Tour de Farce: Remembering the Hulkamania Tour in Australia

Brian Damage

There is no question that ‘Hulkamania’ is a recognizable name brand in the world of profession wrestling/sports entertainment. Hulk Hogan is one of the biggest names and draws in the wrestling industry’s history. Australia was and is a hot bed for pro wrestling. With all that said, what if you combined the two for a massive tour down under. In November of 2009, that is exactly what happened. You would think that the two forces together, would generate a huge financial success. You would be wrong.

I guess this whole tour idea started back in 2002…at that time….Hulk Hogan was still an active member of WWE’s roster. Hogan was enjoying a big nostalgic resurgence in popularity and was a big draw for the company. WWE had promoted a show in Melbourne, Australia called ‘Global Warning’ with Hulk being one of the big names announced for the show. The Global Warning event sold over 56,000 tickets that filled up Melbourne’s Colonial Stadium. A huge success for WWE, despite the fact that Hogan ultimately did not make the trip down there.

What the successful WWE show did, was entice an Australian promotions company called Condon Sports and Entertainment start thinking about potentially bringing a pro wrestling tour to the Land Down Under. By 2009, Hulk was a free agent and the Condon group reached out to his friend and business partner Eric Bischoff about the potential of having Hogan headline a wrestling tour of Australia. Hulk was broken down with various injuries at this point, but the allure of heading back into a wrestling ring and the big financial pay day attached with that, made Hogan agree to it. This would be Hogan’s first venture into Australia.

Hulk and Bischoff went to work formulating a roster of wrestlers not signed to WWE to join them on the tour which included names like Umaga, Mr. Anderson, Gangrel, Val Venis, Rikishi, The Nasty Boys, Brutus Beefcake, Jimmy Hart, Lacey Von Erich, Eugene and The Godfather. The first name that was approached to do the tour, however, was Ric Flair. Flair had retired from wrestling and was no longer contracted to WWE and Hulk wanted him to headline the tour. Flair agreed and the rest of the roster soon followed.

The actual tour was called ‘Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin’ and would hold events in several locations in Australia including Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. Hulk and his touring group were guaranteed money with half of it paid upfront and the other half held in escrow until the tour ended. Hulk, Bischoff and a select few friends of theirs were given first class flights and hotel accommodations. Before the tour began, Hulk Hogan went on a media blitz promoting the shows in interviews, showing up at Rugby games and having his face all over the various Australian cities.

Despite the tour being heavily promoted, each show averaged only 5,000 fans or less. Each show had different matches with the exception of the main events which were always Hogan versus Ric Flair. Eric Bischoff claimed that one of the biggest reasons the shows were a financial flop was because the Condon group overestimated the amount of fans willing to purchase tickets to the tour. They booked very large arenas that were hardly filled and very little merchandise to buy.

It was reported that there were plans to take the Hulkamania tour into Asia the next year if it did well…something Bischoff denied. Regardless, the tour was nowhere near a success and the money that was held in escrow was never paid to Hogan’s group. That in turn, led to a legal battle where the tour (which was taped) never aired on television and the DVD was never made available for fans to purchase.

5 thoughts on “Tour de Farce: Remembering the Hulkamania Tour in Australia

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