Real Name: Terry Gene Bollea
Date of Birth: 11th August 1953
Hometown: Venice Beach, California
Other Names: The Super Destroyer, Terry Boulder, Sterlin Golden, Terry Hogan, The Hulkster, Hollywood Hogan, Mr America
Debut Year: 1978
Trademark Moves: Big Boot, Leg Drop and Axe Bomber (in Japan)
Titles Held: WWE/F Championship, WCW Championship, WWE Tag Team Championships (w/Edge), NWA Tennessee South Eastern Heavyweight NWA Alabama South Eastern Heavyweight, IWPG Heavyweight Title
Tournaments Won: New Japan IWGP League 1983
- Vs. Andre The Giant (Wrestlemania III)
- Vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Wrestlemania V)
- Vs. Ultimate Warrior ( Wrestlemania VI)
- Vs. The Rock (Wrestlemania X8)
Many regarded him as the most famous professional wrestler of all time, many consider that he along with Vince McMahon revolutionized the wrestling business forever, he has been adored and loathed by fans from around the world, he is Hulk Hogan.
Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea’s professional wrestling career started off in 1970’s after being spotted by two wrestling legends. Hogan was travelling in a rock band on the East Coast of America playing at nightclubs as a bass guitarist. Hogan started to play at clubs and venues where wrestlers would hang out, guys such as Jack and Gerry Brisco. Hogan would eventually start chatting with these guys, and it was at this point where Hogan decided he wanted to get into the wrestling business. With help from the Brisco brothers, Hogan began training with Hiro Matsuda. Hogan trained with Matsuda for some time, and in his initial training period, he even broke his leg, but eventually Hogan would be ready to have his first professional match.
Hogan had his debut match in 1978 under the name of Super Destroyer in the small independent scene in Florida. Hogan worked for many small independent promotions during the early days of his career, he also changed his name a few times, from Sterling Golden to Terry Boulder. Hogan had stints in the Memphis Wrestling territory and also in NWA territories in Georgia, Alabama and the South East where he won various championship, including the NWA South Eastern Heavyweight Championship in which he defeated Dick Slater for. While he was quite successful in the small territories Hogan had yet made a mark on the wrestling business, many times he had become displeased with his career and he had “quit” the business.
One of these occasions occurred in 1980, however Jack and Gerry Brisco heard that Hogan was going to “quit” and spoke to Hogan, they told Hogan they would ask Vince McMahon Sr. about Hogan joining the New York based World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Hogan and McMahon met, and McMahon agreed to sign Hogan for the WWWF. It was in the WWWF where Hogan was actually given the name “Hulk Hogan”, The “Hulk” part came from the fact that Hogan physically resembled Lou Ferrigno who played the comic book hero “The Incredible Hulk” in the successful television series. And the “Hogan” part is rumoured to have been down to the fact that the McMahon family had long standing Irish heritage, and currently this was one ethic background the WWWF didn‘t represent, so Hulk Hogan was supposed to be Irish, but eventually the gimmick disappeared.
Hogan was brought into the WWWF as a “heel” and was aligned with manager Fred Blassie. Hogan had some successful feuds, one of which was with Andre The Giant, and it was during this time the pair formed a long lasting friendship. However Hogan’s relationship with Vince McMahon Sr. was not so good, Hogan had been offered an opportunity to appear in the Rocky III movie, as a wrestler called “Thunderlips”. However, Vince McMahon Sr. didn’t want Hogan to appear in the film as he would have to take time out from his wrestling career, Hogan decided that the film was more important than wrestling and he left the WWWF to appear in the film.
Hogan joined the Minnesota based American Wrestling Association (AWA), he initially entered the company as a “heel”, but he was turned into a “face” with the success of his small role in Rocky III. With Hogan’s rising popularity he became thrown into the main event scene, having many AWA Championship matches with Nick Brockwinkle, but Hogan always came up short and never won the Championship belt. However one night in 1983 Hogan defeated Nick Brockwinkle with use of a foreign object which Bobby Heenan had thrown in the ring to be used on Hogan by Brockwinkle, but Hogan had managed to intercept the object and use it on Brockwinkle. Hogan won the match and won the AWA Heavyweight Championship, or so he thought, after AWA officials reviewed the tape, they announced that Brockwinkle won the match via Hogan’s disqualification and Brockwinkle retained his belt. Hogan left the AWA soon after.
As well as having limited success in the AWA, Hogan wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1983 where he achieved larger success. On June 2nd, Hulk Hogan was crowned the first ever IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Hogan had wrestled in a tournament where he defeated Killer Khan, Canek, Enrique Vera, Akira Maeda, Rusher Kimura, Big John Studd, and Otto Wanz. Hogan advanced to the finals where he and Antonio Inoki were equal on points and they would have to face one another. After an unplanned finish, Hogan won the match and became the first ever IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Meanwhile back in the USA things were changing within Hogan‘s old company the WWWF or the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as it was now known as. Vince McMahon Sr. had sold the company to his son Vince McMahon Jr. who had vision of creating a new form of wrestling, taking it out of the small dusty arena’s and brining it to the mainstream audiences, and to do this, he wanted Hulk Hogan to be at the forefront of this new venture. Hogan signed with the WWF and soon made his debut, which came about when Bob Backlund supposedly brought Hogan in to help him beat The Iron Sheik.
By early 1984 Hogan was the company’s top star, and on January 23rd, Hogan defeated The Iron Sheik to become the WWF Heavyweight Champion for the first time. The following year, Hogan with Mr. T successful defeated Paul Orndorff and Rowdy Roddy Piper in the main event of the inaugural Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden, an event which revolutionised the wrestling business. The following year, Hogan embarked in a bitter feud with King Kong Bundy, a feud which culminated a cage match at Wrestlemania II, where Hogan successfully defended his belt.
By 1987, “Hulkamania” was at its peak, and the WWF decided it was time to have Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant a match that was highly anticipated. The match came about after Andre turned on Hogan and demanded a title match, at first Hogan refused, but eventually the match was made. The Pontiac Silver Dome was the venue, and around 80’000 people jam packed the venue to see two of the biggest names in wrestling collide, Hogan managed to defeat Andre and retain his WWF Championship. However, Hogan’s title reign came to an end in February 1988 when Andre defeated Hogan for the WWF Championship after a controversial finish, Andre then gave the belt to Ted Dibiase. After this controversy, WWF President – Jack Tunney declared the WWF Championship vacant, and announced the belt would be decided at Wrestlemania IV in a tournament. Hogan fought with Andre at WretleMania IV in a first round match of the tournament, but he and Andre got a double DQ, ending their hopes of regaining the belt, however, later that night Hogan got a little revenge when he assisted Randy Savage in the final match of the tournament against Ted Dibiase, helping Savage win the belt.
Between 1988 and 1989, Hogan and Savaged teamed together, but the team was to spilt towards Wrestlemania V, as a jealous Randy Savage turned on Hogan, over Hogan’s feeling towards Miss Elizabeth, Hogan recaptured the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania V in a fierce encounter. It was around the time of this match, that Hogan had completed filming “No Holds Barred”, a film produced by Hogan and Vince McMahon. The film portrays Hogan surprisingly as a pro wrestler trying to battle a evil TV Executive who wanted Hogan to boosts his TV ratings, however Hogan is less than co-operative, and the TV Executive sets Hogan up in a match with a man monster called Zeus. The critics thought the movie was less then impressive, and it suffered in the cinemas, but this didn’t stop Vince McMahon using the movie as part of the WWF’s storylines, and at Summerslam 1989, Hogan teamed with long time friend Brutus Beefcake to take on Randy Savage and Zeus, of No Holds Barred fame. Its believed at this time relations between Hogan and Savage became strained and the pair who were once best of friends fell out, the pair would be good friends and bitter enemies throughout the rest of there career, both in and out of the ring.
While Hogan had been filming the movie, a new WWF superstar going by the name of The Ultimate Warrior was rising to prominence. Warrior was another larger than life character who was a huge hit with the fans, and it would be inevitable that Hogan and Warrior would cross paths. At the 1990 Royal Rumble PPV, Hulk Hogan won the 30 man Royal Rumble match, and the WWF teased a Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior match.
At Wrestlemania VI, at the Toronto Sky Dome, WWF Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior took on the WWF Champion Hulk Hogan in a match that is regarded as one of the best Wrestlemania matches ever. After 20 plus minutes of non stop wrestling, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hogan to capture the WWF Championship, Hogan dropped the WWF title in honourable fashion to Warrior, and many thought Hogan would go on to do further things outside wrestling.
However, expectations of Warrior were high, and he couldn’t live up to them, and in 1991 at the Royal Rumble PPV, Warrior lost the WWF Championship to Sgt. Slaughter. At the same event, Hogan won his second Royal Rumble match. Hogan’s Royal Rumble win led him onto a very controversial feud with the Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter, a feud which was dammed by bad publicity and accusations that Vince McMahon was feeding on the Gulf War conflict, which he was. The problem surrounding this PPV was so big, the WWF had to relocate Wrestlemania to the L.A Sports Arena after the intended venue had been surrounded over security issues after it had apparent bomb threats.
Anyway, at the PPV, Hogan recaptured the WWF Championship from Slaughter. Over the next few months and into the summer, Hogan feuded with Slaughter and his allies General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa. At Survivor Series 1991, Hogan lost the WWF Championship to The Undertaker, after Ric Flair interfered and helped ‘Taker win the belt. Some days later, Hogan recaptured the WWF Championship at the Tuesday in Texas event. However, WWF officials declared the title vacant due to a number of controversial decisions, this led to the 1992 Royal Rumble where the WWF Championship would be decided in the 30 Man Battle Royal, with the winner getting the belt. Hogan, Sid Justice and Ric Flair were the final 3 men in the match, Sid Justice eliminated Hogan, and left Hogan in shock as the pair were meant to be friends (leading to Flair winning the WWF Title).
Following this, Hogan teamed with Sid to take on Flair and The Undertaker, but the match ended in a double DQ, after Justice turned on Hogan, setting up their match at Wrestlemania VIII. The match was billed that it could be Hogan’s last match in the WWF, which it was for a while, anyway at Wrestlemania Hogan won the match via DQ after Papa Shango interfered, but Hogan soon got help after The Ultimate Warrior came to Hogan’s aid. This was the last match Hogan would have in the WWF for almost a year. The match that was scheduled to take place at Wrestlemania VIII was thought to have been Hogan vs. Ric Flair, but for some reason the match never took place, its not exactly known why the match never took place.
Hogan’s next appearance in the WWF occurred when he made his return in Spring 1993 before Wrestlemania IX. Hogan’s long time friend Brutus Beefcake was being attacked by IRS and Ted Dibiase, so Hogan came to his assistance, setting up a match at Wrestlemania, where Hogan and Beefcake would take on Ted and IRS for the Tag Team titles. Hogan and Beefcake never got the belts, but later that night Hogan won another championship.
In the main event of the evening Bret Hart lost the WWF Championship to Yokozuna after Mr. Fuji threw powder in Hart’s eyes. Hogan then came down to the ring to help Hart, but Mr. Fuji challenged Hogan to take on Yokozuna. A few minutes later and a leg drop, Hogan was WWF Champion once again and Yokozuna had the shortest WWF Championship reign in history. Some months later Hogan would lose the WWF Championship to Yokozuna at the debut King of the Ring PPV, this would be Hogan’s last match in the WWF for over 8 years. Hogan’s departure came because of a number of reasons, mainly due to the fact the WWF was starting to head in a new direction, with stars like Bret Hart having the top spot in the company, this would inevitably mean Hogan would have to take a pay cut, so he decided to leave wrestling and focus on his acting career.
However, this would not be Hogan’s last dealing with Vince McMahon, as during the early 90’s the US federal government were compiling a case against Vince McMahon for supplying steroids to his wrestlers, the trial was in July 1994, and Hogan was called as a witness. Hogan was asked if McMahon ever supplied wrestlers with steroids, Hogan denied that, but he did admit he had used steroids himself in the past, and this was something he had emphatically denied for years before the trial. McMahon was eventually cleared of all charges, but the dent in both the WWF’s and Hogan’s reputation was huge.
During the years 1990 to 1993, Hogan took substantial amounts of time out of his WWF Schedule to wok of his acting career. During this time, he took the lead roles in movies such as Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny , unfortunately these movies did nothing to help Hogan in his acting career. However, Hogan had plans to dominate the small screens once again, but not as a wrestler.
During Hogan’s departure from the wrestling world, he embarked on a new project, Thunder in Paradise , Hogan portrayed an Ex-Navy SEAL turned mercenary with a boat which had all the gadgets of Michael Knight’s K.I.T.T, but unfortunately the boat never spoke. Anyway, the series was fairly successful for Hogan, but it was while he was filming at Universal Studios Hogan met Eric Bischoff. Bischoff had started filming WCW events from the Disney MGM studios in Florida, and he decided to approach Hogan, the pair got talking and Hogan eventually signed a very lucrative deal with Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling.
After a lot of hype by WCW, Hogan’s first match occurred at WCW Bash at the Beach 1994, Hogan fought then World Champion Ric Flair, Hogan defeated Flair and won the WCW Championship for the first ever time. Over the next two years Hogan experienced a certain amount of success in WCW, feuding with the likes of Flair, Vader and The Giant. WCW had now started to compete with the WWF, and with the birth of WCW Nitro, WCW was experiencing more success than it had ever had, however it was still neck and neck with the WWF.
In 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left the WWF and signed with WCW, the pair portrayed as the “outsiders” gave fans the impression they (the WWF) were trying to take WCW over. At the 1996 Bash at the Beach, Nash and Hall promised to reveal there third person in the faction as they took on Lex Luger, Randy Savage and Sting in a tag match. Hall and Nash had disposed of Luger, and both Savage and Sting were left fighting for WCW, as Hall and Nash were gaining the advantage Hogan walked down the ramp way seemingly to aid WCW. However, Hogan dropped the patented leg drop on Randy Savage and for the first time since becoming a household name, Hulk Hogan had turned “heel”.
Hogan then went onto give one of the best promos of his career, when he announced that he had aligned himself with Hall and Nash, and the they were the “New World Organisation” of professional wrestling, this was the birth of the New World Order (nWo). The following night on Nitro, Hogan showed his new appearance, no longer donning the red and yellow, and now debuting his new black and white Hollywood Hogan attire. At the following PPV, WCW Road Wild, Hogan defeated The Giant for the WCW World Championship. Over the course of the next 3 years the New World Order dominated WCW, with Hogan being one of the major players within the group. At the height on the New World Order’s popularity, Hogan fought Sting in a much anticipated match at Starrcade 1997, Sting defeated Hogan for the WCW Championship. In spring 1998, Hogan won the WCW Championship for a forth time after he defeated Randy Savage.
July 1998 saw Hogan lose the WCW Championship to Goldberg in front of a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The match was originally scheduled to take place on PPV, but in efforts to compete with a new focused WWF, WCW decided to put the match on a Nitro broadcast, this was a move that financially cost them a lot of PPV revenue. It was at this time that the New World Order started to lose popularity, new members joined one after the other, the group split into different forms and basically just became a farce. This was typified on a WCW Nitro broadcast in January 1999. Kevin Nash, World Champion and leader of the Wolfpack New World Order was to face off with Hogan, challenger for the belt, and leader of the New World Order Black and White. Just as the match got started, Hogan went to punch Nash, but extended his finger and poked Nash in the chest , Nash fell to the canvas and let Hogan cover him for the WCW Championship, this realigned the factions of the New World Order together once again, but made a mockery out of WCW. This event was known as “the finger poke of doom” incident, it brought the credibility of the WCW Championship down, and was also a key turning point in the Monday Night Wars, many critics consider it as one of WCW biggest blunders.
At WCW’s Uncensored PPV in March 1999, Hogan lost his WCW Championship to Ric Flair in a first blood rules cage match, after which Hogan left the New World Order and went back to his red and yellow roots. Later that year Hogan laid down and was defeated by Sting at the Halloween Havoc PPV in 1999, after being instructed to do so by Vince Russo, Hogan left WCW screens for a while. Hogan returned in early 2000 and had brief feuds with Lex Luger and Ric Flair. Hogan then joined up with fellow veterans of WCW, as WCW was split into two factions, the ”Millionaires Club” and the “New Blood”, in a new storyline which was intended to gain WCW‘s momentum back. For a number of months Hogan battled former running buddy Eric Bischoff and “New Blood” member Billy Kidman, the feud lasted for a couple of months and then faded away. At the Bash at the Beach 2000, Hogan was supposed to face Jeff Jarrett for the WCW Championship belt, however during the match, Jarrett laid down and allowed Hogan to pin him. Vince Russo came down to the ring and started to slate Hogan, he declared the belt Hogan had won was the “Hulk Hogan Memorial title“, and there would be another match later on in the evening for the real WCW Championship, after this incident Hogan left WCW screens and was never seen on WCW TV again. The incident was basically a “worked shoot” interview, and apparently it was planned to a certain degree before the match, however during the interview, its reported Russo made some remarks about Hogan which were not planned, and after Hogan left WCW he filled a lawsuit against Vince Russo. Of course its common knowledge that soon after Hogan left WCW, Russo was shown the door by WCW executives and soon after WCW was bought by Vince McMahon.
The WCW take over left a huge void in the wrestling world, and during the winter of 2001, Hogan’s long time friends and former manager Jimmy Hart set out to fill that void. Jimmy got together some former WCW talent and wrestling legends such as The Road Warriors, Curt Henning, Vampiro, Johnny B. Badd and many more guys, and he set up a federation called the XWF. The promotion reached a deal with Universal Studios and they recorded several hours of TV there. Hulk Hogan worked with the XWF for a while, and he was involved in a match with Curt Henning for one of the tapings. However, things didn’t work out for the XWF, mainly because they couldn’t get a TV deal to air any of their shows, and without that, they were stranded. Secondly, in early 2002,Curt Henning, who at them time was one of the XWF’s top stars, signed a deal with Vince McMahon and the WWE, this hit the XWF hard, and what followed would be even worse, as in late January 2002, Hulk Hogan signed with the WWE along with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to the reform the New World Order.
The New World Order made its WWE debut at No Way Out 2002, instantly getting involved with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. After No Way Out, Hogan and Rock were to have a match that was billed as “Icon vs. Icon” at Wrestlemania X8. In the run-up to the match something unexpected was happening, Hogan was getting a “face” reaction when wrestling, fans were cheering him rather than booing him, this gave the WWE a problem, Hogan was supposed to be a “heel”, but was getting a “face” reaction. At Wrestlemania X8, The Rock defeated Hogan in what was one of Hogan’s best matches in the last 10 years. Hogan lost to Rock in a way which made both men look good, after the match Hogan shook Rock’s hand and the audience went wild. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall then came down to the ring to attack Hogan, but Rock came to his aid. After the match, Hogan and Rock celebrated and “Hulkamania” was once again born. In the following weeks Hogan threw away the Black and White colours of the New World Order and returned to his red and yellow roots yet again.
At the Backlash PPV, Hogan became WWE Champion once again after he defeated Triple H, the title reign didn’t last very long, as Hogan lost the belt at the following PPV to The Undertaker. Over the next few months, Hogan fought Kurt Angle at the King of the Ring PPV, and he also won the WWF Tag Team Championship belts with Edge. However Hogan’s successful run came to an end in the summer of 2002 after Hogan left the WWE when he lost a match to Brock Lesnar, Hogan left as he had worked all his dates on his contract and reports say he was unhappy with the direction his character was being used.
Hogan wasn’t seen in the wrestling world for a number of months, until early 2003 when Hogan returned to the WWE’s Smackdown brand. Hogan fought The Rock in a Wrestlemania rematch at No Way Out and lost due to interference from Vince McMahon. At Wrestlemania Hogan fought Vince McMahon for the very first time in a No Holds Barred Match, Hogan won after a very bloody match. Following this, Hogan appeared as a masked wrestler called Mr America (as Vince McMahon had suspended “Hulk Hogan”), he feuded with Vince McMahon and Rowdy Roddy Piper until he left the WWE once again under petty much the same circumstances as his last departure in 2002.
In October 2003, Hulk Hogan made his in ring return to Japan after nearly a 10 year absence, Hogan defeated Masa Chono at the Tokyo Dome. However, it was after the match during a press conference that made the headlines. Hogan was addressing the Japanese press, when Jeff Jarrett from Total Non Stop Action walked in and smashed a guitar over Hogan’s head. For the next month TNA teased that Hogan would sign to appear on one of their up and coming PPV events and face Jeff Jarrett, however that match never came about and Hogan never signed with TNA. Many people think Hogan had no intention of signing with TNA, he was just using them to make Vince McMahon re-sign Hogan and let him be involved with the Wrestlemania XX event, however McMahon didn’t sign Hogan, and Hogan never signed with TNA either.
Since then, Hogan has not been involved in the wrestling world, but it’s a sure fire cert, Hogan will be on your TV screens sooner or later, at the time of writing this, there is talk that Hogan will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and I don’t think anyone in the world could argue that Hogan shouldn’t be put in there.
You either love him, or loath him, but what is universally agreed is his impact on pro wrestling. Hogan throughout much of the 80’s and 90’s was the biggest name in wrestling, and he was certainly a key part in wrestling’s rise in popularity during the late 80’s. However, for much of his success, Hogan’s career has been marred by reports that he often held up and coming stars back, and was a backstage politician. But whatever your thoughts are about Hulk Hogan as a person, his wrestling career is one that will probably never ever be duplicated.
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