Aftermath of Hulkamania: Lex Luger’s Failed PushBy Dairyll John (@Dairyll) | March 20, 2017 2:32 AM PST | Articles, WWE
After a full decade, Hulkamania wasn’t running as wild anymore. Hulk Hogan sat out the rest of his contract with the World Wrestling Federation to focus on his acting career. Much like his rise to superstardom in the 80’s, Hogan’s departure from professional wrestling affected many personalities. One such personality was Lex Luger. Let’s review what happened in this edition of “Aftermath of Hulkamania”.
Lex Luger entered the WWF in the early 90’s as The Narcissist under the guidance of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. He was as heel as a heel could be. He’d pose in front of a mirror before, during and after his matches. The audience despised his antics. As if the narcissism wasn’t enough, the “metal plate” in his arm made its impact in almost every match to guarantee his victory. How could you not hate a guy who pins the squeaky clean babyfaces with just his pinky finger?
Lugermania is running mild
When Hulk Hogan left the WWF in the middle of 1993, Lex Luger did a sudden 180. He was repackaged as a total babyface. Luger was decked in red, white in blue gear while the announcers force fed the audiences at home the nickname “The All-American”. He’d show up and save the people he used to beat up as a heel for no good reason. It was obvious that he was only doing this because he was WWF’s plan B now that Hogan has left the company. A sizable portion of the crowd hesitated to cheer Luger because of this.
WWF tried to remedy the situation by having Luger interact with the audience a lot more. They had him do the “Lex Express” tour where he traveled the USA to meet and greet fans. Many found it too similar to the tours that Hulk Hogan used to do to hype big pay-per-view events.
The WWF stacked the odds against Luger in an attempt to get those who are still unsure of him to cheer for him by announcing that his WWF World Heavyweight title shot at SummerSlam was a must win.
Lex Express comes to a full stop
In true WWF fashion, they had Lex Luger use the metal plate inside his forearm in the title bout against the defending champ Yokozuna. That was a big red flag for many who had just started to warm up to “Hogan lite”. Keep in mind that Yokozuna had a good amount of heel heat at the time, so many fans would’ve ignored any heel-ish actions from Luger had there been a fantastic finish.
They were all disappointed.
Luger won the match via countout which meant that he didn’t win the title. Despite this, Luger celebrated in the ring as if he did. Combine the frustration of witnessing the push-and-pull that the WWF did with Luger and the atrocious finish to the match, you got a bitter fanbase who never became invested in Luger again.
Lex Luger was never able to bounce back from that match. Many believe that The Total Package would’ve been able to successfully fill the gaping hole that Hulk Hogan left had he won that match in SummerSlam 1993. We’ll never know for sure. Such is the aftermath of Hulkamania.