Friday, January 15, 2010
Hogan and the Knockouts
Although I enjoy women's wrestling for all the reasons you'd suspect, I have no illusions about its role in the industry. I just hope that Hulk Hogan doesn't have any as well. Ever since TNA announced the Hogan acquisition, we've heard plenty about his supposed likes and dislikes-the six-sided ring, creative writers, cruiserweights, etc. What we haven't heard yet is how he feels about women's wrestling.
Under most circumstances, I wouldn't even care about Hogan's mindset in this regard. But because female wrestling is one of two areas (tag team wrestling is the other) in which TNA thoroughly outclasses WWE, I'm very interested to see how he manages this asset.
If the January 4 head-to-head showdown with Monday Night Raw was any indication, I suspect Hogan will squander what the Knockouts division brings to TNA, which many weeks has been Impact's most highly rated segment. While TNA probably did the right thing by installing Awesome Kong & Hamada as new tag champions over the talented but vanilla team of Taylor Wilde & Sarita, the company demonstrated very little regard for the Knockouts title by a) Giving a title match away on Impact; b) Changing champions in a match that lasted just 2:40; and c) Undercutting ODB with the screwjob finish (although I didn't mind the .0003 seconds of Tara's exposed backside). Whether intentional or not, the entire Tara-ODB segment smacked of WCW circa 1999, and that is not a good omen.
Now, back to the illusions. I can't sit here and tell you I think TNA can or will ride the Knockouts to massive ratings or compete against WWE by virtue of its female roster. What it can do, however, is play to this strength, thereby drawing more fans to its product. But that will never happen if Hogan is allowed to treat the Knockouts the same way he treated WCW's cruiserweights.