[WWE] Report of Hogan, Vince, Linda and Austin on CNBC

As reported earlier, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Vince & Linda McMahon are guests on tonight’s “Big Deal with Donnie Deutsch” — which aired tonight at 10pm ET on USA’s sister network CNBC. Here’s a review of what happened:

Hulk Hogan comes on via satellite from Tampa.

– They talked about the reality show
– He and Vince originally were talking about the Hogan brand, and as he wrestled a couple of matches realized that if his body can hold up, the fanbase is still there to have a few more matches
– Donny says Hulk’s character represented to him the all-American good-guy. Hogan says it’s come full circle through a time period where characters were gray and is back where it began and will stay that way
– nWo only lasted a short while b/c people tire of the negativity
– When asked about family values and the negativity wrestling gets knocked for, Hogan says that “the one thing I like about wrestling, it’s been around since Day One; good vs. evil, positive’s the way to go, good always wins.” Optimism spills over into real life. He gets to meet with special kids, do other things in real life on a daily basis. And wrestlers need to recognize that once they’re in the public eye, their personas are the public’s property and they have roles to live up to

[commercial break, with Donny teasing that Hogan may challenge Austin, “’cause ya never know when you’re talkin’ rasslin'”]

Linda and Vince are in the studio now, with Hogan still via satellite. Deutsch introduces Linda as “the real boss” and CEO, Vince as majority owner and chairman, and then mentions that Stephanie is head of creative, Shane is head of global media and Stephanie is married to WWE Superstar HHH.

– Donny asks why they’re back in a relationship with Hogan after rifts in the past, and Vince says they should always stay together
– Hogan says he worked with Vince’s dad in the late 70s, then when he worked with Vince Jr. the two of them were responsible for bringing Hulkamania to the highest levels. Vince gave him a guideline to the character, gave Hogan leeway in the ring
– Donny asks Vince about character creation process; it’s a combination but more of a producing and directing on Vince’s end, with Hogan bringing charisma, ability, communications skills to the table. “Hulk’s being modest.” It’s the performer that has to go out there every day
– Differences between Vince Sr. and Jr. – Sr. was more modest; if he was around today, Hogan said he’s not sure Vince Jr. would get away with some of the things he does
– Hogan said an idea he had, where Vince told him not to do something but he did anyway, was going on the Arsenio Hall Show during the steroid scandal and it was one of the worst moves of his career
– Donny asked Hogan for an idea he presented to Vince that was shot down and he still thinks could have gotten over, and he doesn’t answer but instead says he was wrong when he brought Mark Calloway in and Vince wanted to make him The Undertaker (Hogan thought it was a terrible idea; obviously he was wrong)
– Hogan’s favorite wrestlers present company excluded: Andre the Giant, Superstar Billy Graham, Superfly Jimmy Snuka
– Vince was asked about past wrestlers that have a special place in his heart, and he said his favorite was Dr. Jerry Graham. Vince told a story about riding shotgun with the Dr., and the man showed no fear, ran red lights, wouldn’t stop the car, did what he wanted, and he thought wow this is the greatest.

[they go to commercial after showing a clip of Vince announcing RAW’s record streak of programming; they come back after a clip of Hogan vs. Carlito and Angle]

– Donny asks for an embarrassing story about Hogan, Vince brings up a helmet Hogan had made with a fist coming out of the top
– Hogan’s embarrassing Vince story: they went to a TV convention they weren’t invited to, someone was getting in Hogan’s face so Vince stuck up for him, and they had to pull him away from some TV executives
– Hogan jokes when he has a day to wrestle it’s a day off (after doing the reality show with his family)
– He asks Linda if they’re at the dinner table and she says “enough” business talk. Linda says they usually have a nice time out at home, but phonecalls and Vince checking his emails before going to bed of course can happen
– Hogan says there’s no one else like Vince McMahon; one thing he learned from him: you don’t watch the clock and you’re never satisfied until the job is finished
– Hogan then calls Vince out and asks him when he’ll step in the ring again with him, and Vince says tune in on Monday, you never know (ha!) and then says he’d have to hit the gym first
– When pushed about wrestling Austin, Hogan says you never know what’s gonna happen, but it’s a match that “has to go down”

[commercial break with another clip of Vince on RAW, and coming back a clip of Stephanie and HHH on “The Big Deal” where Steph said Vince is pushing more conservative creative]

– Vince says, on conservatism, “that was then” and watch the Homecoming on USA Network
– Deutsch says Vince was gracious by thanking Spike TV on Monday’s show, and then showed the edited clip where Spike censored out “USA Network” – he said it was surprising since when the NFL would switch from one network to the next, they’d mention each other, etc.
– Vince says he loathes censorship, and when he came back to the Gorilla Position, he found out about the editing and that Spike was blocking out USA signs with a technical difficulties screen
– Asked Linda about “bimbo’ing out of the women” and she says yes they’re there to appeal to a strong male demographic but if you follow the storylines the women are empowered
– Asked about Muhammed Hassan, Vince brought up how they’re just like any other television show, and Fox had a terror cell on one of their shows, and said “the reason this didn’t work out for us was more the individual playing the character”
– Talked about international success, but Vince says it’s not about the money, and “you can’t do what we do if it was just about the money” and you have to love the business (although the money’s good)

[goes to commercial break, showing clips of Austin beating up Carlito, and plugging Homecoming]

Donny introduces Steve Austin as 6-time WWE Champ and the most popular wrestler around today, with the exception of maybe Hulk Hogan.

– They talk about “250 days on the road” lifestyle, and Austin said there’s nothing like busting your ass and selling out buildings
– The fun part is the adrenaline rush, it’s hard to get out of it ’cause it’s so addictive
– Donny: “you are a brand,” over 2 million Austin 3:16 shirts sold, what is it about your brand? Austin brought in as a mechanic, someone good in the ring with anyone, with the character “Ringmaster.” I came up with the Stone Cold Steve Austin thing…
– In your face, anti-authority, what he wants, when he wants … “when you ask why people connected with me,” they lived vicariously through the things he did, and it was 110% real to him, and they connect to his personality
– The entertainment is real
– Talks about getting fired from WCW after he tore his triceps, went to “a little company in Pennsylvania called ECW” and got the call from Vince. When he was trying to be a heel, he saw an HBO special on a serial killer and (“I in no way endorse what he did of course”) modeled some things after him
– The Stone Cold name came up over hot tea in my household

[commercial break, and they come back with a clip from The Longest Yard]

– Austin says it was a blast working with Sandler, Chris Rock, etc.
– They talk about how critics didn’t like it, but he said just like in wrestling it doesn’t matter what the critics think, as long as it draws money
– Is Austin a bad role model? No – Austin says he is a role model, he’s worked his tail off when ppl told him he couldn’t be a draw, he broke all of WWE’s records
– The essence of pro wrestling: good vs. evil, a bad guy and a good guy fighting for a championship, with some personal issues thrown in
– Donny: evil wins once in a while; Austin: of course, but most of the time the good guy wins in the end
– Working on a WWE movie, Donny asks what that is — Austin says it’s a regular film (The Condemned) fully funded and produced by WWE Films, not a movie about wrestling, not sure yet who’s distributing it
– WWE Films formed as a new way to extend brands of characters and make more money
– Austin talks about Homecoming on USA Network, which he feels is huge, understands what product’s about, etc.

The show ends with Donny giving his top 5 favorite wrestlers of all time:

5. Arnold Skoland
4. Bobo Brazil
3. Jimmy Snuka
2. Chief Jay Strongbow
1. Fabulous Moolah

This show will repeat at 1am EDT on CNBC. It was also announced tonight on WWE.com that Vince and Linda will be appearing on Showbiz Tonight on CNN, this Thursday from 7-8pm.

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