Look out Kate Middleton and Prince William.
TNA Impact Wrestling’s Brooke Hogan and Bully Ray are inviting the world to watch as the couple get hitched live 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 on Spike TV.
The daughter of the legendary Hulk Hogan is definitely feeling the butterflies with all eyes on her — the blushing bride — and her wrestler husband-to-be.
I don’t see why. It’s a wrestling wedding. What could go wrong?
“I’m kind of unsettled in my heart that my dad isn’t fully supporting me in this,” Hogan said. “Dad, you raised me right. I’m making the right decision. Bully is a good guy.’ I just think that from the get-go from when I was born my dad made a promise to himself that he would never allow me to date a wrestler. Now here it is I’m marrying one. So he has to be going crazy in his own mind. The most added pressure is trying to get into a ring with a wedding dress on.”
(OK, the bride of a wrestler is a role she’s playing on television, and she’s doing a good job.)
Growing up, the 24-year-old never really pictured herself in a wrestling ring, let alone getting “married” in one.
“I’ve been born and raised in the wrestling industry, and I’m so proud of it, and I love working for TNA,” Hogan said. “It’s taught me so much. I’m really just enjoying myself being in it, but on a personal level, a girly girl. I thought in-ring weddings were cheesy. I told myself that I didn’t care how deep in the wrestling business I get I’m never going to get married in the middle of a ring. Now here I am getting married in the middle of a ring. When you love somebody, it doesn’t matter.…”
Given her current position and the storyline she has been involved in, it may be hard to believe the head of the TNA Knockouts has only been in the company for less than a year. In the past Hogan, whose passion is music, was involved in a few angles with her famous father. However, she never saw herself really entering into this line of work until the phone rang with an opportunity hard to decline.
“I moved to Nashville and started doing music,” she said. “Coincidently, no joke, TNA’s offices are literally about two blocks away from me. I didn’t even know that. When I moved here they asked me if I wanted to see their offices, and I told them I couldn’t fly into Orlando that day. They told me they were in Nashville. [TNA President] Dixie Carter called me, and said, ‘Hey, we don’t have anybody to manage the girls right now. Since you’re in the writing process with your music and not on tour or on the road, would you maybe want to take this up to help us with the females?’ I was like, ‘Oh man, wrestling.’ I always told myself that I would let that be my dad’s thing, and I will be the girl of the family and do my career.
“After tossing it around with a few of my friends and my family, God has sent me blessings, and it’s up to you to take them. I didn’t really know what was in store, but I’m glad that I took the opportunity. I’m having a blast and made some really great friends. The girls are amazing and awesome, and I’m learning a lot from them. It was an unexpected blessing, and I just decided to take the leap. It ended up being great.”
How did the king of Hulkamania feel about his daughter getting involved?
“My dad had no idea,” Hogan said. “Dixie said, ‘Hey, let’s not tell your dad yet. Let’s try to break it to him when you show up at Impact Wrestling [in Orlando].’ My poor dad. I’ve probably gave him about 16 heart attacks. He didn’t know, and I knew not to tell him because I knew he would probably shoot it down immediately. I know he didn’t want me in the wrestling world because of how crazy it is.
“I’ve been raised in it though. I’ve been dealing with the music business for the past 10 years, so how bad could it be? I think he lightened up to it because I get to see him every Thursday. We told him backstage. He was like, ‘Are you here to watch the show?’ I said, ‘No.’ ‘He asked, ’Are you here to visit me and come back to Tampa tonight?’”
The blond bombshell’s arrival was good news to her fans but has drawn criticism from others. Hogan takes both the good and bad critiques in stride. After all, it’s part of the game.
“There is always going to be haters and people that support you,” she said. “Trust me, I learned that when I was a chubby 13-year-old and breaking into the music business. It doesn’t really bother me anymore. If there is anybody questioning my role in TNA right now, the proof is in the pudding. I was raised around Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon. I had the two best mentors in wrestling.
“I watched how business went down. I watched how matches were decided. I watched the performance side of things and the business side of things. I watched the politics. I stay humble, but I really do know a lot about this business. I’m Curious George, so if anything is going on I want to ask my dad, ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘Why does this happen?’ I’ve really learned the ins and outs over the years naturally by being around it. I’m confident that I know what I’m doing with the girls. My next thing is I’m probably going to have to take a few bumps.”
The driven performer doesn’t rule out getting physical in the ring if needed.
“I’ve been raised in it, so you can’t get raised in it without learning a few tricks of the trade,” Hogan said. “If one of the girls starts talking back too much, I may have to lay the smackdown on them…When I first got there, I was really intimidated. I’m very privy to how people talk and the criticism I was going to get. Then it comes down to where there is business that needs to be done and things that need to be managed…All of TNA is so widespread. We have so much talent between the men and women that when I came in I saw that women weren’t getting as much attention. They weren’t having their concerns heard.
“They didn’t have anybody to talk to…I had to kind of go in there, get through all the dirt and craziness and clean house. I got to know every girl. Once they got to know me, they kind of got comfortable with me. They saw that I had their very best interests at hand. You then start to forget about people who talk. It’s like any work environment. There is going to be people who like you and don’t. I just got to the point where I didn’t want to deal with this drama and had to do my job. That’s where I’m at now, strictly business.”
Since taking the figure-head Knockouts position, changes have been made. Among them was Taryn Terrell (formerly Tiffany in WWE) becoming a referee for the women’s matches. Hogan has remained in control and made difficult decisions onscreen that maybe didn’t go over well with the likes of TNA Knockouts Madison Rayne, Gail Kim or Tara. In the midst of it, she has managed to find “love” in the unlikely of places.
“It’s kind of a crazy story and been a whirlwind of how everything has gone down,” Hogan said. “I was not really open to dating anybody in the business, especially, because I had to prove myself to these girls by doing my job professionally and efficiently. I knew that my dad was being hard on him [Bully Ray] for some things. I was watching him for years when he was teaming as the Dudley Boyz. I knew his history. What a professional he is and how hard he has worked. He has been around and earned his chops. My dad was being a little bit unfair…
“We just started talking and became friends. It ended up with this crazy connection. One thing led to another. I love it because he has allowed me to work and keep my eye on the girls. We don’t mix business with pleasure at TNA. We both love this business and take it very seriously.”
Hogan trusts the ‘Bully’ unconditionally.
“[Bully Ray] was having his bachelor party in New York City,” Hogan said. “He was like, ‘I’m going to put dollas all over butts.’ He is a really good guy. He is from New York/Jersey area anyway. He will get to see his friends which he doesn’t get to see often since he works so much. I’m sure I will see a hung over fiancée when I see him.”
The entertainer has managed to juggle her time in TNA with developing her music. Hogan is aiming for a more authentic and adult sound with her next release. She says fans can expect to see new material later this year.
“I’m in Nashville working on a new record,” Hogan said. “I loved my time in Miami and the little bit of time in Los Angeles. What’s going on over there is a lot of house and hip hop and pop, which I love. I love all music, but as I’ve grown as a woman, artist and musician and writer, I wasn’t fully getting the fix that I needed from it. I needed to be around people who loved to write and loved playing live instruments. I just needed to dig a little deeper. I decided to move to Nashville, and things have been taking off like a rocket here. I love the music that is coming out.”
• Fans are invited to the wedding of Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan on Impact Wrestling 8 p.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 17 on Spike TV from the Impact Zone in Orlando.
Those looking to give gifts to the happy couple should know they aren’t registered anywhere. Although I’m sure a Home Depot gift card would be nice. Bully Ray could always use more tables.
RSVP to this landmark event at http://www.facebook.com/events/193315627479578/.
The show will also feature the aftermath of the TNA Genesis pay-per-view. Also, the Gut Check judges will make their decision on whether someone becomes a TNA signee.
• Follow Brooke Hogan on Twitter: @MizzHogan.
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