What Role Should Hulk Hogan And Other Legends Have At Wrestlemania XXX?


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At 60 years old, WWE Hall of Famer and all-round wrestling legend Hulk Hogan has made it abundantly clear that he wants to return to the WWE at Wrestlemania XXX to wrestle a dream match against John Cena. I’m Kyle Schimanski and I’m joined by WrestlingNewsWorld.com editors Richard Gray and Alex Barie to discuss our thoughts on the matter and on other legends and part-timers returning for Wrestlemania.

 

Hogan Returning In Non-Wrestling Capacity

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Kyle: What would you guys think of him doing so in a non-wrestling capacity?

Personally I feel that it all depends on what else he would doing. I would be disappointed to see him just sitting front row at ringside, occasionally mugging the camera and stroking his mustache.

To me that would be a complete waste, while also threatening to overshadow whatever would be going on in the ring. If it was in a different manner, such as a special referee or enforcer, I would be completely in favor of this. Although, I would really like to see Hogan return unannounced, especially if the card is loaded with megastars and the publicity for the build-up would be un-needed. Imagine the pop Hogan would get for running (eh, or slowly hobbling) out to save the day, it would be insane! The post media attention would be incredible too.

 

Alex: Every time I think of Wrestlemania XXX and Hulk Hogan, I think of him in a match. That match could be tag team match but it is mostly a one-on-one bout with John Cena. That is all I see from Hogan right now. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be there if he can’t wrestle. As Kyle stated, I wouldn’t want to see Hogan just sitting in the front row waiting for the camera to turn to him. I would actually be in favor of him going into the Hall of Fame… but with the NWO. There have been talks about inducting the New World Order into the WWE Hall of Fame and that can certainly happen this coming year. There’s no doubt the NWO deserves to go into the Hall of Fame, but you would have to limit it to Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash. I would even try to get Eric Bischoff back in for it. Imagine how much talk that would create! The NWO is still a big draw, in my opinion. I would certainly want to see them again. I may not be a huge fan of Nash, but I would like to see the group back together and do some hijinks for the nostalgia value.

 

Richard:  To me, the only value Hulk Hogan has to offer WWE is in a non-wrestling capacity.  Sure, it brings back a lot of nostalgia to have him at the 30th Anniversary of Wrestlemania but WWE has to be very careful here.  There’s no way they’d let him sit in the crowd in plain view of the cameras unannounced.  As you all mentioned, it would take away from anything they were trying to accomplish in the ring.

What’s wrong with a brief tribute segment where they use Hogan to promote WWE 2K14 and the launch of the WWE Network?  A subtle yet nostalgic appearance would be great.  They could even promote it as the night Hogan comes home.   An unadvertised appearance on pay-per-view wouldn’t make sense.  WWE could use an advertised Hogan appearance to entice older fans to order.

Hogan Returning To Wrestle

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Kyle: We all have stated our opinions on Hogan wrestling again and in an effort to not sound too redundant, I’ll summarize my thoughts.

Yes, I want Hulk Hogan to wrestle and yes, I want it to be at Wrestlemania XXX against John Cena. Nobody but Hogan and his doctors truly know what his body can and cannot do but it would be safe to assume that he would be risking his health and life by performing any strenuous bumps. In my opinion though, he doesn’t have to do much wrestling and could easily work around doing much actual in-ring work. He did it with Sting in TNA, so we couldn’t he do it again?

It’s a bit like “What was the best match at Wrestlemania III?” and of course the answer is Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat but it’s not true, Hogan vs Andre was. Even though technically that match stunk, everybody remembers it as the most defining moment in wrestling. I feel someone could be achieved very similar to this. What do you guys think?

 

Alex: I am so floppy on this subject that I don’t even think I know what I want. Kyle makes a great point about only Hogan and his doctors know if he can get in the ring again. It is not the best idea by any means, but it is ultimately Hulk Hogan’s decision. No one is going to make him do something. If he does get in the ring, yes, he will be limited, but, who is watching the WWE for their wrestling? People watch the WWE because of the entertainment value. If wrestling matters, then we The Great Khali wouldn’t have been World Heavyweight Champion. I, for one, do not want to see Hogan actually wrestle but I want to see him entertain. The best way he can entertain is through wrestling. Just look at his matches. Just look at Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 18. We all know what we will get with a Hulk Hogan match, so no one, absolutely no one, should expect a wrestling match. They should expect an entertainment match.

I am thankful that I know a lot of casual wrestling fans. That is one thing that not too many people who write online can say. I try to use them as much as I can because the wrestling companies cater to them. The casual wrestling fans make up the majority of the wrestling audience. I asked them about Hulk Hogan wrestling again. Strangely enough, I got several different answers. The major wouldn’t mind seeing Hulk Hogan in one more match. However, someone stated that they wouldn’t pay to see Hogan wrestle. With that being said, Wrestlemania XXX is out of the question. That leads me to toss up the idea of having Hulk Hogan wrestle on a live episode of Raw. A special episode of Raw. Imagine if they marketed Hogan vs. Cena on a Raw episode for weeks. Imagine the hype around the match. Imagine the viewership/rating it can bring! I know we can look at the viewership/rating for Hogan in TNA, but TNA doesn’t have the power of WWE to market. WWE can really make this a huge deal. It could work.

Another person told me that they wouldn’t mind seeing Hulk Hogan wrestle and they would pay to see it, hence it happening at Wrestlemania XXX, but they stated that they would want Hogan to wrestle someone from his era. They brought up Rowdy Piper. He stated that Cena would simply outshine Hogan too much and it would be unrealistic. I agree. There would be too much selling. However, not only was Hogan vs. Piper a huge rivalry in the past, but they can bring that huge nostalgia back. Both are limited but it would make sense. It would be realistic. Sure, it won’t be popular amongst the real wrestling fans, but it would bring the old-time wrestling fans back and WWE needs those types of people watching again.

 

 Richard:  When I think of Hulk Hogan wrestling at Wrestlemania XXX, I think about Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania XXVI.  Not only did the crowd turn on it, but the match was a disaster and it was depressing.  I appreciated the thought of revisiting Montreal on the grandest stage of them all, but Hart had no business in the ring at the biggest pay-per-view of the year.   This is a point Alex brought up and one I’ll reiterate with vigor.

I don’t think the match at Wrestlemania III (Andre The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan) is comparable for numerous reasons.  The point everyone needs to accept is Hulk Hogan can no longer work.  I’m not talking he’s limited or can only sell, he flat out can’t work at the level desirable to put on a match.  It’s the same situation Bret Hart was in a few years ago.  Sure, Hogan still looks great and should be commended for keeping his body in shape.  However, the party is over.  He’s 60-years-old and is too limited physically.  It’s a sad reality that a lot of fans seem to refuse to accept.

Legends/Part-Timers Returning

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Kyle: Wrestlemania XXX has to be one of, if not the biggest Wrestlemania, WWE will ever put on. So I totally understand the logic and reasoning behind wanting to attract top names and legends to appear on the show. If they can sign up names like Sting, Goldberg, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin or even tempt Shawn Michaels out of retirement on top of part-timers like the Undertaker, HHH and Brock Lesnar then we truly would have star studded card. Although the viewing figures and money made would likely be record breaking, would having such a “dream” card damage WWE in the long-run? The legends would easily overshadow all the current talent and could possibly see guys such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, The Shield etc dumped lower in the ‘Mania card or possibly off it all together. Surely the attitude of not establishing any current “top guys” and relying on past superstars can only damage the product more going forward.

How do you guys feel about potentially having so many legends returning?

 

Alex: Kyle, I love what you brought up! First off, I have no problem with part-timers or legends coming into the wrestling business. The Rock changed my view on that. The Rock came, appeared part-time but bumped the ratings up as well as bumping buyrates and merchandise sales for WWE. Sure, WWE paid a very pretty penny for The Rock, but I am sure they made money on him. Great investment!

So many names are being tossed around for a possible match at Wrestlemania XXX. Kyle gave those names. I can certainly think of some classic matches coming from those names, but I doubt most of them will happen… if any. I always look forward and watch Wrestlemania because it is the biggest show of the year and I want to see the top and the best. I want to be entertained. The Rock helped in past years. So did Brock Lesnar. However, each year should be different. Wrestlemania only comes once a year. WWE has to make their impression each year. I think, rather than having all of them on one card, they can spread it out for the next couple of years. Sting is still in great shape. He can last another year. I also think Undertaker can last another year. Stone Cold Steve Austin can still train hard and be in shape. Goldberg may chance about the whole “wrestling a match”. Shawn Michaels could very well swing in the direction of having one more match. Imagine if WWE sold Michaels in one more match along with Hogan returning at Wrestlemania (either Hall of Fame, wrestle Cena or some other legend). Level the top talent so stars like CM Punk, The Shield, Antonio Cesaro and others to shine and grow. The best balance is knowing where the main legends stand while pushing the future at the same time.

I am actually excited for Wrestlemania 31 as one person in particular could and probably will be part of the show. It’s something many have been waiting for! 2014 is going to be a really interesting and fun year for the wrestling business!

 

Richard:  I understand the point made by Kyle and am pretty much in complete agreement with Alex.  It’s about finding the appropriate balance [new talent vs. old talent] to put on a card that is both entertaining that people will pay to see.  People crap on The Rock because of his limited schedule.  Well, he can still outdraw the entire WWE roster.  I’m not keen on the idea of stacking the Wrestlemania XXX card with all past stars, which as Kyle mentioned, would bury WWE’s current crop of talent but I don’t think that will be the case.

Vince McMahon, while a bit eccentric, is the greatest promoter of all-time and will hopefully find the appropriate balance.  Even if none of the names Kyle mentioned come to fruition, the show still has Brock Lesnar and Undertaker.  The Rock changed the way Vince views part-time talent and has made a way for people like Lesnar to cash in.

At the end of the day I want a show that is entertaining.  Give me names that people care about in matches people want to see.  This isn’t a video game; we can’t get Hogan in his prime against John Cena just like we couldn’t get Bret Hart in his prime against Vince McMahon.  Just because something looks attractive on paper doesn’t mean that’s the way it’s going to turn out.  As long as balance is maintained and expectations are held in check, Wrestlemania XXX shouldn’t disappoint.


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