Shawn Michaels is the "Showstopper," the "Main-Event," "Mr. WrestleMania." Ric Flair was "The Man." The Rock was "The Great One," and The Undertaker is "The Phenom."
But there is only one man that can be described as all of the above monikers.
He's your favorite wrestler's...favorite wrestler.
His name is Hulk Hogan—the greatest WWE superstar that ever lived.
If you were a kid in the '80s and '90s, you were a Hulk Hogan fan (whether you care to admit it now or not).
You had his action figure, you watched his cartoon. Hell, you waited outside for the ice cream truck so you could get one of those WWF ice cream bars and prayed you had Hogan's.
Hulk Hogan is THE name synonymous with professional wrestling in mainstream America...
In the mainstream universe BROTHER!
Hulk Hogan made his wrestling debut in 1977 after being trained by the legendary Hiro Matsuda.
He started wrestling in southern NWA territories where he teamed up with Ed Leslie (aka Brutus Beefcake) as brothers Terry and Ed Boulder.
After a talk show appearance where he made Lou Ferrigno look like Hornswoggle, Hogan began to use the name Terry "The Hulk" Boulder.
Hogan's size and muscle made him a favorite with fans, and he caught the eye of Terry Funk, who introduced him to Vince McMahon Sr.
McMahon Sr. changed his last name to Hogan, and things took off from there.
Hogan's first stint in the WWE (then WWF) lasted only one year. After filming Rocky III against Vince Sr.'s wishes, he left the WWE and joined the AWA.
Hogan became the top face in AWA and had a number of matches with AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel, where he was screwed out of the AWA title.
After a two-year stint in AWA, Hogan returned to the WWE, now under the ownership of Vincent K. McMahon.
Hogan was Vince's main attraction and the man he picked to help him take over the wrestling business.
Hogan took the wrestling world by storm, and Hulkamania was born.
For the next 10 years, Hogan fought in areas all across the country and around the world, ripping off his shirt, cupping his ear to the fans, and "hulking up" much to our delight.
He became WWE Champion in 1984 and held the title for four years—the third longest reign ever. He would go on to win the WWE title six times in his career.
Hulk Hogan main-evented eight of the first nine WrestleManias.
He had memorable feuds and matches with the likes of Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, and Roddy Piper.
After all of his success in WWE, Hogan left and was instrumental in providing Vince and the WWE with the only real competition they've ever had.
He joined WCW, and in the most shocking heel turn in wrestling history, he formed the NWO with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Now known as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, he was able to change up a gimmick that was becoming increasingly stale.
In WCW, Hogan would become a six-time World Champion, giving him 12 combined World Championships.
Hulk Hogan's significance to professional wrestling is unmatched.
Hulk Hogan crossed over in the mainstream. He starred in movies such as No Holds Barred and Rocky III. He appeared on The Tonight Show. He was on the covers of Sports Illustrated and People magazine. He's done it all.
Ask anyone who is not a wrestling fan between the age of 20-40 years old to name a professional wrestler, and I'm willing to bet that 90 percent of the time you'll hear Hulk Hogan. He is a household name.
Many claim that Hogan didn't have the wrestling skill set to be considered the best ever. Hogan in his early days was actually a skilled wrestler and showed off those skills when he wrestled in various Japan shows.
We also know that many of the top WWE stars are not encouraged to show their full repertoire of moves. Less is more, according to Vince McMahon.
Besides, if Hulk Hogan were just your skilled mat wrestling technician, would wrestling be the global phenomenon that it is today?
Guys like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Curt Henning were able to showcase their great technical skill because Hogan was on the card to provide the entertainment. Not to say that these guys weren't entertaining, but during Hogan's heyday, he was the guy people came to see.
Hulk Hogan was the blueprint for the crossover success current stars have today.
Current WWE stars like John Cena, The Rock, and Triple H have either starred or played roles in major motion pictures.
Various stars have appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and other talk shows.
Hulk Hogan transcended the wrestling business, and every WWE fan is indebted to him.
He thought us to train hard, say our prayers, and eat our steroids...er...vitamins.
He asked us the only question that matters: "What'cha gonna do? What'cha gonna do when the power of Hulkamania runs wild on you?"
What we did was tune in week after week to be entertained by THE greatest of all time...
And we haven't stopped since.
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