After a three-year "suspension," WWE reinstates controversial wrestling legend Hulk Hogan to its official Hall of Fame. Could a TV return be next? Love him or hate him, Hogan is still probably the biggest star in the history of professional wrestling. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has certainly become a bigger star outside the ring than Hogan managed to with forgettable films like Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny, but when it comes down strictly to impact on the wrestling industry and longest sustained time at the top, Hogan is the clear lead pick.
Unfortunately, the last decade hasn't been great for the man who once served as a role model to children throughout the 1980s and for most of the 90s. Hogan - married at the time - of course appeared in an ultimately leaked sex tape with a friend's wife, leading to a messy divorce from his longtime spouse Linda. Whatever one thinks of Hogan's extramarital activities, it was something else from the tape that ended up really damaging his reputation and public standing. A segment of the tape featuring Hogan going on a n-word-filled racist rant made its way online, leading The Hulkster to get fired by and excommunicated from WWE.
Now, after three-years of being almost entirely persona non grata within WWE, multi-time world champion and WrestleMania main-eventer Hogan is seemingly being welcomed back to his former home. The company released a statement on its website today announcing that Hogan is being officially reinstated to the WWE's Hall of Fame, after a three-year "suspension" following the emergence of the former nWo leader's racist tirade.
As diehard wrestling fans will no doubt quickly notice though, a few things about WWE's announcement don't make sense. While Hogan's profile on WWE's Hall of Fame website was indeed removed during the initial controversy, no official announcement was ever made at the time - or has ever been made since - that Hogan was actually removed from the Hall of Fame entirely. WWE also asserts that "This second chance follows Hogan’s numerous public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake." While Hogan has offered apologies on a few occasions, he's also spent much of the last three years complaining about how unfair it was that he got fired by WWE in the first place, which hardly seems that remorseful.
Controversy aside, now that Hulk Hogan is seemingly back in WWE's good graces, one wonders how long it'll take for him to once again be flexing his trademark 24-inch pythons on WWE TV. The more conspiracy-minded among the wrestling fan community might now be wondering if the timing of WWE's announcement was a coincidence, as the company presents its latest pay-per-view event, Extreme Rules, live tonight on the WWE Network. Will Hogan make an appearance at the show? Only WWE knows for sure. If he does, the live crowd might give him a hero's welcome, but one wonders how the court of public opinion will feel about it.