Hulk Hogan opens up about Randy Savage, The Mega Powers and why WrestleMania V means so much to him
In the late 1980s, Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage formed one of the most powerful partnerships in sports-entertainment history. With the lovely Miss Elizabeth by their side, The Powers battled WWE’s baddies over the course of an entire year. But when the jealous Savage became overly protective of Elizabeth, it drove a wedge between the two competitors that resulted in The Mega Powers “exploding” in an emotional main event at WrestleMania V.
Twenty-five years have passed since that legendary battle. And to honor the occasion, WWE.com spoke with “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan, who let his guard down to reveal behind-the-scenes details about The Mega Powers, how the two biggest stars of the wrestling’s boom period reconciled decades later and why he still misses his old friend.
WWE.COM: What are your first memories that come to mind when you think about The Mega Powers exploding at WrestleMania V in Atlantic City?
HULK HOGAN: I don’t know if you remember, but [Randy Savage] had a big white bandage on his elbow. He had a bursa sac that was broken and infected with Staph. He should have had the bursa sac removed and everybody told him to do it. The doctors told him, “It can rot the bone, the bacteria.” But Randy, being a total pro, said, “Oooooh, not Randy Savage, brother. I’m wrestling Hogan.” That’s what I remember. Him just being in so much pain and having that crazy elbow of his swollen and infected, and still going through all the craziness we went through that night and not complaining, moaning or whining, but just really being a pro. That’s the first thing I think of when I think of that.
WWE.COM: What was it like having a year-long rivalry with Randy? That’s something that’s rarely done today.
HOGAN: Well, you know, first off when you work with Randy, it’s intense. The only other person that I could call at three or four o’clock in the morning to talk about wrestling and would even answer their phone is Vince McMahon. And that’s how Randy was. Except Randy called me! “Hey, brother. Got an idea.” So when you got in bed with Randy, you were in it for the long haul. Good or bad, brother. He’s going to drag you through the mud whether you like it or not. And it was intense, because Randy was such a passionate person, and he was so in love with Elizabeth. Dude, I’m telling ya, the lines were so blurry with business.
WWE.COM: The lines between business and entertainment?
HOGAN: No, business and personal! Not entertainment! I was supposed to grab Elizabeth by the wrist and pull her into the ring. All of a sudden, I ended up in the locker room with him in my face going, “You grabbed her wrist too hard, brother! Who do you think you are?!” It got crazy. All with good intentions, because that’s how intense Randy was. We were at a Live Event once, and they didn’t have the steps for her to walk up to the ring. She was in my corner at the time, and she needed to get in the ring. When I leaned over to pick her up by the armpits — this superhuman feat of strength for me, to pick this little lady up off the floor onto the apron — Randy yelled, “Hey, brother, you grabbed her!” I was like, “Whoa, dude!” We hadn’t even started the match yet and this guy’s out of his mind coming at me.
WWE.COM: This is when you were friends?
HOGAN: Yeah, that’s how intense that was. That’s what a year with “Macho Man” was like. There was no cutting any corners. It was intense. When you’re wrestling with Randy, you better be ready, because it was the greatest time, but it was really, really intense.
WWE.COM: A lot of WWE fans remember the moment backstage after a match when Liz was injured and Savage turned on you. As that was happening, did you know it would end up being so iconic? Did you feel the energy?
HOGAN: I knew it was going to be intense, but I need to rewind you a little bit. During the match, Randy came flying through the ropes and he crossbodied Liz. She missed the mat and her head hit that concrete floor out there. I saw that. That freaked me out. And then to get in the back and get in an argument with this guy. Every time he’d point his finger in my face, I thought he was going to stick his finger in my eye. That’s how close he’d get. He used to freak me out.
WWE.COM: Did you prefer Randy as a partner or as a rival?
HOGAN: Rival. Brother, he was money in the bank. Everybody paid to see Randy and I go at it. I could wrestle him four times in a row at Madison Square Garden and sell every seat out. I’d much rather work against him, because he was so good in the ring.
WWE.COM: But there is something to be said for The Mega Powers as a team. The SummerSlam match that you had against Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase — The Mega Bucks — was a huge match.
HOGAN: Yeah, it was. That was great, man, because Andre hated Randy. And the only thing that saved Randy was Elizabeth, because Andre loved Elizabeth. He and Randy didn’t get along. It started out with the baby oil. Randy would just coat himself with baby oil and I remember Andre saying, “No baby oil!” WHAM! “No baby oil!” WHAM! I’d hear these crazy chops come out of the corner and Randy’s eyes would be this big looking at me, trying to get to the corner with me. Andre just did not like him for some reason, and Elizabeth was really the only reason that Randy didn’t get killed.
WWE.COM: Where does Randy rank among all of your WrestleMania opponents?
HOGAN: Damn. You know, you can’t take anything away from that Andre match, brother. That’s a WrestleMania moment — 93,000 people and Andre passing the torch to me. That match with The Rock, where I had been working for a different company, actually competing against this company, and coming back here as the dark horse. The crowd showed their loyalty, that was huge. But if I really, really, really had to go with consistency, friendship and always being there for me, Randy would be the favorite guy. That’s why it was so tough when we had that blow-up when he got divorced. He didn’t want to have anything to do with me for eight years. I just thank God that we got back together before he passed away.
WWE.COM: How did you and Savage have that reconciliation?
HOGAN: We ran into each other at a doctor’s office. I was on my seventh or eighth back surgery, and I couldn’t pass an EKG because I was getting just jammed up with anesthesia every three or four months. They couldn’t get my back right. My back was collapsing and they were telling my new wife Jennifer I’d never walk again and all of this craziness. Jennifer and I were sitting on those little seats in the doctor’s office in Tampa and all of a sudden the door opens and in comes Randy. “Yeeeah! Ooooh yeah! What’s up?” I went, “[Gasp].” Freaked me out, scared me to death. And he goes, “Hey, brother. What’s up, Hogan?” He had that gleam in his eye and looked really healthy. He gained his weight back and he had a wedding ring on. I said, “Hey, Mach, what’s up with the ring?” He said, “Hey, just married my childhood sweetheart.”
WWE.COM: How long was that before he passed?
HOGAN: Probably three or four months. We talked on the phone a couple of times. I invited him over to have a barbeque, and really got back on track, which was cool. Later, I was with Lanny, his brother, at an independent wrestling show. He told me their mom wasn’t doing so well with [Randy’s father] Angelo passing away. So we had planned on having a barbeque at her house — because I got along well with Randy’s mom — and try to cheer her up. So, Lanny and I called Randy from the arena. Three days later, he had the heart attack. It was crazy.
WWE.COM: You get emotional thinking about him now?
HOGAN: Yeah, it’s tough. You can’t make my eyes any redder than they already are. It’s hard. That’s the tough one. Out of all the guys who have passed away, that’s the tough one for me. Because he was a great person.