Hulk Hogan shocked the pro wrestling world when he announced a partnership with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling. Hogan, joined by former WCW executive Eric Bischoff made the announcement at Madison Square Garden. As Hogan makes his way to the Impact Zone, the official TNA death watch has begun.
TNA wrestling are really an unbelievable company. I have ranted against TNA and their booking for years. I will give them credit. TNA have been the only company since the demise of WCW and ECW to remain a national pro wrestling presence. That is no easy feat in this day and age of pro wrestling and the economy. Hey, even WCW blew through $80 million. At this point, TNA Wrestling has definitely defied the odds with their current existence.
[adinserter block=”1″]The biggest problem TNA has had in my opinion is there inability to create its own identity. TNA has its homegrown stars, yet they continue to rely on WWE and WCW retreads while failing to properly elevate and brand their own unique talent. There is nothing wrong with mixing a bit of older, familiar faces if the purpose is for these wrestlers to help pass the torch and give some of the younger stars some of their rub. That hasn’t happened, and trying to make heads or tails of the TNA roster will just frustrate you for days on end. Believe me, I have tried and I couldn’t tell you the faces from the heels if my life depended on it.
Enter Hulk Hogan. Some will say that TNA and Dixie Carter have made a deal with the devil himself. The Hogan deal is a peculiar deal on a lot of different levels. For one, there is no guarantee that Hogan will ever wrestle in TNA. Hogan hasn’t wrestled a match in years and has had countless surgeries and injuries since that time. Hogan has a match scheduled with Ric Flair in Australia and will tryout his body there. Having a watered down Hogan match in Australia with Ric Flair is one thing, but passing it off as a main-event for $40 to TNA Wrestling fans is a whole other story.
Hogan claims that he will be second from the top behind TNA Wrestling CEO Bob Carter himself. Let’s just assume for a moment this is true. This would be a complete disaster for TNA and could possibly kill the company. Hogan has a track record in WCW and it isn’t good. Hogan likes to hook his friends up with gigs and pushes who haven’t been relevant in 15 years. This is exactly what Hogan did in WCW. Remember the Dungeon of Doom and the Butcher? How is that going to fly in 2009 with TNA’s current audience? The TNA audience is small as it is, the last thing you want to do is disenfranchise them because they may never come back.
What does Hogan know about TNA Wrestling? Has Hogan watched even one episode of TNA Impact? Does Hogan even know who AJ Styles is? You are bringing a guy in to run a company who in all likelihood doesn’t even know who half of the talent is. Not too mention, Hogan’s philosophy is quite obvious and he likes to book big guys. Hogan isn’t putting himself or a main-event wrestler in the ring with AJ Styles or even Samoa Joe. That is just how the Hulkster thinks and his track record indicates this.
At 56 years old and broken down, there is only one reason to keep Hogan in the ring. Hogan needs to be there to introduce new fans to the product and the stars. Hogan isn’t getting back in the game for another run at the title (although it’s coming). In all of Hogan’s interviews he did all week, he barely mentioned TNA. In none of his interviews or press conference, did he mention one TNA wrestler. Think about the impact he could have had if he dropped some names, mentioned how tough they were, mentioned how competitive TNA wrestling is, etc. He did none of that, nor would I expect him to.
Don’t be fooled and think that Hogan is getting back in the wrestling game because he wants to give back to the business. The fact of the matter is that Hogan just went through a messy divorce. Hogan lost millions of his hard earned money. At 56, it is hard for anyone to start over. As a celebrity, Hogan will always have work. But nobody is going to pay him what he could make on a one-shot wrestling gig. It is a scary thing when you have a guy in charge of your company and your future that is only in it for immediate financial gain. I would hate to be in the shoes of the TNA stars right now.
It isn’t all bad for TNA Wrestling. The good that comes with Hogan is the mainstream press he will get you. Hogan is the most known pro wrestler of the last 30 years. TNA can bring Hogan into a meeting with an advertising or network executive and get themselves a lot of great deals. But pro wrestling fans really don’t care whether Coke or Pepsi are sponsoring Bound for Glory. The majority of TNA’s fans want good wrestling and they certainly won’t get it with Hogan.
I admire Dixie Carter’s ambitions with TNA Wrestling but she has proven to be in way over her head as a pro wrestling executive. First she put her faith in a writer that most blame for bankrupting an $80 million company with over 50 years of tradition. Now, she brings back the missing link to that same disaster. Like many other smart businesspeople that have gotten into wrestling, she has fallen for the same con she is trying to sell. It is truly amazing to me the amount of WCW mistakes that this woman has allowed TNA to repeat. All she has to do is talk to anyone who objectively watched WCW to get the story. Then again, as the saying goes “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”
There are already problems less than a week into the marriage. As it turns out, TNA Impact actually lost viewers at the end of their show last week when they showed a Hulk Hogan video. Impact’s rating was up and initially it was thought that Hogan gave the show a big boost. In the end, it was the product and not Hogan that bumped the number. It has to be a very disturbing sign to even Hogan’s biggest supporters when his first appearance actually tuned TNA fans out of the show.
It has also been revealed that Hogan will not appear in the “Impact Zone” until at least February. The rationale behind this is that Hogan wanted to wait for the football season to end. Allegedly, TNA officials are disappointed and want Hogan there much sooner. I think this is a very alarming piece of news. Why would Hogan need to wait until February to avoid the NFL? TNA Impact airs on Thursdays, and the NFL Thursday night games are over well before February. To me, there is something fishy here about this. I almost wonder if Hogan is just using TNA to promote his book and has no intention of appearing in TNA. It is also possible that Hogan is using this to leverage a juicy WrestleMania deal for next year. Until I see it, I just don’t believe that Hogan will ever step foot in a TNA ring.
[adinserter block=”2″]Don’t misunderstand me, I was a Hulkamaniac. I got the “Hogan Chill” as he entered the ring to do battle. I was also 10 years old at the time. I don’t mind an occasional Hogan appearance, and I think he’d actually make a great regular WWE Guest Host. However, I don’t want to see him in the ring every week, I wouldn’t pay $40 to see him wrestle on pay-per-view, and I most definitely have no interest in seeing his goofy friends from the 1980s back in wrestling. Unless this is all some kind of smokescreen, Hulk Hogan has dropped the leg on TNA Wrestling and quite honestly they deserve it.
Welcome in the new era of TNA Wrestling. Total Non-Stop Arthritic Wrestling!
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