Hulk Hogan is one of the biggest stars in wrestling history, but few know that he broke the mould in more ways than one.
Hulk Hogan’s WWE contract made history when he signed for the WWE (then WWF) in 1983, becoming the first man to sign a guaranteed contract in pro-wrestling – or so he claims.
Hulk Hogan’s WWE Contract Was “The First Guaranteed Contract”
Hulk Hogan had the first guaranteed contract in wrestling, according to the former WWE Champion in an interview with Steve Austin.
The WWE Hall of Famer spoke about his deal with the WWE in 1983 when he left the AWA to sign for Vince McMahon’s promotion. McMahon had taken over the running of the company from his father and offered Hogan the chance to become the face of his national takeover of wrestling.
Hogan had been fired years prior by Vince McMahon Sr. He was let go because he appeared in the movie Rocky III. Appearing in movies was no accepted in that time for wrestlers, even though it helped raise his star power and become a household name in the US.
After being fired, Hulk Hogan wrestled in the AWA where Hulkamania was truly born. He signed a deal with Vince McMahon in 1983, with what Hogan called “the first guaranteed contract” in wrestling.
Hulk Hogan signed a 10-year deal with a minimum guarantee with the WWE (then WWF). Back then, wrestlers were not guaranteed any money and were only paid when they were booked and worked. They were not guaranteed any dates and could be sat at home waiting for a call, not getting paid.
Hogan in an interview on The Steve Austin Show, Hulk Hogan said about his WWE contract in 1983:
“In 1983, I had a guaranteed contract,” stated Hogan. “When I decided to leave Verne for Vince, I had a 10-year deal with a minimum guarantee. I had the first guaranteed contract.
What lured me back [to WWE] was the fact that I was a mark. I love Madison Square Garden, and Vince said he was going to put the WWE Title on me. Now, I had figured out this babyface thing in Minnesota; I knew what it was like to look at the crowd and have them go crazy.
I was ready. What brought me back was the opportunity to be the champion and have that one run through New York. I told [my ex-wife] Linda at the time, ‘I just want to go back to New York for one year. One year and then we’re done.’ I was looking for one year, and it just took off.”
Hulk Hogan went on to become one of the biggest stars in the history of wrestling. On his back, WWE launched their national expansion, began their year Wrestlemania show and became a monopoly in professional wrestling for many years.
Hulk Hogan has talked about wrestling one more match, although recent comments about his ailing health have put a stop to any speculation.