In the ever changing world of professional wrestling, history can be made in a blink of an eye, a New York minute and a slap of the mat and this week is no different. As a matter of fact, some of the biggest events in the entire industry happened this very week in years gone by.
As Chaucer once said, “time and tide wait for no man”. Just as poignantly, Mick from Rocky also once said, “What are we waiting for!?” So prepare to ride shotgun as we fire up the Delorean, hit 88 miles per hour and join us as we travel back in time to explore the huge events of this week in wrestling history.
In one of the biggest matches in the history of the wrestling business, Hulk Hogan finally squared off with Ric Flair on July 17th, 1994, with 14,000 fans on hand to witness history in the making in Orlando.
Making his WCW in-ring debut, Hulk Hogan’s arrival was an immediate shot across the bow from Turner to McMahon and an emphatic statement of intent, proving that WCW meant serious business. The event was the most successful show WCW had ever had up to that point, actually outselling the WWF’s King of the Ring the month prior; marking the first time WCW had outperformed the WWF on PPV.
The debuting "Hulkster" would go 21 minutes with the "Nature Boy" before Hogan would once again drop the fateful leg to capture his first of many WCW Championships, much to the delight of the 14,000 Hulkamaniacs on hand.
Despite the general consensus that Hogan bouts were largely predictable and formulaic at this point in his career, the match itself garnered a very decent 3.25 star rating from Dave Meltzer; owing largely to the spectacle of Hogan’s WCW debut.
The glitz and gaga surrounding the match gave the presentation a genuine big fight feel, with an early appearance from Michael Buffer on ring announcing duties and celebrity presence at ringside from Shaq O’Neal and Mr T all adding to the festivities.
Most importantly, WCW finally gave the fans what the WWF had failed to do at WrestleMania two years earlier by allowing Hogan and Flair to square off on a big stage with a title at stake; a decision that would set off a course of events that would alter the wrestling landscape forever.