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Ask 411 Wrestling: Why Wasn’t There a Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior Rematch in the WWF?

June 1, 2021 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Hulk Hogan Ultimate Warrior WrestleMania VI

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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Donny from Allentown, PA is the irresistible force meeting the immovable object:

Why did WWF President Jack Tunney come on TV following the Wrestlemania VI championship match with Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior proclaiming that both men beat each other so badly there would never be a rematch. What was the point of that?

Hogan was the promotion’s biggest star, and, the way the match ended, there was at least some argument in storyline terms that he should have been granted a rematch. (He kicked out just after three, after all.) However, the company was not going to do that rematch right away, in part because there was a general sentiment against booking babyface versus babyface matches and in part because you do not want to go to the well too many times with a match between two stars on that level so as to keep it special. Thus, there needed to be some sort of explanation as to why these two men were not going to be wrestling each other again straight away, and Tunney’s proclamation was what they decided to go with, even if it was a bit flimsy.

A lot of people seem to think that a Hogan/Warrior rematch was a natural for the following year’s Wrestlemania VII, but Bruce Prichard, who was working in the WWF office at the time, has been asked about the original plans for that year’s Mania and on multiple episodes of his podcast (and oddly one episode of Ric Flair’s podcast) has indicated that the idea for the WM7 main event before Sgt. Slaughter returned and was interjected into the angle was none other than . . .

Hulk Hogan versus Tugboat

That’s right. Tugboat, a.k.a. Fred Ottman a.k.a. the Shockmaster a.k.a. Cody Rhodes’ Uncle Fred, who had been the Hulkster’s ally in his feud with Earthquake and Dino Bravo throughout the summer and fall of 1990, was going to turn heel and face his former friend at the 93,000+ seat Los Angeles Coliseum. (And that’s a legit 93,000+, not a Wrestlemania III 93,000+.) Tugboat was even going to be the heel who became an Iraqi sympathizer, with General Adnan in his corner. Prichard also took credit for being the one who convinced Vince McMahon that Sergeant Slaughter, who had not signed with the company at the time the Iraqi sympathizer angle was originally developed, might be better suited for the role than Tugboat, because the heel turn would feel like an even bigger betrayal given his background . . . and because nobody cared about Tugboat.

Turn that frown upside down . . . it’s HBK’s Smile!

As of this writing, Brock Lesnar has not wrestled since losing the WWE Title to Drew McIntyre at last year’s Wrestlemania. Bret Hart left the WWE after Montreal and never again fought for the WWE Title.

What other WWE champions never fought for the WWE Title again after losing it for the last time?

In addition to the two men mentioned in the question, there are five others who to date have never challenged for the WWE Championship after losing it for the last time, bringing the grand total up to seven. Let’s see who those other five fellows are.

The very first WWE Champion – or rather the WWWF Champion at the time – “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers – never challenged for the title again after losing it to Bruno Sammartino on May 17, 1963.

“Psycho” Sid Vicious/Justice lost his final WWF Championship to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XIII on March 23, 1997, and he was out of the company by June of the same year, never returning to the promotion on a full-time basis for the rest of his career. He did manage to get shots at the European and Intercontinental Titles in those few months, but never the big belt.

One of the more surprising names on this list to me is Rob Van Dam, who held the WWE Championship on one occasion, winning it on June 11, 2006 and losing it on July 3, 2006. Van Dam left WWE in 2007, and, between his title loss and his departure, he never received a rematch because he was a featured attraction on the ECW brand, focusing his efforts on winning that show’s top championship. RVD did return to WWE from 2013 to 2014, but, during this comeback the main title he challenged for was the World Heavyweight Title as opposed to the original WWE Title.

A fairly obvious entry on this list is The Rock, who won his last WWE Title over CM Punk in 2013 and lost it to John Cena at Wrestlemania that same year. He’s only had one pro wrestling match since that time, a six second squash over Erick Rowan at Wrestlemania XXXII. This will surprise absolutely none of you, but Erick Rowan was not WWE Champion when that match occurred.

Triple H is another guy who, like the Rock, came back after the bulk of his career was over to win the title as a “legend.” After he lost his ninth WWE Title to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania XXXII, he never got another shot, though he did receive a chance at the Intercontinental Championship against Reigns in December 2017 in the United Arab Emirates.

Of those seven men, all of them except for possibly Lesnar are unlikely to receive another championship match, though Rogers is the only one who we absolutely know will not. It will be interesting to see how this list evolves over the years.

Tyler from Winnipeg is getting personal:

What was the best house show, non televised event, you have been in the building for?

I was at a Smackdown-brand house show in November 2002 that was headlined by two-thirds of the Smackdown Six, as Edge and Rey Misterio Jr. defended the WWE Tag Team Titles against Los Guerreros with a semi-main event of Chris Benoit defeating Matt Hardy, who if I recall correctly was at the height of his “Version 1” gimmick at the time. Jamie Noble and Tajiri also had a fun match on the undercard.

Those were the standout matches on the show from a quality standpoint, but there were also a couple of interesting historical footnotes. The card featured a tag team match with Shelton Benjmain and Eric Angle defeating Bull Buchanan and Doug Basham at a time before Benjamin, Angle, and Basham had debuted on WWE television and when Buchanan was in between televised stints with the promotion. Coincidentally, Shelton would make his television debut the next month as an ally of Eric’s brother, Kurt, with Eric not being a regular part of the act.

Nathan Jones was also on the show before his first televised WWE match. He squashed Val Venis, but the less said about that, the better . . .

LukeyG is taking a dive:

Just wondering if there are any wrestling finishers over the years that you think (or have researched) were particularly difficult to RECIEVE?

Though there are exceptions to every rule, as a matter of general course, a wrestler is supposed to select a finisher that any opponent can take, because otherwise you could be having a major match in which you cannot use one of the greatest arrows in your quiver.

Of course, whether something is considered difficult is all relative. Even though all finishers are supposed to be easy to take, some will be easier than others.

In answering this question, I’ll start off with Michelle McCool’s Faithbreaker, which for some reason I have seen a handful of fans referring to as a “Styles Clash.” The difficulty in taking this finisher is more mental than it is physical, as wrestlers are used to taking flat-back bumps, and one of the main things you have to remember to do when taking a flat-back bump is tuck your head to your chest, otherwise you’re likely to give yourself a concussion.

However, in taking a Faithbreaker/Styles Clash, the absolute LAST thing you want to do is tuck your head, because, if you do, it’s going to be sandwiched in between the mat and your torso in a way that is frighteningly likely to break your neck. That exact injury was suffered by UK indy wrestler Lionheart and WWE alumnus Yoshitatsu when they tucked when taking the move from AJ Styles. When there are multiple YouTube videos that are compilations of other guys nearly breaking their necks via taking the move in the exact same way, you know you’ve got a bit of an issue.

And, just to be clear, AJ Styles has absolutely nothing to do with these wrestlers’ injuries. He’s executing the move correctly, and the people taking the move are the ones doing it wrong.

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing my job here if I also didn’t mention the Canadian Destroyer, in which the wrestler “performing” the move does comparatively little while the wrestler “taking” the move is required to do a backflip on to his own head. There’s a reason that purists like Jim Cornette hate this one and the reason why there are several wrestlers who just don’t take it when facing a guy who employs it as a regular part of his arsenal.

Connor is gonna . . . he’s gonna . . . HE’S GONNA PUKE! HE’S GONNA PUKE!

Droz had such a unique look back in the day. Where do you see his career going had he not been injured?

Honestly, this is a hard one to predict. I’ll agree with you that Drozdov had a pretty solid look. When he was on WWF television, he had two years of experience or less, and he was totally competent in the ring and on the microphone with that limited amount of time in the business. The question is whether he would have remained at that level for the rest of his career – in which case he probably never would have amounted to much – or whether he would have continued to improve, in which case he would have real potential to go far. I’ve seen plenty of wrestlers at his level go in the first direction, and I’ve seen plenty of wrestlers at his level go in the other direction, and it’s impossible to say which one he would have been without actually having watched it play out.

Michael K. is dusting off his furry boots:

Following up on a question one asked about Bruiser Brody recently, did Brody ever get pinned on TV or PPV? Seems like he might get disqualified but I don’t remember him getting pinned much if ever.

Part of that question is pretty easy, because I don’t think that Bruiser Brody ever wrestled on pay per view, so he certainly wouldn’t have been pinned on a show of that nature.

As far as losing via pinfall on television is concerned, it was exceedingly rare, but it happened. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy examples is his loss to Jumbo Tsuruta on April 19, 1988 in Miyagi, Japan. As with all major AJPW matches of the era, this was shown on Nippon TV. You can watch the entire match below:

Of course, losing on television in Japan was somewhat different than losing in Japan on America. Japan was Brody’s main gig from a pay perspective (even if he worked fewer dates there), so it was harder to justify not dropping a fall – and, in fact, one of the main reasons he didn’t lose in the U.S. was so that he was protected for Japanese runs, as Japanese photographers shot major American matches and they were reported on in Japanese wrestling magazines. Additionally, most of if not all major matches in Japan were televised during this era, whereas American promotions intentionally tried to keep their biggest matches off of TV so as to make more money off of live event ticket sales.

Ben K. (not the guy from Dragon Gate) is taking us to the happiest place on Earth:

Disney Channel has a new sitcom coming this summer called “Ultra Violet and Blue Demon,” in which lucha icon Blue Demon Jr. helps his cousin Violet navigate superhero life and middle school. My question is: Does this have a shot at becoming the most successful wrestling-related sitcom in history? There’s not much competition on that front, and what little there is seems downright pathetic to me.

1988’s “Learning the Ropes” was a Canadian import about a “jobber to the stars” balancing his ring role with heading a typical domestic family. Cool guest list with a bunch of historic NWA personalities, but I can see why it didn’t last long on CTV or in US syndication. King Kong Bundy inspired the surname of the family on “Married with Children,” and he and a few other WWF stars guested on some memorable wrestling-adjacent episodes. It’s by far the most well-known show I informally surveyed, but since wrestling wasn’t the main focus, I wasn’t entirely sure I should include it.
And then “The Big Show Show” comes along… Congrats on Netflix picking it up, and I was surprised the Performance Center, NXT, and various WWE veterans and Hall of Famers played prominent roles during the lone season. Again, though, it was short-lived, just ten episodes and a crossover Christmas special with some of Netflix’s other recent (also short-lived?) sitcoms.

Disney Channel tends to treat its sitcoms well enough that they have long lifespans and make superstars of unknown kids. I’m fairly confident “Ultra Violet” has a solid “Sunny with a Chance” to achieve the “Suite Life” from “S. Club 7 in Miami” to “Austin and Ally” to “Hannah Montana” and everywhere in between. What’s your take on it, and will you at least give the pilot a watch?

First thing’s first: I won’t be watching the show. I’m a childless adult man, so Disney Channel sitcoms don’t have much appeal to me. I’m not looking to get tied up in any Matt Gaetz-style investigations here.

As far as the show’s potential is concerned, you’re correct that many similar shows on the same network have managed to have multi-season runs and become hits with their target demographics, but this one seems like an unusual crossover. Admittedly this involves lucha libre and a Latinx cast, and I am not as plugged into that world as I am the worlds of American or even Japanese professional wrestling, but as a general rule there is not a lot of overlap in the audiences between pro graps and pre-tween/tween comedies. In fact, the largest group of pro wrestling viewers in the U.S. right now is men over the age of 50, which is about as far away from the Disney Channel viewership as you can get.

Perhaps this could take off. I’ve certainly seen stranger things happen. The odds seem to be stacked against it, though.

Uzoma is asking me a question that reads more like an answer:

Did you know that CM Punk is the last opponent for The Undertaker to 1) win a World Championship, let alone any championship, from; and 2) successfully defend The Streak against before it was broken by Brock Lesnar?

No, no I did not know that.

Bryan is going a mile high:

I know that with WWE’s infamous “Plane Ride from Hell” In 2002, several guys got fired, but were there any legal issues? This was six months removed from 9/11 so I’m sure the FAA was pretty stringent. Was there any kind of prosecution threatened for disturbing the flight?

There were some legal issues, but not in the sense that you’re thinking.

One of the things that you have to keep in mind here is that the Plane Ride from Hell occurred on a private, chartered flight. It’s not as though all of the antics you’ve heard about were occurring on a standard commercial flight full of tourists and business travelers. Everybody on the plane was a WWE employee/”independent contractor” in some form or fashion, with the exception of the people actually flying the vessel, flight attendants, and the like. Even though the FAA does have jurisdiction over private chartered flights (or anything in U.S. airspace for that matter), the wrestlers’ behavior wasn’t being scrutinized nearly as closely as it would have been if there were members of the general public traveling with them.

Even though there were no prosecutions, there were definitely legal issues from a civil perspective. Recall that I said there were flight attendants on the plane, and they were none too happy with some of the behavior that they were exposed to. Those attendants, Taralyn Cappellano and Heidi Doyle, filed a civil lawsuit against WWE, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, and Dustin Rhodes as well as several “John Doe” defendants, which refers to individuals who they alleged engaged in wrongdoing but could not specifically identify at the time the suit was filed.

(Funny side note in what is otherwise not a funny story: The complaint filed by Cappellano and Doyle lists several of the wrestlers’ ring names in the caption, so, for example, they are not just suing Scott Hall. They are suing “Scott Oliver Hall a/k/a Razor Ramon a/k/a The Diamond Stud a/k/a Big Scott Hall a/k/a Starship Coyote a/k/a The Bad Guy.”)

The lawsuit alleged that Rhodes and Hall made overtly sexual comments to the two women, while Flair allegedly walked around the plane naked except for his ring robe and forced both of the flight attendants to touch his crotch. The “John Doe” defendants allegedly grabbed the women’s breasts and buttocks while they walked the aisle. WWE and the wrestlers denied all of these allegations, but there was ultimately an out-of-court settlement which presumably resulted in some money changing hands.

If you’d like to know more about the Plane Ride from Hell, you can check out the upcoming Season 3 of Dark Side of the Ring, where it is going to be the subject of an episode. (That’s not branded content, by the way. Just stating facts.)

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]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.