Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Hulk’s legacy lives on, brother!

Does anybody in the history of this country embody the ideal of the American Dream quite like Hulk Hogan?

Seriously, I found myself pondering this while researching for an upcoming story earlier this week (hint: ArtsEtc. on Thursday … ooooh yeaaaah!). Where else could a guy named Terry who wears tights, sports platinum blond hair, a vicious Fu Manchu and a serious case of male pattern baldness somehow rise to be one of our country's most well-known and beloved cultural icons?

Since he first came onto the national scene in the early '80s — whether you believe it to be with his entrance to the WWF in 1981, his part in Rocky III in 1983, or his first WWF championship in 1984 — Hogan has been ingrained in American society.


From "Hulkamania" to movies, to television series, to reality shows and now even to pop music, Hogan has his fingerprints all over our culture.

The phenomenon that is professional wrestling would never have reached the level of popularity that it has soared to without Hogan.

Whereas in Latin American countries lucha libre is highly popular, with masked luchadores acting like stunt devils performing high-risk and acrobatic maneuvers on each other in the ring, Hogan managed to make the slow, lumbering, terribly-contrived and phony style of wrestling practiced in America one of the most popular "sports" around.

Think about it. Hogan filled the old Pontiac Silverdome with 90,000-plus people to watch him throw fake punches and body slam a 500-pound man (who incidentally never got much more than 11 inches off the mat, making it more of a body roll than a body slam) for a victory that was decided months before the spectators arrived.

Hogan, born Terry Bollea, didn't just reach the pinnacle of the professional wrestling world (he was so popular he held the WWF Championship for over four years; no one since has held it for more than one), but he did it while wrestling poorly.

That is part of what makes Hogan's story so great. He can't even wrestle. He has a more limited repertoire of moves than George Costanza and is reputed to be one of the worst fakers in a sport that is built around acting.

No, he built his palace of popularity on charisma, despite the fact that his vocabulary at times seemed to really have only one word: Brother. He marched around well. Played to the crowd well and ripped his shirt off better than anyone in the history of shirt ripping.

And how fitting is it that his entrance music was the song "Real American." That isn't a coincidence.

Hogan became almost a religious figure, as at one point he started preaching his "demandments" (brother!). These included saying your prayers and taking your vitamins: not exactly the stuff that usually sells like iPods.

Hogan didn't stop there, though. He became a movie star, albeit a terrible one, turning in clunkers like “Thunder in Paradise,” “Santa With Muscles,” “No Holds Barred,” “Mr. Nanny” and “Three Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.” Of course, the movies were terrible, but he still made them and still got paid to do so (I know, it's hard to believe).

Even more mind-boggling is the fact that one of those stink bombs got turned into a series, “Thunder in Paradise,” which ran for a year. The plot: Hogan has a high-tech boat and punches villains. The result: cancelled after one season.

And now, Hogan is still in the spotlight; after off-and-on stints with wrestling, he now has a reality show, VH1's "Hogan Knows Best."

And just to top it all off, his daughter is now a pop singer.

So let's recap: A bleach-blonde baldy without a college degree and with a killer 'stache who can't wrestle climbs to the top of the professional wrestling world and leap frogs from there to make waves (or ripples) in virtually every facet of Hollywood society he chooses, which is why his later handle "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan is so fitting.

More than 20 years after it was originally born, Hulkamania lives on, refusing to die — very much like Ugg boots, the Rolling Stones and "The Real World" — and continuing to seep into our culture.

Case in point: approximately 15 minutes before kickoff of both of the first two Badger football contests, the starting lineups were announced by the public address announcer.

Badger players introductions had a video accompaniment with somewhat humorous gestures, such as tight end Andy Crooks getting water thrown in his face or linebacker Jonathan Casillas leveling a teammate before coming on screen.

I explain this since only a few fans were there to see it. That isn't a criticism at all (everyone should get to Camp Randall whenever they feel it fit to go, whether that be 45 minutes early to watch the players warm up or whether they show up at halftime. If people don't want to be there, they wouldn't make very good fans and supporters, anyway), it's just a fact.

Anyway, there was one player intro that stood out among the rest: defensive end Matthew Shaughnessy, who in obvious reference to Hogan jumped on the screen, tore off a t-shirt that said "Badgermania" and proceeded to strike a couple of the Hogan's signature poses.

Dusty Rhodes might've been nicknamed the "American Dream," but nobody, and I mean nobody, has even better exemplified the ideal of the American Dream than the Hulkster. And that is the fifth demandment, brother!

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