Terry Gene Bollea was born on August 11, 1953 in Augusta, Georgia. After 24 years as a baseball prospect, rock bassist, gym rat, and wrestling fan, Bollea finally got his first wrestling break in 1977. 39 years later, the man now known as Hulk Hogan has wrestled for the WWE (in several stints), NJPW, AWA, WCW and TNA, and is a 12-time world champion, a six-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
This is no coincidence, as Hogan is one of the most skilled, charismatic, and popular wrestlers in the history of the sport. Because of this, he was also given a considerable amount of power in his prime and thereafter, including general sway as well as creative control and “most favored nation” clauses in his contracts.
How much Hulk actually got to use these powers is up for debate – and what a long debate it has been. The man himself claims he only flexed his muscles (metaphorically, of course) a couple times, but the amount of information from other wrestlers and others in the industry, and the rumors that came out of every promotion and everyone who ever interacted with Hogan, could fill an arena to the rafters.
Although some of the points below might not be 100% accurate, they also didn’t come out of thin air either. What we attempted to accomplish here, is a list of every time Hogan allegedly refused to lose, take part in a certain match, face a specific wrestler, or yield to the creative powers behind the various promotions in any way. These are the top 20 times Hulk Hogan refused to do a job.
20. Losing to Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Hulk Hogan was quite popular back in the ‘80s as a babyface, but in 1986 it was a heel who captivated audiences: Jake “The Snake” Roberts. So logically, it was decided that the two would have to meet in a feud. When the “Snake Pit” segment was shot, the two had a scripted argument, followed by Roberts taking down Hogan with a DDT. But then an interesting thing happened: the crowd cheered.
The segment was subsequently cut short during airing, and the final attack was completely omitted. Apparently Hulk didn’t take too kindly to a heel getting more applause than he did, and he was worried Roberts would soon turn face and become more popular than him. Hulk even admitted he was against the feud because he didn’t think it would be prosperous, and also later confessed in hindsight that he was wrong. After getting cheered against Randy Savage in a later fight, Roberts eventually turned babyface anyway.
19. Facing “Ravishing” Rick Rude
If a wrestler competed in the 1980s, 1990s, or 2000s, chances are he crossed paths with Hulk Hogan at some point. Except for Rick Rude. According to Ric Flair, while Hogan and Rude were both in the WCW, the former referred to the latter as “The Tasmanian Devil” behind his back, and refused to ever wrestle him. This is due to the fact that Rude was so strong, he was known to knock out opponents with a single open-handed slap, and also had a crazy strong grip. Since Hogan was so obsessed with not losing and always looking good, he wouldn’t possibly risk a mishap occurring at the hands of Mr. Rude – literally.
18. Losing to “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
Curt Hennig is widely regarded as one of the best wrestlers of all time – as both a babyface and a heel. After some up-and-downs in the mid-80s, Mr. Perfect found his footing in the later part of the decade, and ended up being one of the final two competitors in the 1990 Royal Rumble, alongside Hulk Hogan. Hennig lost, and apparently Hogan never even entertained the idea of losing to him, despite Hennig’s immense popularity at the time (even though the feelings related to him were almost universally negative). Hennig dropped in status with the WWE, but eventually became one of the best Intercontinental Championship winners ever, and a popular figure as one of WCW’s Four Horsemen, while Hogan went on to face the next round of generic monster heels.
17. Facing Randy Savage at WrestleMania II
Sometimes with Hulk Hogan, it wasn’t even about losing. He apparently just flat-out refused to face certain wrestlers in some instances. Such was the case with Randy Savage, whom the Hulkster was allegedly set to face at WrestleMania II back in 1986. At the time, Hulk was defending his WWE World Heavyweight belt, so it would have been understandable if he didn’t want to give that up – but this was a case where Savage would have lost anyway.
Still, unwilling to share the spotlight with another of the promotion’s most popular wrestlers, Hogan vetoed the idea and instead opted to face King Kong Bundy in a disappointing match-up that wasn’t terrible, but also wasn’t worthy of main event status.
16. Losing to “Macho Man” Randy Savage
If Hulk Hogan wouldn’t face Randy Savage, he certainly wouldn’t lose to him, which is why getting Savage the belt took Hogan losing it to Andre the Giant under dubious circumstances on The Main Event (and the title going up for grabs after Andre tried to sell it to Ted DiBiase) and then both wrestlers getting disqualified in the WrestleMania IV rematch, and Savage later winning it against DiBiase – with a little help from Hogan, of course.
Even with Savage as the champ, Hogan still shared the spotlight as part of The Mega Powers (while the Hulkster also filmed No Holds Barred on the side), before eventually winning the World Heavyweight Title back from Savage at WrestleMania V. Allegedly, Hogan would only agree to let Savage have the title this way, and under the condition that he eventually got it back, which took an awful lot of extra work. But at least Hogan learned to share a little.
15. Rematch with “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Of course, after the back-and-forth between Hogan and Savage, fans would no doubt want to see the two wrestling legends face each other when they met in the WCW in 1995 – but that never occurred, as Hogan apparently insisted on teaming with Macho Man instead, in a match against Kevin Sullivan and his Three Faces of Fear. Another opportunity for a gargantuan match that would likely be an instant classic, another nix by the Hulkster. This comes as no surprise though, considering Hogan apparently also shot down the idea of a rematch between the two way back at SummerSlam 1989.
14. Losing to Ric Flair
As soon as Ric Flair joined the WWE, fans began pining for a Nature Boy vs. Hogan bout, and it seemed like WrestleMania VIII would be the perfect venue. It didn’t happen. A few years later, Flair left for WCW, with Hogan following soon after (allegedly at Flair’s insistence). A plan was hatched that would see Hulk and Flair face off three times: a Hulk victory, then a Flair victory, and finally Hogan would win back the belt. However, after only one match (Bash at the Beach 1994), Hogan decided that the fans weren’t ready to for him to drop the title just yet, and used his WCW creative control clause to nix the next loss.
Five years later, Flair would finally and rightfully get his victory over the Hulkster at Uncensored 1999, albeit under shady fast count circumstances. Of course.
13. Facing Big Van Vader
After Starrcade 1994 ended with Vader interrupting Hogan’s victory promo backstage, the stage seemed to be set for a big feud in 1995. At Clash of the Champions XXX the two finally met after the final match concluded, and Vader landed a powerbomb on Hogan, which would have been the perfect ending. But oddly and awkwardly, Hogan jumped up and chased him out. In retrospect, this tit-for-tat probably should have been a warning sign. SuperBrawl V and Uncensored 1995 came and went, with both ending via Ric Flair interference, and the needle on the Hogan/Vader rivalry didn’t move an inch.
The least eventful match, the Bash at the Beach cage match, was the only one with a clear outcome: Hogan won by escaping the cage. Great. The feud fizzled at this point, because Hogan made it clear he had no intention of ever legitimately losing to Vader, and Vader refused to lose against Hogan again. Both also accused each other of not selling their matches enough as well.
12. Rematch with The Ultimate Warrior (in WWE)
Hogan famously lost to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI (in a clean 1-2-3 win with no gimmicks, surprisingly), and after Hogan bested Sgt. Slaughter the next year at WrestleMania VII (Hogan allegedly asked the powers-that-be to have Slaughter beat the Ultimate Warrior so he could beat the big, bad Slaughter himself), it was proposed that Hogan have a rematch with Warrior at SummerSlam ‘91. As expected, Hogan denied this request, and instead chose to tag-team with Warrior because he claimed it would be more entertaining for fans. Really? A tag-team would be more exciting than a rematch of a past smash hit event? Unsurprisingly, Hogan was wrong.
11. Losing to The Ultimate Warrior Again
Of course this wouldn’t be the end of the Hogan/Warrior rivalry. Warrior was eventually brought to the WCW in 1998 and competed in four matches, but even he acknowledged that the whole point of his hiring was to eventually lose to Hogan, who could avenge his WWE loss almost a decade later. This is what occurred, and it wasn’t pretty, as The Warrior lost to Hogan in a terrible match at Halloween Havoc. Regarded as one of the worst bouts ever, it was so bad that at one point Hogan accidentally set his face on fire. After one more match, The Warrior retired.
10. Returning to WWE Without a Title Match
Hogan never wanted to lose to Bret Hart. The Hulkster was one of wrestling’s giants, and he refused to pass the torch to the younger, smaller Hitman. When WrestleMania IX rolled around, Hart was the current champion, and was set to drop the belt to monster heel Yokozuna. Hogan was already set to return to the WWE and face Money Inc. However, when Hogan caught wind that the title was up for grabs, he shifted his focus, and some even claim Hulk refused to do any match that didn’t see him departing with the belt. Whatever the threat actually was, it worked, because Hogan left ‘Mania 9 as the champ.
9. Losing to Bret Hart
After WrestleMania IX, Hogan and Hart were soon being primed for a face vs. face match at SummerSlam 1993, where Hogan would pass the torch to a younger generation of wrestlers by dropping the title. However, Hogan still saw Hart as an inferior wrestler (even though he was likely more skilled and more popular at the time) and refused, instead opting to drop the belt to Yokozuna at the King of the Ring event, with Yoko later dropping it to Hart at WrestleMania X. It’s worth noting that even Hogan losing to Yokozuna wasn’t without its complications: the match was decided after Hulk was “blinded” by an exploding camera.
As a bonus, there’s also a long-standing rumor that the reason Hogan pulled out of the 1998 WCW Souled Out event was just to see the ratings drop and make Hart’s PPV debut a flop.
8. Turning Heel in the WCW
There’s a lot of speculation regarding the number of times Hulk Hogan officially exercised the “creative control” or “favored nation” clauses in any of his contracts, but at least one was confirmed, by former Executive Producer and President of WCW, Eric Bischoff, no less. During a podcast with Ric Flair, Bischoff said he proposed a heel turn to Hogan about six months after his WCW debut in the summer of 1994, only to have Hogan shoot him down. However, Hogan eventually relented, and turned during a stunning surprise appearance at 1996’s Bash at the Beach – which led to the formation of the New World Order.
7. Facing Sting at Starrcade 1994
Prior to the 1994 Starrcade pay-per-view event, the creative team at WCW suggested Hulk Hogan face Sting in what would surely be a highly-anticipated dream match. However, Hogan had recently recruited his allies (and real-life friends) Brutus Beefcake, Earthquake, and Typhoon to join WCW, and the Hulkster (using his creative control) decided he would rather have Beefcake turn heel – and change his name to “The Butcher” – and face-off against him in the Starrcade bout instead. As a result, the match-up wasn’t nearly as interesting or exciting, and the PPV was a total flop in the ratings as well as fans’ opinions.
6. Losing Cleanly to Sting at Starrcade 1997
Prior to Starrcade 1997, it was decided that Sting would lose to Hogan in an intentionally controversial fast count. However, Hogan allegedly spoke to the match’s referee before it started and instructed him to do a slow, legitimate count instead. This is what occurred, and it was clearly not the plan, as Bret Hart came out to contest the decision and attacked the ref for it. This would have made a lot more sense in the context of a fast count, but it instead just made Hart look like he was upset at the outcome in general. On top of all this, the crowd clearly wasn’t into the legit Sting loss, and began booing in protest.
5. Losing to Jeff Jarrett
The details of this one are still debated, but here’s what we know: Hulk Hogan was initially slated to lose to Jeff Jarrett (who would retain his WCW title) at Bash at the Beach 2000. Hogan allegedly had a last minute change of heart, and told Vince Russo about it. When the match occurred, at Russo’s orders, Jarrett simply laid down in the ring and allowed Hulk to pin him – which was followed by filmed “shoots” in which both wrestlers trashed each other and the company.
The story behind this incident had to do with Hogan not wanting to lose status just when his WCW contract was due to expire, but Russo later claimed that the whole thing (the last minute change, the shoots, etc.) was one big work. Was this true, or was it because Hogan simply didn’t want to lose to Jarrett? For what it’s worth, years later, Hulk, annoyed with WWE, almost joined TNA. However, when he was informed he’d have to put Jarrett over, Hogan backed out. Conveniently, he suddenly had an injured knee.
4. Usurping Steve Austin’s Title Shot
There was never really any legitimate beef between the two men who are arguably the most famous, popular, and successful wrestlers in the history of the sport, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin. Yet because of their starpower, the two tended to butt heads on business matters regarding the ring. At one point during Austin’s WCW run, he had the U.S. Championship, and was being lined up for a shot at Ric Flair’s World Title (and Flair was apparently down to put Austin over).
However, when Hogan joined WCW, he declined to appear in anything less than a title bout, and cut in line and went right for Flair. Austin, on the other hand, later got injured and released.
3. Losing to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The next time Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin were lined up to face each other was at WrestleMania X8, but Austin admittedly nixed that match. Allegedly, he had heard that Hogan already refused to lose the match – or any with Austin – right off the bat, which obviously didn’t sit well with Austin, and he bowed out before it ever occurred. Technically, the blame for this one is with both wrestlers, but in Austin’s defense, he only refused to participate after hearing the Hulkster had already refused to lose. Hogan instead faced The Rock at ‘Mania, with Austin besting Scott Hall in a separate bout.
2. Losing to Shawn Michaels
Although many fans feared it would never happen, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels finally faced each other at SummerSlam 2005, with much anticipation leading up to the match. The plan was for them to have two “Icon vs. Legend” bouts, with each wrestler winning one (leaving the possibility of a third match open), and Michaels pulling off a bit of a heel turn beforehand, at Hogan’s request – and much to Michaels’ dismay.
Making matters worse, Hogan informed WWE before SummerSlam that he would only be able to do one match, which he would, of course, win. The result was a bout that saw Michaels completely overselling Hogan’s moves to the point of hilarity, which made for a lame (and slightly insulting) but nevertheless memorable SummerSlam.
1. Losing to Randy Orton
During the period in which Randy Orton anointed himself the “Legend Killer,” he knocked off Jake Roberts, Ric Flair, Harley Race, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, and Shawn Michaels – and he set his sights on Hulk Hogan at Summerslam 2006. Of course Hogan – then 53 years old with bad knees and only one match to his name in the past year – would be no match for Orton, and that was the initial plan. Although allegedly Hogan only agreed to do it if WWE would promote his daughter Brooke’s new album. (Remember when that was a thing?)
However, when the match got closer, the Hulkster once again played his creative control card and pinned the 26-year-old rising star, 1-2-3. Fresh off a clearly deserved win, Hulk responded by leaving the company.
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