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Hollywood Revisited

This year's Bash at the Beach was more than the most profitable Pay-Per-View in wrestling's history.

The PPV represented wrestling's return to the unmatched popularity it enjoyed a decade ago, when a different promotion with different goals and philosophies revolutionized the sport.

The two times in history are reflections in a mirror - completely opposite, yet eerily similar. While BATB's major sell was the wrestling debut of the NWO's bad boy celebrity Dennis Rodman, the premiere event of that era saw a media good guy donning the tights: a mohawked tough talker with a raspy voice and more gold than Vatican City. I pity the fool who doesn't remember that match. Rodman was modern wrestling's first celebrity heel, Mr. T was its first movie star face. Completely distinct approaches to courting fans, with one common thread.

Hollywood, Hollywood, baby.

This time around, things are a little different for the NWO's spiritual leader. For every e-mail I receive at professing Buff Bagwell as a love God or the Wolfpack as wrestling's hippest heels, I get three proclaiming Hollywood Hogan as the most vile, obnoxious, and overrated player in the game. Scornful, brutal letters full of genuine venom cite Hogan's cowardice, arrogance, and refusal to defend the belt.

In less than a year, Hogan - the most beloved and popular icon in professional wrestling - has become the most hated man in the sport.

It's a career risk that is too enormous to fully understand. Denying everything that had made him the marquee name in wrestling, Hogan managed to bring the sport back to its former glory. This year's Bash at the Beach marked more than the one-year anniversary of Hollywood Hogan's shocking turn -- it stands as a symbol of the versatility, star power and cunning of the greatest entertainer to ever slide through the ring ropes.

You may despise him, but you can't deny him his place within history. Cheered in the past and presently laden with boos and debris, he is the vanguard of wrestling's promising future.

He is the World's Champion.


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Outsiders T Hollywood T-shirt
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