Why he thinks his fans have stuck with him for so long and continue to be so loyal and passionate:
I think they, first off, fell in love with the character Hulk Hogan, the all-American guy going against the Iron Sheik when it was a perfect storm when the U.S. was at odds with Iran I think. The character served well for what the storyline was pointing towards. So I think it was kind of the perfect storm of being in shape with the tan, saying I was from California and being plugged in to the right thing by Vince McMahon. I think that put me at a higher level than I could have achieved by myself by building my house one brick at a time. I think I got a launching pad right out of the shoot and that’s not counting the six or seven years I wrestled before. But from that point on I think people just fell in love with the character and then I was really consistent. When they came to see Hulk Hogan wrestle, I delivered a performance that was consistent with a main event performance. I got to be tangible and the people kind of knew me and felt like they could reach out and touch me. I wasn’t a distant star like an Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt or somebody like that. They just became loyal to the character and the man behind the character because they figured out I was a human being and survived all the ups and downs and were loyal to a fault. I think it was a combination of all that stuff.
Working with the nWo and Sting at WrestleMania 31:
It was cool. I keep saying what Vince says, never say never. Vince had his last match when he was, I think, 67. I’m a lot younger than him. I’m 61. I’m still training like I’m going to have a shot at the world title. But to actually be put out there and not be just a talking head and actually get involved in the action, it made me feel alive again. It made me feel part of the team. So it was really cool that the nWo walked out and got such a huge response. It was just unbelievable.
How is his back doing?
It’s good. It’s really good. I had nine back surgeries so it’s probably stronger than it’s even been because it’s all metal. (laughs) There was a point for a couple years where they said you’ll never walk again, you’re going to be in constant pain but all that stuff went away. So it’s better now than it’s ever been.
What it was like inducting Randy Savage into the Hall of Fame:
I was nervous. Legitimately nervous because Randy and I were such, such good friends for some many years. I was with him more than his wife, probably for 15 years. When he went through that divorce he self-imploded and took everybody with him and I was on the outs for many years and there were all kinds of crazy things going on. Then a few months before he passed away we accidentally bumped into each other, mended the fence and it was the same old Randy with a gleam in his eye. He had just gotten remarried and was happy. It was the same Randy I used to know. So it was bittersweet to be there. I basically thought that Lanny (Poffo, Randy’s brother) should have inducted him into the Hall of Fame and Lanny lobbied hard for me to do it because he said I knew him better than anybody. It was tough. It was really hard. I was nervous. I wanted to do him justice. All the haters were going “oh, Hulk Hogan is going to make it all about him”. It was just amazing to see when you’re honoring somebody just how many people come out of the woodwork with different opinions. It kind of caught me off guard. I didn’t think in a moment like that when we’re there to honor someone and tell someone how much you love someone and what a great professional they were that there were all these left-sided comments coming out. It kind of caught me off guard but we got through it.
What would he like to do with WWE and what’s next:
Well, they’re on the Road to WrestleMania already. You know how that goes. I’m going to be lobbying real hard for Hulk Hogan in Dallas next year. Other than that, I’m just entertaining a few movie scripts here. When I get off the phone with you I’m going to go over my schedule with the WWE guys. I know I’m going to Australia then heading over to the UK. They got me on a crazy treadmill right now but it’s a lot of fun.