Hark! The Herald Angels are singing, and no it’s not Christmas time just yet. Those beautiful angelic creatures are singing because TNA has finally taken a step into the right direction by parting ways with Hulk Hogan! For several months now, TNA has made tough choices in its inner rehabilitation, some changes for the good and some changes for the bad, but no decision, in my opinion, will benefit them more than this epic one that has been made by the higher ups. The benefits of Hogan’s departure will be seen almost immediately within the brand, both morale and loyalty will skyrocket and this decision will also free up some much needed financial restraints that currently have this company in a chokehold. Hulk Hogan came to TNA with the intent to bring in some more viewers and to use his name value to bring in bigger names to the company. He did that. Absolutely without any doubt, Hogan succeeded in his original goals. The problem was that TNA signed Hogan to a contract that out lived his usefulness within the brand. They got caught in a situation where their debt to him was worth more than his overall value. Creative didn’t know what to do with him, they tried some different scenarios, but ultimately landed him in the General Manager’s seat on iMPACT Wrestling. Who didn’t see that coming? As the General Manager of their one and only national television production, Hogan used his name to try and shoot the brand to higher elevations and better ratings, and no lasting effort could produce any sustainable results for the company. Hogan attempted to aggressively recruit bigger stars, thinking that would be his answer to success, but the results to those mishaps can now be seen on WWE programming once again, proving my original theory of TNA handing out free paychecks to vacationing employees.
Hulk Hogan first came into TNA with a bang. He brought with him the press and publicity that would be acclimated with someone of his stature in the professional wrestling business. He also brought with him Eric Bischoff, a great mind and thinker in the wrestling scene but stale on ideas. With the two of them back in action together, it felt like they were trying to recreate a product that was once previously produced by the duo at the now defaulted WCW. The excitement that had first erupted when they had burst onto the scene quickly died down and the quick action duo of Hogan and Bischoff hit a gigantic brick wall and their momentum came to a screeching halt. TNA was then left with the daunting position of finding a scenario where their money wasn’t going completely down the drain and the duo could still be useful to them. Wisely they moved Bischoff to the front office, allowing him to run things from behind the scenes where he could shine. As we all know, we couldn’t be as fortunate when it came to the question of what to do with Hogan. TNA believed, like many did, that the Hogan name still had a little juice left in it and putting him in front of the camera could maybe buy them a few more viewers or at least keep the ones they had. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t work out exactly the way they planned. Like many others in the wrestling community, I, too got quickly bored with seeing Hogan on iMPACT Wrestling week in and week out. Everything he had to say was dull, inane and discombobulated and the viewers were having a hard time getting aboard the Hogan Express any further.
The culmination of TNA’s financial problems didn’t begin and probably won’t end with Hogan, but his presence certainly didn’t help. Hogan has spent many years perfecting the Hogan brand. He has made, for the most part, smart career choices and positive brand building decisions for himself and his name. The name Hulk Hogan has always been the face of professional wrestling for so many generations of fans in the wrestling business. We were told to eat our vitamins and say our prayers and we too could grow up and be a Hulkamaniac just as he did, with his 24 inch pythons and his unwavering courage. So many of us believed in that particular scenario that we chose to follow him and live by his mottos and ways of life. His presence would be understated if I said it was tremendous. Hulk Hogan defined charisma in the 80s and early 90s with his ultimate babyface persona. Then in the latter years of the 1990s he redefined what a true heel was by shedding the strongly built Hulkamaniacs that had surrounded him for so many years and aligning himself with a different brand within WCW and catapulting his name even further with the arrival of one of the greatest storylines ever created, the infamous NWO. He and Bischoff together would help bring down the epic universe that is the WWE with their creative abilities and charismatic wrestlers. I guess the point that I am making is that throughout Hogan’s career he has developed himself and his brand, and that can’t come cheap. Not to any federation. Hogan probably isn’t making what he used to make in the prime of his career, but I am sure it was still probably a salary that most of us would never see in a lifetime. TNA was paying that salary, but for what? A retired wrestler too old to wrestle and a man who hasn’t been the most successful with keeping up with the changing times, this generation could care less about Hulkamania. TNA now has those dollars freed up and can focus their attention on maintaining a new and fresh roster of talented individuals known for their ability to wrestle and not to wave their hands around, cupping their ears and ripping off t-shirts.
It wouldn’t be right for me as a fan to say that Hogan is the direct result of TNA’s declining ratings and forced company overhaul. Hogan was just one aspect of that brooding formula, but an aspect nonetheless. I think Hogan had a hard time keeping up with current times and he couldn’t let go of his past like he had once before. He tried to muster all remaining charisma he had left and help put this company over, unfortunately he was spent and so was Hulkamania. His feud with the Aces & 8s bought him a little more time with the fans, but also became quickly stagnate in a sinking pool of quicksand known as TNA’s creative department. Hulk Hogan does and will always deserve all the props in the world for giving professional wrestling a face in the entertainment community for so many years. He is in a sense, the father of professional wrestling entertainment, a title he duly deserves. Hogan’s light has shined brighter than most stars in the skies and we should be grateful for his contribution, but it’s time Hogan. It is time for you to hang up your wrestling gear, throw the boas away and focus on enjoying this next journey of your life, retirement. And to all my fellow cohorts at TNA, I have to say to you in a very loud and climatic voice “BRAVO!” You are finally hearing me loud and clear and it’s about time. You can start sending the thank you notes at any time. Who knows where TNA will go from here, I am just happy that Hogan won’t be coming along for the ride. But then again, that’s just my Chaotic Theory…..