wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Did Hulk Hogan Wrestle Under All of WWE’s Company Names?

August 18, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
Hulk Hogan WWF

Welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling, the only wrestling column, that while not wanting Finn Balor to get injured at Summerslam, still thinks that if he did get injured while winning, that it would make a hell of a story, that the Demon was now so powerful he can’t unleash it without it breaking him, thus making the next time he unleashes it that much more important.

But again, please don’t get injured Finn.

Anyway, let’s get down to the issue at hand, questions! Got one of them? [email protected] is the button to click on!

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Daniel Bryan/Big Show Cash-In: I’m going on what Dave Meltzer wrote at the time of Daniel’s retirement, which fits in with everything I’ve heard on the subject at the time and since, and I quote:

A wrestling genius, Bryan Danielson was working as a heel, given the name Daniel Bryan, a somewhat comedic and upper card version of the role the late Mike Lockwood played earlier as Crash Holly. The idea was there was this small guy who was so deluded that he thought he could beat the real men. He wasn’t portrayed as completely oblivious as Crash Holly, but still as naive, as this little guy who thought his submission moves would actually work against bigger guys. Fans could see he was very good, although in many of his earliest matches you wouldn’t even get a glimpse of it. You were supposed to see that visually it was a joke that he was in the ring with people like Kane, Mark Henry, Batista and Big Show. But the fans still reacted to him, many because they knew just how good he really was. And at times, a few wrestlers, Chris Jericho and Batista immediately come to mind, didn’t squash him when they were supposed to because they recognized his talent. He wasn’t completely squashed. At some points he was given underdog wins, picked up mid-card titles and even won Money in the Bank. And then, just as quickly, the decision making process would change and he’d be booked to lose all his matches, and he was supposed to fade to the land of Zack Ryder, and then, just as suddenly, the thought process would, on a moments notice, change again.

He actually got a world championship immediately after several months of burials. On December 18, 2011, Big Show won the world heavyweight title from Mark Henry in a chairs match. Bryan had won the Money in the Bank match months earlier, but the company immediately got buyers regret on him, the same emotion that later happened with Damien Sandow when he won, and Sandow’s career never recovered from. But at literally the last minute, someone came up with the idea of having Show beat Henry, get destroyed after, and having Bryan cash in his briefcase. The bad part of this is that it was the day of the show, and Bryan wasn’t even booked to be there. He lived far enough away that he wouldn’t have been able to get to the show on time, but in searching for him, in a weird fluke, he was booked for a public appearance not too far away, and would easily be able to get to the building after all.

The story come up with on that day was that the world title would go on an annoying guy who very clearly didn’t deserve it, but would brag that he beat the Big Show in seconds, and then he’d fluke his way into retaining it as he’d survive as Show and Henry would continually cost each other the title, until people would hate him so much that he’d then be dropped like a gnat by the company’s next superstar babyface, Sheamus.

WWE Employees/SAG: Well the wrestlers aren’t employees, that’s kind of the whole point, so I’m not sure what they thought they heard.

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? A member of the WWE roster right now, I’m the only guy who was in both a specific important stable in TNA history and another stable you’ve probably heard of. I’ve won tag gold with natural formations, weapons, and a guy with a weak connection to the guy directly above here. A member of the SRW team, and someone who has been a medical professional, a religious figure, and a fraud, I am who?

Kouvre has the answer for us.

Important TNA stable = Aces & Eights
Another stable you’ve heard of = Bullet Club
Tag partners:
-Natural formation = Iceberg
-Weapons/weak connection to Arn Anderson = “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson, who chose his ring name in tribute to the Anderson family
-Also weapons = Knux aka Mike Knox
SRW character = Tex Ferguson
Medical professional = Known as Doc Gallows in TNA, also did the horrible “ringpostitis” angle with New Day in WWE
Religious figure = Portrayed the Freakin’ Deacon in Deep South Wrestling
Fraud = Impostor Kane

You are LUKE GALLOWS.

Who am I? I’ve held a tag title that the above man has also held, although I was a tag title away from holding the triple crown of one of the one of the big 3. My very first match in pro wrestling was part of a unique card that also included Ric Flair and Paul Heyman. I was briefly Russian, as well as being the beau of the first woman in a WWF video game. I’ve been beaten by clowns, a screamer, and I once had to destroy a ring in order to win a title. A guy who stands out in the final edition of Nitro for a specific reason, I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

Gordon starts us off with a music based question, about the HHH/Sgt. Slaughter Boot Camp match.

I love the colulmn, its a must read for me every week. I’m a first time Q asker so please forgive if this has been answered .Is the Sarge brought in to Angles music in this ppv? Was this edited in? Or was Angle the one to use it? Just cuirous! Thanks for your time

To the tape!

Uh, that is, the illegally posted streaming video service!

Yeah, Kurt Angle’s music had a few trips around the block before it settled on him. Slaughter used it while he was the Commissioner, it formed the basis of the Patriot’s theme, and it was used by Team USA at Survivor Series 1997. It used to be the generic American Pride music, similar to how the Orient Express theme was used by anyone Asian who didn’t get their own theme off the bat.

It’s only because the music has become so iconic and connected to a specific person and a specific call and response that previous usages of it now retroactively “Hey, wait a minute!” worthy. At the time, it was just a Jim Johnson stand by track. Now, it’s Medal, and it’s Kurt Angle through and through.

Also it’s You Suck.

Johnnie Walker asks how over Steamboat was.

How over was Ricky Steamboat as NWA/WCW Champion? It seems like he was one the first babyface champions to get a mixed reaction, not too different from Roman Reigns today. I realize that Steamboat’s matches with Flair are considered classics but was Sting a bigger draw?

The ‘mixed reactions’ with Steamboat as NWA Champion are kinda hard to quantify as I would say that they’re not people booing Steamboat as they are just loving Flair. Even at the height of Flair being a huge prick, Flair still had fans who were diehard Flair fans because he’s Ric Flair. It’s not like today, Steamboat didn’t get booed in some markets and cheered in others, he just would fight Flair most nights, and some people would support Flair more than him.

I’d say he was as over as you’d want, and drew as well as could be expected, I’ve not heard anyone who would want to downplay the Flair/Steamboat series claim it didn’t draw well. Trying to compare Sting and Steamboat is… Hard, because Steamboat was a draw but he wasn’t meant to be the man that the company was built around long term, Sting was. So Sting had more varied feuds and longer time spent pushed on top, whereas after Steamboat’s big run with Flair he got bumped down when Flair turned face, so him and Sting were in different positions for too much time.

I wouldn’t say Steamboat was the most over face of his generation, but Flair/Steamboat drew well enough, sure. Steamboat was over, certainly over enough for the role they used him in. Sting had a longer time spent as a draw, so the comparison isn’t useful really. But I suppose the fact that Sting drew with multiple people says something…

Connor has a simple enough question.

Did The Rock and Kane ever have a one on one match? Rock and Taker had many on pay per view it just seemed odd that Rock and Kane never did

They had a few on TV, sure. Sep 14th 1998 Raw, Rock pinned Kane. Jan 12th 1999 Raw, Kane beat Rock by DQ. Dec 28th 1999 Smackdown, Rock beat Kane by pinfall in a No Holds Barred match, then on the Jun 12th 2000 Smackdown another No holds Barred match went to a no contest, somehow. Raw Aug 28th 2000 saw Rock pin Kane, then on the Oct 3rd 2000 Smackdown Kane won by DQ. Their final one on one match, Raw, Dec 29th 2000, saw Kane pin Rock.

But yes, it’s slightly odd that all of Kane and Rock’s matches on PPV were either tag team matches, Rumbles, or the occasional multi-man mess. I think the problem is that Kane wasn’t really a main event guy for an extended period at the same time Rock was around constantly, Kane didn’t have a long run as champ that Rock could try to stop at any point, for a long time he was midcardish, and while Rock did occasionally work with a guy in that area, it tended to be someone that could talk, not necessarily at Rock’s level, but could at least hold up their end of a promo battle.

Tracy has a simple question.

2+3=?

Big Daddy V? Or is this another Jericho returning code? Or a Big E reference? Am I close?

So, NewLegacyInc did their Rumble Marathon last weekend, was a lot of fun, and if you missed it, and have 20 hours to spare, here you go!

You’ll hear my name near the end of the second day, when I chipped in to help!

And speaking of chipping in, another very worthwhile cause here, from long time friend of the column Jed!

While I wonder about that math problem still, let’s review a few questions from Jeremiah.

I’ve started a rewatch of the NWO storyline and I’ve noticed an odd peculiarity on Nitro: the backstage Mean Gene interviews against the lockers always look the same. Was this a set they dragged around every Monday night or were these all filmed in bulk, say, during Saturday Night tapings? I’ve paid special attention at the wrestler attire for those who have multiples and it does always match what they wear later in their matches so that’s either proof of the former or amazing foresight.

I presume you mean this set here.

Like a lot of things in wrestling, I don’t have hard facts or the ability to say with confidence that something is whatever, but that sure looks like a set to me. Near the end, when everyone crowds in, you can see just on the left edge that the wall seems to stop suddenly, as if the set wall just ends.

I looked at the taping schedule for 96, and although they do tape a lot from the Disney/MGM studios, they just don’t tape there consistently enough to make it viable to tape all these in the same place. I think that it’s more likely that the row of lockers and the fake wall were indeed dragged around, rather than the logisitical nightmare of taping stuff well in advance and making sure people wore the same clothing.

What was Sting doing on the house show circuit between Fall Brawl ’96 and Starrcade ’97? The various online databases only list a handful of actual matches on those show during that 15-month period, so was he doing anything else to stay in ring shape? Was it rafter/stands appearances akin to Nitro, or was he skipping them altogether. It would be odd to think of WCW’s most popular babyface not making the majority of their live events.

No, he wasn’t doing anything as such to keep in shape. That was actually a major issue when he did some back at Starrcade, Hogan and Bischoff didn’t like that he was pudgy and pale and all that, comparatively. The few matches he had in that time frame were indeed all he had.

Now, had the Hogan/Sting match happened at the Great American Bash 97 as originally planned, maybe he’d have still been in ‘acceptable’ shape, but they kept dragging it out since it kept bumping up the ratings and he kept getting over, so they kept delaying it, until Starrcade became the obvious choice to end it.

You may well ask, if a guy is a wrestler and doesn’t bump, while he’d thusly probably be rusty upon his return, surely he’d be working out a lot and look really buff when he did come back since he didn’t have any bumping to worry about. Certainly Bischoff thinks that, he said so on an appearance on Ric Flair’s podcast a while back, and I quote:

”What had happened over the course of a year is he hadn’t been working out. He wasn’t engaged. He’d show up, he’d do his thing, he would do it very well, it was great, he’d get on a plane the next morning, he’d disappear, and we wouldn’t see him for a week.” Bischoff continued, “but at the end of our first meeting talking about where things were going, when it was over, Hulk and I both looked at each other and go, ‘man, we can’t go there. He didn’t get ready for this.’ It didn’t feel to us that this was a priority.”

Originally, the plan was for Sting to go over Hogan clean, but Bischoff made the decision to change course.

“Hulk Hogan takes the heat for this, ‘you changed the finish – you didn’t want to do it’, B.S. That was my call. Right or wrong, it was my call.”

Sting has since talked about how at the time he was addicted to prescription medication and alcohol and such, which is the explanation of sorts for his state of mind and body at the time.

But no, Sting did not work the house show circuit during his time in the rafters, he wasn’t popping over to Japan every second weekend or anything, he was just doing his appearances on Nitro and PPV, no more, no less.

I’ve heard that early on in Jerry Lawler’s WWF tenure that his actions there were still portrayed as those of a babyface in the USWA. How was this accomplished? Did the Memphis fans generally not watch the WWF, or were they given a skewed version of events on the local broadcasts to combat those damn lying Yankees up north

While I’m sure some fans didn’t watch WWF TV, the trick was pulled via extra filming on the road with WWF occasionally, and more importantly establishing early on that anyone turning up in USWA from the WWF was automatically a heel, up to and including Vince McMahon, hence the Mr. McMahon 0.8 beta you can find on various streaming websites.

To backtrack a little, when Lawler signed onto the WWF, he and USWA booker Jerry Jarrett also arranged for talent sharing with the WWF. At first, this was just Jeff Jarrett and Lawler to WWF, and WWF guys would do spots in USWA. Shawn Michaels had a few IC title defences there, Big Boss Man and Papa Shango had runs in USWA, it was pretty casual… And then Lawler attacked newly crowned King of the Ring Bret Hart.

Lawler would explain this on USWA TV as the fact that he was the only true king of wrestling, he didn’t go around calling himself Hitman or Macho Man. And then Owen Hart turned up in Memphis to defend his brother’s honor. And thanks to Owen’s grest heel work, and Lawler being loved, when Owen beat Lawler to win the Unified World Title, Owen basically established that the WWF were all heels, Bret, Vince, Tatanka, everyone.

So in Memphis, it was established that WWF = Bad, Lawler = Good. So, then they’d record some stuff on a WWF tour.

So in that video, you’ll notice that they start off in the usual WWF roles, with Lawler in his heel voice and persona, Vince paying good guy announcer. Then at about the 3 minute mark, when they bring up Memphis, Lawler switches to his more standard voice, and becomes the good guy, while Vince becomes cocky and sarcastic. For those at the WWF taping, it was a little odd, but still in the ballpark of Lawler being a bastard. But in Memphis, it was in the ballpark of Lawler being awesome. The Memphis fans just accepted that people from other places didn’t like their guy, and vice versa, so whatever, Lawler was still King.

I suppose you could argue it was skewing the broadcasts, but like the Harts later on, it was more just regional, Memphis fans loved the King, and sided with him, regardless of how the rest of the world saw him.

Michael asks one of those questions that I can’t really answer.

Hey dude. Been checking out the Nitro archives on the Network, and I’ve noticed that Rey Mysterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera were booked against each other way more than any other 2 cruiserweights in the division. Come to think of it, they may have had more one-on-one matches than any 2 wrestlers on the entire roster during the history of Nitro. Any idea if that’s true? Thanks.

On Nitro, they wrestled seven times, apparently. That seems low.

Booker T and Benoit was 6…

Oh, Flair and Sting was… 7 as well. So you can’t say Rey/Juvi was the most common unique pairing, there’s at least one that matches it. As for one that beats it, no idea. Readers?

Brad wants to talk Hogan, Cena, and letters.

I look forward to your column every week, and you answered one of my questions a few years ago. Anyway, I’d like to compare the careers of Hulk Hogan and John Cena. Hogan’s first and last WWE matches were in 1979 and 2006, a span of 27 years. Cena’s first WWE match was in 1997. To match Hogan, he would have to wrestle in 2024. Do you think he’ll make it? My gut says yes, barring serious injury. As his career winds down, he could still make the occasional brief return as a special attraction.

If you let him have time off, like Rock level time off, then absolutely. Cena is 40 right now, and so he’ll be just 47 in 2024, and assuming that he doesn’t end up stuck in the Not Stanley Ending or some such, I can see him working Wrestlemanias, maybe the occasional Summerslam or Rumble, sure. He seems to really love wrestling, although he’s slowly becoming a more general star, much to WWE’s chagrin/delight/horror, but he’ll keep coming back until he can’t physically, or when there’s too much money tied up in him not being hurt.

On a side note, had the WWE switched from the WWWF to the WWF by the time Hogan debuted? They both happened in 1979, but I’m not sure of the exact date of the name change. It would be interesting if he wrestled under all the WWWF, WWF, and WWE banners. Has anyone done that? Some possibilities that come to mind include the Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter, Ric Flair, and Roddy Piper. Thank you for your time.

According to Historyofwwe.com, the switch over occurred March 30th, 1979, although it says ‘during this time’ which could mean anything. But even if it was only around that time, Hogan didn’t debut in the company until November 13th of that year, so he wouldn’t count.

So, let’s start with WWWF alumni and see if any jump out at me.

Bob Backlund is the first on the list, thanks to the 2007 Raw Gimmick Battle Royal.

The Fabulous Moolah also qualifies, thanks to a ‘school girls’ tag match on Smackdown in 2004 for WWE. Sadly Mae Young doesn’t seem to have a WWWF appearance.

As for the ones you suggested, Iron Sheik does work, if you count his run in the WWWF as Hussein Arab, and the no contest tag match he and Volkoff had with Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo in 2008.

Slaughter came in in 1980, although Piper and Flair both count. As does Ted DiBiase, Greg Valentine, and… Uh… Yeah.

Am I missing anyone, dear readers?

Connor checks on coincidence.

Is it a coincidence that Sting and Ultimate Warrior started out as a team together and both of their first world title reigns ended up flopping?

Yes.

Next, JCL has a bunch of questions. Here’s a few of them.

This one might be hard because with the IWC 100 voices = 1,000 opinions, but speaking very broadly do you see any change lately in the perception of the Attitude Era as this golden perfect era we should still be striving for? To me it seems like there’s a little less call for it and a little more recognition of the flaws of that era. What are your thoughts?

Yeah, for a few different reasons the ‘We Need The Attitude Era Back’ concept is becoming less prevalent. A major reason why is that you tend to find that people who call for a return for the Attitude Era were those who lived through it, who were watching wrestling at the time, and more likely than not were old enough to want to see blood and titties and such with their wrestling. And those people are now getting older, and moving on from wrestling, or just from talking about it online, or have matured about the subject, so there’s less call for it from those who remember it, and a whole generation of fans have now come up post-Attitude.

Another main issue is that with the re-rise of the indy scene, and the streaming revolution, it’s now a lot easier to get access to wrestling styled to your tastes, you can find 18+ wrestling shows, wrestling with weapons, women’s wrestling, blood, whatever you want, new or old, all at your fingertips. The Network is a hell of a thing after all.

Take those, plus resignation that WWE is stuck in PG for the foreseeable future, and a more critical eye applied to all wrestling… Yeah, some of the bloom is off that rose.

Although I will maintain that the ‘anything can happen at any time’ mentality of the Attitude Era should come back, as well as ‘motivations for everyone’ and such, aspects of the Attitude Era’s approach to storytelling, not the bells and whistles, those are things I still call for and still want. But I can live without blood and titties, just give me consistent characters and motivations and either do straight face/heel or do shades of grey, just pick a direction and stick to it.

But picking apart WWE flaws, we’d be here all day…

Is everything in the WWE’s library eventually going to get uploaded to the Network? I’m not talking about stuff like the Owen Hart fall or the Chris Benoit doc. I’m talking more about those old Coliseum Video releases like Rampage 91, or World Tour 1990 or whatever.

Probably, yeah. The issue is that they don’t seem to be just tossing stuff up as is, they want things uploaded now to be catalogued and marked, that takes time, that takes effort, that takes humans being involved. And when the archives are apparently such a small fraction of the Network’s output, they probably don’t have too many people involved, maybe one or two people with a converter, a laptop, and time.

Assuming, of course, there’s no copyright issues. Because copyright issues are always so fun to deal with…

On that note, my internet is going weird, and my energy level is almost zero anyway, so I’ll end it there, see you all next week!