The newest issue of Rolling Stone contains a remarkable article about the downfall of Terry Bollea, better known as pro wrestler Hulk Hogan. "Hulk at Twilight," by Erik Hedegaard, doesn't pull any punches as it examines the 55-year-old Hogan at this stage in his life:
"My tailbone is bent from landing on my ass, 400 times a year, twice on Saturdays, twice on Sundays. My back's got all kinds of problems. I've got arthritis and scoliosis. I'm six-four. I used to be six-seven... It ain't easy, brother."After the end of his family's TV reality show, Hogan Knows Best, the family kind of fell apart. Longtime wife Linda dumped Hulk for the pool boy and demanded a $4.75 million settlement. Hogan is pretty bitter about the whole thing:
"I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody's throat," he says. "You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can't go to anymore, you're driving through downtown Clearwater and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife, and going to the Four Seasons, where you're paying for the toilet paper he wipes his ass with. I mean, I totally understand O.J. I get it."Yikes.
What's more, Hogan's son Nick was sent to jail for 166 days last year on a felony reckless driving charge that resulted in Nick's friend crippled with brain damage, which doesn't seem to have fazed the Hulk at all.
At one point, while Hulk is driving to the airport in the gigantic Viper-powered pickup truck, Brooke sees some friends in a car ahead and urges her father to pull alongside them.I'd like to link to the article, but it's not available online. Anyway, I'm not in the habit of recommending Rolling Stone to anyone, but Hedegaard's piece is a bizarre and fascinating read, as moving as The Wrestler, but true. I remember—if not exactly fondly, then vividly—watching Wrestlemania 3 at a friend's house, back at the age when I still wasn't 100% sure if the whole pro-wrestling thing was fake. Yeah, it's best to remember Hulk from those days—like here, in the legendary "dookie" scene from the 1989 movie No Holds Barred, where after righteously stomping some ass, he makes a limo driver literally shit his pants.
"Tito!" Brooke shouts out the window. "T! What's up? Where you goin'?"
Suddenly, Terry or Hulk or whoever he is does the strangest thing. It's like he still has that old, arrogant vanity license plate attached to the car, the one that reads COEHSP (capable of eluding high-speed pursuit). He floors it, the Viper engine thundering and shaking and blowing forward down the highway at some kind of insane speed.
Brooke shrieks, "Dad!"
But then she starts laughing, and Hulk backs off the gas, laughing too. It really is a surreal moment, though. Had not his son, doing exactly this sort of thing, gotten into a car wreck that left another young man permanently damaged? Has common sense escaped him totally? Why would he do this?