If you’ve noticed by now, this is no longer a four part series.
In our last article, we talked about the Hogan and Vader feud and while this was happening, did you wonder what happened to The Three Faces of Fear? Oh, you didn’t? Well, guess what I didn’t want to cover this part. I just wanted to gloss over this part but my boss demanded that I cover this. Well, the Avalanche went on to feud with Sting and Savage and Sullivan beat The Butcher so bad that the Butcher got amnesia. The Butcher had a new name, The Man with No Name and would feud with Sullivan. They had a match, Sullivan won and that was it.
OR IS IT?
Oh, and Vader joined the group since they were filming the Baywatch episode and Sullivan worked his way into the episode. So basically the group was Kevin Sullivan and Hogan Punching Bags 1-5. I have to give credit to Sullivan for this; he knew what Hogan wanted after going through the Vader and Flair feuds. Hulk wanted to recreate the glory days of him running through monsters and Sullivan pitched him something like that. It resulted in Sullivan getting in the inner circle of Hogan and getting the booker job.
Around this time, a large young man by the name of Paul Wight was trying to break into the wrestling industry. A former basketball player, Wight was 7’2 and possessed agility not seen from a big man since the early days of Andre the Giant. Wight tried to get in contact with the WWE, but was promptly told to get experience. He presented a tape of him running the ropes (He did not have much training) to Mike Chioda, but Pat Patterson thought it was The Kurrigan. Yeah, Vince wasn’t happy once he realized that they had a chance to get this guy, but didn’t. Instead, Wight with the help of Danny Bonaduce of all people was put into contact with Hogan and Hulk saw dollar signs in his eyes and thus the rest of history. The Giant was pushed right to the top and the controversy wouldn’t come from said push, but how he debuted.
Instead of just having the Giant show up and destroy Hogan out of the blue, he showed up on the Bash at the Beach pre show and threw a white shirt at Hogan. Hulk stammered that the shirt belonged to Andre and yes, we’re going to talk about this. There were actual talks about billing him as Andre the Giant Jr. at one point and I’m not kidding. Even worse, they had Hogan give an awful interview saying that he remembered seeing this young man watching him at the Silverdome. Do you think it could get any worse? If you said yes, then YOU WON A FREE MILKSHAKE*. Hulk would later say in the buildup that he would bury The Giant just like how he buried his father…uh yeah. It should be noted that Andre had only been dead for two years at this point and his family was rather pissed at this. It should be noted that this was dropped and then brought up by Scott Hall a year later.
In order to hype this up, you’d think that the company would go old school, have The Giant just absolutely wreck via Hogan in the ring. A whole bunch of chokes slams, the Hulk quiver sell, take him out via ambulance. Heck, have Hulk cough up some blood to sell the effect; it got Lesnar some massive heat. Instead, Hulk entered the Dungeon of Doom twice and the first one would be legendary in all the wrong ways. Overacting worse than Nic Cage in Wicker Man with such immortal lines as:
“WHERE AM I?”
“THERE’S NO HULKAMANIACS HERE!”
“AHHH! IT’S NOT HOT!”
Hulk would be beaten by The Giant and would then renter and take another beating after more horrible acting. Even with the presence of The Amazing Friends, Hulk would take another beating from the Dungeon until MOTHERFRIGGING VADER saved the day. As a kid, the thought of Vader and this monster fighting were awesome, what can I say I’m a mark for a good hoss fight! Vader was added to Hogan’s team to face The Dungeon (Kamala/Zodiac/Meng/Shark) and would get five minutes with Sullivan if he won. Until Vader got fired for losing a fight to Orndorff and was replaced by Lex Luger at the last minute…but that’s for a different article for a different time. This would also set in stone Sting looking like a complete idiot for insisting that the amazing friends could trust Luger and for trusting Ric Flair the next month.
Earlier in the show, The Giant ran over Hulk’s prized motorcycle with a monster truck surely setting the most unintentionally funny moment of 1995, a year full of them. Hulk’s team wins and you can actually see fans leave during Hulk’s beatdown of Sullivan. The only redeemable part in all this is The Giant using the cage to jump over the ropes and then jumping the ropes like it’s nothing. You seriously forget that Show was insanely agile at this point in his career. Giant beats up Hogan, doing what they should have done in the beginning and fake snaps his neck.
After this, the Amazing Friends would sort of splinter off. Sting went off to get swerved by a heel for the 45,677th time, Savage and Luger would feud over who the better wrestler is and we’d get…well I can’t do this. The build-up to Hogan/Giant is like a special Robert Zone from hell…but since I like you the reader, I’ll do my best. First, Hogan gets attacked by Sullivan who is dressed like a woman, gets his neck fake snapped by Giant again and has his mustache shaved. Hulk came back the next week wearing all black, claiming that he was playing on Taskmasters level now.
He then compared his mustache to Mount Rushmore and it being shaved to desecrating the American flag. The stupidity would continue when it was announced that The Giant would meet Hogan twice in one night with the first being a monster sumo match. Hulk’s turn to the darkness more or less consisted of him wearing black and cutting wildly stupid promos. How worse could it get? The Master introduced an “Insurance Policy” for the main event, the Yeti. The company kept the character under wraps, underneath a block of ice until the ending of Nitro when it flashed a whole bunch of colors and blew up. Nitro quickly ended before we really got a good look at him.
Yes, they were actually spending money on monster trucks and to have them film something with the trucks on-top of Cobo Hall. You probably could have shot it on a green screen and save some money. If you’re thinking that hey, they wouldn’t actually spend the money to AIRLIFT the cars on-top of the place, you’re wrong. Or to spend money on a helicopter to get the various overhead shots that they used during the show. Hogan won the “match”, Giant attacked and Hogan accidentally knocked him off the roof of the building. We can probably add the stunt company hired to coordinate the stunt to the rather large budget.
The announcers played it off as completely serious with an over dramatic “NO” from Eric Bischoff and Heenan salvaging the entire thing by acting like his child had gone missing. The main event would arrive and Hulk would come out first and try sympathetic and actually apologized for KILLING A MAN. The Giant would actually arrive and they would never explain how the Giant came back to life, just that he was seemingly superhuman. The match was on and it wasn’t the best, but hey I’m not surprised. Hulk wasn’t the type to do a carry job and this was on the first handful a matches that The Giant was having. Jimmy Hart would knock the ref out and while it came out of nowhere, it was very well done and would benefit Hart since he just awful as a face manager. Luger and Savage ran out to save the day, and then the insurance policy arrived. A yeti is a rather large and furry creature that is a myth. What the yeti isn’t, is a mummy covered in what appears to be poop stained toilet paper. Somebody forgot to tell WCW that, and that while staying on the Poop Mummy (Or as Skeevonie called it: YEH-TAI), they would completely miss Luger turning on Savage.
The Poop Mummy would then partake in a dry humping of Hulk Hogan, the worse pain Hulk has dealt with…..you know the joke already. I have to praise them, the ending was really good besides the humping, Savage and Hulk are completely beaten down and there are no good guys to save the day. It was one dark ending for a wrestling card which usually had the good guys win to send the fans home happy. It could have been much much worse as the Yeti was supposed to be El Gigante and another monster would be introduced, The Super Ninja played by Ron Reis who played The Yeti. It was all supposed to set-up World War III with Hogan in one ring, Giant in another and the Yeti in the other one. By the time we actually reached the card, Reis had become a ninja, nobody cared and he was the first one eliminated.
The belt was vacated because of the debauchery and we got more Hogan insane and embraced the darkness. And by embrace, we mean they taped more incoherent promos with him and Savage wearing all black and wanting the head of Meng. This would all be revealed to be mind games as he would embrace the darkness in a pre-show promo. Hulk also revealed that Savage’s arm injury was fake (It wasn’t) and then took out a copy of the Wrestling Observer that proclaimed that the Giant will win it all. He then screamed “OBSERVE THIS”, burned it and claimed that the real spoilers were on the internet. Here’s the thing about the Observer, companies never acknowledged the Observer since they didn’t want the fans finding out about it.
Honestly, I think that Memphis acknowledged the Observer once when they said that Lance Russell won TV Announcer of the year four times in a row from a prestigious newsletter. Well, Savage won the battle royal, Hulk was pulled under the ring and it set-up an angle so that Hogan could take off for Starrcade. Hulk went crazy, hit the Giant with a chair a whole bunch of times and it would be the last we’d see Hulk.
It should be noted that Starrcade 1995 was an excellent show, almost an apology by the company for subjecting us to this crap.
*Do not ask me for a free milkshake.
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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