropes, Queen Sherri stopped him. When Hogan attended to Martel, Savage blindsided him and began taking the Hulkster apart with brawling tactics. With Savage in control, Martel took an unnecessary cheap shot by choking Hogan in the corner. This cost her dearly as Buster Douglas ordered her back to the dressing room.

 

While Douglas’ actions stopped the outside interference, Savage was taking advantage of Hogan, locking a sleeperhold on him. The Hulkster rallied and escaped the hold but both men caught one another with a double clothesline. Hogan got the worst of it though and Savage pinned him by standing on him. Savage’s arrogance enabled the Hulkster to kick out. Jesse Ventura observed that the referee was making a slow count against Hogan.

 

After the match, an irate Randy Savage got into Buster Douglas’ face, complaining of a fast count. Savage got into Douglas’ face again then backed off. Then Savage raised his hands, suggesting that he was going to box Douglas. Color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura noted that The Macho King was better off wrestling Douglas than boxing him. Demonstrating his unpredictable nature, Savage slapped Douglas in the face. Savage put up the dukes and a reluctant Douglas stood his ground, ready to defend himself but seemingly willing to cut Savage a lot of slack.

 

No one could tell what the mercurial Savage was going to do next. Perhaps sensing that the boxing champion was too much of a gentleman to give in to Savage’s taunts, The Hulkster made an executive decision and pushed Savage from behind, knocking him into Douglas. Douglas delivered two right hands, knocking Savage to the mat. Jesse Ventura noted that it took two men to take The Macho King out but the fans didn’t care. They cheered Hogan and Douglas as they posed together. 

 

Although the Hulkster’s work for the night seemed finished, it was not to be. As we shall see in our next chapter, the WWF champion would find himself back in the ring with The Ultimate Warrior before the evening was done.

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