In the summer of 2015, the WWE cut ties with wrestling icon Hulk Hogan immediately after an audio tape was leaked of him using racial slurs. The WWE terminated their legends contract with Hogan while removing all his merchandise and mentions from the official website.
There has since been plenty of speculation about Hogan returning to the WWE. In fact, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) recently reported that the company has thought about bringing back Hogan for yet another tenure.
Fellow WWE legend and Hall of Famer, Stone Cold Steve Austin, recently appeared on the Sam Roberts’ Wrestling Podcast and was asked if Hogan “ruined his legacy.” Below is what he said, in part (with transcriptions via WrestlingInc.com):
“That’s interesting. I get asked the question, ‘is he ruining his legacy?’ and I think I always respected what that guy did with his career, an unbelievable box office draw and a charismatic performer that so many people grew up [watching] and idolized. A lot of respect [for] him and that as far as what he did.”
Austin was also asked about his relationship with Hogan:
“Me and Terry [Hogan’s shoot first name] don’t trade phone calls. We’re not the best of friends. We’re not enemies. People say what they want to say or try to stir up animosity. I don’t hold anything against the guy. At the end of the day, we’re two of the guys. We’re pro wrestlers… he does what he does and I think it is what it is. That’s all I can say.”
Austin vs. Hogan is widely considered the greatest dream match that never took place. The prime opportunity to have it was at WrestleMania X8, when Hogan had reformed the New World Order and returned to the WWF.
Last year, Austin claimed that he refused to face The Hulkster because “execution of the match” wouldn’t have been there. Austin instead faced Scott Hall, while Hogan competed in an epic match against The Rock.
A number of wrestling legends of the past have shared their thoughts on Hogan’s racial scandal. Bret Hart went on an expletive-filled rant against Hogan and expressed disgust about him winning money in the Gawker lawsuit. Booker T said he was “shocked” and found Hogan’s words “unfortunate.”
With the racial scandal looming large over the former wrestling icon, it remains to be seen if WWE can forgive, forget and let Hogan return one more time.
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