I am one of the few who believe that Hulk Hogan being the general manager of TNA is not as bad as it looks. He has tried to right he ship with some old school buzz, producing matches and feuds that were steeped in the past of WWF and NWA tradition.
And while TNA is still craved out as a niche franchise that speaks to the masses of wrestling lovers (those of us over the age of 35 who want the style that we grew up on), there are still some things he still needs to work on.
I’m talking about finally giving Bully Ray the title shot he deserves.
I also believe there are more than four contenders for the World Title in TNA if you include wrestlers like Sting, Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Kurt Angle and RVD, who can all make the claim that they can handle Roode in a match.
Then there is James Storm, who I will reserve for another column all together.
When the program begun and we saw that AJ Styles, Bully Ray, Hardy and Kurt Angle were all jockeying for Hogan’s support and a title shot to break Bobby Roode’s attempt at becoming the longest reigning title holder of all time, the biggest and the baddest of them all—Bully Ray—was dropped fast from grace and taken out of the title picture.
Regardless of the “heel vs. heel” idea that it does not happen, this is the one time I could see Bully Ray gaining crowd support in a match that would be a great fit to soften up Roode. And while Hogan said the big man was only great in solo competition for the past year, his resume over the 20-year period of his career should warrant some title consideration.
At some point, this man is going to explode.
Wrestling in both TNA and the WWE is at a point where there really isn’t a straight line for heels and heroes. All wrestlers can intertwine as competitors first and categorized characters second.
Ric Flair faced many and all comers, face and heel. Lou Thesz took on everyone. We saw Hulk Hogan face Ultimate Warrior. Jerry Lawler and Kerry Von Erich battled in the AWA.
Why are the organizations so worried about stepping over lines when brands are jumping lines and we see friends battling in the ring to “test” each other in the TNA? We see it with AJ Styles and James Storm from time to time. We see CM Punk and John Cena lock horns or someone like The Miz and Alberto Del Rio truly hate each other outside the ring.
TNA is making a huge mistake not making Bully Ray (and Austin Aries for that matter) headliners in title matches against Roode.
Different matches, maybe the same results.
But Hogan needs to learn that changing from the ring to making matches in the ring are more about what may be best for the brand. Styles looked great losing to Roode, but making Sting an opponent next week does not work for me.
Bully Ray will be a great opponent and needs to be one ASAP. It would be a shame if he was dangled around next year and be mentioned in the discussion of the best wrestlers who was never a world champion.