Nostalgia is dying. As technological advances further extend generational gaps, the act of being reminiscent of days gone bye is waning. It’s almost impossible to fathom a world without infinite information at our beck and call.
It used to be that grandfathers could recount stories of the sports heroes of yesteryear, exaggerating the behemoth of Babe Ruth or the awe-inspiring presence of The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.
And so are gone, the old days of sports superstars. There will be no room for embellishment in any one man’s legacy.
Every home run, slam dunk, and body slam will be forever printed in the world of Internet video. Revisionist history is gone. The modern day athlete has nowhere to hide; including you, Hulk Hogan.
Hulk Hogan has done for wrestling what Michael Jordan did for basketball in the late Eighties and early Nineties. He became an ambassador to the sport and in many ways became bigger than the sport itself.
Unlike Jordan, who has yet to be overshadowed by any one single basketball player, Hulk Hogan’s legacy has begun to become a little blurry. Ask a basketball fan of any age who the greatest of all time is, you will undoubtedly here Jordan’s name.
Ask a wrestling fan the same question and get ready for 20 different answers. Why has Hulk Hogan fallen off of the radar of so many of today’s wrestling fans?
To answer this question, one must establish what separated Hogan from his peers. Hulk Hogan was undeniably ahead of his time when it came to building a character in the world of wrestling.
Hogan branded himself as the ultimate test to evil, standing up for every poor soul who had ever been beaten up or put down.
This larger than life, yet accessible hero character garnered Hogan worldwide fame in a time when pro wrestlers were rarely known outside of their regional territories. Hogan was a megastar by 1984, and he was shining brighter than any wrestler ever had.
The Hogan brand soon branched out into commercials, television shows, movies, and more merchandise than any athlete of that era.
Hulk Hogan’s initial popularity was due to that fact that he was a trailblazer. After all, being the first to do something in any industry will gain you instant credibility.
Hogan did not perfect wrestling technique, and has probably had more bad matches than good in his career.
But still, it’s Hogan’s charisma that has carried his career into its fourth decade. This alone should have cemented Hogan’s legacy.
The new generation of wrestling fanatics does not care at all about legacy. Who Hogan was and is means absolutely nothing to a 13-year-old John Cena fan.
Wrestling, more than any other form of entertainment, has thrived on nostalgia. Bringing back older wrestlers or stables is the oldest trick in the book.
Traditionally, it’s been a play for added attention and a quick ratings boost, but wrestling can no longer count on gimmicks of old to bring new life to the current product.
As far as the rest of Hogan’s career goes, he should get out of TNA the first chance he gets. His time there certainly is not helping his case legacy wise, and a proper good bye in WWE would be quite beneficial at this point.
Imagine if Ric Flair would have stayed retired from the ring after his bout with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania. Public opinion of Flair has gone down the drain, and the once most respected man in the business has quickly become a sad shadow of his former self.
For now, certain stars like The Rock and Steve Austin could step right back into wrestling without missing a beat, and without altering how they will be remembered.
Ten years from now, that will not be the case. The window of opportunity to shine in wrestling is smaller than it used to be, and the aging superstar is disappearing fast.
Hogan is already way past his prime, and for every minute more he is seen on television, it’s just one more YouTube clip for us to shake our heads.