So, Hulk Hogan—arguably the most famous wrestling personality of all time—is back on WWE programming, and he’s playing a fairly significant role in things.
He’s recently been used to promote the WWE network and give John Cena his seal of approval in storylines. He will also serve as the official host of WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans on April 6.
This is well and good, but really, fans shouldn’t expect Hogan to be an important part of WWE storylines going forward. It just doesn’t make terribly much sense.
First of all, Hogan is simply better in small doses. Oh, he’s still a big name and can garner decent pops, but he’s a nostalgia act. Nostalgia acts are always good for the odd one-off appearance but don’t have much to offer beyond that.
For proof, look at Hogan’s unremarkable run in TNA from 2010 to 2013. Hogan created quite a buzz when he debuted for America’s No. 2 promotion in January 2010, but soon after the fuss died down, Dixie Carter was stuck with a high-paid legend who ultimately wasn’t making much difference at all to her business.
Per a report from WrestlingInc's Raj Giri, TNA eventually cut ties with Hogan due to budget issues, which may have been one the few astute things the company has ever done. He just wasn’t worth it anymore.
Fans want to see Hogan. Of course, they do. He’s an icon. But they just don’t need to see him week in and week out. If WWE recognizes this, it can make the absolute best use of the star.
Secondly, Hogan’s faltering physical state means that the star will never be able to follow through on any WWE storylines he features in and compete in actual matches.
Per F4Wonline, via WrestlingInc, the company’s doctors refuse to clear him to wrestle. Even taking simple bumps is seemingly out of the question, given the horrendous condition of his back.
Is there much point in having the star clash with Triple H or Kane on screen if it’s never going to lead to anything physical?
OK, so he could be Cena’s manager, possibly with the thinking that Hogan’s presence at ringside could help the fans warm up to the often-booed wrestler.
But, really, does anyone genuinely want to see that? It doesn’t make much sense. And Hogan would inevitably end up upstaging his client anyway.
Should WWE try to make Hogan a major character on television this year?
Besides, Hogan’s outside businesses and interests—he owns a restaurant and has lucrative sponsorship deals with companies like Rent-A-Center and Wal-Mart—mean that WWE will never truly be his No. 1 priority. Similar to Ric Flair, he can make money mainly from his famous name and doesn’t really need WWE.
Of course, it is possible Vince McMahon may feel differently. He may decide that Hogan can be a ratings boost and a boon to business. Who knows? He could be right.
But, honestly, all the evidence indicates that “The Hulkster” has very limited use to WWE in 2014.