The WWF in the 1980s: I Was a Teenage Hulkamaniac

By Lori Ferraro

My interest in sports as a young girl was pretty low – I was more of an “indoor” kid. However . . . I do remember a few significant athletic events of the 1980s that got me pretty excited about sports.

Like . . .

  • The Chicago Bears peaked my interest in football with that “Superbowl Shuffle” song.
  • Andre Agassi pulled me into the tennis world with his good looks and super sweet mullet.
  • Rocky II and Rocky III made me a boxing fan.

and . . .

  • Hulk Hogan made me interested in a real sport . . . a sport full of drama, blood and true athleticism – a sport where excitement as well as folding chairs were in the air.

Hulk Hogan on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Wrestling – I was a WWF (World Wrestling Federation) junkie.

I even attended several wrestling matches that came to my city – I loved seeing some of my favorite characters (athletes) from television up close and personal – like André the Giant, The Iron Sheik, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Macho Man Randy Savage.

The World Wrestling Federation presents Superstars of Wrestling ticket stub

Wrestling was the one sport I could sit and watch with my brother and my dad. We loved making a giant bowl of air popped popcorn, melting a stick of butter on top and hunkering down for some Hulkamania time together.

See, wrestling was the perfect sport for me – it combined the athleticism of a real wrestling match with the drama of a soap opera. There were “good guys” and “bad guys,” and it was a blast to watch the (scripted) commentary and behind the scenes action that went on between all of the characters.

Macho Man Randy Savage

 André the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan

Even though people knew it wasn’t real (spoiler!), we never really spoke of the fact. Because the WWF was that good – it was brilliant in its ability to get someone like me emotionally invested in a sport and an athlete.

Macho Man Randy Savage, Miss Elizabeth, & Hulk Hogan

Promoter Vince McMahon made the WWF mainstream through cable television and pay per view – the 1980s became the golden era for professional wrestling. And the king of the ring was without question Hulk Hogan.

Hulk Hogan was the breakout star, the ultimate good guy (who yes, did become a bad guy for a while, but then of course regained his good guy status) – the one with the signature yellow and red costume, the signature moustache, and the signature shirt rip-off thing that he did so well.

Hulk Hogan rips off his shirt

There hasn’t been another sporting event that I’ve gotten excited about since the glory days of the WWF. Sure, I’ve seen some soccer games, college football games and a few baseball games here and there. But nothing tops being a part of Hulkamania back in 1985.


Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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  1. WWF in the 80’s was groundbreaking! The anticipation for the weekly shows and yearly Wrestlemanias was at a high level. I would get SO excited waiting for each TV event to come on. You never knew what drama would unfold on Piper’s Pit, or who would turn from good guy to heel, and vice versa. Plus, how cool was it that whenever Saturday Night’s Main Event came on, you had an excuse as a young kid to stay up late to watch it!

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  2. i love the WWF in the 80.s and i loved the ultimate warrior his intenstity brought life in the ring and really got the crowd going when he entered i loved when papa shango and pscho sid had hogan in the ropes and the warrior returned close lining papa shango over the top rope long enough to get hogan out from the ropes and hogan came up behind pshco sid taking the chair from him it was fricking awesome!!

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