Ah, the 1990s. A happier, halcyon time, when Vince McMahon’s company was beginning to spread its oily tenterhooks over the globe, and four wrestlers got all the media attention here in the UK—"The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan.
The latter two are still a staple of pro wrestling now, of course, with 'Taker playing a central role in WrestleMania for the past 19 years with his epic streak, and Hogan in his part-ring, part-Creative position at TNA.
But which of them has had the better career?
So let's have a look at what they've both won. Here’s how 'Taker’s achievements stack up:
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship
WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWF Hardcore Championship
WWF Tag Team Championship—with Steve Austin (once), The Big Show (twice), The Rock (once) and Kane (twice).
WCW Tag Team Championship (once)—with Kane.
And compare that to Hogan:
- NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Northern Division)
- NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship (Southern Division)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship (six times)
- WWE World Tag Team Championship (once)—with Edge.
- WWF/E Championship
- Royal Rumble (1990, 1991)
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2005)
So far, so equal. But they also have a couple of extraordinary achievements that could perhaps balance each other out: Hogan as longest-ever WCW World Heavyweight Champion, reigning for nearly a year and a half; and 'Taker’s 19-0 WrestleMania streak.
'Taker is several years Hogan’s junior, but even so, he knows the value of impact. He’s taken to staying in the shadows for much of the year, emerging to create a buzz before his WrestleMania match.
It’s a dignified way to work, and should next year be his final big event, then he’ll be bowing out at the right time.
Hogan, God bless him, hasn’t worked that much out yet. He’s been active in the ring right up until last year when his back finally gave up and demanded spinal fusion surgery. Even now, don’t put it past him to make a comeback.
Hogan’s major contribution to pro wrestling this year has been his comments on Edge’s retirement—the same Edge, we might recall, with whom Hogan once won the tag-team belts. He noted in a couple of tweets (punctuation and spelling intact):
“if any of the guys like me,Flair,Hardy,Andre,AA,Blanchard,orndoff,Henning would have listened to doctors we would have quit15yrsago. but I don’t know Edges working environment because they are a media company not a wrestling company. HH”
“wrestlers work hurt! What about Foley! I bet EDGE still wants to keep wrestling,he’s one of the boys big time!!! HH”
'Taker, to keep in kayfabe, never makes appearances as himself, and obviously doesn’t have a Twitter account (can you imagine how awesome that would be?), so he’s dodged this particular problem. However, Hogan’s lack of class in acknowledging the career of a superb and popular Superstar rankled with many fans.
Hogan is a shadow of his former self, and like some of the other veteran stars on TNA, has been accused of destroying his legacy created in his earlier years.
Only time will tell whether 'Taker will do the same—but somehow, given how smart he’s been at managing his own career so far, I can’t imagine it. 'Taker for the win. 20-0.