Tale of the Tape: Legend vs. Legend Killer

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July 24, 2006

At SummerSlam, there will be a battle between the Legend Killer and arguably the biggest Legend in WWE history. And if Randy Orton can kill the Legend of Hulk Hogan on Aug. 20 in Boston, he will do something that no man has done before: beat the Hall of Famer at SummerSlam.

Currently, Hogan has a 5-0 record at SummerSlam, with three tag team victories of those five. The Hulkster was in the main event of the first four SummerSlams, and he took out some impressive competition.

At the first SummerSlam in 1988, Hogan and then-WWE Champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage (collectively known as the Megapowers) defeated Ted DiBiase and Andre The Giant. Jesse “The Body” Ventura was the special guest referee, and the match was most memorable for the actions of Miss Elizabeth. Near the end of the match, the Megapowers’ valet climbed onto the apron and removed her skirt, distracting the Megabucks long enough for Hogan & Savage to regroup and go on to victory. And of course, no Hogan victory would be complete without him, Savage and Elizabeth posing for the fans.

The following year, the Megapowers were on opposite sides as Hogan & Brutus Beefcake defeated Savage & Zeus. With a little help from Sensational Sherri’s loaded purse, the Hulkster pinned Zeus after his signature bodyslam and legdrop combination.

In 1990, Hulkamania ran wild on Earthquake in the Philadelphia Spectrum. Earthquake had injured Hogan’s ribs by splashing him on the Brother Love Show months earlier, and this was the Hulkster’s chance for revenge. While he only won by countout, Hogan did accomplish a rare feat by bodyslamming the 400-plus pound Earthquake.

SummerSlam 1991 would be one of the few times Hogan teamed with Ultimate Warrior, as the duo defeated Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa (Iron Sheik) and Gen. Adnan in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match billed as “The Match Made in Hell.” Sid Justice was the special referee, and Hogan pinned Slaughter as Warrior chased Mustafa & Adnan to the locker room. But as Sid and Hogan posed in the ring after the match, no one knew it would be Hogan’s last SummerSlam appearance for 14 years.

Finally, in 2005, Hulkamania returned to the summer spectacular. In a match that pitted Legend vs. Icon, Hogan defeated Shawn Michaels in what turned out to be a bloody affair. The two men had been partners just months before, but ended up stealing the show against each other at SummerSlam.

Containing three Hall of Famers (Andre, Slaughter and Sheik) and several potential others, Hogan’s resume of opponents reads like a who’s who of sports-entertainment. But even though Orton has only appeared three times at SummerSlam, there are no slouches on his list of victims either.

In 2003, Orton made his first appearance at SummerSlam in one of the most dangerous matches in WWE history: The Elimination Chamber. But while he was unsuccessful, he did help then-Evolution teammate Triple H retain the World Heavyweight Championship in a match also featuring four of the biggest names in the business: Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels.

Orton was still a member of Evolution in 2004, but SummerSlam in Toronto was his time to shine. In the main event, Orton defeated Chris Benoit via RKO to become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion of all-time. It would become Orton’s defining moment for another reason as well, as it was the catalyst for him being kicked out of Evolution shortly thereafter.

Orton made it 2-1 in 2005 when he finally toppled another one of WWE’s biggest legends, Undertaker. The Deadman had already defeated Orton at WrestleMania 21 earlier in the year, but this time a little help from father Cowboy Bob Orton helped Randy topple Undertaker in what was only one chapter of a vicious year-long war.

Even with the Elimination Chamber setback, the victories over Benoit and Undertaker make Orton’s SummerSlam resume just as impressive as the Hulkster’s. Can Orton continue his recent SummerSlam dominance and take down Hulkamania on Aug. 20, or will it be six in a row for the “most powerful force in the Universe” when all is said and done?

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