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Roddy Piper Tells Hulk Hogan Critics To Get Over It (Video)

July 30, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Arguably, Hulk Hogan’s greatest WWE rival was “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. So naturally Piper would have a lot to say regarding Hogan’s recent fall from grace and TMZ Sports was lucky enough to get it all on video.

Piper has been fairly outspoken on Hogan’s mess ever since the first transcript of Hogan using racial slurs was released earlier in the week. Piper has never been a guy to mince words nor has he been afraid to embrace controversy. As a matter of a fact, Piper is currently involved in his own controversy with Stone Cold Steve Austin over a podcast. Needless to say, Piper has an opinion and isn’t afraid to give it.

Piper feels that we should all move on. Piper says we should get over it. Piper says that it was impossible to be racist in the pro wrestling business. Coming from a man who painted half of his body in black-face during a feud with an African American Wrestler, I wouldn’t expect much less.

Check out the video for yourself courtesy of TMZ Sports. A much more coherent performance than his appearance earlier in the week on the Rich Eisen Show.

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The Indefensible Hulk Hogan

July 30, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan isn’t making it easy. Transcripts released throughout the week featured the WWE icon using slurs and homophobic language. Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point that even his biggest fans are struggling to root for their childhood hero.

I have never been one to demonize a public figure over language. Yet I am still looking for a path of clarity and forgiveness for the Hulkster. I can’t find it and that path becomes murkier and murkier daily. Thanks for the memories as a 13-year old kid cheering on the Hulk in 1984 at the Spectrum, but what there is no excuse for your behavior.

We all know the story by now. Hogan is caught on tape using F and N-words that I don’t care to reprint in this blog. Hogan also claims in a conversation meant to be private, that he is a racist…little albeit but he does make that claim. As much as I hate to see a guy lose a 30-plus year legacy, the language and point of view he owned on that tape are just strong to forgive.

What excuse can you logically make for the guy? I have seen several, some even coming out of his own camp. The prevailing excuse is that the tape was recorded during Hogan’s darkest time, right before his divorce. I can certainly empathize with depression and despair over losing his family, and I won’t judge how broken up he was about it since that is all conjecture, but I am sorry. This is a poor excuse for using that kind of language in a private conversation. I also have yet to read the psychological evidence that supports a man going through the breakup of his marriage turning racist. If it’s out there let me know.

My second favorite defense of Hogan is that “the Hulk Hogan I know is not a racist.” Now if Hogan were on tape simply dropping the N-word, okay, maybe you can use this defense. The guy obviously has friends of all races. However, the one thing you cannot take out of this is that Hogan is on tape admitting to being a racist. You may tell me that the guy is not a racist, but the guy is on tape telling me is indeed racist. Compound that with the way he used the N-word when talking about Jamie Foxx and there is just simply not enough evidence to support that the guy is not racist.

Everyone uses the N-word, as a matter of a fact Hogan went on Twitter and retweeted a tweet in support of himself that compares his use of the word to Barack Obama using the same word. I was stunned when I read this. Talk about a complete lack of self-awareness from this guy! The issue at hand here is that Hogan says on this very same tape that he is racist. Not only that, again he uses the word when referencing Jamie Foxx in a very demeaning factor. Obama nor others who get passes have either used the word that way or claimed to be racist, at least that I have seen.

Staying on the lack of self-awareness that is probably my biggest problem with defending Hulk. Hulk seems to be confusing the outrage with him claiming to be racist with using the N-word. Not only that, Hogan’s camp claimed when issuing his apology that it was Hulk who resigned from the WWE, not that he was fired. The WWE continues to proceed as if he was fired and right now I have to admit, his credibility isn’t very strong. So going out and trying to give this impression at a time where he should be owning the comment and be as sincere as possible in apologizing, just leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

One thing I will say is that it is hard to find a fan who has met Hulk that has said a bad word about meeting him. I have met him a few times myself and he was always exceptionally nice to everyone that asked for autographs and pics. The only demand I ever saw him make was women and children going first. Believe it or not, you won’t hear those same stories about most of pro wresting’s biggest stars. I’d often see Hogan spend early hours of the morning on Twitter retweeting anyone that asked him for one. For a guy as big and iconic as he was in his industry, he was always respectful to his fans.

Unfortunately retweeting fans and taking pictures with fans doesn’t erase the words and damage he did with his words. A self-admitted racist using derogatory words with hate, who doesn’t appear to “get it” is not a guy that I want to defend.

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And neither should you.

The Self Destruction of Terry Bollea: Hulkamania as a Social Construct

July 28, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Mel Gibson has never had his name legally changed to Martin Riggs nor has he been known to stagger about Hollywood neighborhoods brandishing a prop LAPD badge shouting, “hey, where’s the bad guys?” Thus, socially just and conscientious action film fans can still watch Lethal Weapon and feel somewhat okay about it. It was Mel Gibson, the actor, who shocked the world with his raging misogyny and anti-Semitism, not the hero cop character from the movie. On the night of November 17, 2006, Michael Richards was not introduced as Kramer, nor was he sporting a lobster-print Hawaiian shirt and a wild, wavy, 6-inch-high hairdo when he took the stage at the Laugh Factory to unleash some seemingly deep-seated anger and hate-speak upon its unsuspecting patrons. This makes it easier for Seinfeld fans to push the incident to the back of their consciousness as they routinely tune in to its nightly reruns. For wrestling fans though, and more specifically, for a diehard sect of them who refer to themselves as “Hulkamaniacs,” things are a little more complicated.

Hulk Hogan is the most recent celebrity to join the ever-growing racist-rant list… more dreadful a list for a celeb to find themself on than even the C-list, and just slightly less dreadful for them to find themself on than the D-list. It has recently come to light (via The National Enquirer and Radar Online) that, at the tail end of a sex tape filmed (unbeknownst to the wrestler) 8 years ago, Hulk casually spews vile, ethnic slurs while sharing his wildly unprogressive views on interracial relationships. Prefacing his comments with the self-realization “I mean, I am a racist,” Hogan admits to being distraught that his daughter may be dating the black son of a black millionaire. “I mean I’d rather if she was going to f**k some n**ger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot tall n**ger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player.” His contract with WWE has since been terminated (or, he requested a release from said contract, depending upon whom you believe, the wrestling entertainment company, or Hogan’s attorney).

For those who grew up following his mantra of “train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins,” for those who attended his matches waving American flags and chanting his name, for those who believed that Hulk stood for all things righteous in a world oft times fraught with evil, this recent revelation comes as a mighty big pill to swallow (not an easy-to-chew, naturally flavored Hulk Hogan multi-vitamin). You see, professional wrestlers are a different breed of entertainer than actors. True, these huge, athletic, grapple-prone entertainers are certainly NOT their characters (Terry Bollea was given the name and persona Hulk Hogan in 1979 by Vince McMahon Sr., owner of the then WWWF, soon to be the WWF, soon to be the WWE). And yet, in a rigged sport that for years attempted to retain the illusion of legitimacy, professional wrestlers were instructed by their promoters to always play the part. Never let on. Never give in. They had to maintain the illusion that they were their characters. Clint Eastwood never went on Johnny Carson to promote his new Dirty Harry film as Dirty Harry. Hulk Hogan would appear on talk shows though as Hulk Hogan. Every wrestler to make an appearance in any form of pre-‘90s media would do so as their character. Somewhere along the way, the public’s perception of these performers must get blurred. Perhaps even a performer’s own perception of self can get blurred. Has Dwayne Johnson ever casually referred to himself, in his own unspoken thoughts, as Rock? When somebody shouts, “Undertaker,” does Mark Callaway instinctively turn his head? Does Stone Cold Steve Austin (Steve Anderson) ever buy into the hype and believe he is actually the world’s biggest badass?
Yes, current and long time WWE president Vince McMahon eventually caved in and exposed the business as a work, as a fix, as “sports entertainment” rather than just as “sport.” But there still lingers that residue from the days of kayfabe. That foggy line of what is real and what is not. Professional wrestlers, in the public’s eye at the very least, have become strange amalgamations of their true identities and their larger than life in-ring personas. When you’re asked to play a character basically non-stop over the course of 10, 20, 30 years, can you actually keep that character from hijacking at least some small part of your identity?

Perform an Internet search. How many articles covering Hogan’s recently revealed racist diatribe contain a headline mentioning “Terry Bollea?” None? One? How many mention the name “Hulk Hogan?” Virtually all.

But when a wrestling fan hears or reads the words “Hulk Hogan,” he or she does not think of a depressed, over-the-hill, injury-riddled, two-timing entertainer, he or she thinks of the 24-inch python flexing, red, white and blue flag waving, red and yellow shirt tearing, Crucifix wearing, world heavyweight champion who fought for truth, justice, and the American way. Who inspired legions of people to stand up for what was right. He inspired legions of people to train and get in shape. He always overcame the odds, no matter how impossible they were. Who told us that we were all a part of him, and he was a part of all of us. Who body slammed Andre the Giant and pinned The Iron Sheik. That’s the man we think of when we read that Hulk Hogan said “f**king n***ers.”

Terry Bollea goes predominantly by his stage name, “Hulk Hogan.” He can frequently be found wearing Hulkamania shirts in public, the same type of shirts that he used to wear in the ring. Lastly, both he, and his character, say, “brother” more often than your average dog says “woof.” It is easy to fool oneself and accept that the man and his do-gooder character are one and the same, or at least almost the same. And perhaps that’s why a huge amount of his fan base is so willing to forgive him. It must have been a mistake! A slip of the tongue! He was in a bad place! His fans declare ardently that Hulk Hogan is NOT a racist, despite his being quoted as saying, “I am a racist.” No one enjoys finding out that Santa Clause isn’t real.

So was it all an act then? Is Hulk Hogan actually a bad man? Life is different from wrestling. Switching from wearing bright colors and high fiving spectators to wearing dark colors and spitting on them can easily indicate to any pro-wrestling fan that a wrestler has turned from “good” to “bad.” Hogan IS a self-confirmed racist. His words and views, no matter where he was at that point and time in his life emotionally, cannot be misconstrued. However, one can’t discount the countless charity work and all the Make-A-Wish visits. While some people are “bad” or “good,” most people lie somewhere in-between. What we do know, is that if Hulk Hogan is not a “bad guy,” he is at the very least, a heavily, heavily flawed human being.

He has taken to posting photos on Facebook of himself posing with black fans, as though somehow, that proves something. He is quick to point out his black celebrity defenders… Dennis Rodman, George Foreman, and to a lesser extent, former WWE superstar Virgil, all who claim the Hulkster has been nothing but kind, caring, and cool to them. As though that proves something. What it proves is that Hulk Hogan doesn’t hate all black people. He may not even hate most black people. Or any black people for that matter. And for those without a clear understanding of what racism is and can be, that may be enough.

That makes it okay for their hero to still be their hero. Racism exists in many forms though. It certainly exists as believing that one or some races are superior to others (why would it matter what the race of the man his daughter dated was unless some races were better than others). And it exists as formulating an opinion on entire group of people based purely upon their race (f**king n***ers). Sure, Dennis Rodman attests that, “There isn’t a racist bone in [Hulk Hogan’s] body.” But then again, isn’t it in Hulk Hogan’s nature to accept Dennis Rodman more than he would most any other black person? Sure, Rodman’s not quite 8 foot, but he is certainly very tall, is a former professional basketball player, and, in his heyday, was certainly worth a couple million dollars. Perhaps he should start dating Brooke. Maybe then the Hulkster wouldn’t mind so much.

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Hulk Hogan Should Remain in the WWE Hall of Fame

July 28, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hours prior to comments Hulk Hogan made about being a racist hit the Internet, the WWE swiftly distanced itself from the icon. Rumors swirl that more of the cord may be cut, including the WWE Hall of Fame.

The WWE wasted no time reacting to a leaked conversation featuring its most recognizable legend in company history. While word of this alleged tape of Hogan using racial slurs including admitting to being a racist has been rumored for years, the WWE never appeared to be that concerned. That changed once the National Enquirer announced a D-Day of sorts and announced that it would be finally releasing comments from that tape to the public. It was immediately Code Red in Stamford as the company moved faster than an Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre the Giant match to let the world know that Hogan was no longer associated with the company.

The company started first by removing all merchandise of Hulk from the website. The company also removed his name as a search term and further, removed Hulk from the Hall of Fame page. This is where things got real interesting, because while many understood the immediate drastic reaction, insinuating that Hogan would be removed from the Hall of Fame touched a nerve with even the most disappointed Hogan supporters.

I am still trying to wrap my head around this entire thing. As a kid who grew up in the Hulkamania era, watching his first WWF title defense live at the Spectrum against the Masked Superstar, I always had a fondness for the Hulkster. Even when his haters ripped him apart for his alleged political manipulations in WCW and TNA, I stood by the Hulk. I never grew tired of seeing him cut his “Brother” promos whether he was wearing black and white or red and yellow, just the same way I sacrifice watching a crazy Ric Flair just to watch Ric Flair. However, at the end of the day this story has little to do with the “Hogan Chill” I experienced many times in 1984 and all about the world we live in today.

There are a lot of things that Hulk could have recovered from, including using the racial slurs. Many celebrities and athletes have been caught using racial slurs on tape only to recover as if nothing happened at all. Yet the one thing you can’t help but take away from that tape is Hogan saying he is a racist. Those celebrities may have used those words, but they all came out and said they weren’t racist. No matter what you think of Hulk, no matter how much you want to defend him, the one thing you can’t say is that he isn’t a racist when indeed on that particular day he says he is a little racist. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but that is just something the world’s greatest publicity company couldn’t save him from.

At the same time, there is a part of me that wants the Hulk to get a chance to redeem himself. Did the WWE waste a golden learning opportunity? It’s ironic but if you think about it, he would have been better off caught on tape for domestic abuse than admitting he is a little racist. Look at all of the athletes and celebrities who are on our radio and televisions today, cheered and admired for their talents with no regard for their domestic abuse history. Not even the pictures of these celebrities either caught in the act or of their bruised up victims can stop a number one pop hit or a run at a Super Bowl. Yet the guy that is probably responsible only behind Vince McMahon for making the WWE a world-wide conglomerate didn’t even get the chance to say he was sorry.

This brings me to the Hall of Fame. The second that the WWE allowed a convicted, yes convicted rapist into their Hall of Fame, all bets were off. You can search for Mike Tyson on the WWE website but not Hulk Hogan? What about Jimmy Snuka? His indiscretions are easily searchable online. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger has had plenty of allegations leveled against him which are easily found online. For goodness sakes, one of the most powerful people in the company has been accused on more than one occasion of suing the “N-word” to talent. That guy incidentally is rumored to be going into the Hall of Fame next year. Has anyone spent five minutes on YouTube watching some of the Ultimate Warrior’s greatest hits outside of the ring? This isn’t a rose garden full of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

My point is that removing Hogan from the Hall of Fame seems drastic, if not downright ridiculous. You cannot erase the biggest icon in your company’s history from history simply by deleting him off of your web page. Several generations of fans have watched Hulk Hogan at one time or another on WWE television. Unless Vince McMahon is going to write a check for all of the revenue Hogan brought into the company since 1984 and donate it to charity, erasing him from history seems naïve and downright ignorant.

I can’t say I blame the WWE from terminating him (although to be fair Hogan’s attorney claims that it was Hogan who resigned). Hogan said what he said and whether he didn’t know they were going to be public or not, he has to face the consequences of his own words. Yet if the WWE is going to place more value on someone’s moral values than their in-ring contributions on Hall of Fame inductions, they may as well blow the whole thing up altogether.

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Hulk Hogan: This is NOT the News the WWE Needs Right Now

July 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE moved swiftly to distance itself from Hulk Hogan after news of his use of a highly sensitive racial slur became the hot topic on the Internet and with media outlets worldwide. The former face of the WWF/E for lack of a better word, has been obliterated from anything having to do with the company that made him a household name in the 1980s and 1990s.

The move, which was the right one by the wrestling promotion, has given us all pause for a few moments – and shown how mainstream professional wrestling, particularly Hogan and the WWE, have become. The stories streaming across the web were not just from wrestling sites, rather the kind we all turn to so we can get our news and entertainment gossip force fed to us. The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone and Fox News were just some of the high impact news sites that led with the announcement of Hogan’s firing from WWE programming and his erasure from the main website.

No mention of him about Tough Enough. No credit in the alumni pages. Merchandise from the company’s parent store has halted. This is HUGE news and a story that could all but cripple Hogan and his legacy. No one in this business has more of an impact on the success of the business becoming mainstream as it has as Hogan with his “Rock and Wrestling Connection” that helped establish WrestleMania. It also put Vince McMahon on the map as a pioneer in this business and a man who changed our perception of how we look at entertainment.

Professional wrestling has had its issues in the past. Eddie Mansfield’s admission in the early 1980’s that wrestling was fake. McMahon’s federal trial over steroid use. The Von Erich’s and deaths of prominent wrestlers in “World Class Championship Wrestling” that were alleged to be because of drug use.

The list goes on and on.

Add Chris Benoit to that list as well while you are at it.

But none, because of the timing and the sensibilities of this country, could be as damning as Hogan and his comments that have gone viral.

WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.

Yes, this was what was best for business.

This just proves to me, in a business where diversity is such an important part of character development, fan acceptance and marketing, even the biggest names of the past and present can be just as guilty of a failure to see consequences of their actions.

While there is always two sides to every pancake – no matter how flat it is – the way this was handled and the severity to which the WWE has distanced itself from its former ring leader is an indictment of what has happened and the fact there is no presumption of guilt. Hulk Hogan has been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and will now face the jury of public opinion.

Forget the talk of a match at WrestleMania 32, forget the notion that Hogan was good for the company as a marketing tool. The WWE does not need this now or in the future to be in bed with someone who is altered racially.

The best thing for the WWE to do now is move forward and say nothing else. The black eye has been given, the shadow cast. This is a company that has dealt with lack of fan support, failure to book wrestlers properly and plan for the future once superstars of today like John Cena, Kane, and Randy Orton finally hang up their boots. The company is already engrossed in lawsuits by former wrestlers and their families over medical care and whether or not the company today tries to prevent concussion injuries.

This is a stain that will linger, and could have some backlash, but the WWE is not at fault here. Just carry on as planned. Prepare for SummerSlam and hopefully the dust will settle. This kind of news and action could not have come at a worse time. But swift thinking and climate control will be the best medicine to cure this kind of pain.

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Update: WWE Fires Hulk Hogan Over Alleged Recorded Racist Rants

July 24, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

In a dramatic turn of events, the WWE has cut all ties with its biggest superstar in history. Hulk Hogan merchandise and references have been removed from the website, in addition, Hogan has been removed as a judge on Tough Enough after the WWE confirmed that Hogan’s contract has been terminated.

WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.

The move comes at a time when Hogan appeared to have the most solid relationship he has had in years with Vince McMahon and the company. Hogan has not only been a good soldier since he’s come back, he’s also openly talked about working towards a return to the ring at WrestleMania 32, even telling people that Vince is supporting it. That return and his tenure in the WWE appears to be in serious jeopardy.

This comeslight of recent revelations coming out of the legal battle between Hulk Hogan and Gawker over Gawker.com posting Hogan’s sex tape. There are rumors flying around that Hogan is recorded using several racial slurs, including the N-word. The tape was allegedly leaked to the National Enquirer.

Mediatakeout.com claims to have heard this audio and concluded, “there can be NO DOUBT that Hulk Hogan is a racist . . . at the level of the KU KLUX KLAN.” The commentary also reports that the audio is expected to be leaked online today which does explain the WWE’s preemptive response to the tape.

National Enquirer did indeed release the transcript and it’s bad…real bad for Hogan. Here is an excerpt.

I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son,” Hulk raved, the sources add.

“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever.”

According to sources, he said: “I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player!”

Finally the finish, “I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger.

I tried accessing Hogan’s superstar page on WWE.com and he is indeed no longer there. His merchandise has also been removed the website from what I see as of this morning also. The only comment from Hogan on all of this comes from his Twitter.

“In the storm I release control,God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love. HH” – @HulkHogan

WWE confirmed that Hogan’s latest run with the WWE is either over or at least on hold until this all blows over. If over for good, this would seemingly put an end to Hogan’s fourth return since leaving TNA (who ironically is in the process of putting out a best of Hulk Hogan in TNA video) in 2013.

Quite frankly I don’t even know what to say about this story. I don’t know Hulk so I have no idea whether he is racist or not. However, he certainly appears to admit it on the recording. Hogan’s career is over. There is no way in this day and age that Hogan could recover from this, nor would anyone in entertainment do business with him. Depending upon how it went down with Vince and the WWE, I could see a situation where the company does bring him back in some capacity in a few years after this blows over as something of a redemption story. That said, any chance he had at a final match in WWE is over.

The irony of this is that Hogan brought it on himself. If not for Hogan’s $100 million lawsuit against Gawker, there is a high probability that these recordings would have never surfaced. It is a huge gamble for the Hulkster. Hulk could be sitting home with $100 million when all is said and done yet at the day he had to sell his legacy to get it.

Update: Hogan’s attorney told PEOPLE that Hogan resigned from the WWE. “He decided to resign from WWE because he didn’t want to put them or his family through this.

Hogan also released a statement to PEOPLE.

“Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it,” Hogan said to PEOPLE.

“This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise,” Hogan told PEOPLE. “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”

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Happy 19th Anniversary Hulk Hogan WCW Heel Turn

July 08, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Nineteen years ago this week history was made and a revolution was started. Hulk Hogan dropped the leg on WCW and joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall to form the New World Order beginning what some would call the greatest angle in the history of pro wrestling.

It is easy for a lot of us to sit back and criticize the many mistakes WCW made but on one night they got it right. July 7 1996 at the WCW Bash at the Beach 96 one angle revitalized a legendary career, gave new life to a struggling company, created icons, and pumped new blood into an entire business that some had left for dead months earlier. The night Hulk Hogan turned heel is something that those of us that were fans in 1996 will never forget.

To fully appreciate the impact of this angle I have to give you a little background. WCW had been a place up to that point that was more appreciated by hardcore and longtime wrestling fans for legends like Ric Flair and young athletic stars like Brian Pillman and Steve Austin. It had a nice following but it was more southern than national. Eric Bischoff was determined to change that and made a stunning move by signing Hulk Hogan in 1994. Bischoff put his job on the line and offered Hogan a deal which the WWE opted not to match.

The deal was a huge gamble for WCW. Hogan had been on the downside of his WWE career. It was generally believed that Hogan would have been used as a guy to hand the torch off to the next generation of stars rather than be the face of the company had he stayed in the WWE. Hogan was also the poster boy of everything WCW fans hated about the WWE. Could Bischoff level the playing field bringing over new fans to outnumber the fans who would be tuning out of WCW?

It was a nice start for Hogan and WCW. Hogan feuded with Vader and Ric Flair early on and did fairly well on pay per view. The awareness of WCW was certainly higher with Hogan on top. Unfortunately the honeymoon would end faster than anyone expected. Hogan had run through everyone on top without returning the favor, no-sold finishers, and ate up every top heel in the company in a little over a year. Hogan without the oversight of Vince McMahon was becoming a real problem in WCW.

Fans started tuning out thanks to Hogan’s ridiculously cartoonish angles and just got tired of seeing the Hulk beat all of his repackaged foes. In addition to their own self inflicted damage, a little company called Extreme Championship Wrestling started making some noise. A big part of that noise was to expose the faults of WCW to their fans. ECW fans heard every week how lame WCW was and more people began laughing at the joke that was WCW.

Eric Bischoff played his ace card and developed a Monday night program to not only counter WWE programming, but steal some of their audience. In addition to the Monday night move, Bischoff slowly started poaching familiar names like Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage. Even with great talents like Heenan and Savage on board, WCW continued to come off as a company out of touch with the teenage audience and stale on ideas.

This all changed on May 27. Scott Hall clad in denim, walked out on WCW Monday Nitro and caused the biggest stir in the history of the program. Hall laid out a challenge to face three WCW wrestlers and said he would have two friends to join him in the match. A couple of weeks later Kevin Nash joined Scott Hall on Nitro. It was implied that Hall and Nash, seen on WWE TV for years as Razor Ramon and Diesel respectively, had invaded WCW. Nash and Hall were known as the Outsiders to play off of this. For fans that didn’t know any better, this was must-see television because anyone from the WWE could show up next.

WCW was starting to turn things around. Nitro had regularly done ratings in the low-mid twos yet were now pulling in ratings between 3.3-3.5. It may not sound impressive but to increase your ratings that fast and maintain them was a big deal. But even bigger than the ratings and the buyrates was the perception of WCW. WCW was cool again (well most of it).

The angle really kicked into second gear at the Great American Bash 96. Eric Bischoff accepted Hall’s challenge and said his three WCW wrestlers would meet them at Bash at the Beach. Bischoff refused to reveal the names to Hall and Nash. For that, he was powerbombed off the stage through a table by Nash. Today, this is something you probably see every week in wrestling. In 1996 the only place you were seeing anything like this was ECW. It was a very powerful angle and a historic moment in the angle.

To show you how big this angle was the Nitro rating that week shot up from a 2.7 to a 3.4. Nitro would only do one more rating below a 3.0 all year. A “random” drawing was held on Nitro the following week to determine who from WCW would wrestle Hall and Nash. Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger were chosen to represent WCW. Hall and Nash refused to reveal their partner. For the weeks up to the pay per view all of the talk on Nitro was, “who is the third man?” For fans at home not knowing any better, it could have been anyone from the WWE.

The week before Bash at the Beach, Hall and Nash invaded Nitro as usual. The Outsiders walked through the crowd in the middle of a segment with Bischoff and Heenan. The crowd was all over this and just eating it up. Hall and Nash wound up taking front row seats with popcorn in hand. Nash eventually grabbed the microphone and said, “It looks like we’re taking over a little early.” Hall and Nash proceeded to walk up the broadcast area where Bischoff and Heenan were sitting. Heenan left. Security stopped them and Sting, Luger, and Savage all madeup like Sting came out to confront them. Nash yelled, “look at the clowns!” The entire WCW locker room emptied out to support their company. Everyone had to be separated by security. It was an unreal moment and only added more excitement for Bash at the Beach.

Keep in mind the Internet was in its infancy so most of the scoops during this time period came from either the wrestling newsletters or hotlines. Most of the reputable sources reported that Hulk Hogan would be the third man for the Outsiders in the weeks leading to the show. Dave Meltzer on the other hand reported a week or so before the show that Hogan didn’t want to turn heel. Lex Luger was reported to be the backup plan with more sources leaning towards Luger in the days leading up to the show.

I remember watching Bash at the Beach 96 and thinking, “just get on with it.” It was torture sitting through two hours of undercard matches with so much anticipation for the main-event. All in all it was a pretty lousy undercard that night which certainly didn’t help matters. Finally though it was time for the main-event and you could cut the tension with a knife in the living room amongst friends and live on pay per view in the arena.

The Oustiders come out first with no third man. Gene Okerlund walks down the entrance way and looks confused. Dusty Rhodes says on commentary, “This is bogus!” Okerlund then enters the ring to confront Hall and Nash and says, “I don’t see three men here tonight. Where is your partner?

Hall answers and calls him “Scheme Gene.” Hall then tells Gene, “All you need to know little man is that he’s here, and he’s ready.” Okerlund then asks Nash, “Is your partner telling me your third man is in the building?” Nash says, “He’s here alright Gene. We’ve got enough to handle it right now, right here.” The WCW announcers are upset.

Before I talk about the match let me just say that Bobby Heenan is awesome here. He is selling this whole mystery like it is the biggest thing he has ever seen. Considering where he’s been, that said a lot. Heenan is mostly known as a witty commentator but when he had to get an angle over, he was a genius and highly underrated in that regard. We all talk about Heenan’s performance at the 1992 Royal Rumble but this may have been just as good.

Savage, Luger, and Sting all come out with war paint on. It’s your typical match early on, although very heated thanks to the audience. Lex takes a fall early on and is out on the floor. Luger is knocked unconscious on the floor. Heenan than tells the crowd that it’s now two against two, or three against two if the other guy is really in the building. Heenan tells Dusty, “Something’s up.” This was brilliant as it played into the whole drama surrounding the reports of Luger joining the Outsiders. Luger gets stretchered out and at this point just about everyone watching is thinking that Lex is coming back and turning on his friends.

The guys actually have a pretty decent match at this point. The crowd is red hot and everyone appears to be working their butts off. Savage was fantastic here. Savage wrestled with such aggression against Hall and Nash that he really got the whole idea over of how WCW hated these guys for invading their company.

Savage drops Hall with a double axe handle from the top rope. Nash and Hall are both down. Nash gives Savage a low blow. All four guys are out (Sting from earlier). Referee Pee Wee Anderson starts to count them out. The attention is turned to the ramp as Hulk Hogan walks out with the red and yellow and pointing fingers. The fans start screaming, yes screaming for Hulk. Once again this isn’t 2011 and most of the crowd had no idea at all about the Hogan rumors. God love that gullible WCW crowd.

Dusty and Tony Schiavone start screaming about Hulk Hogan being there to save the day for WCW. Dusty sounded a little phony but Schiavone was really believable. Dusty, “Hulk Hogan is in the building.” Schiavone, “You’re damned right he is!” Bobby Heenan asks the million dollar question, “Yeah but who’s side is he on?” Dusty won’t even hear of it.

Hogan enters the ring, Hall and Nash take a powder, and Savage is still laid out in the center of the ring from the low blow (he’s selling this low blow like he’s Josh Koscheck). Hogan leans back in the turnbuckle, looks around, and then drops the leg heard around the world across the neck of his old foe Randy Savage. Heenan announces that Hogan is the third man. Hogan drops another leg while Hall and Nash join the party and give each other high-fives. Heenan calls it, “the lowest shot ever given to professional wrestling.” Keep in mind this was before Dixie Carter’s state of the company address on TNA Impact.

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I hate to keep gloating about Heenan but I will. What made Heenan so great in this situation in addition to everything else was his credibility. Heenan tells the fans that he told them so and he was right about Hogan all of these years. Another heel announcer like Michael Cole would have suddenly started talking about his love for Hogan where Heenan actually turned himself babyface here.

Of course we all know what followed next. Fans started throwing trash into the ring at Hall, Hogan, and Nash. Gene Okerlund immediately entered the ring to ask Hogan what the hell this was all about. One thing to note here is that if this was present day wrestling, you would have turned into RAW or Impact to get this interview. At Bash at the Beach, you were certainly rewarded for the money you paid to watch this great moment.

Hogan cut what would become a historic promo in the center of the ring to explain the turn. Here is the entire transcript of the Hogan promo thanks to IMDB.com.

Gene Okerlund: Hulk Hogan, excuse me. Excuse me. What in the world are you thinking?

Hulk Hogan: Mean Gene the first thing you gotta do is to tell these people to shut up if they want to hear what I’ve gotta say.

Gene Okerlund: I have been with you for so many years for you to join up with the likes of these two men absoulutely makes me SICK to my stomach! And I think that these people here and a lot of people around the whole wrestling world have had just about enough of this man and this man and you want to put yourself in this group? You’ve gotta be…kidding me!

Hulk Hogan: Well the first thing you’ve gotta realize brother is that this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling brother. These two men came from a great big organization up north and everybody was wondering about who the third man was. Well who knows more about that organization than me brother?

Gene Okerlund: I’ve been there and done that. You have made the wrong decision in my opinion.

Hulk Hogan: Well let me tell you something, I made that organization brother! I made the people rich up there. I made the people that ran that organization rich up there. And when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan got bigger than the entire organization brother! And then Billionaire Ted amigo, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan. Well Billionaire Ted promised me movies brother. Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars. And Billionaire Ted promised me world caliber matches. And as far as Billionaire Ted, Eric Bischoff and entire WCW goes, I’m bored brother. That’s why I want these two guys here, these so called Outsiders, these are the men I want as my friends. They are the new blood of professional wrestling and not only are we going to take over the whole wrestling business, with Hulk Hogan, the new blood and the monsters with me. We will destroy everything in our path Mean Gene.

Gene Okerlund: Look at all of this crap in this ring! This is what’s in the future for you if you want to hang around the likes of this man Hall, and this man Nash.

Hulk Hogan: As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in this ring represents these fans out here. For two years brother! For two years, I held my head high. I did everything for the charities. I did everything for the kids. And the reception I got when came out here, you fans can stick it brother. Because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, you people wouldn’t be here. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. And if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all of these “Johnny come latelys” that you see out here wrestling wouldn’t be here. I was selling the world out brother while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is now brother, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling brother, me and the new blood by my side. Whatcha gonna do when the New World Order runs wild on you? Whatcha gonna do?

Hulk Hogan: What are you gonna do?

Gene Okerlund: Hey, don’t touch me! Don’t touch me, I’m going to see the lawyers! Tony, Dusty, Bobby, Dammit let’s get back to you!

Tony Schiavone: “All right. We have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, for Dusty Rhodes, For “Mean” Gene Okerlund, I don’t know…I’m Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell! We’re outta here. Straight to hell.”

What made this equally memorable was the scene of Hogan talking as endless amounts of trash rained down on him in the ring. I never saw anything like that and man did it give this angle some extra punch. Seeing how much the fans hated this made it even that much more powerful to the fans at home watching on television. It was a moment that I and many others will certainly never forget.

Jeff Peck and I break this down on an upcoming edition of the Still Real to Us podcast. We debated whether this was the greatest angle ever. I argued that next to Hogan dropping the leg on the Iron Sheik and beginning Hulkamania that it was. It pumped new life into the wrestling business which was struggling across the board. It saved what looked like was the end of the career of Hulk Hogan. It turned Scott Hall and Kevin Nash into icons. Was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s confrontation with Mike Tyson more successful? Maybe, but I don’t know if we would have ever even seen Stone Cold if it weren’t for the N.W.O.

The angle also ended a lot differently than it started. The same angle that revitalized the business and shot WCW to the moon was also badly mismanaged and would end up hurting WCW in the end more than it helped it. It had nothing to do with the Bash at the Beach angle but more to do with the incompetent booking of Eric Bischoff, Hall, Nash, and Hogan.

I could also make an argument that this was the greatest heel turn ever in the business. Bruno Sammartino, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan were probably the biggest money makers in pro wrestling. All made money as blockbuster babyfaces but only Hogan did it as a blockbuster heel. While I am sure that someone will argue differently, I can’t think of a bigger heel that drew more money than Hogan did during his N.W.O. run.

Happy 19th anniversary Hollywood Hulk Hogan, the N.W.O., and Bash at the Beach 1996.

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Hulk Hogan Gives Advice To Aspiring WWE Superstars

June 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There probably isn’t many better WWE stars to give advice to aspiring pro wrestlers than arguably the most famous star of all-time. Hulk Hogan is one of the most successful wrestlers ever so when the Hulkster is offering free advice, you listen.

Hulk Hogan is currently a judge on the WWE Tough Enough show. Why he is not a host is a question I am still trying to figure out. Whether you like Hulk or not you cannot argue with his success. He is arguably the most recognizable pro wrestler in all of wrestling history. Hogan is doing some media to promote Tough Enough and stopped by BizJournals.com for a conversation which turned more into a coaching session for aspiring WWE superstars.

Hogan was asked about the biggest challenge he ever faced and what he learned from it.

Making the transition from actually wrestling to trying to figure out how to generate revenue without physically getting in the ring. I had to figure out how to use my brand and exploit the 35 years of goodwill with the world and turn that into a money making machine. Once you wrestle main events for 30 years and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you because physically you can’t do it, reality sets in and you have to figure out how to reinvent yourself. I made that transition out of survival. I went through a crazy divorce, I had a huge $60 million civil suite from an accident and my body shut down on me for two years — I had nine back surgeries. I had to figure out how to take the brand, make it work and do stuff I wasn’t used to doing such as open other businesses and other ventures.

You can criticize Hogan for a lot of things but one thing you have to give him credit for is making himself relevant after his in-ring career was over. Hogan has appeared on numerous television shows including his own and remains well-known to casual wrestling fans. How big of an accomplishment is that? Other than the Rock I can’t think of anyone else who has done it better.

Hulk was asked about advice he could share for those looking to get into the wrestling industry.

Don’t even think about it unless it’s your passion — it has to be in your blood and you’re totally obsessed with it and that’s all you think about. It had to be a bigger priority for you than your job or even your family. You have to put wrestling first just to make it. It is such a hard job, so if you’re married or you have children or you have bunch of baggage, you need to rethink it because it’s really tough. If you don’t have those desires, don’t even think about it.

Finally Hulk was asked about the worst piece of advice he has ever gotten.

The advice I got was in the 1970s when wrestling was very barbaric. The worst advice I got then was “real wrestlers don’t wear kneepads.” After about two years of wrestling in Japan, my knees were blown out.

That is pretty interesting and I absolutely believe that was the advice he received back in the 1970s. Even going back to the late 1990s, I remember hearing wrestlers criticize Stone Cold Steve Austin for wearing knee braces. I couldn’t even imagine wrestling for as long as Hulk did without knee pads on.

Check out the entire interview here for more advice from Hulk as well as WWE Diva Paige.

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WWE: Judging Hulk Hogan by Modern Standards

June 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan: the man, the myth … the … well, myth is a good place to stop. Hogan in many ways is the gatekeeper to the modern era of professional wrestling. (Ric Flair is the other one, but let me focus on one overhyped legend at a time).

With the age of Hogan, we saw professional wrestling move away from the arenas and move away from a regular, live, serialized entertainment form and into a ‘national’, TV and PPV based monstrosity that warped the entertainment value, completely removed professional wrestling from a sports based product, and began the path of overly scripted performances (in-ring and promos).

Despite all the accolades and assumptions, it doesn’t take much analysis to put together the reasons for the scripting. Hogan was a weak imitation of his predecessor at the head of the WWE/WWF/WWWF promotion, and he couldn’t attract regular fans to the “clubs” on a monthly basis.

While the booking in the early-to-mid 1980’s was similar, familiar to long term fans, there was a vast and jarring difference between the expectations of what happened in the ring, how the matches were built, how the emotions were tugged at, and how engaged fans were with the concept of professional wrestling.

The last reflections of “programming” existed in the Hogan era: opponent comes in; establishes himself as a monster, as talented, as a threat; usually several matches occur on PPV, TV, big events; reasons exist as to why those matches continue; eventually the Champion overcomes the opponent; opponent disappears, moves down the card or gets repackaged.

That’s a formula that worked for several decades.

That’s a formula that’s been ignored for the past several, and much to blame for diminishing returns (fans, attendance, profits).

That’s a formula that any company that wants to be successful (*cough* ROH *cough*) should emulate.

But the modern era is straight out of the hyperbole of Hulk Hogan.

Larger than life characters, never mind the believability. Third person promos full of bombast, replete with ego, readily hammered out by keyboards but seldom spoken from the heart. Sure, there’s a guy like Hogan or a guy like The Rock or some several other examples of talent that can project themselves through other people’s words, but those guys are few and far in between.

Guys before the modern era were able to project themselves because they were themselves first and foremost.

What’s completely mind-blowing is that professional wrestling is the purest form of “Role-playing” known to man, and yet in an era where Role Playing Games are more socially acceptable and more known by modern man, professional wrestling promoters/companies and talents are vastly less understanding of the concept than ever.

What’s worse is that the concept of professional wrestling as a pseudo-sports construct is even less understood, and it was bad enough about 20 years ago from my own experience. Not to get into names or companies, but I was in the tidal wave of Collectible Card Games and also a emerging ‘insider’ in the professional wrestling world. No one in the gaming world understood professional wrestling, and a major company attempted to connect to WCW’s mainstream popularity.

The problem was, that the gaming mind never grasped that professional wrestling is, at its core, a fight. a battle where two opponents try to beat each other (with violence, wrestling skill or acrobatics of a sort) and win by pinfall, submission or other rules. CCG’s were all about counting to 10 or 20, and so wrestling was addressed the same way.

I was dumbfounded at the time that the concept of exhaustion, being beaten, being unable to continue were alien concepts, that fak that preten that talent performing their talents in portraying a professional wrestling match (whew) should be well aware of variations of storytelling in the ring and present a compelling match in many ways.

I am dumbfounded now that virtually every promotion known to man (save CHIKARA and AAW and to some degree the Gabe Sapolsky run promotions) haven’t a clue about the various dimensions of storytelling that can and should be involved with this quaint, violence portrayal called professional wrestling.

Sure, I digress.

But Hogan?

Hogan began this disconnect, because when he started there was a guy who was wowing the crowd and making professional wrestling believable and no true fan questioned the concept.

By the end of the Hogan dominance, that certain promoter was chasing every nickel and dime and laying bare the concepts of kayfabe for tax benefits.

All the while the experts and the journalists pretended along that professional wrestling was finally out of the smoke-filled rooms and faked along with the notion that Hogan was a great professional wrestler and that things were never better.

All the while Hogan’s public speaking and words and denials — while the culture of the locker room was seen by those with common sense to be troublesome—helped pave the way for realities of the 1990’s to become what they became.

What professional wrestling became, in the ring, after the Hogan era is a peculiarity.

These days the hardcores whine about John Cena’s five move repertoire. But setting aside the early 1990’s match against Muta, Hogan had little interest in doing much in the ring except for punch and kick and an assorted clothesline (which the Japanese called an Ax Bomber, to give him some uniqueness).

But bumps? Hogan? Is that a joke I’ve shared with a friend or a joke on those who claim Hogan’s greatness?

The most interesting question is this: How would Hogan fare in 2015, the era cemented by his influence on the industry (but also heavily influenced by his biggest rival to greatness and influence on the industry: Ric Flair.)

To whom can we compare the master of the “Leg drop of DOOM”?

To the aforementioned John Cena? Sure. There’s the look, the limited moves and the babyface-despite-a-smugness-about-him attitude. Then again, there’s no jingoism, no hulking presence, no surfer-dude mentality, no larger-than-lies life charisma. But Cena doesn’t benefit from the fading remembrances of booking that benefitted Hogan: no turnstyle of heels (just repeated matchups with Orton), no babyface-in-danger angles, no hint of having to draw the same core audience to the same arena for years in a row.

Hogan couldn’t do that, and it’s doubtful that Cena could, but the days of booking Madison Square Garden every 3 or 4 weeks is long forgotten.

How about Roman Reigns?

Can we all imagine the fanboys complaining that Hogan can’t do a 20 minute match, shows nothing in the ring, can’t bump and hurt people? Well, Hogan never really had that reputation.

The concept of timing a match from the entrance to the post-match nonsense began with Hogan (based on a few private conversations), but we get less entrance music, less patience with crowd cheerleading and almost no expectation of sticking around the ring beyond normal expectations.

Uhm, I really didn’t mean it that way.

Yet Roman Reigns is a much purer athlete than Hogan, a much better student of the game and a guy with potential beyond his mishandling.

Hogan was made by his timing and his handling and being a watered-down version of a really great Champion (who had to come back to boost the attendance in all the clubs that went downhill, when Hogan couldn’t maintain attendance in the same place three times in a row, let alone years).

Hogan took it to another level due to his … look and natural charisma, and got every opportunity after others failed. (I recall the obvious potential shift to Duggan (before that unfortunate pull-over), to Savage (who was definitely in the Ric Flair mode of wrestling) and that strange interlude to Bret Hart, whom Hogan would never put over).

But Hogan’s in-ring performances make Roman Reigns look like Joe Stetcher, Joe Scarpello Samoa Joe. His promos these days would be outlandish, and his ability to make professional wrestling appear real (considering the weak in-ring and the outlandishness) is best reflected in the loss of average attendance in all arenas across the country, overall since 1980.

I mean, c’mon, the 1980’s were the cartoon era, and who was the ringleader?

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10 Real Backstage Fights Between Pro Wrestlers (Part 3)

June 09, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Backstage wrestling fights blogs are the most popular blog series in the history of this website. Thanks to shoot interviews, newsletters, books, and podcasts there are a plethora more that haven’t been covered by the CCB, 10 of which I’ll cover today.

It is always fascinating to hear about fights between pro wrestlers outside the ring. Those fights have created legends over the years, crowning some as the toughest to ever lace up a pair of boots. Lucky shot, dirty tricks, or sheer skill have created some of the greatest tales outside of the ring in pro wrestling history.

Here is a look back today at 10 brand-new backstage fights between pro wrestlers that haven’t made the previous two lists. Many are told in the words of the wrestlers who were there fighting or observing. Enjoy!

Kamala vs. Andre the Giant – Kamala has told this story in several interviews lately. Kamala and the Giant had a big rivalry in the early 80s which started with them matching up in territories and ended in the WWE. They made a lot of money together and while that is generally something wrestlers bonded over, Andre was not a fan of Kamala. Andre was in a bad mood and in their first match used a derogatory racist remark towards Kamala. You can probably guess what it was. Kamala was not happy about it and let the Giant know about it.

“Andre wasn’t the friendly guy that he appeared to be. He was real temperamental and had a nasty attitude. When I first started working with him, he called me a (derogatory) name in the ring and I beat him up. After that, I never had another problem with him. A lot of (top guys had problems with Andre too). He would just go out and mop the floor with people. He treated (wrestlers) nasty, and the fans too. Andre would do it just about every night. Guys would watch through the curtain to see what he was going to do.”

Kamala expanded on it when he was interviewed by Steve Austin a few months ago. Kamala told Austin that he and Andre were fine after that and that it was Andre who was responsible for bringing him to the WWE.

Kevin Nash vs. Roddy Piper – This dandy happened back in WCW and recently reared its way back into the news when Piper and Nash argued the winner over Twitter. One thing that has remained consistent in the story is that Piper and Nash were not cooperating with each other in a tag team match in WCW. Piper and Ric Flair went to their dressing room upset after the match. Nash barged in the dressing room and from this point, the story is different whether you hear it from Piper or Nash. So let’s hear it from Sean Waltman instead. Waltman witnessed the whole thing and tweeted about it a few months ago on Twitter.

“On the life of my children Roddy is bold face lying & I hate to say that,because I love Roddy. you [Nash] kicked the door in and everyone s–t. Flair was more concerned about it not having to do with him.

“the Bodyguad tried to get between you. You said something to him and he stepped aside. Then you proceeded to open hand slap Roddy, because he was out of place and went into business for himself, causing you to re injure your knee. I remember one second you were in the locker room pissed. V-sit Wrestling Inc-The next sec me causing you to re injure your knee in all that cluster F–k. I’ll give him credit for a nice leg sweep that came up a it short. He called you a liar over your description of the incident. No one wanted a piece.

“way to back up your wing man Naitch;) there were only 3 of us. We were outnumbered if you count the bodyguard. I just heard the podcast and it was an out and out lie. Can’t believe from Roddy. Hopefully it’s a memory issue and not pride. I know Kev’s hot still, but let it go Big D. He knows what happened and that’s the real of it.

“…And Kev let that go yrs ago. Brought Roddy and his son to our tour of Aruba. We had a great time. Whatever need Roddy has to perpetuate his image as one though SOB is not going to be tarnished by that incident. Your still Rough Roddy.”

Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart – How is it that this dandy never made the previous lists? Well most of us know the story, yet some new fans may not have. This story goes back to 1997 and the night of the Montreal Screw Job. Vince McMahon just ordered a quick submission on Bret, swerving him on the finish. Bret lost the title to Shawn Michaels and he wasn’t happy about it. Here is how it went down according to the Hit Man.

“Somewhere in that conversation, Bret said, ‘If you’re still here after I get dressed, I’m going to punch you out.’”

“It was the most beautiful uppercut punch you could ever imagine,” said Hart. “I actually thought it would miss and go right up the side of his head, but I popped him right up like a cork was under his jaw and lifted him right off the hand. I broke my right hand just beneath the knuckle, and knocked Vince out cold.”

He recently said it was his proudest moment…“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Sheamus – For some reason Sheamus has a reputation in the WWE for being a tough guy. I say for some reason because every story I have ever heard about Sheamus ends with Sheamus being knocked out. One of those stories involved Sheamus and a young Yoshi Tatsu Tatsu and Sheamus were both on their way to the main roster. According to a story told last year by former WCW star Konnan, it was all over money.

“Konnan then was asked about Sheamus’ fight with Yoshi Tatsu before they made it to the main roster, and the Cuban wrestler said Sheamus had asked him to borrow some money. Konnan said Tatsu kept asking him for the money back repeatedly, and kept getting an excuse. He didn’t know if they were roommates or if Tatsu showed up at his door, but Konnan said he “slapped the s–t out of him” after approaching him one last time. The co-host confirmed after hearing the story from Tatsu backstage, he ended up getting his money back.”

Evan Bourne also confirmed that Tatsu KO’d Sheamus in his shoot interview – “I guess everyone heard the story about how Sheamus got dropped by Yoshi Tatsu so I think that sort of makes him soft. I will say Sheamus is also tough. He literally broke his hand in a match ramming me into a pole and didn’t even miss a beat. He’s one of the toughest guys. Maybe he’s got a soft chin, I don’t know what happened.”

Bill Dundee vs. Randy Savage – Once upon a time pro wrestling was real, well to the Poffo family it was. Angelo Poffo’s outlaw ICW was involved in a very heated promotional war down south with Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett. The wrestlers between both promotions despised each other, especially Randy Savage who hated everyone involved with Lawler’s group. So when Savage’s legendary temper met Bill Dundee’s street smarts in a parking lot it was no surprise that things got very ugly in one of the wildest pro wrestler fighting stories you’ll ever hear. Dave Meltzer recapped the story in his Savage tribute in the Wrestling Observer.

“(Bill) Dundee (Bill Crookshanks), was Jarrett’s long-time No. 2 babyface behind Lawler. Savage was routinely making fun of him on television because he was about 5-foot-4 and would grandstand challenge him and make fun of the Jarrett guys for failing to show up with so much money at stake. It was the same gimmick Savage did in his 50s with Hogan. At one point, there was a confrontation, and Savage went after Dundee. Dundee ran back to his car and pulled out a gun. Savage then wrestled the gun away from Dundee and pistol-whipped him, breaking his jaw and putting him out of action. When Dundee finally returned, he did an interview and sort of acknowledged the rumors of what happened, just saying there was a story going around about him getting in a fight and breaking his jaw, but what really happened was he was thrown off a horse and broke his jaw.”
Check out Bill Dundee’s classic interview right here on YouTube.com. – http://youtu.be/8a21Lm3u0DQ

Bruiser Brody vs. Jose Gonzalez – Unfortunately this is the most tragic of all outside of the ring backstage pro wrestling fights. A legend, a father, and a husband lost his life in a fight that lives in infamy. The infamous Brody Murder remains a tale with little details and plenty of alleged cover-ups. Much has been written about the incident by reporters and former wrestlers. I have probably heard a dozen conspiracy theories and different stories from first and second-hand accounts. The basic gist of it is that Brody went into a shower to talk to Gonzalez and left with stabbed wounds that resulted in his fatality.

Dutch Mantell known today as Zeb Coulter in the WWE was in the locker room on the night of the murder. Mantell wrote a lengthy column about it a few years ago. Here is his take.

“Bayamon Stadium is a baseball stadium so I arose from my chair and headed through a tunnel to get to the field. It’s only about 100 feet through the tunnel, and I stood, watching the crowd file in for no more than than three minutes, and I had not been gone from the dressing room longer than 5 or 6 minutes, at the most. But when I returned, my eyes met horror. The whole dressing room was chaotic. The first person I saw was Chris Youngblood. I asked him what had happened. He was almost hysterical as he said, “Jose stabbed Brody.” I still did not know what he meant but as I looked deeper in the room, I saw Brody lying prone on the floor with several guys surrounding him. I thought that some guy named Jose had rushed into the room and attacked Brody. Everybody in PR is named Jose so I looked at Chris again and he said, “Invader, Invader stabbed Brody.” It was bedlam in the dressing room. Now, everything started to move in slow motion. I remember walking over to where Brody was laying and just staring in disbelief. A doctor is always present in San Juan and he was crying. Brody was conscious and as I looked closer, I could see a stab wound about an inch long and deep with air bubbles escaping from it. Much later, the doctor told me that meant that the blade had pierced the lung. Brody was telling promoter Carlos Colon to take care of his family. I didn’t see a lot of blood but, again, later I learned that he was hemorrhaging internally. I believe that Bruiser knew he was going to die. “This can’t be happening” I thought to myself. This can’t be real. But real it was. I am not a very religious person but I eased over in a corner out of everyones way and prayed for Bruiser. I then found myself looking through a plexiglass door which led into the shower. The door was kind of translucent plexiglass that distorted images somewhat, but I saw the Invader and Victor Jovica screaming at each other in the shower room. Noise was everywhere and I couldn’t make out what they were saying but even if I could’ve heard them, they were speaking in Spanish, (which they often do). But I could see that a struggle was in process.

Invader and Jovica were shoving each other. It seemed as though Invader was attempting to leave and Jovica was trying to stop him. Brody was still on the floor. The doctor was working furiously to do what he could to help him. A call went out for an ambulance. It seemed like an eternity before aid arrived. And they didn’t even get the call through official channels. Victor Quinones called a local radio station and told them to broadcast that an ambulance was needed immediately at the stadium. A paramedic crew was eating at a nearby McDonald’s and heard the request on the radio. Brody, by the time paramedics had arrived, had lain there for over 25 minutes. Atlas was in a state of shock as were the rest of us. While the paramedics were preparing Bruiser to take him to the emergency room, I witnessed Invader leave the shower, walk around the feet of Brody, grab his car keys and leave. Finally, after what had seemed like an eternity, Brody was loaded onto a gurney to be taken out. Brody, by this time, had been down at least 40 minutes. The paramedics couldn’t lift him. I saw Tony Atlas, almost by himself, carry Brody up four or five steps and transport him to the ambulance. Tony went with Brody to the hospital. At this point, nobody knew what to say or even what had happened. But I knew enough to stand back and observe the situation. Puerto Ricans basically didn’t like the American boys coming down there and taking their money that they felt was rightfully theirs. And since I was in the dark as to what happened, I was watching to see what would happen next.

Chris Youngblood told me that Invader had approached Brody and requested that he accompany him to the shower to talk business. He said that Invader’s hand was covered with a towel. Then he said he heard screaming and a commotion inside the shower and then seeing Brody stumble through the door holding his chest. Brody went down; he didn’t collapse but went down under his own control. That was just before I got back into the room.” –

Tony Atlas went to the hospital with Brody and had this to say in an interview – “Can you imagine? A guy gets stabbed and everyone’s putting on their wrestling boots. The wrestlers are like separate businesses. One is McDonald’s. One’s Burger King. They all sell hamburgers, but they’re more concerned about their business and once you’re gone, you’re gone. I’ve only had three wrestlers to call me since my contract ended with WWE. Of all the wrestlers I talked to and helped, only three called. That was Teddy Long, Mark Henry, and a guy from the office by the name of Howard Finkel. The only three guys to call since I left. The rest never called to see how I was doing. Nothing. It was like I was never there.”

Hulk Hogan vs. Verne Gagne – The Hulkster told this one during an interview with Chris Jericho. Verne started making Hogan t-shirts but wouldn’t cut Hogan in on the money. They had words and Verne said he wanted to see what they taught him down in Florida and Hogan said, “Enough to kick your ass.” Verne charged him and Hogan grabbed him in a front face lock “Belzer-style”. Verne left the room and said it wasn’t over and Greg started to take his stuff off like he was going to fight him but David Schultz backed Hulk up.

I have no reason not to believe this one. Everything I have heard about Verne is that he was pretty crazy and always challenging guys to fights.

Scott Hall vs. Marty Jannetty –
I had never heard of this one until Hall told it directly to me during a shoot interview. I interviewed Hall for a shoot interview back in 2007 and Hall told me about a fight he got into with Marty when both worked the Kansas City territory early in their careers. Jannetty gave his version of the story in a later interview.

“At the time, Hall was teaming with Danny Spivey. Marty said that he would party hard with Shawn Michaels and DJ Peterson at the time. He also adds that some of his checks would be negative as a result of having to pay for hotel damages. One night, he rented a room with DJ and they brought in a lot of girls. The next day at the show, he was extremely hungover on the table in dressing room, which he points out was not uncommon for him. All of a sudden, he was on the ground and heard screaming and Hall was acting crazy before leaving. Marty ended up with a split lip because Hall punched him repeatedly while he was sleeping. Marty said he then took a pipe and went looking for Scott. Geigel and Bulldog Brown grabbed him and held back before taking him to the hospital. Next night in St. Louis, he sees Hall who asked if he wanted to go another round. Hall put arm around Marty and said he got worked over by DJ, as he signed in the hotel under Scotts name and got discount on the room because he was a wrestler and DJ was not well known, but someone told him that it was Marty who signed in under Scott’s name and destroyed room on purpose in an attempt to get him fired. Marty then asked who told him that and he said it was Bulldog Brown. Marty then said that he was kicking and slamming doors looking for Brown. Harley saw him and pulled him aside and asked him what was wrong. He told him the story and Harley said that he would take care of this but he never did. Marty said that he got along okay with Hall after that but the beating he took was hard to forget.”

Shane Hurricane Helms vs. Buff Bagwell – Hurricane Helms vs. Buff Bagwell – This story has become infamous over the years as have most Buff Bagwell stories. This dandy went down shortly after the WWE purchased WCW. Both were training in the developmental territory during the transition period. Buff still believed he was the stuff, and Helms had enough. Here is Buff’s version of the story.

“That day there, we were at the training school and just hanging out and everyone was getting along and I knew they were making me go to school to test me. “Oh let’s put Buff Bagwell at school”. Ok, that makes sense so automatically I said “Oh boy, here we go. They’re going to test me”. So I said, that’s cool and I went to school. I was the first one in the ring, first one with my boots on, hey let’s go, let’s go, you know. Well, one day Shane got hurt, his back was hurting him and the guys were being guys and everybody was kind of jabbing each other and of course it got heated like guys do and a little scuffle took place and he had a water bottle under his shirt and I didn’t know it. So, he kept running his mouth and I just give a little slap right across the face and I said “you’ve got something to say now?”. He said “No, I ain’t got nothing to say”. I said “then keep your mouth shut”. Well, I turned my back on him and when I did, he had a shirt on over the ice pack and the ice pack was a water a bottle that was frozen ice. So, when I turned my back he just reached under his shirt and grabbed the ice bottle and Boom right in the back of the head.”

And here is what really happened according to Helms…“I’m not sure why after 4 years that the Balding, Bloated, Buff Bagwell keeps telling that ridiculous lie about what happened in the little skirmish that we had. Maybe it’s his “demons” talking up again. Ain’t it funny how when people become total losers it’s always because of some “demons?” LOL Either way it comes off to me like a desperate attempt for attention. Maybe ole Judy ain’t patting him on the back as much anymore, whatever. I just want my friends and fans to know, although most already do, that his version of the story is very jaded much like his opinion of himself. There’s a reason he’s unemployed. Must suck not to have any coat tails to ride on anymore!”

Road Warrior Hawk vs. Eddie Guerrero -Both men have sadly passed, yet Eddie wrote about the details of this fight in his autobiography. Eddie said the fight went down in Japan and it ended with Hawk getting the better of him in a bar fight. Here is the excerpt from his book, Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story.

“I didn’t care who Hawk was – I was drunk and I was looking for a fight. I started in on Hawk and he flat out told me to stand down. “Get the f*ck away from me,” he said, “or I’ll do something about it.”

He gave me a chance to walk away, but I was stupid. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a pu**y, so I pushed himn.

But Hawk was a man of his word. When I turned away from him, he did exactaly what he said he’d do- he did something it. Boom! Right in the back of the head. He knocked me on my ass, then he hit me a few times for good measure.

Hawk was a big man, so a few shows from him knocked me out cold. Brad Armstrong got me in a cab and had the driver take me back to the hotel. I remember waking up and thinking, I f*cked up.”

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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