I’m plenty pissed. And what makes me more pissed, is that I’m pissed off over TNA (or Impact Wrestling, or NWA, or whatever it is).
It is no hidden secret, especially if you are a follower of me on Twitter (that’s @sportfullcircle, by the way), that I am an outspoken critic of TNA. For many of my early years, I grew up in an era where competition between wrestling companies what as its highest, and while I may have been spoiled by such a period, it grew my expectations to be rather high going forward.
Nonetheless, it is also not hard to see how TNA has been associated with poor booking decisions in the past, and have been falling down a path similar to that of the late-WCW.
Yet for these past few months, TNA actually had me interested in one program, and one program only: Bobby Roode’s chase for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
The former Team Canada and Beer Money Inc. star benefited from an unlikely push by winning the Bound For Glory series, thus earning him a shot at the title with current champion Kurt Angle. Roode went over just about every top heel in the company, and promos were being aired to hype up the main event for the biggest show of the year.
All the pieces were in place for Roode to win the title. Bobby was going to win the title. Yet Bobby didn’t win the title. And it’s Hulk Hogan’s fault.
Various sites have reported that the original outcome of Bound For Glory was indeed for Roode to go over Angle, who himself has been banged up over the past few weeks. However, a last-minute audible was called by Hulk Hogan, who recently claimed in an interview that Bobby “wasn’t ready” to carry the company.
So, instead of Roode coming out victorious, Angle won via using the middle rope for leverage, even as Bobby had his hand extended under the lower rope (thus negating the pin). What’s worse is that Angle came out even further injured, legitimately, after a bad fall from the top rope.
So where does that leave things? TNA has in their possession an injured champion who claims he doesn’t even want to be a top name anymore, a battered No. 1 contender who was supposed to be able to take control as face of the company, and a bunch of pissed off people. All 2,500 that attended the biggest show of the year. They did say they wanted to compete at some point, right?
Furthermore, this is an act of Hogan. Hulk himself went over during the evening, as he completed his face-turn by aligning himself with Sting after their “fight” and turning on Immortal. Of course, Hulk would go on and brag about taking bumps after eight surgeries, and how honorable it was. When all was said and done Sunday night, the triumphant Hulkamania was what prevailed. The past. Not the future.
All of this is a testament to Hogan. Should we be impressed that he got in the ring after having eight back surgeries and not being cleared to wrestle? No! But it’s Hogan. The invincible Hulk Hogan. A man who has such a skewed vision of himself, he still believes this is 1997 back at Starcade and he is fresh off the nWo angle.
Eric Bischoff has talked about the “10 Percenters,” the Internet “smarks” who make up only 10 percent of the fan base. What if though, maybe, just maybe, it’s only 10 percent of the fan base that actually cares about Hogan? Ever since he and Eric took over creative control in January of 2010, the booking has all too closely resembled that of the sinking ship that was Ted Turner’s child.
I referenced above how TNA buried the future of their business at Bound For Glory by having Roode lose. While it may sound hyperbolic, put it into perspective as to who Hulk Hogan believes is the one who should be next champion: Jeff Hardy.
Yes, Jeff Hardy. The same man who just came out of a 10-day prison sentence. The same man who jumped ship from WWE, despite being at the top of the mountain at the time of his departure, in order to work for a second-rate company with no creative direction. The same man that “shooted” on how that CM Punk guy was a nobody.
Should we expect anything different, though? Hogan and the rest of the company did, after all, let Hardy go out in a title match against Sting in a state that would make one believe that Conrad Murray was his personal physician. For TNA management, it’s not about logic. It’s about name. It’s about star power, yet the only way to create name and star power is to elevate new guys to the top. By having Hulkamania run wild (brother), it does nothing beneficial.
It would be a compliment to call TNA a sister company to WWE. It would be a compliment to call it a niece. The fact is, however, it is neither. When a “major” wrestling promotion is pulling a 1.0 rating heading into their biggest pay-per-view of the year, sirens have to be going off. Not with the Hogan/Carter/Bischoff squad though. To them, it just means their product isn’t working.
And you know what? They’re right. It’s not working. But not for the reason they believe. They believe it’s because people want to embark in the past. People want to see Hulk Hogan triumphing others, or Scott Hall featured in a main event program, or Jeff Hardy with half-a-brain doing a dive off of the top rope.
But it’s not. It’s because people want change. They want the future. They want Robert Roode to be given a chance. They want Hogan to be a secondary player, not a main-eventer. What’s ahead. Not what’s the remnants of eight back surgeries.
Yet nothing will change. It will always be about Hulk Hogan. He is the mighty immortal icon. He is Hulkamania. Hulk, Terry, Hogan, whatever you may call him, is the face of TNA. At age 58. Until the day he is gone from the company, it will always be about him.
So Bobby, I feel for you. I do, but nothing will change. And the only one thing that would enable the change is the biggest roadblock. A 302 lb, washed-up roadblock. Brother.
This article can be found on SportsFullCircle!