For match #100 on this compendium of wrestling reviews, I had to watch something rather special, didn’t I? Now, I’ve watched Meltzer’s highest rated bout ever, in the form of Okada/Omega at NJPW Dominion 2018. Rather than seek out a great bout, I skewed to the other end. I wanted to find one of the worst (mainstream) bouts ever. Meltzer has rated five bouts -5*, if you can believe it. The one that piqued my interest was Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs The Warrior at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998. Let’s find out if it is as bad as he rated it…
This was the much vaunted rematch between the two ex-WWF megastars of the late 80s/early 90s. At WrestleMania VI, they fought in the main event for both the Intercontinental and WWF Championships in the first ever massive babyface vs babyface clash. I vaguely remember my dad being very, very excited for it at the time (WWF was about to reach a peak of popularity in the UK). I didn’t properly get into wrestling until 1999, but have fond memories of loving the big, colourful characters of the WWF in the early 90s, especially The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan (and, of course, the British Bulldog!).
For some reason, this Mania main event is ranked #48 on wwe.com‘s ‘WWE Network’s Top 100 Matches’ list (click here for my review if that match!. It should be nowhere near that list. It’s what you’d expect from two wrestlers more renowned for their characters than their wrestling abilities. 90% of it is rest holds, stalling, and weak punches. A definite 2* match.
But these two never had a rematch in WWF. Both wrestlers were not long for WWE, Hogan attempting to break into Hollywood (and eventually ending up in WCW, to cut a long story short), and The Ultimate Warrior leaving WWF the following year (and making a failed return in 1996). However, somehow, someway, Eric Bischoff managed to persuade (the newly named) The Warrior (no ‘Ultimate’ allowed) to come back in 1998 to face Hulk Hogan in the rematch of the century…
Before the match, the commentators try to convince the viewers at home that this is the most hotly anticipated rematch of all time. It’s the match people have been waiting a decade for, apparently. Maybe if the rematch happened within a year of the first match…but nearly eight years on, was anybody bothered? Now, as someone who wasn’t into wrestling in 1998, I can’t measure the hype around this match. But the crowd only seem half-involved in it, right from the entrances.
These two were never great workers im their prime, eight years beforehand…and it seems neither’s ring style had matured with age. The Warrior hadn’t wrestled for a long time, and Hogan was getting progressively worse in the ring. Just like their first match, there’s a lot of stalling in this match. There’s a grand total of 3 body slams, one back body drop, a clothesline and Hogan’s leg drop. The rest is filled in with weak looking punches and even weakr looking holds.
Boring is an understatement here. Whether these two lacked communication, or just couldn’t be bothered to work, is neither here nor there. They look like they are fumbling around most of the time, treading water until the last few minutes. Rather than react to counter the crowd apathy, the two wrestlers seem to indulge in the apathy, slowing down the already interminable pace even more. And this goes on for fifteen minutes…
Things reach absurdity when Hogan tries to light flash paper, in order to blind The Warrior. He’s in the corner for at least a minute or two, trying to light the paper…then in a botch, light’s his own face up for a second or two! This causes the finish of the bout to be improvised (involving the son of Hogan’s deceased brother and one of the worst-looking chair shots in wrestling history), and a few more stretched minutes of poor-looking offence.
Nobody won here, let’s say that for sure. I thought when Hogan returned to WWE in the early 2000s, he had some poor bouts (his one against The Undertaker really sticks out as a stinker). But they are positively 5* classics compared to this mess. I can’t imagine how disappointed you’d be if you waited 8 years for the rematch between two of the biggest names in 80s wrestling. A textbook example of how not to have a wrestling match. There’s the bottom of the barrel…then there’s Hollywood Hogan vs The Warrior!
Hammy’s Rating: 0 (out of 5)
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