Perhaps the most well-known professional wrestler
, and also the most despised among wrestling "smarts"--those who follow the inner workings
of the business.
Born Terry Bollea
, Hogan started wrestling in small wrestling promotions after he finished school. Many don't know that Hogan first wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation
in the very early 1980s, but left after a dispute with Vince McMahon
's father, Vince McMahon (Sr). He then spent a few years wrestling in the AWA
, lead by promoter Verne Gagne
. He gained some noteriety there, but returned to the WWF
in 1982 after a disagreement with Gagne concerning his spot on the card.
He won the WWF Championship
from the Iron Sheik
soon afterwards, starting an amazing four year uninterrupted run as the WWF Champion. Perhaps the crowning moment in his career was his match against Andre the Giant
at Wrestemania III
. Andre had been professional wrestling
's biggest attraction for the last twenty years--during which time he was advertised as being undefeated
--and his defeat by Hogan at WM III was symbolic of Andre passing the torch
After many more years on top in the WWF
, he left in 1993 and promptly joined World Championship Wrestling
. He wrestled in much the same babyface
) role until 1996, when--in one of the most shocking moves in wrestling history--he turned heel
and joined the New World Order
along with Kevin Nash
and Scott Hall
at Bash in the Beach '96.
He stayed as the leader of the NWO
(known as Hollywood Hogan
due to intellectual property
disputes with Marvel Comics
) until late '99, when that angle became completely stale. After a final unsuccessful babyface
run where he tried to bring his character into the '90s, he left WCW
in early 2000.
His incredible success during the peaks of his career are that much more intruiging due to the fact that, in actuality, he was a horrible, horrible wrestler. He knew virtually no holds and almost never sold
moves (acted like he was hurt), and yet the fans cheered him rabidly anyway. It eventually led to his downfall
, as the cheers he got started to diminish in 1991 and 1992 (one of the reasons he left the WWF
), but it is baffling how he managed to stay on top for so long with the same tired routine.
Perhaps even more baffling, Hulk Hogan returned to the WWF in early 2002.
Alongside Kevin Nash
and Scott Hall
, they resurrected the nWo
angle from the grave, this time under the pretense of taking over the WWF. Hogan headlined Wrestlemania X8
against The Rock
in a match notable not for the wrestling, but for the fact that the crowd cheered for Hogan and booed The Rock.
As the announcers scrambled to make some sense of this, before you could snap your figures Hogan was turned babyface
and all of a sudden it's 1985 again.
To be continued?