In the summer of 2005, WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan were set to face off in an epic series of matches pitting legend against legend. And then egos got in the way…
The concept behind the rivalry and explanation as to why the pair, both working as fan favorites at the time, would face one another was simple — self doubt in the mind of HBK. Michaels explains the backstory in this 2014 interview.
“The idea was HBK has to do this, to wrestle Hogan, because he ‘just has to know’ if he’s better than Hulk Hogan. It started that way and then I was told that ‘things changed’ and I was like ok and they said ‘he wants you to be more heel.’”
Instead of good vs. good in a series of confrontations to see who was the better wrestler (we all know the answer, but please play along) turned into a nasty war of words. Hogan wanted Michaels to channel the inner heel from his early days of DX in 1998. And that’s what he got….
To establish himself as the bad guy in the eyes of the fans, Michaels needed to hit Hogan where it hurt — his ego. Michaels needed to point out the fact that Hogan was over 50 years old and a ridiculous relic of wrestling’s past. To accomplish this feat, Michaels would have to look just as ridiculous. The result is one of the funniest, and possibly meanest, segments in wrestling history.
“Hulk Hogan” visits Larry King
“You guys, in the internet world, were like ‘oh he’s taking a stab at him.’ It just, it’s creative, every one of my promos. Stephanie helped me write them, Vince approved them, and there was no issue on our end. And we asked ‘are you alright with this?’ and the answer was always ‘yeah, it’s business.’”
That quote was pulled from the same interview mentioned above and Michaels explains that everything was signed off by Hogan.
History shows that things only got worse from there.