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THIRTY YEARS OF HOGAN, PART 2: THE WCW YEARS

By Stuart Carapola on 2014-03-05 11:54:51
In honor of the thirtieth anniversary of Hulk Hogan's first WWF Title win in 1984, let's continue our look back at each of Hulk Hogan's subsequent World Title wins throughout the years. In Part 1 (which you can find by clicking on the Columns section in the sidebar if you're an Elite), we left off after Hulk's fifth and final title reign in the WWF before he left in 1993. Let's pick up in 1994 as he brought the virtues of Hulkamania to WCW.

WCW World Title: Defeated Ric Flair on 7/17/1994 in Orlando, FL

After taking a year off to film the TV series Thunder In Paradise, Hogan made the move to enemy territory as he signed a contract with WCW. His first match in saw him defeat Ric Flair, WCW's top star for over a decade, in a match that barely exceeded description as a squash. The message was clear: Eric Bischoff was willing to throw away WCW's entire legacy and all of its top stars (many of whom would go to work for the WWF and would become instrumental in eventually destroying WCW altogether) in favor of Hogan and his flunkies like Brutus Beefcake, the Nasty Boys, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and the Honky Tonk Man, and Hogan's win over Flair at Bash At The Beach 1994 was ground zero for those changes.

Hogan treated Flair like a jobber for a few months, retired him, and told WCW management to bring him out of retirement so he could beat him again. Hogan's push at this time was beyond insane, much worse than anything anyone could accuse John Cena of today, to the point that WCW faked a ticker tape parade for the ceremony where he signed his WCW contract and had "police escorts" to arenas he made appearances at. To add insult to injury, the main event of Starrcade 1994 saw Hogan defend the WCW World Title against his best friend Beefcake, who leapfrogged over everyone else in WCW despite being badly out of shape and greatly diminished from the wrestler he was before the accident. Meanwhile, the guy who made Starrcade, Ric Flair, got to watch from home.

After over a year of this crap, Hogan finally had the title pried out of his hands after losing to the Giant by DQ, only to learn later that his manager Jimmy Hart (who turned on him to go with Giant) had written into the contract that the title could change hands on a DQ in that match. Hogan was then upstaged when poor Randy Savage won the title in World War III, threw a fit and proceeded to undermine him even worse than he did the first time around. He didn't end up taking the title from Savage (not this time, anyway), but Hogan did everything he could to make Savage look like his second banana and an unworthy champion, when Hogan didn't even have the decency to lose the title by taking a pinfall.

WCW World Title: Defeated The Giant on 8/10/1996 in Sturgis, SD

Hogan had turned heel and formed the NWO with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at Bash At The Beach 1996, and pretty much everyone knew he was getting the title back once he got Giant in the ring again a month later at Hog Wild. This PPV was held at a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, and was basically created because Eric Bischoff likes motorcycles and wanted to look like a big shot to guys he could never hope to be as cool or tough as. The WCW fans threw garbage in the ring as Hogan spraypainted the NWO letters onto the title belt, where they would remain for the next year. Oh yeah, and his first major title defense was against Randy Savage, who he squashed and sent into seclusion for months before bringing him back as his sidekick in the NWO.

WCW World Title: Defeated Lex Luger on 8/9/1997 in Sturgis, SD

While the long build to his eventual showdown with Sting was going on, Hulk Hogan spent much of 1997 battling Lex Luger, who racked up one win after another over Hogan in non-title matches. Eventually, JJ Dillon decided that 672 wins over the World Champion qualifies someone for a shot at the World Title, and Luger beat Hogan for the title on Nitro...less than a week before a previously scheduled title match between the two at Road Wild 1997. I'm sure you know what happens next: Hogan pulls out every dirty trick in the book to beat Luger and regain the title after only a few days, cutting Luger's legs out from under him, and spraypaints the NWO logo back onto the belt. Hogan went on to battle Sting at Starrcade while Luger took a pinfall loss to Buff Bagwell.

WCW World Title: Defeated Macho Man Randy Savage on 4/20/1998 in Colorado Springs, CO

The Hogan-Sting confrontation that we waited over a year for turned into a huge mess when it finally came around, and after months of dumb finishes that destroyed any interest anyone had in the feud, Sting came away looking like the least impressive hero in history even though he wound up with the title. He only ended up being champion for about two months before dropping it to the Macho Man, who got to keep it for a whole day before losing it to his old pal Hulk Hogan. They were doing a storyline where there was dissension within the NWO, and Hogan not wanting anyone in the group but himself to hold the title was a key driving factor in the eventual split of the group into two feuding factions. This match was full of interference like every WCW main event in those days, and Hogan got the win thanks to help from his new buddy Bret Hart, who himself got to come in and be Hogan's new sidekick even though he was the hottest thing in wrestling coming off the Montreal Screwjob only a few months earlier.

WCW World Title: Defeated Kevin Nash on 1/4/1999 in Atlanta, GA

The infamous Fingerpoke of Doom Incident! Just to recap what got us here: Hogan had lost the title to Bill Goldberg back in July of 1998, and Goldberg continued to remain undefeated until Kevin Nash beat him at Starrcade to win the title, with help from Disco Inferno, Bam Bam Bigelow, and a taser-wielding Scott Hall. Goldberg was supposed to get a rematch on Nitro, but Elizabeth had him arrested on bogus stalking charges,so since Hogan (who had "retired" to run for President...yes, that was really the angle) just happened to be backstage, Nash (who he was still supposedly enemies with after the NWO split happened) challenged Hogan to face him instead. The bell rings, Hogan pokes Nash in the chest with his finger, and covers him to regain the title and officially reunite the NWO. This title change is one of the most frequently cited incidents that contributed to the death of WCW, along with Tony Schiavone's comment earlier in the evening revealing that the taped Raw on the other channel would feature Mick Foley beating the Rock for the WWF Title. Hundreds of thousands of fans flipped channels immediately, and unfortunately, they missed out on this wonderfully crafted NWO angle.

I'm sure you're dying for more, but fear not! The conclusion to this series will be up for your reading pleasure tomorrow morning. Until then, please send all feedback to stupwinsider@gmail.com.

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