The Importance Of Hulk Hogan In TNA Wrestling

hogan-tnaWhen Hulk Hogan first signed his TNA Wrestling contract in late 2009, the IWC, and many fans, questioned the move by a company who was undoubtedly on the rise. What fans and so-called experts in the IWC failed to realize was that TNA Wrestling was reaching out to the most recognizable faces in the sport of professional wrestling. The likes of Larry Zbysko, Jim Cornette, Curt Hennig and more had come and gone, always leaving with the same result. TNA Wrestling has had some of the brightest young stars in the business, names such as Bobby Roode, Chris Sabin, James Storm and Samoa Joe- talented workers who needed the guidance, the experience, the confidence and the ‘Game’ in order to make it in the promotion. For these and many other reasons, what Hulk Hogan has done in TNA can not be understated.

Simply put, the brass at TNA Wrestling put Hogan in his position in order to take the company where it likely wouldn’t go without his help. If you were a promoter, would you not find it advantageous to sign to your roster the person who body-slammed Andre The Giant in front of over 93,000 people (not counting the millions, like me, who were watching on closed-circuit television)?

hlkvnrskThere is no denying that Hulk Hogan is the face of professional wrestling. Insiders and experts would rather argue that Ric Flair is the person to carry that torch into 2013, though a true fan of the sport of professional wrestling will likely go in the way of the Hulkster. Sure, he wasn’t mechanically sound like Bob Backlund and he wasn’t a sideshow character ala Andre The Giant. Hulk Hogan was the one who put personality into the sport of professional wrestling, bridging the gap that was narrowed in the 1970’s by the immense success, and constant dominance, of Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham and Dusty Rhodes.

My first memories of Hulk Hogan was his feud with Rowdy Roddy Piper in the early 1980’s, a feud that would culminate into the main event of WrestleMania I. It was here that Hulkamania was truly born in the eyes of the wrestling world and the fans who love the sport. Hogan would spend the 1980’s doing what he dreamed of doing as a Florida-based bass player in a band called Ruckus- lighting up a crowd with his energy, his enthusiasm and his determination to make the product better than his predecessors. His feuds with Piper, ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Andre The Giant cemented his role as the top professional wrestler in the history of the business. By the end of the decade, little did we know at the time, he was only beginning.

His tenure in the WWE would predictably come to an end, with Hulkamania showing up in WCW. While I believe his initial booking in the company is showed what was wrong with the sport leading into the 1990’s, however it would ultmately lead to the formation of arguably the best heel faction in the history of pro wrestling- the NWO. Turning Hogan heel in the 90’s was brilliant, a direction that VKM would never go. It propelled WCW onto a new level, a storied transition with a storyline that didn’t get stale.

HulkHoganvsAndretheGiant_display_imageHogan’s last appearance in WCW- the famed ‘lie-down’ by Jeff Jarrett during the Bash At The Beach in 2001 set the tone for the future of WCW. When Hogan got on the microphone and told Vince Russo that the company was in the “damn shape it’s in, because of bullshit like this.” The look on Hogan’s face and the way he placed his foot on the chest of Jeff Jarrett, that the business had taken a turn for the worse, and the man who helped build it, was apparently dying inside. We wouldn’t see Hogan again until he returned to WWE. There, we got to see him take on The Rock, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and even VKM himself, cementing himself as a WWE Hall Of Famer, before striking out yet again. It was only a matter of time before Dixie Carter and Jeff Jarrett (who famously called out an unsigned Hogan as a challenger for the NWA Title) were able to lock in his services.

Hogans tenure in TNA Wrestling has been tremendous. The formation, and eventual breakup, of Immortal, the addition of Eric Bischoff, and the continuation of his rivalry with Sting and (however short-lived) Ric Flair has brought definition and direction to TNA Wrestling. Even while focusing on Hogan, Sting and Kurt Angle, TNA is still able to support their up and coming talent,

supgroup_hulks_050112The route that Hulk Hogan has taken in the world of pro wrestling is one that is less traveled. Only a fortunate few have been able to even taste the success that he has. His influence in the ring can be seen in every venue, every house show and every pay-per-view. This is a man who has put his heart and soul into the world of professional wrestling, an industry that loves him and hates him at the same time. Think of him as the Michael Jordan of professional wrestling, however with succinct differences, most notably, a passion for the business, a mind for the craft and a name that will forever touch the masses, young and old.

Whether Hogan is up for another match is strictly up to his body. If he thinks he can do it, then he will. Though even if he doesn’t lace up his boots for one more match, Hogan will forever be the influence of our future generation of wrestling talent. Workers like Chris Sabin, Austin Aries and Roode (the future of the sport, in my humble opinion) can only benefit from the presence of the Immortal Hulk Hogan.

 

 

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  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    The article is stated The Importance of Hulk Hogan in TNA Wrestling. I was really looking forward to this to see what your big stance on Hulk Hogan in TNA is and why you think he is still important. Rather, what I got was a pro wrestling timeline of his career barely mentioning his time in TNA and what he has done. You did mention Immortal and bringing in EB and Ric Flair and his (very short lived) rivalry with Sting. It's more like a strong friendship with Sting throughout his years in TNA. The article should be called The Importance of Hulk Hogan in Wrestling History. Most of what you have said is his history.

    Now that the issue is said aside, let's go on to if HH is really good for TNA. I don't think he is. True, it does bring some excitement to see him, but I think it hurts the business. He is in many storylines and doesn't really know how to book the wrestlers. He takes up much TV time, involved in almost every storyline angle. And the one's he isn't involved in? His daughter is. It's all about the Hogan Family. Back when he came in, everyone was thinking how much this is for TNA and how much this is really for HH. I don't doubt the fact that he does extend his support to the wrestlers in the business and praise them. I don't doubt that he is the most important face in wrestling history. It's undeniable! But can we make an argument that is a lot of what he is doing is to keep the Hogan name alive? Yes! I also find that hard to say that he isn't when he's been in so many different storylines, as a GM and just a face and wrestler and every which way he can, in his time in TNA. Do I really want the guy that headlined WM 1 28 years ago to be in control of my business? To me, it seems like that's living in the past. Sure, he's been in WWF and WCW and has much experience. But in the mid-90s, guess what? The main writers of RAW, before the Attitude Era, were writers that had been writing for wrestling for a very long time. They had experience and had no clue what was going on in the current era. Experience can be harmful in a way because you think you have all of the business figured out and everything else that is newer or with the time might come knocking and you might not be able to accept it. Am I accusing HH of that? Maybe. I'm saying it's so much easier, since he's been around the business since 1977. Think about it! You want a guy who has been in the business since 1997, with that much experience, to be the one that takes a very young company into the future? I don't. I just can't see the upside of it. If you really look at TNA, it is an exciting product but it still was in '09. Everything in '09 looked like TNA was just rising higher and on a roll.

  • http://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    He took TNA on the road. True, but do you think there was no way that TNA could ever go on the road if he had never come in? TNA might have still managed to find a way to go on the road if he hadn't have come in to the company. We will never know. I can say that HH coming in and the goal to take TNA on the road most likely didn't all come at once. One big thing that has been a part of the Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan era is WWE stars coming in and being big stars because they were from WWE. We just saw it this past week! (And actually, I didn't have an idea who this Greg guy was because I don't watch WWE. Haven't in a long time.) How many stars have we had now that have come in to TNA to instantly get recognition and main event status becoming the face of the company because of what they have done in the WWE? True, we have seen ones that are not from WWE such as Bobby Roode and Austin Aries. Once again, back in '09, i remember TNA stars getting the push with Styles and Daniels and Joe. I honestly do not think you can tell me that there is no way Roode and Aries could not get that push in TNA if it wasn't for HH and Bischoff. Hell, TNA already knew about Austin Aries. That's a fact. Remember Austin Starr in 2006? He was a stand out his first match in the company. I remember the first time i saw him back then and knew I had to pay attention to this guy because he was just different from the rest. He had the look and charisma. Did TNA already know of Bobby Roode's potential? No doubt. But no one can deny HH's attempts to bring in every ex-WWE wrestler and want to make them big stars in TNA. The Aces and Eights are all ex WWE wrestlers. Jeff Hardy was turned in to the face of TNA Wrestling. Coincidence? Or maybe him trying to take all of the big stars from the other company thinking TNA just needed more big names to get out there. Remember 10/10/10? It was badly booked. One heck of an exciting night, but it's like they just threw everything at the wall and went all out bringing in Jeff Hardy and many ex WWF wrestlers. We just need to get this product on Monday nights. That's Hogan's thinking. WWF/Titan Sports has been around since 1979. TNA has been around since 2002. As Eric Bischoff has pointed out before, it is arguable to say that it has been around since 2002 since they just did weekly Pay-Per-Views until 2004. TNA is a baby compared to WWE/WWF. Now we just need to suck up to WWE and mention them on the broadcasts (they did just last week, once again) every chance we get. We just need to imiate them. Then we'll make it! Guys, gather around! I got an idea. A TNA Hall of Fame! That's it! What are we missing? TNA has been on television for less than ten years… and then from 2004 until 2007, it was only a one hour show. In 2004 and some of the time on Spike until late 2006, it was on at 11:00 central time at night. You were lucky if you just happened to be flipping through the channels, like I was when I first saw it. It was wrestling's best secret. Once again, TNA has only been a two hour show since '07. We all need to step back and realize how much of a baby this company actually is instead of trying to imitate WWE and push it out there right away to be the top dog. TNA: Keep doing what works. Keep building your own stars. Keep producing great quality wrestling.

  • TNA Chris

    Heyman, one of the greatest wrestling minds of all time, felt they could compete. The company as a whole would have to sacrifice though.

  • https://twitter.com/TNA_is_Best TNA_is_Best

    Do you mean compete right now? In that case, I'm not exactly sure. If that is your stance, what do you think they would need to do to compete now? And what sacrifices are you thinking of?

  • Jeremy

    Tna just needs to get rid,of most of ex wwe stars and go back to what worked back from 2005. I love all the past pay per views before they got ex wwe stars. Hell they had the crowds before hogan came in just look at hard justice 2005 for example and watch all the pay per views until hogan came in they were all great. And i think going on the road was good and bad cause its not all live at least here in Orlando they were live every week except during holidays. I think they should have been in Orlando one week on the road the next and alternate weeks from orlando and other cities would have been better considering they are still a young company. Hogan just needs to go period..