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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Hogan/Austin: The WrestleMania 22 Dream Match
July 21, 2005 by T.J. Thurman


Since 1985, the "Greatest Spectacle in Sports Entertainment," the "Granddaddy of Them All," WrestleMania, has produced many of the greatest matches in the history of our sport. The list of all-time great WrestleMania matches is endless, but what type of match falls into the category of "Dream Match"" Is it a match up of two fan-favorites" Such as, Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior (Mania 6), Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Mania 12), Hogan vs. The Rock (Mania 18)" Could it be a match up that is the first of its kind" Perhaps the infamous ladder match, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Mania 10)" Is it adding fire to one of the great all-time rivalries such as Austin vs. The Rock (Manias 15, 17 and 19)" Most recently, a match up between two athletes that we have never seen face each other before, such as Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (Mania 21)" Answer: All of the above...

With the current "Dream Match" situation that is Shawn Michaels/Hulk Hogan and this year's Mania dream showdown between Michaels and Angle, sparked some thoughts and insight into another match that wrestling fans may want to see come April 2, 2006. The answer in my mind is simple: The Texas Rattlesnake vs. The Hulkster. The Toughest Son of a Bitch in the history of the WWE vs. The Immortal One... "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan. This is the "Dream Match" of a life-time.

Just like every match between two Wrestling icons there are pros and cons, and Hogan/Austin is no exception:

PROS:

  • Hogan and Austin are two of the all-time fan favorites with Nothing to Lose. This match alone could sell out the Allstate Arena on April 2, 2006. The marketing and promotional value of this match would be through the damn roof, (as well as the ovations for the two superstars).
  • A match up between these two men would truly a battle of eras unlike anything we've ever seen. Hogan being arguably the greatest star of the 80's and Austin, who was arguably the wrestler of the 90's. This match up truly epitomizes Old School vs. Attitude Era.
  • I don't care what anyone says; the Leg drop is a lot of fun to watch. And the Stunner, that's arguably one of the best finishers of all time. So we're talking one hell of a high spot, no matter who is left standing when the smoke clears and the dust settles. CONS:
  • Zero long term implication. Other than a month or so of build up and one hell of a "Dream Match" come true, this match wouldn't really do anything for the WWE itself in terms of the future. This would be, primarily, a nostalgia-factor match, but I think it would be a success as such.
  • You put Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin in a ring together; you're not going to get a technical match with the prowess of Michaels/Angle. To be completely honest, that may be a deterrent for a match like this. With Michaels/Angle, you knew going in, you were going to get your money's worth in the form of a five star, well-wrestled match. That's not the case here.
  • Somebody's gotta lose. Arguably the two biggest pops in the history of the business and one will not be standing after it's all over. If this match were to happen, you could be both happy and disappointed with the result at the same time. "Yes! Austin won! But damn, Hogan lost." Or the other way around, depending on your final result.

    So, what in the hell does this all mean" Let's break it down, shall we"

    Hogan/Austin: The Tale of the Tape (so to speak)...

    Age/In-Ring Stamina: Hogan will be 53 by WrestleMania time next year, and if you've been tuning to his Monday Night Raw appearances as of late, you can see that Hogan begins to sweat profusely after about 45 seconds in the ring, and his matches (both individual and tag) don't last more than ten or 15 minutes tops, even in a main event type scenario. Even though it's TV, if he's going to be put in a last match/main event, then give him the damn time... Austin on the other hand will only be 41. You may stop here and say, "ONLY 41"" I'm saying only because even at 41, he's 12 years younger than Hogan. Although his rare appearances now are typically just your old "Stone Cold stompin' a mud hole in someone's ass and walkin' it dry," it would be good to see him back in the ring in an actual match. Plus, his offensive style doesn't really leave to much room for ring rust. He's always been a brawler, plain and simple. Advantage: AUSTIN

    WrestleMania History: The numbers speak for themselves here: Hogan: 8 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. Austin: 5 wins, 2 losses. At Mania events, Hogan has retained his WWE Championship twice, (2 and 3) and become the WWE Champion three times, (5, 7 and 9). EIGHT Main Events... Austin has won three WWE Championships at Mania events, (14, 15 and 17). There's nothin' much more to say. Advantage: HOGAN

    Main Event Marketability: Towards the ladder half of the last decade, Steve Austin became the ultimate main event player in the WWE, but the man who was the "Main Event" first was undoubtedly Hulk Hogan. Hogan headlined the very first WrestleMania and many more afterwards, laying the foundation for guys like Austin as well as the future stars such as Orton and GASP, Cena. Even now, at 52, Hogan is the most recognizable pro-wrestler in the entire world. That says a lot about the guy, despite all the crappy movies he made in the early 90's. Advantage: HOGAN

    Fan Favorite: Many fans are still bitter at Hulk Hogan for the way he left the WWE in 1993, and although he is beloved in the company now and always will be, many old school fans, (including myself) feel as though Hogan was in part responsible for the four year period in the WWE known as the "Dark Days," the period from the middle of 1993, until the dawn of the Attitude Era in late 1997. On the other hand Austin has seemingly always had the fans in the palm of his hand, even in his heel periods. The pop he got at this year's WrestleMania was one of the loudest pops he has ever gotten, which just goes to show that the fans would love to see one last Austin match. Don't get me wrong, Hogan still gets huge pops and as well he should, but I think in terms of all-time fan favorite and who the fans would rather see win This Match, this is a landslide. Advantage: AUSTIN

    So I guess at 2-2, this is a pick-em.

    Here's how the match Should go:

    The glass shatters and Austin hits the ring first to a HUGE pop. He goes to all four corners and greets his fans with the "Stone Cold Salute," then after briefly pacing about the ring like a caged animal, Austin goes to one of the far corners and lies in wait for Hogan. The arena falls silent in anticipation of Hogan's arrival, and then we hear the ol' tune "Real American" and Hogan comes out in the traditional red and yellow, also to a huge pop. Following the Hogan "YOU!!!" point at Austin, Hogan climbs in the ring...

    Both men come into the center of the ring and we have the traditional stare down. Each man steps back and we have a bell. Elbow tie up with a show of strength and a pose by Hogan, then Austin returns the favor, (along with the pose)...

    We fast-forward to the conclusion, following a 20 plus minute battle combining pseudo-technicality and a little bit of street fighting. Hogan batters the forehead of the Rattlesnake and fires him into the ropes, then drilling him with the boot. Hogan does the old "I can't hear you" routine waving his hand to the crowd, but he poses just a little too long... Hogan goes for the leg drop and Austin rolls out of the way... Hogan gets up only to see Austin mimic his waving, listening to the crowd, Austin shoots him the double bird, kick to the gut and... WHAM!!! Stone Cold Stunner, One... Two... Three!!!

    Your Winner, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin...

    After one hell of a fight, we have one of the greatest post match celebrations of all time: The handshake of respect, followed by a Hogan-Austin Pose-fest/Beer-Bash.

    I can't think of a better way to end the Ultimate Dream Match...

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you. I guess I should introduce myself. My name is T.J. Thurman and I am 19 years old and will be a sophomore at Marquette University next month. I have been a wrestling fan since I was 5 years old. This is my first, (hopefully of many) columns for OWW, and I hope you enjoyed it. As always, constructive criticism as well as comments are Greatly appreciated. If you'd like to comment on this piece, I can be reached both at thomas.thurman@marquette.edu or Twizzler15943@sbcglobal.net. Wrestling is my passion and I truly hope that by reading this piece I have composed that you can see that, and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say. Peace Out!!!

    Additionally, I want to thank my dear friend Jay Johannson for spending hours talking with me and theorizing with me on the phone and online about the thing we love more than anything and that's wrestling, inspiring me to write this article. So thanks a million Jay!!! You're the F'n Man!!!

    by T.J. Thurman ..
    Kyle wrote:
    My name is Kyle from Queens New York. Let me start out by saying that when I rent Wrestlmania 22 I wouldn't be looking foward to Hogan v.s Austin. If it goes down, don't get me wrong, Austin is a great wrestler but on the other hand, Hogan is a horrible wrestler. If I had to rate Hogan based on popularity on a scale of 1-10, I would give him a 10 considering he was in movies and the merchandise he sold. But based on wrestling skills, I give him a 1. I think most people focus on Hogan's big name rather than wrestling skills. But when I watch wrestling I focus on the wrestling skills. Hogan is a bad wrestler for one major reason. He is one of the most limited wrestlers next to Ultimate Warrior. This is why I think Austin wrestling Hogan would not be a good match.
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