In May of 2018, when Hulk Hogan appeared at the premiere for the Andre the Giant documentary and WWE was rumored to be considered bringing him back from a suspension that he incurred in 2015 when leaked audio from a cuckold sex tape between Hogan and the wife of Florida radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge surfaced revealing The Hulkster unleashing a vicious and explicitly racist rant, loaded with n-words, professing exactly how rich an "n-word" would need to be to be allowed to date Hogan's daughter, WWE issued the following statement:
We have had discussions with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) about how he can help others learn from his mistakes, however, he is not under any contract with WWE.
Later that year, when WWE decided to allow Hulk Hogan back into their hall of fame, the company issued a statement that read:
After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. 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. These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.
Those numerous public apologies were of the sort some might consider less than whole-hearted. For example, to the Boys and Girls Club or America, Hogan said this in regards to his racist tirade:
I can learn from my mistakes and I can move forward. And what's so cool now is working with the Boys Club, I have a chance to help these kids not make the mistake I made, being at the wrong place at the wrong time or saying the wrong words.
In a newspaper interview, Hogan also apologized to the fans:
Everybody gets knocked down. A true champion gets back up and moves forward in a positive way. Nobody ever said life would be fair or you'd always make the right decisions, but through tenacity and a willingness to learn from your mistakes is what I'm all about.
People know me. I'm human being like anybody else, and sometimes, people make mistakes. When they do, you watch that person a little bit more closely than you did before to see what kind of person they really are. I just want people to judge me by my actions, not a few misspoken words.
"A few misspoken words." Words such as: "I am a racist, to a point, ****ing ****ers," or, "I guess we're all a little racist. ****ing ****er."
"Being at the wrong place at the wrong time." Such as "in the bedroom with your friend's wife while being secretly recorded making a racist rant."
Not exactly an unequivocal admission that what he said is wrong or even a denial that he actually feels the way he said he did on that tape. But it was enough of an excuse for WWE to begin bringing the Hulkster back into the fold, all the time continuing to insist he was "helping others learn from his mistakes," when in actuality, he was helping WWE increase its profits by selling Hulkster merch on their website and at events.
WWE has slowly increased Hogan's presence, shipping him off to Saudi Arabia for the royal family nostalgia tour, having him induct Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake into the Hall of Fame, booking him to give a speech when Mean Gene Okerlund died, having him cut a promo with Drew McIntyre on Raw Legends Night earlier this year, or having him appear with Jimmy Hart on random Smackdowns to call the long-dead Andre the Giant "ugly" and "wart-infested."
And now, making him the host of WrestleMania, alongside Titus O'Neil, who doesn't deserve to be associated with this bullshit. And since WWE promised there was only one capacity in which they would consider bringing The Hulkster back into the fold, we must assume that, somehow, someway, Hogan's hosting of WrestleMania will help somebody learn from his mistakes. Queue up the Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, folks! Or maybe the Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder would be more appropriate.