Highlights from Bret Hart’s Book: Part 7 (Hulkster Edition)

Boy am I glad the Orioles won in Boston last night or I was going to be permanently banned from their games for one year. Today we get a larger look at Hulk Hogan from Bret Hart’s book as he prepares to pass the torch to The Ultimate Warrior….sort of.

He still flew on a Lear jet and had his own limo, and a manservant named Brutus Beefcake who carried his bags.

Hogan was separate from most of the boys in the WWF though he was generally well-liked by other wrestlers because they made more money because of Hulk’s incredible popularity. Beefcake was generally regarded as Hogan’s stooge and at this point had been lifted into the main event of SummerSlam ’89 because of it. But the Barber had his fans too…like me.

After the match, Hogan said to me, “You watch. Warrior will fail. And Vince’ll be calling me, begging me to come back.” I liked Hogan, and I hoped he was right.

This was AFTER the WrestleMania 6 match. Most of the locker room preferred Hogan to Warrior for the fact that Warrior was such a loner and Hulk could at least relate to the lower card guys. Even though he put Warrior over clean, it wasn’t like Hogan didn’t keep a large share of the spotlight. The post-match was all about Hogan handing over the belt and Gorilla on commentary declaring him “immortal”. In the coming weeks, the one hot heel available as a challenger was taken by Hogan (Earthquake) while Warrior was stuck with Rick Rude, whom he had soundly beaten less than a year earlier. Hogan the politician worked in devious but brilliant ways.

Tom had neglected to pay any of his U.S. taxes and was now unable to go back there until he paid—he owed a lot of money.

Tom being the Dynamite Kid, who was practically crippled by this point and couldn’t work. That’s a shame because there would be a natural angle for him come 1991: he returns to the WWF and works against IRS.

How odd that, today of all days, my job was to battle death in a strange kind of morality play.

Bret’s older brother Dean passed away shortly before the 1990 Survivor Series. On the opposing side was the debuting Undertaker, and the Hitman was the first one to lock up with him. Taker beat Koko B. Ware with a Tombstone and Dusty Rhodes with the top rope walk and clothesline before being counted out of the ring. The Hitman lasted to the end of the match before falling to the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.

Upon his victory Kerry came up grinning and shooting his fingers like six-guns in what would turn out to be an eerie prefiguring of events yet to come for both of them.

This is Kerry Von Erich (Texas Tornado) at WrestleMania 7. He faced Dino Bravo in a short match and both guys would be shot to death in early 1993. Bravo was shot by gangsters in Quebec after running afoul of them in cigarette smuggling operations. Kerry took his own life after being busted for drugs, which had long been a problem for him and his entire family.

By mid-July the latest WWF crisis was an interview that Hogan did on The Arsenio Hall Show in which he flat-out lied and looked bad doing it.

Hooo boy. I remember watching this when it happened and something just seemed very odd about everything Hogan was saying. At age 12, I WANTED to believe Hogan when he said he only used steroids to recover from an injury once. Watch the video and try not to cringe at some of the stuff.

Arsenio was a friend to the WWF and would have wrestlers on all the time. One of my personal favorites was when he had Bad News Brown on there because Brown didn’t break kayfabe and the back and forth was hilarious.

Flair was so obvious as he cut himself repeatedly that when he came back with several long, bloody cat scratches on his forehead, an angry Vince fined them each $500 for blading. He never said a word to me because he thought that mine was legit.

The Hitman took great pride in being able to blade and get away with it, while Flair came from a time and place (1980s NWA) when they practically handed blades to guys on their way to the ring for the supershows. Take a look at Starrcade 83 or 85 for examples of that.

I began to refer to Ric’s ring style as full blast, non-stop non-psychology.

I like Bret Hart, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this series. But come on, dude. Flair was a completely different kind of worker than Bret. He was more often than not heel, so he did a lot of selling to make a babyface like Sting or Lex Luger look strong. To say that the Nature Boy didn’t employ psychology is just wrong.

On Curt’s suggestion he was dubbed Razor Ramon.

Scott Hall developed the character which was pretty much stolen from the movie Scarface. It was not too dissimilar from his WCW Diamond Studd character, just with a faux Cuban accent tacked on. Curt Hennig apparently came up with the name Razor Ramon, knowing the WWF’s preference for alliteration when possible.

Davey had trademarked The British Bulldog name before Tom or even Vince, and now he refused to let Tom—the original British Bulldog—use his own ring name to make a living.

And this would be why the Bulldogs had a huge falling out in 1989, less than a year after leaving the WWF. Davey Boy didn’t really want to leave but went along with it because of the issues with the Rougeaus. They were split up in 1989 in Stampede wrestling but the feud never happened for several reasons: Dynamite was hurt, announcer/producer Ed Whalen effectively buried the footage, and the promotion was in its dying days.

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 established, Bret and Hulk were friendly but this is the very point where that  starts to fracture. Hogan returns at WrestleMania 9 to win the world title from Yokozuna, who had just won it from the Hitman. The plan was for Hogan to lose the title at SummerSlam to Bret, but that was nixed by Hulk who had decided that the Hitman was too small and “not in his league, brother”. Understandable why Bret feels he was lied to, because he clearly was.

Hogan would be rushed into losing the belt to Yokozuna at June’s King of the Ring PPV, while Bret would settle for the tournament win and a feud with Jerry Lawler that would go on for years.

Coming up next time: Everyone starts to get “tears in their eyes”, Kevin Nash decides to go off-script, the Ironman match with Shawn Michaels, and Bret takes a powder in the summer of 1996.

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