When former WWE Champion allegedly feared losing crowd support and refused to face Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania
Hulk Hogan has undoubtedly been one of the biggest draws in WrestleMania history. Dave Meltzer noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE wanted Austin to face Hogan at WrestleMania 18. However, Stone Cold Steve Austin did not want to have a match against The Hulkster at The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Hulk Hogan had just returned to WWE along with Razor Ramon and Kevin Nash to the WWE in 2002. The trio became popular in WCW as the nWo and dominated the world of sports entertainment for quite a few years. Austin was against the return of these three superstars and did not want to work with them.
Dave Meltzer noted in the June 2002 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that many felt Stone Cold around that time feared losing crowd support and was beginning to be difficult to work with. Hulk Hogan was massively popular with fans following his WWE return, however, Austin opted to face Scott Hall instead at WrestleMania 18:
''A lot of people were more openly talking negative about him, about the difficulties people had working with him because he wouldn't give a lot in matches and his paranoia over the idea he was losing the crowd support that made him. He was against bringing Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan in, and refused to work with Hogan at Wrestlemania when it was suggested to him,'' Meltzer stated.
Hulk Hogan faced The Rock at WrestleMania 18 instead
Steve Austin was the biggest star in WWE during the Monday Night Wars, whereas Hollywood Hogan was the biggest name in WCW. A clash between the two would have been a dream match that fans would have loved to see. However, with Austin rejecting the idea of facing Hogan, The Rock faced The Hulkster.
Interestingly, Hogan's popularity did overshadow The Rock during their match. Despite The Rock being the babyface and Hogan being the heel, the crowd started cheering for Hogan during the match. As a result, The Rock started behaving like a heel during the match.
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