Hulk Hogan: The Ultimate Anthology DVD Review

One of the most anticipated WWE personality releases of 2006 was this release, dedicated to WWE Hall of Famer, Hulk Hogan. As with the recipients of previous years, Ric Flair in 2004 and Bret Hart in 2005, this blockbuster DVD set was specifically released in time for the 2006 holiday season, targeting Christmas shoppers everywhere. Unlike Hogan’s previous two disc DVD set, ‘Hulk Still Rules’, an adequate, if limited 2002 release that focused more on vignettes, skits and promos than actual match action, or Flair or Hart’s three disc sets containing multiple 5 star mat classics, Hogan’s latest DVD set out does them all in terms of size. A four disc effort, the biggest and longest WWE dvd release yet, containing a comprehensive collection of Hogan matches spanning 26 years and four different wrestling organisations, WWF/E, WCW, AWA and even the XWF.

hulk-hogan-the-ultimate-anthology-dvd-review-cover

Certificate: 15.

Length: 10 hours 6 minutes Approx.

Discs: 4

Disc 1 Chapters: 9 chapters. These are entitled:

  • Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant – 13/9/80;
  • AWA CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Nick Bockwinkel – AWA – 24/4/83;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Iron Sheik – Madison Square Garden – 23/1/84;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Big John Studd – Madison Square Garden – 22/9/84;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Rowdy Roddy Piper – ‘War To Settle The Score’ – 18/2/85;
  • Hulk Hogan & Mr T vs Rowdy Roddy Piper & ‘Mr Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff – Wrestlemania – 31/3/85;
  • STEEL CAGE MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP: Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy – Wrestlemania 2 – 7/4/86;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs ‘Mr Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff – The Big Event – 28/8/86;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant – Wrestlemania 3 – 29/3/87.

Disc 1 Extras: Two extras, entitled:

  • Hogan talks about his early days in wrestling;
  • Iron Sheik talks about his match against Hogan.

Disc 2 Chapters: 8 chapters. These are entitled:

  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Macho Man Randy Savage – Wrestlemania 5 – 18/4/89;
  • TITLE VS TITLE MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior – Wrestlemania 6 – 1/4/90;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter – Wrestlemania 7 – 24/3/91;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs The Undertaker – ‘Tuesday In Texas’ – 3/12/91;
  • WCW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair – Bash At The Beach – 17/7/94;
  • The Formation of the NWO – Bash At The Beach – 7/7/96;
  • WCW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs Giant – Hog Wild – 10/8/96;
  • WCW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs Sting – Starrcade – 28/12/97.

Disc 3 Chapters: 7 chapters. These are entitled:

  • Hulk Hogan vs Curt Hennig – XWF – 14/11/01;
  • Hulk Hogan vs The Rock – Wrestlemania 18 – 17/3/02;
  • WWE UNDISPUTED CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Triple H – Backlash – 21/4/02;
  • WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan & Edge vs Chuck & Billy – Smackdown – 4/7/02;
  • STREETFIGHT: Hulk Hogan vs Mr McMahon – Wrestlemania 19 – 30/3/03;
  • WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony – 2/4/05;
  • LEGEND VS ICON MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels – Summerslam – 21/8/05.


Disc 4 Chapters:
7 chapters. These are entitled:

  • Hulk Hogan (w/Freddie Blassie) vs Tito Santana – Madison Square Garden – 24/3/80;
  • Hulk Hogan (w/Jimmy Valiant) vs Sonny Rogers & Chuck Greenly – AWA – 8/8/81;
  • WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Hulk Hogan vs Terry Funk – Saturday Nights Main Event – 4/1/86;
  • Hulk Hogan vs King Harley Race – Saturday Nights Main Event – 12/3/88;
  • Hulk Hogan Wins The 1990 Royal Rumble;
  • Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake – Summerslam – 27/8/90;
  • Mean Gene Okerlund Interviews Hulk Hogan – WWE Raw Homecoming – 3/10/05.

Highs & Lows

There is no historical documentary about Hogan on this set. Such a perspective was already offered on the ‘Hulk Still Rules’ dvd set in 2002. The basis of this new set is simply for Mean Gene Okerlund and Jimmy Hart, long time Hogan friends and in-ring accomplices, to host the show from the WWE studios, and introduce the matches from Hogan’s career, in chronological order. In between their links and the matches are various ‘talking head’ clips from a variety of WWE superstars from over the years, including Hogan himself, Edge and Christian (a clip of them talking about Hogan from 2000; the latter billed on-screen as a ‘Former WWE Superstar’), Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair and many more. Each of them put over Hogan and the related matches in their own way.

One other thing that should be noted is some of the sound dubbing and picture editing that occurs. Everyone knows that the WWF attitude logo has to be blurred out, as per the World Wildlife Fund ruling. This occurs at times on this disc, but isn’t a distraction. Something new is that the verbally spoken initials ‘WWF’ have now been dubbed over. By this I mean, for example, a Hogan promo from 1989 airs, and when he says ‘WWF’ in the original interview, they have dubbed in Hogan saying ‘E’ instead of ‘F’, so ‘WWF’ becomes ‘WWE’. Surprisingly, if you didn’t know that they’d done this, you wouldn’t have noticed, so skilfully it has been done. Another interesting bit is that on some of the old-school, mid to late 1980s on-screen graphics, billing a wrestler as they come to the ring, where it says in the original ‘WWF’, this has now been changed to ‘WWE’. Amazingly, they have actually gone to the troubling of re-doing an ‘old-school’ looking graphic, but with the letters ‘WWE’ used. The other noticeable change that has been made is that due to copyright issues, certain theme music has been overdubbed with Hogan’s ‘Real American’ theme, such as Hogan’s early entrance themes of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and the ‘Rock ‘n’ Wrestling’ theme. I was surprised to see WWE had lost the rights to the NWO theme music, as that was also overdubbed with a generic sound-alike theme.

Comments on the DVD features

Disc 1: 1980-1987

The introduction to this section featured the likes Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Edge and Eric Bischoff all put over Hogan’s impact on the industry. First match featured is Hogan vs Andre. No, not the WM3 one. And no, not the Shea Stadium match. This match was actually from a September 1980 WWF tv taping, with announcing done by Vince McMahon. Hogan was a heel managed by Freddie Blassie here, although he was wearing the famous yellow and red ring attire. This was weird to see as it was Hogan acting like, well, say Chris Masters. Just like another overly-muscled ‘monster’, acting mean and growling his way through a match. This was a short two minute match which featured Hogan clotheslining Andre, knocking him out (momentarily) and busting him open. Hogan then revealed at ringside that he had nailed Andre with a loaded elbow pad. Andre was then interviewed by a young Vince McMahon, whom he growled at before leaving.

Second match was an AWA match from 1983, with Hogan challenging Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title. Bockwinkel was managed by Bobby Heenan here. This was the infamous match where Hogan ‘won’ the title, sparking an incredible crowd reaction, only for the referee to disqualify him after the match for throwing Bockwinkel over the top rope.

The WWF era started with Hogan winning his first WWF title, defeating the Iron Sheik. Decent match, Hogan broke the camel clutch and won with the legdrop. He was interviewed in the dressing room afterwards, with Andre, Ivan Putski and Rocky Johnson congratulating him.

Next came a rare match, Hogan defending the title against Big John Studd in an MSG match from September 1984. Hogan was wearing all white ring attire. Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund provided the commentary. Key spots in the match were Hogan attempting to slam Studd, but not being able to, and a brawl between the two outside, resulting in Studd busting up Hogan’s forehead with repeated stomps. Studd actually won this match via count out after Bobby Heenan (Studd’s manager) interfered, helping Studd into the ring to beat the count.

Next match up was Hogan vs Rowdy Roddy Piper, from the groundbreaking February 1985 MTV tv special. This was a match televised live on MTV, occurring from a sold out MSG show. Cyndi Lauper and Mr T were in Hogan’s corner, with Paul Orndorff and Cowboy Bob Orton in Piper’s corner. Bob Costas was guest ring announcer and in post match interviews, the likes of Danny Devito were shown backstage, illustrating how the hot tv stars of the time had suddenly been drawn into wrestling by the WWF product. Hogan won this match via disqualification, after Orndorff interfered. Mr T made the save for Hogan, although even he was attacked and beaten down by Orndorff. This angle was done to set up the next match on the DVD, the Wrestlemania 1 main event of Hogan & Mr T vs Piper & Orndorff. This is a famous match, worth watching if you’ve never seen it simply for the involvement of Muhammad Ali as a ringside referee.

Match 7 on the disc was Hogan vs King Kong Bundy in a cage match from Wrestlemania 2. This was ‘escape the cage’ rules, and obviously Hogan won. Before the match, in a video, Hogan commented that Bundy was a nice guy but a stiff worker in the ring, and he never relished working with him.

The penultimate match on this disc was from the ‘Big Event’; a huge Canadian stadium show in August 1986, that drew 64,000 fans. Hogan faced Paul Orndorff in the main event. Orndorff was disqualified for bumping into the referee, but thought he’d won the title and celebrated with the title belt after the match, until Hogan revived. This was a good match I thought.

Last match on the disc was the famous Hogan vs Andre the Giant match from Wrestlemania 3. Before the match, Vince McMahon recounted how he’d talked Andre into coming out of retirement for this match and a run as a top heel. The spectacle of this match before such a huge crowd is a must-see, even if the actual ring action is technically quite poor. There are also two short extras on this disc – Hogan talking briefly about his early years growing up before getting into the business. There is also a clip of Iron Sheik talking about facing Hogan in matches during the 1980s.

Disc 2: 1989-1997

The introduction to this disc featured Hogan’s WCW entrance music, set against various WWF and WCW clips. First match up was Hogan vs Randy Savage from Wrestlemania 5. They aired Hogan’s pre-match WM5 interview, interspersed with clips of Savage turning heel on Hogan, so some perspective was given to this match up. I’ve always enjoyed this match, which obviously sees Hogan win the title with the legdrop.

Second match on the dvd was Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior from Wrestlemania 6, in their title vs title match. The more you watch this match, the more you realise it is actually a horrible match from an action standpoint, but as far as being a series of perfectly orchestrated, limited spots designed to get the crowd into it, it works to a tee, and is a classic in that regards. It is also yet another match that is somewhat saved by being held in front of a huge crowd, providing a memorable spectacle. Before the match, an old Edge & Christian interview from 2000 airs, with both putting over the match, and pointing out that they were actually there in the crowd at the event, with a spotlight on the screen showing where they were sat.

Next match on the dvd is from, yes, you’ve guess it, Wrestlemania 7. Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter, for the WWF title. Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan and Regis Philbin provided the announcing. And you thought WWE were obsessed with using non-wrestling celebrities in 2006/7? Obviously the whole premise of this match was to exploit the Gulf War of the time period, with Slaughter playing the hated Iraqi-supporting Saddam Hussein figure, and Hogan the red, white and blue clad American hero. Hogan actually bled in this match too. Slaughter controlled most of the match, but attempted to pin him by laying an Iraqi flag over his face, which revived Hogan and led to the big Superman comeback and legdrop victory.

The fourth match on the disc was Hogan facing the Undertaker from the Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view event, from December 1991. This event came a few days after the Survivor Series pay-per-view, where Undertaker had defeated Hogan for the WWF title, after interference from Ric Flair. This time, Hogan regained the WWF title, but not before Flair made sure WWF President Jack Tunney, sat a ringside to make sure there was no interference, saw that Hogan had thrown the contents of Paul Bearer’s urn into the eyes of the Undertaker to get the pinfall win. This led to Hogan being stripped of the title days later, leading to the 1992 Royal Rumble.

Amusingly, Jim Ross then skims over the next two and half years very quickly, failing to mention Hogan’s 1992 departure from the WWF and near year long absence, and also very quickly running through Hogan returning in the spring of 1993, defeating Yokozuna for the WWF title before quickly losing it back to him at King of the Ring ’93, then joining WCW (nearly a year later) and facing Ric Flair for the WCW Title at Bash at the Beach 1994, which aired in its entirety. This was a good match, and arguably the best match on the disc, as Flair did a hell of a job carrying Hogan to a good match. Mr T and Shaquille O’Neill were at ringside and posed with Hogan in the ring after his title victory. Tony Schiavone on commentary called this ‘the greatest moment in the history of this sport’.

Jimmy Hart and Gene Okerlund then introduced the NWO time period. Hart mentioned that Hogan had been received quite well by WCW fans for a time, but times were a-changing, and Hogan’s 1980s schtick was no longer working, so he had to change with the times by becoming a ‘bad guy’. This led into the last six minutes airing of the Bash at the Beach 1996 main event, Sting & Randy Savage & Lex Luger vs Kevin Nash & Scott Hall, with Hogan showing up, turning heel by attacking Savage, then cutting his famous promo whilst the furious crowd bombarded the ring with garbage.

The penultimate match on this disc was Hogan vs The Giant from Hog Wild ’96, an August 1996 pay-per-view event held outdoors at the Sturgis, South Dakota motor bicycle rally. The show was horrible and so was this match. The only highlight of it being Hogan’s post-match celebration, which saw him spraypaint ‘NWO’ on the world title belt.

Final match on the disc was Hogan vs Sting for the WCW title at Starrcade ’97, which as Bischoff recounted, a match that had been built up over a 15 month period. The match itself was actually something of a disappointment at the time, as Sting (understandably after a 15 month ring absence) looked rusty and was off on some of his spots. The finish of the match was also botched, as Hogan was supposed to pin Sting and referee Nick Patrick was supposed to deliver a fast three count. Unfortunately, Patrick delivered a regular three count, making it appear Hogan had legitimately won the match. Bret Hart, as a ringside enforcer in his WCW pay-per-view debut, punched Patrick and restarted the match, with Sting then winning the match after Hogan submitted in the scorpion deathlock.

Disc 3: 2001-2005

The third disc starts with Jimmy Hart introducing a Hogan vs Curt Hennig match from Hart’s shortlived XWF project. The XWF was a wrestling promotion set up with the idea of holding regular tv tapings, and selling the show in syndication to tv stations worldwide. Unfortunately it never really panned out and the project went no further than a couple of Orlando tv tapings in November 2001, from which this match airs. The studio setting was kind of a cross between the old WCW Worldwide set and the current TNA Impact tv set. Bobby Heenan was in Curt Hennig’s corner, and Tony Schiavone and Jerry Lawler (five days before Lawler returned to the WWF) provided the announcing. This was a fun short match. Afterwards, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Hogan at ringside.

Second match on this disc was Hogan vs The Rock, from Wrestlemania 18. Jimmy Hart introduced this match by discussing how the Toronto crowd cheered the ‘bad guy’ Hogan and booed Rock. This was a memorable, enjoyable match won by Rock. Afterwards, when Hogan had shaken hands with Rock, Nash and Hall attacked him, leading to Rock’s save and Hogan turning babyface. This led to a sixth WWF title reign for Hogan, with his match and title victory versus Triple H airing from April 2002. He would lose the title at the next pay-per-view to Undertaker (not shown).

Hogan was then moved into the mid-card and specifically, the tag team division. His tag team title victory, teaming with Edge, defeating Billy & Chuck on an edition of Smackdown airs. The penultimate match on this disc, Hogan vs Mr McMahon in a streetfight match from Wrestlemania 19 is included. A short video aired before the match, showing the build up to the match. Match was fairly enjoyable, and basically a brawl featuring lots of weapon shots. Hogan being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (2005 class), and his induction speech from the ceremony, is also included. Final match on the disc is Hogan vs Michaels from Summerslam 2005. I thought this was an enjoyable match and Michaels did a good job carrying Hogan.

Disc 4 (Bonus Disc)

This disc doesn’t contain any links from Hart and Okerlund, nor does it include any ‘talking head’ clips between the matches. It is simply a variety of six matches and an interview segment included in their entirety. First match is a very rare match, a heel Hogan (managed by Freddie Blassie) facing Tito Santana on a WWF MSG card from March 1980. Hogan wore a multi-coloured cape to the ring, and was billed as ‘The Fabulous Hulk Hogan’. Hogan defeated Santana clean after a suplex in a short match. Second match was a handicap match from the AWA in August 1981, with Hogan (managed by Jimmy Valiant) defeating Sonny Rogers & Chuck Greenly (two jobbers). Not sure why this match was concluded, although the finish was unintentionally humorous and campy – Hogan placing both guys in a bear hug (at the same time, one behind the other) and making both guys simultaneously submit.

Third match was a great match, Hogan vs Terry Funk from a January 1986 edition of Saturday Nights Main Event. They actually gave this match some context too, as they showed a Gorilla Monsoon-narrated video of the build up to this match, of Funk attacking and branding Hogan with his branding iron a few months earlier in a previous match between the two. This was a wild affair, with Junk Yard Dog in Hogan’s corner, to counter the interference of Funk’s manager, Jimmy Hart. Hogan won the match, and JYD attacked Hart. Funk reacted angrily to the loss, throwing chair after chair into the ring at Hogan. This ECW-esque craziness was a good 7 to 8 years ahead of its time.

Next match is also from an edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event, the March 1988 edition to be precise. Hogan vs King Harley Race is included, a match notable for Race attempting to put Hogan through a ringside table, only for Hogan to move and Race to crash into the table, off the ring apron.

Fifth match on this disc is the last 13 minutes of the 1990 Royal Rumble (beginning with Hogan’s entry), which was won by Hogan. Final match on the disc is Hogan vs Earthquake from Summerslam 1990. They had done an injury angle in the months prior to this match, and this was Hogan’s first match back against the monster heel. Hogan won by count out, after slamming Earthquake through a ringside table, which broke. Hogan celebrated wildly by jumping up and down when he won by count out, which was strange to see. Even Piper acknowledged on commentary that it was a hollow victory. The idea was to have Hogan win, but leave the door open for rematches, but it just came off bad that Hogan never won via pinfall. After the match, Earthquake and Bravo attacked Hogan, with Big Bossman running in for the save, nailing Earthquake with a metal folding chair, which left several welts on Earthquake’s back.

Final chapter on the disc is Mean Gene Okerlund’s interview with Hogan from the ‘WWE Raw Homecoming’ tv show of October 2005, with Hogan suggesting a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin would be his next challenge. I wonder if we will ever see that match?

Overall

Phew! Talk about a massive DVD set to get through! I’ll be honest, I went into watching this one with mixed feelings. I’m not a major Hogan fan, but I’ve enjoyed his schtick over the years and take him for what he is on-screen – a charismatic showman, cheesy as hell at times, limited in the ring but someone who entertains the fans and sticks with a winning formula. But I was pleasantly surprised. Even having seen most of the matches on disc 2 and 3, discs 1 and 4 were very interesting, containing some rare gems that differ from the usual Hogan match formula. The presentation is excellent, with Okerlund and Hart doing a great job. I would seriously recommend this set, as it’s a comprehensive collection of Hogan’s key matches, and a fitting tribute to the most famous wrestler of all time.

Points: 10 / 10

Buy It:

UK: £25.49

USA: $26.99

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