Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior

WWE Championship Match – WrestleMania VI (1990)

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In early 1990, we had Sky TV installed, which beamed the cheesiest recesses of American culture directly into the living room. That’s when I first saw WWF.

My first memory of wrestling is seeing shouty behemoths Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior bellowing about how they were going to destroy each other. I can picture it now: each man looking straight into the camera, oil literally dripping from their muscles, minds presumably lost.

The match-up – a rare good guy v good guy, title-for-title match – had a life-changing effect on me. Indeed, I’ve been watching WWF/E every since. I’ve been to WrestleMania three times and write about wrestling for a living.

Hogan puts the boots to Warrior (Credit: WWE)

But nothing I’ve seen since – no match, no event, no wrestler (or “WWE Superstar” to use the official term) – has moved me in quite the same way. When I watch Hogan v Warrior now, it still sends chills up my spine and prickles across the skin.

The match isn’t a technical classic by any means, but – considering the limited skills of both Hogan and Warrior – it’s better than it has any right to be. It holds up to this day, and remains an important moment in wrasslin’ history. Warrior would beat Hogan on the night – Hogan’s first clean loss for bloody years, and a passing of the torch moment, though Warrior soon had to pass the torch back when his reign as champ proved a flop (see the next page).

Twenty-odd years later, I know full well why I’m a diehard WWE fan – I’m engrossed in the history and characters and story world as someone might be with Star Wars or Doctor Who or even Eastenders.

But at that moment in 1990, the original appeal of pro wrestling remains a mystery. WWE types always say it’s because wrestling is “larger than life”, which I always think is a cop-out answer – the true appeal of pro wrestling is more nuanced and complex. But undoubtedly it was something about the sight of these two men – a sight that to this day conjures up powerful feelings of nostalgia – that hooked me for life. Two of the most ridiculous men of all time.

Tom Fordy @TheTomFordy

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