Hulk Hogan's still got it. Even at the ripe old age of 59, he knows how to work fans like no other.
He recently gave a very brief interview with British newspaper The Guardian. In the interview, Hogan was asked to give a Christmas wish list and responded with the following:
1. Thirty years of life I want my youth back. I wouldn't change anything, though. I'd wrestle all over again. The same matches.
2. 747 jet I would like my own private jet plane again. I'd take all the wrestlers with me on the plane. I don't just want a little Learjet, I want a 747. That would be a wild plane.
3. Knee surgery I've had eight back surgeries, I've had knee replacements, I've had both hip replacements. I only need one more surgery – to fix my right knee – then I'm going to go for the TNA world title. I want to be 59 years old and be the champion.
4. Hair I want a full head of hair, like yours.
Firstly, the fact this got published in The Guardian in an article featuring big names such as Chris Tarrant and Keith Lemon is impressive. The Guardian is one of the UK's top-selling newspapers and has a very different audience from the tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Star, which usually give professional wrestling the most coverage. Hulk Hogan crossed over to a different audience with that interview.
Secondly, it got everyone in the wrestling world talking. I am aware of three different articles here on Bleacher Report talking about the matter, each with over 2,000 views and counting. Other major sites such as PWInsider also picked up on the story. Just as when Michael Jackson's "Beat It" was popular among rock and pop fans alike, both sides of the coin have taken an interest in this story. That is all the more impressive given the interview was not given in wrestling's American heartland, but all the way over in the UK.
If Hulk Hogan were making a serious announcement regarding chasing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, I doubt it would be in a brief, minor interview about his Christmas wishes for a newspaper whose audience is generally not very interested in professional wrestling, seeing Hulk Hogan more as an amusing sideshow from the 1980s than anything to be taken seriously in 2012. Cageside Seats reports that Dave Meltzer thinks Hogan's last match is not behind him at this point.
Is Hogan going to chase the title? He doesn't have the ability to wrestle on a regular basis in the way that he used to, so I doubt he will win the title, but maybe he will go after it to put someone over. Despite his reputation, Hogan has done that on occasion.
Whether Hulk Hogan returns to the ring or not, however, that interview was a triumph for Hulk Hogan and for TNA because of the reaction it has generated. The Guardian has a truly vast audience as does the combined power of all the big-name wrestling sites that have given coverage on the matter. No one but Hogan on TNA's roster could garner even half of this much chatter, and I suspect Hulk Hogan is also the only man on the TNA roster anyone who reads The Guardian is likely to have heard of.
Still being able to achieve that kind of good publicity is impressive for a 59-year-old who refuses to retire from wrestling on a promotion far, far smaller than WWE. But that's Hulkamania for you.
Here in the UK Hogan's name seems to have a higher profile than in North America. I always get the feeling that over here the various controversies in his personal life have not garnered much attention, leaving his legend less tarnished than it is in the eyes of many North American fans. I would guess this interview will drive up TV ratings in the UK.
Would the match be a draw or not? It doesn't really matter at this point; a lot more people are now aware of TNA and aware that it has one of professional wrestling's biggest names still taking an active on-air role in it. That can only be a good thing for TNA and is arguably what Hulk Hogan does best for the company. I would go as far as to say it is more important than anything he actually does on screen. That's just an excuse to let him go out and get some attention in the media.
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