The Rock vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan is one of the most iconic matches, maybe THE most iconic match, in WWE history. Speaking on an AdFreeShows watchalong of the match, the man in the middle – Mike Chioda – opened up about how he “marked out” during the match and how he thought the finish would be switched.
“At some point, I really thought I was going to get a buzz in the ear saying, ‘Switch the finish’, you know, because… I mean, at that point, when Hogan was just over so much during that match, that’s what they would normally do, sometimes they’d switch the finish.”
Chioda elaborated and said it was very rare that they’d switch the finish live unless someone got hurt, but he thought Hogan was “so over” it was unbelievable. However, the legendary referee would speak to Hogan beating The Rock the week prior on RAW.
“I always say, it was the week-before-Mania match. Whoever goes over the week before Mania, you’re in trouble going into Mania because if that finish is not decided yet, it’s decided the week before. I’ve never seen a guy go over twice – the week before and Mania.”
Another thing that wasn’t switched was the plans after the finish. Chioda also confirmed that the nWo turn and Hogan returning to his “red and yellow” was always planned, and wasn’t a result of The Hulkster’s incidental face turn during the match.
Chioda would go on to say how much preparation was done before the match to make sure it all went as planned.
“Hogan was just kind of like, ‘Brother, let’s just have fun out there. Let’s just do it.’ Rock was very more like, ‘Hey, ChiChi. I need you here. I need you there. I need you this spot, make sure you do this, make sure…’ Then the bump was the most important part. Then the grabbing the chair, making sure I grab the chair at the certain point in time, take away the chair. I had to milk the chair for a little bit, talk to Mark Eaton, the timekeeper out there, to kill some time until Rock hit the ropes. But that was the one spot we went over a couple of times and that was it. Just the timing of that bump. That was it. Everything else, they just talked about it in the back and outside the ring that day.
“It’s amazing how two old school talents could just talk like that, talk over for a little while. ‘All right. We’ll get back and we’ll talk about it again later.’ ‘Anything change? ‘No, maybe we should do this and do that,’ you know, and do this and a few other spots. But them two guys right there, icon and icon, they just had to talk about it a little bit. Like I said, we went over the spot with the bump twice maybe, that was it.”
Mike Chioda also spoke of how he “marked out” as the pair had their staredown in the middle of the ring, and opened up about how he only had to “give times” in terms of communication in the ring. Adding that they weren’t worried about times due to the match not being the last match on the card, and that Chris Jericho – who was in the last match – kept saying Hogan vs Rock should be the main event backstage.
You can watch back the Hulk Hogan vs The Rock WrestleMania X8 watchalong with Mike Chioda via Patreon.com/AdFreeShows
Please H/T Inside The Ropes if you use any quotes from this article.