The year was 1996. Months were going by as 'The Outsiders' from the World Wrestling Federation were threatening the livelihood of the World Championship Wrestling. With Bash at the Beach coming quickly, the Outsiders found themselves in a 3-3 match against Randy Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger. The only problem was 'The Outsiders' didn't have anyone to take the third spot.
...or so we thought.
Deep into the match, the crowd erupts as Hulk Hogan, the savior of WCW, walks through the curtain and marches toward the ring. Hogan, the biggest baby-face ever, the face of the industry, and quite possibly the savior of the industry as a whole, had came to save WCW.
Hogan walks up the stairs, and enters the ring. The fans had never been louder. Hogan walks forward and drops the Leg Drop on Savage, effectively performing the greatest heel turn in wrestling history.
Why is this relevant?
"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
That phrase makes the cycle seem bad, but that is not always the case. Dipping into the well of old tricks can be useful, and if done properly, there is no reason this won't as well.
Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were the two people most responsible for the heel turn in 1996, and now that they're running Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, I feel they're looking to duplicate such a heel turn.
Currently, Kurt Angle is the most over person in all of wrestling. A living legend in his own right, Angle is on top of his game.
As another writer pointed out, A. J. Styles seems to be out of place next to slick Ric. Perhaps that is the failure of character progression by A. J, or maybe, just maybe, it's by choice.
With A. J. Styles being groomed as "The Face of the Company" as proclaimed by Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan, there isn't a question in my mind that he can not stay heel forever.
With Hogan claiming his heel turn "is coming soon," I feel we're about to see a new NWO, with a different name. Hogan, Bischoff, Dixie Carter, Mr. Anderson, Jeff Jarrett, A. J. Styles, and Ric Flair are all popular names while discussing this huge storyline.
It appears they will start the feud against guys like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle. Perhaps I am wrong, but I feel a lot of things are working forward toward a Kurt Angle heel turn.
- A huge push.
No one in TNA is getting a push like Angle. In his hall-of-fame career, he has never been pushed so hard as a face, and it's working flawlessly. A feud with Hogan is the first thing to raise my eyebrow.
Angle's "I could go back to WWE!" promo after being "screwed."
This was odd for me. I liked how well Angle acted in the promo, and for a second, I questioned whether it was a work. I quickly regained my composure and watched as he said "I'll go back to the WWE."
It's possible that Kurt Angle was trying to mimic Bret Hart's legitimate anger by mentioning WWE the same way Hart mentioned WCW, but it seemed weird to me. Almost like Angle was trying to act too face.
Hulk Hogan's ongoing feud with the original N.W.O.
At first it may seem like this is unrelated to Kurt Angle, but in the grand scheme of things, everything is related.
It'd odd to me that Hogan and Nash seem to be face and Hall and Pac seem to be heel. I don't know why it strikes me, but it does.
The failure to push another face.
Maybe this is failure rather then plan, but I'd like to assume TNA knows what they're doing.
Why would you not push another face as a main eventer? Some people would argue Samoa Joe is a "main eventer" but not by big promotion standards. Joe is capable of being the very best in and out of the ring, but it seems they're purposely not pushing him as a face.
Pope is getting a decent push, but he's not being pushed as a main-eventer. A feud with another up-and-coming star can only get you so far. Even though I expect Pope to win the tournament at Against All Odds, I think the tournament is just another way to "screw" Angle, rather then a way to push Pope
Maybe I am fishing in a swimming pool. Maybe I am reading too much into subtle hints instead of reading bold print, but I doubt it.
It's no secret they appear to be setting up a "New NWO," of sorts. Hogan and Bischoff are famous for turning a top face to be the leader of the N.W.O. It happened in 1996. It happened in 2000. Expect it to happen in 2010.
Is it a coincidence that Angle mimicked Bret Hart's "leaving WWF" promo almost ten years after Bret Hart aligned with the "NWO 2000?"
Everything is related in the grand scheme of things.