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Cereal killer: Hulk Hogan goes cuckoo over Cocoa Pebbles ad

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Terry "the Hulk" Boulder debuts in Memphis in 1979. Comic-book-style lettering by Jerry Lawler.

Hulk Hogan can’t stay out of a courtroom nowadays. His latest foes: the dastardly trio of Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Bamm Bamm (not to be confused with a young Terry Gordy).

The Tampa Tribune is reporting that the Hulkster has filed a federal lawsuit against Post Cereal for using his likeness in a recent Cocoa Pepples commercial: The ad features a bulky, blonde mustachioed wrestler named Hulk Boulder going to mat and handily beating Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble — but losing to Barney’s brawny son, Bamm-Bamm. In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida, Hogan claims Post uses his image without his permission and degrades him by showing him “humiliated and cracked into pieces with broken teeth, with the closing banner, ‘Little Pieces…BIG TASTE!'” Hogan said he used the name Hulk Boulder early in his career before changing it at the suggestion of wrestling promoter Vince McMahon. Hogan voiced his objections to the ad with Post in August, but said the company continued airing “Cocoa Smashdown” ads, which Hogan claims have harmed him with “unauthorized and degrading depictions.”

Keep in mind that most of Hulk’s previous humiliating, degrading depictions have been completely authorized, so Hogan’s lawsuit shouldn’t be surprising, especially given the financial woes from his well-publicized divorce and the tragic car accident involving that douchebag son of his. The lawsuit also mentions Hulk’s line of microwavable cheeseburgers and energy drinks, so this could definitely cause great confusion to all Hulkamaniacs shopping at Wal-Marts throughout the universe, brother.

While Post’s biggest crime may be an incredible lack of originality, Hogan might have a case. That is, if the cereal company had in fact used the “Hulk” name; however, it sounds more like “Bulk Boulder” to me. (Besides, with the possible exception of some of his Japan matches, I’ve never seen Hogan move as fluid as Bulk in the ring…not even on “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling.”)

Regarding his old ring name, Terry “the Hulk” Boulder was introduced to Memphis fans in 1979 via a video reportedly shot at Jerry Jarrett’s house. (See clip below.) With the lights dimmed and the 24-inch pythons oiled, Bollea engaged in a version of the posing routine that would become a staple of his WWF act years later as announcer Michael St. John provided the voice-over. (St. John was the memorable voice behind the infamous Kimala and Apocalypse [Mike Boyette] videos shot in the mysterious jungle surrounding Jarrett’s sprawling estate.)

With Lou Ferrigno a huge star in 1979 as a result of the excellent “The Incredible Hulk” TV series on CBS, Jarrett’s suggestion that Bollea assume the moniker of the Marvel Comics character was an inspired decision. Hogan claims in his book (speaking of authorized degrading depictions) that Jarrett gave him “the Hulk” gimmick after the Memphis promoter saw him dwarf Ferrigno when the two appeared side by side on a local TV talk show. (And here I thought they called him the Hulk because he was so green.) Although Bollea’s story is certainly possible, as Ferrigno did make the local TV rounds to promote a personal appearance at Liberty Land amusement park in 1979, like anything else that Hogan claims, I’d take it with a grain of  Fuji’s salt. The problem with the story is that Boulder was immediately booked as the Hulk when he made his first Mid-South Coliseum appearance on May 14, 1979, as Lawler’s mystery wrestler to challenge the Stomper for the Southern title. (Keep in mind that Hogan also claims that Elvis Presley used to watch him wrestle in Memphis. While Presley was a fan and did occasionally attend the matches, it’s impossible that he ever saw the Hulk, as Elvis died in August 1977… almost two years before Terry Boulder debuted. Maybe Hulk meant Elvis was there in spirit.)

While Hulk lacks credibility in every aspect of his existence, there’s no denying that the Post cartoon character resembles Hogan, especially in his younger days (when he actually had hair). I’m thinking Post taps out and settles with Hulk before taking the financial equilvalent of a boot to the face, legdrop, 1, 2, 3.

Then again, maybe Hogan doesn’t even want a cash payoff. Those close to the Hulk claim that Hogan is still smarting from his sound defeat in 1984 at the hands of the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee–the original little Stinger–who refused to return the favor. Maybe he’ll be satisified if Bamm Bamm agrees to do a job in a return bout in a TNA ring a la the Ultimate Warrior in WCW. Now that’s ratings, brother.

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  1. Old School Sammy
    May 24th, 2010 at 15:08 | #1

    No way Hulk can win that suit—the wrestler in the commercial had a full head of hair….

  2. William Burnett – Little Rock
    May 25th, 2010 at 03:30 | #2

    I remember the original introduction of Terry “The Hulk” Boulder to Memphis TV.

    Does Jerry Jarrett also get credit for the original way the dark chest & stomach hair was shaved on the video ?? I always thought they ran out of razors after doing Terry’s arm pits.

  1. August 6th, 2010 at 08:05 | #1