Hulk Hogan is a rare Superstar whose name crosses into popular culture, outside of just professional wrestling. Hogan was on the Steve Austin Podcast and spoke about his health and how to get past misunderstandings in the locker room.
"A lot of people don't realize, you got to treat people on a case by case basis," Hogan explained. "Certain people have a grudge, a hard-on, they misunderstand, they are out of their mind, consumed with business, something personal, whatever. When I went to WCW I had some personal stuff at home, I would walk down the hall and there would be twenty people and I didn't see any of them.
"I walked into the dressing room for the Raw 15th Anniversary and there was a guy there named CM Punk, I don't know who he is. I heard I had heat because I didn't say 'Hi' to him. I only remember flying from California with RVD for the show and my phone is going off because my home life is falling apart, I'm walking through the dressing room and all I can think about is getting home to fix my home life."
Over a nearly 30-year career, Hogan has had a litany of surgeries to fix old injuries. However it was a back surgery that signaled the end of his landmark career.
"Everyone talks about the 'fake wrestling,' Hogan stated. "You do get hurt. I started having my knees scoped years ago. Right knee scoped 4 times, left knee scoped four times, finally, I had both knees replaced, had both hips replaced. Went in for one back surgery and it turned into nine back surgeries. I actually wrestled the Rock with a replaced knee and hip.
"As soon as they cut into my back, it was game over. I was hoping I could have the fusion like Shawn Michaels and keep going. The doctors that wanted me to have the fusion, wanted me to try everything else first. The cut into me six times and took me out of the game because they took so much bone out of me. After the six, they told my wife, Jenifer, I would never walk again. So, it took me three more to get upright."
Even after the surgeries, Hogan deals with near-constant pain. He has resorted to stem cell treatments to help with the pain but those only provide short-term relief.
"It is a constant, overriding pain," Hogan exasperated. "It is everywhere. It is just these sharp pains, where arthritis and inflammation is, it hits you pretty hard. You have good days and bad days. It depends on if it is raining, if it is cold, if you have been drinking because that can dehydrate your joints, it is just a series of trying to do the best you can, take the edge off with fish oil, glucosamine but nothing takes the pain away.
"It is the weirdest thing, when you first hit me with the stem cells, I really notice it in my back," Hogan said. "When I put my left foot down there is a crazy pain that goes from my left foot into my back, up to my ear. Once I got the stem cells, I put my left foot down there was no pain shooting up into my head. That lasted about four days, then I was back to square one. I told the doctor this stuff doesn't last very long, it is very expensive, they gave me all these peptides, I notice right out of the box."
When he first started getting stem cell treatments, Hogan had to journey to Mexico. During one of the procedures, Hogan nearly died due to an allergic reaction to DMSO (the primary ingredient in Aspirin). Many would assume that Hogan had to know by using aspirin throughout his career. But Hogan dispelled that notion.
"I never used it," Hogan exclaimed. "Back then I was eating the pain pills, so I never tried it. They can say it was the leg drop, the steroids, the truth is I had scoliosis. When they did my back, my spine was in a crazy 'S' shape. Whenever I did a double bicep shot, I cocked hips. That was because my back wasn't straight."
Despite the surgeries and pain, Hogan was adamant that he has no regrets.
"Yes, I wouldn't change a thing," Hogan said. "It was a great life, it was fun. I love the business. Anyone that knows me can tell you how much of a fan of this business I am. I'm a fan, I'm a mark. I love wrestling."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Steve Austin Podcast with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.