Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant
by: Mitch Nickelson
I partly look forward to this match, but only partly. As fan of wrestling off and on my entire life, I guess I should be a little ashamed to say that I’ve never watched this match all the way through. I’ve seen the spot at the end where Hogan slams Andre and drops the leg for the win about a million times, but really that’s the extent of it for me. While I respect all the legends of that era and before, my assumption is that pretty much anyone not named Savage, Steamboat, or Flair are going to be incredibly boring. There are exceptions, but what I’ve seen of those eras proves me largely right. So here I go, ready to watch this match that has the iconic moment of one of the most popular superstars in the history of the business, Hulk Hogan. I feel like I might get let down, how can anything live up to that kind of hype?
Andre cuts a promo with very little emotion because that’s what Andre does. His manager, the amazing Bobby Heenan is with him and I’m happy. Gorilla Monsoon explains that Hogan and Andre used to be like brothers and that this match could be considered brother versus brother. Clips were shown detailing the events that led them to this match, which constituted lots of bad acting from Andre. I like how he ripped off Hogan’s shirt in Piper’s Pit and stormed off. He seemed super serious there. After the clips, Hogan cuts his pre-match promo and it’s AWESOME. Hogan just had a natural energy. It’s no wonder people loved him so much during that decade, the guy was just so charismatic.
Bob Eucker is the guest timekeeper or ring announcer or something. A couple of women who probably passed for attractive in the 80’s helped him into the ring. He introduces the other celebrity guest something or other, Mary Hart. The only time I remember anything about Mary Hart growing up was the Seinfeld episode where her voice gave Kramer seizures. If it wasn’t for that, she would have never existed to me growing up.
Jesse Ventura is also announcing alongside Gorilla Monsoon and he’s pretty funny. Too many good remarks to write down, but he was good and played off of Monsoon well.
Andre is carted in with Heenan and they’re seemingly pelted nonstop with trash. Ventura points out that this is Andre’s first title match in his entire 15 year career. That’s crazy. Another reason why this match was such a big deal I guess.
Hogan’s music hits and it’s BANANAS in Michigan. He chooses to walk to the ring instead of being carted. Once again, the man’s energy is crazy and the crowd loves him. He gives Andre the crazy eyes in the first stare down. They stare down for a while and flash bulbs are non-stop.
Hogan tried a slam early and Andre fell on him for a 2 count. Good way to foreshadow. Andre’s offense is kind of dumb. He’s slow and strikes Hogan weak. His size is what sells it for him. He body slams Hogan with incredible ease. Monsoon says something about a hush in the arena even though the crowd is deafening.
Andre walks over Hogan after slamming him again. That’s a lot of weight and it helps psychologically because he walks on the Hulkster’s back. He keeps Irish Whipping him into the corner which, once again, targets Hogan’s back.
Hogan sneaks out of the corner and keeps striking and striking, trying to slay the giant. He does the ten count head slam into the turnbuckle and the crowd FLIPS OUT, haha. They loving counting, apparently. A well timed boot halted Hogan’s momentum. Bear hug by Andre. He’s working on that lower back again. You can’t slam your opponent with a sore back. They’re building this match smarter than I would have assumed.
Hogan tries to Hulk up to get out of it and he really brings the crowd into it well. Andre keeps it locked though and Hogan almost drops the arms three times. Hogan caught the arm before three, of course and Hulks up. He face punches Andre over and over and over. Off the ropes and he just collides with him twice. On the third time, Andre chops him to a stop.
The action spills outside the ring with Andre in control until he mistakes the corner post for 82 cheeseburgers and headbutts the post. Hogan exposes the concrete and goes for a piledriver. Andre then turned the tides by applying the SLOWEST BACK BODY DROP EVER.
Back in the ring and Hogan gets momentum back. Heenan comforts Andre and Hulk prepares for the biggest moment of his life. The crowd senses history is about to be made and hypes up more and more. Hogan body slams the giant in an impressive feat of strength. He drops the patented leg drop and defeats Andre.
While celebrating, Hogan points to the sky and Monsoon talks about how he’s thanking the Man Upstairs. When I was a kid, I assumed the offices were always in the top of the arenas and his bosses were up there or something. I was raised in a Christian home, too. I couldn’t imagine who was upstairs that Hogan always felt the need to thank. Whoever He was, he must be important.
Ventura and Monsoon remind us that this was Andre’s first defeat in 15 years. Also the first time he’s ever been slammed. The Brain has his head down, probably crying, as he and Andre are carted away from the ring.
My final thoughts on this is that it was a lot of fun. Hogan was in his heyday and people loved him dearly. The crowd was electric. Other than Austin and The Rock, I’ve never seen anyone who could make a crowd react like Hogan could. Technically, it was okay. There was a little bit of psychology with Andre working on Hulk’s back throughout the match. I still think Andre’s offense mostly looks dumb. That backbody drop on the outside was hilariously bad.
I considered ending this with a grade of some sort, but I think I’ll pass on that for this time. This is a legendary match that always going to be legendary no matter how much I nitpick it or try to compare it to the decades of wrestling that’s happened since. It’s an enjoyable match to watch, so I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for recommending it, Al.