Making his return. For the first time since his 2015 firing, Hulk Hogan will step back into the ring on WWE’s Monday Night Raw. The pro wrestler, 65, is set to make an appearance to honor “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who died on January 2, at the age of 76.
One the day of his passing, Hogan, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, tweeted that Okerlund was “the best partner” he ever had. “We never rehearsed or did anything scripted from a writer. Gene would ask me ‘hey big man what do u want to do?’ I would always answer ‘just follow you brother’ and it worked from 1980 – 2017,” he wrote. “RIP my brother HH.”
In 2015, Hogan was fired from the WWE after a leaked video revealed racist remarks he made about his daughter Brooke’s African-American boyfriend. Additionally, he was removed from the WWE Hall of Fame and dumbed as a judge the show Tough Enough.
However, in May 2018, Us Weekly spoke exclusively with WWE star and vice president of talent, Triple H, who previewed Hogan’s return. “He’s obviously such a huge part of our history. There’s no denying his place in the business but he’s made some serious mistakes,” the 49-year-old actor, born Paul Michael Levesque, told Us. “I think he [can] use those mistakes in his attempt to show others that you can make mistakes and what to do and not to do along the way.”
As for if he’ll return, the NXT founder hinted, “Never say never.”
Two months later, in July, WWE reinstated Hogan into the 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,” the WWE said in a statement at the time. “These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.”
WWE’s Monday Night RAW airs on USA Network Monday, January 7, at 8 p.m. ET.