As announced two weeks ago by WWE, wrestling icon Hulk Hogan will serve as host for WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans on April 6.
He then turned up on last week's Raw to plug his spot (as well as the new WWE Network, of course) in a decent, if slightly dull and by-the-numbers, promo.
But just how can we expect the veteran—who hasn't had a regular role with the company since 2007—to handle his role as guest host? And how will he compare to The Rock’s stint as host in 2011?
Well, we have to remember he is Hulk Hogan.
As the biggest wrestling star of all time, he can get by on name value alone at this point. Really, he could simply come out at the beginning of the event, wave and say “Welcome to WrestleMania!” and that would be enough for many fans.
However, WWE will no doubt have a more active role in mind for the 60-year-old.
Similar to The Rock, who did a run in during The Miz-John Cena main event, Hogan could get physically involved somehow. He could help Daniel Bryan defeat Triple H in a nice passing-of-the-torch moment, perhaps.
Of course, there is some question over just what the former WWF champion can do in the ring. As reports (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via Wrestling Inc) have noted, doctors have refused to clear Hogan. This is likely down to his well-documented back problems. He simply isn't capable of performing in the ring any more.
No doubt Hogan and WWE would love him to participate in one last match—John Cena vs. Hogan has always been touted as a dream match—but it's just not on the cards.
However, just because he can't take bumps any more, doesn't mean he can't be involved.
In his TNA run, Hogan couldn't do much physically either, but he still managed to run in and hit the evil heels with chair shots and run them off occasionally. It's not out of the question that he could do something similar in New Orleans. And the fans would likely lap it up.
Or WWE could opt to have him appear in other skits on the show like Rock did as well—WrestleMania usually has more than a few comedy segments.
A few weeks ago, Roddy Piper even suggested the compelling idea of having the legend as his guest at a special WrestleMania edition of his famous talk show, Piper's Pit.
Just saw Hulks Interview on Raw last night! Hogan can host WMXXX, I'll just host the Piper's Pit with Hogan at WMXXX— Rowdy Roddy Piper (@R_Roddy_Piper) February 25, 2014
Of course, one way that Hogan as host will drastically differ from The Rock as host is that while The Rock had the potential to hugely affect pay-per-view business, Hogan really doesn’t. As Variety (h/t WrestlingInc) noted in 2011, WrestleMania 27 did an enormous buyrate, thanks significantly to Rock's return. Hogan probably won't be able to product a similar bump.
Oh, sure, he is useful for the odd nostalgia reaction, but the days when he could make a significant difference appear to be long gone.
Look at his disappointing run in TNA. Aside from some initial press when he first signed with the promotion in January 2010, did the star ever make any dent in the company’s business or national profile or turn things around? Hardly.
Are you excited to see Hogan at WrestleMania XXX?
It wasn’t really Hogan’s fault, of course—the company’s ineptly booked product ensures no one can truly get over with the fans or make any real difference—but it feels like he inevitably got dragged down with it.
Throw in all his personal turmoil—the humiliating sex tape scandal in 2013 springs to mind—and it’s hard to argue that Hogan hasn’t lost some of his mystique and name value. Unlike The Rock, who never has.
Hogan can still be an asset at WrestleMania, of course. But a game changer like Rock was? Probably not.