He’s a huge mass of human. His biceps have been referred to a twenty-four inch pythons. He’s one of the most recognizable faces in American Entertainment. His blonde handlebar mustache is iconic. His name is Terry Bollea. Most may not know that name. Most know him by his stage name. A name that stood tall over the Iron Sheik when he won the WWE championship decades ago. Most know him as Hulk Hogan.
Having been into sports his whole life, Bollea was turned on to professional wrestling at the age of sixteen when he got his first glimpse of Dusty Rhodes. He began attending shows in Tampa. This is where he first saw a man he’d one day model his character after, “Superstar” Billy Graham.
As an experience bass player, Hogan would play local shows. In the audience at one show was The Brisco Brothers who were impressed with Hogan’s stature. They persuaded him to get trained in professional wrestling. Less than one year later, he’d make his in-ring debut in Championship Wrestling from Florida.
After changing his ring-name to Hogan, Bollea went on to the WWF for a short time before taking a tour of Japan and spending a time in the AWA. As the WWF began absorbing territorial wrestling promotions, Hogan once again found himself in the WWE.
In 1984, Hogan would pin the brutal heel, The Iron Sheik, much to the liking of the fans. It is widely believed that this night is when “Hulkamania” was born. As WWE champion, Hulk would go on to see many highlights.
Hulk Hogan would star in the very first WWE feature film, No Holds Barred. He also had a television cartoon named after him, Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling Connection. Hogan appeared on talk shows and most any other media format including Saturday Night Live.
After a series of accomplishments in WWE, Hogan sought new grounds. He eventually jumped ship to WWE’s young rival, WCW. Hogan would flounder in the top spot but grew stale to the fans. In 1996, the world would change forever. Hogan, who’d played a hero for the better part of ten years, aligned himself with outside invaders Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the New World Order.
Hogan would keep his top spot in WCW as leader of the ruthless gang. He’d face off against Sting, Diamond Dallas Page and many others. He was once again the biggest star in professional sports, despite his evil character.
When WCW closed its doors, Hogan rode out his contract before returning to WWE for various stints throughout the 2000’s. He spent a few years working as an ambassador for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling before returning to WWE in a similar ambassador role that included hosting the 30th Wrestlemania.
From the WWE Hall of Fame to being remembered as one of the biggest entertainment icons of all time, Hogan has seen his share of ups and downs in his personal life but has always found a way to remain relevant. He’s always remained in the hearts of Hulkamaniacs everywhere.