Volume 1, Issue 29
August 11, 1996
The "Evil" Twin Scenerio could save Hogan's fan base
Hulk Hogan has definately crossed the line with yesterday's betrayal of long-time friend and associate Booty(Brutus/Brutti/Butcher/Zodiac)man.
Yesterday, at the climax of the Hog Wild PPV, Bootyman showed up with a birthday cake for the Hulkster. Obviously he was planning to join his friend in the New World Odor. Hogan (seemingly) welcomed him but then said that, although they had been friends for twenty years..."this is business." The Outsiders then descended on the unfortunate Ed Leslie at Hogan's command and beat him to a pulp again. The Hulkster was showing the Horsemen that they weren't capable of intimidating the NWO. "If I would do that to my 'best friend', think of what I will do to you, Flair!!"
Now I'm not saying that anybody really cares where Brother Brutti stands (or lies) in all of this...his position is almost as interesting as what the Nasty Boys think (yawn). What I do find interesting is the position that Hogan has put himself into. With each step toward the darkness Hogan cuts himself off further and further from the fans he's going to need to go see his movie in a few months. When it comes time for the certain return to "goodness", how will Hogan handle it?
I thought I understood the answer a few weeks ago when it was obvious that Scott Hall had been usurped as the chief spokesman (Chico!) for the Outsiders. Hogan was doing all of the talking, brother! It seemed obvious that at some point the Outsiders were going to get tired of listening to Hogan run his mouth.
But then they started airing those NWO commercials where Hogan turned the spotlight over to Hall and Nash. Hall is crowing, "...look who we brought in as our third mang..."
Its interesting that Hall maintains the Hispanic accent even though he's been revealed as (the very non-Hispanic) Scott Hall. Apparently he doesn't know how to do any other character...or else he feels trapped because he appeared originally in his "Razor Ramon" personna. Maybe he should have given the whole charade more thought before he launched this NWO house of cards.
Kevin Nash has been more discreet about his defection - appearing initially in street clothes with a baseball cap (as opposed to Hall's leathers and greased hair). Nash's characterization is minimal at any rate so he doesn't have to do much to avoid violating the WWF's patent on the Diesel personna.
But I digress...how does Hogan go about reabiltating himself in the eyes of the (still latent) Hulkamaniacs out there (the one who now see him as the embodiment of evil).
In my mark years I remember that when infamous villians like Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff made face turns, I didn't trust them. Especially "Mr. Wonderfull-of-himself". The fact that Orndorff lived up to my negative feelings about him only made it harder for me to really ever forgive Roddy Piper for what he did to "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka during the legandary "coconut to the side of the head - put you out of wrestling" incident.
Hogan faces that same kind of mistrust magnified by the size of his former fan base, the depth of his fall and the gravity of his offenses.
A few articles back I mentioned Sgt. Slaughter's defection and then return to the fold during the Gulf War period. The Sarge threw his lot in with General (Shiek) Adnan and his henchman Col. Mustapha (the Iron Shiek) to take and hold the WWF Championship. In the end he took things too far, employing the Shiek's fireball technology to (seemingly) almost blind the Hulkster. The fans never forgave him. He tried to come back by confessing his sins and begging foregiveness, "...I want my country back!" It didn't work and he vanished as a wrestling personality.
Slaughter is of particular interest because his real-life situation so closely resembles that of Hogan. The Sargent had left the WWF in a contract dispute - the rumor at the time (this was before the internet and legitimate rumor hotlines) was that he quit rather than make a heel turn. He turned up in the AWA and wrestled on ESPN for a while but his career was going nowhere when the WWF offered him the chance to come back and be the bad guy against the Immortal one.
He probably understood going in that he was killing his fan base for all time - probably got a good chunk of change in exchange for his career.
Hogan is no doubt getting a bundle as well so the Sgt. Slaughter scenerio is a not an unlikely reality. But there are other storylines that might make more sense if Hogan wants to continue to be a viable wrestling superstar.
1) The Spy Scenerio - Hogan came back from his movie set to infiltrate the Outsiders and defeat them from within. This storyline in familiar of course because of the claims of the afore mentioned Bootyman following his stint with the Dungeon of Doom. In that case the angle was obviously not thought out in advance. Ed Leslie's star had faded many years previous, Hogan kept him around for old time sake so the WCW bookers had to figure out things to do with him...
In this case it is more likely that Hogan's entire fling with the NWO has been planned from beginning to end. Mark my word if the "Spy" angle is being used, then Hogan is already planting the evidence to esculpate himself at the proper moment. Maybe we'll see video clips of yesterday's attack that show that Hogan was in fact protecting his friend as best he could...
2) The Overthrown Hero Scenerio - in this storyline Hall or (more likely) Nash would decide to challange Hogan for leadership of the NWO. The immediate result would be a fan reaction of antipathy for both contenders - let 'em fight it out...who cares? Nash would have to do something heinious to the Hulkster to evoke sympathy - burn his house down or something...seduce his wife... It would have to be really severe to overcome Hogan's negative image. Hogan could then come back and thrash the villians, take back the "NWO" belt and reinvest it as the WCW Championship. This storyline is inherently weak and would require a "Slaughteresque" apology from the Hulkster - I don't think he has it in him.
The alternative outcome of the this scenerio would be to have Hogan hospitalized by his turncoat henchmen, therebye setting him up for some sympathetic fan reaction and giving Sting (or whoever) the inspiration to carry on the fight. In this case the apology would take place from a hospital bed.
3) The Evil Twin Scenerio - this storyline requires either the use of state of the art video manipulation or the employment of a Hulk Hogan dopplganger. We would find out that this double had taken over the Hulkster's life. Hogan would have been kidnapped and held at an undisclosed location (part's unknown?) while his "Evil Twin" purpetrated dasterdly deeds in his name. Perhaps we would meet Terry Bollea's wife and family who would have had to have been taken in by the unscrupulous imposter...the angles are almost limitless. Hogan's reunion with his fans and family, possibly some form of medical/psychological rehabilitation, public service announcement for victim's therapy, etc.
We've seen this storyline played out in the WWF with the the Undertaker. As in the Hulkster's case, Mark Calloway really did portray the bogus Undertaker during his first couple of outings beside Ted Dibiasi. Then the substitute was put in his place and kept disguised - with the UT character he just had to keep his hair in front of his face.
With Hogan it would be harder to fool the fans with an imposter. He would have to be held back until the last moment then slipped in just long enough to establish his existance next to the genuine article before dispatching him back to whatever obscurity he came from. Although this storyline seems the most outlandish and quite impossible to pull off, I wouldn't be that surprised to see some form of it take place.
In defiance of the wishes of the Hogan-Haters Fan Club, I don't want or expect Hulk Hogan to retire from the ring anytime soon. Although there have been comparisons made of the Hulkster to Ric Flair as a candidate of retirement the fact is that they are of two different generations. Flair is 47 this wear (a year younger than myself) Hogan can't be more then 39. Plus he is still in phenomenal shape, leaner and meaner than ever, something Flair hasn't been able to claim for almost a decade. Contrary to the popular mythology, there was never any gap between the two in cardio-pulminary conditioning or the more esoteric "size of their hearts" (I personally witnessed Hogan perfoming in numerous hour-long matches during his heyday).
And besides, Hulk Hogan just signed a new two-year contract with WCW...he has commitments to fulfill, movies to plug, etc. He is useless to the WCW as a behind the scenes operative - he might have a career as a brosdcaster but it would seem prenature at this stage. In my opinion he will continue to wrestle.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 1996 - Jump City Productions