Any Hulkamaniacs out there?
Like Dungeons & Dragons, WWF (World Wrestling Federation) – now WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) – was a big part of my weekends during my middle school years growing up in Metro Detroit. I’d watch the spectacle on Channel 50, the one-time independent station in Southeast Michigan. If you read my September post, you’ll recall Channel 50 was also my outlet for classic Tex Avery cartoons.
Hulk Hogan, the 12-time world champion and WWE Hall of Famer, was by far my favorite player. He projected a superhero persona by entering arenas to the song “Real American” and high-fiving cheering fans. Hulk dressed in red and yellow Hulkamania gear, and he would tear off his t-shirt upon entering the ring. "HH 101" could be taught at business schools; Hogan and his management team certainly understood marketing and branding.
What also made Hulk so compelling was his body language. During a match, he'd ask the audience for applause by putting his ear to the crowd. When he became infuriated during a contest, he would stare wide-eyed and his whole body shook. And, he was always very excited and enthusiastic when he spoke. (“The power of the madness and the mania just blew my 24 inch guns!”)
Wrestlemania III came to the Detroit area in March 1987, and I was excited for months prior. More than 93,000 packed the Pontiac Silverdome, and at the time it was a record attendance for a live indoor event. The headline match featured Hulk vs. Andre the Giant for the World Heavyweight Championship. Hulk won, as I hoped he would. The competition culminated when the Hulkster scooped up the 7-foot 500 pound Andre and slammed him to the canvas, thus retaining his title belt.
Do I still watch pro wrestling? I've seen a few minutes here and there in recent years. While the players, the athleticism, and the storylines are just as compelling as they were years ago, the sport just doesn’t appeal to me like it once did. When I was young, I found large men in colorful costumes throwing each other around to be pretty exciting. Now? Not so much. But, I have certain attachment to the sport because, like Dungeons & Dragons and Tex Avery cartoons, it was part of my childhood. And, as people who know me can attest:
I’m a sentimental guy!
I'm Eli Natinsky and I'm a marketing and communications professional. This blog explores my work and professional interests. I also delve into other topics, including media, marketing, pop culture, and technology.