On an upcoming Impact show, Hulk Hogan made a match to set the tone for the second head to head match up between TNA and WWE. It is announced that Abyss will be teaming up with Hulk Hogan to go against TNA World Champion, AJ Styles, and his manager, Ric Flair. I won't go into detail of how this happens so as not to spoil it for the fans that want to catch the show. I just want to discuss the match itself.
With Abyss, you have a Hulk Hogan wannabe. It seems like TNA isn't too sure on how to portray Abyss. He debuted as a monster and was a force to be reckoned with. He aligned himself with James Mitchell (a R rated Paul Bearer, if I say so myself) and became the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Sadly, he had a very short stint as champion and things quickly went downhill for the former monster.
He hit a face turn, but then was stuck in a remake of the Bearer/Kane/Undertaker storyline. After this, he teamed up with Matt Morgan and ever since, he has been looking for affection and a friend. He lost that killer instinct and allows people to walk all over him. Morgan , Dr. Stevie, Mick, and a girl that never really loved him, Lauren. Now he's paired with Hogan, which makes NO sense because Hogan didn't do anything to save Mick when the Band attacked him a little more than a month ago.
As for AJ, well, he's a Flair wannabe. There's enough on this website or any website really that mocks this pairing. I don't hate this pairing, as I do many of the things in TNA, as Styles is pretty horrible on the stick and i'm hoping Flair can teach him a thing or six. And at least they are sticking to the heel side instead of jumping back and forth like many TNA wrestlers.
Outside of all of that, the main draw of this match is going to be Hogan and Flair. After the big retirement that WWE gave Flair in what was said to be his last match (at least in the United States) he is lacing up the boots to fight another round. Hogan last wrestled on television against Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2006, almost a four year time period.
I know why they are doing this. Ratings. Have two of the biggest names in wrestling ever and see if they can still draw. TNA wants to put up a fight and draw anyone away from the WWE. The question is, can Flair and Hogan in the ring still draw? TNA is putting a whole lot of confidence in Styles and Abyss as they are the ones that are paired with the two legends. It's good to see the two guys that helped established TNA getting this big shot. Not any Band members, no Kennedy, no Angle, Foley, Pope, or Joe. It's two guys that have been there since the start or very close to it.
This is the big ego test for not only TNA, but Hogan and Flair. This match needs to draw the big number. At the very least, draw the number that Hogan got when he first showed up in the building Monday, January 4th. In their eyes, if these guys don't draw, there is no shot at all in growing and expanding. That's going to be the risk. Put on, what you feel, is the biggest draw and hope and pray that it draws. If it does not, you are screwed.
No doubt there is going to be hype and a big promoting push for this match. But if it does not draw, if the ratings do not spike, no matter what BS they tell the press, they will know that they failed. The moral will go down knowing that their very best, what they thought was the sure winner, didn't do anything for them.
They could have saved their in ring debuts for PPV as I know Hogan loves the payday as much as Flair. But, like the old WCW, they are putting this on free TV for the fans. I got to hand it to them, it is a great business decision as fans still love Hogan and Flair. But will it make them watch the show on March 8th?
And the big piece of the puzzle, what, if anything, will WWE do to counter this. They still got two more Raw shows before March 8th. We probably won't hear about their main event for Raw until March 1st as they continue to push forward to WrestleMania 26. I'll give TNA one final smart decision by having the first Monday show on the 8th and not the 15th as Stone Cold Steve Austin is hosting the 15. The guest host for March 8th, Criss Angel. For a wrestling fan, it seems like TNA has one upped WWE.