Hulk Hogan has spun many tall tales over the years. From his time touring the world as the bassists from Metallic, to starring in the hit movie “The Wrestler”, and partying with John Belushi four years after his death, he has told some absolute corkers over the years.
Which means that, really, you can’t take anything the Hulkster says seriously. Ever. If he told me it was raining outside, I’d put a pair of shorts and flip-flops on.
This means that this next story, told by Hulk Hogan, will have to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, it is somewhat rooted in truth and has some basis in facts.
As you well know, Hulk Hogan vs Mike Tyson never actually happened inside a WWE ring, although it may have almost happened, if not for one disastrous night in Tokyo for The Baddest Man On The Planet.
Hulk Hogan vs Mike Tyson
Allegedly, Hulk Hogan nearly wrestled against Mike Tyson during The Main Event on NBC, in 1990. It was the third edition of the show, with the first in 1988 pitting Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant for the WWE Championship.
The actual match that took place in 1990 was Hulk Hogan vs Randy “The Macho King” Savage. The pair battled for Hogan’s WWE Championship, which Hogan retained by his patented leg drop, brother.
It was a huge match that was refereed by boxer Buster Douglas. Douglas had just shocked the world by beating Mike Tyson in the Tokyo Dome, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in boxing, despite being 42/1 odds to win the bout.
This ruined plans, allegedly, for Tyson to come in and referee the match instead of Buster Douglas. “Iron” Mike was the biggest sports star in the world, with millions flocking to watch his pay per view fights, even if they lasted mere minutes before he knocked out his opponent.
However, due to his shock loss in Japan, WWE instead drafted in Buster Douglas. His stardom had exploded with the victory, but was still nowhere near at the level of popularity of Mike Tyson.
The show did huge numbers. It gained a million viewers compared to the year prior, with 20 million American viewers tuning into to watch Hogan vs Savage on NBC. Who knows what the numbers could have been if Mike Tyson had been part of it?
It would have been even bigger if Tyson had refereed – but what if he actually wrestled for the WWE during his prime?
Hulk Hogan Nearly Wrestled Mike Tyson
When speaking to his friend Bubba the Love Sponge, Hulk Hogan entertained us all with a tale about how he was supposed to fight Mike Tyson at WrestleMania.
Both men were, at that time, the two most popular men in their respective sports. It would have been a titanic clash of epic proportions, and one that Hogan claimed could have been “the first $100 million pay per view”.
Hogan seems to be confused in the interview, claiming that Tyson was meant to wrestle at the NBC show, and claiming that Buster Douglas refused to wrestle on the show at all, when it was never to be the case.
“We were looking at about the first 100 million dollar pay-per-view ever. We were close [to signing Tyson to wrestle]. Vince was wining and dining him. It was a situation of Vince was saying “You know, I was in my prime, I wasn’t injured, I was big and Tyson was on top of his game.
Vince had been trying to put it together,even having meetings with Tyson going “oh you have the gloves on, he won’t hurt you, he won’t grab, he won’t, you know ,arm bar you or hurt you.
And he went over and got knocked out in Tokyo, knocked the fuck out by Buster Douglas and Vince scrambled. He got Buster Douglas and reeled him because it was an NBC thing and Buster Douglas wouldn’t get in the ring. He ended up having him be a special referee, but he wouldn’t fight.
Between me and Macho on Saturday’s Main Event he hit a sucker punch on Macho and actually hit Macho under his eye with an elbow.
He didn’t think it was a work. They thought we were setting them up, and let me tell you something: Vince and I talked about it we’re going to set him up!Oh yeah!”
Mike Tyson did eventually end up in WWE years later, but after Hulk Hogan had left. Both WWE and WCW had courted Tyson, with the boxing legend pulled from WCW Nitro after biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield.
He would later debut in WWE and join D-Generation X. However, he turned on the group at WrestleMania XIV, punching Shawn Michaels in his role as the special guest enforcer in his match against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Tyson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012, and later appeared on AEW as both friend and foe of Chris Jericho, whom he had a run in with on Monday Night Raw years prior.