wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Did Hulk Hogan Slam Andre The Giant First?

July 29, 2015 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina

Hello, and welcome to the only column that thinks we should get Demolition Axel and Demolition Smashdow next week, Ask 411 Wrestling!

Obviously some big happenings in wrestling this week, what with He Who Must Not Be Named 2: Named Harder (Brother), which I thought about discussing, blowing the dust off the Not An Evolution Schematic, but I realised that I really didn’t have much to say that all the other excellent writers here on 411mania hadn’t already said. So I let it go. Hopefully this week is pretty Hogan free.

Speaking of being person free, if you’re the reader who hates me, then you’re probably not reading this. But hopefully a friend who is reading this lets you know that next week, although it’ll be my name on the byline, I am once more handing over the reigns to Jed ‘Rewriting The Booking Sheet’ Shaffer, since my last break was two whole weeks ago, what am I, a writing machine???

Actually it’s a boring day job thing, but anyway, if you have a question you specifically want someone other than myself to answer, send it to [email protected] for him to answer.

And now, NEW BANNER!

I didn’t get to stick this in last week due to reasons, but as a reminder, this is based on Tri.Moon’s excellent Desire WCW video. Go follow him on the twitters and the youtubes

Zeldas!

Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! I’ll be your friend, trust me.

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Owens as a Main Eventer: Yeah, failing some sort of ‘Owens saves boatload of multi-racial children from heading over Niagara Falls’ situation Owens is, sadly, not going to be a main eventer at WM. He could have been but WWE has decided he’s not, so he’s not. Sigh.

WM Money Matches: Hogan/Flair runs into the problem that WWE didn’t push Flair hard enough to get him over with the WWE fans who didn’t know who he was, instead of ‘Other True World Champion Contender’ he was ‘Guy With Fake Belt’. So by the time Hogan/Flair was due to happen, Flair wasn’t at a point where it would help.

But I’ll agree Hogan/Austin would have been huge, but it’s not like Hogan/Rock was small potatoes. But I’ll amend my stand that Cena/Taker, Streak V WINSLOL is the biggest missed money match of the recent era.

The Trivia Crown

Who am I? I’ve had three main names in my career, two of which are very similar. I lost my only ever Hair V Something match. I’ve been in World War 3, I’ve retired and unretired, and I’ve joined a stable I had been fighting against. I was given a chance to join a tag team provided I impressed them when I went up against a future hall of famer, who I lost to in under 2 minutes. I’ve wrestled my trainer on American TV, I’ve done some sleuthing and some st… Adult entertaining. Who Am Eye?

Markish has it for us.

Who am I? I’ve had three main names in my career, two of which are very
similar. (Detective Alan Kiroki, Tokyo Magnum and Magnum TOKYO) I lost my only ever Hair V Something match. (Hair vs Hair against Masaaki Mochizuki) I’ve been in World
War 3, (In 1998) I’ve retired and unretired, (Retired in 2007, unretired in 2008) and I’ve joined a stable I had been fighting against. (Joined M2K after feuding with them in Toryumon) I was given a chance to join a tag team provided I impressed them when I went up against a future hall of famer, who I lost to in under 2 minutes. (Tried to join the Dancing Fools of Alex Wright and Disco Inferno. Lost to Eddy Guerrero) I’ve wrestled my trainer on American TV (fought Ultimo Dragon in WCW, I imagine? Probably a squash match on Thunder), I’ve done some sleuthing (in HUSTLE as Det. Kiroki) and some st… Adult entertaining. (As Magnum everywhere) Who Am Eye? (You are Magnum Tokyo, and this question is reference to the eye injury that caused your initial retirement)

Who am I? I’ve wrestled He Who Must Not Be Named 2: Named Harder (Brother) in at least one ‘famous’ match. I’m one of only four men to do one thing but not another (and only one of two after an obvious changing point). I was champion of a island nation for just under a month, losing the championship in a tag match despite it being a singles title. Each of my (admittedly few) tag title reigns came with a different partner, all of them future world champions (albeit with one of those being… questionable). I’m a Slammy winner, an American, and a swerve victim, I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

OK, let’s get onto our first question, and hopefully there will be no Hogan That guy. Raza?

Who were the usual suspects as the third mystery partner of NWO leading up to Bash at the Beach 1996?

Darn.

Well, there were basically three schools of thought online leading into the show. (I can’t really tell you what the non-internet fan thought because, by definition, they’re not online and thus couldn’t talk about it).

There was the wild speculation crowd, who were thinking it was going to be Bret Hart or The Undertaker or Bulldog or whoever, some jumping ship name that would have been totally out of the blue and also not going to happen. The sort of people who let their imagination get away from them.

Then there were the saner heads that fell into two camps, based on how they answered the following question.

Just how big are Eric Bischoff’s balls?

For those who thought Eric’s balls were fun sized and/or comparable to your average baby hermit crab, then he wasn’t going to go through with it and thus we’d be stuck with Sting or Luger as the third man.

And those who thought Eric could use his balls as an acceptable substitute for a Space Hopper and/or temporary levee reinforcement system, then you thought he would go through with the Hogan Heel Turn.

The Hogan turn plan was known, it was just a question of if they’d pull the trigger or not, plus a few people on the edges who swore it would be Vince McMahon or someone…

Nightwolf hopefully takes us away from Hogan related activities.

1. I read an interview with Harley Race talking about slamming Andre the Giant. How many people have body slammed Andre the Giant?

Okay then.

Well, there’s a popular video that has collected all taped/recorded slams of Andre The Giant, which Nightwolf discusses later, but to whit:

So a list of people who did it solo would be those, plus a few others not shown in the video.

Antonio Inoki
Blackjack Mulligan
Butcher Vachon
Don Leo Jonathan
El Canek
Harley Race
High Chief Maivia
Hulk Hogan
Kamala
Masked Superstar
Mil Mascaras
Otto Wanz
Riki Choshu
Sgt. Slaughter
Stan Hansen
Strong Kobayashi
Ultimate Warrior

And probably many more. See, the thing is, back in the day, Andre being slammed was actually kind of common, it was a spot like any other, like Andre being tied up in the ropes, if Andre liked you and you were a top star of a promotion, he’d let you slam him as part of his tour. So there’s a bunch of people who have slammed him, it was just in local promotions and not recorded/shown to the masses, so a complete list is pretty much impossible to find.

2. Who was the first person to Slam Andre the Giant?

Probably whoever the local French promoter who had him trained was using to teach him wrestling.

But that’s a cop out answer, so who was the first guy in a match to do it? Race is the traditional answer, but there is footage of Butcher Vachon doing it in 1972, which is pretty darn early, so unless a dear reader has a better answer, (which is entirely possible, the due debuted in the early 60’s, so it could be almost anyone).

Sure as hell wasn’t Hogan though.

3. I saw a video which shows Hulk Hogan Slamming Andre the Giant 6 times. If that is indeed true, then what made his Slamming of Andre the Giant at WM more special? I would have thought it wouldn’t have been so impressive since alot of people body slammed him. Can you please explain this to me.

Selling.

Not from Andre or Hogan as such, but by the WWF.

Everyone remembers Wrestlemania 3 being this huge moment because WWF went out of its way to make it seem like a huge moment. They said over and over again how Andre was undefeated and unslammed, how Hogan was so driven by the betrayal of a friend and wanted his revenge, but it was a literal giant, how could Hogan possibly do it? And then he did, and it was so huge a moment, in front of such a huge crowd, that no-one could forget it.

Sure, Andre had been slammed before, even by Hogan during their Hogan heel/Andre face run. But while WWF was helped by the fact that these were either only seen live or occurred before WWF became huge and thus the vast majority of viewers wouldn’t remember it, coupled with their fantastic selling job, and such a unique venue, it all becomes an iconic moment in pro wrestling, hell, popular culture full stop.

Hogan Slamming Andre wasn’t just Hulk Hogan guiding Andre up and around as he jumped in the air. It was a major milestone in a lot of people’s lives because WWF sold it as such, and people bought into it.

Ok, let’s see if I can get away from Hogan. Oscar?

Thanks for all your hard work in getting answers every week; I enjoy it a lot.

I remember a quote from a Hogan interview where he said something along the lines of:

“I’ve climbed the highest mountain top 7 times over [dude?]….I’ve [been on?] the back of the great white shark, opened up its jaws and teared him limb from limb [brother?]”

I have searched everywhere without good results.

Great, it’s a running gag now.

Anyway, as a future request, if you, dear reader, ever thinks to ask a question like this, if you have any sort of details as to promotion, vague time, target, that sort of stuff really helps me. Because otherwise I’m stick blindly looking at promos and hoping I stumble onto the right one.

Sadly, I have not this time around. But perhaps you know this one off the top of your head, or at least have details for me, dear readers?

While we’re at it, can you find the interview where black machismo says everything twice for emphasis?

See above. I couldn’t find anything close to this, beyond some of his Ric Flair impersonations where he would repeat himself like Flair used to, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. Readers? Any help?

Ok, dammit, enough of the Hogan gimmick, let’s get some questions I can actually answer. Alan wants to talk Flair in WWF the first* time round.

*= Yes, he was in WWF very early on, but I mean the first run anyone remembers.

1) When Ric Flair first came to the WWF in 1991, why did they blur out his WCW belt on every WWF TV show? They even blurred fans’ signs that had WCW written on them. I understand that the WWF didn’t acknowledge that any other wrestling company existed but why even have Flair appear on TV with the title if they were just going to blur it out?

Not every show.

It was only after WCW filed a lawsuit that the blurring started.

The idea was fairly obvious, Flair is a world champ, Hogan is a world champ, they fight it out to see who is real world champ. And they could do this because Flair believed he owned the actual title belt when Jim Herd fired him.

See, although in reality Ric Flair was, when he left WCW in 91, being promoted mainly as WCW World Champion, he was also, technically, being presented as the NWA World Champion, with the Big Gold Belt actually being the NWA title belt, not the WCW one. The NWA was practically dead at this point since the vast majority of its members had died out, but on paper, WCW had to abide by their rules.

And one of those rules was that the champion had to lease the title belt, by putting down a $25,000 deposit down, held in case the champion decided not to drop the belt when he was ordered to. Since Flair never got his 25K back, he presumed this meant the belt was now his. And thus he could send it to Vince, and Bobby Heenan could carry it around until Flair could legally turn up on WWF TV.

Jim Herd, after some panicking and running about trying to get Flair back, did some quick politically manoeuvring and got control of the NWA board, and named Lex Luger as the new, official, NWA World Champion. And thus, they then filed a lawsuit demanding Flair give the title belt back.

And in a fairly landmark ruling in terms of wrestling lawsuits, the court ruled that yes, a professional wrestling title belt was an important, valuable symbol of a promotion, and thus Flair’s continued use of it on WWF TV would open the company up to being sued for damages. Flair then, reluctantly, returned the title.

At first, WWF tried to get around this by having a new belt made that was pretty much identical but wasn’t actually the belt, a.k.a the ’Vegas’ Gold Belt. But this wasn’t good enough for the court. So, they then went with what you recall, in that they would give Flair one of the tag title belts, which had a nice big ‘World’ written on it and thus hopefully fool the fans in attendance, and then pixelate it for TV to try and fool the fans at home.

But that didn’t work, so WWF just said ‘Screw It’ and gave Flair the WWF title and went from there.

WWF didn’t want to do that, they would have much preferred to keep using the actual title belt, but they legally couldn’t.

2) On the 1/25/93 episode of Raw Ric Flair went against Mr. Perfect in a “loser leaves the WWF match.” I remember watching this match as a kid and being all excited when Mr. Perfect won. However, I have wondered for years, why was there absolutely no build to this match? It seems like they could have made this something huge. Instead, when Perfect won it was very lackluster and nonchalant. Was Flair’s contract up and if so did they think he was going to re-sign? At what point did they know he was definately going to leave? Was it right before that Raw espisode?

It wasn’t so much a contract was up as it was a contract was asked to be nulled.

See, when Flair came into WWF, Vince apparently told him that if he ever felt unhappy with his spot or just wanted to leave, he had only to say the word. Flair was happy enough, but he saw that, with Bret Hart now champ, his run at the top of the company was pretty much over.

Meanwhile, over in WCW, Bill Watts had been brought in to lead the company, and in-between all the questionable decisions he made, one that he made that went well was he began to air classic Flair matches on some of the secondary shows, Flair/Steamboat, Flair/Funk. This led to good ratings, with Flair both a star in WWF and getting ratings for WCW.

Watts, seeing that this worked, waved some money at Flair, who knew he could be the big dog once again if he went back to WCW. The exact timing is unknown but at some point he asked for his release and it was granted, with Vince just asking he put over Perfect on the brand new Raw show on his way out.

Now, the Raw taping where they filmed both the Raw before the Loser Leaves WWE match (where Flair and Perfect got into fights) and the show where Flair lost were recorded on the same night, a week or so before the Royal Rumble (the 18th to be exact, the first show live, the second one taped). So they could have put the match on the Rumble PPV, but there were two things in the way there.

One, Flair was already in the Royal Rumble, as entrant #1 as it turns out so they could play the ‘Will Flair Run The Distance Again’ angle. And two, they wanted as many people to see Flair having to leave the WWF to go to the minor leagues as possible, so it had to be on Raw. And after the Rumble, the company went on a European tour that Flair was a part of, so it was either film it before they left or wait another month before they could film it. They chose to do it earlier rather than later, plus it wouldn’t have made sense to have them act so enraged and then drag it out a bit.

So yeah, the contract was up by request, and they wanted as many people to see Flair lose as quickly as possible.

Flair was used to having that last bit happen to him though, to be fair.

Been a while since I did this. Botchamania!

Anthony brings us back to Hogan.

Hi. I just watched episode 103 of prime time wrestling on the WWE network and during Gene Okerland’s WM3 report he noted that both the Can-Am Connection and Hulk Hogan were rumored to have a special guest in their corners. Neither ended up having anyone. Do you know who if anyone was planned to be in each of their corners?

Not specifically, at least I’ve not heard anything specific. Certainly with both of those matches having faces with no manager against guys with Heenan in the other corner, it would make sense to have someone there to even the score. Possibly with the Can-Am Connection, that was left open to see if they could get anyone.

Because while it’s not something directly correlated, but it does seem rather well timed, is that apparently, Vince McMahon offered a personal invitation to future WWE Hall of Famer and WWE 2K16 playable character Arnold Schwarzenegger to be a celebrity guest. Arnold was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, with Predator and The Running Man coming out in the same year as WM3. And you can see it, in your mind’s eye, Arnold coming out with Hogan, cheering him on, roughing up Bobby Heenan, being there to congratulate Hogan, it would make sense for that to happen.

Again, I can’t confirm that, but it seems like a good guess, if the two facts are true.

Eric wants to fantasy book a situation that would never occur.

The Great Massive Q, fantasy card question for you. Many regard 2006 as one of the best years in TNA’s history. Idk if this is to be true, as I’ve only watched TNA literally 5 times since it’s inception in 2002, but have generally stayed aware of the product by reading spoilers here and there, comments, etc… which brings me to my question.

Say Vince financially backed TNA like he did with ECW for a short period of time in 1996 10 years later in 2006 for the “spirit of competition” or whatever excuse you want to use… could you put together a supercard involving the two promotions and there respective rosters at the time? It would be interesting to me to see the rest of the card as all I really know, with my novice to TNA, is Triple H vs. Jeff Jarrett would most likely have been the main event, with maybe Batista vs. Abyss, or even Cena vs. Abyss in the sub main event.

So yeah, the premise is one of those things that would never ever happen, plus obviously whoever is booking will change the card. WWE books, all the WWE guys go over. TNA books, all the Ex-WWE guys go over.

But ok, let’s look at the rosters.

Here’s TNA’s roster in mid 2006.

And here’s WWE’s one around the same time. Sans ECW for some reason.

So now… Victoria lingerie photos?

*much time passes*

Right, so, supercard.

Champion V Champion: Sting V Cena (Big belts face off)
Champion V Champion 2: Mysterio V Daniels (Minor belts face off)
Champion V Champion 3: LAX V London/Kendrick (Tag belts face off)
Jarrett V Undertaker (Owner V ‘Owner’)
DX V Team 3D (Legendary Tag Team V Legends Tag Team)
Styles/Joe/Cage/Rhino V Edge/Umaga/Batista/Orton (Because Spots Everywhere)
Abyss V Kane (Because Violence)
Christy/Gail/Traci V Mickie/Trish/Victoria (because screw you)

Again, would never happen, but that’s what you’d do. Pair off the title holders, add in a couple similar but differents, a ladies match for cool down purposes and then a giant cluster to get the major stars not in the card a spot on the show. Preshow would have a battle royal with everyone else, finishing with Monty Brown eliminating JBL to win.

Speaking of things that would never happen… Connor?

Do you think Road Warrior Hawk could have been a big singles babyface? he challenged Flair for the title a few times in the ’80’s and had a run by himself in WCW in 1995

Successful, maybe. Big, no. I mean, Hawk was over and could go in there and throw bombs and what have you, but the Road Warriors, for all the love and attention they get, they were never great wrestlers, or at the very least, not good at leading a match. Hawk and Animal, to have a great match, needed small heels who could bump like mad and run the match. You watch their matches with teams like them, other big fat guys, and they aren’t any good.

It’s easier for a good heel to lead a bad face through a good match than it is the other way round, but at the end of the day to be a big star of either persuasion, you need to know how to run a match, you need to be able to sense the crowd, to manipulate and lead the fans through the story.

Sure, you can get around that with good booking/opponents. If Hawk had wrestled Flair/Arn/Tully/Barry every night for a year, he’d be over as a babyface, sure. But then anyone working guys like that each night could be over as a babyface. Me, you, an inanimate carbon rod, Hulk Hogan today, they’d be over as a face.

But eventually he’d have to wrestle someone else, he’d have to work with a prelim heel and he’d have to run the match. And Hawk really never showed an aptitude for that.

The Road Warriors were awesome at what they did, you just had to make sure they were looked after. That’s not a bad thing, provided you work around it.

James finishes us off with a bunch of questions.

1. I have a distain for the Bella twins I feel that they can’t wrestle and have been shoved down our throats for reasons unknown. In my opinion they should have been given the gimmick that LayCool had, I wonder do you think that Nikki will hold on to the title longer simply to erase AJ Lee’s record similar to what was done with Orton as the youngest champ ever to erase Brock’s feat?

Yeah, that’s totally the reason.

*Anti-Chandler*

… Monica?

Anyway, yes, Nikki will hold the title just long enough to beat AJ’s record and then drop it because god forbid someone not in the company anymore hold one of the eleventy thousand different records in the company.

Hey, could be worse. They could have Cena beat Bruno’s record.

2. I like what HHH is doing with NXT through Kevin Owens by not making it look minor league anymore but on par with the main roster. I always wondered why not do the same with the titles by making them all titles equal by having money in the bank matches specific to each title?

I’ll wait while you all get your ‘Owens on par with main show’ jokes out of the way.

Done?

Anyway, the issue there is that running five ladder matches in one night would totally kill the crowd and the concept, and if you add in 3 more for NXT, then that crowd would be brain dead by the end of the night.

Ah, I hear you cry, you could stagger them, perhaps. Have the World and Divas’s at MITB, the Tag one at Wrestlemania as an homage to TLCs past, and maybe a combined double shot one at Summerslam for the secondary belts.

This is not the worst idea I’ve floated out while pretending someone else thought of it so I could come across as humble seen, but it doesn’t address the issue of oversaturation of the concept. Having up to five cases floating about would become confusing, and the shock and memorable nature of a cash in would be lost if there was one every couple of months.

I could maybe be persuaded that the Divas could do with it, or the tag team by itself, but every belt would just be total overkill.

3. Billy Kidman said that he had to retire because his knees were gone because of them constantly getting hit watching Neville do the red arrow do you think that he is headed down the same route?

Quite possibly, although Kidman was about 20 pounds heavier, which adds to the impact somewhat.

I don’t know Neville’s body, obviously, so I can’t tell you how he feels or how his impacts are being distributed through his body. But I think with him any injuries will probably be more of sudden ones than wear and tear. I fear he’s going to misjudge a jump and land badly on someone before the constant landing catches up to him.

But I trust the guy, and so far he’s shown no signs of having a niggling injury that will bother him long term.

Yet.

4. Who did Bray Wyatt piss off to have such an explosive gimmick and following just for him to not get used?

Not piss off, just not catch on with. And the answer is Vince, as it always is. We’ve talked about the issues with Wyatt’s character and gimmick in this column many times before, but at the end of the day, nine times out of ten, when someone in WWE gets depushed suddenly, it’s because Vince has lost interest. He’ll focus on one person or a concept for a few months, it’ll get over, and then he’ll move onto something else, and without his attention, whoever or whatever it is loses all steam and falls back into the mire.

Of course, there are sometimes circumstances that force an outcome, injury, outside events, but at the end of the day, it’s almost all on Vince, for better, for worse.

For now.

8. Bonus opinion I wish Raven and early Edge would have feuded, I think that they would have made magic

Raven taking Gangrel’s place in the Brood would have made things a lot more interesting, I’ll give you that. But sure, Raven in full ECW Cult Leader Mode V Ultimate Opportunist Edge would have been spectacular. Heck, WCW Cult Leader Raven V Brooding Babyface Edge would have worked too.

9. Has anyone ever noticed that Daniel Bryan’s shirt looks more like Damien Sandow?

That’s how we get Bryan back! American Dragon Damien Brydow! Axel can play Kane!

And on that mental image, I bid you goodbye for now. I’ll be here in name only next week, and then back to ‘normal’ the week after.

Unless I take another holiday for some reason.