WrestleMania 33 is just a few weeks away, and WWE appears to still be finalizing some guest appearances for its biggest PPV of the year. Recently, rumors have begun circulating that the iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan, who was released from WWE in 2015 due to a number of controversial racially-charged remarks, would be making an appearance at WrestleMania 33. While having the iconic wrestler return to the ring would be a significant risk to the WWE, the pros of the Hulkster’s return might very well outweigh the cons.
It is no secret that WWE is not quite like what it was before. Its current iteration is a far cry from the Attitude Era of the 90s, which is considered by many to be the peak of the organization then known as the WWF. Today, the WWE revels in PG-13 feuds and matches, and it has hurt the brand, up to a point. While the company remains as lucrative as ever despite its family-oriented style and approach, numerous longtime wrestling fans continue to lament that the WWE has lost much of the edge that made it such an iconic wrestling company in the years past.
Hulk Hogan is one of the most iconic wrestlers who ever lived. Debuting back in 1979, the charismatic wrestler has been a household name for decades. Hogan’s feuds with Andre the Giant, The Ultimate Warrior, and Ric Flair are widely considered as some of the best rivalries in the history of the wrestling business. His moniker, the Immortal Hulk Hogan, is proof that his name and brand are set to be remembered for a long time to come. That is, of course, before 2015 happened.
Hogan’s reputation took a massive blow when a tape of the iconic wrestler surfaced in an expose revealing that the Superstar was considerably racist. Unsurprisingly, his comments set the wrestling world on fire, eventually culminating in the WWE releasing Hogan from the company. Since then, rumors about the Hulkster’s possible in-ring return have been abounding, according to Bleeding Cool. WWE, for its part, has remained notoriously quiet.
That is, of course, until today. While no official word has been released, WWE has released a YouTube video that primarily featured Hulk Hogan. Taken during a Battle Royale on SmackDown back in 2002, the clip depicted Hogan and Triple H going over the top rope and seemingly hitting the floor at the same time. Considering the WWE’s previous treatment of the Hulkster, the YouTube video’s contents are pretty interesting.
After all, since Hogan’s controversial racist rant became public knowledge, WWE has largely given the iconic wrestler the “Benoit Treatment,” taken from the way the company handled the case of the late wrestler Chris Benoit, who was found to have murdered his family before committing suicide. Thus, while Hogan’s matches could still be accessed in the company’s archives, the wrestler is almost never mentioned in current WWE programming.
If the YouTube video of the 2002 Battle Royale is any indication, however, it appears that WWE is finally being open to the idea of Hulk Hogan making a comeback to the ring. WrestlingRumors has stated that earlier this month, the Hulkster’s name came up during an interview with Vince McMahon, who is rumored to be cooking up a “big surprise” for WrestleMania 33. With this in mind, there is a pretty good chance that the WWE ring might be graced by the immortal Hulk Hogan once more.
If there’s anything that the WWE should keep in mind with regards to Hulk Hogan’s reputation, it is that the wrestler has been playing it safe for the last few years. Hogan’s Twitter feed, for one, primarily features retweets of messages and posts from his supporters, as well as photos of fans visiting his beach shop. For all intents and purposes, Hulk Hogan has distanced himself as much as possible from the controversy that resulted from his racist tirade. Thus, while damaged, Hogan’s loyal fanbase is still very significant.
Considering the current state of the WWE, it is pretty difficult to deny the advantages that a Hulk Hogan return would give to the company. Having the iconic Superstar return to the WWE might not please the politically-correct crowd, but it would rekindle much of the fire that the company appears to have lost over the years. If any, the WWE could sure use a good dose of Hulkamania right now.
[Featured Image by Mike Dupre/Getty Images]