Madison Square Garden honored Hulk Hogan by raising a banner which now hangs in the rafters alongside the championship banners of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.
On Friday, Feb. 27, a WWE house show at Madison Square Garden was billed Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night during the Road to WrestleMania 31.
The birth of Hulkamania occurred on Jan. 23, 1984 at Madison Square Garden, when Hogan, as a last minute replacement for injured former champ Bob Backlund, faced WWF champ the Iron Sheik. When Hogan hit the ring for that match, the MSG crowd erupted. Five minutes in, Sheik put Hogan in his patented Camel Clutch, but Hogan powered to his feet with Sheik still on his back, rammed him backward into the turnbuckles and hit his big legdrop for the pin and championship. The pop tremendous. That moment is generally considered the beginning of Hulkamania.
From one iconic building to one iconic individual, the surprising Immortal Hulkamania banner (red and yellow strong) is a fitting tribute to a man who filled MSG repeatedly during the heyday of Hulkamania.
Only Bruno Sammartino, another deserving legend and WWE Hall of Famer, sold out MSG more times than Hogan, also a WWE Hall of Famer.
Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash and Triple H participated in the ceremony.
Sports teams honor athletes by retiring their numbers or providing name space at the team’s home arena or stadium. Hogan is the only pro wrestler/sports entertainer to have a banner raised in MSG and quite possibly the first pro wrestler/sports entertainer with a banner hanging in any major sports arena or stadium.
During the territory days, Madison Square Garden housed the main stage for WWE, then WWWF and even later as WWF, before the company exploded nationally and internationally.