“It wasn’t the most popular move within the boys”- Jim Ross on Hulk Hogan receiving heat backstage for defeating top star at WrestleMania
Hulk Hogan has won the WWE Championship on multiple occasions. However, his win against Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX did not go well with many stars backstage.
After a long buildup, Yokozuna won the Royal Rumble in 1993 and challenged Bret Hart for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania IX. The legend won his first title by beating The Hitman at The Show of Shows. Unfortunately, Yoko’s reign didn’t last long as Hogan controversially defeated him for the title later that night.
Speaking on Grilling JR, Jim Ross addressed the situation. He said the move to have The Hulkster win was a political nightmare. Different parties were lobbying for various things that day. In the end, WWE chose to give Hogan the win, which did not sit well with Yokozuna’s friends and well-wishers backstage.
”But it was very political. Yoko had a lot of followers within the company – a lot of relatives, a lot of friends. He was very likable. So now, he’s getting his big break, and the old man is coming back to take it away from him. There was a little bit of a political – I don’t wanna say upheaval because that’s a little overdramatic – but it wasn’t the most popular move within the boys,” said Ross. (H/T 411 Mania)
Jim Ross on the backstage politics that led to Hulk Hogan’s win
Yokozuna was being positioned as a top heel in the company. Despite being of Samoan heritage, he was billed as a sumo wrestler from Japan.
Many felt Hulk Hogan ruined his big break as the WWE Champion. However, Ross said that he thought it was a fantastic moment.
“But I thought it was kind of cool booking, and it certainly reinvigorated Hogan. It showed that Yokozuna was human. They did the little crazy finish, so it wasn’t like he got guzzled or eaten alive.”
Justifying the result, Ross pointed out that the move helped reinvigorate The Hulkster. Not only that, but it also gave Yokozuna an additional layer and showed him to be human and fillable. He said that the crazy finish was to protect Yoko even in loss.
Unfortunately, the Samoan icon passed away in October 2000 and was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012.