Monday, 10 November 2014

Archived writing: Hulk Hogan signs with TNA Wrestling

On Tuesday October 27th 2009, history was made when Hulk Hogan announced he had signed to work for Total Non-stop Action (TNA) wrestling. 

*Another archived piece originally published on October 31st, 2009 on an old website I used to write for*

TNA Wrestling - Hulk Hogan Arrives
 

The move was dubbed by many as pro wrestling's biggest news story of 2009, and it's hard to argue with that; even some 25 years after he captured his first WWF championship (in a match against the Iron Sheik) Hogan's name remains more synonymous with wrestling than any other.

The acquisition of such a household name is undoubtedly a huge victory for TNA in their on-going battle to shed their reputation as a glorified indie league and be seen as a viable threat to Vince McMahon's WWE empire in much the same way that the erstwhile World Championship Wrestling was back in the late 1990s.

Already, the signing has attracted Dixie Carter-Salinas’ organisation a great deal of attention. Within hours of the story breaking, TNA became a top trending topic on micro-blogging service Twitter, whilst every wrestling website, magazine and newsletter on the planet, not to mention a number of non-wrestling-specific sites, have covered Hogan's move to the number two wrestling promotion in detail.

TNA Wrestling - Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter


What's more, when The Hulkster finally steps foot inside The Impact Zone (the studio where TNA tapes their weekly Impact television shows and numerous pay per views) it's almost certainly going to be a good move for business. Though after the initial spike in television ratings, merchandise sales and pay per view buys, will TNA's version of Hulk Hogan really be the answer to all the company's prayers?

'Doing the right thing'

A large portion of hardened wrestling fans believe it won't, backing up their argument by looking at Hogan's history of playing backstage politics, claiming all the best positions on the roster for himself and his friends and generally looking out for number one.

Hogan has already claimed that he may be involved more as an on-air personality or in an authority figure role (because Lord knows TNA needs more of those) than he will as a wrestler. Then again, Mick Foley said the same thing and look what happened there. Besides, can you really see Hogan not donning the famous yellow-and-red ring attire at some point?

Most anti-Hogan/TNA fans can't, and claim that once he comes in, the veteran star will immediately push young TNA mainstays like Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and current TNA Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles, down the card, thus ruining all the hard work put into establishing these performers as credible home-grown talent.


They seem to insist that Hogan should be kept away from the Heavyweight Championship picture and spend his days jobbing to Joe, Daniels et all in the mid-card, in a tradition referred to in wrestling circles as 'doing the right thing by the business'.

In this writer's opinion, they are all wrong.

Yes, Hogan should help TNA's young roster establish themselves as legitimate main event players. Let's be honest; outside the community of hardened wrestling fans, nobody has any idea who AJ Styles is. A programme with perennial icon Hogan could, and most likely will, change all of that.

Yet the way to go about this is not by having Hogan job out to all and sundry. This is Hulk freakin' Hogan we're talking about here, the biggest name in the business, and having him come into the company and loose to everyone will, despite the fabricated nature of pro wrestling, cause a certain amount of damage to Hogan's reputation in the eyes of the casual fan.

Let's not forget, it's Hogan's reputation, probably more so than his experience and natural ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy, that TNA are paying for.

There are ways to put a fellow wrestler over without loosing to him, and it's those methods that Hogan should be exploring when locking up with TNA's stars.

Championship material

He should also be given the title.

Wrestling promotions tout their world champions as 'the best we have to offer’. It's an established rule in professional wrestling that the World Heavyweight Champion acts as a representative of sorts for the entire company, and who bigger a star to represent your company than Hulk Hogan?

That said, this reporter doesn't believe he should be handed the belt on his first day with the company. Hogan as TNA champion should be built up into something special, and it's almost entirely plausible that TNA fans, aware of the kind of political clout Hogan carries, would riot should Hogan come in and be crowned champion without any effort.


Of course, the hardcore fans will probably riot anyway, regardless as to whether Hogan wins the belt on his first day or two years down the line. Let’s face it, some people just do not like the aging wrestler and would rather see TNA’s younger stars than the established veteran.

This is fine, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if those same fans want TNA to grow to any kind of prominence, they have to realise that having a star name like Hogan is really the only way to go about it.

Friends in High Places

Political power won't be the only thing The Immortal one is likely to carry with him to TNA, he'll likely bring a number of his friends along for the ride too.

Most long-time fans remember Hogan's 1993 arrival in WCW, after which he swiftly managed to get many of his old WWF buddies signed up to contracts, meaning fans were treated to such brilliant gimmicks as John Tenta playing a shark and of course, the million and one faces of Ed Leslie, none of which got over in the slightest.

In this reporter's mind, TNA will be committing a bigger sin by brining in the Hogan Massive than they would by putting the title on him right off the bat.

For all their flaws, TNA are capable of producing some top quality wrestling when they can be bothered to do so, and there can't be a single person in the world (except for Hogan and his boys, of course) who would rather see the boring Brutus The Bootyman than exciting stars like Daniels, or have The Nasty Boys walking around with the tag straps instead of teams like Beer Money.

Hogan vs. Russo

Then again, Hogan may need his friends around him when it comes to confronting old enemy, current TNA writer/booker Vince Russo.

Back in the dying days of WCW, Russo and Hogan had a spectacular falling out when Russo, known for his love of injecting as much reality into his shows as possible, took a planned angle and turned it into a shoot which the Hulkster deemed to be so offensive that he sued Russo and WCW.

Unless the former nWo leader uses his backstage leverage to have Russo fired (no doubt becoming a hero for the legions of Russo haters that exist), the two will have to learn to work together well if TNA and Hulk Hogan are to have a successful run together.

At time of writing it's too early to say whether they will or not; Hogan has yet to d├ębut for the company and, when he does, all the above factors, plus more besides, will contribute to either TNA's greatest success or worst failure to date.

Yet Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling has at least achieved one thing with the signing of Hulk Hogan; they've got us all talking.

Thoughts on this article - November 2014. I seriously thought Hogan should have been the TNA champion? I was an idiot when I was younger. 

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.