10 Things You Didn’t Know About No Holds Barred
Many credit Hulk Hogan’s appearance in Rocky III that thrust him into the mainstream spotlight as the spark that had Hulkamania running wild through out the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. But while 1982’s Rocky III would be Hulk’s first big screen appearance, it would be years later (1989 to be exact) that he’d get to star in his first major motion picture, No Holds Barred.
I am not ashamed to say I was at the theater on opening weekend when the Hulkster first battled Zeus on the silver screen. And now nearly 26 years later I present to you…
10 Things You Didn’t Know About No Holds Barred
1. While Dennis Hackin receives the writing credit for No Holds Barred, Hackin’s script was re-written by the star of the film Hulk Hogan and the owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon. Both The Hulkster and Mr. McMahon received Executive Producer credits for No Holds Barred. This may have been the first time Vince McMahon rewrote a script, but it was not the last. Mr. McMahon is rumored to do last minute rewrites to the WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw, on a regular basis.
2. Shane Distribution Company, one of the production companies credited for No Holds Barred, was named after Vince McMahon’s son Shane. Years later when the WWE would have its own music division, it was named after Vince’s daughter Stephanie.
3. As you might expect there are a lot of wrestler cameos in a movie about professional wrestling produced by the biggest company in professional wrestling history. But you may not have known that future wrestling superstar, Marcus Alexander Bagwell was one of the extras in the crowd scene when Zeus goes face to face with Rip for the first time. Bagwell would reach his peak in the pro wrestling game using the persona Buff Bagwell in WCW. He has since become a professional gigolo and rumored to be starting a career in adult films.
4. Speaking of WCW, much of the filming of No Holds Barred took place in Atlanta, Georgia …the backyard of the WWE’s then rival wrestling organization.
5. With Hogan needing time off to film No Holds Barred, his reign as WWE Champion had to come to an end and it did so in grand fashion. 33 million viewers witnessed Hogan lose the title in controversial fashion to Andre the Giant on February 5th, 1988 live on NBC. This remains the most watched wrestling program in television history. After that year’s WrestleMania event, where Randy Savage became the new undisputed WWE Champion, Hogan took time away from the WWE to film No Holds Barred. He would return that August to team with Savage against the tag team of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant in the main event of the first ever Summer Slam event at Madison Square Garden.
6. While the classic “Winged Eagle” title is the title Rip is seen with for the majority of the movie, the belt in Rip’s dressing room prior to his match with Zeus is not the “Winged Eagle” belt. The belt in the dressing room is actually the belt that was created for Andre the Giant prior to WrestleMania III and used to hype Andre’s match with Hogan. Since Andre did not win at WrestleMania III, the belt was never officially worn by anyone.
7. No Holds Barred is the only movie in history to have a wrestling match attached to its debut on pay-per-view. The WWE produced a special, No Holds Barred The Match/The Movie pay-per-view special in December of 1989. It featured the pay-per-view premiere of No Holds Barred and after the movie they aired an exclusive steel cage tag team match with the stars of No Holds Barred on opposite sides of the ring, Hogan teaming up with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Zeus teaming up with “Macho Man” Randy Savage.
8. While Hulk Hogan was known for using the big boot and the leg drop to dispose of his opposition in the ring, Hogan’s character in No Holds Barred, Rip used the running double sledgehammer. This was the move Hogan used during his time in New Japan Pro Wrestling. That particular move is known as “The Axe Bomber” in Japan.
9. Who said it’s not real? Hulk Hogan accidentally broke Zeus’ nose during the filming of No Holds Barred.
10. With the exception of Demolition Ax (who played Jake Bullet), none of the other major superstars of the late 80’s WWE joined Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred. However “The Duke of Dorchester” Pete Doherty of all people did get in the movie. Doherty, a “jobber” or “enhancement talent” was in the film over the likes of Rick Rude, Brutus Beefcake and The Ultimate Warrior. Doherty’s won/loss record left a lot to be desired. Not only did “The Duke” wrestle, he would sit in on commentary from time to time, especially on the New England Sports Network broadcasts of the WWE Boston Garden house shows from the mid to late 80’s.