Hulk Hogan will likely go down as the most popular character in professional wrestling history, but the superstar said he actually owes a lot of his success to late comedian Joan Rivers.
When the 81-year-old Rivers passed away this week, Hogan took to Twitter to remember the comedy legend.
“Joan Rivers, you were the greatest, you were the only one that could make me belly laugh, you were always so kind to me, RIP I love you. HH,” wrote the veteran WWE superstar.
Hogan went on to say that Joan Rivers gave him a huge hand early on in his career. Rivers was serving as guest host of The Tonight Show back in 1985 when she welcomed a young Hulk Hogan as a guest. By that point Vince McMahon had taken over the helm of the WWF (now known as WWE), purchasing the company from his father and choosing Hogan as its marque star.
But the WWF was still on the fringes of the sports landscape, and though Hulk Hogan had already adopted the”Hulkamania” moniker he still wasn’t the household name he is today.
Joan Rivers helped change that.
“She took a novice and instantly turned me into an equal, thank you, only love. HH.”
Hogan was one of a number of celebrities to remember the groundbreaking comedian. Rivers was seen as a trailblazer, one of the most prominent female comedians in an industry dominated by men. She was also known for her longevity, and was still active with E! News even until her death.
Joan Rivers was actually a big part of the WWF’s breakthrough. She appeared as a special guest ring announcer during Wrestlemania 2, and served as host when Rowdy Roddy Piper announced his Wrestlemania 3 retirement math.
Hulk Hogan had more than a passing relationship with Joan Rivers. The WWE star said he developed a good friendship with the comedian.