Good Lord, how the mighty have fallen.
Fifteen years ago, a young Bubba Ray Dudley was carving a gash through the collective hearts and minds of ECW fans with brutal matches, and cutting edge promos that were actually strong enough to nearly incite riots at bingo halls, night clubs, farmers’ markets and school gymnasiums all over the Northeastern United States.
Meanwhile, in WCW, Hulk Hogan was blazing a trail as the ringleader of, arguably, the hottest faction in the history of the business, the nWo. Hogan and his band of merry anti-heros were at the top of their craft, making the fans drop whatever they were doing every Monday night, and talk about Monday night for the rest of the week.
Fast forward to last Thursday on Impact Wrestling. Our fearless anti-hero, the Hulkster, is now a general manager and a dad. Bubba Ray Dudley is just Bully Ray, or to Hulk’s daughter Brooke, just “Mark”.
I think that’s what bothers me the most about the whole Bully Ray/Brooke Hogan angle. It’s what really brings the bad feelings I have about it to the forefront of my mind, and the words of this article. See, Mark Lomanico has busted his tail for alot of years to protect his character, and the kayfabe that surrounds it. You would never find the man doing an interview out of character. Sure, there are a few shoots floating around out there if you look hard, but generally the man kept the gimmick separate from anything else.
It’s one of the things i’ve always liked about him. His ability to use his character to suspend disbelief without “shooting” or “pipebombs” was one of his strongest traits.
Enter Hulk Hogan.
Here’s a man who, pushing sixty years old, just can’t let go. Every week, no matter what happens in TNA, Hogan is right in the middle of it. And the things he really has no way to look good with, like the Knockouts division, he brings in his daughter to look after (in kayfabe, of course).
In another effort to corral the weekly spotlight for Hogan, the powers that be in that promotion decide to take this hardcore icon, and use him to break down the fourth wall by pairing him in a joke of a love story with Brooke Hogan, which apparently will pay off with some kind of BS wedding on television this week.
Personally, I think the whole angle sucks. First of all, it does nothing to benefit Bully Ray’s character at all. One of three things can happen here.
A. Hulk Hogan goes out of his mind and challenges him to a match. Hogan goes over in a completely unbelievable victory that makes him look like Superman (Cena fans rejoice, your golden boy is off the hook for a week) and in turn makes Bully look like a doofus.
B. Hulk Hogan goes out of his mind and challenges him to a match. Bully goes over on a senior citizen who everyone except for the “it’s still real to me, dammit” guy knows can barely get out of a chair, let alone work a match. Hogan looks like a hero who’s just defending his little girl, and Bully looks a doofus, albeit a mean one.
C. Hulk Hogan gives “Mark” and Brooke his blessing. They have a fairy tale wedding, right there in the middle of the ring. Maybe they even give Reverend Slick some more yardbird to come perform the ceremony. After the vows are exchanged, everyone lives happily ever after. With this, Hogan looks like a good father who came to his senses, and Bully Ray looks like a guy who took Hogan calling him every name in the book, suspending him indefinitely, and generally treating him like poo, and smiled about it. Yeah…that’s hardcore (cringe).
Point is, there’s no way for anyone other than Hulk Hogan to look good coming away from this. The almost twenty years of work that Mark Lomanico has put into making his character…say this three times fast…the biggest badass bully in the business, will be wasted as he becomes yet another Hogan mark. Take a number, kid. You got a long list of barbers, truckers, bikers and drunks in front of you in that line.
We will be talking about this, and much, much more, on the Hookers and Shooters wrestling podcast this week. I hope you’ll join Mike, Rory, Joe the Engineer and myself for, hands down, the raunchiest two hours of wrestling talk you have ever heard. If you think you’ll like a show where wrestling meets Howard Stern, then you should definitely download us and give us a try.
You can download the Hookers and Shooters podcast exclusively at http://www.facebook.com/hookersandshooters. It’s available for download every Monday morning. Also, follow the show on Twitter, user name @hookersshooters
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