The name Hulk Hogan is the name associated with professional wrestling. Even non-wrestling fans will know "The Hulkster." John Cena may be the modern, urbanized version of Hogan, but there is only one true Immortal Superstar.
Due to certain, obscene and racially motivated situations, Hulk Hogan has been "erased" from the WWE record books; but who are they fooling? Fans will never forget Hogan. Especially those who grew up wearing Red and Yellow.
In spite of all the controversy, there is no way to supply an affirmative denial of Hulk Hogan's contributions to the wrestling industry. The twenty-four-inch pythons are too big to be swept under the rug.
In the end, no other Superstar will ever again have the same Hulk Hogan-like impact on the industry. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin may have altered the perception but Hogan introduced the world to this thing called "wrestling."
These are 15 direct affects Hulk Hogan had on the business:
16 Sports Entertainment
For the longest time in WWE, the word "wrestling" was taboo. Yes, the in-ring action was no longer a form of professional wrestling but rather "sports entertainment." Thankfully, this stranglehold has loosened and it has become somewhat acceptable to once again say the wicked word.
So, who do we blame for this sports entertainment shift? Well, obviously Vince McMahon for concocting the entire wrestling-to-sports entertainment scheme. However, McMahon needed somebody to help make this vision come to fruition.
Enter Hulk Hogan. With "The Hulkster" Vince McMahon saw stars. In every sense of the word, Hogan is far from being an actual wrestler but possessed all the necessary charisma of an entertainer.
Hence, a new term was introduced: Sports Entertainment. Without Hulk Hogan to help make this term matter, who knows if Vince McMahon's experiment would have worked out as planned.
15 Territorial Decline
The territory days of professional wrestling are long gone. No longer can small promotions thrive within the industry. What we now know as the "independent circuit" is about as close as we can get to the territory system.
When the WWE transitioned from a regional to nationwide promotion, the territories were set to take a hit; a hard hit to the jaw. Not quite a knock-out punch but certainly a tooth-removing stiff shot.
Vince McMahon entered into this new direction with the idea of using Hulk Hogan as the ultimate marketing tool. Hogan was going to be the face of WWE as they ventured into the larger spectrum.
Vince McMahon and WWE could have failed on the national level but they didn't and this was a direct result of Hulk Hogan and his magnetic nature. Suddenly, fans didn't care about the small regional promotions, they wanted to watch the larger-than-life Hogan.
While the rise of WWE may have hindered the territorial promotions, it's drastic increase in popularity sparked new inspiration throughout the industry. The old-time ways of doing business were no more.
Wrestling had always catered to specific audiences: the Southern wrasslin' people or the Northeastern Bruno Believers. This meant that out there - all across the land - a void was left to be filled.
Of course, a slack-jawed yokel or an Italian stud would not appeal to the masses. Therefore, WWE needed someone who could attract eyes in every state; a big, colourful character who could draw attention.
And what better way to do this than to parade a massive, tanned, moustached man around the country in red and yellow gear? Yes, Hulk Hogan drew the people in and left them wanting more.
13 Media Attention
There was a time when broadcasting wrestling was never a major concern for the cable networks. The fans who enjoyed the craft were more of an underground crew and the media could really care less.
Then along came Hulk Hogan and the rise of wrestling/sports entertainment. Suddenly, more and more people were tuning in and with this came a spike in media attention. Hogan found himself in the middle of a media storm.
And it wasn't only "Mean Gene" Okerlund sticking a microphone in Hulk Hogan's face during backstage WWE interviews. There were now outside outlets looks to score a few words with this new sensation.
If not for Hulk Hogan, would the industry have received such media attention? Probably not. While Ric Flair was great during this time, "The Hulkster" simply brought more attention to the business as a whole.
12 Money Matches
Have you heard the term "money match?" The indication that the two Superstars involved in the bout will generate huge monetary gain for the company. Well, Hulk Hogan was the Money Match for years.
The man standing on the opposite side of the ring rarely mattered. Hulk Hogan could have the Money Match with anybody from "Macho Man" Randy Savage to King Kong Bundy. The drawing power of Hogan was that strong.
Even years after the rise of Hulk Hogan, the Money Match still belonged to "The Hulkster." At WrestleMani X8, Hollywood Hogan vs. The Rock was widely considered to be the draw of the evening.
Today, thanks to the internet, WWE Netwotk, and overall lack of interest, the Money Match has dwindled. However, the entire concept may not have existed if not for the power of Hulk Hogan.
Nowadays, wrestling merchandise can be found everywhere. In fact, WWE devotes an entire section of their corporate website to selling fans these products. Yes, your favourite Superstar merchandise is available in bundles.
In the modern WWE, John Cena has cashed-in more than anybody. Cena's logo can be found on t-shirts, wristbands, ball caps, teddy bears, even garden gnomes. Indeed the company will market just about anything.
And who do we have to thank for this merchandise mania? Well, Hulk Hogan of course. Hogan sold just about everything to the fans; from the regular merchandise, to a hotline number, to his very own pasta.
While merchandising can get ridiculous, these Superstars have every right to earn money from their WWE fame. For some, whose window of opportunity may close in an instant, they might as well take full advantage.
10 Wrestling Heroes
One quick peak at a WWE audience and you will notice a sea of young fans sporting their John Cena gear with pride. In this modern era, no man or woman appeals more to the children than Cena.
During the "Hulkamania" years, Hulk Hogan was the absolute biggest hero a child could find. Kids far and wide were saying prayers and taking vitamins because Hogan had preached these practices.
Many, many heroes have come after Hulk Hogan but none have ever meant as much to the children of WWE. John Cena is close - damn close - but Hogan was viewed as less of a Man and more of a God.
Although John Cena has Hulk Hogan beat by miles when it pertains to charity work and actually caring for his young fans, there was something more about Hogan that made millions of kids love "The Hulkster."
9 Athletic Icons
No matter how long ago Babe ruth played the game of baseball, "The Babe" will forever remain an MLB icon. The same can be said about Hulk Hogan who has been regarded as the "Babe Ruth of wrestling."
In spite of all the controversy that surrounds Hulk Hogan, "The Hulkster" will remain a WWE icon throughout time; even with his name erased from the books. (One would assume this situation will soon change.)
As the first true wrestling/sports entertainment icon, Hulk Hogan paved the way for the likes of Shawn Michaels, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and the man who draws the most Hogan comparisons, John Cena.
Hulk Hogan made it all right to include wrestlers in the conversation of athletic icons. While the wrestling naysayers will continue to shun wrestlers, they will never change the views of true fans.
7 Pop Culture
In the good old days professional wrestling was considered nothing more than a circus act. Two men grappling in a ring surrounded by ropes, attempting to pin each other's shoulders to the mat. It seemed simple enough.
However, wrestling has grown above and beyond some Carny act. Wrestling has entered the zeitgeist. Like it or not, wrestling is now a part of popular culture and that will not change anytime soon.
Once again, we can attribute this to Hulk Hogan. In the 1980s, Hogan helped spark the "wrestling boom" and pop culture took notice. Hell, even MTV jumped on board and the crossover promotions had begun. (Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection)
In the years that followed, pop culture and professional wrestling have crossed paths on a regular basis. In fact, each year WWE welcomes a string of celebrities to appear on their programming while Superstars also appear on other outlets such as late-night talk shows.
WrestleMania has been called the "grandest stage of them all" and the "showcase of the immortals." However, these labels may not apply today if Hulk Hogan hadn't helped make 'Mania such a spectacle.
At the inaugural WrestleMania event, Hulk Hogan teamed with Mr. T (pop culture) to challenge "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Paul Orndoff. That night at Madison Square Garden, a phenomenon was born.
In the years that followed Hulk Hogan would continue to work the WrestleMania main event and would face-off against the likes of "Macho Man" Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. However, nothing may ever compare to WrestleMania III.
In the main event of the evening - in front of a crowd of over 90,000 fans - Hulk Hogan did the unthinkable: slammed Andre the Giant and defeated the massive man to retain the WWE Championship.
When Hulk Hogan landed a role in Rocky III, the "Hulkamania" storm had not quite reached the point of vicious winds. However, this role - which wasn't half bad - would lead to a number of horrific acting roles for Hogan.
No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando, Mr. Nanny, Santa with Muscles. Yes, these "gems" have placed Hulk Hogan front-and-center as a feature-length film star. And each flick in its own right made Hogan look ridiculous.
Of course, these awful films served as a gateway for wrestlers landing movie roles and for WWE to begin producing their own films. John Cena, Kane, Randy Orton, The Miz, Dean Ambrose, and Triple H have all assumed starring roles.
And who can forget about The Rock? If not for Hulk Hogan's horrific approach at silver screen stardom, perhaps Dwayne Johnson would never get to play The Scorpion King or The Tooth Fairy.
4 Creative Control
You have probably seen the now infamous WCW footage from Bash at the Beach 2000 where Jeff Jarrett literally laid down for Hulk Hogan; handing him the victory in the most controversial of manners.
What followed was a passionate rant from Head of WCW Creative, Vince Russo. During his tirade, Russo made reference to Hulk Hogan playing his "creative control card." Russo had certainly broken the fourth wall.
Over the years, nobody has held more creative control than Hulk Hogan. However, Hogan's "card" as it were would alter the direction of many matches and feuds. Hogan will deny this but wrestlers know it to be true.
Perhaps the greatest student of Hulk Hogan's creative control lesson and how to play one's hand in backstage politics has been Triple H; who has played his own card many times throughout his WWE tenure.
3 Bret Hart
In the early 1990s, Vince McMahon and WWE were rocked with a steroid scandal. One that ran deep and would force McMahon to alter the perception of his company and the "big guy" ways of booking.
Hulk Hogan needed to take a step back and somebody needed to fit the "new look." Enter Bret Hart. While "The Hitman" was a great wrestler, his size or lack thereof could have help him back.
However, Vince McMahon needed a new face to represent the company and more importantly a new body; one that did not look jacked-up on steroids. Hence, Bret Hart was the chosen one.
Bret Hart was always a better wrestler than Hulk Hogan but there's no telling whether or not Hart's rise to the top would have occurred without the steroid scandal. Red and Yellow was replaced with Pink and Black.
2 Attitude Era
Ah, to be a rebellious youth and wrestling fan in the late 1990s. The Attitude Era opened up new eyes to WWE; eyes which had grown accustom to the cookie-cutter "good guy vs. bad guy" concept.
Suddenly, wrestling wasn't so black and white. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was the industry's biggest star. However, Austin was more of an anti-hero who drank beer, cussed, and beat up the boss.
Why the drastic change? WWE needed to adjust with the times and embark upon a new journey; one based less in fairy tale and more in real life. Therefore, the Attitude Era was introduced as the company's new, edgier, and groundbreaking direction.
So, how does Hulk Hogan factor into the Attitude Era? Well, without the rise of "Hulkamania" to use as the direct opposite example of the time, who knows which direction WWE takes.
1 Monday Night War
In September 1995, WCW decided to go head-to-head with WWE in an all-out weekly ratings battle. Nitro vs. Raw would become known as the Monday Night War. Yes, Ted Turner looked to challenge and defeat Vince McMahon.
However, would WCW have stood any change without Hulk Hogan? Would Ted Turn have launched this attack anyway with Randy Savage, Sting, and Ric Flair? Probably. However, without Hogan's impact, WCW may have been shot down instantly.
In WCW, Hulk Hogan would turn Hollywood and once again change the landscape of the industry. Hogan and the New World Order were WCW's answer to cutting out the fantasy and providing programming with a sense of realism.
Hulk Hogan arrived in WCW via parade and thanks to the money of Ted Turner and vision of Eric Bischoff, would play perhaps the biggest role in igniting the legendary Monday Night War.
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