Jim Ross: Vince McMahon Fully Believed Lex Luger Would Be WWE's Next Hulk Hogan
Vince had high hopes for Luger
After almost a decade as WWF's top attraction, Hulk Hogan departed the company in 1993 which led to Lex Luger being transformed into the babyface "All-American." Luger got off to a hot start, successfully bodyslamming WWF Champion Yokozuna aboard USS Intrepid to earn a title shot at SummerSlam 1993.
It only went downhill for Luger from there, however, as he would embark on his Lex Express tour and fail to fully connect with the audience. As a result, Luger defeated Yokozuna by count-out at SummerSlam 1993, meaning he didn't capture the WWF Title.
The Total Package's main event push would continue after the pay-per-view with little success and he would fail to defeat Yokozuna at WrestleMania 10. Luger's time in the main event picture then came to an abrupt end and WWF pushed ahead with Bret Hart as the company's top star.
Luger's WWF run was the subject of the latest episode of Grilling JR and Jim Ross noted Vince McMahon fully believed Lex would be the next Hulk Hogan.
"Of course, absolutely. I think Vince, at one time, fully believed that Lex Luger would be his next Hogan. The issue there is, I will tell you, I thought Lex was a much better athlete than Hogan, but he didn't have Hogan's charisma," JR said.
"Whether you like Hogan or you don't like Hogan or, 'He was never a great worker,' all that stuff. What is a great worker, Conrad? What the f*ck is a great worker? He applies a headlock correctly? He doesn't leg slap? Or is it somebody that draws money? Somebody that draws money is that one key component. How do you say that Hogan wasn't a great worker?"
Ross would then note a lot of people told McMahon that Luger may not be the next top guy in the company.
"I think there was something, Conrad, there that Vince had not sold himself on. There was something missing that was an intangible, as far as it didn't have an odour, it didn't have a feel. Just something, a gut feeling that we're really trying hard with this guy but we don't seem to be making a lot of headway. A lot of the guys, when they would confide with Vince in private, expressed the fact that he may not be the guy," Ross added.
"There's a lot of backstage stuff that goes on and things like that. But I believe that I think Vince had heard enough off Patterson, and maybe even Bruce [Prichard], I don't know, that it was time to move on from this project."
Luger would ultimately work with WWE until 1995 before he famously jumped to WCW. He would go on to become a two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion and remained with the company until it folded in 2001.