Is there a name more synonymous with sports-entertainment than Hulk Hogan?
The key figure in WWE’s rise from regional attraction to worldwide entertainment leader in the 1980s, The Hulkster’s superhuman size and undeniable charisma set the standard for what a Superstar should be. A larger-than-life icon, he packed 93,173 WWE fans into the Pontiac Silverdome, won six WWE Championships, starred in movies, television shows and his own animated series and became an idol to a vast legion of fans he dubbed his Hulkamaniacs.
Clad from head to toe in his trademark yellow and red, “The Real American” first established his unbridled patriotism when he legdropped his way through The Iron Sheik to win the WWE Championship in 1984. He became a household name from there, headlining the inaugural WrestleMania while brushing his 24-inch pythons against celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Billy Crystal on MTV and “Saturday Night Live.” The Hulkster’s fanbase knew no bounds as Andy Warhol showed up at his matches and millions of children listened intently as their hero urged them to “say their prayers and eat their vitamins.”
Hogan’s massive presence had a way of making things feel significant. His greatest rivals — “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, King Kong Bundy, Ultimate Warrior — became more noteworthy parts of WWE history when they stepped through the ropes to face The Immortal One. His best matches read like a shortlist of WWE’s defining moments. Who could forget Hulk’s showdown with Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, his collision with Randy Savage at WrestleMania V, his iconic encounter with The Rock at WrestleMania X8?