WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling broadcast legend Jim Ross recently explained why fellow Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan was difficult and a bit of a drama queen during a recent edition of his podcast. Hogan is without a doubt one of the most important wrestlers in history and certainly helped to usher in the modern age of pro wrestling.
The crossover wrestling stars like John Cena, The Rock, and Batista wouldn’t be the household names they are without the likes of Hogan. He became a household name for non-wrestling fans and exemplified the moniker of sports entertainer.
Being a megastar like Hogan allows for a little bit of ego to creep in. He was the face of WWF in the ‘80s and early ’90s. With Hogan’s fame, the wrestling megastar became really particular in how he wanted things and how he wanted to conduct business.
In the latest episode Grilling Jr, Ross talked about calling his first WWF pay-per-view event in the 1993 King of the Ring and seeing how Hulk Hogan operated behind the scenes. Ross stated the following:
“It was an interesting experience because he had to be tended to. He had needs, and that happens when you’re a big star. He spent a lot of time with Vince [McMahon] during that time, to work out a finish [for his match], which I didn’t understand, and why it took so long. Nonetheless, I guess it’s part of the routine, I don’t know. Maybe, it made Hulk feel better. If it did, cool. It was an interesting day to see how business was transacted behind the scenes.”
- H/T To Wrestling Inc. For Transcription
THE BACKSTAGE POLITICS OF HULK HOGAN
That year’s KOTR was interesting for a few reasons. Hogan and his manager Jimmy Hart were about to leave the WWF around that time, and Hogan was still the WWF champion. He needed to drop the title on his way out and he did, but not without some backstage dealings.
WWF originally had planned on Hogan dropping the WWF championship to Bret Hart a few months later at SummerSlam, but Hogan was very resistant to that idea. He didn’t think Hart was the right guy to beat the great Hulk Hogan and rejected the idea. The WWF and Hogan eventually came up with the compromise of dropping it to Yokozuna.
This backstage politics is what Ross was referring to when he said “how business was transacted” and it left a very bad taste in Hart’s mouth when he got word of it. Ross talked about what he thought of these backstage politics and if he thought Hart was deserving of taking the title off Hogan as he was leaving for WCW. He continued on his podcast:
“You can’t say it was because, well, Hogan didn’t want to lose the title to a lesser guy. There’s no way you can call Bret Hart a weak successor. It was the right thing to do, he [Hart] was the hottest thing we had. But, for whatever reason, Hogan didn’t want to lose the title to Bret, and I have never understood that. It’s just illogical.”
HULK HOGAN REFUSING TO PUT THE NEXT GUY OVER ON HIS WAY OUT
Part of pro wrestling is putting over the guy the promotion wants you to put over on your way out. It is usually just how wrestling works. Hart is the guy WWF wanted to push at that moment and Hogan wouldn’t do the job that WWF wanted.
An interesting side note is just four years later Hart found himself in a similar position as Hogan did. He was leaving for WCW and had issues with how the WWF wanted him to lose his WWF Championship against Shawn Michaels. This situation ultimately led to what’s known as the Montreal Screwjob.
Prior to leaving WWF, Hogan wrestled WWE Hall of Famer The Great Muta in NJPW and called the IWGP Heavyweight Championship a more prestigious title than the WWF Championship. Many felt this was very disrespectful towards WWF which made Hogan a megastar. Ross felt like Hogan was acting like a baby and disrespecting McMahon and WWF when he may never have been the star he became without them.
Ross added, “[McMahon] made [Hogan] rich and famous. Everything [in WWE] was built around Hogan. Why aren’t you professional enough to do the right thing for the business?”
Hulk Hogan went from one of the most beloved men in pro wrestling by fans to one of the most disliked. He was my favorite wrestler growing up as he was for many kids. It is hard for Hulkamaniacs like myself to hear about Hogan not being an amazing guy like he was portrayed on TV.
Do you think Bret Hart was the right guy to beat Hulk Hogan on his way out? Or in hindsight was Yokozuna the correct choice? Should Hogan have just done what WWF had asked of him or was he right to push against Hart? Let us know if you think Hogan was disrespectful in being so particular in what finish he wanted when Hart did the same thing and it wasn’t seen as disrespectful.
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