It wasn’t Bobby “The Brain” Heenan or King Kong Bundy or “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Not even the nWo Wolf Pack could get the job done.

On national television last night, Hollywood (Hulk) Hogan himself killed Hulkamania.

As a guest on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) announced he’s leaving his days as a professional wrestler behind to pursue the American presidency.

“I had to come to the crossroads here. I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to do in wrestling. My family is secure. I’ve had a great career. I wanted to come on your show tonight and officially announce my retirement,” Hogan told host Jay Leno, whom he wrestled previously this year at WCW’s Road Wild pay-per-view.

Praising World Championship Wrestling and Ted Turner for all they had done for him, Hogan said he owed his loyal fans an explanation and chose the Tonight Show as the perfect place to make his intentions public.

“All good things must come to an end. I had a great career. The fans have been great. I love you guys and thanks for sticking with me. And this really helps me segue into being the next president of the United States,” Hogan commented opening the door for Leno to pose some serious questions relating to the legitimacy of his political aspirations.

When asked if his retirement was indeed final, Hogan – like a true politician – avoided giving a straight answer saying he’d still wrestle his wife and that the hair transplant he and Leno joked about earlier wouldn’t be ready in time.

Hogan referred to ex-wrestler / commentator Jesse Ventura’s victory in Minnesota as his inspiration. Hogan believes his business dealings as a pro wrestler have groomed him well for the hard decisions a president must make on a daily basis. If elected, Hogan would put America’s interests first.

“So who would be your running mate? Would you have Professor Tanaka or somebody?,” joked Leno snaring guffaws from the studio audience.

Hogan replied that he’s still contacting political parties outside the mainstream and would choose his running mate in the next few weeks.

The nine-time World Heavyweight Champion is looking forward to hopefully running against former World Wrestling Federation stablemate Ventura in the near future.

“Well, I’d love to run against Jesse because that would be like really easy pickings. I mean, everything that I’ve ever done against Jesse I’ve always won. So, that would be a lot of fun just to beat him one more time,” said Hogan who is scheduled to grace the cover of TV Guide next week.

“Would you be willing to challenge Hussein to a steel cage death match in some neutral territory like the Bahamas?,” asked Leno sarcastically.

“If it could save one American life…I’d fight him till I die,” said the former leader of WCW’s New World Order wrestling gang.

Hogan: The Candidate

On the Clinton – Lewinsky scandal…

  • “I wouldn’t make that mistake.”

    On his political opponents digging up his past…

  • “It’s pretty much all in the open with me. We all make mistakes. Thank God we learn from our mistakes. But that’s what’s so great about me. I’m beyond this mid-life crisis that Clinton is going through right now. I’m modest and I’m humble. I’d love to sleep in Abe Lincoln’s bed.”

    Is he a Democrat or Republican?

  • “I think I’m right in the middle.”
  • “Everything across the board has got to be for America.”

    Hogan’s stand on taxes?

  • “A flat tax, brother.”
  • “It would be good for everybody. There’d be enough money to pay all of our debts.”
  • “Sixteen percent but don’t hold me to that.”

    On Iraq and Saddam Hussein….

  • “You know, I look at this thing as a big mistake. It’s kinda like when you’re in the ring and you’re wrestling, there’s no substitute for victory. I feel the first time we sent our men and women, the equipment, all the money, the fuel…we shoulda taken the brother out the first time.”