In the early 1980s, America was in something of a state of shock. After the civil rights movement successfully challenged the ruling class's power, and the stunning defeat during the Vietnam War, many citizens of the country were feeling powerless.
Worse, the Iran hostage crisis shook their faith in their government's ability to protect them. Movies like Missing in Action and Let's Get Harry all tried to make Americans feel as if they still had some power.
Into this morass of self-doubt emerged Hulk Hogan, the nigh perfect hero for his time. Hogan was big, loud, powerful, and he never ever gave up or lost. Hogan was not pinned cleanly in the WWE until the 1980s were over.
During his nearly five year reign with the WWE championship, Hogan was the flag waving, dyed in the wool true blue American Patriot. Many of his enemies were foreigners, like Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. When international politics became more complex, and America engaged in more diplomacy than saber rattling, Hogan's enemies shifted to elites like the Million Dollar Man and Mr. Perfect, who challenged Hogan's common man character.
There's no doubt that Hogan was influential and the biggest wrestling star of the 1980s, but as the 1990s began fans interest started to waver. He dropped the title to Ultimate Warrior and tried to break into Hollywood as an actor.
His efforts were less than spectacular, and when Ted Turner offered a contract, Hogan returned to wrestling. The nWo and his heel turn possibly made his career relevant again.
Hogan departed WCW under less than auspicious terms when Vince Russo broke kayfabe and had Jarrett lay down for him in the promotion's waning days. Unexpectedly, he debuted in WWE a year later as the villainous Hollywood Hogan, though the fans couldn't seem to stop cheering for him, even when facing the super babyface Rock.
Hogan has most recently been in the news because of a new WWE contract, though at this time it is unknown exactly what his role will be. With such a long and wildly fluctuating career, Hogan has been bound to make some ripples. But has his effect been overall good for the sport, or bad?
Here are five reasons why Hogan was good for wrestling, and five he may have done damage to sports entertainment.
Good for Wrestling: Hogan was the Rock n Wrestling pioneer.
Hulk Hogan and rock music have a lot in common; Loud, over the top, and up-tempo.
Hogan had a great television presence and was so influential in the 1980s that not only did he greatly expand sports entertainment, he may have helped MTV become a cultural icon as well.
Without Hogan fighting Piper on MTV, the whole pro wrestling revolution of the 1980s may not have happened.