Hulk Hogan (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Terry Gene Bollea (born August 11, 1953), known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, actor, television personality, entrepreneur, and musician signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he is the on-screen General Manager. Hogan enjoyed mainstream popularity in the 1980s and 90s as the all-American character Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWE), and as Hollywood Hogan, the villainous nWo leader, in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Hogan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
He is a 12-time world champion being a six-time WWF/WWE Champion, six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a former WWE World Tag Team Champion with Edge. He is the second longest combined reigning WWF Champion of all time (after Bruno Sammartino), the longest-reigning champion of the 1980s, and holds two of the ten longest title runs in WWE/WWF history, having held the title for 1,474 days from 1984-1988 (the fourth longest reign of all time) and 364 days from 1989 to 1990 (the 9th longest reign of all time). He is also the longest-reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion of all time, with a 469 day reign from 1994-1995. Hogan won the Royal Rumble in 1990 and 1991, making him the first man to win two consecutive Royal Rumbles.
Hogan was born Terry Gene Bollea in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Peter Bollea, a construction foreman, and Ruth, a homemaker and dance teacher. He is of Italian, French, and Panamanian heritage.
When he was one and a half years old, his family moved to Port Tampa, Florida.
As a boy, he was a pitcher in Little League Baseball. He began watching professional wrestling at 16 years old. While in high school, he revered Dusty Rhodes, and he regularly attended cards at the Tampa Sportatorium. It was at one of those wrestling cards where he first turned his attention towards "Superstar" Billy Graham and looked to him for inspiration; since he first saw Graham on TV, Hogan wanted to match his "inhuman" look. Hogan was also a skilled musician, spending ten years playing bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands.
He went on to study at Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida. After music gigs began to get in the way of his time in college, Hogan decided to drop out of the University of South Florida before receiving any degree. Eventually, Hogan and two local musicians formed a band called Ruckus in 1976. The band soon became a local sensation in the Tampa Bay region.
During his spare time, Hogan worked out at Hector's Gym in the Tampa Bay area and eventually became strong enough to do big lifting. Many of the wrestlers who were competing in the Florida region visited the bars where Ruckus was performing. Among those attending his performances were Jack and Gerald Brisco, two brothers who wrestled together as a tag team in the Florida region. Impressed by Hogan's physical stature, the Brisco brothers asked Hiro Matsuda"?the man who trained wrestlers working for Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF)"?to make him a potential trainee. In 1976, the two brothers asked Hogan to try wrestling. Having been a wrestling fan since childhood, Hogan eventually agreed. At first, however, Mike Graham, the son of CWF promoter Eddie Graham, refused to put Hogan in the ring; according to Hogan, he met Graham while in high school and the two didn't get along. However, after Hogan quit Ruckus and started telling people in town that he was going to be a wrestler, Mike Graham finally agreed to accept the Brisco Brothers' request.
Professional wrestling career
Early years (1977"1979)
In the summer of 1977, after over a year of training with Matsuda, the Brisco brothers dropped by Matsuda's gym to see Hogan. During this visit, Jack Brisco handed Hogan a pair of wrestling boots and informed him that he was scheduled to wrestle his first match the following week. In his professional wrestling debut, Eddie Graham booked him against Brian Blair in Fort Myers, Florida on August 10, 1977 in Championship Wrestling from Florida. A short time later, Bollea donned a mask and assumed the persona of "The Super Destroyer," a hooded character first played by Don Jardine and subsequently used by other wrestlers. Hogan, however, eventually could no longer work with Hiro Matsuda, whom he felt was an overbearing trainer, and left Championship Wrestling From Florida. After declining an offer to wrestle for the Kansas City circuit, Hogan took a hiatus from wrestling and managed a private club in Cocoa Beach, Florida-known as the Anchor Club-. for a man named Whitey Bridges. Eventually, Whitey and Hogan became close friends, and decided to open a gym together; the gym became known as Whitey and Terry's Olympic gym. Soon after, Hogan's friend Ed Leslie (later known as Brutus Beefcake) came down to Cocoa Beach to help Hogan and Bridges manage both the Anchor Club and the Whitey and Terry's Olympic Gym. On his spare time, he and Leslie worked out in the gym together, and eventually, Beefcake developed a muscular physique; Hogan was impressed by Beefcake's physical stature and became convinced that the two of them should wrestle together as tag team partners. Depressed and yearning to return to wrestling, Hogan called Superstar Billy Graham in 1978 with hopes that Graham could find him a job wrestling outside of Florida; Graham agreed and Hogan soon joined Louie Tillet's Alabama territory. Hogan also convinced Leslie, who had yet to become a wrestler, to come with him and promised to teach him everything he knew about the sport.
In Alabama, he and Leslie wrestled as Terry and Ed Boulder, known as the Boulder Brothers. These early matches as a tag team with the surname Boulder being used by both men prompted a rumor among wrestling fans unaware of the inner workings of the sport that Hogan and Leslie were brothers, as few people actually knew their real names outside of immediate friends, family, and of course the various promoters the two worked for. After wrestling a show for Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) in Memphis, Jerry Jarrett, the promoter for the (CWA), approached Hogan and Leslie and offered them a job in his promotion for $800.00 a week; this was far more than the $175.00 a week they would make working for Tillet. Hogan and Leslie accepted this offer and left Tillet's territory.
During his time in Memphis, Hogan appeared on a local talk show, where he sat beside Lou Ferrigno, star of the television series The Incredible Hulk. The host commented on how Terry, who stood 6 ft 7 in (201 cm) and weighed 295 pounds with 24 inch biceps, actually dwarfed "The Hulk." Watching the show backstage, Jerry Jarrett noticed that Hogan was actually bigger than Ferrigno, who was well known at the time for having large muscles. As a result, Bollea began performing as Terry "The Hulk" Boulder and sometimes wrestled as Sterling Golden.
In May 1979, Bollea had an early shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which at the time was generally recognized as the highest honor in wrestling. In June 1979, Bollea won his first wrestling championship, the NWA Southeast Heavyweight Championship, recognized in Alabama and Tennessee when he defeated Ox Baker.
World Wrestling Federation (1979"1980)
Later that year, former NWA World Champion Terry Funk introduced Bollea to the company head Vincent J. McMahon, who was impressed with his charisma and physical stature. McMahon, who wanted to use an Irish name, gave Bollea the last name Hogan, and also wanted him to dye his hair red. Hogan who said his hair was already beginning to fall out, refused to dye it and simply said "I'll be a blond irish". At this time, Hogan wrestled Bob Backlund for the World Championship, and he started his first big feud with André the Giant, which culminated in a match with André at Shea Stadium in August 1980. Hulk Hogan claims in his autobiography that he and André the Giant were the reason for the Shea gate. However, Bruno Sammartino/Larry Zbyszko sold out everywhere they wrestled leading up the show. Hogan and Andre wrestled in White Plains, New York, drawing 1,200 in a building that held 3,500 as the main event before they wrestled at Shea. During his initial heel run in the WWF, Hogan was paired with "Classy" Freddie Blassie, a wrestler-turned-manager.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1980"1985)
A great deal of Hogan's early success was achieved in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Japanese wrestling fans were in awe of the gargantuan blond American and nicknamed him "Ichiban" (which translates to "Number One"). Hogan first appeared in Japan on May 13, 1980, while he was still with the WWF. He occasionally toured the country over the next few years, facing a wide variety of opponents ranging from Tatsumi Fujinami to Abdullah the Butcher. When competing in Japan, Hogan used a vastly different repertoire of wrestling moves, relying on more technical, traditional wrestling holds and maneuvers as opposed to the power-based, brawling style American fans became accustomed to seeing from him. Another difference is that Hogan used a running forearm lariat (called the "Axe Bomber") as his finisher in Japan instead of the running leg drop that has been his traditional finisher in America. Hogan still made appearances for the WWF, even unsuccessfully challenging Pedro Morales for the Intercontinental Championship on March 26, 1981. On June 2, 1983, Hogan became the first International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) tournament winner (although he held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt, this was not the beginning of the actual championship), defeating Japanese wrestling icon Antonio Inoki by knockout in the finals of a 10-man tournament featuring top talent from throughout the world. Hogan and Inoki also worked as partners in Japan, winning the prestigious MSG Tag League tournament two years in a row: in 1982 and 1983. Hogan's popularity in Japan was so great, he even recorded an album there"?a forerunner to the World Wrestling Federation's "Rock 'n' Wrestling" of the mid-1980s.
In 1984, Hogan returned to New Japan, to wrestle Antonio Inoki in the finals of the IWGP League, in which he lost the belt by countout, thanks to interference from Riki Ch?sh?. Hogan also defended his WWF World title against various stars in New Japan including Inoki, Seiji Sakaguchi, and Tatsumi Fujinami among others, until the WWF ended their relationship with New Japan in October 1985.
American Wrestling Association (1981"1983)
After filming his scene for Rocky III against the elder McMahon's wishes, Hogan made his debut in the American Wrestling Association, owned by Verne Gagne. Hogan started his AWA run as a heel, taking on "Luscious" Johnny Valiant as his manager, before handing the AWA title over to him. Hogan, unwilling to give up his life as a bachelor for the world title of the AWA, continued to turn down the belt. Shortly after these attempts to woo Hogan into giving Gagne more of a share of his profits and booking in Japan and attempts to bring him into the Gagne family, Hogan was lured back to the Northeast by Vincent K. McMahon, who had just recently purchased the WWF from his ailing father.
Return to World Wrestling Federation (1983-1993)
The Birth of Hulkamania (1983"1984)
After purchasing the company from his father in 1982, Vincent K. McMahon had plans to expand the territory into a nationwide promotion, and he handpicked Hulk Hogan to be the company's showpiece attraction due to his charisma and name recognition. Hogan made his return at a television taping in St. Louis, Missouri on December 27, 1983 defeating Bill Dixon.
On the January 7, 1984 edition of Championship Wrestling, Hogan confirmed his face status for the WWF fans by saving Bob Backlund from a three-way assault. Hogan's turn was explained simply by Backlund: "He's changed his ways. He's a great man. He's told me he's not gonna have Blassie around." The storyline shortcut was necessary because less than three weeks later on January 23, Hogan won his first WWF Championship, pinning The Iron Sheik (who had Blassie in his corner) in Madison Square Garden. The storyline accompanying the victory was that Hogan was a "last minute" replacement for the Sheik's original opponent Bob Backlund, and became the champion by way of being the first man to escape the camel clutch (the Iron Sheik's finishing move). The backstage story was that the WWF Champion Bob Backlund had refused to let Hogan win the title from him, demanding that any wrestler to whom he lost the belt have a legitimate wrestling background. As a consequence, The Iron Sheik won the title from Backlund first and then dropped it to Hogan.
Immediately after the title win, commentator Gorilla Monsoon proclaimed "Hulkamania is here!" Hogan frequently referred to his fans as "Hulkamaniacs" in his interviews and introduced his three "demandments": training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins. Eventually, a fourth demandment (believing in oneself) was added during his feud with Earthquake in 1990. Hogan's ring gear developed a characteristic yellow-and-red color scheme; his ring entrances involved him ritualistically ripping his shirt off his body, flexing, and listening for audience cheers in an exaggerated manner. The majority of Hogan's matches during this time involved him wrestling heels who had been booked as unstoppable monsters, using a format which became near-routine: Hogan would deliver steady offense, but eventually lose momentum, seemingly nearing defeat. He would then experience a sudden second wind, fighting back while "feeding" off the energy of the audience, becoming impervious to attack"?a process described as "Hulking up". His signature maneuvers"?pointing at the opponent (which would later be accompanied by a loud "YOU!" from the audience), shaking his finger to scold him, three punches, an Irish Whip, the big boot and running leg drop"?would follow and ensure him a victory. That finishing sequence would occasionally change depending on the storyline and opponent; for instance, with "Giant" wrestlers, the sequence might involve a body slam.
Over the next year, Hulk Hogan became the face of pro wrestling as McMahon pushed the WWF into a pop culture enterprise with The Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection on MTV, drawing record houses, pay-per-view buyrates, and television ratings in the process. The centerpiece attraction for the first WrestleMania on March 31, 1985, Hogan teamed with legit friend Mr. T to defeat his archrival "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. On the first edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, Hogan successfully defended the WWF title against Cowboy Bob Orton in a match which Hogan won by a disqualification.
Hogan was named the most requested celebrity of the 1980s for the Make-a-Wish Foundation children's charity. He was featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and People magazines, while also appearing on The Tonight Show and having his own CBS Saturday morning cartoon titled Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling. Hogan, as the premier WWF icon, headlined eight of the first nine WrestleMania events. He also co-hosted Saturday Night Live on March 30, 1985 during this lucrative run. AT&T reported that his 900 number information line was the single biggest 900 number from 1991 to 1993. Hogan operated the 900 number through his stint in WWF and then recreated it when he joined World Championship Wrestling.
WWF Champion (1984"1988)
On the October 5, 1985 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he successfully defended the title against Nikolai Volkoff in a flag match. He met long-time rival Roddy Piper in a WWF title match at the Wrestling Classic pay-per-view (PPV) event. Hogan retained the title by disqualification after Bob Orton interfered and hit Hogan with his cast. Hogan had many challengers in the way as the new year began. Throughout 1986, Hogan made successful title defenses against challengers such as Terry Funk, Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy (in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2), Paul Orndorff, and Hercules Hernandez.
In the fall of 1986, Hogan occasionally wrestled in tag matches with The Machines as Hulk Machine under a mask copied from New Japan Pro Wrestling gimmick "Super Strong Machine." At WrestleMania III in 1987, Hogan was booked to defend the title against André the Giant, who had been the sport's premier star and was pushed as undefeated for the previous two decades. A new storyline was introduced in early 1987; Hogan was presented a trophy for being the WWF Champion for three consecutive years. André the Giant, a good friend came out to congratulate him. Shortly afterward, André was presented a slightly smaller trophy for being "undefeated in the WWF for 15 years." Hogan came out to congratulate André, who walked out in the midst of Hogan's speech. Then, on an edition of Piper's Pit, Hogan was confronted by Bobby Heenan, who announced that André was his new protégé, and Andre challenged Hogan to a title match at WrestleMania III. At WrestleMania III, Hogan successfully defended the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against André the Giant. During the match, Hogan bodyslammed the 520-pound Frenchman (which was dubbed "the bodyslam heard around the world") and won the match after a leg drop.
The Mega Powers (1988"1989)
Main article: The Mega Powers
Hogan remained WWF Champion for four years (1,474 days). In front of 33 million viewers, however, Hogan finally lost the belt to André on the February 5 edition of The Main Event after a convoluted scam involving "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Earl Hebner (who assumed the place of his twin brother Dave Hebner, the match's appointed referee). After André delivered a belly to belly suplex on Hogan, Hebner counted the pin while Hogan's left shoulder was clearly off the mat. After the match, André handed the title over to DiBiase to complete their business deal. As a result, the WWF Championship was vacated for the first time in its 25-year history because WWF President Jack Tunney decreed the championship could not be sold from one wrestler to another. At WrestleMania IV, Hogan participated in a tournament for the vacant WWF title to regain it; he and André were given a bye into quarter-finals but their match resulted in a double disqualification. Later that night in the main event, Hogan came to ringside to stop André interfering which helped "Macho Man" Randy Savage defeat Ted DiBiase to win the title.
Together, Hogan, Savage, and manager Miss Elizabeth formed a partnership known as The Mega Powers. After Savage became WWF Champion at WrestleMania IV, they feuded with The Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase and André the Giant) and defeated them at the main event of the first SummerSlam. They then went on to feud with Slick's Twin Towers: Akeem and Big Boss Man. The Mega Powers began to implode due to Savage's burgeoning jealousy of Hogan and his paranoid suspicions that Hogan and Elizabeth were more than friends. At the Royal Rumble in 1989, Hogan eliminated Savage from the Royal Rumble match while eliminating Bad News Brown, which caused tension, only to be eliminated by the Twin Towers himself. The duo broke up while wrestling The Twin Towers on the February 3, 1989 edition of The Main Event. During the match, Savage accidentally collided with Miss Elizabeth. Hogan took her backstage to receive medical attention, temporarily abandoning Savage. When he returned to the ring, Savage slapped Hogan and left the ring, where Hogan eventually won the match by himself. After the match, Savage attacked Hogan backstage, which started a feud between the two. Their feud culminated in Hogan beating Savage for his second WWF Championship at WrestleMania V.
Later WWF Championship reigns (1989"1992)
Hogan's second run lasted a year, during which time he starred in the movie No Holds Barred. The film was the inspiration of a feud with Hogan's co-star Tom Lister, Jr., who appeared at wrestling events as his movie character, Zeus. Zeus was a monster heel who was "jealous" over Hogan's higher billing and wanted revenge. Hogan, however, was easily able to defeat Zeus in a series of matches across the country during late 1989, beginning with a tag team match at SummerSlam, in which Hogan and Brutus Beefcake topped Zeus and Savage. Hogan and Beefcake defeated Zeus and Savage in a rematch at the No Holds Barred pay-per-view to end the feud.
Hogan's second title run was briefly interrupted in January 1989 when he was defeated via submission by Dino Bravo after Hogan couldn't break Bravo's bearhug hold. Hogan attempted to "Hulk Up" and turn the match around, but Bravo would not release the hold, and Hogan became unconscious, forcing the ref to call the match. A silenced crowd watched Bravo grab the championship belt no sooner than an announcement was made that Hogan was determined the winner, by way of disqualification, therefore retaining his title and championship. An infuriated Bravo was quoted, "Last I checked, a bearhug was a legal move. The better and stronger wrestler just got cheated." The Wrestler magazine covered the story in their February 1989 issue with Bravo's hold on Hogan on the front cover with the title, "The Man That Hulk Hogan Cannot Beat." Also during his second run, Hogan won the 1990 Royal Rumble match. He dropped the title to Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior in a title versus title match at WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990.
Hogan soon became embroiled in a heated feud with the 470-pound Earthquake, who had crushed Hogan's ribs in a sneak attack on The Brother Love Show in May 1990. On television, announcers explained that Hogan's injuries and his WrestleMania VI loss to Warrior both took such a huge toll on his fighting spirit that he wanted to retire. Viewers were asked to write letters to Hogan and send postcards asking for his return (they got a postcard-sized picture in return, autographed by Hogan, as a "thank-you"). Hogan returned by SummerSlam 1990 and for several months, dominated Earthquake in a series of matches across the country. His defeat of this overwhelmingly large foe caused Hogan to add a fourth demandment: believing in yourself. He also became known as "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan. Hogan then became the first wrestler to win two Royal Rumble matches in a row, as he won the 1991 Royal Rumble match.
At WrestleMania VII, Hogan stood up for the USA against Sgt. Slaughter, defeating him for his third WWF Championship. In the fall of 1991, Hogan was challenged by Ric Flair, the former NWA champion who recently arrived in the WWF. The feud remained unresolved, as Hogan lost the WWF title to The Undertaker at Survivor Series, and he won it back at This Tuesday in Texas six days later. Flair had interfered in both matches and due to the resulting controversy, the title was again declared vacant.
The WWF Championship was decided at the 1992 Royal Rumble in the Royal Rumble match. Hogan failed to regain the championship as he was eliminated by friend Sid Justice and in turn caused Sid to be eliminated, leaving Ric Flair the winner and new champion. Hogan and Sid patched things up and teamed together on the February 8, 1992 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event against Flair and Undertaker but during the match Sid abandoned Hogan, starting their feud. At WrestleMania VIII, Hogan defeated Sid via disqualification due to interference by Sid's manager Harvey Wippleman. Hogan was then attacked by Papa Shango and was saved by the returning Ultimate Warrior.
At this time, news sources began to allege that Dr. George Zahorian, a doctor for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, had been selling steroids illegally to wrestlers in general and Hogan in particular. Hogan appeared on an episode of The Arsenio Hall Show to deny the allegations. Due to intense public scrutiny, Hogan took a leave of absence from the company.
Return and departure (1993"1994)
Hogan returned to the WWF in February 1993, helping out his friend Brutus Beefcake in his feud with Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster), and officially renaming themselves The Mega-Maniacs. At WrestleMania IX, Hogan and Beefcake took on Money Inc. for the WWF Tag Team Championship. However, Hogan thought he was too big of a star to be a tag champion and instead wanted the world title. So Hogan and Vince McMahon came up with the plan that Hogan and Brutus would be disqualified in their match. Later that night, Hogan won his fifth WWF Championship by pinning Yokozuna only moments after Yokozuna had defeated Bret Hart. McMahon then planned that Hogan and Bret Hart would eventually fight in a big match at Summerslam 1993 in which Hogan would drop the title to Hart, Hogan did not want to drop the title in a clean victory to Hart, due to Hart's size and doubts over whether he could draw, and opted to lose the title to the heel Yokozuna instead. At the first annual King of the Ring pay-per-view on June 13, 1993, Hogan defended the championship against the former champion, Yokozuna, in his first title defense since defeating Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX. Yokozuna kicked out of Hogan's signature leg drop and scored the pinfall after Hogan was blinded by a fireball shot by a "Japanese photographer" (actually a disguised Harvey Wippleman), this was Hogan's idea as he did not want Yokozuna to gain a clean victory over him. The victorious Yokozuna proceeded to give Hogan a Banzai Drop. This was Hogan's last WWF pay-per-view appearance until 2002, as both he and Jimmy Hart were preparing to leave the promotion. Hogan continued his feud on the international house show circuit with Yokozuna until August 1993. After that, Hogan sat out the rest of his contract which expired later that year.
In 1994, Hogan, having received immunity from prosecution, testified in the trial of Vince McMahon relating to shipments of steroids received from Dr. Zahorian by both parties. Under oath, Hogan admitted that he had used anabolic steroids since 1976 to gain size and weight, but that Vince McMahon had neither sold him the drugs, nor ordered him to take them. The evidence given by Hogan proved extremely costly to the government's case against McMahon. Due to this and jurisdictional issues, McMahon was found not guilty.
Return to New Japan (1993"1994)
On May 3, 1993, Hulk Hogan returned to NJPW as WWF Champion, defeating IWGP Heavyweight Champion The Great Muta in a dream match at Wrestling Dontaku. Hogan wrestled against Muta again, under his real name, Keiji Mutoh on September 26, 1993. Hogan also wrestled The Hell Raisers with Muta and Masahiro Chono as his partners. His last match in Japan was on January 4, 1994 at Battlefield, when he defeated Tatsumi Fujinami.
World Championship Wrestling (1994-2000)
Early run (1994"1996)
After Hogan left the WWF in the summer of 1993, he split his time working on movies, television, wrestling in Japan, and spending time with his family. In June 1994, Hogan signed with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and began appearing on television the next month. Hogan won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in his debut match, defeating Ric Flair in a 'dream' match at Bash at the Beach. After overcoming the likes of Flair, The Butcher (former partner Brutus Beefcake), Vader, and the Dungeon of Doom for the next fifteen months (the longest reign of all time for this championship), Hogan dropped the belt to The Giant at Halloween Havoc 1995 via DQ. Following the controversial loss (which was due to a "contract clause"), the WCW title became vacant.
In early 1996, Hogan continued his feud with The Giant, before teaming with Randy Savage in a feud with the Alliance to End Hulkamania. After coming out victorious from his feuds, Hogan began to only appear occasionally on WCW programming.
New World Order (1996"1998)
Main article: New World Order (professional wrestling)
At Bash at the Beach in 1996, during a six man tag team match pitting The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) against WCW loyalists, Hogan interfered on behalf of Nash and Hall, attacking Randy Savage, thereby turning heel for the first time in over ten years. After the match, Hogan delivered a promo, accosting the fans and WCW for underappreciating his talent and drawing power, and announcing the formation of the New World Order (nWo). The new stable gained prominence in the following weeks and months. Hogan grew a beard alongside his famous mustache and dyed it black, traded his red and yellow garb in for black and white clothing, often detailed with lightning bolts, and renamed himself Hollywood Hulk Hogan (often shortened to Hollywood Hogan). Hogan returned to WCW programming eight days after his heel turn.
Hogan won his second WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Hog Wild, defeating The Giant for the title. He spray painted "nWo" across the title belt, scribbled across the nameplate, and referred to the title as the "nWo title" during this and any other time he held the title while in the nWo. Hogan then started a feud with Lex Luger after Luger and The Giant defeated Hogan and Dennis Rodman in a tag team match at Bash at the Beach.
On the August 4, 1997 edition of Nitro, Hogan lost the WCW title to Luger by submission. Five days later, at Road Wild, Hogan defeated Luger to regain the WCW title and begin his third WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Hogan then lost the belt to Sting in a match at Starrcade. In the match, WCW's newly-contracted Bret Hart accused referee Nick Patrick of fast-counting a victory for Hogan and had the match restarted"?with himself as referee. Sting later won by submission. After a rematch the following night, where Sting controversially retained the title, the WCW Championship became vacant. Sting then went on to win the vacant title against Hogan at SuperBrawl VIII.
Hogan then developed a rivalry with former friend (and recent nWo recruit) Randy Savage, who had just cost Hogan the title match at SuperBrawl by hitting him with a spray can. The heat culminated in a steel cage match at Uncensored, which ended in a no contest. Savage took the World Championship from Sting at Spring Stampede, while Hogan teamed with Kevin Nash to take on Roddy Piper and The Giant in the first-ever Bat match. Hogan betrayed Nash by hitting him with the bat and then challenged Savage the following night for his championship. In the no disqualification match for Savage's newly won title, Nash entered the ring and powerbombed Hogan as retribution for the attack the previous night. Bret Hart interfered moments later and turned heel by jumping in to attack Savage and preserve the victory for Hogan, who won his fourth WCW World Heavyweight Championship. However, Nash's attack on him signified a split of the nWo into two separate factions"?Hogan's became nWo Hollywood and Nash's became nWo Wolfpac"?that feuded with each other for the remainder of the year.
Hogan defended the title until July of that year, when WCW booked him in a match against newcomer and then WCW United States Champion Goldberg, who had yet to lose a match in the company. Late in the match, Hogan was distracted by Karl Malone, and Goldberg pinned Hogan to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Hogan spent the rest of 1998 wrestling celebrity matches. His second tag team match with Dennis Rodman pitted them against Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone at Bash at the Beach and at Road Wild, he and Eric Bischoff lost to Page and Jay Leno thanks to interference from Kevin Eubanks, who leveled Bischoff with a Diamond Cutter. Hogan also had a rematch with the Ultimate Warrior at Halloween Havoc, where his nephew Horace aided his victory.
Return to WCW (1998-1999)
On the Thanksgiving episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hogan officially announced his retirement from professional wrestling, as well as his candidacy for President of the United States. Campaign footage aired on Nitro of Hogan and Bischoff holding a press conference, making it appear legitimate. In the long run, however, both announcements were false and merely done as a publicity stunt attempting to draw some of the hype of Jesse Ventura's Minnesota gubernatorial win back to him.
After some time off from WCW, Hogan returned on the January 4, 1999 edition of Nitro to challenge Kevin Nash for the WCW title. Hogan won the match for his fifth WCW World Heavyweight Championship, but many people found the change to be "scandalous". As a result, the warring factions of the nWo reunited into one group, which began feuding with Bill Goldberg and The Four Horsemen.
Conflicts with Vince Russo (1999"2000)
He then lost the title to Ric Flair at Uncensored in a Steel Cage First Blood match. A heavily bleeding Flair won via pinfall in a match refereed by Charles Robinson. During that match, however, Hogan began to