The HOF careers of Hulk Hogan and Paul Wight have had a lot of highs including multiple World Championship reigns and in Hogan’s case changing the wrestling industry forever during the 80s and again with the nWo in 1996. Paul Wight was initially saddled with the lie that he was the son of one of the biggest icons ever, Andre the Giant. Andre never had any sons but before the internet took hold this lie had way more life than it would today. Eventually, everyone knew that it wasn’t true but at that point he already established himself, so it didn’t matter anyway. Wight would go on to win many titles over his wrestling career including being the only man to have ever held the WWF/E, WCW and ECW World Championships. Yes, I know that the ECW reign was in the WWE owned version, but it technically still counts because WWE owned the title.
The Road to the Forgotten Match
Anyway, Paul Wight, was a massive Hulkamaniac as a kid and it was his love of Hogan that made him want to become a professional wrestler. Paul Wight recently gave an interview talking about the first time they met:
“It was a Chicago – Wolves basketball game half-time and it was Mr. T and Hulk Hogan versus Danny Bonaduce and a secret partner [who would be Paul] I think it was for a charity thing. So, Danny introduced me to Hulk that night. And it’s funny because I guess Hulk had seen me earlier in the crowd and was elbowing Linda [McMahon] ‘he looks like a young Andre’. Hogan got moist, immediately, you know.
And then he found out I was an athlete and I wanted to wrestle. And then I did the worst thing you could ever do for a wrestler, because I did an impersonation of Hulk. Luckily for me it worked out but if it had been for some guys, it would have been a crash and burn. I did that [the impression of Hulk] for Hulk and Hulk’s eyes got really big. And now I know him, in his mind he’s just writing cheques for bank deposits. He had everything mapped out, what he wanted to do, work with me, the whole nine yards.”
If Hogan has proven anything in the wrestling business is that he knows how to get himself involved in money situations and he 100% is only concerned with how this will help Hogan. So, in 1995, while Hogan was in WCW struggling to keep his Hulkamania act from the 80s going despite the crowd losing interest in it, he knew he needed to do something to try and save his act. Well Andre was no longer around, Piper was under contract with WWF, Warrior still hating him and already wrestling Savage, that left none of Hogan’s signature rivals to feud with, so he got the idea why not the kid that looked like Andre? He was in the WCW Powerplant training facility and with Hogan’s stroke he got Wight hired in the first place because he knew this would likely benefit himself down the line and now was that time. They would use the name. “The Giant” and reference him being the son of Andre.
In one of the weirdest matches in the history, The Giant would make his WCW in ring match debut, fighting his childhood idol, Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Championship. That wasn’t even the strangest part that he was thrown into a world title match in his debut match…no, the strange part in the match started with monster trucks on a roof (just look at the video above). The Giant won the WCW World Championship in his debut match. Putting the world title on a rookie in his debut match is never a good idea but that didn’t matter to Hogan as he wasn’t concerned if that this move was a good move for Paul Wight, who was only in the business for a cup of coffee, but he is now the WORLD CHAMPION of the second biggest wrestling promotion in the world. Hogan had the complete power in WCW and convinced WCW President, Eric Bischoff, that having the heel Giant as the world champion and having the babyface, Hulk Hogan, would rejuvenate Hogan’s career as the fans would rally behind him like they did when he faced Andre at Wrestlemania 3. I’m sure he also convinced him that this could only help the Giant’s career and looking back now that is easily debatable. Cutting his training off and not paying his dues would come back to bite Paul Wight in the butt later on in his career as Taker would have to wise him up because no one did in WCW once he came to the WWF and he’d eventually be shipped off to WWF’s developmental territory, OVW, for re-training and weight loss.
When Hogan saw that his master plan of the fans rallying behind him against The Giant wasn’t working out for himself, he quickly changed plans and agreed to be the third man to the nWo. Hogan saw that money train leaving the station and he made sure he was on it.