A Hulkamaniac's Destiny: My Day With Hulk Hogan
On March 31, 1985, Mr.T was going to be in a wrestling match. Why? He is a television star on The A-Team.
I know he is tough but he could get seriously hurt in a wrestling ring. I didn’t know if I could watch my hero get hurt. I would tune in every Wednesday night to watch The A-Team and I knew Mr. T’s character BA Baracus would beat up all the bad guys on his own, but this was a lot different.
My Dad and I sat down to watch this match sometime later because in Australia back in those days the WWF was delayed for up to 12 months! This was the first wrestling I had watched with my Dad and I remember being so excited, but nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen to Mr. T.
This match was the main event of Wrestlemania—the first-ever Wrestlemania, it would be Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff against Mr.T and a guy called Hulk Hogan.
Something happened during this match, I lost a little interest in what Mr.T was doing because this Hulk Hogan guy grabbed my attention and he was amazing!
At 6’8", 300 pounds, long blonde hair, built like He-Man and he had so much charisma, his eyes would light up, he would storm into the ring and beat up anyone that got in his way, and the crowd couldn’t get enough of him!
He was the WWF champion at the time and I could see why, how could it be possible for this guy to lose? Mr. T was in safe hands that night. Hogan and T would go on to win the match, and right there I knew I had become a Hulkamaniac for life!
I started to buy wrestling magazines and it seemed like Hulk was on the cover of all of them! When I was reading these magazines I noticed that you could actually buy Hulk Hogan merchandise, which included posters, t-shirts, figures, lunch boxes, stickers, etc.
It didn’t take long for people at my school to catch onto this Hulkamania thing, but nobody could come close to being a bigger fan than me.
Over the next few years, I had quite a collection of Hulk Hogan stuff and through reading magazines I was able to memorise different stats and match results.
I remember using my pocket money to buy WWF cards, which came with a stick of bubble gum and would be highly disappointed if I didn’t get any Hogan cards.
I now fast forward to 2002, Hulk Hogan is advertised to appear in Melbourne for WWE’s Global Warning show at Telstra Dome. I realize my dreams are about to finally come true so I book a ticket to Melbourne and off I go!
After just a couple of days into my holiday I tune in to watch WWE Raw and Jim Ross announced that Hogan will NOT be appearing in Australia due to an “injury.”
That news absolutely devastated me, my hard earned money down the drain! It wasn’t meant to be, I was not destined to see Hulk Hogan in person.
Between 2003-2007 Hogan made brief appearances in WWE but it wasn’t the same, the magic appeared to have gone and it was sad to see.
The wrestling business had changed and Vince McMahon was trying to force new stars down our throats who were not even close to being the next Hulk Hogan.
I stopped watching wrestling all together during these years. I grew up in the Rock N' Wrestling era of the mid 80’s and enjoyed the Attitude era during the late 90’s but now, my loyalty to wrestling was truly finished with. I had finally outgrown my childhood interest, or had I?
What happened next was beyond amazement. I had just got home from dinner with my wife celebrating our first wedding anniversary, I put on my red Hulkamania t-shirt and settled down in front of my computer for the evening.
No sooner had I sat down on the couch that I received a text message from my mate Chris and all it said was “Hogan coming to Australia, including Perth.”
I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my eyes lit up (just like Hogan’s when he gets fired up). I quickly bought up different wrestling websites so that I could find out what this news was about.
Hulk Hogan was going to bring the Hulkamania tour to Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney in November. I had no idea who was on the tour or even if Hulk would be wrestling but if he is coming to Perth I knew this was my last chance to see the man in person!
I was so excited hearing the news, I immediately logged into Facebook and thought I would create a Hulkamania Australia fan page to bring all the Hulk Hogan fans in Australia together to talk about the upcoming tour and share their excitement. It didn’t take long for my page to gain popularity as I reached 500 fans in just a few weeks.
One day I received an e-mail from a company who was promoting the tour and they were pleased with what I was doing and would like to jump on board and get actively involved in my page and I am glad they did because as soon as they did, the page blew up to over 2,000 fans!
On Nov. 22, 2009 Hulk Hogan arrived in Perth and I was at the airport to get a glimpse of him, finally! I was wearing my red Hulkamania shirt and I bought along with me Hulk’s new autobiography in the slim chance I could get him to sign it.
I had no idea how this day would pan out but I was very nervous, if I can see him in person with my own eyes I will be so happy!
The flight arrived and I watched as people walked through the terminal from this flight when all of a sudden Hulk appeared, I said to myself “Holy F*** it’s him!”
He was wearing black track pants and a black tank top, dark sunglasses and a purple bandanna. At this very moment, something happened to me, I had flashbacks of all the moments I had seen him on TV and how happy it made me, how I would pretend to be him when I play fought with my mates, I looked at all his posters dreaming of one day seeing him in real life and here he was!
I walked up to him and said “Hi Hulkm=, how are you?” he said to me “good brother, how are you doing?” I shook his hand and tapped him on the back. I said to one of my mates “I just shook his F**** hand!”. If the day ended now I would have been so happy, but there is more!
Hulk got on the escalator and I walked down the steps next to the escalator, I took out my iPhone and filmed him, then I realized the nerves were gone and I would be able to talk to him, this is how it happened:
Me: Welcome to Perth, Hulk!
HH: Thank you bro
Me: It’s great to have you here
HH: It’s great to be here, I like your shirt man
Me: Do you think I could get a photo or autograph?
HH: What’s that?
Me: a photo or autograph?
HH: Yeah we can do that, once I get my bags
Me: I just read your book in 24 hours
HH: No way, wow, that’s awesome
Me: I have waited 25 years for this moment
I just had a conversation with Hulk Hogan, he actually looked at me. Just seconds later as he walked towards the baggage claim he was met by TV cameras who were there to meet him and where was I? I was standing by his side while he was interviewed.
I didn’t care that I was going to be all over the news that night, this was a moment I have waited 25 years for and I was going to soak it all up!
I can’t remember smiling so much before, it’s not everyday anyone gets to meet their childhood hero let alone have a conversation with them!
Hogan sat down and signed autographs and took photos with the 30-40 fans that were at the airport, he was very good to the fans even though he appeared very tired from the flight. I got my book signed and had a photo taken with him, does this get any better?
After Hulk got his bags I walked next to him through the airport, people were staring and I thought “here I am just walking around with Hulk.”
I told him how inspirational he had been to me and that he had helped me out during some rough times and he said “that’s awesome, bro.”
As we approached the doors to go outside I said “I hope you really enjoy it here in Perth” and he said “it looks beautiful” I told him I was pumped up about the show on Tuesday night and he said “yeah bro me too, can’t wait.”
I kept walking close by and when I saw he had to go I told him to have a good day and he put his arm on my back and walked off.
I could not believe my interaction with Hulk, it was more than I ever expected. When the van drove off he looked at me and I let out a cheer and he put his thumbs up to me.
On the day of the show I had a free ticket to the meet and greet from the promoters so I would get to see my idol again.
We gathered in a room and was told that Hulk would not be signing autographs or taking photos but would answer questions for about 10 minutes.
I am glad I didn’t have to spend the extra $400 for this function as I would have felt very ripped off!
I was standing at the front of the room and didn’t think anything of it and when Hulk walked through the door he was standing right in front of me, only about a metre away!
He was in his wrestling gear, he shook my hand and looked me in the eyes and said “wow brother, you really brought a lot of gorgeous women with you tonight” I didn’t know what he meant so I just played along with that and said “why thank you sir”. The promoter told me afterwards that her cameraman got some really good footage of Hogan and myself.
When my friend Lisa and I left the function we took our seats at the show—front row on the aisle. The show was very solid, much more entertaining than a WWE show.
The main event had Hulk Hogan beat Ric Flair in a no disqualification match by hitting Flair over the head with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.
Not only did I get to see Hulk Hogan wrestle but he wrestled Ric Flair in my hometown and I had the best seat in the house, my dream didn’t just come true, but it shattered all expectations and it’s something I will be so grateful for the rest of my life.
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