By Mike Mooneyham

July 2, 2006

Hulk Hogan’s Belleair, Fla., home is up for sale, and the asking price is a cool $25 million.

The 17,145-square-foot French-style mansion, which has five bedrooms and eight baths, is believed to be the most expensive home on the market on the west coast of Florida and, according to Forbes magazine, is the eighth most expensive home for sale in the South.

Hogan (Terry Bollea) and wife Linda recently moved to Miami Beach so the couple’s two children, Brooke, 18, and Nick, 15, can pursue music and acting careers, respectively. The family moved over the Memorial Day holiday to a new $12 million bayfront estate on Miami Beach’s North Bay Road.

Hogan, who still owns a more modest 3,500-square-foot house on Clearwater Beach, bought the Belleair property, which included an older, Spanish-style house, in 1992 for $2 million. He had the house torn down and spent the next four years building his dream home. The carpenters who made the custom doors, cabinets and other wood fixtures lived on site.

The home has seven fireplaces, 2.3-acre grounds overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, a guesthouse, swimming pool, waterfall and four-car garage.

Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan

The St. Petersburg Times reported that Hogan’s new house in Miami, where his “Hogan Knows Best” reality show will now be filmed, is modern and a striking difference from the Belleair home.

“I’ve got to downscale,’ Hogan told the Miami Herald recently. “We’ll head toward Miami like the Beverly Hillbillies.’

Hogan, 52, also has a home in Los Angeles that’s on the market for $5.9 million – “it’s right between Heather Locklear and Denise Richards”‘- and a Las Vegas penthouse.

– Grady Johnson, who entertained fans for several decades as the inimitable Crazy Luke Graham, passed away of heart failure June 23 in a Macon, Ga., hospital. Johnson, 66, was buried Monday in Lexington, Ga.

Johnson, who was born in Union Point, Ga., made his mark as part of one of the greatest families in wrestling history – The Grahams – along with Dr. Jerry Graham and the late Eddie Graham (Eddie Gossett). Johnson later teamed with yet another fictitious brother, Superstar Billy Graham, whose real name was Wayne Coleman.

“He was the original ‘crazy’ guy. It wasn’t really a gimmick,” Luke Graham Jr., his wrestling son, told the SLAM Wrestling Web site. “The best gimmicks are those that are pretty close to the real thing. If you really knew him, you know he jumped out of his skin if the phone rang and he was near it. He was the world’s biggest ribber. What you saw in the ring was Luke Graham.”

Johnson teamed with the late Tarzan Tyler (Camille Tourville) in 1971 to win the first-ever WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation) tag-team championship, and held a slew of titles during his illustrious career.

A number of wrestlers impersonated the maniacal-looking, wild-eyed bleached blond, including “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, who used the taped thumb as an effective gimmick for years.

“He never had anything but appreciation for those who did those things,” Luke Jr. told SLAM. “When he read in an interview a couple of years ago that Ernie said he had picked up the taped thumb from it, his chest swelled a little, to be honest. He was a proud man, but his ego was never overinflated.”

Johnson returned home to the Athens area following his career and had lived in Milledgeville for the past year.

– Independent wrestling star Tiger Khan (Marlon Kalkaki) passed away recently in California. He was believed to be in his mid-30s.

– WWE abruptly dropped the imposter Kane character 24 hours after the original version did the job to his counterpart at the Vengeance pay-per-view.

The role of fake Kane was played by Deep South Westling performer Freakin’ Deacon (Drew Hankinson).

Hankinson, who began his career in the Pennsylvania and Maryland-based National Wrestling League, wrestling as Dorian Deville, was signed to a WWE contract in April 2005 and assigned to the Deep Souths developmental territory, where he formed a partnership with Palmer Cannon. Hankinson wrestled in DSW as Deacon Deville before changing his ring name to Freakin’ Deacon.

– Kurt Angle, who has done more than his fair share of jobs lately, is planning to take some much-needed time off to heal.

– Dusty Rhodes’ youngest son, Cody, is training in Ohio Valley Wrestling.

– A pair of third-generation wrestlers, Michael and Teddy DiBiase Jr., also are training under the auspices of Harley Race’s Missouri-based World League Wrestling. The two, whom dad Ted DiBiase once claimed were forbidden to watch WWE television because of the content, have their aims set for New York and a likely future storyline with the former “Million Dollar Man,” who now serves as a company road agent.

The two are scheduled to make their tag-team debut July 8 at a WLW show in Eldon, Mo.

– Rob Van Dam vs. Edge, with both belts at stake, will headline Tuesday night’s ECW show.

– George’s Sports Bar, 1300 Savannah Highway, will air the “UFC 61: Bitter Rivals” pay-per-view at 10 p.m. July 8. Main events are Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski and Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock. Cover charge is $10.