INDUCTION: Hogan-Warrior II – Jack Tunney was right to ban this

39 Submitted by on Thu, 29 November 2018, 22:27

WCW, 1998

“I cannot in clear conscience allow these two men to once again batter each other beyond the point of exhaustion, past the threshold of pain, and at the expense of risking torturous injury. Therefore, I will not sanction a rematch in the near future.”

That’s the memo WWF’s figurehead President Jack Tunney sent out immediately after Wrestlemania VI to explain why there would be no rematch between the new champion Ultimate Warrior and the former champion Hulk Hogan.

Of course, smart money would say that a rematch between the two men was a lock for Wrestlemania VII the following year, especially given the big box office the first match did…

…not to mention Hogan’s need to get his win back.

Instead, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and Vince McMahon got the bold notion that building the next Mania around a real-life war would be enough to shatter all attendance records and sell out the 100,000+ capacity LA Memorial Coliseum, a venue that dwarfed the 67,000-capacity Sky Dome of Wrestlemania VI.

Thus, Vince cut Warrior’s title reign short, putting the title on an Iraqi-sympathizing Sgt. Slaughter to set up a match with Hogan at the big event. Vince needed the USA vs. Iraq angle to make a big difference in Mania attendance. How big? 30,000 fans big. And it certainly did make such a difference, and then some – 1991’s Wrestlemania drew 40,000 fewer fans than the previous year’s show.

Fans never saw Hogan-Warrior II – if they only watched WWF, that is.

Or if they watched WCW but were smart enough not to buy it on pay-per-view.

The year is 1998, and the Warrior has returned to the ring to finally avenge his… victory – is that right? – against Hogan.

The place? Halloween Havoc 1998 in front of 10,633 fans…

…according to the same Wikipedia page that calls me a “journalist”. 

With a rematch this big, emotions run high and tempers are bound to flare.

Warrior comes into the match having waged an intense campaign of smoke, trap doors, and mirror tricks, while Hollywood Hogan, for his part, launches into an escalating series of threats against Warrior.

“I could kill this guy!”, he says to one group of fans.

“I’m gonna murder the bum!”, he says to another.

“I’m gonna kick your BUTT!”, he says to Warrior’s face.

The action starts before the bell even rings and doesn’t let up for a second. And by “action”, I mean, “stalling”, as both men spend most of the match pacing around in and out of the ring.

The men’s first exchange comes when Hogan applies a wristlock on Warrior. I know Lou Thesz liked to say that Hulk didn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch…

…but do you really think the Hulkster ever intended to sell Jay Leno’s wristwatch?

That was embarrassing, yes, but at least Jay looked like he was trying to hurt Hogan; Warrior appears to give Hollywood a very enthusiastic handshake that nevertheless has the Hulkster howling in agony.

Hogan powders out of the ring and stalls some more…

…before the two men do a collar-and-elbow deal. I refuse to call it “locking up” when these two don’t even bother shutting the door.

Hogan proceeds to punish Warrior with an endless series of feather-light punches and kicks before draping his knee across his opponent’s neck. Warrior sells by humping the air.

From there, they re-do the test of strength spot from 1990…

…except that sometime in the intervening 8 years, someone has clued them in that it looked like Warrior was blowing him.

Another difference between 1990 and this event is that Diamond Dallas Page would be wrestling for the world title in the main event instead of driving the Honky Tonk Man to the ring.

One more big difference? The “Boring” chants starting to pick up steam five minutes into the match.

Remember, this is 1998, when ECW’s gritty, violent style of wrestling has broken into the mainstream and WCW’s own high-flying luchadors are dazzling audiences nightly. And despite all these changes to the wrestling landscape, and to their own steroid-withdrawn bodies, Hulk and Warrior still choose to try to recreate their 1990 muscle-fest.

Warrior gains the upper hand in the knuckle lock, sending a shock through Hogan’s body.

The two men then start bouncing off the ropes for no good reason. “A little crisscross going on there,” notes Schiavone, restraining his bemusement quite admirably. “I haven’t seen that in a long time in the sport.”

Eight and a half years, to be exact.

Eight and a half years is also the approximate amount of time that Warrior pumps himself up between bodyslamming Hogan and clotheslining him over the top rope.

Hey, haven’t I seen this before, too?

The referee gets knocked down, allowing nWo Hollywood to run in and interfere on Hogan’s behalf.

This poses no problem for Warrior, who quickly dispatches such heavy hitters as The Giant, Vincent (?), and Stevie Ray (??) with clotheslines, which is enough to send them packing for good.

After Warrior scores a visual pin with no referee to count, Hogan breaks out a rare back suplex on Warrior…

…excuse me, wrong year.

Hogan breaks out a rare back suplex on Warrior…

…then takes off his belt to whip Warrior with it.

By now, the referee is fully conscious and on his feet. Tony Schiavone explains away the lack of a disqualification, claiming Nick Patrick is letting Hogan use the belt because he wore it into the ring and it is therefore part of his ring attire and not illegal. “That’s something they’ll argue about in board rooms and front offices in pro wrestling for years.”

Little does Tony know that in twenty years’ time, they’d be arguing in board rooms and front offices about murdered journalists and whether to honor agreements with Saudi royalty.

Hogan starts trying to drop elbows on Warrior, who rolls out of the way. Hogan tries this over a dozen times, each time to no avail.

Okay, I looped that footage, but the real footage is even stupider, as Warrior practices his fire safety to stop, drop, and roll across the mat into Hogan’s legs. How fast can a man log-roll? Not very fast, it turns out, but it’s still too fast for Hogan to dodge Warrior’s never-before-seen and never-seen-since line of offense.

Warrior *just* misses his splash, then humps the mat.

Both men punch each other a few times until Warrior grabs Hogan’s belt for himself and punches him with the buckle. Hogan drops to the ground and blades his forehead, angling for a dramatic camera close-up of his crimson mask.

I repeat, a dramatic camera close-up of his crimson mask.

No close-up comes. Instead, Hogan pops up to his knees after a few seconds, no-selling his own blade job, and waddles over to the corner.

Hogan takes out a plastic bag, some paper, and a Bic lighter, preparing to either light up a J or throw a fireball – most likely the latter. As the Hulkster gets ready to batter Warrior the point of exhaustion, past the threshold of pain, and at the expense of risking torturous injury, Jack Tunney sits in front of his TV set in Toronto, vindicated.

You’ve all seen this spot – Hogan fumbles with the lighter, Warrior sells the phantom fireball, Hogan finally gets the flash paper lit, but it burns up in his hand and misses Warrior by a mile. This is a problem of course, because the Warrior is supposed to act like he’s blinded, setting up the finish to the match. (The fact that they’re preparing to end the match when practically nothing has happened in the first 13 minutes is also a problem. Or possibly the solution)

Announcers immediately cover for the blown spot by talking about how fortunate it was that he missed.

“What a tragedy that could have become,” says Heenan.

“That would have been horrible,” says Schiavone.

Got it? Hogan’s fireball accidentally blowing up in his face is not a botch; it’s actually a miracle, and shame on you fans for complaining about it!

With the Warrior decidedly not blinded, he and Hogan spin their wheels trying to figure out a way to get to the finish. You’d think they’d be used to stalling by now, but it’s obvious they’re lost.

Warrior delivers a series of axe-handle smashes – axe-handle pats, really – which the announcers try to pass off as the reason Hogan’s bleeding from the forehead.

Hogan hits a low blow in clear view of the referee, then clotheslines Warrior, who sells it by stumbling to the mat. Hogan hits one leg drop and attempts a second.

As Horace Hogan, whom Hulk destroyed with a chair on the previous Nitro, approaches ringside with a chair…

Hollywood misses a second leg drop…

…allowing a blown-up Warrior to hulk up – warrior up? – one last time.

So exhausted is Warrior by now that he looks less like he’s making a fiery comeback and more like he’s auditioning for a Cheers to You commercial.

Eric Bischoff, master of damage control (see Victory Road 2011) outright puts Nick Patrick in a headlock so he can’t see Horace hit Warrior with a chair.

“Why. Why,” say the announcers, more exhausted than shocked.

Hogan mercifully gets the 1-2-3, then hugs his nephew Horace…

…who empties a bottle of lighter fluid on Warrior to little crowd reaction. I repeat: a man is about to be set ablaze in the middle of the ring, and after sitting through fifteen minutes of Hogan-Warrior, the fans don’t even care anymore.

Doug Dellinger rushes in to stop Hogan from setting Warrior on fire, as if Warrior had anything to worry about from Hogan and a lighter.

“Do you realize the tragedy that was averted here?” says Bobby Heenan.

Averted? Did you even watch this match, Bobby?

As a final insult to the fans watching at home, the Goldberg-DDP title match got cut off in many cable markets due to the show running over its scheduled 3 hour time slot. That meant that Hogan’s abomination in Vegas somehow ended up closing the broadcast despite Hulk not even being scheduled for the advertised main event, leaving everyone feeling ripped off.

Ironically, though WCW had tried to recreate Wrestlemania 6, they ended up recreating Wrestlemania 9.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
39 Responses to "INDUCTION: Hogan-Warrior II – Jack Tunney was right to ban this"
  1. cavalier24601 says:

    Possibly the greatest induction in the history of our sport.

    No, seriously, this is one of the best things I’ve read on Wrestlecrap. The comedy makes Warrior-Hogan II so much more interesting, bringing in the background needed to show how ridiculous and horrible it truly was. Excellent work and one of your best.

  2. jesse says:

    Most of Warrior’s offense and selling really boils down to humping

  3. Chris V says:

    Has the promos Warrior did leading up to thus match been inducted separately? If not, they needed to be mentioned with this induction too.
    You can’t tell the background of this feud without talking about Warrior channeling his 1960s TV show Batman with his promos. “Tune in next week. Same Warrior time. Same Warrior channel.”
    If only he would have done the Batusi too. I mean Wartusi.

    Man, I’ve put aside my Hogan hatred over the years, but this really brings it all back again.

    I remember an interview Hogan did later, where he stated that the match didn’t do as well as it could have due to WCW admitting that the match happened before.
    With the iconic lines (something along the line of), “You never let the audience know that one of the competitors beat the other one. You just don’t. It kills the anticipation.”
    Sure, Hulk….That’s what happened.
    I guess he’s never heard of a “rematch”. You know, the idea that Warrior was one of the few people who Hogan had never beaten.
    I’m sure it had nothing to do with Hogan’s ego, that WCW admitted Warrior had beaten Hogan.

    WCW was just so awful at this point. I remember I would tape the shows and fast forward through most of it. I think I watched the Cruiserweight matches and Raven, and that was it.
    Meanwhile, WWF was having one of the best periods in the entirety of wrestling history.
    I don’t care, I think those last four months of 1998 were just about the height of creativity for WWF. At least, for mine.
    I absolutely loved everything that WWF did from September through December 1998.
    This is the competition WWF had when it was doing such amazing stories.
    The Undertaker turning heel and rejoining Paul Bearer. The height of the Austin/McMahon feud (in my opinion), before I felt they jumped the shark with the story-line. The Deadly Game Survivor Series tournament. Rock becoming the Corporate Champion. Mick Foley was still great, as usual
    Man, I just love those final months of 1998.

    • Roland Smitts says:

      Truth is, every top wrestler in the history of the business has had an ego. Some just get picked on more for it than others by the “smart” fans (Hulk Hogan). Unfairly, might I add.

      • Chris V says:

        Sure, they all have egos. Why wouldn’t they? They’re treated as modern day demi-gods.

        Hogan deserves all the praise he gets for what he accomplished in wrestling. The 1980s Hulkamania era in WWF were certainly something to be very proud of accomplishing.
        I don’t outright hate Hulk Hogan, simply for being Hulk Hogan.
        It’s some of the later moments in Hogan’s career that made me come to have a lot of this hatred for Hogan, in the past.
        I couldn’t stand the NWO and how it became the sole focus for WCW for all those years, even when people stopped caring about it.
        The ending of the Hogan/Sting Starrcade match, at a point when WCW needed something huge more than ever to survive as competition, was atrocious.
        Hogan coming back at WrestleMania IX, and taking the spotlight away from Hart and Yokozuna.
        Things like that annoyed me to no end about Hogan.
        This Hogan/Warrior rematch happened at the point where I couldn’t stand watching Hogan anymore. The match is an eyesore. WCW was failing rapidly at this point.
        Meanwhile, WWF just felt so fresh and creative.

        I came around to not having the hatred for Hogan anymore when he came back to WWF and started to put over other talent.

        Being reminded of how much I couldn’t stand to watch WCW during this period, I can’t help but be reminded of those feelings all over again. It’s as simple as that.

    • Evan Waters says:

      I mean the best part was easily the first Warrior promo on Nitro, where he rambled on so long he went over schedule, meaning later segments had to be cut short, and in addition he pretty much instantly killed any heat the angle had. I believe as early as September the likes of Dave Meltzer were saying this angle was already dead in the water, nobody cared.

      • Citizen Kane Dewey says:

        I remember being ten years old, literally not even knowing WWE was a thing because I was such a die hard WCW fan, and watching that promo. I lasted about ten minutes, every thirty seconds thinking “Great, his music is going to start playing and they’ll show a match!” and then realizing Warrior was still talking, before changing the channel. I changed back ten minutes later, and even Shiavone was essentially like “Yep…Warrior is still talking.”

        Even as a ten year old boy who legitimately thought the nWo were “invading” the company, I realized something was going wrong.

  4. C Boz says:

    Excellent induction. This brought back a few memories. Unfortunately.

    A few comments:

    1. The convertible from WrestleMania VI features not only Honky Tonk Man, but also a black hair-dyed Greg Valentine on the left. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the tag team of Rhythm & Blues about to perform their gold record hit song “Honky Love” (which was rather catchy, I remember it to this day. I also remember “Dance with Three Count”).

    2. I think Warrior (not Ultimate here) is wearing his trademark OWN logo – One Warrior Nation. And thank Ric Flair, er, God that there was only One Warrior. Well, two if you count The Renegade. May they both Rest In Peace.

    3. Speaking of heaven, somewhere up there Warrior is rolling around on the mat over and over and over in the great circled square in the sky, just like he did in this match. And Big Josh Borne is doing hit patented move the Log Roll on Hellwig’s back… and front… and back… and front.

    4. Watching this match back in 1998 did bring back memories of the rare face vs face WrestleMania VI title bout from 1990 which was special, especially Hogan’s class at the end. Reading this induction in 2018, 20 years after the dreadful rematch, just makes me feel old.

    Again – great induction. Just wish you could have found a way to get that AJ Lee gif in there somewhere, Always a pleasure to see her smile and shrug.

  5. Sean Batemya says:

    This match is worse than Santa With Muscles and Warrior’s only film combined.

  6. Christopher Haydu says:

    You know, even if everything else about this match had been the same, if the finish of this match had simply been Macho Man Randy Savage running to the ring and hitting Ultimate Warrior in the head with a chair (instead of the sceptre), it would’ve looked like Savage was getting revenge for his Wrestlemania VII loss and it would’ve been a booking masterpiece. That’s all this match needed. Hogan would get his win and both Warrior and Macho Man would have a match that probably would’ve drawn because their WrestleMania match was even better than Hogan vs. Warrior at Skydome, and fans knew they could still count on Randy to get a decent match out of Warrior. If only they’d done that. Warrior’s stint in WCW could’ve been a lot better and WCW would’ve been even better than it was in 1998. So much wasted potential.

    • DarioCuetoIsMyHomie says:

      A Randy Savage interference would have been logical but interesting booking. I had to look this up, since I thought it was strange that this possibility never occurred to anyone back then. Turns out Macho
      was on hiatus from june 1998 until april 1999 after 2 knee surgeries.

  7. Foreign Object says:

    Brilliant ending to this induction.

  8. Premier Blah says:

    Buddy, you forgot to mention that said title match was forced to be shown on free Nitro the next day, further compounding the working mess the company was then.

  9. Roland Smitts says:

    I never bought “Hogan just wanted his win back.” He had a bunch of people running interference for him here, and a chair from Horace to do it. If Hogan only wanted the win back he would have gone over clean as a sheet.

  10. Premier Blah says:

    Buddy, you forgot to mention that said main event was forced to be shown the next day on Nitro – i.e., for free, and taking air time from other (perhaps also equally confusing) storyline progression.

    How that company survived for as long as it did still boggles my mind.

  11. El Atomico says:

    Great induction! Warrior-Hogan I was classic, Warrior-Hogan II was, well, classic wrestlecrap.
    The headline alone on this was Lol worthy! Well done!

  12. Dave says:

    The match was so bad that I was convinced that someone who has never wrestled could work a better match.

  13. Mweyer says:

    The big thing is that on the first Warrior DVD, Hogan openly takes blame for a lot of it, giong “I came up with a lot of dumb stuff in the build” and the timing off and mocking the fireball like everyone else. When have you heard Hogan taking the blame for anything?

    • Christopher Haydu says:

      Was that on Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior or a different Warrior DVD?

      • Citizen Kane Dewey says:

        The same Self-Destruction DVD where Hogan blames Warrior for the feud falling flat by saying Warrior “committed the biggest no-no in this business” by reminding fans he won at Wrestlemania? “Why would anyone buy a ticket if they know you already won,” because obviously baseball fans only buy tickets to game one of the World Series, and the NBA has gone out of business after the Warriors and the Cavs have played against each other in the finals for the past five years.

        Also, the same DVD where Bischoff’s damage control for this match being so terrible is that Hogan was capable of having a great match, but only against wrestlers who had a style that complimented his. Even if you take that at face value, how is this Warrior’s fault and not, you know, the genius who booked Hogan to wrestle a guy whose style does not compliment his?

  14. Hulk6785 says:

    This has technically already been inducted as a part of Warrior’s WCW run. But, I don’t mind. It was so bad it deserves to be inducted twice.

  15. CF says:

    And the event sponsor was “Snickers”. Pity that’s all this match garnered… if that….

    • Jimbolian says:

      Consider this: Snickers was also the main sponsor of Wrestlemania 32 which happens to be a Gooker induction.

      So next time you want to expect a horrible, horrendous PPV, have Snickers be your sponsor.

  16. Big says:

    I am stunned at this induction, only because I had assumed it would have been inducted years ago. It was truly one of the worst pay per view matches I ever had the displeasure of witnessing.

  17. Jim says:

    Worst of all, the DDP-Goldberg match that followed this, and was missed by a huge percentage of the audience, was probably the best match of Goldberg’s career. It was also the first time the crowd was clearly behind someone ending the streak; they clearly wanted DDP to win, and they popped HUGE when he hit the Diamond Cutter. Naturally, this failed to get DDP over, as no one saw the damn match live.

  18. Captain Obvious says:

    Following Halloween Havoc and this match (?) Eric Bischoff attempted to negotiate a contract with Ultimate Warrior. According to Easy E, the Warrior had some very bizarre and unrealistic contract demands and Bisch had been warned before hand by Hogan that Warrior didn’t like / trust promoters. Thus they could not come to terms on a WCW contract for the Warrior. Bischoff feels in hindsight that Warrior should’ve accepted their initial offer before basing all of his contract terms. Bischoff felt that signing Warrior (to Warrior’s terms) would be a financial risk given that a) he had been inactive in wrestling for nearly two years prior to 98 b) he only had three WCW tv matches under his belt and c) the smoke and mirrors build between Warrior and Hogan leading up to Halloween Havoc didn’t really move the needle in terms of ratings for Monday Nitro. Either Bischoff conducted himself as a shrewd businessman for once as WCW President or he began to realize the Turner ATM was starting to run dry. But the deal fell through leaving both sides bitter. Warrior contended for years that there was never any motion on WCW’s part to sign him and he was simply brought in to WCW so Hogan could get his win back from WM VI.

  19. #OPC says:

    I think had the Gooker award existed in 1998, this almost certainly would have won, if not all of Warrior’s WCW run. The only thing I think that comes close was Hawk’s suicide jump off the Titantron.

  20. Guest says:

    One thing that was glossed over in this match was The Giant missing his cue for his run-in and coming to the ring all smiles knowing he messed up.

    Oh and Bischoff’s “You could smell it all the way down the street in Vegas” criticism.

    • Chris Oakley says:

      If the Fingerpoke of Doom was the death of WCW, this match was the moment the company slipped into an irreversible coma.

      • Mister Smith says:

        Lay off the drugs bro, because they’ve clearly been a little too bad while also clouding your memory as well!

  21. Chris Oakley says:

    If the Fingerpoke of Doom was the death of WCW, this match was the moment the company went Code Blue.

  22. Chris Oakley says:

    If the Fingerpoke of Doom was WCW’s death and Bash at the Beach 2000 was its funeral, this match was the moment fans started taking measurements for WCW’s casket.

  23. Chris Oakley says:

    If the Fingerpoke of Doom was WCW’s death and Bash at the Beach 2000 was its funeral, Hogan-Warrior II was when the company started getting fitted for its casket.

    • Mister Smith says:

      None of those things you mentioned was the real reason for WCW going under, but hey it’s not my fault you’re so damn delusional to being with!

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