Hulk Hogan’s 9 Greatest Opponents Ever
When you think of wrestling, love him or hate him, Hulk Hogan has been the biggest name, face, and icon of the industry for about forty years. Whether he was the face of the WWF, or even during his time in WCW as “Hollywood Hogan,” part of what made the Hulkster a success was his ability to suspend disbelief during his battles with equally legendary rivals.
With over 2,000 matches under his belt, the 12-time World Heavyweight Champion (plus one-time IWGP champ) has had a slew of in-ring foes to dance alongside. Here are eight of Hulk Hogan’s greatest foils…
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
There was arguably no better manager in WWF history than Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. While they may not have faced each other in any epic in-ring battles, the members of “The Heenan Family” stable were primary foes for Hogan throughout the ‘80s. Heenan was the manager for Andre The Giant, Ravishing Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Ken Patera, King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, and Harley Race—just to name a few. Hogan took no greater pleasure than dismantling The Weasel post-match, after dispatching one of Heenan’s protégés.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
For over three years, Hogan and Orndorff were both friend and foe, though mostly foe. Seen by many as a Hogan “lite,” Orndorff was one of Hogan’s main adversaries during his first title run. After their tag team battle alongside Roddy Piper and Mr. T at the inaugural WrestleMania, the two would become a tag team. But as per most of Hogan’s relationships, it fizzled and once again the two would battle, climaxing in an epic steel cage match on Saturday Night’s Main Event in 1986.
The Iron Sheik
You can’t have a Hulk Hogan rivals list without Sheiky Baby, The Iron Sheik. Without the master of the Camel Clutch, there might not have been Hulkamania. The battle between America’s hero and the Iranian villain turned Hogan into a household name overnight, but the showdown almost never happened. The Sheik was offered $100 grand by Verne Gagne to break Hogan’s leg during the match and go off-script, but he turned it down out of respect for Vince McMahon.
The Ultimate Warrior
One of the first real “face vs. face” battles in modern WWF history, the Warrior took the torch from Hogan following their legendary battle at WrestleMania VI. While their feud was short, both men were battling to be the face of the company, ad Warrior defeated Hogan to hold both the World Heavyweight Championship and the Intercontinental Championship at the same time. Their Wrestlemania match lives on to this day as one of the greatest matches in the history of The Showcase Of The Immortals.
Hogan vs. Sting in the WWF or WWE would have been an epic clash, but fans had to settle for WCW and TNA versions. As the ‘90s came to a close, Hollywood Hogan would battle Sting for the WCW title at Starrcade ‘97 in a match that unfortunately didn’t come close to living up to its incredible build. Over the course of their one-on-one battles in both WCW and TNA, Hogan would only defeat Sting once, by a “No Contest” ruling, as he was almost always the cowardly heel during those encounters.
Well, what about Flair? That was always the question when discussing Hogan as the greatest wrestler in the world during the 1980s. One sold you on his wrestling skill, and the other was the most marketable wrestler of his era. While both were a part of the WWF in the early ‘90s, it wouldn’t be until WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 that the two would finally meet face to face on a major pay-per-view broadcast. Whether it was in the WWF, WCW, TNA or WWE, these two icons have battled for wrestling supremacy for decades.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage
For nearly thirteen years, Hogan and Savage would have a love/hate relationship. Whether they were the “Mega Powers” in the WWF or the “Monster Maniacs” in WCW, when two of the top wrestlers of the ‘80s and ‘90s got together, it was always special. Good friends made better enemies, however, as their Wrestlemania V main event match is still regarded as one of the best in the event’s history.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
When you looked at Roddy Piper, never once would you think that he could give a physical specimen like Hulk Hogan a run for his money. Despite what he lacked in physique, Piper outdid Hogan when it came to mind games, trash talking, and dastardly deeds. One of the longest running feuds in wrestling history boasts an interesting fact—although Hogan had the win count in his favor, neither man ever once pinned the other for the three count during their time together in the WWF.
Andre The Giant
No list like this could be complete without Andre. Arguably, there may not be or have ever been a more iconic moment in wrestling history than what happened when The Hulkster picked up his Wrestlemania 3 foe and slammed him to the ground. For months, the buildup to this epic event was a story of David vs. Goliath because until that moment, in front of 93,173 fans, Andre had never been pinned in the previous 15 years (he actually had been, but the WWF didn’t care to acknowledge that fact). The rest, as they say, is history.