The Name on the Marquee: Hulkamania 3 – The Inside Story of the Giant Betrayal (1988)
-Your host is Craig DeGeorge, hosting the entire tape from Hulk’s boat. Well, hell, that’s worth the price of the tape alone: A look at Thunder 1.0.
-Hulk, wearing the largest sunglasses ever placed on a human face, talks about the emotional demage he still suffers from the betrayal of his former friend, Andre.
-Roddy Piper has a big-ass trophy and big-ass president Jack Tunney as his guest. Tunney reads a dedication commemorating the third anniversary of Hulk Hogan’s title win and out comes the Hulkster to accept the trophy. Andre the Giant follows him out, and some great, unusually subtle acting follows as he gives Hulk a big pat on the back to greet him, and for just a split second, you see a “What the fuck are YOU doing here?” look on Hulk’s face, before he switches back to a smile. The trophy is so damn big that it covers Andre’s face. Andre simply says, “Three years to be a champion…it’s a long time.” He offers Hulk a handshake, and you can tell from Hulk’s reaction that it’s actually hurting him.
-So that brings us to the following week’s Pit. Jack Tunney has another trophy, this time for Andre the Giant’s 15-year undefeated streak. His speech is noticably shorter; they don’t even bother giving him a video package this time. Andre comes out to accept the trophy, and when Piper asks him for an acceptance speech, Andre barely gets out a sentence fragment before Hulk marches out, takes over the segment, and basically delivers the speech for him. Andre calmly puts down the trophy and walks away.
-And the week after that, Piper brings out Jesse Ventura, who’s been stirring shit about the two trophy ceremonies. Jesse mentions how suspicious it was that when Andre got suspended, it was Bobby Heenan who attended the meeting regarding his reinstatement. He also points out that Hogan’s trophy appears to be real gold and Andre’s trophy seems to be painted lead. Anyway, Jesse tickles Roddy’s balls about having inside knowledge that nobody knows, and Piper gets pissed off and holds him to a deal. Piper pledges to get Hogan for next week’s Pit, but Jesse has to deliver Andre the Giant.
-So finally, we come to…the next Piper’s Pit. Piper brings out Hulk Hogan. Jesse Ventura brings out Andre the Giant…and Bobby Heenan. Hogan shits a brick, and Andre challenges Hulk to a match for the World World Championship at The Wrestlemania. He rips Hogan’s shirt and cross right off Hogan’s torso and tosses them to the floor. Piper, feeling genuinely sorry for his worst enemy, walks Hulk off the set.
-That brings us to yet another Piper’s Pit. Hulk genuinely tries to dodge the challenge, but he can’t work up the courage until Piper pushes the right buttons and finally talks him into accepting the match for The Wrestlemania. 1 for 1. And in twenty minutes scattered over five weeks, they manage to sell 93,000 tickets.
WRESTLEMANIA III CONTRACT SIGNING
-And now, the opposite of that, as Hulk turns his acting knob to ALDA and sads all over the table while Bobby Heenan taunts him and Andre stares coldly at him. 1 for 2.
WORLD TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. ANDRE THE GIANT (with Bobby Heenan)
-I think the amount of trash thrown at Andre & Heenan should serve as a benchmark when talking about trash-throwing any other time. So, Hulk Hogan’s heel turn forming the nWo would rank about a .8 Andre. And his entrance here actually gets a .4 Andre.
-So the bell sounds and Hogan & Andre stare each other down in the middle of the ring. Shoves are traded and Hogan throws punches at Andre. He tries a slam right there, but collapses under the weight and Andre gets a VERY close two-count. They managed to get an extra year and a half out of the feud from that spot. Bobby Heenan complains about the referee’s decision (“That was THREE, you asshole!”), but Andre just accepts it and goes to work on Hogan’s injured back.
-We jump ahead to a shoulderblock by Hogan. Another shoulderblock, but Andre won’t go down. Hogan goes for another shoulderblock but gets chopped down. Andre kicks Hogan in the stomach and sends him to the floor. He chops Hogan and attempts a headbutt, but Hogan ducks and Andre hits “the post” (his hand, and it’s not terribly convincing at all from such a close camera angle. Hogan boldly attempts a piledriver on the floor, but gets backdropped. Back in the ring, Andre misses a boot, and Hogan connects with a clothesline that takes Andre off his feet immediately. Hulk gets to his feet and bodyslams the big guy, then drops the leg and gets the three-count. 2 for 3. Match wasn’t great (it was the Observer’s Worst Match of the Year) but for history, it’s a must-see. And the MVP for the match is…your broadcasting team. Listen to just the audio of this bout and you’ll hear the performance of a lifetime from Gorilla & Jesse.
We return to Knightboat, where Hulk reflects on his friendship with Andre, setting up a clip montage from Andre’s babyface days. We actually should have put that first.
-Onto SNME, where Gene Okerlund conducts exclusive interviews with Andre, who discusses the phantom three-count from the first minute of the match.
-Hulk offers a retort live from the Minnow.
-Back to Saturday Night’s Main Event in November 1987. Andre interferes in Hogan’s bout against King Kong Bundy, and later, so does Bobby Heenan, costing Hulk the match by count-out. Hogan strangles Heenan and injures his neck in retaliation.
SPECIAL INTERVIEW(S) WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Craiggers interviews Ted DiBiase, who lays out his plan to buy the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan.
-Jack Tunney shows why he’s president by saying he’s not sure if Ted DiBiase is allowed to buy the title belt and he doesn’t know if Hulk Hogan has officially received his proposal.
-So Craiggers brings out Hogan for another special interview, and Hulk teases a heel turn before screaming “HELLLLLLLLLLLLLL NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and refusing the offer. I still love Hulk’s quote about how he could use DiBiase’s millions to help “all the teeny-weeny Hulksters who, mentally, aren’t right on the money.”
-DiBiase promises that one way or another, he’ll get what he wants. 3 for 4. I sound like an old codger preaching to the choir here, but I’m continually amazed at the way they were able to unfold and build major angles with a combined ten minutes over a span of weeks.
HULK HOGAN & BAM-BAM BIGELOW (with Oliver Humperdink) vs “The Million Dollar Man” TED DIBIASE & VIRGIL (with Andre the Giant)
-From MSG. Bobby Heenan dashes away from the commentary table to shake hands with DiBiase and relay some instructions to Andre.
-Heels attach during the entrance but get Irish whipped into each other, and DiBiase winds up trapped in the ring as the legal man. Hogan rams him from turnbuckle to turnbuckle, and Bam-Bam gives DiBiase head, in a manner of speaking.
-Hogan rubs DiBiase’s face into the mat, prompting an objection from the referee, and Hogan defends his actions by rubbing his fingers together for the “money” signal. You’ve convinced me! DiBiase gets pinballed in the corner and Virgil gets knocked off the apron. That’ll teach him to stand in the corner for a tag team match!
-Hogan bounces off the ropes and Andre trips him. DiBiase pounces and chokes out Hogan. Virgil tags in for the first time tonight and comes off the top with an axehandle. Andre takes advantage of some distraction while Hogan gets choked out by Andre. DiBiase sends Hulk over the top rope and rams him into the barricade, and Andre helpfully tosses him back inside.
-Virgil re-enters continues the beating on Hogan, and the crowd has no idea what to do at this point because “Big-e-low” isn’t a totally natural sounding chant for them. DiBiase clamps on a headlock, but Hogan elbows free. He teases a comeback, but a double-clothesline sends both men to their respective corners. Virgil makes the tag and so does Bigelow, to a roof-shaking pop. Bam-Bam press slams Virgil and goes for a pin, but DiBiase sneaks in to try and break it. Bam-Bam sees it coming and moves, so DiBiase accidentally elbows Virgil, and then Hogan sneaks it with a stealth legdrop. Splash by Bam-Bam, who GETS THE PIN! Holy shit, that’s generous for a Hogan tag team match!
-After nthe bell, Andre attacks and Hogan goes out of the ring. Bigelow sneaks up on Andre and dropkicks him, and Hogan runs back in with a chair to clear the ring. 4 for 5. Fun match!
SNME again, with Hogan getting the pin on King Kong Bundy in a rematch, and here’s Andre to ruin the celebration by strangling Hulk and damn near killing him.
SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH CRAIG DEGEORGE
-Time for Plan B! Ted DiBiase reveals he has purchased Andre the Giant’s contract from Bobby Heenan.
-We go to the contract signing at the Royal Rumble, where Hogan goes facefirst into a table.
-Hogan trains like a sumbitch.
WORLD TITLE: HULK HOGAN (Champion) vs. ANDRE THE GIANT (with Ted DiBiase & Virgil)
-Live on NBC, February 5, 1988. Among the small existing legion of smarts who knew that Hogan needed to drop the belt to make a movie, the expectation was that Hogan would go over here, but go over in some controversial way that would lead to President Jack Tunney announcing that the title would be held up. The ending that happened instead proved to be quite a bit more clever.
-Hogan poses and does his ear-cupping routine BEFORE the match, which should be a clue as to what’s about to happen. Before the match, we get the famous shot of Andre panning from his feet up to his head; if you’ve seen an Andre tribute montage since 1993, you’ve seen this clip. Jesse mentions that he feels good about seeing that Dave Hebner is in the ring to serve as referee and not that awful Joey Marella. Yep, Dave Hebner is referee all right.
-We join it in progress. Andre chokes Hogan again and Hogan gets revved up and breaks it with sheer force. He chops and punches Andre more. Hogan goes to the second turnbuckle and jumps off with a clothesline, and that takes Andre off his feet. Hogan goes for the legdrop and Virgil hooks the leg. Hogan recovers quickly but Dave Hebner runs over to yell at him for a bit. Hogan drops the leg on Andre and gets the visual three-count. There’s no referee, though, so Hogan gets up to retrieve Hebner. Andre gets up, too. He sneaks up on Hogan, headbutts him, and takes him down with a butterfly suplex. He goes for the pin and Hogan kicks out at one…
-But Dave Hebner counts three anyway, and Andre the Giant wins the gold.
-Gene Okerlund interviews Andre in the ring post-match and Andre announces that he’s surrendering the belt to Ted DiBiase. Specifically, Andre announces that he’s surrendering the “tag team championship belt” to Ted DiBiase, so fuck you, Strike Force. Forget that, though, this is just starting to get awesome. Andre, Ted, & Virgil head out of the ring to celebrate, and Hogan just watches them in shock. But then Hogan turns around…
-And there’s a SECOND Dave Hebner standing in the ring. Hogan watches in shock as the two Dave Hebners argue with each other about the decision. Vince & Jesse are confused as hell and argue about which one is Dave Hebner. Meanwhile Hulk starts yelling at both of them about losing his title, but then just breaks down, faceplams, and cries. The two Hebners argue some more, and then the one who counted the controversial pin punches the other Hebner and kicks him out of the ring.
-Hogan, starting to put 2+2 together, grabs the pin-counting Hebner, gets some approval from the crowd, and press slams Hebner over the top rope and onto Ted DiBiase and Virgil on the floor. 5 for 6. The whole fucking thing gets the point.
-We get the fallout interviews from Hogan, DiBiase (wearing the belt), and Jack Tunney announcing that the belt is vacant.
-We go to another SNME, with Randy Savage getting attacked by Andre the Giant until Elizabeth fetches Hulk Hogan to make the save.
HULK HOGAN vs. ANDRE THE GIANT (with Ted DiBiase & Virgil)
-From the Wrestlemania IV tournament quarterfinal. Hogan charges the ring and Andre is ready for him, attacking immediately with chops and headbutts. Hogan begins throwing forearms at Andre and that dazes him a little, so DiBiase heads up to the apron to help. Hogan strangles him and noggin-knocks him with the Giant. Series of chops causes Andre to stagger backward and get tangled in the ropes, and Hogan pauses to celebrate.
-DiBiase & Virgil untie Andre and Hogan goes right back to work with right hands until Andre just gradually tumbles over. Series of elbow drops by Hogan. Andre does something semi-smart, just taking the blow but holding onto Hogan when he tries to get back up so he can choke him. Andre gets back to his feet and puts the boots to Hogan. Another chokehold by Andre. Hogan starts to fade, so Andre turns it into a nerve hold to try and get a submission. Hogan hulks up from there and clotheslines the Giant. Virgil distracts the referee as DiBiase heads in with a folding chair and attacks Hogan with it. The referee turns around to see Hogan and Andre trading chairshots (with Andre’s shot on Hogan sounding particularly painful) and the referee calls for the bell to make it a double disqualification. 5 for 7. Seriously, THIS match they decided to show in complete form?
We finish the wrestling action with Hogan interfering in the finals and giving the belt to Randy Savage. Hogan wraps things up on the boat by saying that “our belt” is in safe hands with Savage, and vows that he won’t cheat his way to the top and betray a friend. He’s going to work his way through Jack Tunney’s system and…someday…beat Randy Savage fair and square. Actually says this.
The 411: Well, what you see is what you get. Two hours of Hulk and Andre; and honestly, for what it is, it's pretty good, and a tape recapping an entire feud start to finish is a concept that this company has never adequately been explored. It's neat.
|Final Score: 7.1 [ Good ] legend|