In terms of what went on the ring, one of Hulk Hogan’s last great WWF or WWE feuds was against the late Big Bossman in 1989.
Bossman (formerly known as Big Bubba Rogers in the NWA) was huge man who played the role of a rogue Southern sheriff. He moved well in the ring, even at 300-plus pounds, and I’ve always thought the bad cop gimmick is one that’s hard to mess up.
After attacking Hogan on the Brother Love Show, Bossman fought Hogan around the horn. I know most people who were fans in the late ’80s will recall Hogan’s big blow-off with Bossman in a steel cage on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was highlighted by an immense superplex off the top of the cage that saw Hogan and Bossman acting like they were dead in the ring (about 30 seconds into this video clip). It was a great spot.
But the thing I personally remember most about that feud occurred at the old Boston Garden in March 1989. That was another steel cage match, which ended the typical trio of grudge matches at house shows that the big feuds got in those days. The pattern was usually that the first match between the wrestlers ended on a disqualification or countout, the second match was another DQ or double DQ, and the third match wrapped up the feud.
What marked this Boston match for me was that it was the first time in almost two years that a wrestler bled at the old Garden during a WWF match (I believe the prior incident was when Harley Race made Hulk Hogan bleed during a post-match attack in 1987). Yes, the NWA had held a few shows at the Boston Garden and there was blood during those shows, but 1988-89 saw Vince McMahon go on one of his first bans of the blade.
So when Hogan hit Bossman with a chain during the cage match at the Boston Garden and suddenly there was blood, it felt like the dark ages had been lifted from the WWF.
I know in some ways that sounds silly, but the truth is grudge matches like the steel cage or the Elimination Chamber are a hell of lot more exciting with a little color thrown in. Seeing Bossman bleed made you want to cheer on Hogan just a little bit more as he got his revenge.