Why did he leave the WWF in 1993?
Money and booking power. Vince McMahon felt his time in the WWF was almost done, and wanted to make Bret Hart the #1 man in the company, with the result being lower pay for Hogan and less say in his angles. Hogan instead decided to temporarily leave for Hollywood and make movies, and eventually signed with WCW in 1994.
Why did he turn heel in 1996?
When WCW hired him in 1994, they were hoping for a mega-babyface to bolster the ratings and attendance for WCW. Unfortunately, Hogan's ego and booking control resulted in excessively cartoonish angles that turned off the fanbase and further resulted in fans actually *booing* the super-heroic Hulk Hogan by 1995. Drastic measures were needed, in this case a heel turn. When Scott Hall and Kevin Nash entered WCW in 1996 they promised a "third man" to aid in their "takeover" of WCW. This third man was supposed to be the incoming Bret Hart, but this was foiled by Hart's dedication to the WWF. So on the night of the event, it was decided to turn Hogan heel and introduce him as the traitor, since the logic was that if they don't like him as a face, it couldn't hurt to turn him heel.
You may have heard Vince McMahon say "Bret screwed Bret" and others say "Vince screwed Bret." How was Bret 'screwed'? To make the long story short, here's what happened, though it's incomplete...
In 1996, Bret Hart signed a 20-year contract with the World Wrestling Federation. Mid-1997, Vince McMahon decided he no longer wished to honor that contract and informed Bret that he should feel free to look for employment elsewhere. But Vince was committed to putting the WWF title on Bret before it began, and did so at Summerslam 97. Bret accepted an offer from WCW, while still holding the WWF title, and wrestled Shawn Michaels for the title at Survivor Series 97. During the course of that match, Shawn got Bret in his own sharpshooter. Vince McMahon, sitting at ringside, ordered the match stopped and the belt awarded to Shawn, despite the lack of a submission on Bret's part. It was the first double-cross seen in the "Big Two" since the inception of the modern era in 1984.
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Without a doubt one of the most popular and beloved figures in the sport of Professional Wrestling, Andre Rene Roussinoff was truly a GIANT. Roussinoff suffered from a growth hormone abnormality causing his enormous overall size and weight. At his largest, Andre stood 7' 5" and weighed almost 525 lbs. He began wrestling in his native France in 1964 under the name "The Butcher." He moved to the North America in 1970, under the tutelage of Canadian legend Edouard Carpentier wrestling under various names. In 1973 Andre began wrestling in the World Wrestling Federation where he became a crowd favorite because of his size and demeanor. Known as "Andre the Giant", his quickness and strength were so impressive that the Washington Redskins football team considered signing him for a tryout. Throughout most of his career, Andre wrestled as a fan favorite, winning a number of Battle Royals and teaming with several partners to win various Tag Team championships, but he never got a shot at the World Title. In 1987, Andre finally received a shot at the WWF World Heavyweight title against Hulk Hogan after turning into a villain. In front of more than 90,000 fans at Wrestlemania III, Andre suffered a controversial loss, the first in his career. He would later avenge this loss, capturing the WWF Heavyweight title in 1988. Andre died in his sleep at age 46 in 1993. Andre the Giant toured the world as an extremely popular figure and will live in the hearts of wrestling fans for years to come.
Did he have a drinking problem?
He drank a lot, but it was hardly a problem. A man Andre's size can drink amounts of alcohol that will bring a smaller man to his knees. Andre was reputed to be able to drink entire six-packs of beer without feeling so much as a buzz. In his later years, he tended his own winery in France, but it had nothing to do with his eventual death.
Was he really undefeated for 10 years?
Yes. His last recorded defeat before Wrestlemania III was prior to 1977, so the undefeated claim was a legitimate one. This is not to say Andre didn't lose before then -- it just means that there is no recorded evidence of it happening.
Was he really married to Elizabeth?
Yes. They were divorced in 1992. "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth (real name Elizabeth Hewlett) were officially married December 30, 1984 in Frankfort, KY. Their "Match Made in Heaven" was just a gimmick Vince McMahon used as a draw for SummerSlam '91.
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He has held the WWF World Title 3 times, the WWF Intercontinental Title 3 times, and the WWF European Title once. Michael Shawn Hickenbottom is a native of San Antonio who began his Professional Wrestling career in 1984. Standing 6' and weighing 230 lbs., he entered the sport when many of the organization wanted to focus only on the huge superstars (i.e. Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd, etc.) as headliners. Thus, Michaels appeared destined for midcard status. Instead, he did what many normal sized wrestlers did and began working as a tag team wrestler. In 1989, Michael and Jannetty moved to the World Wrestling Federation where, under the name the Rockers, they battled the promotions top teams. A favorite among younger ladies, the team flourished until Michaels split from Jannetty seeking the spotlight as a singles wrestler. With his good looks, charisma and arrogant nature, Michaels was able to attain great popularity with wrestling fans around the world. With his enormous talent and hard work, he has become one of the sports greatest performers.
Has he ever held the WWF Tag Title?
Shawn has won the WWF tag team titles two times officially, and twice under very suspicious circumstances. He has never lost a WWF tag team title in the ring. The first disputed title reign was the infamous "phantom" title reign of the Rockers in 1990, which will be covered later. His first officially recognized tag title in the WWF was his reign with Diesel in 1994, which lasted from 08/28/1994 until shortly after Survivor Series of that year. He vacated the tag titles when the team split up, rather than losing them in the ring. The team of Michaels and Diesel re-teamed at In Your House III (09/24/1995) to win the tag titles from Owen Hart and Yokozuna while both Shawn and Diesel held the I-C and World titles respectively. However, a technicality as to the legal man pinned gave the belts back to Owen and Yoko the next night on RAW. Whether or not a one-day title reign for Shawn and Diesel actually existed is a matter of much conjecture, although it should be pointed out that Pro Wrestling Illustrated recognizes a title reign, and they are generally considered to be the authority on these matters. His final reign came with partner Steve Austin, as they teamed up to defeat the team of Owen Hart and the British Bulldog on 05/25/1997, then were stripped of the titles after Shawn "injured" himself in a legitimate fight with Bret Hart a few weeks following.
Are the Rockers former WWF tag team champions?
Yes and no. Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty won the WWF tag team title from Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart in October of 1990 at a taping for Saturday Night's Main Event. Neidhart had been fired and was filling contractual obligations, which including jobbing the tag titles to another team. In what should have been a minor point, the top rope broke at one point during the match. The Rockers defended the titles for a week after that, but then Neidhart was re-hired by the WWF, and Vince McMahon decided that the title change never actually happened, in one of the goofier decisions of the 90s, and one of many to affect the careers of Shawn and Bret. As an explanation, a story was sent to Pro Wrestling Illustrated about the rope break causing an "unfair working environment" for both teams, and hence the title reign was annulled. This was simply to cover up for the fact that they reported the title change as fact a week prior and needed a reason to no longer report it as such. The title change was edited out of the Main Event broadcast, and that was that. Since this is professional wrestling, and things like this never go away quietly, in 1995 the phantom title reign was resurrected out of nowhere as WWF announcers began hailing the Rockers as former tag team champions in a bizarre turnabout, since the title reign had only been an urban myth of sorts that very few had even heard about. No footage was ever shown and the details were never discussed in detail, but as of this writing, the WWF recognizes the phantom title reign as an offical reign, although it should be noted that no one else does. Feel free to make your own judgment on the matter. Everyone else does. The Rockers are, of course, two-time former AWA World tag team champions, although the prestige of those belts was (and still is) minimal compared to WCW and the WWF's versions.
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