Hollywood Hulk Hogan.
Two icons that finally met one on one in the squared circle after years of fans drooling over the possibility of a match with these two larger than life personalities.
During the Monday Night Wars, Hogan and The Rock helped carry their respective companies to new heights. Hogan’s New World Order changed the wrestling landscape forever. While Rock’s tremendous mic skills and popularity with the fans as both a heel and a face gave WWE a brand new star that could draw fans from all over.
Many wondered if these two would ever face one another. Once WWE bought out WCW, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope.
Sure enough, Hogan, along with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, returned to WWE at No Way Out in 2002. The trio instantly began to get involved with the likes of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, setting the stage for a potential showdown.
So in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, the match was set. Icon vs. Icon. Rock was able to hit Hogan with a Rock Bottom.
While Hogan enacted some revenge with his NWO running buddies my smashing an ambulance in which The Rock was in.
Not a bad tit for tat, right?
The stage is set, WrestleMania X8.
Full length match:
I consider this match one of my all-time favorites.
Hulk Hogan, who had not wrestled in WWE since 1993, was back in the Skydome for WrestleMania. Hogan had wrestled Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI in the Skydome in one of the greatest WrestleMania main events ever. The Canadian fans never forgot Hogan, showering him with love the second his music hit to make his grand entrance.
As Hogan and Rock stood toe to toe in the ring, I remember as a 10 year-old boy getting chills. The fans CHEERED Hogan to the point you could barely hear anything. While they BOOED The Rock, much to the surprise of many in WWE. Hogan doing his signature poses and gestures ignited the crowd. To this day I just watch this match in pure amazement with how the Canadian fans treated Hogan.
It was as if he never left WWE.
Things didn’t change, even if he donned the NWO black and white colors and had the name “Hollywood” preceding his name.
The match ended up a win for The Rock, but a bigger win for Hogan, who was still larger than life, even after so many years away from the company.
Icon vs. Icon.
A match that will forever be replayed as one of the most memorable ever.
It also proved “Hulkamania” will never die.