Hulk Hogan announced that he will return to major professional wrestling with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on Tuesday — a move might not mean much to collectors just yet — as certain things are not a given — but it obviously does mean a lot for the landscape of sports entertainment.
The 56-year-old isn’t in the kind of shape where physically he’ll be as overwhelming as he was in the past when it comes to in-ring work (if that’s a key piece of his deal). But with wrestling that doesn’t always matter — it’s about persona, his ability to talk and be “Hulk Hogan.”
And that may not resonate with fans like used to after his family’s drama of late — but it’s certainly one thing that he can undoubtedly do well, brother.
Hogan means plenty to TNA in terms of drawing power and adding another piece to the puzzle — a household name at the highest of levels in pro wrestling — when competing with World Wrestling Entertainment. There are fans who haven’t seen him wrestle — but would like to — and there are fans who would like to obviously meet/see him.
You know, they’re called Hulkamaniacs — you may know one… or two … or …
For collectors? The news certainly may not be a boon — yet. Yes, Hogan should appear in future TRISTAR TNA card sets — a plus — but the real key is having Hogan sign autographs for those products and perhaps sign memorabilia for TRISTAR’s growing memorabilia offerings.
“It’s all upside for us,” said TRISTAR’s Jeff Rosenberg on Tuesday evening. “From 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds and everything in between, everyone knows who he is. Hulk Hogan is the biggest name in wrestling, and I’m very excited.”
As long as Hogan signs on with TRISTAR to have his autographs — and perhaps memorabilia cards — appear in its products, it’s news that’s great for collectors. He’s only signed eight different cards for inclusion in packs through the years — so there’s certainly not too many of them on the market — and he had previously done signings for book tours, occasional promotional events and larger dealers like Steiner Sports and a few others.
However of all wrestlers, Hogan might command the most for his autographs than anyone else — he should know his value — which could create a little bit of a challenge for TRISTAR.
“It’s a real opportunity, I think,” Rosenberg said. “It really gives us so many opportunities and a tremendous shot in the arm.
“Based on what we’ve seen with TNA the talent have been very accepting to what we’ve brought to it with trading cards.”
Like other card deals, the wrestlers get paid to sign the autographs and they get a percentage of royalties from sales — and with TNA being a small business that’s growing, Rosenberg said that the wrestlers realize the importance of cards for the marketing of the company.
So, can Rosenberg already see Hogan on a box of TRISTAR TNA cards?
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I’m drawing it up in my mind right now.”
And he’s not done there … what about the idea of a Sting-Hogan dual autograph? Or other combo cards alongside some of Hogan’s past WCW cohorts in TNA today like Kevin Nash? The opportunities are apparent to Rosenberg.
It’s not an obvious big legdrop and a three-count to get Hogan into a TRISTAR set. He’s a must-have, though, and he probably won’t come cheap.
But to TNA — and to TRISTAR — he’s worth every penny.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.