I Was A HulkamaniacPosted on September 17, 2010
I'll can the humour and satire and sarcasm and all that other garbage for this one and just simply tell you an honest story from my childhood.
After my parents divorced, my dad and I needed some dad and son type things to do, and seeing as how he wasn't into hockey or football or anything conventionally "manly" we watched WWF... and Star Trek The Next Generation... and Perfect Strangers... and The Flintstones together. We also went fishing sometimes. My story though is about the WWF.
The year was probably 87', maybe 88'. Wait, let me Google it.
Hulk Hogan returns to WWF
On December 18, 1983, Hulk Hogan married his wife Linda.
After Vince McMahon purchased the WWF from his father, Hulk Hogan was chosen to represent the franchise. In December 1983, in his debut, he triumphed over Bill Dixon. Then, on January 23, 1984, Hulk Hogan became WWF champ for the first time, and hence, Hulkamania ensued. Recall red and yellow shirts being ripped off the perfectly chiseled body of Hulk Hogan as he motioned with his hands for fans to chant louder.
In 1985, Hulk Hogan was featured in TV Guide and People magazine and also cohosted SNL. He was the first pro wrestler to make the cover of Sports Illustrated in April 1985, which was the second best-selling issue next to the coveted swimsuit issue that year. He was also portrayed in the kid’s cartoon Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, but his voice was provided by Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett.
Hulk Hogan is WWF Champion (again… and again)
Hulk Hogan defended his title in an October 1985 match against Nikolai Volkoff and in 1986 against several more fighters including Terry Funk, "The Magnificient" Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy, and Hercules Hernandez.
Then, on March 29, 1987, at Wrestlemania III, Hulk Hogan defended the WWF World Heavyweight title against none other than Andre the Giant once again. Hogan held the title for just over four years, until he finally lost it in a legendary match against the Giant, his long-time nemesis. Like a ping-pong match, in March 1988, Hulk Hogan helped Macho Man Randy Savage regain the championship.
Hulk Hogan wins WrestleMania V, VII and VIII
On May 5, 1988, Hulk Hogan’s first child, daughter Brooke Hogan, was born. Then in August of that year, Hulk Hogan, along with Randy Savage and manager Miss Elizabeth (“The Mega Powers”), started a feud with another alliance, “The Mega Bucks” (Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase), with The Mega Powers ruling supreme at the first-ever SummerSlam. However, internal jealousy amongst the group sparked another battle, this time between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, which came to a head at WrestleMania V in April 1989. Hogan won the match.
I was born in 81' so I'm going to say it was the 87' or 88' WrestleMania that I am thinking of. Regardless, Hulk was my favourite wrestler. He fascinated me and made me want to be a "real American" just like him. I remember how important it was to "say your prayers and eat your vitamins". I remember him being hospitalized because of some wrestling match, and it really affected me. So much so that I found out his mailing address and wrote him a letter. I don't remember exactly what I said in the letter, and this is the 80's so I don't have a photocopy or saved e-mail version of it to show you but I'm sure I expressed concern over his broken arm (I think it was a broken arm), and wished him a speedy recovery. I probably also gushed and told him how awesome he was, like any 10 year old would.
What makes this story memorable to me is that he mailed me back. Well someone did, from the Hulk camp. I can't remember what official title was on the letter, but it was written for him, and I remember someone, like a receptionist or something, thanking me for my concern and generally just being nice and placating a 10 year olds childhood fantasy. I don't have that letter saved anywhere, maybe my dad does, I don't know.
I was just laying down the last two hours and have been sort of in and out, but I got up with it in my mind to tell you this story. I think in it is a really great example of every life-lesson I've been through since.
As I got older, wrestling lost its appeal. By 93' I was wearing ripped jeans, had my bedroom decked out in Nirvana posters and my attempts at poetry, and was galaxies away from being anything so juvenile as a "hulkamaniac". A Nirvana fan in 1993 - boy was I in for a surprise.
It's hard to compare what is known as wrestling nowadays to what it was in the 80's. I think anyone who has been around can agree. When I started realizing wrestling was staged and scripted it really bothered me. From what I remember I was in denial for a long time. I suppose it's sort of comical now, to think of my childhood naievety. It's not wrong that I was gullible, for certain, if anything - it's wrong that someone took advantage of my gullibility.
So here we are years later. When that show Hogan Knows Best was on a while ago I watched a few episodes. Then later I hear about him getting divorced and now there's all this younger girl who looks like his daughter nonsense. And here I am, looking back on my childhood... ashamed. I am ashamed of myself for being so easy to fool. I am ashamed that I bought Hulkamania hook line and sinker. I'll not say that Hulk Hogan is a monster or anything that severe, but definitely something I wouldn't have my kid idolizing. Like I said, I feel ashamed. Hollywood sure does a number on people, making demons look like angels, making dark out to be light.
I was a Hulkamaniac. Now I'm just ashamed.
And that's what I got out of bed to tell you.