Hulk Hogan Tried to Be a Jack-Of-All-Trades

To an older generation of wrestling fans, Hulk Hogan is synonymous with the world of WWE. The now-notorious wrestling superstar was among the first wrestlers to break out of the ring and into the world in several different ways.

From acting to business to other professional sports, Hogan looked higher than the wrestling world and tried desperately to become a multi-hyphenate star, much like The Rock is known today. 

Hulk Hogan flexing  at a red carpet event
Hulk Hogan flexing at a red carpet event | Theo Wargo/NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Images

Terry at Bat

Before he was Hulk Hogan, the wrestler was Terry Bollea. While Bollea picked up wrestling at an early age, it wasn’t his only calling. A skinnier, younger Hogan was an avid baseball player. Starting in Little League, Bollea was a power-hitter from an early age. While he played some third base and even pitched, his golden bat made him a standout in the baseball world. 

Scouts from the Cincinnati Reds and even the New York Yankees came out to see Hogan play in high school. Then, tragedy struck. Hogan recalled the injury that ended his baseball career. 

“I was playing third base,” Hogan told the Mercury News.

“The bases were loaded. I moved in on the infield. The guy stepped outside the box and hit one off the handle. And as it dribbled down the third-base line, I ran in—this was the bottom of the seventh inning, and the score was 0-0—and I picked it up. As I threw underhanded to first base, I broke my arm. My arm was never the same.”

Hogan stated that the injury was a blessing in disguise, however, and he began to chase his wrestling dreams instead. 

Hulk Hogan, the entertainer

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By the late ’80s, Hogan was a wrestling superstar. He had already appeared in several movies and television shows, including a memorable turn in Rocky III, but he was not a leading man.

After telling Vince McMahon Sr. that he wanted to pursue a career in acting, the patriarch of the WWF let him go. After the Rocky turn was a success, however, Hogan came back to the WWF. 

When McMahon Jr. took over, however, he decided to use Hogan’s star power to create movies. McMahon Jr. produced the film No Holds Barred, and Hogan’s career as a leading man was born.

According to IMDb, Hogan tried to branch out several times, from Mr. Nanny to Suburban Commando, Hogan’s film career made him a household name beyond wrestling. While none of his films were blockbuster hits, they tapped into a market that made him huge. 

Before long, Hogan was trying his hands at music, too. Taking a page out of Muhammad Ali’s book, Hogan released an album in 1995. In 1995, Hogan sang, rapped, and played the bass on Hulk Rules, an album that explored genres and now lives in a space between ironic classic and nostalgic bliss for fans of the wrestler. 

By the 2000s, Hogan was trying to branch out further. Still doing smaller wrestling gigs in between relationships with the WWE, Hogan decided to ride the reality TV train.

In Hogan Knows Best, a heavily scripted reality television show in the same vein as the Kardashians, Hogan showed the world his life at home. The show was a hit on VH1, but as Hogan’s personal life fell apart, the show faded into the abyss. 

Hulk Hogan, the entrepreneur

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Hogan likes to tell the story of how he was supposed to be the face of the George Foreman Grill, but he either declined or didn’t pick up the phone — depending on the story at the time.

Hogan faced financial ruin following his divorce in the 2000s, and to combat the financial strain; he began investing in several products. The Hulk Hogan Ultimate Grill came out years too late, however, and Hogan lost money in the investment.

For several years, he tried being a pitchman for several products, but it never panned out. When footage from a sex tape revealed Hogan using racist language, his entire career was put on hold.

For a time before that, Hogan was trying everything. Now years removed from relevancy, Hogan is in his 60s and no longer the draw he once was, although his image has recovered slightly from the scandal. However, a look back at his earlier years showed a man who dreamt big regardless of the outcome.