WWE History Vol. 22: Hulk Hogan's greatest rivalries
Believe it or not, the man who would one day be known to millions of fans around the entire world as the Immortal Hulk Hogan was once a shy, introverted child who struggled with body image issues.
Despite being self-described as 'pudgy,' the child named Terry Bollea seemed to demonstrate an acumen for athletics. He played several sports in school, but then turned his attention to music. Bollea was a huge wrestling fan, and was inspired by Superstar Billy Graham to take up body building as a hobby.
It was during a concert with his rock band Ruckus that two men in the audience saw Hogan's potential as a wrestler. Those men were Jack and Gerald Briscoe, WWE Hall of Famers and multi time tag team champions. (Not to be confused with the Briscos, who are of no relation."
Hogan soon embarked on his career as a wrestler. Using the name Sterling Golden, he was a hated heel who liked to pose and bully his opponents. But gradually the fans started to get behind him, and he transitioned to babyface with a new name: Terry "The Hulk" Bollea.
When he joined WWE, this was shortened to Hulk Hogan, and the rest is history. Whether you think of Hulk Hogan as one of the greatest performers of all time or a controversial figure, there's no doubting he's an icon.
But the old adage goes, you're only as good as your competition. Hulk Hogan had some of the greatest rivalries of his career during his historic run with the WWE championship.
Here are Hulk Hogan's greatest rivals, the men who helped make him great.
#6. Rowdy Roddy Piper
k Hogan's first WWE title run came rather suddenly. With little fanfare or build up, and certainly not an extended rivalry, Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik - a transitional champion if ever there was one - to capture the WWE's big belt.
Thus, his first major rivalry was not with the Sheik, but with a man who had long been one of the most celebrated babyfaces in all of wrestling, the crazy and unpredictable Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Piper and Hogan were not strangers, having faced each other and teamed together in the past. But with the advent of the Rock and Wrestling Connection, WWE needed a charismatic villain for Hogan to play off of, someone who could talk and wrestle with equal aplomb. Piper turned heel and he and Hogan engaged in the "War to Settle the Score," a WWE world championship match aired on the then-burgeoning MTV network. 1980s music star Cyndi Lauper was on hand, as well as Hogan's new ally Mr. T.
This set the stage for Wrestlemania, where Hogan would team with Mr. T to take on the team of Piper and Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff. While Piper never managed to wrest the title from Hogan, he was the first major rival of the immortal one in WWE.
They continued their feud in WCW years later, proving that some things never change.