Voice Of Reason 1.6.01: Running Wild Again?

In the middle of the week, a report was circulating that Hulk Hogan’s contract with WCW was set to officially end in March 2001, and that he could presumably appear at WWF Wrestlemania X-Seven.

Shockingly, this story has been brushed aside. A major issue in any other year, could it be that Hulk Hogan’s star has finally faded? Or maybe have all the rumors finally desensitized everyone to the real possibility that Hogan could be WWF-bound?

Let’s put the skepticism aside for a few moments, and think about what Hogan could do for the WWF. It’s not a stretch to say that the WWF main event scene is growing very stale. Despite putting the World Title on Kurt Angle, WWF bookers have kept the bulk of the top level matches between Steve Austin, The Rock, HHH and The Undertaker. Borderline main eventers like Kane, Rikishi and Angle have done nothing to create excitement.

Should Hulk Hogan return to the WWF at Wrestlemania, it is a certainty that he would return as a main eventer. He might not be in the World Title match at WM, but he within a few months he would be right back in the mix. I can already here the WWF faithful crying foul. “We don’t need that old, over the hill egomaniac ruining our promotion!” And even WCW fans can chime in with their hatred of Hogan, after all, it was his political stroke and repetitive main events that were contributing factors behind WCW’s collapse.

Despite all of the negative sentiment that is bound to come from internet fans, I believe that Hulk Hogan could have an immense positive effect on the WWF in 2001.

Unlike in WCW, where we have seen Hogan grapple against every major star numerous times, the WWF main eventers are all fresh opponents (except the Undertaker, but the 10 year gap between matches makes the match new again). Vince McMahon wouldn’t be bringing in Hogan for a two or three year main event deal. Instead, Hogan would come in for say, six months, and give the WWF a hot top tier match for each of those PPVs.

Just look at these matches, and tell me that they wouldn’t each draw a huge buyrate:

Hogan vs. The Rock

Hogan vs. Steve Austin

Hogan vs. The Undertaker

Hogan vs. Triple H

Hogan vs. The Rock vs. Steve Austin

Hogan vs. Triple H vs. The Rock

And so on

And if retired wrestlers such as Mick Foley or Shawn Michaels could come back, there are two more bona fide PPV blockbuster main events.

Internet fans can bash Hulk Hogan until they are blue in the face. If Vince McMahon, in his evil corporate ways, were to bring back Hogan to “clean up the WWF of these young hooligans,” the heat would be immense, and casual fans would once again be intrigued. Even if they pulled an angle to make Hogan a face, there would be enough interest in “fad fans” to get the ratings for Raw and Smackdown back up to where they were over the summer. I could even see a scenario where Vince brings in Hogan as a heel, he has a few big matches against the WWF good guys, then turns good and battles the bad guys before riding into the sunset.

Hogan would not have to elevate any mid carders. He would probably be given the WWF World Title for a run or two, putting him back on top of the all time WWF championship reigns. The gigantic business that these PPVs would bring in, and the increased ratings that the TV shows would do with Hogan would make all his ego and backstage politicking palatable for the short time he would be there.

Hogan back in the WWF? I’ll believe it when I see it. But if it does happen, don’t expect it to be a failure. If Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon know anything, it’s how to promote Hulk Hogan to make money. And this time, all the pieces are in place for both to make a killing.

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