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This past Saturday Hulk Hogan announced that on Monday January 4th 2010, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling will go head to head with World Wrestling Entertainment by broadcasting their show iMPACT against WWE’s RAW. While I applaud their effort and confidence, this could be the biggest mistake in the company’s history. They are going up against an established product that has already defeated it’s competition in that time slot. (Competition with a much greater budget and talent pool I might add) This article is for Ms. Dixie Carter, the President of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. It is not meant to be malicious or tear you down. It is merely meant to state facts that will hopefully help the company you and Jeff Jarrett worked so hard to build.


In 2002, Vince McMahon held the world of professional wrestling in his hands. He had come off the acquisition and subsequent “invasion” of his competition, and held one of the dream matches of the nineties between The Rock and Hulk Hogan. Vince McMahon and Sports Entertainment reigned supreme. Then that June, a couple of ghosts from Vince’s past came back to haunt him, Jeff Jarrett (who Vince publicly fired on the final edition of WCW Monday Nitro) and the National Wrestling Alliance formed a partnership and with the help of Panda Energy’s Dixie Carter, created NWA-Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, a national wrestling promotion that offered weekly Pay Per Views utilizing new talent, stars let go from the WWE, a six sided ring, and a high risk athletic style of wrestling called the X Division. In other words TNA offered the fans an alternative wrestling based product to the WWE’s showbiz and sketch based show. Unfortunately it was not to last.

Despite a strong start, TNA has its successes off set by setbacks. The first set back was making founder Jeff Jarrett the star of the company. I understand the mentality, but Jeff Jarrett was never more than mid-carder in both WWE and WCW and he had his first World title reign ended by David Arquette (he wasn’t pinned in the match but still the stain remains), I’m sorry but I don’t buy him going over guys like Sting. The second biggest setback was over reliance on stars from WWE. Kevin Nash, Booker T, Jeff Jarrett, Billy Gunn (Kip James), The Dudley Boyz (Team 3D), Mick Foley, Taz, and Kurt Angle, are great talents but they’re getting up there in age and while they provide good name value, they cannot carry a company long term because eventually they’re bodies will give out. (And before you say it, the WWE is suffering from the same syndrome) Finally, and perhaps the biggest instance of TNA shooting itself in the foot, is placing their faith in Vince Russo.

Vince Russo was NOT the savior of the WWE, no matter what he may say. (The Stone Cold Steve Austin character was developed long before he joined creative. Kane was the brainchild of Jim Cornette. The Rock was a natural trash talker, and Mick Foley’s Mankind gained credibility from his background as Cactus Jack) This is not to say he did not contribute ideas, but he certainly was not the whole.  He even admits it in shoot interviews. Whenever Russo talks about how Vince would pick out “nuances” that probably means Vince made him go back and rewrite the thing from square one. Want proof look at his run in WCW. An entire angle dedicated to slandering Jim Ross, anything you can think of on a poll matches, The Millionaires Club vs. the New Blood (actually this could’ve worked had Mysterio, Benoit [before he became a murderer], Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Chris Jericho been the leaders of the New Blood] and most of all making David Arquette World Champion. Need I say more? And Russo if you’re reading this (which I hope you are) I have a challenge for you; produce your scripts. Let the fans and Dixie Carter see the early drafts of your ideas from your WWE days so we can compare them to your final product. And just when you thought things could not get worse for the company they make the ultimate make or break move…signing Hulk Hogan.

On paper, signing Hulk Hogan is great move. Unfortunately reality is completely different. Hulk Hogan is the biggest star in the history of wrestling. When he said “where Hulk Hogan goes is where professional wrestling goes” was completely true. How people watched WCW over WWE television when they heard Hogan switched companies? Look at the numbers. How many people got back into wrestling when they found out Hogan turned heel and joined the NWO? Look at those numbers. The problem was Hogan couldn’t sustain those numbers because he would not allow the company to sustain them. When Hogan joined WCW he had creative control written into his contract, which meant he could veto any storyline he did not like. Although most top wrestlers have creative control of their characters, I challenge anyone to find me one other than Hogan who had it written into their contract, a legally binding document that if violated could cost a company a WHOLE lot of money. (Something Vince Russo learned the hard way in the summer of 2000) From what I’ve heard, the Hulkster’s deal with Dixie Carter grants him part ownership of the company. And if Hogan’s past is any indicator of his future, TNA is in big trouble.

It’s a well-known fact that Hogan does not like to lose, even if all logic says he should. It’s the reason why since 2002, Vince McMahon only uses him for an occasional run. And while in 1994 he may have been a game changer in the world of professional wrestling, it is important to keep in mind that the Hulk Hogan of 1994 is far different from the Hulkster of today. First and foremost in 1994, when he joined WCW, Hogan was STILL able to drop the atomic leg drop.  The Hogan of 1994 did not have an artificial knee and hip. He may not have been in prime athletic shape but he was still in athletic shape and could conceivably still perform the feats of strength that made him America’s hero. In other words fifteen years ago, Hulk Hogan still could’ve attempted to body slam Andre the Giant without destroying artificial body parts. If Dixie Carter thinks the Hulk Hogan of today is going to be able to go toe to toe with Kurt Angle, and make it believable, then she should probably cut her losses and get out of dodge. (As an aside I probably wouldn’t have bought Hogan beating Angle if the Hulkster was in his prime) How do you expect to maintain an audience if your star is a guy who is living off the past and physically in the worst shape he’s been in his entire career? You can’t. Hulk Hogan at one point was Superman, but unfortunately no matter how much his mind may tell him he still is, he body won’t let him be Superman. And someone like that can only contribute so much to a fledgling company. More disconcerting then Hogan coming to TNA is the people he’s bringing to TNA.

I am a huge Randy Savage fan, but that Macho Man has made it clear he can no longer wrestle. So why bother paying him all that money? And Brutus Beefcake, the biggest mooch in the wrestling business. Can anyone name me one thing he did in the business that he didn’t get because of he was Hogan’s bitch. (I’d say handler but I don’t want to get sued)

So what does TNA need to do to win this Monday night battle? Well, a lot of that depends on Hulk Hogan’s attitude. If Hogan is truly sincere about helping new talent develop, he’ll take a backseat and play the role of a commissioner or a coach. By taking the backseat Hogan can be the Obi Wan Kenobi to AJ Styles’ Luke Skywalker, elevating one of TNA’s originals to superstar status.

Another possibility is having Hogan and Jeff Jarrett go to war with one another with Hogan leading his team from the Hulkamania tour (and whoever else he’s bringing) against Jarrett’s team of TNA Originals like AJ Styles, Daniels, and Samoa Joe. This would be a really strong angle especially if Dixie had Jeff come out and say something along the lines of, “Hogan, I brought TNA to you six years ago and you ran. Now, during my absence, you finally had the stones to show up. I see you haven’t come alone.  I see you’ve also managed to make a power grab, you always did know what was best for you and your boys, even if it brought down an entire company. Well guess what Hulk, this is not WCW this is TNA and I along with everybody in that locker room did not spend seven years building this company just so you and your cronies could run it into the ground! Now, you may have perks written into your contract, you may have say over how you and your boys are used, but you will never have control over the stars of TNA, and if you expect that locker room to roll over and play dead to your cronies, then my friend you’ve got another thing coming! To my friends in the TNA locker room, while we may have had our differences in the past, the time has come to put them aside and unite because we are in for the fight of our lives. We are fighting not only for ourselves but for the future of this company! And if we’re going to war, then I damn well am proud to be on the front line. Hogan, welcome to TNA, start planning your retirement!”

Finally, and though this isn’t Hogan related is worth mentioning, BRING BACK ANGELINA LOVE! Before the Hogan announcement, Angelina Love was TNA’s top star, with her segments garnering the best ratings on iMPACT. Have her return and let her and Velvet Sky take the Knockout Tag Team Championship, while Madison Rayne wins the Knockout title, and make the Beautiful People into Women’s Wrestling’s equivalent of the Four Horsemen. (Make Lacey a manager)

TNA, I implore you, on Monday January 4th you are going to have to put on the show of a lifetime. Vince knows your coming and will do everything in his power to crush you in the ratings. (Don’t be surprised if the Rock or Austin is hosting RAW that evening). Do not try to duplicate what he does. Do what brought your company to the dance in the first place and have some exciting wrestling matches. Think of this like fishing, Hogan is the bait. He’ll bring the viewers, keep the viewers with good matches and presenting an alternative to WWE, it’s the only way you’ll survive.

Want to see some fantasy booking? Go to Sledgehammer Productions

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