This week, Hulk Hogan has been on a media tour to promote his match against Sting at tonight's (Oct. 16) Bound For Glory pay-per-view (PPV) and he's managed to ruffle some feathers with his critical comments about TNA's homegrown stars, Bobby Roode and AJ Styles, in an interview with the Busted Open radio show on Wednesday. First, he insisted that Roode wasn't prepared for the spot of being TNA's world heavyweight champion and the responsibility of being the company's flag bearer for the next generation:
"Nah, he's not ready. He's not the next guy. Ya' know, they might think he is. Dixie Carter might think he is. The whole world might think he is. He's not the next guy. If I had to bet money on anybody and really be serious about betting money on anybody, I'd say Jeff Hardy is the next guy if he keeps his act together. Um, that's what you gotta have, man. This is much more than being a wrestler, this is crossing barriers, medias, ya' know media barriers, and, and entertainment barriers of all kind. Getting your character down verbally has 90 percent to do with getting over. I just have a very strong feeling Kurt Angle's going to clean his clock performance wise and carry the match, and basically remain the champion. He's training for the Olympics. He's had some up and down moments, and I think this is not gonna be a down moment for Kurt Angle, so I'm betting that farm on him."
Personally, I didn't take these comments by Hogan too seriously, as even in a shoot interview context he's always in character to a degree and they seemed to be designed to fool fans into believing that Roode wasn't going to win the title tonight as most hardcore fans expect. That said, even though the comments were designed to push a storyline, they were likely based on his real life feelings on Roode's potential.
Another babyface, AJ Styles, was dissed by heel Hogan when he was asked whether Styles could get to the next level of wresting superstardom:
"It's never too late. I mean, I just don't know. I, when I first came in all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed a couple of years ago, I had a ton of suggestions which I was kind of pushing real hard, which I thought would take him to a crazy, crazy level, and nobody responded. So, I don't know at this point? I have my ideas, but a lot of things that I believe in, and what I feel from the crowd, and what I know. The little I know about this business. Sometimes, it's either taken and used, or used and it doesn't work, or it's not used at all. So, it's just ... it's my opinion. I don't know at this point."
Lost on Hogan was the fact that no one responding to the new gimmick he suggested for Styles had less to do with the performer and more to do with how lame the idea was to repackage Styles as the new Nature Boy and to rip off all of Flair's old mannerisms. Given that no-one in Hogan's heel stable of Immortal is currently feuding with Styles, this answer was likely a genuine dig, so it's unsurprising that Styles gave Hogan a receipt via Twitter:
"Frustration setting in when your own guys bury the company that u have worked so hard for........ Brother!"
Of course, Hogan couldn't help himself and had to respond to the controversy on Twitter, as well, with several tweets, split between complaining about smarks taking everything too seriously, while emphasizing that he was preaching the truth ... brother:
@SteelCity1981 yo jobronie mark,I'm a heel brother. HH
@antmaurizio just waiting for somebody to figure it out and do Today Show,Fox and Friends ,Leno,radio,tv ,ect,instead of the same 5star
@antmaurizio Matches over and over again. Brother. HH
@antmaurizio and main stream and world wide international media on a miss my ass basis,brother. HH
Goodnight HULKAMANIACS and jabronie marks without a life that don't know it a work when you work a work and work yourself into a shoot,marks
He also retweeted these comments by his loyal fans:
I respect AJ Styles but he couldn't get on @HowardStern or every show on ESPN. @HulkHogan promoted TNA more in 1 day than Styles ever could.
Also, isn't @HulkHogan a heel now? Isn't he in @anglefoods1 corner in this whole thing? Could he not have been in character?
. @DukesWrestling Anyone who was smart and actually read the interview knows it was in character. Haters Gon' Hate @HulkHogan @anglefoods1
@HulkHogan has been a class act in every interview I have seen leading up to this event. He's doing his job plain & simple!
@HulkHogan has gotten more mainstream exposure for this event than any other wrestler in TNA or WWE--the Rock couldn't do what he's doing.
@CoachKeathley @HulkHogan That said, Hogan has done an excellent job hyping up this event. As always. He's the consumate professional.
@HulkHogan well like they say Big Guy! A Job is a Job is a Job! I love how you work them Jobs! Sleep Well Hulkster!
@HulkHogan still alot of uneducated fans out there sir
@HulkHogan We all know its a work keep shooting on the marks Hulkster!
@RayPMusic @hulkhogan Yep, his ability behind the scenes to close deals, make things happen in the media is immeasurable..
Wrestling didn't make @HulkHogan - he made wrestling. I don't know how anyone could possibly question that.....
TNA Twitter war 2011, Cagesiders, whose side are you on? Styles or Hogan?