Hulkamania Was Born (01/23/1984)
January 23, 2017
On January 23, 1984, one of the most significant matches in professional wrestling history had taken place. It was on this day that the Iron Sheik defended his WWF Heavyweight title against Hulk Hogan at the world famous Madison Square Garden. It was this day that “Hulkamania” was born.
Vince K. McMahon had bought the company from his father in 1982 and had plans to expand the promotion nationwide. He had Hogan in mind to be the top attraction and had plans in place to put the championship on him. Hogan with his physique and appeal got over with fans in the in the WWF. One month prior to the title match, the Iron Sheik won the WWF title from Bob Backlund in controversial fashion. Sheik put Backlund in his Camel Clutch finisher before Backlund’s manager Arnold Skaaland threw in the towel, which crowned a new champion. On January 7, 1984, Backlund brought out Hogan from the off-stage area to help fight off the Wild Samoans in a match. Backlund stated after the match that Hogan changed his ways saying, “He’s changed his ways. He’s a great man. He’s told me he’s not gonna have Blassie around.”Backlund was “injured” and didn’t get a rematch against Iron Sheik for the title on January 23. Hogan took his spot that night instead.
As soon as the opening bell rung, Hogan wasted no time attacking the champ with a double axe handle smash bashing Sheik into the ring corner. As the crowd was getting hyped up, Hogan continued the attack as Sheik still had his ring gear on. Hogan risked a DQ by hitting Sheik with a clothesline with his ring gear, but the referee got him to break up the chokehold. Hogan then hit another clothesline and a knee drop followed up by hoisting Sheik by the throat in a chokehold. Hogan continued to control the match and hit an elbow drop and went for the pin fall attempt that resulted in a two count.
Sheik then took advantage of a mistake when Hogan charged at him in the ring corner and missed. Sheik ruthlessly kicked Hogan with his famous pointed boots before slamming him down and later putting the challenger into a Boston Crab finisher. Hogan used his legs to power out of the hold. He then suplexed Hogan and put him in his Camel Clutch finisher. Not a single wrestler had previously been able to kick out of the Camel Clutch finisher of the Iron Sheik, that is until this match with Hogan. Hogan worked his way up to his feet with the champion in his finisher and he used his strength to slam Sheik back-first into the ring corner, knocking him down to the canvas. Hogan recovered and went running into the ring ropes and hit the champion with his famous Leg Drop finisher. Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik to become the WWF Heavyweight Champion. The MSG crowd went crazy as he won the title.
In five minutes and 40 seconds, Hogan won the title and a new era of wrestling was just beginning. After the win, Gorilla Monsoon proclaimed, “Hulkamania is here!” After winning the title, Hogan referred to his fans as Hulkamaniacs and told them his three demands: training, saying your prayers, and eating your vitamins. His ring gear was in yellow and red as he would rip his shirt off before his matches while later listening to cheers from the capacity crowd. He became a phenomenon unlike any other in wrestling history. His first title reign would last over four years.