wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: What is Hulk Hogan’s Longest Singles Match?

September 7, 2020 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Hulk Hogan WWF

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It’s come crashing down and it hurts inside for Brad:

Recently I heard the usual criticism of Hulk Hogan’s wrestling ability and match length compared to Ric Flair. This got me thinking: Do you have any idea what Hogan’s longest match was? Specifically, I mean a singles match. My guess is some old WWF PPV or one of his Japanese contests. Thanks for any insight!

First, a caveat: There are a LOT of pro wrestling results out there that don’t include match times. Thus, when I’m talking about Hulk Hogan’s longest matches here, I’m talking about the longest matches for which we have data. There’s a good chance that he’s had bouts just as long as the ones that I’m getting ready to mention but nobody has ever bothered to watch them with a stopwatch.

That said, if we look at those matches for which data exists, the Hulkster has only had eleven singles encounters in his whole career that have lasted more than twenty minutes. Those eleven matches have happened in six different promotions in four different countries and three different decades.

Let’s recap them now, from shortest to longest:

11. Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter, WWF Wrestlemania VII (20:26): It’s interesting to me that this match of all Hogan matches ran as long as it did, because it’s not as though you needed a longer match in order for a Wrestlemania main event of this era to be considered a success, and, physically, Sarge was already about ten years past his prime. Oh well, at least the extended length gave us some extra guest commentary from Regis Philbin. RIP, Reeg.

10. Hulk Hogan vs. El Canek, UWA 9/2/1984 (20:42): In a rarity, Hogan appeared for the UWA promotion in Mexico City in 1984 and defended the WWF Championship against Canek. In traditional lucha libre fashion, it was a best two-out-of-three falls match. Each man won one fall before the time limit expired and the bout was ruled a draw. Given that 20:42 would be an odd time limit for a match to have, I’m going to guess that they slightly missed their cue and it was supposed to be a twenty minute time limit, which is an odd limitation to place on a three-fall encounter.

9. Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon, WWE Wrestlemana XIX (20:47): Like the Slaughter match, I was initially surprised to see that this one ran as long as it did, though in retrospect it makes sense because the actual wrestling content was fairly minimal and most of its run time was padded out by smoke and mirrors.

8. Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels, WWE Summerslam 2005 (21:25): This is the last singles match in Hogan’s career to top the twenty minute mark, and there’s an easy explanation as to why. Though earlier in Hulkamania an audience would be totally satisfied with a ten or under the right circumstances even an eight minute main event, by the mid-2000s the mindset in mainstream wrestling seemed to be that you were ripping audiences off if you didn’t give them a performance that lasted at least this long, particularly when one of the guys in there is known as an all-time great in-ring performer.

7. Hulk Hogan vs. Antonio Inoki, New Japan 6/2/1983 (21:27): This match took place at Sumo Hall in Tokyo and was the finals of the 1983 installment of the International Wrestling Grand Prix tournament, which was the forerunner of the modern day G1 Climax. Hogan was awarded an IWGP Championship belt for winning the match, which sometimes results in Hulk being referred to as a former IWGP Champ, but title he held has a distinct lineage from the one currently defended in New Japan. Interestingly, Hogan and El Canek – who we saw earlier on this list – also locked up in this tournament.

6. Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair, WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 (21:50): Hogan was making his in-ring debut for WCW and also winning their World Heavyweight Title here, so I suppose he felt that it was appropriate to give the fans something a little bit longer than his average match, particularly because he had Ric Flair in there to bounce around like a ping pong ball for him. Throw in a few spots from Sensational Sherri, who was managing Flair at the time in an excellent, underrated combination, and you’ve got everything that you need for Mr. Bollea to break the twenty minute mark.

5. Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H, WWF Backlash 2002 (22:00): During the early 2000s, when Triple H was a perpetual WWF/WWE Champion, he went through this phase where it was clear that he wanted to be a champ in the vein of Harley Race or Ric Flair when they held the NWA Title and could carry all manner of limited opponents to great, old school matches. Unfortunately, HHH was not Race or Flair, and the only thing this resulted in was him having several subpar matches that were in large part subpar because they went on for longer than they needed to. His matches with Scott Steiner around this time are one example, and this match with Hogan is another.

4. Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior, WWE Wrestlemania VI (22:51): This match was the proverbial unstoppable force versus the proverbial immovable object, and, even though neither wrestler was known for putting on long matches, the fact that they were so dominant against other opponents meant that you almost had to have them in there for an extended period, because otherwise one of the two (probably Hogan since he was losing) would have lost a significant amount of face. The bout isn’t an in-ring classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it did what it needed to do in the moment.

3. Hulk Hogan vs. Ken Patera, AWA 4/15/1983 (25:35): There were not a lot of match times listed for Hogan’s run in the AWA, and I am not sure why this match – which appears to have just been on a random house show at Roncalli High School in Making a Murderer‘s Manitowoc, Wisconsin – had that bit of data recorded. It honestly makes me suspect that this list would look a lot different if more of those AWA match times were recorded, because, given the style of wrestling that was prominent in the territory at the time, I suspect Hogan had some longer matches against guys like Nick Bockwinkel.

2. Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Backlund, WWF 4/12/1980 (29:00): This match was during Hogan’s first run with the WWF, when he was a heel managed by “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Backlund’s WWF Championship was on the line and, after almost half an hour of wrestling, Hulk managed to defeat the champion by count out, likely to set up a rematch later on down the line. One of the best things about this match is that we actually have footage of the whole thing, because it took place at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and was broadcast on Philly’s local PRISM television station.

1. Hulk Hogan vs. Bob Backlund, WWF 3/8/1980 (33:36): Believe it or not, this is the only recorded instance that I was able to find of Hulk Hogan wrestling a singles match of more than thirty minutes. It’s from the same Hogan/Backlund rivalry that produced the match above, and I’m going to guess it was more or less the same match. It definitely had the same count out finish, it’s just that it happened in the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland as opposed to happening in in Philadelphia.

So, there you have it, the only 11 Hulk Hogan matches that I could I find record of going over twenty minutes. If you’ve got record of any others, feel free to drop a note down in the comments.

Snoochie boochies, it’s Tyler from Winnipeg:

This is the second question I’ve asked tonight but was the term “spinarooni” used before WWF/WWE?

It sure was. I distinctly remember watching the latter days of WCW when Mark Madden was part of the announce team and hearing him be the first person to refer to the maneuver as a “spinarooni” on television. Booker had been doing it in matches for years before that, though it went unnamed, usually with Tony Schiavone awkwardly referring to it as “that breakdance move” or something similar.

However, in a radio show that he did from Chris Jericho’s second pro wrestling cruise, Booker T revealed that Madden did not come up with the name even though he was the one who first broadcast it. Apparently Jericho himself used the phrase in a backstage conversation with Madden on time, and Mark tucked that away in his brain and busted it out when he joined the announce team later on.

Night Wolf the Wise rolls in with two totally unrelated questions:

1. I read a story somewhere that when Brock Lesnar had his first run in WWE, Vince wanted to solidify his status as a star by beating Hulk Hogan at Survivor Series in 2002. Hogan refused to lose to Lesnar a second time and left the WWE until a year later. What the truth behind this?

You basically have the truth of the story in the question, and I do not have much to add. Hulk Hogan had been off of WWE television since an August 6, 2002 match against Brock Lesnar that aired on an episode of Smackdown, and there were creative plans for Hogan to return as part of the buildup to that year’s Survivor Series show, where he would lose to Brock a second time. Hogan didn’t like the idea of doing a second job, and he ultimately made the call to not return.

This is all backed up in the November 11, 2002 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which states that the main reason Hogan did not return in 2002 were his booking plans at the Survivor Series, though they also mention that Hulk had been unhappy with his payoffs from major shows leading up to that point and there were disagreements between him and WWE regarding what content would be included in in the WWE-published Hulk Hogan biography that came out around that time, with one particular sticking point being how much credit the book would give Vince McMahon for “making” Hogan’s career.

The Survivor Series finish was the main point of contention leading to the departure, though.

2. Remember when John Cena was feuding with Carlito over the U.S. title? They ran an angle he was stabbed in a club. The person turned out to be Jesus. I read a rumor that WWE initially wanted New Jack to be John Cena’s attacker. Is this true? I can’t imagine WWE was even contemplating this seeing how New Jack had a bad reputation.

I’ve heard the same rumor but never seen it reported by what I would consider to be a credible source. It also strikes me as being highly unlikely given not just New Jack’s general reputation but also what was going on in his life at the specific time the stabbing angle was unfolding.

The storyline played out between Carlito’s WWE debut in October 2004 and the Armageddon pay per view in December 2004, when Cena defeated Jesus in a street fight and essentially brought an end of his WWE career. (He would go on to wrestle for many more years, just mostly in Japan.)

Do you know what New Jack was up to around this time?

In January 2004, WWE released an album titled WWE Originals, which included several members of its roster rapping and singing some remarkably bad tracks, with the only highlight being Cena’s “Basic Thuganomics” entrance music. In one of the so-called songs on the album, the Dudley Boys did some rapping, and for reasons that I don’t entirely understand, they threw out a line where they dropped New Jack’s name and said he looked “flabby and sick.” Word of this got back to Jack, and he did not take kindly to it, cutting several promos on the Duds anyplace he could find a microphone, dropping threats and claiming that he and D-Von had sexual relations with some of the same “rats” in ECW while D-Von was married. (Source: January 26, 2004 Figure Four Weekly newsletter.)

This was also the year that New Jack repeatedly stabbed an opponent during a match at an independent show. This contemporaneous blog post by wrestling journalist Mike Mooneyham has a lot more details, but the short version is that, on an October 10, 2004 card for the Thunder Wrestling Federation – a promotion run by one of Jack’s uncles – a breakdown in communication somehow resulted in the ECW alumnus repeatedly jabbing a sharp metal prop into various parts of the body of his opponent, William Lane. Jack was arrested and held in jail for a few days but ultimately made bail after a campaign to get wrestling fans to donate money to Jack in exchange for a personal, collect phone call from his cell. (You can’t make some of this stuff up.) Ultimately, any criminal charges were dropped, with Lane appearing reluctant to participate in the prosecution.

Also in 2004, New Jack was claiming at points he was going to retire but ultimately no-showed his retirement show because there was a warrant outstanding for him in the area where the show was being held.

I understand that WWE has engaged in some ill-advised, poorly thought-out behavior on the past, but by 2004 I don’t think that they were going to bring in a guy who is a) actively spreading rumors about one of their performers being an adulterer; b) shortly after he was facing charges for legitimately assaulting an opponent in a match, and c) unable to work in at least one jurisdiction without fear of the cops picking him up. The whole thing just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Paul is relaxing with Trudi:

Back during the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis feud (anyone who has never seen this from start to its Wrestlemania 3 match must see this) there is a point where Piper has Jimmy Hart on Piper’s Pit two times. During the last one, Piper and Hart get into it and Adonis appears out of nowhere and attacks Piper. Jesse and Vince talk about how “Where did Adonis come from?” and “That arm looks healed.” I, for the life of me, never remember Piper injuring Adonis in retaliation for the attack on his leg with Orton and Muraco. Was Adonis injured or told to drop weight or some other reason he was “not around”?

There actually was a retaliatory attack by Piper against Adonis which, in storyline terms, injured Adonis’s arm and kept him “out of action” for about two months. Go back and watch the episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event that was taped on September 13, 1986 and aired on October 4, 1986. Hulk Hogan wrestled Paul Orndorff in the main event of the evening (a great example of how the main event is not always the last match on the card – Kamala and Lanny Poffo finished out the evening), and the finish saw Adrian Adonis run in and attack Hogan for the DQ. While Adonis and Orndorff were double-teaming Hogan, a still-injured “Rowdy” Roddy Piper came out on crutches and made the save, whacking Adonis in the shoulder with a crutch and causing the Adorable One to take a bump over the top rope and to the floor. Vince McMahon on commentary mentions that Adrian’s shoulder appears to be dislocated.

After that match and angle were taped but before they aired on television, Adonis did wrestle Hogan on a September 15, 1986 house show in Albany, New York, but otherwise he was out of action until making his return in November.

If there was a legitimate reason for Adonis being off the road during that time, I’m unable to come up with it, though I admit that could be because so much of what has been written about Adonis since that time focuses on his tragic death. However, as best I can tell, his absence in the fall of 1986 appears to have just been furthering the Piper feud.

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected].