34. Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant (NJPW IWGP League 1983)

I finally caved…and subscribed to NJPW World! Time for a whole new world of wrestling! So many classic matches, so much to choose from…so what did I choose? No, nothing from the Omegas, the Tanahashis, the Jushin Ligers…I found this match from 1983 between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant! And I should have known better. Their main event at WrestleMania III was awful. I hoped that this would be better. It’s five years prior to ‘Mania III, and I hoped Andre would be in better condition. And I’ve read that Hogan actually put some effort in whenever he wrestled in Japan. But…no…

This is the precursor to the modern day G1 Climax tournament, Ten wrestlers competed in a round robin tournament. Along with Hogan and Andre, there’s other legendary competitors such as Antonio Inoki and Akira Maeda…and Big John Studd! But this surely must be the worst match on the card? Their ‘Mania III main event is memorable only for the ‘Slam Heard Round The World.’ The rest of the bout is garbage, not helped by Andre’s rumoured consumption of fifteen bottles of red wine and his deteriorating body. But at least that bout had the aforementioned bodyslamming of Andre by Hogan…

This match begins with Andre running into the crowd, scared of Hogan! Why would a seven foot monster be afraid of anyone? There’s a little brawl, and Andre slaps on a bear hug. I remember him slapping on a bear hug that lasted forever in their ‘Mania III clash. But this lasts even longer than forever! Then they exchange sleepers holds…and that’s fifteen minutes of the match already! Yes, you read that right. It’s lasts just under twenty minutes, but at least the first fifteen minutes are taken up by three holds.

I was hoping they were building up to a riveting, thrilling finish…but of course, I was wrong. Hogan manages a jumping knee strike, which barely connects with Andre, then hits his patented Axe Bomber clothesline (his finisher in Japan. He knew the Japanese wouldn’t stand for a simple leg drop to finish a bout!). Then the match ends in a double countout! So, two minutes of action in a twenty minute bout!

Instant regret was all I felt after choosing this match as the first bout to watch on NJPW World! Utterly boring, a silly finish, and not even a memorable moment like Hogan bodyslamming Andre, this is a complete waste of time. I guess it’s the first time I’ve ever seen Hogan hit a jumping knee strike, but I could live without that. Hey, things can only get better!

Hammy’s Rating: * (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)

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