Posted by Zack Krasney
Lately the rumors have been running rampant that Hulk Hogan may make one last run in the WWE. From the whispers we’ve heard, WWE would like him to come in and be some sort of on-air figure. Hogan, on the other hand, has ideas of wrestling one last match. From what has been reported, Hogan wants to take on John Cena at Wrestlemania XXX. One thing is for certain, Hogan is gone from TNA Wrestling and has his eyes on another run in WWE. Unfortunately, I don’t see Hulk Hogan as “best for business” in WWE. Bringing in Hogan is a mistake because the only thing Terry Bollea is concerned about is himself. Hulkamania is a disease, a virus, and if you let him in your company doors he will run wild all over you.
Let’s take a look back at some of the many times Hogan has made the business his own personal ego stroking machine. First, there was the match in 2005 against Shawn Michaels. Michaels had returned to the company after a long absence due to his broken back. Shawn had returned and was helping to put over the younger guys. Hogan and Michaels set into a rivalry that was supposed to be Face vs. Face. Just a situation where one icon has to know which is better. Michaels and Hogan agreed that would be how the story would go. Then the night before plans were set into motion Michaels was pulled aside and told, “Terry would feel better if it was a typical Face vs. Heel rivalry.” This message was delivered to HBK. After the meeting was over, and after the Face vs. Face rivalry had been decided. It was then decided, by the Hulkster, that he should take the win. Even though Shawn was working more with younger wrestlers, helping to put guys over, Hogan felt he should take home the win.
In the summer of 2006 Hulk Hogan started into a rivalry with a young up-and-comer named Randy Orton, who was calling himself “The Legend Killer.” At the time Hogan was 53 years old and Randy Orton was 26 years old. Orton was on his way up and Hogan was on his way out. A win for Orton, a win would have really helped to skyrocket his career forward. In hindsight, we would see Orton do just fine without the win from Hogan. At the time, though, no one knew that Orton’s career wouldn’t need the boost from Hogan. Hogan, though, was looking for the win for his own career. But, why? What good did beating a young star who was on his way up do, other than feed his own ego? It is an unwritten rule that the wrestler who is on his way out does the job to the up-and-comer because the win means nothing to the veteran, but everything to the younger guy. Here are some of Hogan’s exact words from and interview.
“Last year at SummerSlam, I fought Randy Orton—and me and Vince had some problems with the money. Before SummerSlam, I was a little worried because instead of being a main event match I was on fourth against Randy Orton. When I heard about the first three matches at the Fleet Center in Boston, it sounded like a funeral. And when I listened to the crowd reactions to those matches, it did sound like a funeral. Then, when my music came on it was like the old days, people were stood up. It was electric. Randy is a great hard working wrestler and we fought an old school style match. That was the most exciting match I’ve ever had in the Fleet Centre. I wrestled Steve Borden in a cage, which was a great match in my opinion at least, but this one was better; as after second-guessing I was like ‘Oh my god, it still works’. Then Vince went out with his son and wrestled Triple H and Shawn Michaels and it was dead again. Cena went on for the main event, and people started leaving.”
“I felt bad when the night ended, as they should have put me on later, but it was the money that really got to me. I swore I would never talk about the money again with Vince because that’s what we always argue about. But when I saw the amount I was like, ‘That’s like one of my driver’s paychecks’, so I had to say something. He replied, ‘Well you’re not the only big guy any more, there are now 12 big guys.’ I said, ‘Well if that’s the case let me explain something to you, I heard the first three matches and (the crowd response was) nothing. I wrestled and I heard what happened. And then I heard your match, Vince, and nothing. And I saw Cena, and people were leaving. I had a hard time getting out the building because of all the people marching through. ‘So who are the other 11 big guys you’re splitting my money with?’”
To summarize some of the main points of what he said:
- He was the only person drawing a reaction. Not The Big Show, Ric Flair, Batista, Degeneration X which is Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and not Edge or John Cena. I have to say, I ordered this Pay Per View. I remember the crowd being really hot for DX and especially for Cena/Edge. I also remember the crowd being luke-warm for Hogan/Orton. Hogan’s match was also received as “a mess”, “boring”, and “unbelievable.”
- He thinks that he should be receiving more money, while paying other superstars on the card (including Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Edge, Ric Flair, and John Cena) less money. Keep in mind Hogan was on a part time schedule at the time, while all of these wrestlers were not.
- That his match with Randy Orton should have been the main event, even though the rivalry had just begun a few weeks before. His match over DX vs. The McMahons, and the World Heavyweight and WWE Championship matches.
- That his match was so good that people were leaving during the Main Event, WWE Championship match between John Cena and Edge.
To be fair, I don’t follow TNA in detail, I only know the major events. I do know that Hogan came in, thinking he knew what was best for the wrestling business and it could be argued that they are worse off after he left than before he came in. I know that he changed the 6-sided ring to the traditional 4 sides. I still don’t know if I support that decision. I know that he took his WWE Hall of Fame ring and used it in a TNA storyline, which is complete disrespect. He pulled strings so that his daughter who has nothing to do with the wrestling business could have an on air role in TNA. I know he told Samoa Joe that he didn’t have the pro wrestling “look” and that he needed to drop weight. Which is a tragedy because Joe does some of the best work I’ve ever seen. I’ve also heard of countless occasions where Hogan pulled his weight to do what was best for Hogan.
Fact is, if Hogan comes back to WWE it will be to do what he always does, make things about himself. The Hulkster is 60 years old and needs a wheelchair to get around a lot of the time. Yet, he wants to get in the ring and wrestle with John Cena. Why would I think that Hogan would let Cena walk out with the win? If the business is to ever grow forward, we need to stop looking to the past for stars to “bring in viewers.” Hogan would also demand a large paycheck for gracing the WWE with his presence again. A paycheck that could go to a more deserving person, a person people would WANT to see wrestle one more time, say Stone Cold Steve Austin. I am completely against a return of Hulk Hogan. Personally I see him as a leech who does what’s best for himself and never thinks about the business. Think about it, when he was about to leave TNA, before their biggest Pay Per View of the year he fueled rumors he was leaving the company so that the focus was on himself and not TNA. Right before WWE’s Hell in a Cell event Hogan tweeted a picture of himself with the WWE Championship with a caption that read something along the lines of “thinking what to do next.” Taking hype away from the PPV and onto himself. Hogan sees himself as “better than the business” and he isn’t, no one is. He is a tragic case of the wrestler who doesn’t know when to step out of the spotlight.
So now Hulkamania has returned to the company and I have to say I am still not pleased. Don’t get me wrong, when Hogan’s old music hit on Raw, a part of me was marking out. A part of me that was deep, deep down. The problem is that by know I knew better. Yes, a part of me was excited to see the old yellow and red boa back between WWE ropes. At the same time, though, I know what I am really going to get with Hogan. Hogan’s strength has never been in his ability to work a microphone. He will never drop a CM Punk style “pipe bomb.” The problem is that at this stage in his career, all he can do is talk, leaving him, at best, a shadow of his former self.
Sure enough, my expectations were quickly met. While plugging the WWE Network to open Raw, Hogan slipped on his words. Not only did he slip on his words, it was obvious. “History is being made with the launch of the WWE Universe!” Hulkster quickly tried to back track, but it was painfully obvious he was trying to fix his mistake. Honestly, if it were any other promo, I might be more forgiving, but this was a very, VERY important moment. The first moments of the first Raw on the day the WWE Network launched. On top of that, it was Hogan’s first promo back in the company since December 10, 2007. Needless to say, there was a good amount of importance behind that promo.
I realize I might be overly critical of Hulk Hogan right now, but someone has to be. For some reason, Hogan gets a free pass from fans and officials alike. I know Hogan “puts butts in seats” and that is all that matters, but I am not happy with it. I am just waiting for the stories to start flooding in about who gets stepped on. Which superstars does he have to bury so that he can stay “the Immortal Hulk Hogan.” He is like a vampire, he feeds on the young talent to keep himself immortal. Contrary to his own belief, this business does not revolve around Hulk Hogan. Many times John Cena is compared to Hulk Hogan. There is no comparison, John Cena is better than Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan is just another reason my interest in Wrestlemania XXX is plummeting.
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