July 7, 1996 is a day that will live in infamy amongst wrestling fans. It was the date of WCW’s third annual Bash at the Beach pay-per-view and more importantly it was the date that Hulk Hogan became Hollywood Hogan. The world’s biggest wrestling star shocked the world by turning heel and joining The Outsiders to form the New World Order. The world of wrestling would be flipped on its head and the nWo would become arguably the most infamous wrestling faction in history.
Through its many incarnations the nWo had many, many members. There was the original nWo, NWO Wolfpac, nWo Hollywood, nWo Elite, and the nWo B-Team, not to mention the Japan and WWE versions. If you said the name of any WCW wrestler from the late 1990s, there’s probably a 50% chance that he was in the nWo at some point. Overall, there were 62 members of this stable and many of them had a direct relationship with Hogan. Whether it be as a long-time friend, a frequent opponent, or as a frenemy; most of the other members of the nWo had some sort of dealings with Hogan that go beyond the wrestling ring. Who did Hogan refuse to wrestle? Who once threatened Hogan’s entire family? We will explore some of those relationships including their origins and their significance to the wrestling industry. Here are the top 20 things you didn’t know about Hulk Hogan’s relationships with nWo members.
20 Miss Elizabeth No-Sold A Hogan Bump Because She Wasn’t Wearing Panties
After a nearly sux month absence from WCW TV, Hogan made his return in February 2000 and was involved in a feud with Lex Luger who was managed by Miss Elizabeth. While cutting a promo, Elizabeth snuck up from behind Hogan and was about to hit him with a baseball bat. However, Hogan was able to wrestle the bat away and delivered an atomic drop to Elizabeth. But Miss Elizabeth channeled her inner-“Hulking Up” and no-sold the move not because she was sticking it to Hogan, but rather because she had no panties on under her skirt!
Instead of selling the atomic drop, Liz simply rolled out of the ring as fast as she could so she wouldn’t be exposed while lying on the canvas. Hogan revealed that while calling in to Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show the following week. With the way WCW’s ratings were at that time, Liz could have been the one who shifted viewership from WWE back to WCW, the FCC be damned!
19 Hogan Gave His Booking Power To Kevin Nash
Let’s go back to the 1990s when instead of having one central voice (McMahon) calling the shots; in WCW the bookers were the wrestlers themselves. Dusty Rhodes, Ole Anderson, and Ric Flair were all head bookers in WCW at one point but they would eventually cede power to Hogan and Kevin Nash. The two, along with Eric Bischoff, were the driving forces behind the conception and execution of the Outsiders and later, the nWo. Often times when two wrestlers have creative control in their contracts, they butt heads and never seem to get along (ex: Hart and Michaels).
But Hogan apparently had such a great relationship with Nash that he eventually gave up his booking power to Nash who then had full authority from the end of 1998 through 2000. Think about this: Hogan wouldn’t let Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels go over him, but he allowed Nash to book him in any which way he saw fit. That’s friendship.
18 Dennis Rodman Won Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling
Many times when a celebrity has a wrestling appearance it’s usually a one-and-done deal. Have you seen Lawrence Taylor in the WWE since his match at Wrestlemania XI? What about Jay Leno in WCW after Road Wild? However, Dennis Rodman made multiple appearances in a wrestling ring and nearly all of them were alongside his friend, Hulk Hogan. The Worm joined the nWo in 1997 and his first match was at Bash at the Beach where he teamed with Hogan against Lex Luger and the Giant. The next year he again teamed with Hogan vs. Karl Malone and Diamond Dallas Page.
In between Rodman also appeared on multiple Nitros decked out in the black and white of the nWo. Long after Rodman’s basketball career was over (and long after WCW folded); Rodman participated in Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling on CMT. Rodman “won” the reality TV competition and was deemed the best celebrity wrestler. Thankfully, the show lasted just one season.
17 Hogan Called Curt Hennig The Best Wrestler Ever
Hogan and Hennig were frequent foes in the late 1980s and Hogan was the first person to ever pin Mr. Perfect in a televised match. While Hogan stayed at the main event-level for his entire career, Hennig slid down to the mid-card and was one of the best workers of his era. Hennig’s mid-card status was further exemplified when he was placed in the nWo B-Team in 1999 while Hogan was in the nWo Elite. After a decade apart, the two would be reunited in the ring at a WCW Thunder show in 1999 where Hogan emerged victorious. Hogan would then again defeat Hennig in the short-lived XWF after the WWE bought out WCW.
Even though their matches weren’t classics like Hogan-Savage or Hennig-Hart, Hogan always had an admiration for Hennig and thought he lived up to his gimmick of being perfect in the ring. In a home video released after Hennig’s death, Hogan said this about his former foe: "Everybody would check their egos at the door when they came to a building that Curt Hennig was in, because you couldn't out-work him, you couldn't outshine him and you couldn't out-perform him. He was the best of the best."
16 Scott Steiner Was Banned From Attending The WWE Hall Of Fame After Accosting Hogan’s Wife
Steiner and Hogan’s wife, Jennifer, happened to bump into each other in a San Jose airport as both were in town for the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony prior to WrestleMania 31. Hogan was to induct long-time friend and adversary, Randy Savage, in the HOF but Steiner thought that Savage wouldn’t have wanted Hogan to have that honor. That prompted Steiner to allegedly accost Jennifer in the airport and told her that Hogan inducting Savage was BS and that he (Steiner) would kill Hogan. Jennifer immediately notified Hogan about the exchange and Hogan then notified the WWE who then banned Steiner from attending the ceremony.
Afterwards, Steiner admitted to telling Jennifer that Hogan shouldn’t be inducting the Macho Man but he also claims that he never threatened to kill Hogan. Regardless, don’t expect Hogan to be in attendance if (and it’s a huge if at this point) the Steiner Brothers ever get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
15 Lex Luger Went Over Hogan In Boston To Steal The Northeast From WWE
Ever since the 1960s the WWE has owned the northeast. WCW and before that, the NWA, was seen as mainly a southern promotion and had difficulty penetrating the large media markets of the northeast. Eric Bischoff sought to change that so on June 9, 1997 he put a PPV quality match on regular TV as WCW’s Nitro was live in Boston. In a strategic move, Bischoff had what would normally have been the main event of Lex Luger vs. Hulk Hogan start right before WWE’s Raw was set to air. With Nitro starting an hour before Raw came on the air, he was able to grab the viewers’ full attention and prevent them from switching over to Raw.
It ended up working as Nitro had a 3.4 rating for the night compared to Raw’s 2.2 rating. Other Hogan-Luger matches undoubtedly get a higher profile, but this one was critical in the Monday Night Wars.
14 Eric Bischoff And Hogan Were A Packaged Deal In TNA
After parting ways with WWE in 2006, Hogan spent three years out of the spotlight before agreeing to join TNA in 2009. But not only was Hogan joining TNA, but his longtime friend or former boss, Eric Bischoff, also signed in on a packaged deal with the company. In fact, Bischoff negotiated the terms of Hogan’s deal with TNA through his Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment company. You get the feeling that if TNA wanted to hire Hogan, then they had to hire Bischoff as well and just as Hogan had gotten Jimmy Hart, Ed Leslie and others countless jobs before; he also got Bischoff a role within TNA. Hogan joined as a wrestler while Bischoff joined as an executive producer.
While Hogan would eventually leave TNA once his contract expired; Bischoff was actually sent home by TNA for the remaining three months of his contract and he later sued the company for unpaid wages.
13 Hogan Refused To Wrestle Rick Rude
Rick Rude had one of the most memorable gimmicks of all-time despite spending a relatively short amount of time in the major promotions. He wrestled in WWE from 1987-1990 and then WCW from 1991 before retiring in 1994. Hogan joined WCW right after Rude retired but even though they were together in WWE for three years, they never had a feud despite Hogan being the top babyface and Rude being one of the top heels. Even though Hogan was a main-eventer, he often fought against mid-tier guys like Mr. Perfect and Roddy Piper, but legend has it he wanted no part of the ravishing one.
Rude was a legitimate tough guy despite his pretty-boy gimmick and Hogan was allegedly scared to step into the ring with him. Ric Flair once said in an interview that Hogan called Rude ‘The Tasmanian Devil’ and refused to work with Rude after he roughed up Ultimate Warrior in the ring after Warrior made disparaging remarks about Rude. Rude was also a former arm wrestling champ who supposedly had a vice-like grip that could be felt while locked up with him.
12 Hogan Said Dusty Rhodes Was His Greatest Wrestling Inspiration
Many of today’s wrestlers grew up as Hulk Hogan fans but who did Hulk Hogan look up to when he was a youngster? Well before Hogan modeled his look after Superstar Billy Graham, he was a fan of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and used to sneak into the Tampa Sportatorium just to watch Rhodes in action. Hogan says watching Rhodes as a kid inspired him to become a professional wrestler and that his dream was to have a match with Rhodes. After a couple of years in the business, Hogan finally got his chance while wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling in the early 1980s.
Many may look at Rhodes and be surprised that a bodybuilding-surfer like Hogan would idolize the Common Man that Rhodes was, but it was the charisma and mic skills that drew Hogan to Rhodes. They were two of the best talkers of their respective eras and it’s clear that Hogan learned a thing or two from watching and listening to The American Dream.
11 Randy Savage Thought That Miss Elizabeth Was Cheating On Him With Hogan
Just as intense as Savage appeared in the ring and in promos, he was apparently just as paranoid outside of the ring when it came to his marriage to Miss Elizabeth. Various wrestlers have confirmed that Savage was super overly-protective of Liz and would even lock her in the dressing room while he was wrestling so other wrestlers wouldn’t fool around with her. Towards the end of the Mega Powers tag team he had with Hulk Hogan, Savage thought that Hogan (and Hogan’s then-wife, Linda) had too much influence over Liz and that they convinced her to leave Savage.
Liz and Savage would divorce in 1992 and Savage would hold a grudge with Hogan thereafter. The two would put aside any personal differences to work together in WCW for a number of years, but Savage’s paranoia about Liz and Hogan likely led to the end of his marriage.
10 Scott Hall Was First Pushed As The Next Hogan
In the early 1980s Hulk Hogan’s popularity began to rise as he was a star in the American Wrestling Association which was run by Verne Gagne in Minnesota. In 1982 Rocky III would be released and Hogan’s star power would grow exponentially which paved the way for him to leave the AWA and join the then-WWE as its headline attraction. Two years later a similarly-sized wrestler by the name of Magnum Scott Hall made his debut in the AWA and Gagne thought his look, mic skills, and ring skills could make him the next Hulk Hogan. Hall even grew a handle-bar mustache like the Hulkster but could never muster the popularity that Hogan did while he was running wild in the WWE.
After initially teaming with Curt Hennig, Hall would then go solo in the AWA but his run in the company wouldn’t last long and he left for the NWA in the late 1980s. Losing Hall was a big blow to the AWA who would fold just one year later.
9 Ted DiBiase Didn’t Want To Be Hogan’s “Virgil” In The NWO
After nearly a decade battling the likes of Hogan in WWE, DiBiase joined WCW in 1996 and quickly became the fourth member of the nWo. Though he was no longer an active wrestler, DiBiase was billed as the financial supporter of the group which played off his Million Dollar Man gimmick. However, his role as the manager of the nWo would soon become obsolete once Eric Bischoff made his heel turn and became the stable’s de-facto manager and mouthpiece. DiBiase was furious that Bischoff took over the role that was originally created for him so he decided to tell Bischoff exactly how he felt.
In a later interview with Wrestling101.com, DiBiase said he told Bischoff that he’s not going to play the role of “Virgil” for Hulk Hogan each week and just be his on-screen assistant and lackey while Bischoff took the role intended for him. As someone who was one of the most respected people in the business (and also the owner of a guaranteed contract), DiBiase had the power to say that to his boss and it worked. No, DiBiase didn’t regain his original role within the nWo, but he did get paid to sit at home for a couple of years.
8 Hogan Sued WCW Over Angle With Jeff Jarrett And Vince Russo
By 2000 Vince Russo was WCW’s head booker but Hogan still had a creative control clause in his contract which allowed him to override Russo. Hogan and then-champion Jeff Jarrett were to face off at a Bash at the Beach PPV and Hogan used his creative control to reverse Russo’s finish of the match which had Jarrett winning. Russo then, on camera, instructed Jarrett to simply lie down in the ring and Hogan pinned him by placing his foot over Jarrett’s chest. That part of the event was reportedly a worked-shoot but what happened afterwards was not planned.
Later in the show Russo came out to nullify Hogan’s victory and publicly fired Hogan who never appeared on WCW TV again. Hogan would then file a defamation of character lawsuit against Russo which would be dismissed in court. Russo was never a part of the nWo but Jarrett was and he was used as a pawn in Russo’s scheme to publicly humiliate Hulk Hogan.
7 Ed Leslie Was Billed As Hogan’s Brother In First Gimmick
For every Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, you need a Charles Oakley or Eddie Mio and the wrestling version of these BFFs is Hulk Hogan and Ed Leslie. Hogan was the biggest name in the business and wherever you saw Hogan, you were sure to see Leslie AKA Brutus Beefcake AKA The Zodiac AKA the man with 1000 gimmicks. The two best friends wrestled with and against each other for over 30 years but they got their start in 1977 as they wrestled all over from Alabama to Florida to Memphis. The two were known as the Boulder Brothers and had similar long blond hair though Leslie’s physique wasn’t quite on par with Hogan’s. After Hogan changed his wrestling name from Terry Boulder to Hulk Hogan, Leslie then became “Dizzy Hogan” and were again billed as brothers.
Who knew that this change of gimmicks would become a frequent occurrence for Leslie who went by everything from The Booty Man to Brother Bruti to finally The Disciple during his short stint in the nWo?
6 Hogan Was Worried Sting Would Take His Top Spot If He Joined The WWE
During the late 1980s/early 1990s, perhaps the two biggest names in wrestling were Hulk Hogan and Sting. Hogan was the biggest thing in the sport for WWE while Sting was The Franchise for WCW. According to Hogan, Vince McMahon proposed to him that the company go after Sting so he and Hogan could have a feud together in the WWE. Hogan thought it was a good idea but also admitted to thinking, “Wait, Sting could take my top spot!” That quote is, partly, in jest but it shows you the respect that Hogan had for the Stinger.
Later when Sting was being inducted into TNA’s Hall of Fame, Hogan said that Sting was the most loyal person in the wrestling business and closed with this quote about Sting: “As things keep hitting me [in my life] I look to Sting. Solid, loyal, honest. If I can end up on the pedestal he is on, that's who I wanna be at the end of the day.”
5 Hogan Took Liberties While Beating David Flair With Belt
Ric Flair’s oldest son had quite a memorable wrestling debut for more than one reason. His first WCW match came as a 19-year-old at Souled Out when he teamed with his father against the nWo’s Curt Hennig and Barry Windham. After the Flairs won the match the entire nWo came out, handcuffed Ric, and beat down David. Hogan took off his belt and whipped David all across his back and stomach while his dad looked on. According to Ric’s autobiography, Hogan whipped David far more times than what was originally planned and with much more force.
Ric believed that Hogan took liberties with the rookie Flair and Ric said that he would never forgive Hogan for his actions. David would forgive Hogan (in kayfabe) as just one month later he turned on his father and joined Hogan in the nWo.
4 Hogan Recommended Big Show To WCW After Seeing Him Play Basketball
Paul Wight AKA The Giant AKA The Big Show was a basketball player in college at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. After college he was working odd jobs including answering phone calls for a karaoke company. It was there where he met actor Danny Bonaduce who then introduced him to his friend, Hulk Hogan. Hogan invited the Big Show to a promotional basketball game that some WCW wrestlers were having in Chicago and Hogan liked how the Big Show worked the crowd during the game. Hogan saw potential in the big man and recommended him to Eric Bischoff for a WCW Power Plant tryout. As soon as Bischoff saw the 7’1” 22-year-old walk thru the door he knew that he potentially had something special and the Big Show would go on to a 20+ year career that is still going strong today.
It’s one thing for Hogan to spot someone’s athletic ability and think that they could transfer that over to the squared circle, but Hogan noticed Show’s charisma in a pick-up game which isn’t easy to do. Hogan and Show remain close to this day and Show was one of the few wrestlers who appeared in Hogan’s TV show, Hogan Knows Best.
3 Hogan’s Racist Scandal Caused Dusty Rhodes' Animated Scenes In A Movie To Be Edited Out
In 2015 WWE Studios was producing an animated Scooby-Doo film that featured many current and past superstars with voice roles including The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, and Dusty Rhodes. However, in July of that year a controversial audio tape of Hogan using racist language became public and the WWE responded by severing all ties with Hogan. That meant that the producers of the film then had to edit out several scenes that featured Hogan who had a large role in the film. Many of those scenes with Hogan also involved Rhodes who also had several scenes cut from the film.
In the final version of the film, Hogan was completely edited out while Rhodes only had a few scenes remaining. Rhodes also had to re-do several of the scenes which no longer featured Hogan. The film was released in the summer of 2016 and about one year after Rhodes passed away from cancer.
2 Eric Bischoff Used Ric Flair To Recruit Hogan To WCW
Long before the Golden State Warriors used Steph Curry to help recruit Kevin Durant; WCW used Ric Flair to help recruit Hulk Hogan. After Hogan left WWE in 1993 and was a free agent, he took time off to film Thunder in Paradise at Disney World in Orlando. WCW also happened to shoot its TV programming in Orlando and they put the full-court recruiting press on Hogan to sign with them. Ric Flair later said in an interview that he and Eric Bischoff took a two-hour drive to the filming set and visited Hogan in his trailer.
After an hour-and-a-half of discussions, Hogan agreed to join WCW after Flair said he’d be willing to allow Hogan to go over. That was the first time Hogan and Bischoff had met face-to-face and it started a friendship and partnership that is still going strong nearly 25 years later.
1 Randy Savage Made Peace With Hogan Shortly Before His Death
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were perhaps the best frenemies in professional wrestling. Their history together stretched for 25 years from when they first faced each other in the squared circle in 1986 up until Savage’s death in 2011. As a tag team, they were known as the Mega Powers in WWE but broke up in a scene of art-possibly-imitating-life as Savage accused Hogan of trying to steal his wife, Miss Elizabeth, from him. They were able to patch things up in WCW and Hogan actually got Savage a job with the company and the two would also team up in the nWo.
However, there was a fallout at some point afterwards as the two were no longer on speaking terms and Savage even released a rap-diss track aimed at Hogan in 2003. Years later, according to Hogan, they ran into each other at the hospital and made amends. Savage’s brother, The Genius, also confirmed that the two were on good terms before Savage died in 2011.