The Curious Case of Hulk Hogan
He was wrestling. He was the company. Others may have been better wrestlers. Others maybe even more popular. But there was only one man that catapulted wrestling into the stratosphere and that was Hulk Hogan.
Set to the backdrop of the Gulf War, Hulkamania energised wrestling and took it to a level never before seen. Those that had never seen a wrestling match, at least knew of Hulk Hogan.
Wrestlers and their gimmicks however have a limited shelf life. Those that have been successful, do so by adapting and Hogan was no different. His decision to leave the WWF, take extended breaks, join the WCW and then ultimately turn heel in 1996 at WCW's Bash at the Beach, constantly kept him fresh.
For a new generation, Hogan, along with the nWo, became popular again in the new era of anti-heroes. Hogan was ahead of the pitch and his success pushed WCW into the lead against its northern neighbour.
But the inability of WCW to capitalise upon its success, eventual lead to it's demise. Rehashed stories saw the main event lineup get old and predictable. Hogan's turn to face reinivigorated him for a few months but it was clear that WCW was in terminal decline.
Hogan's exit from the company came at just the right time to avoid any direct accusations but it was clear to many that his politics, and booking alongside the likes of Kevin Nash had helped bring down the Turner Empire. Their arrival in WWE as the reformed nWo brought new found success, that once again installed some spark of interest.
Several years later and with another series of turns, Hogan is in Florida like so many other Americans looking to retire. However, Hogan is still on television as the face of TNA.
Wrestling seems to constantly look to the past. Hogan was a phenomenon in the 1980s. He had huge success in the 1990s, but with his body getting older and more broken down, he, like so many others, seemingly cannot step away from the bright lights.
For the likes of Ric Flair, Undertaker, and Sting, the pursuit of one more match, one more year, gives so much to the fans. But they have ceased to be original. They have become parodies of their former selves. We may constantly pay to see them and praise their professional nature but what are they able to do for wrestling anymore?
With Bischoff coming out today in attack of the 'young push', maybe as one other B/R writer has said, the mistakes of the past are not being realised by Eazy E. The latest addition of TNA saw Hogan come out after the Main Event to announce the 'secret' that ECW wrestlers were in the back.
Was he needed? No. Did fans cheer his arrival - Yes.
And so it raises the curious question of the wrestling world, how long is too long for a wrestler to remain active and on screen. Are we fans guilty of cheering too long for superstars that are holding on to the limelight?
Hogan will always be popular, his legacy will always have positive aspects but is his constant pushes - simply an attempt by WWE, WCW and TNA to recreate the past when in reality, what is needed is the new Hogan - the new mega star?
The somewhat lackluster SummerSlam looked sparse of talent. The new generation are not getting the airtime and its arguable that few wrestlers have the right gimmick to make them legends in the making.
Has the likes of Hogan, Flair and Undertaker kept down subsequent generations to the effect that when this generation finally retires, wrestling as we know it collapses?
History can prove many lessons, but it can not be repeated, just as the mistakes of history must not be repeated.
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