"I fear no man, no beast, or evil, brother.” —Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is a famous wrestler who gained notoriety for his handlebar mustache, blond skullet, antics in the ring, and unerring charisma (among other things). Throughout his career he wrestled in the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and on the Japanese circuit. Let me tell ya brother, this is the man to beat and there’s little Hulk Hogan hasn’t done. Actor, musician, entrepreneur, wrestler, wish granter. He is everything. Enjoy these 24 smashing facts about Hulk Hogan, brother!
Hogan’s character in Rocky III was named Thunderlips. Let’s just sit with that for a second. Thunderlips and Rocky fight in an event, and at the end of the fight, Rocky picks Thunderlips up and throws him out of the ring. While shooting the scene, Hogan had to actually jump into Stallone’s arms, as the Italian Stallion couldn’t quite manage to lift him.
Hogan’s scene in Rocky III, when Stallone throws Hogan's character out of the ring, was based off a real event. It was a match between Chuck Wepner and Andre the Giant at Shea Stadium in 1976. Andre batters Wepner pretty good before he picks Wepner up and tosses him over the ropes and out of the ring. This wouldn’t be the only time Stallone drew inspiration from Wepner; the character of Rocky is actually based on Wepner’s fight with Muhammad Ali. He has a fondness for the “little” guy.
Hogan was a big kid. And I mean big. At the age of 12, he was already six feet tall and 195 pounds. It isn’t exactly a small wonder that he would become a professional athlete.
Hogan’s first professional match took place in 1977. Back then, he was wrestling under the name “Super Destroyer,” and he wore a mask—very lucha libre. Hogan has also wrestled under the names “Terry Boulder,” “Sterling Golden,” and “Hollywood Hogan,” as well as a slew of others.
It was Vince McMahon Sr. himself who gave Hogan his famous wrestling name. When Hogan went to wrestle for McMahon, he branded him “Hogan” for his Irish background. “Hulk” became a sort of nickname for the wrestler both because of his size and because of an interview he did with Lou Ferrigno, AKA the man who played the Incredible Hulk. Ferrigno is 6'4" and Hogan still towered over him. Being taller than the actual Hulk automatically gets you that nickname, it’s a rule.
WrestleMania III was the match everybody was waiting for: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, once again. Well into the match and with both wrestlers exhausted, Hogan managed to pick up Andre and body slam him into the mats. It’s widely recognized as one of the biggest moments in wrestling history. Dubbed “the slam heard around the world,” Hogan followed that up with his signature leg drop pin, defeating Andre.
Back in the early '90s, the government was trying to make a case against Vince McMahon for employing a shady doctor to write prescriptions for steroids, which McMahon then allegedly pressured his wrestlers to take. Hulk Hogan was subpoenaed to testify. In exchange for his testimony, Hogan was given immunity for any crimes he might admit to being a part of, but he denied being pressured by McMahon to take steroids.
The dawning of the age of Hulkamania had all the Hulkamanics around the world living by what he called the "demandments." These were mostly to, "Eat your vitamins, train hard, and say your prayers." Is that all it takes?
In a battle in 1983 against The Iron Sheik, Hogan managed to be the first person to ever get out of the dreaded “camel clutch,” the Sheik’s finishing move. He followed that up with his trademark leg drop, winning his first ever WWF Championship title.
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“Macho Man” Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan fought as a successful tag team in the WWF. The aligning of Hulkamania and Macho Madness began in 1987, and their friendship remained strong until 1989 when they had a falling out over their manager, Miss Elizabeth. They called themselves "The Mega Powers." Sadly, Hulk Hogan is the only surviving member of the trio.
Once upon a time, there was a diss track written about Hogan. In 2003, former friend “Macho Man” Randy Savage released a song titled "Be a Man," in which he digs into Hogan. In the song, Savage rap/sings: “Be a man Hulk / come on don’t be scared / you’re running from Macho Man that’s what I heard.” Them's fighting words.
Hogan won a total of six heavyweight championships during his career with the WWF/E. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by his friend Sylvester Stallone, who he once fought on screen in Rocky III. His fellow inductees that year included “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik.
After a video emerged of him using racial slurs, Hogan was fired from the WWE and the Hall of Fame, and his information and merchandise were removed from their website. However, Hogan would be reinstated three years later after a series of goodwill efforts.
The year was 1996, and Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Hollywood Hogan teamed up as New World Order to destroy Randy Savage during the Bash at the Beach. It was the first time Hogan had played a villain to a global audience in years. His turn toward the dark side was shocking to wrestling fans everywhere, but NWO became an instant phenomenon.
Hogan is the first and only professional wrestler to ever be captured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This gives you some idea of how successful Hogan was as an athlete, and how widespread Hulkamania became.
Hogan was a talented musician growing up. In high school, he played bass professionally and was making money playing gigs after school and on weekends.
At the start of Hogan’s wrestling career, he stood an impressive 6'7", but over the years with injuries and surgeries, Hogan has lost about three inches of height.
Not many people know that Hogan once wrestled on the Japanese circuit. He would even win the first ever International Wrestling Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament in Japan.
Hulk Hogan is one of the most requested celebrities for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and has granted over 200 wishes for children with critical illnesses. He’s among only a few celebrities to grant over 200 wishes, but it’s another wrestler who shatters records when it comes to wish granting: John Cena has visited over 500 Make-A-Wish kids.
In 2012, the website Gawker published a sex tape of Hogan with the wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge. Hogan then successfully sued the site for violation of privacy. He was awarded $140 million in total for damages, bankrupting the website. But there were darker forces at play: it came out that Hogan’s lawsuit was bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel, who also had a vendetta against Gawker after they outed him as gay in a blog post years prior. The lesson here is to never cross a billionaire.
Once upon a time, in the golden days of Ozzy Osbourne gracing our TV screens, there was another big fella you could find in your TV Guide under the title Hogan Knows Best. The reality show followed Hogan and his family through their daily lives and lasted four seasons. Hogan’s daughter Brooke also later earned a spin-off of her own, Brooke Knows Best.
Unfortunately, like many reality TV star families, things fell apart for the Hogans after the airing of their show. In 2007, Linda filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. The problem? She didn't tell Hulk, and he found out from a reporter who called him for comment. Later that year, his son was arrested for reckless driving after he nearly killed one of his friends in a car accident.
Wrestlemania X8 (that's WWE for 18) saw Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Hulk Hogan duke it out. The Rock would defeat Hogan, who was fighting under the name “Hollywood Hogan” at that time. Dubbed “Icon vs. Icon,” it’s one of the biggest fights in wrestling history, and at the time it broke attendance records at the SkyDome in Toronto.
Although the two wrestlers thought that Hogan would be booed during the grudge match, the crowd actually turned on The Rock. As Hogan related, "I give The Rock one big push, and the place explodes. Then I pushed him again, as we planned, and the place explodes again. [WWE] thought I was gonna get booed. Then I start chopping meat on him, and with every hit the place is going crazy. Then I did what was planned, blocking a punch, and as soon as he started hitting me came the boos." They had to change the fight on the fly, feeling out what the crowd wanted and making it entertaining.
Hogan has the tag team the Wild Samoans to blame for being arrested one night. Hogan was giving the pair a lift when they were pulled over by a New Jersey state trooper. As Hogan went to grab his registration from the glove box, a gun tumbled out. An unregistered gun in the state of New Jersey comes with a one-year prison sentence. So Hogan asked the Samoans to explain to the cop that he had no idea about this law. Only rather than an explanation, he was met with silence. The Wild Samoans play savage characters in the ring who grunt, tear chickens apart with their bare hands, and don't speak English. They refused to break character in front of the cop, deciding it would be better to just be arrested. Not sure how Hogan felt about this, but I think it’s fair to say he wasn’t exactly thrilled by their silence.
Hogan has accomplished a lot in his illustrious career. Among other accomplishments, he has put out two books: Hollywood Hulk Hogan in 2002 and My Life Outside the Ring in 2009. He was also the host of the NBC remake American Gladiators along with Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila. Although the show didn't last long, Hogan credits Ali with having saved his life. In 2007, he was in a dark place after his divorce and his son's arrest, and was about to end it all when the phone rang. It was Ali on the other end, calling to discuss the show. Her impeccable timing helped him break out of the moment and go on with his life.
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