There is no bigger dream match that fans never got to see than “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan. This clash between two of the WWE’s biggest legends never happened during their career, leaving an untold amount of money on the table and denying fans the chance to see the WWE’s biggest star against the leader of the NWO.
Despite spending time together in both WCW and WWE, Hul Hogan never faced off in a singles match against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Whether this was because of Hogan refusing to work with a young star like Austin, or Steve Austin returning the favor when he was on top of the business in 2002, there were a host of reasons why Hulk Hogan never wrestled against Steve Austin (except once, which will mention later on).
Professional wrestling is built on dream matches. Whether it be watching the champion against the top contender, a veteran vs the next up-and-coming star or a legend vs legend encounter, fans always want to see the next dream match on the calendar.
WWE have never been shy in booking these kinds of matches. Whether it be John Cena vs The Rock, The Rock vs Hulk Hogan or Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon knows these once (or twice) in a lifetime matches will make him money and get the fans on board.
However, not all dream matches take place. You can read a comprehensive list of these matches by clicking this link, to read about the likes of Sting vs The Undertaker, Goldberg vs Stone Cold and Eddie Guerrero vs Shawn Michaels as some of the biggest matches to never take place.
However, except for the aforementioned Sting vs The Undertaker match, there is no bigger dream match in wrestling than Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan. This match never happened in WWE, and Austin could never break through the glass ceiling in WCW to get near the Hulkster.
However, the pair were both part of the WWE roster in 2002. Austin wrestled Scott Hall on the card when the dream match of The Rock vs Hulk Hogan took place. It was an all-time great match but many thought that Austin should have taken the role as the Hulkster’s opponent.
The pair had a year together in WWE to face off, but the singles match between Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin never happened. The pair did share a ring once, but it was in a handicap tag team match on Monday Night Raw, building up to Austin and The Rock’s respective clashes with the
Hulk Hogan Revealed Why Match With Steve Austin Never Happened
2002 seemed the perfect time for Steve Austin to wrestle Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. With Triple H in the main event of the show against Chris Jericho, there were prime spots available for a number of dream matches on the under card.
At the event, Hulk Hogan had his own dream match against The Rock, while Steve Austin had a disappointing bout against Scott Hall that did not make use of the star’s second-last WrestleMania match (excluding his return match at WrestleMania X8). While Rock vs Hogan was an all-time great bout at that event, there is no doubt that Austin vs Hogan would have been the biggest match wrestling had ever seen.
According to Hulk Hogan, it was Steve Austin who refused the match against Hulk Hogan. While this would have been an all-time great bout, there was real heat between Austin and Hogan stemming back from the pair’s time in WCW together.
Speaking on Wrestling with Rosenberg, Hulk Hogan made the claim that the NWO (Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) had “heat” with Steve Austin and The Rock. He claimed the pair were upset that the NWO were getting cheered over them, which is something the Superstars were not used to in the WWE.
“Was there some legitimate heat [between Austin and I]? There was. When me and Scott Hall and big Kev’ [Nash] came into the WWE with the nWo, we had such an edge, and we were getting cheered. I guess the babyfaces [Austin and The Rock] weren’t used to it.
[They] were complaining, ‘Those guys are turning us upside down, and we’re getting booed instead of cheered…’ So there was some legitimate heat there, you know, on a business level. I never got to work with him, but Stone Cold always said, ‘If there’s money to be made – let’s make it.’
However, Steve Austin spoke on his own podcast in 2014 and argued that point, claiming he never had any heat with Hulk Hogan, even claiming Hogan was one of the greatest of all time. However, he made it clear that it was easier for him to say that now he is retired, and that Austin in 2002 may have had a different response to this claim.
However, Hogan later claimed in an interview with Arial Helwani that it was injuries that stopped a match with Steve Austin happening – not the aforementioned heat between the two.
The WWE Hall of Famer regrets that Hulk Hogan vs Steve Austin never happened, but cited Austin’s injuries as the real reason the bout never happened.
“That’s the reason I went back to wrestle The Rock was to get in the ring was Stone Cold Steve Austin, because me as a bad guy – as Hollywood Hogan – I could have torn the place down with him,” Hogan confessed to Helwani. “You know, because he was the ultimate good guy at the time.” But I think he was having some physical problems with his legs and nerve damage, and he was about at the end of his run. So if I had one guy to get in there, it would be [Austin].”
“My whole thing was to move on to Steve, but I had no idea that physically he was hurt. You know, so I don’t know, with all this time passing… how it would even make sense. So you have to be crazy to get back in there my age anyway. But I just haven’t talked to him about anything like that ever.”
Stone Cold On Match With Hulk Hogan Being Cancelled
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin rejected a match against Hulk Hogan due to his own injuries, and does not have anything to do with the supposed heat between the pair, stemming from WCW and all the way until their time together in the WWE in 2002.
When asked on his podcast “The Steve Austin Show” about the wrestler he wishes he could have wrestled in his career, Austin immediately named “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan as the dream match he wanted in his career.
Austin corroborates Hogan’s latest claim and confirms that he wasn’t ready to step into the ring with Hogan at this time. He said he didn’t “feel like stepping back in the ring”, with his neck and knee injuries proving too much for the WWE Hall of Famer to bear.
He notes how Hogan worked his way to the top and sold incredibly during his matches, which made him the easy decision for Hogan to be his dream opponent in the WWE.
“I gotta say, Hulk Hogan, because one of the biggest draws in the history of the business. Everybody thought that match between ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan should have happened a couple of years back, and it never did. Just for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like stepping back in the ring.It sounds like a good match on paper, but I didn’t think it would look so good once you got into the ring.”
“I think Hogan was ready to go, but I wasn’t. And so, I never got a chance to wrestle that guy, and it would’ve been fun to be in the ring with him, because I was watching an old match on YouTube between Paul Orndorff and Hulk Hogan, and I watched how Hulk Hogan was down there on that mat, and he was selling his ass off.”
“Paul Orndorff was kicking the snot out of him, and then finally, finally, finally, after all this heat, started making that trademark comeback. He started firing up that comeback, the people started going crazy, and I realized that guy wasn’t born on top. He worked his tail off to get to the top. So I’d say Hulk Hogan right off jump street.”
There were reports that the reason the match didn’t happen was due to creative differences. Some people have claimed that Austin would only do the match if he won, and could not trust Hogan to change his mind at the last minute and demand he won the match against Hogan.
Hulk Hogan does have a history of this. His match with Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 2005 was meant to become a trilogy of matches, with Michaels winning the series two wins to one. However, just before the match, Hogan cancelled the rematches, which led the Heart Break Kid to put on the performances of a lifetime in that match – but not in a good way.
Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross revealed in a recent episode of his podcast that the reason Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan was down to Stone Cold, and the refusal for Steve Austin to step into the ring with Hulk Hogan.
In the most recent episode of the Grilling JR podcast, the AEW Commentator took a deep dive with co-host Conrad Thompson into the Judgement 2002 pay per view. The pair discussed the Hulk Hogan vs Undertaker match for the Undisputed Championship on the show which saw The Undertaker win his last WWE Championship.
The conversation turned to why the main event of that show featured Hulk Hogan vs Undertaker (a match that had happened 10 years ago already) rather than the dream match of Steve Austin vs Hulk Hogan. While Hogan did face the likes of The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Brock Lesnar in his final WWE run, the ultimate dream of of Stone Cold vs Hogan never materialised.
Jim Ross revealed that the reason why Austin, who had one foot out the door and whose relationship with WWE was dematerialising by the day, did not want to face Hulk Hogan at Judgement Day 2002 and was instead relegated to handicap match in the midcard against Big Show and Ric Flair.
On the Grilling Jr podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross said;
“Austin didn’t have the match with Hogan because he didn’t want to have the match the Undertaker did. Hogan was battered, beat up, multiple back surgeries.”It’s funny when people say ‘What’s the really important things to learn in pro wrestling training?’ Well, you’ve got to learn to take a great flatback bump because about 98% of the stuff you see ends with a flatback bump.”
“So being able to execute a flatback bump, which sounds very simple, and it is, but a lot of guys spend no time on it, they’d rather spend more time on Tope Suicidas and sh*t like that than how to sell or how to take a flatback.”
He also noted that Austin wanted to have “great matches”, but didn’t think that he could have the match he wanted against The Immortal. Stone Cold also didn’t see the pair’s styles working well together, comparing them with “oil and water”.
“Austin had it in his mind that Hogan’s style and Austin’s style were oil and water. He just didn’t feel the chemistry. Austin was never about having good matches. Austin was about having great matches. He knew better than anybody else in the world who he could work the best with. Hogan wasn’t on that list. Steve could be wrong too. I’m not saying that Hogan and Austin couldn’t have a good match. Look at the match Hogan had at WrestleMania 18 with The Rock.”
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.