For a while now, we have all heard a number of negative opinions and reports regarding the partnership between Hulk Hogan and Dixie Carter.
We all talk about the “Fingerpoke of Doom” and Hulk’s control issues backstage.
We all wait for the signing of a number of over-the-hill talents who will shove the young stars of TNA to the background again.
After reading a few interview transcripts posted at different sites, I begin to wonder if Hogan does have at least one good thing in mind for TNA.
He apparently wants writers to have a lesser role in the overall product.
In a recent interview transcript posted at PWInsider.com, Hogan said that he is “not all about the writers and the writers telling (the talent) what to say.”
He went so far as to say that “if these guys can’t talk and they can’t wrestle, they ought to pack their bags and head up North.”
That’s a pretty strong statement to make.
Again, Hulk has indirectly invoked WWE’s name in relation to the TNA product and continued the obsession, but he may have indirectly highlighted a problem within TNA by doing so.
On last week’s one-hour ECW program, there was about 18 minutes of actual wrestling, which included a main event lasting almost 11 minutes.
In the first hour of TNA’s iMPACT broadcast, there was a little over nine minutes of wrestling, and just a shade over 17 minutes in the second hour with a five-minute main event.
That’s a grand total of just over 26 minutes in a two-hour show.
So, for TNA’s two-hour broadcast there was only eight more minutes of actual wrestling time than on a one-hour WWE broadcast.
That means the other available time on the two-hour broadcast was spent cutting promos and doing backstage skits.
Bear in mind one key thing: TNA stands for Total Nonstop Action.
Is there something wrong with the picture?
Given that it is professional wrestling, talking is a part of the game.
Selling a great promo on an opponent can get you tremendous heel heat or baby-face love from the crowd and emotionally involves the audience in the match.
A backstage skit can advance or sell a storyline between two competitors when done well.
But perhaps there is something wrong when the time statistics of your program are that far out of balance.
Hogan said it best in the PWInsider.com interview: “I’m not about talking four to five hours for a 10-minute match.”
In short, how much is too much when it comes to promo work and backstage skits?
What made the '80s and '90s so great to us as wrestling fans?
The characters were larger than life, and there was a feel and edginess to it, regardless of what the shows were rated for content.
The “it” factor we saw back then is something that neither TNA nor WWE has captured since on a consistent basis.
Back then, promos in the ring led to “impromptu” matches or in-ring brawls.
The talking served a purpose for the story lines beyond simply filling airtime.
The segments that we saw on last week’s iMPACT felt very scattered and left me with the feeling that there was no pay-per-view event in December.
In short, talking is a key part of pro wrestling but it cannot be the majority portion of a show.
It also has to be well-crafted in order to point to relevant events and story lines within the company.
At the end of the day, you still have to give the fans what they want, and that is ultimately in-ring action.
Hogan made this comment in the interview also, and I agree: “The writers have a place. They add like icing on a cake.”
Television requires a certain protocol, and it also takes the planning and blocking out of segments and shows, and writers who do that well are golden to the end product.
Conversely, the writers can curse a show, too.
How many nights have we all watched iMPACT (or any of the other shows) and just scratched our heads?
Wrestling is a talent-driven business, but even the best talent can’t always sell a poorly assembled show by the writers.
Hulk wants to bring back the “it” factor for TNA and help the wrestlers become larger-than-life characters.
Maybe he has one thing right in terms of helping to reign in the writers and allow the talents more creative freedom to find their own identities.
Maybe then, TNA will recapture the spirit of its name, which is all about action.
What do you think?
Could this be one of the few good ideas Hogan has let out of the bag for TNA?