derryX Rants: Backstage Politics

Please watch this video as homework prior to reading what I have to say afterward [the portion I will talk about here starts at the 3:30 mark in the video]:

When I was a kid, I had no idea of all the backstage politics behind pro-wrestling. I actually grew up watching wrestling, and, from when I can remember, Hulk Hogan was the biggest name in wrestling to me. It wasn’t until I was about 12 years old that I realized that wrestling was staged. As a matter of fact, I know the exact day that I started becoming suspicious: January 19, 1992.

WWF was having it’s Royal Rumble Pay Per View event in my current backyard of Albany, NY. We had ordered that PPV and my cousins visited earlier that day and told me that a column in the NY Daily News, The Slammer, had written that Ric Flair was slated to win the rumble. At the time, kayfabe (the code in the wrestling industry to preserve the “real” appearance of wrestling outside of the ring) was a huge thing, and you hear stories that the good and bad guys never traveled together or dressed in the same locker room. So I didn’t believe what my cousins had told me.

WWF must have been aware of the article, and even booked Ric Flair as the third entrant in the rumble, making the possibility of him winning appear low. Well, the match ended with Hogan, who was just eliminated by Sid Justice, helping Ric Flair to eliminate Sid Justice and, thus win the Royal Rumble. I was excited at the time, but my excitement was slightly stiffled by having been informed of the ending beforehand.

Regardless, not only did this moment begin my skepticism of the industry, but it also set up the feud between Hogan and Sid which culminated in the match from the video above. The finish of the match was (shall we say) strange. It ends with Sid kicking out of Hogan’s leg drop and being disqualified due to outside interference by his manager, Harvey Whippleman. Then a run-in by Papa Shango occurred and led to the return of the Ultimate Warrior to save Hogan. You can tell from the video that, until Papa Shango gets there, nobody knows what’s going on.

In my opinion, I would argue that Hogan was to go over clean after the leg drop. Then be attacked by Papa Shango and Sid and get saved by the Warrior. First of all, this match was billed as Hogan’s final match in WWF at the time. I find it difficult to believe that Hogan would agree to a DQ finish for his last match. Secondly, Hogan’s leg drop was a “doom”¬†maneuver until then; nobody kicked out of it in the US in those times. Even since then, the only televised matches in which someone kicked out of a Hogan leg drop was against Yokozuna and Bill Goldberg. Thirdly, it was the main event match in the WWF in the early 90s. It was a really sloppy finish, and that was abnormal for the WWF at the time.

So why exactly did Sid kick out of the leg drop?

This has become the stuff of internet folklore and may never have actually be resolved for sure. But I’m going to try to present as many perspectives as I could find on it.

  • The popular story is that Papa Shango missed his cue to run in and interfere in the match. He would have interfered while Hogan made the cover after the leg drop, thus keeping the legacy of the finisher in tact, and allowing Sid to lose via DQ and the remainder of the events to occur. Since the entrance ramp was long, Papa Shango couldn’t get there in time to break up the pin, so Sid had to improvise and kick out.
  • Another story is that Sid had cheated on a drug test and was sure he would be fired. Since he figured he had nothing to lose, he kicked out of the leg drop. Whippleman realized this and interfered to get the referee to call for the DQ.

Of both of these accounts, the latter seems most possible to me. Papa Shango seemed like he was in no hurry to get to the ring. You’d think that he would be running like heck (like the Warrior did)¬†if he missed his cue, instead of leaving the wrestlers, manager, and referee to improvise. Also, Hogan seems really surprised at the kick out and double-times it to get to Whippleman. I also think that Hogan would play his backstage politics and never agree to a DQ finish like that at the time.

To me, it’s pretty clear that Hogan was supposed to go over clean, but, like I said, we may never know what was really planned.

What do you think?


13 thoughts on “derryX Rants: Backstage Politics

  • Sue

    Was this about the time Hogan left and went over to Turner’s organization, WCW? If so, McMahon may have been pissed about that and told everyone to pull off the upset. Not telling Hogan would guarantee a genuine reaction. McMahon has done stuff like that to other stars.

    SN: I was there! But I don’t remember much about the match.

    • derryX

      No this was 2 years before Hogan signed with WCW. Hogan left for a while at the end of 92, but came back for Wrestlemania in 93, stayed for about a month (as champion) and then disappeared for a year or so before resurfacing in WCW.

  • Kevin Marshall

    Many folks over the years who wouldn’t hesitate to drop a dime on Hogan or Sid have said that Shango (who as you and I know eventually returned to become a Supreme Fighting Machine and then the lovable pimp The Godfather) missed his cue.

  • Patrick Boegel

    There is a level of detail here in the analysis that is striking.

    • derryX

      Haha! Thanks, Pat. I’ve been thinking about this for many years now! If the internet existed in it’s current form back then, I’m sure it would have been open and shut within minutes of the event.


    its pretty apparent Papa Shango was really late coming to the ring which happened post the whippleman intervention. i just think it was bad booking.

    • derryX

      I accept the fact that Shango was late, I just don’t understand where Sid kicking out of the leg drop fits in…

      • Kevin Marshall

        Because Shango wasn’t in the ring to break up the pin as planned.

        • derryX

          Yea, I know. I’m probably way overthinking it, but i would think even Sid would have realized that Hogan going over clean with the run in post victory would have made more sense than him kicking out and getting DQ’d.

          I guess that’s what happens when your entrance ramp is 1 mile long with 90 degree kinks.

          I still, to this day, love how long it takes Warrior, who is obv running at an incredible rate, to get to the ring.

  • Dom-neck

    I think that Sid and Hogan’s egos were so big that they didn’t rehearse the end of the match and by the end, no one knew how to end it.

  • Tim Beilfuss

    There are a couple of things that “Papa missed his cue” people are forgetting.

    1.The gorilla position. Vince McMahon himself would have been behind the curtain watching on a monitor and HE would be the one cueing Shango to go out. I really don’t see McMahon blowing something that major……can you name another time that he did?

    2. The aisle was VERY long, therefore to have a run-in like that would be difficult to time anyways as Shango would have to start running down the aisle DURING Hogan’s “Hulking Up”, which would take heat away from the ring.

    3. The possibility of Hogan LOSING his “last match” is quite high as that was customary in the WWF and wrestling in general to “pass the torch”. Hogan lost to Yokozuna in a controversial fashion over a year later at KOTR93 in his actual last match.

    I do agree the finish was bizarre though. Hebner had no reason to call for the bell and DQ Justice as Hogan was the one that put his hands on Whippleman. So I think the DQ itself is what has led to the confusion.

    So that leaves open many questions as mentioned in this blog.

    Was Justice supposed to kick out?
    -Possibly, since Vince brought in Sid and gave him a huge push and Vince has ALWAYS liked Sid and may have been wanting to pass the torch to him with Hogan leaving.

    Was Papa Shango supposed to cause the DQ?
    -Still a possibility as I would point to the fact that Monsoon stated on the broadcast that Hogan won “due to the interjection of Papa Shango” making no mention to Whippleman. Obviously the bell rang before Shango was even shown on camera. He might have been reading off his script since even he didn’t know what Hebner called for the bell for.

    Was that lame DQ really the script?
    -Possibly, since Hogan is well known for playing the political games and maybe refused any kind of real finish. It also could have been intended to setup a blow off match down the road to “Settle the score”

    Was it a bad combination of many factors?
    Most likely.

    • Tim Beilfuss

      I just came across another discussion on this topic and someone mentioned what quite possibly is the most plausible thing……..HEBNER may have been the one to screw it up. Whippleman appeared to be trying to get the refs attention to avoid the pin. So if that is true then we may never know exactly what was supposed to happen prior to Shangos run-in.

      It’s plausible that Whippleman distracts Hebner long enough for Sid to “kick out” and then the run-ins occur


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