Rhino has jokingly suggested that he’s still waiting for an apology from Hulk Hogan after their first meeting more than 25 years ago.
The old saying goes that you should never meet your heroes, and it’s a saying that former WWE Superstar Rhino certainly agrees with. Speaking in a new interview, the IMPACT Wrestling star explained how meeting Hulk Hogan in the mid-1990’s ruined his childhood image of the Hall of Famer.
Appearing on the Talk’n Shop podcast, Rhino recalled being booked to appear in WCW in 1995 just as he was starting to break into the business. Originally he was scheduled to face Road Warrior Hawk ahead of a pay-per-view, but the tag team legend didn’t show up.
“I get booked, it was a pay-per-view, it was Macho Man and Ric Flair in the main event, and Macho Man had his dad, Angelo Poffo,” Rhino said. “So back then you could rest with the boys, right? So I’m sitting next to Angelo Poffo, talking, watching Hogan, and he could see that I was watching him out of the corner of his eye. And he didn’t have to work, he was just walking down halfway and then security had to pull him back.
I was supposed to wrestle Road Warrior Hawk, just to do a job before the pay-per-view to air on TV, but Hawk didn’t show up. So they just go, we might have you dress as security and hold Hogan back. And I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to touch him!’ And I’m like, ‘so they don’t use real security’. I’m in the business for like six months before that.”
Continuing on, Rhino explained how he watched on stunned as his childhood hero sunk beer after beer while his 21 year-old mind tried to rationalise what he was seeing.
“All of a sudden he had his own little locker room, there was a cooler, you know outside, where they put the pop in,” Rhino mentioned. “All of a sudden he reaches in there and pulls out a beer. And I thought to myself, I’m training, I’m learning carbs and all that stuff. He’s got abs and I’m like, the kid inside of me took over, he said, ‘train, say your prayers and eat your vitamins, he said nothing about beer’.
“Yeah, he was 44 at the time, so I know he’s over 21, he’s legally able to drink, he’s not wrestling, I’m doing all this in my head, right? And I’m watching the monitor, right, so I, this still live in my head rent-free. So I’m like, ‘okay, you know what? One beer, I’ll excuse it’. The child inside of me excuses things. Maybe it’s a ritual. So then he grabs another one.
“So I’m like, my dad could drink 18 beers and not get f-cked up, so Hogan can have two. Now I’m comparing this. Then he grabs a third one, now I’m concerned right? Not because of him getting out there and doing his job, now I’m concerned because of my childhood image of him is being destroyed. So I’m making more excuses, right? Then he’d drink a fourth one, and then a fifth one and I’m really starting to get upset.”
The former ECW star said that the drinking continued when The Giant (Paul Wight) joined him backstage. At this point, Rhino joked that he was “f**king done” after seeing the sixth beer get demolished, wishing he’d never been booked. He added that he still wants an apology for Hogan destroying his childhood image of him.
“Well, by the fourth one, the Big Show comes back because that’s when he was sitting in the audience. They would show and then they would walk off, he had the trench coat. Him and the Big Show, The Giant. ‘Okay his buddy came back, so he has to have a beer with his buddy’. So that’s like the fifth one. So here comes a buddy, have one with them. So he drinks his beer, and I go, you know what, ‘I’m f**king done. I’m done. He’s not my hero, I wish I never got booked for this.’ I still haven’t forgiven him, I need an apology from him.”
During the appearance on the podcast, Rhino also recalled Stephanie McMahon finding him “wasted” backstage during his time with WWE. Despite his obviously less than ideal state, the former United States Champion said that McMahon didn’t mention the incident to anyone.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.