The Internet and the entire wrestling world was a buzzing last week when TNA announced that they had signed a deal with arguably the biggest star ever in pro wrestling, Hulk Hogan. What isn’t usually an arguably point is that Hogan is the most recognizable pro wrestler on the planet and in theory it would seem TNA landing a deal with him after years of negotiation would be beneficial to TNA, but is it actually going to help the company? I’ll explain.
Last week fans and press gathered at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden to hear Hogan’s big announcement and before the conference concluded, Hogan was standing next to TNA president, Dixie Carter. Along with Hogan, his business partner that is promoting the Hulkamania Austrian tour, Eric Bischoff has also reportedly signed with the company. This package deal brings together two of the main forces that contributed to the wrestling boom of the 90s and it will be extremely interesting to see what they bring to the table a decade later, especially Eric Bischoff. Speaking of Bischoff, it’s been well documented that one of the major criticisms of his time in WCW was that when it came to creative decisions, he is one of the main figures that are blamed for running WCW into the ground. However, as far as the business side of the pro wrestling industry in terms of marketing, Bischoff could be very valuable to TNA, considering that TNA’s “marketing” consist of Don West rambling about the newest T shirt/DVD package. In my view, Bischoff could help TNA expand their audience and market the product to a broader demographic, which is something TNA hasn’t done so far in its existence. As far as storyline, I don’t think it would be wise for Bischoff to get involved but considering his background in marketing, Bischoff could really help TNA improve their marketing plan working behind the scenes for the company.
Now onto Hogan, as I said, he is without a doubt the most recognizable pro wrestler on the planet, but the reason I don’t know if his involvement with the company will benefit TNA is because of why exactly Hogan is recognizable today as opposed to ten or twenty years ago. No longer is Hogan known as the muscle bound wrestler clad in red and yellow, but rather a tabloid and media circus, which is something I don’t think many fans are ready to cheer for or rally behind. From Nick Hogan putting someone in a coma to the all too publicized Hogan family disputes, it seems as though Hogan’s trademark “say your prayers and take your vitamins” image has been completely tarnish and quite frankly, I don’t see how Hogan can repair it. Will the fans accept the “all American” hero back after all the controversial comments and stories? I doubt it and the evidence can already be viewed, considering that Hogan’s debut on Impact last week garnered a 1.3 rating, which isn’t a major difference than the show’s usual rating. Although you have to consider that Hogan signing with the company was announced only a few days before the show aired so maybe that effected the ratings? Regardless, from what I read, Hogan does not make an appear on Impact this week, which doesn’t make sense to me because if TNA signed Hogan, why not feature him as much as possible so that fans that don’t usual tune in to TNA can watch the show and get to see some of the great TNA talent?
So, why exactly did Hogan decide it was time to finally sign with TNA? I think it’s a combination of a few different reasons. Obviously, money had to play a major factor in Hogan signing with the company and you also have to consider that the WWE probably wouldn’t sign Hogan again at this point anyway because in many respects he is damaged goods and I doubt the WWE would want to be linked to any of the controversy surrounding Hogan. But what did Hogan himself have to say when he was asked about TNA in an interview last week?
Here is what he told Time Magazine: “When I woke up and realized I should be my own man and be responsible for being happy, I realized I still have a lot to contribute to the wrestling business,” Hogan said. “And jumping into TNA and being a part of that company is huge. I have a chance to give back and help these young wrestlers who don’t understand the business and the art form.” Hogan explains how the business has changed dramatically since the 1980s. “The business moves so much faster now,” he responded. “It used to be if Andre the Giant and I had a feud, it’d probably play out six or seven months later at a big event. Nowadays, if Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan have a feud at 9 o’clock, it’s usually over by 9:30. It’s a story-telling art form to create emotion and drama and I just think a lot of that is lost.”
Hogan contributing to the business? Hogan giving back to the business? If he is serious, then I say…IT’S ABOUT TIME…BROTHER! This is the same Hogan that refused to job to Randy Orton a few years ago and was “injured” until he was booked to pin Orton and this is also the same Hogan that has been known for not wanting to do the job, even when it seemed to be the right thing to do for business so I’m skeptical that Hogan will actually give back to the wrestling business, but if he does, it will be a step in the right direction for TNA. In theory, Hogan would be teaching exactly what TNA needs because they have a lot of great talent but not many great moments so Hogan teaching the younger generation story telling would really help TNA.
In conclusion, Hogan will without a doubt always be a draw and will get some fresh eyes to view the TNA product but if that translates into an bigger fan base or if the fans will actually rally Hogan for another wrestling come back remains to be seen. Regardless, it will defiantly be interesting to see what happens in the next few months with Hogan in TNA.
Until next week
That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It
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