The WWE flagship broadcast, Monday Night RAW, returns to Austin on Monday, August 4, marking the 43rd WWE show held in the Erwin Center. To commemorate the lasting relationship between WWE and the Frank Erwin Center, John Graham, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director took us back to the very first showdown that took place in our arena.
“Our first World Wrestling Federation (that’s what it was called then) event at the Frank Erwin Center was on Friday, December 1, 1989. Prior to this event, WWF was not being aired in the Austin market and they would not play here without being carried on local TV. To bring big-time pro-wresting to Austin, we worked for several months with local Fox Channel KBVO to add the WWF programming so that the Erwin Center could host a live event. The one requirement we had with WWF was that we had to have WWF Superstar Hulk Hogan as the main attraction. WWF agreed and by the evening of December 1, we were nearly sold out in the round with over 15,000 tickets in the hands of eager pro-wrestling fans.
As planned, the final bout on the card that inaugural evening was Hulk Hogan versus Mr. Perfect. The anticipation from the fans was electric and as Hogan pounced over the ropes, the roar from the crowd tipped the audio meter to 107 decibels. However, Mr. Perfect quickly had Hogan in a dastardly choke hold with his forearm pressing against Hogan’s throat. Soon Hulk was down on one knee, gasping for breath. Then he was flat on his face. Doom.
Mr. Perfect grabbed Hogan by his hair and was smashing his head into the canvas. Then, by some miracle, Hogan got one hand loose and with his arm stretched upward, his pointer finger aimed toward the roof. Instantly, Mr. Perfect grabbed Hogan’s hand and smashed it to the canvas. Then Hogan got the same arm loose again, and this time, first up was the pointer finger then, very slowly, the little finger… it was a HOOK’EM!
The Erwin Center exploded in a deafening roar as all 15,000 were on their feet screaming. Hogan tossed Mr. Perfect aside and over the ropes like a sack of trash. Hogan then went to the four sides of the ring doing the HOOK’EM to each portion of the crowd. The decibel level climbed to over 115.
A great start to a long relationship. Thanks, Vince.”
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