HULK HOGAN ON NEAR-BRAIN-DEAD VICTIM GRAZIANO: "THIS IS TO MAKE JOHN A BETTER PERSON"
We all love to see the mighty brought down ... It's a natural human reaction when those held-up as heroes and celebrities make mistakes and hit the skids ... Especially when it's as a result of that person's standing in society, their money, their attitude that "the rules don't apply to me". The Germans have a word for it: Schadenfreude, defined, in short, as "delight in the suffering of another". When it comes to Hulk Hogan and his son, Nick and all their problems ... Hey, we're Hulkster fans! Have been as long as he's been on the scene. About ten years ago, we were at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina Del Rey, CA for a press preview of a new Rolls-Royce model, when a huge stretch limo pulled-up to the hotel's front, where we were standing with Roller people and other journos. And when HULK HOGAN got out of it, we went nuts! It was GREAT, this huge guy getting out of THAT limo in his bandanna, torn t-shirt and everything else ... and he came right over and slapped our backs and checked-out the cars ... The Rolls people couldn't have been happier, and Hulk really seemed like "one of the boys". I'll never forget meeting him. (We'll save for another time the story of how the Mayor of Moscow was also at the hotel and offered to buy all the Rolls' on display ... about ten of them ... for cash, right at that minute).
But this sudden sadness surrounding his family, and the Hogans seeming to take no responsibility, and the recently-released jail cell phone calls which were devastating to their "cause" have all made Hulk and his family, for good or bad, a target. Hogan's appearance on CNN's Larry King Live this evening only added to their troubles, and maybe even put Hulk Hogan out of the public eye, forever ... (Photo - What was left of the Supra after Hulk's 17-year-old son Nick crashed it into a palm tree at an estimated 100-miles-per-hour; his passenger and best friend was permanently brain-damaged, Hogan suffered no injuries).
The Hulk Hogan "spectacle" seen worldwide on Larry King Live on CNN tonight revealed Hogan to be blaming everyone ... and everything ... except himself and his son, Nick, for Nick putting his "best friend" in a near-coma for the rest of his life due to Nick's over-100-mph crash into a palm tree in a Toyota Supra, modified for racing, which is registered to Hulk Hogan (family name: Bollea).
The entire hour was unseemly, sleazy, embarrassing ... Painful to watch. You felt like you needed a shower afterwards. A sad shadow of his former self with a do-rag wrapped around his bald head, Hogan is reduced to a teary-eyed, bleary-eyed man-mountain, throwing himself on the mercy of Jesus, who can't seem to tell the difference between right and wrong, can't keep his family together and is, ultimately, a loser ... even with all his bling.
Nick Hogan was sentenced to eight months in jail, and will probably be out in half that time. He's serving it in a county jail near his home, not a state "prison". Interestingly, CNN thought it necessary to run, on the crawl on the bottom of the screen, that the victim, "John was not wearing his seat belt". Big deal. Talk about tabloid-style "attacking the victim" as to that and other comments Hogan made throughout the show subtly and slyly demeaning and belittling Graziano and his family for being "angry" about the accident and coming at them with a civil suit. A suit which we hope they win, big-time. And isn't that the sort of thing which helped make Hogan such a celebrity in wrestling, his masterful style of needling his opponents?
Hogan's crocodile tears on CNN, his claims of new-found religion and "spirituality at this point in my life" and his incredible statement at the end of the show, with his attorney sitting next to him, that "this whole thing is to make Nick a better person, to make John a better person, I have to believe that" were quite disturbing. We got news for Hogan: John is now a rutabaga, thanks to your son and the way you raised him; not a "person" as we generally use the term.
A viewer asking a "video question" in the show's third-quarter made Hogan visibly squirm. Summing up and paraphrasing, he asked, "We saw you on video going to the liquor store with your son, drinking with him on the boat, Nick getting off the boat and getting into his car with you cheering him on, you knew he had at least two speeding tickets, you bought him that race car, you knew he drank, you knew he drag raced, and yet you still let him drive the car ... and you seem to take very little responsibility yourself ... why is that?"
What did Hogan say? "I didn't hear the question, Larry." Right. Yeah. The problem was he DID hear it, just as well as deaf-old Larry heard it; it just hit too close to home and he had no lawyered-up "pre-canned" answer for that one.
Click below for more on Hulk Hogan's appearance this evening, June 10, 2008, on Larry King Live.
No one asked Hogan the big question, though, which we still feel is the 800-pound elephant in the room which no one mentions: STEROIDS and their use throughout the Hogan family. It explains so much ... the hypersexuality of everyone in the family, the aggression, the nastiness, the egos and the meanness ... Add to that situation virtually unlimited $$, and if that's not the recipe for disaster, well, we don't have to wonder anymore if it is or isn't.
Hogan even caught himself on the King show when he nearly said that he was "only trying to provide for his family" as being the reason he got them involved in the TV "reality" show. Hogan was wealthy enough decades ago to never have to work again, and for his great-great-grandchildren to never have to work, either. One thing Hogan and his family didn't need was money. And now it's possible that Hogan won't even be able to keep all of what he's made so far in this lifetime.
King went at Hogan fairly strong for him, tossing more than the usual softballs --- Even King (whose show I have guested on) obviously senses that the public feeling towards Hogan and his family is a big "thumbs down". King asked Hogan if he is going to try and revive his own public life, and Hogan said yes, of course. But Hogan needs to know that there are some things which demand a removal from the public eye, even in this tabloid-crazed society. Truly the best thing for Hogan and his family would be to disappear for ten years ... seriously. The rest of us manage to live without having our lives exploited on TV.
At the show's conclusion, you'd think that Larry King had just officiated at a funeral, not an interview. When he said goodbye to Hogan and wished him well, one got the feeling that Hogan was truly down for the count, one very last time.
That's why it was so interesting to hear Hogan attack the tabloids ... Because it was the tabloids which had a huge part in making Hulk Hogan the public figure he once was, the loved and respected "clean" wrestler who was so hyped-up on steroids, admittedly, that he rarely knew what city he was in, much less cared about how his children were being raised by surrogates. Steroids? Hogan says, "They were legal when I used them".
Maybe Hogan should spend some more time in self-reflection, stop being so concerned with bragging so publicly how he and his son and daughter are "walking in the shadow of Christ" Hulk ... perhaps stay home on occasion in the evenings to think about his future and son's future ... maybe even work things out for his wife so their kids can learn something about overcoming adversity ... and thinking about the victim in this whole sordid, nasty affair, John Graziano, and whatever his future might be.