When Ric Flair posted a photo with Hulk Hogan from some convention over the weekend, and revealed Hogan would be the next guest on his podcast, I was completely caught by surprise. Flair did a number on Hogan in his book, but the more and more I find out regarding The Nature Boy, I’m starting to suspect a lot of the negativity and personal grudges in his book MIGHT have more to do with Mark Madden “helping” Flair with his autobiography.
Anyways, great show as usual and the interview starts almost immediately after the opening ad + intro are out of the way.
03:25 – Interview Starts with Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson talking to Hulk Hogan
Ric Flair introduces Hulk Hogan and jokes about his jealously over the fact that Hogan always has longer lines at their recent convention autograph sessions. The two catch up, discuss a lot about their current lives making money outside of wrestling due to conventions and live events. Ric Flair talks about WTBS in the early 80’s, points to it being the first time the two ever met when Hogan as known “Terry Boulder”. Hogan jokes that his inital week on TBS, they had Hogan with Billy Graham and Austin Idol in a 6-man tag, with all three working the identical gimmick, confusing the hell out of everybody. Hogan discusses with amazement how the two could still be running around as Hogan thought he’d retire at 40, but he could never walk away from the wrestling business.
“The thing about the wrestling business is that once it gets in your blood, I never wanna be away from it. This is one of the saddest times in my life right now, because I’m not with the WWE.”
Flair talks about Hulkamania running wild and how Flair couldn’t believe the schedule Vince had his WWF guys running. Ric compliments Hogan by saying that no one in the world was more over than the way that Hogan was over. Flair says working Hulk Hogan was easy, Hogan wishes they had run-ins with each other a decade earlier.
11:40 – Harley Race Stories
Conrad asks about the WWF going through Harley’s territory, Flair immediately starts laughing telling a story about Harley pulling out his gun wanting to kill Hulk Hogan due to him being “so damn mad”. Hogan continues the story, saying how the ring crew had to deal with a pissed off Harley who “tried to light the ring on fire” during setup. Hogan was warned about Harley going over to kill him, so he avoided the arena until the show. Before his match, Harley caught Hulk with his pants down literally as Race cornered Hogan while he was “sitting on the toilet, doing number 2”.
“[Harley Race] was standing there with that gun in his hands, going ‘I came here to blow your damn kneecaps off but I rather work with you guys.’ He scared the hell out of me.”
Everyone laughs, Hogan says that he hooked Race up with Vince afterward. Ric Flair tells a Harley Race story, saying how Race legitimately saw himself as the World’s Champion and would get himself into fights at bars to prove his toughness. Flair mentions how Race is real sick nowadays, mentions a recent back surgery he had to go through and is currently in an assisted-living nursing home.
Hulk Hogan goes through another Harley story regarding a time when Race wanted Hogan to cut him the hardway in a match. When Hogan couldn’t bust Harley’s face open with his punches but instead got Race’s eye to swell up, Race threw Hogan out of the ring, grabbed a hard camera, and caught Hogan in the face with it in retaliation. The camera shot caused both of Hogan’s eyes to swell up, leading to Race telling Hogan, “We’re even.”
Hogan and Flair finish up with saying how much Harley Race taught both of them.
18:28 – The Hulkster vs The Nature Boy in the WWF
Conrad asks Hogan why Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan didn’t happen at WWF WrestleMania 8, Hogan responds, “I don’t know.”
Hogan says that if he ever did anything himself to keep the match from occurring, it could have been due to his personal relationship with Vince or his family at home. Hogan feels that a Flair vs Hogan feud could’ve gone for a couple of years with them trading the title back and forth, and how they broke all the records at the house shows when they were paired off, but the whole thing was just scrapped. Flair doesn’t know the reason behind it either, says he never has asked Vince about it. Ric Flair feels that the weakness might have been due to the WWF starting their feud off in the West Coast where Flair wasn’t a known entity. Even though the shows were sold out, Flair feels like he was never as over as he should’ve been at those locations. Hogan asks if Ric Flair as the NWA Champion would make more than the guy he’d wrestle, Flair says yes. Hulk starts talking about how the WWF did the same and how it opened his eyes to a way the business could be an actual shoot, since the real $$$ was in being the champion. Hogan mentions how he wanted to get along with everybody and stay strong in order to keep his spot as a WWF Champion.
*Brief Floater by Conrad for SeatGeek in the Middle of the Story*
Ric Flair agrees with how it was shoot to hold onto the belt with everyone breathing down your neck wanting to be champion. Hogan mentions how he’d gotten close with Roddy Piper over the past four years and would tease him over the amount of $$$ they both could’ve made if only Piper would’ve done a job for him in the WWF. Ric Flair laughs and said that Piper made Vince nervous, so Hogan wasn’t the only one who thought that about Piper.
Flair takes a moment to go over how insensitive the wrestling business is and how they’ve all been to war with each other but considers Hogan a friend. Flair names Vince, Hogan, and Conrad as the only three people in his life that he knows he can call to help him out, mentions how Hogan helped Reid Flair with personal issues at the request of Ric. He thanks Hogan for donating his time to show up at an event where Hogan wrestled against Reid at a high school wrestling show.
29:08 – Bret “The Hitman” Hart
Conrad asks Hogan about the negativity regarding Bret Hart towards Hulk Hogan, Flair interrupts and said Bret is the same way with him, Hunter and Shawn as well. Hulk says he’s not sure what Bret’s deal is. Hogan says that he was looking forward to working with Bret when he came over to WCW but Bret’s stroke or motorcycle accident got in the way (!?). Flair immediately pipes in to kind of correct Hulk and says it was a concussion from Goldberg that hurt Bret’s career, Hogan sounds confused and says that he remembers having to work around Bret’s limitations in the ring but cannot remember what exactly that was. Hogan doesn’t understand the negativity from Bret, says life is too short for animosity towards each other.
31:28 – The Hulkamania Australia Tour
Ric Flair agrees and says that he didn’t hate Hogan over their issues in WCW, as most of it stemmed from Eric Bischoff. Flair felt that he was purposely kept away from Hogan even though they’d sell out houses when they would work each other. Ric talks again how easy it was to work Hogan, points to The Hulkamania tour in Australia was one of the best times of his life due to how easy it was to work the crowds, “whatever we lost in terms of scientific moves, wrestling and strategy, we made up for in blood”.
Flair continues with the Hulkamania Tour talk and mentions how Hogan setup an incident at the press event to where Hogan would blade himself for the reporters. Ric says he followed through, attacked Hogan and caused The Nasty Boys and Ed Leslie to jump in to separate the two as they thought the fight was a shoot. Flair laughs and claims that the Aussie police afterward tried to arrest him over the incident. Everyone laughs and Flair reiterates his point regarding how much fun he had on the tour.
36:00 TNA Crowds and Dixie Carter
Hulk Hogan compliments Flair in a similar matter, saying working him was like sitting on a lounge chair and watching TV. Flair tells a TNA story about how they managed to pop the crowd over Hogan clotheslining Flair in a wheelchair, and how difficult it was to get the audience there to do anything. Flair brings up Hogan’s surgeries and Hogan says you’d never hear him say anything bad about Dixie Carter but agrees with Flair over the bad crowds in TNA.
“That [TNA] crowd that came in from the park, they weren’t a wrestling crowd. It was like really pulling teeth out there.”
Ric puts over the TNA talent but admits that the bookers couldn’t make the guys there connect with the audience.
38:55 – Vince Russo and WCW Bash at the Beach 2000
Hulk Hogan talks about his new contract at the beginning of the year and how WCW originally planned on having a final match with Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan at Starrcade 2000. Hogan mentions how he had his Creative Control clause in his contract (points out how he’d never had used it before that time), and John Laurinaitis was the one who talked to Hogan originally about possible Bash at the Beach finishes. Hogan was pitched two separate finishes to his match against Jeff Jarrett (one with Scott Steiner, one without) and Hogan passed on both of them. Hogan executed his creative control clause to the annoyance of Vince Russo, as he wanted to keep working towards Flair vs Hogan at Starrcade:
“[Vince] Russo just went out there and told [Jeff] Jarrett to lay down. He asked Jeff not to get up and I said, ‘Brother, let’s not do this. Let’s have a match, let’s do the right finish.’, and Jeff wouldn’t get up.
Basically, that was it. I walked out of the building and Russo went out, still stayed in business for himself, shot the angle with his promo and the rest is history.”
Hogan says he took WCW to court and ended up settling with them over the whole matter, Ric Flair hilariously pipes in “Well, I didn’t know that. Where the hell was I!? I must’ve been wrestling Konnan or something!” Everyone laughs.
Flair says he vaguely remembers the Russo story, but doesn’t recall the details. Hulk says Eric Bischoff has more information from the internal side of things in WCW, but that’s how it all went down.
44:42 – “Big Poppa Pump”Scott Steiner
Conrad asks about the negativity toward Hulk Hogan from Scott Steiner, Hogan admits that they’ve had creative issues with him in TNA but felt that they always got along great. Doesn’t get it the hate, argues he didn’t kill TNA as they’re still up and running. The talk becomes similar to the Bret segment where Flair pops in and says life’s too short, and he doesn’t understand it either. Ric Flair reveals that Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner aren’t even that close anymore for some reason, as well.
46:25 – Hulk Hogan’s Heel Turn
Conrad asks Ric Flair what he thought of Hogan’s heel-turn, Ric admits he felt that a Hulk Hogan could’ve never been a heel, but he was proven wrong. Says Jack Brisco, Sting and Ricky Steamboat are others who he saw in the same light, wrestlers on a different level who could never turn. Ric jokes that he wanted to be nWo too when it got hot, but the angle eventually became watered down when they had “four-hundred guys”.
Hulk Hogan feels that Eric Bischoff was too young to handle WCW when it got hot as Eric just wasn’t experienced enough to keep from being manipulated:
“I think Eric [Bischoff] kinda stepped into this tornado that turned into being the biggest hurricane he’d ever seen. I don’t think he realized that it was gonna take off that much, and I’ve said this before, that, ‘Boy, if you could go back now… you wouldn’t be such a mark for the boys.’
Some of the boys were playing him like a fiddle. I think that if he would’ve stood his ground, steadied the course, he would’ve had a much better shot in going where he wanted to go. I just think he was just ten years too soon. If he would’ve been in there now, and he’d probably agree, he would’ve had a better handle on things. ”
Ric Flair goes into how he helped get Hogan signed, how he called The Hulkster while he was still doing ‘Thunder in Paradise’ and let him in on how much $$$ that WCW had for him if he signed. Ric mentions how he’s already buried the hatchet with Eric Bischoff through the podcast and reveals how Hulk Hogan was the one that gave him the confidence to actually work out in front of others at a gym. Five years in as the NWA World Champion, Flair felt intimidated by bodybuilders and had never stepped foot into a Gold’s Gym until Hogan took him to one.
53:45 – What Would Hogan Do Over in WCW?
Conrad asks if Hogan had a do-over, would he have done anything different in WCW, and Hogan responds that he could’ve been more attentive. Hogan felt that Eric Bischoff didn’t have a good sense regarding wrestling finishes and how Eric would see things with Hogan one week, but change his tune the next week once Scott Hall and Kevin Nash got into his ear. Hulk admits that he should’ve been there on Mondays more than he was to keep “the lunatics from running the asylum”.
55:15 Paydays from Vince – Ultimate Warrior Blackmail
Conrad asks about the ratios regarding the house pay for wrestlers and the champions under Vince McMahon, Hogan doesn’t know the official numbers. Goes back to saying how the WWF always took care of their champions with a higher payday than the others. Conrad goes further into his question about the WWF pay and asks Hogan about the story regarding the Ultimate Warrior holding up Vince for more money at a SummerSlam 1991. Hulk says that it was a true story and that the business was different at the time. Hogan touches upon rumors of “Jim” (Warrior) doing a similar tactic to independent promoters as well, but he’s not sure. Hogan jokes that he always felt that he was worth more than what Vince was paying him, but that’s just the way the business was.
58:25 – “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
Conrad talks about Dusty to the WWF, asks Hogan about his memories of Dusty in the WWF and his debut attire. Hogan theorizes that the polka dots could’ve been a rib but that Vince always had a bigger vision for his ideas. Hulk has no idea if it was a shoot or a joke, but he knew that Dusty could get it over. Ric Flair pops in to say that he doesn’t believe it was a rib, and that Dusty never said that it was to him either. Flair says the WWE ceremony and tribute to Dusty was one of the greatest things he’d ever seen. Flair continues with a tribute to Dusty, Hulk says Rhodes was the reason he ever got into the wrestling business.
1:02:40 – Verne Gagne
Hogan gets asked about his favorite Gagne memories, Hogan mentions starting with Verne after his firing from the WWF for doing Rocky III. Verne and Greg Gagne gets the full credit from Hogan for the “Hulk-Up” stuff, points to them as being the people helping him develop Hulkamania. Flair says he had no idea Hogan was let go for doing the Rocky movie and Hogan goes through and clarifies his story. Despite being told that he was going to Los Angeles to film with Sylvester Stallone, Vince Sr. booked him anyways which led to Hogan’s firing when he no-showed.
Hogan goes through the falling out he had with Verne regarding Hogan creating his own merchandise, which lead to Verne making his own Hulkamania merch with the full profit going to Gagne instead of Hogan. Hogan goes into the story about getting into an actual fight with Verne backstage over the matter, where Hogan got the better of Verne and where David Schultz kept Greg Gagne from jumping in. The fight was the end of the relationship between Hogan and Verne.
1:09:00 – Hulk Hogan Whipping David Flair with his Weightlighting Belt
Conrad reads an excerpt from Ric Flair’s book where Flair tears into Hogan over an incident during Souled Out 1999. Flair wrote in his autobiography that Hulk took full advantage over David Flair and thought that Hulk went overboard with the lashes from his belt, called the whole incident sickening and would never forgive Hogan for it.
Flair sighs over the whole incident, mentions that he felt David would be broken up over the matter but was proud of it and ended up getting paid $10,000 for the appearance. Flair believe it should’ve been him getting whipped, and jokes that David would still be in the business right now if he hadn’t met Stacy Keibler. Hulk Hogan apologizes for the whole matter before going into the in-ring psychology behind the usage of the weightlifting belt. Says that he was out of line completely, before Conrad asks Hogan what the hell a Yappapi Strap Match was. Hogan reveals that the “Yappapi Strap Match” was just some “bullshit” he stole from a “Superstar” Billy Graham promo from back in the day.
1:16:03 – Hulk Hogan Memorabilia
To finish their talk off, Conrad asks Hulk Hogan about what mementos or memorabilia he still holds on to and cherishes today. Hulk goes through what he still has; the belt from Rocky III, couple of the WWF Winged Eagle belts, the “original” Belt Gold Belt from when Hogan quit WCW (which is actually a cast copy).
Hogan talks about the importance of his WWE Hall of Fame ring, says he’s still a big wrestling mark.
“That Hall of Fame ring is my life. It’s just so sad that I’ve been taken out of the Hall of Fame and I don’t have a presence anymore in the wrestling business but I’m going to cherish that Hall of Fame ring. I’ll hang out to that, that’s my whole career to me.”
Ric mentions how he hopes Hogan will also cherish their friendship as well, both Hogan and Flair say how much they love each other before starting to sign off.
1:18:08 – Parting Message from The Hulkster
Hogan signs off by saying how much he has appreciated all of the love he’s received over the years, and how even though he’s not involved in the wrestling business any longer that it’s important to him that people know who Hulk Hogan really is. He has nothing but respect for Vince McMahon and the WWE, and thanks everyone again for supporting him and standing with him. Says it’s a real honor to him to call Ric Flair a friend, Flair starts talking about how incredible it was to be in the ring with Hogan at the Madison Square Garden Hulk Hogan Tribute Night.
1:21:58 – End of Interview