Welcome to the first-ever Bad For Business. The concept behind this new series is quite simple. I take a look at some of the biggest names in the world of pro-wrestling – be they performer, booker, or company – and tell you just why I think that they’re Bad For Business, and what better place to start than the Immortal Hulk Hogan?
Now I understand – and fully expect – a few of you to be angry that I’d even dare suggest Hulk Hogan ever did anything wrong. After all, Hulkamania has been running wild for nearly 40 years now, but it’s time to face facts. Hulk Hogan never cared about any business that didn’t involve him. He may have brought the sport into the spotlight, but he’s also tarnished it with some major moments of douchebaggery, as well as sticking the knife into numerous people’s backs during that time.
So if you’ve read this far and not blown a gasket, let’s look at some of the reasons I think that Hulk Hogan is Bad For Business.
The Racist Tirade
Okay, let’s get this out the way first, shall we? If it wasn’t bad enough that the world was subjected to a Hulk Hogan sex tape, we also had to put up with him unleashing a horrible racist tirade, all because his daughter was sleeping with a black man.
Hogan was subsequently fired from the WWE, but as if to prove that your name is more important than what a disgusting human being you are, was eventually rehired when the heat on him had finally died down. He also managed to sue Gawker for an inordinate amount of money, and win, because he’s Hulk hogan and no matter how much sh*t is thrown at him, nothing ever seems to stick.
Now, you may be wondering how this was Bad For Business? Well, that’s simple. It managed to drag pro-wrestling through the wringer once again, leading to mainstream media coming to the conclusion that every wrestler and every wrestling fan must be of the same mind because he’s Hulk Hogan, and isn’t that all that wrestling is about?
Even worse, it divided the fanbase with redneck assholes crawling out of the woodwork to decry anyone who called Hogan an asshole for what he said. Don’t believe me? It’s still happening. I put out a tweet a few weeks ago as he was tending, just to remind people that he was a racist and I had two people call me out on it.
So for those of you who need re-educating in what he said;
I am a racist, to a point, f**king n****rs.”
Part of his penance for being accepted back into the WWE fold was that he had to make an apology to the entire locker room. This should’ve been easy enough. Something along the lines of “Hey, guys and girls. I’m really, really sorry about what I said. I’ve learnt from my mistake and promise that I’m not going to be that person ever again” would’ve sufficed, right?. He would’ve been sincere and would’ve been welcomed back, if not with open arms. But let us not forget who we’re dealing with here.
It was leaked that Hulk Hogan didn’t say that. Or anything like that. Or anything even nearly like that. What he allegedly said – and I am paraphrasing here – was “Make sure people aren’t recording you”. Really? Really Hulkster? That’s your big apology, is it? “Hey folks, it’s fine to be a racist, just make sure no one gets you on tape”.
A vast majority of the locker room have never forgiven him for this, with many straight-up refusing to work with him in any capacity, and those who have – such as poor old Titus O’Neil – have done so through gritted teeth. Seriously, go back and watch Wrestlemania 37 and you can see that even though his face is smiling, his eyes really want to kick the crap out of the geriatric stood next to him.
This move by the WWE of bringing Hogan back could’ve backfired spectacularly, and almost did if reports are to be believed. Vince McMahon almost had a mutiny on his hands, and all so he could shift some merchandise to the group of people that believe he did nothing wrong and to get a cheap pop when they wheel him out once in a while.
Nearly Killing TNA/Impact
Alright, this wasn’t all on Hogan’s shoulders. Dixie Carter had pretty much strangled the life out of TNA before Bischoff and Hogan put the boots to its still twitching corpse, but he sure as hell didn’t help.
Alongside his old WCW buddy, he was responsible for trying to go head-to-head with Monday Night RAW – convinced that this would spark another rating’s war – bringing in all of his old cronies for a nice, fat payday, and either changing the talent who had helped build the company in the first place – because what the world needed was AJ Flair – or ignoring them completely, so we could watch the f*cking Nasty Boys waddle their way through another match.
And being Hulk Hogan, he just couldn’t resist booking himself as a Main Event contender, because nothing makes money like The Hulkster, brother. So, we had Abyss being gifted magical powers by Hogan’s WWE HOF ring, and the Aces and Eights storyline that tried to make us believe that Bully Ray was knocking boots with his incredibly untalented daughter Brooke.
Who – let us not forget – had been brought in to run The Knockouts Division…
For years, Jesse Ventura had been pushing for the boys and girls to unionize. The idea behind this was, as a union they’d no longer be forced to work as independent contractors and that the companies – specifically the WWE – would have to take care of them a whole lot better than they were doing at the time. This would never come to pass as Vince McMahon got wind of what he was planning.
According to The Body:
It was WrestleMania 2. Two weeks before it, all the publicity had gone out. The advantage was ours. See, Jesse Ventura studies business. The advantage was ours. I stood, I waited, so there weren’t agents around. I stood up in the dressing room and I gave a speech to the boys…and I said, ‘if we go together and simply tell the media we are not wrestling unless union negotiators by federal law come in and give us the opportunity to unionize.’ And I said, ‘guys, the people that turn on the lights in these buildings are union.’ I said, ‘they have to do it by law. It’s in our favor. Then, if we engage the Charlotte guys to do the same thing, we can have a union in wrestling.’ I gave this big speech, I left it at there, I went home. The next night, I got a phone call from Vince who basically threatened to fire me if I ever brought it up again and read me the riot act.”
Jesse was stunned, but not surprised that somebody had turned him in, but it wouldn’t be until he took the WWE to court in 1994 that he’d find out who that somebody was.
When I sued Vince, we had to depose him. On the way out, I told my lawyer the story and in deposition, you can bring up anything. And I said, ‘if you can, David, find out who ratted me out.’ I said, ‘find out who ratted me [out] that day because it was one of the boys because there were no agents there. And so, when we got in there Vince, and my attorney was great. He said, ‘Mr. McMahon,’ he said, ‘has there ever been a union in wrestling?’ Vince replied ‘No.’ The lawyer asked ‘Anyone ever try to form one?’ Vince sat a minute, he says, ‘Well, yeah, as a matter of fact, Jesse Ventura spouted his mouth off about it once years ago.’ And my attorney goes, ‘Well, how do you know that? Did you hear him? No? Well, how did you know he spouted his mouth off?’ He didn’t even hesitate. ‘Hulk Hogan told me’…It was like someone punched me in the face. This was my friend and I thought, ‘Hogan betrayed me? Hogan called Vince and ratted me out?”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Hulk Hogan only does business for Hulk Hogan.
And finally – as I think I’m nearly out of venom – let’s look at what Hulk Hogan was really good at. Burying other wrestlers. Jake Roberts, Yokozuna, Randy Orton, Vadar, Sting, The WCW Title – Fingerpoke Of Doom, anyone? – Bret Hart, Billy Kidman, the list goes on and on and on and on…But the best one of all has to be the time he tried – and failed oh so brilliantly – to bury Shawn Michaels.
For those of you that don’t know, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels were due to face off in a trilogy that would’ve meant money for everyone involved. The idea was that Hogan won their first meeting, Shawn their second, and the third would be at the show of shows, Wrestlemania. Everybody would’ve made out like bandits, except Hogan decided he didn’t want to play ball.
First off, he decided that the fans had no interest in seeing two faces go at it, meaning that a totally changed, religious Michaels had to turn heel, something he really didn’t want to do, but did because it was best for business. Then Hogan had another change of heart and decided that he didn’t want to have anything to do with the build-up, leaving The Showstopper to carry the load himself.
Again, he did this and it was f*cking glorious as you can see here.
Then Hulk said that he wouldn’t be sticking around for the original three-match stint, and was, in fact, buggering off after the first one. The one he was scheduled to win. As you can imagine, Michaels took this about as well as can be expected.
Summerslam 2005 is still my favorite Summerslam of all time, just because of this match. Michaels is on fire here, bouncing around and selling everything that Hogan does as if he’s been shot out of a cannon, leaving The Hulkster completely unsure of what he should do and just what the hell is going on. Even the simplest move – like an Irish Whip – sees Michaels launch himself out of the ring with his arms flailing like a ragdoll. It is a work of art.
Now, I’ll admit that the old Shawn Michaels himself was Bad For Business – and I’ll get to that version of him down the road – but this version turns an attempted burial on its head, and makes the politicking asshat that is Hulk Hogan look stupid in the process.
And a little part of me likes to think that after all the times he carried the Golden Shovel, this was karma giving just a tiny bit of payback.