As we've covered on this history series, Hulk Hogan finally wore out his welcome with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1993 when he was made to unceremoniously drop the championship to Yokozuna at King of the Ring before leaving to pursue other endeavors. He had been flirting with the idea of retiring to become an actor, as he did a few movies and worked on a hilariously bad television show called Thunder in Paradise. It wasn't long, however, until he was contacted by Eric Bischoff, who was newly in charge of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and wanted to make Hogan his first big signing.
And that's exactly what he did, getting clearance to ink a big money deal with all sorts of clauses that essentially gave Hogan the ability to do whatever the hell he wanted. The contract stipulated, more or less, that WCW would become Hogan's playground and he could do as he saw fit.
They brought him in with a papered parade full of fans who were given Hogan merchandise to make it look like a bigger deal than it actually was, at least on the streets. Make no mistake, this was a big signing, but Hulkamania was all but dead, having run wild for almost an entire decade. All good things turn bad eventually, and the fans were worn out.
That didn't stop WCW from doing whatever it could to placate its newest big name star. They set him up for his debut match to occur on this date in WCW history (July 17, 1994) where he would take on Ric Flair at Bash at the Beach with the world heavyweight championship on the line.
To their credit, WCW immediately made the match the WWF had avoided making for all the wrong reasons while Flair was signed with them a few years prior. And "The Nature Boy" had no problem putting "The Hulkster" over either, giving him a solid 20 minute match and allowing Hulk to pin him clean in the center of the ring.
Hogan would go on to dominate the scene for many years to come. His stale Hulkamania character finally died a few years later and gave way to "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, one of the biggest heels in the history of the industry thanks in large part to his being the leader of the New World Order.
After the jump, watch Hogan go over Flair to kick off his WCW career.