Terry Bollea was born on August 11, 1953. As a musician in Florida, the bar he worked at was frequented by wrestlers. He was trained by Hiro Matsuda, who broke Hulk's leg on his first day and gained his respect by coming back when his leg healed. A few years into his career, he was given the name Hulk Hogan by Vince McMahon Sr. who wanted an Irish villain. He was fired for accepting the role of Thunderlips in Rocky 3.
American Wrestling Association & Thunderlips:
After appearing in Rocky 3, Hulk Hogan went on to fight in the AWA where he became a good guy. As the top hero, he was constantly thwarted by Nick Bockwinkle in his quest to win the AWA title. He left due to money issues and was hired by the new head of the WWF, Vince McMahon. With the spread of cable TV, wrestling shows became national and Vince wanted Hulk to be the face of his company.
Within weeks, Hulk beat the Iron Sheik to become champion. During his reign, the WWF invaded the areas of other regional territories to become the number one promotion. His most notable feud at this time involved Roddy Piper and it gained national attention when Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T got involved. This part of Hulk's career reached its' peak when he beat Andre the Giant in front of 90,000 fans at WrestleMania 3. Their rematch took place live on NBC and Hulk lost the title.
Hulkamania Part 2:
At this point, Hulk really got involved in acting and his title reigns and appearances were determined by his movie schedule. After several years of this, some of the fans started turning against Hulk and boos became audible. He wound up leaving the WWF in disgrace after lying to the fans about steroid use on the Arsenio Hall Show during the steroid trial era of the WWF.
The World Championship Wrestling Rebirth:
While filming the TV show Thunder in Paradise, he was approached by WCW and offered a tremendous amount of money and a light schedule to return to wrestling. He was a popular good guy, but he never lost and the ways he won his matches were turning off the fans. In particular, WCW was Ric Flair territory and Hulk just kept humiliating him. Hulk was wearing out his welcome and needed to do something drastic.
The New World Order & Hollywood Hogan:
WCW signed Scott Hall and Kevin Nash from the WWF and set up an angle where it appeared they were invading. In their first match, Hulk Hogan joined up with them and became the leader of the bad guy NWO and was renamed Hollywood Hogan. As bad guys, they dominated the WCW for several years. Hulk left in controversy when head booker Vince Russo insulted Hulk on a PPV for not wanting to follow his script. Hulk sued and never returned to WCW.
Return to the WWE:
Hulk returned to the WWF in 2002 as a bad guy with the original NWO and feuded with the Rock. The WWF fans didn't want this version of Hulk and due to their cheering Hulk over the Rock, the Hulk Hogan everyone wanted to see again was back. Since then Hulk has come and gone several times, most notably feuding with Vince McMahon over who was responsible for Hulkamania. In his longest running feud, he finally worked out a long term deal with Marvel comics for the use of the Hulk name.
Hulk in Hollywood and Reality TV:
In 2005, VH1 premiered Hogan Knows Best, a reality show about Hulk's home life. His family life was shattered a few years later due to the one-two punch of a highly publicized divorce and his son's automobile accident. 2010 marked Hulk Hogan's debut with TNA Wrestling.
Hulk Hogan's World Title Victories:
1/23/1984: The Iron Sheik
4/2/1989 Wrestlemania V: Randy Savage
3/24/1991 WrestleMania VII: Sgt. Slaughter
12/3/1991 Tuesday in Texas: The Undertaker
4/4/1993 WrestleMania IX: Yokozuna
4/21/2002 Backlash 2002: Triple H
7/17/1994 Bash at The Beach: Ric Flair
8/10/1996 Hog Wild: The Giant
8/9/1997 Hog Wild: Lex Luger
4/20/1998: Randy Savage
1/4/1999: Kevin Nash
7/12/1999: Randy Savage
7/9/2000 Bash at the Beach: Jeff Jarrett
Sources Include: Pro Wrestling Illustrated Almanac & Hulk Hogan's autobiography