Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.
ABTV Wrestling with Myself: Hulk Hogan vs. Hollywood Hogan
Mick Foley wrestled as Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love and Mick Foley. The Undertaker wrestled as the Dead Man and then as the American Bad Ass. How many times have we seen our favorite wrestlers go through many different character incarnations throughout their careers? In search of their true voices, some traded in weaker gimmicks and characters in favor of stronger ones. Others simply evolved with the times, enjoying equal success in various different personas. It got us at AfterBuzz TV Wrestling thinking. What if these personas were pitted against one another? Which persona would come out the winner? Would Cody Rhodes beat Stardust? Would Diesel beat Kevin Nash and so one? Welcome to AfterBuzz TV’s ‘Wrestling with Myself’, a recurring series where we answer those questions. This week’s Wrestling with Myself pits Hulk Hogan vs Hollywood Hogan.
“Whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on”…yourself? There is probably no bigger icon in the wrestling zeitgeist than the Immortal Hulk Hogan. Whether you’re a fan or not, no one can deny the impact that Hogan has had on both wrestling and the world. With Vince McMahon holding the reigns, Hulk Hogan led the charge of evolving professional wrestling into the global phenomenon now known as sports entertainment.
Hailing from Venice Beach California, the 6’7” 302lb Adonis burst onto the WWF scene in 1983. With his blonde locks, superhero physique, and perfect tan, this “Real American” almost instantly became the country’s biggest role model. The ultimate babyface, Hogan embodied his mantra of “train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins!” And while his physicality and 24” pythons were more than impressive, it was his promos and in-ring storytelling that cemented his legacy. Hulk was a master of pomp and circumstance. From the moment his music hit, to the always satisfying rip of the t-shirt, Hulk understood that this was a show. One could argue that his entrance alone was worth the price of admission, but that was just the beginning.
Fairly quickly into a match, our hero would find himself at a disadvantage. The heel would have made a questionable move or cheap shot putting Hulk on the defensive. As a little kid, I can remember seeing the pain and anguish on his face and thinking, there is no way Hulk can win this match. It has been said that Shawn Michaels is one of the best “sellers” of all time. But I would argue that Hogan is right up there with him, especially for a man of his size and stature. And then, the inevitable would happen. The heel would go one step too far and cause the switch to flip. Hogan would start Hulking up and begin the finishingest of all finishing sequences. The point, “YOU!” The punch, punch, punch. The toss into the ropes. The big boot! The leg drop. The 1-2-3! Cue the music! And of course, being the true showman that he is, Hogan ends just as strong as he begins. Engaging the crowd one last time into a cheering competition with a series of flexing poses that no one else could ever pull off. Genius. In lesser hands, these predictable “stock” matches would be unwatchable. But because of Hogan’s larger than life persona, they were not only exciting and enjoyable, but comforting and dependable. During his initial run, Hogan won the WWF Championshipfive times, with his first reign holding the record for the second-longest in company history. He headlined the first nine Wrestlemanias, and in 1987, he performed The Slam Heard Around The World, when he body slammed Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3.
“Whatcha gonna do when the New World Order runs wild on you!” Cut to 1996, WCW’s Bash at the Beach, the wrestling world is turned upside down when the industry’s most recognized babyface performs arguably the best heel turn in professional wrestling history! With one legendary leg drop to the “Macho Man” Randy Savage, the Hulkster turned his back on the world and aligned himself with the Outsiders, Hall and Nash. He then went on to cut a viciously transparent promo that would instantly remove all k-fabe and ignite the Monday Night Wars. Hollywood Hogan was born. No longer sporting the quintessential red and yellow, Hollywood was now black and white. His blonde mustache was complemented by a black stubble beard.
This was also a leaner, meaner Hogan. Ruthless in the ring, vicious on the mic, he only cared about one thing. Taking over the WCW as the leader of the NWO. The best part about being a heel is that there are no rules. Hollywood not only embraced this power, he took it to another level. With the help of Hall and Nash, Hollywood made the bad guys cool. They had full creativity which led to more engrossing story lines and just an overall better product. The more they tried to make us hate them, the more they were embraced. One could even argue that they ruined the heel. Hulk was a hero for the fans, but Hollywood was a “heel-ro.” His promos were better than ever because he was having so much fun. We saw sides of Hogan that we didn’t know existed, and we were all in 4 LIFE! Hogan subsequently won the WCW World Heavyweight Championshipsix times, and also holds the record for the longest reign in company history.
“Let me tell you somethin Brother!” In order for a match of this caliber to truly pay off, it would need at least a 3 month build up. Madison Square Garden would be the arena, and “without a shadow of a doubt,” it would all take place at Wrestlemania. The final bout of the evening, Hulk vs Hollywood, Icon vs Icon. A battle not only of legends, but of time periods and styles. Hulk is the ultimate larger than life hero at the height of K-Fabe. Everyone is a mark and not only willing, but excited to go on this journey of good vs evil where good always wins. Except this time, he’s facing an opponent like never before. Hollywood is the ultimate cool guy heel-ro with absolutely no k-fabe. Everyone knows wrestling isn’t real, but they have a new appreciation for the athleticism and transparency. Also, the audience now has a viable voice. Whether it be “THIS IS AWESOME”, or “THIS IS BORING,” the chanting of the crowd is instantly the judge, jury, and executioner. Hollywood would enter first with his signature NWO theme music accompanied by Hall and Nash. Their reception would be massive! We all loved the NWO for what it stood for and for changing the course of sports entertainment. They were the perfect combination of cool good wrestlers, that were funny and irreverent. And then the Hulkster’s music hits! I am a Real American feels all at once familiar and foriegn. The little kid in us wants to cheer, but the jaded ,sophisticated adult thinks dated and schlocky. However, despite our best cool guy efforts, we manage a smile when the Hulkster rips off his t-shirt. The match starts with a classic elbow collar tie. Hulk gains a headlock and is then quickly thrown into the ropes, which results in a shoulder bump that neither man wins. All is repeated and reversed with the same result. Then, Hollywood offers a hand in the air for a feat of strength challenge. They go back and forth, and just when it looks like Hulk is getting the upper hand, Hollywood cheaply kicks him in the bread basket, gaining the advantage, and the match is on its way. There’s a lot of Hulk being thrown into a corner and attacked by Hall and Nash, while the referee is distracted by Hollywood. Hulk tries to gain a slight advantage while outside the ring, but again is thwarted by Hall, while Nash interferes with the ref. Finally, Hall gets caught by the ref, and instead of disqualifying Hollywood, Earl Hebner ejects Hall and Nash from ringside, which gets a huge pop from the crowd. Now it’s mano y mano. But has the damage been done? In between an onslaught of fists, clotheslines, and bodyslams, Hollywood mocks the Hulkster with his own signature poses. He then hits the big boot, drops the leg, 1-2- The Hulkster kicks out! Suddenly, there is a paradigm shift, and just like Wrestlemania 18, when the crowd stopped cheering for the Rock, the crowd stops cheering for Hollywood. Instead, their inner children, remembering how they trained, said their prayers, and ate their vitamins, begin chanting YOU STILL GOT IT, YOU STILL GOT IT!!! Fueled like never before by his Hulkamaniacs, the Hulkster begins hulking up, much to the dismay of Hollywood. And then, like a phoenix from the ashes, Hulk Hogan would finally deliver what we all came to see. The point, “YOU!” The punch, punch, punch. The toss into the ropes. The big boot! The leg drop. The 1-2-3! The crowd erupts, HULKAMANIA RUNS WILD, and all’s right with the world.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
If you’re a fan of pro wrestling, Hulk Hogan, Hollywood Hogan and/or Wrestling with Myself, please help by sharing this article. Also, if there are two wrestlers you want to see wrestle against themselves, let us know. Keep tuning in to AfterBuzz TV for the best wrestling content, aftershows and pop culture articles, videos and podcast news discussion.
Sean McHugh is an award winning actor, filmmaker, host, and podcaster. Born and bred on cheesesteaks and Rocky, he hopes you’re at least laughing at him, if not with him.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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