Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant

Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant
Hulk Hogan, Donald Trump and Ander the Giant at a press conference for WrestleMania IV. Russell Turiak/Getty Images

The Two Most Popular Stars in WWE

By late 1986, the two most popular stars in wrestling were Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan. They were portrayed as best friends for the past few years.  When Hulk Hogan won the WWE Championship in 1984, the first wrestler to pour champagne on his head was Andre the Giant.  In early 1987, they both received awards on Pipers Pit.  When Hulk received an award for being champion for three years, Andre came out and said that "3 years is a long time to be champion".

  The next week, Andre received an award for being undefeated.  Hulk came out to congratulate Andre but Andre walked away.  The following week on Piper’s Pit, Jesse Ventura said he could get Andre to appear if Piper could get Hogan on the show.  The next week, Andre came out with Hulk’s enemy, manager Bobby Heenan, and demanded a title shot.  Andre then proceeded to rip Hulk's shirt and crucifix off of him.

The North American Indoor Attendance Record

Despite the way the match was promoted, Hulk and Andre had fought one another in the past, most notably at Shea Stadium in 1980, and Andre wasn’t undefeated.  The big match was scheduled to take place on March 29,1987, in the Pontiac Silverdome at WrestleMania III.  The event set a North American indoor attendance record as 93,173 fans packed the stadium; a record which stood until the 2010 NBA All Star-Game.  More importantly, the match was also one of the first successful pay-per-view events for that new industry and that changed the business model for wrestling.

  The match itself saw Andre almost beat Hogan in the opening seconds when Hulk couldn’t pick the Giant up. After a disputed 2 count, Andre would dominate most of the match.  Hulk would eventually “Hulk Up” and slam the Giant which led to a victory for the Hulkster.

Survivor Series 1987

Hulk and Andre would meet up again on Thanksgiving night in a 10-man tag team elimination match.

Early in the match Hogan was counted out. Andre would win this match as sole survivor. After this match, Hogan came out and attacked Andre.

Every Man Has A Price

In the middle of 1987, a new type of bad guy entered the WWE. “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase wanted to use his wallet instead of his wrestling ability to become champion. He wanted to buy the title from Hulk, but Hogan refused. Plan B for DiBiase was to get someone to win the title and then give it to him. The man he chose for this act was Andre the Giant.

Wrestling Returns to Prime Time Television

In a match that was televised live on NBC on February 2, 1988, Andre beat Hulk Hogan for the title even though Hulk’s shoulder was clearly up by the count of 2.  Then a second referee appeared in the ring that looked identical to the referee that cost Hulk the title.  While all this confusion was going on, Andre gave the title to Ted DiBiase.  The next week, President Jack Tunney ruled the title vacant and that a tournament would be held at WrestleMania IV to fill the vacancy. He also ruled that Hulk and Andre would receive first round byes and then fight each other in the second round.

WrestleMania IV

Andre and Hulk would fight to a double disqualification in their match.

The tournament finals featured Ted DiBiase vs. Randy Savage (who was Hogan’s best friend at this point). When Andre started to interfere in the bout, Hogan came out when Miss Elizabeth pulled him out of the locker room. The match ended with Hogan costing DiBiase the title and Randy Savage becoming the new WWE champion.

SummerSlam 1988

The teams of Hogan and Savage fought Andre & DiBiase at SummerSlam 1988.  Jesse Ventura was the special guest referee for this match.  Andre and DiBiase had the advantage until Miss Elizabeth went on the ring apron and took off her skirt which revealed a swimsuit. This distraction enabled Hogan and Savage to win the match.

The Conclusion

That marked final televised encounter between Hulk and Andre. By this point, Andre was in terrible physical condition. He would eventually retire as a good guy when he beat up Bobby Heenan.

Sadly, while in Paris a few days after attending his father’s funeral, he passed away on January 27, 1993, at the age of 46 from a fatal heart attack.  Shortly afterwards, WWE created their Hall of Fame and made Andre the sole inductee into its inaugural class.