He has bested a giant, traded blows with Rocky and, just a few nights ago, lugged his 51-year-old form into the wrestling ring. But can Hulk Hogan put reality TV in a headlock as head of the house on VH1's Hogan Knows Best? Before the show's debut tonight at 10 pm/ET, TVGuide.com goes toe-to-toe with the grappler.
TVGuide.com: In 1987, you became the first man to beat Andre the Giant. What do remember most about that bout?
Hulk Hogan: Just that he weighed almost 700 lbs., and I had no idea what was going to happen. Andre could either be the nicest man in the world or the mean giant, and it was one of those nights where he was feeling his oats. Halfway through the match, he goes, "Body slam me!" I said, "What?! I can't!" But he scared me to death, so I just picked him up and did it.
TVGuide.com: How much credit for your success do you give to Sylvester Stallone, who cast you as Thunderlips in Rocky III?Hogan: Stallone was a 100 feet high in the public's eye, so when he gave me a chance to work with him, it kind of changed the perception of what a wrestler was about. I give him a lot of credit for that.
TVGuide.com: Stallone attended your recent induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. What perks come with that honor? A full 25 percent off at GNC?Hogan: It's just the period at the end of the sentence for the career. Even though wrestling is, some people say, "an exhibition," in my mind it was a long, hard haul. The Hall of Fame showed me that it was all worth doing.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about The Hogan Family. (No, wait, that was a Sandy Duncan sitcom.) I mean, Hogan Knows Best. Who in your clan was most resistant to this idea?
I was the most resistant. I didn't want to have my home invaded by cameras. The person who wanted it the most was my [14-year-old] son, Nick. He thought that he could use it as leverage to meet girls.
TVGuide.com: How would you liken it to The Osbournes?Hogan: We're the anti-Osbournes. We run a real tight ship. No drugs. No rehab. But we are kind of crazier than them in our own way.
TVGuide.com: In the first episode, you use a GPS device to keep tabs on your daughter while she's out on a date. Reality-show flourish or real-life parenting tactic?Hogan: Well, brother, look at it this way: How many Amber Alerts have you heard about? It has been a nightmare, Brooke turning 17 and looking the way she does. I can't imagine any father who has the resources not [using] some type of tracking device [as I did].
TVGuide.com: What else will viewers be surprised to learn about you?Hogan: For 25 years, I've been coming into your home going, "Hey, brother, let me tell you something!" A lot of people think of Hulk Hogan as a bald, screaming wrestler, but I'm also a good father and family man. And we have problems like everybody else, with the neighbors, the city....
TVGuide.com: What beef do the neighbors have with you?Hogan: Well, we've got a couple too many animals. Too many dogs, and we're in a neighborhood where we're not supposed to have a rooster.
TVGuide.com: After doing this for four-and-a-half months, have you found that Hogan, in fact, knows best?Hogan: Hogan's wife, Linda, knows best, if you want to know the truth. [Laughs] She runs a tight ship.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, in the show's press kit, she's described as "the rock of the family." I'm surprised you're okay with any Hogan being described as "the Rock."
Oh, I actually like the Rock, so they can refer to her as the rock. The name works in this case.