I wanted my first feedbag on Cageside Seats to be a big one. So i decided to do what i feel is a very important match both in wrestling history and my own history as a wrestling fan. The match is Hulk Hogan vs Yokozuna from King of the Ring 1993.There are some years you remember more vividly than others. For me 1993 is one of those years. That is one of my first full years as a hardcore wrestling fan. A few months before when I was watching WWF Superstars (before the Fox affiliate canceled it) I saw an ad for a house show at the VBCC. I can't even remember who was on the card except for Bret Hart and Giant Gonzales. I asked my parents if I could go. Long story short I did not go, but was allowed to order King of the Ring 93 as an apology.
The main event for King of the Ring 93 aside from the tourney final was the WWF title match between Hulk Hogan and Yokozuna. At Wrestlemania IX two months before, Yoko had defeated Bret Hart for the WWF championship after Mr.Fuji threw salt in his eyes. Hulk being a all around good guy comes out to protest the decision. Mr.Fuji does something incredibly stupid and issues an impromptu challenge to HULK HOGAN at WRESTLEMANIA while Yoko is exhausted from the previous match. I can see why Fuji did not win 1993 Manager of the year in Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Before his music even starts, a very loud Hogan chant comes up. When Hulk comes out he has this very melancholy look on his face. Not like the usual manic coked up Hulk I grew up with. Once he gets to the ring he seems to be dragging his feet with he posing. Like he does not want the music to stop. He even takes his time handing the belt to Hebner.
The match starts off with the traditional test of strength. Hulk manages to push back Yoko slightly. They lock up again but Yoko throws Hogan across the ring. They lock up a third time but Yoko decides to start beating Hogan down with various chops and headbutts. He hits Hogan with a violent looking bodyslam and continues beating him.Hulk finally gets on offense when he avoids Yokozuna's butt splash in the corner. He connects with a flurry of punches on Yokozuna. He does the big ten count punch on Yokozuna, stopping at 8 to bite him, then whipping Yoko into the corner and hitting a clothesline. Hogan tries to body slam Yokozuna but Yoko easily blocks it and beats Hogan down again. But Hogan avoids a clothesline and gets back on the attack. He then attempts the body slam again. This time getting one of Yoko's legs off the mat.
Hogan attempts to clothesline Yokozuna only for Yoko to counter with his own clotheline. Yoko follows up with his big splash that he never hit and true to form, Hulk moves. If Yoko ever hit that, he would of killed somebody. Hogan tries a shoulderblock and gets knocked down. Yoko clamps on a bear hug. One thing I really enjoy here is how Hogan is not using the bear hug to rest. He is constantly trying to get out of it. The same goes for Yoko. He looks like he is more interested in squeesing the life out of Hulk than getting a breather.I love the way Hogan fought out of it. Stopping his arm from falling for a third time. He starts hitting Yoko and slowly build up his speed. Hitting him with a quick flurry of punches causing Yoko to break the hold, while still going to one knee to sell the damage from the hold. Yoko hits Hogan with a nasty looking elbow then hitting the belly to belly. But Hogan throws Yokozuna off of himself at the two count with the Hulk Up.
I love this Hulk Up because it feels desperate. Like Hogan is putting all his power into this one to stop one last foe. Hogan really seems to be relishing this. He rattles off more punches on Yokozuna and hits the big boot. But Yoko does not go down. It takes two more and finally Yoko goes down. Hulk hits the big leg drop and Yokozuna kicks out at 2. Its great to see as the fans are already jumping out of their seats and seemingly freeze in mid air.Hogan does not know what to do for a moment. so he goes and knocks Mr.Fuji off the apron. He is now signaling the body slam. But this is not going to happen. Yokozuna pins Hogan with his own leg drop. The audience is visibly stunned. Not really reacting. Yokozuna then pulls Hulk to the corner and squashes him with a banzai drop. Hulk is dragged away from the ring as little kids are crying and even the adults look upset. Yokozuna and Mr.Fuji stand in the ring celebrating getting their picture taken. Now the boos start to rain down. Its really the death of an era.
Now im not going to lie. i was 13 when I saw this and I was genuinely upset. Im not sure what to compare it to. It was really upsetting. Imagine if Rocky III ended after the first Clubber Lang fight. Thats how I felt that night. To cap it off the night ends with Jerry Lawler beating the ever loving poo out of Bret Hart. This was Hulk Hogan's last match in a WWF ring for narly a decade. He went to WCW a year later and it was never really the same. Personally I think what happened here affected Hogan for a long time nd is the big reason for why he absolutely refused to put anybody over for years.