Hogan and Bossman bring blood back to Boston in 1989

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.

One comment

  1. Chuck Mullen

    I have always said, that its rather stupid to have grudge matches like the Elimination Chamber or even a Steel Cage without some red. I do not know why, but I was recently watching a match from WWE this past week, (I can NOT remember which though) and I thought, how much MORE heat would of been placed onto the competitors if there was some blood. I am not begging for or, NOR expecting to see it every week. But every so often it would give it that more “EDGY” feel, and heighten the drama a bit. One of the reasons why wrestling is NOT connecting anymore and MMA is, is the BLOOD.

    I will debate this WITH ANYONE. For sure its not just the personalities (most of the fighters are bland and just without anything) or the fights themselves, or fact that for now, they are still REAL that is the DRAW. No, the thought someone will BLEED is. I can verify this is the reason I loved Southern Wrestling and in general other than WWWF, WWF while growing up. The thought that a CAGE MATCH was booked guaranteed BLOOD.

    I understand its not healthy to induce bleeding nor is it a SAFE PRACTICE considering the sheer number of illnesses that can be contracted via blood, but how come this is never in DEBATE with MMA? like it is, in the wrestling industry on the “big stage” so to speak, or IF YOU WILL?

    MMA lets say the UFC properties do not have issues with sponsorships, NOR are the game or toy makers saying NO BLOOD, NO CUSSING, NO ANYTHING. Think about this for 1 minute. While everyone (at least most of the people I read or listen too) harp ON and ON about the glory or GORY!? days of the ATTITUDE ERA, that all of these elements are missing FROM the current product. Now, I have no official stats, NOR evidence to support my theory BUT the reality seems to indicate that most of those people are NOT full time fans, nor have they continued to follow as closely. And where have most of them flocked too? MMA, in particular UFC. The UFC’s most notifiable official Dana White, basically is a new and more MODERN Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Dropping F’ bombs IN PUBLIC, basically speaking his mind, telling people OFF, and being BRASH in general. The violence, the blood, and risky language, all are ELEMENTS that was the key to the last REAL BOOM in the wrestling industry.

    And now we got such a sanitized product, one that is boring, predictable, and just down right not as fun as in the past. The even Steven style of booking is not helping either. Its amazing when the best drawing events or “ratings” are generally for the most interesting stories or story lines, that they continue to do the 4 week cycle. Rinse and repeat, no one gets anything from this. NOTHING.

    I fear Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and for sure Daniel Bryan have been ruined as true TOP TIER guys. All could be even bigger deals than they are currently, if they had the opportunity to be pushed and pushed RIGHT. And using some blood, and violence in those, would for sure, help elevate the next generation of stars. Maybe then the business would flourish a little more than now. I can not see how it would HURT.

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