Pro wrestling has always been seen as a rather incestuous industry; since Vince McMahon took over the reigns of WWE all of those years ago, wrestling hasn't really strayed from his formula. It makes sense because it worked, and it worked for a very long time. If you watch current MMA, boxing, kickboxing or pro wrestling, you can be sure the presentation has a lot to thank from Vince McMahon as well as the promoters he shamelessly stole ideas from and re-branded as his own. The only problem is, the pro wrestling formula is arguably quite dated. Stars like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were all enough to keep fans interested and building new fans.
The problem is now the current fanbase has dwindled a bit. It happens, it was expected, but the problem is the fans who grew up watching wrestling who will fondly talk about Papa Shango cursing the Ultimate Warrior and Stone Cold flipping off the boss before showering him in beer and giving him a Stone Cold Stunner have moved on. While fans do grow out of wrestling, the problem is when they reproduce and start a family, they won't flip on the television to WWE and reminisce with their children as to the crazy grapplers they loved growing up and support their fandom. Instead, they will most likely be tuning into UFC and telling their kids about when Chuck Liddell knocked Tito Ortiz into oblivion or the epic encounters between Chuck and Randy Couture.
Hulk Hogan, of all people, has been described as a guy who holds onto his legacy and is resistant to change. So it is surprising to look at his recent interview with Fanhouse on how he views MMA and wants to learn from it.
"MMA is spanking the WWE as far as the pay-per-view stuff," Hogan told FanHouse on Tuesday. "Dana White and the UFC has done an amazing job, and it's all about timing. The UFC was ready to close its doors, they were losing a ton of money, they were going under, they were getting ready to go out of business, and then they did a reality show called, The Ultimate Fighter. They developed the characters; they made people care about the fighters; the people found out who the fighters were; they breathed life into the fighters. That's what I want to do with TNA. They've got the best talent in the world down there, but no one is breathing life into the characters."
Not only will Hogan be appearing on TNA television in a role he describes as, "the Vince McMahon of TNA," he also said that he will be running the show creatively behind-the-scenes. It is there that the 56-year-old will look to emulate what the UFC has been able to accomplish over the past decade.
"I have learned a ton of stuff from MMA, watching them," he said. "They remind me of TNA. Ton of talent, but no one has put that Frankenstein, shock the monster, breathe some life into the characters. I learned a ton from MMA, and I get along great with Dana White -- he's awesome."