The quest to clear Hulk Hogan for a return to WWE, from which he was fired in 2015, continues this week with a puff piece in the Buffalo News promoting the Hulkster's big appearance at local Nickel City Comic Con this weekend. The article briefly describes the "sex tape of Hogan leaked without his permission" which "included footage of Hogan using racial slurs" before launching right into the comeback narrative.
"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."
Hogan has been practicing his apologies, and one of these days he'll get the hang of it.
"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.
To those few fans who feel (hurt), I'm forever sorry, and I'll do whatever I can to make them feel comfortable with me."
For the record, these are the words which Hogan misspoke during a discussion of his daughter's sex life while being secretly filmed having sex with the wife of Hogan's friend and Florida radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. The rant below was leaked as part of a legal battle against the website Gawker funded by conservative Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel.
I don't know if Brooke was ****ing the black guy's son. I mean, I don't have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, ****ing ****ers. But then when it comes to nice people and ****, and whatever. […] I mean, I'd rather if she was going to **** some ****er, I'd rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall ****er worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we're all a little racist. Fucking ****er."
WWE has recently been dipping its toes into the waters of a Hogan return, but they've been extremely cautious in pushing the message that Hogan's return would only be in the capacity of helping others learn from his mistakes. Hogan's mistakes, however, are so unusual that it's difficult to see where his experience might be applied to others. More likely, WWE is looking for the Hulkster to rehabilitate his image with the public before trotting him out for nostalgia pops at big shows and selling Hogan merchandise on their website and at shows.
In any case, Hogan remains hopeful that he'll get this apology thing figured out eventually and end up back where he says he belongs.
"Until I'm back home with the WWE, I'm not home. Hopefully some day I can go back home and be with my family, the wrestlers and all the people I love. I just really, really hope it happens."
The prospect of a Hogan return has been met with a mixed reaction (which is technically better than Roman Reigns gets). Hall-of-Famer Booker T recently hoped for Hogan to get another chance, while fellow Hall-of-Famer Mark Henry said back in March that Hogan hadn't done enough to earn a return, and claimed to speak for a delegation of Black wrestlers from around the world.
To demonstrate the progress Hogan has made in apologizing, here's his response to Henry at the time:
"I totally agree with him, not just to the black wrestlers, to all the wrestlers. What I said was way out of line and I'm forever sorry for that. But I never heard Mark Henry say that. He's my boy, man."
During his induction to the Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame a few weeks later, Hogan likened his actions to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Prayers, vitamins, and baby steps.