His real name is Terry Gene Bolea.
Born in Augusta, Ga.
Terry Bollea, a.k.a. Hulk Hogan, has proven to the wrestling world that he can not only thrive as both a heel and a hero, but more
important, that he can take a floundering wrestling organization and raise it to heights never before reached. Hulk hogan is without
a doubt the singular, most important wrestler of all time. Bollea was able to cross wrestling over into the mainstream market on his
Hogan was able not only to knock over his opponents in the ring, he was also able to help knock over some barriers that turned
wrestling from a "sport" into sports-entertainment. He helped pioneer wrestling into a multibillion dollar industry that combines the
competitiveness of wrestling with soap opera-like storylines.
But before Bollea would help transform the industry, he, like any other wrestler, had to pay his dues. The legendary Jack Brisco
discovered him one night and talked him into giving the business a try. Bollea would also call on the services of Japanese legend Hiro
Matsuda and begin a hard training regimen under the veteran matsman.
When he was ready to face the music, Bollea hit the independent circuits under the Sterling Golden moniker. The 6'7", 275-pound wrestler
would immediately find success and make a name for himself in his early years. Speaking of names, he would then change his ring name to
Terry Boulder and began branching out and competing in larger wrestling regions such as the AWA and WWWF, as the WWF was then called. While
carding in these promotions, he was being managed by "Classy" Freddie Blassie and also wrestling as a heel.
Though he was quickly turning heads and gaining quite a following, his popularity didn't skyrocket intil he made an appearance in the motion
picture Rocky III as the wrestling villain Thunderlips, alongside Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T. Wrestling genious Vince McMahon, Jr., took
notice of Bollea's success from the movie and quickly moved to make him the focal point of his wrestling organization, the World Wrestling
Before you knew it, Bollea, now known as Hulk Hogan, was wrestling for the heavyweight championship title from the Iron Sheik, and when he won
that prestigious belt on January 23, 1984, it was the start of the coming of age of modern-day wrestling. The main piece of the puzzle, Hogan,
was in place.
The next stop for Hogan from here was the first "Super Bowl" of wrestling, Wrestlemaina. This event really put wrestling on the mainstream
map. The extravaganza was held in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, and it would be the first time that the "sport" crossed
paths with celebrities from all walks of life. Muhammed Ali was there as the guest referee. Mr. T was there to take part in amatch with Hogan. Even
rock star Cyndi Lauper was there taking in the action.
Hogan, who was now playing the role of WWF hero in more ways than one, had brought the industry front and center, and if he had failed to carry this
event, wrestling very well may have crumbled and stayed as the low-key, high school gymnasium audience sport that it had been. But with a little help
from his wrestling buddies, and mastermind Vince McMahon, Hogan would not disappoint. The main clash at "Mania was a typical good guy/bad guy build-up
between Hulk Hogan and his archenemy at the time, "Rowdy" roddy Piper.
When all was said and done, Hulk Hogan and Mr. T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, in the main event at wrestleMania. Although
this was a shining moment for wrestling and the WWF at the time, it was just the tip of the iceberg for Hogan. One of the main indicators that the event
was successful and that it was well received came a few weeks after the gala, when Hulk Hogan's face graced the cover of Soprts Illustrated. The issue
would go on to be the magazine's top-selling issue of the year, besides the annual swimsuit edition, of course.
But Hulk wasn't finished there. It wasn't until WrestleMania III that Hogan really left his BIGGEST impression on the federation and his fans. The WWf
event was loaded with many outstanding matches and it had also broken all sorts of indoor sporting event records for attendance. WrestleMania III sold
out the Pontiac Silverdome to the tune of 92,000 people. the main event was to have an even bigger impact than the crowd number, as one wrestling giant
would face another. Hulk Hogan would face off againstthat night that grappling great Andre the Giant, and would not only beat the undefeated legend, but
even more impressively, would lift the 7-foot, 500-pound monster over his head and slam him to the canvas, bringing down the house.
This was the type of match that would go down in history and last a lifetime. If you were present in Michigan that night, you certainly will remember
the thud of Andre hitting the mat. Even if you were at home watching, you still vividly remember the slam.
For the next 10 years, Hogan would entertain his WWF fans, and then, when the federation started to change gears and go in a new direction with the
younger stars, hogan moved on. He would take some time off from the ring to pursue his acting career. Then Ted Turner came calling with an offer and a
challenge, and Hulk was not one to turn down either.
Hogan, now known as "Hollywood," signed on to World Championship wrestling, where he again was asked to help bring a drowning wrestling organization
into prominenc. Surprisingly enough, hogan brought the WCW into the limelight when he teamed with Kevi Nash and Scott Hall (2 ex-WWFers) to form the New
World Order, a clique that loved wreaking havoc on the federation. Even though this role was new and different from the one he had played for many years
in the WWF, it didn't stop him from being successful. Gone were the days of him wearing his infamous red and yellow outfit and preaching to his little
Hulkamaniacs to say their prayers and take their vitamins. He now donned the black and white of the nWo and was ready to be a badass heel for his new
"Hollywood" Hogan would then jump back and forth from the heel to the hero persona at WCW, but history has proven that no matter the federation or wrestling
personality, Hulk Hogan will go down as a wrestler who was strong enough to carry 2 federations on his broad shoulders. More important, he will go down
as one of the all-time greats.
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