Hours before Extreme Rules, the news broke that Hulk Hogan had returned to WWE. Fans had a mixed reaction with many saying that Hogan hasn’t genuinely apologized. I am also on the fence about it. On the one hand, Hogan has acknowledged his words were harmful. On the other, he still used those words and his response to the controversy has been more about “sorry I got caught” more than “sorry my words hurt.”
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But how does the WWE roster feel? We know Titus O’Neil subtly expressed his displeasure over the return. While other WWE stars praised Hogan’s repentance and return:
— Daria/Sonya Deville (@SonyaDevilleWWE) July 15, 2018
WWE legend Mark Henry talked to TMZ about the reaction. He spoke with Hogan leading up to his return and believed he’s genuine. Remember, it was Henry who suggested that Hogan had to apologize personally to the black members of the roster if he was interested in returning. However, Henry also noted that the locker room split on Hogan’s return.
“It’s 50-50,” Henry tells TMZ Sports. “I’ve talked to guys that were like, ‘Man, the hell with him.'”
I understand this. Racism has no place anywhere. I think a lot of wrestlers, especially black wrestlers, are justifiably done with Hogan and have no interest in him coming back. I would expect Big E to be in that camp. Immediately after Hogan’s firing, he released this tweet seemingly condemning Hogan for his actions towards the black community.
Appropriate a culture, pilfer from its dialect, profit wildly from it, and regard its people as subhuman. Makes sense…
— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) July 24, 2015
Kofi, on behalf of the entire New Day, released the following statement on Hogan’s return. To be honest, this is the best response yet.
— Kofi Kingston (@TrueKofi) July 18, 2018
For those who have been asking. Here is how we feel about it. Nothing more will be said. Thanks guys https://t.co/IPcr702Br0
— Austin Creed (@AustinCreedWins) July 18, 2018
Titus O’Neil echoed The New Day in a statement that read like the leader of Titus Worldwide wrote it with a lawyer. He says Hogan lacked remorse and a desire for change, similar to what the New Day said. He also denies reports he stormed out of the room or refused to shake Hogan’s hand.
My TRUTH!! pic.twitter.com/3HgsmXOOEg
— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) July 18, 2018
The New Day and Titus acknowledge Hogan’s contributions to the business while also stating firmly that they have no interest in working with him until they see Hogan make a “genuine effort to change.”
Dave Meltzer reported that Titus and Kofi spoke for the majority of the locker room, black or not:
“And I want to make it clear that we’ve had contact with a number of wrestlers on the roster about this, both African-American and not African-American, and all but one, even though nobody said anything there because it wasn’t their place, is that what Kofi Kingston and/or Titus O’Neil said represented their thinking in most cases.”
Meltzer also noted that while a lot of wrestlers agreed with Kingston and O’Neil, they didn’t speak up because WWE, understandably, discourages employees from publicly speaking out against the company. There also wasn’t much talk in the locker room following the incident for the same reasons.
What is Hulk Hogan’s WWE future?
I have no clue. Plans in WWE are always in flux. According to reports,
WWE filmed Hogan’s apology for a special.(update, WWE denies it was filmed) The special could be used as a way for Hogan to apologize to all the fans. But, as I said earlier, an apology may not be enough. Hogan could only be back in the Hall of Fame and able to attend WWE events. However, there’s good reason to think Hogan will return to television. He could be a GM or serve as a manager for up and coming talent. Ryan Satin even feels that Hogan will be used to get Bobby Lashley over as the Universial Champion when Lashley faces off against Lesnar at SummerSlam.
I’ve heard (and expressed) wilder conspiracy theories when it comes to wrestling. Satin is connected, but he couched his prediction as “pure speculation.”
What is most likely to happen is Hulk Hogan apologizing before the entire WWE Universe at SummerSlam.
What do you think?
Categorized: Ringside Intel Sports Wrestling