Review Of Hogan’s Beach & The Epiphany I Received

I went on vacation last week for a multitude of reasons. Mainly, it was the last week for me before my fall schedule started and I haven’t gone away for about two years. I lived the same routine for over a year. Every day ran into each other. It become one old and stale. It was like reading the same chapter of a good book over and over again. After awhile that chapter, no matter how good it is, gets boring. You know what is going to happen with each page flip. I felt like that. I got away for a week and I really opened my eyes into the world of wrestling while I was gone. I cleared my head and I am starting to enjoy wrestling again. It’s not about the shorts a superstar is wearing. It’s about being entertained. After all, that is why people are watching. At any rate, I went to Hulk Hogan‘s restaurant. It’s called Hogan’s Beach. Not only will I give you a review of the restaurant and my experience, but I will certainly tell you how it has really changed the wrestling side of me.

The Review:

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Hogan’s Beach sits pretty much right in the heart of Tampa, Florida. If anyone is familiar with that area, it is located right before the bridge to go to Clearwater, Florida. Going there was a pain because we traveled from Orlando, but we made it. One negative I do have to say, which may be quite important business wise, the restaurant is hidden. We passed it right up. Sure, there’s a sign in the front, but it’s right off the ground. Trees surround the front of it. It’s easily missable. Get some flashy lights and a bigger sign and it will attract people for sure! Anyway, we walk to the front of the restaurant and I quickly notice two things. First, there’s an overhead roof for cars to drop off their special someone. We all seen these in movies where the characters go to these fancy restaurants. That can certainly be a plus for this place for any major star that comes. Second, and most importantly, the restaurant is attached to a hotel. I always thought it was a stand alone place. It’s not. I do have to say that it is a good business decision. Before slamming it, let me explain. Not only will Hogan get wrestling and non-wrestling tourists, but he easily has access to all of the people who stay in that hotel. It’s clever. It’s easy access. It’s free money. My anticipation is killing me at this point. I have to step inside the doors. I open said door and grace my presence. Long behold I was in my wrestling dream!

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It didn’t matter where I looked. I could look to the right, to the left, and in front of me and I saw history. Yes, I could have looked behind me, but there’s no chance I would even turn around at this point. In front of me lies a wide hallway that has posters on each side. These posters represent history. They represent Hulk Hogan. They represent the biggest name in professional wrestling history. These posters range from photo shoots he did with WWF, WWE, WCW and movie posters. I went to each one and stared. I felt like I was going back in time. I felt like I was going to Hogan’s time. When you walk a little further, you reach a four way interaction. Each side has a little hallway for the restrooms. These hallways were also graced with posters.

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Continuing forward, you will reach 2 glass cases. One on each side. On the right had 10 shelves (5 high) showcasing championship belts. These belts ranged from the old WWF Intercontinental Title to the Undisputed WWE Title to the TNA World Title to the Winged Eagle WWF Championship Title to even the WWF Tag Team Titles. They were the real deal. Seeing titles on television are great, but in person is a whole different experience. Getting up close and personal with it changes your whole idea on titles. Back in the day, these titles meant something. The stars who wore them were considered “The Best” at that particular time. The left glass case had hundreds, if not thousands, of Hulk Hogan merchandise. It was awe-inspiring. It was out of this world. It really showed the magnitude of Hulk Hogan. Seeing that case makes you understand who Hulk Hogan really is! The hall continued to show a few more posters. The end, but the entrance to the restaurant, had a statue of Hulk Hogan on the left while the right had a television playing “Hulk Hogan’s Ultimate Anthology”. Above had the logo for “Hogan’s Beach”.

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We stepped forward and entered. After being seated, I realized the history is not over. The room itself even had posters. Above, where the wall meets the ceiling, had titles from WWE and TNA. The room itself had Hogan’s classic red and yellow colors. The chairs were splashed with red and black. They certainly popped. You wanted to sit down and never get up. The seating in the place is huge, so you will never be disappointed no matter where you sit. We received our food, and while the meals can get quite pricey, it quite possibly could be worth it. I went with my grandparents. They have 70+ years of food tasting and they raved about the meal after eating the last crumb. The restaurant also features a sushi bar, a regular bar with televisions across for viewing, and a huge patio in the back. The patio has more seats. Walk down the stairs and you are literally right on Hogan’s Beach. He has jet skis waiting for you to jump on. To the right of the patio there are two beach volley ball courts. To the left of that is another bar to get your favorite drinks. To the right of the courts is a DJ booth so you can rock to your favorite music.

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The atmosphere inside and outside the restaurant was great. There’s always something to look at while you wait for your scrumptious food. After you eat, you can enjoy a ride on the jet ski or just a nice walk on the beach while the waves splash on your feet. If you want a little more action, try the volleyball courts. There’s something for everyone. You can stay there for hours.

While I was there, Jimmy Hart entered the building. Jimmy, The Mouth from the South. We all know Jimmy and his huge megaphone. I met Mr. Hart and shot the breeze with him. He isn’t a stranger to the place as he comes in frequently. In fact, he may be there more than Hulk! I later found Jimmy on the volleyball courts making sure they are all nice and tidy. And yes, he was getting a sun tan while doing so.

If you are a wrestling fanatic, you must go! You won’t be disappointed. If you want good food and are in the area, try Hogan’s Beach. It doesn’t matter if you know Hogan or don’t. It doesn’t matter if you like him or you don’t like him. It’s a place enriched with history. It also features fantastic food and entertainment. You may even see Jimmy Hart! Try this place. I certainly would go back!

The Epiphany

I have to be perfectly frank with all of you. I wasn’t a wrestling fan in the 1980s. In fact, I wasn’t even born yet. However, that doesn’t stop me to know what the wrestling business was like back then. I only started watching wrestling in the late 90s and watched it fully in the early 2000s. As the wrestling business grew, I grew. I been writing wrestling articles, shows, and news since 2008. You can never fully learn everything in this business; however, it makes me want to know even more. It’s a never ending path. It’s like walking through a tunnel and you see the light at the end. You know it’s coming, but no matter how fast or far you do walk, you never reach it. Fortunately, you become knowledgeable with each step.

Throughout my life and career in the wrestling business, there are moments that stick out to me more than others. It’s like when a young wrestling fan goes to their first live wrestling show. They remember that show for the longest time… or even forever. Covering wrestling for years, I remember the major stories I broke in regards to TNA Wrestling, the news I had to cover on WrestlingNewsWorld.com like Jerry Lawyer, and the superstars I was able to interview. While each of these touched me different ways, the experience with Hogan’s Beach was quite different. For me, it was about remembrance. It was about history. It was about respect. The trip to Hogan’s Beach was eye opening.

Hulk Hogan is the most recognizable name in professional wrestling history. That is certainly a fact. Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has had a life that many people dream of… and many people have nightmares about. Terry portrayed the ultimate superhero character Hulk Hogan who told every single person in the 80s to eat their vitamins, say their prayers, and to train. Moving forward to 2007 and Hogan was going through a massive divorce that left his life in shambles. Where can you even go after that? Gratefully, Hulk picked his head up and changed his life around. Back in 2007, I wore a “Hulk-a-Mania” shirt and someone commented on Hogan’s divorce situation. He said it looked like “The Hogan” family was perfect. It seemed like there wasn’t a flaw. That was truly not the case.

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As I stated earlier, I was not there for the wrestling boom in the 80s, but that doesn’t stop me from learning and studying about it. Easily put, Hogan was the most talked about name in the business. He continued the discussion in the 90s and even in the 00s and 10s! Many people criticize Hogan for what he he has done and gone through for the past 5 to 6 years. Everyone has their opinion, but, sadly, these opinions are wrapped up through other people’s views. It’s easy to form an opinion on a subject from a one sided media source. There’s no other viewpoint. Someone takes a shot at Hogan and others follow either because they think it is right or the “cool” thing to do. On the contrary, these people either forget the past, forget what is right, or even have no idea or knowledge of the past. I am not a big supporter of history class, but knowing history can only help you in the future!

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Whether people like him or don’t like him… whether people love Hogan or hate him… people have to respect him. Walking through that wide hallway at Hogan’s Beach made me realize something. It made me realize how important Hulk Hogan truly is. It made me acknowledge the great name… the Hulk Hogan name. At one point, Hogan was THE GUY! Everyone wanted him. They wanted him in their movie or their television show. They wanted him on their cereal box or they wanted him on their magazine. Hogan’s name appeared everywhere! Talk about the merchandise! His name and face was on clocks, lunch boxes, water bottles, coffee mugs, toy cars, sweat bands, the thousands of action figures, and even Hogan approved vitamins! There was even a Hogan arcade game! What about all of the movies? While Rocky III comes to everyone’s mind, what about Mr. Nanny? Do you think VH1 would have ever done Hogan’s Knows Best if Hogan’s name wasn’t a draw?

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Seeing all of the posters, all of the titles, and all of the merchandise made me realize what Hulk Hogan did for me and for everyone! Terry spent over half his life in the wrestling business. He started training around 1977. He went on to become the name Hulk Hogan and never looked back. He went city after city wrestling for his fans. He wrestled night after night. He had to live in his car. He barely seen his family. He could have walked away from it all, but he stayed and preformed and entertained millions of people watching. He held the WWF Title for 4 years! He has been part of the biggest matches and moments in wrestling history. It doesn’t matter if he is a heel or a babyface. He was talked about. He was the person leading the way.

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Realizing the dozens of posters and the thousands of Hogan merchandise makes me realize that Hulk Hogan was more than a name. It was a brand. More importantly, it was something to live by. Forget all of the negative for a minute. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone does actions that they regret. That’s part of life. There’s no way that anyone can forget what Terry has given up for us. He gave up half his life to entertain us. He couldn’t see his family or life in his house or even sleep in his own bed because he was on the road. Hulk Hogan gave his blood, sweat, and tears for the wrestling business. Hulk Hogan may be a fictional wrestling character but it was real and true to every “Hulk-a-maniac”! It was a lifestyle. It was to be successful. Everyone wanted Hogan from an indoor grill to commercials. Hulk Hogan is the most recognizable name in professional wrestling history for a reason. He out sold and out entertained everyone else. There’s a reason why 93,000 people watched him fight Andre the Giant. There’s a reason why 33 million people watched his title defense against Andre on Saturday Night’s Main Event. There will forever be one name that lives on with the wrestling business… one name we will never forget… and that name is Hulk Hogan. Thanks Hulk Hogan/Terry Bollea for everything!

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  • http://lindoquetzal.com/ 1Risky1

    very nice article I remember how WWF was back in the 80s with Hulkamania running wild , Its very true that Hogan like him or not deserves respect, I think the people that don't like him don't know much about him like you say

  • Steven kelly

    Pure n simple hogan is the man his ideas may suck at times but at least hes trying to think outside of the box and that cant be said for the creative at some other promotions

  • Ada

    Alex,that is a very fine article. You covered everything..I agree with all you said…Not interested in Wrestling but reading your article I have better knowledge and appreciation and understanding of the wrestling world . Thank You Alex. Your gram.

  • Dominic

    very nice article

  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best Chris

    Alex, I have to say. For an article that isn't about TNA or WWE or a particular wrestling angle or show, this article is great. It is very informative and was fun to read. I had never heard anything about Hogan's Beach before except that he had a restaurant. I would actually go so far to say that it was a refreshing break to read something that was different from the normal wrestling article but still about wrestling in general. Love the pictures and reading about the experience.

    Since you told us a little about yourself, I will say that I am probably just a little older than you. I am 21 years old and have been watching wrestling for 9-10 years. Since then, I have watched very much of WCW and WWF, especially from the late 90s since that was about the only time that was interesting. Before then, it seemed stale and cartoonish.

    Hulk Hogan is the most recognizable name in the wrestling industry. Anyone, even people who have never watched wrestling before, know the name Hulk Hogan. The same cannot be said about Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Stone Cold, Ultimate Warrior, or Andre the Giant. The Hulk Hogan character has just skyrocketed to heights that no one would have thought. Hogan is still, if not the most talked about in the business, one of the most talked about and polarizing figures.

    Now, onto the part where I saw that I disagree with you about. I was surprised that this comment was made.

    "Everyone has their opinion, but, sadly, these opinions are wrapped up through other people’s views. It’s easy to form an opinion on a subject from a one sided media source. There’s no other viewpoint. Someone takes a shot at Hogan and others follow either because they think it is right or the “cool” thing to do."

    The part that i disagree with you (and it's not only you) is that everyone who does not like what HH does in TNA, they are a follower. I have been against Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan in TNA since early 2011. TNA was much better in 2009 when it looked like it was rolling with Jeff Jarrett in charge. At the top of the food chain were AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe. Just please tell me one thing… how is every person that disagrees with you about Hulk Hogan being good for TNA a follower of someone else's view? No one else's view influenced my own and I have held firm to my view over the years.

  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best Chris

    "On the contrary, these people either forget the past, forget what is right, or even have no idea or knowledge of the past."

    I realize that Hulk Hogan is the biggest phenomenon in wrestling industry to this date. What he has done for the business is incredible. Hulk Hogan as a wrestler in the 1980s, 90s, and 200s was fun to watch. The hype was amazing. That being said, what he did in the past and his impact as a wrestler has nothing to do with his on-air character today. Let me get this straight, we are supposed to love everything that Hogan does in TNA because he was a legend as a wrestler?

    The thing about Hogan in TNA that people do not like is the fact that you keep bringing up: the past. He is from the 80s and 90s and 2000s. He is 60 years old and involved in almost every storyline. When he is on TNA, it is like he is everywhere. You seem him in the ring, then you see him in a backstage segment of a different storyline. It makes no sense.

    Now, I do realize that too much blame might be put on Hogan. Some should be put on Bischoff. Maybe most should be put on Bischoff for the creative decisions. On the MMA hour, Paul Heyman said that everyone over 40 years old would be fired. He also said that during the TNA Impact, legends such as Ric Flair and Tommy Dreamer would hype up the whole night for Motor City Machine Guns vs Beer Money. (This was in 2010) In short, Heyman, like double J, would put the young exciting guys at the top. Those are the ones that he would promote.

    With Heyman in charge, there would be no more legends. By legends, I am speaking of Angle, Sting, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Daniels, Hulk Hogan, Bully Ray, and eventually Abyss (39 years old). All of these that I have mentioned are called legends for good reason. They have done very much for the company but that's the thing with Hogan. We don't want to see wrestlers who were at their prime ten years ago, we want to get wrestlers who are just coming into their prime.

  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best Chris

    With Bischoff and Hogan, the recruiting process has been poor. They have let go of Amazing Red, Generation Me, and Desmond Wolfe. Here comes the Gut Check segment where we have seen wrestler after wrestler come in to the spot light for a few minutes to hardly be seen of again. Sam Shaw, Alex Silva, Crimson, Joey Ryan, Taeler Hendrix, Christian York, Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff, Jay Bradley, Adam Pearce, and Magno have all come from Gut Check.

    This list is sad. We barely saw anything from Shaw or Silva. Crimson had an impact with being undefeated for so long but then was taken off air and used as a joke when he came back. Joey Ryan was in the sleazy role that looked like a good role for him but everyone knew wouldn't last long. Taeler Hendrix is the most surprising one for me. She really stood out but was shockingly cut. Christian York had an edgy rock and roll character but his wrestling wasn't up to par. Brisco and Bischoff… why are they even on TV besides a last name? They have done very little except cash checks and earn a living off of just showing up. Jay Bradley looks interesting with his boomstick and has a good character. He might be a good fit. I still think that the Pearce/Magno match was sloppy with many botches but the two are great wrestlers and I'd like to see them at least one more time.

    Now, after that long list of Gut Check contestants, lets think of how Paul Heyman would recruit. I truly think that he would recruit phenomenal stars from indies and across the world. Before Jericho went to ECW and WWF, he was in ECW. Before Rey Mysterio went to WCW, ECW recruited him from AAA. Before the WWF landed Stone Cold, ECW got him from WCW. Before Juventud Gerrera went to WCW, he was in ECW. Before Eddie Guerrero landed in WCW, he was in ECW. ECW brought in one of the most underrated stars from WCW Jerry Lynn. One of the best luchadors Psicosis was in ECW before WCW. What about WWE's biggest comeback star today Rob Van Dam? Lance Storm, Rhino, Super Crazy, Sabu, the list goes on and on. IF you disagree with me on everything else, you have to agree with me on this. Paul Heyman and ECW had an eye for talent.

  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best Chris

    As all wrestling fans would agree, TNA is today's WCW (it's very much like it, more so than any other wrestling show) and ROH is today's ECW. ROH is very much alike ECW. Just think of the great talent today that Paul Heyman could recruit if he had total control in TNA. There is great young talent in Ring of Honor that I am sure he would pick up. He might get a few from other promotions, I am sure of it, like AAA and CMLL. He might even get a few from WWE. Also, what kind of madness would Heyman do with a Jeff Hardy? A Samoa Joe? AJ Styles? Robert Roode? Frankie Kazarian? Heyman would have a heyday!

    More and more as time goes on, we have seen that Bischoff and Hogan try to replicate what happened in the past. They are looking behind them and trying to make today like it was back then. Paul Heyman is a visionary. He would look into the future and try to recruit stars and make the focus of the company on the stars of the future. If you are looking behind, you will get lost. When Bischoff and Hogan have been in charge, they have been holding onto the legends star power to get them by because that is what worked in the past in the late 90s.

    Today is a different age. When Bischoff and Hogan came in at Genesis 2010, they tore down everything that made TNA what it was in their promo. It was heartbreaking. The "saviors" of TNA were going to take this bad company that can't do a lick of good and take them to the top. No more six sided ring. Now, we are going to be a legitimate threat to the WWE and go all the way to the top. Now it is late August of 2013. We have seen where the Hogan and Bischoff reign has gotten us. The ratings have been worse than back in 2009. At best, they are just as good as they used to be. They have had over three years and I don't see a big improvement.

    I am sure that now the pro-Hogans are going to come out and say, "What about the production value? What about going on the road?" True, the production is better. They are on the road. What you are missing is the assumption you make that TNA would have never went on the road if it wasn't for Hogan and Bischoff. What you are assuming is that TNA would still be exactly like it was in 2009 if Hogan and Bischoff didn't come along. It is ridiculous. If they wouldn't have come along, surely TNA would have improved. I doubt they would still be in the IMPACT Zone and who says the production wouldn't be great?

    Hogan and Bischoff have done a few things right. I am certaintly not saying that WWE or ROH is better than TNA. TNA Wrestling is still my favorite show and still the show that I support 100%. You do not have to be a Bischoff and Hogan lover and love everything that they do in TNA to love TNA. It is like football. Jets faithful love the Jets. I am a Dolphins fan and even though Jets are a rival, I feel for you. I'd be really tired of Sanchez too. When your a football fan, you don't have to agree with who the quarterback is, who the general manager is, or who your team decides to draft. So why do wrestling fans get attacked if they criticize something about a wrestling show they love? There isn't any difference.

    We do know wrestling history. We do know about Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and how big they have been in the wrestling industry. Knowledge of the past does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with everything that is going on in the present. It is time for a change in TNA Wrestling.

  • Linda Partington

    Great review of Hogan's Beach Restaurant, Alex. It made me want to go there NOW! One day I am sure I will go there to see it for myself and hopefully meet Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart! Hogan is the name of wrestling no matter what anyone else thinks! He has sacrificed everything to get where he is today. He is a true inspiration to generations of fans. Others may hate him for still being in TNA despite not being able to wrestle anymore. It sounds hollow compared to Hulk's contribution to the wrestling industry! They need to grow up and read the history of wrestling and then they will see how great Hulk Hogan really is!

  • http://watchsleepyhollowonline.com Mia

    @Linda Partington, Same here sis! It made me want to go there NOW! hahaha lol