A world without Hollywood
Informative views and insights on the wrestling world from SLAM! Sports.
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM!
The Hulkster appeals to his fans during his WrestleMania 2 cage match against King Kong Bundy.
One WWF World Heavyweight title match on January 23rd, 1984, in Madison
Square Garden forever changed the course of wrestling history. Terry Bollea,
now known as Hulk Hogan, soundly defeated the contemptible Iron Sheik
(U.S.A.? Hack-pooh!) powering out of the Camel Clutch and dropping his
soon-to-be trademarked Leg Drop across the Sheik's throat. Pandemonium
swept the Garden.
"Real American" Hogan did what 70's and 80's U.S. statesmen could
not...humble pain-in-the-neck Iran. On that day Hulkamania was born.
A world-wide phenomenon, Hulkamania together with the advent of
WrestleMania catapulted professional wrestling out of obscurity and back
into the public eye. It was cool to be a wrestling fan again. Hogan, a
blond-haired, perfectly tanned muscle man waving the American flag and
preaching positive values (Train, say your prayers, eat your vitamins and
believe in yourself!) led the charge as the ultimate flesh and blood comic
Evil giants. Unruly savages. Venomous traitors. Undead monsters. Wealthy
snobs. Foreign invaders. Hogan with a little help from a pair of Guinness
world record-setting pythons and his loyal Hulkamaniacs vanquished them
all....eventually. His reign as WWF World Heavyweight Champion went on
uninterrupted for an unprecedented four straight years to the joy of
Hulkamaniacs everywhere and the outright displeasure of others criticizing
his limited wrestling ability.
Hogan admitted to past steroid use at what became known as the WWF Steroid
Trial. His resilient image took a licking but kept on ticking. Moving on to
World Championship Wrestling in 1994, the five-time WWF World Heavyweight
Champion won the WCW world belt on four occasions transforming himself into
the rule-breaker Hollywood Hogan leader of the revolutionary New World
Never before in pro-wrestling has one wrestler captured the public's
imagination. The former bass player and body builder developed into a
household name landing roles in various movies, television shows and
cartoons. An active supporter of countless children's charities Hogan even
graced the hallowed cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine.
The late, great Andre The Giant parties with Hogan after his first WWF World Title win.
Never before in pro-wrestling has one wrestler held so much political
clout. In both the WWF and WCW Hogan's commanding star power gave him
absolute creative control over storylines affecting his character and
unlike most wrestlers, he also benefited from a sizable cut of the
pay-per-view profits and merchandise sales.
This evening on the Tonight Show Hogan will get out while the getting is
good...or will he?
His popularity eclipsed by upstart champion Bill Goldberg and the nWo rival
Wolf Pack group led by Kevin Nash, Hogan saw the writing on the wall.
Recent WCW pay-per-view buy rates and Monday Night Nitro ratings show Hogan
isn't the dependable draw he once was. Arguably the smartest business man
in the industry next to Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff and Paul Hayman, Bolea
finally realized that Hollywood Hogan overexposed himself. Regurgitating
eighties WWF feuds in the WCW of today doesn't cut it with discriminating
As Owen Hart so eloquently put it...It's time for a change.
If Bollea is dead serious about vying for the American presidency the
landscape of World Championship Wrestling will clearly change for the
better. The spotlight to shine on those who've languished in Hogan's
shadow. Kevin Nash, a dominant political presence in the federation, would
reap the benefits from a Hogan absence. The "dance floor" will also open up
for the likes of Bret Hart, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page and Ric Flair.
With two years left to go would Hogan really break his WCW contract? Not
likely. Just as Hulkamania ran its course so has Bolea's Hollywood
incarnation. A Hogan metamorphosis after an extensive absence could
strengthen fan interest. He's the wrestler you love to love or love to
hate. You can't knock that successful formula.
Hogan's presidential campaign is the perfect springboard for a return of
the red and yellow - Hulkamania persona Hogan would like to exit on. Hogan
can't leave the world of professional wrestling as a heel. His ego, his
pride, won't let him.
"Hollywood Hogan" may have retired but you can bet all the gold in the
Canadian Mint that if his White House bid fails "Hulk Hogan" - hero of the
masses - will tag in once the Bollea campaign office closes its doors.
Agree? Disagree? .E-Mail me your
response at email@example.com
. Some responses may appear in the next column.
The previous SLAM! Wrestling editorial
I am a proud American and guess who my superhero is? None other than Canada's
own Bret Hart! When Bret was doing the stupid anti-American stunt, I knew
that it was Vince McMahon's no-brainer.
I am proud to say that I have been a
pro-wrestling fan for over eight years now and in the past I was also a WWF
fan. But I am so loyal to the Hitman that I haven't watched any WWF telecasts
or have had anything to do with the WWF since November 9, 1997.
I only watch
WCW when I know that I will see Bret. I feel so lucky to have had the
privilege to have spent some time talking to Bret on last year's Wrestle Vessel
Cruise with the WWF. After that week was over I knew that I had made the
right decision as to who was my superhero.
I feel that what ever character
Bret portrays in his pro wrestling career, in my opinion, he will always be a
kind, gentle, shy, soft spoken, family man in real life. A superstar
who really cares about his fans.
In closing I'll say I'm proud to be Bret
Hitman Hart's biggest American Fan. After all to me he will always be the
best there is , was, and ever will be. If I had but one wish in the world it
would be to see my hero again before he retires.
Mr. Powell, I respect your opinions, you are a great journalist. But I'm
afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you concerning Bret Hart. Now
while I will agree with you that Mr. Hart is a fine wrestler, I am
appalled by his behavior, especially the way he sneak-attacked Sting,
after Sting helped him so many times in the last few weeks. How could
such a great man do something like that?
So how much is Bret paying you???
While you point out some very valid
failures of Bruce Mitchell's column,
you still seem to tow the corporate
line that Bret can do no wrong, and
all the misfortunes that Bret is
experiencing is a result of either
Mister McMahon, or Hulk Hogan, and
never a result of his own rampant ego
Nothing EVER seems to be Bret's fault,
or a result of his actions whenever I
see anything regarding him from the staff.
Donnie Abreu seems to be the only person
that ever worked there that can see Bret
for what he is, and called "a spade a spade".
Who said "Your fed is DEAD without me!!"
about a year ago. Who was so wrapped up
in his own image that he thought all he
would have to do is show up in WCW TV and
the WWF would fold, and the fans would
welcome him with open arms? Who wrestled
about 6 times in a matter of about 5 months
or so, and yet STILL whined about 'getting
screwed'? Who made about 1.5 million bucks
in those same 6 months, but couldn't be bothered
to take part in any angle, or fight a meaningful
Bret is (or hopefully WAS) such a mark for his
own persona, just like Ahmed Johnson/Tony Norris
that he believed his own hype, and thinks the
wrestling world revolves around him. Far from it.
Bret bores me to tears, and I couldn't be happier
that he is playing second, or third, or forth
back up fiddle over their to "Hollywood" Hogan. The
hypocrisy that Bret also shows in virtually all of
his articles regarding the WWF and their product
nauseates me. To me, Bret is an absolute SHADOW
of what he once was, whose best days are almost as
far behind him as Hogan's are. He bores me to tears,
and I wish you guys over at Slam would wake up and
see him for what he is.
A hypocritical egomaniac, who thinks that fans
should bow down and mark out for him simply because
he is 'Bret Hart'. Bah.... Gimme a D-Lo Brown, or
newcomer Gangrel ANYDAY. AT least those guys are enter-
training, and STILL put on a good match without just
going through the motions, and collecting obscene
amounts of money, and STILL whining a year later
about the competition.
Right on target about Mitchell. What I find particularly irksome about
Hart's critics is their hypocrisy. They complain that Bret whines too
much. To a point, I agree; while Bret was wronged, he should stop
talking about it. However, columns like Mitchell's show that the worst
whiners are the Hitman haters. Rather than giving the man his props,
they babble on about "graduated quarterback", etc., etc.
Bret worked his butt off to become a star and did it on his terms.
That's pretty admirable. What's more, how come fans willingly buy into
the whole DX framing of Hall and Nash as "prisoners" of WCW? These same
fans make fun of Bret for going to WCW for the money, and "playing off
the sides", etc.
Hall and Nash, the latter of whom said that he'd
sooner get a sex change to jump ship, take off for WCW. They don't even
agonize over the decision, they just happily jump ship. And now they
are considered "prisoners" and we're supposed to feel sorry for them.
(And this despite the fact that their profiles are still very big. It's
not like they're mid-carders).
Somehow, Hitman haters always manage to point the finger at Bret when
there are plenty of other people to point it to.
I know what you mean! The REAL villain in this fiasco spells his name
H-O-G-A-N! I'm just sorry that Bret has gone from being screwed by McMahon
to being shafted by HOGAN! I agree with him that he continues to get no
respect. I'm afraid that the only way to get any respect is to beat the
hell out of Hogan and force him to retire FOREVER!!!
I'm an Irish fan of Bret Hart's, and I'd just like to say that your
article on Bret "Tagging in for the Hitman" was well written and made some
important points. It proves that one can be both a fan of a wrestler and
be objective and fair about that wrestler. I don't believe Bret is the
best there is, was, etc. but he deserves a hell of a lot more credit than
he gets from the likes of Bruce Mitchell. Well done.