Hulk Hogan Talks About Wrestling Again, How Hulkamania Changed Wrestling & More
Wrestling Again: “Well, I’ve learned in this business to never say never. As time goes by, I live vicariously through the younger talent. I was telling my wife Jennifer the other day that I’m in the U.K. and I can’t believe that I’m not ego-talking and I’m not the main event. I can’t believe I’m not wrestling Kurt Angle or I can’t believe I’m not wrestling Jeff Hardy.
“But, that was just the young heart talking. Then, I took a good look in the mirror and I realized that the old man couldn’t do it. I mean, I never say never. If there was a situation where my daughter Brooke might get in a bad spot or something goes awry, you never know. I could roll in there, pick up a steel chair or throw a punch or something. So, you can never say never.”
How Wrestling Changed When He Won The WWF Title From The Iron Sheik 29 Years Ago: “It was more than just my career, it was the turning point of the wrestling business to switch gears and fast-forward into the entertainment direction.
“It started with the world title on the line at Madison Square Garden: Hulk Hogan vs. The Iron Sheik. It was the pefect storm. Iron Sheik had just beaten the mainstay, Bob Backlund, who had been champion for five years. America was at conflict with Iran/Iraq as far as the political situation between the countries. Hulk Hogan was viewed as the American hero and all the elements lead to the very, very perfect confrontation between good vs. evil.
“But, what came out of that was a different performance level. It wasn’t just a wrestling match with good vs. bad with good prevailing. it was the birth of entertainment in this business. As I looked to the crowd, the look and the reaction from the crowd got just as much as acknowledgment as the move in the ring.
“As soon as I realized how important it was to interact with the crowd, I changed my whole mindset as far as my work in the ring. I realized that the crowd was living vicariously through me. I better acknowledge them and not just stay focused on my opponent. So, it was kind of like the beginning of the entertainment being born that day.”
Working with Paul Orndorff in front of 70,000+ Fans in Toronto: “Yeah, that night especially caught everyone off guard. I had never worked at the CNE Center and I figured we’d have 6,000-7,000 people. When we got there and it was 70,000+, I went, ‘Oh, my God.’ That was a nice surprise.
“But, I knew the chemistry was there with Paul Orndorff. It just depended on him and how good of a businessman he wanted to be and how big it could have gotten. Paul Orndorff was a businessman. He got a little stubborn at times, but basically he was a businessman and we did consistent business.
“His work was just so incredibly good. It was good and bad for me (because) I felt like I had been in a car wreck when I got out of the ring working with him. But, his stuff was so good, solid and intense that he just knew how to really turn that dial up and make people believe and make people hate him. Which made it easier for me as far as selling, making huge comebacks and making the buildings rattle.
“So, he was an on-going opponent that I made a ton of money with. He was really good at what he did.”
Wrestlers That He Never Worked Big Programs With: “Yeah, there was a situation because there was so many people to choose from. There was the ‘Macho Man’ and Kamala, who did great business everywhere. There was Bob Orton, Jr., Don Morocco. There were tons of guys — Earthquake, One Man Gang — I could go on and on.
“There were several guys where there would be a feel in the ring or you could tell right away. That’s how everything worked with me, I had to hear it and feel it with the instinct thing.
“I got into a situation with Jake ‘The Snake’ where he had his Piper’s Pit, I don’t know if the name of the show was The Snake Pit. It was an interview show. We did something there which was the beginning of a major story line for Jake and myself. We went to Providence and we worked one night and that was pretty much it. It was like we were at a funeral.
“I just kind of realized that something wasn’t clicking and we kind of move on and moved passed it. … I don’t know what it was. There was a Hulk Hogan style at the time that was real easy and there were several trains of thought with probably about six or seven ways to go to make things perfect.
“For some reason, Jake and I did not fit in any of those categories. I tried my best and he tried his best but we just couldn’t dance with each other. It wasn’t right. I just didn’t want to run this thing out for six months to a year when there were so many other people like the ‘Macho Man’ and everybody else and it was so red-hot. So, it just didn’t work for whatever reason.”