In the surreal world of professional wrestling, there is perhaps no name more ubiquitous than Hulk Hogan. From the mid 1980’s until the present day, there has been no one who is more synonymous with the business than him, with only Ric Flair, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena having achieved any degree of mainstream appeal outside the business of professional wrestling. From the red-and-yellow tights, to the promos telling kids to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, to “Hulkamania” and the associated “Hulkamaniacs”, it’s hard to think of anyone who had (or has) more drawing power than Hogan.
However, after tapes were released by The National Inquirer of Hogan going on a racist tirade in 2008, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) released Hogan from his legends’ contract, stating that they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds”. In addition to this, WWE also removed all references to Hulk Hogan on their website, removed him from his position as Guest General Manager for the WWE Australian tour and from his role as a judge on WWE’s reality series Tough Enough. WWE also removed all content relating to Hogan on the WWE network, and his character in WWE 2K16. Performer Curtis Axel, who was using parts of Hogan’s character, as part of his “#AXELMANIA” gimmick was forced to abandon this, even though it was rather popular and involved in a storyline.
It is important to note that the only other person to be given this kind of treatment by the WWE is Chris Benoit, the former world champion who in 2008, killed both his wife and child in a murder-suicide. Even performers who have left the company, and even have lawsuits against the company, such as CM Punk, have not been given this comprehensive removal from the annals of wrestling history. A search on wwe.com of the names of Hulk Hogan or Chris Benoit will yield no results.
However, it seems impossible that WWE will be able to remove a name as famous as Hulk Hogan from their history. Hogan was the man who gave the (then) WWF their widespread mainstream appeal. The moments which Hogan provided have been immortalised as the milestones in wrestling history, such as bodyslamming the 500 pound Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, being a part of the NWO in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), being the only back-to-back winner of the Royal Rumble and teaming with “Macho Man” Randy Savage as part of the Mega Powers.
It’s hard to imagine that this eradication of Hogan from wrestling history will be permanent, because it seems next to impossible to remove the man with the “Biker Stache, Chinese hair and skin of a hot dog” that Vince McMahon built the multi-billion dollar WWE around.