It’s a Legends Night edition of WWE Monday Night Raw tonight. One of the headline names is Hulk Hogan, who is from the Tampa area where Raw will take place at Tropicana Field. To help promote the show, Hogan did a long interview with ESPN.com covering a lot of topics about his past, the present-day wrestling business and the movie about his life. Here are some highlights.
Hogan commented on what it is like when he returns to WWE shows these days including tonight’s edition of Raw:
“It’s a mixed bag. Some people I get a really warm reception from. Some of the younger guys are really cold to me, like I’m coming to steal the main event. And I’m like, ‘I can’t do this anymore, guys! I’m not a threat! Going back with all the legends will be a lot of fun. When I’ve gone back before by myself, there have been certain wrestlers, like Edge and Seth Rollins, that have told me to my face that the only reason they got into this business was because of me. The newer kids…I don’t think they know who I am all the way?”
“The wake-up call that really got me was with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. We weren’t really close at all, but over the last few years have become good friends. It caught me off guard when he called me one day, and we’re chatting about cars or something and all of a sudden he goes, ‘Damn, Hogan. I was on the internet the other day and I can’t believe all the stuff you did in your career!’ When Stone Cold didn’t realize that I did ‘The Love Boat’ and Johnny Carson, then I understood why the young people didn’t know.”
Hogan gave his opinion on WWE’s “The Last Ride” documentary about The Undertaker’s career that aired on WWE Network last year:
“I didn’t expect it to be done so open and honestly. I mean, he retired and came back, and put his boots in the ring and all of that. But this was the final ‘final’ goodbye. Putting the nail in the coffin — I know, great cliché there. But opening up and showing people what he was about, that he was totally dedicated to this business, had wrestling in his blood on day one and was a good dude and a family man. I think the whole thing was done really well. It was a good move.”
Hogan on who he wished he could have wrestled during his career:
“‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, in a singles match. I tease him about it all the time: ‘Man, if I was the bad guy, I would have put you over every night. Right in the middle of the ring. And then I’d get on TV and I’d lie my rear end off about how that bald-headed creep could never beat me!’ We could have drawn so much money. When I came back to wrestle The Rock, that Hollywood Hogan character was so hot. I would have loved to chase Steve around the world for a couple of months.”
Hogan made it clear in a follow up that he would have wanted to be the heel in the scenario.
For what it’s worth, Hogan and Austin did wrestle in a tag team match, but not in a singles match. You can see a clip above.
Hogan’s thoughts regarding the Hulk Hogan movie with Chris Hemsworth set to star as the Hulkster and if Hulk has given him advice:
“We haven’t gotten to that point yet. We did talk on the phone when he decided to do the movie, and he said he wanted to be around me as much as he can to study me and see what makes me tick. And I was like, ‘Brother, you’re going to be surprised.’ [Laughs] He’s a lot taller than I thought he was, around 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4. He’s in crazy shape. I keep on telling him that the only problem is that he’s not really good-looking enough to play me in a movie.”
Hogan also spoke about how he had a bit of fear during his career where he thought he might lose his spot:
“I wasn’t the greatest wrestler. I wasn’t a tough guy. I wasn’t one of these guys that, say, they’ve had 100 real fights and won every one of them. That’s not me. I was worried that somebody was going to figure out what I did to stay ahead of the game, and there was also a part of me that was like, ‘I’m really not that good at what I’m doing.’ I only had so many moves. I didn’t want to have people see through my character and see through my gimmick and see that I’m not really good at what I do.”
“It all accumulated. I understood the business. I understand what it took to make it tick. A lot of people say I was a politician, but that was a big part of it: Getting along with all the guys in the dressing room, sitting in the office with Vince and being a politician there, talking to kids from Make-A-Wish [Foundation] and making them understand how important the training and the prayers and vitamins are — even though that wasn’t me at the time, my character was impeccable.
“Everything that I did was the sum of all the parts of that character, and the ability to switch gears depending on who you were talking to. There was so much that went into that character in front of the scenes and behind the scenes that not too many people figured out how I did it.”
There’s a lot more to the interview that you can check out on ESPN.com right now.
Hulk Hogan will be on WWE Raw tonight and I’ll have a review on TJRWrestling tonight.