Say what you will about Hulk Hogan, and the good Lord knows we’ve said many things about the poor guy on the site over the years, but there is one completely undeniable fact: Hulk Hogan IS wrestling. You say “wrestler” to Johnny Sixpack (now there’s a ring name that needs to be used), and the first thing they will say won’t be Stone Cold or Rock or Triple H…it will be Hulk Hogan.
That’s the kind of impact the guy has made not only on this business, but on the world in general.
That may sound silly, but really…where would wrestling be if there were no Hulk Hogan? At the time he hit it big in the WWF, it was the perfect storm: the country needed a hero, and Vince McMahon was there to give it to them in the form of a jacked up, musclebound apple pie eating good guy. And Hogan was perfect in his role.
But this All American Hero image that was a staple of the wrestling and popular culture would be torn to shreds at Bash at the Beach 1996 and his new persona of the villainous “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan would breathe new life into his career.
Here’s a fun fact for you, though: Hulk turning bad? That was actually tried before, in WCW, no less, just under a year prior to the infamous Bash. Even ditched the yellow and red for black and white, if you can fathom such a thing. See, Hogan was feuding with the goof troop known as the Dungeon of Doom, and well…he went wacky. And I does mean wacky, running around in dark caves and sticking his fingers in water whilst proclaiming “IT’S NOT HOT!” to no one in particular.
Like I said, WACKY.
This short-lived phase of his career has been dubbed “The Dark Side of Hulkamania”.
I’m not sure Darth Vader or The Midnight Express would be pleased with this blatant rip off but eh, let’s take a look at it.
A WACKY look at the WACKINESS of it.
Hulk comes out for an interview with Mean Gene in a neck brace resulting from an earlier assault from The Giant Paul Wight.
I wish he would’ve come out in that 3 story condominium neck brace that Gary Wolf (Pitbull # 1) wore in ECW after Shane Douglas broke his neck.
Seriously, that chimney was so big Santa Claus could have climbed down it.
This? This is just a Bobby Heenan special.
No offense, Brain.
Despite being uncomfortable and incapacitated, he still manages to freak out and cut another nonsensical Hulk promo, in which he breaks the record for number of times the words “brother” and “big stinky giant” are uttered within the span of 45 seconds. Hulk promises one of his little “Hulkamaniacs” that’s in the hospital awaiting a “double lung transplant” that he’s going to beat up that “big nasty giant”.
Hold on, a DOUBLE lung transplant?
Was that the best you could come up with, Hulk?
Get creative! How about a kid with Rosey Grier’s head attached to his shoulders?
Worse yet, apparently the kid told Hulk to, and I am quoting here, “Belly up to the bar.”
That’s just weird. I can’t imagine a small child, a small child in need of TWO NEW LUNGS, giving Hogan such advice.
But maybe that’s just me.
On his way to kill that “big stinky giant”, Hulk decides to go around the ring and high-five the fans. Alright, now I’m suspicious cause Hulk usually avoids guardrail reachers like they have cooties.
Or are Australian.
(Note to the Aussie and Kiwi Crappers out there: We’re just kidding and we love you. We’ve seen Young Einstein many times.
Well, at least *I* have. :)).
(Note from RD: That makes one of us.)
But chicanery is afoot as an old lady at ringside throws powder in Hulk’s eyes and beats him with her cane, as Mean Gene generously provides a running commentary of her assault on Hulk. She’s still angry that Hulk was playing backstage politics causing Frank A. Gotch to lose his big push.
Because he’s old, ya see. And WCW…
…I’ll show myself out.
Bobby Heenan makes a few Psycho references that RD and I appreciate but are most likely lost on the majority of the viewers as The Giant and The Zodiac (not the Bay Area serial killer but Ed Leslie in yet another gimmick designed to keep him right on Hulk’s tail in the main event program) come out to help with the beat down.
(Note from RD: And I do appreciate the Psycho references. Hitchcock rules.)
Surprise! The old lady is in fact The Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan, who comes up with the most evil, diabolical plan this side of The Riddler spraying the Superfriends with Stupid Ray: he’s going to get rid of the source of Hogan’s orange power.
Eric Bischoff reacts with abject horror, as if Hulk is being raped in the middle of the ring by a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
What the Hell IS IT with hair cutting/trimming angles in wrestling that inspires such a horrified reaction?
“OH MY GOD! THE HAIR IS LEAVING THEIR HEAD/FACE! THEIR DIGNITY AND SELF-WORTH IS BEING COMPROMISED!”
By the way, when I watched the footage for this angle and saw the description, “Hulk Hogan is shaved by an elderly woman”, I stopped dead in my tracks and proceeded with very careful caution, lest I have terrifying nightmares.
At one point, mid-shave, Sullivan just seems to stop for a few seconds, as if to either admire his handiwork.
That or he was contemplating how funny it would be to leave it at this point, thus making Hogan look like the world’s most jacked, blone Adolf Hitler impersonator.
Sadly, discretion is the better part of the Taskmaster’s valor on this night.
This non-consensual loss of facial hair causes a change in Hulk wherein he and his manager/current boyfriend Jimmy Hart begin to wear black instead of Hulk’s traditional yellow and red. Mean Gene says, “In all my years I have NEVER seen anything quite like this”.
You’ve never seen anyone wear black before?
What kind of rainbow hued world do you live in, Okerlund?
Anyways, Hulk tells Gene and Jimmy to stop groveling for a moment so he could talk. He says he’s dressed in black to beat Kevin Sullivan at his own game….whatever that means. And that he’s gonna beat up Andre’s “son”, “that no good stinky giant, brother!”
Why does Hogan keep saying that the Giant is “stinky”?
Did Paul Wight just never bathe during this portion of his career?
Hulk then goes to explain the “history” of Hulkamania, and what a fascinating tale this is. Apparently, and try to follow along her, a certain “promoter in the New York City area, brother” had an ego that “got too big for the wrestling business”. And now that certain promoter is “dying and choking on his own ego” because he underestimated the power of Hulkamania.
I’m sure glad Hulk never went back to work for that promoter with a big ego from New York City in 2003, 2005, 2006 and counting.
Hogan then compares his mustache to the Washington Monument and Old Glory.
It sounds so glorious that I wouldn’t be half surprised to see it show up on upcoming US currency.
It would look nice on the back of a California penny, come to think of it.
It’s very weird because Hulk proclaims that he’s undergone a change and that he’s “evil, brother!”, all the while still wearing a Christian symbol of goodness around his neck and still telling kids to say their prayers, eat their vitamins and ask their parents for plenty of Hulk merchandise.
I hate to be a skeptic, but seriously, nothing has changed about Hulk at all, except he lacks a mustache and wears black.
Is this his idea of going “goth”? Cause he’s far too orange and meaty to be goth.
You’ll be laughed right out of Hot Topic looking like that.
For some reason, Hulk decides to bring Macho Man and Sting into the mix, claiming that they’re not his friends and look at him with jealous eyes.
Maybe if you’d let them, I don’t know, main event a PPV now again they wouldn’t be, Hulkster!
All this “dark side” tension comes to a head at Halloween Havoc 95 in Detroit, where Hulk “accidentally” pushes The Giant off the roof of Cobo Hall.
He falls off the parking lot side but the river side is shown. Great going, Mr. Director.
Back at the announce table, Eric Bischoff and Bobby Heenan are shocked and appalled at what just happened. No one calls the cops or ambulance or anything. They just talk about how terrible it is and Bischoff says they’re sending security up there to find out what happened.
Sending security to find out what happened.
HE FELL OFF THE ROOF, YOU DUMB CLUCK!
Bobby tries to keep a dialogue going by asking if The Giant went over on the river side or street side. Bischoff responds with, “you got a parking lot and a river, what difference does it make?”
Causing Bobby to facepalm and think, “this is the stupidest thing EVER. I need a stiff drink”.
Giant, of course, would escape unharmed, which will leave forever unanswered the question to if the cause of death on his death certificate would have been “revenge for shaving man’s moustache off.”
Alas, that would not be the stupidest thing Bobby has ever seen.
THIS would be the stupidest thing he’s ever seen.
The “Yet-tay” who is a used toilet paper Mummy that walks in normal stride then does a Frankenstein walk at random, comes out to make a Hulkster sandwich with The Giant and dry hump Hulk from behind as Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan look on in amazement.
Meanwhile in ECW, Steve Austin was sowing the seeds for his “Stone Cold” persona, Raven sought blood vengeance against Tommy Dreamer and The Gangstas murdered the Public Enemy with electrical appliances on a nightly basis.
Quite a difference there, don’t ya think?
Backstabbed and abandoned by Jimmy Hart, Hulk now turns to his sometimes friend, sometimes enemy (depending on what month it is and how much money is at stake), Macho Man Randy Savage for an alliance.
I should note they’re wearing black cloaks and Zorro masks. I’ve seen Eyes Wide Shut and this is going down a very dark and scary path.
Oh, and don’t ask me to transcribe their promo because I haven’t done enough Mexican speedballs and co-friggin-caine in my lifetime to understand what the Hell they’re saying.
This very confusing storyline would be resolved…sorta…kinda…at World War 3 ’95 with Hulk finally casting off “The Dark Side of Hulkamania” and promising to be Sting and Macho Man’s BFF.
Considering the number of times Sting has formed an alliance with Ric Flair and then been turned on by him, I’m not surprised he totally believes Hulk.
And Randy Savage is getting an extra generous payday by working with Hulk so he doesn’t give a crap.
Hulk then impresses the smart marks by breaking out a copy of The Wrestling Observer newsletter (but it looks more like a folded piece of notebook paper, I don’t think Hulk subscribes), burning it in the fire with his black clothing and compares that “rag sheet” to a “dinosaur, brother!” (hey, look who’s talking, fella! I mean, brother!) and praises the internet for having “all the scoops, brother!”
I wonder how long Hulk’s love for the internet lasted.
I have a feeling it was a brief affair and it ended bitterly.
Oh great, now you’ve hurt Dave and his hairstyle’s feelings, ya big bald orange roid meany.
(Note from RD: On the plus side, Observer subscriptions likely rocketed thanks to Hogan giving Dave free publicity to millions of folks who had never heard of such a thing as a wrestling newsletter.)
Hulk’s new autobiography is coming out soon. I hope there are at least three chapters about the Darkside of Hulkamania and what the Hell that was all about.
If not, I ain’t buyin’.