What is Hulk Hogan’s real name?

In his heyday, Hulk Hogan was one of the most feared characters in professional wrestling. In addition to his six titles with World Championship Wrestling, Hogan became the first wrestler ever to take home the WWE Championship three times. For his in-ring prowess and even greater personality, Hogan was at times the highest-paid wrestler in WWE, according to the Bleacher Report. Hogan showed he could entertain fans across multiple mediums and became the star of the reality series Hogan Knows Best. The VH1 show followed the Hogan family, including his ex-wife Linda and two children, Nick and Brooke, for 43 episodes. Hogan’s daughter was so popular that she landed her own spinoff series Brooke Knows Best, the Chicago Tribune recapitulated.

Then, in 2015, Hogan’s legacy was tarnished after video of the wrestler’s scolding surfaced. At the worst part, he used a derogatory word when discussing his daughter Brooke’s date. “I’m disappointed in myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs,” Hogan said in an apology statement, per People — but the damage has been done. WWE terminated their contract with Hogan and removed him from their Hall of Fame, before later reinstating the legendary wrestler.

As of 2022, the wrestler remains active on social media, frequently promoting official merchandise from his store, Hogan’s Beach Shop, in Clearwater, Florida. But behind the handlebar mustache and catchphrases like “Hulkamania runs wild bro” is the real man.

Hulk Hogan’s life outside the ring

Long before he turned into Hulk Hogan, young Terry Gene Bollea was born on August 11, 1953 in Augusta, Georgia. As a boy growing up in Tampa, Florida, Bollea recalled being bullied and children would make fun of him for having a big head. Still, he excelled in sports like bowling and baseball. In fact, Bollea played in the Little League World Series. Bollea also loved music and even played guitar in junior high in a band called Infinity’s End, Bollea wrote in his memoir My Life Outside the Ring.

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After becoming a wrestling star as an adult, Bollea once had to face his personal life seriously and ditch the character of Hulk Hogan. He sued news site Gawker for posting a sex tape of him and his friend’s wife, radio host Bubba the Love Sponge, in 2012. Allegedly, Bubba the Love Sponge — his real name — filmed Hogan without his knowledge, according to The New York Times. At the trial, Gawker argued that Hogan didn’t mind speaking publicly about his private affairs, such as when the wrestler appeared on The Howard Stern Show and the host brought up the sextape. “I didn’t want to bring Terry Bollea, the man, into the conversation,” Hogan said during the trial, via The Hollywood Reporter. Hogan won a more than $140 million settlement, but due to Gawker going out of business, Hogan only received $31 million in the final agreement between the two parties, Forbes reported.

Hulk Hogan before he was The Hulk

Terry Bollea began his professional wrestling career in 1978 under the name Terry Boulder. “As he stepped into the ring, he received a standing ovation. No one had any idea who he was, but they cheered him on like he was already a superstar,” fellow wrestler Jerry Brisco explained in Matt Hunter’s book Hulk Hogan. .” In those early days, Bollea sometimes wrestled under the moniker Sterling Golden. Other times, he entered the ring as one half of the Boulder Brothers with friend Ed Leslie. In 1979, Bollea made his television debut as Terry “The Hulk” Boulder. In a video featuring Wrestlers from Memphis, Tennessee, showed off The Hulk’s 324-pound frame and bleached blonde hair.

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Bollea began wrestling for the WWF, and owner Vince McMahon Sr. dubbed him “the incredible Hulk Hogan,” Hunter wrote. The nickname was a reference to the TV series The Incredible Hulk, which debuted in 1977 via IMDb and starred actor Lou Ferrigno as the comic book title character. Supposedly, when Bollea was standing next to Ferrigno for a wrestling promo, an announcer proclaimed that the bigger and bigger Bollea was like a real Hulk. As for the Hogan part, McMahon reportedly added the name to make it sound Irish. Marvel, who owned the rights to the Hulk character, didn’t allow Bollea to use the “Incredible” part in their name, but “Hulk” was allowed through CinemaBlend for 20 years in exchange for royalties.