Day 299: The Continued Insufferableness Of Hollywood Hogan [Wrasslin’ For Lunch]
I’ve been breezing through the WCW canon faster than a 24/7 Title reign. This could be attributed to the fact that Rachel has been going to bed super early, I’ve been staying up super late and I have literally no threshold to how much wrestling I can consume. In less than a month, I’ve gone from Hogan joining the NWO to Eric Bischoff…uhh…also joining the NWO. And honestly, I thought Bischoff joining would be a lot more cathartic. One second, he was just a dopey commentator, then Rowdy Roddy Piper quoted LL Cool J for some reason and suddenly, Eric turned into an evil genius. I found it to be more confusing than shocking and frankly, I was underwhelmed.
I knew I was going to have problems with WCW from the get-go. The company was infamous for letting the wrestlers book themselves and just never letting the audience have a good ending. But the idea of a heel Hulk Hogan intrigued me. Now that we know how much of a piece of shit he is in real life, I wanted to see him be himself in the ring. I needed to see the Hulk Hogan that didn’t do the right thing and didn’t care about children. And somehow, even with the grimmest expectations, it ended up being much worse than I expected.
The version of Hulk Hogan that we see in the latter part of 1996 is downright disgusting. He oozes self-worth, essentially makes Ms Elizabeth his slave and utilizes his cronies to beat everyone within an inch of their life. Which honestly sounds like standard heel fare, but there’s something about the early incarnation of the NWO that bothers me a lot:
Everybody is terrified of them.
Hulk Hogan was always an artist when it came to no-selling. You could do a Canadian Destroyer through a flaming metal table and he’d still get up instantly, shocked look on his face, shaking his limbs. But what Hollywood Hogan does goes beyond that. Not only does he no-sell in the ring, he also no-sells on the mic.
For example, he cuts numerous promos about his film, Santa With Muscles. A complete and utter flop, it was considered one of the worst films of all time. It’s so bad, I haven’t even considered watching it and I love schlock! The weekend the movie came out, he cut a promo that it took the box office by storm and he was getting calls from Francis Ford “Kap-ala”. In reality, it placed 15th on the weekend box office and was out of theaters shortly after. But nobody ever talks about that.
Because everyone is afraid to talk back to Hogan. All he does is talk and talk and nobody ever has a rebuttal. If this were the modern era, his film would be the subject of ridicule for months. But WCW didn’t create a face character strong enough to even get an argument in. Roddy Piper is seen as a top face, but his film career was even worse than Hogan’s. Nobody had the guts to stand up to the NWO, they only made childish comments behind their back. Like calling them the “New World Odor” was going to put them in their place. They basically ran wild like Hulkamanias of the past. So Hollywood Hogan essentially has permission to get on the mic every Monday night and stroke his ego all he wanted with no consequence. The dude literally no-sold promos. Nobody could ever get away with that in post-1997 sports entertainment. It’s a gargantuan feat that I’m still kind of shocked about.
What’s worth mentioning is that Hogan’s fellow NWO teammate, Paul Wight, was also in a film. He had a cameo as, wait for it, a Santa with muscles in the hit holiday classic, Jingle All The Way. That film was so successful that even two months into its run, a whole month after Christmas, it still quadrupled the ticket fare of Santa With Muscles. Is this going to be a source of contention within the NWO? Does Jingle All The Way cause the NWO to splinter into the Wolfpac? Did I even spell Wolfpac right? That’s for you to know and me to find out, as I continue to be 25 years behind on Pro Wrestling!