Why Did Hulk Hogan Not Want to Wrestle Vader in WCW?
On the latest 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed why Hulk Hogan was not keen on working with Vader and Hogan not believing Vader’s style worked with his. Vader’s reputation for being stiff in the ring is legendary among Western pro wrestlers. Hogan, on the other hand, did not have that reputation and co-host Conrad Thompson asked if Hogan tried to use his clout backstage to avoid working with Vader for that reason. Highlights are below, along with the full podcast:
On if Hogan tried to talk Bischoff out of working with Vader: “Not really. I’m gonna make one thing clear. I mean, look, the fact and the truth is that Hogan wasn’t excited about the prospects of working with Vader because their styles didn’t mesh. And Hogan would be the first one to tell you that he had his own style that worked for him, ‘brother.’ It worked for WWF, ‘brother.’ It worked ultimately for WCW, ‘brother.’ And that style, and that presentation in the ring was not something that he felt Vader was capable or interested in accommodating. But that was more of a creative issue than it was any kind of fear. Hogan is a much tougher individual than people think. People think because he liked to work the way he worked, and his presentation was very animated — and by the way, he made tens of millions of dollars in the process and probably hundreds of millions for WWF in the process. So it obviously was a formula that worked very well for Terry Bollea, the character Hulk Hogan. But it wasn’t because he was physically afraid of anybody, or not capable of going in there and hanging and banging.”
On Hogan working stiff matches in Japan: “And if you don’t believe me, and if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, ‘Well the only reason Eric’s saying that is because he’s close friends with Hulk Hogan.’ Go back and look at some of his matches in Japan. But Hulk Hogan didn’t want to have those kinds of matches for the US domestic audience, because he believed it didn’t work. So again, go back, look. It’s available. Search some of his matches with Antonio Inoki, or anybody else in Japan. You’ll see a much different, very physical and very capable Hulk Hogan when it came to that type of shoot-style match.”
On Hogan not thinking Vader’s style fit his: “It wasn’t because he was fearful for himself, or physically. It was just that he didn’t believe that Vader’s style would work with him in the ring. It’s one of the reasons why Hulk really wouldn’t have come to WCW and worked with anybody else right out of the shoot other than Ric Flair. Because Hulk knew that Ric Flair could work Hulk’s style of a match and make him look phenomenal in the process.”