Hulk Hogan is back! One of the greatest WWE showmen is returned to the big stage. They don’t make wrestlers or feuds today like they did in Hogan’s day. The Hulkster was a part of some of the most thrilling feuds in WWE history and I can’t think of a better time to celebrate the Real American’s top 10 rivalries…brother!
[adinserter block=”1″]I think you’ll always be a Hulkamaniac if you grew up as a WWF fan in the 1980s. It’s probably hard for today’s fans to understand but for fans like me, the Hulkster will always a place in our hearts. As fun as it was to watch Hogan in his prime, credit needs to be given to his fantastic assortment of arch enemies. It was seeing Hogan trade punches and go nose-to-nose with his rivals that stand out as some of the most memorable moments of my childhood.
Vince McMahon did a terrific job of providing Hogan with foils right out of a comic book. The cast of characters some serious, some cartoonish, and some just absolutely massive had Hogan at the brink of extinction yet through the power of his Hulkamaniacs, Hogan always prevailed in the end. Let’s take a look at his 10 best and the rivalries that defined a WWF generation.
Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage – Some will call this greatest feud in WWE history and while that may be an exaggeration, I think it is right up there with the all-time best. I did a whole blog on the rivalry a few years ago but the gist of it was that Savage and Hogan had such good chemistry in the ring, that all of their matches lived up to the hype. Critics will say Hogan can’t wrestle. I say Hogan can with the right opponent and he was at his best in the ring with Savage.
Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper – Like the Savage feud I did an entire blog on this classic rivalry awhile back. Hogan and Piper had the makings of every great good guy vs. bad guy story you’ve read or watched. While these two guys never had the classic blowoff to make this feud the greatest, they had plenty of tense moments through two eras that put it right at the top. I dare anyone to find many other moments as intense as exciting as when these guys went head to head in the 1980s.
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – This may be the most iconic feud in WWE history. Matches don’t get much bigger than the one these two had WrestleMania III. Their Main-Event rematch was one of the most watched matches in pro wrestling history. It’s funny because if you look back and watch the matches now they are all pretty terrible. Their first run of matches in the early 1980s was much better as Andre was healthier. Yet when it comes to iconic feuds this is right up there with Austin vs. McMahon and Rock.
Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff – Some would argue that Orndorff was Hogan’s best all-time opponent. Their feud was huge and probably would have been much bigger if Andre wasn’t waiting in the wings for WrestleMania III. Their angle while simple is still one of the most memorable in WWE history. Their matches were all real intense and right up there with Hogan’s bouts with Savage and Ted DiBiase. Personally this was my all-time Hogan rivalry but it isn’t as iconic as some of the others.
Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bossman – These two guys had a tremendous series of matches, some of the best you’ll ever see between two big men. These guys loved to move and bump around, especially Bossman. It was Bossman’s athleticism that really pushed this one towards the top. The angles were simple but their matches, especially their legendary cage match on Saturday Night’s Main Event are some of the best of Hogan’s prime.
Hulk Hogan vs. Bobby Heenan – You know I always thought that the WWE would do tremendous house show business if they took Hogan vs. Heenan around the horn on the house shows and it surprises me they never did it. It’s not like Heenan didn’t wrestle but instead they blew him on Warrior matches. Heenan’s family vs. Hogan is probably the biggest manager vs. champion feud in WWE history. What I really love about this rivalry is that not only did it continue in WCW but Heenan continued to mock Hogan even when Hogan turned heel. I loved watching Captain Lou Albano’s charge of the month against Bob Backlund growing up but Hogan vs. Heenan was something truly special.
Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair – The ultimate dream match for fans like me in the 1980s came thanks to Jim Herd. See he did something right. It didn’t draw nearly as well as most would have expected but their matches were really, really good. Check out some of their house show matches on YouTube, especially the Madison Square Garden series and they were about as action-packed as you’ll get for a Hogan match at that time. Maybe it’s the sentimental Flair fan in me but I have to think that the former NWA/WCW champion against the current WWE champion
Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker – One of Hogan’s best feuds was with The Undertaker because he probably showed more vulnerability with the Dead Man than just about any of his opponents. Taker handled Hogan at Survivor Series better than most anticipated. The Undertaker character was corny but the segments in the Funeral Parlor building up their feud worked. Ironically I thought their matches were much better during this run than when Taker got more seasoned a decade plus later.
Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake – Like the Bossman, this series was much better than anyone could have expected going in. Earthquake was a bit of a corny character but the dynamic between of them worked. Earthquake laying out Hogan was one of the better angles of its time. They had great chemistry and had a heck of a match at SummerSlam considering it wasn’t even a championship match.
[adinserter block=”2″]Hulk Hogan vs. Ted DiBiase – Did I save the best for last? This feud was just awesome! What was so great about this is you had a heel using his brains, not brawn against Hogan. Next to Savage and Orndorff Dibiase arguably had some of the best matches with Hogan during Hulk’s big era. They worked so well together and the size difference was never an issue. The fans hated DiBiase so much that the intensity when these two finally locked up after the Million Dollar Man stole the belt via Andre the Giant was right on the level of Hogan and Piper. I’d highly recommend going through YouTube and checking out some of their matches because they were damned good.
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[amazon_link id=”B000GG4XX8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: Hulk Hogan – The Ultimate Anthology[/amazon_link]