HULK HOGAN INTERVIEW RECAP â€“ DECEMBER 13TH 2009
Hulk Hogan Interview Recap: Hulk Hogan stepped into the Main Event this week to speak about what made him want to go to TNA, the changes he would like to see implemented, Dixie, Russo, finally gives an answer to the longstanding question of why WWE prevented Hogan/Flair from happening at WM8, dealing with adversity, and much more in this 20 minute discussion!
SHOW: The Main Event, Sundays on CJLO 1690AM in Montreal
HOSTS: Ryan Rider and the Viz
Q: You are listening to the Main Event Radio show, my name is Ryan Rider, with me I have the Viz. 2010 is just a few weeks away and itâ€™s shaping up to be a huge year for professional wrestling. The biggest story has got to be the acquisition by TNA Wrestling of the legendary icon, the Immortal Hulk Hogan. And now for the second time, Iâ€™d like to welcome on the line none other than the Hulkster himself, Hulk Hogan welcome to the Main Event!
A: Man, are you guys talking about me again? Iâ€™m doing good, really good. Just got back from a little Hulkamania tour in Australia, and Iâ€™m getting my momentum back, brother.
Q: The last time you joined our program you spoke about how you were watching TNA and that they needed that one momentum shifting move. Now, three years later it has finally happened â€“ youâ€™ve signed on the dotted line. Looks like you are going to give Vince McMahon a run for his money one more time. What can we expect from the partnership between you, Hulk, and TNA?
A: We kind of like made that announcement at the UFC in Las Vegas that we are going to go head-to-head on Monday nights. I think the fans want to see those Monday Night Wars again like 10-11 years ago. The fans need a choice and the talent also needs a choice. Me partnering up with Dixie Carter, Iâ€™ve got a set of fresh eyes. Iâ€™m not all about the writers and the writers telling you what to say. Iâ€™m not about going to the arena and having somebody go, â€œhereâ€™s your agent Gerald Brisco or your agent Pat Pattersonâ€. Iâ€™m not about talking 4-5 hours about a 10 minute match. The way I feel is that if these guys canâ€™t talk and they canâ€™t wrestle they outta pack their bags and head up north.
On the Writers: “The writers have a place. They add like icing on the cake. I understand protocol and blocking shows and segments and I understand why they’re necessary, but this is a talent-driven business. There’s a feel; there’s an ‘it’ factor for this. I want to give these wrestlers life and find themselves and become larger-than-life characters. Really do this wrestling business the right way instead of like a bunch of robots that are interchangeable parts and if somebody gets hurt, you replace the wrestler with another wrestler who used to work at Walmart. Itâ€™s gotta change.”
Q: So what made you decide to finally decide to get the ball rolling and sign with Dixie?
A: The truth is Iâ€™ve been talking to her on and off for 4 or 5 years. I had a tough couple of years. I lost my family, financially I got wiped out, I had three back surgeries. It was so toxic and such a negative relationship at home for 23 years. That was kind of like the first half of the game â€“ I did some good stuff in the first half of the game and there was a lot of negative stuff in my personal life. Now this is the second half of the game and Iâ€™ve decided to take the high road and go back to work, get back on track. I had the choice to go the route of reality TV or more kids movies or the wrestling business. The partnership with Dixie Carter was both self-serving and it was also necessary for me and it’s in my blood. When they told me I could turn this thing upside down instead of just coming in as a talent and wrestling – and coming in with ‘Vince McMahon‘ control – then Iâ€™m interested.
I wasn’t going to just to come in as another wrestler and we do half-a-number this week, then after three or four weeks of seeing the shirt ripped off and the leg dropped, then nobody cares anymore. But if it was to really come in and see who can go and who can’t – and I’m not coming in with an edge; everyone has something to contribute whether it’s Vince Russo, the other writers, all the wrestlers. I want to hear what they have to say because I learn from everybody. And the people who canâ€™t pull their own weight, they will be gone. So Iâ€™m excited about going there.
Q: On January 4th Live on SpikeTV TNA Impact is going head to head with Raw for a Monday Night War 2.0. What do you think their chances are going up against WWEâ€™s flagship show?
A: Vince is going to throw everything he hast you. I just went to the Australian Tour and he did everything he could to upset the apple cart. He thinks he is the only one who should breathe the air in wrestling and I think that other people should have opportunities in business. When I talked to Spike about going head-to-head on Monday nights, I did it for a reason. If you’re going to pick a fight, pick a big fight. Everybody was scared of their own shadow, â€œWhat if we don’t do a number?â€.
The thing is – don’t even worry about it. You have to give the audience a choice. Ever since I made this announcement, you wouldn’t believe some of the wrestlers that have been calling me. A lot of friends, a lot of people in WWE who are not happy with their current situation. And you know; we just might surprise you. We might just get some momentum on Monday nights and turn this thing upside down quicker than you think.
Q: On Impact, Kevin Nash has stated that you are coming in and youâ€™re not coming alone. Which talents are you currently scouting to bring in with you?
A: Brother, Iâ€™m not telling you who Iâ€™m bringing in. Youâ€™ve been around long enough, you know Iâ€™m not gonna tell. But Kevin is talking about bringing the band back together, and you know what heâ€™s talking about [the nWo]. I donâ€™t need any problems; I just want guys who really want to work hard. Weâ€™ve all matured a lot and weâ€™ve all learned from our mistakes. Putting the band back together might be a part of the whole deal.
Q: One of the biggest things youâ€™ve done recently is work with Ric Flair, in Australia, as a part of the Hulkamania tour. How did the matches feel to you at this point in the game, and how was it working together after so long?
A: Talk about being a step behind â€“ when you have three back surgeries in the period of one year, you just never know whatâ€™s going to happen in there. I didnâ€™t know if my back was going to hold up. The first night I found out that whenever I take a bump, I canâ€™t even roll to the right. Thatâ€™s the first thing that woke me up. The first night really caught me off guard. Taking a bump to the outside, I couldnâ€™t go out the way I usually did. There were a lot of things that we different because I had not wrestled since the back surgery. Halfway through the match I got my game back. There were a couple of situations I couldnâ€™t do so I adjusted really quick. The good thing about it was that the fans were there. As soon as I came out, hit the stage, the fans are still there. It was so loud, it was unbelievable. That makes it easy when the fans were there. Once I got in there, Flair being the player that he is â€“ he was all wound up, he was worried about being a step back. He lost his confidence because of all the crap they did to him in WWE, but he got back to his game and by the middle of the match we were back on and we had a great time. We tore it down. There are a few things that I do a differently than back then. You might notice the standard Hulk Hogan stuff that goes on in the ring. Itâ€™s not rocket science, it just works. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s beautiful about it.
Iâ€™m not going into TNA as a talent; Iâ€™m going in there to run the company. But you never know. I can be in there giving a corporate lecture, and if the fans are going â€œHogan-Sting, Hogan-Sting,â€ itâ€™s kind of hard not to give them what they want. I think we learned that at Wrestlemania 18. You can plan to make someone one of the most evil bad guys in the world and try to push someone to Mount Everest as a squeaky clean good guy but if the fans start booing the good guy in the building, you need to call an audible. You canâ€™t tell the fans what to watch. When the fans booed the Rock out of the building they told Vince McMahon that you may try to get us to hate Hulk Hogan but thatâ€™s not how it is. We respect and love this guy for how long heâ€™s been in the business and what heâ€™s gone through. And Iâ€™m going through that gut instinct and give the fans what they want.
Q: On the Flair topic, one of the most wondered about and debated wrestling topics of this generation has been why WWE didnâ€™t use Hogan vs. Flair for Wrestlemania when it had the chance, this topic has been commented on but never legitimately answered, why did one of the potentially biggest matches in history, not take place?
A: In my opinion, Vince was trying to even out the playing field. It started with Wrestlemania 1 â€“ playing the music, the â€œEye of the Tigerâ€. All of a sudden this Hulk Hogan character took off and it got out of control. There were different deals cut and Hulk Hogan was doing things that we never done before. All of a sudden, all the wrestlers like [Roddy] Piper, Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, and then Hulk Hogan has a whole different approach and attitude than everybody else. It kind of got larger than life and kind of got out of control. I think it was an attempt â€“ ever since Wrestlemania with the Ultimate Warrior, the WWF were trying to make Hulk Hogan disappear. But the fans didnâ€™t want that. I can go down the list of every single time they wanted to ride the horse until it dropped, shoot it, and then eat it. Every time they rode me until I dropped, I got back up and I kept going. I can go down and give you every single beat where they wantd to give a bullet to Hulk Hogan but itâ€™s just not happening brother. The fans are loyal; Iâ€™ve been around so long so they know how I feel about the wrestling business. Whether you like my work or not, the fans respect me.
As far as Wrestlemania 8 goes, I think the situation was getting out of control. I think that Hogan vs Flair was so big that nothing else on that card mattered. I think that it would have made it out of control. You look at Hogan/Flair and then what do you do with the rest of the card after that? I think Vince saw the momentum of this tidal wave coming at him so he shut it down before it got enough momentum to wipe out the whole world. He put me against Sid Vicious â€“ and I think the switch was at the last minute. Me and Flair just looked at each other and we knew what was up.
Q: Letâ€™s move to another topic â€“ you recently published a new autobiography entitled â€œMy Life Outside the Ringâ€. Hereâ€™s a little plug â€“ you are going to be in Montreal tomorrow at the Indigo Bookstore signing copies of it on 1500 McGill Street downtown from 2pm on so I definitely encourage all the Hulkamaniacs in the area to get down there. Hulk, what made you decide to write a second book, one that is much different and a lot more open than your first one?
A: The first book was censored by the WWE. I wrote this book because I had a couple of tough years like I said. I had the choice to become another statistic like some of these other wrestlers and turn everything into a crime scene but instead I decided to take the high road. Like I said, I lost everything in a two year period – my family, financially I got wiped out, I had to do a lot of soul searching. With the economy and with the way the world was down, people were having such a tough time. I wrote this book to show that people with tough times, no matter how bad things are, hang in there and things will get better. I also wrote this book because a lot of people didnâ€™t realize that for 23 years I was in a real toxic, negative relationship with someone that drank a lot, cussed all the time, and hated everything. I wanted people to know that thatâ€™s not normal, that is not how things should be. Life is joyful and happy, and if youâ€™re in a relationship like that, especially if you are passing on those values to your children, that is wrong. Life is not supposed to be like that. I wanted to let people know to be positive and to hang in there if you are having a tough time and things will get better.
Q: Youâ€™ve been one of the biggest stars on Planet Earth for the last almost 30 years. Youâ€™ve had the highest highs and some of the lowest lows that any human being can experience. After experiencing such bad adversity in your life, what would you youâ€™re your millions of fans, how would you tell them to deal with the adversity in their lives?
A: You just got to get a grip and follow your gut. If you want to be happy or sad, negative or positive. You canâ€™t get sucked into this giant vacuum like Tiger Woods is right now or just hide your head in the sand and think it will go away. If youâ€™re in a bad relationship or if youâ€™re unhappy with your current situation, when would â€œnowâ€ be the right time to change it? You can change it right now if you want to, moving on and thinking positively and moving away from the dirty air and breathing clean air â€“ or the â€œnowâ€ could be 20 years from now and keep being miserable. But youâ€™ve got the opportunity if youâ€™re unhappy with your current situation to change it right now.
Q: I donâ€™t want to spoil the book for those who have not yet had a chance to read it, but one of the most memorable parts of it for me was the part where you spoke about the initiations in your early days â€“ Hiro Matsuda breaking your leg, and even more so the incident with Pat Patterson and Buddy Colt pulling a major rib on you which you fell for. Do you feel that wrestling has changed from back then?
A: I didnâ€™t fall for that brother â€“ I didnâ€™t give anybody oral sex. The sick part is if I had big scarred and a big enough mark, those guys would have loved for it to happen. Thatâ€™s what those guys are all about. They used to party like crazy. I havenâ€™t been around Patterson for years but heâ€™s still like that. I mean if youâ€™re gay, then youâ€™re gay, you donâ€™t change that. [Maybe he misunderstood the question?]
Q: TNA is a 7-year old company that has maintained a strong base. What will Hulk Hogan build on top of that base?
A: Brother, we are going to flip this thing upside down. Iâ€™m going in January 4th and that is only going to be the very beginning so just hang on for the ride! I love you guys and Iâ€™ll talk to you later.