Ask 411 Wrestling: How Many Men Faced Hulk Hogan One-On-One?

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

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Beenie is going one on one with the Immortal One:

How many wrestlers did Hulk Hogan face one-on-one? I’m talking WWE & WCW here. I’ve got the feeling that there weren’t very many, especially in WCW. So who got a singles match with the Hulkster? And who, that likely should have, did not.

Those of you know who this column works know that I’m not going to just stop with WWE and WCW, but let’s answer the direct question first.

There were an even 30 wrestlers who went one-on-one with the Hulkster in WCW, which is more than I would have guessed.

Those men were: Ric Flair, The Butcher (a.k.a. Brutus Beefcake), Vader, Kamala, Big Bubba Rogers, Lex Luger, The Giant, Sting, Hugh Morrus, Meng, One Man Gang, Arn Anderson, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Jacques Rougeau, Diamond Dallas Page, Bill Goldberg, Scott Hall, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Kevin Nash, Curt Hennig, Sid Vicious, Dustin Rhodes, The Wall, Mike Awesome, Scott Steiner, Billy Kidman, Horace Hogan, and Jeff Jarrett.

The number of wrestlers Hogan had singles matches against in the WWWF/WWF/WWE is quite a bit higher, in part because he was there for several decades and in part because, particularly in his earlier years, he was wrestling a full-time schedule that included quite a few squash matches against unlikely competitors. In all, he had 99 distinct singles match opponents in that promotion.

His opponents in the Fed were: Ben Ortiz, Paul Figuerao, Harry Valdez, Ted DiBiase, Joe Mascara, Billy Berger, Tito Santana, Johnny Rodz, Gorilla Monsoon, Dave Darrow, Dominic DeNucci, Angelo Gomez, Charlie Brown, Rene Goulet, Bob Backlund, Fred Marzino, Manny Seacca, Johnny DeFazio, Frank Williams, Mike Masters, Marc Pole, Andre the Giant, Jose Estrada, Pat Patterson, Ivan Putski, Tony Colon, Ron Shaw, Rick McGraw, S.D. Jones, John Callahan, Jack Carson, Jim Duggan, Mikel Scicluna, Tony Garea, Bill Dixon, Gilbert Guerrero, Iron Sheik, Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie), Paul Orndorff, David Schultz, Big John Studd, Tiger Chung Lee, Afa, Sika, Greg Valentine, Moondog Rex, George Steele, Bob Orton Jr., Kamala, Jesse Ventura, Mr. Fuji, Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff, Terry Gibbs, Brutus Beefcake, Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy, Randy Savage, Rusty Brooks, Terry Funk, Adrian Adonis, Moondog Spot, Hercules Hernandez, Jake Roberts, Harley Race, Honky Tonk Man, Killer Khan, One Man Gang/Akeem, Butch Reed, Rick Rude, Virgil, Boris Zhukov, Haku, Bad News Brown, Big Boss Man, The Genius, Mr. Perfect, Dino Bravo, Ultimate Warrior, Earthquake, Stan Hansen, General Adnan, Sgt. Slaughter, The Warlord, Ric Flair, The Undertaker, Sid Justice, Yokozuna, Rikishi, The Rock, Triple H, William Regal, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Vince McMahon, Sean O’ Haire, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Orton.

(Arguably you could remove Stan Hansen from the list, because their match occurred on a “super show” co-promoted by the WWF, New Japan, and All Japan in Tokyo and Hansen was not a WWF guy at the time, but I still thing it counts since it happened under the WWF banner.)

Interestingly, there were only 11 men who he faced in both the WWF and WCW, those being: Kamala, Roddy Piper, Brutus Beefcake, Randy Savage, One Man Gang, Haku/Meng, Big Boss Man/Big Bubba Rogers, Mr. Perfect/Curt Hennig, Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair, and Sid. His first match against each one of those names came in the WWF. In other words, he did not face anybody in WCW for the first time and then face them again when he returned to the WWF/WWE in the early 2000s, which I didn’t expect. I could’ve sworn he’d wrestled the Big Show one-on-one at least once in WWE, but I was apparently wrong.

But those aren’t the only places that Hogan ever wrestled, oh no!

The Hulk had 7 different singles opponents when he worked in Championship Wrestling from Florida, those being Don Serrano, Brian Blair, Charlie Cook, Steve Kerin, Tony Rocca (as the “Super Gladiator”), Mighty Igor, and Jerry Lawler.

Hogan also moved north from Florida to Georgia, where he wrestled the following 11 opponents in Georgia Championship Wrestling: Chic Donovan, Stan Hansen, Gerald Finley, Marvin Turner, Bret Hart (yes, that Bret Hart), Tony Atlas, David Bruno, Ron Fuller, Dick Slater, Andre the Giant, and Bob Armstrong.

Immediately before his “Hulkamania” run in the WWF, Hogan faced the following 23 men in the AWA: Eddie Boulder (a.k.a. Brutus Beefcake), Pat Patterson, Fred Torres, Chris Curtis, Jerry Blackwell, Herman Schafer, Adrian Adonis, Rene Goulet, Jesse Ventura, Sheikh Adnan El-Kassie, Tony Leone, Angus McClain, Bobby Duncum Sr., Gaylord Fontaine (a.k.a. Sonny Rogers), Ken Patera, Nick Bockwinkel, Rick Young, Woody Wilson, Tom Stone, Chuck Greenlee, The Black Panther (a.k.a. Tom Ivy), Masa Saito, and David Schultz.

Before he broke big in either the AWA or the WWF, the 24” pythons toured with New Japan Pro Wrestling and became a major star there, wrestling these 36 stars, including several who he wrestled years before facing them again in the U.S.: Haruka Eigen, Riki Choshu, Strong Kobayashi, Ryuma Go, Kengo Kimura, Osamu Kido, Antonio Inoki, Bob Backlund, Seiji Sakaguchi, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tiger Jeet Singh, Andre the Giant, Dusty Rhodes, Killer Khan, Bobby Duncum Sr., Stan Hansen, Mike Masters, Sgt. Slaughter, Chris Adams, Yoshiaki Yatsu, Abdullah the Butcher, Dick Murdoch, Ed Leslie, Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie), Blackjack Mulligan, El Canek, Rusher Kimura, Akira Maeda, Enrique Vera, Big John Studd, Otto Wanz, Animal Hamaguchi, Tiger Toguchi, King Kong Bundy, Great Muta, Masahiro Chono

In Southeastern Championship Wrestling, an old school territory based in Alabama, Hogan wrestled 5 different men: Harley Race, The Outlaw, The Assassin, Austin Idol, and Pierre Lefebvre.

Keeping with the southern theme, Hogan had 4 opponents in the CWA/Memphis territory: The Mongolian Stomper, Ron Bass, Sonny King, and Jerry Lawler.

There were several territories in which Hulk had just 3 opponents each, those being NWA Hollywood (Frank Hill, Andre the Giant, and Mike Masters); Montreal (Edouard Carpentier, Jackie Wiecz, and Andre the Giant); and the St. Louis territory (Jerry Blackwell, Korstia Korchenko, and Harley Race).

In Mid-South Wrestling, Hogan faced two different men in singles matches, those being Andre the Giant and Wahoo McDaniel. He also had just two opponents in the short-lived Japanese promotion SWS: Yoshiaki Yatsu and Genichiro Tenryu.

Finally, there are a handful of territories in which Hogan only ever had one singles match against one opponent. These are: the old Toronto territory (Andre the Giant), the UWA in Mexico (El Canek), the XWF (Curt Hennig), PMG out of Memphis (Paul Wight), the Hulkamania tour of Australia (Ric Flair), TNA (Sting), and what appears to have been a one-off indy show in Sun City, South Africa (Terry Funk).

Tyler from Winnipeg is staring at the man in the mirror:

Who was the fake Mankind, who got beat up by the real Mankind?

For those of you who don’t know what Tyler is talking about, in late 1999 the WWF was being dominated by the McMahon/Helmsley regime, and they saw to it that Mankind was fired from the company. In the following weeks on Raw, they debuted a “film” entitled Have a Bad Day, in which a Mankind impersonator was shown being fired from various other gigs, including an employment agency, a children’s hospital, and a book signing. On the next Smackdown, the fake Mankind was shown wandering Universal Studios Orlando and being ridiculed by the park staff and guests.

This all built up to the January 13, 2000 episode of Smackdown, when the fake Mankind accompanied Triple H to the ring for an interview segment, only to be interrupted by the real Mankind, who declared that he was no longer strong enough to face HHH and that he was going to be replaced in the WWF by none other than Cactus Jack.

Jack then laid waste not only to Trips but also to his masked doppelganger, setting up the Foley/HHH street fight at that year’s Royal Rumble.

So, who was the fake Mankind?

It was none other than pro wrestler Dennis Knight, best known to WWF fans as Mideon. I re-watched the fake Mankind’s appearances in preparing this answer, and, though they do a pretty good job of covering Knight up, you can actually see some of his trademark tattoos if you look down his sleeves during the Universal Studios skits.

Bruce Anderson has a lineal championship question, though it’s one I can dispose of pretty quickly for a change:

I do enjoy the lineal championship history segments and have a new one. Well, an old one. Can we have the lineal championship history for AWA, starting with the real first champion, Vern Gagne?

I’ve actually already done this, back in the April 1, 2019 edition of this column. However, since somebody asked again, I figured that I would take a quick second to update where the championship sits now.

When we last visited the lineal AWA Title, it was around the waist of Roman Reigns after he defeated Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2018. If you read the September 20, 2020 edition of this column, you know that Reigns beating Lesnar at that Summerslam ALSO resulted in Reigns becoming the lineal holder of the WWE Queen’s Cup, which we were tracing in that column.

Continuing on from Summerslam 2018, the Queen’s Cup was held by Elias Samson at the time our September 20 column was written, which means he had the lineal AWA Title then, too. Elias has still not lost a singles match since he acquired the titles on August 20, 2019, which means he holds those distinctions as well as most of the other lineal championships that we’ve tracked in this column, including “The Man,” the FTW Championship, and the WWE Million Dollar Championship. I’m not the biggest fan of Elias, but frankly I’m a bit excited for his return now, if for no other reason than to see where all of these fake belts go next. It certainly is an odd coincidence that they’ve all wound up in the same place.

Dusty is rollin’ in the green:

My question is about drawing, specifically measuring it. I understand that merch is easy to track and that trends in house show draws can at least indicate the drawing power at the top of the card, but how do promotions get clearer and more detailed measures? I’ve been to many shows, both televised and not, and no one has ever once asked why I came. I never have received a survey via email or mail. I assume there are many fans like me who represent a baseline, that are gonna come to the shows if they are in our area. Does WWE measure that or take it into account? How do they determine draws?

For most of professional wrestling’s history, there has been a wide assumption that the top match on a card is really what’s drawing the audience in and that, though it’s not totally unimportant, everything else on the show is secondary. This may or may not be 100% accurate across the board, but it’s a rule of thumb that served promoters well for decades. If live gate attendance was up when a particular wrestler is in the main events, that wrestler was considered a draw. The same was the case when pay per view became pro wrestling’s main revenue stream in the 1980s. If the guy headlining the card drives business up from where it was previously, he’s the one that gets the credit.

As wrestling has become more and more focused on live television – and particularly now with TV rights fees being the primary source of income for both major U.S. promotions – drawing can be measured far more through Nielsen ratings. Though typically on wrestling news sites like this one we only see overall viewership and overall viewership in key demographics reported, those within the television industry actually track much more, including ratings based on quarter-hour, and, in some circumstances, minute-by-minute ratings changes. This can tell you who is a television ratings draw pretty easily . . . you just look for the wrestlers who people tune in for and discount the wrestlers who cause people to change the channel when they’re on screen.

Of course, there have been some wrestlers and angles that have done well for TV viewership numbers but not necessarily done well in convincing people to spend money on pay per view or live event tickets. (TNA’s entire run on Spike TV proves this. They did solid cable ratings but couldn’t get people to buy PPVs or house show tickets to save their lives.) That’s why you’ve got to marry all of the metrics together in order to come up with a true picture of who’s going to make you the most scratch.

Uzoma once won a karaoke challenge on NXT:

Despite being a babyface commentator, why is it that, kayfabe-wise, Byron Saxton appears to be the least liked by his partners, even his fellow babyface partners Michael Cole and Tom Phillips?

The answer is that, from time-to-time, announcers decide that one of them is going to have a little extra personality trait or quirk that makes them stand out as opposed to just being a random voice spouting the names of moves or recapping the latest storylines. You saw this a bit in the 1980s with Jesse Ventura constantly making fun of Vince McMahon for allegedly wearing a toupee or in the 1990s with Jerry Lawler being the guy who would slobber all over any halfway-decent looking woman who walked out on to the stage. In this case, Saxton has been given the identity of the guy who everybody has a good time kicking around, presumably because he can take a good-natured ribbing in stride, unlike many people these days.

Night Wolf the Wise wants me to crank out another top ten list:

Over the many decades of wrestling, there have been many great wrestlers. Some of them have become Legends and Hall of Famers. In your opinion, who the top 10 wrestlers who have transcended wrestling? For those who don’t know. Transcend means: to rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed.

Though a lot of top ten-style lists can involve difficult decisions, this isn’t one of them. In no particular order, I would say that the ten guys on my list are:

1. El Santo: He’s been dead for over 25 years, but his birthday is still celebrated as a minor holiday in some circles in Mexcio.

2. Rikidozan: He’s been dead for over 50 years, but there are still history textbooks that talk about how his impact on popular culture helped Japan find its identity after being defeated in World War II.

3. Hulk Hogan: Some younger fans will probably yell at me for saying this, but I still think he’s the first guy most Americans picture when they hear the phrase “pro wrestler.”

4. The Rock: His enduring legacy has yet to be measured, but he moved on from wrestling to become the biggest actor in Hollywood, a distinction he’s held for many years now.

5. Antonio Inoki: Essentially the Japanese version of Hogan (with Rikidozan being bigger than either Hogan or Inoki) who went on to become the Japanese equivalent of a senator for twelve years.

6. Giant Baba: During their heyday, Baba’s All Japan was just as big as Inoki’s New Japan, though Inoki had more crossover and international appeal than Baba did.

7. Dave Batista: Batista doesn’t get as much attention as the Rock does because he’s typically not the lead in his films, but Batista has still done a great job of getting himself substantial roles in numerous a-list movies.

8. Steve Austin: Austin’s crossover appeal seems to have flamed out since his in-ring career came to an end, but, in the late 1990s, he was everywhere, and his name is still known to the general public.

9. Andre the Giant: Though most of the men on this list transcended wrestling in their home countries, Andre is probably the only one to do it internationally. He was a massive pop culture figure in both the U.S. and Japan.

10. The Bella Twins: It’s not a world that I follow much, but I’m amazed by how much the Bellas have managed to integrate themselves into the weird sphere of E! News/tabloid people who are famous for being famous.

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected].

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