Earlier this week, it was announced that Hulk Hogan would be re-instated into the WWE Hall of Fame on account of his public apologies and the reconciliatory path he has taken. The 3-year exile came on account of private comments that came to light when he was seen and heard using the N-word repeatedly. As a result of this Hulk Hogan was not only removed from the WWE Hall of Fame, but any and all references of him were effectively removed. The wrestling world is at odds with his re-induction, and there seem to be two crowds on this issue. One group of people believe that Hulk Hogan simply made an honest mistake and that we should all forgive and forget Hulk Hogan making stupid statements that were privately recorded. Another group of people believes that Hulk Hogan is beneath forgiveness and that him being brought back wasn’t warranted. Amidst all of this, here is my stance.
I loved Hulk Hogan, and a part of me still does. His stand-off with The Rock at WrestleMania 18? Electrifying. When he was in a tag team with one of my favorite superstars ever, Edge? Amazing. Him coming back to win the WWE Championship at Backlash 2002? Emotional. On the merit of his accomplishments and impact on WWE, he is absolutely a Hall of Famer, and anyone who thinks otherwise is lying to themselves. Without the ascension of Hulk Hogan, wrestling would not become the mainstream entertainment juggernaut that it is today. To describe the history of not only WWE, but wrestling as an attraction without the mention of Hulk Hogan’s name would be to state the history of U.S. presidents without mentioning George Washington. Hulk Hogan is too entrenched into the fabric of WWE’s history to not have him be immortalized into the Hall of Fame on account of his impact on the business. However, if this journey has taught us anything, it is that your image outside of WWE matters as well.
I want to be honest with all of you. When I heard Hulk Hogan’s comments come out, I was hurt beyond belief. I felt as though one of my heroes had spat in my face. I’m sure we all are aware of the dark history of the N-word with the “er” attached to it. To get the full context of what Hulk Hogan said, read it for yourself:
“I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son,” Hulk raved, the sources add.
“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever.” …
“I MEAN, I’D RATHER IF SHE WAS GOING TO F*CK SOME N*GGER, I’D RATHER HAVE HER MARRY AN 8-FOOT-TALL N*GGER WORTH A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS! LIKE A BASKETBALL PLAYER!
“I GUESS WE’RE ALL A LITTLE RACIST. FUCKING N*GGER.”
Make of these comments what you will, but obviously, these are extremely disgusting words for the Hulkster to have used. Was it wrong for Hulk Hogan to have his privacy compromised? Absolutely. But does that excuse this kind of racist behavior? We all say things that we wish we can take back in hindsight. We all are human, we speak out of turn and we say things that we don’t mean. At the same token, I also believe that what comes through the mouth is what lies in the heart. If you are trying to argue a point and say a fact that is inaccurate, then that is an honest mistake. Mispronouncing a person’s name? Honest mistake. But you will have a difficult time telling me that “I am a racist” is just one big misunderstanding. You will also have a difficult time convincing me that had these comments not been made public, Hulk Hogan would still have apologized. There are all things that I’m sure we have done by ourselves that we would not want to have revealed to everyone else for fear of judgment and stigmas attached to us. It is always easier to be your true self when the cameras are not around as opposed to playing a character on television.
The question of whether or not Hulk Hogan deserves to be re-inducted is a whole other issue put together because this also blurs the lines between what WWE considers when putting one into the Hall of Fame. If the pre-requisites are set at just one’s career in wrestling and nothing more, Chris Benoit would have been inducted the moment after we learned of his death, but we all know it will be a cold day in hell when WWE does that. Don’t get me wrong in thinking I’m comparing Hulk Hogan’s words to Chris Benoit’s actions, because the two clearly aren’t equal. But Chris Benoit isn’t in the Hall of Fame today because of what took place in his personal life. Maybe I have a distorted view on that, and your disagreements are more than welcome, but I believe WWE just needs to make it clear what the requirements are. This could even go to Chyna, a superstar whom many people believe should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame for some time now due to her impact in women’s wrestling. Here is what Triple H told Stone Cold back in 2015 on why it would be difficult for WWE to induct her:
“From a career standpoint, should she be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. It’s a bit difficult, though, and this is the flipside of the coin — and this is the side nobody looks at — I’ve got an eight-year-old kid, and my eight-year-old kid sees Hall of Fame, and my eight-year-old kid goes on the Internet to look at Chyna. What comes up?”
Now for those of you who don’t know what Triple H is referring to, Chyna was involved in many adult films in her life, and Triple H apparently believes that is what will make it difficult to induct her. Can Triple H have the same difficulty explaining why someone who said “I am a racist” is in the Hall of Fame, but why what Chyna did has prevented WWE from acting that way?
This is also a trying time for many African Americans who are not only performers on the main roster, but fans of the product as well. Kofi Kingston of the New Day and Titus O’Neil released their stances on the Hulkster.
— King T’Kofi (@TrueKofi) July 18, 2018
My TRUTH!! pic.twitter.com/3HgsmXOOEg
— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) July 18, 2018
Booker T believes Hulk Hogan absolutely deserves another chance, citing the mistakes that he’s made, especially with him dropping the N-word in that infamous promo he cut back in WCW.