FATP: I Want My Impact Back
It’s time for the latest edition of FATP with yours truly! Thanks to everyone who tweeted/emailed/commented about last week’s post where I made 5 Bold Predictions for 2013. Some of you agreed, some disagreed. So pretty much the usual then! Haha… That’s what I’m here for. To create talking points and chat about wrestling!
This week, I figured I’d write my customary periodic thoughts on TNA. As regular readers will know, I’ve preferred TNA to WWE for most of the last 12 months, purely because the overall quality is better (in my opinion) and it’s not as hard to watch as WWE is. Seriously. Watching all of the programming that WWE makes is almost like having a full-time job!
However, I’ve noticed something recently. The Impact Wrestling that I’ve come to know and love over the last 12 months has gone missing. Where has it gone? I’ll tell you where it’s gone – to the dogs. Or into the hands of TNA’s resident “Rabid Walrus”, Hulk Hogan. Let me explain what I mean.
It’s no coincidence that since Hogan returned to Impact Wrestling after his latest batch of surgeries (on what must now be his almost bionic body) in August, the quality of the programme has gone down a wee bit. Since his return, TNA has become almost all about what Hulk Hogan is doing and that’s just wrong.
Granted, Hogan was a huge name back in his day and you could argue that without him, this website wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t be here writing about wrestling. However, Hogan was at his peak in the 80s/90s. He hasn’t been anywhere near as relevant as he thinks he is for almost 15 years now. It shouldn’t be “The Hulk Hogan show”. It should be about these young guys who have been busting their collective asses for the last 10 years to get TNA to the position that it’s in now.
I’m gonna shoot a wee bit on TNA. Not because it’s cool to do it, but because they’re the most frustrating wrestling company in the world. Like I’ve just said above, they’ve got a dynamite roster, stacked with talented guys and gals, but sometimes they fuck it up beyond all belief. Anyway, let’s deal with the problem at hand. Hogan was taken out by Aces & 8’s last summer. Not content with wiping Sting out, they took out Hogan too, which is a win in my book brrrrotherrr! I’m gonna be honest here, but Hogan really annoys me.
I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was 5 years old (that’s 25+ years to this point) and I’ve never cared about Hogan. I still don’t. And it’s not cos it’s “cool” to hate him. I don’t hate him. I just don’t see what the fuss is about. Granted, his WWF theme was class, but his recent sex tape brings a whole new meaning to the words “when it comes crashing down and it hurts inside”. I always liked guys like Savage, Steamboat, Piper and Rude, so it pissed me off when “wrestlers” like Hogan and Warrior got all the attention. Admittedly, I’m not a wrestler, but I reckon I could put on a better match than Hogan with a wee bit of training.
Anyway, kinda gone off topic a wee bit here, but as Hogan got wiped out, Sting came back around the same time and the feud with Aces & 8’s continued. Hogan returned, as he inevitably does, and he went on some kind of crusade against the biker gang brrrotherrr, because they’d captured Joe Park. Eventually, a match was made between Sting and a partner of his choice, against Aces & 8’s at Bound for Glory. In the lead-up, things got physical and Hogan decided to swing a baseball bat at 3 members of the group. That’s not a euphemism by the way! He missed every single one of them by about 4 feet. I know he’s not “really” meant to hit them, but come on. Make it look realistic!
It got worse at Bound for Glory. TNA had spent 4 months building up Aces & 8’s as this “unstoppable” group and they won their match at the PPV. I bet you’re sitting there saying “what the hell are you moaning about?” I’ll tell you. Post match, the Hulkster decided to walk to the ring. Three and a half hours later, he wiped out a few members of Aces & 8’s. Brilliant. This “tough” gang were seen off by a decrepit shell of a man who could barely walk. Awesome. Way to make them look strong.
Since Bound for Glory, Hogan’s not been bothered with Aces & 8’s. Obviously the reveal of D-Von Dudley was enough for the Huckster to think “Nah… This is too weird. Even for me”. OK. That’s fine. I get that not every member of the Impact roster has to be involved with Sons of Anarchy… I mean Aces & 8’s. Dunno what happened there, sorry! Since November, Impact has turned into a parody of “Hogan Knows Best”. Wait. No it hasn’t. Parodies are funny. Over the last few months (apart from the magnificent Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) Impact has been far from funny. You guys know what I’m talking about! Yup… It’s Bully does Brooke… Impact style!
Now, you’d have thought that after the disaster that was the AJ/Dixie/Claire Lynch storyline last summer, TNA would’ve learned from their mistakes. Apparently not. We’re now supposed to believe that Brooke Hogan has been “seeing” Bully Ray, and Hogan’s pissed about it. Maybe it’s because his eyesight is going and without his contacts in, he thinks Brooke is actually his new wife. Talk about keeping it in the family! I’d better get to the point before I get in trouble… Since November, we’ve been forced to sit through this ridiculous Impact version of Hogan Knows Best. Instead of concentrating on Impact putting on great matches and developing watchable feuds, the one person who gets more air time than anyone else is… Hulk Hogan. Yup. A man who I earlier described as being at least 15+ years past his best is the star of Impact Wrestling.
You guys know that I’m from Scotland, so we don’t get Impact at the same time as you. It’s broadcast here on Sunday nights, so we’re roughly 3 days behind. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve sat and timed how long Hogan has been on screen for the last two episodes of Impact. That’s the shows from 3rd and 10th of January. Guess how long Hogan was on screen for, in some way, shape or form. Go on. Have a guess. No? OK. I’ll tell you. Hogan was on screen for 30 minutes on both shows. Impact is a 2-hour show. Simple maths tells you that Hogan has been on screen for 25% of the last few Impact shows. That’s ridiculous. Guys like Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and James Storm struggle to get that, and they’re at their peak! Yet Hogan, who is a decrepit, shell of a man who struggles through promos and whose facial expressions look like he’s trying to force out a troublesome turd, gets more time than them. I’d love someone from Impact to explain to me why that is. Seriously.
Someone should tell Hulk Hogan that he’s no longer the star. He hasn’t been relevant for years and the longer TNA invest in ridiculous storylines for Hogan and his talentless daughter, the less time they’ll have for the guys who are the future of the company and this business.
I’m not saying Hogan has no place in TNA. He does, but he shouldn’t be the be all and end all. Authority figures should be there to complement the wrestlers, not overshadow them and that’s exactly what Hogan does. If I were running TNA (which I’m not, but just go with me here!), I’d take Hogan off TV permanently. He’s got no place being a full-time on-screen performer, but he can add so much more to TNA without being on TV. Just by his sheer name recognition alone, Hogan should be out there raising awareness of the TNA/Impact Wrestling brand by doing media across the US and throughout the world. Anywhere that TNA’s broadcast, Hogan could be out there doing his bit to grow the TNA brand. That’s what he can do. It’s just sad that a man of his age doesn’t seem to want to step aside and let guys who are in their prime do their thing.
There’s no better proof of that than when Hogan spoke to The Guardian newspaper in the UK before Christmas. Apparently, on his wish list was knee surgery. It didn’t end there though. Here’s what Hogan actually said to a reputable British broadsheet newspaper:
“I’ve had eight back surgeries, I’ve had knee replacements, I’ve had both hip replacements. I only need one more surgery – to fix my right knee – then I’m going to go for the TNA World title. I want to be 59 years old and be the champion.”
You can read the quote for yourselves at The Guardian’s website here. Now I understand that sometimes, you’re not meant to take things like that seriously, but if Hogan was being serious, then it just goes to show you that he’s not interested in helping TNA. He’s more interested in feeding his own ego and in the long run, that’ll damage TNA more than it’ll help them.
If Hogan’s omnipresence over TNA and Impact Wrestling continues, they might as well rename the company “Total Non-Stop Hogan”. He should play a part in the company, but not on TV. I’ve had enough of him now. If TNA want to wheel him out every 3-4 months and have him interact with a heel, fine. That’s cool. Just don’t have him out there every week, struggling to walk and mumbling his way through promos. It’s infuriating. I just want my Impact back. Is that too much to ask?
That’ll wrap things up for this week. What do you guys think? Is there too much focus on Hogan from TNA or are you fine with it? You know the drill. Either leave a comment below, or get in touch with me on Twitter @george_sltd. I’ll be back next week with another FATP for ya, so until then, stay classy!