Hulk Hogan was seemingly wiped out of WWE history after a video surfaced of him making racial slurs. However, over the past few months, the WWE has been mentioning him on occasion, adding some video of him back into packages, and now there is another hint that the WWE might be warming back up to Hulk Hogan once again.
PWInsider reported that Curtis Axel came out for his match at a house show in St. Louis using his old Axelmania gimmick. Axel used this Hulk Hogan-inspired gimmick in the past and even had Damien Sandow join him for a while using a Macho Man gimmick.
However, after the WWE fired Hulk Hogan for the video release, Curtis Axel dropped the gimmick and hasn’t used it since. It was another case of erasing Hulk Hogan from anything that was connected to the WWE.
The video was a sex tape with Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, who happened to be the estranged wife of Hogan’s former close friend Bubba the Love Sponge. The tape was released before the racial controversy occurred and the WWE seemed to have no problem with it.
Hulk Hogan sued Gawker for releasing the tape on their website and in the midst of the legal wranglings, another version of the video was released with sound. That is where the racial slurs occurred. In the video, Hulk Hogan was complaining about his daughter Brooke Hogan being involved with an African American and Hogan made disparaging comments about the man.
It was the words that Hulk Hogan used and not the fact that he was involved in a sex tape with his best friend’s wife that caused the WWE to fire him and erase him from their history. Hulk Hogan sued Gawker and the court awarded Hogan $115 million in damages when he actually won the case. Gawker finally reached a $31 million settlement with Hulk Hogan.
Curtis Axel bringing back Axelmania is just part of the reintegration of Hulk Hogan back into the WWE product. Back in September, Forbes reported that the WWE was slowly increasing the mentioning of the name Hulk Hogan on television and they were hoping to bring him back, possibly as soon as WrestleMania in 2017.
WrestleMania in 2017 takes place in Orlando, which is basically the home turf of Hulk Hogan. The site also mentioned that Hulk Hogan was on the podcast of his close friend Eric Bischoff and he said that he was still keeping up with the WWE product and hoped to get involved again with the company at some point.
When Hulk Hogan came to an agreement on a settlement with Gawker Media, it meant that the entire video situation had ended. This also means that the longer the mention of any racial slurs passes, the more the WWE is likely to pretend they never happened.
The Ultimate Warrior made some very public homophobic rants over his life and posted many of them as videos. His speech was harsher than anything Hulk Hogan ever came close to saying. The WWE still inducted Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame and named an award after him.
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Years had passed between Ultimate Warrior making the public homophobic comments and his WWE honor. The video between Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem showed up in 2012, four years ago. It seems the WWE has decided that enough time has passed to at least mention Hulk Hogan again on television. The Curtis Axel angle is the next step and possibly adding him back to the WWE website in the future could be the final step.
[Featured Image by WWE]