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
- 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 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.