#HoganWeek: Essential Viewing, Part 2 – Goodbye WWF, Hello Dungeon of Doom

When we last left you, we hinted at the idea that the goodwill that Hulk Hogan, the character, had accrued through years of magic was quickly dissipating among fans of the WWF because of the creative decisions being made by McMahon, the writer, and given his “control”, Terry Bollea, the person.

This reached its fever pitch at WrestleMania IX, when Hogan, after for some reason pretending to be friends with Bret Hart on television — and by pretending, I mean literally said “ ‘my friend’ Bret Hart and I were talking before” despite never mentioning that he even knew who he was prior to that night — went out of his way to publicly screw him, in a very real and legitimate way.

Although Hart would be more publicly and directly screwed by Vince McMahon just a few years later, what Hogan did was far far worse for everyone involved. Hogan’s categorical refusal to “pass the torch” to Hart  following the match — there had been a planned blowoff match between the two at that year’s SummerSlam — coupled with him usurping any possible momentum Hart may have had after an intentionally controversial ending by taking the belt and not defending it against Hart or anyone else for several months before finally dropping it back to Yokozuna at King of the Ring did almost irreparable damage to Hart’s drawing ability and set him/the company back several years.

But, considering how he got out of Dodge, and how he was treated when he joined WCW — they literally had a parade — it’s impossible he gave it more than two seconds of thought. After one of the most hilariously self-indulgent things in the history of wrestling (think about that shit for a second),

Hogan was pushed immediately into a feud with World’s Champion Ric Flair, defeating him for the title at Bash at the Beach ‘94, finally giving fans the match they should have seen 2 years earlier at WrestleMania VIII.

Then, very quickly out of dream matches and the momentum that he brought with him from the WWF, Hogan became involved in what is easily the nadir of his career and likely wrestling history: his feud with the Dungeon of Doom.

The feud was gross and problematic and terrible from the get-go and it only got worse from there. It treated the performers like idiots, the fans like morons and the “sport” like Hogan’s own personal cartoon playground. Filled with the peripheral stars of the Hogan era like Earthquake (now a Shark), Kamala (still Kamala) and Ed Leslie (now the Zodiac, still carrying Hogan’s bags), the entire fiasco showed not just how out of touch the Hogan character itself was, but the perils of not just thinking that the fans were stupid but openly treating them like it.

Literally the only thing that wasn’t both offensive to the eyes and ears of wrestling fans and completely useless about this horrific storyline was the introduction of The Big Show, then working under the name The Giant. Of course, the gimmick and execution of that were offensive — the implication that Show was Andre the Giant’s son back for revenge is still something he doesn’t like talking about, and as you’ll see soon, it lead to some of the worst things ever ever — it did quickly propel the incredibly gift big man to what’s now a 20 year career near the top of his profession (with some minor, weight-related detours along the way.)

But that doesn’t necessarily justify this, the Doomsday cage (presumably of doom) that was built for Uncensored ‘95. This isn’t the full match, but it’s important to note that you missing are ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It’s one of the dumbest, most convoluted things in the history of wrestling, which is remarkable considering that this PPV featured a match between Bunkhouse Bunk and Dustin Rhodes on the back of a flatbed truck.

That the triple-decker “doomsday” cage structure would make people doing a parody of what they thought wrestling was feel like they were being a little too over the top seems completely lost on Hogan and the unchecked world of gimmicks that would in infest WCW for much of this period.

And there is absolutely no better example of WCW’s insatiable need for spectacle than the MONSTER TRUCK SUMO MATCH that Hogan would “wrestle” in against The Giant at Halloween Havoc.

As anyone watching this likely knows, that video ended with The Giant “falling off a building”, presumably to his death. Of course, he miraculously survived, coming back to beat Hogan for the title after dry humping the shit out of him, with help from the YET-TAY.

Why the Yeti was dressed up as a mummy is anyone’s guess, but needless to say, this didn’t do anything to help anyone get over. And, knowing this, Hogan went away, only appearing sporadically over the next few months. Then, this would happen:

and Hogan, along with Nash and Hall would change the business forever. We’ll get to how later.

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