In all the years I have been a wrestling fan I’ve never been a fan of speculating on something that at the end of the day I knew nothing about. Being involved with writing columns for well over 6 years now I have made that a personal rule for myself. After all we all know what the word assume breaks down into and the last thing I want to do with this column or any of my writings is make an ass out of myself or any of the readers who take the time out to read them. This week though I am going to skate that line on that rule just a bit as I ask all of you: Is Hulk Hogan plotting his exit strategy from TNA Wrestling? You’re reading “Wrestling Rumblings”.
As of this writing it’s coming close to three months since Hulk Hogan has made any type of appearance in TNA. In storyline we are told that somehow he is barred from programming pending this legal battle with Dixie Carter (even though everyone else on Immortal and Dixie Carter has appeared on Impact since), however I think it’s safe to conclude that most of you reading this are somewhat smarter than that and have heard that Hulk has been out recovering from major back surgery. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know what that’s like since due to the grace of God I have never had any major surgery to speak of, nor do I wish to. I don’t know the toll that such a surgery would place on anyone’s body and even if I did everyone tolerates things differently. I don’t dispute that Hulk is in discomfort and probably in a great deal of pain but what I also don’t dispute is that Hulk Hogan seemingly has time for everything else but TNA wrestling.
I should mention that while Hulk Hogan has been away from TNA consecutively going on three months you can make an argument that he has been off of TV for the better part of 5 to 6 months as even before the Immortal storyline came to fruition Hogan was missing a ton of TV and the reason cited for his earlier absence was his first back surgery. During this span of 5 to 6 months we have seen Hulk Hogan sign to do a kids show, get married, do conventions under the Hulk Hogan and friends banner, sign on to host a kids show as a TV Judge, and now we hear that Hulk Hogan provided voice work for the new animated film Gnomeo and Juliet (I don’t know if that was done in the last 6 months but it’s safe to assume it was done during his time in TNA). At this rate I’m pretty sure he is probably doing a couple more Rent a Center commercials also.
Why am I running down all of Hogan’s activities? A guy has the right to make a living and explore all of his options right? Well if Hogan is too injured to make it into the Impact Zone how is he doing all of this traveling to take care of all of these other projects? Hulk Hogan is a non wrestling participant in TNA. It would require the same amount of strain on his body as all of the other projects he is taking on to make appearances on TNA TV yet it can be argued that he has gone out of his way to not even bother. When Hulk Hogan first signed with TNA he told everyone within earshot that he was going to be “The Vince Mcmahon of TNA” I can’t remember Vince McMahon staying away from his company ever and Vince McMahon once tore both of his quads. How does this non involvement make you “The Vince McMahon of TNA”? Of course if you hear recent interviews by Eric Bischoff you can see where Eric claims that him and Hogan have no real power in TNA and are just on air performers. He says this despite all the changes that were made to TNA in appearance(the elimination of the 6 sided ring), the failed Monday night move and the talent signings that obviously had Hogan’s fingerprints all over them (Bubba “The Love Sponge”, The Nasty Boys, and Orlando Jordan). So I am pretty sure everyone reading this can agree that Hogan is not an ordinary on air talent. What is he doing to help this company? Nothing if you ask me. A more reasonable question is how has Hogan hurt it?
I actually have received a few emails from readers over the past year that I would consider conspiracy theorists who have theorized that Hogan went to TNA to kill it on behalf of Vince McMahon. These are the same kind of people who have had similar theories on Bret Hart and Vince Russo over the years when it came to WCW and well I wasn’t buying that line of thinking then and I am not buying it now. I believe Hogan came into TNA to succeed. Was it a cash grab by him and Bischoff at the end of the day? Well of course it was but I still think that Hulk Hogan felt deep down inside that just by putting his name on TNA he was going to put it over the top. It was mentioned by several insiders early on in his tenure with TNA how Hogan was not going to allow himself to be associated with something that was perceived as “minor league” which is why we got some of the changes we had in TNA over the last year. One must wonder if that is indeed true how must the fact that while he has been associated with this company for over a year now they have done at times their worst ratings ever on TV and their lowest PPV buy rates. Is that why he has decided now was the time to have all these surgeries? So that he can excuse his absence from what he sees as a sinking ship?
There are those in reading the prior paragraph are going to mention how TNA has done strong ratings over the past couple of weeks and they are 100% right and I unlike others am not going to make excuses for why those ratings are up. What I will mention though is Hogan was not on any of those shows and what I will now take this time out to do is give you all a nice little history lesson. Back in the WCW days Hulk Hogan would conveniently take off from WCW right around the time of the NBA Playoffs which took place on TNT and preempted Nitro for a few weeks. He would somehow make his way back to TV when the playoffs were over and the ratings would always seem to spike right back up and well Hogan being the businessman that he is would associate the spike in ratings with his return to TV and omit the fact that Nitro was displaced for a few weeks which given the habits of regular viewers would cause viewers to miss the show. Due to the chaos that was WCW he was able to somehow convince those in power that he was the reason for the boost. I look at TNA now and well football has ended and that has to help with ratings but they are still going against another ratings juggernaut in Jersey Shore. Is Hulk Hogan waiting for Jersey Shore to end so that he can come back and claim he was the missing ingredient in TNA? If that’s the case and the ratings stay the same what will that do for his fragile ego then?
Hulk Hogan signed with TNA in November for 2 years. This is the second year of that contract and we are pretty much guaranteed that Hulk Hogan will not be involved with TNA for the month of February and may wind up missing the month of March also. That leaves him 8 months on his contract if he comes back in April. Is Hogan planning on giving his all to TNA for those 8 months or is he going to keep popping in and out and basically just continue to drain the promotion of money while he figures out if there is any money to be made in a WWE return? I hope not, I like many fans grew up a fan of Hulk Hogan. I’ll even go as far as to say if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan I probably wouldn’t be a wrestling fan and while I don’t consider myself a Hulk Hogan fan now I do believe in personal responsibility. Hulk Hogan has a personal responsibility to help TNA succeed to the best of his ability. Him putting TNA on the bottom of his “to do” list isn’t doing that. He owes the Carter family, Spike TV and the wrestlers who he convinced to join TNA more than that, as well as the fans who were hoping he could make their product “big time”. Let me just clarify I don’t think Hogan is capable of accomplishing that task but it was something he came in to do and I think while he is there he should try. Abandoning TNA like this isn’t exactly protecting the Hulk Hogan Brand. Whatever damage has been done to that brand has been done regardless and Hulk abandoning ship isn’t going to change that. I know Hogan probably took a look at the wonders a WWE return did for Booker T. and Kevin Nash and is seeing the buzz that a name like Sting in WWE is generating right now but Hulk has come and gone on from that company too much and a return wouldn’t mean anything since now he would have the legacy of not just contributing to the death of one company but possibly two. You don’t want to go out that way Hulk; you don’t want to go out that way.
I’m going to wrap up this week’s edition of the column but I have to give you guys something to do for the weekend. Of course we have TNA’s Against All Odds PPV this Sunday. To tell you the truth I’m not looking forward to this PPV at all but as a supporter of the wrestling industry hope that something good comes out of it because TNA could sure use it. What I will enthusiastically plug right now is Chris Jericho’s new book “Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1372 Easy Steps “which hits bookstores soon but is available at Amazon.com right now as well as Bruce Hart’s new book “Straight from the Hart” which is also available right now. I actually have received both copies of this book and look forward to reviewing them on “The Eye Gouge” (which made a return last weekend) in the coming weeks.
Of course I am big on feedback and the only feedback I pay attention to generally is that which I receive via email. The email address of course is firstname.lastname@example.org and I pretty much answer every piece of email I receive whether it’s negative, positive or in between. I’ve had readers recently question why I don’t generally reply to comments made in the facebook boxes that accompany this column and well the truth of the matter is once this column is up I seldom go back and read it. I already know what’s there as I wrote the column. It’s not a matter of me ignoring the so called “trolls” as much as me not going back to read the column. Some of you have found me on facebook and are learning that I don’t do column talk or wrestling talk for that matter on there either. It’s a personal page and I want to keep it as such and as a result of that I don’t advertise the page but if you find me the least I could do is accept you but I will not talk wrestling on that page ever. The best way to have anything you want to talk about acknowledged is via email. So please do not waste your time with comments or Facebook messages if you expect a reply or for that matter just want to get my attention.
One more quick tidbit before I sign off, whether you are a fan of Wrestleview or not and for that matter for anyone who has a wrestling site there will be a big announcement that I am putting the finishing touches on concerning a contest for Wrestlemania weekend for all fans who will be in the Atlanta area that weekend coming soon. Once it is up I hope that all of you do your best to spread the word so that maybe some of your fellow fans who will be in Atlanta will have a free opportunity to get their hands on some cool stuff. That’s it for this week, until next week I’ll try to do better and until then I am out.