HULKAMANIA – With CB and KON (Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, Dixie Carter. Et tu, Brute?)
CB: Hey, I just read through our back and forth on the Ultimate Warrior, and I must say it turned out awesome. Speaking of which, I was wondering if our next wrestler we discuss could be The Miz…
…HA! Just kidding KON, as if anyone cares about The Miz in 2012 (what happened to all his IWC supporters, anyway? You know, the ones who said he was here to stay in the main event for years to come? Anyways, I digress…). I actually thought that since we just covered Warrior we might as well get one of the other big fish out of the way and talk about Hulk Hogan.
KON: What’s your earliest memory of Hulkamania running wild, brother?
CB: “Well you know something Mean Gene…” <—- Those words right there still bring me back to the good old days of Hulkamania, with the charmingly canned promo segments, the training, the prayers, the vitamins, the 24-inch Pythons, the shirt rips, and of course the “Whatcha gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild on you?!”, a rhetorical question of course.
I would say my earliest Hogan wrestling memory is when he was feuding with the Iron Sheik, but I really started loving Hulkamania like everyone else when he body slammed Andre at WrestleMania III.
KON: When he lifted the 1289437535893068690509688550897652 pound giant above his head and all the little Hulkamaniacs blew the roof off the arena, dude? Well I gotta tell you something, jack: that was before my time, brother.
I remember the Flair feud and the title v title match with The Undertaker. I ended up seeing most of the stuff prior to the Flair feud on VHS. Hulk’s cartoon was being repeated around that time as well, so he was still quite popular. He wasn’t my favourite guy at the time, but he was still good.
About a month ago, we were looking through my grandmother’s old photos to try and find something for the funeral. We found a picture of a four-year-old me wearing the WWF World Heavyweight Championship while striking a Hoganesque pose.
I kinda hit the tail-end of his popularity, but if you can remember him feuding with Sheik, he must’ve been fucking everywhere when you were little. The Cartoon, the album, the roles in Rocky III and No Holds Barred, the talk shows he did to promote WWF at the time, the shows themselves… What was it like as a fan to see your favourite guy everywhere?
CB: Well, the reason I was a huge Hogan fan was BECAUSE he was everywhere. For Hulkamania to reach me as a 5 year-old, Vince McMahon and WWF must have been doing something right. And, like everyone else my age, I not only remember Hogan being everywhere, I remember Hulkamania being in my house. I had The Wrestling Album, and my favourite line in the opening number was Piper saying, “Hogan’s such a yo-yoooooooo” because even back then I knew that meant Hogan was the hero and Piper the “bad guy”, so I understood Piper’s hate in those simplest of terms.
I had the Hulkamania weights, the blue plastic dumbbells that came with an accompanying cassette tape. I had the Hogan wrist-bands, the Hogan Wrestling Buddy, and I LOVED the Real American theme once it was his.
For all of that merchandise to reach my hands back in those days, it’s really a testament to the marketing behind Hulkamania, and also the fact that wrestling back then was on broadcast television on Saturday mornings in both regular and cartoon forms.
As for the movies, I loved Rocky III and the whole Thunderlips thing was fun. I also loved Andre in The Princess Bride, too, which confused me since he was a good guy in the movie and such a bad guy in WWF when he was feuding with Hogan and part of the Heenan family.
Like Warrior, I wished all those memories of Hogan could be the only ones I have today, but of course that’s impossible with the way things have gone for the Hulkster recently.
KON: Hogan held the WWF World Heavyweight Title for roughly 2000 years. At what point did you start to get bored with Hulkamania as a whole?
CB: I never really got bored with Hulkamania back then because at the time he was being phased out WWF really didn’t put him on TV all that much. After all, that was before the whole “longest running weekly episodic TV show” known as Monday Night Raw started its run on USA.
I will say though I liked Warrior more than Hogan at one point, and when Hogan beat Yokozuna it was a fun moment.
I soured on Hogan more when I got a little older, though, so by the time he was in WCW pre-NWO I was over it. I actually didn’t watch much WCW during that in-between stretch, so I was more into Bret, Owen and HBK, etc. at that point.
KON: They had a crazy amount of entertaining guys on their shows, very few of which suffered from overuse. Nasty Boys being maybe the only exception, one match from them was enough (which was lucky for them…).
When Warrior beat Hulk for the title, that must’ve been a clear sign that his time had passed. The Hogan vs. Undertaker match a year later was, again, Title vs. Title and he somehow managed to convince McMahon that Hulkamania was still running wild. The loss to Yoko was really the only time that Vince put his foot down and Hogan, instead of accepting that he was no longer the top guy (even though he had been told as much for the past 3 years), ran over to WCW to fuck their programming up,
If you were in Hulk’s shoes just before the Warrior match at WrestleMania or the Undertaker match at Survivor Series, what would you have done?
CB: Back then, Hogan probably wasn’t ready to pass the torch. I think Hogan kept wanting more and more money but once the well from the 1980s boom dried up and the steroids scandal hit, it was over. Hogan left for the greener pastures of WCW, and by greener I mean MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEY MONEYYYYYY.
Hogan probably also thought he was bigger than WWF, that he could go anywhere and succeed. For a little while, he was right. In the long haul, he was obviously wrong because he came back numerous times and now is languishing in TNA while doing Rent-A-Center commercials. I fucking hate those.
Just like Warrior, it’s another childhood hero of mine who has really gone awry in my mind now that I see how flawed he is. What’s your take on your childhood view of Hogan vs. today’s perspective?
KON: I guess that’s what it all boils down to. We could talk about the Mega Powers, steroids, the politics, the nWo, the yappapi strap match, the numerous WWE returns, the reality show, the tour of Australia with Flair, the TNA contract signing… but none of those things matter at this point. I’m sick of seeing him, sick of hearing about him, sick of all the news stories that come out…
It’s gonna sound weird, seeing as the guy hasn’t changed from his days with the AWA, but I guess I think of Hogan now as a different person than the guy who beat The Undertaker at This Tuesday in Texas. This old, broken, decrepit, lying, washed up guy on TV every Thursday isn’t an icon, an idol, or anything to be looked up to. As Sheik would put it: He’s not the Hulk Hogan, he is Hollywood blond piece of shit jabroni mother facker.
CB: Yeah, and I don’t know what’s sadder: Hogan being the way he is today; or the fact that people are still paying him to do stuff no matter how decrepit the whole things has become.
Maybe Vince was right when he did this:
Or maybe it just seems right when applied to today’s version of Hulkamania…
KON: I dunno. That video still seems kinda hurtful. Vince didn’t give a shit about Hogan’s health, well-being, credibility or anything, he just wanted to take shots at two guys who left to make money.
What I was getting at with the last thing was, I guess, what would you value Hulkamania at in terms of dollars?
CB: I’m sure Hulkamania is still worth millions without Hogan having to do anything, so it’s a shame that the people who get that money — Terry and his ex-wife Linda — are just going to waste it all away without adding anymore value to Hogan’s career or legacy.
KON: Is it worth that much though? Are the Hulkamaniacs from 20+ years ago going to be interested in buying an Immortal DVD set from TNA? Do they even tune into TNA? Hogan didn’t exactly have a huge, uh, impact on Impact’s ratings.
CB: How will you remember Hogan, taking everything into consideration?
KON: It’s hard to say how I’ll remember Hogan. If he kills TNA, I’m sure we’ll all remember that. If he were to die tomorrow, it’d be a shame that he never managed to realise what he’d been doing for the past 10 or so years. He was a man who had everything, and gave it all up for an extra 15mins in the spotlight.
CB: I agree with that KON … and that’s the shame of it all…
Thanks again for the chat.
KON: Thanks for taking part.
I think we uncovered the problem with this type of article. It’s fun to look back at the 80′s or early 90′s and talk about how good things were back then, but it would be incredibly hard to do one of these that doesn’t end with something along the lines of “it’s a shame.”
The business has changed over the years, and I guess an argument could be made that the stars of today won’t end up like Hogan, Flair or any of the other 80′s stars who continue to lead somewhat tragic lives. Maybe CB and I will discuss Cena when we’re in our 60′s, or maybe pro-wrestling will have been axed from all television stations by then, who knows?
I’ll tell you one thing though, I don’t think Terry Boulder would have said “I’ll still be wrestling in 30 years, brother!” before any of his matches in Shitsville, Alabama.