At What Point Did Hulk Hogan Stop Being Bigger Than The Wrestling Business?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by RIPbossman, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. RIPbossman

    RIPbossman Occasional Pre-Show

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    At what point, if ever, did Hulk Hogan stop being bigger than professional wrestling?

    I feel from 1984 through 1997 Hogan was bigger than professional wrestling. Then in 1998 wrestling hit a new high, with WWE being a steam rolling force. They started their huge comeback and there was a big media buzz regarding wrestling. It got so big as a whole that it got bigger than Hulk.
     
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  2. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Money for nothin, chicks for free
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    Somewhere around when WWE pulled ahead of WCW in the ratings war for good. He had returning flashes, but that was it. He could no longer pull off the big moves and shake any foundations.
     
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  3. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    The arsenio hall show.

    When he lied.
     
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  4. George Steele's Barber

    George Steele's Barber Advertise Here $9.95/month

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    Personally for me it was the point when WCW was contracting and they had that night where Jarrett laid down for Hogan. Between that event and the easy access to information with the growth of the internet, plus the ascent of Austin, Hogan was no longer larger than life and just seemed like a dude holding on too long to something he never really deserved.

    But from a world perspective, I would argue that the moment came during his TNA run when the fans partially followed but did not stick around. I know people will argue that it was earlier but between WWE to TNA he did have a pretty good run with his reality show.
     
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  5. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

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    id say when the Rock became bigger than the business, before him Hogan was really the only one that'd broken into the overall pop culture zeitgeist. Rock has completely overshadowed Hogan in that regard though and in the process made Hogan look that much smaller in comparison.
     
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  6. Spidercanrana

    Spidercanrana Should've Reinstated The Fox
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    Nah. I wanted to say when Vince bought WCW, but then I remember how hot the crowd was for Hogan when he faced The Rock at Wrestlemania. I want to say the true hype died down during that strange Mr. America stint he did with Roddy Piper, Zack Gowen, and Sean O'haire. It was just too weird for people to get into, and the whole thing was eventually scrapped. He would get the crowd going here and there after that, but for me it wasn't the same since he donned a mask and pretended not to be himself.
     
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  7. Bernkastel

    Bernkastel Reaper of Miracles
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    Probably in 2001. WWE had purchased WCW and they were the only song and dance left in town. When Hogan later returned it was considered more of a farewell run than a legitimate comeback. I always view Hogan's 2005 match with Shawn Michaels to be his last big promoted match. Hogan in 2017 is a retiree that is fondly remembered by those that watched wrestling 20-30 years ago, but the WWE now has a globally recognized brand. Their name is synonymous with pro wrestling. Like the NBA with basketball and the MLB with baseball. Even if they don't follow the product the majority of people will affiliate the two.

    Hogan might very well still be the most recognizable pro wrestler in the world, but he isn't more recognizable than the WWE brand itself.
     
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  8. WWEWrestleFest

    WWEWrestleFest Pre-Show Stalwart

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    In 2002 he was still bigger than the business. They booed babyface Rocky to cheer Hogan. I'm pretty sure they would have cheered him over Austin as well. In fact, they did.. because I remember they had a Hogan/Hall/Nash vs. Austin/Rock match on Raw or Smackdown before WM18, and the crowd was cheering when the nWo laid out the babyfaces. He was so over, they had to officially turn him face and put the belt on him. I'd say it was later in his WWE run, when they started having him do Mr. America and all that, that's when he became "just another wrestler."
     
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  9. Azane

    Azane Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I think around the rise of Stone Cold, is when Hogan became smaller.
    Before 1997, if you knew one thing about wrestling, you knew the name Hulk Hogan, and maybe Randy Savage. That dynamic shifted between Bret vs Stone Cold and WM '98, you started seeing Stone Cold's name EVERYWHERE. The popularity of the rest of the cast, the other nWo members, Goldberg, Stone Cold, The Rock, Undertaker was in his prime, Mick Foley became a household name, and DX, all of these people combined became big enough to eclipse Hogan. While, Hollywood was still very very over. I think Austin alone was above him for a time in the middle of the McMahon Austin Feud, but even with that being arguable, you can't deny that wrestling had a large amount of stars at this time.

    It wasn't until after Hogan passed the torch vs the Rock at Wrestlemania that Hogan's reputation started to tank. (He should have retired there)
     
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  10. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    It's gonna be unpopular, but I don't think you can really categorically say Hogan EVER was bigger than the business... He was, for a long time the most successful person in it, but his rise in 85 coincided with that of the WWF, likewise the NWO with WCW and even his match with Rock was wrestling based.

    Hogan never had that definitive success out of the business to say he was above it... He tried, sure, he did some movies, did Thunder in Paradise... but even after that it was Wrestling that fed his momentum and pop culture status rather than it being above wrestling.

    Austin, for a fleeting moment had that - with moments like Celebrity Deathmatch and Tyson-Gate... but in reality the only person who has truly EVER become bigger than the business is The Rock... He successfully became more than a wrestler who is known outside the biz... he became the defacto top action star in Hollywood who just happens to wrestle too... Hogan was always in that first category as was Austin for most of his time...

    With that in mind, I submit that there was never a time Hogan didn't need some connection to the business to be "someone" - even his reality show and Thunder in Paradise was filled with wrestlers... the nearest Hogan ever got was in 85... with appearing on the A-Team etc... but so he was "Hulk Hogan, Wrestling Champ and BA's buddy" rather than Hulk the guy. Rock n Wrestling was as much about the WWF as a whoile and Cyndi Lauper... Hogan has NEVER had that thing that was just him turn out bigger than the WWE.
     
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  11. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
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    i think that you can say that he had 2 periods were he lost some of his steam has far as being bigger then the wrestling business.

    The first one came around 1992 when he took his first retirement after his bout with Sid Justice that kinda we're he started to lose steam and it lasted until 1996 when he turn and became hollywood hogan.

    Then the second one came around 1998 when the NWO wasn'T has cool as it was and he lost a lot of momemtum because of it which again last until WCW folded in 2001.

    After that, he was pretty much just a nostalgia act so yes he was still getting huge pop but wasn't has big as he was in the beginning of hulkamania in 1984.
     
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  12. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    The Arsenio Hall show in 1991 was a blip for Hogan.... but he still remained the WWEs top star till he left in 1992, and had enough clout to be immeditaley reinstated as WWE champion on his return in 1993.
    Though WCW as a smaller pond in 1994- the company really picked up momentum (financially) when Hogan arrived... and the NWO added another few years to Hogans career at the very top.

    1998 seems to be a good cut off point. Austin and Rock had become the 2 biggest stars in the business, and Goldberg was the real star of the WCW show.
    In 1999 WCW was losing money fast and Hogans name value wasn't strong enough to save it.... even if Hogan tried to distance himself from the company by 2000, before taking the 2 count in 2001
     
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  13. stingray11214

    stingray11214 Cena is no Bruno & Cole is no Solie

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    For someone to be bigger than the business, one has to transcend the business into other avenues as successful as he did in his original business endeavor. I agree with THTRobTaylor that Hogan never really was bigger than wrestling. His testimony in Vince's steroid trial was not headline news. He never really did much of substance outside wrestling that he could transcend the business. Hell, Andre the Giant and Chris Jericho had more success outside wrestling than Hogan had. So, it can be safe to say that Hogan was never bigger then the business.
     
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  14. RIPbossman

    RIPbossman Occasional Pre-Show

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    I disagree that you need to have success outside wrestling to be bigger than it. Hogan just wasn't a talented enough actor to have successful movies. It was still arguable during the 80's he was more recognizable than the WWF itself. Everyone, everyone knew who he was. Chris Jericho may have had more success outside wrestling than Hogan, but Hogan's name dwarfs Jericho's as far as being recognizable.
     
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  15. Greg4WWE

    Greg4WWE Pre-Show Stalwart

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    1994-1995ish. When he and Sting wrestled for the title and Sting got majority cheers. Also The Giant feud, Giant was getting more cheers than Hogan.
    He needed to turn hill to refresh his Character. Hollywood Hogan was amazing, just wish they didn't make him the coward heel, wanted him to be a dominate heel.

    20 Years ago, John Cena would have had the heel turn by now.
     
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  16. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    That absolutely IS the definition of it... you can't be bigger than the biz if you're not massive outside it... you're just the biggest guy IN the biz.

    Jericho is an interesting point, he's not bigger than Hogan... but you could argue in many ways he is close to, if not bigger than the business. He does it cos he likes to, not cos he has to... he made with relative success in Music and TV (Dancing with the Stars is pretty mainstream) they would go to him to present network shows etc.. had WWE pushed him a bit better in the early part of his career, he could very easily be bigger than Hogan etc now...

    You could argue any guy who can walk away from the business, have success and fame without being associated with wrestling is Bigger Than The Business... on that score Hogan probably has it, but then so does Jericho.
     
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  17. Vanilla Midget

    Vanilla Midget Registered Suplex Offender

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    This thread definitely begs the question whether or not it's even possible to be bigger than the business. The periods where you can clearly see Hogan having major mainstream success also coincide with the two major eras where wrestling itself was mainstream.

    Wrestling has shifted to the fringes, once in the mid-90s (quickly resurgent in the late 90s) and once again in the early 2000s. If you look at Hogan's filmography, he's getting cast in major TV appearances during the 80s, before he's cast as a leading man in a few films in the early 90s, before he leaves WWF and then his film career is b-movies and television from there on out.

    You can definitely make the case that leaving WWF in 1994 was the start of him being no longer bigger than the business, but what does that even mean? In the late 90s Hogan was playing a villain on TV, which was huge for wrestling but may have been damaging to Hogan's endeavours out of wrestling.

    If someone is bigger than the business then they're recognizable outside the context of wrestling and have marketable ventures outside of wrestling. There's only one person who fits that model: Dwayne Johnson.

    The moment The Rock was billed as Dwayne Johnson for a film was the moment that he truly became bigger than wrestling. Rock showed up to talk shows and they talked to him about his films and acting, not being a wrestler and being an actor.

    Hogan never left wrestling, and if not for the eventual break down and decay of human bodies - we'd still be seeing Hogan in a wrestling ring. If not for his racist tirade, we'd still being seeing him on WWE TV. He may have even been an onscreen authority figure if not for that leaked audio, we could be seeing Hogan weekly right now.

    Someone else brought up Jericho, who has left wrestling multiple times to pursue other non-wrestling endeavours. Jericho isn't known for his non-wrestling pursuits. You ask a non-wrestling fan who Chris Jericho is, they'll probably say "who?" or "that wrestler" or "that wrestler from dancing with the stars." They're not going to say the guy from Fozzy, because Fozzy isn't really a mainstream band.

    Ask someone who Dwayne Johnson is, they'll say the actor or The Fast and The Furious. Hogan will always be the wrestler. Jericho will always be the wrestler who did other things, kind of like Hogan to a lesser extent.

    Hogan is a pop culture icon. So is The Rock, but I don't think Chris Jericho really is. He's a massive icon in the wrestling world - he's a GD legend - but you're not likely to see him on a kitschy t-shirt.

    Hogan became bigger than wrestling when wrestling was bigger than itself. Hogan isn't the only pop culture icon to come out of that era. Andre the Giant is an instantly recognizable pop culture icon - from the Princess Bride to Obey stickers. Andre is arguably bigger than the business bother literally and figuratively. Macho Man too, instantly recognizable.

    Hogan is often compared to John Cena, though it's really more the other way around. Cena is meme (and his name is John Cena/you can't see me) and he's starting to get film and television work. Is John Cena therefore bigger than wrestling? Or is John Cena wrestling's biggest star? What about Brock? Does his UFC experience make him bigger than wrestling? Is Brock bigger than combat sports?

    Hogan was the biggest star in the business during a time when wrestling something discussed around the dinner table. His popularity swells and shrinks with wrestlings own growths and contractions. Hogan always runs back to wrestling, whereas wrestling runs back to someone like Dwayne Johnson.
     
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  18. Lowdown

    Lowdown Ooh baby I like it roooaaaaw!

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    Is it possible to be bigger than the business itself? The way I look at it, the business has been able to chug right along every time Hogan walked away/retired. Granted for the better part of 8 years he was the man that people paid to see, but the shine wore off more than once. As stated before, Hulkamania started getting stale around '91-'92. NWO revitalized Hogan's career, but that grew stale again after another couple of years. By the time he made it back to WWE in 2002, it was more of a nostalgia comeback, but that didn't last long either as he was gone again in 2003.
     
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  19. WWEWrestleFest

    WWEWrestleFest Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Hogan was MASSIVE outside it. Any of you old enough to remember this Genesis music video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHmH1xQ2Pf4

    Those of you who don't know what it is, it's a music video featuring puppets that got a ton of airplay on MTV back in the '80s. It featured a Ronald Regan puppet, and puppets of pop culture icons at the time, like Madonna and Bill Cosby.

    At 4:34, right next to the Michael Jackson puppet, and I think we can agree Jackson was HUGE in the '80s, is a Hulk Hogan puppet. Even people who never watched a second of wrestling knew who Hulk Hogan was. You can't talk about '80s pop culture without mentioning Hogan.

    If they made a similar music video today, with current pop culture icons, would John Cena, or really any wrestler, be featured in it?
     
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  20. RIPbossman

    RIPbossman Occasional Pre-Show

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    Hogan was on the cover of Sports Illustrated (the only wrestler to do so), on talk shows, TV shows etc. His name was recognized by everyone in America and truly was a big part of pop culture. That's being bigger than wrestling.

    In 99 Rock was reaching Hogan's level of fame. Because of that he got movie opportunities just like Hogan did. The difference was Rock had more talent for acting to make a career out of it.
     
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  21. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Once WWE owned everything and there was no competition, Hogan could no longer write his own ticket. Sure, Hogan had some nice late career moments in his WWE return, but he no longer had the stroke to call his own shots, re write angles or TV segments, or change match finishes like he did pretty much from about 85-86 on.

    Look at Hogan post the WWE buyout of WCW, as big as he was WWE wouldnt buy out or match his existing WCW deal, he either had to take significant pay cut with a modest buyout to work now, or wait till his WCW deal expired and see if WWE was intetested. That wasnt necessarily unfair, WWE made the same offers to Flair, Sting, & Goldberg and eventually Nash as well. The WWE deal certainly wasnt cheap but like all other talent WWE was setting the bar in compensation and limiting creative control & input. In the "old days" pre the buyout Hogan had such clout he not only dictated his own terms, work dates, etc, but he had almost iron clad say in storylines and matches.

    Hogan coming back after the buyout included a token World Title Run and a tag title run (he had never held a tag title, similar to the big push a few years later WWE gave Flair during his IC Title run, the only major title he had never held in his career). He won more matches than he lost, had prominent placements on major PPV events, and got to wrestle a fairly substantial A list of performers. He didnt ALWAYS main event, he didnt always win, and he had to job cleanly to The Rock, Kurt Angle, & Brock Lesnar. Simply put, like HBK & Flair during this period or Taker today, he was respected, treated well, given some big wins and nice moments, but he didnt get to win all the time, he didnt always get the best storyline, and when asked he was expected to lose. It wasnt embarassing, but it was the 1st time since HulkaMania reached its zenith that Hogan was one of the guys, and not completely above the guys and the industry as he previously was.
     
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  22. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

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    I'm sorry, but are you trying to say that Hogan wasn't massive outside of wrestling?

    When the WWF had their boom in the mid-80's that got everything going, that was Hogan. People who didn't know wrestling, knew who Hogan was. Hell, I knew who Hogan was before I knew about wrestling.

    He absolutely was bigger than the business. Professional wrestling needed Hulk Hogan a lot more in the mid 80's than Hulk Hogan needed professional wrestling.

    To answer the question, when did he stop being bigger than the business? Probably around the time that he lost the title to Andre. Of course, he was still the biggest star in wrestling, but the WWF didn't need him as much as they did a few years earlier. In 1985 he could do pretty much anything he wanted outside of wrestling. By 1988, he wasn't even the go to wrestling guy Hollywood would come looking for when they needed the type.
     
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  23. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Hogan had that before his WWE Tenure... he was Thunderlips remember, so most people's first exposure to him - and indeed wrestling was through Rocky 3...and the WWF wasn't even involved. Then he went to New York and became the biggest guy in the business for a short time, and used that early movie fame to fuel it... he was on the A-Team too, but so were the whole roster and he was always a wrestler in those shows...even his Gremlins 2 Cameo... when he tried to do anything outside of his wrestling character, it bombed (Mr. Nanny, Suburban Commando etc.)

    So while he had some mainstream fame, it was eternally bound up in him being Hulk Hogan the wrestler, not the person. The Rock, Austin, Jericho and others have succeeded as themselves without links to wrestling at various points... I'd still only class Rock as being the true one to transcend the business, but Hogan NEVER did, however you try to spin it... it all comes back to the biz for him.
     
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  24. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    Hogan was never bigger than professional wrestling. He was the biggest star in pro wrestling, but that's not the same thing as being bigger than pro wrestling.

    The only guy who can make a legit claim, in my opinion, to being bigger than pro wrestling is The Rock because he's had unrivaled, legitimate, long term success in the entertainment industry that has nothing to do with wrestling. Hogan's time as a crossover star was mostly limited to talk show appearances, a cameo or two in a popular TV show at the time and a string of lousy movies that were complete and utter flops. The Rock's done and still does the talk show thing sometimes, he's popped up on Saturday Night Live a few times, has produced his own TV series and his movies have taken in over $2.5 billion worldwide. The Rock has transcended pro wrestling in a way that Hulk Hogan never has.
     
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  25. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    He was fired from the WWF for appearing in Rocky III instead of going to work in North Carolina. Any interviews on MSG TV promoting the film and Hogan's role in it (or wrestling clips of Hogan jobbing to Tony Atlas after filming wrapped) are the figments of someone's imagination.
     
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