The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of WrestlingINC.com or its staff.
For the first time here at WrestlingInc, I will write about TNA (I do have a few Raw thoughts as well). It's important for you, the reader, to know where I'm coming from with this company. I like TNA, I really do. I want them to succeed. They have some of the best wrestlers in the world, and their core fan base is one of the most passionate around. But it's not fair to you for me to be a blind supporter, or a purposeful hater. I've seen columnists try both, and they ultimately fail. I have to call it as I see it, and give you my legitimate opinions. I'd also love to hear your reactions and gauge how the readers of this site feel towards TNA.
Hulk Hogan re-signing with TNA?
There's a report making the rounds that Hulk Hogan has (or is) re-signing with TNA. I'm on record as saying TNA needs to part ways with the wrestling legend, moving on from the "Hogan crutch" and forging a new direction.
But today I'd like to present to you that Hogan re-signing with TNA is...best for business. Not necessarily TNA business, but Hulk Hogan business.
The reports I'm alluding to state that Hogan (allegedly) opted to return to TNA because of a low-ball offer provided by the WWE. This comes just days after Hulk Hogan said he had all of his options open, and had a great interaction with Triple H, one where the current COO of the WWE said they'd welcome "The Hulkster" back with open arms. Open arms, not an open checkbook!
I'm not here to argue the validity of these reports, I'll let my Greg DeMarco Show cohost "The Wrestling Realist" Patrick O'Dowd handle that. But I'm willing to look at the reasons this could in fact be the case.
Hulk Hogan is in fact a legendary figure in the business, one that I believe is 50% responsible for the mainstream success of wrestling today (the other 50% is Vince McMahon, by the way). I actually believe the rumors that the WWE wanted to main event WrestleMania 25 with Hulk Hogan vs. John Cena. Cena was thrown into a triple threat match on the card and we were "treated" to a Triple H vs. Randy Orton main event on a milestone show. The Hulk Hogan of five years ago could have pulled off that match. Today? Hulk Hogan doesn't have "one more match" in him like he'd like us to believe. So if the WWE did sign him, it wouldn't be for more than a multi-man match.
Business is good for the WWE, despite the ratings reports and house show attendance photos. They are a billion-dollar global media giant, partnered with such entities as the Susan G Komen Foundation and Make-A-Wish. WrestleMania 30 will sell out the New Orleans Superdome just on premise alone. Hulk Hogan would be a nice nostalgia touch, but he's not moving the needle in today's WWE.
Add in the fact that Hulk Hogan believe he can—and likely wants to—wrestle another match and the WWE is asking for trouble. How long before he becomes Hulk Hogan again, making demands and trying to have his way? Do you need that in the locker room? He complained about his pay during his last WWE run, and has made side comments about his pay in TNA. WWE ain't got time for that! Ultimately it was in their best interest to low-ball Hogan in hopes that he'd turn them down.
But this is great for Hulk Hogan himself. This needs to serve as a wake-up call for Hogan: You're not as valuable as you think you are, brother. You're now the aging veteran, desperate to remain relevant. For a year's work, you'll (reportedly) make less than Brock Lesnar makes for one match. That has to sting, right? (Pun fully intended.) Good.
The time has come for Hulk Hogan to really give back. Not say he's giving back while worrying about #1, but to truly give back to the fans, the "boys in the back" and the product itself. Put someone over who needs it. Not AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy or Magnus, but Kenny King, Gunner or Rubix. Be the ambassador TNA needs you to be. Talk about the company at every media appearance you make. Go to Bellator and appear on television with your Impact Wrestling t-shirt. Work house shows, putting over the talent and signing autographs for free. You've been knocked down a peg—learn something from it, become humble (without the assistance of The Iron Sheik) and make TNA a better place.
No one can take away what you've accomplished, Hulk. But it's not about you anymore. And that's okay.
Ethan Carter III: Sometimes we can be blind
I have to admit, I was (and still am) very excited about the upcoming debut of Ethan Carter III, or EC3. The man behind the character is an amazingly talented wrestler, and he can do wonders with the persona. I don't buy the MVP comparisons for a second—outside of having their names in lights, I don't see any similarities. And I'm an MVP fan. But I totally missed the boat.
You see, when his full name was revealed to be Ethan Carter III, I was down. "Cool, EC3, I can get behind that." But when I focus on EC3, I miss the most important word...Carter.
As discussed in the Daytona Beach News Journal, (https://jawbreaker.blogs.news-journalonline.com/10503/dixie-carter-adds-family-member-iron-claw-from-the-wyatt-family) it's easy to expect EC3 to be the spoiled nephew of Dixie Carter. That explains his actions in the TNA headquarters in his vignettes, including his attitude towards women and other assistants around the office.
Now, being involved in the Dixie Carter storyline could mean a fast push for EC3, and an eventual program with AJ Styles. Both of those are great things. Michael Hutter, the former Derrick Bateman and current Ethan Carter, us a multi-talented wrestler. He can wrestle, he can talk, and he does have the dreaded "it factor" that one needs to break through in the wrestling industry.
He's going to get his chance, and I'm fully willing to see this one out. The performer deserves the chance to make this work, because it could be a career making role for Hutter. Just as much as this Dixie Carter storyline could go down as WrestleCrap, Ethan Carter III has the potential to be a major player in TNA for years to come.
- Great call by the WWE in putting on Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield as our Raw main event. One product of the (real-life)Triple H leadership in the WWE is longer title reigns with more important changes. Having the titles change hands in the Raw main event did wonders for their prestige. While the WWE doesn't always get this right (Hell In A Cell's main event still doesn't seem to be about the WWE Championship), they got it right on Monday night.
Due to @alljapan_pw not honoring their contractual obligations of medical care after being injured in AJPW, I'm retiring from Pro Wrestling— LOW-KI ????? ?????? (@OneWorldWarrior) October 14, 2013
I am a big fan of what he can do in the ring, especially when he was let loose in Ring of Honor. But I have to ask the silly question here: When is a retirement not a retirement? When Low Ki is using it for a political statement. I believe he'll be back in 2014.
- As I embedded at the top of the column, it appears that Colt Cabana is releasing another Wrestling Road Diaries, this time with Luke Gallows and Cliff Compton. The preview looks great, and we might be in for a great ride in 2014. The last version with Colt Cabana and Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson was outstanding, and this looks like it could exceed the original.
Look out for a special B4B this Friday, as I provide you with my Bound For Glory preview and match predictions. I'll also provide some alternatives to what TNA has booked for the show. Will I do better than Eric Bischoff, Dave Lagana & company? You'll find out on Friday!
Watch out for news about The Greg DeMarco Show, soon to be presented exclusively at WrestlingInc.com. If you'd like to familiarize yourself with the show, myself, cohost Patrick O'Dowd, former WWE/NXT Diva (and current Shine Wrestling star) Su Yung and Florida based independent manager/announcer Heather Lynn, check out our exclusive interview with Former WWE NXT talent, best-selling author (and Dolph Ziggler's brother) Briley Pierce. Click here to listen. Briley didn't hold back, talking about his relationship with Dolph, his career aspirations outside of wrestling, how he found out about his WWE release and more!