Why Hulk still rules: WWE.com goes one on one with "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan

Page 1 of 1
March 01, 2014

Click here for more info on WWE Network

It had been less than 24 hours since Hulk Hogan made his long-awaited return to Raw when he sat down in an office in Stamford, Conn., for a conversation with WWE.com. A lesser man may have shown some of the wear that comes with flying cross-country only hours after experiencing the adrenaline jolt of performing in front of thousands of seriously excited fans. This was The Hulkster, though. He’s been doing this since Ronald Reagan was in office.

In fact, Jan. 23, 2014, marked 30 years since Hogan first won the WWE Title and started the brotherhood of Hulkamania. Since that time, The Hulkster has become so ingrained in the fabric of American pop culture that he recently appeared alongside The California Raisins and Jason of the “Friday the 13th” movies in a Super Bowl commercial. Y’know, fictional characters. If, at times, he’s gotten lost in that dead space between what is real and what is fantasy, it’s understandable. He’s lived the better part of his life inside the pages of a flesh and blood comic book. Apologies if that ink sometimes runs.

But, as he said on Monday night, this is a turning point for Hulk. In the last few years, he’s watched his personal struggles play out very publically, been pieced back together on an operating table and walked out on the other side with the fire engine red and canary yellow shining brighter than ever. He’s a survivor, brother. The Immortal One. And this is where he’s at three decades after Hulkamania first started running wild. Now sing it with us, “When it comes crashing down and it hurts inside…”

Watch The Hulkster's most epic WWE returns

WWE.COM: What was it like returning to Raw on Monday night? Do you still get nervous before walking out in front of a live audience like that?

HULK HOGAN: Oh yeah, there were nerves. Even the night before, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning. I’m thinking, “How are these fans going to welcome me back?” But when I came out right at the top of the show and they saw me, it was almost like I had walked behind a 747 jet. The only way I can explain it to you is it was this energy and it was so loud it was like, “Woah!” It made me take a step back for a minute. I was like “Okay. Yeah, this works.”

Go behind the scenes of Hulk's Raw comeback

WWE.COM: How about the Superstars and Divas? Were you concerned about how you’d be received in the locker room?

HOGAN: You always hope for the best, but that thought of, “Who’s this new guy coming in?” will pass through your mind. A lot of these new Superstars weren’t born when I wrestled Andre the Giant at Shea Stadium, so, you never know. But it couldn’t have been a better welcome. I mean it was nothing but love. When you shook someone’s hand, they looked you right in the eye and they were serious. One Diva said, “Oh man. I’m a huge fan of yours. You’re the biggest Superstar ever!” I said, “Man, that’s cool. Thank you.” So it was really neat coming from a bunch of very good people.

WWE.COM: Can you tell us about how your return came about?

In my heart, I was hoping to come back here.HOGAN: Over the last couple years, there’ll be texts between Vince and I. “Happy birthday brother!” on August 24th, his birthday. Christmas, Thanksgiving. We’ll touch base like that. And then I guess the word got out that I was jobless. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was thinking of going back to playing music or something. On a Tuesday, I was officially out of work. And Friday morning I was drinking my coffee and I hear my cell phone. And it was Triple H. “Hey brother, just checking on you.” I’m like, “Hey, dude, I’m just contemplating my navel here. I’m officially out of work, I’m unemployed.” And that started us talking. In my heart, I was hoping to come back here. I was hoping to put the period on the end of the sentence and it was the logical extension. It just made so much sense to come back.

Watch the WrestleMania battle between Hulk and Mr. McMahon

WWE.COM: Has there always been a friendship between you and Mr. McMahon?

HOGAN: Oh yeah. I mean it’s been fun. It’s been a wild ride. When I moved to Stamford, we were inseparable — me, Vince and Pat Patterson. Every day in the office for years, and it was great. Between the wrestling business, the 18-hour days, riding motorcycles, lifting weights and just this crazy vision Vince had. It was like living in a fairy tale. Like, “Oh my gosh, it’s happening. It’s really working.” Even when I left in the early ’90s, we still loved each other to death on a personal level. Business is business. That’s the one thing I learned from Vince — business is completely different from giving someone the shirt off your back and being there for him no matter what. Sometimes I get confused. The lines get blurry, but, no matter what happened, Vince has always been there.

WWE.COM: Did you have an interaction with Mr. McMahon on Monday night?

HOGAN: He actually gave me that shot of confidence I needed that night. When I was really jitterbugging right before I had to go out, Vince kicked the door down and he gave me this hug that felt like it should have broken my ribs. He goes, “Go out there and have fun!” And I went, “Yes. That’s what I needed. I needed that from you.” He’s always been there and we’ve always been friends.

WWE.COM: Were there any phone calls exchanged when you were running hot with WCW?

HOGAN: No, no, no. We didn’t exchange phone calls during that time.

Learn the story behind Hogan's jump to WCW

WWE.COM: What has it been like for you to watch Stephanie McMahon go from being a young kid to the most powerful woman in WWE?

HOGAN: She gets it, you know? She gets the art form. It’s more than just robotics — she gets the storytelling, she gets the business from A to Z. When I was here before, I was pretty stubborn. Still in my mindset with the barbaric thinking of, “Oh, these are wrestlers, and you got big bellies and big arms.” So, when Stephanie was trying to tell me how to be Hulk Hogan, back then, I was like, “Oh wow. I got this girl in my face.” I didn’t get it back then. I used the stuff she gave me and it helped a lot, but I didn’t really get that she had it locked in. But I get it now, because she’s getting so darned good at it. It’s amazing to see her and Hunter. They are totally dedicated. It’s in their blood. And that was cool to see, because you don’t see that a lot.

WWE.COM: Did you ever see yourself going the corporate route, or are you just not a suit-and-tie guy?

HOGAN: I don’t know, man. I never even thought about going down that route. I did buy some suits though. [laughs] I’m sure there’s going to be certain things where they’re going to say, “Hey, man, wear a suit if you’re out there talking to General Mills or Chevrolet.” When I called Triple H, I said, “Hey, brother. I’m coming on Raw, I got the red and yellow stuff, or I got the bolos, I got the suit.” He says, “Oh, no, brother. We want the entertainment. We want the red and yellow. Vince wants it all.” I said, “Cool.” I was scared to death they were going to say, “Come out in a suit.” That wasn’t even a thought in their minds. But I had to ask, because I have all these suits now hanging around. But I’m ready to put a suit on for whatever.

WWE.COM: How did red and yellow become your signature colors? Was it almost green and blue or black and silver?

HOGAN: I was trying different colors, you know? White looked really great, but you just couldn’t get them clean. I’d be going to all these hotel rooms with the Woolite and trying to wash the kneepads out in the sink. Then I went to the turquoise for a while. But when I was a kid growing up in Tampa, there was this wrestler named Angelo Poffo that had this amazing tan, and he was wearing these canary yellow trunks. So I threw on the canary yellow and I tried it with blue kneepads for a little while. Then I went to the red kneepads and I went, “Okay , this works.” Ronald McDonald red and yellow, Hulk Hogan red and yellow. It just stuck.

Go behind the scenes of Hulk's animated series

WWE.COM: It’s an interesting time for your generation of Superstars. You’re coming back into the fold at the same time as The Ultimate Warrior. Is there a friendship between you two?

HOGAN: I don’t know. Triple H was giving me the broad strokes of The Ultimate Warrior and his concerns with Hulk Hogan. I said, “Triple H, I’m easy, brother. After everything I’ve been through, and everything I’ve learned, for me, it’s about this moment forward.” I said, “I understand that there might be a little situation, but you don’t have to worry about me.” I would love to shake his hand, look him in the eye and say, “Brother, nothing but love for you. Whatever I did, I apologize for it. I don’t even need for you to apologize if there was anything on your end. Whatever it is, brother, nothing but love for you, let’s do business.” And if we could be friends? Even better, because he’s a good guy.

Relive Hogan's epic showdown with The Ultimate Warrior

WWE.COM: Was there a part of you that was disappointed when you heard you’d be hosting WrestleMania 30? Were you hoping to get in the ring?

HOGAN: Now listen, brother, now you’re trying to bring the ego out. [laughs] I try to keep the ego dormant. At this point, coming back here and being the host of WrestleMania is a huge honor. Would I love to have a WrestleMania moment and walk down to the ring because one of the good guys were in trouble with somebody like Triple H and I "hulk up" and throw a punch and help the good guys win? Would I love to do that? Yes sir. But it’s to the point now where I feel really good physically — and this isn’t a woe-is-me statement, it’s just a fact — after two knee replacements and two hip replacements and nine back surgeries, I’m not going to go jumping off the top rope and drop the leg. You’ll never see that happen. But I’m really happy with being the host. It’s like a monstrous shot of adrenaline.

WWE.COM: There probably isn’t a single Superstar with more WrestleMania moments than you, but were there any matches that were supposed to happen that didn’t pan out?

HOGAN: Well, a lot of stuff was in the cards, but something that just really didn’t happen was me and Flair. We were scheduled to wrestle each other, and we had just been on a loop where we went to Chicago and broke all the old records and went to Minneapolis and broke all the old records. I mean Flair-Hogan was magic. You could have doubled the ticket price and it would have still sold out. We were on that fast track to WrestleMania and, all of a sudden, the gears got switched and I never really figured out why that didn’t happen. There were other dream matches such as me against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. When I came back after I wrestled The Rock, I thought that match was going to happen, because that would make perfect sense, so I don’t know why.

Watch clips from every Hogan vs. Flair PPV match ever!

WWE.COM: What does your return to WWE mean to you? Does it feel like the culmination of something or is it just the beginning?

HOGAN: If you’re going spiritual, I already knew that all was well. I already knew that everything was gonna happen exactly the way it was supposed to, because I was in line with the universe, bro. My vibe is so high right now — I knew it was nothing but good things. And even though I was a nervous wreck, I’ve had this overriding feeling of peace. I knew once I got out there everything was going to be fine. I just keep getting hit with that positive vibe or that next blessing. I’m staying on top of that building, brother. Spiritually, I’m in perfect sync with the WWE Universe right now.

Click here for more info on WWE Network

View Comments
Hulk Hogan Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

ArticlesYou May Also Like