The partnership between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan in the 1980s led to one of the biggest booms the pro wrestling business has ever seen.
From the time Hogan won the then-WWF Championship from the Iron Sheik in 1984, Hulkamania ran wild around the world. A year later, with the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling connection in full swing, Hogan headlined the first-ever WrestleMania, teaming with Mr. T to defeat Roddy Piper and Bob Orton Jr.
The Hulkster dominated the WWF for several years, holding the top title five times and defeating all-comers including the likes of Andre The Giant, Sgt. Slaughter, and The Undertaker. He also had iconic feuds with Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior.
However, all good things come to an end, and Hogan parted ways with WWF in 1993 to cash in on his popularity and pursue a film career.
It wasn’t long before Hogan was lured back to wrestling, as WCW came calling in 1994 and were able to sign the megastar. Hogan won the WCW Championship from Ric Flair on his debut with the company and held it for over a year before being defeated by The Giant – now AEW’s Paul Wight.
In 1996, Hogan performed one of the biggest heel turns in wrestling history when he joined Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in forming the New World Order. The group soon caught fire and helped WCW’s flagship TV show, Nitro, defeat WWF’s Raw in the ratings for 83 straight weeks.
It was during this time that Hogan claims Vince McMahon was close to closing down WWF.
Hulk Hogan claims Vince McMahon was on the verge of “shutting the doors”
Speaking on the latest episode of A&E Biography: Legends, Hogan recalled a conversation with McMahon where the the WWF Chairman told him he was only “a couple of weeks away” from going out of business.
“That was the goal, was to become the number one company. I don’t think the goal was ever to put Vince out of business even though we got really, really close.
“I had a conversation with Vince where he was just a couple of weeks away from shutting the doors.”
SNEAK PEEK: @HulkHogan stuns the world by turning heel and joining the New World Order during the season premiere of Biography: WWE Legends SUNDAY at 8/7c on @AETV. #WWEonAEpic.twitter.com/sJuVAYXSuZ
— WWE on A&E (@WWEonAE) February 17, 2023
The WWF’s fortunes changed when they launched the Attitude Era and stars like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock gained huge followings. In the end, it was WCW that went out of business in 2001, with none other than Vince McMahon purchasing his old rival.
H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the above transcription