Published on May 18th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories0
The Controversy Behind HULK HOGAN Winning the Title at Wrestlemania IX
Plus Hogan’s Flat-out Refusal to Put Hart over in a Match
Your favorite source of weekly pro wrestling stories is back again with a recount from Bret Hart on the controversial way he had to drop the belt to Hulk Hogan via Yokozuna at Caesar’s Palace, Wrestlemania IX. Even as a kid watching this on pay-per-view, something didn’t sit right in the way Hogan picked up the belt in the roundabout way that he did. Now you can read about how this situation came to play, from Bret himself.
We never did get that Hulk vs Hitman matchup. Read on to find out why…
“On April 2, 1993, [I] went to my room just in time to answer a call from Vince, who asked me to come to his suite to talk.I knocked on his door and he answered it with that goofy grin. We sat down, and Vince said, “This is what I want to do. I want you to drop the belt to Yoko tomorrow.”
This was not what I had expected. I sat there dumbstruck as he went on to explain how Fuji would screw me by throwing salt in my face, blinding me. After Yoko was handed the belt, Hogan would rush to my aid and in some kind of roundabout way Hogan would end up winning the belt from Yoko right then and there!
Like I was handing Vince my sword, I told him I appreciated everything he did for me and I’d do whatever he wanted. Vince said, “Don’t get bitter. I still have big plans for you.” Sound bites flashed through my mind of Vince assuring me that I was the long-term champion, and not to worry about Hogan, who still hadn’t even spoken to me yet.
As I stood up to leave, I asked, “Did you take the belt from me because I didn’t do a good enough job?”
“Of course not! I’m just going in a different direction. It’s still onwards and upwards for you. Nothing is going to change too much for you.”
I was totally crushed
As I lay in bed that night, the more I thought about what Vince had in mind for Hogan, the more I felt that it would completely backfire on both of them. The hokey finish would stink, maybe not immediately, but in the weeks to come my fans, who were the biggest contingent in Vince’s paying audience at that time, would gag on it. There was something different about my fans. They really believed in me as a person.
By the time I got to the dressing room the following afternoon, word that I was losing the title had leaked out to the boys. Most of them were quiet and some were angry. The Nasty Boys, Shawn, Taker and several others expressed their utter disappointment. Knowing I was losing the belt didn’t stop me from planning on having a great match. I went over everything with Yoko and designed the match so that all the best moves were left for the final minute.
Hulk arrived with his entourage: his wife, manager, Beefcake and Jimmy Hart. Clearly he’d been in the know all along, probably from the first day he came back. Now he was suddenly acting like my long-lost old pal and wearing a big smile that rightfully belonged to me.”
“During our match, it was hot and dry in the desert heat, but a cool breeze made it impossible to work up a healthy sweat. An exhausted Yoko stampeded like a runaway elephant, short-changing me on my comeback and editing out all my best spots. I was furious that he would take it upon himself to go home on his own. That’s how I came to find myself crouched low, desperately hanging on to Yoko’s two massive calves in the sharpshooter, fighting with every ounce of strength not to let go. Fuji was caught off guard by the sudden ending, and it took him forever to find, unwrap, and throw a packet of what was actually baby powder into my eyes, supposedly blinding me. I fell back as Yoko hooked my leg and Hebner counted one . . . two . . . three. Right on cue, Hogan hit the ring protesting the injustice that had been done to me, and Earl put on that classic expression of utter stupidity that all pro wrestling refs wear when convenient. As I feigned blindness Hogan helped me out of the ring.
Fuji stayed in the ring, absurdly challenging Hogan to a title match with Yoko right then and there. Yoko was still teetering from exhaustion and looking for a second wind that wasn’t there. Hogan blinked in astonishment at his sudden good fortune. As scripted, with my face buried in the crook of my arm, I waved him to avenge my loss. “Go get ’em, Hulk!”
I was really thinking, Go ahead, Hogan, take from me what I worked so hard to get. We’ll see just how long you last! Hogan was champion again without even having a match—and before I’d even made it backstage. He simply ducked the powder Fuji threw in his face, clotheslined Fuji and dropped his big leg on Yoko. I could hear the one . . . two . . . three, the roar of the crowd and Hogan’s music thumping. I couldn’t help but stare at the TV monitor watching Hogan work the crowd with the same old posing routine, a hand behind the ear, shaking the World belt in the air as if to say it belonged to him all along.
A few minutes later, Hogan came up to me excited and happy and said, “Thank you, brother. I won’t forget it. I’ll be happy to return the favor.”
I looked my old friend in the eye and said, “I’m going to remember that, Terry.”
As for Yoko, I was always a little pissed off at him for going home on me and not letting me show Vince, Hogan and everyone else that we could tear the house down without their bullshit finish. Even so, it was the best match that Yoko ever had.
On May 29, Vince called me at home to tell me the big news that I was getting the belt back. What I didn’t expect to hear was that he was getting ready to call Hogan and hated the thought of telling him that he was too old and tired for a company whose marketing strategy was now based around a “new generation” concept. Vince wanted to make Hogan into the Babe Ruth of the WWF and use him as more of a special attraction. He asked me not to say anything until he had spoken to Hogan. Ten days later, Vince called again. He warned me that he was about to tell me something that would make me really angry: Hogan was flat-out refusing to put me over, saying I wasn’t in his league. Vince had decided that Yoko would be getting the belt instead. I couldn’t believe that Hogan would do this to me. I remembered him shaking my hand at WrestleMania IX, and telling me he’d be happy to return the favor. Vince said he’d have one more meeting with Hogan to try to sell him on it, but if he didn’t go for it, I’d work with Lawler at SummerSlam -instead.
Hogan didn’t go for it. I wanted to believe that Vince hadn’t told me the whole story, and I made up my mind to confront Hogan as soon as he’d dropped the belt to Yoko. I’d wait till then, because it didn’t seem right for me to change Yoko’s destiny.
I showed up in the dressing room for King of the Ring in a dark mood and promptly drew a blackboard cartoon of Beefcake with his face buried in Hogan’s ass cheeks with a caption that read, “Be careful, Brutus, you don’t want to loosen the screws in your face . . . speaking of screws . . .” I was taking my frustration out on Beefcake, which wasn’t right, but I was too pissed off to know it at the time.
What Hogan had done was perfectly clear to the boys, and they enjoyed the humor of my cartoon. Since Hogan rarely bothered to come into the dressing room, he didn’t see it, but Beefcake sure did and went slinking back to Hulk. But it didn’t matter to me: Hogan was no longer one of the boys, and he never would be again.
I was determined not only to have the three best matches on the pay-per-view but three of the best matches of my career.”
SOURCE: Bret Hart’s autobiography, Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling – in our opinion, the greatest, most comprehensive wrestling autobiography ever written.
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