When Hulk Hogan came to WCW in 1994, there were changes in the way the company was booked and produced. On the positive side, the production values went up greatly and almost put them on par with Vince McMahon. On the negative side, the company was slowly changing into what the fans had come to detest. The company still had a roster with some great talent and they were still putting on great matches on television and pay per view, but a lot of the talent that worked hard in the post-Flair walk out were being pushed down or phased out.
Only Vader was left. Vader and Hogan had been set up when Vader won a title shot at Fall Brawl and both men were finally set to collide at SuperBrawl. You’d think and you’d think that with the company booking the monster to end all monster’s against the patron saint of red and yellow, that the build would be simple. Vader would leave Hogan laid out at some point with the powerbomb and repeated Vaderbombs. The match would be hyped as Hogan’s toughest and meanest challenger to date and Hulk would need all the power of the Hulkmaniacs to beat Vader. You know what; you know what happens so reroll the clip:
*Slowly crawls into the fetal position as this plays on loop for a day as our death match commentary overlord smiles.*
Here’s the thing, at this point Vader had been protected rather well. You didn’t necessarily win a match against Vader, you just happened to survive a match with Vader. The only guys that had ever had any consistent success against him were Sting, Ric Flair and Ron Simmons. Heck, even Cactus Jack only beat by count out and Vader retaliated by trying to murder him by POWERBOMBING HIM ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR. Most wrestlers would take losing a match by count-out in stride, but not Vader. VADER WILL END YOU; imagine if you beat him in checkers in something. YOU MIGHT CEAST TO EXIST AND THEN HE COMES AFTER YOUR LOVED ONES.
Hogan and Vader did collide at SuperBrawl and once again it was a match the fans wanted to see. It drew 13,390 fans to the Baltimore Arena, netting them a nice 165k at the gate and it got about 298,861 buys. There was a lot of hype for this match and there was a legitimate big fight atmosphere in the arena. It was one of the few times that keeping Buffer on payroll helped since it made the match feel more important.
The match itself is very good as Hogan had his working boots and of course it was a 50/50 split pretty much. It’s kind of funny; there is a rumor that Hogan made Vader sign a waiver stating that he couldn’t stiff him in the match and yet it looked like both guys beat the crap out of each other. Hulk always good chemistry with fat guy wrestlers (Boss Man, Gang, and Bundy) and it’s no different here. Vader kicks out of the Leg Drop of Doom at ONE, which was quite the holy crap moment. The finish might be a schmooze with Flair running in for a DQ but it made sense. They didn’t want to job Vader out right away and they didn’t want Hogan dropping the belt.
And it would be the last time that their matches would make sense.
Going into Uncensored, Vader and Flair were aligned in an effort to take down Hogan once and for all. Arn Anderson would later join the group, but that doesn’t matter at this moment. In order to counter this, Hogan talked up having the ultimate surprise for the two of them, and this was the company using the good old fashion bait and switch. Many people believed that it the man was going to be The Ultimate Warrior and the company kept talking about the word ultimate at all times. First, Hogan has his Amazing Friends (Sting and Savage) on his side, so he has them out numbered. The biggest threats to those two were The Avalanche and Big Bubba Rogers so it’s not like they’re facing top caliber opponents.
All Hogan would have to do would be to snap his fingers and BAM! Three on two advantage, if not there is always the human shield known as Evad Sullivan to take a drubbing from Vader. With all this stupidity they kept the build to Uncensored rather simple, Flair was pulling the strings of Vader and the company kept both men apart teasing brawls between the two on television. Then, the stupidity began. CUE THE STUPIDIDTY! Well first, Jimmy Hart got kidnapped on the Saturday night before the event to try and destroy Hulk’s confidence going into the match. Do I even have to point out that Hulk won four titles and numerous big matches without a manager? Ric Flair then dressed as a woman and beat up Randy Savage and I presume that he cried for about a good solid hour after being told to do that.
The big reveal of the ultimate surprise of ultimate destiny happened early in the show and it was THE RENEGADE. The Great Value version of The Ultimate Warrior with a knockoff theme that sounded just enough like Warrior’s theme but just a bit off to avoid a McMahon lawsuit. Jimmy Hart shows up, making that angle completely pointless. And that is just everything that happens in the first FEW MINUTES. Now I have to say that the strap match itself is a good bout, not on the level of Sting/Vader but still it’s a good watch. It seemed like we would get a semi-satisfying ending…until they turned the stupidity button up to eleven. Somehow, Flair gets latched onto Hogan, takes a beating and then loses the match to Hogan for Vader.
I swear they only booked this to humiliate Flair, Hogan takes a beating from Flair and Vader as Renegade saves the day with a chair and then THE MASKED MAN SHOWS UP. Yeah, this gimmick sucked in 1994, aging it a year isn’t going to help. We then saw a bound and gagged Arn Anderson (Similar to how I was forced to watch this) dressed as the masked man but who’s the actual masked man? Randy Savage as Flair takes another beating to end the show. It’s funny that the company promoted this show as being out of control and any chair shots were shown at a wide angle. Once again, show did good business for WCW. Also, Sting would get bumped out of the number three spot FOR THE FRIGGING RENEGADE. THE FRIGGING RENEGADE.
This would lead to Flair and Vader teaming to face Savage and Hogan at Slamboree and I’ll save you having to watch it: Flair jobs, the end. The only good to mildly great moments was Flair doing a Flair Flop and watching Angelo Poffo getting beat up. At-least we’d get a great Savage/Flair feud out of the angle. WCW then promoted their next brainfart, Bash at the Beach 1995. The selling point of the card was Hogan vs Vader in a steel cage, a match itself that could sell some tickets. You could do it at The United Center in Chicago and get a good gate….and it’s booked on a beach.
Folk, if you think this part of 1995 was bad, get the hard liquor because we’re diving into THE DUNGEON OF DOOM. And yes, we’ll be talking about the angle that happened at Bash at The Beach. So yeah, this isn’t a four part series anymore.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
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