Former World Wrestling Champion, Hulk Hogan (Terry Gene Bollea) was dismissed by the WWE after some racial slurs and comments became known. Hulk Hogan, the Hulkster, the architect of Hulkamania was the face of the WWE, since 1977, along with Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, The Iron Sheik, Andre the Giant, The Undertaker and countless others. Hogan was the one wrestler that helped keep the WWE alive during the lean years. Hogan helped bring it back to the level of popularity that the WWE now so richly deserves and enjoys.
That does not excuse the Hogan’s behavior concerning his thoughts, words or deeds, especially when he is using the moniker that is synonymous with the WWE. Seriously, if you have not been living under a rock since 1977 then you know when one says WWE or its precursor WWF you automatically think Hulk Hogan. Actually, by having such high prestige in American popular culture it discourages any misbehavior whether as the Hulk Hogan or as Terry Bollea.
Hogan was known by all. Young, old, short, tall, American, Japanese, Rich, Poor, White Collar, Blue collar, Black, Brown, White, Red, Purple, whatever everyone knew who Hulk Hogan is or was. His popularity crossed ALL lines of socio-economic statuses. The character known as Hulk Hogan was loved by so many and hated by so few. This guy brought in then all in. He was an equal opportunity wrestler. This is what made the WWE’s popularity soar because the demographics that they were attracting were off the scale. There is no one segment, exclusively, that has bought in to the WWE. They all were brought in. Actually, the majority came willingly while the others came in because that is what their Parents experienced or Big Brother watched. That is a very good thing for business.
However, when the top performer in the WWE or any other organization, does something to undermine what has been built for almost 40 years there can be no room for anything less than complete dismissal. Being Hulk Hogan does not give him carte blanche to do as he pleases nor does it allow the leadership of the organization to overlook any of his questionable actions. The same applies to a “Rock Star” in any organization.
Rules are rules and when those rules are broken consequences follow. When Hulk Hogan’s “racial tirade” came to light what else could the WWE do? Here the organization spent all this time, energy, and money building a brand that has a net worth of $1.6 billion. When someone does something that has to potential to alienate a huge portion of its customer and fan base the organization must do something.
Thus, the WWE acted appropriately when it decided it was best to break ties with Hogan. Here this guy, the voice of the WWE saying and doing things that will splinter the WWE’s audience and alienate a fan-base that took generations to create, cultivate, and empower. The organization’s leadership had no choice but to cut those ties. It had no choice to do so in the way that it did.
Anyone in business would do the exact same thing. The customer is king when it comes to the “entertainment” industry. When you are the only game in town, you cannot rest on your laurels and for one-second think, you got it made. The same applies to any business and that is why it was perfectly acceptable for the leadership to step up the way it did and do what it did.
Of course, it may have taken the Hulkster by surprise but then again, over the course of his long and illustrious career he has seen the exact same thing happen to other professionals (wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike). Thus, it should have come as no surprise when the axe fell on him. Remember, people will eventually forget the man but never the words or actions.
What the public will never forget is how the leadership of an organization handles the tough times and what it does to weather the storm caused by a few or one in order to save the lives and in this case the livelihood of the many.