Some quick programming notes for tonight, as HDnet adds on to their usual programming of Inside MMA and a fight card with a few awesome additions tonight. While tomorrow is the live It's Showtime event from The Sand in Amsterdam featuring Hesdy Gerges, tonight It's Showtime makes their United States debut on HDnet. What was a really fun card headlined by Badr Hari and a scared-out-of-his-mind Gregory Tony should be fun to watch with Michael Schiavello and Melvin Manhoef calling the action. The show was filled with some awesome knockouts and great action, but is just a taste of whats to come if you for some reason haven't seen It's Showtime yet.
It's Showtime airs at 11PM Eastern time.
That is of course directly following after the latest episode of Michael Schiavello's "The Voice Versus" series, a series of sit down interviews that pits Schiavello mano-e-mano with some of the biggest names in the world of combat sports. He takes a bit of a departure for this episode and will sit opposite someone who has had a very different impact on the world of fighting; Hulk Hogan. Now, I know what some people are thinking, that Hulk Hogan was just a professional wrestler from the 80's and maybe 90's if you were young enough or even young enough at heart.
What many seem to disregard is how closely related professional wrestling and MMA really are, with the easiest example I can think of is how the first season of The Ultimate Fighter can directly credit a lead-in from WWE's Monday Night RAW program. The first TUF was a bit over-the-top, with some larger than life characters and a lot of drama, it just so happened to also be one of the most talent-rich casts of the show ever. The sad irony is that was the first season, but the format has yielded some other contenders and champions after that first season. But, the point is that the professional wrestling audience that spilled over helped give MMA and the UFC a ton of exposure in a world that was still being a bit cold to Mixed Martial Arts.
Schiavello is clearly well-school in pro wrestling, asking questions about Hogan's career in Japan, the AWA and other parts of his early career outside of the standard "who was your favorite opponent" line of questioning. Hogan was, for what it's worth, pretty honest when in the past he has been known to pat himself on his back and push for his own agenda. A lot of older professional wrestlers have gone the way of the "shoot interview" -- a concept best known to hardcore wrestling fans, where an older wrestler sits down and talks about the wrestling world and "tells it how it is." This is of course rare, less rare since the surge of the internet, but the wrestling world is secretive and many wrestlers don't like to break down the wall between outsiders and themselves.
Hogan came across as personable and a bit humbled, especially when talking about some of his fallen friends such as Andre the Giant and more recent losses such as "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and "Ravishing" Rick Roode.
The Voice Versus airs at 10PM on HDnet tonight.