By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Forbes interview with guest Hulk Hogan
Interview conducted by Alfred Konuwa
Available at Forbes.com
Hulk Hogan on Roman Reigns threatening his 1,474 days as WWE champion: “I got a soft spot in my heart for Roman. I was real good friends with his dad, Sika, one of the Wild Samoans, and of course his partner Afa. We had a barbecue in San Francisco after the Cow Palace, and the Samoans invited me over to their house. Little did I know there were going to be 40 or 50 of them there. The whole family was there. And next thing I know, we started drinking wine and eating barbecue. And I woke up like at five o’clock in the morning sleeping in the front yard with a bunch of his Samoan brothers.
“During that time, they took a picture of me holding Roman Reigns, and he was like two or three years old. So there’s been a picture that’s circulated around of me holding Roman. And actually his dad’s Sika was standing next to me. So, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Roman, but I think he’s one of the only main event guys that’s keeping the art form alive. He can go out there and wing it. He doesn’t need a writer to tell him what to say.
“I can tell by the way he wrestles, he’s not following some choreographed pattern. He is really good with placement and physicality and knowing where he is at all the time in the ring. And it’s like when I wrestled, I never ever, ever talked about my match. I would see guys sit in the back room and talk for an hour about a five-minute match, and I’d go to Andre. I said “what are we doing tonight? ‘Don’t worry.’” I said “okay.” that’s how I was raised. And I see that in Roman. He’s got a feel, he’s got an instinct. He is keeping the art form alive. So I’m excited to see where he ends up with this thing.”
Hulk Hogan on Cody Rhodes’ controversial WrestleMania 39 loss, why he’ll get his revenge: “Well, they better acknowledge Roman Reigns brother, because if he takes off and goes to Hollywood, everybody’s going to be sorry. But that’s a tough one too now, because Cody Rhodes is my boy. I was real good friends with his father, Dusty. And, actually, the last time I saw Cody was at Dusty’s funeral, we talked on the phone. If I see him do something crazy on TV, like with Seth Rollins or something when he tore that pec, I’ll text him. I said, ‘Man, you had me hooked. That was perfect, man.’ Believable all the way, so his time’s coming. This is just like a warm up. He’s getting in the mix. They’re getting that momentum built before he puts that spike in Roman, so it could get crazy.”
Hogan on which ’80s wrestlers would have been great on Twitter: “Well, Piper would’ve been brutal on Twitter. Piper would’ve been giving everybody the middle finger on Twitter all the time. I think, ‘ooooh yeah, the Macho Man Randy Savage! Dig it!’ He’d have been great on Twitter. God, there’s just a bunch of guys that would’ve been. I don’t know about Andre. His whole thing was, ‘no!’ He was always—everybody came up for autograph—’No!’ I don’t know how Andre would’ve been on Twitter, but I know Piper and ‘Mach’ would’ve been great.”
Hogan on how social media would have impacted the wrestling business in the ’80s: “Well, I know we had three years in a row where with Hulk Hogan merchandise and all the stuff that WWE was rolling out. We had a couple billion-dollar years and we beat the car industry back in the day in the ‘80s; Chrysler, Chevrolet, and Ford. We generated more revenue than they did, and that was with no internet. That was mail-in stuff, 1-800-numbers, 1-900 numbers, venue sales and stuff in all the major stores like Walmart and Target. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like back in the day. I’m still working with WWE of course, and I’ve got crazy licensing deals and it’s kind of like what’s old is new again. Everybody wants the Hulk Hogan gear.”
Hogan on if he’s gotten high with celebrities: ‘Oh, I have, back in the day, of course. I started wrestling in the late ‘70s, my man. And during the ‘80s it was the wild, wild west. We were at Madison Square Garden with Blondie and Cindy Lauper and Andy Warhol. So I’ve been around the block a couple times, if you know what I’m saying. But for me, this is more than just somebody tapping in and wanting to get high on weed. For me, it’s like a new fight, just a different mission.’
Hulk Hogan on AEW: “I do follow AEW. I think they’re onto something. I think, like, whenever you’re a race car driver, if you want to get really, really good at driving you need a lot of seat time. I think those boys at AEW—there’s a lot of professionals there. I think the whole company needs a little bit more seat time. Even though they’re going head-to-head and doing their thing, all that time being on the road.
“I just got to feel it is a growing process, and they’re getting more momentum each and every week. So they’re not going away, they’re not going anywhere and it should be interesting to see how this pans out. But it’s great to have competition because now the talent has choices and they’re not locked into a one dimensional type of lifestyle. They can make choices and go back and forth, and there’s still Japanese companies too. So AEW’s on track, bro. They’re doing great.”
Hogan on racist Comments in 2015: “Well, it was kind of a speed bump. It’s a glitch in the system as far as who I am. There’s no excuses for it. You can go through a divorce, your son can be in jail, you can have all kind of problems happen, but there’s no excuses. And at the end of the day, that’s not who I am. And everybody knows that all my friends and everybody I work with know that.
“I’m just glad it’s behind me, and moved on and learned a great lesson about respect and it’s something that you have to keep at the forefront of your mind. Even if you’re mad or you slip or you have a moment of anger or something, it’s still never time to vent and go in that direction. So that’s not who I am. And I’m just glad that everybody is with me and still on the team with me.”
Hogan on if he would come back for one more match: “Oh, big man, what’s old is new again! Fanny packs can come back, Hulk Hogan can come back, brother. But no, my body is just too beat up to get beat up in that ring. I mean, I know everybody thinks it looks like fun and games, but once you’re in there, what happens between bell-to-bell, I’ve never gone in that ring and it come back out without being hurt. And that’s over 40 years. That’s like wrestling 350, 400 times a year, twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday, twice on Wednesdays. I was around a long time before John Cena and Stone Cold and all the new guys came along, so I was putting my time in.”
Did Hogan ever wrestle that schedule he is going on about? I just can’t picture it .