As children, many professional wrestling fans who grew up during the 1980s and 1990s saw a man who could stand next to a mountain and chop it down with only the edge of his hand. They may have thrown in that he could make islands from those pieces. While Hogan didn’t really do any of the things in the “Voodoo Child” song he used as his theme about 10 years ago, there’s no exaggeration that he was unstoppable in his prime.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Hulk Hogan who would win the WWE Championship five times before winning another six world heavyweight titles during his time in World Championship Wrestling during the infamous Monday Night War. He would then win the WWE Undisputed Championship shortly after his return in 2002. His popularity surpassed professional wrestling and led to him being a star in pop culture. Hogan became an icon with his own cartoon shows, movie cameos and various products bought by fans.
But over the years, it was apparent that Hogan had a lot of power behind the scenes. He was rarely seen losing much during his prime years in the WWE and early in his WCW run. It turns out that he had a lot of say in what wrestlers would be able to go over against him, which were few and far between. In fact, one can say that his influence on story lines and plans prevented a number of talents from reaching their full potential.
The list of wrestlers who Hulk Hogan buried spans over the course of four decades, which might have built up enough karma to end his professional wrestling career. The following are the top 15 wrestlers that his decisions have negatively affected.
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15 Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels only finds himself at no.15 on this list because he did plenty to retaliate. Hulk Hogan was brought back in mid-2005 in somewhat of a retirement tour, having been inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier that year. His opponent was set to be Shawn Michaels, in a Legend vs. Icon encounter, that would see a series of matches with each claiming a victory over the other.
However, the way this feud was booked was entirely to benefit Hogan. Michaels wrote in his book Heartbreak & Triumph that Hogan requested the feud to be booked with Michaels as a heel, rather than the simple legend vs. legend card. “I was told, ‘Terry would prefer if it was classic heel vs. babyface…We want you like you were in ’98.’ You gotta be kidding me. That guy would eat him alive!” Apparently Hogan was concerned over getting a mixed crowd reaction and wanted to ensure HBK would be the one getting booed.
What ensued was Hogan backing out of the planned rematch and Hogan getting the win at SummerSlam. In retaliation, Michaels oversold every move in the match, and it was his way of protesting the fact that despite doing the best work of his career, he had to lose to a nostalgia act like Hogan.
John Tenta was known by a lot of different names during his professional wrestling career. However, many fans may know him best as Earthquake during the early 1990s. The biggest peak of his career was when he feuded with Hulk Hogan in 1990 when Tenta’s character hit his signature splash multiple times to write Hogan off for a bit until SummerSlam 1990. Hogan would get a count out victory over Earthquake before the two would meet each other at the end of the 1991 Royal Rumble, which Hogan would win again.
After that, Earthquake’s main event push in the company ended and he would eventually settle for a short stint at WWE World Tag Team Champions with Typhoon. It’s a shame because Earthquake could have been a dominant heavyweight who earned the Most Hated Wrestler award from Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1990. Earthquake would never make the same impact after that.
13 Rick Rude
There is belief that Hulk Hogan was not interested in facing “Ravishing” Rick Rude for a lengthy run in WWE during the late 1980s because Hogan was more interested in facing guys like the earlier mentioned John Tenta or Macho Man Randy Savage. Because he was filming multiple movies at the time, Hogan was not available on a full-time schedule while holding the WWE Championship.
The two actually did face each other at smaller WWE shows for the championship, but Hogan was always the winner in those events. They were short feuds with rumors going around that Hogan considered Rude beneath other superstars like Savage and Tenta. There was also a rumor that Hogan didn’t like how Rude was more defined than Hogan. Word also went around that Rude’s background as a bouncer would have helped him be able to take down Hogan in a real fight. Rude did win his share of gold, but was never able to become the top man in the WWE.
There was a time when Vader was a top man in WCW during the 1990s. He held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions and he was booked very strongly during that time. He was even named the Wrestler of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1993, but Vader was unable to defeat Hogan for the championship, which caused his status as a main event talent to take a hit.
He would have to make the jump to WWE to have a new life in the world of professional wrestling. He had some good rivalries against Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, but he still mostly spent time on the mid-card level before he left for wrestling in Japan. There are many fans who felt that Hogan might have negatively affected Vader’s status as an unstoppable monster in the U.S., which affected his ability to be a main event heel in America.
11 Bobby Roode
There was a time when Hulk Hogan had some creative input when it came to how things went at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Back in 2011, Bobby Roode was booked to be in the main event against Kurt Angle for the company’s big event, Bound for Glory. Before the event, Hogan was doing a radio interview in which he didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about the younger Roode.
Hogan stated that Roode wasn’t the next guy and was going to have his clock cleaned by Angle in terms of performance. At the pay-per-view days later, Roode would lose the championship match to Angle. A number of wrestlers in TNA chimed in their dislike for Hogan’s comments. He would later clarify that Roode would be a much better heel than a face in TNA. Roode eventually would become TNA World Heavyweight Champion a few months later, but didn’t get that moment at TNA’s big event.
10 Randy Orton
Back in 2006, Randy Orton was developing into quite a big star in the WWE. He was attacking a number of past superstars and was calling himself the Legend Killer. This would lead to Orton actually going into a match with Hulk Hogan for a match at SummerSlam in 2006. One would have thought this would be a perfect time for Hogan to finally put over a young star who was poised to make a big run that year.
Instead, Hogan would get the win over Orton in a match that Hogan claims was the match of the night. He even stated that fans were dead until their match and then went back to silence the rest of the night. There is also some belief that Orton was not on good terms with officials because of backstage issues, which may have led to losing to Hogan in that pay-per-view match.
While he might not have truly hailed from the Land of the Rising Sun, Yokozuna was definitely one of the largest to ever compete in professional wrestling. In fact, he weighed a little more than 580 pounds during the height of his wrestling career. He quickly squashed, literally, the competition before he won his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania IX over Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, only to drop the belt to Hogan minutes later.
A lot of wrestling fans didn’t like how Yokozuna was booked to lose the championship only minutes after winning it. It turns out that Hogan was returning to the WWE and was hoping to reclaim his spot back in the company. It took several months, but Yokozuna would finally get his revenge at the 1993 King of the Ring, when he got the win over Hogan before going on a lengthy run as champion. It made up for Hogan burying Yokozuna’s first championship win.
8 Ultimate Warrior
Granted, Hulk Hogan actually stayed down for a three-count to allow The Ultimate Warrior to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania VI, but Hogan would get the last laugh because it turns out that Hogan was part of the creative planning to have Warrior drop the belt to Sgt. Slaughter – who had adopted an Iraqi-sympathizer gimmick. This would set up a championship match at WrestleMania VII wherein Hogan defeated Slaughter.
On top of that, Hogan was the first (and only) target Warrior had when he left WWE for WCW in 1998. The botched fireball incident only hampered the match further, although it was already a match doomed from the start. The feud led to three matches involving Warrior and things only got worse. Warrior would leave and he definitely held a grudge against Hogan over the years – as seen on his YouTube channel.
7 “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
Curt Hennig was not always known as “Mr. Perfect” in the WWE. In fact, he had a brief stint early in the 1980s before making his return with the well-known moniker in 1988. Hennig was booked as an egotistical superstar who liked to brag about how athletic he was. It led to him having an undefeated streak that lasted for more than a year, which included him winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
The feud included his manager, Lanny Poffo, known as The Genius, helping him destroying Hogan’s WWE Champioship belt in November 1989. Hogan and Hennig would meet as the final two competitors in the 1990 Royal Rumble, with Hogan getting the win. Since then, Hennig fell down the match card. Mr. Perfect never got another shot at the main event spotlight for either WWE or WCW. There are some who felt that Hogan was once again not interested in facing off with Hennig for a world championship match.
6 Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper will likely be known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers who has never won a world heavyweight championship. During his time in the WWE during the 1980s, he was just as much a main event superstar as Hulk Hogan. In fact, they were part of the initial WrestleMania main event in a tag team match. However, Hogan was always getting the better of Piper and keeping “Hot Rod” from winning the top title.
Piper would go to WCW and earn a non-title victory over Hogan, but he was never able to win the big championship match against his oldest rival. The two had several matches with Piper getting a few wins here and there, but Hogan was always able to keep himself booked higher than Piper because of what many considered a “creative control.” It’s a shame for Piper, one of wrestling’s greatest heels, never to have won a world title.
5 Jake “The Snake” Roberts
When talking about some of the best speakers in wrestling history, Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ name belongs in the top-tier of the discussion. He was a great heel during the 1980s and was even considered for a feud against Hogan. The two did a segment that included Roberts hitting Hogan with the signature DDT to set up a pay-per-view match for Hogan’s WWE Championship. However, the match actually never happened.
Apparently, Hogan didn’t like it when the fans were cheering for Roberts after the segment. There were also some concerns with whether Roberts could be a championship contender and that the match wouldn’t draw money. However, Hogan has since said that he was wrong for that type of thinking. This would lead to a creative change with Roberts being turned into a face in a feud with The Honky Tonk Man. Hogan would then go on to face Kamala in a short-lived feud that would also bury another talent.
4 Bret Hart
Bret “The Hitman” Hart once called himself “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” While most professional wrestling fans would agree to that testament, there was a time when at least one person didn’t quite agree with that. Apparently, Hogan didn’t want to put Hart over in a championship match. This would eventually lead to a very weird way of Hogan getting the championship over the fan-favorite Hart, while still being booked as a face.
Yokozuna would defeat Hart for the championship with Hogan making a save after the match and then pinning the sumo superstar for the championship in a match that took less than 30 seconds. The ending was booked as a last-minute change, with Hart stating that he was informed of the change from Vince McMahon. Since then, Hart’s opinion on Hogan has never been a positive one, especially since Hart didn’t seem to like the smile with which Hogan approached Hart backstage shortly after word got out about the booking change.
You've gotta hand it to Hogan. Even in putting a top babyface over, he found a way to bury him.
One of the big matches that fans were looking forward to in WCW was a match between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Sting for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. However, the match didn’t have a clean ending with controversy over whether a pinfall on Hogan was counted too fast and led to Bret Hart restarting the match. Sting would get the submission win, but the championship was vacated later that week on WCW television.
There were a lot of wrestling fans who claimed that Hogan was the one who made the choice to change the decision. That is partly true because Eric Bischoff spoke on an episode of Ric Flair’s podcast about the situation. It turns out that both Hogan and Bischoff felt that Sting wasn’t “in shape” at the time and felt it wasn’t the right decision to have Sting carry the gold. It was quite a disappointing result since a lot of time was spent building up the match.
2 “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Randy Savage was one of the best men who could talk during the 1980s and 1990s and was just as charismatic, if not more so, than Hulk Hogan was. The two formed a memorable tag team known as the Mega Powers, but Savage was never able to get a pinfall victory over Hogan during the rivalry that spanned from WWE to WCW. In fact, Savage’s last two reigns as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion were ended by Hogan, each about 24 hours after Savage won the title.
After losing the championship to Hogan in 1999, Savage would slowly fade away from the spotlight before leaving wrestling on a full-time basis. The two obviously had some personal issues between each other that lingered after both had competed in WCW. Savage moved on after wrestling before he unfortunately passed away, but Hogan claims the two had settled their differences before he died.
1 Hulk Hogan, Himself
There have been a lot of talented professional wrestlers who have been buried by Hulk Hogan, and many more with whom he refused to work in an effort to keep himself at the top of the industry’s mountain. However, Hogan’s decisions and opinion would actually cause him to fall from the top of that mountain. In 2015, audio of Hogan using racial slurs from 2007 began to surface in the news.
While he apologized for the comments and claimed that he resigned from WWE, the company terminated the Legends contract they had with him. Not only that, Hogan’s name was taken off the website and the company did as much as they could to distance themselves from Hogan. In a sense, Hogan led to his own career’s funeral. While he has been off wrestling television since then, he has won a lawsuit against Gawker Media for the release of the tape that had the racial comments he made.
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