Hulk Hogan may be making his return to the WWE.
Many wrestling fans recently took note of the fact that Hogan was featured in a WWE commercial during Sunday’s Backlash pay-per-view and then again on Monday Night Raw the following night. This was in contrast to the past year or so when, following Hogan’s racist rant, the company stopped making any mention of him.
Now Forbes is reporting that the WWE is looking to slowly phase Hogan back into their programming, and it is speculated that this could be leading up to a return at WrestleMania 33 next year. Forbes also speculates that he could return in a role closer in line to what Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan are currently doing on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown.
In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer agrees that the WWE is likely testing the waters for a potential Hogan return with these recent commercials. And in a new interview, WWE hall-of-famer Eric Bischoff said he would not be surprised if this is the case.
“When the WWE produced the documentary on me, when they came out to my home last summer, Hulk was a big part of that documentary,” Bischoff said. “The fact that he was in the documentary suggested to me that they were probably going to, over time, reintegrate Hulk back in to the WWE content. I’m not surprised. I’m happy.”
Bischoff went on to say that time heals all wounds and that he believes the fans will be forgiving of the Hulkster.
Hogan generated controversy in 2015 when the National Enquirer revealed that he had used a racist slur during a leaked sex tape from years prior. In the footage, Hogan expressed disgust with the concept of his daughter dating a black man. This lead to Hogan’s contract with the WWE being terminated.
“Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation,” Hogan said in a statement at the time. “It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it.”
Hogan would go on to successfully sue Gawker for their publication of the sex tape.
This is not the first time we’re hearing about the WWE potentially being open to a Hulk Hogan return. In 2015, Triple H said he hopes Hogan will be back one day.
Triple H explained, “Do I think he can be forgiven and make amends with the world and move forward? Yeah, absolutely. But at the same point in time, for us in that time frame, you’re putting up a message to the world of how you’ll tolerate things and how you’ll react to things. And we did what we needed to do, and he’ll do what he needs to do to get himself back.”