Hogan tells Jericho about MSG and Gagne wanting Sheik to shoot on Hulk

Chris Jericho again posted an excellent podcast, this time with WWE legend Hulk Hogan in a two-parter.

I suppose I should first mention that Hogan has a penchant for outright lying and rewriting history whenever he does interviews. That’s how Hulk operates, so any of his stories must be scrutinized.

That said, Hogan told Jericho about when Vince McMahon approached him to be the flag bearer for McMahon’s national expansion plans. Hogan said he agreed less because of Vince’s big ambitions and more to get back to Madison Square Garden and the Northeast wrestling scene that the WWF had long ruled over.

“I felt whether [the expansion] would work or not, I wanted to go back to New York,” he said. “If you’re a wrestler, the biggest you can get is to wrestle in the Garden.”

“That Northeast, that’s wrestling up there. That’s where the electricity is,” Hogan added. “Being in those bigger cities, even if you don’t have that great of a match, people think it’s great.”

McMahon brought Hogan in just after Bob Backlund lost the WWF Heavyweight Title to the Iron Sheik. By Hogan’s own admission, he came into the WWF without giving proper notice to his former boss, Verne Gagne, the owner of the AWA.

“I did the most unethical thing you could do in wrestling business: I just split,” he said. “That’s when Verne tried to get Sheik to break my leg in the Garden.”

Hogan beat the Sheik at MSG for the WWF Title about a month after arriving. It has long been wrestling lore that Gagne, pissed off that Hogan high-tailed it to the WWF, allegedly contacted the Sheik and offered him $100,000 to shoot on Hogan in the match. That type of money sounds ridiculous for Gagne to offer.

Jericho himself seemed to doubt the story, but Hogan insisted it was legitimate.

“Sheik, thank God, had enough conscience of mind to tell Vince about it. That was a true story,” Hogan said.

Other highlights from Part 1 of the interview:

  • Hogan was a legit 338 pounds and “gassed to the gills” in his early territory days.
  • Wrestling great Jack Brisco gave Hogan his first pair of wrestling boots.
  • Hogan claimed he was the “first guy to ever do any merchandising” by having his own T-shirts made in his AWA days and selling them out of the trunk of his car. Hmmm…
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3 comments

  1. bostongardenbalcony

    Hey Joe — Another famous tale that Hogan brought up in the podcast was when Hiro Matsuda supposedly broke his leg the first time Hogan showed up for training at Eddie Graham’s gym in Florida. Hogan said he knew Matsuda had hurt him but did not realize his leg was broken until he could not pop the clutch on his car in the parking lot. A lot of that story has always sounded fishy with me (your leg is broken, but you are able to get out the gym and into a car?). But it’s also well-known that Graham and company were sickos with the stretching and trying to hurt would-be wrestlers just for the pleasure of it.

    • Joe Lowry

      Oh I have heard about the Graham Brothers and their antics in controlling their Territories. After all why would you mess with a man’s business, let alone their livelihood? As for the Matsuda incident, again another tale in which only proof can be provided in ways that can never be heard. My only take on this is why would another wrestler try to maim another wrestler? You were bound to work with each other at some point in the future, so why risk that?

  2. Joe Lowry

    This is not the first time I have heard this type of allegation from Hogan in regards to the “Bounty” that was put on his legs when he defected the WWE(F) to wrestle The Iron Sheik for the title. I first heard these claims via the Sheik thru various online sources years back. Sheik has done numerous shoot interviews in telling this story. Hogan has printed these claims as well in his books and in his DVD’s. Is it true? Could it be true? I take it with a grain of salt. Nothing can actually be proved that this type of “offer” was ever made. Another classic case of “He said – she said.” In my opinion, I am sure some type of threat was made. At the time Hulk left the AWA he was in the midst of a great run with Nick Bockwinkel. His last well covered/publicized match was when he was “robbed” of the AWA title back in April of 1982 in Chicago which sent those fans into a frenzy. According to Hogan his contract with the AWA was a handshake, not an actual contract. So could this alleged threat been made? Maybe? Who knows for sure. As for the other points made in the podcast. I have read that The Brisco’s discovered Terry Bolea at a nightclub in Tampa, FL. Hogan, a guitarist, used to perform in a band down there as well as run the door as a bodyguard. As for the merchandising claim, his wife did sell t-shirts at some point early in his career. I do believe this was mentioned in their divorce proceedings. I understand Hogan does like to ballyhoo his days of glory in the WWE(F). I guess its just another way for the Hulkster to stay fresh in todays industry.

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