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My favorite WrestleMania match: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior

Some matches just stick with you forever. For me, it was when two of pro wrestling's biggest stars met head-on: Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6.

When WrestleMania season comes around this match is usually one of the first things that jump to my mind. It was a battle between two of the biggest stars ever, for not one but two titles. I was six when this match happened live but it took about another year before I actually witnessed it. My local video store, Video King, had an extensive pro wrestling library, and helped introduced me to a form of entertainment that would never leave my side.

As I write this, I'm not going to pretend I remember how seven year-old Josh broke down this match. Who carried who, Hogan's tendencies to avoid selling moves, and so on. Most likely, I was doing a leg drop onto a pillow while most of the action was going on. So, thanks to that wonderful WWE Network, I loaded up the match and enjoyed what solidified my wrestling fandom.


Music envelops the arena, and out from the back flies the Ultimate Warrior. With his fist pumping to the sky, he rockets towards the ring while the crowd drowns out everything, including Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura. With his arms raised, he grabs the power from everyone in the crowd.

Then Hogan's music hits.

The pop is even louder. Gorilla strains to talk over the cheers. Referee Earl Hebner takes the WWF and Intercontinental titles from each competitor, showing them to a crowd of over 67,000. An intense stare-down boils over as the crowd can barely contain their excitement. Grown men and women losing their mind as the story in front of them unfolds.

To me, the match plays out in three acts. In the first act, both Hogan and Warrior mirror each other move for move. They start with a test of strength, trade eye rakes, punches, and end with a double clothesline. That particular spot takes me back, one of those slow-motion moments, if you will.

Act two begins with Warrior taking over as the aggressor. He does his version of "hulking up", landing multiple clotheslines that drop the WWF Champion. All of this punishment eventually leads to a bear hug.

I mean, an extremely long bear hug.

Hogan recovers, and throws Warrior to the ropes. As Warrior rebounds, Hulk moves out of the way and Warrior takes out the referee. Both men rage on, as the battle wounds are clearly seen by all. Warrior's paint is but a memory, a single arm tassel lying lifeless on the mat. Hogan's face is wrought with pain, trying to catch his breath.

Both men recover but Warrior is able to get the advantage. He lifts Hogan up, pulling off a shaky gorilla press slam, and ending with the ultimate splash! To the surprise of many -- or maybe no one -- Hogan kicks out at two, and proceeds to hulk up, energizing the crowd to their feet.

The final act hits with a blast of excitement and speed that made even my younger self sit and stare in wonder. Hogan reigns down punch after punch, until his trademark big boot drops Warrior to the mat. Everyone in the arena knew what was coming next; the leg drop. Unfortunately for Hogan, Warrior did his homework.

Nobody home! Warrior moves out of the way, jumps to his feet and lands another Ultimate Splash!


The Ultimate Warrior defeats Hulk Hogan!



At 7, I didn't think the great Hulk Hogan could ever lose a match. It happened so fast, I didn't understand what my innocent little eyes had witnessed.

"Where's the remote?!"

I dive though my blankets, pillows, and fruit snacks to find it.


Staring at the fallen champion, as he rides that strange mini-ring car back down the aisle. I think to myself "this isn't possible, he never loses, ever!" I was taken for a ride, they tricked me. This pro wrestling stuff isn't what I thought it to be, but I like it...


I like it a lot. The ride is over, but I want to go again...


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