Wrestling & MMA

Big night with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff, Jimmy Hart in South Florida

Professional wrestling legends Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair present “Legends of the Ring” with emcee Jimmy Hart and host Eric Bischoff at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida near Hollywood.
Professional wrestling legends Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair present “Legends of the Ring” with emcee Jimmy Hart and host Eric Bischoff at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 9 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida near Hollywood.

The significance of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in the same place at the same time for a special event is astounding.

It would be like LeBron and Michael Jordan or Tom Brady and Joe Montana or Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson being together to talk their careers, their profession, their life in an intimate setting with their fans.

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair present “Legends of the Ring” at 9 p.m. on June 9 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood.

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This marks the second time the two joined forces for a special outing, with the first conducted successfully in February at the Hard Rock in Tampa, Hogan's hometown. In South Florida, Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart will emcee, and Eric Bischoff will serve as host.

Hogan said: "Bischoff is going to be the host this time [in South Florida], but he might need to be the special referee, because Flair started telling those out-of-school stories and pulling the curtain back and some of the after-party stuff... He almost got the big boot and the leg drop."

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Not only will fans hear those stories firsthand and meet two of the greatest professional wrestlers in history — but Bischoff and Hart are standouts in their own right and integral figures in the careers of Hogan and Flair.

"We got Eric Bischoff to keep it calm on stage," Hogan said, "and we got Jimmy Hart out in the crowd, working the crowd."

Two of the greatest all-time in pro wrestling and pop culture, fans can listen to a plethora of their anecdotes and stories as well as ask them questions.

"This is the big one. This is the test rocket," Hogan said. "We did one in Tampa. We had a great time at the Hard Rock in Tampa, but this one in Hollywood, we're blowing the doors out there. We're going to sit down with the fans, and we got a specific time we're going to do the Q&A, but if the fans are really, really into it, we're gonna keep on rolling, brother."

Where else can you find — one spot — that echelon of talent from any entertainment, music or sport genre? It could lead to more shows at other sites.

Hogan said: "If this one blows through the roof, we got the Hard Rock in Munich, Germany; we got the Hard Rock in Vegas; we got Hard Rocks all over the place that would love to have me and Flair there."

Hogan discusses the special event as well as the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling, his relationship with Flair, what Flair has meant to him and pro wrestling and more.

Hogan discusses how Bischoff helped his career, working on the TV series "Thunder in Paradise" and regaining his confidence by turning heel for the nWo.

"There was a time, probably 1988, 89, where there was a huge dark cloud over the wrestling business," Hogan said. "That whole steroid controversy took place in '88, '89, and a lot of the wrestlers who were [doing well] at that time on different stages. Whether it was up north or down south, a lot of things were in question about who was involved and who wasn't involved, and at the time, the red and yellow had been around 10 or 12 years.

"I started really rolling the Hulk-a-Mania thing out when I was in Minnesota in 1980... By the time we got to '88, '89, '90, the red and yellow kind of had its run, and for some reason, between the dark cloud over the whole wrestling business and people seeing the leg drop and the shirt being torn the last 10, 12 years, all of a sudden, I started to notice that not as many people were cheering, and then I started to notice the buildings weren't completely sold out like they had always been.

"I started to get a little worried...Instead of going in the ring and just being there, it was [getting] harder and harder to get the crowd excited, and I started to lose a step. Then I started to lose a couple steps, and I said, 'Ya know what?This thing might be over,' and I started thinking to myself, 'I need to do something that's never really been done.'

"I was a bad guy early in my career, but it really didn't mean anything, because nobody knew how powerful Hulk Hogan would become. So that didn't really count. In my mind I was thinking, 'I need to do something that's really, really never been done before...Everyone always told me, 'Hulk Hogan is the greatest wrestler, and the kids love Hulk Hogan. You can never be a bad guy.'

"The more that people kept telling me I could never be a bad guy, I said, 'That's it. I'm going to roll the dice. I'm going to be the farm.' This is either going to launch my career into the stratosphere, or it's going to totally destroy me.

"When I decided to become Hollywood Hogan and join The Outsiders [Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to form the nWo] , and I told all the kids that the training and the prayers and the vitamins, 'I did it for the money,' and I turned into Hollywood Hulk Hogan, all of a sudden my career took off again."

Not only did Hogan change in this era, but the attitude of fans changed as well.

"I was such a great bad guy that people cheered me," Hogan said. "They loved me."

Hogan discusses Shaq and other pro athletes in pro wrestling. He also talks about he (with Jimmy Hart and Mr. T) vs. Flair (with Sensuous Sherri) at WCW Bash at the Beach with Shaq as an outside enforcer and Michael Buffer the ring announcer and why that historic match never happened at a WrestleMania.

"Everybody asked that, 'Why didn't Flair and Hogan happen at WrestleMania,'" Hogan said. "The buildup [for it in WWE] was there. [WWE] tested the match out. We went to all these huge markets, like Chicago, just beat all the records. We went to Milwaukee. Beat all the records. We went to California. Beat all the records. We went to Montreal and Toronto. Beat all the records with me and Flair. It was lined up for WrestleMania — Hogan vs. Flair. It was the dream match of the wrestling world. You couldn't get no bigger at the time than Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair... At the last minute Vince McMahon switched gears. He put me with Sid Vicious, and Flair with Savage."

Why the sudden change?

Hogan said: "That is the question that's never been answered."

Hogan discusses Shaq, Big Show, Charlotte Flair, Brooke Hogan, Nick Hogan, The Gentrys, Jimmy Hart, Jerry Lawler, Memphis. Click video link for this complete audio interview segment.

"Jimmy and I have been running hard for about 38 years together," Hogan said. "It all started in Memphis, Tennessee [before Hulk-a-Mania] when I was working for Vince McMahon Sr. He was sending me out to all the territories ahead of Andre [the Giant].. So I would go into Memphis one week and wrestle and get over like a million dollars and then the week after, he would send Andre in to squash me — kind of like it was the set-up for Andre. I was Andre's guy. I was 330 pounds.

"My first time in New York, 1978, I would go out and look like the toughest wrestler you'd ever seen. In Chicago or Los Angeles. Then a week later, they'd bring big Andre in, and of course, my job was to make Andre look good, put him over.

"What happened was I went to Memphis, Tennessee, and they wanted me to wrestle [Jerry] Lawler, and Lawler wanted to beat me. I said, 'Look. That ain't gonna happen. I'd rather get in a fight with you than I would Andre, Lawler. My job is, I'd been sent here by Vince McMahon Sr. to get over, really look good, so when Andre comes in the next week, I let him win, be the whipping boy for Andre.'

"So Lawler goes, 'Aw well, ya know. This is Memphis, and this is my territory, and we work every week, and I can't do anything that will ruin the territory.' [Hogan replied] 'So then you shouldn't have booked me in here.' Lawler does, 'Ok. How about a disqualification?' Jimmy Hart was going out to the ring with me, because he was the resident bad guy manager who was supposedly bringing in all these bad guys to try to destroy Lawler, and I was just another bad guy Jimmy was bringing in a long line of bad guys.

"I told Jimmy,'You know something Jimmy. I don't know you, but I think something's a little fishy. So would you kind of watch my back here, in case anything really crazy happens. Before the three-count, could you hit the ring.?'

"We had some type of DQ or something. I can't remember exactly what happened, but before the DQ or before Lawler tried to get the 1-2-3 on me, Jimmy jumped in ahead of time. He shouldn't have been loyal to me, but he was. and he jumped in ahead of time and destroyed everything, and Lawler got all pissed off. He said, 'Jimmy Hart, you idiot. You ruined the finish. You ruined the match,' but Jimmy came in, so Lawler couldn't get the 1-2-3...and showed me what a great person he was and how loyal he was back then, and that's what got us started off together."

Hogan mentions being inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame, and he also talks about a WWE return someday. Furthermore, he addresses his hometown Tampa putting a bid to host a WrestleMania. Click video link for this complete audio interview segment.

Tampa has not asked its hometown hero for any assistance, yet.

"I would definitely love to be involved [in bringing WrestleMania to Tampa]," Hogan said. "It's at the point now where things are moving in the right direction. You can never say never.

"I got a lot of wrestling homes like New York City, LA, Chicago, but [Tampa] is where I'm from. [Tampa] is my home."

Legends of the Ring

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair with Eric Bischoff and Jimmy Hart

9 p.m. Saturday, June 9

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in South Florida near Hollywood.

Tickets cost $155 for reserved seating or $280 which includes access to the 8 p.m. meet and greet with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair.

All seats are reserved and available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.myhrl.com, www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone: 1-800-745-3000. Doors open one hour prior to show start time. Additional fees may apply.

For more information, call 800-937-0010, visit online at www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com, or follow on Facebook: FacebookSeminoleHardRockHollywood, Twitter: TwitterHardRockHolly, Instagram: @HardRockHolly

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