Terry Gene Bollea (August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler, actor, television personality and musician currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
Beginning his career wrestling for various promotions in the National Wrestling Alliance and Japan, Bollea first gained mainstream popularity when he adopted the name of Hulk Hogan and worked for promoter Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the early 1980s. In 1983, he departed the AWA for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF—now WWE), where he immediately won the WWF Championship for the first time when he defeated The Iron Sheik. In the WWF, he expanded the Hulk Hogan persona as an all-American hero who invoked American patriotism and called upon his loyal fans, known as Hulkamaniacs to take their vitamins and say their prayers. Hogan was promoted by the WWF as the face of Rock 'n Wrestling, and led the expansion of the popularity of professional wrestling across North America and other parts of the world—a time now referred to as the Hulkamania Era. In his first run in the WWF, Hogan headlined almost all major WWF pay per view events, including the first nine of the WrestleMania franchise and won five WWF Championships. His popularity recognized in mainstream media, Hogan featured in several films and television programs, including Rocky III. At WrestleMania III, Hogan famously bodyslammed Andre The Giant before an audience of more than 90,000 fans. He also had famous feuds and matches with other major villianous "heel" wrestlers such as King Kong Bundy, Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase. At WrestleMania VI, Hogan was cleanly pinned for the first time by The Ultimate Warrior, who won the WWF title. Hogan regained the WWF title at WrestleMania VII from Sgt. Slaughter in a controversial storyline that ran concurrent with the 1990-91 Gulf War and where Slaughter openly wrestled as an anti-American, Iraqi sympathizer. However, the exposure of scandals in pro-wrestling about the rampant usage of steroids and growth hormones by famous wrestlers, including Hogan, reduced his popularity and led to a brief hiatus from the WWF. After returning briefly in 1993 to win the WWF Championship for the fifth time at WrestleMania IX, Hogan lost the title to Yokozuna at King Of The Ring 1993 before leaving the WWF to pursue acting full-time with the TV series, Thunder in Paradise.
In 1994, Hogan returned to professional wrestling when he signed with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Returning to his character as the all-American hero, Hogan had famous feuds with WCW star Ric Flair and WWF alumnus Randy Savage. In 1996, Hogan stunned wrestling audiences by turning "heel", announcing he was fed up of being the good guy and formed the New World Order stable with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Now known as Hollywood Hogan, his heel turn and the NWO storyline propelled WCW's television ratings and it surpassed the WWF as the largest wrestling company in the United States. In his time in WCW, Hogan would go on to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times and have famous feuds with WCW stars Sting and Bill Goldberg. He would later head the nWo Hollywood faction and return to play a heroic character before departing WCW in July 2000 after differences with WCW writer and booker Vince Russo led to a controversial ending at the WCW Bash at the Beach event that saw the defending WCW World Champion Jeff Jarrett lie down for Hogan without a fight, and Russo denouncing and firing Hogan before the live audience.