When word got around that Hulk Hogan's TNA contract was expiring on Oct. 1, there was obvious curiosity on how exactly the company would deal with his departure. After all, Impact, the promotion's flagship program on Spike TV every Thursday night, had become his vanity project at one point not long ago and he was acting babyface General Manager.
So how was he written out of storylines? (WARNING: SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT)
He was given a choice by newly turned heel owner Dixie Carter to support her or hit the road. He chooses the latter, but not before Dixie grabs him by the leg and literally begs for him to stay. Hogan ultimately leaves and never puts anyone over, instead leaving the lasting image of himself with the company that he is, once again, above everyone else.
If you're wondering how such a thing could happen, the Wrestling Observer (subscription required) reveals that buzz term from many moons ago that still rears its ugly head today: "creative control."
On the second show, Hogan quit, with Dixie Carter grabbing him by the ankles and begging him to stay. When questions were asked, and they were, about how absolutely stupid it was for the owner to act like she didn't care about Styles, who headlines Bound for Glory, but did about Hogan, it was said that Hogan's contract included creative control of everything he was involved with. This was the only exit he would do, where he left on his own, without endorsing anyone, putting anyone over, nor them even ridiculing or burying him on the way out.
It should be noted that Hogan and Eric Bischoff's m.o. these days is to do sometimes do fake firings, and leavings (Matt Morgan), and they are more likely to do that now than ever before. It used to be that the goal was to make money. But now, when it seems like that's impossible, the goal is to fool their critics so they can get satisfaction in the form of intellectual superiority. Those in the company were given the indication it was Hogan's farewell, so if it is an angle, they are working most of the company.
It makes sense for Hogan to go out on the highest note possible if one is only thinking about Hogan. But it makes TNA look just as second rate as they actually are. Even if "The Hulkster" decides to stay and doesn't get a better deal somewhere else, no one is coming out of this looking any better.
Because, once again, it's still all about Hulk Hogan while the AJ Styles' and Austin Aries' and Bobby Roode's of the world are hanging in the shadows.
The more things change and all that.