Hulk Hogan was the face of professional wrestling during the WWE's massive and rapid growth in the 80s, while 'Macho Man' Randy Savage was viewed as the "B" guy in the wrestling business.
Hogan and Savage had plenty of real-life troubles outside of wrestling. Both were competing hard to outdo the other, after all, looking to carry the status of being the top superstar in the business.
There's an easy case to be made that WWE chose wisely in making Hogan their guy. At the same time, you can easily argue that Savage would have excelled just as much - if not more - as the main face.
10 Randy Savage: Better Wrestler
Argue all you want about Hogan rightfully being handpicked as the main guy in WWE, but it's hard to deny that the Macho Man was a better in-ring performer.
Thing is, Hogan didn't exactly "wow" you with his limited skill set in the ring - and his matches were repetitive. He'd hulk up, kick his opponent in the face and then hit them with the Leg Drop for the pinfall win.
But Savage always took your breath away with his elite in-ring skills. The Flying Elbow Drop was a far more exciting and entertaining finisher. He was a complete gem in the ring, and we've seen few superstars match his overall talents as a wrestler. That's why you can make a case that Savage would have been better suited as the main guy.
9 Hulk Hogan: The Marketing Factor
For Hogan, being the main guy in WWE meant more than being a performer on television. He had to market himself, the WWE brand and the wrestling industry as a whole. And he did that in just about every way Vince McMahon could have asked of.
Hogan appeared on cereal boxes all over the country (just ask the kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s). He did countless commercials and endorsements during his time in the WWE, too. All in all, Hogan did his job by reeling in a larger audience and general following in the wrestling world. That's why he was, in fact, the right choice to be the main star.
8 Randy Savage: Better Promos/More Charisma
Now, Hogan was excellent on the microphone - and the fans who grew up watching him can easily recite some of his many memorable promos. But with all due respect to The Hulkster, almost nobody could match Savage's microphone skills and charisma.
Each week, Savage was coming up with a completely different product. You never knew what he would say or do, but Savage found ways to fire up the crowd with his many creative promos and interviews.
With Hogan, a lot of his promos were fairly repetitive. We were reminded every time to eat our vitamins. Same old, same old. Savage was always changing up his promos. Hogan wasn't. Simple as that.
7 Hulk Hogan: Energizing The Crowd
Of course, nobody could fire up and energize the crowd the way Hogan did. He was always bringing out the loudest pops from the fans in attendance. He was receiving the loudest ovations and cheers time and time again.
Isn't that what you want in the No. 1 superstar? Even if Savage was a better in-ring performer and promo guy, Hogan was always bringing the thunderous crowd to their feet - whether he was wrestling or not. Nobody could do it like The Hulkster.
6 Randy Savage: Work As A Heel & Face
Hulk Hogan was always the top babyface during his first run in WWE. His well-documented heel turn didn't take place until the 1996 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, when he was employed by WCW.
The main face of professional wrestling should be able to perform both the heel and the face, and Savage did both during his run with WWE. He went back and forth between the roles, but Savage succeeded immensely as both. The man could portray a Hogan-like babyface, or he could be the main villain everybody loved to cheer against.
The Rock, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Triple H, Ric Flair, Sting, and Shawn Michaels are among the all-time greats who could portray both the face and heel while in WWE. Savage did that as well - whereas Vince knew he could only use Hogan as the good guy and hero. There was no other option.
5 Hulk Hogan: More Than A Wrestler
John Cena was the face of WWE for approximately a decade, and that was thanks in large part to his charity works outside of the ring. Look at LeBron James, Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout and all the other faces of their main event sports: They make themselves active outside of their careers. They are more than just professional athletes getting paid millions.
Well, Hogan did countless charitable works outside of WWE during his run as the No. 1 guy. He worked closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and The Hulkster would appear in various charitable events when time permitted.
Obviously, Vince saw Hogan as a role model who did plenty of charitable and kind acts outside of the ring. It's hard to replace a guy like that, so maybe he made the right call in choosing Hogan to lead the way.
4 Randy Savage: Ability To Reinvent Himself
The Macho Man shined in just about any gimmick that WWE assigned him. He started out as an arrogant heel who showed no respect towards his wife and on-screen manager, Miss Elizabeth. He then transitioned towards the charismatic, confident, and ecstatic babyface who brought the crowd to their feet each night. Savage was then able to revert to his old heel ways when he broke up The Mega Powers. Whatever Savage did, it worked to near-perfection.
Sure, everybody was obsessed with Hulkamania during its original run. But nothing was really changing. It was the same old song and dance with Hogan. Shouldn't the main guy be somebody who can undergo numerous character and gimmick changes?
3 Hulk Hogan: Helping Create Other Legends
The thing is, Hogan didn't just build himself up into a legend. The Hulkster gave Andre the Giant an even bigger name (no pun intended) when he bodyslammed and defeated the unstoppable opponent at WrestleMania III.
Hogan certainly deserves credit for adding more to the legends of Savage, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper, Sgt. Slaughter, Yokozuna, and others. Though fans were obviously on Hogan's side during these feuds, his impressive work with those legends helped them become even bigger household names in the wrestling business.
That's how you want the main guy to do it.
2 Randy Savage: Would Have Put Others Over
As mentioned above, Hogan was able to help build up other superstars into their own legends. But unfortunately, there's also a long list of notable stars that Hogan supposedly refused to put over.
Superstars that Hogan apparently refused to lose to included Bret Hart, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, and Ric Flair, among others. It's well-known that he wouldn't put Jeff Jarrett over in WCW - and Hogan reportedly wasn't down to lose to Shawn Michaels or Randy Orton when he returned to WWE in the mid-2000s.
You can't say the same about Savage. He took losses from Hogan, Dusty Rhodes, and rising stars such as Ultimate Warrior, Jim Duggan, and others. He simply didn't mind helping put other talents over - just like John Cena, Sting, and Undertaker, among others.
1 1.Hulk Hogan: Hulkamania Kept Running Wild
At the end of the day, the fans never got tired of Hulkamania. It was always running while during his tenure in WWE, plain and simple. Even if some were calling for him to reinvent his character or even turn heel, Hogan always remained the top money draw in WWE.
Need evidence? Don't forget that when Hogan returned to WWE as a heel in 2002, he was receiving the same form of treatment as other main talents like Rock and Austin. The fans gave Hogan those exact same thunderous and electrifying roars when he returned. It was obvious that Hulkamania never did and never would die.
So at the end of it all, it's hard to argue that somebody other than Hogan should have been the main guy during the WWE's boom in the 90s. He relished in every way that McMahon could have asked.