Why is Hulk Hogan called Hulk Hogan? The answer to that question may be a shocking one.
Hulk Hogan is rightly lauded as the biggest star in wrestling history. He was at the forefront of the wrestling boom in the 1980s, being the face of the entire sport for decades.
With his trademark catchphrases, overuse of the term “brother” and 24 inch pythons, the 6 foot 8 (although now he has shrunk due to many surgeries) was an irresistible part of American pop culture.
Even to this day, if you ask the average American to name one pro-wrestler, it’s likely they’d go to one of two wells – Hulk Hogan or The Rock.
The name Hulk Hogan has gone around the world, but did you know where the name actually came from?
In this article, we’ll talk you through the origin of the name Hulk Hogan and how the Immortal One became to be known by that moniker.
Why Is Hulk Hogan Called Hulk Hogan
To know why Hulk Hogan is called Hulk Hogan, we need to look at the origin of the two names.
The names “Hulk” and “Hogan” have two very different origins. While these have become synonymous with the legendary former WWE Champion, it is not his real name.
In fact, Hulk Hogan’s real name is Terry Bollea. He grew up in California, after being born in Georgie. Bollea grew up being raised by his parents, who were of Italian descent. He also claims Scottish and French heritage.
He originally wrestled under the name Terry Boulder. He actually teamed with longtime friend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcase as the “Boulder Brothers” at the beginning of their careers, going as Terry and Eddie Boulder.
He wouldn’t gain the name Hulk for many years. It came to him when appearing on a talk show in Alabama, he met up on the air with Lou Ferrigno. He famously played Bruce Banner in the Incredible Hulk TV show, and was known for his huge size.
In Hulk Hogan’s autobiography, he claimed that when the host of the show saw him and Lou Ferrigno together, he remarked how Hogan was bigger than the man famed for his size, and claimed that Hogan was the real Hulk.
Later on, while I was still wrestling for Louie Tillet, I showed up at a morn- ing talk show in Mobile, Alabama to promote a wrestling event. The other guest was a guy named Lou Ferrigno, who was starring with Bill Bixby on a TV show called The Incredible Hulk.
Ferrigno was traveling around the country to plug his series, which wasn’t doing so well in the ratings. So in between shooting schedules, they kept him on the road, working all the local markets.
When I got on the show, the host looked at Ferrigno and he looked at me and he said, “Oh my God, you’re bigger than Lou Ferrigno! You’re bigger than the Hulk!”
And I said, “That’s because I’m the real Hulk.”
Now, I had the gift of gab and Lou had a bit of a speech impediment at the time as a result of a hearing loss, and I didn’t want to run him down. But I did have the upper hand and I ran with it a little.
Plus the host did my job for me. “Gosh,” he said, “your arms are so much bigger than his. It looks like if you arm-wrestled him you’d break his arm.”
Actually, Lou Ferrigno was an unbelievable specimen, a real dedicated bodybuilder, and his arms were in much better shape than mine.
But I had more bulk on me and my clothes were probably tighter so I looked larger.Hulk Hogan in his autobiography
That night when I got to the arena and went back to the locker room, all the boys started calling me Hulk. They said they saw me on television and I was big- ger than Lou Ferrigno, and the name just stuck.
This is when he became know as “The Hulk” Terry Boulder.
The name “Hogan” would not be added until he worked for Vince McMahon Sr in the WWF.
The father of current WWE Chairman Vince McMahon had a penchant for pushing “ethnic heroes” as his champion. Bruno Sammartino was lauded as a hero to the Italians in New York, while Pedro Morales was pushed for the Latino community.
He had an idea for Hulk Hogan to be the hero for the Irish people. The Irish were a large contingent in New York, and had faced discrimination in the country for decades.
Hogan is an Irish name. It is an Irish surname derived from Irish Ó hÓgáin, a patronymic of Middle Irish ógán, meaning “a youth”
Vince McMahon Sr changed Terry Boulder’s name to Hulk Hogan, and encouraged him to dye his hair ginger and talk with an Irish accent.
Hogan kept the name change, but rejected any idea of pretending to be Irish. He kept his trademark blonde, wispy hair and spoke with his typical California accent.
These ended up becoming some of the most important aspects of his character, and helped make Hulk Hogan the biggest star in all of wrestling.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.