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Remember when the WWE completely severed ties with Hulk Hogan last summer after it was revealed that he went on an N-word-filled rant on a sex tape? Well, that sex tape is now the basis of a trial pitting Hogan against Gawker, the outlet that released clips from the tape, and Hogan kicked off the trial earlier this week by giving a bunch of testimony about it. He has spoken extensively about the damage that he says the tape has done to his personal and professional life.
But while on the stand, Hogan has also been asked some questions about his wrestling career, and his answers to those questions have been pretty interesting. Specifically, he was asked about one of his most memorable match-ups—a battle with Andre the Giant for the WWE championship at the Pontiac Silverdome during WrestleMania III in 1987.
While Hogan admitted a couple of things that pro wrestling fans already know during questioning (like that the results of matches are "predetermined"), it was interesting to hear Hogan talk about Andre's mindstate going into WrestleMania while under oath. On the stand, Hogan was quoted as saying that he "didn't know if the Giant was going to let me win. He was in a very bad mood that night." And when you're dealing with Andre Giant—a literal giant who was listed at 520 pounds heading into WrestleMania III—it's scary to think that he might not have gone along with the predetermined result of the match, which called for Hogan to defeat him in the center of the ring. According to Hogan, it was the first and only time that he was worried that a predetermined match might not end the way he was expecting it to.
As the story goes, Andre the Giant wasn't trying to wrestle anymore prior to WrestleMania III. Years of fighting in the ring had done damage to his back, so he was trying to leave the world of professional wrestling (which is part of the reason why he went to Hollywood to star in films like The Princess Bride). It was Vince McMahon who coaxed Andre back into the ring, for one last hurrah in front of "the biggest crowd ever for an event like this." Andre went along with the plan, but from what Hogan has said in previous interviews, the actual ending of the match wasn't decided until the last moment. With Andre being in so much pain with his back, his mood was very sour, and as Hogan has said in the past, if Andre didn't want to go along with the plan, there wasn't much he could do. Again, Andre was at least 520 pounds, so he could've done whatever he wanted to and Hogan would have been squashed. Wrestling lore has said that, while Andre knew what the proposed ending of the match would be, no one—including Vince McMahon—knew if Andre would actually lay down (although it's hard to tell how much of that is pro wrestling's kayfabe embellishment or actual fact).
We all know how the story goes, though: Andre did the job and put Hogan over in front of a record crowd of 93,173 at the Silverdome, further solidifying Hogan as the 1980s pro wrestling icon to mainstream America. That wouldn't have been possible if Andre hadn't done business with Hogan, and after all of these years, Hogan admitting to portions of that tale on the stand not only peels back a layer of Andre the Giant's historic legacy, but provides a look at how the endings of some of the most historic matches in pro wrestling history aren't as cut-and-dry as one might think.
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