Hulk Hogan Says He'd Never Rehearsed A Match Until WrestleMania Bout Against WWE Star

During a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet of "Insight," WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan discussed what unfolded in the lead up to his iconic WrestleMania 18 match against The Rock.

"Well, to get there, there's a huge backstory," Hogan said. "And the backstory is working for Ted Turner for 10 years, trying to put Vince out of business, trying to beat him in the ratings and doing whatever he could to be competitive. Because when I did leave WWF at the time, Vince pretty much told me my run was over and the red and yellow was done."

Vince McMahon claimed that Hogan couldn't be a heel after Warrior beat him. Hogan countered by noting that McMahon's father brought him in as a heel, but they were at odds.

"So a couple years later I kept floundering around there," Hogan continued. "Vince pretty much told me my run was over. 'Oh, really?' So I went and did Thunder in Paradise, and when I got bored with that craziness, I went to WCW and did what I did there. Then it was a situation where I was in a hotel in New York and I was sitting on a toilet doing number two, right? And my phone rang and I saw 'Triple H' on the phone."

'Things Have Changed Here'

Hogan continued, "I went, 'Oh, that's interesting.' So I picked the phone up and go, 'What's up, brother?' He goes, 'How you doing? We heard your contract is done,' whatever the verbiage was. 'Vince would like to talk to you.' I said, 'Okay, cool.'"

Hogan explained that when McMahon brought him back in, he explained how "things have changed here," citing the popularity of The Rock and Steve Austin. The Hulkster knew it wasn't his time anymore, but McMahon apparently thought otherwise.

"Vince went, 'Oh, no. You're coming up here, you gotta really bring it.' I knew what he meant. The workrate was faster and stuff. I didn't say it, but my thought was, 'If you're asking me to bring it, you're asking me to take it back.' But I would never do anything to undermine, to hurt the boys and The Rock."

"But I just kept my mouth shut and the backstory still was they didn't think I could pull it off. I think they thought I wasn't up to snuff to be Hulk Hogan, so they wanted me to go down to Miami and rehearse the match, which I've never done in my life."

'I Did Everything I Could To Get Heat'

"So I went down there and so was Rocky Johnson, my boy, and Pat Patterson. There was a ring in this warehouse where it was a 100-degrees-plus. The Rock told me everything he wanted to do. Then Rocky Johnson went, 'Dwayne, listen to Hogan,' which was kind of funny to me because he was a good friend of mine the entire time we were in WWF."

Patterson then instructed them to run through the match, but Hogan didn't want to take bumps in an empty warehouse as he was afraid he'd get hurt. Patterson insisted that McMahon wanted them to, while Hogan knew he'd be alright in front of thousands when it came time for the actual performance.

"The Rock and I were actually in the same dressing room that night. Not a lot of conversation, but Rocky Johnson was in there. 'Dwayne, listen to Hogan.' So we get out there and I fully expected them to boo me out of the building. Hit him with the hammer, put him in the ambluance, run him over with a semi. I did everything I could to get heat."

While the crowd reactions didn't go the way they thought it would, Hogan was pleased with the match and praised Rock for his timing and placement. He thought the result could've gone either way but had no problem putting Rock over that night.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Insight" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.