The Gawker-Hulk Hogan Smackdown

Pop Culture

The Gawker-Hulk Hogan Smackdown

Illustration: Saachi Mehta/ Arré

 

N

ick “The Gawker” Denton wasn’t the biggest guy in the locker room. He was a solid

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mid-carder but he was no showstopper. To put it politely, The Gawker would not even get a place in the tournament to decide the No 1 contender for the WWE Championship.

What he did do well was stir shit up. He was the one spreading gossip, toeing the line on the company drug policy, interfering in matches, and starting feuds. Which would be alright if he could finish said things. But he couldn’t.

Instead he would hide behind his bigger friends. He was part of the Free Media stable and had the protection of their gargantuan leader, The First Amendment. Any time The Gawker tussled with big guns like Tom Cruise or Sarah Palin, his stable mates had to rush to his rescue. You know that loudmouth in every group who has to be protected from himself? That was The Gawker.

He was then, the archetypal heel. It was working out well for him too. Through the years, his set of fans (whom he called “Gawpers”) would go wild when his entrance song (Radiohead’s Creep) played. They liked nothing better than to cheer him on when he systematically berated someone, brought a family into the mix, or stole a win with a low blow. He won the Intercontinental title a couple of times and seemed set to ride toward professional wrestling mediocrity.

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In his more recent matches though, The Gawker had been facing problems. A masked fighter with the alphabets PT emblazoned on his tights had been interfering with The Gawker’s matches. He would pop up ringside and work out a way to give The Gawker’s opponent an advantage. It could be pulling out the referee when the opponent was caught in a submission move, distracting The Gawker to allow the opponent a sneak attack, or even hit him with a chair when the referee wasn’t looking.

The Gawker was angry. Sneak attacks were his thing, and being on the receiving end was not going down well. The simmering feud was building up. At his Survivor Series match with Adobe, PT showed up again and cost him the match. The Gawker decided he had had enough, so he took the mic and called PT out for a match. But PT shook his head and walked away, leaving The Gawker seething in rage.

In the ring, Hogan and PT continued their attack on The Gawker. And after a final Clothesline from Hell, The Gawker was laid on a platter for Hogan.

Another development, though, threw this entire feud out the window. At the Royal Rumble, The Gawker drew the coveted number 30. As he walked into the ring, the last two remaining wrestlers eliminated themselves in a John Cena-Batista fashion leaving The Gawker to be the surprise winner.

Suddenly, The Gawker was main-eventing WrestleMania against the “Real American Hero” Hulk Hogan. The sneak attacks by PT were all but forgotten. The Gawker was going to have the biggest night of his career. The excitement was raised to another level when Vince McMahon stepped in to make it a No Holds Barred, Buried Alive match.

In the days leading up to WrestleMania, The Gawker started doing what he did best. He was the clear underdog in the match, since the Hulkster refuses to lose after all. But Gawker decided to get into Hogan’s head. After repeatedly taunting Hogan’s wife regarding his numerous affairs, The Gawker took the mic just before his match at WrestleMania and announced that he had something to show to the fans as well as to Hogan’s wife.

The Titantron lit up with a fuzzy video of two people having sex. To the fans who could get over their cringe and watch, it was clear that the man onscreen was Hogan. And the woman was not his wife. Hogan rushed the stage and the fight began. It was brutal from start to finish, as both of them used practically every weapon available in attempts to end the other’s career.

Gawker took the upper hand when he ducked Hogan’s superkick and delivered a low blow. After hitting Hogan with a couple of chair shots, he chokeslammed Hogan and moved in for the pin. It all seemed over.

The referee began the count. One, Two…

Suddenly, the referee was pulled out of the ring. PT was there for his final act. He punched the referee, leaving him unconscious and then speared The Gawker. Repeated shots to the head with a sledge hammer followed. As the Free Media stable tried to get to the ring to help Gawker, they were held back by Pamela and Charles (from the Rule of Law stable).

In the ring, Hogan and PT continued their attack on The Gawker. And after a final Clothesline from Hell, The Gawker was laid on a platter for Hogan. Hogan dropped The Gawker into a pit and dropped the dirt, burying The Gawker alive.

Hogan took the victory. It was not clean. But a victory it was. And a cool 140- million dollar victory at that. The Gawker had been felled. The fight had delivered a big blow to his scabrous career. But not before going on a rant about how he had been wronged and how awesome he was.

The masked nemesis turned out to be Peter “Privacy” Thiel, an old foe with whom The Gawker had sparred and gotten the better of a few years back. Thiel was back with a vengeance though. Meticulously and deviously planning The Gawker’s downfall, he had been working behind the scenes for years to end The Gawker for once and for all. And after a few near misses, his dream had come true. The Gawker was shattered. And shuttered.

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