The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan

Part Forty

Hulk Hogan had defeated Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania VII, capturing the WWF Championship from the Marine turned Iraqi sympathizer. After the match, Gorilla Monsoon proclaimed the war was over with Hogan’s win, but that soon turned out to be wrong as Slaughter ambushed Hogan backstage, throwing a fireball into his face and delivering a brutal attack using a steel chair and the WWF championship. While Hogan had won the battle of the WWF belt, the war against Slaughter was far from over.

 

Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa, and General Adnan appeared on Paul Bearer’s talk segment, The Funeral Parlor, running down the WWF champion. Just a week earlier, Bearer’s charge, The Undertaker had locked The Ultimate Warrior in a casket, nearly ending his career and his life. Around this time, Hogan would team with The Ultimate Warrior in handicap matches against Slaughter, General Adnan, and The Undertaker.

Spring was a busy time for the Hulkster as he toured Japan, teaming with Genichiro Tenryu at the WWF/SWS (a/k/a Super World of Sports) Wrestlefest card in Tokyo, Japan on March 30, 1991. The mega show was held in the Tokyo Dome and saw the Road Warriors defeat Hogan and Tenryu by count-out. Hogan fared better in singles competition, defeating Yoshiaki Yatsu at the WWF/SWS Wrestledream show on April 1 in Kobe, Japan.

 

Hogan returned to feuding with Slaughter in the United States before appearing on the April 27 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. There, Hogan helped out the Ultimate Warrior during Warrior’s match against Sgt. Slaughter. The Warrior was beset by constant interference by General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa, as well as the arrival of Paul Bearer and the Undertaker. Hogan showed up and took care of Slaughter, Adnan, and Mustafa while the Ultimate Warrior fought the Undertaker. Later that night, Hogan competed in a 20-man battle royal that saw him eliminated by Tugboat (Mr. Perfect would win the battle royal).

The war with Slaughter continued through some of wrestling’s landmark arenas including the Philadelphia Spectrum, Maple Gardens in Toronto, Canada, and the mecca of professional wrestling — Madison Square Garden. The MSG battle mirrored many of Hogan’s battles with Slaughter, all-out brawls that frequently ended in disqualifications thanks to someone brandishing a steel chair.

 

When the WWF held its UK Rampage event in London, England’s Dockland Arena, the show was main evented by a battle between Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter. Hogan entered the ring wearing a bandage on his forehead, a reminder of the blood spilled during his recent matches with Slaughter. Hogan faced a disadvantage with General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa interfering in the match whenever possible.

 

Despite this interference and a relentless offense from Slaughter, Hogan fought on until the opportunity arose for a counterattack. The moment finally opened after a ref bump saw Slaughter restrain Hogan while General Adnan grabbed a handful of salt, throwing it at Hogan’s eyes. However, the Hulkster broke free, avoiding the salt and taking out Adnan while Slaughter dealt with the aftereffects of the salt. A legdrop downed Slaughter long enough for the champion to pin the challenger for a three-count, winning the match. The obligatory posedown saw Hogan wave the Union Jack while the fans cheered him on.

The war with Slaughter continued throughout May and June as the two fought in a number of singles encounters in the United States and Canada. The two began competing in Desert Storm Matches, including one on June 3, 1991 at Madison Square Garden. The match saw Hogan earn the win after Slaughter’s manager General Adnan threw in the towel. Hogan had thrown a fireball at Slaughter then placed him in the Camel Clutch, forcing Adnan to stop the match or risk permanent injury for Slaughter.

 

With Slaughter on the ropes, both literally and figuratively, it was time to finish him as well as his accomplices Colonel Mustafa and General Adnan. On the July 6, 1991 edition of Superstars, fans learned the Hulkster would team with the Ultimate Warrior to face Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa in a handicap match. Given the wild nature of previous matches, a special referee would be appointed to keep order in the ring. Two weeks later, Sid Justice made his TV debut on Superstars, announcing he would ensure that justice would be served with him as special referee. In true wrestling fashion, the match was labeled as The Match Made in Hell.

As SummerSlam drew nearer, the Hulkster wrestled Slaughter in singles and tag team bouts, with Randy Savage appearing as special referee. While Hogan prevailed at these matches, the fans had to suspect Slaughter had something diabolical planned for Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam. And while Sid Justice had proclaimed justice would prevail, the big man was an unknown commodity that could influence the bout in a positive or negative way.

 

Sgt. Slaughter wasn’t the only prominent foe facing the WWF Champ. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan announced on the August 11, 1991 edition of Wrestling Challenge that Ric Flair was contractually obligated to another organization, but that he might be coming soon to the WWF. Heenan presented the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, saying comparing it to the WWF Championship was like comparing ice cream to horse manure. For now, Hogan had to deal with Slaughter.

 

SummerSlam was held at Madison Square Garden on August 26, 1991 with 20,000 fans in attendance. In addition to the main event, there would be something hopefully more pleasant — The Match Made in Heaven, the storyline wedding between Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Miss Elizabeth. Although the couple was already married, the storyline had been built up for several months and would have a payoff soon after.

Sean Mooney interviewed Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa about their handicap match, with Mooney telling them they were outnumbered.

 

Slaughter pointed out Mooney’s miscalculation and verbally berated him, noting Hogan and Warrior were even more outnumbered as the Ultimate Warrior looked a bit snakebitten (referring to an angle where Jake “The Snake” Roberts had set up the Ultimate Warrior by luring him into a room full of poisonous snakes).

 

Slaughter told Mooney “The Immortal Slime” (a/k/a Hulk Hogan) had a nice gash in his head, which would make their work even easier. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Slaughter told Mooney he might have a surprise for Hogan and the Warrior for the Match Made in Hell.

 

Next up was “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviewing special guest referee Sid Justice. Gene asked Sid whose side he was on, with Sid cutting an exceptionally good promo (something unusual for Sid) and saying he’s been asked that question a thousand times and the answer is the same—he’s his own man. However, Mean Gene surprised Sid with backstage footage of Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa asking him to join his group, with Slaughter promising to make him “First Lieutenant Justice.” Justice told Okerlund he made no promise to either Slaughter or the team of Hogan and Warrior, but he was making one promise now—justice will be served.

Later on the card, Okerlund interviewed the team of Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. Hogan told Mean Gene the venue of Madison Square Garden was appropriate as it was the place where Hulkamania was born on January 23, 1984. The Hulkster said defeating The Triad of Terror (Slaughter, Adnan, and Mustafa) was as important as winning the WWF Championship and that the snake venom which coursed through the Warrior’s body had only made him stronger. The Warrior cut a short promo, but without the aid of a protocol droid and subtitles, your guess is as good as mine as to what he said.

 

Outnumbered and battered, the Hulkster and The Ultimate Warrior prepared to eliminate the threat of Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa, and General Adnan. At the same time, Slaughter was determined to end Hulkamania and put the Warrior out of commission. Who would prevail? Join us next time as we look at “The Match Made in Hell.”

Works Referenced:

 

Cawthon, Graham. “The History of the WWE. Results. 1991”. The History of the WWE. Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

 

Wikipedia contributors. "SummerSlam (1991)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17 Jan. 2018. Accessed 24 January 2018.

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