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#WCW: That Time Hulk Hogan Fought the Dungeon of Doom

Welcome to a sure-to-be popular new weekly? Monthly? Yearly post! Dear lord, it’s a slow summer day feature here at TBL where I turn the popular (and exceedingly progressive) social media hashtag #wcw — Women Crush Wednesday — into some jokes about the best-worst professional wrestling outfit ever assembled, Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. In this debut installment we look back at Hulk Hogan’s immortal feud with Kevin Sullivan’s nefarious Dungeon of Doom circa 1995. Enjoy!

What do you do hotshot? What do you do?

The “you”, in this particular instance, is WCW and the “what” is what to do with Hulk Hogan after spending millions of dollars in 1994 to pry the biggest name in sports entertainment away from WWF and bring him south to where the big boys play, WCW? Often we forget that the villains–the heels–are what make pro wrestling work. We need that bad guy, that evil presence to draw out our hate and venom, only for the hero to ride in and save the day. The heel and face are two sides of the same coin and cannot exist without the other or something.

Years later, WCW would build up Goldberg into an unstoppable force. Problem was, WCW never gave him a viable opponent, as Goldberg speared and jack-hammered every jabroni in wrestling until he beat Hollywood Hogan for the belt in the Georgia Dome on Monday Nitro. In retrospect Goldberg turned out to be a one-trick pony.

Anyways, WCW faced a similar problem when it brought the Hulkster abroad and gave him his own welcome parade (with Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart, natch) at the Disney World. Hogan quickly won the belt off Ric Flair and then … well … after some feuding with Vader, the Hulkster found himself entangled with the fearsome, diabolical Dungeon of Doom.

As you can see from the clips, this feud hasn’t held up — at all. Calling it cheesy would be an insult to the word itself. Despite starring in Thunder in Paradise the year before, Hogan’s acting chops hadn’t improved all that much by the time he was whisked away to the Dungeon’s secret liar in some sort of quasi-mystical, Sid and Marty Krofft-type realm and taunted by the Master and his “son,” the Taskmaster. (In truth, this clip makes the Shockmaster debut not look quite as terrible in comparison.)

So here we had Hogan, a man who on numerous occasions singlehandedly saved America,  fighting a bunch of idiots in terrible face paint named Zodiac and Shark. My best guess is Sullivan cooked up the idea of Dungeon of Doom after watching Conan the Barbarian for the 129th time, considering he once used a move called “the Tree of Woe.” If nothing else the Dungeon of Doom angle unleashed The Giant/Big Show on the world, under the premise he was the son of Andre the Giant and thus had the power to stop Hulkmania, brother. Oh right, basically the whole feud was about Sullivan trying to stop the powers of Hulkamania. (Somehow writing this is actually dumber than the actual on-screen story line, sadly.)

Maybe I’m getting the chronology mixed up (and some of the details wrong), but frankly that’s unimportant in a post about a wrestling feud from 19 years ago. Eventually Hogan and the Giant settled their feud the only way they could: Monster Truck fight atop Cobo Hall in Detroit at Halloween Havoc. If that wasn’t enough, it culminated with Hogan throwing Giant off the arena itself! (More amazing thespian work from the Hulkster, too.)

Of course, that moment pales in comparison to the debut of the Yeti – a.k.a. The time a seven-foot dude dressed up like a mummy dry-humped Hulk Hogan in the ring while Tony Schiavone screeched like a school girl. This happened, amazingly, shortly after the Monster Truck “fight” and the Giant plunging to his apparent doom. No pun intended.

Amazingly … this outlandish stuff (by wrestling standards, no less) actually happened. Human beings even paid money to watch it unfold on Pay Per View. Of course, less than a year later Hogan was applying the “stinky leg drop” to the Macho Man (RIP) at Bash at the Beach, paving the way for the n.W.0. to run wild … until WCW and Eric Bischoff ran the idea into the ground less than two years later.

And thus concludes today’s #WCW. Thanks for stopping by.

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