Legends Of Wrestlemania: Hulk Hogan

TJ DuncanCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2009

With WrestleMania 25 fast approaching, and the imminent arrival of the new Legends of WrestleMania game, anticipation of the event has never been higher. Number 25 promises to be the best ever, with an interesting mix of past, present and future WWE superstars.

With that in mind, this is the beginning of a new series leading up to WrestleMania, looking at some legendary figures in the history of wrestling and their most memorable WrestleMania moments.

This first edition will be looking at Hulk Hogan.

Terry Gene Bollea, more commonly known as Hulk Hogan, was the face of the then WWF throughout the 1980s and early '90s. It was fitting, then, that he should play such a major part in the birth of WrestleMania.

On March 31, 1985, Hogan headlined the first ever WrestleMania, making history along the way. He teamed up with Mr. T, a team managed by "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, to take on "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper who were accompanied to the ring by Cowboy Bob Orton.

Hogan, the champion at the time, eventually got the win for his team by pinning Orndorff in a memorable match that included Piper and Mr. T exchanging slaps and Bob Orton accidentally hitting Orndorff with his cast. This match ultimately led to Orndorff becoming a fan favourite as he was attacked after the match by his team-mates.

WrestleMania II rolled around on April 7, 1986 with Hogan still champion. Despite doctors advice that he not compete due to an injury suffered at the hands of his WrestleMania opponent King Kong Bundy, Hogan defended his title inside a steel cage.

Despite facing such a formidable opponent, the injured Hogan dropped his leg drop before climbing the cage to give him a second WrestleMania win. It wasn't the last big man he would face at the PPV, however...

WrestleMania III was one of the biggest events in sports entertainment history. 93,173 people packed into the Pontiac Silverdome on March 29, 1987, still an indoor attendance record to this day.

All those people saw one of the most famous moments in the history of wrestling as Hulk Hogan, facing former friend Andre the Giant for the title, again in the main event, body-slammed the 520-pound Goliath. One leg-drop later and Hogan became the first man to beat Andre in a match still talked about today.

WrestleMania IV was the first time Hulk Hogan didn't headline the PPV. That honour went to Randy "Macho Man" Savage who, with some help from "the Hulkster", won the vacated WWF Championship.

Hogan was eliminated from the WWF Championship tournament after there was a double disqualification in his match with Andre the Giant.

It was business as usual in WrestleMania V, however, as Hogan headlined the event, taking on former tag-team partner and WWF Champion Randy Savage. After recovering from near defeat, Hogan went on to pin Savage, thus capturing his second WWF title.

WrestleMania VI saw two of the biggest names in the business go at it in a historic title vs. title match as WWF Champion Hulk Hogan took on Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior.

The match lived up to the hype as the Warrior dodged the Atomic Leg Drop before hitting his big splash and inflicting Hogan's first WrestleMania loss.

At WrestleMania VII, Hogan faced Sgt. Slaughter in the ultimate face vs. heel battle. Hogan was seen as the American hero in the aftermath of the Gulf War, while Sgt. Slaughter played the part of an Iraqi sympathiser.

Not only did Hogan's win in this main event represent America's perceived success in the war, it also netted him his fourth WWF Championship.

It seemed Hogan's last WrestleMania was to be at WrestleMania VIII as he announced his planned his retirement after the event. This time he was facing Sycho Sid and, thanks to a surprise return by the Ultimate Warrior, he was able to get the pin.

It seemed that the Hulkster couldn't stay away, however, as he made another historic appearance at WrestleMania IX when, following Yokozuna's controversial win over Bret Hart, Hogan beat Yokozuna for his newly-won title in less than a minute, thanks in part to Mr. Fuji inadvertently throwing salt in the eyes of Yokozuna.

It was to be nine years before we saw Hogan at WrestleMania again, but when we did, it was well worth the wait. He took on The Rock at WrestleMania 18 in an Icon vs Icon match.

Incredibly, the fans actually started to boo the People's Champ and cheer Hogan, who was playing a heel at the time. Ultimately, The Rock came out on top.

The Immortal Hulk Hogan appeared again at WrestleMania 19 when he took on Mr. McMahon in a street fight match. Hogan came out on top in a battle between two of the most important figures in WWE history, recording his first WrestleMania win since 1993.

Since then, we haven't seen Hogan in a registered match at WrestleMania. However, being a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the most important people in the development of the event, I would not be at all surprised if he were to make an appearance at the 25th anniversary.

After all, he is Hulk Hogan - a legend of WrestleMania!