Hulkamania 20 Years After Leaving WWF - Wrestle Newz twitter google

Hulkamania 20 Years After Leaving WWF

On what appeared to be Hulk Hogan’s send off on TNA television, the man reminisced about his 35 years in the wrestling business. Austin Aries told him to make ‘the right decision’ and that he had to decide between red & yellow Hulk or white & black Hollywood. The decision Aries was talking about was staying on “Team Dixie,” an absurd proposition that kind of uniquely fits into the craziness of Hogan’s professional life where everything is a work and life is reality TV.

TNA aired a video package of Hulk Hogan’s TNA career and, for a four time span, Hogan made a whole lot of money not doing much. There he was, introduced as TNA’s savior on October 27th, 2009 at Madison Square Garden. Then TNA tried to compete with WWE on Monday Nights. Eventually, Hogan became a babyface general manager. During Hogan’s period with the company, TNA has reportedly lost a lot of money. With his daughter Brooke gone from TNA, Hulk saw a declining situation.

As Dixie Carter walked to the ring to ask Hogan to get on her bandwagon or quit, she brought a touch of irony to what could be Hogan’s final chapter with TNA. She railed about people not understanding her plight and “why people like you simply have no concept of business and the complexities of it.”

Then came the ultimate sales pitch.

“Are you ready to take a ride on The Dixie Train?”

With money & time running out, Hogan did the smart thing and quit. And in the ultimate image of symbolism, Dixie Carter grabbed Hogan’s leg and begged him to stay. What a way to portray the organization over the last month if you combine this image with the image of AJ Styles in St. Louis saying that TNA is a place where wrestlers go for a paid vacation before returning back to WWE. Hogan’s coup de grâce on television was this off-handed remark:

“After 35 years, I didn’t think anyone could be worse than (Eric) Bischoff.”

Which made me think about Hogan’s career and who his business partners have been. Many of you didn’t witness Hogan’s career before then-WWF, which was actually quite historic given his run in New Japan against Antonio Inoki. He even faced Jerry Lawler in Memphis. There was that whole AWA thing, too, where Hogan became super popular but Vern Gagne blew it by pushing Hogan away for short-term money. That’s where Hogan met his buddy, Mean Gene Okerlund, who quickly became synonymous with the NWO nickname for “Not Without Okerlund” when it came to having a good time. Who doesn’t love a man who can belt out a tune like Robert Goulet?

Then came the Rock ‘n Wrestling connection with Piper, Orndorff, Bob Orton, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Albano, and MTV. Remember when MTV actually aired music videos? Been a long time, hasn’t it? Hogan of course had beaten the Iron Sheik, feuded with Orndorff at a big stadium show in Toronto, found trouble with King Kong Bundy and then created the slam around the world with Andre the Giant. And after forming with the Mega Powers to deal with Slickster’s big bad crew of Akeem & Big Bossman, we got the infamous No Holds Barred feud with Brutus Beefcake, Zeus, and Randy Savage. John Cena & Daniel Bryan are now apparently the modern day pairing of Hogan & Beefcake. Wrestling is strange. After Zeus was conquered, here came the battle with The Ultimate Warrior and eventually the return against Earthquake & Dino Bravo. On came Ric Flair, Bobby Heenan, and Mr. Perfect with Randy Savage & Sid Justice in the mix. And who could forget Vince’s ill-fated attempt on capitalizing on the Iraq war by having Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa? After teaming with Beefcake post-paragliding accident against Money Inc, Hulkamania was done after losing to Yokozuna.

To put this whole run into perspective, Hogan spent 10 years tearing the house down for Vince McMahon. He even had breaks in-between for movies. In contrast, Hogan spent four years as a figurehead slash celebrity slash booker slash spokesperson in TNA and the company went nowhere. But at least he got paid a whole lot of money. And that’s been Hogan’s story since leaving Vince the first time round. Yeah, he returned twice to WWE and popped some numbers, but Hulkamania’s tenure post-first WWE run has been defined by one man: Eric Bischoff.

Think about this for a second — almost half of Hulk Hogan’s career has involved Eric Bischoff in one way or another. Whether it was promoting midgets, reality television, or taking a lot of cash from a money mark like Billionaire Ted or Daddy’s Girl Millionaire Dixie. Throw in Thunder in Paradise, a sex tape, real life drama involving son Nick, and the messy divorce from Linda. Include the back surgeries, the restaurant ventures including Pastamania, the Australia tour against Ric Flair, and the matches he had in Japan against Great Muta at the Fukuoka Dome and the tag match with Muta against the Hellraisers at Yokohama Arena.

Remember when he joined WCW? Flair had returned from Vinceworld and gotten his belt back after defeating Vader in a very emotional Starrcade ’93 bout in Charlotte. That was an awesome scene. As Flair & Barry Windham were having back-and-forth matches, the rumors of Hogan’s entry created resistance amongst hardcore WCW fans who made signs stating that WCW was too tough for Hogan. He feuded with Vader and prevailed. Ric Flair became a secondary figure of sorts. The revolt of hardcore fans was on. So Hogan tried to take a page out of ECW’s book with the Triple Cage of Doom at Uncensored and used some sort of frying pan attack in a handicap match. The act was quickly getting old for Hogan and he saw trouble coming. So, he took a timeout while Kevin Nash & Scott Hall shocked the world with their entrance to WCW to form the nWo. And look who was smart enough to attach himself to the nWo for self-preservation — Hollywood himself. The calculation for Hogan was easy, but at the time it was so unthinkable that he would pull it off. 17 years later, Hogan’s heel turn is the stuff of legends. They tore the house down and drew huge gates. Then Goldberg came along and so did Kevin Nash’s finger point of doom. And it all fell apart. Who could forget the XWF?

Throughout the way, Hogan has always managed to make money and find new people to believe that Hulkamania is still alive and well. With allies like Jimmy Hart & Eric Bischoff, there’s always that temptation. The truth is that if Hogan wanted to make money in wrestling, he still could in Japan. He still can if he wants to return to TNA. The door was kinda left open on TNA television despite him walking away and quitting.

Everything is a calculation with Hogan. If you’ve got the time and the money, he has the time for you. If he doesn’t return to TNA, it will morbidly give us a clue as to what he thinks the financial prospects of the organization are. How much longer is there on the clock for Hulkamania’s survival, brother?

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  • TomClarke01

    I would not mind if Hogan returned to WWE. They do need to have something relevant to bring forth with him that we have not already see before. Maybe he could join Corporate or serve as a general manager for one of the shows.

    • mrlaw

      Hogan doesn’t need to be a GM again, brother.. And no, Hogan doesn’t need to return to WWE unless its a one time appearance. He can’t wrestle anymore so really, there isn’t much use for him left except his popularity..

    • The Devourer of Dimensions

      Or retire in his million dollar house with his current wife like a normal person and stop clinging on, making TNA suffer.

      • Macho Man

        Just for the record, TNA is clinging onto Hogan and making themselves suffer financially. Hogan was essentially done as an in ring wrestler before he ever even stepped foot in TNA and the TNA powers that be knew that. TNA are the ones who keep signing and paying Hogan insane amounts of money for basically his presence as a talking head. Nobody makes TNA hire Hogan or renew his contracts so that’s on them not on him.

    • Abudadein

      I’d like to see Hogan come in like a wrecking ball and destroy all these twerks in the WWE, while laying a good licking on Triple H and his stupid sledgehammer.

  • Abudadein

    Misspelling the legendary Verne Gagne’s name (Vern). Shame, shame. That’s like writing: Rick Flair. If you don’t know who these people are that you reference, then don’t make mention of them in your articles. It really destroys your credibility. And again, your grammar and syntax is a mess. Please work to improve your writing for the sake of WNZ and their readership. Week after week, Zach Arnold is trying desperately hard to come across as knowledgeable, when in fact — to coin a phrase from Gorilla Monsoon — he is a fountain of misinformation. The headlines always pull me in, but the writing and fact checking is consistently weak. Writing 101: Wikipedia is not a reliable source.

    • Trey Doss

      ty cm punk

    • Iron Mike Sharpe

      The fountain of misinformation line cracked me up. RIP- Gorilla Monsoon.

  • TomClarke01

    WWF Hogan was great, WCW Hogan was unreal, WWE Hogan was fun but TNA Hogan is just a sad ending for this legend.

  • Trey Doss

    i’ve always said hogan should have been used the way bret was when he returned in 2010 have hogan appear every know and then instead of using what’s left of his star power if any i’m basically saying his run with tna could have been better

  • TheHotDogKing

    Hogan’s troubles outside of the ring may have caught up with him. Ever since his Hogan Knows Best reality show, his life has turned into a downward spiral. It’s sad to see the greatest wrestling superstar resort to adult films and a lower-tier wrestling promotion in order to make a living.


    I thought it was called the the finger poke of doom ?

  • Jacob’s Verbal Fist

    From 1984-1993, Hogan had the greatest babyface run of all time. From 1996-1999, Hogan had the greatest heel run of all time. From 2002-2005, he had the greatest semi-retired Legend run of all time. It would be sad if his legacy were defined by the last four years. I prefere to think of the Hogan from my childhood- the defining hero, as well as the Hogan from my teen years- the defining villain. I will even think of the Hogan who returned in 2002- the Babe Ruth of wrestling. But I will never think of this abomination we have witnessed in TNA.

    • Chelsii?

      Maybe 96 only, but 97-99 was all Vince.

      • Jacob’s Verbal Fist

        WCW dominated in the ratings EVERY SINGLE WEEK of 1997. WCW was 52-0 for the year thanks to the NWO storyline. In 1998 the ratings were pretty even for the year. It wasn’t until 1999 that Vince took over in the ratings. In any event, what I’m saying is that Hogan’s heel run from August of ’96-April of ’99 was OVERALL the most effective heel run in wrestling history. Please don’t dump WWE revisionist history nonesense to try to alter reality.

        • Macho Man

          Hey JVF, nice knowledge you dropped on Chelsii! Just so you know she HATES Hogan with a passion and tries to act like he’s a nobody in the business it’s pretty comical actually. I’ve went round and round with her on the Hogan topics. As I tell her, rather you like Hogan or not is up to you but you cannot deny what the man has done in/for the business.

  • Macho Man

    The fact of the matter is this, Hogan will be around as long as wrestling companies keep wanting him to be. He doesn’t hire himself and when you have a company like TNA that pays him an outrageous amount of money for basically his presence and being a talking head why would he turn that down? No one with common sense would turn that down. TNA’s stupidity is not Hogan’s issue or problem. The fact that he has been in pro wrestling for 35 years + and wrestling business’s still pay him to be around shows the enormous impact he made in his heyday. If there was a Mount Rushmore of pro wrestlers Hogan would be one of the four men on it. Rather you like him or not is up to you, however you people who keep moaning about wanting him to go away need to realize he will be around as long as pro wrestling companies keep paying him to be. It’s pretty much that simple, BROTHER!

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