André the Giant–Hulk Hogan rivalry
Early years (1980–1983)
In 1980 in World Wrestling Federation (WWF), André as a face defeated a heel Hulk Hogan, 16 times throughout the year, with André victorious in all the matches. At Shea Stadium during Showdown at Shea, as well as a month later in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, Hogan slammed André.
Throughout 1982 and 1983 while both were working in New Japan Pro-Wrestling the two had several additional matches, however during these matches André was the heel and Hogan was the face.
Build to WrestleMania III (1987)
On an edition of Piper's Pit in 1987, Hogan was presented a trophy for being the WWF World Heavyweight Champion for three years; André came out to congratulate him. On the following week's Piper's Pit, André was presented a slightly smaller trophy for being "the only undefeated wrestler in wrestling history." WWF billed him as having been undefeated for 15 years, despite having lost several matches via countout and disqualification. Hogan came out to congratulate André but spoke mostly of himself, causing André to walk out in the midst of Hogan's speech. A meeting between André and Hogan was scheduled to take place the next week on Piper's Pit (February 7, 1987). When André came out he was led by Bobby Heenan.
Heenan accused Hogan of being André's friend only so he would not have to defend the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against him. Hogan disputed this, but André challenged Hogan to a match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania III. Heenan, following Hogan's apparent disbelief statedy "You can't believe it, maybe you'll believe this, Hogan" followed by André ripping off Hogan's shirt and crucifix, with the crucifix causing Hogan's chest to bleed.
During the March 14 (taped February 21) edition of Saturday Night's Main Event at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, both were participants in a 20-man Battle royal. Although neither won, André stated he gained a psychological advantage over Hogan, due to eliminating him from the contest.
At WrestleMania III, André's was billed at 240 kg (520 lb), and the stress of such immense weight on his bones and joints resulted in constant pain, causing him to wear a brace underneath his wrestling singlet. Hogan won the match after body-slamming André (later dubbed "the bodyslam heard around the world"), followed by Hogan's running leg drop finisher. This was billed as the first time Hogan slammed André, despite having done it multiple times in 1980. André had also been slammed previously by Harley Race, El Canek and Stan Hansen, among others, to slam him.
Feud continued (1987–1988)
At the inaugural Survivor Series event André and Hogan were named as captains of their respective teams. Although they did not face each other much during the match, when they did Hogan dominated André however Hogan ultimately was tripped counted out. André would be the sole survivor of the match, when he pinned Bam Bam Bigelow. After the match Hogan returned to the ring and attacked André, knocking him out of the ring.
After Hogan won a match against Bundy on Saturday Night's Main Event which aired January 2, 1988 (taped December 7, 1987), André snuck up to get revenge on Hogan, chocking him from behind. André was eventually forced to let go after Hacksaw Jim Duggan broke a 2x4 over André's back.
Addition in 1988, Hogan and the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase feuded due to Hogan's refusal to sell DiBiase the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan continued to defeat DiBiase several times which led to DiBiase turning to André in hopes that André win it for him. This feud set up a Hogan-André rematch on The Main Event, which aired live on February 5, 1988, on NBC. During the match André won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship from Hogan, even though Hogan's shoulders were not on the mat during the 3-count. Following the match it was revealed that appointed referee Dave Hebner was "detained backstage", and Hogan during his post match interview accused DiBiase of paying someone to get plastic surgery to look like Dave. It was revealed to have been Dave's twin brother, Earl Hebner. After winning, André sold the title to DiBiase, however the transaction was declared invalid by then-WWF president Jack Tunney and the title was declared vacant. The boardcast was seen by 33 million people.
At WrestleMania IV, André and Hogan fought to a double disqualification in a WWF title tournament match. Afterward, André and Hogan fought in a steel cage match held at WrestleFest on July 31, 1988, in Milwaukee. At the inaugural SummerSlam pay-per-view held at Madison Square Garden, André and DiBiase (calling themselves The Mega Bucks) faced Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage (known as The Mega Powers) in the main event, with Jesse "The Body" Ventura as the special guest referee.
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It was billed as the biggest main event in the history of sports entertainment: Hollywood Hogan vs. André the Giant. Hogan, in his third year as WWE Champion, was set for the biggest challenge of his life in the form of the 7-foot-4, 520-pound Roussimoff, who betrayed his former best friend in exchange for his long-awaited shot at the championship.
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