WWE Rumors: Hulk Hogan to Return to WWE?


After racially insensitive remarks surfaced last year, Hulk Hogan has all but been permanently erased from the WWE.  There are now rumors that WWE is close to bringing the legend back, but should they?

When most people think of professional wrestling the first name that pops into their head is Hulk Hogan.  However, due to stupidity on Hulk Hogan’s part, he has been virtually banned from the WWE after more details leaked out last year from his sex tape as part of his lawsuit against Gawker.  In the tape, Hogan was talking about his daughter and her music career and used racially insensitive language as part of the conversation.  After the leak of the tape and Hogan’s confirmation that the language was real, WWE had no choice but to cut ties with the legendary Hall of Famer.

According to the Inquisitr (h/t The Wrestling Observer), there may be plans for Hulk Hogan to return either for WrestleMania 32 or shortly after the event. Hogan is allegedly also turning down appearances during WrestleMania in the Dallas area.  WWE’s feelings are that enough time has passed to where many fans have either forgotten or forgiven him and will likely just react as normal when his music hits.

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While it would be an awesome WrestleMania Moment for Real American to hit and Hulk Hogan to walk down the aisle at WrestleMania, is it the right time for WWE to bring him back?  What Hogan said on those tapes is indefensible.  WWE can not look to be condoning that behavior, including the making of the tape in the first place. If Hulk Hogan never was to return to the WWE at this point, it would not hurt the company in any way.

However, Hulk Hogan has apologized multiple times since that part of the content became publicly known last summer.  Also, the tape was evidently recorded in 2007 when Hogan has long maintained he was in a bad place psychologically including suicidal thoughts according to his autobiography.  Still, the adult video and the racist language used did extreme damage to the Hulk Hogan brand.  Something that he protected so much that in his 1998 contract with WCW, he ensured there was a clause included that prevented Turner from doing any type of marketing that would denigrate his name or brand.

To me, this country has always been about second chances.  Hogan has been severely and rightfully punished both by a loss in income from WWE and other ventures.  However, completely erasing Hulk from the WWE, including removing him from the WWE Hall of Fame on the website seems a bit extreme, unless there was something in Hulk’s contract with WWE that gave him compensation for using his likeness on their website. It is time that Hulk gets one more chance and be able to be used on a limited basis at a much-reduced rate.  At a minimum, something needs to be worked out so the history of Hulk Hogan the wrestler can still be told.

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The real question becomes if WWE does reinstate Hulk Hogan back into the company, how do they handle the situation that caused his absence.  While it won’t be necessary to address it as part of the programming, I do think they would need to be ahead of the potential PR backlash which would eliminate any appearance being a surprise.  In this case, though I think it would have to be done.