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The Rise of Hulk Hogan: What gave birth to the Hulkmania?

1 years ago By Sports Desk

Terry Gene Bollea, famously known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American retired professional wrestler who left an indelible mark on the world of wrestling. With his larger-than-life persona and undeniable charisma, Hogan became a global wrestling sensation in the 1980s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. 

Hogan is often credited to be the first global superstar and began his wrestling journey back in 1977. However, it was his move to the WWF in 1983 that he truly became popular. Embodying the persona of a heroic all-American character, Hogan played a significant role in fueling the professional wrestling boom of the 1980s. 

Hulk Hogan was an instant success with the WWE audience

During his initial tenure with the WWF, Hogan captured the imagination of fans around the world. He clinched the WWF Championship five times, with his first reign lasting an impressive duration, making it the second-longest in the history of the championship. Hogan’s first reign lasted an utterly impressive 1474 days as champion.

Additionally, Hogan became the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumble matches, achieving this feat in 1990 and 1991. His legendary match against Andre the Giant on WWF’s The Main Event in 1988 still holds the record for the highest American television viewership of a wrestling event.

In 1993, Hogan departed from the WWF to explore opportunities in film and television. However, he returned to the wrestling ring in 1994, signing with rival promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW). It was during this time that Hogan underwent a career transformation, adopting the villainous persona of “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. 

As the leader of the New World Order (nWo) stable, he played a pivotal role in the “Monday Night Wars” era, where wrestling experienced another surge in popularity. Hogan won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times and held the record for the longest reign in the promotion’s history.

Hulk Hogan’s impact went beyond the WWE

Hogan’s impact extended beyond his stints with the WWF and WCW. He competed in other promotions such as the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (now Impact Wrestling). His versatility and widespread appeal made him a sought-after figure in the wrestling world.

Aside from wrestling, Hogan ventured into acting, appearing in movies such as Rocky III, No Holds Barred, and Suburban Commando. He also starred in television shows, including Hogan Knows Best, Thunder in Paradise, and China, IL.

While WWE has over the years seen a plethora of superstars make their way to Hollywood, Hulk Hogan was the first. He brought in a new era of superstardom which was a result of a combination of the above factors. At the end of the day, it was Hogan’s over-the-top character and personality that charmed audiences around the world. 

Watch a compilation of Hulk Hogan’s greatest WWE moments below:

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