Bob Ryder has revealed on his web site www.1wrestling.com that Hulk Hogan will announce his retirement this Thursday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno!
Hogan is largely credited, along with Vince McMahon for bringing about the resurgence of popularity of wrestling in the early to mid eighties and is, by most accounts, the most influential and recognizable figure in wrestling history.
There was speculation that part of the reason was that the recent re-match, after eight years, between Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior failed to garner the buy rates expected of it.
Hogan is said to have been written out of future WCW storylines and will reportedly not appear again on WCW television programming.
RAW was recorded previously for broadcast on this date. The program starts with a montage of scenes from last weeks RAW broadcast. It ends with several angles on the shovel shot on Austin. Jim Ross tells us we will visit with Austin at the Medical Center in San Jose.
The McMahon's come to the ring with their stooges. Vince claims to have had nothing to do with the Undertaker's attack on Steve Austin. He is about as believable as when he claims to "never lie..." He further claims that everything that he does he does for the fans. He is about to introduce a new commissioner of the WWF who will not be beholden to himself. The new commissioner is said to be an independent entity except when it comes to Steve Austin. It is Shawn Michaels (as many of you undoubtedly knew from previous information). Michaels prances to the ring in a black suit and a cowboy hat to his old "Boy Toy" entrance music. He refers to Vince as "Mr. Vinman", says he's thrilled to be back and guarantees McMahon that things will "never ever be the same again..." He wants to book his first match right now. He sets a match for the WWF Title pitting the Rock vs. X-pac. Vince looks a little non-plused by this, although I can't see why - Waltman has about as much chance as he would against Austin or the Undertaker. Cut to commercial.
Kevin Kelly is in the back with the Oddities and the Insane Clown Posse. The Clowns are supposed to face the Headbangers tonight but they want the Oddities to take the match for them.
Golga/Kurrgan vs. The Headbangers - Kurrgan starts the match against Mosh and creams him then tags in Golga. Golga crushes his opponent in the corner then slams him good. Violent J pops up on the apron and is accidently knocked off by Golga who then falls to the mat and is pinned. The Clowns then run in and start spraying paint into the Oddities eyes and joining the Bangers in a punk job. They cap the attack by cutting a bunch of Luna's hair. The worms have turned. Cut to commercial.
Video on the recent rampage of Kane who hasn't been seen in a week.
The Blue Blazer vs. Steve Blackman - Blackman can't seem to sustain a regular angle so they give him a fictional opponent. Ross is going on about the Blazer being Owen Hart again. Of course we will find that he isn't before this is over. In fact, the Blazer is trying hard to imitate Owen's style but even with the cape on, you can tell he doesn't have Owens trademark barrel chest. He puts on a clumsy Sharpshooter which Blackman escapes bu reaching the ropes. Now Blackman comes back strong and downs his opponent with a kick to the chest and pins him. He threatens to unmask the Blazer but Owen shows up and disarms him.
Steve Austin is shown blacking out in San Jose last night. He goes to climb the corner after winning a match but collapses. Cut to commercial.
Michaels is having words with Mr. McMahon in the back as we return.
Gangrel/Edge (w/Christian) vs. D-Lo Brown/Mark Henry - Gangrel, who was pretty awesome when he first arrived seems to have fallen into the status of a candidate for the Job Squad. In fact Edge is "edging" in that direction lately as well. D-Lo dominates Edge to start the match then his opponent makes a quick comeback. He tags in his partner and they deliver a double back elbow smash. They continue to doubleteam as the referee just stands there and lets it happen. Henry comes in and also gets mowed down, but he provides distraction so D-Lo can get back on track. Henry is tagged in and start to throw his weight around on Edge. I just realized we haven't seen the Boringuys since Edge injured one of them several months ago. D-Lo is back in and continues the assault on Edge then tags Henry back in to deal out some more heavyweight punishment. D-Lo comes back in and gives over the advantage for a moment but comes roaring back and turns the tables back. The two collide mid-ring and both are down. Each crawls to his corner and tags in his partner. Gangrel takes the immediate advantage against the "weak link" of his opposing team, then Edge comes in and gets creamed by Henry. D-Lo is knocked to the outside where Edge splashes him, in the ring Henry is taking Gangrel apart until Chyna shows up on the platform to distract him. Gangrel rolls him up for the pin but Henry doesn't care. Chyna agrees to go out with him.
Cut to Steve Austin in the hospital being told that he needs to get a night's rest and take a couple of weeks off. "Like hell...", says Austin. Jim asks him how he feels and he answers that he feels like his got hit in the head with a shovel. He has a contussion and a sizable lump over his left eye. Cut to commercial.
Michaels is having a reunion with his DX buddies as we return.
Goldust vs. Marc Mero - here are a couple of traditional enemies. Mero threw Jacqueline out of his life last night so both these guys are without their ladies. Goldust seems to better adjusted as he tears into his opponent. Mero uses a shortcut to turn the tables then Terri shows up showing a lot of skin. She wears a very revealing top. Now here comes Jacquie in her own sexy outfit. Neither of the men are too distracted and the match goes on. Goldust takes the advantage and sets up the shattered dream. Terri jumps up on the apron, apparently distracting the referee so her man can finish his opponent, but instead, Jacquie sneaks up behind him and delivers a low blow! Terri comes in and boots him over on his back then delivers the Shattered Dream to Mero! The ladies have gotten their revenge! Cut to the hospital in San Jose where a nurse is getting an autograph from Austin. The original nurse wants him to get some sleep but Ross is stirring him up with questions about the "Buried Alive" match he has scheduled against the Undertaker. The lights are doused and we go to sell svideo games.
Ken Shamrock vs. The Big Bossman vs. Mankind - Hardcore Title triple threat match - some triple threat match! Foley against two corporate assasins! The only hope he has is that the two stooges will fall on each other. Bossman keeps his nightstick in this no holds barred match. They surround the Champ and go to work on him. Foley has virtually no offense in the early going. Then he explodes out of the corner and decks both opponents with clotheslines. He chases both of them up the ramp and maintains his advantage. The Bossman turns the tables after a moment and takes Foley back to the ring. He positions Mankind on the apron so that Shamrock can get some licks in. The McMahon's come out on the platform to watch as Foley is brutalized. Then Foley fishes a broom out from under the ring and lays waste to his foes.Vince looks a little pained at this point, but hi flurry is cut short as he turns his attention to Shamrock and gets blindsided by the Bossman with a portable fan. They haul him back inside and now the Bossman has a chair - but he hits Shamrock by accident then Foley brains the Bossman! All three are down for a moment then Foley recovers. He takes Shamrock to the outside then dons Mr. Socko and puts the claw on Shamrock - only to be blindsided again buy Bossman. He is hauled in again by the Bossman but Foley gets the claw on him! Shamrock cuts him down from behind, but wait! Here comes the Job Squad! They provide enough confusion to give Foley the victory. Cut back to the hospital where a hearse is parked out front. Inside, the Undertaker is smothering Austin wuith a pillow! Austin falls out of bed and the Undertaker comes around then puts an anesthesia mask on him and turns on the gas! He tells Austin, "This will be your last ride..." then drags his body away as we cut to commercial.
Austin is loaded into the hearse and driven away as we return.
Christian (w/Gangrel/Edge) vs. Duane Gill - Light Heavyweight Title match - I expect Gill to win this one (mostly because I read the report on this match earlier this week in the Bagpipe report - I've even already updated my Title Histories :-) Christian dominates the early going pretty handily - Gill is doing everything wrong. The Brood members at ringside are not concerned at all so they will be no help when push comes to shove. Gill falls out of the ring and gets beat on. Here comes the Job Squad again!! Scorpio outs Christian away while the referee is paying attention to the melee on the floor, then he rolls Gill onto him. Gill is the new Light Heavyweight Champ!! meanwhile in the graveyard, the Undertaker and Paul Bearer are getting ready to bury Austin. The Rattlesnake revives and attacks Paul but is easily subdued by UT with a rag full of ether. UT then says he's going to embalm Austin!! Cut to commercial.
The Godfather (w/his garden implements) vs. Tiger Ali Singh (w/Babu) - The Godfather gives Singh the usual choice. Steve Regal appears on the platform and strides down the ramp ranting about his having been screwed last week. Godfather is distracted and attacked from behind by Singh, then Regal comes in and adds his weight to the assault. Val Venis runs in to assist the Godfather - I suppose porn stars and pimps have something in common... Officials run in to break it up. In the back, Michaels is having an argument with Vince and the Rock. Cut to commercial.
Michaels is tearing up the rule book as he instructs Earl Hebner on his officiating of the Title match to come.
New Age Outlaws vs. Bob Holly/Scorpio (w/Al Snow/Duane Gill) - non-title match - Holly dominates the Dog in the early going. Billy breaks up the pin attempt. Scorpio comes in to face Billy and out maneuvers him at first but then misses a drop kick. Holly comes in and gets gorilla slammed. Road Dog is back in and immediately gives the advantage back to Scorpio. Billy needs to get a partner who can do something beside talk... Holly comes in and maintains the pressure. Scorpio is tagged in a launches himself onto an upraised boot. The Dog crawls over to Billy who comes in and clears the ring. Suddenly Mankind runs in with his leaf blower and hits Billy - Scorpio gets the pin. Shamrock and the Bossman run in and they and the NAO punk Mankind and the Job Squad. The stooges cross paths with their enforcers and set out to recruit the New Age Outlaws. Meanwhile, the hearse pulls up at a funeral home as we cut to commercial.
UT carries Austin over his shoulder into the embalming room and puts him on the table. Paul gets ready to do his thing as the Undertaker rants a bit incoherently (doing his best Warrior impression). Bearer starts to cut off Austin's clothing and we cut to commercial.
Uncle Paul is still preparing the body as UT starts to make a little more sense - no he's rambling again... Kane breaks into the room and attacks UT - Austin revives and fights off Paul then runs off as we lose the satelite feed (rather convenient that...)
X-Pac (w/NAO) vs. The Rock (w/Bossman/Shamrock) - WWF Title match - now lets see...the last time we saw the NAO they were being importuned by McMahon's stooges...hmmmm... I wonder what is going to happen here..? Shawn Michaels comes down and makes the extraneous people leave the ring area. Michaels stays ringside. X-Pac launches an aeriel assault to win the first encounter. The Rock comes back by going downstairs then delivers a swinging neck breaker and tosses Waltman to the floor. X-Pac starts to come back on the floor but Maivia picks him up and runs him spreadeagle and face first into the ring post. He positions his challenger on the apron and drops an elbow on his throat. In the ring he goes for the pin but fails. He grabs a reverse chinlock. He releases the hold and pounds his opponent's neck then grabs the chinlock again. The McMahon's appear on the platform to watch. Waltman comes back with some good kicks but then collapses - both guys are down. Waltman revives first and scores agin with the back kick then rides the bronco on his opponent. Moments later they criss cross and Maivia gets the Samoan drop. Still no cigar. The match is see-sawing with each man getting pin attempts. Maivia leaves the ring and grabs a chair, but Michaels enters the ring and grabs it away - then he brains Waltman with it!!! Vince is looking shocked. Maivia gets the corporate elbow and the pin. Meanwhile. Michaels is embracing the McMahon's while the NAO attacks the corporate enforcers in the ring. Fade to black...
Assuming for the moment that this isn't just another worked WCW angle, then we are about too witness the most momentous event in pro-wrestling this year because the retirement of Hulk Hogan marks the end of an era.
Hogan likes to refer to himself, in his current characterization at any rate, as the "Icon" of professional wrestling. This is one instance where storyline fantasy and solid reality are one in the same. There was never anyone in wrestling like Hogan and there will never be anyone else who even comes close. Not Shawn Michaels, Not Goldberg, not the Rock, not the Undertaker and certainly not "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
A few pundits have tried to make the case that Austin is as big or bigger then Hogan, but they are dealing not with reality, but only a form of wishful thinking.
First of all, Austin's popularity is only a little less then two years old. Hogan was the WWF Champion for four straight years from 1984 to 1988, and was not only the most popular wrestler in the WWF, but was the most popular (and the most recognizable) wrestler in the world. In fact, he was one of the most recognizable entertainment figures in the world during that period and continue to be to this day. Ask almost any non-wrestling fan to name a pro-wrestler and they will say "Hulk Hogan."
So Austin has a long way to go to match Hogan's accomplishments and, given his propensity for injury, will be lucky to still even be in the game two years from now.
One of the things that a lot of people don't realize is that the "heel" Hollywood Hogan continues to be a tireless worker for childrens' charities around the world. This was pointed out recently when "Candidate" Hogan made a guest appearance on the Don Imus radio show. Almost brushed over in the publicity was the fact that the reason for Hogan's appearance was to turn over a check to Imus representing moneys collected by Hogan's fund raising efforts in behalf of a well-known charity organization. The fact that Hogan has continued these activities throughout his career with little or no fanfare points to the kind of person the real Terry Bollea has been and is.
So, if the story about Hogan's retirement turns out to be a fact, Solie's wishes to express our undying admiration for the man and our warmest wishes for Hogan, his family and his future endeavors in and out of the worlds of wrestling and entertainment.
On the other hand, if this turns out to just be another nWo swerve...save me a place in the line to throw a pie in the face of Eric Bischoff.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions