[Apter`s questions will be in black, Terry`s answers in
Hogan 'Shoots' his mouth off
How do you respond to criticism from fans
and people in the business?
I'm used to the negative remarks it just comes with the territory.
There is a level in life when you reach the No. 1 position and for some
reason there is more negative momentum when it pertains to the gossip going
around. Ever since I've been in wrestling, because of my size and
look I had when I started, the promoters decided that rather than make
me a preliminary guy they would use me as one of the main guys. When
I first got my big push, it was way ahead of schedule from everybody's
viewpoint in the business. There is always criticism for me going
past everyone else. Even before I got into wrestling- if I had to
equate the amount of time I spent training, eating right, even laying in
the sun- I spent two or three more time doing all that stuff. I was
afraid that I might not even be part of the wrestling business in the early
days, when I WAS STARTING OUT IN Florida around 1976.
That character of Hulk Hogan, who was a cocky guy the machine-guy
talk, was strategically positioning to run over every opponent. It
was a character who was developed over time to be superior to every other
character. So all of a sudden people in and out of wrestling started
criticizing this superior character. The negativity came with the
How do you respond to rumors that you have
a huge ego and that you refuse to job to other wrestlers?
If we're talking about the World Wrestling days, Vince McMahon was
the guy who said he didn't' want Hulk Hogan to lose, There were people
around like Tito Santana and Jesse Ventura who thought Hulk Hogan should
not win every match. Vince was making a ton of money with me winning
every match, and he didn't want to change that. Wrestlers were telling
Vince I couldn't dropkick as well as them, or jump off the top rope like
them, but for some reason the whole package of the look and the attitude
of the Hulk Hogan character was more of a magnet than anything else they
had. Vince gave certain people the ball to carry, and I carried it
better than anyone else did. I'll admit, it was fun not to ever have
to get beat.
Before I went to the WWF I did jobs. Even when I was there and
I had that egomaniac run as some of the guys would call it, I was
going to Japan and getting beat every night there. I knew as long
as people were jealous a, as long as people were knocking me, as long as
they were marks for me nippin' as my heels, I knew I would keep making
How did you help "smarten" Vince McMahon up
to the nature of the wresting business?
From the very beginning I knew he was boss. I met him in 1978m
but we didn't have much contact in those first few years. After I
left the WWF for those years and then came back, it was Vince Jr. who made
the deal with me at the end of 1983 to return from Minneapolis' American
Wrestling and to win the belt in the WWF in 1984. As I knew what
Vince Jr.'s position was he depended on me. He was fully wasn't fully
developed then. I brought a lost to the table that Vince needed to
learn. He knew what his father taught him about how to couldn't seats
or put ad spots on the radio, but that basic heartbeat about what made
this business breathe and live he really didn't know. I brought that
to the table. Vince was like a sponge, He learned a lot about what
made the guys tick. He wanted to know every part of the business,
the feel, the touch and the smell that made this whole thing work.
I made the people real for him so he could dig his claws into it and really
understand how the company worked and survived.
Why do you think Vince McMahon is so successful
compared to other wrestling promoters?
Vince and his family don't have any agenda other than wrestling.
So if you're talking about putting time in and paying your dues, Vince
is always going to eat you in the long run, He cares about wrestling and
is very knowledgeable. He understands every aspect of the business
from the wrestling, to the psychology to the emotion, to the promotional
part. He is a genius now.
Why didn't Eric Bishoff ( former vice president
of WCW) succeed like McMahon?
Eric never had a chance. Eric was hot for a short while, but
was a flash in the pan. He had good instincts, but Vince outnumbered
him with volume and visual effects, You could call Vince McMahon
at three o'clock in the morning while he's sleeping or, during Thanksgiving
dinner or when he was opening Christmas presents, or doing just about anything,
and he would probably come to the phone and talk to you about wrestling.
For Eric Bishoff and the whole WCW crew, when it's one second after five
o'clock and you come up with a wrestling idea, you cannot find anyone to
talk to. They don't think wrestling 24 hours a day. Eric's agenda
was to beat Vince McMahon. That is where his focus was, not on being
t the best wresting organization, I knew then we were never going to beat
Vince because Vince basically is "the man."
Talk about the WWF steroid controversy and
its impact on your relationship with McMahon?
Vince McMahon is very evolutionary. For his product to survive
he believes that things need to be reworked. He never had in his
plan to take one guy, a nostalgic character, and make him the Babe Ruth,
the Muhammad Ali, or the god of the wrestling business. I was hoping
to be that, the one guy that could always be by Vince's side, to be the
brand. Vince never thought that way. After my main-event days
would b over, I still wanted to be next to Vince to show this was the proud
product of what wrestling could do for you and your life if you hung with
My ending was a culmination of many things. It was around
1993 and the steroid issue in wrestling was heating up and all the heat
was dumped on Vince and myself. It was only natural that all of a
sudden Vince would be thinking maybe it was not so much about himself but
maybe more about Hogan. It just may have been good for Vince to distance
himself from a wrestler who was apparently called the leader of the steroid
era. It looked to me like Vince's lawyers were trying to shift the
investigation to focus on me. With that going down, it was only natural
for Vince to find another Hulk Hogan to carry on. He tried to pass
the torch before to others but it just didn't work. At that same
time, I was running so hard; I could have used a few months off anyway.
I was hurting. I was tired and drained. There was no other
star who could really carry the ball for Vince at that time. I wanted
to move on the side; Vince wanted me to move away.
Afterwards there was tension, but on a low level. For example,
when "Thunder In Paradise aired it did really high ratings number in New
York. Vince sent me a letter that said 'You really are the thunder
in paradise!' I think he was trying not to alienate me. As he really
didn't know where the steroid trail was going.
The most recent time I saw him was at Owen Hart's funeral [May
31, 1999]. He was very nice to me and said he would have loved to
talk with me under different circumstances.
Also, there was a time about three years ago when I was at the
crossroads of renewing my contract with WCW. I was in Denver filming
'Three Ninjas.' Eric Bishoff was with me at the hotel, and he was talking
to me about resigning my contract. Little did I realize that Vince
McMahon was in the hotel across the street. Little did I realize
that Vince McMahon was in the hotel across the street. The next day,
after Eric left, Vince came into the lobby and approached me. We
sat in the lobby and talked about me coming back to work in the WWF.
It just came down to the money. I had no problem going back, but
there would be that day again when Vince might try to move me aside.
He said he would really like me to come back to the WWF. He said
'You have to end you career herein the WWF.' The fact is that I was
earning over 10 million dollars a year in WCW. Vince McMahon basically
told me he couldn't afford to pay me that kind of money.
Regardless of whether I would rather wrestle in the WWF or WCW, there
wasn't a choice. This business is all about the money and the miles.
The bet worker is the guy who makes the most money and does the least miles.
Will you ever return to the WWF?
Never say never in this business. I entertain the thought all
the time. When I look at the cast of characters, people say that
Vince McMahon has a limited talent roster compared to WCW. It's what
you do with the talent and how you exploit it. I look at the storylines.
I would like to be true and positive to the people I am working for now
and help get them back on track as far as competing with the WWF. I would
go back if the book was closed at WCW. I've still got a lot of gas
left in my tank! It would be an honor to go back to use his tools
to make my character a bigger star.
What would you do if you ran WCW?
First, with the talent being paid with no incentives, I would have
to find out who really has the wrestling in their blood. You have
to get the type of allegiance Vince has. Vince guarantees all the
opportunity. Vince has these guys who have a broken arm or broken
leg, or have been shot with scrap metal, and yet they'll crawl to the ring
with one arm to be on WWF TV. We have to have a chosen few.
I need guys who are going to fight because I am going to use my TV to make
stars. We all have to pull together to bring WCW back into the game.
What is happening tin reality is that WCW has gong beyond the
imaginary boundaries of wrestling code, which is the wrestler workers hard
and gets rewarded. WCW took that out of the equation when they guaranteed
money. They turned these wrestlers into apathetic businessmen.
The company had guidelines that say if we get hurt we don't have to perform,
and once we're hurt there is an extra grace period. We have to go
through the corporate red tape set up by the Turner organization to get
approved to go back to work. It used to be if you had two broken
fingers, you would maybe have a day off. But now if you break two
fingers in WCW you're apt to get a six months off.
Wrestling should really be sub-contracted, filmed somewhere else,
run by somebody else, and then should just sell the programming to Turner.
I would take Bill Goldberg or Scott Hall and say I can pay you this amount
of money and here's how you're gonna earn it - by wrestling, not by staying
home. You have to turn this back into a wrestling company.
What wrestling performers do you think have
the chance to be a "Hulk Hogan of the future?"
Bill Goldberg, because of his magnetism. He is a larger-than-life
character. He's got this dynamic personality. He's got that
intensity, that mystique about him.
What's going on with you and an alleged deal
with the Fox network?
It is not IF Fox will do wrestling, its WHEN. Fox is going to
get into the wrestling business. Fox is a global carrier like Turner.
There is a personal agenda between Fox owner Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner.
They are very competitive with each other. Murdoch is being very
smart about it. He is not just jumping into it; he is making sure
he picks the right spot and that he has the right players. There
is a definite possibility that I could be much more than just a small part
of that situation. Also, remember there is a double loyalty in this
business. A lot of guys are loyal to the company they work for.
But there is a loyalty that goes back to the old days where you take guys
like Jimmy Hart, Haku, Bret Hart, The Road Warriors and Randy Savage who
are not only friends of Hulk Hogan, but loyal to him. The rib in
this business is where Hogan goes, the money goes. Where I wind up
there will be a following, If only to see what the hell I'm up to.
Who are the best people you ever worked against?
The first thing you have to look at is the guy you make the most money
with. I can sell out a building with Andre The Giant, "Macho Man"
Randy Savage or Roddy Pipper. But you also have to look at which
one is the most fun to work with, and which one doesn't hurt you in the
ring. It's a weird formula to pick the best people I ever worked
with, but that's how I would look at it. I'm not saying that the
three mentioned are the best I ever worked with. Andre The Giant
was always a guaranteed major payday. Because of his size and sometimes
because of his attitude, it wasn't that pleasurable to look forward to
seeing Andre in the ring every night. Even though during the latter
part of his career I considered myself a friend of his, you never knew
with Andre if you were going to get hurt or not. That took the real
fun out of it. Sometimes he'd hurt you intentionally. The last
five years we worked I didn't have to worry about that because he grew
to like me. I'd say the first eight years I was in wrestling he didn't
like me at all. He thought I hadn't learned my lessons and that I
ran me mouth. When he didn't like me he would beat the hell out of
me. It was really tough with him for awhile.
What single event stands out to you in your
long wrestling career?
Wrestlemania I. It was new ground and I thought, 'Oh my God,
I never knew this would happen.' It was really something. Vince
McMahon put that whole thing together basically by himself. I think
Linda McMahon came up with the actual name Wrestlemania. As soon
as I heard it for the first time, I said to myself, 'Sounds a lot like
Hulkamania!' When I told Vince that my friend Mr. T wanted to wrestle,
Vince's eyes lit up. It made everything in this business easier.
Vince branding me as the main attraction made life easier in and out of
the ring. The only two Wrestlemanias I thought were horrible were
the two we did at Trump Hotel in Atlantic City. The building was
Why did the New World Order (nWo) work in
the mid-1990s, but not now?
The now was the culmination of Hulk Hogan turning heel. The fans
were sick of seeing Hogan who ripped his shirt off. When I started
to hear some boos, the numbers started to level off, and I talked to Eric
Bishoff about what we could do to change things. At this same time,
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash got out of their WWF contracts and they showed
up. All of a sudden it was two WWD guys coming to take over WCW.
Now nobody was more WWF than I was, so this was a great time for Hogan
to turn into a bad guy. That worked because another federation's
stars were coming together to take over this little southern company I
don't see that scenario with the nWo now. I see the Nash and Hall
element, but everyone knows it is Nash, Hall and Hogan. Then when
I look at it-and nothing against Bret Hart-I say, "There's no now guys
from Canada.' Jeff Jarret-as great as a worker as he is, to see a guy standing
out there with a southern Memphis accent and a guitar- but that's not now
attitude. To put the nWo back together, Nash, Hall and I should beat
p Hart and Jarret.
How did the whole "Hulk Hogan" persona get
Before Hulk Hogan, I wrestled as Terry Boulder. The 'Incredible
Hulk' came on TV. I was 300 pounds. There weren't that many
big bodybuilders around when I started. I was close to the size of
Lou Ferrigno, so people would say to me, 'You're bigger than the Hulk!'
So I started throwing it into my name, as Terry 'The Hulk' Boulder.
When I went to the AWA, the 'hulking up' attitude and the 'not selling'
in the ring came from Vern Gagne. He told me not to sell any moves
from little guys. The Hogan part of the name came from my first run
with Vince McMahon Sr., who once had a Puerto Rican star in Pedro Morales,
an Italian star in Bruno Sammartino, and I was to be the Irish star, Hulk
Hogan. That ethnic thing went on in the New York territory
back then. When I left the AWA and returned to WWF, the non-selling
attitude was there and the name was there. I was ready for the big
What ticks you off?
People who think they understand the wrestling business and then make
judgments or statements about this business. If there is anybody
who should understand this business, it should be me or Vince McMahon.
When people make predetermined judgments about this business and don't
let things happen naturally, that pisses me off.
Why did you make the recent comment on a radio
show that Billy Kidman of WCW "couldn't sell out a flea market?"
WCW decided to give Kidman a big push, and I didn't like the way they
did it. One night he was on a pay-per-view as a cruiserweight, and
the next day they said on TV he was not a cruiserweight anymore, but a
main-event star for the future. I felt it was a lame attempt to change
the perception of the guy I had a chance on a radio show to address these
young guys knowing that eventually I may be a heel and work with these
guys. So I shot my own angle basically to create a storyline with
me and Kidman. I have talked about this with Kidman and he is excited.
As far as everyone who bought that and took what I said seriously, they
are inexperienced and immature to take the work of Hulk Hogan as gospel.
They just over-reacted. Regarding Saturn coming out and saying that
I am washed up: Well, this washed Hulk Hogan will make more money
this year than the cross-eyed midget Saturn will make in 10 years.
Statement by Chris Benoit about Hogan:
'I have seen the fans get shafted innumerable times on potentially
great matches due to an ugly word called 'ego'. I want to address
someone who should stand out as an inspiration, a role model and a leader
in the dressing room- Hulk Hogan.
He would disappear into his locker room and concern himself with only
how many segments he had, what hours they were on, and which segments were
before and after his. He would walk around, when he did step out
of his confines, with this cocky, arrogance as if he were the king and
we the paupers.'
How do you respond to this?
I am really surprised by Chris Benoit's comments. I have nothing
but the ultimate respect for Benoit, and he would be surprised at how many
times behind the dressing room door his welfare was our main concern.
[Note, this interview was conducted by WOW
Magazine`s Editor in Chief, Bill Apter and
for Gery Roif`s Ultimate
Hulk Hogan Web Site by Carlene
Conley if you`d like to use the above article, please e-mail Carlene,
and unless you don`t have her permission, do not use this transcript!]
Full credit for this interview to Bill Apter
and WOW Magazine
Huge thanks to Carlene Conley for the transcript