Every birthday from about eight years on, I begged and pleaded with my parents for the same present: Tickets to see the WWF live at the Cow Palace. My aunt was actually a regular at wrestling matches from the days of Gorgeous George and once almost got kicked out of the arena for actually throwing her high heels at some heel who was hitting her favorite fighter with a foreign object every time the referee turned his back. Funniest thing about this is my aunt was the most uptight, old money, stuck-in-her-old-ways woman I knew. She was someone who might throw a fit if someone spilled soda or even sat on her all-white couch that for some reason was never sat on (why someone would feature furniture you couldn't sit on I'll never know), but I could never imagine her throwing a shoe.
But that's what the wild and wacky world of professional wrestling is all about. It's more than just the soap opera for men it's so commonly referred to. It's more like a rock concert of kung fu fighting acrobats complete with fireworks and the occasional dead man, masked man, and/or midget. It's a place where good battles evil between the ropes while bringing the thousands in attendance along for the next chapter.
And that showmanship that helps drive the action is what the new video game, "Hulk Hogan's Main Event" is all about. Because wrestling is more than just men in tights rolling around and getting sweaty (not that there's anything wrong with that), Hogan is using the power of Kinect to bring gamers into the ring with him while teaching them the taunts, poses, and posturing that made him a worldwide phenomenon.
I caught up with Hogan inside video game publisher Majesco's booth at E3 to talk wrestling, showmanship, and his time inside the ring, from his days rocking a mask to his nights as "Hollywood." Here's what one of the most influential wrestlers in the history of the business had to say.
Jon Robinson: I'm about to play your game for the first time. What's your advice on how I can become the next Hulk Hogan?
Hulk Hogan: You're very lucky because instead of looking for a coach, you have now found the greatest coach of all time. I don't know too much, but I do know a lot about wrestling and in "Hulk Hogan's Main Event" I'm your coach, brother. I teach you the moves, get you all excited, and then it's up to you to get the crowd booing or cheering and get them ramped up. The whole entertainment aspect gets you rolling right into the ring, and then you get to turn the moves up and either do some scientific wrestling or cheat like the bad guys. And what's cool is, you can't sit on the couch for this one. Since it's on Kinect, you actually have to get up, get moving, and move your bum around.
Jon Robinson: You are one of the best showman professional wrestling has ever seen. How did you learn to get the crowd so moved during your matches?