Hulkamania Is Turning 65: Here Are the Most Shirt-Ripping Moments From His Career
My entire childhood was defined by the rivalry between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. It explains why I love ripping t-shirts and the colors yellow and red so much, and why I have such a deep-seated hatred for men with grey hair who rock bedazzled robes.
Both in and out of the ring, Hulkamania ran wild on everyone. Here are some of the most amazing moments from his career.
When he bodyslammed Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III.
While my Albanian relatives looked at me with slight worry and awe as I ran around the house holding a piece of wood pretending I was “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, or ripping the neon streamers off of the neighborhood girl’s bikes to look like The Ultimate Warrior or Macho Man Randy Savage — even they stood and watched in awe as Terry Hogan lifted Andre The Giant off the mat and slammed him to the ground.
The lead-up to the match, we’d find out years later, was even more dramatic than the spectacle the world saw on TV. The Hulkster wasn’t sure Andre, with an ego big enough to match his frame, was going to comply with the script he had come up with for the fight beforehand, and Andre’s health troubles meant that it was possible the match could be called off at any minute. But he ended up electrifying the crowd along with Hulk Hogan, and the rest is history.
When he tried selling a meatball maker instead of a grill.
Celebrity endorsements of household products are nothing new, just ask Selena Gomez and Kylie Jenner how much they get paid to pretend they like stuff on Instagram. But when it comes to “As Seen on TV” cooking apparatuses, there’s one man whose product reigns supreme: George Foreman and the George Foreman Grill.
When he was in Rocky III out of nowhere.
If you grew up in a family that loved testosterone-fueled movie franchises, or underdog stories that involved a lot of violence, then you probably watched all of the Rocky films repeatedly. And if you didn’t, well, then you can just imagine the delight on kids’ faces everywhere when they realized that the “charity” match opponent Stallone’s character was facing was none other than Hulk Hogan himself.
Sure, he didn’t appear as himself and his name was the ridiculous, had-to-be-conjured-up-by-Stallone, “Thunderlips,” but Hogan’s scene with Rocky was one of the most memorable in the film — and years later, the actor gave props to Hogan for his work on set. Hogan responded, thanking Sly for giving him his start in movies and helping him expand his career opportunities outside of the world of professional wrestling.
His awesomely bad film/TV career after Rocky III.
The Princess Bride is a classic film packed with smart writing, incredible performances, and an aesthetic that perfectly fits the movie’s fairy-tale theme. Among all that greatness, Andre the Giant managed to stand out as the character of Fezzik. Just look at him say, “Anybody want a peanut?” and tell me it isn’t awesome.
Now, The Rock got his start in pro wrestling (he still makes appearances) and has managed to go on to become the biggest box-office star in Hollywood right now. Hulk Hogan had a few films of his own, but didn’t enjoy anywhere near the amount of success that The Rock is lapping up right now. And it’s probably because a lot of the stuff Hogan was in was bad. I mean, really, really bad.
Did I love No Holds Barred as a kid? Yes. Did I memorize all of the lines and get legitimately scared every time the film’s main protagonist, Zeus, appeared on camera? Absolutely. No man should angrily shake that much. But does that mean the movie is good? Hell-to-the-no.
Suburban Commando didn’t really astound the box office, or critics either, along with the similarly poor-performing Mr. Nanny.
That hasn’t stopped the Hulkster from constantly returning to WWE for spells here and there and epic one-off matches, nor did it impede him from having his own action TV show: Thunder in Paradise and being featured from time to time on various TV shows and cameo roles in movies.
The greatest wrestling promo of all time: when the Madness met the Mania.
Anyone who’s ever worked with professional wrestlers will tell you that, especially during the ’80s, it was a traveling circus. You’ve got a bunch of dudes on the road away from their families with nothing to pass the time between matches because they were in a different city every night. You can imagine that a certain amount of substance abuse came into play. Some substances were clearly at work in this promo with the inimitable Macho Man Randy Savage.
If you’ve ever seen the Macho Man cut a promo, it was evident that there was something else at work aside from pure human enthusiasm. He and Hulk knew that the first promo they cut together as newly-joined forces needed to be special. So they stepped up their game.
A friend of mine have noticed a trend that whenever he’s been snuffed, rebuffed, or rejected by an individual or a company, something terrible befalls them. Whether it’s an MMA fighter’s career going downhill after ghosting him when they were supposed to chill, or getting embarrassed against a no-name opponent when they got condescending when he asked for an interview, to a local restaurant going out of business after they got his food order wrong and were rude to him: The man has strong karma associated with him. He’s also an avid pro-wrestling and Hulk Hogan fan. But years back, he applied to a job at Gawker Media… They ultimately passed on him, but both he and I agree that if he had been working there, the site would’ve thought twice before posting a link to a sex tape the pro-wrestler recorded.
They somehow got their hands on it and linked to it on their site. Hogan took Gawker Media to court and, after some embarrassing court depositions where the people at Gawker realized they couldn’t snark their way through a hearing, the site settled with the wrestler for $31 million. Gawker never recovered after the 1-2-3 the Hulkster dealt them.