Before passing the proverbial torch to The Rock at WrestleMania X8, Hulk Hogan admittedly never got the opportunity to coronate the next top WWE star in the 1990s before he left for WCW.
In a recent chat with WWE UK to promote next week’s RAW Legends Night, The Immortal One explained why WWE “skipped a generation” with regard to the top guy passing the torch to his successor.
“I think it’s [passing the torch] the most important thing in this business, to maintain the artform, and to make sure that the next generation, the next decade of wrestlers, is ready,” said Hogan [h/t/ Inside the Ropes]. “There was a time I was red hot in the 80s and all of a sudden the ’90s came and it was time to pass the torch but, it didn’t happen that way. I mean they didn’t have enough guys ready to lead at that time so, you know, we skipped a generation.”
Although many believe Hogan passed the torch to Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI, Warrior’s run at the top ended quickly. Hogan said WWE “tried with a couple of guys” but none of them were ready to take the mantle from him.
“It took time to pass that torch, which should have been passed at the end of the ’80s,” said Hogan. “I mean we tried with a couple of guys, putting the belts on them and stuff, but they weren’t ready to run. They weren’t ready like John Cena, they weren’t ready like The Rock, they weren’t ready like Stone Cold.
“So it’s very, very important that the torch is passed in the correct way and the guys that have all this experience don’t just walk away. They stay there long enough to build the storylines, build the talent, and then pass the torch in the correct way. It’s very, very important.”
Before leaving WWE in 1993, Hogan never got the opportunity to put over Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels, who were considered favorites to replace him as the face of the company.
Hogan is among a host of Legends and Hall of Famers announced for Monday’s RAW Legends Night. Others advertised for the show include Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Boogeyman, Booker T, Candice Michelle, Carlito, Hillbilly Jim, IRS (Irwin R. Schyster), Ivory, Jacqueline, Jeff Jarrett, Jimmy Hart, Kurt Angle, Mark Henry, Melina, Michael “PS” Hayes, Mickie James, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Tatanka, and Torrie Wilson.