The involvement of Hulk Hogan in upcoming video game WWE 2K14 raised some eyebrows when it was announced last month.
For a contracted TNA performer to strike a deal with its main rival doesn't make the company look great, especially when you consider that Hogan is, by and large, the face of the promotion.
And unsurprisingly, reports from sites like WrestlingInc have emerged, claiming that many people at TNA took Hogan's move as “a slap in the face.”
In this week's (subscribers only) Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer provides more information, noting that one of the main reasons why many in management are so irate is that it jeopardizes any future TNA video game. It seems that TNA felt its only advantage over WWE was that it could put Hogan in a game.
Regarding the Hogan video game thing, it’s a touchy subject because Hogan didn’t do anything out of his legal rights. But there was the obvious reaction that regarding what this does for the possibility of TNA landing a video game deal. Right now such a deal would be huge in helping them financially at a time when they are cutting so much. But when it comes to making such a deal, the single most valuable commodity to sell the idea of a game manufacturer is they have Hogan under contract. However, the value of Hogan in landing a deal is minimized tremendously when Hogan is in another game in the market at the same time, produced by WWE, the industry leader.
OK, so assuming this report is correct, you have to question TNA's thought process.
America's No. 2 wrestling promotion hasn't had a whole lot of success when it comes to video games. The company's first official title TNA iMPACT was released in 2006 to a decidedly lukewarm critical and commercial reaction. Portable game TNA iMPACT: Cross the Line, which was quietly released in 2010, didn't set the world on fire either.
How can Hogan risk any potential TNA video game when there's no overwhelming demand for one in the first place?
Of course, you could say Hogan was being disloyal to Dixie Carter when he signed a deal to appear in WWE 2K14.
This may be a valid point.
But let's consider some of the infamous stories regarding TNA's attitude toward wrestlers.
As CageSideSeats mentions, Jesse Sorensen said in recent interviews that the company declined to pay his costly medical bills after he broke his neck wrestling for TNA in February 2012, which led to his mother filing for bankruptcy from the debts. Sorensen was later fired from his TNA production job in a cost-cutting move.
And what about poor Nikki Roxx, a hard-working wrestler who showed up to perform at 2010's Slammiversary only to have it sprung on her out of nowhere that she was done with the company as soon her match was over? Women's wrestling site Diva Dirt was suitably outraged.
It seems to me that TNA expects undying loyalty from its wrestlers but is unwilling to actually, you know, give it in return.
With this in mind, can anyone blame Hogan for looking out for himself and his interests here? In wrestling, it seems you have to look out for No. 1.