Hulk Hogan: Driving a Truck Into an Ambulance with The Rock, Throwing Stallone Out of the Ring and Putting a Comic in Headlock
Actor, musician, but first and foremost the legendary, world-renowned wrestling star. Until this day, many shake their heads in disbelief seeing his acrobatic stunts in the ring.
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Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Eugene Bolle) is a character with huge charisma, which most people are familiar with by now. He's a two-meter tall, muscular giant. Wherever he showed up, all eyes were on him in an instant. The men were afraid of him, the women went after him. Let's take a look at some of the most critical moments and scandals within his majestic career, which spanned out over several decades.
In the eighties, he significantly popularized wrestling around the world and became the main face of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which is now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The popular WrestleMania event was a big success, mostly because of him. Hogan is also in the WWE Hall of Fame, already enjoying a well-deserved break from the ring these days.
Since pro wrestling is one of the most popular pastimes of Americans, this legendary wrestler is their untouchable darling and a hero that represents American values to the core. He's very much loved over there.
25 operations in ten years
We all know that wrestling is a pre-arranged theater for the most part. Still, the fighters strive for titles just as in martial arts (which is based on classic wrestling, enriched with various acrobatic maneuvers). Certainly, not everyone can do it.
Therefore, it is practiced in a ring only by the most prominent and strongest guys who can "handle" it. On several occasions, however, the wrestlers from the ring also suffered some ugly injuries, which may not have been visible at first glance. Years of beating leave a mark on their bodies. As Hogan's daughter Brooke said in the Hollywood Raw podcast this November, her father also suffered during his wrestling career.
She revealed that Hogan has been through up to 25 operations in the last ten years. He had huge problems with his shoulders, hips, elbow and had both of his knee joints changed several times. Nevertheless, her father allegedly still works hard in the gym and stays in shape, despite being 68 years old already.
He got noticed at the bar
How and where did it all start? According to Complex magazine, the wrestler appeared in a talk show with actor Lou Ferrigno, who played a huge green monster in The Incredible Hulk series. The moderator noticed that Bolle was almost ten centimeters taller than Ferrigno, and said he was larger than the Hulk himself. Shortly afterwards, the American began calling himself Terry The Hulk Boulder. The other part, "Hogan", was invented by WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
As Hogan wrote in his 2009 autobiographical book My Life Outside the Ring, he was first charmed by baseball (as a pitcher). After suffering an injury, he devoted himself to playing the bass for several years as a member of several bands. One of them was Ruckus, which he founded in 1976 and became quite popular in Tampa Bay, Florida.
As The Delite writes, it was during a performance at the bar that he was noticed by the wrestlers Jack and Gerald Brisco, who suggested that he could become a wrestler. In addition to performing, Hogan also trained, so he started his career just one year later.
They broke his leg and told him to get lost
But it didn't go smoothly from the start. Hogan told ESPN: "The first day I came in to be a wrestler, they broke my leg and said, 'Don't come back.' Once I got my act together, my drive was that no one was going to hurt me again. I spent a couple of years learning to get in good shape, how to wrestle and then how to do the professional wrestling scenarios."
"I would listen to what the fans wanted. I didn't plan stuff out. I just knew who was going to win or lose, and then listen with my heart and my ears with what they wanted to see. Wrestling every night in front of live crowds, I learned how to read those fans. How to pace myself in creating emotion and passion and hatred and then blowing the roof off the place when I 'hulked up.'," the wrestler recalled at his beginnings.
He claims that the man who actually raised him in this business was his rival André the Giant. Two hundred and twenty-four centimeter-tall French wrestler, with whom he was paired several times. In 1979, Hogan won his first professional wrestling championship - the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship. In 1980 he won his first game in WWF (where he also won several matches in a steel cage that fans loved).
He also wrestled in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and tried to improve his style. He used a technique called ax bomber to end many of his opponents. He always went forward in the ring and didn't choose his opponents. As he said in one of the interviews: "I fear no man, no beast or evil, brother."
He kicked Stallone out of the ring
In 1982, he appeared on the silver screen as Thunderlips in the third sequel to the boxing film series Rocky, directed by Sylvester Stallone. He got into it in the ring with Hogan and it's one of the best scenes of the whole series. The two-meter giant first absolutely demolished Rocky and eventually threw him out of the ring into the audience. Then he dumped the referee as well and sent Rocky's coaches straight to the ground.
The fearless boxer did not let it slide. He took off his gloves and went for revenge. Eventually, he sent the wrestler out of the ring just as he had before. At the end of this bizarre scene, they finally took a smiling picture together and shook hands.
A year later, Hogan became the first winner of the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) and the first holder of an early version of the IWGP heavyweight championship when he defeated Antonio Inoki in the final of the ten-fold tournament. According to StillRealToUs.com, in 1985 he became the first professional wrestler to appear on the front page of the prestigious photography magazine Sports Illustrated.
He put a comedian to sleep during a live broadcast, million-dollar court case followed
According to the Complex, the same year, comedian Richard Belzer asked Hogan in his Hot Properties talk show to showcase one of his famous wrestling skills. The giant gladly complied with Belzer put him in a headlock, and the comedian ended up passing out. However, when Hogan released him, Belzer hit his head on the floor and wounded the top of his head, leading to a brief hospitalization.
Belzer later sued Hogan for 5 million dollars. However, the dispute was finally settled out of court. When Belzer was on The Howard Stern Show in 2008, he indicated that the settlement was almost $400,000. So this incident was quite expensive for Hogan. The year 1985 was also a turning point because the first WrestleMania took place in Madison Square Garden in New York, attended by almost 20,000 spectators.
Mercenary with a machine gun
In the early 90s, Hogan was enjoying acting more and more. After appearing in the bizarre sci-fi comedy Suburban Commando (1991), he became the main star of Mr. Nanny and the action thriller Thunder in Paradise (1993). In the latter, he played the tough mercenary Randolph Hurricane Spencer, who wouldn't let go of the machine gun.
In addition to several sequels, Thunder in Paradise turned into a proper series (with 22 episodes). He was also cast in Spy Hard with Leslie Nielsen, comedy flick Santa with Muscles or the action thriller The Ultimate Weapon. However, they were all quite horrible.
The Wrestler also returned to his old hobby - music. He founded a band called The Wrestling Boot Band and released the album Hulk Rules with ten songs in 1995. As for the genre, it was a fairly decent sound with a little bit of everything.
It was a mix of pop, rock and even rap. At the same time, Hogan began wrestling in the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) during this decade, where he also won the world title. According to Complex, he stopped taking steroids at this time, which he used for up to 14 years, as he said himself.
Fight with Dwayne Johnson and crazy ambulance demolition
In 1996, he claimed that his talent and strength were not appreciated and founded the New World Order (nWo), a new wrestling stable with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. He called it the future of wrestling, and its goal was allegedly to control the WCW in similar way as a street gang.
Hogan grew his beard alongside his famous mustache and painted them black. He exchanged his red and yellow clothes for black and white with lightning bolts and changed his name to "Hollywood Hulk Hogan."
In the same year, Dwayne The Rock Johnson began to compete in the WWF. He soon became an absolute superstar in the field of professional wrestling. Therefore, it made sense to organize an epic duel, The Rock versus Hulk Hogan. The fans' dream came true, and the two wrestlers met face-to-face in the ring at WrestleMania 18 in March 2002. Their match was promoted as Icon vs. Icon.
In the end, The Rock won. However, a controversial incident preceded when nWo wrestlers attacked The Rock in the hall on February 18th. They beat him outside of the ring, then dragged him into it, where Hogan hit him with a belt. And while The Rock laid helplessly on the ground, they sprayed nWo on his back.
But it wasn't over yet. When they took Johnson to an ambulance outside, Hogan's gang began demolishing the vehicle and hanging chains on it to prevent it from escaping. Subsequently, the Hulk himself got into a truck and crashed into the ambulance. "I tried to do everything I could to be the most evil person in the world," the world-renowned wrestler recalled for ESPN.
Defeated by UFC champion
According to Sportster, Hogan shook hands with Johnson after the match, which did not appeal to his colleagues at nWo, so they've split paths with Hogan. In 2002, Hogan went against another tough opponent and lost again. It was at the WWE SmackDown! event when the Hulk lost to the terrifying, aggressive monster named Brock Lesnar.
In 2007, he was presented a contract in the world's largest MMA league, the UFC. A year later he even became the heavyweight organization's champion. After losing to Lesnar, it went downhill with Hogan and his effort to create a new character called Mr. America also didn't work. As Bleacherreport writes, even though Hogan tried to disguise himself, everyone knew that the legendary Hulk was under a mask, so the trick didn't work out very well.
He finally revealed himself. In any case, WWE Executive Vince McMahon decided to terminate Hogan's contract for good, so the wrestler left the Federation in 2003. Sylvester Stallone introduced him to the WWE Hall of Fame two years later. Under the auspices of the Federation, he finally returned to the ring several more times to delight the loyal fans.
His own reality show and dark times
In 2005, a new reality show, Hogan Knows Best, appeared on the TV screens, in which the famous wrestler invited a film crew directly into their home. Revealing how they live with their daughter Brooke, son Nick and wife Linda.
The family looked happy and content, but in 2007 all of that changed. According to Sport Casting, after Linda divorced Hogan and his son Nick got into a severe car accident in which his friend was injured, the wrestler became severely depressed and thought about suicide.
As he drank a cocktail with Xanax and rum, holding a gun to his head, determined to end it all, he was rescued by a phone call from a friend, boxing star Laila Ali. "She just called to say hi and check on me ... Her voice saved my life, it really did," Hogan revealed.
Leaked recording with racist remarks
Although the wrestler pulled himself together and returned to the ring, a real scandal followed a few years later. According to the Washington Post, in 2012, a delicate video leaked on the internet with Hogan having sex with Heather Clem, wife of his ex-friend Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. The recording, published by the American blog Gawker, also captured Hogan's racist remarks (supposedly concerning his daughter's friend). He also allegedly said that everyone is a bit racist.
This caused controversy around Hogan, resulting in WWE cutting ties with him, deleting his image from their website, and removing him from various events and activities related to the federation. Hogan then defended himself and filed charges against Gawker. The court ruled that Gawker had violated Hogan's privacy. The wrestler had demanded an incredible 140 million dollars in damages from the server. The dispute was finally settled for 31 million.
Thor plays him in the movie
Hogan also apologized publicly. According to the Washington Post, he said on the account of the leaked video: "It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever said. People who know me know I'm not a racist ... I go to a mostly African American church. Even in WWE, they know I'm not a racist. They only had to do what was best for their organization's business.” African-American Dennis Rodman and The Rock later expressed support for The Hulk.
According to the Sportskeed portal, a biographical film about Hogan is in the works, with the wrestler to be portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, best known for his role as Thor. But that's not all of it. The film is to be directed by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver is also set to write on the screenplay. This is the duo that brought us gems like The Joker, so the expectations are already extremely high.
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