Tuesday, January 23, 2024

40 Years Ago, Hulkamania Was Born

On this day - precisely four decades ago - Hulk Hogan defeated the reigning World Wrestling Federation heavyweight champion of the world, the Iron Sheik, to win the title at Madison Square Garden and thus began a legendary run that would last decades.

I've made no bones about never being the biggest Hogan fan ever. I wasn't watching wrestling during the 80s and by the time I started watching, his act was getting stale and his backstage reputation of sorts (things that don't work for him, brother) sort of tainted my perception of the man. That having been said, regardless of your actual feelings, you cannot deny that Hulk Hogan was an important part of the evolution and growth of WWE. He was a vital piece of the puzzle that needed the right promoter in Vince McMahon to take advantage of that natural charisma and charm that attracted audiences in the first place. The 80s was one of those instances where the right parts were working in tandem to create a monster that continues to this very day.

If Verne Gagne had ran with Hogan in AWA and made him the champion long term... yeah, sure, you might have moved some tickets, but Gagne was old-timey wrestling promoter who emphasized athletics over sensationalism. And quite frankly, I believe his son Greg to be not too far off from the tree. Hogan would've been wasted in that environment unless they treated him like he'd be treated in Japan... but that's not difficult to do when you've got other big bodies on the market. Hogan making the jump to WWF, under the control of Vince Jr, was the move he needed to make and it proved to be a good decision.

So while I may never be the world's biggest Hulkamaniac - nor would I want to be - I can at least tip my hat and acknowledge the man's accomplishments and his enduring legacy that will continue onwards. Congrats on forty years of Hulkamania.

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