In recent weeks there’s been one name making the rounds in wrestling, as it has for so many decades in the past, and one very big question attached to that name. The question is, where will Hulk Hogan go, back to TNA or jump back “home” to WWE? With that question there are a ton of other questions that come to mind such as if he’ll do more than promotional appearances, take over a GM role, start managing, and yes even if he’ll work in the ring again. That last one is probably the most controversial question as people are losing their minds at the chance that Hogan may decide to get back in the ring and wrestling again. Even more controversial is that Hogan is angling for a WrestleMania matchup against John Cena, this is getting the IWC all up in a tizzy, they’re losing their mind over the chances of these mirror image “bad wrestling” guys could headline the biggest event in wrestling to date. When Richard Gray stated the other day that he has zero interest in this match, my first thought was “well, that obvious, I whole heartedly agree.” Upon closer consideration I decided to write this article in DEFENSE of this match that seemingly NOBODY wants to see happen.
When you first look at everything all that crosses the mind is that Hogan is nearly 70 years old and has zero business stepping into a wrestling ring to work a match. While I completely agree on that aspect, if he’s able to work out enough to at least get in ring shape for a one off, to blow off his career, I would say let him have his last chance. Does he deserve a title shot, or run, again? Absolutely not, unlike The Rock there isn’t enough “star” feel to Hogan anymore to warrant a WWE title run. Should he have the chance to cap off the career of careers with one last match against the modern day version of himself? I would have to say yes to that one. The business of Pro Wrestling/Sports Entertainment would not be where it is today if not for Hogan (and Vince, of course) and as such, he deserves to end his career on his own terms. While I wouldn’t support Hogan working in the ring more than one to three times total, maybe a spot in the Rumble as an attraction, and a tag match between Rumble and Mania. I think the man should have a chance to work that last match, but only if he truly agreed that this would be the end of his iconic career.
John Cena is, like it or not, the biggest name in the business in the modern era and he’s done pretty much everything possible in his wrestling career to this point. Aside from chasing The Streak, which could hold off until next year if Undertaker is up for it, what would be bigger than facing (and beating) Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania after having beat The Rock a year earlier? Yes, his moveset would seemingly be extremely limited in this matchup because of Hogan’s age and injury issues, but I don’t doubt that Cena could work hard enough to actually make this match entertaining. There isn’t a soul in the business that would put themselves on the line more for the sake of the fans than Cena, the man eats, sleeps, breathes, and bleeds for the wrestling industry. Is he the best wrestler of all time? Certainly not, but he is one of the biggest stars in the history of this business. The thought was that The Rock “passed the torch” last year to Cena in the ring, but what bigger torch could there be than to have the king of the no-sell agree to lay down in the middle of the ring and do the job on the grandest stage of them all for you? The match should have no titles on the line, and at this point, I honestly feel it SHOULD happen. You want an “attraction?” There are very few on par with Hogan/Cena today.
The one thing Vince is big on is the “attraction” in wrestling, there have been massive “attractions” over the years at WrestleMania, some have hit and some have missed. When you think of these moments there is one repeating theme, Hogan and Andre, Hogan and Warrior, Hogan and Savage, Hogan and The Rock. While he may not be the name he once was Hogan and WrestleMania go together like bacon and eggs. Shawn Michaels may get the billing as Mr. WrestleMania, but Hogan has had his name attached to the event damn near as closely as Undertaker. Cena’s run at the top, and the beginning of “Super Cena” came at WrestleMania, when he won the WWE title from JBL for the first time. Since that night, we’ve seen the evolution of Cena from rapping thug to the Super Hero of the wrestling industry. Cena, as hard as it is to say, has almost become bigger than title reigns these days. This is what happens when you hit “legend” status in the business, like Flair, Hogan, Rock, Undertaker, and even Shawn Michaels toward the end of his career. The match would be putting Superman up against, say Captain Marvel. Cena is the modern day Man of Steel and Hogan is the older, less relevant version of the same character in this era.
When I first heard about the potential for this matchup I shook my head and said there’s no way in hell this would, could, or SHOULD ever happen, that it would be an absolute travesty. After looking at it more deeply I feel that the match should happen, and the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania is absolutely the time to let this happen. With the possibility that Sting could leave TNA for WWE, why not just try to make this WrestleMania the dream card matchup. Sting versus Undertaker, Cena versus Hogan, Punk versus Lesnar, Bryan versus Triple H, if only Jeff Hardy were a free agent then you could put the Hardy’s against the Rhodes’ for the tag titles, so on and so forth. Instead of worrying about the typical show, just use this one to make a ton of money off massive attractions. On the surface Hogan versus Cena is an absolutely dreadful matchup between the ghost of WWE past and the leader of the new age of the industry. On a deeper level it’s a match that could help cement Cena’s place in the history of pro wrestling while also helping bring closure to one of the greatest careers to have ever taken place in the business. Could this be the biggest debacle in the history of the business? Sure, it could, but it could also be the match that we all remember for years to come. Ask The Rock how everything worked out when he faced a Hogan well past his prime at WrestleMania.