Hulk Hogan did it.
On December 27, 1983, Hulk Hogan returned to the WWF after leaving the promotion in 1980. Hogan had upset Vince McMahon Sr. by filming a scene in "Rocky III," leading to him joining Verne Gagne and the American Wrestling Association. However, a phone call with Vince Jr. led Hogan back to the worldwide leader.
"I called Vince Jr, and he said, 'I'm getting ready to take over for my dad. I want you to fly into New York, and I want to talk to you about building my whole promotion around you and your character,'" recalled Hogan in an interview on The Steve Austin Show. "I said, 'I'm not flying to New York. If you want to talk to me, fly to Minnesota.' I didn't want to be seen at the airport with him so [my ex-wife] Linda goes to the airport, and I told her, 'He's going to be the guy who comes out with big puffed up shoulder pads and a pink or checkered suit.' She grabbed him off the plane, went to my house, we had a few drinks and about 4 or 5 in the morning, we shook hands for me to come back. What he said he wanted to do was go into all these territories, go in and draw some money, and slowly take over the whole United States and then internationally. I said, 'You're gonna sit in the Eifel Tower and I'm gonna go into Harley Race's backyard and Bill Watts' backyard. Sure, let's do it.'"
Many believe that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall jumping from WWF to WCW started the guaranteed contract revolution in pro wrestling. But not according to Hulk Hogan. Before Hall and Nash got guaranteed contracts in 1996, Hogan had one over a decade earlier.
"In 1983, I had a guaranteed contract," stated Hogan. "When I decided to leave Verne for Vince, I had a 10-year deal with a minimum guarantee. I had the first guaranteed contract. What lured me back [to WWE] was the fact that I was a mark. I love Madison Square Garden, and Vince said he was going to put the WWE Title on me. Now, I had figured out this babyface thing in Minnesota; I knew what it was like to look at the crowd and have them go crazy. I was ready. What brought me back was the opportunity to be the champion and have that one run through New York. I told [my ex-wife] Linda at the time, 'I just want to go back to New York for one year. One year and then we're done.' I was looking for one year, and it just took off."
Elsewhere on the podcast, Hogan revealed that he wanted to turn heel at WrestleMania VI following his loss to The Ultimate Warrior, but Vince McMahon nixed the idea. You can read his comments by clicking here.