Professional wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan seemingly weighed in the Academy Award presentation smackdown, where actor Will Smith seemed to take exception to a joke told by host Chris Rock and slapped him.
“Strong ‘No SELL,’ by Chris,” Hogan said on Twitter with no further explanation.
Bleacher Report defines a “no sell” in wrestling as the act of not reacting to an opponent’s move.
“This could either be part of a gimmick or done as a sign of disrespect,” the sports site says.
Rock’s head swung back after he was struck Sunday, but he remained upright and clearheaded.
“Wow!” the funnyman immediately said. “Will Smith just smacked the s—t out of me.”
Hogan fans on Twitter largely believed the conflict between Smith and Rock was staged, perhaps to bolster ratings.
“If you slow mo and watch Wil’s (sic) footwork you will see his left foot hit the floor right at the second of impact,” one Hulkamaniac claimed. “That was a Corporal Kirschner [sic] no sell right there.”
Kirchner, who died in December, was a professional wrestler who reportedly served as an Army paratrooper.
Other Hogan followers suspected Smith worked himself into a “shoot,” which is defined as a scripted move designed to look as though it were real.
“No way that was the real deal,” said another skeptic.
One grappling fan suggested Smith had turned “heel,” which is, in wrestling lingo, to say a character became a villain. Others stated Hogan specialized in the “no sell” during his WWF career and can speak as an expert on the topic.
Smith, who won the best actor Academy Award, on Monday apologized for striking Rock.
“I was out of line and I was wrong,” the “Bad Boys” star said.
Rock has not commented on the incident and has so far declined to press charges against Smith. Rolling Stone reported the joke Rock made about Smith’s wife’s hair that sparked the incident was not part of an earlier rehearsal for the live show. Critics including radio personality Howard Stern have expressed surprise that Smith was allowed to return to his seat and remain in the theater after hitting the host on stage.
A Variety reporter cited an Academy Award insider in claiming the confrontation was not part of a show rehearsal and that “it was real.”
Hogan’s rep has not returned a request for comment.