Hulk Hogan is one of the top wrestlers ever, known for the spike in interest through the 80’s and helping catapult Vince McMahon’s company onto the national stage with WrestleMania main events.
But while speaking with the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas detailed the difference between today’s wrestling product and the one where Hogan couldn’t be touched:
“If you look at anything that Hogan did in the 80s it doesn’t fit today and will not draw that same crowd. What people call exciting changed. What people called interesting changed. When I was a kid I was scared of dinosaurs and what is a favorite thing of kids now? Dinosaurs. When I was a kid I was afraid of zombies. Now what is the greatest show out right now? The Walking Dead. Tattoos were never a big thing and tattoos were for convicts and bikers. Now tattoos is a fashion statement (laughing) back when I was a kid the only guy who wore pants too big for him was Charlie Chaplin. Now looking like Charlie Chaplin is in. When you look at Charlie Chaplin and the way people dress now what is the difference?”
“The world changed. Everything changed. Life changed and your perception of life changed. What was good all of a sudden has become bad. What is bad all of a sudden has become good. Life’s a constant change.”
Hogan’s schtick grew old and the same fans weren’t drawn to the red and yellow when he jumped ship from WWF to WCW.
He flipped from being a typical good guy to one of the most hated in all of wrestling, standing next to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the NWO, arguably wrestling’s biggest draw from then until “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s emergence in WWF.
But the part Atlas isn’t quite spot-on about was that his gimmick wouldn’t work in today’s wrestling.
Hogan’s epic matchup with The Rock was one of the most electric contests in recent memory, and his late run at age 48 shows his ability to connect with fans.
But that only propelled his second run with WWF/E when he returned to his red and yellow roots with rivalries against Triple H, Vince McMahon and others.
Certainly part of that could be tapping into nostalgia, but the man had to make the gimmick work and he did.
(H/T Wrestling Inc)