The name Hulk Hogan has become a rather loaded one in the wrestling business after all these years. It’s impossible to argue just how integral to pro wrestling that Hogan has been, but there are cases to be made as to why he’s been detrimental as well.
Through various recountings and accusations through the years, Hogan has been accused of being something of a “politician,” at least as it relates to wrestling jargon. Time after time, Hulk has been viewed as someone who used his backstage influence and stature within the business to further his agenda. Here are ten stories that pull back the curtain on The Hulkster.
10 Corraling Mr. T
In Hulk’s autobiography, he recalls just how stressful the lead up to the inaugural WrestleMania was. According to Hogan, the source of most of the difficulties surrounding the event was none other than Mr. T. Mr. T was a major celebrity at the time of WrestleMania 1, and his involvement with the event was viewed as one of its major selling points. But getting T to focus and behave prudently was something of a headache in Hulk’s recollection. From arriving late to the event, and trying to enter the building with an entourage, Hulk may have lost a litle more hair dealing with the former A-Team cast member.
9 Heartbreak Heat
In hindsight, it’s odd to think that WWE considered Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels a ‘dream match.’ Sure, both men are mega stars, but even to the most casual fan, it seems like a severe clash of styles on paper. Of course, that’s what it was, but what ended up being the caveat was more of a clash of personalities. By all accounts, Hogan and Shawn just didn’t click as people or professionals, and as a result the backstage drama prior to their SummerSlam match was intense. Hulk had apparently insisted that Shawn turn heel for the feud, only for the latter to turn back immediately after the match. This was simply a case of apples and oranges, and it ultimately didn’t end up being worth the trouble.
8 Hiding Miss Elizabeth
According to those who were close to the situation, the relationship between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, was always tentative at best. A lack of trust is how some would decribe the intearctions between these two, and that would eventually come to a head in 1993. It was just prior to WrestleMania 9 in Las Vegas, that allegedly, Savage would confront Hogan in regards to his former wife, Miss Elizabeth. Randy would claim that Hulk and his then wife, Linda, were making a concerted effort to keep him away from Elizabeth, as she was being courted by another man. The Macho Man took exception to this upon locating his wife’s whereabouts, and rumor has it that he gave Hogan the mysterious black eye that he was sporting at WrestleMania.
7 The 3rd Man Of The Hour
In July of 1996, Hulk Hogan would make arguably the most unprecented move of his career, when he would turn heel and align himself with the NWO. But according to Eric Bischoff, the road getting to that point was an uncertain one at best. Eric said that when he first presented Hulk with the idea, that he was not met with a favorable response. In fact, up until the night of the show, and even DURING the match itself, WCW creative had a contingency plan in place, in case Hogan got cold feet. In the end, Hulk ended up going through with the plan, altering the course of pro wrestling forever.
6 Harley’s Got A Gun
In another story from Hulk Hogan’s book, he recalls being told that Harley Race was planning on confronting him, backstage at a WWE event. Hulk claims that he was actually in the restroom when he was informed that Harley was in the building, and immediately went to confront Race, head on.
Apparently, Hogan couldn’t find him, so he just took a seat in the locker room, before feeling a hard pat on his back. He turned around to see a smiling Harley, unarmed, and holding out his hand. A potentially ugly scene was avoided that day, because Harley was in a good mood.
5 Call My Wife And Kids
This story comes from The Undertaker, himself, and he has not been known amongst his peers as someone who embellishes things. It was at the Survivor Series in 1991 that The Undertaker would challenge Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship. The ending would see Undertaker tombstone Hogan onto a chair, capturing that title as a result. Later on in the backstage area, Undertaker would say that Hogan seemed to be in severe pain from the spot, going so far as to ask one of the agents to “call his wife and kids,” in case he was seriously injured. The Undertaker would go on to speculate that Hogan was just trying to make it seem as if he was unsafe in the ring, and not fit to be the champion.
4 It’s A Swerve, BRO-ther
This one is timely as the story was just featured on the most recent episode of Dark Side Of The Ring. At Bash At The Beach 2000, there was a power struggle between several key figures in the company, including Hogan himself. Hulk, who had creative control written into his contract, had balked at the original finish for the match, and would use his provisions to have the finish changed. This would enrage Vince Russo, who was head of creative at the time, and he would later go on to deliver a profanity-laced tirade directed at Hogan live in the ring. Several insiders have referenced this incident as one more nail in the coffin for a company that was fledgling at the time.
3 You Don’t Know The Whole Story, Brother
This story comes from Bret Hart’ book, My Real Life In The Cartoon World Of Wrestling. Bret says that he and Hogan got along initially, that is until Bret ascended to the top of the company and Hulk began to see him as a threat. At the aforementioned WrestleMania 9, Bret would drop the title to Yokozuna, who would in turn lose it to Hulk Hogan. Bret says that he was told by WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, that Hogan would be dropping the title to him at that year’s SummerSlam. When Bret was informed that Hogan was no longer agreeing to the plan, he confronted him, only for Hogan to respond by saying, “you don’t know the whole story, brother,” before taking Bret with him into McMahon’s office.
2 Wrestling Union Whistle-Blower
In the 1980s, the fact that professional wrestling had not been unionized, did not sit well with many people in the industry, including Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Ventura, who would go on to be elected Governor of Minnesota, understood the importance of protecting worker’s rights, especially in an industry as dangerous as pro wrestling.
As the story goes, Ventura had rallied the support of the majority of the locker room, and had planned on confronting Vince McMahon with their demands for a union. However, McMahon was tipped off at the final hour, essentially nullifying the efforts of Ventura. The informant that allegedly gave Vince the scoop? That was none other than Hulk Hogan.
1 That Doesn’t Work For Me, Brother
The phrase, “that doesn’t work for me, brother,” has become a comedic punchline amongst wrestling fans, as it relates to Hulk Hogan. It actually derives from Hogan’s match with Sting at Starrcade in 1997. This was a case of why WCW had a flawed preimse for the inner workings of the company, and how egos ultimately negated what was to be the company’s biggest event to date. The story goes that Hulk decided after seeing Sting in the locker room, prior to the match, that it would make him look weak to lose to Sting, who was not in the most impressive physical shape of his career. Hulk would allegedly have the finish altered, attempting to make it seem as though Sting didn’t beat him fairly, severely compromising WCW’s integrity in the long run.