Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hulk Hogan goes "Hollywood"

If you grew up in the 1980s, there is a good chance that you followed the creed of “saying your prayers and taking your vitamins.” Such a lifestyle was part of a popular movement known as Hulkamania, led by WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. At countless WWE events, legions of fans wore red and yellow, anxiously awaiting The Hulkster to rip off his shirt and do away with anyone who did not live up to his high moral standards. However, Hogan’s ultimate betrayal of the faithful and his role in forming the infamous New World Order changed all that, earning him the No. 1 spot of WWE.com’s “List This: WWE Legends of the Fall."


When Hulk Hogan left WWE and re-emerged in Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling, a resurgence of Hulkamania swept the world. Like Ric Flair and Sting before him, Hogan became synonymous with WCW. But in 1996, The Hulkster disappeared for a few months while Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (Diesel) – two competitors thought to be WWE Superstars – began to appear uninvited on WCW Monday Nitro. The fans and competitors of the Atlanta-based organization weren’t sure if “The Outsiders” – as they became known – were still under WWE contract or not. But, their intentions were clear enough, as they instantly began to attack WCW competitors, asserting that they would play by their own rules and insisting that they were working with a mysterious “third man.”

At Bash at the Beach, Hall & Nash battled “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger. Although their team was also supposed to also include a third individual, only The Outsiders showed up to compete in the match – leaving the third person’s identity a complete mystery. When Hall & Nash resorted to illegal tactics to gain an upper hand in the contest, Hulk Hogan made his way to the ring, much to the delight of WCW fans who were anxiously awaiting the defeat of The Outsiders. Hall & Nash cleared the ring as the “Real American” ripped off his T-shirt, ready to save the day like he had done so many times before. However, what came next shocked the world and changed the entire landscape of sports-entertainment. 

 
After one quick look at the fallen “Macho Man,” The Hulkster suddenly executed his patented leg drop on the WCW competitor! Millions of stunned fans froze in their seats, unable to believe their eyes as Hall & Nash re-entered the ring and watched Hogan secure the pinfall. While The Outsiders warned of the “third man,” no one ever expected that it would be the same individual that had always fought for what was right. Without warning, Hogan had turned his back on millions of fans, proclaiming that he Hall and Nash were the future of sports-entertainment – “The New World Order.”


Following his shocking betrayal of WCW and his fans all over the world; Hogan did away with his traditional red and yellow attire, instead adapting an edgier black and white clothed look. Feeling he was bigger than any organization and even sports-entertainment itself, The Hulkster started to refer to himself as “Hollywood Hogan,” carrying an “nWo” spray-painted WCW World Championship and recruiting numerous competitors to fill out the ranks of what would become arguably the most infamous group in history.


This shocking fall from grace in the eyes Hulkamaniacs everywhere would pave the way for the historic “Monday Night Wars,” in which WCW Monday Nitro and WWE Monday Night Raw battled for television ratings dominance. And though Hogan would ultimately redeem himself in the end – once again sporting the yellow and red as a true hero of the WWE Universe – his infamous betrayal would remain forever as a dark mark on his incredible legacy.

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