Hulk Hogan‘s “Real American” theme song is iconic, and it’s one of the reasons he became incredibly popular in the ’80s. It just might be the most iconic theme song in wrestling history, but it wasn’t actually written for him. The story is relatively new, but some fans might actually be surprised to learn that someone else used “Real American” before Hulkamania ran wild on the WWF.
“Real American” was first used by Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham, aka the ‘US Express’, and the song would have stuck if they didn’t leave the company and go to the National Wrestling Alliance. Hogan was using Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” at the time, but Rotunda and Windham’s exit allowed him to pick up their theme, and effectively change wrestling history in the process. WrestleZone spoke with Mike Rotunda ahead of an appearance for ’80s Wrestling Con and he said the story comes up from time to time, and maybe in hindsight they should have stayed, but they were “young and dumb” when they left the company.
“It comes up every once in a while. I don’t know if everybody was aware of that but Barry and I were young and dumb and we left, and then Hulk ended up getting the song,” Rotunda said. “So it’s just the way stuff works out and sometimes you’re right in making a move and sometimes you’re not. We really should have stayed there and kept going, at least for longer than we did but it was like I said we were young and dumb.
Rotunda left WWE last year after being laid off as a producer and said besides the virtual signings he’s been doing, he has no plans to get back into the business on such a high level.
“I’m good right now. I spent actually about 36 years in the business between wrestling and producing, and it was getting harder and harder. I’ll be 63 in the end of the March coming up,” Rotunda noted, “so that was enough, and my wife luckily is a successful real estate broker down here in Florida. She’s busy right now and I’m enjoying being able to go fishing.”
Citing spending more time with his family and hobbies, Rotunda says he’s still staying busy and it’s exciting to see the demand for the different characters and teams he’s been part of over the years.
“I’m actually kinda busy doing these things right now, which is a good thing because I’m used to going and being busy,” Rotunda said, “so I’m keeping busy with this and then I still have a chance to go do what I want to do or spend time with my family or be able to go fishing when I want to do it’s pretty cool. I’m actually enjoying it.”
Check out our full interview with Mike Rotunda, aka IRS, below: