At this point Andre The Giant was “undefeated” for 15 years. This however would be his first shot at the WWF Title. The reasoning behind this is, according to Gorilla Monsoon “He never asked for a title match” and “He never wanted a title match”. These arguments seem to indicate to me that anyone could have had a shot at the title as long as they had asked for it. The story was that Bobby Heenan, who just joined Andre weeks prior had convinced Andre to ask for the title shot.
Hulk Hogan had at this point been WWF Champion for 3 years. They announced they would be changing the title belt after this match.
Early in the match, Hulk Hogan goes for a slam but cannot do it. He falls over and Andre lands on him and gets a two count. This failed slam led to Hogan hurting his back. For the next several minutes Andre hammers away at Hogan’s back.
Hulk managed to make a come back using his major speed advantage. Hogan was running at one point. Andre at this point was struggling with walking. Hulk’s comeback was halted when he ran into a large boot by Andre. Andre placed him in a bearhug which after several minutes Hulk was able to break out of. Although he had broken free Hulk could not stagger the enormous Andre. The match took a spill outside. Once outside, Andre had Hulk in position against the post and attempted to head-butt Hogan and seemingly squash Hogan’s head between the post and his own Buick sized cranium. Hogan moved and Andre’s windshield of a forehead hit the ring post. Once back in the ring Hogan was able to down the monster with a clothesline. He then proceeded to immediately body slam the big guy and drop a leg for the victory.
There is no argument that this match is historically significant. However, quality wise, it wasn’t a barn burner. Hogan didn’t do much. The series of punches to break out of the bearhug, avoiding a headbutt. a miracle clothesline, the bodyslam and the legdrop. I wonder if had he hit the bodyslam at the beginning of the match, would he have been able to beat Andre then? I don’t know what much else they could have done. Andre focusing on the back was a smart move. I wonder what the finish would have been like if much like was done in the Intercontinental Title match from the same night, Andre reversed the bodyslam into a small package.