Hulk Hogan Tried to Avoid Losing to The Rock at WrestleMania X8

Hulk Hogan was notorious during his pro wrestling career for his backstage politicking. While it led to "The Hulkster" becoming one of the biggest stars in the history of the industry, it also led to some infamous booking decisions such as the main event WrestleMania IX and various WCW events. Hogan finally returned to WWE in 2002 and was quickly put in a program with The Rock that would culminate at WrestleMania X8. The former world champion was still in his "Hollywood" NWO persona and was positioned as a heel throughout the angle, but the Toronto crowd famously cheered him on throughout his match with "The People's Champ." This resulted in him turning babyface shortly after and getting one last brief run as WWF Champion. 

But while their WrestleMania X8 match served as a generational "passing of the torch" from Hogan to Rock, "The Hulkster" tried to change things up at the last minute. According to former WWE head writer Brian Gewirtz via a new interview with Bill Simmons, Hogan tried to change up the booking on the day of the show so he'd be the winner. Hogan had already pinned Rock earlier that week in a handicap tag team match on Raw involving Steve Austin, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

"Hulk Hogan decided he didn't want to go over to The Rock. They were planning this whole thing. Hulk was going to lose and get over and it was gonna be great for The Rock. At the last second, Hulk was like, 'Eh, I don't know. I don't know if I'm going to do this,'" Gewirtz said. Obviously, that attempt didn't work as Rock won the match.

Brian Gewirtz Shoots Down Rumor About The Rock and WrestleMania 39

Gewirtz also talked in the interview about the speculation that Rock wouldn't be able to wrestle at WrestleMania 39 because he didn't have time to get in in-ring shape. He explained why there's no truth to that story.

"A source tells him [Dave Meltzer], 'The Rock is not going to make it to WrestleMania because he feels he doesn't have time to get into match shape.' I know that it is not the case. That is not the reason, whether it happens or doesn't happen, I know it's a line," Gewirtz said. 

"Then, it just took a life of its own where, all of a sudden, everyone reading it on the internet and Twitter takes it as fact, to the point where Roman goes on the Tonight Show and tells Jimmy Fallon, 'I understand Rock made a statement and doesn't have time to get into ring shape. I'm watching this like, 'What? What statement? Show me the statement. There is no statement.' This is a quote that some stooge reported to a wrestling insider newsletter and now it's written in granite and stone. That's the stuff that drives me nuts," he added.