by Nik - November 08, 2013
The wrestling rumour mills have been chugging away with might of late, powered by gossip pertaining to Hulk Hogan once again becoming a free agent. At 60 years old, many would suggest that he’s well past his sell by date (or already was 10 years ago! Ho ho!) and that he has no place in the modern day WWE. But to those naysayers… I say nay back to thee! I oughta come over to your house and give you the Legdrop of Doom™ right now!
I take no shame in admitting that I would mark out in a big, big way to see The Hulkster back in the WWE for one more run. Just because he hasn’t been a massive success in TNA doesn’t mean he has nothing left to offer – just ask RVD, who was more relevant to wrestling fans after 1 night in WWE than he ever was during 3 years with TNA .
Rest assured, I’m not blind to talent (or lack of), so I too am very much of the opinion that what Hogan can do in the ring these days is very, very limited (we’re possibly talking even more limited than The Great Khali here), but when has Hogan’s appeal ever been about his wrestling ability? It’s his unique ability to work a crowd that makes him such a spectacle. We’re talking about a guy who managed to turn an entire crowd against The Rock at Wrestlemania, whilst working as a heel no less!
Make no mistake about it, nobody in the wrasslin’ business comes close to matching the crowd-working skills that Hogan has. Bret Hart likes to moan about the fact that Hogan refused to drop the title to him back in 1993, but in truth Hogan did him a favour in opting for Yokozuna. Had Hogan faced Hart in a babyface v babyface match, the crowd would have turned against Hart in an instant. I’m not sure how Hart’s ego would have coped after that.
Yeah, sure, Hogan has an ego too – and he’s bound to have a few demands and a big say in who he faces should he make a WWE return. But so what if he’s a bit of douche? HHH has a reputation for being a bit of an asshole. So does Randy Orton. And, of course, so do Vince and Steph McMahon. But I’m not asking these people to be my buddies. I just want them to entertain the Hell out of me. And that’s what Hogan can do best.
With the right build up, and the right match, Hogan can still make a very worthwhile contribution to Wrestlemania 30. I’m not saying he should be anywhere near the world titles, or challenging The Undertaker’s streak… But with a decent story and the right ring-veterans around him to carry a match and mask his limitations, he could be involved in a big money bout. Imagine how fun something like The Big Show and Hulk Hogan vs Triple H and Kane could be; Four of WWE’s longest ever employees all sharing the ring. That has “Wrestlemania” scribbled all over it for me.
Wrestling is a somewhat unique spectacle in that its cheoreographed action allows for seasoned and semi-retired pros to return. It’s similar to the same way in which Hollywood oldies such as Sly Stallone and Arnie can still pass themselves off as action movie stars when they’re both approaching 70 – the fictional nature of what they do allows it. And why not take advantage of that element of phoniness if you’ve got a blockbuster name to be milked? You think NBA fans wouldn’t want to see Michael Jordan back shooting hoops? Or boxing fans wouldn’t want to see Mike Tyson step back into the ring? Of course they would! But the physical demand of their respected professions makes such an eventuality virtually impossible. Pro wrestling doesn’t suffer the same consequence. The carnivalesque nature of its product allows for a deep masking and many shortcuts to be taken in order to present something that can still be called a wrestling match. It’s how the likes of Mr T, David Arquette, Lawrence Taylor and, heck, even Snooki have all been involved in pro wrestling matches over the years. If they can can take part in a PPV wrestling bout, then surely a 60 year old Hulk Hogan can.
Wrestlemania 30 is a genuine milestone where WWE will seek to execute a number of records pertaining to viewing figures and social media… What better way to help achieve those goals than by having the most famous wrestler of all time on the card? I always think Wrestlemania (and perhaps the Royal Rumble) is the PPV that casual fans and even fans who no longer tune-in to the product are still tempted to order. What better way to entice wayward fans back than by offering them a huge injection of nostalgia via Hulk Hogan?
Never underestimate the power of nostalgia, and never underestimate the power of Hulkamania, brotha!
Over and out.
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