Hulk Hogan Reveals Who Invented Hulking Up In Wrestling

Hamish Woodward

Hulk Hogan did not invent “Hulking Up”, as one wrestling has revealed during a shocking podcast outburst.

The sight of Hulk Hogan overcoming an opponent by shaking his first, withstanding punches and finally dropping the leg is something to behold. It defined professional wrestling in the 1980s and continues to be an iconic image to this very day.

It always came in the nick of time, when Hogan was down and out, being dominated in the ring and looking like the match was done. Surely, now was the time Hogan would lose the fans would cry until a wave of sound commenced as he began his legendary comeback.

The key elements of “Hulking Up” are simple. There are 9 steps to Hulk Hogan’s iconic comeback, which most of them being him doing no wrestling moves at all. The step-by-step instructions are as follows.

  • The Big Kick Out
  • The Head Shake
  • The Arm Shake
  • Walking Around The Ring
  • “YOU!” Point
  • Punches
  • Throw
  • Big Boot
  • Leg Drop

It’s an incredibly simple yet masterfully visual performance by Hulk Hogan. Hulking Up shows him overcoming and overpowering his opponent, starting from the point of absolute weakness and ending up the victory, rising above hate and achieving victory from the jaws of defeat.

Some could argue the act itself is analogous to the concept of “The American Dream”, although that is probably looking too deeply into silly 1980s pro-wrestling featuring a man with the skin of a hot dog.

His most famous act of spontaneous Hulkamania came during one of his last great matches in wrestling. At Wrestlemania X8, he battled in a Legend vs Icon match against The Rock.

The match took place in Toronto, Canada and the fans were firmly behind the then-heel Hogan, in a bizarre turn of events.

He hit his Hulk Up comeback after a Rock Bottom by The Brahma Bull, causing the crowd to absolute explode as he hit all the steps before pinning Rock with a leg drop. Somehow, the Rock kicked out with Jim Ross pulling out maybe his greatest call ever.

He beat Andre The Giant with that move!

Jim Ross, after The Rock kicked out of the Hulk Hogan’s leg drop at Wrestlemania X8

However, in a shocking revelation by wrestling legend Jim Cornette, Hulk Hogan did not invent the concept of Hulking Up. Whilst the name “Hulking Up” was directly inspired by the Immortal One himself, the concept of a theatrical, fiery comeback by a beloved face who was down on his luck was a tale as old as the wrestling business itself.

Speaking on his podcast “Jim Cornette’s Drive Thru”, Jim Cornette looked through the history of wrestling to analyse the origin of what later became “Hulking Up”.

He claimed the concept became known by that term because Hogan “was so obvious with it”, with his overexaggerated selling being a key part of the act.

He revealed that the idea had been done since wrestling has been a sport, revealing that as far back as the 1970s, Bearcat Brown did he is own comeback similar to Hogan’s. Every top face had a similar comeback but none became as famous at Hulk Hogan did.

“Hulk Hogan did not invent ‘Hulking up’, it’s been called that because he was so obvious with it. With Lawler, it was dropping the strap, Jay Strongbow was the War dance, Bearcat Brown, he did a dance. You know, when kids in Louisville got in fights in school in the early 70’s, they would start to do Bearcat Brown’s swinging his fists out from side to side and kicking his foot up in the air like he was gonna make the comeback.

Every babyface that was a main event star or was a top guy had a manner of starting his comeback, and some elevated it to an artform. It’s old as the hills that the babyface would be getting the shit kicked out of him and then finally something would happen where you would detect that he was not going to put up with this anymore.

They would gradually start showing that they had life, or they had fire, whether it be a look up to the people in the bleachers or the way they would twist their body when they would get hit and you would start to see some erection go back in their spine.”

“Every babyface down through the years that was over had some manner of doing that, and the key word is ‘over’, because the people had to give a shit.”

Hulk Hogan Learned To Hulk Up From Verne Gagne

Hulk Hogan revealed on The Apter Chat podcast who actually taught him the famous “Hulk Up” no selling spot in wrestling.

The late WWE Hall Of Famer Verne Gagne was actually the one who taught him to Hulk Up and no-sell, according to Hogan himself.

He spoke about AWA legend Gagne chastise him for selling, before instructing him when to sell and not sell, to gain sympathy from the live crowd.

“Then what happened is I went to Minnesota for three years and I really honed my craft,” Hogan said. “Verne Gagne actually taught me how to start shaking and ‘Hulk Up’ and Verne actually taught me that, how to come up.

“He could coach me, ‘now you gotta start shaking and if somebody hits you with a lead pipe in the head you act like it doesn’t hurt you. When they dropkick you, you don’t go down… when they hit you with four dropkicks you just wobble.’

“It used to piss off all the other wrestlers cause Verne told me to quit selling,” Hogan said. “I said, ‘Guys! It’s not me! It’s Verne! Verne’s telling me not to do this,’ you know and it was true. Verne didn’t want me to sell. Once I did sell, he said: ‘Once you go down and sell, sell like you’re a 100-pound girl so you get sympathy.’

“That’s why when I did finally sell I’d start crawling around and that building would start rumbling, brother. It would rumble so loud when I started selling, it went crazy.

“So when I went back to [WWE], I finally learned my craft. I learned how to be Hulk Hogan. I was making all my shirts at the mall. I was ripping them off when I was up there, so I had it figured out before I came back this time.

“So when I hit the ring against the Iron Sheik it just took off and it was the most fun time of all for me in the wrestling business because like I said, it was the first time.

“Then the transition into the nWo, I always knew if they would let me be a bad guy again now that I had it figured out I could be the best bad guy ever. The dirtiest, nastiest, most evil bad guy and then when the good guys came at me I’d drop down and beg like the biggest chicken ever like Ray Stevens. I had a blast, but the first run with the red and yellow was the most fun.”

It was a good thing Verne Gagne did teach Hulk Hogan to Hulk Up, or else we may never have had some of the greatest wrestling moments of all time take place.

Hulk Hogan has recently spoken about his rivalry with CM Punk and why the former AEW Champion seems to hate him, despite no perceived heat on Hogan’s end.

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