With all of the hoopla surrounding the New Jersey election for Governor, I did not have an opportunity to cover a story that is big news for wrestling fans like myself. If you haven’t heard yet, Hulk Hogan – the most iconic name in the history of professional wrestling – has signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. I own a few wrestling sites that covered this story and you can read some of that coverage by clicking on these links.
As a wrestling fan, I’m excited for this news. I stopped watching World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programming around two or three years ago. Honestly, it got to a point where Triple H was winning every single feud that he was in and where he and his wife were trying to write him into some mythical figure week in and week out. I couldn’t take watching the utter bastardization of the sports entertainment industry, so I stopped watching. Hey, there are a lot of ways for people to express their support or dissatisfaction with a company or product. With sports entertainment, I decided to vote with my dollars and my leisure hours by taking them away from WWE and giving them to TNA.
That said, it hasn’t been an easy ride as a fan of TNA wrestling. There is a strong argument to be made that these guys have spent the last few years blowing their opportunity to be the clear alternative to WWE programming. For most of the last few years, there was no way that TNA could compete with WWE on a global level. Today, even with signing Hulk Hogan, I think that fact remains. However, bringing in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff (more on him in a minute) gives TNA a real chance to compete with WWE domestically and, specifically, on the all-important cable television medium. As a fan of TNA, I hope that they don’t blow this gigantic opportunity.
Now to Eric Bischoff. When news broke last week that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff had signed contracts to partner with TNA, most of the people that I talked to were saying that Hogan is too out of shape and getting up there in age to make an impression on TNA. Well, that’s true. But if you ask me, the real value of this transaction is Eric Bischoff. Forget about the fact that he has connections in the entertainment industry through Bischoff Hervey Productions. And you can even forget about the vast connections that Bischoff brings as the former President of World Championship Wrestling (WCW). What Bischoff brings to the table is a unique view on the wrestling business that is not only proven to be successful, but it is proven to be profitable.
The real value of this deal is Eric Bischoff’s brain with Hulk Hogan’s instant mainstream credibility. The only misstep that I’ve seen so far in this whole thing is the fact that while Hogan was on almost every major media outlet promoting his new book last week, he wasn’t wearing any TNA merchandise. I know that this announcement was a bit last minute and that TNA doesn’t even have a marketing plan built around Hulk Hogan yet, but it would have been nice for the company’s fortunes if Hogan was wearing some red and yellow themed TNA merchandise, you know?
However, that’s only a minor hiccup. Hogan was sure to talk about TNA in almost every interview and he talked about how he has a partnership with them and that he may or may not get back into the ring. In these interviews, he was very realistic about his body and how it has broken down over the years. That’s a good sign for Hogan who, as his new book details, has been battling some mental demons lately.
Anyway, the word is that Hulk Hogan will be featured on TNA Impact on Spike tonight, so if you get a chance be sure to watch the show!