It’s a feud that happened quite often during the 90’s between two of the most recognizable wrestlers in pro wrestling history. It all started in 1989 and ran off and on for ten years.
For most of 1988, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were friends. In fact, they were best friends. Hogan helped Savage win the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania IV. They always had the other’s back. At SummerSlam in August they teamed up to form the Mega Powers to defeat Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant.
That would all change at the Main Event II when Savage and Hogan teamed up to take on the Twin Towers. During the bout, Hogan took an injured Miss Elizabeth to the backstage area leaving Savage in the ring. Hogan would return to the match, only to be slapped, and Savage walked out on his Mega Power partner. Backstage, Hogan was checking on the injured Elizabeth when Savage attacked Hogan backstage and turned heel in a big way.
All of this lead to their main event match at WrestleMania V for the WWF World Championship. The build for the match was done so well with Savage playing the heel role to perfection. If you look back, Hogan was really booked to turn heel if you were to think about it. However, it’s Hogan and his mega heel turn was seven years away.
At WrestleMania V, Hogan would win his second WWF World Championship in a seventeen minute match with Savage. Their feud would continue over the summer as each man would find a partner to continue the issue.
On the April 22nd Superstars, Savage would attack and cut Brutus Beefcake’s hair for insulting Randy’s new manager, Sherri Martel.
This feud saw the debut of a character named Zeus. Zeus was really an actor named Tony Lister. Zeus made an impact by attacking Hogan at the May 27th Saturday Night’s Main Event where Hogan was about to wrestle Big Bossman in a cage match for the title (Hogan won a great match).
An issue was made by Savage and Zeus on the July 8th Superstars, and the challenge was accepted. At the July 18th SNME, Zeus attacked Beefcake during his match with Savage. Hogan got involved but his offense had zero impact on Zeus, which included a steel chair shot to the back.
Zeus squeezing the life out of the Hulkster.
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage and Zeus at SummerSlam when Hogan pinned the mighty Zeus after the leg drop. Savage would wander around the midcard scene for a few months.
They would meet again at the third installment of the Main Event on February 23rd, 1990. Buster Douglas, a boxer who had recently knocked out Mike Tyson, was the special enforcer for the match. Hogan would pin Savage yet again, and after the match Savage would be knocked out by Douglas.
Savage and Hogan wouldn’t have a feud in the WWF ever again that reached any kind of television of pay per view level. They would meet again in World Championship Wrestling a handful of years later.
Hogan jumped ship to WCW in the spring of 1994 and Savage would follow suit in the winter. For a year and a half the duo would team up and fight off the likes of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, the Dungeon of Doom and Vader.
In the summer of 1996, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash jumped over to WCW from the WWF. They teased having a third man to be on their side as they took on Sting, Lex Luger and Randy Savage at Bash at the Beach in July.
July 6th, 1996 saw the day that Hulkamania sold out. Hulk Hogan came down to the ring to seemingly help Savage and Sting against the Outsiders (Luger had left the match early due to an “injury”) but instead, Hogan betrayed his friends, fans and the promotion when he hit a leg drop on Macho Man.
The moment that ended Hulkamania… for three years, at least.
It was the formation of the New World Order.
Hogan would regain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Hog Wild in August. At Fall Brawl, Hogan cost Savage a match against the Giant. After the War Games match, Hogan would spray paint the New World Order tag on Miss Elizabeth and on Savage. Hogan even insulted them for not being able to commit to their wedding vows. They were set to meet at Halloween Havoc in October.
Savage would get viciously beaten up by the New World Order on September 23rd Nitro. Hogan would even spray paint the bald spot on Randy’s head. Savage was beaten up again on the October 7th Nitro, as well.
On the October 14th Nitro, the New World Order got into Randy’s head by showing him a video of Elizabeth saying she regretted getting involved with the group and she was still in love with Savage. On the last Nitro before Havoc, Hogan wanted Elizabeth to express her love for Savage, but she wouldn’t do it. So, Hogan sent her to his trailer on a movie set and proceeded to say she will make her only think of him!
Upon seeing this footage, Savage said the following “It just occurred to me how fragile friendships and relationships can be. And you and I Eric Bischoff, we both know how fragile business can be. Even marriage is fragile, but Hulk Hogan – life is fragile.”
At Havoc, they wouldn’t have the same level of success as they previously had in the WWF, match wise. Hogan would retain the championship after eighteen minutes of action and after Giant delivered a chokeslam on the floor. We wouldn’t see Savage again until February 1997.
At Superbrawl VII on February 23rd, Savage returned and joined the New World Order by costing Roddy Piper his match against Hollywood Hogan. For the next eleven months Savage and Hogan would get along.
By early 1998 tension within the New World Order was very evident. Not so shockingly, the tension started once Hogan lost the WCW World Heavyweight Championship to Sting at Starrcade ’97.
After losing a match to Lex Luger on the January 5th, 1998 Nitro, Savage went nuts and knocked Eric Bischoff down. Hogan tried to calm Savage down, but Savage was met with a clothesline by Nash. What is going on in the New World Order!?
On the January 26th Nitro, Savage revealed he wanted to be on his own. The following week, Hogan said Savage was indeed on his own. On February 9th, Savage and Hogan had a match, but it was mainly Hogan destroying Savage with a steel chair.
Savage would get some payback, seemingly the first payback in years, by costing Hogan the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Superbrawl when he hit Hogan with a spray can to allow Sting to win the championship.
The next night on Nitro, Savage claimed to have not been kicked out of the New World Order, but rather he was kicking Hogan out of the group. They were set to meet at Uncensored inside a steel cage.
On the March 9th Nitro, Hogan cut a promo claiming that it was Randy’s fault for bringing is wife into the business and it was Macho’s fault that she had sex with the guys in the back. How Savage didn’t kill Hogan for saying that, is beyond me. Hogan pinned Savage in a six man tag match at the end of the show, of course.
At Uncensored, they wrestled to a no contest when Sting and the Disciple (Beefcake) got involved. Oddly enough, after everything that has happened, Savage decked Sting and gave him the 4-Life signal.
The next night, Savage revealed he attacked Sting for himself and the New World Order, and not for Hogan. Instead, he will win the championship and rule the group. He wants Hogan to know how it feels to be at the bottom.
At Spring Stampede on April 19th, Randy Savage defeated Sting to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship after Kevin Nash got involved. Hogan came out and was not happy with the end result. Have no worry, Hollywood.
Because, the next night on Nitro, Hogan got a title shot against Savage. During the match, Nash hit Hogan with a powerbomb, but Bret Hart came out and hit Nash. He would put Hogan on top of Savage, and yes, Hogan won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, again.
Savage would feud with Hart and Piper following the loss, while Hogan would be involved with Piper. They were involved in a tag match at Great American Bash, but it wasn’t exactly important to their history. Savage wouldn’t be seen again in WCW until April of 1999 due to injuries.
When Savage returned to WCW, he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the summer event Bash at the Beach in July. The next night on Nitro, Hulk Hogan made his return to the company after being out with a knee injury in April. A match was made between the two, and as you might have guessed, Hogan pinned Savage in what would be their final singles match, ever.
Two icons of the business having a feud that lasted a good portion of a decade. The build up to their Mania V match was nicely done with Savage playing the crazed heel so damn well. Even when he was playing a similar character in WCW, he did it really well. Actually, was it really a character? The guy was always very protective of Elizabeth to begin with.
It’s surprising that Savage literally never pinned Hogan. As I went through and found out more and more about their history, Hogan always got the better of Savage. You’d think that a guy who is embarrassed on a weekly basis with having his woman taken from him (twice) he would be able to get a big win over Hogan.
Having Savage join the New World Order wasn’t a bright idea. Did people ever really hate Savage to begin with? Personally, I would’ve kept Savage a face in ’97 and instead of Luger getting a quick reign, why not let Savage get that ever elusive win over a guy who ruined Randy’s life on several occasions?
Most of their ’98 stuff was mixed with good and bad stuff. Their matches were quite bad at the time, but their segments were always entertaining in some way. Their last match in ’99 actually is a good main event. Probably because they were both healthy.
Personally, it’s a feud I’ve always enjoyed and I could watch the build to their Mania V match countless times. It’s just a shame that Savage was never able to pin the Hulkster.
What are your memories or thoughts on the feud between these friends turned enemies? Leave them below!
Thanks for reading!
— Bob Colling