I just had to add this, an old OWW article from 2005, I think. It's pretty fucking long, but interesting.
Instead talking about Ric Flair's dramatic World title win at Starrcade 1993, people will clamor on a C-list celebrity actor winning the WCW World Title and destroying its legacy. And all the great moments like the Owen Hart Tribute match and Benoit-Booker series will take a backseat to Pinatas on a Pole, the Fingerpoke Title Change and the sight of seeing Ric Flair become a patient in a mental hospital. These embarrassing moments tarnished the WCW name.
While many people will blame the horrendous booking, loss of great talent, incompetent wrestlers getting unfairly pushed and stupid storylines that make no sense at all, these incidents might never had happened had it not been for the culprits that made them possible. The perpetrators for WCW's demise rest on the hands of four men, the four that represent the worst in professional wrestling and the direct opposite of what makes wrestling an appealing sport to watch. Because of these four men, WCW went from being a finely organized, well-balanced and admirable organization to being the biggest underachieving company in this great sport to becoming an additional product to Vince McMahon's empire.
WCW was like the Titanic of wrestling: a ship that had so much to go for and then sunk underwater due to a series of flaws that were unrecognizable by the architects. Unlike the Titanic, everyone could see these cracks in WCW's ironclad body happening before their eyes, yet no one that worked for the company did anything about it. Rather, they played it off like it was nothing or a major event in sports entertainment. Even worse, any good moment that commenced was pissed away by a bunch of jealous and ignorant egotists that only cared about themselves and their own success, resulting in burials that make HHH's handling of his opponents seem generous.
That's right, HHH is innocent compare to these egotistical monstrosities that took a huge crap in the WCW domain and stunk up the place everywhere they went rather it was in the ring or backstage. Their backstabbing antics and ego-ridden behavior towards their peers and other wrestlers are an embarrassment to anyone who has been more dedicated to the sport than these clowns. Their ridiculous tactics to make the company look weak are pathetic in every level. And their constant stupidity in trying to book a coherent storyline or a decent wrestling match makes Ed Wood want to roll in his grave.
These are the men that took a well-balanced organization and flushed it down the toilet faster than dinosaur turds. These men sabotaged every respectable notion in WCW and sank the careers of those that were never given the chance of showcase their talent. These are the men that killed WCW.
And one of those men was Hulk Hogan. Why? Let's take a look, grasshoppers (Kirsty should sue for copyright).
Look, before I begin, I just want to say a few things. First off, despite my dislike for him, I will not deny Hulk Hogan's contributions to the wrestling industry during the 1980's and I think the era of Hulkamania revolutionized the wrestling industry and set the standard for what was to come. Hulk deserves as much credit as the other wrestlers that worked hard with the WWF for turning the World Wrestling Federation into a billion-dollar conglomerate. But the truth is that Hogan did not really care about wrestling and all that Hogan cared about was money and being on top of everyone else. When Vince McMahon realized this, he turfed Hogan's orange-tanned ass out of the WWF for the good of the talent and his company. When WCW picked him up, they failed to realize that Hogan would be as effective in the wrestling business as well as damaging...and that was one of the first of hundreds of steps that would change the fate in WCW for the worse.
This article will illustrate my point.
In 1990-1993, WCW was run by idiots, blunderers, accountants, lawyers, obnoxious workers, talentless wrestlers and a deteriorating management that stabbed itself time after time again. At one point, WCW came close to filing for bankruptcy after suffering a $23 million loss. But somehow, they survived. During the late 1993, the original plan for the main event Starrcade 1993 was Sid Vicious defeating Big Van Vader for the World Championship and put him on top in the bulk of 1994. But fate reared its ugly head: prior to Starrcade, Sid and Arn Anderson were involved in a brawl at England and culminated with Sid nearly stabbing Arn to death multiple times with a pair of scissors. Sid was fired and WCW was left with no credible challenger to best Vader. So WCW did what would always be their plan C: they went back to Ric Flair and the results was a historically significant and absolutely tremendous wrestling fight which saw Flair toppled Vader to secure another title reign.
Not only was Ric Flair the champion, he was a major booker. He pushed Ricky Steamboat, Johnny B. Badd, Sting and Steve Austin in the midcard to main event status and even gave Mick Foley the ability to book his own hardcore-style bouts. WCW was finally returning to its glory from 1989 and there were no sign of slowing down.
Then came Hulk Hogan. With Hogan, the problem was not with the issues with the booking committee but now the problems in the backstage morale. Hogan brought the political mind games he used to protect his spot in WWF with him to WCW and used it to ensure that he was to be the top man of the company...over everyone else. And while Hogan's arrival to WCW ensured mainstream success for the company, he also planted a seed that would slowly grow into a cancer and send WCW into its own graveyard. How could one wrestler cause one company to fall apart? It's easy, all you need is to sport one big-ass ego. And boy, did Hogan ever had such a huge ego?
Hulk Hogan's entry to the promotion in 1994 didn't go well for the fans. For the first few months, Hogan was booed everywhere. Because Hogan used to work in the company up North, the crowd reaction was so hostile that WCW had to create a soundtrack to dub the boos with some canned careers. Flair, Bischoff and a lot of staff workers tried as hard as they could to get the fans to like Hogan but it was to no avail.
And let's not forget that his mixed reception to coming to WCW had a lot to do with Hogan's departure from the WWF, which did not entirely end in a positive note. After threatening to no-show WrestleMania IX if he was not given the World title, he took the championship and stayed at home for the next couple of months. He didn't defend his title once. And above all that, he destroyed the credibilities of both Bret Hart and Yokozuna. Vince McMahon had enough of Hogan's manipulations and had Yokozuna squash Hogan at the King of the Ring 1993. Hogan becomes obsolete in the World Wrestling Federation. But his image was crippled because of his actions in his final WWF days.
But probably one of the primary reasons for Hogan getting jeers in WCW was because he used to work in a kiddy-oriented organization up North and now that he was working in an alternative wrestling-based company, nobody would buy his cartoon antics. When Hogan was promoted as the number one contender for the undisputed WCW World title, Ric Flair was forced to switch back to being the bad guy and was the first to feud with the Hulkster since no one else wanted to fight him.
That's when things started to fall apart.
When Hogan became the leader of the company, the direction of the company shifted for the worse. Hogan ensured WCW he wanted things done the way he wanted, which drew numerous heat for his actions. Not only was Hogan manipulative and egotistical but he was so protective of his spot that anyone he felt was a threat to his position were either fired or promptly buried. The perfect example was at Fall Brawl 1994 where Hulk had Jim Duggan squashed Steve Austin in 30 seconds to win the U.S. title when Austin was open-minded. Of course, unbeknownst to Hogan, Austin became a multi-millionaire, a seven-time WWF Champion and a man that surpassed Hogan in the merchandise sales. Instant karma's gonna get you. At one point, he attempted to rid WCW of Arn Anderson, which might've happened had it not been for Ric Flair. He also brought in his lapdogs: besides Jim Duggan, he brought in Brutus Beefcake and Honky Tonk Man. Beefcake was a failure: He was given half-assed gimmicks like Booty Man, The Man With No Talent...I mean, Face and Zodiac that failed to generate any heat. Forget the fact that he was a shadow of his former self: Brutus drew zero heat and still got paid more money than most of the WCW roster.
Everything Hogan touched turned to feces and his ideas were even more baffling. His abortions of title matches with Vader (including an infamous spot where Hogan no-sold Vader's powerbomb) was one of the factors of declining Vader's workrate and ended his usefulness as a main eventer. He cut Sting out of the main event picture and had him job to Big Bubba Rogers. And by the end of 1994, Hulk took on his lackey Brutus Beefcake in the main event at Starrcade 1994 over Ric Flair (which I'll get to later)
But perhaps nothing illustrated his ego better than the creations of the Renegade and Andre's son the Giant. Hulk hyped Renegade as the Ultimate Surprise, letting the fans believe that it was the Ultimate Warrior. In the end, it was basically an unknown employee who wore face paint. To say the crowd were P'Od over this would be an understatement. Nobody bought the Renegade for a second but he was shoved down the fans' throats and even won the TV title from Arn Anderson at the Great American Bash 1995 in a horrible 15-minute disaster. Thankfully, WWF nearly filed a lawsuit at WCW and the Renegade concept was scrapped at the end of 1995.
If that was bad enough, out came the Andre's alleged son gimmick, a disgraceful ideology where instead of paying homage to the legendary Hall of Famer, Paul Wight (aka The Giant / Big Show) was built as the next opponent to be squashed by Hogan. The Giant, to his credit, worked as hard as he could to get himself over. But the idea was so bad that it nearly destroyed the big man's credibility and dignity, leading to a bunch of laughably ridiculous stunts including the Monster Truck Challenge and of course, the Giant falling off a five-story building but surviving.
Two gimmick infringements, two failures...did WCW take a hint? Of course not. This IS Hogan we're talking about.
Then a notorious incident occurred in the first World War III pay-per-view when Hogan showcased his paranoia and self-serving attitude by lashing out at the Internet, specifically Dave Meltzer, for thinking that the Giant was going to the win the World title and that Randy Savage was injured. He proceed to burn a copy of the Observer, declaring it a "rag sheet" and saying, and I quote "The Internet has scoop on things".
Hogan's ignorance and lies were never as evident to the world as what happened that night. Earlier, Hulk Hogan said that Randy Savage's arm injury was fine, right? When Savage fought Lex Luger and Luger put him in an armbar, Savage tapped out faster than a bongo player. It was revealed that Savage was INDEED injured and that he had a torn muscle in his triceps. So Hogan's whining was all a pile of bullsh*t...as if that was something new.
Just as you thought that karma didn't turn out to be a bigger bitch for the Hulkster, then there was more yet to come. During the World War III battle royal, Hogan eliminated the Giant, Luger and Sting at the same time and the Giant pulled him under the ring. At that time, the World title was up for vacancy due to what happened at Halloween Havoc 1995 when Jimmy Hart declared that a DQ and a count-out would strip Hogan of the World title. After the Giant grabbed Hogan out of the ring through the bottom rope, Savage eliminated the One Man Gang. Because the ref thought Hogan was thrown over the top, Savage was declared the winner and the WCW Champion. Hogan, being such a positive role model, threw a huge temper tantrum and wouldn't endorse Savage. As a result, nearly everyone in the crowd booed him out of the building.
Hulk Hogan, hero to millions.
Because of the embarrassment, Hogan took a hiatus in 1995-1996. Eventually he would come back as a heel to form the nWo. To his credit, Hogan's heel turn will go down as one of the most important events in all of professional wrestling. But instead of changing his attitude, he was the same self-serving, ego-ridden, greedy megalomaniac that talked in more interviews than he had World title defenses.
When the nWo became successful and changed Hogan's character for the greater good, Hogan's creative control was stronger than ever and he could decide his own matches and storylines. Even worse, he easily caused the bookers to cater to his demands ranging from . Justifying Hogan's paranoia, Eric Bischoff allowed the bookers to change storylines and depushing those he felt weren't worthy of his league. That's why you never saw Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero or Ric Flair in high-profile matches or Chris Benoit winning a WCW title in 1997-1998. Because Hogan was jealous of their crowd heat and their athletic stamina in the ring and went into cohorts with Eric Bischoff to make sure that their heat was killed and that they were unable to step up further. Bischoff and Hogan insisted of putting themselves on TV more than most of their wrestlers and not making any of their opponents look good.
The greatest victims of Hogan's rampant politics, other than the Radicalz, were Sting and Ric Flair, the two superstars that used to be prominent leaders for WCW before Hulk made his unwelcome entry to the promotion. Sting was cut out of the picture the moment the nWo was formed. Booked in an angle where some wrestlers wondered if he were to join the nWo or not, Sting deceived his team in a Wargames match at Fall Brawl 1996 and wouldn't wrestle for a long time. And when I mean long time, I don't mean 5-6 months. I mean, over the ENTIRE YEAR!!! Sting made appearances that sparkled the fan's belief that he was coming back. But he didn't and was booked jumping off rafters throughout 1997 until his match at Starrcade 1997. The fake Sting angles didn't help matters either and it grew so repetitive that it infuriated the crowd, even though the announcers were dumb to tell a real Sting from a fake one, despite their different physiques.
His match at Starrcade 1997 was built as the most anticipated World title match in WCW history. It bombed. Hogan took way too much offense over a guy that he ran away from for many months and wind up making Sting look like an idiot of complete impotence. Sting got some offense but 80% of the match was Hulk taking control. 10% was the stalling. The other 5% was Hulk yakking at the fans. 4% was Sting taking control. And the 1%? The infamous "Fast Count" angle where Hogan pinned Sting with the slow three-count and then Bret Hart declared that the referee was partial and was counting way too fast. Although Sting wind up winning the World title, the championship became vacant, thus ruining one of the blowoff angles WCW ever had to offer. Not only that but it ended up burying Sting and ending his run as a main eventer. Since then, Sting had another World title reign but lost it to Randy Savage and became a lackey for Kevin Nash and the ill-fated nWo Wolfpac v. nWo Hollywood angle. Sting was never given another chance to shine again, going from a guy that was dubbed of being the next superstar after his legendary match with Ric Flair at their first encounter to being ridiculed in helping overage wrestlers that meant nothing to this business.
Ric Flair, however, was not as lucky. Since Hulk Hogan's entry, Ric Flair's legacy has been tarnished time after time after time again, which is funny because Ric was one of the main people that pushed Hulk to coming to WCW. Ric Flair stood the direct opposite of Hulk Hogan. Flair was a legend that loved this business and knew what was right for the industry, for the wrestlers he worked with and for the company he had to put up with. Hogan, on the other hand, only knew what was right for himself. Case in proof, the infamous three-match series in late 1994 that culminated in Ric Flair being retired. The sad thing was that it was not only supposed to be a retirement match. Flair was not originally supposed to be kept off TV or PPVs for a long time.
According to Flair's "To Be the Man", the original booking plan was for Ric Flair to lose the title to Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1994, win it back at the following pay-per-view and then lose it again at Halloween Havoc. Because he was such a total pussy, Hogan disrupted the booking. He wanted to keep his spot as the top man of the business and wanted to make sure no one was a threat. Hulk lost the match at the Clash PPV via count-out but did not lose the championship. Ticket sales decreased and the only factor to make sure that they sold quicker was for Flair to put his career on the line at Havoc. Not surprisingly, Flair lost and his retirement came off longer than Hogan or Nash's combined. Ric Flair never recovered after this. His next two title reigns came across nothing but afterthoughts, he jobbed to nearly every wrestler, employee and promoter in the company and his legacy fell from grace when he was put in a mental institution, buried in the desert and had his hair shaven at the hands of Eric Bischoff and his son David.
So nearly a year after Ric Flair rescued WCW from bankruptcy at Starrcade 1993, Flair's career and the product were buried because of stupid politics by Hulk Hogan. Hogan's unwelcome entry to the promotion dramatically destroyed everything that Ric Flair wanted, everything that the fans wanted. In one moment, Flair was grooming a World title program for Steve Austin and even considered dropping it to him. But when Hogan came in, that program was sent to the scrap yard and Austin, Flair and all the wrestlers that had worked hard to keep their spots were buried and kicked out of the company just so that the orange-tanned parasite could shove his unbearable presence down our throats. Five years later, he still wouldn't go away.
The more Hogan shoved his useless ass up our asses, the less of a draw he started to become. He was still kept on top of the card, despite nothing being World Champion, but that did nothing but tarnish his ratings power. His matches involving "athletic" celebrities like Karl Malone, Dennis "Sucks Rod"man and Jay Leno failed to generate consumers into buying pay-per-views, who bought the show primarily because of the undercard and Bill Goldberg. Then came the abortion of a feud with the Ultimate Warrior, which culminated in one of the worst matches in WCW history at Halloween Havoc 1998 and made it clear to wrestling fans that Hogan did not have what it took to wrestle anymore after revolutionizing the industry in the 1980's.
Hogan went even further into hyping his campaign as wanting to be the next President of the United States once he declared his retirement. The retirement turned out to be a bunch of BS as Hogan once again returned and flushed the product down the toilet with the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom angle, where he "killed" Nash with a flick of a finger and won the title.
The m ore things changed, the more they stayed the same. Well, for Hogan at least. WCW sucked even worse.
Hulk Hogan no longer had any positive effect in WCW, except the fact that he showed other companies how easy it is to go out of business if you revolve around one guy who has lived past his prime and sports an ego bigger than Mother Russia. It didn't matter anymore if he was a face, heel or a tweener, people grew sick and tired of seeing the Huckster and realized that no one was ever going to go over as long as he was still hired. Hogan used his backstage politics to make him the top star of WCW, generating mainstream attention. It seems spectacularly fitting that his politics would lead WCW to its ultimate demise. With holding down talent, refusing to job and alternating booking plans to suit his own amusement, Hogan, along with others, were as tolerant as getting hit in the head with a hammer.
Then a miracle occurred, even though it was overdue.
Vince Russo, despite his notorious lack of credibility as head booker for WCW, had enough with Hogan abusing his creative control and did what no one had the guts to do: promptly fire Hogan on national TV and bury him in a shoot promo. In the aftermath, the wrestler that was hold down time after time again named Booker T rose to the occasion and won the WCW World title from Jeff Jarrett. Rather it was a work or shoot is unknown but Hogan never came back to WCW again after this.
But it was all too late. Hulk Hogan and his friends had already damaged WCW beyond wreckage and no matter how much people loved Booker T or how many amazing matches that the Cruiserweights would dish out or how much excitement Ric Flair generated to the audience, it was all for not. WCW relied too much on Hulk Hogan and vice versa and that proved to be the company's undoing. Hulk's abusive actions on his creative control led to multiple pitfalls that were supposed to happen and WCW's overemphasis on the Hulkster was one of its greatest downfalls. WCW failed to realize that unlike Ric Flair, you can't go back to Hulk Hogan and expect to come out successful.
Doing something like that is similar to a wrestler abusing steroids. It works out well at first but the more you use, the less energy you will have, the more deteriorating your state of health will be.
If Hulk Hogan was a steroid needle, then WCW was a human body that was getting destroyed by being injected repeatedly.
But it was not being shoved down the throat that was half of the problem. Hulk Hogan ruined WCW even further because of jealousy, paranoia and ignorance towards the fans and people he worked with. When Ric Flair returned at September 1998 to a deafening roar after being sued for an undeserving lawsuit, Hogan seized the moment and align himself with Eric Bischoff, a man who Ric Flair despised in real life, and trampled the Nature Boy in every corner he turned. It became crystal clear to the wrestling world that Hulk Hogan is jealous of Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan is afraid of Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan is second-rate compared to Ric Flair.
Hogan and his friends did whatever it took to make sure that certain wrestlers and the undercard would not achieve the spotlight that they rightfully deserved. Hogan succeeded in transforming Sting from one of the most popular wrestlers in this great sport to being a lackey and a midcarder at best. After Ric Flair spent over 45 Minutes in 1988 at the first Clash of the Champions to turn Sting into the next great superstar, Hulk got involved, screwed Sting and ruined his chance to become the biggest star in the wrestling industry. Sting's career never recovered and he fought in pitiful feuds against the worthless talents that were The Steiner Brothers, Sid and Vampiro. He cut the legs off Big Van Vader, the monster heel to end all monster heels and the Four Horsemen, after they had just gotten over and disrupted the midcard. And all because he wanted attention surrounded only around himself. Pathetic.
Would WCW be any different if they hadn't signed Hulk Hogan? Definitely. Personally, I feel that WCW did not really need Hulk to make them a threat to the WWF. If anything, they signed him at the wrong place at the wrong time. The product was simply flawless and the quality was through the roof. You had the likes of Steve Austin, Steven Regal, Johnny B. Badd and Arn Anderson finally getting the spotlight that they rightfully deserved after being buried during the Dusty Rhodes era in 1993. You had Mick Foley booking his own hardcore-style matches, resulting in some of the greatest brawls in wrestling today. And then you had Ric Flair and his series of spectacular main events against Vader, Sting and Ricky Steamboat. Had they continued on in this trend, they didn't have to wait until 1996 to compete against the WWF, which paled in comparison with lust and hard-working talent in the early 1994. After nearly coming close to bankruptcy, WCW for once did something right for a change: they created a well-quality product that everyone could enjoy. It was like seeing an old elder die of a horrible disease and then come back to life stronger and more youthful than ever.
But when Hulk Hogan came in, he ruined it all. I never forgave him for what he did and now that the company is dead, it makes me hate Hogan even more. What was once a wrestling-based conglomerate became a circus run by reckless animals, paper champions and egotistical employers. And all that occurred because of Hulk Hogan.
Of course, Hulk Hogan, like a scab, won't go away easily. He continues making unbearable returns in the WWE, by squashing Intercontinental champions and promising heels. Although I admit that I marked out during his appearance at WM21, that should've been it. That should've been Hulk Hogan's last official appearance in a wrestling company. As if that were enough, he decided to produce a substandard reality show just so that he can shove himself and his dumb-ass daughter down our throats for money and attention. Blah.
When Shawn Michaels mocked Hulk Hogan in a promo where he pretended to be like the Hulkster, he spoke the truth. If being the prima-donna was part of the Olympics, then Hulk Hogan would win the gold, silver and bronze medals all at once. Look the term "ego" on the dictionary and you'll find a picture of Hulk Hogan next to it. The Orange Goblin has overstayed his welcome and is no longer an important factor in the wrestling industry today but if you were to tell Hogan that, it'd be like talking to a wall. Leave it to Hogan to continue making wrestling look like an abysmal zoo. He destroyed one company, might as well ruin another.
All I have to say is thank you Hulk Hogan for continuing to make the wrestling industry today look like shit and I pray and hope that you break your back and retire forever and ever and ever.