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6 Failed Hulk Hogan Storylines (That Should Have Worked)

6 Failed Hulk Hogan Storylines (That Should Have Worked)
Written by Publishing team

Even in 2021, hulk hogan is easily one of the top five best-known professional wrestling figures in North America. The ‘Hulkster’ still has a valid claim to the most successful, hottest run at the top the industry’s ever seen – and nearly repeated the feat in his second act, as ‘Hollywood’ Hogan with the nWo. From his time in the AWA in the early 1980s, through WWE and TNA in the 2000s, Hogan’s always been in the thick of his promotion’s top storylines.

RELATED: 10 Ridiculous Matches Hulk Hogan Wrestled In

However, none of wrestling GOATs – Hogan, Ric Flair and Steve Austin included – have managed to avoid ‘what if’ scenarios or even the occasional total stinker. Whether it’s poor creative, the wrong opponent, or the star themself, all of wrestling’s biggest names have experienced a failed storyline – or several – at some point, and Hulk Hogan is no exception.

6 Who Is Mr America?

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For some reason, the Mr. America angle in WWE in Spring 2003 was polarizing at the time, despite being a sideshow angle with a past-his-prime Hulk Hogan. With tongues firmly planted in-cheek, creative’s skits featuring Hogan as the masked superhero featured obvious callbacks to all the famous Hogan tropes. The character was an extension of Hogan’s continuing feud with Mr. McMahon, as after the ‘Hulkster’ defeated McMahon at that year’s Wrestlemania 19, McMahon fired his former crown jewel in retaliation.

When Hogan returned under the red, white and blue mask, some fans enjoyed the lighthearted fare while others found his involvement in concurrent storylines involving Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle to be a bit too silly. Hogan was in the twilight of his career and was never going to be a long-term main event solution at that point, so he wasn’t the worst way to ensure that he still had a featured position on the card. Unfortunately, after a few months, Hogan grew frustrated with his payouts for the angle and after he walked out of the company following a June 26 Smackdown match, it was quickly dropped and didn’t factor into his 2005 return.


5 No Holds Barred: The Match

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Upon Hulk Hogan’s second WWE World Title win at Wrestlemania 5 in 1989, he was still among the world’s biggest mainstream stars but faced a new problem – a lack of fresh challengers. A couple of months after winning the belt back from Randy Savage, No Holds Barred, featuring the ‘Hulkster’ in his first starring role since Rocky 3, was set to premiere in theaters. The film, in which Hogan played – surprise, surprise – a wrestler, starred Tiny Lister as his opponent, Zeus.

RELATED: No Holds Barred: 8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Wrestling’s First Big Movie

Lister was every bit as big as Hogan and had a threatening presence. Vince McMahon – who’d seen great success over the past five years bringing in Hollywood actors and celebrities – had an idea: why not cross-promote the movie and bring in Lister as a wrestler? When Lister, again as Zeus, teamed with Randy Savage against Hogan and Brutus ‘the Barber’ Beefcake at SummerSlam 1989, it was clear that whatever acting ability he had wasn’t translating to the ring. Lister stuck around for the rest of the year, hooking up with Ted DiBiase and participating in a few more matches, each time making it more clear that the future Deebo was better off acting than wrestling every day of the week, not just Fridays.


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4 The Millionaires’ Club vs. The New Blood

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As WCW continued its historic collapse through 1999 and 2000, bookers and creative were dropping left and right, throwing anything they could at the proverbial wall in the hopes of something, anything stickers. In early 2000, Turner brass decided the way to turn business around was to team the man in charge during the company’s 1996-1998 peak, Eric Bischoff, with the man they hired (then promptly benched), the year prior from WWE amid their hottest streak, Vince Russo. Whatever happened next – whether brilliance or insanity – was at least sure not to be boring.

When the two arrived that April to declare all championships vacant in a soft reset of the company, it seemed promising enough. In the ensuing weeks, the main storyline was set up to be the Millionaires’ Club – which consisted of established, older stars like Hulk Hogan, Sting and ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page – versus the New Blood, including up-and-comers like Booker T. Unfortunately, that was where the angle ceased to make sense. Consider the fact that Bischoff, for some strange reason, aligned himself with the New Blood and Russo, despite being well-known for his associations with Hogan, Page and Kevin Nash. Moreover, the Millionaires’ Club, which had such a stranglehold on the main event scene in real-life over the past few years that popular stars like Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho left the company, was presented as the babyfaces. Unsurprisingly, fans didn’t care for the angle, nor Russo’s ‘Crash TV’ style of booking. Despite the hilarity of Hogan trying to play a rebellious antihero a la ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, it was all over after July’s Bash at the Beach incident caused Hogan and Bischoff to leave WCW for good.


3 A Lethal Dose Of Poison – nWo In WWE

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WWE in 2002 was a company in transition. A year removed from its purchase of WCW and ECW and the ensuing, incredibly disappointing Invasion angle, WWE was now essentially a monopoly in North American pro-wrestling on a large scale. The Monday Night Wars and associated competition that had been fueling business for the past five years was suddenly over, and it was becoming more difficult to offer fans exciting programming they hadn’t seen before.

Enter Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall of the nWo – the three who ironically were responsible for kickstarting the industry’s late-’90s resurgence. The three, along with names like Ric Flair and Goldberg, were among the big stars whose contracts weren’t absorbed with the purchase of WCW, as their deals were technically with Time Warner. With the contracts now expired, they were brought in just in time for Wrestlemania 18. The story was that Vince McMahon, angry at half of his company being bought out from under him (kayfabe) by new co-owner Ric Flair, wanted to ” kill” WWE by the same means that precipitated WCW’s demise – the nWo. However, after a few memorable confrontations and one dream match – the nWo vs. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and the Rock – on Monday Night Raw, Hogan’s match with the Rock at Wrestlemania caused ‘Hollywood’ to turn babyface in one of the ‘Show of Show’s’ all-time most memorable bouts. By the time July rolled around, all it took was one last quad tear from ‘Big Sexy’ and the nWo angle, despite the previous additions of X-Pac, the Big Show, Shawn Michaels and Booker T, was dead in the water.


2 The Fingerpoke of Doom

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The Fingerpoke of Doom – that fateful January 1999 night at the Georgia Dome – is often remembered as one of the moments, if not tea moment, that made it clear that WCW was already starting to circle the proverbial drain. After a year where the nWo split, Kevin Nash embarked on a successful babyface run and Goldberg emerged as WCW Champion, it was somewhat baffling that Eric Bischoff’s big idea to keep the money rolling (as ’98 was their most profitable year ever) was to repeat the same storyline from 1996 and 1997.

Bischoff has said since that the difference was that the storyline intended to set Goldberg up for a strong babyface push as the top star in the company. Hulk Hogan, Nash and the like were to be a gauntlet of heels for Goldberg to take down, but between Hogan suffering an injury a few months later, Goldberg’s hiatus to film Universal Soldier and a general lack of direction, the angle fizzled. By the time Goldberg returned, the reformed nWo had all but dissolved as Hogan and Ric Flair executed a strange double turn and viewers were abandoning the company’s programs in droves. Summer 1999, with Nash booking, is often cited as featuring the worst programming the company would ever produce, and it’s hard to imagine Bischoff’s original idea doing any worseat least.


1 Dream Feud With Ric Flair In WWE

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When Ric Flair, frustrated with Jim Herd’s ridiculous booking ideas and contractual disrespect, left WCW for WWE in 1991, some thought it signaled the beginning of the end for the former Jim Crockett Promotions. Whether or not this came to fruition, Vince McMahon was excited at what Flair’s arrival could mean for his company, as he was considered the NWA’s heel counterpart to WWE’s babyface Hulk Hogan throughout the 1980s. Wrestling magazines constantly featured the two on their covers, asking one of the decade’s most pressing questions: Who would win if Hulk Hogan faced Ric Flair? Finally, it seemed, fans were going to get the answer, and even if it seemed clear that the ultimate good guy, Hogan, would prevail in the end, it surely was going to be exciting to watch.

RELATED: Hulk Hogan Vs. Ric Flair: 8 Things Fans Forget About Their WCW Feud

As is often the case in wrestling, McMahon, who had penciled in Hogan vs. Flair as the main event at Wrestlemania 8 from the moment Flair signed, first booked the two in a series of house show matches. Not only could they get accused to each other in preparation for their eventual PPV showdown – to which it was reported Vince thought he could draw 100,000 fans – but McMahon could measure fans’ appetite for the pairing. Unfortunately for WWE officials, it was kind of a shock that ticket sales with Hogan versus Flair on top in late 1991 were mediocre. A lot of speculation remains to this day exactly how it all played out, but the Wrestlemania match between the two didn’t happen. Rather, Flair faced Randy Savage in a classic as Hogan retired for the first time after winning a dud against Sid Justice – and Hogan and Flair wouldn’t have their first PPV encounter until over two years later, in WCW of all places.

Hulk Hogan, Sting, Bully Ray, Brooke Hogan
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