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Monday, July 24, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan

By @TrueGodImmortal

With Summerslam getting closer and the road there now beginning officially, it's only right we kick the week off with a look at one of the most controversial matches of all time at the event today for our Match of The Week. Let's take a trip back to 2005 and revisit the infamous main event of Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan.

The Story
The match initially began building when Hogan came back to WWE for his induction to the Hall of Fame. However, the true issues between these two seemed to be written in the stars dating back to the WWF vs WCW  war. At the time when WCW was king, Hogan and the NWO (HBK's best friends Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) were leading the charge and dismantling the WWF in ratings. The top star then? Shawn Michaels. Though the WWF would survive, at that time it was the two biggest names in the business during 1996 trying to lead their company to the promised. Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. Now, fast forward 9 years later. Both Shawn and Hogan are on different paths in wrestling and neither man has the same form of power backstage to politic.... or at least it seemed like that was the case. So, with these two on more common ground, it was brought to them as a huge dream match. Hogan was far out of his prime, but if anyone could get a great match out of him, it would be HBK.

Hogan was no longer able to do a full time schedule, so when the match was seemingly planned to take place, they would lead up to it in an interesting way: with a tag team match. As the crowd at the Hall of Fame begged Hogan for one more match, HBK randomly popped up to be his tag partner for a one off tag match at Backlash 2005. Once the team won their match at the PPV, the plan was to go into the match with HBK and Hogan both as faces, hoping for one last dream match to see who is better and the best ever. They would attempt to set up something that would culminate in a great trilogy with HBK and Hogan trading victories over a three march series that would end with HBK likely coming out on top since he was the full time wrestler. This is where things take a turn for the worse.

The Heel Turn
So, Hogan, ever the backstage politician, decides to change the plans up. He doesn't want an epic face vs face showdown. He doesn't want to risk a mixed reaction or split crowd. He wants to face a heel HBK. The problem with that? Heel HBK would destroy Hogan on the mic every time, and it would be very risky for Hogan to try and keep up. Still, Hogan insisted and his politics began to show once again. So, one night during RAW as HBK and Hogan are teaming up, they run an angle where HBK turns on Hogan and as the weeks go by, HBK literally murders Hogan on the mic every single time he touched it. The Larry King parody to the rest of the promos showed a visibly frustrated HBK who knew what was to come, but he went down swinging and shooting. This caused friction as Hogan would say he was fine with the promos ahead of time then complain after the promos went live on air. Hogan was a hypocrite, as always. As the match inched nearly, their real life issues would end up spilling over into the actual contest.

The Match
This entire match is known for one reason: The overselling. HBK decided to totally play mind games with Hogan and oversell every move in a petty retaliation for Hogan using his political power to get a win he didn't deserve. HBK felt that he rightfully deserved the win and Hogan didn't. He was right. As a result, the match was actually good, but it's remembered negatively because HBK oversold and made it feel like a huge joke, which of course bothered some fans. I think it's actually a great way to get back at the ridiculous notions of Hogan, and we don't remember much about Hogan from that match, only the overselling from HBK. Sure, Hogan won the match, but HBK walked away feeling like the real victor when Hogan would end up away from the WWE for about a month after the match. It was the end of their feud, and though the trilogy didn't go down like they planned, this match is still extremely memorable for all the right and the wrong reasons.



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