Hulk Hogan and WrestleMania. Two names as synonymous with each other as Lennon and McCartney or bread and jam, at least to those of us who grew up watching WWE (then WWF) in the 1980s.
In fact, the Hulkster was so ingrained in Vince McMahon’s vision for his definitive PPV event, that he headlined 8 of the first 9 shows, and managed to shoehorn himself into the closing moments of the other. But how do his performances hold up? How do they rank when put side by side? It’s funny you should ask really because here’s our list Ranking Hulk Hogan’s WrestleMania Main Events.
So tame those 24-inch Pythons, say your prayers and take your vitamins. You’re going to need them on this trip down WrestleMemory lane.
WrestleMania VIII – Vs Sid Justice
Hogan’s match against Sid Justice was billed throughout the WrestleMania build-up as his last WWE match ever. According to Vince McMahon, Hulk was off to become a Hollywood icon, 24-inch Python’s and all. But had this been the last time we ever saw Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania then it was about as entertaining as Kurt Angle Vs Baron Corbin is likely to be if WWE doesn’t pull their thumbs out and swerve us at this years PPV.
WrestleMania IX – Vs Yokozuna
Yokozuna had been built like an absolute unstoppable monster for his entire WWE run up to this point, so it made sense for him to defeat then World Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart to become the top star in the company. But little did we know, Vince McMahon was planning a swerve so devilish even Vince Russo would have been shocked by it. We’re referring of course to the moment Hulk Hogan stumbled down to ringside to help his ‘friend’ Bret back to the locker room, only to find himself being conveniently challenged to a match with the new champion, who he then proceeded to squash to take home his fifth World Heavyweight Championship.
WrestleMania VII – Vs Sgt Slaughter
You’ve got to give WWE credit for having the balls to run with the Iraqi sympathizer gimmick they slapped on the once-patriotic Sgt Slaughter in late 1990 and most of 1991 and having him go to war with the All-American icon Hulk Hogan was perfect booking, at least in theory. In practice, however, this was a cartoonish battle that did nothing to keep Slaughter looking strong and relied too heavily on Hulk’s posturing rather than in-ring work.
WrestleMania II – Vs King Kong Bundy
It’s weird to think that Hulk Hogan’s first singles match at WrestleMania was against the lumbering giant known as King Kong Bundy. But back during the build-up for WrestleMania II, Bundy was a mega-heel who the audience loved to jeer.
King Kong Bundy vs Hulk Hogan took place inside the confines of a steel cage and was a masterclass on how to sell as a babyface. The match wasn’t strong in terms of action, but Bundy looked like a true monster and for all the comments we might make about his terrible acting skills, Hulk was the master of making fans think he was in genuine peril.
WrestleMania I – With Mr. T Vs Paul Orndorff & Rowdy Roddy Piper
The main event for the very first WrestleMania was a spectacle both in and out of the ring. Piper’s heat was electric, while fans were still invested in the behemoth that had emerged in the shape of the Immortal Hulk Hogan. The match is memorable for the inclusion of Mr. T more than it being a wrestling clinic, but there’s no disputing it needs to be up there with Hogan’s very best main events.
WrestleMania VI – Vs Ultimate Warrior
Expectations were low for a WrestleMania main event that featured the limited Hulk Hogan squaring off against the even more limited Ultimate Warrior unless of course, you were six years old. Amazingly though, the two icons of the then WWF put on a heck of a contest that was both exciting and unpredictable. It’s a shame Hogan had to spoil Warrior’s moment in the sun, but in the long run, it was probably a mistake to put the weight of the WWE on his muscular but uneasy shoulders.
WrestleMania V – Vs Macho Man Randy Savage
There’s no denying that whenever Hulk Hogan stepped into the ring with Macho Man Randy Savage magic would happen, and WrestleMania V was no exception.
The match was the culmination of a whole years build in which the friendship between then WWE Champion Randy Savage and the Hulkster came to a cataclysmic end, and all because Hogan had eyes for Savage’s main squeeze Miss Elizabeth, well that’s what the jealous champ thought anyway.
WrestleMania III – Vs Andre the Giant
Was there ever any doubt? WrestleMania V was a masterclass in storytelling, WrestleMania VI surpassed all expectations, but WrestleMania III cemented Hulk Hogan as a true icon and gave us the most replayed and revisited moment in the 34-year history of Vince McMahon’s brainchild.
No this was not a five-star classic, and no it probably won’t excite the modern day kids who would rather see AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan flying around the ring, but despite being lumbering and sloppy in places it was the single greatest passing of the torch moment in WWE history, one that may never be surpassed.
What are your favourite Hulk Hogan WrestleMania moments? Sound off in the comments section, or over at Twitter and Facebook … brother!