I have always hated Hulk Hogan.

Since I was a little kid, I never liked him. I never understood why everybody else cheered him. I wasn’t a smart mark or anything like that when I was a kid; I had no idea about the stuff he pulled behind the scenes or anything like that. I wasn’t particularly a fan of all of the bad guys either… I cheered for Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat or George “The Animal” Steele over the various villians and if there was a bad guy who showed up that I wanted to see, it was more likely because I knew he was a pretty good wrestler (Don “The Magnificent” Muraco) over because I liked the whole “bad guy” shtick.

Why? Well, because the basic formula for pro wrestling is this one: The good guy may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but, you know what? He doesn’t give up. He knows he’s right. The bad guy takes shortcuts and the fact that he’s willing to attack the joints and kick a feller when he’s down gives him an edge against the good guy. Heck, the bad guy is probably the only one smart enough to tape the show and watch his opponents and learn from the tape. The good guy may be dumb but he has the power of being right on his side. He’s got that well that he can draw from and, when things are at their most dark, he can… well… “hulk up” and come back and finish the bad guy off.

Why? Because he is Good. Heck, this is why you go to Pro Wrestling matches in the first place. Sporting events sometimes have the best team win… but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the storylines behind the scenes don’t mesh well and sometimes money can buy talent that good clean livin’ doesn’t give you. I mean, remember the first time the Broncos won the Superbowl? Broncos vs. Packers. Gameday starts and we see Brett Favre doing his John Elway impersonation on national television. That’s right: Brett Favre is making fun of Elway on the TV before The Big Game.


Well, Elway got his ring (finally) and everybody cheered except for the (other) tri-state area.

How often does that happen, though? How often does Reality set up something *THAT* perfect? You’ve got a dream storyline with a three-time Superbowl loser going up against a powerhouse team and the leader of the powerhouse team makes fun of his opponent publically? Before the game??? If that had happened in an 80’s romantic comedy, no one would have believed it. And yet… it happened. It was the most exciting football game I had ever watched and I have never seen one better since.

Which is how pro wrestling, ideally, is supposed to work.

You’ve got your good guy. You are supposed to cheer him. You’ve got your bad guy. You are supposed to boo him. You see a match on television or two where it’s established that they’re evenly matched, for the most part, but the bad guy cheats (and the good guy doesn’t). The bad guy has his friend run in or his manager distract at an opportune time. The bad guy takes shortcuts. We, the audience, are supposed to curse the blindness of the ref and the unfairness of the system that doesn’t have instant replay. We are supposed to be willing to shell out money for the final match coming up next Sunday to see this take place in a steel cage where there will be *NO* interference and *NO* ability to sneak in a chair or a championship belt with which to hit while the ref isn’t looking. Man vs. Man… and, of course, the guys in the back know that the best way to get folks to come back and spend their money again is to have the good guy win and the bad guy lose. Why? Because life so rarely gives us a Superbowl XXXII that we’re willing to pay to see a reasonable facsimile.

Which brings us to the strange bearded-Spock universe from which modern day wrestling fans seem to have sprung. Instead of cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys, they’ve turned into a host of Dexter fans.

(Aside: The problem with Dexter, fundamentally, is that the show is asking the audience to sympathize with (and sometimes cheer for) a bad guy. Sure, Dexter is pointed at bad people instead of good people, but watching a guy kill even bad people every week is kind of depressing. What’s even *MORE* depressing is that they (usually) set things up so that he has a bit of stress going on here or there or spends an episode getting yelled at and Dexter killing a multiple murderer provides the audience with a chance to exhale. (“At least *THAT* went well.”))

John Cena, for example, has done more meets for Make A Wish than any celebrity in their history. Than any of them! He doesn’t cheat. He goes on every overseas military show they do. He gets booed out of the building every week. Randy Orton, for example, kicks other wrestlers in the head at the end of the match and brags about ending their careers. He gets cheered to the point where he blows the roof off. Kurt Angle? Well, you’ll just have to watch this.

Where were you people when Hulk Hogan was around???


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I blame ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin for this. He was the first one I can remember that really broke this mold and was cheered by fans no matter what he did. Somehow that broke the fans and it is seen more and more that they cheer a person no matter how poorly they act in front of the cameras.

    Great clip by the way. You have to love how the people were cheering at the end of the speech. Sigh.

        • Diesel may have been a contemporary of The Ringmaster but I’m pretty sure that, instead, Austin was one of the Hollywood Blondes with Pillman at the time of Diesel showing up with Shawn Michaels.

  2. I agree on the Dexter thing; never been able to understand it.
    “It’s a copy show about a psycho serial killer.” Okay and the good guys get the psycho at some point? “Oh no, the good guy is the psycho, because he murders bad people. And the bad guys are his victims and the mean grumpy cop who suspects that the psycho is a psycho.”
    Umm… what?

    • The writing is pretty strong (not as good as Sopranos Season 2, better than Sopranos Season 4) and it’s somewhat novel to be watching a story arc from this particular perspective.


      That’s my best explanation of why *I* watch it.

      • I can’t stand Dexter for the reasons you mentioned. I did, however, love the Sopranos, because David Chase was well aware that Tony & Crew were the bad guys and just when you thought you were getting sympathetic to your plight, Chase would come up behind you, slam your head into your desk, and yell in your ear: THESE ARE THE BAD GUYS, STUPID!

        My all time favorite moment is when that psychiatrist told Carmela to get the hell out of dodge and that he wasn’t going to take her blood money.

        • My all time favorite moment is when that psychiatrist told Carmela to get the hell out of dodge and that he wasn’t going to take her blood money.

          Yeah, that was an awesome one.

          My issue with the show was that it was so exceptionally unlike anything I had seen before (they killed characters! GOOD characters!) until I realized that the writers relied on the “well, let’s just kill the guy” button a little too often. They’d write this really compelling story and I’d find myself saying “what’s going to happen next?” and then… they’d kill the guy. It reached the point where I knew that the only payoff to any given story that I really enjoyed would be that they’d whack the guy who made it interesting.

          That said, Season 1 was good enough to recommend and Season 2 was downright amazing.

  3. Take G.I. Joe. They defend the world against Cobra. Cobra always had elaborate plans with contingencies which could not possibly fail. G.I. Joe consistently defeated Cobra but treated them as an actual threat. My friends and I began rooting for Cobra. The fact that Cobra was so ineffectual meant that the fact the Joes were the ‘good guys’ meant nothing and made them into bullies.

    I would mark out for Hogan back in the day. As time went on I realized each match was pretty much the same with different villains and Hogan was never in any real danger. Note I was a serious mark who didn’t acknowledge that wrestling is… how you Americans say… choreographed. Grew bored, grew up and discovered girls while making a point to avoid Hogan. The good guy could do no wrong, had no flaws and I couldn’t identify with him.

    I identified with Cobra. They were being bullied. I couldn’t identify with Hogan. I couldn’t identify with the Joes because they were always best buddies with no infighting or bickering amongst their ranks. It’s unrealistic to expect heroes to be perfect outside of comics. Their weaknesses are their greatest strengths. Heroes lose a few battles but they always win the war regardless of the price.

    80’s cartoons, wrestling and the like don’t buy into that philosophy.

    • Hrm. That’s a good point too.

      Tom and Jerry was supposed to have you see Jerry as the underdog… but watch 20 cartoons at random and it sinks in that an underdog with a 20-0 record is no longer deserving of the title.

      • Is that it then? Since people like to cheer for the nuderdog, we will even cheer for a heel if we think they are the underdog? I wonder if that is why the heel always beat the tar out of the face leading up to ‘the big match’. That way it looks like they have been winning.

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