Monday, November 4, 2013

the last book I ever read (David Shoemaker's The Squared Circle, excerpt eight)

from The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker:

In 1980, Andre first faced an up-and-comer named Hulk Hogan. This was Hogan’s first WWF run, and he was then playing a villain—he came to the ring flexing in a metallic cape and headband accompanied by his manager “Classy” Freddie Blassie—but he already had visions of superstardom. Andre looked at Hogan and saw a presumptive bodybuilder more interested in fame than in wrestling, and in their first matches, he took it out on Hogan in the ring. But after the two men toured Japan together and Hogan had shown sufficient deference to the Giant, acting as his personal barback and even offering up a case of fine French wine in fealty to Andre on his birthday, the men reached a sort of d├ętente. And in mid-1980, when the two did battle at the Philly Spectrum and later at Shea, Andre won both matches but gave Hogan the gift of a disqualification ending in the former bout and a postmatch bloodying in the latter. The degree to which this established Hogan’s career can’t be easily quantified, but the effect was profound. When Andre broke his ankle getting out of bed the next year—it was sold to wrestling fans as the result of a diabolical attack by Killer Khan—a newly ascendant Vince McMahon rehired Hogan and elevated him to the role of top star in the new world of the WWF.

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