Hulkamania can run wild again in WWE.
Three years after Hulk Hogan became persona non-grata within the professional wrestling organization that he helped make the largest in the world, WWE announced Sunday that he has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Hulk Hogan reinstated into WWE Hall of Fame
STAMFORD, Conn. — 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.
After the company announced that he’s been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame, Hogan sent out a tweet about meeting with WWE Superstars backstage at Extreme Rules (held at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
Just met with the @WWE Superstars and on all levels the volume of love and support was overwhelming. I’ve been praying for this day and I finally feel like I made it back home. Only Love 4 the #WWEUNIVERSE brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) July 15, 2018
On July 24, 2015, WWE terminated its contract with Hogan, stating that they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds.” The termination coincided with the publication of a racially insensitive video in which Hogan is heard expressing disgust with the notion of his daughter dating any black man, referenced by his repeated use of the N-word. Hogan also admitted to being “a racist, to a point.”
According to PWInsider, “the entire WWE main roster” traveled to Pittsburgh for Extreme Rules since they were told they needed to be at the pay-per-view for a meeting. No one was aware of what the nature of the meeting would be and when they arrived, it was so that Hogan could address the roster with an apology for his remarks.
“Hogan then took time to remind everyone to always remember to think about what they are saying, pointing out that in today’s day and age, they have to remember that there are always cameras everywhere and they could be recorded even when they don’t realize they are,” Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported.
“We are told the talents gave Hogan a big reaction at the end and a number of them were shaking his hand and hugging him at the end of the meeting with Hogan getting very emotional.”
Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline adds that “there were wrestlers cheering for Hogan and congratulating and hugging him.”
According to Bryan Alvarez of F4WOnline, WWE filmed Hogan’s meeting with talent for an upcoming WWE Network special (most likely an episode of “WWE 24” on Hogan returning to WWE).
The Hogan meeting with talent backstage was filmed for an upcoming WWE Network special. #ExtremeRules
— Bryan Alvarez (@bryanalvarez) July 15, 2018
There’s one WWE Superstar who isn’t happy about Hogan returning to WWE and his name is Titus O’Neil.
WWE announced Hogan’s reinstatement on Instagram and O’Neil ‘liked’ a fan comment reading: “Fuck this.”
Here’s the proof of this.
Titus isn’t too pleased with a Hogan return.
All 👀 on his reaction when they realease the footage of the apology. pic.twitter.com/WLyWjxwZo4
— WrestlingNews.co – WWE News (@WrestlingNewsCo) July 16, 2018
From the Hogan return post on WWE's Instagram. I thought it was a joke, but Titus O'Neil did like these comments.
When y'all grow up, be like Titus. Upstanding gent, really does give an amazing example of how to be a great dude. pic.twitter.com/dVtMQ7Mp4S
— Tom 🤘 (@MarkForRasslin) July 16, 2018
There’s a rumor going around that O’Neil flipped out upon seeing Hogan backstage at Extreme Rules and that he stormed out of the PPG Paints Arena. This rumor is being attributed to Joseph Peisech of the “No Holds Barred Wrestling Show” podcast, who claimed he was told this by a source in WWE (H/T Ringside News).
“Titus O’Neil is a very big spokesperson for everything there [WWE] and he basically had a fit at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view,” Peisech said.
“He was at the arena and he saw Hogan and said, “What is he doing here?” and they explained that he’s been reinstated. Hogan to his credit came and tried to shake his hand and talk to him but he [Titus] just packed his bags and left.”
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com was told by numerous WWE sources that this rumor is untrue. Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. was also told by a WWE source that this rumor is untrue.
According to Giri, all main roster performers were told to attend Extreme Rules for a meeting, even if they weren’t booked for the show. They weren’t told what the meeting was about and learned at the arena that it concerned Hogan addressing and apologizing to the roster. O’Neil was present at the meeting until it ended.
After the meeting adjourned, many performers left the room while some stayed to shake Hogan’s hand. Talent not booked for the show, such as O’Neil, left the arena since they only came for the meeting anyway.
Although Hogan did not appear on the Extreme Rules pay-per-view itself, Charly Caruso reported on his reinstatement into the WWE Hall of Fame during the Extreme Rules Kickoff. Caruso said Hogan’s backstage mingling and that “everyone is happy” to have Hogan back in the WWE family.
— Pro Wrestling Sheet (@WrestlingSheet) July 15, 2018
This was the only mention of Hogan by WWE during Extreme Rules. He was at no point scheduled to appear on camera. Hogan left the PPG Paints Arena halfway through the show.
A photo of Hogan at Cleveland airport surfaced on Saturday night, which led to speculation that Hogan would be appearing at Extreme Rules. With the show taking place in Pittsburgh, him flying into Cleveland was likely to make sure that WWE fans staking out the Pittsburgh airport didn’t see him.