I have to give it to Hulk Hogan, he might be old and recently signed to a company whose fans will tell you has tons of great young performers, and despite his history of playing politics to put over his friends (regardless of other competitors being better suited to get championship reigns), Hogan seems to be doing whatever he can to garner interest in himself and TNA Wrestling.
He could’ve stayed with WWE, maybe done another Wrestlemania match, gotten a decent pay day, hosted an episode of RAW, and retired with a WWE Legends contract, gaining money from video games and action figures – money which will probably not be available to him unless somehow Vince McMahon decides to ignore the fact that Hogan is going to be helping turn TNA Wrestling into WWE’s competition. Given how Vince reacted back in 1993 when Hogan went to WCW, I don’t see it being possible that Vince is going to be civil this time, either (though I don’t expect any television time to be spent by WWE mocking Hogan’s age or anything like that, I fully expect them to ignore Hogan and just leave him out of video games as they’ve done with Macho Man and others).
Recently Hulk Hogan did an interview, which I wouldn’t have seen without Phil Lions posting it on PWInsider.com. It gives some decent perspective of how Hogan views the roster and what his role will be:
Question: Can I ask you about your relationship with Vince McMahon? Is it still good?
Hulk Hogan: Brother, it’s a love-hate relationship, you know. I talk to him once in a while when he needs a main event for WrestleMania but right now, once I get done with this Australian tour, I’m going back to the Unated States where I signed a deal to run a company called TNA – Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. It’s another promotion that you guys are very familiar with here in Australia and I’m getting ready to take over the helm and it’s going to be the number one wrestling company in the world just like when I did back in the 90s when I formed the nWo and we took over the wrestling business. I’m gonna do that again.
Question: Now, when you’re at home watching wrestling as a fan who’s the wrestler that you like watching in the ring? Who’s someone that really captures your attention when you’re watching as a fan?
Hulk Hogan: Well brother, I really like watching Kurt Angle. He really understands this business. And also one of my favourite wrestlers of all-time Sting. I really love watching Sting in the ring. And now there’s a new kid that’s coming up through the ranks and is doing pretty good – a kid named AJ Styles. That’s one of the things I like about these new guys – they understand wrestling the old way, the way to really go out and fight for what they want. They don’t sit in the back and talk and choreograph the matches like some of the other promotions do and I’ve really enjoyed watching these guys.
Question: Can you give us any information about what your role in TNA will be? Will we see you as a wrestler in the ring? Will you be behind the scenes? What would your on-air role be? Can you let us in on a little bit?
Hulk Hogan: Well, I signed a deal with Dixie Carter to come in as her partner. I know there are several people on the show – storyline-wise – who say they are part of TNA (management) such as Mick Foley and Jeff Jarrett, but this situation is for real. I’m going in to turn this thing upside-down. I’m gonna pick the whole wrestling business up and bodyslam it and whoever’s not on my team – on Team Hogan at TNA – they’re gonna be at the bottom of the pile. Just like I did in the early 90s, once I went to work for Eric Bischoff and Ted Turner they became the number one wrestling promotion in the world.
Question: Hulk, if there was one thing you could change about the wrestling industry at this point in time what would it be? How will Hulk Hogan revolutionize the wrestling industry yet again?
Hulk Hogan: Well, the one thing I would change and I’m going to change is..I hate the writers. I cannot stand that they have a writing team sitting in the back telling the wrestlers what to say and telling the wrestlers what to do in the ring. That’s one of the reasons why I went to TNA because the other promotion that’s what they’re all about – scripting the verbiage and scripting the matches and telling the wrestlers what to do. They have a team of writers in the back that don’t understand this business, that have never been to the big show, that have never been in the big main events. All the writers are either wrestlers that are midcard wrestlers or they were family members that were handed a pen and paper and told, “You’ve learned what you’ve learned from our family now keep writing”. They’ve never learned the wrestling business from being in the middle of the ring in the main event in front of 20, 30, 40, 90 thousand people.
Question: You’ve been in the ring with the biggest names the wrestling industry’s ever seen but there’s one wrestler the fans would really love to see you in the ring with. There’s one wrestler that you never really got to take on in a one-on-one situation and that of course is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Steve Austin versus Hulk Hogan – what would the outcome be?
Hulk Hogan: I ran into Stone Cold one week before I came to Australia. I went to a Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California and there he was. He was working out during the day. He was doing a movie with my buddy Sylvester Stallone. And I told him, I said, “Brother, I’m going back to work. I’m getting back in the ring. If you want some come get some. Money’s not a problem. Your schedule’s not a problem. If you really want to get in the ring and you really want to make history then come get into the ring with Hulk Hogan“. I did not get an answer.
Question: So you threw the challenge out there but you did not get an answer?
Hulk Hogan: Face-to-face threw the challenge out, in his face.
Question: Back in the 80s with the WWF you helped bring them to the pinnacle of the entertainment industry, then later on you went to WCW and of course then to WWE. Which one of those runs was most memorable to you?
Hulk Hogan: The run that stood out the most was going to WCW with Eric Bischoff to prove who the most powerful man in the wrestling business was. I proved in a short amount of time that where I go the talent goes and that where I go the fans go. And I’m gonna prove it again this time. When I leave Australia – when I’m done with the Hulkamania tour – this may be the last time I ever wrestle. I’m going back to the Unated States and I’m gonna run TNA. I’m gonna be on camera, I’m gonna be behind the scenes taking care of business in the back and if the fans scream and shout loud enough I might even lace the boots up, brother, but I’m not planning on doing that. I’m planning on taking that company and turning it into the number one company in the business. When I leave here that’s the mission I’m on and if I do come back to Australia it would probably be with TNA.
Question: And I have to mention this, Hulk. One of my favourite memories of you in the ring was when you took on The Rock at WrestleMania 18 several years ago. You actually went into this match as the so-called bad guy and The Rock was the good guy but you ended up receiving all the cheers from the crowd. That was a unique situation. Can you describe that whole moment for us?
Hulk Hogan: Brother, that goes back to what I’m talking about right now. You have to give the fans what they want and that’s what I’m getting ready to do. I’m gonna do the Hulkamania tour and then when I leave here I’m going back to the Unated States and when I work for TNA I’m gonna turn the wrestling business upside-down. That’s the same thing that happened with WrestleMania 18. Vince McMahon wanted me to be the bad guy. Vince McMahon wanted to put a bullet in Hulkamania. Vince McMahon put me up against his number one good guy The Rock who had a big push. And when I went out in front of 70,000 people in Toronto the fans told Vince McMahon what they wanted and they booed The Rock out of the building. They proved that the fans predict this business. These fans predict what the atmosphere and the environment in this business is all about. And that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go back to TNA and I’m gonna listen to those fans and give them what they want. I’m not gonna keep shoving a bunch of terrible, horrible, stale programming down their throats. I’m gonna listen to the fans. I’m gonna take the writers and tell them, “Go get another job. Sit in the back. If I need you to write a jingle for a commercial, maybe we’ll use you for that”. This is the wrestling business. If these wrestlers can’t talk and these wrestlers can’t wrestle then they need to head for the door.