If you were to ask wrestling fans and writers who in their opinion was the greatest wrestler of all time in regards to fan base, impact on the industry, drawing power, and a few other items, you would get a list of a few names. The names would include guys like Ric Flair, the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, but many would point to the man who basically ruled the 80's wrestling scene, Hulk Hogan. From the red and yellow tights, to the promos telling kids to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, to the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Connection cartoon, Hulk Hogan has definitely cemented his place within the annals of pro wrestling history with a legion of fans and a career littered with achievements and world title reigns.
With a career that spans nearly 40 years, Hogan has a litany of memorable moments and matches. While some may argue that Hogan’s use of backstage politics and ego led to the creation of some of these moments, it cannot be denied that he was a huge part of the wrestling landscape in the 80's and 90's and a lesser extent in the 21st century.
So with that in mind, this list is here to commemorate the most memorable moments of Hulk Hogan’s career. They run the gamut of bad and good, along with incidents that happened both inside and outside of the ring, but either way they played a big part of the wrestling landscape and many are still talked about to this day by fans and writers alike. So please read, enjoy, and feel free to share your feelings in the comments section. Let us know what your most memorable Hogan moment was or if you think there should another moment mentioned in the list here.
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15 Back-to-Back Royal Rumble Wins (Royal Rumble, Jan. 21, 1990 and Jan. 19, 1991)
In the waning years of Hulkamania in the WWE, Hulk Hogan was still standing strong at the top of the card. He would soon make history once again as he would go on to be the first man to win two Royal Rumbles, particularly back-to-back. He would enter the 1990 Rumble as the 25th entrant and would go on to eliminate five men, including the Ultimate Warrior and Mr. Perfect, in order to win. He would then face off against Warrior in a champion vs. champion match at Wrestlemania VI. The following year Hogan would again be in the rumble, entering 24th, and would eliminate seven men in order to face Sgt. Slaughter for the WWE Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania VII.
14 Rocky III/Leaving the WWE (1981)
In his first run with the WWE, Hulk Hogan was offered by the crew of the upcoming film Rocky III to have a small part playing the pro wrestler 'Thunderlips' who was to fight Rocky Balboa in an exhibition match for charity. Vincent J. McMahon was against Hogan performing in the movie and taking time away from wrestling, but Hogan went against his wishes and did the film. Because of that, Hogan would leave the WWE and start wrestling in the AWA, eventually starting his first big run as a babyface. The move was instrumental to what Hogan became in the wrestling world and helped him become a pop culture icon over the years.
13 Witness in WWE Steroid Trial (1994)
The year 1994 was not a good one for Vincent K. McMahon, facing a federal investigation over steroid use and distribution within pro wrestling, McMahon faced a possible sentence of many years in a federal prison. Hogan was given immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony against McMahon. While Hogan would admit to using steroids to get to use size during the seventies, he would tell prosecutors that McMahon never sold him drugs nor was he was forced to take them. His testimony would ultimately help McMahon be found not guilty on his charges. This would also be the last time Hogan would be in the WWE for almost a decade.
12 Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff Cage Match (Saturday Night’s Main Event, 1987)
Over the course of 1987, Hulk Hogan and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff squared off in a series of matches after Orndorff had turned on Hogan and rejoined his old manager, Bobby “the Brain” Heenan. The only problem was that the matches between the two saw no real clean, conclusive endings so it was decided that the two would face off in a steel cage match on Saturday Night’s Main Event. The two would have a back and forth match inside the cage before both men would begin to climb opposite sides of the cage in an attempt to escape. Then in a moment of excellent performance, both men would drop down and touch the floor at the exact same moment. After reviewing the footage it was declared that they had indeed touched at the same moment and the match was restarted, with Hogan eventually winning. The match would end the feud and would remain memorable to fans for the tension created within the final match and the perfect moment of both men touching the floor at the same moment.
11 Hogan vs. Randy Savage (Wrestlemania V, April 2, 1989)
After forming the Mega Powers with Randy Savage, there did not seem to be anything that could stop the super duo. Unfortunately, Savage’s jealousy of what he perceived to be a “more than friends” relationship between Hogan and Miss Elizabeth. The two would break up which would lead to them feuding over Savage’s WWE Championship. Their feud would eventually culminate in a match at Wrestlemania V where Hogan would beat Savage and begin his second reign as WWE Champion and the Mega Powers as a team was officially dead.
10 Hogan vs. Goldberg (Monday Nitro, July 6, 1998)
At the height of the Monday Night War, WCW was looking for something to usurp the WWE in the ratings. It was soon decided that Hogan, then in his role as “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, would defend his World Heavyweight Title against undefeated phenom, Goldberg, live on Monday Nitro. The two would face off in front of a packed house in the Georgiadome, with Goldberg ultimately picking up the win and the World Title after hitting his signature Spear and Jackhammer combination, becoming a dual champion as he also held the US Championship.
9 Hogan vs. Ric Flair (Bash at the Beach, July 17, 1994)
Upon making his debut with WCW, Hogan was immediately put into a title match with longtime staple of WCW, Ric Flair. The two would meet up at that year’s Bash at the Beach PPV in what would be Hogan’s WCW debut match. Hogan would beat Flair and go on to have the longest reign ever for the World Heavyweight Championship in WCW (15 months). The win would also signify the change in philosophy for WCW as Hogan would become the focal point of WCW programming over the next several years in one way or another, in favor of wrestlers like Flair and the Four Horsemen, Sting, and others.
8 WCW Debut (WCW Saturday Night, June 11, 1994)
In what many saw as the biggest coup in pro wrestling history, WCW made the announcement that wrestling superstar and former WWE Champion Hulk Hogan had agreed to join the promotion. It was the first shot of many showing the wrestling world that WCW was playing for keeps and willing to put up a fight against the WWE for wrestling supremacy. Hogan’s debut was something else as WCW held a tickertape parade in his honor at Universal Studios where he was greeted by “Mean” Gene Okerlund and his first WCW opponent, Ric Flair. The two would sign the contract to face each other at Bash at the Beach for Flair’s title and the rest would be history.
7 The Fingerpoke of Doom (Monday Nitro, January 4, 1999)
In one of the most shocking endings to a wrestling match, Goldberg would lose the World Heavyweight Title to Kevin Nash at Starrcade ’98 after being stunned with a cattle prod by Scott Hall. Nash would offer Goldberg a rematch at the next week’s Nitro inside the Georgiadome. Yet on that evening Goldberg would be arrested in the storyline and Hulk Hogan, who had “retired” a month prior, was selected to step in by Nash. The match would be over in less than a minute as the two would circle each other and Hogan would poke Nash in the chest, sending him to the mat. Hogan would pin him and they would reform as leaders of the NWO, much to the chagrin of the fans in attendance who covered the ring in garbage. This incident would be what many critics and fans would point to as the beginning of the end for WCW.
6 Inducted into WWE Hall of Fame (April 2, 2005)
After 25 years in the industry, Hulk Hogan would receive one of the most prestigious honors in wrestling, becoming a hall of famer. Headlining an induction class that included Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, and the Iron Sheik, Hogan would be inducted by longtime friend and Rocky III co-star Sylvester Stallone. The induction would also kick start a return to the ring for Hogan as he would appear the following night at Wrestlemania to save Eugene from Muhammad Hussan and Daivari, eventually feuding with them as part of a team with Shawn Michaels.
5 First Return to the WWE (Dec. 27, 1983)
After leaving the WWE due to a disagreement with Vince McMahon Sr. due to acting in Rocky III, Hulk Hogan left the WWE to work in Verne Gagne’s AWA promotion. It is here that Hogan would start his first run as a babyface, battling the likes of the Heenan Family. He would soon return to the WWE as Vince McMahon Jr. would purchase the WWE from his father and in looking to expand his territory, signed Hogan back to the WWE. He would return on for a TV taping and fight wrestler Bill Dixon, which Hogan would obviously defeat. This moment would epitomize the change in philosophy for the WWE as McMahon would push outward expanding his grasp on the wrestling world, done in part by grabbing up the best talent from opposing promoters and putting those wrestlers in the national spotlight, driving the territorial promoters out of the industry.
4 Hogan vs. the Rock (Wrestlemania X8, March 17, 2002)
When Vince McMahon brought back the original three members of the nWo in 2002, fans began to salivate at the idea of who the three men would face off against in numerous dream matchups. The one that came to mind most frequently was Hogan vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in what would have been a matchup between the WWE’s two biggest stars. Unfortunately the match would not come together as a finish could not be agreed upon between the two men and the next logical choice was made to have Hogan face off against the Rock in what was called an “Icon vs. Icon” match. Hogan would ask that there be no interference from Hall or Nash as he wanted to beat the Rock soundly. The two would have a fantastic match, with the heel Hogan surprisingly getting much of the crowd’s cheers. The Rock would ultimately win and Hogan would return to his classic yellow and red attire soon afterwards, ending his association with the nWo.
3 First WWE Title Win / Birth of Hulkamania (1984)
Shortly after coming back to the WWE from the AWA, Hogan was thrust into the main event scene, helping out WWE Champion Bob Backlund against the Wild Samoans and the Iron Sheik. When Backlund was injured in storyline after an attack from the Iron Sheik, who had recently beaten him for the title, Hogan was set as Backlund’s replacement in the title match. Hogan would escape from the Iron Sheik’s Camel Clutch and beat his opponent, earning his first world title and causing commentator Gorilla Monsoon to exclaim “Hulkamania is here!” Hogan’s star power would skyrocket after winning the belt, getting him featured on the covers of Sport’s Illustrated, TV Guide, and People Magazine along with a variety of TV appearances and his own Saturday Morning Cartoon show. Hulkamania would lead to many huge moments in wrestling history and create a boom in the business, which many call the Golden Era of pro wrestling.
2 Forming the nWo with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (Bash at the Beach, 1996)
After two years in WCW and being a babyface for almost 15 years, Hulk Hogan was part of one of the most shocking angles in wrestling history when he revealed himself to be the mystery partner of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in their tag match against Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage. After attacking Savage and revealing himself as the third member, Hulk would run down WCW and its fans in an interview with Gene Okerlund, saying that they did not appreciate all that he has done for them and was thus going to take over the wrestling world by force alongside Nash and Hall in the newly christened New World Order. The heel turn and formation of the group would end up being the catalyst for WCW to have an unprecedented run at the top of the wrestling ratings, leading to huge PPV buyrates and show attendance, and giving Hulk Hogan a much need rejuvenation to his career, which some were starting to see as stale at that point.
1 Slamming Andre the Giant (Wrestlemania III, 1987)
If there was ever a point cementing the legacy of Hulkamania, it was the match between Hogan and Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III. In front of a crowd of 93,173, Hogan squared off against his former friend Andre who had become jealous of the attention Hogan was getting for being undefeated for three years over Andre who was touted as being undefeated for 15 years. After going back and forth for 10 minutes, Hogan would go through his “Hulking up” routine and bodyslam the 500-pound giant to the jubilation of the crowd, before landing the big legdrop and pinning Andre to retain the title. “The Bodyslam heard around the world” as it was called is a Wrestlemania moment that will forever live on in the minds of wrestling fans and is truly the pinnacle of what Hulkamania was all about. It's still arguably the biggest WrestleMania moment in history and the most lasting image of Hogan's career.
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