Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair will be going for a brisk walk inside of the TNA Impact Zone on the next Monday Night War. Hogan will team with Abyss and Flair will team with TNA champion A.J. Styles in the scheduled TNA Monday night main-event against WWE RAW. This will be Hogan’s first match on U.S. soil since 2007 and Flair’s since his “retirement” at WWE WrestleMania 24 in 2008.
It is really hard to tell at this point whether this will be a good or a bad thing for TNA Wrestling. The interest in Hogan was definitely there when TNA went head to head back on January 4. But, it will have been three months of Hogan in TNA by the time this match comes around. Many TNA fans are already complaining about too much Hogan on the broadcasts. This is the kind of a match that could just easily blow up in the faces of TNA as it could win them the quarter hour in the ratings.
[adinserter block=”1″]Much to Ric Flair’s “dismay”, he will be returning to the ring in the United States for the first-time since his WrestleMania 24 loss to Shawn Michaels. I say dismay, because Flair recently used the same word when asked about coming back to the ring for TNA Wrestling. I found the quote both hilarious and sad at the same time. Unless Eric Bischoff and Dixie Carter are holding a gun to Flair’s head, I don’t see what is so begrudging about the match. Especially since Flair has been talking about his desire to come back and wrestle almost immediately after losing to Michaels.
Even in his late fifties, the WWE Universe always seemed to get a thrill out of seeing Flair wrestle. He was able to pull it off well up until his final WWE run. It was there that he really showed his age in my opinion and the quickness and reflexes just weren’t there. It was really the first time that I ever watched Flair where it just didn’t look right. It didn’t look right for anyone other than a WWE Diva to be selling for Flair inside of the ring. For the first-time in his career, Flair made the younger stars looked badly for having to sell moves for a guy that was old enough to be their grandpa.
Hogan and Flair gave this a test run last year with an Australian tour. The two wrestled a series of matches in Australia that were received as well as you’d expect. Most fans reported that they were thrilled to see the two stars live and in person. However, most reports indicated that their matches were not very good, with some reporting that Hogan barely bumped at all. Due to various surgeries and injuries, Hogan reportedly cannot even do his signature leg drop anymore. In my opinion, this is a match better left for an international tour than one of the most important nights in company history.
[adinserter block=”2″]Just as much as the potential is there for Hogan and Flair to steal some WWE fans and pop a big rating, there is just as much potential for this to be a major embarrassment. Beyond the match quality, this has serious potential to be a ratings nightmare. Depending upon what the WWE counters with during that quarter hour, the TNA Impact rating could take a major hit. There would be nothing more disappointing and humiliating in my opinion than seeing the TNA rating take a major drop during the match. TNA can recover from a bad quarter hour, but it will take a while to shake that kind of hit from the legacies of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair.
At this point, you have to give the match the benefit of the doubt. I hate judging a match before I have even seen it. Yet I have seen their Australian match and if this one is anything like it, most fans are going to be disappointed. The WWE could really show these guys up by putting on a fast-paced, athletic match at the same time this match airs on TNA. I also think there is something sad about seeing these two guys, especially Flair who had such an elaborate retirement match and ceremony. I can’t imagine that Flair’s idea of returning to the ring was coming back to wrestle in front of 1,300 fans. Unless these guys can do the impossible and tear the house down, I’d like to see them leave the spotlight to the guys like A.J. Styles, Kurt Angle, Daniels, and Samoa Joe who can go and give the WWE stars a run for their money in the ring. If TNA Wrestling is going to go down, at least go down with your guns blazing, and not your legends limping.
Order the WWE: Hulk Hogan’s Unreleased Collector’s Series DVD by clicking here.
Order WWE: Nature Boy Ric Flair – The Definitive Collection on DVD by clicking here.