Ever since his racist comments were leaked as part of the Gawker sex tape lawsuit in 2015, Hulk Hogan has mostly vanished from WWE. His Hall of Fame profile has been removed from their website, you can’t find any Hulkster merchandise on their shop, and his WWE contract was terminated.
Well, call of the search, guys. I’ve found him.
The Real American’s latest appearance is in a commercial for Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer, where he stops a thief from stealing a woman’s handbag. He then delivers a series of very well-protected wrestling moves: a tombstone piledriver, a leg drop, a flurry of fists and a splash off the top of a gate – none of them ever connecting with the villain. Way to expose the business, Hulk.
The concept is that the insurance company can provide actual protection from theft, rather than the pretend version Hulkster offers.
It’s not gone unnoticed that WWE have been dropping in more and more Hulk Hogan references on television over the last few months. The belief is they’ve been sowing the seeds for The Hulkster’s return, a theory helped no end by his daughter Brooke telling TMZ, “I’ll just say I know people have been calling him for Wrestlemania.”
CageSideSeats’ rumor section, however, is now reporting that while Hogan returning to WWE will eventually happen, it most likely won’t be anytime soon. They’re also reporting that another widely speculated part of Wrestlemania 33 might be off.
Remember, this is from their ‘rumor’ section, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Apparently backstage “whispers” are getting louder that the planned Big Show vs Shaquille O’Neal match at Wrestlemania might not happen. This is a special attraction bout that WWE have wanted for years, with teases going back to July 2009 when Shaq was Raw’s guest host and the two got physical. Many speculate this is why Big Show has gotten himself in such good condition heading into Wrestlemania season.
Going by viewership figures for this week’s Raw, where they bounced back from their terrible rating last week to an average of 3.216 million viewers, WWE might want to lock in that Big Show vs Shaq match soon – as big, sweaty guys are a draw. The Big Show vs Braun Strowman main event helped retain viewers throughout the episode.
TNA Impact Wrestling is about to enter anoter era of Jarrett. The promotion’s original founder has been brought back in by its new owners as Impact’s executive producer. Jarrett, in turn, has brought in many of his team, with Dutch Mantell, Scott D’Amore and now Kevin Sullivan. No, not WCW booker Kevin Sullivan, but TNA’s former Vice President of Production. And Wrestlezone are reporting that both ‘The Miracle’ Mike Bennett and his wife Maria Kanellis will be resigning new year-long deals with the promotion.
Impact Wrestling have announced their next set of tapings for Thursday 2nd March to Sunday 5th. With Jarrett’s new team now in place, this will be the first proper look at TNA’s post-Dixe Carter direction.
TNA’s lead announcer Josh Mathews, however, was brought in by the previous head of creative John Gaburick, and hasn’t done anything to endear himself to the new regime, claiming he’s the world’s best play-by-play commentator, and publicly arguing with Jeremy Borash, Shark Boy and others on Twitter.
Although Dave Meltzer has said this is a ‘work’ by Josh, having your lead announcer – the person the viewers have to trust – act like a heel rarely works. See Michael Cole’s run on Raw from 2010-2012.
— Real Shoot Wrestling (@RSWLive) February 22, 2017
Especially when you tell fans to “shoot” themselves on Twitter, as the Real Shoot Wrestling podcast exposed above. Mathews’ original tweet has since been deleted, and Pro Wrestling Sheet are reporting that Impact Wrestling officials were “very unhappy…and he got a stern warning for the future.”
How would you fantasy book the Big Show and Shaq’s feud? Tell me with bearhugs, lots and lots of bearhugs, in the comments below.