During the Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard Podcast, Bruce Prichard covered WWE SummerSlam 2005. The main event of the show that night included Hulk Hogan facing Shawn Michaels for the first time ever. Prichard mentioned how Hogan couldn’t play the heel in the match, and that he doesn’t believe anyone needed to play the role of a heel.
“There were Shawn fans and there were Hulk fans,” Prichard said. “The overall feeling of this was taking the guy from the 80s and the guy from the 90s, and putting them against one another because each had their own legion of followers, and fans, and what have you. So, it was kind of natural, but I don’t think that you had to turn anybody. And Shawn can do heelish things, Hogan did do heelish things, and their fans forgave them, and the other person’s fans were despised for that.
“So, it was just kind of playing into both men’s personalities and not making a full-fledged, ‘Oh My God! This guy’s got to be a Heel.’ Yeah, we got there, but even as we got there, I think it was still divided somewhat.”
Prichard continued to talk about whose idea it was to build towards two of the biggest names in wrestling history facing each other for the first time. He also said whether or not Michaels and Hogan were both receptive to the match at first.
“In the beginning, yeah, both were very receptive to it,” Prichard said. “I was a conglomeration of the writing team getting to this match, and it might have been Michael Hayes that first suggested the match best of my recollection. But it was something that everybody was saying, ‘if we could only this’. S–t, this could be good because, again, you have the two heroes from two different eras.”
Hulk Hogan is arguably one of the biggest names in the history of the WWE after his 10 year run in the 80s and 90s as WWE’s flag bearer. Hogan left the company in 1994 to join the rival WCW, and quickly became their biggest star, leaving the relationship between him and Vince McMahon shattered. Prichard talked about Hogan returning to the company in the mid 2000s, and what his relationship was like with Vince almost 20 years after he left the company for WCW.
“I think, especially during the times that Hulk came back, that there was always that feeling of what’s the trigger going to be this time,” Prichard said. “[Hogan and McMahon] had good times and they had bad times. So, throughout this, it was post-WrestleMania. So, you’re looking at it like, okay, is somebody going to be upset at payoffs or anything else, or is it time to take the summer off? So, you had to weigh in all of that s–t. Overall, I think that, in the middle of this and the meat of this, I think Vince and Hulk had a pretty good relationship.”
Prichard continued to mention how the plan was always for the two Hall of Famers to main event SummerSlam 2005. He also said that he saw the match as being a main event after his return at WrestleMania 21.
“No, it was more of a June-July type thing,” Prichard said. “It definitely wasn’t immediate. I think that with Hulk coming back at WrestleMania , at that time was a feeling out period and to see how Hulk would be, how the audience would be, and what we would have moving forward.”
He also continued to mention how the original plan was to have HBK and The Hulkster wrestle a trilogy. Prichard mentioned that a conversation with Vince McMahon squashed that idea.
“We talked about doing three matches,” Prichard said. “A lot of things were discussed back and forth, and got Vince to feeling, ‘God, can we get to three? Should we just do two, or do we just do the one big one and move on?’ There was just a lot of uncertainty going into it, and that uncertainty then breeds the rumor mill, and people to start buzzing about s–t.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.