Forget about Romney or Obama. How about Hulk Hogan for President? Don’t laugh too hard, it almost happened.
With tonight marking a historic day in American politics, I thought it would be fitting to look at professional wrestling's more important run to presidency, or maybe not.
Much of the buzz surrounding the 2012 race between current President Barack Obama and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is how close of a race this might be, perhaps the closest since the 2000 election.
For those who lived through 2000, you will recall the craziness surrounding the Presidential Race. Between Electoral College/popular vote discrepancies, recounts and hanging chads, the whole process was nothing more than a circus.
There was only one man who could’ve made the whole showdown more of a circus: Mr. America himself, Hulk Hogan.
On the Thanksgiving edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hogan, then with World Championship Wrestling, announced his retirement from professional wrestling and the next step in his historic, legendary career, President of the United States of America.
Yes, Hulk Hogan was putting himself in the race for US President.
The retirement lasted all of one month before Hogan came back to win the title against Kevin Nash and reform the New World Order in what many consider the night WCW began its death march.
Surprisingly enough, the Presidential candidacy did not end there. Hogan went on CNN’s Larry King Live in June of 1999 and stated that Time Warner had been urging him to run for president of the United States:
It's something that's not out of the question, because with everybody having a different agenda and everybody owing everybody something in the political arena, it would be nice to have somebody that could put America first. ... The way I look at it, if Jesse Ventura could become governor of Minnesota, I mean I basically beat Jesse at everything he's done anyway in his life, so I might as well run for the president.
Hogan and then-WCW president Eric Bischoff were not joking. They even pointed to a poll in Atlanta that showed if Hogan went against Bill Clinton and Al Gore he would have garnered 61 percent of the votes.
I am not sure if the poll consisted of the locker room in a WCW House Show, but they were not shy about throwing that number around.
The country was in need of someone who would put America first and by god, that man was going to be Hulk Hogan!
Could Hogan have actually won the election? By 1999, I would say there was no chance. Had he run 10 years earlier during the peak of Hulkamania, he may have had a fighting chance. Of course, the mainstream media would scoff at the idea of a wrestler leading the country, but if someone of Ventura’s level could ascend to the top rank of his state, why not Hogan for President?
We will ignore the obvious facts that Hogan did not meet the age requirement, or really any of that other jazz that is involved with holding the title as the most powerful figure in the world. Who cares? IT’S HULK HOGAN!
By 1999, Hogan’s real drawing power was dead. After his second peak (1996-1998), this year proved to be Hogan and WCW’s most lethal.
Between killing their only long-term draws, career-ending injuries to huge stars, millions of dollars in losses and of course, The Demon, 1999 wasn’t exactly a banner year for WCW.
Hogan, himself, had fallen out of favor after returning from his mini-retirement. He had gone back to the Red and Yellow in the summer of 1999, but Hogan, like WCW, was too far-gone.
Nobody cared anymore.
So how did the campaign go? How awesome were those debates? Well, they never happened—nothing happened.
Hogan, despite initially saying it was a true goal, admitted later that it was false, just a work, a possible publicity stunt. You’ll note that this is very un-Hogan like and definitely not relevant to anything happening these days in the wrestling world or Hogan specifically.
Therefore, when it was all said and done, Hogan’s campaign had about as much legs as World Wrestling Federation legend Bob Backlund’s failed race in 1995.
Oh well, we can always dream of what could have been…those debates would have been something else, brother.
This article also appears on VoicesofWrestling.com.