Hulk Hogan has never sat down for a so-called shoot interview outside of a WWE production. Yet Chris Jericho pulled off the scoop and delivered the closest thing we will probably ever get with the biggest star in pro wrestling history.
It isn’t often that Hulk Hogan sits down for a no holds barred interview about his pro wrestling career. But when he does you know it’s going to be newsworthy. Hogan was a recent guest on a two-part Chris Jericho podcast, offering one of the most fascinating interviews he has ever done. Hogan opened up on his legendary pro wrestling career telling many stories, some you have heard and some you may not have, yet all were interesting.
Now the caveat with a Hogan interview is that he is often a whipping boy for giving worked answers. I tend to take a different opinion than some of those critics. I think that Hogan is giving what he thinks is the real answer. However, I think after 30 years of bumps that he makes honest mistakes with names and time periods and has probably worked himself so much over the years with these stories that he himself truly believes everything that he is saying.
Hulk Hogan was worried about being double-crossed by Tatsumi Fujinami in Japan – Now Hogan has told this story before, but he elaborated a lot more on this interview. Hogan told Jericho that he had given notice to New Japan because they couldn’t work out a new deal with Vince McMahon Jr. Knowing that it was his last match with the company, Hogan said he feared that Fujinami would hook him and steal the WWF title. Hogan claims that he recruited Danny Hodge to be the referee and asked Hodge to watch his back. He also says he got a lot of respect from Andre the Giant from how he handled this.
Now many have claimed that this story is a completely untrue. I went back and looked at old Hogan results to see if there even was such a match and guess what, there was. Hogan wrestled Fujinami on June 11, 1985 as WWF champion. One resource actually does list Danny Hodge as the guest referee for this match. Unfortunately the match was on YouTube at one point but was pulled. I know many, including Dave Meltzer called this a fabrication but I am inclined to give Hulk a little bit of the benefit of the doubt here. I wasn’t a believer either until I went back and found that a) indeed this was one of his final matches before leaving NJPW indefinitely and b) a resource stating that Hodge was indeed the referee here.
Hulk Hogan wanted to turn heel in the WWF – Hulk told Jericho that he wanted to turn heel the next Monday on RAW after he lost the title to Ultimate Warrior in 1986.
Now this one I call shenanigans on. For starters, there was no Monday Night RAW in 1986. Two, the plans were in place for Hogan to wrestle another babyface vs. babyface match against Warrior at next year’s WrestleMania. I just don’t buy into this one at all.
Hulk Hogan had other reasons for not wanting to turn heel and join the n.W.o. – Hogan told Jericho that Eric Bischoff had to do a long sell job on him to turn heel and join the n.W.o. Hogan said the reason for this is that he had been wanting to do the Hollywood gimmick for a while and turn heel, but he wanted to be by himself and not with a group.
It isn’t news that Hogan had to be convinced to join the n.W.o. That is an old story. But the story has always been that Hulk didn’t want to turn heel and Bischoff had to convince him that the time was right. Nobody has ever reported that the reason he didn’t want to do the angle was because he wanted to do a solo heel run.
Diamond Dallas Page complained about Hulk Hogan grabbing the ropes on a Diamond Cutter – Hogan said that he wanted to do dastardly things as a heel and one of them was grab the ropes when DDP went for the Diamond Cutter. He said that DDP got so upset that he went to Bischoff and complained about the spot.
I can honestly say that I 100% believe that one.
Hulk Hogan wanted to drop the belt to Roddy Piper numerous times in 1984/5 but didn’t trust him – Hogan said that he wanted to drop the belt to Piper many times “like he did with Savage” but Piper worked himself into believing he was a real tough guy and wouldn’t do jobs. Hogan said that if Piper wasn’t going to do a job, he couldn’t trust that Piper would drop it back to him. He thinks that he and Piper would have made millions if they did several WWF title switches in the 80s and ribs Roddy about it almost every day over text.
All I can say is this. Piper was red hot and I believe like Hogan that a win over Hogan with Hogan going for revenge would have been absolutely huge. It is no secret that Piper wouldn’t put over Hogan so maybe he is right. That said, Hogan never dropped the WWF title to Randy Savage even once so saying that he dropped it to Randy several times was wrong.
Hulk Hogan fought Verne Gagne in the locker room – To me, his stories about Verne and working for him in the AWA were the most fascinating of the entire interview. For starters, he said that Verne started making Hogan t-shirts but wouldn’t cut Hogan in on the money. They had words and Verne said he wanted to see what they taught him down in Florida and Hogan said, “Enough to kick your ass.” Verne charged him and Hogan grabbed him in a front face lock “Belzer-style”. Verne left the room and said it wasn’t over and Greg started to take his stuff off like he was going to fight him but David Schultz backed Hulk up.
I have no reason not to believe this one. Everything I have heard about Verne is that he was pretty crazy and always challenging guys to fights.
Hulk Hogan was booked to win the AWA title but it came with a price – Hogan was booked to wrestle Nick Bockwinkel in their legendary Super Sunday match. Hogan was sitting at a table when Verne casually said that he was getting the belt that night. Hogan said “Cool” but Verne told him that as AWA champion he’d get 50% of his Japan bookings. Hogan told him no. Verne was so irate that he had Bockwinkel shoot on him in the match. Hogan fought back and knocked Nick so silly that he forgot how to put on the sleeper hold at the end of the match.
It sounds fairly true because I remember the match and feud at the time and everything was set up for Hogan to win the title. Not only that, the match is widely available on YouTube. I went back and skimmed through the match and indeed Nick does have a hard time putting the sleeper hold on Hulk.
Hulk Hogan paid some heavy dues on his way to the top – Hogan tells the story we all know by now of Hiro Matsuda breaking his leg, but he elaborates. He said when his leg healed he came back for more training. Matsuda and others stretched Hogan for almost a year after that. Hogan finally was called to go to the shows and worked out with Eddie Graham. Graham taught Hogan how to actually work and it clicked that Hogan had been worked for almost a year by Matsuda and the other guys. Hogan said he started to cry when he realized this. Hogan said he’d also drive with the veterans would abuse his car and told stories about the Samoans trying to kick out his windows. He said he quit the business a few times before he finally got a call to go to New York.
Times were much different back then and I believe they had “fun” with Hogan in Florida. The story certainly humanizes the Hulkster and probably explains a lot of his paranoia over the years and insistence on creative control.
Hulk Hogan got major heat from Vince McMahon Sr. for showing up on his first night with a tie-dyed shirt – Hulk says that with his long hair and the shirt that all of the fans thought it was Superstar Graham returning to the territory. Hogan says the fans freaked out because they thought it was Superstar and Vince told him never to wear tie-dye again.
Hulk Hogan signed with Vince McMahon after he caught Greg and Verne meeting with Vince – Hulk told Jericho that he had gotten word that Vince McMahon Jr. wanted to talk to him. Hulk was surprised because Vince Sr. told Hulk he would never be allowed back in the company. Hulk sat on the message until he was in a booking meeting at Verne Gagne’s house with Verne, Greg, and Bockwinkel. He said that Verne and Greg suddenly said they were leaving and Hulk followed them to the airport. Hulk said when he got to the airport he snuck around and saw them meeting with Vince. After that Hulk got in touch with Vince, Vince flew out to Hogan’s house, and they made a deal.
I don’t know if I completely buy the story. Here is the thing. Hogan was a huge star in the AWA at the time. At his size I can’t imagine him being able to sneak around an airport in Minnesota to spy on the Gagnes. Someone would have recognized him and his cover would have been easily blown. Who knows?
BONUS: Kurt Angle worked stiff with Hulk Hogan during his 2002 WWE run – Hogan told Jericho that Kurt worked really tight with him and gave him a few shots during their matches. He said when he confronted Kurt on it in TNA he said that Kurt told him Vince McMahon told him to do it.
I certainly wouldn’t put it past Vince.