Hulk Hogan versus Ric Flair. THE dream match. The biggest name in wrestling history taking on the greatest of all time. Or perhaps more accurately, an almost immobile Hulkster staggering round the squared circle against a supposedly ?retired? Nature Boy in need of a few more big paydays. Yet this set of bouts that are set to headline the ?Hulkamania? tour of Australia could potentially provide the WWE with some competition in the not so distant future.
Now, as far as I am aware, Hogan’s joint venture with former WCW President Eric Bischoff isn?t yet a full time deal. However, one has to believe that with the Hogan name attached plus Bischoff providing the financial backing, the two of them have got to be thinking of continuing the upcoming four night tour as an actual promotion once the dust has settled in Australia.
Don?t be fooled, despite his ego, The Immortal One didn?t enter into negotiations with Naitch expecting the two of them to tear the house down every night as if it was the late 80’s. He did it safe in the knowledge that wrestling fans would rather see Hogan and Flair lock up well into their 50’s than see say, Ken Kennedy lock horns with Umaga (both of whom have signed up for the Hulkamania tour) in the main event. Hogan’s been busy with his divorce and Flair’s returning from the most dramatic retirement in wrestling history. So what if they probably won?t deliver a classic between the four matches? It’s name value kids, something which no one that isn?t called the WWE has.
Ok, so TNA has guys like Sting, Mick Foley, Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and Booker T working their shows, but they don?t have a clue how to market them, let alone book them properly. They put them over at the expense of their home grown talent so the likes of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe can see their pushes evaporate for no apparent reason, leaving them with months of rebuilding to do (TNA fans, make the most of AJ’s current main event push while you can). Hogan on the other hand, can draw sell out crowds to see him and Flair, but really he knows the stars of the show are the guys working the other matches on the card.
So come the end of this four date stint in the land down under, the chances are Hogan and Bischoff will have made a decent chunk of change and will have the name and brand value to lure back the same superstars to work with them on a more full time basis. Also, let’s face it, neither guy is short of a few contacts, both talent wise and finance wise. So they bundle together the talent they?ve already employed, with extra talent the Hogan name can easily attract and extra financial muscle that easy E will no doubt be able to bring in should they need it and all of a sudden you?ve got yourself a bona fide wrestling federation on your hands sir.
Hogan can then assume the role of owner/booker as his in ring work is done. That’s not to say he won?t don the red and yellow and get oiled up for another couple of throw downs with some pitiful fool who dare question the Hulkster’s toughness. But having drawn the punters in with his showcases against Flair, plus maybe a couple of showings Stateside, he?ll be able to take a back seat in ring wise and let the new, younger talent do the talking. And who wouldn?t want to be nurtured by the Hulkster?
Ok he may not have been the greatest in ring technician, but he’s second to none when it comes to charisma and ability to work a crowd into a sweaty, frenzied orgy of delirium. Which is exactly what he?ll try and teach his crop of workers to do.
What Hogan and Bischoff cannot do however, is turn any promotion they may start into an old boy’s club. No one wants to see Hall and Nash turning up on their shows, pretending it’s still the mid nineties and that they?re ?taking over?. Ed ?Brutus Beefcake? Leslie and Nasty Boy Saggs also need to keep their distance. Jimmy ?Mouth of The South? Hart however, I would gladly welcome onto any wrestling show. If only for the fact that he dare prance around with the most garish suits & hairstyle combo in the business combined with a mega phone which amplified the most horrific voice in the business. Jimmy Hart alone would make me tune into any of this potential company’s shows.
The facts are, Hogan knows the wrestling world better than any of the WWE’s supposed ?competitors? and is a bigger name than all of them combined. He’s a brand unto himself and would not struggle in securing a TV deal for any promotion he may start. With Bischoff’s financial backing and all that comes with that (business contacts, sponsorship etc) mixed into this stew, that puts them pretty much on level pegging with TNA, and that’s before you?ve got to the talent the Hogan name will undoubtedly attract as I mentioned before.
If I was TNA, I?d be looking over my shoulder at the minute. Hulkamania may very well be running wild on them sometime soon.
So, by reigniting a feud from the 90’s, the Hulkster may very well be reigniting competition in wrestling once more in the next few years. Which, as a WWE fan, I can honestly say is no bad thing, and I think wrestling fans in general would be hard pushed to disagree with me.
And on that note Casa fans, I will love you and leave you. It’s been wonderful having you here, doting on my every syllable, but I must go and get my Clint Eastwood and alcohol fix for the evening. But if you want to keep in touch, you can drop me an electronic mail message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, arrivederci.