Terry Gene Bollea, more widely known by his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) ring name of Hulk Hogan, has been an international icon for decades. Due to his brazen persona, flowing blond hair, distinctive mustache, memorable catchphrases, unprecedented in-ring success, and numerous movie and television appearances, Hogan’s character is emblazoned on the American psyche.
But what happened in his life this week was no act at all.
While wearing a cross necklace, Hogan professed his faith in Christ and was baptized, along with his wife Sky Daily, at Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, Florida, near where he grew up in Tampa.
“Total surrender and dedication to Jesus is the greatest day of my life,” Hogan wrote on X on Wednesday. “No worries, no hate, no judgment… only love!”
Total surrender and dedication to Jesus is the greatest day of my life. No worries, no hate, no judgment… only love! pic.twitter.com/gB43hTcLU6
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) December 20, 2023
The WWE Hall of Famer first tried his hand at professional wrestling in the late 1970s, and he rose to fame with the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) in the 1980s. Despite officially retiring in 2012, Hogan was still an active participant in various professional wrestling events as of this past January. Many wrestling historians credit Hogan as perhaps the most important figure in the growth of professional wrestling.
“You can’t possibly overrate his significance in the history of the business,” sports historian Dave Meltzer wrote on X three years ago. “And he sold more tickets to wrestling shows than any man who ever lived and I don’t expect anyone to ever sell more tickets than he did.”
Hogan, now 70 years old, says he accepted Christ at the age of 14. He’s been more vocal about his faith in recent years, telling TMZ in 2009 that Jesus “died on the cross and paid for my sins” and saying in 2015 that “the only thing that is really real is the stuff that’s gonna last forever: your faith and your belief in God and knowing that once you’re a Christian and you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, you’re not gonna perish but you’re gonna have everlasting life.”
He wrote on X this past April that he is “one with God.”
I accepted Christ as my savior at 14yrs old, and the training, prayers and vitamins kept me in the game but now that I am one with God,the main event theme of surrender,service and love makes me the Real Main Event that can slam any giant of any size through the power of my Lord… pic.twitter.com/SxcOJJwtRL
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) April 9, 2023
This past August, Hogan — while wearing a shirt with the famous Bible verse John 3:16 on it — shared with podcast host Joe Rogan that he was raised in church but strayed from faith as a young adult. Only in the last few years has God worked in his heart to show him the vanity of fame and to bring him back to Himself.
“As the years went by, I started seeing how things went,” Hogan said after quoting John 3:16 and claiming Jesus as his Lord and Savior. “It’s got me to the point now where I’m locked back in. … Everything else is a distant second to what happens around me.”
Hogan has been larger than life for millions of adoring fans for decades. Now, having put off his old self and having been raised to new life in baptism, he is in a position to point them all to the only One who can save.
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