Terry Gene Bollea, the man recognized around the world over as “ Hulk Hogan” was born on August 11 1953 to Pete and Ruth Hulk FlexBollea in Augusta Georgia.

Soon after birth Pete and Ruth (and Terry’s older brother Allen) moved to the modest, working class area of Tampa, Florida known as Port Tampa, where the young “Hulkster” pursued a love for baseball (his team came within a game of the Little League World Series in 1966). As a teenager in high school, Terry’s passion for baseball soon evolved into a love of music, and by the time the young Hulk Hogan was in the late teens and early 20’s he had to choose between his studies at the University of South Florida (business and finance), an opportunity to take his music career to the next level with his rock and roll band “Ruckus” and gig as a professional studio bass player in Atlanta Georgia. Music Won. But not for long.

One of Terry’s other passions growing up in Tampa was professional wrestling. Tampa was a hotbed of professional wrestling in the U.S. at the time and some of the most influential names of the industry like: Dusty Rhodes, Jack Briscoe, Jerry Briscoe and Eddie Graham, were all based in Tampa and worked weekly wrestling matches at the Sportatorium. In between classes, playing gigs at local night clubs and long afternoons in the gym, Terry would often have a ring side seat at local events, as well as workouts at the Fort Hesterly Armory, and began to think about himself as a part of a business with which he would soon become synonymous. Fortunately for millions of wrestling fans around the world, when the matches were over and some of the top names in the ring would head to the club after the show, they would see the 6’8 300lb powerhouse of a fan that was sitting at ringside earlier in the evening, tearing the house down with his band “Ruckus”.

Hulk CrowdAs Terry strongly believes today “ what you think about you bring about” and as the laws of attraction prove, it wasn’t long before Jack and Jerry Briscoe and Terry Bollea were planting the seeds for the most explosive growth in the 100 year history of professional wrestling by setting up a try out with legendary wrestler/ trainer Hiro Matsuda.

Before the world recognized professional wrestling as a scripted sports entertainment, professional wrestling schools and the Internet, the business was sustained by the commitment of professional wrestlers to a strict code of secrecy. To even suggest to a professional wrestler that the matches were pre-determined, one would risk empty spaces that teeth previously occupied. In order to teach this code to rookies accepted to the inner sanctum, seasoned veterans would test a prospects commitment and grit with days, weeks, or months of Hulk Shout Outgrueling training sessions that would send most wanna-be wrestlers home with barley their limbs, if not their dignity intact.

Hiro Mastuda must have had a glimpse of things to come as he decided to accelerate the 25 year old future ICON’s induction into the fraternity of brothers known as pro-wrestlers, by exhausting Terry over the course of several hours of training for the sole purpose of testing his desire and commitment and challenging Terry’s determination with what UFC/mixed martial arts fans know today as a submission hold on Terry’s leg. But Terry never quit.

Going home with a broken leg after the first day of training only fueled Terry’s desire to make his mark as a professional wrestler. And by coming back to the training center after his leg healed proved to Hiro Matsuda and many of the top stars at that time, Terry Gene Bollea from Port Tampa, Florida had a commitment and determination that matched his incredible size. They could not have known that the Little League Baseball player, part time college student, turned musician, would soon become one of the most recognized faces in the world. And transformed a closely held regional business into a billion dollar worldwide entertainment phenomenon in the process.