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October 30, 2009

Hulkamania runs wild on TNA Impact

We didn’t see much of Hulk Hogan on TNA Impact Thursday night, but we sure did hear a lot about him. At the end of the program, a brief clip was shown of Hogan announcing at Tuesday’s news conference that he was “partnering” with TNA, but announcers Mike Tenay and Taz made repeated mentions of Hogan’s move to TNA throughout the show.

The constant references to Hogan almost made it seem as if everything – and everyone – else on the show was secondary. For example, newcomer Desmond Wolfe faced Kurt Angle in a street fight and “injured” him to the point that Angle had to be taken out on a stretcher. To me, that’s how the show should have ended – with concern for Angle and a lot of heat on Wolfe. Instead, we went from that to the light-hearted Hogan news conference.

In all fairness to TNA, however, I suppose if you’re going to bring in a star the magnitude of Hogan, you have to hype it as much as you can. I just hope Hogan overshadowing Wolfe on this episode is not a sign of things to come.

Other thoughts on Thursday’s show:

My first thought about Angle wrestling Wolfe was that it should have been held off until the Turning Point pay-per-view on Nov. 15, but after seeing how the match turned out, I at least understand the reasoning behind it. Wolfe has been established as a major player in just two appearances. He even popped right up after receiving three German suplexes and then KO’d Angle with a lariat. ...

There were a couple references made about someone possibly sending Wolfe to take out Angle. My money’s on it being either Jeff Jarrett or Karen Angle – or both. ...

During his news conference, Hogan referred to Madison Square Garden as “The House that Hogan built.” He must be thinking of some other house, because when it comes to pro wrestling, MSG without question is “The House that Bruno Sammartino built.” ...

Matt Morgan looked good in scoring a decisive win over Rhino. Morgan is getting a huge babyface reaction from the crowd at the Impact Zone. I had better not see Hogan dropping a leg on Morgan for a 1-2-3 in the near future. ...

Could it have been any more obvious that Mick Foley was going to “swerve” us and hit Dr. Stevie with the kendo stick instead of Abyss? So I guess Foley is a babyface again. For those keeping score, that means that in Foley’s first year with TNA, he has gone from babyface to heel, to babyface, to heel, to babyface. Tenay tried to explain Foley’s behavior by saying that he’s “unpredictable.” Unfortunately, his turns are anything but. ...

Speaking of turns, it sure looks as if Team 3D is going heel again. They’ll likely be joining forces with Rhino soon as a faction of disgruntled veterans. Rhino’s contention that the young guys are trying to take out the veterans, not just defeat them, is the exact same thing that Sting said about the young guys when he joined the Main Event Mafia. Couldn’t the creative team have come up with something new? ...

That was a scary-looking bump that Chris Sabin took on the Uranage Driver from Brother Ray during the Motor City Machine Guns-Team 3D match. Sabin reportedly suffered a stinger and was not seriously injured. According to Internet reports, Kevin Nash blasted TNA officials backstage for not stopping the match when it was obvious that Sabin was hurt. Nash also criticized the company over the incident while cutting a promo on The World Elite, but that part of his promo was edited out of Thursday’s broadcast. ...

Samoa Joe did some really good mic work during his backstage confrontations with A.J. Styles and Daniels. The soft-spoken approach works much better for Joe than yelling. It was a nice touch when Daniels punched a picture of Joe on the wall after Joe walked away. ...

Scott Steiner’s promo before Bobby Lashley’s match against Legends champion Eric Young was a giveaway that Steiner was going to interfere and cost Lashley the title. The airbrushed picture of Kristal Lashley on Steiner’s shirt was funny. It reminded me of when “Ravishing” Rick Rude airbrushed the likeness of Jake Roberts’ wife on the back of his tights 20 years ago. ...

I like the Young character more every week. I think it’s great that someone finally out-smarted Nash and then told him it was “just business.” Young said he was changing the name of the Legends title to the Global title, and that he would not defend it on American soil or against any American. I’m hoping that the part about the name change is true. I think “Legends title” sounds like a championship for big-name wrestlers who are past their prime. Speaking of which, I think Tenay and Taz just mentioned again that Hogan was coming to TNA. ...

I was looking forward to the Tara-Alissa Flash match, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. And Tara needs better hair extensions. ...

It’s not often that Lacey Von Erich and the word “ugly” are used in the same sentence, but she delivered the ugliest-looking choke-slam I have ever seen. The WWE Divas get a lot of criticism, but there’s no female wrestler in WWE less-skilled than LVE.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 8:45 PM | | Comments (20)


That was one of the dumbest, overbooked wrestling shows I have ever seen.

Was it really needed to have 5 post-match brawls?

Also, why the hell would they do the stretcher gimmick with Angle after Sabin was hurt for real, and AJ was already sent out in an ambulance?

It was also idiotic to have a "street fight" with Nigel and Angle one week after the feud started.

if Scott Hall shows up all bets are off. I could see Nash taking on the World Elite and Hogan and Hall coming in to "Get the band back together." I know this will get a lot of heat but I can't take Joe Belushi serious as a legitimate threat to win a title. He needs to at least have SOME muscle to him.

Steiner may be good on the mic but he really needs to hang it up. He is a walking steroid experiment gone wrong and I dont see where a feud with him helps Lashley at all. And if their is another old guys vs young guys angle I hope it doesnt last long. Seen it a hundred times and have no interest in seeing it again. Mick Foley is an afterthought at this point. The wrestling on TNA is better than anything on WWE with the exception of a Ziggler vs. Morrison match but the writing is weak and if they want to challenge the WWE they need to look into going in another direction with their creative team. Like as soon as possible.

Jericho DIDN'T LOSE! He scored a clean win! The sky is falling! Dogs and Cats playing with each other! Mass Hysteria!

When Wolfe made his way to the ring in order to cut his promo (a promo which I thought was worthy of CM Punk, by the way), Taz and Tenay were talking about Hogan. If I were to make a list of reasons why I have watched Impact on back-to-back weeks, The Hulkster would be at the bottom. More Wolfe; less Hogan ... More Joe; less Hogan ... Oh hell, more Lashley; less Hogan. More Hogan = less interest in TNA from me.

You know, a lot of people give Nash crap for being too much involved in the background, but the fact is, from everything I have ever heard, he looks out for the talent, he has constantly built younger talent around him, even back in WCW, and the guy is just smart when it comes to the business. Him ripping the staff backstage over the injury just proves that he is not just looking out for himself all the time.

Am I the only one who was confused when Dixie called Hogan a Popeye con?

Re: "because when it comes to pro wrestling, MSG without question is “The House that Bruno Sammartino built.” "

Well Kev, to be fair, the most historic/famous/memorable show in MSG history is WrestleMania 1. And who sold that show? Not Bruno Sammartino.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I'm not talking about one show. I'm talking about who was the top draw at the Garden year after year. Bruno is by far No. 1.

I have never watched a complete episode of TNA until this week (due to Hogan, mind you) and have a few reactions -

1. very sad at how far mick foley has fallen. bizarre use to say the least.
2. Angle is still a great wrestler and I liked Wolfe. Kurt is MUCH smaller than the old days.
3. Samoa Joe's promo work WOULD have been ok, but he was moving left, right, forwards and back so often as he spoke that it made me dizzy! sit still, bozo!
4. Promo work on both shows has become so severely scripted, that except for the guys who are close to or over 40 (HHH, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, HBK, etc.), I find the talking parts of wrestling shows nearly unwatchable! It's like watching a porn star act......ugh.

ah, one last think, the x division (think that's what it's called) and the Motor City Machine Guns style matches should DOMINATE this show. If they want to differentiate TNA from WWE, these are the kind of matches and the style of wrestling that could really pay off for them.

Lacey is a looker though so as long as she is not wrestling main events, who cares.. After all it is sports ENTERTAIMENT.

She resembles a lankier Heather Locklear. Not too shabby!

RESPONSE FROM KE: You'll get no argument from me. I just think it's funny that she was only given one simple spot and she couldn't even pull that off. I also find it ironic that TNA used to do those promos where the took shots at WWE's divas, and now they have someone that WWE cut despite her incredible looks because she was so bad.

They've reached a very definite crossroads with the company, now that Hogan has been announced as returning.

If they try to turn back the clock more than 10 years and re-run WCW again (with Hogan, Bischoff and Russo pulling the strings) they will likely make a bad mistake. WCW eventually crashed and burned due to bad decision making, favouritism, and excesses.

Hulk Hogan is not what he was 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. He's in his mid-50s and probably not in the condition to wrestle regularly.

If they hype him to the point that he overdominates their core product, they will go off brand and off message. This seems likely.

Can or would he and Bischoff take on secondary roles at this point? This hasn't been the case in the past. Maybe he and Bischoff have learned from the worst aspects of WCW, and they will make a concerted effort to fit in with what has been going on there.

However, an old boys club, with limited admission, and self involved decision making, could create disaffection in the locker room and alienate fans.

Kurt Angle helped TNA because he had name recognition, but moreso because he could still get it done on a regular basis in the ring. That's not fair to ask of Hogan at his age and in his condition.

They actually were doing some good things at TNA, but this has the possibility to go off the track, fast.

Look for a quick blip in their ratings but it will be curious to see if they can sustain it. Based on the past experience with WCW, I doubt it.

1st.Long live HULKAMANIA!!!!! Thank God.

2nd.If the mafia is gone why did Angle's video background during promo still flash the Mafia name and logo/

3rd. Wouldnt it make more sense if the person who hired Wolfe was the World Elite

RESPONSE FROM KE: When Wolfe (Nigel McGuinness) signed with TNA I wrote that he would be a natural for The British Invasion. Now I wonder if that's too obvious. You know Russo would love to bring the Jarrett-Karen-Kurt triangle in front of the camera. But who knows, maybe they will go the obvious route

I've just been able to start watching TNA since my wife works late, so I'm not completely in the know with stories and who's good and who's heel. It seems like every week, Mick Foley has changed roles, seems like it would be really hard to get behind a character that you never know if you can really invest any emotion in since you don't know if they will be the same the next week.
As far as Desmond Wolfe is concerned, he seems like a great wrestler, I'm really excited to see what will happen with him. That said, I really don't like them giving him a match against Kurt Angle on his second show, that is a rivalry that could have been carried for a long time with the payoff being a match between those two at one of their larger pay-per-views. It seems like it goes against what Angle was saying about the younger talent being punks, why would he want to fight someone like that? Why not convince management to make him fight others before he can even have a shot at somebody on Angle's level? But it is good to see him get such a large push, if he would have made it to the E, he would have been a mid-carder unless he was BFF with HHH.
TNA needs more Amazing Red, he is the most fun wrestler watch wrestle (in terms of moves, Jericho is still my favorite in ring because of his taunting and manorisms).
Hopefully rumors are true with TNA creating a new show for Mondays, we need Monday night wars again, those were the best.

As soon as I heard "Sports Entertainment" at the Hogan new conference I see this going downhill real fast. TNA is doing sports entertainment, they are wrestling. These guys deliver the goods every show in the ring, and it will be a shame if the company changes focus.

Steiner needs to take the place of Taz. Steiner adds true color and a spontaneity that would really spice things up. He can still deliver a decent match but can't do it regularly and it has to be with an above average worker due to his physical condition.

Will be interesting to see if Nash teams up with Beer Money.

I like the Rhino angle. I think it would work better if Team 3D tried to help him rather than join him.

Get rid of Lacey. She is a travesty to what the Knockout division has been and is. If she is going to stay, they need to make TBP more of a jobber group. I think they should cut out Lacey and bring in 2 others and make them a female Horseman type group.

With the push Wolfe is getting, it almost makes you wonder if Kurt is taking time off or leaving the company?

I really enjoyed the last two episodes of iMPACT. They both felt new, fresh, and fun, in a way that wrestling often hasnt in the past few years.

I totally agree with the previous poster about Hogan. Let's hope that TNA positions him properly, as a legend to wrestle a few times per year, and be an ambassador for the company. Anything else would be a very bad move.

I love TNA's handling of Nigel so far, though it'll be awhile before I get used to his new name. He has charisma in the ring, and an interesting moveset. Its always good to have a new main event star in the mix.

I'm finding the Steiner & Lashley feud funny, but I always get a kick out of Steiner.

Lacey Von Erich is gorgeous at such a level that I dont care if she can wrestle yet.

Lastly I'm really digging Rhino's heel turn, I hope TNA does something with him. Now if we could only get Jeff Jarrett back.......

The best part of the Hogan presser was when he arrogantly alluded that this was just like the last time he "switched gears" and joined another company and made it dominant.

Really? That last company (that was infinitely bigger than TNA) that Hogan helped? The one that imploded five years after Hogan came, hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and sold to Vince McMahon for pennies? THAT'S the benchmark?

The Unpredictable Mick Foley sounds as predictable as the Unpredictable Johnny Rodz.

i really didn't like Impact from them telling you the matches were taped before they did their voice over work to the guy who use to be their #1 guy being taken out on a stretcher by a guy their 2 weeks doesn't make any sense to me. Someone really needs to Train LVE how to wrestle that was horrible. i don't know why everyone is so down on Hogan & Bishoff coming in to TNA you guys act like you didn't make any mistakes 10 years ago that you learned from and made the proper adjustments. I think sneak attacking your World champion is very lame it might have been cool in the 1980's but were 20 years from that.

if tna tries to put a show on monday nights, usa and wwe will just make raw a live 3 hour show every week and blow tna out of the water.

What people don't remember is that before Hogan went to WCW, WCW was nothing. He may have ruined the company, but in his first 3-4 years in WCW, he was one of the main reasons why WCW was able to compete with WWE. I'm glad that Kevin Nash is stepping up to support the younger guys. He can't wrestle that well but he gives the younger guys a push when they need it-Young, Hernandez, Sabin/Shelley, Lethal (Nash is the one who gave him the Black Machismo gimmick), and so on. I agree that Steiner should retire soon, but I have to give it to him-he's still showing signs of his younger days when he does frankensteiners off the top rope.
"Will be interesting to see if Nash teams up with Beer Money."
-Sorry to give everyone a history lesson here, but I find it interesting how everyone in TNA puts the past aside so easily. When Team 3D first debuted, James Storm (AMW) and Robert Roode (Team Canada) were working with Jeff Jarrett to take out Team 3D and Kevin Nash

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.

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