Reality show producers in recent years have found great material from little persons. TLC had the most successful one called “Little Person, Big World,” which focused on the Roloff family and ran for six seasons. Animal Planet currently has “Pit Boss,” featuring Shorty Rossi, a little person who saves pit bulls.
Now, Atlanta-based TruTV is tackling the little person wrestling world with “Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling,” debuting Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. after “Operation Repo.” The last time the former wrestler tried something similar was on CMT in 2008 called “Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling,” which featured Hogan training celebrities like Dennis Rodman to become wrestlers. It lasted all of eight episodes. This new show is getting a test run of six episodes. (Hogan was also front and center on VH1’s “Hogan Knows Best,” which aired for four seasons from 2005 to 2008 with his previous wife Linda.)
A friend of Hogan’s in Tampa was trying to get a group of little person wrestlers out of small clubs and bars and into bigger venues. He asked Hogan for help. Hogan not only offered to help but also thought it would make a great TV show. TruTV bit.
As executive producer and coach, Hogan will be shown training and advising the wrestlers, coming up with ways to get them higher-paying gigs. “We didn’t want to put a ‘Jackass’ spin to this like so many other shows,” Hogan said in a phone interview last month. “We feel these are small people with normal-sized wives and girlfriends and kids and normal money problems.” The wrestling itself is only part of the show. Rather, it’s the life of the individuals involved and their interactions, he said.
“I love helping people,” he added, “especially if they’re serious about what they do and making serious money. I love being around people who really want it.”
Hogan’s life has been in turmoil in the past, packed with medical issues, a divorce and financial problems. He has since remarried and resurrected his finances. And his back, after major surgery a couple years ago, is better. He’s no longer in perpetual pain, he said. “It’s just getting used to having all that hardware in my back,” he said. And his current wife Jennifer McDaniel is a “shining light that changes everything.”
Hogan now shares the same network as former wrestler Jesse Ventura, who has his conspiracy theory show on TruTV. Not that it matters to Hogan. “Jesse’s a nonentity in my life,” he said. “I stay away from all negativity. I’m not big on Jesse Ventura.”