The Enduring Legacy of Hulk Hogan

Part Forty One

The 1991 edition of SummerSlam had already delivered surprises with Bret Hart capturing his first Intercontinental Championship, defeat Mr. Perfect with the Sharpshooter, The Big Bossman defeating the Mountie in a Jailhouse Match (famously started by Ken Patera and Mr. Saito years earlier), and The Legion of Doom defeating The Nasty Boys in a Street Fight to become WWF Tag Team Champions (the first and only team to have won the AWA, NWA, and WWF Tag Team Championships).

 

All of this was just the beginning, as WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior prepared to face Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel Mustafa (a/k/a The Iron Sheik), and General Adnan (a/k/a Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie and at one point, faux Native American wrestler Billy White Wolf) in a handicap match labeled “The Match Made in Hell.”

Before the match began, announcers Gorilla Monsoon and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper speculated what impact (if any) special referee Sid Justice (a/k/a Sid Vicious) might have on its outcome. Earlier in the day, Slaughter and his cronies were seen talking with Justice about calling things their way in exchange for Slaughter making him a lieutenant in his army of destruction. Color commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan couldn’t help but notice that Justice seemed to have an agenda of some sort. Mere speculation? Or was the future WWE Hall of Famer on to something?

 

The fans would soon find out as Slaughter and his dangerous duo of Mustafa and Adnan joined him on the way to the ring. Mustafa and Adnan’s best days were behind them, but their combined experience and ruthlessness made them dangerous opponents nonetheless. As if that wasn’t bad enough, The Ultimate Warrior had started a rivalry with The Undertaker, leading to the possibility Hogan and he might face outside interference.

The Ultimate Warrior’s music hit and the former WWF Champion and two-time Intercontinental Champion raced to the ring, circling it before jumping to the mat apron and shaking the ropes in trademark Warrior style. The Ultimate Warrior (or Captain Schizo as Bobby Heenan eloquently called him) basked in the fans cheers as Roddy Piper asked, “Do you think it’s the coffee?” The ever-witty Bobby The Brain told Piper that the Warrior makes coffee nervous. Heenan wondered whether Hogan and the Warrior could co-exist, given their past rivalry (albeit a friendly one).

 

“Real American” played as the fans in Madison Square Garden erupted into cheers. Madison Square Garden had played an important role in Hulk Hogan’s WWF career. There, the fans had witnessed the birth of Hulkamania in the WWF back in 1984. The first WrestleMania (headlined by Hulk Hogan and Mr. T vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff), and the first SummerSlam (headlined by The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks). Would Hulkamania prove triumphant again?

The Hulkster saluted an American flag on his way into the ring. He tore off his shirt and rallied the fans alongside The Ultimate Warrior until Slaughter and his team returned to the ring. It looked like Hogan was going to start the match against the Marine turned Iraqi sympathizer, with Slaughter spitting in Hogan’s face to rile him. The two finally locked up, but not before Sid Justice asserted his authority with Slaughter, letting him know he was going to maintain order.

 

Slaughter and Hogan locked up with the Sarge pushing Hogan into the corner, battering him in the chest with a series of forearm smashes. Slaughter whipped Hogan into the opposite corner, only for Hogan to reverse it, nearly sending Slaughter over the ringpost.

Slaughter bounced out of the corner like a pinball, only to get a punch from Hogan. A second punch sent Slaughter into the Warrior where the Warrior punched Slaughter back into Hogan. Hogan punched Slaughter again, then followed up with punches for Mustafa and Adnan, keeping Slaughter’s allies at bay.

 

A tag to the Warrior meant more punishment for Slaughter as Hogan and the Warrior hit a double clothesline. Hogan and the Warrior kept tagging in, keeping themselves fresh and making life miserable for Sgt. Slaughter. Both Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior had their reasons for revenge. Hogan had been fireballed after defeating Slaughter at WrestleMania VII, while Slaughter had defeated the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship at the Royal Rumble (with an assist from Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Sensational Sherri). Slaughter’s woes continued to pile up as Hogan and the Warrior double-teamed him mercilessly with Hogan covering Slaughter for the pin, only for Mustafa and Adnan to break it up.

 

The Hulk’s desire for revenge got the best of him however as he choked Slaughter in the corner, resulting in referee Sid Justice warning him. Hogan (never known for abiding by the rules whether he was a babyface or heel) basically ignored Justice and went back to choking his opponent. This angered Justice who grabbed Hogan and admonished him again. Never one to pass up on an opportunity for a cheap shot, Slaughter blindsided Hogan while Justice was warning him, giving himself a chance to go on the offensive. A tag to General Adnan and the tide began to change. Utilizing his Greco-Roman wrestling background, Adnan raked Hogan’s eyes, then followed up with a classic rake of the bake with both hands. Adnan punished Hogan further before tagging in Mustafa.

Colonel Mustafa attacked Hogan’s back, delivering a salto to the WWF Champion. Mustafa applied the Camel Clutch, perhaps too early to win the match, but not too early to inflict damage on the Hulkster. The Ultimate Warrior wasn’t going to let Mustafa inflict any further damage and he ran in, breaking up the submission hold. A tag to Slaughter and Hogan’s problems continued, with Slaughter delivering a backbreaker to Hogan then covering him for a two-count. Slaughter resumed his brawling tactics, choking Hulk in the corner until Sid broke things up, admonishing him this time.

 

Slaughter grabbed Hogan and whipped him into Justice, but unlike most referees who can be put into a coma by a faint breeze, Justice just stood there, glaring at Hogan. Hogan glared back, making him easy pickings for another sneak attack by Slaughter. Slaughter might not have been on the same level as Hogan in terms of power, but he knew every dirty trick in the book, perhaps only rivaled by “The Dirtiest Player in the Game,” Ric “Nature Boy” Flair (who was on his way to the WWF around this time).

 

With Hogan down, Slaughter went to the top rope as Sid Justice gave him a five-count. Before Slaughter could jump off the top rope, the Warrior gave him an assist, sending him flying across the ring. This allowed Hogan to make the hot tag as the Warrior proceeded to clothesline Slaughter several times. However, as the overzealous Warrior bounced off the ropes, he accidentally collided with Justice, who stood and stared at him. Before any misunderstanding could arise, Hogan got into the ring, telling Justice it was merely a mistake. However, in the confusion, Slaughter cheap-shotted the Warrior, going back on the advantage.

With the Warrior down and his team in control, could Sgt. Slaughter turn “The Match Made in Hell” into a victory against Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior? Join us next time for the conclusion to “The Match Made in Hell” and the behind-the-scenes controversy involving the Ultimate Warrior.

 

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 7 April 2018.

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