Dear pro wrestling: who is your daddy, and what does he do?
You probably came to this thinking oh man, there are so many great dads they’re talk about. I mean, Ric Flair’s unwavering support of his daughter Charlotte is one of the most recent and examples for sure. Eddie Guerrero in that sometimes incredibly uncomfortable battle for custody of Rey Mysterio’s son Dominic. Dusty Rhodes simply existing.
But no. Dusty is still way too sad to write about, so I’ll go with the one that surprises people the most: Hulk Hogan. See, we’re talking kayfabe here, so don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost my mind. Back in 2012-13, we were balls deep in a torrid Brooke Hogan/Bully Ray love affair. This was maybe the peak of my enthrallment/stockholm syndrome, I guess you could say. This time period also had my favourite episode of Impact ever, for many (Joseph Park-related) reasons. Here’s what I wrote back then:
Pathosmania is running wild as Hulk responds to Sting’s assertions that this is silly, as Bully has proved reliable and steadfast in the past, for Sting, Hogan, and Brooke. Well, except for that time he pointed to a buttprint to prove that he wasn’t involved with Hogan’s daughter. But whatever. Hulk reveals that “the social media” has been telling him not to trust Bully Ray. It’s interesting – it’s almost as if, in this case, social media transcends a mere tally of hashtags and followers, and almost becomes the Iago to Hogan’s Othello. Obvious race and sexual implications aside, someone whispering and insinuating until they’re no longer an antagonist, but rather mirroring the protagonist’s deepest fears they weren’t even aware they had? When a physical adversary becomes the most dangerous and effective because they have transformed into your innermost thoughts? “And what’s he then, that says I play the villain, when this advice is free I give, and honest…?” Yeah…kinda sounds like the Internet to me.
Why yes, I did just compare an Impact segment between Hogan and Sting to Shakespeare, but you have to understand that as weird and mostly terrible as this angle was, it allowed Hulk Hogan to have these previously unheard of moments of vulnerability. Quiet moments where he seems genuinely torn between his daughters happiness and his distrust of Bully Ray. Wanting her to be with the person she loved, but not get chewed up and spit out by a business that removed almost all of his humanity, and destroyed countless numbers of his colleagues. Also, Spike Dudley was there. It was, quite honestly, some of the best work of Hogan’s career, and that’s saying something considering it involved the albatross that is Brooke Hogan.
So what say you? Who is your favourite Wrestling dad? Is it Ricky Steamboat? It should probably just be Ricky Steamboat. But okay, what about your favourite dad moment? Is it Brian Christopher shitting all over Jerry Lawler? Is it Shane McMahon buying WCW? Are you starting to think that pro wrestling has a lot more daddy issues than I ever admitted to my therapist? Tell us in the comments below!