Make No Mistake About It: Hulk Hogan Had The Biggest Impact On Wrestling

Matthew HesterSenior Writer ISeptember 17, 2009

Hello, everyone. As always, I would like to thank all of you for joining me today.

When you look at our great historic past in pro wrestling. There are many defining moments and athletes who had a great impact on it. In the early goings you had guys like Frank Gotch and Ed “The Strangler” Lewis.

In the 40 and 50s, wrestling would be taken whole new levels with grapplers like Lou Thesz, Buddy Rodgers, and Gorgeous George. While all of these wrestlers have played a great part in wrestling’s great past.

There has been no wrestler that has had an impact on the sport than Hulk Hogan. If Lou Thesz is the godfather of wrestling, than Hulk Hogan is the savior of wrestling. Whether you like the man or not you cannot deny this.

Before I continue I would like to express to all of you my feelings on Hulk Hogan. I despise Hulk Hogan and Hulkamainia with every inch of my body. He is high on a short list of the worst wrestlers I have had to watch.

Whether it was his borderline vomiting promos he cut, or his lame heroic come backs, I felt like gagging every time I had to watch it. As a fan of heels, living through the Hulkamania era was a very painful experience.

With all of that said though, there is now way I could ever deny what Hulk Hogan did for wrestling. He literally saved wrestling from almost going under in America. Some may be wondering how I can make a statement like this.

For those of you doubting my statements, I will gladly explain to you how Hulk Hogan saved wrestling. You may hear often on BR that wrestling is in dire straits. It hasn’t been the first nor will it be the last we hear that phrase.

Through out the over 100 years of wrestling it has been said many times. While on most occasions it is nothing but talk. There were indeed a couple times wrestling was in danger of going under in the U.S.

The first time pro wrestling was in danger of being destroyed was in the early 1900’s. After it was made known to the Public that wrestling was fake. The country turned on wrestling at a very rapid pace.

The first time it was saved, it would come at the hands of the Goldust trio. They not only saved wrestling, but they also revolutionized it. I wont get into them any further though.

The second time wrestling would be in serious danger was in the 1970’s. America had grown sick of pro wrestling. All over the country you had promotions falling left and right.

By the time the late 70s and early 80s rolled around Pro wrestling was on its last legs. The NWA was in shambles, and the AWA wasn’t to far behind. The WWWF was hit so bad it had to merge back with the NWA.

Wrestling was no longer a mystery; a big part of this was due to the expansion of television and tape trading. For those of you not familiar with tape trading. It is no different then buying a DVD at a local show.

The only difference between the two being, that back then they were hurting their own product with tape swapping. The fans were wising up to the inconstancies of the story lines.

Needles to say though, wrestling was fighting for their lives; wrestling would be saved by one person. If not for the emergence of Hulk Hogan, wrestling could have very easily perished into non-existence.

When Hogan hit the scene in the late 70s, he was looked at as an instant talent. He would spend a brief time with the NWA and the WWF. After Hogan’s appearance in Rocky 3 he became a mega star.

Hogan’s next big push in to stardom would come after he joined the AWA. Verne Gagne was always known for molding talent into stars. When he signed Hogan, he would on to transform him into the next wrestling Icon.

Soon the country was clamoring to see this larger then life athlete. The AWA’s ratings were reaching levels they had never seen before. This would just be the early stage of Hogan’s success though.

After heated battle with Gagne over merchandising sales, Hulk Hogan would end up leaving the AWA. His next step in greatness would be nothing short of miraculous.

In 1983 Hogan would sign with the WWF. The WWF, which was formally the WWWF was now being run by Vincent K McMahon. Vince knew instantly that he had a moneymaker when he signed Hogan.

He would have Hogan take the title of the much-hated Iron Sheik at MSG in 1984. It was on that fate full night we would see the birth of “Hulkamania”. Once Hulkamania was born it would be come a worldwide sensation.

For you modern fans, I do know that you have probably heard and know the term Hulkamania. If you didn’t experience it during the 80’s though, you will never truly understand the power of it.

Hulkamania would hit this country harder than the plague of locusts that hit the country in the 20s. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was struck with Hilkamania fever. You had kids and adults all over the world cheering for this guy.

Hell, even old grandma Tilley was running around with her Hulkamaina T- shirt on. It was a fad that grew to enormous heights. Hulk Hogan would bring wrestling to levels of popularity it had never seen before.

Now before I hear all of you tell me that it wasn’t only Hogan that made the WWF. I would agree with all of you that feel that way. As a fan of heels, I watched Hogan destroy many of my hero’s.

Make no mistakes about it though, the mass of wrestling fans were paying to see Hogan. Whether it was to see him win or loose mattered not. In the early to late 80s Hulk Hogan was always in the main event.

Vince McMahon had created a monster that even he would be unable to slay. In the early 90s Vince was looking for new blood as champ. His first attempt to end Hulkamania would be with the Ultimate Warrior.

This attempt would end in utter failure. Over the next couple of years he would try to replace Hogan with various wrestlers. No matter who it was though, Hogan would always wind up with the belt again.

In 1994 Hogan would leave the WWF and head over to the WCW. Vince would try again to end Hulkamania with insulting commercials towards the Hulkster. This would also end up in failure for Vince.

In WCW we would see Hogan once again raise another promotion to new levels. He was the biggest key for Ted Turners brand during the Monday night wars. The WCW would rain supreme after Hogan turned heel and created the N.W.O.

People were once again in love with Hulk Hogan. Vince thought he had ridded himself of Hogan after he left. Hogan was going nowhere though, only this time Hogan was working for the enemy.

For over 80 weeks, with the Help of Hogan, WCW would reign supreme as the wrestling kings. If not for bad managerial decisions and bad booking, who knows how things would have played out.

After the WCW sold out to the WWF, most felt we had seen the end of Hulk Hogan. This would be far from the case though. In 2002, we would once again see the yellow and red run wild.

When he returned to the WWE, it was as if he never left. The fans couldn’t get enough of the old guy. Hogan would even win the title again after he beat HHH. Thank god his title run only lasted a month.

Even as we speak today Hogan is still a big name. He is currently putting together a Hulkamania tour in Australia. I wouldn’t be surprised if every show wasn’t sold out.

So as all of you can see, it would be hard to argue that Hogan didn’t make the biggest impact on wrestling. He will forever be remembered as one of the biggest superstars, if not the biggest to ever hit the wrestling scene.

I would like to thank all of you for joining me once again.

As always, have a great day and God bless.