Hulk Hogan was right in the middle of the Monday Night Wars sixteen years ago. The legend of those wars have resurfaced due to a new WWE Network series and Hogan offered a fascinating retrospective in a recent interview.
Hogan was asked how he enjoyed his heel turn with the n.W.o. compared to being the top hero in the business at its peak in the 1980s.
“I was kind of at the crossroads. Vince [McMahon] and I had parted ways a couple of years before, he had an opinion about Hulk Hogan and his longevity and I had a totally different opinion. I left to go to a TV show called Thunder in Paradise for a year or so, a year and a half. Then when Eric Bischoff and Ric Flair approached me about coming back to wrestling, I was ready. After the 14, 15, 16-hour days on the set of this action show I was producing with the Baywatch guys, I’d had enough. When I went back to work, everything clicked. It just worked. I started out with the red and yellow, beat Flair for the belt, and then we get to a point where things flattened off after a couple months. The decision to turn heel was, we were either going to crash and burn or this is totally going to reignite the wrestling business, and it did.”
He seems very confident that his turn was going to have a major impact on the industry. Honestly, I never would have expected his turn to have that kind of impact when it happened. Hogan was somewhat of a fading character and I thought people were tired of him good or bad. I was wrong. He really did reignite the business. Although to be fair it wasn’t just him. He was the icing on the cake.
One very cool question I thought was raised when USA Today asked Hogan if he ever goes back on the WWE Network to watch his old matches. I have heard some of the most famous wrestlers in the world say they rarely watch their matches. Not Hogan.
“Oh my gosh, my wife Jennifer, she goes ‘you’re living in the past! you’re living in the past!’ I say ‘no I’m not, I’m just getting good ideas!’ Some of that stuff we did back in the day was brilliant, some of the storylines and the delivery and the cadence of the storylines, how they were built…. They’d create drama and excitement. I just learned so much from that old stuff we did. I kinda like to watch the Network and go back to my roots just to keep in check with myself.”
I know he is going to get some criticism for that answer from the Hogan haters but I like it. There are fans that live and die with this stuff, Hogan’s especially, and it is nice to see that the wrestler him or herself cherish those memories just as much as their fans.
Hogan was asked whether he expected the legendary reaction he received when he turned at Bash at the Beach?
“Yes, I knew it was going to be intense. When you tell people for 20 years that you love them, tell them to ‘train, say your prayers and eat your vitamins,’ believe in yourself and then all of a sudden you stab everybody in the back. I knew there was going to be a huge reaction.”
Say what you want about Hogan but that reaction was one of the best you’ll ever see. It was completely organic and to see an entire arena so upset that they all started throwing garbage at Hogan and crew was quite a sight, For Hogan, Nash, and Hall it had to be a great feeling.
Finally Hogan was asked about the idea that the War would have put Vince McMahon and the WWE out of business.
“I was praying to God that wouldn’t happen. I prayed to God that we would become the No. 1 wrestling show, and that WWE would thrive and stay the monster that they were. WCW might become a little bit [of a] bigger monster. I never wanted anybody to go away. I wanted two different companies so talent could have a choice where they could work and make big, big money.”
All in all it is a pretty interesting read. I’d recommend checking out the entire interview.
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