Terry Gene Bollea (August 11, 1953), known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler,actor, television personality, and musician best known for his time working for WWE. Hogan enjoyed mainstream popularity in the 1980s and 90s as the all-American character Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWE), and as Hollywood Hogan, the villainous leader of the New World Order, in World Championship Wrestling(WCW). Hogan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He was signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling(TNA) from 2010 until 2013, where he was the on-screen General Manager, before leaving after Dixie Carter's infamous heel turn.He is a 12-time world champion being a six-time WWF/WWE Champion, six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a former WWE World Tag Team Champion with Edge. His six combined reigns make him the second longest-reigning WWF Champion of all time (after Bruno Sammartino) and the longest-reigning of the 1980s, having held the title for 1,474 days from 1984-1988. His six combined reigns in WCW make him the longest-reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion of all time as well, with a 469-day reign from 1994-1995. Hogan won the Royal Rumble in 1990 and 1991, making him the first man to win two consecutive Royal Rumbles.
He began watching professional events at 16 years old. While in high school, he revered Dusty Rhodes, and he regularly attended cards at the Tampa Sportatorium. It was at one of those wrestling cards where he first turned his attention towards "Superstar" Billy Graham and looked to him for inspiration. Hogan was also a skilled musician, spending ten years playing bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands. Many of the wrestlers who competed in the Florida territory at that time visited the bars where Hogan was performing. He then attended the University of South Florida, of which he later dropped out; he spent most of his time at a local gym, where he met pro wrestler Mike Graham, the son of legendary wrestler and National Wrestling Alliance president Eddie Graham. Hogan's physical stature also caught the attention of Jack Brisco and his brother Gerald. Together, they convinced Hogan to try wrestling. Having been a wrestling fan since childhood, Hogan agreed, and in 1976, Mike Graham introduced Hogan to Hiro Matsuda, who was among the sport's top trainers. According to Hogan, during their first training session, Matsuda sarcastically asked him, "So you want to be a wrestler?" and purposely broke Hogan's leg.
Within a year, Matsuda had prepared him for his professional debut, in which Eddie Graham booked him against Brian Blair in Fort Myers, Florida on August 10, 1977. A short time later, Bollea donned a mask and assumed the persona of "The Super Destroyer," a hooded character first played by Don Jardine and subsequently used by several other wrestlers. A few months later, he joined Louie Tillet's Alabama territory, where he tag teamed with Ed Leslie (later known as Brutus Beefcake) as Terry and Ed Boulder. These early matches as a tag team with the surname Boulder being used by both men prompted a rumor among wrestling fans unaware of the inner workings of the sport that Hogan and Beefcake were brothers, as few people actually knew their real names outside of immediate friends, family, and of course the various promoters the two worked for. During this time, he appeared on a talk show, where he sat beside Lou Ferrigno, star of the television series The Incredible Hulk. The host commented how Terry, who stood 6 ft 7 in and weighed 295 pounds with 24 inch biceps, actually dwarfed "the Hulk." As a result, Bollea began performing as Terry "The Hulk" Boulder and sometimes wrestled as Sterling Golden.
World Wrestling Federation (1979-1980)
Later that year, former NWA World Champion Terry Funk introduced Bollea to World Wrestling Federation(WWF) chief Vincent J. McMahon, who was impressed with his charisma and physical stature. McMahon gave Bollea the last name Hogan, as he was obsessed with using Irish names. At this time, Hogan wrestled Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship, and he started his first big feud with André the Giant, which culminated in a match with André at Shea Stadium.Hulk Hogan claims in his autobiography that he and André the Giant were the reason for the Shea gate. However, Sammartino/Zbyszko sold out everywhere they wrestled leading up the show. Hogan and Andre wrestled in White Plains, New York, drawing 1,200 in a building that held 3,500 as the main event before they wrestled at Shea.
American Wrestling Association (1981–1983)
After filming his scene for Rocky III, against McMahon's wishes, Hogan made his debut in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), owned by Verne Gagne.
Hogan started his AWA run as a heel, taking on "Luscious" Johnny Valiant as his manager, but AWA audiences loved the muscular and more charismatic Hogan, and soon the AWA's bookers were compelled to turn Hogan face. Using "Eye of the Tiger" as his theme music, Hogan soon became the promotion's top babyface, and throughout 1983, he engaged in a big feud against AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel and his manager Bobby Heenan.Gagne, however, continued to tease the AWA audience by booking numerous screwjobs meant to keep the championship with Bockwinkel, who was a veteran of the territory and had assumed the mantle of the organization's centerpiece following Gagne's retirement from active competition. Because Hogan was not an "old school" technical wrestler, Gagne would not let him be champion. On several occasions, Hogan defeated Bockwinkel to win the title, only to have the decision later reversed. This practice increasingly drew the ire of the fans, so much so that on one occasion, according to Hogan's autobiography and other books, one crowd nearly rioted until Hogan himself calmed the audience down. Hogan himself also began to grow frustrated with Verne Gagne's unwillingness to give Hogan a larger share of his merchandise sales. Eventually, Gagne was finally ready to book Hogan to win the AWA title; however, according to Hogan, Gagne wanted a piece of the large money Hogan was making from his frequent trips to Japan, more control over the bookings that Hogan took overseas. Hogan refused flatly, saying he didn't need the AWA title at that point. Also according to Hogan in his autobiography, Verne wanted Hogan to be brought into the family by marriage before handing the AWA title over to him. Hogan, unwilling to give up his life as a bachelor just for the world title of the AWA, continued to turn down the belt. Shortly after these attempts to woo Hogan into giving Gagne more of a share of his profits and booking in Japan and attempts to bring him into the Gagne family, Hogan was lured back to the Northeast by Vincent K. McMahon, who had just recently purchased the WWF from his ailing father. Over twenty years later, just prior to Hulk Hogan's WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2005, the revived AWA, under the authority of owner Dale Gagne (real last name: Gagner), relented and acknowledged the legitimacy of Hogan's two title wins over Nick Bockwinkel, making him a two-time AWA champion. This resolution, however, has been regarded as apocryphal to most as the resurrected AWA is generally regarded as an entirely different body than the Verne Gagne-owned AWA of old. As recently as the release of the DVD The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA, interviews between Hogan and the Gagnes show that there is still animosity between both parties, indicating the unlikelihood Hogan's AWA title reign would have been retroactively instated under the original ownership. The WWE also sought legal action against Dale Gagne, due to alleged trademark infringement, which calls Gagne's claims to ownership of the AWA into doubt, and as such may render the resolution moot, as the WWE only recognizes twelve American world titles being attributed to Hulk Hogan, and the AWA World Title is not among that number.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1980–1983)
A great deal of Hogan's early success was achieved in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Japanese wrestling fans were in awe of the gargantuan blond American and nicknamed him "Ichiban" (which translates to "Number One"). Hogan first appeared in Japan on May 13, 1980, while he was still with the WWF. He toured the country from time to time over the next few years, facing a wide variety of opponents ranging from Tatsumi Fujinami to Abdullah the Butcher.
When competing in Japan, Hogan used a vastly different repertoire of wrestling moves, relying on more technical, traditional wrestling holds and maneuvers as opposed to the power-based, brawling style U.S. fans became accustomed to seeing from him. Another difference is that Hogan used a running forearm lariat (called the "Axe Bomber") as his finisher in Japan, as opposed to the running leg drop that has been his traditional finisher in America. On June 2, 1983, Hogan became the first International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) tournament winner, defeating Japanese wrestling icon Antonio Inoki by knockout in the finals of a 10-man tournament featuring top talent from throughout the world. Hogan and Inoki also worked as partners in Japan, winning the prestigious MSG Tag League tournament two years in a row: in 1982 and 1983. Hogan's popularity in Japan was so great, he even recorded an album there—a forerunner to the World Wrestling Federation's "Rock 'n' Wrestling" of the mid 1980s.
World Wrestling Federation (1983–1993)
Birth of Hulkamania
After purchasing the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, Vincent K. McMahon had plans to expand the territory into a nationwide promotion, and he handpicked Hulk Hogan to be the company's showpiece attraction due to his charisma and name recognition. Hogan made his return to the WWF at a television taping in St. Louis, Missouri on December 27, 1983 defeating Bill Dixon. Initially, Hogan was a heel, allied with veteran wrestler-turned-manager "Classy" Freddie Blassie; however, this was short-lived. On January 7, 1984 edition of Championship Wrestling, Hogan saved Bob Backlund from a three-way assault. Hogan's turn was explained simply by Backlund: "He's changed his ways. He's a great man. He's told me he's not gonna have Blassie around". The storyline shortcut was necessary because less than three weeks later on January 23, Hogan won his first WWF Championship, pinning The Iron Sheik (who had Blassie in his corner) in Madison Square Garden. The storyline accompanying the victory was that Hogan was a "last minute" replacement for the Sheik's original opponent Bob Backlund, and became the champion by way of being the first man to escape the camel clutch (the Iron Sheik's signature move).
Immediately after the title win, commentator Gorilla Monsoon officially proclaimed "Hulkamania is here!" Hogan frequently referred to his fans as "Hulkamaniacs" in his interviews and introduced his three "demandments": training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins. Eventually, a fourth demandment (believing in oneself) was added following his feud with Earthquake in the 1990s. Hogan's ring gear developed a characteristic yellow-and-red color scheme; his ring entrances involved him ritualistically ripping his shirt off his body, flexing, and listening for audience cheers in an exaggerated manner.The majority of Hogan's matches during this time involved him wrestling heels who had been booked as unstoppable monsters, using a format which became near-routine: Hogan would deliver steady offense, but eventually lose momentum, seemingly nearing defeat. He would then experience a sudden second wind, fighting back while "feeding" off the energy of the audience, becoming impervious to attack—a process described as "hulking up". His signature maneuvers, the big boot and Atomic Leg Drop, would follow and ensure him a victory. Over the next year, Hulk Hogan became the face of pro wrestling as McMahon pushed the WWF into a pop culture enterprise with the The Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection on MTV, drawing record houses, pay-per-view buyrates, and television ratings in the process. The centerpiece attraction for the firstWrestleMania on March 31, 1985, Hogan teamed with real-life friend Mr. T to defeat his archrival "Rowdy"Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. On the first-ever edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, Hogan successfully defended the WWF title against Cowboy Bob Orton in a match which Hogan won by disqualification.
In the process, Hogan was portrayed as a real-life superhero while reaching out to young fans. The consummate role model, he was named the most requested celebrity of the 1980s for the Make-a-Wish Foundation children's charity. As a result, Hogan transformed the business into a sports entertainment spectacle that appealed to prime-time audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Never before had the industry seen anything like Hulkamania, as Hulk Hogan action figures and T-shirts began turning up in malls across the nation. Moreover, Hogan was featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and People magazines, while also appearing on The Tonight Show and having his own CBS Saturday morning cartoon titled Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling.Hogan went on to headline eight of the first nine WrestleMania events, and he also co-hosted Saturday Night Live on March 30, 1985 during this lucrative run. Hogan also owned another money-making machine in the early 1990s; AT&T reported that his 900 number information line was the single biggest 900 number in the industry from 1991 to 1993. Hogan operated the 900 number through his stint in WWF and then recreated it when he joined World Championship Wrestling.
WWF Champion (1984–1988)
On the October 5, 1985 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he successfully defended the title againstNikolai Volkoff in a flag match. He met long-time rival Roddy Piper in a WWF title match at the historic Wrestling Classic pay-per-view (PPV) event. Hogan retained the title by disqualification after Bob Orton interfered and hit Hogan with his cast. Hogan had many challengers in the way as the new year began. Throughout 1986, Hogan made successful title defenses against challengers such as Terry Funk, "The Magnificient" Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy (in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2), Paul Orndorff, and Hercules Hernandez. In the fall of 1986, Hogan occasionally wrestled in tag matches with The Machines as Hulk Machine under a mask copied from New Japan Pro Wrestling gimmick "Super Strong Machine." At WrestleMania III in 1987, Hogan was booked to defend the title against André the Giant, who had been the sport's premier star and was pushed as undefeated for the previous two decades. A new storyline was introduced in early 1987; Hogan was presented a trophy for being the WWF Champion for three consecutive years. André the Giant, a good friend came out to congratulate him. Shortly afterwards, André was presented a slightly smaller trophy for being "undefeated in the WWF for 15 years." Hogan came out to congratulate André, who walked out in the midst of Hogan's speech. Then, on an edition of Piper's Pit, Hogan was confronted by Bobby Heenan, who announced that André was his new protégé, and Andre challenged Hogan to a title match at WrestleMania III.At WrestleMania III, Hogan successfully defended the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against André the Giant with the king of rock n' roll Elvis Presley in his corner as his manager. During the match, Hogan bodyslammed the 520-pound Frenchman and won the match after executing a scoop slam and a leg drop.Hogan remained WWF Champion for four years and 13 days (1,474 days). He became the third longest reigning WWF Champion in the process, only after Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund. In front of 33 million viewers, however, Hogan finally lost the belt to André on the February 5 edition of The Main Eventafter a convoluted scam involving "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and "evil" twin referee Earl Hebner(in place of the match's appointed arbiter, his twin brother Dave Hebner).
After André delivered a belly to belly suplex on Hogan, Hebner counted the pin while Hogan's left shoulder was clearly off the mat. After the match, André handed the title over to DiBiase to complete their storyline business deal. As a result, the WWF Championship was vacated for the first time in its 25-year history. At WrestleMania IV, Hogan participated in a tournament for the vacant WWF title to regain it and faced André in the tournament quarter-finals but their match resulted in a double disqualification. Later that night in the main event, Hogan interfered and helped his on/off friend "Macho Man" Randy Savage in beating Ted DiBiase to win the vacant WWF title. The relationship between the two would lead to the main event of the following WrestleMania. Together, Hogan, Savage, and manager Miss Elizabeth formed a partnership known as The Mega Powers. After Savage became WWF Champion at WrestleMania IV, they feuded with The Mega Bucks(Ted DiBiase and André the Giant), and defeated them at the main event of the first-ever SummerSlam.The Mega Powers, however, soon imploded from within in 1989, due to Savage's burgeoning jealousy of Hogan and his paranoid suspicions that Hogan and Elizabeth were "more than friends." This all started at Royal Rumble 1989, when Hogan accidentally eliminated Savage from the Royal Rumble match. They began a feud with The Twin Towers, and defeated them on the February 3, 1989 edition of The Main Event, but with controversy. During the match, Savage collided with Miss Elizabeth when he was thrown through the ropes to the floor. Hogan took her backstage to receive medical attention, thus abandoning Savage. He quickly returned to the ring but Savage slapped Hogan and turned on him by leaving the ring. Hogan later won the match by himself. After the match, Savage attacked Hogan backstage and the Mega Powers exploded. which started a feud between the two. Their feud culminated in Hogan beating Savage for his second WWF Championship at WrestleMania V.
Second reign as WWF Champion (1989–1993)
Hogan's second run lasted a year, during which time he starred in the movie No Holds Barred.
The film was the inspiration of a feud with Hogan's co-star Tom Lister, Jr., who appeared at wrestling events as his movie character, Zeus. Zeus was a monster heel who was "jealous" over Hogan's higher billing and wanted revenge. Hogan, however, was easily able to defeat Zeus in a series of matches across the country during late 1989, beginning with a tag team match at SummerSlam 1989, in which Hogan andBrutus Beefcake topped Zeus and Savage. Hogan and Beefcake defeated Zeus and Savage in a rematch at the No Holds Barred to end the feud. Also during his second run, Hogan won the 1990 Royal Rumble match. He dropped the title toIntercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior in a title vs. title match at WrestleMania VI. It was the first time in over seven years that Hogan suffered a defeat with a clean finish. This title match was unique because the two wrestlers were both faces, and Hogan graciously handed Warrior the belt and hugged him at the conclusion of the match.
Hogan soon became embroiled in a heated feud with the 468-pound Earthquake, who gained infamy by crushing Hogan's ribs in a sneak attack on The Brother Love Show in May 1990. On television, announcers explained that Hogan's injuries and his WrestleMania VI loss to The Ultimate Warrior both took such a huge toll on his fighting spirit that he wanted to retire.
Viewers were asked to write letters to Hogan and send postcards asking for his return (they got a postcard-sized picture in return, autographed by Hogan, as a "thank-you"). Hogan returned by SummerSlam 1990 and for several months, dominated Earthquake in a series of matches across the country. His defeat of this overwhelmingly large foe caused Hogan to add a fourth demandment: believing in yourself. He would also be known as "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan. Hogan became the first wrestler to win two Royal Rumble matches in a row, as he won the 1991 Royal Rumble match. At WrestleMania VII, Hogan stood up for the USA against Iraqi-sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter, defeating him for his third WWF Championship.Hogan started a feud with The Undertaker in the fall of 1991 and lost the WWF title to Undertaker at Survivor Series due to interference from Ric Flair. Just six days later, Hogan regained the title in a match held on a special pay-per-view named This Tuesday in Texas, beginning his fourth WWF Championship reign but due to the controversy surrounding the end of both matches, the title was again declared vacant.The WWF Championship was decided at Royal Rumble 1992 in the Royal Rumble match. Hogan was eliminated by storyline friend Sid Justice and failed to regain the championship. The two patched things up and teamed up together on the February 8, 1992 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event against the new WWF Champion Ric Flair and The Undertaker. Sid turned heel by abandoning Hogan but Flair slapped the referee, which gave Hogan and Sid a disqualification victory. This began a feud between Hogan and Sid. In the ensuing months, Hulk Hogan announced he was contemplating retirement from wrestling and would "bow out" after his match against Sid at WrestleMania VIII. Hogan eventually won the match via disqualification due to interference by Sid's manager Harvey Wippleman. Hogan was then attacked by Papa Shango (who was scripted to cause the disqualification, but arrived too late) and was saved by the returning Ultimate Warrior. Hogan returned to the WWF in January 1993, helping out his friend Brutus Beefcake in his feud with Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) and officially renamed themselves The Mega-Maniacs. At WrestleMania IX, Hogan and Beefcake took on Money Inc. for the WWF Tag Team Championship but ended up losing the match by disqualification. Later that night, Hogan won his fifth WWF Championship by pinning Yokozuna only moments after Yokozuna's defeat of Bret Hart.
At the first annual King of the Ring pay-per-view on June 13, 1993, Hogan defended the championship against the former champion, Yokozuna, in his first title defense since defeating Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX. During the course of the match, Yokozuna kicked out of Hogan's signature leg drop. The hard-fought bout came to its close when a "Japanese photographer" (actually a disguised Harvey Wippleman) got on the apron and distracted Hogan, before shooting some sort of fireball out of the camera and into Hogan's face. This was followed by Yokozuna hitting a leg drop on Hogan for the pin. After his victory, Yokozuna proceeded to give Hogan a Banzai Drop amidst the crying children and cursing adults. As Yokozuna celebrated, Hogan was helped back to the locker room by ringside officials as he clutched his face. Hulkamania had seemingly taken its final breath. This would be Hogan's last WWF pay-per-view appearance until 2002, as both he and Jimmy Hart were preparing to leave the promotion. Hogan would continue his feud on the house show circuit with Yokozuna until August 1993. After that, Hogan would sit out the rest of his contract which expired later that year. In 1994, a steroids scandal threatened the WWF, and Hogan testified in court that he had used steroids over a period of 12 years "to get big" and had also introduced WWF Chairman Vince McMahon to steroids during the filming of No Holds Barred. Both men also had Pennsylvania doctor George Zahoriansend steroids to WWF's corporate office via FedEx. Hogan, however, never accused McMahon of distributing steroids himself, but Hogan also testified that steroid use was rampant in the WWF. His testimony may have kept McMahon out of prison, but it hurt both Hogan and the WWF's public image.
World Championship Wrestling (1994–2000)
Early run (1994–1996)
After Hogan left the WWF in the summer of 1993, he decided to take a few months off from wrestling to concentrate on movies, television, and his family. In June 1994, Hogan signed with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and began appearing on television the next month. Hogan won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in his debut match, defeating Ric Flair in a 'dream' match at Bash at the Beach. After overcoming the likes of Flair,The Butcher
(former partner Brutus Beefcake),Vader, and the Dungeon of Doom for the next eighteen months, Hogan dropped the belt to The Giant atHalloween Havoc 1995 via DQ. Following the controversial loss (which was due to a "contract clause"), the WCW title became vacant. In early 1996, Hogan feuded with The Giant and with the Alliance to End Hulkamania. After coming out victorious from his feuds, Hogan began to only appear occasionally on WCW programming. It was also around this time, WCW fans began to grow tired of seeing Hogan's "red-and-yellow good guy" persona they had seen for ten years in the WWF.
This led to one of the most talked about moments in wrestling history in the summer of 1996. During a six-man tag team match at Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan interfered on behalf of The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall), attacking babyface Randy Savage. This action caused Hogan to turn heel for the first time in over ten years. After the match, Hogan delivered a now-infamous promo, accosting the fans and WCW for underappreciating his talent and drawing power. This culminated with Hogan's announcement of the formation of a "New World Order of Wrestling" This statement gave the trio it's iconic name: The new World order (nWo).
New World Order (1996–1998)
This would come to fruition, as the stable, known officially as the New World Order (nWo), would gain prominence in the coming weeks and months. Hogan grew a beard alongside his famous mustache and dyed it black, traded his red and yellow garb in for black clothing, renamed himself Hollywood Hogan, and returned to WCW programming eight days after his heel turn.Hogan won his second WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Hog Wild, defeating The Giant for the title. He spray painted a black "nWo" across the title belt, scribbled across the nameplate, and referred to the title as the "nWo title" during this and any other time he held the title while in the nWo. Hogan then started a feud with Lex Luger after Luger and The Giant defeated Hogan and Dennis Rodman in a tag team match at Bash at the Beach 1997. On the August 4, 1997 edition of Nitro, Hogan lost the WCW title to Luger by submission via Luger's Torture Rack submission finisher.
Five days later, at Road Wild, Hogan defeated Luger to regain the WCW title and begin his third WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan then lost the belt to Stingin a hugely-hyped, eighteen-months-in-the-making match at Starrcade. In the match, WCW's newly contracted Bret Hart accused referee Nick Patrick of fast-counting a victory for Hogan and had the match restarted—with himself as referee. Sting later won by submission. After a rematch the following night, where Sting controversially retained the title, the WCW Championship became vacant. Sting then went on to win the vacant title against Hogan at SuperBrawl VIII. Hogan then developed a rivalry with former friend (and recent nWo recruit) Randy Savage, who had just cost Hogan the title match at SuperBrawl by hitting him with a spray can. The heat culminated in a steel cage match at Uncensored 1998, which ended in a no contest. Savage took the World Championship from Sting at Spring Stampede 1998, while Hogan teamed with Kevin Nash to take on Roddy Piper and The Giant in the first-ever Bat match. Marking the breakup of the original nWo, Hogan betrayed Nash by hitting him with the bat and then challenged Savage the following night for his championship. In the no disqualification match for Savage's newly won title, Nash entered the ring and powerbombed Hogan as retribution for the attack the previous night, and Bret Hart turned heel by jumping in to attack Savage and preserve the victory for Hogan, who regained his fourth WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan defended the title until July of that year, when WCW booked him in a match against newcomer and thenWCW United States Champion Bill Goldberg, who had yet to lose a match in the company. Late in the match, Hogan was distracted by Karl Malone delivering a Diamond Cutter to nWo member Curt Hennig, who was approaching the ring to assist the champion. A spear and a jackhammer from Goldberg then followed, and the rookie pinned Hogan to win his first and only WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Hogan spent the rest of 1998 wrestling celebrity matches. His second tag team match with Dennis Rodman pitted them against Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone at Bash at the Beach 1998 and atRoad Wild 1998, he and Bischoff lost to Page and Jay Leno thanks to interference from Kevin Eubanks, who leveled Bischoff with a Diamond Cutter. Hogan also had a highly hyped rematch with Warrior atHalloween Havoc 1998, where his nephew Horace aided his victory. On the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hogan officially announced his retirement from professional wrestling, as well as his candidacy for President of the United States. Campaign footage aired on Nitro of Hogan and Bischoff holding a press conference, making it appear legitimate. In the long run, however, both announcements were false and merely done as a publicity stunt attempting to draw some of the hype of Jesse Ventura's Minnesota gubernatorial win back to him. After some time off from WCW, a still "retired" Hogan returned on the January 4, 1999 edition of Nitro to challenge Kevin Nash for the WCW title. He controversially regained his fifth WCW World Heavyweight Championship in what was later dubbed the Fingerpoke of Doom. This reformed the divided nWo branches—nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac—which began feuding with Bill Goldberg and The Four Horsemen.
Conflicts with Russo (1999–2000)
He then lost the title to Ric Flair at Uncensored 1999 in a Steel Cage First Blood match. A heavily bleeding Flair won via pinfall thanks to biased referee Charles Robinson. During that match, however, Hogan began to show some signs that a face turn was imminent, showing off some old tactics like his "Hulking up" no-sell. On the July 12 edition of Nitro, Hogan made his grand return as a full-fledged face and accepted a challenge from Savage, who had gained the world title at Bash at the Beach 1999 the night before. Thanks to interference from Nash, who had lost the title to Savage, Hogan defeated Savage to win his sixth and final WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
On August 9, 1999, he started the night dressed in the typical black and white, but after a backstage scene with his son, Hogan came out dressed in the traditional red and yellow for his main-event 6-man tag team match.
Injuries and frustrations were mounting up however, and he was absent from television from October 1999 to February 2000. In his book Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Bollea said that he was asked to take time off by newly hired head of creative booker Vince Russo and was not told when he would be brought back at the time.Despite some reservations, he agreed to do so. On October 24 at Halloween Havoc, Hogan was to face Sting for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship (which he had lost to Sting at Fall Brawl the previous month, when Sting beat Hogan by cheating and had turned heel in the process). Hogan, however, came to the ring in street clothes, laid down for the pin, and left the ring. Soon after his return in February 2000, at Bash at the Beach, Hogan was involved in a controversial, real-life incident with Vince Russo. Hogan was scheduled to wrestle Jeff Jarrett for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Before the match, there was a dispute between Hogan and Russo. Unbeknownst to Hogan, Russo told Jarrett to lie down in the middle of the ring and asked Hogan to pin him straight away. A visibly confused Hogan complied with a foot on Jarrett's chest after getting on the microphone and telling Russo, "Is this your idea, Russo...? That's why this company is in the damn shape it's in, because of bullshit like this!" Russo responded by coming out and saying that "From day one, that I've been in WCW, I've done nothing... nothing... but deal with the bullshit of the politics behind that curtain." Since Hogan refused to job to Jarrett, a new WCW World Heavyweight Championship was created, setting the stage for a title match between Booker T and Jeff Jarrett later that night. Whether or not the whole incident was a shoot or a work is still a hot debate. As a result, Hogan filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Russo soon after, which was eventually dismissed in 2002. Russo claims the whole thing was a work, and Hogan claims that Russo made it a shoot. Eric Bischoff contends that Hogan winning and leaving with the title was a work, claiming that he and Hogan celebrated after the event over the success of the angle, but that Russo coming out to fire Hogan was an unplanned shoot which led to the lawsuit filed by Hogan.
X Wrestling Federation (2000–2001)
In the months following the eventual demise of WCW in March 2001, Hogan underwent surgery on his knees in order for him to wrestle again. As a test, Hogan worked a match in Orlando, Florida for the X Wrestling Federation promotion run by his longtime handler Jimmy Hart. Hogan defeated Curt Hennig in this match and felt healthy enough to accept an offer to return to the WWF in February 2002.
Return to World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (2002–2003)
At No Way Out in 2002, Hogan returned to the company that had made him a pop culture icon. Returning as leader of the original nWo with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, the three got into a confrontation with The Rock and cost Stone Cold Steve Austin a chance at becoming the WWF Undisputed Champion againstChris Jericho in the main event.
The nWo feuded with both Austin and The Rock, and Hogan accepted The Rock's challenge to a match at WrestleMania X8. At the event, Hogan asked Hall and Nash not to interfere, wanting to defeat The Rock by himself. Despite the fact that Hogan was supposed to be the heel in the match, the crowd favored Hogan throughout it; this effectively turned him face. The Rock cleanly won the contest but befriended Hogan at the end of the bout and helped him fight off Hall and Nash, who were upset by Hogan's conciliatory attitude. After the match, Hogan was a definite face again, siding with The Rock, though he continued wearing black and white tights for a few weeks after WrestleMania X8 until he resumed wearing his signature red and yellow tights.
During this period, the "Hulk Rules" logo of the '80s was redone with the text "Hulk Still Rules." Hulk wore the original "Hulk Rules" attire 12 years earlier, when he headlined WrestleMania 6 at the same arena, in the SkyDome. For a time, he was still known as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, notably keeping the Hollywood Hogan style blond mustache with black beard while wearing Hulkamania-like red and yellow tights. At Backlash, he defeated Triple H for his sixth and final WWF "Undisputed" Championship. He lost the belt to The Undertaker at Judgment Day. On the July 4, 2002 edition of SmackDown, Hogan teamed with Edge to defeat Billy and Chuck and capture the WWE Tag Team Championship for the first time. They celebrated by waving the American flag as the overjoyed audience sang along to Hogan's theme song "Real American." They later dropped the titles to The Un-Americans (Lance Storm and Christian), at Vengeance. After an angle with Brock Lesnar, which saw Lesnar hand Hogan a defeat in August 2002, Hogan went on hiatus. He returned in early 2003 to battle The Rock (who had turned heel) once again at No Way Out and defeated Vince McMahon atWrestleMania XIX in a match billed as "20 years in the making."
Mr. America (2003)
Later, he had a run as the masked Mr. America. The persona was supposed to be Hulk Hogan in disguise, wearing a mask. He used Hulk Hogan's "Real American" theme music and used all of Hogan's signature gestures, moves, and phrases. He was the subject of a storyline that took place after Hollywood Hulk Hogan was forced by Vince McMahon to sit out the rest of his contract. After Hogan won at WrestleMania XIX, McMahon, in storyline, was frustrated with him and wanted Hulkamania to die. A WWE pre-debut push took place with mysterious Mr. America promos airing for weeks during SmackDown!. There was also on-screen discussion on SmackDown! between then General Manager Stephanie McMahon and other players concerning her hiring Mr. America "sight unseen." On May 1, Mr. America debuted on SmackDown! on a Piper's Pit segment. McMahon appeared and claimed that Mr. America was Hulk Hogan in disguise; Mr. America shot back by saying, "I am not Hulk Hogan, brother!" (lampooning Hogan's use of "brother" in his promos). The feud continued through the month of May, with a singles match between Mr. America and Hogan's old rival Roddy Piper at Judgment Day. McMahon tried desperately to prove that Mr. America was indeed Hulk Hogan but failed at all attempts. Mr. America even passed a lie detector test. Mr. America's last WWE appearance was on the June 26 edition of SmackDown! when The Big Show andThe World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) defeated the team of Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, and Mr. America in a six-man tag team match when Show pinned Mr. America. After the show went off the air, Mr. America unmasked to show the fans that he was indeed Hulk Hogan, putting his finger to his lips telling the fans to keep quiet about his secret. The next week, Hogan quit WWE due to frustration with the creative team. On the July 3 edition of SmackDown!, Vince McMahon showed the footage of Mr. America unmasking as Hogan and "fired" him, although Hogan had already quit in real life.
The Mr. America gimmick came under fire briefly from Marvel Comics, who anointed it a rip-off of Captain America, citing costume similarity; the single star on the mask was also a trademark on Captain America's chest piece. This was also adding fuel to the fire over the rights to use the Hulk Hogan name because of Marvel's ownership of the Incredible Hulk character. Because of these problems, WWE was forced to edit out all references to the "Hulk Hogan" name, including pictures which featured Hogan wearing memorabilia that said "Hulk" (a majority of them) and started to refer to Hogan under the "Hollywood Hogan" name he used in WCW. It was later revealed that Hogan was unhappy with the payoffs for his matches after his comeback under the Mr. America gimmick. Vince decided to terminate Hogan's contract, and Hogan left WWE in 2003.
New Japan, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and Hall of Fame (2003-2005)
A few months afterwards, Hulk Hogan worked a match for New Japan Pro Wrestling, beating Masahiro Chono at the Ultimate Crush II event, an event that featured both pro wrestling and mixed martial arts matches.
According to various reports, Hulk Hogan was approached by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2003 regarding appearing at a planned event titled Bound for Glory, a three-hour pay per view event in October meant to be the annual alternative. Hogan willingly took a guitar shot from Jarrett during a press conference in Japan to hype the storyline, but withdrew from negotiations citing knee problems that would require surgery and prevent him from participating. "I was getting ready to go to TNA, was hoping of working with Jarrett and those guys, and giving McMahon a run for his money one more time," said Hulk Hogan on the Main Event radio show in December 2006. The footage of Jarrett breaking a guitar over Hogan's head was thereafter frequently used by TNA. Hogan would soon return to WWE in 2005 to be inducted to the Hall of Fame Class of 2005.
World Wrestling Entertainment (part-time 2005-2007), Memphis Wrestling (2007)
In 2005, weeks before WrestleMania 21, it was announced on all WWE programming that Hogan would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. On April 2, Hogan was inducted by actor and friend Sylvester Stallone. Hogan was applauded for several minutes before he was able to make a speech. When he paused during his speech, the crowd chanted "One More Match! One More Match!" The fans also chanted "Austin, Hogan" (referring to a Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan match); Hogan responded "that may be a good match someday". At WrestleMania 21 on April 3, the "American Patriot" Hogan came out to rescue Eugene, who was being attacked by Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari. Some of the build-up to Hogan's induction into the Hall of Fame and preparation for this angle were shown on the first season of Hogan Knows Best. The next night on Raw, Hassan and Daivari came out to confront and assault fan favorite Shawn Michaels. The following week, Michaels approached Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff demanding a handicap match with Hassan and Daivari. Bischoff refused but told Michaels if he found a partner he would be granted a tag team match. Michaels then made a plea for Hulk Hogan to come back and team with him. On the April 18 episode of Raw, Hassan again led an attack on Michaels until Hogan appeared, and saved Michaels and accepted his offer. At Backlash 2005, Hassan and Daivari lost to Hogan and Michaels. Hogan then appeared on July 4 edition of Raw as the special guest of Carlito on his talk-show segment Carlito's Cabana. After being asked questions by Carlito concerning his daughter Brooke Hogan, Hogan proceeded to attack Carlito. This was then followed up by an appearance of Kurt Angle, who made comments about Brooke, which further upset Hogan. Hogan was eventually double teamed by Carlito and Angle but was saved by Shawn Michaels. Later that night, Michaels and Hogan defeated Carlito and Kurt Angle in a tag match. During the post match celebration, Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to Hogan and walked off. The following week on Raw, Michaels appeared on Piper's Pit and challenged Hogan to face him one-on-one for the first time. Hogan appeared on Raw one week later and accepted the challenge. The match took place at Summerslam. The "Legend vs. Icon" storyline was the main event for the Raw brand going into SummerSlam. The match went back and forth, with two referees getting "knocked out" and Michaels using a steel chair to try to gain an advantage. Even after Michaels hit his Sweet Chin Music, Hogan still kicked out and mounted some offense against Michaels, finally hitting him with the legdrop and scoring the victory. Michaels extended his hand to him, telling him that he "had to find out for himself," and Hogan and Michaels shook hands. Michaels left the ring to allow Hogan to celebrate with the crowd.
Prior to WrestleMania 22, Hogan inducted friend and former announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. Hogan returned on the July 15, 2006 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event with his daughter Brooke. During the show, Randy Orton flirted with Hogan's daughter, and he later challenged Hulk to a match at Summerslam, which Hogan won.
After a brief fall out with McMahon and WWE, Hogan was lured to Memphis Wrestling with the proposal of wrestling Jerry "The King" Lawler. The match had been promoted on Memphis Wrestling Prime Time for several months. On April 12, 2007, however, Lawler announced in a news conference that WWE had barred him from wrestling Hogan on the basis that NBC performers (including Lawler, on the basis of co-hosting the NBC-owned USA Network's WWE Raw and his appearances on the biannual WWE Saturday Night's Main Event) are contractually prohibited from appearing on VH1, the channel on which Hogan Knows Best airs. The situation resulted in a lawsuit being filed against WWE by event promoter Corey Maclin. Lawler was replaced with Paul Wight, formerly known as Big Show. Hulk Hogan defeated Paul "The Great" Wight at PMG Clash of Legends on April 27, 2007 when he picked up and bodyslammed Wight and pinned him following the leg drop.
In December 2007 on the 15th Anniversary edition of Monday Night Raw, Hogan came back for a one night appearance coming to the aid of Hornswoggle against The Great Khali. During his in-ring speech, Hogan said to never say never about another match and alluded to his longtime rival Randy Savage using his signature catchphrase of "Oh Yeah!".
Return to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009-2013)
Dixie Carter's business partner (2009–2010)
On October 27, 2009 it was announced on TNAwrestling.com that Hulk Hogan had signed a contract to join TNA on a full-time basis where, partnered with Eric Bischoff, he would partner with TNA President, Dixie Carter.
The footage of his signing and the press conference in the Madison Square Garden following it were featured on the October 29 episode of TNA Impact!. His role remained uncertain. On November 21, 24, 26, and 28, Hogan performed with a group of wrestlers including Spartan-3000,Heidenreich, Eugene, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and Orlando Jordan across Australia in a tour titled Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin. The main event of each show was a rematch between Hogan and Ric Flair—the wrestler who defeated Hogan more times than any other. Hogan defeated Flair in all four matches, bringing his career record against Flair from 2–8 to 6–8. It was the first time Hogan had performed in Australia. On December 5, 2009, Hogan announced on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)'s The Ultimate Fighter that he would be making his official TNA debut on January 4, 2010, in a special live three-hour Monday night episode of Impact! to compete with WWE's Raw (which featured the return of Bret Hart).Carter revealed Hogan's role in the company in an interview with The UK Sun stating when his job came to question, "he is involved with everything from looking at the talent to how we shoot the show". On the January 4 episode of Impact!, Hogan debuted, reuniting briefly with former nWo partners Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman, the latter two of whom made their returns to the company. He, however, refused to join them for a full-fledged reunion of their group claiming, "it's a different time", and stuck to his business relations with Bischoff, who made his appearance to declare that, the two of them would "flip the company upside down" and everyone would have to earn their spot.
Hogan also encountered TNA founder Jeff Jarrett on the broadcast, appearing via video wall and interrupting Jarrett's company success speech, stating that Carter was instrumental to the company's survival, and that just like the rest, Jarrett would have to (kayfabe) earn his spot in TNA. On the February 18 episode of Impact!, Hogan took Abyss under his wing, and during this sequence, gave him his Hall of Fame ring and claimed it would make him a "god of wrestling". Hogan made his in-ring return on March 8, teaming with Abyss to defeat A.J. Styles and Ric Flair when Abyss scored a pinfall over Styles. Afterwards, the returning Jeff Hardysaved Hogan and Abyss from a beat down at the hands of Styles, Flair and Desmond Wolfe. The storyline became a Team Flair versus Team Hogan situation, with Jarrett and the debuting Rob Van Dam joining Team Hogan and Beer Moneyand Sting joining Team Flair. At Lockdown, Team Hogan (Hulk Hogan, Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy and Rob Van Dam) defeated Team Flair (Ric Flair, Sting, Desmond Wolfe, Robert Roode and James Storm) in a Lethal Lockdown match.
On the June 17 episode of Impact!, Hogan's alliance with Abyss came to an abrupt end when Abyss turned heel. Abyss later claimed that he was controlled by some entity, that was coming to TNA.
The next month, Hogan worked with Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe against Sting and Kevin Nash, who claimed that they knew that Hogan and Bischoff were up to something. During this time, Abyss went on a rampage, attacking Rob Van Dam to the point that he was forced to vacate the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and eventually put his hands on TNA president Dixie Carter, which led to her signing the paperwork, presented by Bischoff, that would have Abyss fired from TNA following his match with Van Dam at Bound for Glory. The next month, Hogan worked with Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe against Sting and Kevin Nash, who claimed that they knew that Hogan and Bischoff were up to something.During this time, Abyss went on a rampage, attacking Rob Van Dam to the point that he was forced to vacate the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and eventually put his hands on TNA president Dixie Carter, which led to her signing the paperwork, presented by Bischoff, that would have Abyss fired from TNA following his match with Van Dam at Bound for Glory. Hogan was set to wrestle with Jarrett and Joe against Sting, Nash and D'Angelo Dinero at Bound for Glory, but was forced to miss the event due to a back surgery. However, he would make a surprise appearance at the end of the event, turning heel, helping Jeff Hardy win the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship and aligning himself with Hardy, Bischoff, Abyss and Jarrett. This was also Hogan's first working as a heel since he reunited with the nWo in WWE. On the following episode of Impact!, it was revealed that Bischoff had tricked Carter and the paperwork she had signed a week earlier, were not to release Abyss, but to turn the company over to him and Hogan. Meanwhile, Bischoff's and Hogan's new stable, now known as Immortal, formed an alliance with Ric Flair's Fortune. Dixie Carter returned on the November 25 episode of Reaction, informing Hogan and Bischoff that a judge had filed an injunction against the two on her behalf over not having signatory authority, indefinitely suspending Hogan from TNA. During his absence, Hogan underwent a potentially career–ending spinal fusion surgery on December 21, 2010. Hogan returned to TNA on the March 3, 2011 episode of Impact!, declaring himself as the new owner of TNA, having won the court battle against Dixie Carter. In April, he began hinting at a possible return to the ring to face the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. On the May 12 episode of the newly renamed Impact Wrestling, Hogan lost control of the program to Mick Foley, who revealed himself as the Network consultant who had been causing problems for Immortal ever since Hogan and Bischoff took over the company; however, this angle was cut short just three weeks later, when Foley left the promotion. During the following months, Hogan continued to interfere in Sting's matches, costing him the TNA World Heavyweight Championship first at Hardcore Justice, recruiting Kurt Angle to Immortal in the process, on the September 1 episode of Impact Wrestling and finally at No Surrender. On the September 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, Sting defeated Immortal member Ric Flair to earn the right to face Hogan at Bound for Glory. On October 4, it was reported that Hogan had signed a contract extension with TNA. After feigning retirement from professional wrestling, Hogan accepted the match at Bound for Glory on the October 6 episode of Impact Wrestling, while also agreeing to hand TNA back to Dixie Carter, should Sting win the match.
General Manager (2011–2013)
Hogan was defeated by Sting at Bound For Glory, ending his storyline as the president of TNA. After the match, Immortal attacked Sting. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Hogan, wearing his trademark yellow and red again, admitted to his mistakes, and put over Sting for winning.
On January 26, 2012, Hogan returned to the ring at a house show in Nottingham, England, where he, James Storm and Sting defeated Bobby Roode, Bully Ray and Kurt Angle in a six-man tag team main event. Hogan returned to Impact Wrestling on February 2, when he was revealed as Garett Bischoff's trainer. On the March 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, Hogan returned and accepted Sting's offer to replace him as the new General Manager. In July, Hogan, alongside Sting, began feuding with a mysterious group of masked men, who had dubbed themselves the "Aces & Eights". The group's attack on Hogan on the July 12 episode of Impact Wrestling was used to write Hogan off television as he was set to undergo another back surgery. In November, Hogan moved into a storyline with Bully Ray after Austin Aries revealed a secret relationship between Ray and Hogan's daughter Brooke. After seeing them kissing in a parking garage on the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Hogan suspended Ray indefinitely. The following week, after Ray saved Brooke from a kidnapping by the Aces & Eights, Brooke accepted his marriage proposal. Despite Hogan's disapproval, he still walked Brooke down the aisle for her wedding on the next episode of Impact Wrestling. During the ceremony, Ray's groomsmen Taz interrupted and revealed himself as a member of the Aces & Eights, leading the group to attack Hogan, Ray, and the rest of the groomsmen. On the January 31 episode of Impact Wrestling, Hogan reinstated Ray so he could take on the Aces & Eights. Hogan named Ray the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on the February 21 episode of Impact Wrestling. However, at Lockdown, Ray betrayed Hogan, after Aces & Eights helped him win the title, and he revealed himself as the President of the Aces & Eights. Following Lockdown, Hogan blamed Sting for Ray winning the title as it was Sting who encouraged Hogan to give Ray the title shot. Sting returned and saved Hogan from an attack by Aces & Eights on the April 25 episode of Impact Wrestling. The following week, Hogan and Sting managed to reconcile their differences.On the October 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Hogan refused an offer from Dixie Carter to become her business partner and quit. Hogan was officially written off, as a result of his contract expiring with TNA.
Fourth return to WWE
On February 24, 2014 on Raw, Hogan made his first WWE in-ring appearance since December 2007 to hype the WWE Network.
On the March 24 episode of Raw, Hogan came out to introduce the guest appearances of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello; this was to promote the guests' new movie Sabotage. At WrestleMania XXX in March, Hogan served as the host, coming out at the start of the show to hype up the crowd. During his promo, he mistakenly referred to the Superdome, the venue the event was being held at, as the Silverdome, which became the subject of jokes throughout the night. Hogan was later joined by Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, and they finished their promo by drinking beer together in the ring. Later in the show, Hogan shared a moment with Mr. T, Paul Orndorff, and Roddy Piper, with whom he main-evented the first WrestleMania.On February 27, 2015, Hogan was honored at Madison Square Garden during a WWE live event dubbed "Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night" with a special commemorative banner hanging from the rafters, honoring his wrestling career and historic matches he had in the arena. On the March 23 episode of Raw, Hogan, along with Snoop Dogg confronted Curtis Axel – who at the time had been "borrowing" Hogan's Hulkamania gimmick with Axel referring to himself as "AxelMania". On March 28, the night before WrestleMania, Hogan posthumously inducted longtime partner and rival "Macho Man" Randy Savage into the WWE Hall of Fame. The next night at WrestleMania 31, Hogan reunited with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to reform the nWo, appearing in Sting's corner in his match against Triple H, who himself was joined by D-Generation X members Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, X-Pac and Shawn Michaels.
Vice Presidential Campaign (2016-2017)
On January 10th 2016 Hulk Hogan announced that he would be running for Vice President. When asked what party he would be running for he said "The democratic party brother!"