Hulk Hogan is arguably the most popular wrestler of all time. It is because of Hulk Hogan that pro wrestling became mainstream and thus, a part of American culture. The athletic exhibition that was once held under the smoky damp lights of half filled arenas is now an entertainment mega event that attracts millions of fans worldwide. "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan can be directly linked to the extreme popularity of men like The Rock and John Cena. Hogan was their predecessor.
In 2009, WWE released "Hulk Hogan's Unreleased". The DVD featured matches that took place throughout Hogan's career, but tend to get glossed over when reviewing Hogan's legacy.
One of the first matches featured on the DVD is a match against Bob Backlund. At the time of the match, in 1980, Backlund was the reigning WWE Heavyweight Champion. Hogan, on the other hand, was a fresh faced baby guy who was still very green. This is a fun match to watch, since this is well before Hulk Hogan became the red and yellow cartoon character come to life. This is years before "Hulkamania" ran wild in New York. During this time, Hogan was not a serious contender for Backlund's belt. Hogan later left the WWE to film "Rocky 3" with Sylvester Stallone.
Before Hogan left the WWE to film "Rocky 3", he had another infamous encounter. This time is was with the legendary Andre the Giant. The match took place at Madison Square Garden, the mecca of the wrestling world. It's amazing to compare this match from 1980 to their epic encounter at Wrestlemania 3 in 1987. Though this match contained more athleticism from both participants, it lacked the buzz and crazy atmosphere of their 1987 bout.
The DVD continues on featuring several matches from Hogan's heyday. His opponents include a young "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Killer Khan and the "Ugandan Giant" Kamala. For fun, the WWE included a couple of segments as well. In particular, they featured a segment with Hulk Hogan and 80s television star Mr. T. In the segment, the two stars go shopping in a grocery store. It's very funny, and a great bit of nostalgia for old school wrestling fans.
As a longtime wrestling fan, one of my fondest memories of Hulk Hogan is from Wrestlemania 7, when he defeated Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. The second disc features a Wrestlemania 7 rematch from London, England. This would be one of Hogan's last appearances in London until 2012. Hulk Hogan recently appeared at a TNA wrestling show in England.
Also of interest in a rare house show match between Hulk Hogan and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. In the 80s and early 90s, a match between Flair and Hogan was considered a dream match. These matches took place at live arena shows, and were not broadcast to television. These matches were originally a test to see if a Hulk Hogan versus Ric Flair match would draw interest for Wrestlemania 8. However, due to the steroid scandal, Hogan decided to retire at the 1992 event.
The Hulk Hogan versus Ric Flair dream match never took place in the WWE. However, the two legends did finally meet on pay per view in WCW in 1994. Their first match is featured on the WWE produced DVD " The Hulk Hogan Anthology." Instead, "Unreleased" features a tag team match from 1995 between Hulk Hogan and recent WWE defect "Macho Man" Randy Savage head-to-head with Ric Flair and Big Van Vader from "Slamboree." The match was a lot of fun, and features an infamous spot where Hogan gets powerbombed from the massive Vader, only to no-sell the maneuver and get right up.
The DVD rounds out with moments from Hogan's last run with the WWE. This includes matches with Triple H, Ric Flair and Kurt Angle. These matches are considered some of Hulk's best matches in years. Hogan really did give his fans one last good series of matches before he rode off into the sunset.
If you haven't seen "Hulk Hogan's Unreleased". I suggest you pick it up. It's a brilliant look into the substantial career of one of the greatest champions of our time.