Hulk Hogan was a guest at our 2018 Nickel City Con event. To see this year’s lineup, click here.
Terry Bollea, better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American retired professional wrestler best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) from the mid 80s to early 90s where he revolutionized the industry. After a brief time away from the sport, he reinvented himself as a rule breaking heel in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the late 90s and declared himself ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, the leader of the renegade stable New World Order (nWo). Hogan is widely regarded as the greatest professional wrestler of all time and the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumbles (1990-1991). In total, he would become a 12-time world champion; six times with the WWF/WWE and another six with WCW.
Hogan acquired an interest in wrestling in high school. He went on to study at Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida. While he pursued his education, his interests remained in the ring and he never received his degree. Instead, he chose to devote his time to working out in a local gym owned by wrestlers Jack and Jerry Brisco.
In 1979, Bollea’s talent caught the attention of the WWF. Because of his massive physique (he stood 6 feet 8 inches, and weighed 303 pounds) and uncanny resemblance to the comic book hero, The Incredible Hulk, WWF owner and promoter Vince McMahon suggested that Terry assume the stage name of ‘Hulk Hogan’ and the opportunity to join the World Wrestling Federation. The early 80s saw Hogan also working for the promotions New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and American Wrestling Association (AWA) before joining the WWF exclusively. During this time Hogan also caught the attention of actor Sylvester Stallone, who cast him as ‘Thunderlips’ in his movie Rocky III (1982).
The birth of Hulkamania in 1984 cemented his popularity among fans and his super-stardom spread like a wildfire from there. Hogan was awarded the WWF Championship for his memorable defeat of the Iron Sheik, and the resulting Hulkamania fan frenzy became legendary. Hogan frequently referred to his fans as ‘Hulkamaniacs’ in his interviews and introduced his three ‘demandments’: training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins. Eventually, a fourth demandment (believing in oneself) was added in 1990. Hogan’s ring gear developed a characteristic yellow-and-red color scheme; his ring entrances involved him ritualistically ripping his shirt off his body, flexing, and listening for audience cheers in an exaggerated manner. Perhaps the peak of Hulkamania came in 1987 at Wresltemania III when Hogan bodyslammed Andre the Giant in front of a then record live indoor crowd of 93,173 and millions watching around the world on pay-per-view.
Hogan’s success during this time bolstered the public’s fascination with professional wrestling and brought the sport into the mainstream of pop culture. Hogan appeared across various media outlets during this time such as The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live, as well as making cover appearances on magazines like Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and People.
In 1989, Hogan starred in the wrestling movie No Holds Barred. This film was moderately successful and was followed by several other family comedy movies like Suburban Commando (1991), Mr. Nanny (1993), Santa with Muscles (1996), and 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998). During this time he also starred in the short-lived television series, Thunder in Paradise (1993-1994).
After leaving the WWF in 1993, Hogan joined the Ted Turner owned wrestling promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Hogan surprised everyone by making a remarkable comeback to the wrestling arena in 1996. Ditching his trademark yellow-and-red colors for black-and-white and re-inventing himself as ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan, the wrestler established himself as a villainous heel and, once again, secured his popularity among wrestling fans. Hogan became the leader of the New World Order (nWo), a stable that paired him with two other former WWF wrestlers, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, who were later joined by other wrestlers and celebrities (most famously NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman). The infamous nWo stable gained immense support from fans around the globe and, ultimately, returned Hogan to the top of the wrestling world.
In 2002, he shared his experiences as a professional wrestler in his autobiography best-selling book titled Hollywood Hulk Hogan. This was followed up in 2010 with the title My Life Outside the Ring: A Memoir. He also gave fans young and old an inside look into his family life in the VH1 reality television series Hogan Knows Best (spun off into Brooke Knows Best), which ran for six seasons from 2005-2009. The show followed the daily lives of Hogan and his then wife Linda as they raised their teenage children, daughter Brooke and son Nick.
In 2005, Hogan was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame. His friend Sylvester Stallone presented him with the honor. Hogan has continued to thrive professionally in the last ten years with numerous runs in both WWE and the wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action (TNA).
Hogan currently resides in Clearwater, Florida with his wife Jennifer McDaniel.
Hulk Hogan’s appearance was courtesy of MAB Celebrity Services