Hopefully you’ll have heard the first-ever episode of Tie-Up Transmissions that Mark and Emma posted the other week. Basically, Mark and I sit down and shoot the shit about TNA. Sometimes there’s swearing, there’s nearly always sarcasm, and we talk about the good, and bad, in TNA. I’ll post the episode again at the bottom of this post if, for some reason, you’ve missed it. There’ll be another episode on the site soon.
Right, shameless pandering out of the way, I figured it was time to talk about the man who’s almost single-handedly ruining TNA. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of TNA and I want them to do well. I like watching TNA a hell of a lot more than WWE, because the product and wrestlers are miles better than WWE. It’s easier to watch and, for the most part, better. However, one man is fucking the whole thing up and you can probably guess from the title that the man in question is Hulk Hogan. Prepare yourselves, cos I’m gonna “shoot” on the moustachioed one.
First, a wee bit of history. Since I first saw him as a kid in the late 80’s (that shows my age!), I was never drawn to Hogan. I never saw what all the fuss was about. I was a fan of guys like Roddy Piper, Rick Rude and Randy Savage. Not Hogan or Warrior. It was all posturing and “style” over substance. I won’t deny that he was a huge star and, if it wasn’t for him, I probably would’ve never been aware of wrestling as a young kid. But, Hogan’s time had come and gone long before he returned to WWE in 2002, and it had fucked off way down the road by the time Hogan and TNA announced he was coming to Impact Wrestling in late 2009.
Um… Hogan prioritising washed-up ex-WWE wrestlers over the guys who had busted their ass to get TNA where it was. Who? The Hardy Brothers, Rob van Dam and Ken Anderson all got pushed well above guys like AJ Styles, Chris Daniels, Kazarian, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode and James Storm. That improved the ratings, buyrates and live attendances didn’t it? What? It didn’t? Well fuck me sideways, I could’ve told you that before they were brought in! Having guys like RVD, Anderson and the insidey-voiced, face-painted junkie fuck Jeff Hardy as champions at one stage or another, particularly now, has made fuck all difference to TNA. It hasn’t brought more fans in, the product has suffered and, if anything, it’s pushing people away from TNA, and that’s before we get to the disaster that Aces & 8s has turned into, but I’ll talk about that later.
Hogan making himself the star of the show and the focal point of TV when, in all honesty, he shouldn’t even be on TV. He’s a joke. He’s a shell of a man that thinks he’s relevant when the truth is he’s not been relevant since the NWO in the mid-90s. Since then, it’s been the same old shit for the last 15+ years. It’s boring, out of touch and meaningless. Not content with spending 2 years fucking everything up, his no-talent, transvestite-looking daughter (?) entered the fray, with her massive, giant feet last summer.
Since Bound for Glory 2012, Impact Wrestling has turned into some sort of bizarre clusterfuck of a mash-up between “Hogan Knows Best” (he clearly doesn’t) and The Jerry Springer Show. I’m all for storylines in wrestling as long as they have a genuine purpose. As far as I can tell, the only reason it’s happening is to keep Hogan as the star of the show. He’s nearly 60 years old. There’s no place for him on TV, and barely in the wrestling business. What purpose does he serve? He can barely walk and stumbles his way through promos. When he talks, it’s as if he’s trying to remind himself about what’s happening, instead of convincing the viewers (which is what he’s supposed to be doing). I don’t think there’s any place for Hogan on weekly TV, much less providing an average of 25% of the content on an episode of Impact. Seriously. Count it. Time it. Whatever you want. Next time you watch Impact, time how long Hogan’s on screen for, or how many times you see replays of him. It’s roughly 25-30 minutes a week. Of a 2-hour show. It’s a fucking joke. Actual wrestlers don’t get that sort of TV time and I understand it’s because he’s Hulk Hogan, but it didn’t work in the 2 years before that, and it ain’t working now.
You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned Hogan’s reliance on washed-up ex-WWE stars and keeping the show focused on him. As if those 2 things weren’t bad enough separately, someone in TNA (and fuck knows who) decided to add them together to make the disaster that Aces & 8’s has become.
When they first appeared, I had so much hope. It was unknown, unpredictable and they looked like a threat. I swear that when they wiped Hogan out last summer, I celebrated like I imagine I’d celebrate the birth of my first-born child! I was sick and tired of seeing him, and I was intrigued by Aces & 8s, so I figured it was a win-win situation right? Sadly, it got worse from then on in. Hogan returned and within weeks, he’d tried to assault 3 members of Aces & 8s. He swung a baseball bat at them and although he wasn’t “supposed” to hit them, he missed them by about 7,203 feet! As if that wasn’t bad enough, we got to Bound for Glory and the fantastic tag-team of Sting & Bully Ray.
You’re probably thinking “but George, surely it couldn’t have gotten any worse?” You’d be wrong my friends. It’s got much worse. After Bound for Glory, Hogan had nothing to do with Aces & 8s, which in itself is no major issue. Hogan was more concerned with who was nailing his wife… I mean his son… dammit, I mean his daughter (?).
[Writer’s note: Hogan’s current wife is the spitting image of his daughter (?)]
Eventually, we found out it was Bully Ray. Poor Bully. Being taken advantage of by Brooke Hogan. He must have to disinfect himself whenever he touches Brooke. I know I would. You know that scene in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, when Ace finds out Einhorn is a man? That scene is how I imagine Bully acts after having to work with Brooke. I’ve embedded that clip below, just for your enjoyment! My gift to you…
As all this was going on, the Fake Kane, Festus, Luke Gallows, whatever you want to call him, was the 2nd member of Aces & 8s to be revealed. Yup. The guy who couldn’t get over playing the role of a retard was now part of an ass-kicking biker gang. Since I’m full of enlightenment today, I’ve got a wee tip for anyone who fights “DoC” as he’s called now. Once the bell rings to start any of his matches, just ring it again. He’ll go into a trance. Simple. In case you’ve forgotten, with D-Von and Festus now revealed as members of Aces & 8s, that’s 2 washed-up ex-WWE stars in prominent TV positions. But wait! There’s more!
On January 3rd, which had long been hyped as Sting’s return to the Impact Zone, the reveal of Mike Knox was treated better than Sting’s return. No music, vignette or black-outs for the Stinger, but you’d have thought Mike Tenay and Taz had had simultaneous trouser accidents when Mike Knox was revealed as the latest member of Aces & 8s. Sting got “Oh… There’s Sting”. Mike Knox got “What the hell?!?!?! Taz… You know who that is?!?! That’s Mike Knox from the WWE! You’ve worked with him before… My God what’s he doing here?!”
Well, to answer your question Michael, he’s picking up a paycheck for doing jack shit. Honestly, who wants to see Mike Knox? I bet even Mike Knox doesn’t wanna see Mike Knox. The reveals of Knox and Festus weren’t just the reveals of 2 ex-WWE stars. They were the reveals of two generic big guys who have done the grand total of fuck all in the wrestling business. If they were that good, WWE wouldn’t have let them go. Simple as that. But what happened? Hogan and his cronies brought them in. Problem with that is that they have no name value.
Since then, another 3 former WWE stars have been “aligned” with Aces & 8s: Ken Anderson, Taz and Wes Brisco. I’m fine with Anderson and Taz being involved because they’re recognisable and easily the best talkers in the group, so that’s cool, but Wes Brisco is just like Knox and Festus - bland. Depending on which way you look at it, I’ve either saved the best bit, or the worst, til last. As if all of the general shiteyness of Aces & 8s wasn’t bad enough – the “names” revealed, the fact they lose more matches than they win, and at this point probably couldn’t pin punters from the crowd – the last episode of Impact saw GARETT FUCKING BISCHOFF revealed as a member of Aces & 8’s. Garett Bischoff. Really TNA? Really? Really? Really? Reeeeaaallllyyyy?
I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the production meeting when the idea to put Brad Mad-Ox 2.0 in Aces & 8’s was pitched. It probably went something like this:
Hogan: “Well ya know somethin’ brrrotherrrrrr Love, I got a great idea to get one of these new kids over with the Hulkamaniacs. He’s been drinkin’ his milk, eatin’ his vitamins and sayin’ his prayers brrrotherrrrrr… I think he can get these fans in the Impact Zone crazy excited, just like they get excited for my no-talent, transvestite daughter Brooke. It’s a no-brainer. We gotta put Garett in with those Sons of Anarchy… I mean Hell’s Angels… Dammit, I mean Aces & 8’s dudes, brrrotherrrrrr…”
Brother Love (aka Bruce Pritchard): “Hulk… Ah loooooove… it! He’s the guy we can build this whole thing around. Not Jarrett. Not Sting, but Garett!”
Al Snow: “What does everybody want?”
D-Lo Brown: “You lookin’ at the real deal now…”
Garett: “Why can’t I see the sky when I’m inside?”
Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s how the actual production meeting went down. Instead of using his influence to hire people that would enhance TNA’s talent pool (and not through the use of ‘roids brrrotherrr), Hogan has systematically abused his position to get jobs for his family, his friends’ family and for washed-up, over-hyped, under-performing, never-have-beens. He’s using what money TNA want to invest in people that they shouldn’t be investing in. I’m getting a sense of déjà vu here.
I’ve got a funny feeling that what I’ve said will split opinion, but that’s what I’m here for. To create controversy, as well as cash at some point. What about you guys? You know the drill. Either hit me up on Twitter @george_sltd or leave a comment in the shiny, new-fangled comment box below. Let’s get some discussion going!
Before I go, as promised, here’s the first-ever episode of Tie-Up Transmissions, featuring TUW co-creator, owner, lackey and microphone handler Mark and yours truly. Give it a listen and tweet your ideas for future shows to @TUWrestling.
I’ll try and write again in the next couple of weeks, if not before. Got some business to take care of next week that might stop me from writing, but I’ll be around on Twitter if you need to find me. Take it easy peeps and remember, in the words of Francois Kazarian, the true warriors of the UK are the Scots!