Hulk Hogan. The man who went from being arguably the biggest superstar in the world of professional wrestling, to a man who'd appear on any show with celebrity as the prefix, has come a long long way. Although he's done a lot of things in the recent past which hasn't really helped him or his image in the media, the name Hulk Hogan still has a lot of starpower left. So can Hogan be of any use to the WWE if they signed him today? Umm, yes.
For every smark that despises the fact that Hogan's still sticking around in the wrestling biz, there's hundred more casuals who would love to see him hulk up one more time. Intermedia's recent Star Index shows that the man who was the biggest wrestler in his time, is the most recognizable celebrity even today, with a recognition level of almost 98% (source)
. There's a reason why you see people wearing Hulkamania t-shirts at live events even today, thirty years since its inception. So there's no denying that Hulkamania is still alive. Which means, there's no denying that the Hulk Hogan brand still has a market to which it can cater to. So it isn't like you're bringing someone back just for the sake of it, he's actually serving you a purpose, may it be inside the ring, or outside.
So in what ways can Hulk Hogan be valuable to the company today?
Firstly, as an on-screen personality. Honestly speaking, who wouldn't want to see 'Real American' hit one more time? You? You don't matter
Its quite obvious that regardless of whether he gets signed to a normal contract or a legends deal, he is going to make television appearances. So how would he fit in the current scheme of things? Everyone knows about the WWE's obsession with having General Managers and Authority figures, so Hogan would be a decent fit for that title. He could be a nice addition to this whole Vince McMahon versus Triple H power struggle storyline leading to Wrestlemania. And with it being the thirty year anniversary of the event that Hogan helped build and all, it only helps more. As an in-ring competitor, you say? Although a few reports surfaced online saying that Hogan's been training hard for a return, and with that recent Jimmy Hart interview stating that Hogan has a match or two still left in him, I still don't see him wrestling again. But if they're actually willing to have Hogan work a match like some of the rumors say, the only way they could have a watchable match would be if they do a tag team bout, with Hogan's partner doing most of the work. It would probably still be a bad match, but that's a different story. In my opinion, he should just stick to being an authority figure, he shouldn't wrestle. Because he doesn't need to. Or because he can't. Wait, he never could. But a segment giving an up and coming talent a rub? Sure, why not? Although the guy can't take any bumps anymore with all his back and knee problems, he can certainly hulk up, throw a few punches and a big boot. Maybe something like a segment with the Real American coming back and humbling the two guys who call themselves Real Americans? I'd be all for it. Incase they go with a legends deal with limited appearances, they could use him for special appearances on their themed episodes, or whenever they have tapings in England or Canada. Canada, now that'd do some real business. Apart from being an on-screen character, he could also help as a mentor or a guide to some of the up and coming wrestlers in the back. So there's more than one way in which Hulk Hogan can come in handy for the company if he does go on the road.
That was Hogan being an asset as an onscreen character. Now how can he benefit in terms of business? Long before the Austin 3:16 and the colorful Cenation merchandise, it was the red and yellow Hulkamania gear that dominated the WWE's merchandising scene. Like I said in the one of the previous paragraphs, you can still see people wear the Hulkamania t-shirts, even thirty years after it all happened. Speaking of merchandise, they can have him host some of their DVDs, or have a DVD made on his life and times. So with a new line of Hulkamania gear, the DVDs, and all the other merchandise, it would do nothing but good to the company's merchandise sales. Bagging Hogan in time for the WWE Network channel which is rumored to debut sometime next year would be a smart move too, he could play a part in promoting or being a part of the shows on that channel. Maybe he could also star in one of their very own studio's movies. As far as advertising goes, he could do radio, appear on those television shows, and with the clean cut babyface character that Hulk Hogan has been for the most part of his career, he could be a nice addition to all of the WWE's off-screen programs, like the Be A Star Initiative, the Make A Wish foundation, their visits to the Troops, etcetera etcetera. They could also use him to advertise the company by having him tour countries with a huge market, where they possibly can't hold live events, like they did by sending guys like Cena, Batista and Kane to countries like India. With the mainstream appeal that Hulk Hogan has, there's a wide range of possibilities with him both inside and outside the ring.
So Hulkamania coming back to its roots one last time would not only be a good way to send Hulk Hogan off, but it would also help the WWE in more than one way. Can Hulk Hogan still offer any value to WWE if they signed him to a contract of any sort? Yes, absolutely.
Jupiter Jack Daniels
Hulk Hogan. Without a doubt, one of the biggest draws WWE has ever produced. One of the most marketable performers of all time. In his prime, was a promotional dream. Notice I said in his prime. Hulk's not in his prime anymore and the climate that is "sports entertainment" is different. So, I really don't think Hulk has anything to offer of value to WWE.
The biggest reason I feel that way is because of the portrayal of Hulk Hogan over the past 30 years. Wrestling has evolved. Guys have come & gone. But, Hulk is in that elite class of performers that maintained a larger than life persona within the industry & beyond. Or has he?
Let’s be honest. For the past 4 years, Hogan’s value in the wrestling business has dramatically decreased since the days were Hulkamania ran wild. And that’s kind of expected. But, when you’re a guy like Hogan, who goes to TNA, a company that has been able to survive for nearly 8 years before Hogan and without any other larger than life wrestling personality and business doesn’t improve, how much value does the Hogan name still have to offer? Now, I understand the WWE situation would likely be different than Hogan’s TNA deal but there is one thing that remains a constant: the spotlight.
Hogan is one of those wrestling personalities that thrives of being in the spotlight. The center of attention. That’s a gift and a curse. A gift because, for Hogan, it helps keep the name alive, nearing him to the immortalization that he seeks and for the fans, the nostalgic factor of seeing one of the biggest names the wrestling business has produced. But, it’s a curse because you run the risk of either Hogan being a detriment to other guys on the roster, unless he’s giving them “a rub” or you risk tarnishing the legacy of the Hulk Hogan name, for the purpose of giving someone “a rub” that you might grow sour on a few months later.
And working with Hogan isn’t truly giving someone “a rub”. You could argue it is, based on his name alone but the fact is, Hogan has worked 8 matches in the past 7 years and there’s a reason for that. His body is wrecked. Over 20 consecutive years of leg drop after leg drop has left him nearly broken. Eight back surgeries, two hip and two knee replacements have left him as nothing more than a shell of his former self. I just can’t see Hogan, in his condition, coming back just to put someone over. Despite all of that, bringing Hogan back would truly be a mark out moment but this is a business and the goal is to make money. If people weren’t paying to see Hogan in TNA, would they be quick to pay to see him back in WWE?
More importantly, based on his past, can we really say that Hogan is more inclined to take a backseat? And can his legacy withstand that? As he said recently on the “History of WWE” DVD, he wants the Hogan name to be immortalized and to live forever. His value would take a strong hit if he returns to the company that made him and is anything but the main attraction. And in current WWE, we really don’t need that. This is an era where we complain about full time wrestlers being in the spotlight. And I feel those sentiments would carry over to Hogan, should he return to WWE.
This is the thing. At 60 years old, it’s hard to buy into him having the advantage over anybody, especially when he can’t stand upright. He’s not a Flair or a Dusty, where he could still serve a purpose without actually wrestling. And it’s because, outside of the ring but still in the business, that’s not the Hogan people want. They want him to Hulk up. They want the “you” finger point. And they want the big boot. In my opinion, it’s not worth it for Hogan and it’s not worth it for WWE. And because of the way he’s been portrayed for the last 30 years, anything but that isn’t really Hulk Hogan. It’s Jim Duggan, it’s Sgt. Slaughter, it’s Bob Backlund, it’s those guys who came up in the same era but have nothing to offer outside of the ring. And while Hogan is no Duggan, Slaughter or Backlund, he’s too big of a name to be put in a situation that could be deemed a spit in the face of his legacy and promote him in the essence of those 3.
At best, a Wrestlemania appearance, by either getting attacked by a stable and being saved by a mid-card babyface or saving a mid-card babyface from an attack, he puts said babyface over with the posedown and says goodbye. He has nothing left to prove and nothing left to offer, without detracting from what he’s already done or from anybody else in the company.
It’s about ego. It’s about being immortalized. It’s about being the main attraction that you were for over 20 years. It’s about what’s best for business. He wasn’t what was best for business in TNA, a company that has never been privileged to have someone of Hogan’s credentials as a member of their roster. That name value didn’t have a positive effect on them at all. And the sad reality may be that the Hogan name just doesn’t mean what it used to.
With a question as open ended as this one, the answer is an indisputable YES
, of course Hulk Hogan can still offer SOME
value to the WWE if they signed him to a contract of ANY
sort. I’ll lay out how Hogan can bring value to the WWE. Then, I’ll discuss what kind of contract is reasonable and provide a scenario where Hogan returning to the WWE would undoubtedly benefit the company.
It’s important to ask what is “value” to the WWE? With WWE being a massive international business, it comes down to money. The common thread uniting each thing Hogan can bring to the company traces to what’s tangible: profit to line Vinny Mac’s pockets.(1)
What are the areas in which Hulk can still provide value to the WWE? Let’s begin.
Hulk Hogan isn’t merely a character within the WWE Universe. Hulk Hogan is an iconic, world-renowned BRAND NAME. An announcement of Hogan’s signing, a surprise return, or multiple appearances create instantaneous merchandise opportunities. Red and yellow Hulkster shirts or even a black and white nWo shirt are as recognizable today as they were years ago. WWE does merchandise like clockwork, jumping on any profitable superstar’s bandwagon and capitalizing on it. Hulk’s return boosts the market on Hogan apparel, for both the older, nostalgic fans plus younger fans getting their first live exposure to this wrestling legend. In addition to apparel, Hogan-centric DVD sales represent another exploitable revenue stream.
WWE is outstanding when it comes to promoting. Any Hogan appearance would be treated like a huge deal, maximizing hype and possible fan reaction. He could appear on talk shows or other programs during promotional periods (*coughWrestleMania season*cough). The average Joe might sit and watch Hogan instead of flipping through channels if a “non-mainstream” guy was on. With apologies to Punk and Bryan, people in the “real world” have no clue who they are; Hogan has enjoyed mainstream exposure for years that no one in the WWE landscape besides The Rock has ever come close to.
Dixie Carter stated how Hogan’s reach extends far beyond casual wrestling audiences, saying Hogan "opened a lot of doors for us. When you're about to lose a deal in an international territory and one phone call from Hulk Hogan makes a man who doesn't even speak your language melt and you get your deal back, that carries a lot of weight. There's not another guy out there who could do that.
Although WWE might not have the same need for Hogan to do something like that, he’s not a bad ace to have up their sleeve if they ever did.
In addition to Hulk’s ability to move merchandise, he’s been in wrestling locker rooms since the late 70s. He knows the business inside and out, and would be an asset to anyone on the card who comes to him for advice. Nobody has worked a crowd better, for longer, than Hulk. Any wisdom he can impart on any wrestler would be nothing but beneficial.
Now, we must analyze the term “any” contract. I mean, I’m allowed to say that a $1 annual contract would fit this loose definition. But let’s be reasonable. For the purposes of the debate, it’s fair to suggest that Hogan would sign a Legends deal for a limited number of appearances, and that he’d be the highest-paid “Legend” contract. EVEN WITH the notion that he’d be paid more than someone like Bret, he’d be worth it simply because his merchandise sells more than others.
The key to making money from Hogan is how the WWE uses him. In TNA, he was out there every week with 20 minutes of screen time, giving Abyss god-powered Hall-of-Fame rings. He wasn’t a special attraction. When discussing Hogan’s time in TNA, even Dixie admitted that "If we did anything wrong with him, we used him too much on television
Vince is a shrewder, smarter businessman. He’d limit Hogan’s appearances, and ensure that every time he did appear, it would be treated as a big deal. So, what would be the best way for WWE to maximize Hogan’s starpower and utility?
A couple years ago, it was announced that The Rock would “host” WrestleMania. Rock returned, to massive crowd response, appearing on Raw once or twice leading up to that Mania. People tuned into Mania to see how he’d impact the show, and lord knows the show needed some starpower with Miz as the champion in the main event. The show turned a massive financial profit(4)(5)
despite its criticisms.
The Rock’s role at WrestleMania 27 is tailor-made for present-day Hogan. Get him on the promo circuit, talk shows, release a DVD, and give him some time on a limited number of Raw broadcasts. Realistically, Hogan can’t compete in a competitive match anymore. But naming him host, perhaps giving him the chance to save a babyface(6)
(or hell, have a babyface save HIM from a beatdown), then letting him pose for a couple minutes would amp the crowd up and create one of those magical WrestleMania MOMENTS. Any perceived negatives around a Hogan re-signing – that he doesn’t properly put over others, that he’s physically unable to put on matches anymore – are all erased by an appearance such as this. Foolproof backup plan idea: have him show up in Montreal.(7)
There’s no way that adding the most recognizable face in wrestling history could hurt the WWE, given the fact that there are so many checks and balances in place (Vince, HHH) keeping Hogan in line. The foregoing example is merely one way to utilize Hogan. Bringing Hogan back is economically feasible given the contractual terms I outlined above, thus adding value to the WWE. In terms of the question, Hogan could be brought back under ANY sort of contract even more generous than what I listed and it would become an even greater coup for the WWE. The dude can draw, promote, and still get reactions, brother. That all adds up to making money.
A Sports Illustrated article on Dixie Carter: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mor...tna-wrestling/
See footnote #2
Financial report that gives information on Wrestlemania 27's profit, putting it at $17.9 million: http://www.wrestlezone.com/news/2765...ancial-results
The highest-grossing WWE PPV's has Wrestlemania 27 ranking 4th: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1...l-time/page/13
It’s not like I’m reinventing the wheel here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcPzmj287Qw
Montreal loves them some Hogan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErnmSGIMRrk
“FAAAKE”, “Hulk Hogan!” and “does Undertaker still wrestle?” – these are three possible outbursts you’d get upon asking any random on the street the first thing they think of when you say professional wrestling. While the answers may vary depending on who and when you asked, you would eventually realise that there are only a handful of common, repeated answers, and out of those, Hulk Hogan is by far the main outlier. That is, despite reaching his professional peak a quarter-century ago, Hulk Hogan is still one of the main personalities associated with pro wrestling. That is a result of being one of - very arguably [italics]the[/i] – icon of professional wrestling in North America. Contemporary wrestling is inseparably linked to the red and yellow, brother, and that is common fact.
Hogan is undoubtedly a valuable commodity to any wrestling company in 2013/14, so his worth to the biggest promotion in the world speaks for itself. That being said, he would obviously need to find a new place in the company. His last run saw a limited in ring schedule for him, that brought the patriotism, nostalgia and NUMBERZ~! up in spades across all areas.
No doubt considering he was limited ten years ago, ring work of any sort would be off the cards today. It’s possible the audience are somewhat removed from the days of wanting to see the big boot/leg drop, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still crave the overwhelming, childish sense of awe and wonder that Hogan has been famous for inciting during his time at the WWE. A great many wrestling fans today grew up watching Hogan, and rendering them children again would make them ripe for the emotional picking -- it will be a lot easier for a new babyface to come in and steal their hearts once the cynical, jaded exterior is peeled back by Hogan. WWE currently has the best babyfaces in the world signed to their roster, and pairing any one of them with someone as quintessentially wrestling as Hulk Hogan is a no-brainer. A partnership like this would be invaluable for any wrestler today, and would doubtless help to establish them in the eyes of the audience. Perhaps even more importantly to the WWE, they'd likely catch the interest of the wider public eye as well, from fans who have long since drifted away since the Golden Era, but "had no idea Hogan was back in the WWF."
That’s only the beginning -- WWE’s midcard aches for Hogan’s managerial presence. Imagine him, championing his chosen good-guy, against Heyman and one of his cronies. Zeb Colter’s character was made for the ultra-patriot Hogan to tell him what a real Real American is. Maybe he’d even deliver a good old fashioned “Let me tell you something, Hunter” as the administration dares try to interfere in his guy’s business.
Someone needs to break through the glass ceiling that has been carefully sealed, reinforced, barricaded and cemented over by the WWE’s creative team recently, and Hulk Hogan is just the kind of starpower that could help an individual do that. And it’s win-win all around. Hogan won’t get in the ring, so there’s no chance of some backstage ego-driven sabotage that leads to HHH vs Hogan main eventing Wrestlemania 30. Someone else will get a share of a spotlight that has only been afforded to certain individuals in the company. He will certainly be expensive, but it’s not like the McMahons don’t have the money to spend – and the benefit to individual careers and overall entertainment value would be worth it anyway.
So in answering the question, “Can Hogan be of any value to the WWE”, the answer is absolutely. However, would he be in practice, is a different question entirely. There are still a number of possible ways WWE could drop the ball on a Hulk Hogan tenure, but thankfully that’s not the question that is being asked here. Nevertheless, the use of the product does not diminish the worth of the product -- it's no one's fault if WWE use a gold bar to scratch their ass with.