Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, was arguably the most charismatic wrestler ever to grace a wrestling ring. He was panned by critics throughout his wrestling career as being limited to a few wrestling moves and still coming out on top in his matches. Hogan was a brawler. He wasn’t a mat technician like Bret Hart or Ric Flair and he wasn’t a high flyer like Rey Misterio or Jeff Hardy. No, Hulk Hogan was a big man with clubbing blows and a thunderous body slam and his finishing maneuver was a rib breaking flying leg drop.
Hulk Hogan was brought into wrestling by the Briscoe Brothers, Jack and Jerry and was trained by Hiro Matsuda. Hogan was very young and very cocky and Matsuda broke his ankle and he had gained Matsuda’s respect by coming back after the ankle had healed. He began his career in the now defunct American Wrestling Association until he was lured away by Vince McMahon Sr. of the WWWF. McMahon gave him the name Hogan because he wanted an Irish heel wrestler. He also wanted Hogan to dye his hair red but Hogan didn’t want to because he was already starting to lose it and didn’t want the dye to make him lose it faster, so he became a blonde haired Irishman. Sylvester Stallone liked the charisma and size of Hogan and offered him the part as Thunder Lips in the Rocky III movie. Vince Senior told Hogan that he would be fired from the company if he accepted the role. He did and he was. When Hogan came back to wrestling, he went back to the AWA and wrestled there until Vince McMahon Jr. contacted Hogan after buying the WWWF from his father. He then renamed it the WWF and wanted Hogan in the company because they were going national.
Hogan cemented his spot in wrestling history when he defeated the hated Iron Shiek for his WWF World Title but his most memorable feud came against Rowdy Roddy Piper and his stable of Dr, D David Schultz, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and Cowboy Bob Orton. At the first Wrestlemania, Hulk Hogan teamed with Rocky III co-star, Mr. T against Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff and the Rowdy One. After that, the Rock and Wrestling Connection was formed as Cyndi Lauper was brought into the picture with her manager David Wolfe. This is where Hogan’s feud with Piper was brought to national attention. In Wrestlemania II, Hulk defeated the monster King Kong Bundy to retain his World title and in Wrestlemania III and “the body slam heard ‘round the world” he defeated Andre the Giant to retain his title in front of a record setting 93,000 fans inside the Pontiac Silverdome.
Hulk Hogan may never be known as the greatest wrestler of all time but he certainly is the most charismatic and all of professional wrestling needs to thank him for where professional wrestling is today.