Hogan and Rocky III

Hello, Scott. Longtime reader, et cetera…

There's little doubt Rocky III played a big part in putting Hulk Hogan and pro wrestling on the map for a wider audience. But just how much of an impact did it have?

1) If Hogan doesn't appear in Rocky, does he still become WWF world champion? Does he still become the face of pro wrestling?

2) If another upper-tier wrestler from that era (take your pick: Ric Flair, Harley Race, Billy Graham, maybe even Lawler?) had played the part of Thunderlips, does that person become a global celebrity and the face of pro wrestling in the 80s?

3) Imagine a world where Rocky III is never made. Does pro wrestling still go mainstream?
1.  Yes, but maybe not to the degree that the movie allowed?
2.  I don’t think so.  Hogan had a unique charisma that was perfect for the role.  
3.  Yes.  Although the world would be a much sadder place without Rocky III.