Hateful Hulk Hogan
Updated: Apr 27
TERRY BOLLEA & THE HISTORY OF HULKAMANIA
I want to take a serious look into the history of the hulk, how he became the immortal one and claimed such prominence at Hulk-amania.
With such a storied, eventful and somewhat distant past, it can be hard to really wrap your head around the ways things played out and just how often Hulk came out on top.
I want to look at his pathway through the wrestling industry in chronological order:
IN THE BEGINNING
Born on August the 11th, 1953. Terry Gene Bollea better known by his in ring persona, Hulk Hogan is one of the most recognised wrestling stars worldwide. Questionably the most popular wrestler of the 1980’s.
1984 – Madison Square Garden. Hulk defeated Iron Sheik for first W.W.F World Heavyweight Belt. By most accounts Hulk came out of A.W.A and into the W.W.F at the time with a humble, positive and hard-working attitude, gaining respect of his colleagues, fans and Vince McMahon alike.
He rose to prominence with his perceived heroic character in the then W.W.F. He was a integral part of the revolutionary transition wrestling was undergoing in the 80’s. The front-man for the rock and wrestling era which ushered in more production quality, more over the top good vs evil dynamics, exaggerated characters and cross promotion spanning numerous entertainment genres, working closely with celebrities of the era, a practise commonly used to this day.
1985 - Wrestlemania One. He defeated Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff, tag match which although not the best produced or fondly remembered match – is still incredibly important in the overall timeline of wrestling. Marking a turning point in the industry towards the rock’n’wrestling era.
A key component in the early history of Wrestlemania. He headlined the 7 out of the first 8 Wrestlemanias. You thought Cena was pushed too hard? You’re sick of Roman Reigns’ Wrestlemania main event dominance? Mr. Terry would like a word.
Jesse The Body Ventura a man who’s career was unfortunately cut short, now cuts his teeth under the remit of local American politician.
He knew that the system of wrestlers being considered ‘independent contractors, meant that they weren’t protected financially or insured, were forced to pay for their own expenses, had less say in the power of their careers and were susceptible to completely unfair payment schemes.
He wanted to start a wrestler’s union. With most of the locker-room in favour, he made probably the biggest mistake of his career. He asked for the help of then locker room leader Hogan. In hindsight – why would Hogan want fairer wages?
The following year at Wrestlemania 3 he got paid as much as the entire roster combined, Andre the giant, Honky Tonk man, the Iron Sheik, Jim Duggan, Ricky Steamboat and Jake the snake Roberts as well as a dozen others’ pay checks were less combined than the immortal one’s take home check.
Why would the greed driven Hogan risk all of that?
Under oath Vince McMahon said that Hogan came straight to him upon hearing of Ventura’s plan to try and disperse the forming groups and squash the idea of a wrestler’s union. Jesse would later go on to say that for that, for the betrayal between two close friends. He’d never forgive Hulk.
As a Snake-pit segment guest the hero Hulk was planted face first with a signature Jake The Snake DDT, crowd boos Hogan and cheered Jake. Not the response the W.W.E was looking for and Hogan got cold feet. Pulling out from further segments with Jake and their proposed title match.
1988 - Wrestlemania Four. It’s The main event of the evening. The shining pinnacle of Randy Savage’s career. Glitter, neon. Miss Elizabeth. The works – finally a new hero for the fans to get behind. What could possibly spoil this perfectly orchestrated moment of classic wrestling history? Hogan. Comes to the ring. Steals the limelight.
1989 – Hogan needed a way to stay at the top of the card, he and Randy Savage were both faces – so he couldn’t win the belt directly off of him, under the rules of kayfabe booking at the time.
Savage wasn’t dropping the title anytime soon, so Hulk forced his creative control card and created the mega-powers a tag team with Hogan & Savage. Thus keeping Hogan in the main event each night, next to the title and relevant all great moves for his business.
But all the did was overshadow Randy Savage, take away from his attention and force his way onto the screen anytime Randy was around. Something that seemed to be a regular occurrence throughout the two men’s careers.
1990 - In the Royal Rumble The man of the hour was Mr.Perfect. A man who I truly love. He talked the talk and truly backed it up every step of the way. It’s worth pausing for a second to just marvel at some of the ‘Perfect’ things he did on camera.
He was getting a major push and set to be the perfect winner of rumble. Vince gave the go ahead and the plans were set in place. Until, last minute plans changed by Hogan and he won.
Mr. Perfect & the Hulk were the last two and the crowd were excited to see their new favourite wrestler champion the legend. But no MR PERFECT UNDEFEATED ON TV FOR A YEAR. He was an amazing athlete and up and coming star. But no. Hogan.
I feel like I’m repeating myself.
Wrestlemania 6. That year. A passing of the torch moment between the ageing Hogan and his perceived successor The Homophobic Warrior.
When Ultimate Warrior won, Hogan decided to personally hand over the title to him, a practise not commonly seen inside the ropes. Never missing an opportunity to grandstand and pose – yet again Hogan stole the limelight and overstayed his welcome.
The whole debacle of Wrestlemania 9. The main event was Bret Hart vs Yokozuna. The match was short and certainly nothing to write home about – but before it was even finished Hulk made his way to the ring, demanded a match with Yokozuna and beat him in seconds.
Stealing the limelight at the end of another big show.
He later lied on a handshake and screwed Bret with McMahon – Hulk promised to drop the belt to Hart and then said ‘he isn’t in my league, he can’t lace my boots up’ behind his back – later dropping the belt instead to Yokozuna at Summerslam – hart confronted the pair who told him ‘that’s just what you thought you heard’ when Hart reminded them of the deal they had previously both agreed to.
Following his backstage after the event, Hart famously said to Hogan, "ON BEHALF OF MYSELF, MY FAMILY AND MOST OF THE BOYS IN THE DRESSING ROOM, YOU CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF"
As Hulk’s stock in the then World Wrestling Federation started to drop, he reinvented himself as a villainous heel in it’s biggest and only true rival promotion, W.C.W.
After societies tastes had changed and his all-American champion shtick wore thin. This was revolutionary at the time, never-before had such a long-standing and beloved hero turned so quickly to the darker side of his persona.
Helping W.C.W triumph in the fabled Monday Night Wars from 6th June of 83 weeks in a row.
BASH AT THE BEACH
Taking Steve Austin spot W.C.W. Stunning Steve was the current US Champion in line for a shot vs Ric Flair for W.C.W championship and destined for greater things within the company. Hogan’s arrival was accompanied by his demands at the first title shot for the Heavy Weight belt.
The company had to relent to the demands of their newest and hottest property – pushing Steve Austin down the card and towards a loss to Hogan’s mate and ex W.W.F alumni – Jim Duggan.
Hulk’s inability to mesh with the locker room and his contemporaries at W.C.W continued when at Superbrawl 5 he faced the biggest and baddest man in the company at the time. Vader. A legendary big man wrestler, his huge mass, brute strength and experience in the ring backed up by a deceptively quick and flexible style – imagine laying on the man when this man would jump from the top rope and land directly on top of you.
He left a path of bloody destruction in his wake throughout his entire WCW career and was known for being a little stiff in the ring. He was protected by management and won every match when he was able to execute his destructive Vader bomb.
Hogan just stood straight back up.
Watch this. Vader’s character was momentarily destroyed and his powerful presence dispelled. This wasn’t agreed upon before the match, this was something that Hulk threw in with the sole purpose of making himself look better. It’s selfish and does a lot of damage to the believability of the show.
SANTA WITH MUSCLES
Released in cinemas and is one of the worst films ever made. Famously terrible. Laughably cringe. It made. $220k at the BOX OFFICE and was a unequivocal failure. Do not watch this film.
This one is a little strange. But allow me to explain.
Nick Patrick, established wrestling referee admitted that Hulk spoke to him and rigged a part of a match between him & Sting at Starcade 97.
The ref was supposed to make a slow pin count and allow Bret the Hitman to make a run in.
Interrupting the celebrations, declaring himself the ref and making the match restart fairly. Seems pretty straight forward (wrestling). Until we listen to Nick Patrick and find out that he was instructed to make a normal speed pin count, thus making Bret’s interruption seem like a villainous move and diminishing his esteem with the crowd.
1998 - was an amazing year for wrestling and for the second time. The two greatest and most famous wrestler’s Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan were in the same company and able to have matches. Something the crowd frothed a the mouth for. Seeing the interest, WCW made the necessary plans:
RIC FLAIR VS HOGAN, BEST OF THREE
HOGAN beat FLAIR making it 1 nil.
HOGAN TO LOST TO FLAIR at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS 98 but Hogan CREATE CONTROL card reared it’s ugly head and CHANGED IT TO A COUNTOUT meaning the result didn’t count.
Leading to Hogan killing THE CAREER VS CAREER STEEL CAGE MATCH and eventually Sabotaging SOULED OUT 1998 by pulling out of the entire event.
Leaving Bret Hart to face Ric Flair. The attendance and PPV buys were noticeably lower than were the case for a Hogan headline show of the time.
He later orchestrated the WCW’s purchase of Randy Savage’s contract – Just so he could get Hogan’s WIN at HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1998. A loss that was years in the making, showing just how hard it could be for people that got on Hogan’s bad side.
At Bash of The Beach 200, JEFF JARRETT was set to win his match against the Hulkster.
They practised and rehearsed, planned out the moves that would entertain the crowd that night. Until just before the event – Hogan decided that he didn’t want to lose and WCW & Eric Bischoff’s hands were tied by Hogan’s contract. Upset Jarrett got into the ring and laid down, with no resistance and allowed Hogan to pin him without trying. Both reacted poorly and destroyed the entire show, something that a lot of fans paid money to watch.
WWF RETURN VS ROCK
at Wrestlemaia 18. This event is one that I remember so vividly. The tension, the excitement of the night. Being allowed to stay up really late to watch it, bursting to see these two goliaths square off.
The Rock was my favourite wrestler back then but even as a youngster, I didn’t like Hogan.
Not because of anything he did behind the scenes, I didn’t know any of that. Just something about his look, his style irked me. So I was extremely happy to see my boy line up to defeat him.
He then WON UNDISPUTED TITLE FROM HHH (a man at the peak of his career) ONE MONTH LATER.
Realism in wrestling.
After some stupid segments covering up his tiring body and struggles with injury, involving motorcycles. Hogan and Undertaker faced off at Judgement day that year. And Hogan took the single worst chokeslam of all time
Shawn Michaels jumped at the opportunity to face Hogan. He realised the icon’s career was coming to an end and wanted one last great match. Vince McMahon got the two to agree to a three match series, with Hogan winning the first and Michaels winning the second and third.
All men agreed until just before Summerslam 2005 decided it would be the only time the two would face off. Hogan did indeed win the first match, but that would be it. Shawn, with his famous hot headed ego completely over sold every single move Hogan’s over trodden and predictable 80’s move-set.
Leaping all over the ring and comically feigning over the top damage from Hulk. It’s funny, but I hate it.
RANDY ORTON, LEGEND KILLER
Mic Fowley, Shawn Michaels, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Ric Flair all put to boot by the then rising villain Randy Orton. Summer slam 2006 came around and there was only one legend bigger, only one left to defeat. To cement Orton’s legacy only in his mid twenties.
Hogan agreed to lose to Orton, if WWE would promote his daughter’s music album. It was as terrible as you’d expect. But they did so in order for the story line to have it’s conclusion.
Day’s before the event Hogan refused to perform unless he won and did so at the biggest event of the Summer.
He fluttered around at the end of his career in promotions such as TNA, but I really don’t like to relive that nightmare period in wrestling. TNA was so good and Hogan was so shit.
2012 - Hulk Hogan was embroiled in another scandal after the release of a private and illegal video recorded of him and distributed online. It’s disgusting because it’s such a violation of privacy and it’s disgusting because Hulk is old and gross.
I mean come on – look at this man – he did have an absolute rudder between his legs – brother. The woman in the video was Heather Klemm who was the wife of Hogan’s long-term friend Bubba The Love Sponge – that’s fairly shitty.
But worst of all in the video Hogan used racial terms to describe his daughter’s then black boyfriend, that were as offensive as they were ignorant and have no place in a civilised society.
He then successfully sued GAWKER (the company who published and spread the video) in a lawsuit where he claimed $100 million and settled out of court for $30 million in damages and the hack-sudo-journalism company folded.
2015 - WWE cut ties with Hogan when the public bash lash grew too large. Years of glory followed by years of terrible publicity lead to a time where the company and the immortal one parted ways. WWE removed Hogan for planned promotional dates and from certain areas of their website. Fans were divided about how such a legend should be treated.
RETURNED IN 2018
In SAUDI Arabia after making the right apologies. He came to the ring and spoke to the crowd as if nothing had changed from 1984. It was sad to see someone who was either in denial about fan’s appreciation and opinion of his character or is completely tone deaf to the at best, mixed reaction of the WWE universe on social media and around the world.
That being said you cannot deny his accomplishments. Hogan is a thirteen-time world champion: a one-time IWGP Heavyweight Championship in its early version, a six-time WWF World Heavyweight Champion/WWF Champion (with his last reign being as Undisputed WWF/WWE Champion) and a six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
His first WCW World Heavyweight Championship reign is the longest in history, while his first WWF Championship reign is the third-longest ever (and the longest of the 1980's). Hogan was the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumbles, in 1990 and 1991, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2005.
NOW LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING BROTHER
He didn’t have as good matches as Ric Flair nor did he ever hold as many world titles, He wasn’t as charismatic as Dusty Rhodes. He was never as much a patriot as Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He couldn’t cut a promo like Macho Man nor fly around the ring like Shawn Michaels, he was less physically imposing than the ultimate warrior nor did he share his intensity. His film’s weren’t a success like the Rock’s, every single one of them was shit. He wasn’t as tall as Andre the Giant or as heavy as Yokozuna, nor was he as big of a financial draw as Bruno Sammartino. He wasn’t as much a positive impact backstage as HHH. He wasn’t the coolest guy in the N.W.O. He wasn’t as beloved as Stone Cold Steve Austin, nor as hated as the Iron Sheik. He was less handsome than Rick Rude. He wasn’t a young prodigy like Randy Orton, nor did he show outstandingly quick adoption to the sport like Brock Lesnar.
His ego may tell him that he was the greatest of all time. So will the W.W.E in it’s record books. But to me the only thing that is immortal about Hulk Hogan is the legacy of backstabbing, selfishness and greed.
Hulk would regularly live up to the lyrics of his entrance theme. He would stand in the way of evil to protect America across those who sought to invade their star-spangled shores. Men and women alike admired his strength, his bravery and his reigns as champions. Children idolised him and flocked to shower him with there admiration. He helped the poor, he saved the homeless, he reconciled wars and triumphed over evil.
What a cunt.
I know it doesn’t sound like it. He’s a hero! I hear you cry. He helped to make wrestling what it is today, I agree. And that’s why I have such an issue with the memory of his career. How his achievements are lauded in numerous ‘best of’ segments by fans and W.W.E alike.
If you take a deeper look, under the thin leathery hot dog skin of Hulk Hogan, what you’ll find is a twisted history of backstabbing, lies and manipulation.
But it’s easy for me to sit here, pointing my chubby fingers and spilling coffee onto my keyboard, spraying Doritos into my microphone with rage.
I’ve never stepped into the ring, I don’t think my short legs allow me the required verticality to perform particularly well in the squared circle. I’m out of breath just trying to come up with this script. So, why listen to me, read my blogs or take my opinion?