Hulk Hogan is the biggest name in professional wrestling. You can’t argue his impact on the sport. He’s wrestling’s equivalent of Babe Ruth, or Michael Jordan. He should be No. 1 or No. 2 on every list of the sport’s greats. (Not down at No. 23, where WWE placed Hogan on its top 50 list.)
But while everyone knows who Hogan is, his presence couldn’t help TNA take its next step. In fact, the promotion has taken a few steps backwards.
You can’t blame Dixie Carter for hiring Hogan back in 2009. It was the right move at the time. It opened the eyes of fans when they saw Hogan standing next to Carter at MSG on that October day.
In the end, that signing was the best moment of Hogan’s TNA career. The Hogan TNA signed wasn’t the one who beat The Iron Shiek in 1984. Hell, it wasn’t even the one who beat Shawn Michaels at Summerslam in 2005. After multiple surgeries, Hogan just couldn’t go in the ring. He was signed for his business and creative mind, and that’s the problem. As much as we love Hogan the wrestler, his creative mind is, well, not so creative.
We should have seen the writing on the wall during his first interview with Busted Open after signing with TNA, when he referred to Samoa Joe as “Samoan Joe,” and said Abyss would be the face of TNA. The list doesn’t end there, either. Remember when he changed the Bound For Glory ending two years ago on Busted Open? Or when he asked what AJ Styles had ever done in that same interview? All that, combined with the reported $35,000 he makes per appearance, and the TNA-Hogan marriage was doomed for divorce from the start.
While it’s only one show, the first Impact without Hogan felt fresh, arguably TNA’s most watchable episode in a while. His absence made it clear: TNA needs Hogan to go away. They shouldn’t be negotiating with him. If TNA re-signs The Hulkster, the company’s locker room could revolt, and the promotion will die.
The next time we should see Hogan is in the WWE. With WrestleMania 30 fast approaching, what better spokesperson can you acquire than the real “Mr. Wrestlemania”? Somehow, the WWE will make Hogan work. TNA couldn’t. Just ask Ric Flair.