Finally, Tye Dye Guy meets inspiration Hulk Hogan

 

Miami Herald Writer

TAMPA -- It took 20 years, but South Florida superfan Tye Dye Guy finally got to meet his inspiration Hulk Hogan on Thursday, May 23 at Hogan’s Beach, Tampa’s newest waterfont hotspot.

Decked head to toe in the trademark red and yellow, including specialty shoes he had shipped from China, Tye Dye Guy made sure he was ready for the milestone occasion with the actual legend who made that red and yellow famous.

The dedicated Hulkamaniac was among other Hogan devotees and TNA Impact Wrestling stars who hung out at the restaurant and bar after the company taped two episodes of Impact Wrestling from the University of South Florida Sun Dome. This was the first time TNA ran a show in Tampa, a long-time hotbed for pro wrestling and wrestlers including Hogan.

Despite being 2 a.m., Hogan took photos and signed autographs for fans who traveled from as far as Germany to meet him. TNA Wrestling’s James Storm, Joseph Park, Robbie E, Mickie James, ODB and TNA president Dixie Carter were some visiting the Hulkster’s place for the first time. It was a homecoming for Hogan, who received a hero’s welcome at the arena earlier in the evening.

Impact provided a big moment for Wes Brisco, too. He performed in the same city he was born and where his legendary father, Jerry Brisco, and late uncle, Jack Brisco, helped make famous with Championship Wrestling from Florida. Tampa is also home to Brisco Brothers Body Shop, 4315 North Hubert Avenue.

History was also made in Tampa as Mickie James defeated Velvet Sky to regain the TNA Knockout’s championship.

•  Notes on Impact and Hogan’s Beach

The Impact Wrestling taping officially started at 7 p.m. with a match underway shortly before.

It was fun to see Impact outside of Orlando as the fans responded well to the product in a new setting.

Universal Studios Orlando was home to TNA Wrestling’s flagship weekly program from June 2004 to March 2013. TNA decided to take the show on the road, taping two episodes at a different city every other week.

I feel like I heard the Aces & Eights theme a hundred times. If someone ever made a drinking game every time it played, it wouldn’t be pretty.

You would think TNA had a financial stake in Wrangler or Levi Strauss with all the denim worn.

While it has traces of Sting’s WCW angle in the 1990s, I am enjoying the AJ Styles story. It has rejuvenated the interest in his character.

It was great to see Shark Boy in TNA again. No matter how long he is away, he always garners a reaction. Can I get a Shell Yeah!

I don’t think there is anyone better in the company right now than Bully Ray. He is money on the microphone and in the ring. It’s astounding how far he has come, carrying the TNA championship well.

Hogan’s Beach is a must destination for fans. Interesting enough, the establishment is connected to a Best Western hotel. From vintage movie posters of “Mr. Nanny” to Hogan’s Thunderlips cape from “Rocky III”, memorabilia is throughout. There is also karaoke and beach volleyball. You never know who you will run into on any given day. The Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart makes the perfect ambassador.

• The Impact Wrestling tapings lead into the Slammiversary pay-per-view 8 p.m. EST Sunday, June 2 from Agganis Arena in Boston.

• Beginning May 30, Impact Wrestling moves to 9 p.m. EST Thursdays on Spike TV. Visit www.impactwrestling.com.

• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN, where I post links and information. Opinions expressed reflect no other entity. I can also be found tweeting incessantly during wrestling shows weekly.

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