This past weekend, WWE announced that Hulk Hogan was “reinstated” into the WWE Hall of Fame, after a three year suspension. The original banishment stemmed from the video which became internationally notorious, not just for its salacious nature, but for the flurry of racist comments which spewed from Hulk Hogan’s… from Terry Bollea’s mouth.
Let me be clear: there is no excuse for racism. Period.
The question raised now, is can people change? I believe so. However, change requires sincere effort. Is it possible that the man that is Terry Bollea has taken the time to make himself a better person? To realize the pain he inflicted, not with his words – but with his beliefs?
Obviously, nobody can read what another person is thinking, but it must be considered that people are capable of expanding their thoughts. Terry Bollea is a smart man. He was smart enough to lead a worldwide revolution in professional wrestling – making it more mainstream than it had ever been. He manipulated an audience to not care whether or not what they were watching was real, but that it was something they had to see. That isn’t an easy task, and takes a conscious effort to read into the mass emotions of a fan base.
Terry Bollea has made a living of peddling insincerity. Pro-wrestling at its heart is a clever ruse, which when done best is when it is at its most entertaining. We, as fans, accept that we are being duped into actual combat, while at the same time still hang our hopes on a desired outcome. As fans, we buy into the ridiculousness of it all, because at the end of the day, it’s an alternate reality.
A Hulk Hogan sex tape has debuted on the internet & if u thought wrestling was fake, wait til u see this http://t.co/imrVcEdA
Then the Gawker lawsuit happened. The videotape went viral, and while first almost motivated to chuckle at the thought of a “Hulk Hogan Sex Tape” was setting itself up for punch lines, it was what would follow that made things even uglier.
The words were said. There is no context that makes them right. Yes, it was a private happening. It is believable that Bollea didn’t know he was being recorded. It could have been a dark time in his life – lord knows we all have them. The trial was embarrassing and bizarre. At the end of it all, I was truly ashamed to have been a Hulk Hogan fan.
However, my fandom is irrelevant. The level of hurt and pain his vocalized beliefs inflicted is immeasurable by any standard.
At the same time, when do you stop punishing someone?
Bollea has his detractors, yet those who have worked alongside him have said that he is sometimes “loyal to a fault” when it comes to who he stands with and trusts. There are countless stories of the charitable person that he is, and what he has meant to so many in a positive light.
There are those who will never forgive him – and they have every right to feel that way. Personally, the day this happened I wasn't too happy to hang up my Hulkamaniac status. I had been to WrestleMania X8, the event where fans welcomed Hogan home. When the Red and Yellow made its way back, I was on board. The feuds were entertaining, and the matches were mostly memorable. I even paid an embarassing amount of money for one of the fastest meet and greets of my life. I didn't care, he was Hulk Hogan - nostalgia with years of childhood memories all looped into one person.
Nevertheless, Terry Bollea didn’t live up to the character he didn’t just create, but touted to be just as good as. Forgiven or not – the only positive outcome is that he realizes he has to live with this for the rest of his life - which is a catalyst for opportunity to learn and be better. One can hope that this is a final sincere moment of redemption for a man whose legacy should have been celebrated - instead of asterisked.
5 Wrestling Viral Videos True Fans Know All Too Well
This week, wrestling fans around the world were likely tagged by friends on social media for a couple of videos. The first, is the “Pounce” Ace Romero gave to Anthony Gaines in Empire State Wrestling:
The second, was of Las Vegas’ Future Stars of Wrestling’s Santana Jackson landing a “Moonwalk DDT”, or as one viewer called it, the “D-D-Tee-HEE!
While these are great, there are some wrestling related videos that have gone viral which make fans either proud or cringe at the thought of them.
5. SID VICIOUS BREAKS HIS LEG ON LIVE TELEVISION
VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!!!
I debated putting this video in the post, but before videos were viral, they were in constant replay - and this was one of the most talked about things to come out of professional wrestling. during its time.
It's a horrifying image, as the nearly 7-foot tall Sid Vicious goes for a relatively simple move off the second rope, but something gives upon landing, and the bottom half of his leg is snapped in two. To make it worse, his black wrestling boots only amplify the break as the leg is shown to just hang there as he tries to lift it up.
Sid still wrestles periodically today, although has a reputation for no-showing events or cancelling in the last moments. It's hard not to think that this injury would have permanently shaken him.
4. Kenny Omega vs. a 9 Year Old Girl
This match is either loved or hated by fans. OK… loved by fans, hated by Jim Cornette. The story, as told by Omega, is that the match with the girl came at a request of her trainers. The year was 2011, and the girl was already gaining experience in kickboxing. The promoters of DDT Wrestling in Japan wanted to have someone safe do an exhibition match with her. Omega was chosen, and the match was a hit – even to people who had no idea what it was they were watching.
3. The RKO'S Outta Nowhere
These aren’t wrestling videos, although some of them include wrestling matches. I’m not sure where they started, but the “RKO’s Outta Nowhere” became such a viral hit, WWE actually started rebranding Orton’s finishing move, and his merchandise based on their success. Some are funnier than others, but they were definitely one of the things that brought wrestling into the mainstream.
2. Those damn kittens.
If you’re a wrestling fan, you’ve undoubtedly been tagged in this one, along with the picture of some kid’s WWE Ring-shaped bed, and that chalkboard that gets you a discount if you order your food like Macho Man Randy Savage.
Nevertheless, there's something mildly entertaining about watching these two fluffballs tear away at each other. I tried this with my cats, but they're too lazy and it's too hot. Plus one of them likes to eat the ropes.
1. Connor The Crusher
This is really the only video you need to show someone that doesn't "get" wrestling's appeal. It captures imagination. It's a distraction. It can be inspiring, and even seem heroic.
In this video, we saw just how much of an effect one young boy who made every WWE Superstar and fan alike remember the simpler things we love about wrestling, and why it's important to remember that any kind of entertainment can bring people together to do great things.
Well, that's all for this week! Thanks for reading/watching!
THIS WEEK: 5 of the Biggest Corporate Partnerships That Prove WWE is More Mainstream Than Ever
While the streets aren't littered with Austin 3:16 shirts, and TV ratings aren't in the tens of millions every week, WWE has mastered the art of sponsorships - something that is vital to any sports or entertainment organization, and gets their brand out there more than any other time in the company’s history.
In addition to making revenue, WWE’s brand continues to expand beyond what was considered just wrestling fans. This week, a look at some of the biggest brands backing Sports-Entertainment.
When you can talk Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Dolph Ziggler and more into dressing like Colonel Sanders, and even holding matches for the “title” of the Colonel, it’s safe to say that this is one relationship that has meshed incredibly well.
“The Colonel” is even a playable character in last year’s WWE 2K18 video game… and he’s JACKED.
While I can't whole-heartedly get behind the "Sexy Colonel", it was a thing, and HBK made it work.
Just announced this week, Elias has now been sponsored by Fender. It’s not uncommon for musicians to be sponsored by guitar makers, but for a WWE Superstar to be showcasing guitars – in a world where they’re known more for breaking them over opponent’s backs than playing them – it’s definitely a major win. I’m not sure if it’s a WWE thing, or between Elias and Fender exclusively. Either way, free guitars are free guitars!
3. Cricket Wireless
Dolph Ziggler seems to be one of the guys WWE relies on for these outside ventures – perhaps because Ziggler himself has shown interest in broadening his horizons with his comedy career.
Nevertheless, WWE’s partnership with Cricket has netted some advertising revenue, as well as allowed some unique marketing with John Cena, which told stories of people who have been fighters in their own lives.Great stuff.
Remember when a candybar changed the name of the Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal? While the jury remains out on whether or not The Fabulous Moolah allegedly victimized students in her wrestling schools over the years, the one fact remains that once the stories were brought into the forefront, the name of the “Fabulous Moolah Memorial” was turfed.
On the lighter side, the Snickers sponsorship also allowed for many of the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” spots to be created, which were pretty funny.
"Whoa whoa whoa… there’s no sponsorship between WWE and UFC!"
Maybe not for money, but let’s face it: these two promotions used to pretend neither one existed. When WWE was thriving in the “Attitude Era”, Ken Shamrock was brought in as a “star of the Ultimate Fighting World”, but no mention of his championships in UFC were ever brought to light. Enter Brock Lesnar’s first UFC fight. UFC did everything they could to make it sound like a phoney wrestler was coming in to try and take a title… until he did.
Add to the mix that UFC’s biggest female star, Ronda Rousey is now not only a major player on the WWE Raw Roster, but is being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this weekend, and the fact WWE is covering it, there is no doubt that an “agree to get along” policy is benefitting both companies.
Has WWE partnering with any brand made you a buyer? What would YOU like to see endorsing WWE or any other wrestling promotion?