“No Holds Barred,” Starring Hulk Hogan: The Movie & The Match

On July 3rd (over a month ago), the 1989 cult classic film No Holds Barred was released for the first time ever on DVD. The film features Hulk Hogan — in his first starring role — as Rip, the larger-than-life pro wrestling champion who’s been defeating some of the biggest bad guys ever to enter the squared circle. When Rip’s success and popularity catches the attention of  a shady TV executive Tom Brell (Kurt Fuller, Wayne’s World), he finds himself stuck in the middle of a plan to boost the network’s ratings — which were sinking — by scheduling him in a match against a vicious monster-of-a-wrestler named Zeus (Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Friday).  I must admit, this film is corny at times and over-the-top, but it’s still a very enjoyable and entertaining experience.  The film also stars Joan Severence (See No Evil, Hear No Evil), along with Mark Pellegrino (TV’s LostSupernatural), and the late-Robert “The Jeep” Swenson.  

The WWF (now WWE) also billed an event called No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie, which was shown on pay-per-view on December 27, 1989. The program consisted of the film in its entirety, followed by a match pre-recorded at a WWF Wrestling Challenge taping on December 12 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage and Zeus (“Tiny” Lister) in the 9-1/2 minute-long Steel cage match, in which could be won by pinfall (unlike normal tag team steel cage match rules in which both members of one team had to exit the cage to win). Other matches included “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes defeating Big Boss Man, WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior defeating Dino Bravo, The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant and Haku) defeating the  WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition via count-out, and “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig defeating Ron Garvin.

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