From the WWE Network: The Hulkster, Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan battles the Iron Sheik, Brutus Beefcake, and Don Muraco. We close with some bonus Harley Race content!

It has been roughly a month since I reviewed any Coliseum Home Videos. Since then the Network has been redone, and most of the Internet Wrestling Community seems down on the new layout (and accompanying glitches). Last week I couldn’t even find the CHV section, and now this week I see they are no longer in order, but are now separated into different sub categories. It’s not a huge deal at all, because few people are big enough geeks like myself to actually bother to watch things in order.

As a positive bonus to this mess, it seems they have added more videos! So I will now leave 1992 and jump back to 1985 for some freshly unleashed action.

Vince McMahon welcomes us to the WWF Home video market.  He brags up Hulk Hogan for having held the title for over 2 years, then undersells the amount of matches Hogan has worked by saying he has defended his title no less than “25 times”.

WWF champion Hulk Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake

This is from February 1985’s Philly Spectrum show, which I already reviewed, but here we go again.  Hogan jumps Beefcake to prevent Beefcake from stalling.  Hogan then mocks Beefcake’s strut and the crowd goes wild.  Hogan takes advantage of Beefcake losing his cool, using the opening to unload on his challenger with fists and biting him.

Beefcake hacks away on the champ to gain the advantage.  He uses strike after strike, peaking with an impressive powerslam.  Hogan finds his second wind and Hulks up. The big boot and leg drop fail to get the duke as Johnny V distracts the ref and the Hulkster.  Beefcake tries to get the jump on the Hulk, who side steps Beefcake, leading to V and his charge colliding.  Hogan rolls Beefcake up to win this fast paced bout.  We can assume the agents knew Beefcake was trash at this point, so they kept it short. Of course Hogan was not working marathons with anyone else either.

This was a bit of an odd choice to add on here as most fans probably were indifferent at best to Beefcake’s 1985 persona. I would assume the general populace would have rather seen Hogan’s battles with Piper, Orndorff, Studd, etc etc.   I am sure this match was done at Hogan’s request though.

We see the end of Bob Backlund’s title loss to the Iron Sheik. I have covered that one too:

The Night the Iron Sheik Beat Bob Backlund – MSG 12/26/1983

 

Next we see Hogan conquering the Sheik a month later. Hulk’s post match promo is amusing as Hogan screams about how all he asked for was that everyone get behind him. Hogan’s parents talk to Mean Gene in a calm fashion, interrupted by Hogan’s screaming in a cocaine fueled manner about his muscles and genetics.

WWF at MSG 1984-01-23: Hulk Hogan Gives Birth to Hulkamania Era

 

Next up we see now WWF champion Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik from the Philly Spectrum several months later. I think this one is new to me!  We are joined in progress as the Sheik batters our hero. We clip quickly to a bloody Hogan firing up. Hogan grabs Sheik’s mustache, which paralyzes the Sheik enough that Hogan can twirl up a punch like he is Popeye and knock Sheik silly. If Orange Cassidy or Joey Ryan did that, I would be furious.  Hogan does it and I mark out. I am a hypocritical, grumpy, old man.

Hogan drops the leg, but chooses to not take the win.  He tries instead to tear off Sheik’s boot that has a horn on the end.  Hogan “loads” the boot by tapping it to the ground, then slams it into the Sheik’s head. We clip ahead again to see the ref downed and a sea of jabronis pouring in the ring to keep the Hulk from murdering his foe.  The match is declared a draw as both men were brawling for too long on the floor.  The crowd was HOT for this and it felt like a good brawl from what we were shown here.

WWF champ Hulk Hogan vs. Don “the Magnificent” Muraco

Here’s another one I have previously covered in my month by month breakdown of wrasslin’ history. This is from the June 1985 MSG show.

And with that our tape is over.  I thought this was the CHV with the David Schultz blood bath match on it.  It must be part of another “Hulkamania” release.

Since this was so short, I am going to toss in a little bonus material from the Network:

Harley Race, Andre the Giant and Frenchy Martin visit Napoleon’s tomb.  This is a fun little bit where these 3 try and cut a promo in front of Napoleon’s tomb.  Race (wearing his full “King” gimmick out in public) botches his lines several times.  Andre is more unintelligible than usual here, so I can barely even make out his reaction to Race’s claim that his family has lived in the Tomb for hundreds of years.  Andre scoffs that such a short man like Napoleon would lie in state inside such a large temple. The heels decide to go in and dig the body up and walk off.  Several “bloopers” are shown as Race tries to get his promo right.  The Network lists this as being from October of 1987, when Andre was still the monster of all monster heels. That makes his appearance here very odd.  Was this an exclusive bit for French syndication?  It’s been many years since I’ve seen the “World tour” CHV, so perhaps this was taped as a bonus for one of those tapes?

NWA World champion Harley Race vs. WWWF World Champ “Superstar” Billy Graham

We see clips of Florida wrestling promoter Eddie Graham proudly announcing this dream match as having become a reality.  Eddie puts over all three of the major promotions, mentioning the AWA was offered a spot, but “their champion” was not able to make an agreement.

Graham and Race each say a little bit about the match.  Each man is putting up 25 grand, with the winner keeping 70 percent of the purse and the loser getting 30 percent. Solie drinks wine and sucks on a cigarette as the wrestlers speak their minds.

Race and Graham then cut a face to face promo with Solie. Graham does his rap and promises to win. Race cuts down Graham’s bluster and points out that he (Race) has already passed the stage of youthful over confidence and self aggrandizing and is now simply just an experienced fighter.  Graham rips on Race for having many nice, expensive things, but he doesn’t have the massive arms that the Superstar does. Race dismisses this and tells the fans that he doesn’t need pumped up “baloney” because he is all man. This was awesome, old school build.

We cut to the match.  Solie explains massive rains ruined the attendance at this stadium show, leaving thousands of potential fans at home.  Both the NWA and WWF have a ref for the match, with Gorilla Monsoon serving the WWF. Was Monsoon there to prevent a double-cross? We clip to  Race hitting a piledriver, then attacking Graham’s legs.

Back and forth clips see both men tossing one another across the ring. Race misses a diving headbutt. Race loses the first fall at the 40-minute mark to a bearhug. It seems the fans didn’t react to the finish. We clip to Race knocking Graham to the floor. He then suplexes Graham in the ring and earns a fall.

Graham is bloodied. While weakened from the match length and blood loss, Graham nearly goes out to a sleeper. Graham struggles to score a late pinfall, but Race traps him back in the sleeper as the 60-minute time limit expires. Solie mentions a rematch is scheduled for Jacksonville.  From what I can find online, these men fought twice in St. Louis prior to Graham winning the WWWF title, but a rematch to this encounter would not come until both were in the WWF in late 1987.

From what I have seen of Graham, he is actually a bit underrated, at least in his pre-1980’s mental and physical breakdown days.

Thanks for reading!  Feel free to follow me on Twitter to keep up with my wrasslin’ research and reviews. https://twitter.com/Brody1982

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.