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-   -   Why Hulkamania almost never happened (http://www.wrestlingforum.com/classic-wrestling/672025-why-hulkamania-almost-never-happened.html)

Elipses Corter 01-29-2013 09:40 PM

Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
We all know how immensely popular Hulk Hogan was in the 80s. We all know what he did for the business. But all that aside, there was the possibility that Hulkamania almost never happened, at least at the starting point and extent that it did.

Now, I've been reading the Observer a lot lately and I've come across some from 1983, which quite possibly could have been the year that altered the rise of Hulkamania.

At the time, 3 talents were widely regarded as the most popular in America at the time. Hogan was a big draw in Minnesota but from what I read, the Von Erichs were just as big, if not, bigger in Texas. It was said that Vince always spoke highly of the Von Erichs back then, especially Kerry, as Vince's own WWE Magazine in those days often had coverage of Kerry and Vince even wanted to snatch him up for his national expansion but Kerry stayed loyal to his father and family promotion, the same promotion Kerry was promised to own & operate after Fritz stepped away.

But, there was someone else, who in 1982-1983, rivaled both the Von Erichs & Hogan in popularity and that was Jimmy Snuka.


But, here's what I'm getting at. Vincent J. McMahon, at the time of filming for Rocky III, still owner of WWF, did not want Hogan to participate in the film, for reasons I don't know but I assume because the elder McMahon did not want the business to be viewed in that light. So in 1981, Hogan left for AWA. The film was released in May of 1982, less than a month before Vincent K. McMahon purchased WWF from his father.

But 6 months prior to this, we saw the debut of Jimmy Snuka. Despite initially being a heel (in a series of matches with WWE Champion Bob Backlund), Snuka was cheered in the northeast, generally after his first leap off the cage in the summer of 1982, about 3 weeks after Vince purchased the company. From there, an angle was done to turn Snuka babyface and align him with Freddy Blassie. At this time, Snuka was regarded as the number 1 babyface in the company and seemed to be on the verge of a push.

But then problems began. On January 17, 1983, Jimmy Snuka was arrested in a motel room in Syracuse, New York after brawling with 9 police officers after his girlfried, Nancy Argentina, was heard screaming by the motel manager. It made several newspapers and obviously had to affect the push of Snuka, although he never served any time, or was formally convicted of any wrong doing.

And less than 4 months later, on the night of May 11, 1982 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Nancy Argentina was found dead in Snuka's motel room. However, Snuka was once again never charged with anything.


Both of these incidents occurred before Vincent K. purchased the WWF. Upon his buyout, Snuka was engaged in a feud with Don Muraco, which was a hot ticket in NYC. As a matter of fact, a July 23, 1983 match in Landover, Maryland drew a sellout of 19,800, which should really be commended, as it was the only match of the show. Meanwhile, Hogan was selling out arenas in the midwest, engaged in a feud with Masa Saito.

By that October, Vince begins expanding, Snuka works match of the year with Muraco in NYC and Hulk Hogan defeats NWA World Champion Harley Race by DQ in Japan, that drew criticism, as it was supposed to be 2/3 falls but Hogan refused to take a pin, even for a fall. Later that month, AWA drew big with a series of battle royals involving Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan. By the end of the year, Hogan had returned to WWF on December 27, 1983 and won the title about a week later. The next year, Snuka was placed in a feud with hot newcomer, Roddy Piper.



The point of this thread was to address reasons why I feel Hulkamania almost didn't happen. Obviously, Vince, Sr. and Hogan fell out regarding Rocky III, which lead to Hogan's departure in 1981. Snuka had been built up over the course of 1982 and 1983 but by mid 1983, ended any possibility of him becoming the top guy. Hogan's popularity had greatly taken off and, IMO with all the headache provided by Snuka and Vince, Sr. not running the company anymore, was brought in to be the face of the company.

But it seems that had Vince, Sr. (along with Skaaland and Monsoon) had not sold all their shares to Vince, Jr., Hogan would have never been brought back. At the same time, it's a possibility that if the incidents not occurred in January and May of 1982, Snuka may have been pushed to the top and at least delayed Hulkamania, if it happened at all.

I know, long post but just something to think about. Had Vince, Sr. and Hogan not fell out, would Hulkamania have been as big? Would Vince, Sr. have forgave him and continued doing business? Would Vince, Sr. have instead built up the top babyface of WWF in 1983, Jimmy Snuka, as the next champion?

Mike Zybyszko 01-30-2013 01:06 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Neither Snuka nor the Von Erichs were even close to the popularity of Hogan in 1983. Hogan was huge in the states as well as already legendary in Japan. Vince knew who the key player was in his schemes and there is no way he succeeds on the level he did with either Snuka or a Von Erich as his main player. Just would not happen.

Even if Vince didn't choose Hogan then Gagne would have eventually figured it out and made Hogan his central performer. It would be the AWA that rules the world today with WWF out of business had that taken place.

Elipses Corter 01-30-2013 01:14 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko (Post 13344945)
Neither Snuka nor the Von Erichs were even close to the popularity of Hogan in 1983. Hogan was huge in the states as well as already legendary in Japan. Vince knew who the key player was in his schemes and there is no way he succeeds on the level he did with either Snuka or a Von Erich as his main player. Just would not happen.

Even if Vince didn't choose Hogan then Gagne would have eventually figured it out and made Hogan his central performer. It would be the AWA that rules the world today with WWF out of business had that taken place.

You completely missed my point.


Vince, Sr. fell out with Hogan over the Rocky movie, which lead to Hogan going to AWA. Basically, that meant Hogan would not have been brought in under Vince, Sr.'s watch. It wasn't until Vince, Jr. took over, less than a month after the movie was released, that he began making plays to get Hogan.

I never said Kerry Von Erich was going to be a "main player". I simply pointed out the reports that Hogan's popularity in Minnesota rivaled that of the Von Erich's in Texas and Snuka in New York.

What I'm saying is, many factors were alive at the time that nearly caused Hulkamania to never happen, such as Vince Sr. not selling to his son, Rocky not being the huge success it was and possibly Snuka getting a run with the title, that could have possibly delayed Hogan's push, had Hogan even signed with Vince.


And I think WWE would have still been around with Hogan, maybe not as big. It's a reason Hogan's departure crippled AWA (despite them surviving for 4-5 years without Hogan) because he was their biggest star. The only thing WWE would have lost was a potential star, that parted ways in 1981 upon shooting the movie because he went against Vince Sr.'s wishes.

krillep 01-30-2013 03:53 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
I heard Hogan was in a traffic accident in 1981.

I think that is more legit to title Hulkamania was almost never happening.

It was gonna explode sooner then later.

Cliffy Byro 01-30-2013 03:57 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
It would've taken off in AWA:


YunisTaker 01-30-2013 10:14 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
The reaon Hulkamania came to live was because of the Iron Sheik. When he beat Bob Backlund in MSG, he was supposed to be a transitional champion and putting Hulk Hogan over for the title, which was what happened. But Verne Gagne told Iron Sheik to break Hogan's leg and come to him with the WWF title. Sheik refused because he was loyal to the McMahon's.

reDREDD 01-30-2013 10:18 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko (Post 13344945)
Neither Snuka nor the Von Erichs were even close to the popularity of Hogan in 1983. Hogan was huge in the states as well as already legendary in Japan. Vince knew who the key player was in his schemes and there is no way he succeeds on the level he did with either Snuka or a Von Erich as his main player. Just would not happen.

Even if Vince didn't choose Hogan then Gagne would have eventually figured it out and made Hogan his central performer. It would be the AWA that rules the world today with WWF out of business had that taken place.

that doesnt sound right

and as for the AWA, i dont think they would have. They had their chance to put the title on Hogan but Verne refused because Hogan wasnt much of a wrestler, and Verne was too old school to let that slide

cablegeddon 01-30-2013 10:41 AM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cliffy Byro (Post 13347785)
It would've taken off in AWA:


"how about your bank account" lol

Was he on the tonight show because he was in Rocky or was he there as a AWA-wrestler? That's huge as a wrestler to go on the tonight show.

Berkajr 01-30-2013 05:15 PM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko (Post 13344945)
Neither Snuka nor the Von Erichs were even close to the popularity of Hogan in 1983. Hogan was huge in the states as well as already legendary in Japan. Vince knew who the key player was in his schemes and there is no way he succeeds on the level he did with either Snuka or a Von Erich as his main player. Just would not happen.

Even if Vince didn't choose Hogan then Gagne would have eventually figured it out and made Hogan his central performer. It would be the AWA that rules the world today with WWF out of business had that taken place.

Yep, Hogan was the hottest thing in wrestling in 1983, partly because the Rocky III movie, and partly because his charisma, body and size.

But I doubt that WWF would be out of business if they hadnt snatched Hogan, because Vince had one thing that those others promoters did not have. The TV stations in New York who got more veiwers in the country than any other TV station. Ruling the New YOrk territory gave you more benefits than most of the other territories.

Quote:

Originally Posted by YunisTaker (Post 13356897)
The reaon Hulkamania came to live was because of the Iron Sheik. When he beat Bob Backlund in MSG, he was supposed to be a transitional champion and putting Hulk Hogan over for the title, which was what happened. But Verne Gagne told Iron Sheik to break Hogan's leg and come to him with the WWF title. Sheik refused because he was loyal to the McMahon's.

Wrong, Hogan and Hulk-a-mania was way over before his WWF title win over Iron Sheik. It is just typical WWF changing and rewriting history since, down playing Hogans success in AWA. Back in the early 1980's AWA was as big as WWF or NWA almost. Hogan made huge gates throughout AWA, and in Japan selling out lots of buildings. McMahon saw that, and knew he would have more TV to expose Hogan and take leverage from it if he played his cards right

BruiserKC 01-30-2013 08:09 PM

Re: Why Hulkamania almost never happened
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Zybyszko (Post 13344945)
Neither Snuka nor the Von Erichs were even close to the popularity of Hogan in 1983. Hogan was huge in the states as well as already legendary in Japan. Vince knew who the key player was in his schemes and there is no way he succeeds on the level he did with either Snuka or a Von Erich as his main player. Just would not happen.

Even if Vince didn't choose Hogan then Gagne would have eventually figured it out and made Hogan his central performer. It would be the AWA that rules the world today with WWF out of business had that taken place.

I think it's known here how much I hate Hulk Hogan and everything about him, but it's obvious that Verne Gagne dropped the ball big time by not putting the AWA World title on Hogan in 1983. Verne was hell-bent on building up his son Greg to the point where he would become the top babyface and become the World champion. The wrestlers like Hogan were just designed to be the hosses and weren't world championship material the way wrestlers like Bockwinkel, Gagne, and later Rick Martel and Curt Hennig were.

With Vince's aggressive stance in the mid-80s, he might have eventually found a comparable champion. He could have kept the belt on the Iron Sheik for a while, he would have sold out arenas hoping that someone like Putski, Santana, or Snuka would take the belt away from him. With signings like Piper and the Junkyard Dog coming in early 1984, it might have been worthwhile putting the title on one of them. Piper would have been every bit as over as a face as he was a heel. Also, JYD as wrestling's first black World champion, 8 years before Ron Simmons broke that glass ceiling. He had recently put the WWF tag titles on an all-black team in Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas...Vince would have been fine with putting the belt on the Dog.

Or, another possibility would have been Sgt. Slaughter. With the hot feud that Sheik/Slaughter had in 1984 leading up to the Boot Camp match at MSG, there would have been a feud off the charts. If you had the Sheik at the time defending the WWF title against the Sarge, it would have been even bigger. Could that have been the first Wrestlemania ME the following year, build up to a legendary encounter between the US and Iran? That would have sold out every closed-circuit/PPV location across the country.

What I would have found especially interesting that were Hogan to have become AWA champion, would we have seen title vs. title matches between him and Ric Flair? Many wrestling fans from that timeframe feel robbed that two top icons like Hogan and Flair never truly squared off in their prime.


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