Best: The crowd’s reaction to Hulk Hogan
When carefully weighing the pros and cons of traveling vs. the Impact Zone a la Joseph Park, this will always fall into the Pro column. Instead of having a handful of people there to see Jeff Hardy and Sting peppered into a crowd of tourists who thought it might be a fun idea to see a wrestling show then sit on their hands like a WCW crowd for an Ultimo Dragon match, you’ve got people who don’t often get the opportunity to see these wrestlers and are so excited to do so. I don’t think they’ll get the same reaction necessarily when they come back stateside, but how great is it to see that many people excited for TNA? Some of these people have never gotten to see Sting or Hogan in person, or any of these guys for that matter, and it’s so much fun to see them cheering their hearts out and enjoying themselves to that extent.
Hulk Hogan is the best guy to open a show like this, because no matter how smarky you are, or how many words per minute you can type about how he’s a selfish jerk who monopolizes airtime and takes focus away from younger guys who are more deserving, you can’t deny that in situations like these, Hogan sells tickets. Hogan gets a crowd excited. I’ve seen the coolest of customers melt into a puddle of childlike wonder at meeting him, so for a market where TNA is popular and they don’t get as many touring shows, yeah. Hogan’s going out first, and he’s gonna keep coming out. People are gonna cheer as soon as his music hits, and they’re going to keep cheering. I know that this is incredibly doubtful at times, but TNA is there to entertain, and when in the UK, Hogan’s gonna be a big part of that. He got them excited, and that got me excited to see the rest of the show.
I know a few people had a squicky reaction to him basically equating Wrestlemania III and his past title wins to the noise he heard in the arena that night, but I really didn’t mind it. He didn’t say it was just as good, or better, but rather that it sounded “pretty damn sweet.” I can believe that. Here’s a guy who gets a tepid to fair reaction in the Impact Zone, but also gets totally brutalized on the internet for pretty much every single thing that he does. When going from “slamming giants” and “winning titles” to basically a being a walking joke, I have to imagine it does feel pretty damn sweet to get that kind of affection and not be made to feel like a great big naugahyde bag of crap.
Best: Hogan basically writes my column for me
So Hawk Hogan swoops in, basks in some adulation, and proceeds to lay out what’s going to happen on tonight’s show:
• RVD vs. The Superkick of the Cowboy James Storm
• Christopher Daniels vs. Guy Who’s Going Over Because England Magnus
• Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe
• Mecha Austin Aries vs. Shiva Bobby Roode
• After all of this, Hogan is going to arbitrarily choose a #1 Contender to face Jeff Hardy at Lockdown
• Sting will captain a team of wrestlers to face Aces & Eights at Lockdown.
Thanks, Hogan. You know, I’m bookending staying up all night writing this with two work shifts and pretty much no sleep, so I appreciate you filling in for me. There’s a pretty clear Best in this mess of an outline, and it’s not hard to figure out what I’m not going to enjoy about the rest of it, so… See you next week, Impact Fans!