Hogan started his big run as a pure American hero, waving a flag as he kicked the shit out of the Iron Sheik for his first world title. The first thrill of Hulkamania coincided with the giddy height of Reaganism, on the eve of the 1984 election, and this was no accident. Hulk was presented as a sort of revanchist ideal of American masculinity, beefy and resurgent. His enemies were either evil foreigners or all-American fat guys you just knew weren’t working for a living, the slugs. That is, basically, the same enemies Reagan was fighting, with the exception that Hogan didn’t fight women, too. Even he wasn’t that mean.
It is glib but true to say the times called for both men. We were ready to be lied to. Carter, with his dour exhortations to dress warmly, dream responsibly, and prepare for a slight global retreat, rankled a nation that wanted to feel strong. We craved flattering deception—we still do—and were ready to embrace a charismatic liar. Hogan did it better than anyone in those heady days of 1984.
– Ian Williams, “Hulk Hogan, All-American Liar“
This is an amazing retrospective that really hits even harder than it did when it was initially published.