Hulk Hogan Did Not Consider Himself an “Elite Athlete” Until His Tenure in Another Country Popular for Wrestling

Published 07/26/2023, 7:00 AM EDT

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Hulk Hogan has been a household name for four decades. It took him years to build an empire for himself, and today he sits at the top of the ladder in the wrestling industry. No matter what age, people love him because of the magnitude of his wrestling persona.

He started wrestling in the late 70s but rose to fame in the 80s. According to ‘The Hulkster’, he became a true wrestler after his stint in an alien land. He feels that wrestling in a foreign land at the beginning of the 80s paved the way for his wrestling career to flourish.

Hulk Hogan considered himself a mediocre wrestler


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Speaking to Theo Von, Hogan stated he reached the highest level of performance in wrestling only after his stint in Japan, which is also popular for wrestling. From 1980 to 1985, he wrestled in NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling), honing his in-ring skills. He also worked with WWF, but he feels that wrestling in Japan made him a better wrestler.


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He said, “I really wasn’t an elite athlete that was great on the football field, or you know, great wrestler, you know amateur wrestle. I had a baseball background. But I didn’t play major-league baseball. I had a couple of things happen to me that stopped all that stuff.”

He had a music and football background and considered himself a mediocre wrestler. But after spending a few years in a foreign land, he figured out about the wrestling business. Therefore, after his return, his wrestling career saw an exponential rise, and he became a legend in the industry. His wrestling career in Japan isn’t well known to many despite his worldwide fame. Let’s dive deeper below.

Hogan’s tenure in Japan was a success


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When ‘HulkaMania’ went to Japan, he renovated himself. He left his American wrestling style and persona in the country and adopted different techniques and manners to conquer the East. His repertoire of wrestling moves consisted mainly of technical and traditional holds, as opposed to the power-based, brawling style favored by American fans.

He used the Axe Bomber as his finisher in Japan instead of the running leg drop that he normally used in America. The Axe Bomber is a crooked arm lariat, which is a move that involves a wrestler taking hold of their opponent’s arm and swinging it around them in a circular arc before releasing it and striking them with the back of their arm.

Wrestling Japanese wrestling legends like Antonio Inoki, Seiji Sakaguchi, The Great Muta, and many more made the WWE legend develop more confidence. He used his learning from Japan and implemented it in the US, which led him to gain widespread recognition and acknowledgment.


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In addition, he was called Ichiban in Japan, which means, ‘Number One’. What do you think about Hogan not considering himself an elite athlete until his tenure in Japan? Share your views in the comments box below.


Written by:

Monika Thapa


One take at a time

Edited by:

Amal Joyce