Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair: Who Was Better for the Wrestling Business?

Will J BakerCorrespondent IIIJune 1, 2011

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24:  Hulk Hogan guides Ric Flair back to the ring during the Hulkamania Tour at the Burswood Dome on November 24, 2009 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Paul Kane/Getty Images

Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan are harmoniously working in tandem nowadays with TNA but the two Hall of Famers have not always seen eye to eye.

There were endless disputes between the two in WCW over booking decisions and storyline points and much of the turmoil that was a feature of the dying days of the company came about due to Hogan and Flair's personal differences.

The "Macho Flair Affair" that was the main feature of WrestleMania VIII was initially scheduled to be a dream match between Flair and Hogan but the two huge egos could not agree on the finish.

This real-life heat between the two legends probably came about due to the fact that when "Hulkamania" was running wild in the WWF, Flair was the major player for the NWA, who were Vince McMahon's major competition at the time.

The question that wrestling fans have always loved to debate is the argument as to who was the better wrestler.

Flair was undoubtedly the better worker and he was the "real" World Heavyweight Champion as he toured the territories defending the NWA title belt. Flair also had the swagger and he seriously lived his gimmick. He was the "Nature Boy" and he certainly loved a party.

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His skills on the mic are unrivaled, as his many catchphrases and sayings are still rehashed and repeated today.

Flair also pioneered the stable concept with the original "Four Horsemen" and he can boast 17 world title reigns.

Unlike Hogan, Flair can claim to have taken part in some of the greatest matches in wrestling history. His bouts with Ricky Steamboat and Dusty Rhodes in the NWA are legendary and his "I Quit" match with Terry Funk and his cage match with Harley Race are still cited today as works of genius.

In Flair's final run with the WWE after WCW folded, the "Nature Boy" made it his duty to give back to the business that had made him a star by putting over as much young talent as possible.

His retirement match with Shawn Michaels was perfectly crafted and would have been the perfect way to go out.

However, Flair was never a pop culture icon in the same way as Hogan who is still well known today to non-wrestling fans due to his role in RockyΒ and his new reality TV show.

"Hulkamania" was a real presence in the 1980s, as millions of children bought into the real-life superhero-like persona of the "Hulkster."

He was the ideal face for the newly branded "Rock 'N Wrestling" era that the WWF was broadcasting and he was also the ideal face for the fans to cheer. He was perfect at portraying the All-American hero that would do battle with the foreign villains such as the Iron Sheik or the anti-patriotic Sergeant Slaughter.

Hulk Hogan drew more money than anyone in the history of the business and only Stone Cold Steve Austin has ever come close to the mainstream popularity that Hogan enjoyed.

His main-event match with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III and his shocking heel turn in WCW will go down as the two most iconic moments in wrestling history.

His run with the NWO as the reinvented "Hollywood Hogan" character arguably turned the Monday Night Wars in Eric Bischoff's favor and nearly put the WWF out of business.

When he returned to the WWE as the "Hulkster," the fans went crazy and it is a testament to Hogan's charisma and marketability that he still sold tickets after all those years as a heel.

But who was better for the business?

While there is no question that Flair carried the NWA in the 1980s, Hogan was largely responsible for wrestling's transition into mainstream entertainment.

Wrestling has never been more popular than at the height of "Hulkamania," when Hogan drew the crowds and the entire roster benefited from the huge payoffs.

Therefore, the only conclusion that I can come to is that while Flair will be recognized by wrestling people as the greatest to ever grace this earth, to the casual fan, there is only one contender because no one made more of a resounding impact in the sport than Hulk Hogan.


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