Toronto Mayor Rob Ford defeats Hulk Hogan in friendly arm-wrestling match
TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford rolled up his sleeves and got down to work — defeating his childhood hero Hulk Hogan in a friendly arm-wrestling match.
The light-hearted blend of staged events — part wrestling bravado, part media photo opportunity — was held in a downtown Toronto hotel Friday to help kick off Fan Expo.
Walking into the room to the tune of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Ford wasted no time getting on stage, taking off his suit jacket and tie, rolling up his sleeves and untucking his shirt.
Hogan, perhaps more appropriately attired for arm wrestling in a red T-shirt and a trademark bandana, made a show of also rolling up a short sleeve before the two settled into their left-handed match.
The 14-time world wrestling champion's biceps bulged as he started in on the smack talk.
"Oh, big man, oh that's all you got, huh," Hogan shouted.
"Oh brother, you know something? Not only am I going to rip this arm off, I'm going to take your job while I'm at it, brother. Mayor Hogan."
The mayor, with a wide grin on his face, clasped the edge of the table with his right hand and delivered his own line before leaping up from the table in victory.
"I own this town, man," Ford yelled.
The golden-haired wrestling superstar proclaimed the 30-second match, without a trace of irony, to be "a setup."
Hogan later suggested Ford had missed his true calling, and came up with a wrestling name for the mayor: "The Fantastic Ford."
The wrestler-turned reality TV star was in Toronto to hold an "uncensored" question-and-answer session at Fan Expo later in the evening.
Hogan, who Ford said Thursday has been one of his heroes since childhood, raised Ford's arm in triumph and pointed at the mayor, mugging for the dozens of cameras.
The publicity stunt offered a reprieve to the controversial mayor, who in recent months has been dogged by allegations of drug use.
The Toronto Star and U.S.-based website Gawker reported in May that reporters had seen an alleged video of Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. Ford has denied using cocaine and has said the alleged video doesn't exist.
As Hogan left the hotel Friday, a man shouted questions at the wrestler about the alleged "crack tape." Hogan didn't respond, but instead gamely played up his defeat.
"I may have to go straight to the hospital after that," he said, clutching his shoulder for effect. "He's got a good arm on him."
The mayor later revealed his "winning" strategy.
"I never back down and I never will," Ford said, adding a technical pointer. "It's all in the wrist."
Hogan is a really nice guy, Ford said, but the legendary wrestler is still an intimidating presence.
"He's a pretty burly guy, let me tell you," the mayor said. "He's got arms the size of my legs."
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, also met Ford's brother, Doug, a Toronto city councillor, and said he thought they were twins.
"I didn't know who was who," Hogan said. "I thought I was going to get sneak attacked."