In 1994, the WCW was a fledgling wrestling promotion that couldn’t work its way out of the WWF’s shadow. That is, until it poached the biggest wrestler in the world from the company that made him famous. When Hulk Hogan signed on with the WCW in 1994 he and WWF (now WWE) honcho Vince McMahon were on the outs. Meanwhile, the head of the WCW, Eric Bischoff, was ready to make a splash.
And he did — but it didn’t come without a cost. Hogan was a superstar when he signed with the WCW and he demanded a superstar’s salary. On Tuesday, Reddit user RamonesRazor posted a copy of the contract that Hogan signed in 1998, four years into his relationship with the WCW, and it’s a doozy. (We did not receive a response from Hogan's representation to inquiries regarding the authenticity of the document and will update this story when we hear back.)
Here are some highlights:
- Hogan received a $2 million signing bonus for simply putting pen to paper.
- Hogan pocketed 15 percent of sales of every Pay-Per View event in which he wrestled, with a minimum guarantee of $675,000.
- Hogan made 25% of gross ticket sales each time he wrestled in at WCW Nitro, WCW Thunder or an untelevised WCW house show, with a minimum guarantee of $25,000.
- While the contract granted the WCW rights to use Hogan’s name and image on promotional products, it explicitly allowed the Hulkster to independently use his name, image and likeness to promote “pasta, pasta restaurants, sandwiches [and] sun tan oil.”
- Hogan received $20,000 per month for just for wearing NWO shirts on TV and in photo shoots.
- While traveling for WCW events, Hogan received $175 per diem.
- The contract gave Hogan “approval over the outcome of all wrestling matches in which he appears.”
Sure, it looks like the WCW gave an arm and a leg to lure the wrestling icon into the ring, but it was worth it: Bringing Hogan to the WCW was a game changer, elevating the promotion’s signature show, Monday Nitro, over the WWE’s Monday Night Raw. However, it was always suspected that Hogan’s huge contractual demands hamstrung the WCW as it struggled to sustain popularity after the initial surge. Now we know more.
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