Terry Gene Bollea (born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler, actor, television personality, and musician signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
Hogan enjoyed mainstream popularity in the mid 1980s through the early 1990s as the all-American character Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF—now WWE), and was notable in the mid-to-late 1990s as Hollywood Hogan, the villainous nWo leader, in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Following the closure of WCW, he made a brief return to WWE in the early 2000s, revising his heroic character by combining elements of his two most famous personas.
Hogan was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He is a 12-time world champion being a six-time WWF/WWE Champion, six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, as well as a former WWE World Tag Team Champion with Edge. He won the Royal Rumble in 1990 and 1991, making him the first to win two consecutive Royal Rumbles. He was also the first WWE wrestler to win the WWE Championship three times. In his first reign as WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Hogan held the title for 469 days from July 17, 1994 to October 29, 1995—the longest reign of all time for this championship.
Bollea, who is of Italian, French, and Panamanian heritage, is the son of Peter Bollea, a construction foreman, and Ruth, a homemaker and dance teacher. Hogan was raised in Charlestown, MA. As a boy, he was a pitcher in Little League Baseball. He began watching professional wrestling at 16 years old. While in high school, he revered Dusty Rhodes, and he regularly attended cards at the Tampa Sportatorium. It was at one of those wrestling cards where he first turned his attention towards "Superstar" Billy Graham and looked to him for inspiration; since he first saw Graham on TV, Hogan wanted to match his "inhuman" look. Hogan was also a skilled musician, spending ten years playing bass guitar in several Florida-based rock bands. After music gigs began to get in the way of his time in college, Hogan decided to drop out of the University of South Florida before receiving any degree. Eventually, Hogan and two local musicians formed a band called Ruckus in 1976. The band soon became a local sensation in the Tampa Bay region.
On the October 5, 1985 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he successfully defended the title against Nikolai Volkoff in a flag match. He met long-time rival Roddy Piper in a WWF title match at the Wrestling Classic pay-per-view (PPV) event. Hogan retained the title by disqualification after Bob Orton interfered and hit Hogan with his cast. Hogan had many challengers in the way as the new year began. Throughout 1986, Hogan made successful title defenses against challengers such as Terry Funk, "The Magnificent" Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy (in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 2), Paul Orndorff, and Hercules Hernandez.
In the fall of 1986, Hogan occasionally wrestled in tag matches with The Machines as Hulk Machine under a mask copied from New Japan Pro Wrestling gimmick "Super Strong Machine." At WrestleMania III in 1987, Hogan was booked to defend the title against André the Giant, who had been the sport's premier star and was pushed as undefeated for the previous two decades. A new storyline was introduced in early 1987; Hogan was presented a trophy for being the WWF Champion for three consecutive years. André the Giant, a good friend came out to congratulate him. Shortly afterward, André was presented a slightly smaller trophy for being "undefeated in the WWF for 15 years." Hogan came out to congratulate André, who walked out in the midst of Hogan's speech. Then, on an edition of Piper's Pit, Hogan was confronted by Bobby Heenan, who announced that André was his new [protégé, and Andre challenged Hogan to a title match at WrestleMania III. At WrestleMania III, Hogan successfully defended the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against André the Giant. During the match, Hogan bodyslammed the 520-pound Frenchman (which was dubbed "the bodyslam heard around the world") and won the match after a leg drop.
Hogan remained WWF Champion for four years (1,474 days). In front of 33 million viewers, however, Hogan finally lost the belt to André on the February 5 edition of The Main Event after a convoluted scam involving "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Earl Hebner (who assumed the place of his twin brother Dave Hebner, the match's appointed referee). After André delivered a belly to belly suplex on Hogan, Hebner counted the pin while Hogan's left shoulder was clearly off the mat. After the match, André handed the title over to DiBiase to complete their business deal. As a result, the WWF Championship was vacated for the first time in its 25-year history. At WrestleMania IV, Hogan participated in a tournament for the vacant WWF title to regain it and faced André in the tournament quarter-finals but their match resulted in a double disqualification. Later that night in the main event, Hogan interfered and helped "Macho Man" Randy Savage defeat Ted DiBiase to win the title.