Eric Bischoff delved into the details of Hulk Hogan's original WCW contract on the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, justifying the promotion's reasoning behind signing the legend to what was a major deal back then.
Upon Hulk's joining WCW, the New England Sports Network reported that he would be paid $600,000 or 40 percent of the company's earnings for every PPV, and Bischoff says that the outlet wasn't far off.
“As far as to how much Hogan got, that was a close report by New England Sports Network,” he said (h/t 411Mania). “His deal called for four pay-per-views a year at half a million dollars a pay-per-view. And in addition to compensation for the pay-per-view, those pay-per-views included — I think it was three or four weeks of television leading into the pay-per-view. And I think there was a Clash of Champions or two in that schedule as well, all under what is essentially a $2 million contract. That was basically the deal.”
“Now there was some other licensing and merchandising caveats — which by the way, didn’t really matter because we weren’t generating any revenue anyway in licensing and merchandising. Not enough to matter, at least. But if you boiled the meat off the bone and get right down the basic facts of Hogan’s deal, the original deal called for four pay-per-views a year at half a million dollars a pay-per-view.”
WCW knew they would get a lot more attention from the press by having Hogan on their roster and they were willing to pay an arm and a leg for that.
"The approach was, having Hulk Hogan would get us more press, more publicity that we can’t afford to pay for," Bischoff added. "It will increase our viability internationally. Both for international television distribution, which was a very big target for us, we knew that was a way that we could really increase our bottom-line revenue without any incremental costs associated with it other than having Hogan a part of it. So we would spread Hogan’s $2 million throughout the various revenue streams that WCW had in hopes of monetizing it and improving our bottom line. And as it turned out, it worked.”
What This Means
A young Hulk Hogan would have been earning a whole lot more on today's wrestling scene but did quite well for himself back then.
It's quite safe to say that there was no one around who could match Hogan's star power as a wrestler during WCW's glory days. He had to be paid well for it.