Hollywood Hulk Hogan

by Hulk Hogan with Michael Jan Friedman

Description:I got the Hogan book for my birthday. I had wanted it for quite some time and I will say I was quite pleasantly surprised. I had anticipated all the McMahon ass kissing, and the "how great am I?" spiel, but apart from that it was quite an interesting read. Some of the tales in it are pleasantly amusing, such as the one from when Hogan was a child and he stuck a rock up his nose, which is something you can't quite imagine the Hulkster doing. This book also gives a good insight into the late 70's-early 80's independent circuit. As Hogan was in the thick of things during the McMahon steroid trial and the Monday Night Wars, this book has the story told from WCW's point of view, unlike most WWE produced books.

However, I dislike how the book jumps entire periods of time, for example, when talking about Wrestlemania I he talks about how great it was, only for the next chapter to go straight onto Wrestlemania 2, with no mention of what he did in the year leading up to it, and the same happens again, when it jumps straight to WM 3. This left me feeling a bit unfulfilled, as I got this book hoping to learn about the 1980's Rock 'N' Wrestling era.

Rating: I would give this book 6 out of 10. I marked it down due to the incessant ass kissing, the way it jumps from event to event with no mention of the storylines or matches in between. This book is an OK read, although I managed to finish it in about a day. If you were a fan of the WWF in the 80's then this is for you.

Reviewed by Mikey Reynolds on February 16, 2005.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan (with Michael Jan Friedman)
WWE/Pocket Books, Pp 453 | 2003

Hulk Hogan. No two words (other than Vince McMahon) have combined to mean more in the modern-day spectacle that is professional wrestling. Hogan (b. Terry Bollea, August 11, 1953) is a living legend, he is "the immortal", he is (again along with McMahon) the co-creator of HulkamaniaTM - and, by extension, he is the one who held this sport high on his shoulders and crashed through to the next level - a new level! Sport combined with rock'n'roll. Bollea (a former rock'n'roller/bass player) transformed via the gymnasium - and an early love of wrestling - was the perfect man to carry the tradition of the old-form in to the 1980s and to cement professional wrestling and his very character ("Hulk Hogan" TM) as pop-culture fixtures. Iconography (for this sport) was born when Hulkamania ran wild - but before all of that Hogan learned his craft. Though dedicated to the gym, Hogan is the first to admit that the real lure for him was the potential money that he could make as a professional wrestler. His full-on persona often gets him in trouble and his book can be read two ways.

Firstly: this is a very neat, succinct summary of a 25-year wrestling career. Hogan's appearance (as Thunderlips) in Rocky III elevated the sport's profile, the crossover of Wrestlemania I (featuring Mr T and Cyndi Lauper, among others) was a huge gamble; but it was also a crucial launching pad - and Hogan's star just shone from then on. He swiftly became the biggest name in the WWF - he was given creative control of his character, a huge stake in the merchandise and the power to pick his battles and choose his fights. The only battle that he never had full control over was his ego-clash with Vince McMahon. And Hogan does address this - to some degree. Herein lies some of the disappointment of this enjoyable-to-read book; Hogan wants to focus only on his rise and his continual highs - he doesn't want to look at the bad stuff. Sure, he does admit to lying about steroids - but that's only to make himself look good for coming clean. What he won't do is admit to his stuff-ups in the ring; in the wrestling side of the business. Brett Hart, Randy Savage, Sting, The Ultimate Warrior - Hogan had messy matches and heated arguments off-camera with all of these superstars, he affords them next to no page-space. He dismisses his falling out with Savage as being due to The Macho Man being jealous of Hogan with the ladies. He mocks the Warrior's in-ring ability - when, if we're handing out prizes for actual technical skill, Hogan could battle the former Jim Hellwig for that particular wooden spoon.

These are small, but significant gripes - they are contributing factors to Hogan's Ostrich-impersonating claim of having a "bad reputation". How such a giant figure could continually suffer from such head-in-the-sand antics is baffling; but it shows that Terry Bollea is human. A human who, at time, believes too deeply in the cartoon-like-character that is Hulk Hogan. That aside, Hollywood Hulk Hogan is a great read - it's easy, the pages are small and the print is large and there are heaps of photos - so you can chop through it in a couple of sessions. And it really is a significant slice of modern pop-culture history; crucial for any wrestling fan. But Hogan's over-inflated sense of self-importance can get frustrating: he talks about having a successful film career - I hope the two people who went to Santa With Muscles at the cinema, wrote in agreeing with The Hulkster. But you know, brother, the thing is, brother, even though I never really ever liked Hulk Hogan as a wrestler in the ring, I was instantly engaged, brother, as soon as he lit the crowd up with his music, his walk, his tearing-off of that yellow singlet. And his microphone presence. The man is a legend, and if Hollywood went to his head - at least, in places, he admits it in the pages of this enjoyable story. I wouldn't trade places with him, but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the occasional pieces of honesty - and like any good WWE show, I was sucked in by the best parts of the bluster, regardless of being convinced that I might (should?) know better.

Reviewed by Simon Sweetman on March 3, 2006.

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