The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan

Part Twenty Nine

WrestlemMania VI had ended with WWF champion Hulk Hogan suffering his first clean pinfall loss since his return to the WWF in 1984. The WWF’s Intercontinental champion had not only pinned the Hulkster, but won the Hulkster’s WWF championship.

 

Following the event, WWF President Jack Tunney ruled that there would be no rematch between Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior and that both men would go their separate ways. Not long after, Tunney ruled that the Warrior could not defend both titles and a tournament would be held to crown a new Intercontinental champion.

In the meantime, the Hulkster wasn’t taking Tunney’s decision lying down. Hogan promised that he was going to defeat the mammoth mauler known as the Earthquake. That would make him the number one contender for the WWF championship, forcing Tunney to sign a rematch between himself and The Ultimate Warrior.

 

Earthquake had had Hulk Hogan in his sights for several months, undoubtedly wanting to make a name for himself by taking the Hulkster out. Prior to Wrestlemania VI, the Earthquake had Pearl Harbored Hogan after a match between Hogan, and Earthquake’s associate, Dino Bravo. Following Hogan’s loss at WrestleMania VI to the Ultimate Warrior, Earthquake and his manager “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart proclaimed that Earthquake’s attack had been responsible for Hogan’s loss.

 

The Hulkster and Earthquake met in house shows following Wrestlemania VI. While the Hulkster prevailed at these matches, some questioned whether or not he still had the right stuff. One such opponent was Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig). Hennig and the Hulkster were set to lock up on the April 28, 1990, edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

Hennig and his partner in crime, The Genius had plagued the Hulkster during his reign as WWF champion. While there was no title on the line, both wrestlers knew that a win over the other would elevate them in the WWF rankings.

 

As SNME began, Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig cut a promo, saying that Wrestlemania VI had proved what he knew all along-that Hogan is not perfect. However, Mr. Perfect said, he is perfect, and he is going to prove it tonight on SNME (as we all know, WrestleMania VI also proved that Mr. Perfect was imperfect, as he suffered his first televised loss, falling to Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake).

 

The Genius chimed in, telling the fans that with The Genius at his side, Mr. Perfect was going to be taught a lesson.Never at a loss for words, Hulk Hogan told the fans that he wanted to make himself perfectly clear. In his promo at the start of the show, the former WWF champion said, “Tonight, ‘Professor Hogan’ is going to be doing a lot of teaching. The Hulkster told Perfect that when the lesson was over and Mr. Perfect failed miserably, The Genius is going to the dunce’s corner and Perfect to the principal’s office. Whatcha gonna do, when Professor Hogan knocks some sense into you?”

Before the match, the Hulkster was interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund. Hogan told Okerlund that Mr. Perfect had proven that he was perfect- the perfect fool. Hulk told Mean Gene that he was never more confident, and that Hulkamania was never stronger. He talked of how his burning ambition was stronger than ever, and that he was out to beat pompous punks like Perfect, and spread the three demandments of Hulkamania. Hogan addressed the question of his courage (since Perfect had questioned it earlier), saying that he was knocked down (referring to his loss at WrestleMania VI), but the test of courage isn’t whether you get knocked down, but whether you get up.

 

Hogan predicted that at the end of his match, he was going to be standing tall, all at the expense of Mr. Perfect. Hogan reassured “Mean” Gene that his Hulkamaniacs stuck with him through thick and thin, and told Gene to watch what was next.

 

Just as he had done so many times, Hulk Hogan entered the ring to his theme song, “Real American,” soaking up the cheers of his fans. Both men had met before on SNME and its sister show The Main Event.  Both men knew what the other was capable of, and while they had vastly different styles (with Hogan being a powerhouse brawler, and Hennig being a technical wrestler who wasn’t afraid to break the rules), their past matches had been entertaining.

WWF announcer Vince McMahon and color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura (who would soon be leaving the WWF to work for rival World Championship Wrestling) discussed the strategies to winning the match. Ventura noted that Hogan had the power at his disposal, and that Perfect had to rely on his speed advantage and perfect mind to defeat The Hulkster.Ventura said that Mr. Perfect had to use Hogan’s strength against him, and make him tire himself out.

Hogan showed his tremendous power as soon as the match began. Both men locked up, but Hogan shoved Perfect into the corner. Frustrated, Perfect bailed out of the ring, where his corner man The Genius stood at the ready. Mr. Perfect returned to the ring and locked up with Hogan again. This time, Perfect relied on his wrestling skills, executing a “perfect” (as Jesse Ventura described it) hip toss. Outside the ring, The Genius skipped around in glee, acting as Perfect’s cheering section.

 

However, one hip toss, a match does not make. When both wrestlers locked up again, the Hulkster showed off his own technical knowledge, hip tossing Hennig to the mat. Hennig got up quickly and charged Hogan, only to get two bodyslams for his trouble. Angrier than ever, Mr. Perfect rolled out of the ring. 

 

When he returned to the ring, he seemed to have found a winning game plan. Hennig  locked up with Hogan, but used a hair pull to drag Hogan into the ring corner. He then unloaded on Hogan with punches. While Hennig was known for his technical abilities, he was an excellent brawler and showed this by battering on Hogan with punches, chops, and kicks. The Hulkster tried to regain the momentum by whipping Hennig into the corner and hitting him with a big boot, but Hennig dodged the attack and escaped back out to the ring floor where he began consulting with The Genius.

While Hulk Hogan was a babyface, that didn’t mean that he was averse to roughhouse tactics himself.  Hogan exited the ring and attacked Perfect, delivering a big chop, followed by smashing Perfect’s head into the mat apron. As Jesse Ventura protested Hogan’s actions, The Hulkster continued his assault, whipping Hennig into the unforgiving ring post.

Hogan then threw Mr. Perfect back into the ring, and returned as Hennig begged for mercy.As the saying goes, Mr. Perfect was barking up the wrong tree. Hulk Hogan wasn’t about to show any mercy, especially after the pre-match comments made by Hennig. Hogan used his size and strength advantage to buffet Perfect around the ring. He bounced Mr. Perfect into the corner, following up with a running clothesline.

Hogan unleashed punches, chops, and kicks of his own, showing that he still had the burning desire to win. Heel color commentator Jesse Ventura again protested Hogan’s tactics, proclaiming that Hogan was the “perfect cheater.”

 

Things looked bleak when Hogan knocked Mr. Perfect over the top rope onto the floor. Hogan went out after his opponent. As he did, Perfect’s cohort sneaked up behind Hogan, holding the metal scroll he always carried. The fans cried out in alarm, alerting the Hulkster to the sneak attack. Hogan turned around and The Genius fled in terror, dropping his metal scroll. 

 

The ever cagey Perfect attacked Hogan from behind, blasting him in the back of the head with the metal scroll while Hogan was focused on The Genius. With Hogan down, Mr. Perfect wasted no time stomping at Hogan’s head. Perfect returned to the ring and tried to jump off the top rope onto Hogan. When the referee stopped him from an aerial assault, Perfect exited the ring, and unleashed more stomps on his opponent. Perfect dished out punches and even rammed Hogan’s head into the security rail at ringside. 

 

After throwing Hogan back into the ring, Perfect targeted Hogan’s neck, kicking it, snapmaring it, and choking him with the top rope. Mr. Perfect delivered several elbow drops to the Hulkster, but he tried one too many, with Hogan rolling out of the way and “Hulking up.” Hogan went on the offense briefly until he whipped Hennig into the ropes and lowered his head, presumably going for a back body drop. Hennig capitalized and kicked Hogan in the head.

Back on the offense, Hennig went for his finisher, the PerfectPlex. Having softened up Hogan’s neck, Mr. Perfect must have believed Hogan was ready for his coup de grace. Hennig hit his move and the referee began a three count. To Hennig’s surprise, Hogan kicked out, and “Hulked up” again. Hennig tried to regain the momentum, slugging away at Hogan. However, it was too late and Hogan rallied, peppering Hennig with punches before hitting a big boot, and ending the match with his famous Legdrop. A three count later, the referee was raising Hogan’s hand in victory.

 

After the match, The Genius didn’t live up to his nickname, attacking Hogan from behind with the metal scroll. The attack only served to anger the Hulkster, and he quickly 

disposed of The Genius throwing him out of the ring. Hogan carried on his tradition of posing following his victory, pantomiming that he was going to get the WWF title back, with the help of the Man upstairs.

Hulk Hogan had emerged victorious, just as he had promised. The future looked bright but unbeknownst to the Hulkster, his recent loss at Wrestlemania VI, coupled with a devastating injury right around the corner, would put his very career in jeopardy. Join me next time as we look at the wrestler who put Hogan’s very career in dire straits.

 

Work Referenced

Cawthon, Graham. “The History of the WWE. Results. 1990. The History of the WWE. n.p. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.

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