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WRESTLING COLUMNS

This Is Old School
July 15, 2006 by Nicolas Delachapelle


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I was thinking for a while about writing some old school columns, where I would give a review about classic old school feuds, and by old school I mean everything from pre-WWF attitude area/ WCW/NWO. Anyway, let's start with one that led the last great WrestleMania of the glory days:

Hulk Hogan versus Sid Justice - This one started in 1991. At this time, Hulk Hogan became the WWF champion for the third time of his career, beating the then Iraq-sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter at Wrestle Mania 7. This match led to a tag team match at Summerslam 91' between The WWF champion Hulk Hogan and his pal, the ex-champion Ultimate Warrior against Sgt. Slaughter and his bodyguards, General Adnan and Colonel Mustafa (a.k.a. Iron Sheik), to settle the score.

Because of the heat, Jack Tunney, the then-WWF president decides to bring a special enforcer referee for the match: none other than Sid vicious, dubbed as Sid Justice (because he was supposed to be a face, Vicious was too aggressive)! Of course, the Americans won, and all three faces would celebrate that in the ring. This was the first time Hogan and Sid would meet each other in the ring, but not the last. It was also the match that would see Warrior fired for the first time because he threatened to no-show if he didn't get more money from WWF.

Sid became a fan favorite, because of his huge size and powerful style he was well suited in WWF at this time, and he was definitely going to the top rank. Fans noticed it, just like when he chased Jake Roberts and the Undertaker at the infamous Randy Savage/Elizabeth weeding at the very same Summerslam. Everything was settle to push him. Squash matches after squash matches, Sid Justice was growing strongly in popularity, while Hogan's would slowly fade, especially when he lost his title again the then-unstoppable Undertaker at Survivor Series. But Hogan is Hogan, and a rematch was signed at Tuesday from Texas, where he would win in a controversial way (Taker was blinded by his own urn's ashes). There was also rumors that Hogan would retire from wrestling, (hell, just like in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2002, 2005, 2563 etc), but nothing concrete. It was pre-internet era and kayfabe was still running wild. So, because of that controversial win, President Tunney decided to put the WWF title on the line for the next Royal Rumble, certainly one of the best of all time.

Imagine that: Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake the Snake Roberts, Shawn Michaels, British Bulldog, Ric Flair, Rick Martel, Roddy Piper, the Undertaker, and of course Hogan and Sid, what a prestigious card you have here! The match was awesome, very well story-scripted, and full of surprises. The also-newcomer from WCW Flair would enter #3, which would have handicapped him in comparison with the other top dogs, because Sid, Hogan and Taker entered the match in the last 10. But the Nature Boy survived all through the match, cleverly taking rest when he could. Of course, Hogan and Sid survived as well. Those three were the last ones in the ring and it was obvious that Flair was in a mess against two faces, but while Hogan attempted to eliminate Flair, Sid took profit of that and pushed both wrestlers out of the ring! Hogan was eliminated and really pissed off, but Flair managed to come back to the ring, he never touched the floor with both feet as the clever wrestler he is. Hogan then argued with Sid, because he never thought his "friend" would betrayed him, but Sid told Hogan that it was the way to win a rumble, friends or not! And who gained advantage of it" Wooooo! The Nature Boy, from behind, pushed Sid justice while Hogan was holding Sid's hand. Yes, you read it, Hogan helped Flair to eliminate Sid! The winner of this match, and new World Wrestling Federation champion: Nature Boy Ric Flair! Man, you should see Flair's face when he's leaving the ring, he's looking at them, without a smile but a look that says long at how proud he is (he left WCW, the place he was made as a wrestling sensation in very bad terms, and shortly after he became the #1 fed champion, what a revenge!)

Back to the ring, something really strange happened for the first time: while Hogan and Sid argued about the way things ended in the match, Hogan was clearly and soundly booed by the crowd! Hogan couldn't believe it, and Sid was taunted him, separated by the officials. That classic moment definitely started the feud between them. Some weeks after, Tunney made a special reunion where he would pick the n#1 contender. Piper, Savage, Undertaker, Hogan and Sid were selected. Sid was absolutely sure to be the chosen one, because he was the last wrestler in the ring before Flair won, but Tunney thought differently by choosing Hulk Hogan, for what wrestling fans waited for a long time, a dream match between the most famous wrestlers of the industry: Hulk Hogan versus the champion Ric Flair. Sid was far from happy of that decision, you could see him getting mad and screaming about Jack Tunney. But things were already decided. Plus, a match was scheduled for the next Saturday Night Main Event: Hogan and Sid against Ric Flair and the Undertaker, top faces against top heels.

The match was going well for Hogan and Sid, both made a tremendous debut, but soon, the dirty tactics of Flair/Taker permit them to take advantage in this match. And here comes the magic of booking: a tired and blasted Hogan managed to clothesline his opponent, ready for the hot tag and guess what" Sid never tagged him! He mocked the Hulkster, pretending to give his hand for the tag but instead he left the ring! He was immediately stopped by Hogan's best friend Brutus Beefcake, who couldn't do anything against the now-anger giant freak, Beefcake was returning from surgery, he wasn't physically ready to wrestle. Hogan couldn't beat Flair and Taker by himself, especially when those two decided to punish him with chairs. Beefcake made the save, but the fate was sealed. The same Beefcake was giving a hosting show, so he could be on TV before coming back to wrestling, called the barber shop (the very same where Michaels and Jannetty violently broke-up, but that's another story). He asked Sid why he left Hogan in the ring, because, well, a good guy can't do this! Sid started laughing at Beefcake, then grabbed a chair and destroyed the barber shop like a madman! Beefcake had nothing to do but escaped, while a raging Sid asked for Hogan's head, the one who stole his title shot! Weeks after weeks, Sid destroyed jobbers and put on them Hogan items such as bandanas or t-shirts replicas, just to taunt Hogan, who was still scheduled to face Ric Flair at WrestleMania 8. He even brutally broke Virgil's nose, just to show how far he could go to have his revenge, and it seemed really brutal and real at this time, don't forget that WWF was family-oriented and seen as a cartoon show in comparison to the 80's NWA for example.

Anyway, Hogan had no other choices: he let his title shot to Macho Man for a match against Sid at WrestleMania 8. Plus, Hogan reported that it could be his last match, cause he wanted to pursue his cinema "successful" career (yes, I know, don't say anything!). So, we have now a double main event for WrestleMania 8: WWF champion Ric Flair vs. Macho Man Randy Savage, and the colossal Sid Justice against the immortal Hulk Hogan, for what should be his last match (Hell, we thought it was true at this time! We were absolute marks!). This was a really good show, where you would see a great opening match from Shawn Michaels against Tito Santana, Bret Hart regained his intercontinental title in a classic match against Piper, and of course the awesome championship match where Savage would gain both the title and the pride of kicking the ass of Flair, who claimed to date his wife Elizabeth before. Then here's the last match: Hogan against Sid. Hogan starts strongly as always, but quickly seemed not to be very confident for what was supposed to be his last match. And he had reasons: Sid would absolutely destroy him all through the rest of this match! While Hogan could barely scoop-slam him, you would see Justice choke-slamming Hogan, and beat him to hell. At the end of the match, Sid hit his finishing move, the power bomb.

Hogan is out, the referee counts 1, 2... and Hogan kicks out! He hulked up, starting to beat Sid with his trademark hulking-up moves: 3 punches, a scoop slam, the big boot in the face, and of course the dreadful atomic legdrop! And here's the controversy: the referee started to count for what would have been a classical Hogan ending match, but Sid kicked out before the 3! He then proceeded to beat Hogan like he did previously in the match, and here comes Papa Shango! The guy is also known as Kama, or more recently as the Godfather, but at this time he was portraying a voodoo wrestler. Anyway, he's teaming with Sid to beat the hell out of Hogan, who never looked so powerless. Many said before that Sid kicked out from the legdrop to screw Vince McMahon, because he was getting to be fired. It's false: in fact, Shango should have run-in before because he was asking to interrupt the 3-count, but he didn't do it at the right time and came to the ring too late! So Sid had no other choice but to kick out by himself, just to do things in a way that would respect the scripted ending. Anyway, while Shango and Sid were beating the crap out of Hogan, a familiar music hit the arena: with a fantastic reaction from the crowd, you could see the savior rushing to the ring with a chair: none other than the Ultimate Warrior! That's right, the one who clearly took the belt from Hogan at Wrestle Mania 6 returned to the ring to save him, and believe me or not, the crowd absolutely went nuts!

Both Hogan and Warrior chased away Sid and Shango from the ring, and they started to celebrate the Hogan's victory by disqualification. Pyros in the arena, Hogan's real American theme and you have two WWF legends in the ring, for what should have been the perfect career-ending for Hogan. 14 years ago.

Please feel free to comment, I really would like to know if you enjoyed it and if I should do more old school columns like this one.

by Nicolas Delachapelle ..


Stephen Y wrote:
I really enjoyed this article and would like to see more like this. I didn't watch wrestlng then, and it is hard to find detailed descriptions of fueds from many years ago. One I would like to read is the Hart's Owen and Bret. Why would Jack Tunney have picked Hogan to be Number 1 Contender" I would have booked a match - Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Macho Man Randy Savage vs Undertaker vs Sid vs Hulk Hogan.
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