Hulk Hogan recently sat down with Patrick Lennon on Wrestle Talk TV to discuss TNA similarities to WCW, Jeff Hardy and Bret Hart's recent negative comments about him. Here are some highlights from the interview.
How TNA has came along. "When I think of things getting better, first thing I think of is creative. It's consistent. A lot of things that the wrestling fans don't understand is that the diehards will always watch. But, if they're not a diehard wrestling fan, the storylines have to be consistent. The plots and the good guy/bad guy confrontations have to be something that's really easy to understand. Before when we talked [Hulk Hogan and Wrestle Talk TV] we were having a really big problem with creative, but now things seem to be dialed in. Everything seems to have a beginning, middle and an end, and when I think of things getting better for TNA, the first thing I think of is the creative. Because the wrestlers are, without a doubt, as good as any wrestlers anywhere. The talent pool cannot be denied. TNA has a talent pool that's at the top of the list. So, giving them [the talent] the meat on the bone, something they can really sink their teeth into, it just makes everything better. So, the TV is opening up in a lot of different countries, better time slots, better TV deals."
How TNA reminds him of his early days in WCW: "Everything seems to be moving along quite nicely. It reminds me of history repeating itself because when I first started working for the WCW we had a few years where we were trying to get traction, where we were trying to get our feet on the ground, trying to get things rolling, and it feels like we have the proper momentum now. Looking forward, it looks like we're going to be going on the road and doing the big arena shows and 2013 looks like a good year for TNA."
Jeff Hardy's recent changes: "He kind of grew up instantly. Him and his brother ran pretty hard. I noticed a change in him when his daughter was born. I would see him at the backstage events and see him at the venues, and I'd watch him and just kind of make sure he was walking straight. You never knew which Jeff Hardy you were going to get. And then all of a sudden his daughter was born. Changed him instantly. He's the Jeff Hardy he was meant to be. He's crystal clear. He's just a joy to be around now."
Bret Hart's recent comments that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are unable to properly "build" characters: "Knowledge and insight has a lot to do with how precise your answers are. He knows just a little bit about a whole lot of things, and not a whole lot about many things. And one of the things he doesn't know a whole lot about is what it takes to make a decision. All of a sudden you're trying to do a program with someone like Bully Ray, and you're right in the middle of his program and the contract runs out, and you can't get an answer on whether he's going to be signed tomorrow or not. And you need to know what to do. All of a sudden, you don't know if Eric Young is going to be there. I mean, there is more to it than just building. If there were no worries, mate, and there were no other agendas, it'd be really easy to sit down and write and make the stories much easier. But every time you sit down to say oh, you don't know how to build this guy or you're getting ready to build somebody, all of sudden there's what do we promise him two months out when his contract ends? Or, he works 30 days in his contract and he's already worked 28. So, I don't know if Bret Hart took all of that into consideration, ya know? Certain guys you may want to build for the next six months, they've only got three days left. There's just so much more to it. Everyone can be a backseat driver. Everyone can be a booker. But until you sit in there and realize the variables, and realize every single thing that goes on, it's easy to talk but until you go through it it's a whole different thing."
What he thinks of CM Punk: "I think he's done a great job. I think he was handed the football and he had to run with it. Going back to how powerful TV is, WWE's TV is very powerful. Whether you can grab the football and run, or whether you can grab the football and Vince McMahon has to kick you in the butt as you're running, as long as you get the job done the TV will make you a huge star. It's a very powerful vehicle and he's been put in a position where he had to deliver, and I think he's done a really great job. Rock coming back and wrestling CM Punk, you never know. If you're going with the flow and you're really listening to the crowd, it's going to get to a point where the crowd loves The Rock, and they know that when he says he's coming home they know it only means for a day or two because he's got huge obligations in Hollywood. So I think the fans, there's going to be a point kind of like the NWO. I was the bad guy, and they started cheering me. The Rock was kind of like the good guy when I wrestled him and they kind of booed him a lot. So, I think there's going to be a point when the fans realize that Punk's there every day for them, and the Rock just comes in and out. So, if you were to go with the flow, there'd be a great opportunity to turn the Rock heel."
He also discusses British wrestling and Austin Aries. You can watch the first part of the interview above (at about the 12:46 mark), and the second part of the interview here (at the 13:00 minute mark).
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