Let’s just say that this has not been a good week to have the last name of Bollea, or in Pro Wrestling circles – Hogan. Yes, the man that defined the sport and took it to new heights in the 1980’s has now taken real life to new lows, and all it appears in the name of money. Hulk (Terry) Hogan, along with wife (soon to be ex-wife) Linda and son Nick are in a whole heap of trouble these days, and all because they simply can’t keep their mouths shut.
Just to bring you up to speed if you’ve missed all the drama, Nick Hogan is serving 8 months in prison for being at fault during a high speed accident that left his “best” friend John Graziano, a Marine, in a state where he will need constant medical care the rest of his life. Nick walked away from the accident without barely a scratch. The court proceedings that followed were highlighted by Hulk and Linda playing the role of hurt parents, giving love to the Graziano family and for John, even calling him a part of the family at one point. Turns out like a swerve in wrestling, it was all a ploy simply to try and reduce Nick’s jail time.
This past week, with Nick now in jail for about 3 weeks, tapes have been released of phone conversations between Nick, his dad, and his mom. The tapes are some of the most stunning things that you could ever hear, complete with Hulk basically saying that the accident that caused Graziano his condition was due to the way he lived his life. “For some reason God laid some heavy sh*t on that kid. I don’t know what he was into.” Son Nick goes so far as to say that Graziano was “a negative person.”
The tapes continue, with Nick and Hulk talking about a reality show that will highlight Nick once he gets out of jail and follows him around as he tries to rebuild his life. Yes, you can’t pay for stuff this good. Hulk says the show could be called “The New Nick,” while the pampered son talks about wanting to make sure that he is able to make “the most money” doing the show. Hulk also talks about former Wonder Years actor Jason Hervey and former President of WCW Eric Bishoff being involved with the show.
Of course media outlets are jumping on this story, and even national outlets like CNN are now doing nightly reports on the tapes in some of their shows. The Graziano family has come out blasting the Hogan family, as they should, and so far we’ve heard no damage control whatsoever from the Hogan family. What could they possibly say to save face at this point?
The reality (no pun intended) of the situation is that the Hogan family has been duping the general public for years. Their reality show on VH-1 was nothing but a scam, the “careers” of son Nick as a wannabe race car driver and daughter Brooke as a singer have been a joke, and about the only way Hulk can make money is by making in-ring appearances for the WWE. As for Linda? Forget it, she’s a lost cause at this point who does nothing but spend money like a fish and care for a bunch of animals.
With ratings in the WWE for RAW Monday night reaching close to a 10 year low, if Vince McMahon, a master promoter in his right, wants to make ratings go through the roof, and Hulk Hogan save face at the same time, the two should do what they do best – pair up. Yes, Hulk should get together a teary speech with more than one “I’m sorry” involved, and do it on Monday Night RAW, in front of what would be a record audience.
Many have written the Hogan’s off after the release of the tapes, but I wouldn’t go that far. Hulk and company have bounced back before, and while nothing like this has really ever hit their lives, with some clever PR and using the platform that made him famous (wrestling), major damage control over the tapes can be done. Make no mistake as sad as it is, the jail tapes may be the best “real life” storyline wrestling has seen in a long time. It’s just a shame that it’s come at the expense of the future of a young man like John Graziano.