Arena Reports 11/21 Hulkamania Tour in Melbourne: Very detailed report on Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair's first matches back, Hogan and Flair bleed heavily, Undercard matches re-create Attitude Era
Nov 21, 2009 - 10:25:18 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
Hulkamania Tour house show report
November 21, 2009
Melbourne, Australia at Rod Laver Arena
Report by Antonio Pilone, Torch reader
The first show on the Hulkamania Tour was awesome, almost the best live wrestling event that’s toured in Australia and I have been to every show (WWE, WCW, and WWA). Here is a rundown of the show. Attendance was between 8,000 and 10,000.
5:50 p.m. - Hulkamania Meet & Greet Q&A Show
Around 50 fans purchased the Hulkamania meet & greet package. We were able to attend a private function where food and drink was provided to us where we just chilled and relaxed before the show. Around 6.30 p.m., Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan walked into the room the greet us. Hulk look very emotional with tears in his eyes by the response when he saw how wild and crazy everyone got with "Hogan" chants breaking out instantly. However, Hulk only stayed around and posed for a few minutes. No Q&A was held. Instead Sean Morley, Eugene, Heidenreich, and Lacey Von Erich then entered the room posing for photos and autographs. This went on until 7:00 p.m. then the function concluded.
7:50 p.m. - I got to my seat, which was front row ringside camera side. The atmosphere was electric with "Hogan" and 'Whooooo!' chants breaking out through the arena. The ring was a WCW size ring with the old school ropes with the colors yellow & red however there was no ring mat outside. There was only concrete, which seemed very strange. The setup looked a lot like the XWF ring set up. The entrance stage looked a lot like the Raw stage from 2000 with the main screen in the middle and two small screens on both left and right side.
I spoke to the cameraman who was sanding right next to me and asked if the entire show was being filmed for a DVD released. He said the promoter asked for all four shows to be taped, but didn’t know if the shows would be released on DVD in the future.
8:00 p.m. – Hulkamania – Let The Battle Begin. Video intro and pyro started the show. The intro video was played to American Made theme music.
(1) Pimp Fatha (The Godfather) & Eugene beat Rock of Love. Eugene came out first to read a poem, which put over the Australian fans, especially the Melbourne crowd. The Godfather then came out with two of his hos, which he got a great pop. He then gave his usual 'Pimping ain't Easy' promo, which got a great response. Rock of Love then came out to no response as nobody knew who they were. A short match, the heels attacked Eugene straight away and knocked him out of the ring they then tried to get heat on Godfather, but it turned intro a squash match as Godfather cleaned house to give his finisher and get the pin.
(2) 'Spartan 3000' Matt Cross beat Shannon Moore in match one of a Best of Three Series for $25,000. Matt Cross came out first to no response followed by Shannon Moore who came out to a good response. A solid match with many close pinfalls and a lot of cruiserweight-style moves. A high point of the match was when Matt Cross went underneath the bottom rope to the outside and Shannon Moore went for a suicide dive over the top rope on to the concrete floor, which would have really hurt. The end came when Shannon Moore went for a Frankensteiner off the top rope, but Cross blocked and hit a 450 shooting star press for the win.
(3) Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags w/Jimmy Hart beat Vampire Warrior (Gangrel) & Black Pearl in a "Down Under" Street Fight with Falls count anywhere. Vampire Warrior & Black Pearl came out to a great heel response with Vampire Warrior doing his brood blood spit spot during entrance. A Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart interview backstage was shown on the big screen, which got the crowd fired up. The Nasty Boys said they changed the tag team match to a Down Under Street fight falls count anywhere match. The Nasty Boys & Jimmy Hart came out to a huge pop. As Dusty Rhodes would say they brought their own plunder with them. A lot of "Nasties" and "Jimmy" chants throughout the match with the usual chairs, trash cans, and wooden boards used by both teams in the match. The crowd really got into the match and the Nasty Boys were really over with the crowd. A great match with Nasty Boys hitting their finisher for the win.
(4) Brutus “the Barber" Beefcake (w/Jimmy Hart) beat John Heidenreich. Heidenreich came out to Macho Man Randy Savage's WCW theme music from 1999. Heidenreich has lost a lot of body weight since his WWE run and came out to a lot of boos. An interview with Brutus Beefcake and Jimmy was shown on the screen. Brutus came out to a good pop. The match was a little slow, but the crowd popped when Brutus hooked the sleeper for the win. He then got his scissors to cut Heidenreich's hair, only for the referee to take them off him. The crowd chanted "Cut his hair," which Brutus then processed to cut the referee’s hair.
[15 minute intermission]
Footage of the press conference brawl was shown on the big screen.
(5) Lacey Von Erich won a Bikini Challenge match over Koa Marie Turner, Stephanie Pietz, and Kiara Dillon. It was your traditional WWE bikini contest match. They showed backstage footage of the girls getting ready for the bikini contest. Then the announcer called them to the ring. Lacey got the biggest response when all four girls got to the ring. Godfather then came out to host the challenge withy each girl given a time to strut their stuff for the crowd with the crowd giving their approval on who should win. Lacey got the biggest response by far.
The show went up a notch or two when Ric Flair came on the big screen for an interview. A fantastic interview by Flair. He looked emotional knowing he would step inside the ring for the first time since WrestleMania 24. It was a promo for the ages it reminded me of his promos he would cut on Magnum TA & Dusty Rhodes back in 1985. Classic Ric Flair interview. He received a standing ovation after the interview.
(6) Mr. Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy) beat Sean Morley (Val Venis). Val Venis came out and did a heel promo on how Aussie fans are inbred, which was funny. Mr. Ken Anderson came out to a HUGE pop with "Kennedy" chants going crazy all over the arena. How WWE let him go I have no idea. His mic skills are top five in the business right now. Ken Anderson did his usual pose mid-ring waiting wait for his mic to fall until he realized this isn't WWE. The ring announcer then gave him his own mic, which got a great response. He did his usual promo on the mic. Instead of doing the long "Kennedy," he climbed the top rope and said, "Nah, Kennedy is dead... it's 'ANDERSON ... ANDERSON.'" A great moment. Solid match with both men going hold for hold in a fast-paced match with a lot on near pinfalls. But Ken Anderson hit his finisher to score the pin.
(7) Junior Fatu (Rikishi) & Brian Christopher beat Orlando Jordan & USO Fatu (Umaga). Orlando Jordan came out first a cut a heel promo followed by Umaga. Rikishi & Brian Christopher came out to "Too Cool" chants. A pretty entertaining match with a lot of comedy spots. The babyfaces were pretty over with "Jerry" and "Jerry is your dad" chants directed to Brian Christopher, which he found hilarious. The heels got a ton of heat with "Booker T" chants for Orlando Jordan, as he has hair very similar to Booker T's. The match was pretty fast-paced with Rikishi getting the hot tag and delivering the stink face. Umaga ended up being thrown over the guardrail in front of me, so I was going nuts. The babyfaces got the pinfall, which I missed as Umaga got up and blocked my view. After the match the fans chanted "Dance, Dance" and Christopher & Rikishi did the Too Cool dance celebration. They even invited the referee to play Scotty2 Hotty's role as the third member. The referee tried the worm, but failed. Big pop for Rikishi during the dance spot.
Next up was Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair in the main event. I was standing pressed next to guardrail waiting for the main event and I think everyone sitting on the floor rushed to get as close as possible for the two entrances. Two fans got into a fight trying to get in front of each other. One of them was escorted out of the building, which was funny but looked pretty serious. Ric Flair was then shown walking backstage to the Gorilla position and then entered the arena with emotion written all of his face. 10,000 fans gave him a standing ovation and he got the BIGGEST POP of the night so far.
Hulk Hogan was shown backstage for an interview. Again, a classic promo with Hogan giving the classic line "This is where the powers lies (pointing to his palm)." He then wrapped up with "In seven days God created the heaven & the earth, but on the eighth day, he created my loyal Australian Hulkamaniacs." The arena went nuts. They then showed Hulk walking backstage to the Gorilla position. American Made music hit and Hulk Hogan entered the area.
I am not kidding when I say this, even though the show was not a sellout, I have been to the Nitro taping here in 2000, all the WWE shows here including the Global Warning 2002 show with 50,000 fans, and the Hulk Hogan entrance was the loudest pop I ever heard. I even took my girlfriend to the Britney Spears concert at Rod Laver Arena two weeks ago and she got a crazy pop when she came out, but this was the loudest ovation I have ever witnessed.
(8) Hulk Hogan beat Ric Flair in an "Icon" vs. "Icon" match. All the classic spots were in the match except the famous Flair flip over the turnbuckle spot. Hulk started the match hot, but Flair started to get the advantage. Hulk went to the outside and told Flair to hold on a second. Hulk then took off his left knee brace and threw it in the crowd (maybe to send a message to TNA, WWE, and the wrestling world his knees are fine). Hogan was busted open around the ten mininute mark after Flair rammed his head into the ring post. Huge "Hogan" chants, as well as "Whoooo" chants throughout the match. Flair went for the knee and put on the figure four in the middle of the ring. Lacey Von Erich then came out to cheer Flair on. Hulk reversed it, Flair broke the hold, and headed to the Floor.
Hulk then took the fight to the outside and hit Flair's head on the guardrail, which busted Flair open. A bloody brawl then took effect with chops, clotheslines, pinches, kicks, and a bodyslam following one after another by both men. Lacey then distracted the referee for Flair to get in the low blow setting Hogan up for the pin. Hulk then gave a mini Hulk up before Lacey Von Erich distracted the referee again for Flair getting brass knocks from his trucks. (Exact same spot from their match for WCW Bash at the Beach 1994.) Flair knocking Hogan out and a very bloody Flair then went for the pin only for Hulk to kick out and Hulk up. The shake of the head, pointing of the finger, and the big foot followed. As Hogan went for the big leg into the ropes, Lacey grabbed Hulk's leg which stopped Hogan. The referee reprimanded Von Erich and while Flair laid motionless, Hulk grabbed the brass knocks out of Flair's trunks. As Flair got up, Hogan hit him with the foreign object for the cover and the pin.
Hulk Hogan the went on to pose for about eight minutes, as the crowd went crazy just like the crowd reaction Hogan got at WrestleMania 21. His music played two or three times and nobody was leaving. Everyone was going nuts. Hulk eventually left the ring area and the ring announcer thanked for coming to the show.
The event finished at 11:07 p.m., about three hours after the show started. Post-show thoughts: a great show and most of the older guys looked out-of-shape, but performed pretty well. I was pretty impressed with the Nasty Boys considering they have barely wrestled this decade. The ex-WWE stars looked as if they lost a step not working every night. Umaga probably was the only one who looked as if he has not missed a beat. The main event was great for two guys coming out of retirement. If I was Vince and WWE, I would not be worried about Hulk and TNA taking over but I would be keeping an eye on what Hulk, Bischoff and Flair do over the coming months. The show's production, setup, and overall presentation was excellent, better than a lot of WWE live events that have taken place here.
I was told only 2,500 tickets were sold at the beginning of the week, but with media coverage from the press conference and ticket price being dropped from $360 to $50 for ringside, it appears 6,000 to 8,000 people bought or were given tickets. Never the less, a great show. 7.5 out of 10, with the main event being the best main event I have seen live.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**