Hulk Hogan talks about the vast changes pro wrestling has seen since his days coming up in the profession.
Hulk Hogan is a household name and has been since the ‘80s. He helped to usher in the modern age of wrestling. However, when he was learning the profession in the late ‘70s and in his heyday in the ‘80s and ‘90s it was very different.
Each decade sees pro wrestling change in leaps and bounds, but the ‘80 is probably where the biggest change happened. While on the Full Send Podcast, Hulk Hogan talked about the biggest changes he has seen from his time coming up to now.
“I think the biggest difference would be two things: the internet stuff, you know, because I sold a ton of merchandise with no internet, Amazon, or any of that stuff,” Hogan said. “It was always venue-related [sales] or mail-order stuff. So, I sold a ton of merch over the years, and am still selling like crazy. So, I’d say the internet is the biggest difference.”– H/T To Wrestling Inc. For Transcription –
Hulkamania Was Truly Running Wild
Hulk Hogan was a juggernaut when it came to merchandise. This was helped because of territories dying and WWF taking big names from those territories or killing them by taking talent. The WWF started having a national range on TV rather than a local market.
This allowed Hogan and his Hulkamania to reach a much wider audience than it would have even five years prior. Hulk Hogan was on clothes, dolls, posters, lunch boxes, his own cartoon and many more products.
Hulkamania was everywhere and it is crazy to think he was so well known without websites to sell his merchandise or social media to spread his matches.
Hogan said the second thing which he sees as the biggest difference between wrestling now and then is having many top guys and girls rather than the top heel and top babyface.
“I think the main thing with the product is instead of having an attraction like Hulk Hogan who you can put with this guy or that guy or him [points off-screen] or you or One Man Gang or that guy or a giraffe and sell out anything. Instead of having that one attraction…I think star now is the production in the show.
Because I see the guys wrestle, and if one gets hurt, there’s another from the Performance Center that just slides right in and takes his place. They’re all the same size, have pretty much the same color of hair, and have their clothes made by the same seamstress. They learn to wrestle from the same group of trainers. When I got into the business, we all learned by wrestling every night by getting our asses beat up. We didn’t do forward rolls with helmets on, with doctors, masseuses, and trainers [for assistance]. If you hurt your thumb, you go to an X-Ray machine. ‘Take four weeks off, you broke your nail.’ It’s different now, you know?”– Hulk Hogan –
Many Top Guys And Women Rather Than Just One Or Two
Being the top guy back then meant you were the top guy. The top guy was marketed as the attraction like Hogan said. It wasn’t “come to see all the WWF Superstars wrestle each other.” It was “come see Hulk Hogan wrestle whoever he wrestles tonight.”
This style of booking created megastars like Hulk Hogan, but it also was dangerous because if that star was hurt, fired, died or left for a different promotion it left the promotion without their top guy. WWE has learned not to put all their eggs in one basket which is exactly what that kind of booking is because that basket may fall and break the golden egg.
Hogan also explained another big difference in wrestling now is the size of the wrestlers and what they are able to do in the ring.
“When I walked into a dressing room, there were like six guys sitting there,” Hogan said. “They’re all 300-pounders and I’m a medium-sized guy. So, when I got in, it’s like there’s a guy there with two big cauliflower ears, a broken nose, knocked out teeth, and he’s got four kids at home. The next guy was an NCCA Champion with a steel plate on his forearm, his name’s Harley Race. Well, good luck with him … so the difference is how athletic the guys are. The smaller guys can do all kinds of crazy stuff. They do so much stuff so much impressive stuff in one match. I wouldn’t do that much in a year but what does it mean?”– Hulk Hogan –
Size Isn’t Everything Hulkster
The difference now and when Hogan was coming up was how people got into pro wrestling. Back then wrestlers fell into it from other sports or were recruited into wrestling. Hogan himself was talked into wrestling by the Brisco Brothers.
However, now more and more wrestlers grow up wanting to become a professional wrestler and the “ideal body type” is simply the one which sells the most tickets. Skinny, fat, tall, short or anything in between can be the top person in the promotion. High-flyers have just as good a shot as powerhouses of becoming world champions.
Did Hulk Hogan sound a little negative about current wrestling? Is current wrestling better or worse than classic ‘80s wrestling? What do you think is the biggest difference between ‘80s and current wrestling? What about from 2010 to now? Let us know what single aspect of ‘80s wrestling would you put into current wrestling.