Hulk Hogan nearly ruined pro wrestling
Hulk Hogan might have been one of the greatest to ever strap up a pair of boots, but he nearly ruined the industry.
Hulkamania truly ran wild in the 1980s, and while there are many criticisms to be had about Hulk Hogan’s career as a wrestler, he put the sport on the map. While his success could be attributed to how over he was with Vince McMahon, the Hulkster’s charisma set him apart from most of his peers. Additionally, Hogan opened the door to Hollywood for both John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who are both much more successful in film than he ever was.
Hulk Hogan buried many wrestlers on his way to the top:
Across his career, Hogan clashed with some of the biggest names in the industry. Despite this, there have been claims over the years that he refused to put over many stars–even The Rock at the height of his fame.
Back in the 80s, alongside Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage was one of the most popular stars. Despite lengthy feuds, Hulk Hogan never lost to Savage in a clean defeat, each time they clashed and a pin was made, the Hulkster stood triumphantly.
Other wrestlers that Hulk Hogan could have put over but didn’t include the likes of Curt Hennig, Bret Hart, Randy Orton and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. While it was never up to Hogan for all of these stars to have better runs at the time, his star power could’ve given all of them a significant boost. Additionally, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinal, he admitted to keeping other wrestlers down.
Hulk Hogan almost ruined TNA Wrestling with nepotism and his ego:
Today, AEW is considered the leading competitor of WWE, and IMPACT Wrestling is seen as a shadow of its former self. However, less than 20 years ago, TNA (as it was known then, and will be from 2024) provided a real alternative. The roster was stacked with many massive names, but Hulk Hogan naturally towered above them all.
Despite teasing a debut in 2003, Hogan only debuted in the promotion in 2010, but by this time he was 59 and way past his prime. He had a lot of creative control and signing power, which he often exercised.
Hulk Hogan quickly filled the promotion with some of his oldest friends, who added nothing to the promotion. This resulted in TNA losing a ton of momentum in its battle with WWE. Eventually, Hogan exited TNA in 2013, after an on-screen segment with then-owner, Dixie Carter, which Eric Bischoff has since claimed was his idea.
Hogan’s racism scandal not only affected his legacy, but the sport as a whole :
While his many actions in pro wrestling affected the careers of his peers, Hogan’s real-life actions hurt his legacy far more. The Hulkster has been no stranger to controversy, but his racist rant scandal in 2015 is one of the worst things associated with him. Tapes of Hulk Hogan repeatedly using the “n-word” slur from a 2007 phone call were released at the time, resulting in WWE suspending him for years and the removal of his Hall of Fame status.
For a few years, it seemed like Hulk Hogan would be erased from pro wrestling and WWE, but surprisingly, in 2018, he was reinstated into the Hall of Fame.
Since then, Hogan has been featured in video games again and even made a few on-screen appearances. The Hulkster also publically apologized for his rant, but many fans didn’t accept his apology. Despite this, the scandal is still often brought up online but it wasn’t enough to take away his legacy in pro wrestling.
Unfortunately for the Hulkster, because of this same legacy, any mistakes he makes may affect the entire industry.
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