Background: At “Wrestlemania 3” eleven months earlier, Hulk Hogan did the near impossible by beating the “undefeated” Andre The Giant to retain the WWF championship. With Ted DiBiase’s eyes on Hogan and the WWF title, “The Million Dollar Man” decided it’d be better to buy the championship than wrestle for Hogan’s prized possession. And who better to do DiBiase’s dirty work by beating Hogan and handing DiBiase the title belt than Andre The Giant – who claimed he pinned Hogan during the early seconds of their “Wrestlemania 3” clash? The biggest rematch in wrestling history was set after a contract signing at the “Royal Rumble”, where The Giant laid out the champ.
The Main Event
February 5, 1988
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant
With Andre stood DiBiase and “The Million Dollar Man’s” manager Virgil. Andre took his time strategizing, only for Hogan to pop him in the mouth before giving some big boots to Virgil and DiBiase. The Giant was rocking and reeling, but not going down due to Hogan’s striking. With Andre barely standing thanks to the rope rope, Hogan started clotheslining and raking Andre’s eyes. Uncharacteristically, Hogan scaled the ropes, only to be slammed off the top rope. Andre went for a falling headbutt, only for Hogan to move at the last second.
When Hogan tried to grab Andre, the challenger started choking him. Referee Dave Hebner reprimanded Andre for the blatant chokes. Like the challenger minutes ago, Hogan was reeling after Andre’s striking barrage. The punches, headbutts, and knee lifts left Hogan on his knees and in position for a choke with Andre’s singlet strap. With the fans behind him, Hogan rallied to his feet to stop the nerve hold. Hogan’s punching power had him in the lead again. Flying clothesline from Hogan finally knocked Andre down!
Before Hogan could follow up, Virgil tripped the running champion. The referee’s attention moved to Virgil, causing him to miss Hogan Leg Dropping and pinning Andre for several seconds. When Hogan got up to alert the ref about what was going on behind him, the challenger grabbed “The Hulkster” for single underhook suplex that Andre used to float over into a pin. Hogan’s left shoulder shot up, but the referee continued counting … giving us a new WWF champion!
Winner: Andre The Giant (9:09)
Andre The Giant gladly surrendered the title to Ted DiBiase, infuriating Hogan. Suddenly, another referee came out who looked just like Dave Hebner. Hogan couldn’t believe what he was seeing, grabbing both Hebners to find out the truth. The real Dave Hebner got laid out by this imposter, only for Hogan to give him a taste of his own medicine by tossing the fake Dave on top of DiBiase and Virgil.
Is It A Classic: From a technical standpoint, of course not. But the atmosphere and aura of the “rematch of the century” is something only two legends of the ring could produce. The ending set up a tournament to give us the undisputed WWF champion, but nothing compared to the clash of the titans seen here.