clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

On this date in WWF history: 33 million viewers watch Hulk Hogan lose the title

On Feb. 5, 1988, 33 million viewers tune in to watch Andre the Giant pin Hulk Hogan under questionable circumstances in the Main Event.

On February 5, 1988, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) held its first ever Main Event on a Friday night, live from the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana. It garnered a staggering 15.2 rating with 33 million viewers and stands as television's most watched wrestling event of all time.

The big attraction was a WrestleMania III rematch between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, who was in cahoots with "The Million Dollar Man," Ted DiBiase. During the match, Andre executed an ugly hip toss and fell on the Hulkster.

The referee proceeded to count to three, despite the fact that Hulkster's shoulder was clearly off the mat. How could the ref blow such an obvious call? Well, as it turns out, it wasn't longtime referee Dave Hebner, but his evil twin, Earl Hebner, hired by DiBiase to throw the bout.

In the wake of the original Hebner screwjob, WWF President Jack Tunney vacated the title and set up the 14-man elimination tournament for WrestleMania IV, leading to Randy "Macho Man" Savage's epic win.

Video for your enjoyment:

Hulk lost. I wept. Go ahead and have your laughs.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats