The last article I penned was about the possibility of Impact Wrestling being taken off the road and whether that would be the final nail in TNA Wrestling‘s coffin. That article received the highest amount of views than any other article last week. I have decided to take it a step further. I stated in the article that we can learn from past experiences. We can learn from past events, but what about people? I want to pick apart Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff as MANY people in the wrestling world think these two are killing TNA, and actually, using the company for their own personal gain. The question is… Are Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff killing TNA Wrestling?
Hulk Hogan, even at 60 years old, knows how to create buzz in the professional wrestling world. Hogan may not be able to wrestle in the ring anymore, but he is fantastic at being able create talk. Eric Bischoff, on the other hand, has actually been able to realize that he, let’s face it, doesn’t have to be on television every single week. Sure, he is a great on-air character, but it is time to move on. He very well is still involved in the business through the creative writing process and production. However, if he wants to create talk within the wrestling world, he has no problem doing so. He’s not so much of a special gift but a trait of his.
We have our fair share of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff articles on TNANews.com, but does it hurt to have another one? Of course not… not now anyway with the word going around that Hogan and Bischoff’s contracts are coming to an end in TNA Wrestling. Speaking about articles on this site, remember this article from Elto Alexandrov and Kyle Schimanski? I remember because it is the article that Hulk Hogan himself read and tweeted about. He wasn’t happy (I don’t know why), but because of his response to it on that particular Wednesday, the site reached its highest amount of unique visitors in one single day. In fact, that record still stands. Simply, Hulk Hogan can draw… so thank you for that, Hulkster!
I first want to say that I respect Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff immensely. Anyone who puts their life into the wrestling business for 300+ days and for decades and decades deserve to be recognized. In fact, I explained my deep epiphany about Hulk Hogan after attending Hogan’s Beach last month. He gave his blood, sweat, and tears for this business and his accomplishments should not be overlooked. He is a true legend in every sense of the word.
On the flip side, he is human. In Philosophy, humans are controlled by a three letter word… ego! Ego consumes the body and it can really affect the way people talk, walk, react, and their views on everything. In order to be one with yourself, you have to be one with your ego. You have to overcome your ego. Egos can grow rapidly like mold on a soggy piece of bread. Richard Gray actually voiced his views on Hulk Hogan in a Premium Mailbag installment. Ultimately, it deals with Hulk and his ego. I want to examine both sides of the coin.
Killing TNA Wrestling?:
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff made their first appearance in TNA Wrestling in January of 2010. Their first showing was Monday night on Impact up against WWE Raw. They pulled out all the stops and they actually received one of the highest rated shows in TNA Wrestling history. We all thought they had something. We all thought there would be another wrestling boom. As weeks and months go by, the realization has faded. The fact that we would see another Monday Night War diminished like the sugar in my coffee. Hulk and Eric tried everything… everything that worked in the 1990s! They moved the show time and day. They brought in established big name stars that surprised everyone. They did some character development to make AJ Styles like Ric Flair and Abyss like Hulk Hogan. It worked in the 90s, so it will work again… right? Wrong! Why didn’t it work? TNA Wrestling had the resources to succeed. They brought in major stars… they went right up to plate and competed with the big dog… WCW did that and it was a success in the 90s, so why couldn’t TNA do it? Everyone forgets to see the major resource and that is television! Ted Turner owned WCW. He put it on his station and he could really do anything he wanted with it. Spike TV doesn’t own TNA. They were flexible, but they didn’t spill the money like Time Warner did.
The company went back on to their original time and day. The ratings were lower than ever. Now it is time to rebuild. 3 years later and the company, to most, is still rebuilding. Now we are left thinking what both of them did to help the company. Did they help viewership, ratings, merchandise, television deals, expansion, production, etc?
We have no idea what TNA’s merchandise sales are. We have no idea how much money Hulk Hogan merchandise is bringing the company. I do believe that he is one of the top sellers in the company though. I went to two Impact shows this year and I saw more Hulk Hogan gear than anyone else. Jeff Hardy is right up in there, but I think Hulk beats him.
What about expansion? Well, TNA has expanded their television deals around the world in the past 3 years. However, that is merely business. They were expanding when Hulk and Eric weren’t there. Would these deals be there if Hulk/Eric weren’t with the company? I would think so. TNA Wrestling is really growing outside of the United States. Many people are noticing it and it is only a matter of time till the next deal takes place. Speaking of expansion, we very well know the company expanded with live shows and the huge process of taking the show on the road!
Production is probably the biggest improvement since 2010. Before Hulk/Eric, the company looked very small. It had a “rookie” feel to it. 4 years later and the company’s television shows matches any other show on network television. The backstage segments are compelling. The in-ring action looks crisp. The promo/hype videos became a major part on the show. Lastly, creative stepped up in a huge way. We no longer have a random match being booked as the main event. Every show flows from one to the next with some major focus on each episode. Storylines have become long-term with swerves and twists.
To recap, the company has grown in 4 years. They grown internationally and directly through our television sets, but maybe the biggest indicator of growth hasn’t reflected the same growth. That is ratings and viewership! It’s not a secret that TNA’s viewership and ratings were slowly growing from 2006 to 2009. They always came across hitting some new record. Each year the average rating increased. 2010, however, stopped the steady growth. It stopped the yearly average increase. The average for 2010 was lower than 2009′s. Obviously that is a problem. On a different note, do you know 2011′s average rating? In fact, TNA hit its highest yearly average rating in history in 2011. That’s right. 2011 had Hulk Hogan. It had Eric Bischoff. While we love to talk about sucking the blood out of the company through constant insults and bashing, the easiest fact is overlooked. Even to further the explanation, WWE’s viewership and ratings are down from what they were 6 years ago…. even 4 years ago! Sure, the extra hour on Raw affects the average rating, but the viewership doesn’t lie.
For Their Own Personal Gain?:
Many say that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan are in TNA Wrestling for their own personal gain instead of helping the company. Let me first say that both TRIED to help the company. They tried to make it compete with WWE. That, actually, may be the biggest downfall. How can you compete with a monster? How can you compete with something unstoppable? It’s almost impossible. Instead of trying to compete, they should have grown the company in their own way. As I stated before, they did everything they did in TNA Wrestling what they did in WCW. It didn’t work. 4 years later, and to the dismay of others, the company had growth. International growth. However, has weeks and months go by, it looks like there is less and less of Hogan and Bischoff involved.
When they first entered the company, they were given complete control. They changed the company inside out. Now, though, Hogan doesn’t have a say in hirings or firings. Bischoff is not the person who makes the final decisions. As their responsibilities die down, their personal agendas grow. While Hogan has been with TNA, he opened his own beach shop and his own restaurant. He has appeared on multiple commercials promoting particular products and television talk shows talking about… his sex tape.
Eric Bischoff has his own production company with Jason Hervey where they have been producing television shows since 2003. They have produced numerous television shows in the past decade. TNA Wrestling is part of that. Is TNA Wrestling just another one added to the list for Eric? As I stated, the production has tremendously increased since these two joined the company. The credit goes to Eric Bischoff. That is a great accomplishment. It shows. Is he only in it for production though? What ever happened about the growth and becoming the biggest wrestling company in the world?!
Time To Move On?:
The internet doesn’t like to consider Hulk Hogan a draw. They don’t like to consider that he is the most recognizable name in professional wrestling history. The fact of the matter is, Hulk Hogan is all of that… and more! Hulk Hogan is a game changer. He is a name changer. Companies all around the world would love to have the name Hulk Hogan represent their company. TNA Wrestling has the privilege in able to promote their company with Hulk Hogan in it. Some say they did though. However, has Hulk Hogan? Like anything, it is a two way street. Hulk Hogan appears on television all the time from The Today Show to American Idol, yet there is no mention of TNA Wrestling at all. Imagine the audience those shows have!
Why do you think WWE has been pushing the name of Hulk Hogan lately? Did they do that in 2010 when Hulk first came into TNA? Absolutely not! They know Hogan’s contract with TNA is ending soon. They know they have a chance to sign him. Like I said, every company would love to have the Hulk Hogan brand with it. And very well, Hogan knows where the money is at. He knows, at the end of the day, where the audience is at. Hulk Hogan, like everyone, will do what is best for himself. We all do what is best for ourselves.
We have seen, in the past couple of weeks, Hulk Hogan do some promotional work in the cities where Impact Wrestling is filming at. I would love to see if there is any correlation between him promoting the show and ticket sales.
TNA Wrestling and Hulk Hogan missed the mark on each other. We don’t know the finances of the company, but we can certainly analyze viewership numbers. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff didn’t bring in the long term numbers we thought they would. I imagine TNA Wrestling feels the same way. Missing the mark in the past doesn’t mean they can’t try now. However, is it worth it?
As I stated in the previous article, companies have to look in the past and see what worked and what didn’t. TNA Wrestling was growing without Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Sure, they grew with them, but at what costs? Is it worth it? Judging by the energy Hogan gives, I would no. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Hulk Hogan and I enjoy watching the crowd pop every time he comes out. I very well know he brought new people to watch Impact Wrestling, but a lot of people stopped watching as well.
The company can continue on without the two. Everyone pounds the company because they aren’t pulling in a 3.0 cable rating. They should be praising the company because they are the second largest wrestling promotion in the world while being 11 years old. Are we suppose to think they will beat WWE overnight?
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff helped TNA Wrestling… plain and simple. They haven’t helped it like we thought they would. Now their contracts are coming to an end and the very strong discussion of if the company should re-sign them. We don’t know how much they are making, but that money could certainly be used elsewhere. The company is restructuring for a reason.
Both of these legends in the business tried to achieve greatness with TNA Wrestling. The very fact that they wanted to be #1 right out of the gate was the wrong mindset. Now it is time to move on with a different focus. The focus of being different. Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, ultimately, didn’t kill the company. They were brought in for experimental purposes, like going on the road. The experiment didn’t go as planned. Now it is time to shy away.
Everything done in TNA Wrestling is all a test. It is a test to see whether it works or not. However, something must not be working like it should. Something is affecting the company. The last resort…. the ultimate lead to topic is The Carter Family. That will be saved for next time.
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