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By on 2021-01-11 10:52:00

Bill Apter and Ken Resnick on Hulk Hogan's Rise to Fame

On the latest edition of VOC Nation’s Wrestling with History podcast featuring Bill Apter and Ken Resnick, they covered Hogan’s rise to fame with his role in Rocky 3, the atmosphere in wrestling at the time, and much more.  Here are some highlights:

Bill Apter on who could have worked in the Hulk Hogan spot in the 80s if Hogan wasn’t there:  “If the two of them were standing in front of Vince McMahon, the reason he would have picked Macho Man was because Flair was so (established with the NWA, and) Macho Man was his.  I think that’s why he would have gone with him… There’s a chapter in my book all about that particular night (where) Randy got extremely hostile with me.  With Randy Savage, the issue was (that) you never knew which Randy Savage you were going to get on a particular night… That’s why I think that Vince probably might have gone with him, but I think he would be walking a fine line and wondering ‘what is this guy going to do?”

Ken Resnick on Hulk Hogan getting him over:  “He may not have had the belt, but he was certainly the biggest star in the AWA.  He was great to me.  I had just started, and I was going to begin to start doing the interviews in the smaller markets; Mean Gene (Okerlund) was still there, and he was going to do the major markets… I was working the office, learning and getting to know everyone when suddenly Gene up and left and suddenly I was the guy; I was doing all of the interviews… Out of the clear blue during an interview in the AWA and then he did it big time when I went (and) followed him to the WWF, he was the one that gave me the nickname Killer Ken… I always felt that Hulk did that to try and help me get over.  I had a tremendous relationship with Hulk and was very grateful.”

Bill Apter on Verne Gagne making a mistake letting Hogan go:  “I actually shot the match – which was in the magazines – of Hulk beating Nick Bockwinkle for the title but then they took the title away from him.  I’ll tell you that crowd at the Chicago Amphitheatre almost tore the place apart.  He was the biggest star in terms of popularity that Verne Gagne ever had and he let him go.”

Bill Apter on being the guy who got Hulk Hogan his role in Rocky 3:  “They said Mr. Stallone saw these pictures in your magazine of Hulk Hogan.  ‘If you have any pictures you can let us borrow to look at them, of he and anybody else that might fit the part, we would be very grateful.’ So I went and checked with Stanley Weston the publisher and he (said I could send the pictures).  I sent them Hulk Hogan and Superstar Billy Graham, overnight mail.  Two days later, Stallone’s office called me back and said they want to talk to Hogan… I couldn’t get Hogan, he wasn’t answering my calls…I called Verne Gagne’s office to see if Greg knew how I could get ahold of Hulk, I called Arnold Skaaland and other people in Vince McMahon’s office… In the middle of this thing, I had become very good friends with Hogan’s mother Ruth; we were very close, we talked once a week.  Ruth said to me, ‘I will get to him’…I still have the rolodex card from Sylvester Stallone’s office from them contacting me…So many people told (Hogan) that it was them (that got the call) and took credit for it.”

Bill Apter on WWE Raw Legends Night:  “The one thing I really did like was the interaction between Ric Flair and Lacey Evans because it brought Ric Flair back to being Ric Flair again.  But the other legends didn’t really do anything…”

Ken Resnick on the WWE writers not respecting the legends:  “The fact that so many of the writers they use today don’t really have a background in wrestling – their more entertainment – the more I thought about it during the show, I kind of took away that the (writers) said ‘you’re going to have all these guys, but they’re not going to produce anything, we’re not going to be using them, so just show them for a second and then we have to get with people that we’re going to be using.’  It was the writers that didn’t really show them the respect, but also didn’t have the history of who they really were to the business to really use them (properly).”
Link to the show here:
VOC Nation provides daily, interactive talk radio, geared toward the professional wrestling community.

Notable show hosts include legendary pro wrestling journalist Bill Apter, former WWE/TNA star Shelly Martinez, former WWE and AWA broadcaster Ken Resnick, former WCW performer The Maestro, former TNA Impact talent Wes Brisco, Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Brady Hicks, independent pro wrestling and Fireball Run star Sassy Stephie, and more!

Since 2010, VOC Nation has brought listeners into the minds of the biggest stars in pro wrestling and entertainment.  Subscribe to the podcasts for free on most major directories, and visit for live programming.

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