Hulk Hogan vs. Earthquake (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart)
We are now about a month removed from Wrestlemania and it was fairly clear that there were certain guys coming out of that show that were going to have a great summer in terms of getting pushed. One of those guys that was primed for a big run was Earthquake as he had been squashing everyone in his path including Hercules at Wrestlemania, and he even began making waves when he attacked Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior prior to their match at Wrestlemania. Now logic would seemed to dictate that he begin feuding with Warrior to give him a fresh matchup, but instead it was decided that he would instead feud with Hogan which seemed a bit weird on paper since Hogan was due to take some time off. But given that we had one more big show at Madison Square Garden before it was due to be closed for renovation, I guess they figured it was good to get at least one big match between these two in before Hogan took his time off.
While the feud had not officially began on TV yet, we did see some interaction between the two as Hogan would save the Ultimate Warrior from Earthquake at the Main Event, and on the 3/10 Superstars Hogan would defeat Dino Bravo only for Earthquake to attack him afterwards until Warrior made the save. Following Wrestlemania, Earthquake claimed that it was his attack on Hogan that caused him to lose to Warrior as Hogan vowed to defeat Earthquake and get another shot at Warrior and the WWF Title. Again, it was fairly weird that they started this feud on TV knowing that Hogan was set to take some time off, but it was clear that something big was going to happen following this show that would enable Hogan to be written off TV.
Earthquake was pretty hot as a heel and Hogan gets a huge pop from the crowd as they are given the main event spot of the night, and Earthquake wastes no time and stomps on Hogan as he gets in the ring to start the match. He pounds on Hogan repeatedly and hits a clothesline only to miss the elbow as Hogan rips his shirt off and pounds on Earthquake, and he whips Earthquake into the corner and splashes him before continuing to pound on him as he hits a high elbow and a clothesline that drops Earthquake to a knee. Hart gets on the apron and Hogan knocks him to the floor before going outside and stalking him, and Earthquake grabs him from behind and rams him into the post twice as both men roll back into the ring. Earthquake catches Hogan on a crossbody attempt and hits a powerslam before dropping a pair of elbows on him for a two count, and he pounds on Hogan in the corner and rams him into the corner twice before continuing to pound on him. He whips Hogan hard into the other corner only to miss a charge and Hogan pounds on him. Hogan hurts his back on a slam attempt only to get a kick in and he rakes the eyes before pounding on Earthquake, and he continues to pound on him in the corner only for Earthquake to fall on top of him on a slam attempt for a two count. Earthquake hooks a bearhug on Hogan who tries to fight out of the hold only for Earthquake to grind down on him, and Hogan manages to fight his way out of the hold as he pounds on Earthquake only for Earthquake to knock him down. Earthquake then hits the Earthquake Splash on Hogan for a two count as Hogan starts to hulk up, and he no-sells Earthquake’s shots and pounds on him before hitting the big boot and the legdrop only for Hart to break the pin up which draws the DQ and Hogan wins the match. After the match, Hogan stalks Hart and he presses him up before tossing him at Earthquake who catches him with ease, and Earthquake stalks Hogan only for Hogan to get a shot in and he hits a slam on Earthquake who rolls outside and heads to the back as Hogan celebrates in the ring.
The match itself was decent as both men worked hard for the 9 minutes they got and put on a pretty solid, if somewhat simple match. Hogan was pretty much hitting his stride in the ring by this point while Earthquake was continuing to get into a groove, and they had pretty good chemistry here as Earthquake looked pretty good though it was weird to have Hogan blow out of his finisher and have him pinned until Hart got involved. It was also weird that they had this match here and the new WWF Champion Ultimate Warrior was not here, but I guess they decided that since Hogan was leaving to give him one more big payday at MSG. As I mentioned, the ending was a bit weak as they obviously didn’t want Earthquake to lose yet while also trying to keep Hogan strong, but they could’ve done something a bit more to make Earthquake look like more of a threat. The crowd was into the match and popped for Hogan when he won. Hogan gets the win over Earthquake by DQ, but this issue is not over yet.
Final Grade: **