If you’ve read WrestlingNewsWorld.com today (twitter handle @wnwnews), our sister website for all things professional wrestling, you know that Hulk Hogan has taken a jab at us and owner Richard Gray (@wnwdotcom). Hulk Hogan referred to Wrestling News World, and I can only feel those under the WNW umbrella, as “marks”. This coincides with recent comments made by Bret Hart of Hogan and Eric Bischoff, as well as an answer to one of our loyal readers at the AskWNW section over at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Is this frustration? Hogan being Hogan just to sell his own stock? Or is this a cop out in order to hide something called the truth?
Let’s start with the fuse that lit Hogan’s dynamite and catch you up to speed on what has happened. Bare with me as there is quite a bit to cover. In a recent interview with WrestleTalk TV, Bret “The Hitman” Hart was asked his opinion of how Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were handling TNA Impact Wrestling, in which Bret replied that he had “no faith in either one of them, like zero…”. He continues with the following points:
-Hulk Hogan has “zero to offer” and that Bischoff is an “idiot”.
-The only thing Hogan knows or knew how to do was make Hulk Hogan. He can’t manage or give advise to someone like AJ Styles or Samoa Joe because he doesn’t know how to make an AJ Styles or Samoa Joe, in essence.
-Hogan and Bischoff essentially accepted the rejects and trash Vince McMahon did not want.
-AJ Styles is “spinning his wheels” and needs to leave the “bush league” and should be in WWE, becoming a big star.
Very strong opinions from the Hall of Famer that has sent waves throughout the wrestling community. Along with The Hitman’s comments, Richard Gray over at Wrestling News World answered a readers question regarding Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and why they don’t buy off TNA. I won’t get into the details, as you can read the article at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, but Richard stated that he personally felt Hogan and Bischoff are in it for Hogan and Bischoff, and not TNA Impact Wrestling’s benefit. And here comes Hogan…
Hogan responded to a fan via twitter in regards to Bret’s comments: “I was always his friend,I don’t get it.Bitter, old age I got along great with his dad and family? Life is to good for haters”. Hogan also responded to Wrestling News World with the following via twitter as well: “Biggest new mark wrestlingworldnews ,make me realize the biz has legs that will never end”. He got the website name wrong but I digress.
So, what does this all mean? What exactly is happening in Hogan’s world? Here are my thoughts and opinions.
Hulk Hogan is irrelevant in today’s wrestling world (I dared to say it and I said it). In the 80’s and 90’s, Hogan changed wrestling by bringing it to the main stream. Media appearances, movies, being the first professional wrestler on the cover of Sports Illustrated and then some. When his stock began to slowly shrink, he pulled off what I feel was one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) turns in professional wrestling and sports entertainment history, spitting in the face of the fans and creating the nWo. Once that ran it’s long and drawn out course in WCW, as well as in WWE, Hogan was relegated to making others look good. Brock Lesnar comes to mind, as well as passing the torch to The Rock. We saw that the times were bringing stronger, faster, more agile, more diverse performers that wanted the spotlight and would lead the business for the next decade. So, where was Hogan in all of this? Planning and plotting to make himself relevant again.
Hogan had a brief stint in TNA Wrestling, but injury took him out of commission (I still can only envision the same footage of Hulk getting a guitar shot to the head by Jeff Jarrett, as if that’s the only past TNA footage to ever exist of him). Hogan would then rejoin TNA/ Impact Wrestling in January 2010 and on that faithful program, I saw exactly what Bret Hart and Richard Gray were talking about. Hogan brought in his buddies and quickly took the spots of the current TNA roster. The feeling of the show was very much a Hogan themed show. Why? In order to make what I call the Hogan Statement. And what is that statement? “I am bigger than wrestling because I am Hulk Hogan”. This article is lengthy as is so I won’t get into every fine detail but we have all seen the ups and downs of Impact Wrestling since Hogan and Bischoff began their era. I remember watching an episode of TNA/ Impact Wrestling and out of a 1 hour and 30 minute show (after commercials), a fan pointed out that actual in ring wrestling time was only 11 minutes. The rest of the program were Hogan and Bischoff backstage and in-ring talk segments. Embarrassing for a company that proclaimed “Wrestling Matters”.
Hogan now has his restaurant, his shop and is trying to hold on to the wrestling lime light through his daughter as well. But who cares? Ratings are not through the roof, everything that comes out of Hogan’s mouth is baby gaga and he has turned Bully Ray into his version of Hogan for the 2010’s. How annoyed I get when Bully “Hulks” up. As long as he is mentioned, he believes TNA/ Impact Wrestling is okay because Hogan is on the show and he is the be all, end all. Need to save a segment, Hogan will walk slowly down because he thinks the ratings are blasting off when he’s on. Hogan lives in the Hogan world and when someone presents something that is not of his world, he attacks subtly. He claims people are haters, they bring in negative energy, they’re marks, etc. when he doesn’t realize he is the biggest mark of us all. Or maybe he does and just enjoys throwing it back at us because of his massive ego. A mark is someone who believes everything that is happening for real no matter what. Hulk Hogan actually believes that he is bigger than wrestling and he believes the Hulk Hogan name alone is enough to bring the masses. In a way, he is correct. And that continually feeds his ego and in a position of power, it’s pretty much The Hulk Hogan show.
If we are marks, it is because we are marks to the true Hulk Hogan behind the curtain and after the camera’s stop rolling. It is my opinion that Hogan knows exactly what he is doing. I disagree with Bret’s comments that Hogan has nothing to offer though. He has been in the game for a very long time and has knowledge that any rookie in the business would kill to have. The thing is, Hogan will not properly provide that knowledge if it will not benefit him. That’s where the issue is. Hulk Hogan is still a hero of mine and I am a fan. I will always respect him for the blood, sweat and entertainment he has provided to me and everyone else throughout the world for all of the years he was an active and full time wrestler. I am a fan, but I am not a blind fan. I am an adult and I understand that this is a money making business. Are there talent who are genuinely into making the fans happy? Yes. Are there talent who just want to get rich and watch their own backs and step on anyone they can just to make an extra thousand or more? Yes. That’s the business. Some people, however, just know how to play within the business more than others.
At the end of the day, Bret Hart is stating his opinion and being brutally honest about it. Richard Gray is stating his opinion and being brutally honest about it. People don’t like brutal and honest opinions, even if they are the truth.
Comments are appreciated and I hope you ‘ve enjoyed my thoughts and humble ramblings. More to come this week after this Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling so stay tuned and, as always: “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game”.
Follow me on twitter: @RealRicSantos