Last time out, I wrote about the greatness of Daniel Bryan. Thanks to everyone who got in touch about it.
This week, you can pretty much tell from the title of the article that I’m gonna be talking about TNA’s resident dude brrrotherrr jack, Hulk Hogan. And it ain’t gonna be complimentary. So if you’re a massive Hogan mark and think that the sun shines out of his ass, it’s probably best you don’t read this. Not a great plug I know, but it’s the truth. I’m sick and tired of Hulk Hogan, and firmly believe he’s responsible for a huge amount of the problems in TNA.
WARNING: This article will contain severe amounts of sarcasm and passion, as well as liberal use of the word brrrotherrr.
Back in 2009 (I think it was), it was announced that Hogan was joining TNA/Impact Wrestling. Initially, I had reservations about it. Why? Because I felt Hogan would go into business for himself, brrrotherrr. 4 years later, and it’s actually happened. Am I surprised? No. I won’t argue with the fact that Hogan is a huge, star name. You can’t deny that. But Hulk Hogan only knows one thing about the wrestling business – how to get Hulk Hogan over, brrrotherrr.
On the face of it, I understand why TNA/Impact Wrestling/Dixie Carter would want Hulk Hogan to get involved with the company. He’s a huge name, or was a huge name, so you’d think that, on paper, Hogan’s name alone would be enough to draw a few extra hundred thousand fans to the product (at the very least). The reality of the situation is that Hogan’s run in TNA has amounted to little or nothing. There’s been no discernable increase in TV viewers, PPV buys or live attendances (on the whole). If anything, all Hogan’s done is make TNA all about himself brrrotherrr.
Since Hogan arrived on the scene with another of the disciples of doom, Eric Bischoff, there’s been a distinct reduction in the push of the TNA Originals. Instead, a whole raft of ex-WWE talent have come in and got pushes over the likes of AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, James Storm, Christopher Daniels etc. Those guys have been relegated to mid-card spots while guys who weren’t deemed good enough to stay in WWE were pushed to the hilt.
For example, the last (and to date, only) time AJ Styles won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was in September of 2009. Hogan agreed to join TNA the next month and “debuted” in January 2010. 2 months later, Styles dropped the belt and since then, despite being one of the most talented in-ring performers of the last decade, he’s been put in mid-card feuds (at best). Co-incidence? Maybe. But Hogan politicking to get one of “his guys” as the champ? Sounds more plausible to be fair.
I might be alone in this, but one of the most frustrating things about watching Impact over the last 12-15 months has been the fact that it’s all booked around Hulk Hogan. For a while there (back at the start of the year), I started timing just how long Hogan was featured on Impact. It worked out at an average of 20 minutes on a 90 minute show (excluding ad breaks). That’s almost 25% of the entire show dedicated to feeding the ego of a man who’s been living off a WrestleMania nostalgia pop since 2002.
Yes my friends. While Dixie Carter might have brought Hogan to TNA, it’s our fault she got him on board. What do I mean? Well, I kind of alluded to it in the last paragraph, but here goes.
When Hogan returned to the WWF/E just before WrestleMania 18 in 2002, he got the mother of all pops. And then at the actual PPV, he got a thunderous ovation and the crowd went nuts. Was that because everyone missed Hogan and wanted to see him again? Yeah, that probably had something to do with it, but I think it was more nostalgia than anything else. Nobody ever thought they’d see Hogan on WWF/E TV again, much less wrestling at WrestleMania, so I think that was designed to give Hogan his last moment. To say “cheers Hulk. Thanks for being who you were”. But what it’s ended up doing is financing the last decade and more of Hogan’s career. He’s lived off that pop for the last 11 years. It’s given him leverage. We’re to blame for that folks. WE… THE PEOPLE.
Back to the lack of impact (pun intended), that Hogan’s made in TNA. It genuinely astounds me that so many people are willing to let Hogan do what he does on a weekly basis.
I read an article by @MFXDuckman last week on www.sltdwrestling.co.uk where he said that the only way that Hogan can put anyone over on Impact is by comparing them to himself, and he’s right. The list is endless. Abyss, Jeff Hardy, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, Magnus, Manik/Suicide/TJ Perkins. Those are just names off the top of my head. There’s probably more. Go back and watch almost any time Hogan has interacted with any of those guys on TV, or at a PPV. It’ll go something like this:
“Well ya know somethin’ brrrotherrr, you remind me of me back in the day. It’s like when I slammed Andre the Giant in front of 90,000 people. We’ll get the Hulkamaniacs behind ya jack and the power of the Hulkamaniacs will run wild through your veins dude, and one day, you’ll be like me” (or words to that effect).
Utter, UTTER nonsense. If Hogan had picked one guy and said that, it wouldn’t have bothered me. But the fact he’s said it to at least seven different guys in the last 18-24 months and changed his mind more often than a kid in a candy store means that it’s watered down. Nobody believes it. If anything, the fans watching are already looking round the locker room to see who he’s gonna pick as “his guy” next.
And as for his comments a few weeks ago about the fact that Eric Bischoff should be given the keys to the Impact car, I’d rather have Nick Hogan given the keys to the Impact car. It’d be less of a car crash!
Talking of Hogan’s no-talent kids, last summer really was the straw that broke the camel’s back. From out of nowhere, and with no knowledge of the wrestling business whatsoever (apart from what her Daddy has told her brrrotherrr), Brooke… I mean Brick Hogan appeared on Impact Wrestling as the “Executive of the Knockouts Division”.
Jesus Lord God Almighty. I thought I’d seen some shitty acting in my time, namely on poor prime-time British soaps, but Christ, Brick was terrible. Under her “guidance”, the Knockouts Division tailed off spectacularly and only started to improve once she started to have less and less to do with it. As much as the Knockouts improved when Brick had less to do with them, the main-event scene suffered.
Brick and her giant drag queen frame got more and more involved with the main-event surrounding Bully Ray, Sting and her dear old, creepy dad (who likes to sensually rub suncream on her). At one stage early in 2013, TNA was less Impact Wrestling and more Hogan Knows Best: On Tour. Seriously. At a time when Impact were crying out for something fresh and watchable, Hogan’s daughter was focused on more than the actual workers who could wrestle. That about sums it all up really. Thank God she’s no longer in TNA. It’s the best release they’ve ever made. She offered nothing and added nothing to the product.
It’s not just his overwhelming omnipresence on Impact, like wrestling’s Grim Reaper, though. It’s the finance behind it.
I’ve read various reports on sites like Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer and Wade Keller’s PWTorch that have said Hogan gets paid a staggering $25,000 per appearance. That’s crazy. It’d be understandable if the moustachioed master of disaster had actually made a difference to TNA, but he hasn’t. I’ve already gone through that before.
I don’t know the ins and outs of how Hogan’s deal with TNA is financed, whether it’s paid for entirely by Spike TV, or whether it’s 50-50 between Spike and TNA, but the fact remains that TNA cannot afford to pay any on-air talent as much as that. Especially at a time when the company is rumoured to be losing money hand over fist.
Matt Morgan, Joey Ryan, Taeler Hendrix, Doc, Mr Anderson, Mickie James, D-Lo Brown, Devon, Bruce Pritchard, Madison Rayne, Christian York, Crimson and Tara – TNA’s unlucky 13. For one reason or another, those 13 people aren’t on Impact any more. They either left when their contracts expired, were released or can’t appear on TV for personal reasons.
TNA don’t have a large enough roster to be able to cope with the loss of 13 on-air talents, but it was apparently designed as a cost-cutting exercise. Instead of letting those 13 talents leave, how about getting rid of the giant moustachioed albatross around their neck? Yup. I mean the Huckster brrrotherrr.
Judging by recent reports on Wrestling Observer and the likes, and by what happened at the latest set of Impact tapings, it seems like those of us who blame Hogan for the state that TNA finds itself in are about to get their wish.
On Impact last Thursday (which aired in the UK last night), Dixie Carter gave Hulk Hogan an “ultimatum”. No, that’s not a euphemism for anything! Basically, she’s told him that he has to get in line and support her, or he’ll have to watch from the sidelines. You’d think that I’d be happy with how that played out wouldn’t you? Well long-time readers will know that it didn’t make me happy. In fact, it annoyed me even more!
TNA are hurtling towards their biggest PPV of the year, Bound for Glory. Their World Heavyweight Championship match has been set. Bully Ray will defend the belt against AJ Styles. Yet there’s been no focus on that match. Instead, the focus is on Hulk Hogan and whatever decision he makes.
WARNING: The following paragraphs contain spoilers from the second week of Impact tapings from Arkansas. Consider this your SPOILER ALERT!
I’ve read the reports for next week’s Impact tapings and by God, it’s all about Hulk Hogan. Again. From what I’ve read, basically the entire show builds up to Hogan’s decision. There’s little or no focus on Bully vs AJ. Hogan decides to walk out on TNA with Dixie Carter begging him to stay.
I don’t know whether to be astounded at the way TNA have booked this to play out, or to just put on my cynical hat and continue to bash Hogan some more. Yes folks, that’s right. You’ve read almost 2,000 words of passionate, honest and at times, sarcastic views on Hogan, and I didn’t even have my cynical hat on!
The Hogan marks out there will be saying “but George, you’re getting what you want. Hogan’s walked out”. True, but all this angle has done is further enhance the fact that Hogan is bigger than TNA. Begging him to stay? Come on Dixie. Seriously. I’m sure you’re a perfectly nice woman with a great business mind, but please, PLEASE get real.
TNA doesn’t need Hulk Hogan. What has he done for you? Does he even mention TNA when he does media appearances? Has he “shown you the ropes” of the business? No. All he’s done is convince you to put the spotlight on him, when he can barely walk, he stumbles through promos and has no idea how to get anyone over. Hogan hasn’t helped to create any new stars for TNA. He’s brought in guys who were already stars elsewhere and put them at the top of the card.
Other than Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Chris Sabin, what TNA guys (for lack of a better phrase) have been at the top of the card? As far as I can remember, none.
The fans who are/were pissed off with TNA desperately, DESPERATELY want TNA to succeed. They want a credible alternative to WWE. They’re just frustrated at Hogan making big promises and failing to deliver. They can see that he adds NOTHING to the on-air product, yet he’s positioned as the all-conquering hero. That shouldn’t be Hogan’s job. A GM is supposed to let the show flow around him, not be the star of the show. And by letting Hogan be the star of the show, it’s stifled so many of your stars, like James Storm, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. THOSE guys should be towards the top of the card. THOSE guys are who the fans like to see having great TV/PPV matches. Not someone who couldn’t even say “AJ Styles is in the main-event at Bound for Glory” on Impact last week!
No doubt that Hogan has got people telling TNA officials that him being on the show represents value for money and an increase in revenue. But the truth is that you’re not Hulk. If you were, TNA’s Impact tapings would be sell-outs. But they’re not, so you add NOTHING.
I genuinely hope that Dixie Carter has the wherewithal to sit down and look at exactly how much money TNA have spent on Hulk Hogan, then look at what difference he’s made to the company in terms of ratings, revenue, PPV buys and live attendances. I think Dixie will find that he’s made little or no difference to TNA in the 3.5 years he’s been there, and admit that this Hogan experiment has failed… spectacularly.
Please Dixie. PLEASE TNA. Don’t re-sign Hulk Hogan. He’s not worth it.
Invest the money you’ll save on his salary into re-building your Tag-Team, Knockouts and X Divisions. Invest the money in signing some of your existing talent to long-term deals. Use them as the foundation to build your company around once again. If a good worker becomes available, then sign him/her up, but don’t do it strictly on the basis that they’re an ex-WWE talent. Do it because you think they can bring something to your company. And the truth is that, over the last few years, only a handful of stars that you’ve signed have added ANYTHING to TNA.
I realise that most of what I’ve been talking about for the last 2,500 words is probably just a dream and that I’ll wake up tomorrow to find out that Hogan has re-signed with TNA for another year, and we’ll all have to suffer him calling the fans “TNA-maniacs”, saying brrrotherrr 40 times on every Impact and mentioning the fact that he slammed a Giant in front of 90,000 people.
If that happens my friends, then I genuinely fear for the future of TNA. Hogan isn’t it. He’s been a moustachioed mistake almost from day one, and I just hope that Dixie Carter sees it before it’s too late.