WWE is reportedly considering having hall of famer and global icon Hulk Hogan return to TV at November's Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia. When it comes to both WWE history and the history of professional wrestling as a genre of entertainment, few names loom as large as Hogan's. When WWE boss Vince McMahon decided to take his company nationwide in the mid-1980s - wrestling then-operated under a "territorial" system in which different regions of the U.S. had their own promotions - it was Hogan he chose to push as his biggest star and box office attraction, and needless to say, the arrangement worked out well.
When McMahon opted to focus on younger stars like Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Shawn Michaels in the mid-1990s, Hogan refused to be pushed aside, jumping to rival organization WCW in 1994. By 1995, WCW had launched hit program Monday Nitro opposite WWE's Raw, and by 1996, "Real American" Hogan had reinvented himself as "Hollywood" Hogan, leader of the renegade nWo heel faction. Built around the nWo and its feud with WCW stalwarts like Sting, Lex Luger, and Ric Flair, Nitro would dominate Raw in the ratings for nearly two years.
By succeeding elsewhere, Hogan had proved that his star power wasn't limited to WWE, although it was always only a matter of years until he was welcomed back into the arms of the McMahon family. That was until an infamous recording - made without Hogan's knowledge - leaked to the public in summer 2015, featuring the multi-time world heavyweight champion going on a racist tirade against black people. WWE quickly cut ties, only recently signaling that forgiveness might be coming by "reinstating" Hogan to its Hall of Fame website. Now, a new report from PW Insider (via EWrestling) suggests that Hogan's onscreen WWE return might take place at the big Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia on November 2.
Prior reports have alleged that the Saudi Arabian elites bankrolling WWE's shows in that country are big fans of WWE's past stars, thus why part-time players like John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Chris Jericho were all paid big bucks to come over and perform at April's Greatest Royal Rumble event. For its second big WWE stadium show, Crown Jewel, Saudi Arabia is reportedly asking for Hogan to appear, and WWE is said to be considering their request. They would be foolish not to, as the company is estimated to have earned around $40 million for Greatest Royal Rumble.
However, PW Insider's report also makes clear that there is still resistance among the talent to the idea of Hogan fully returning to the WWE fold. Hogan made a rather disastrous apology to the WWE roster backstage at July's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, with many who witnessed the apology saying it came off more as Hogan feeling sorry for himself than feeling contrite about his racist statements. Understandably, the apology was received the worst by many of WWE's black athletes, with people like Mark Henry, The New Day, and Titus O'Neil expressing dissatisfaction with Hogan's halfhearted attempt at reconciliation. Whether that opposition will be enough to stop Hogan's seemingly inevitable WWE return remains to be seen.