Hogan’s last appearance on WWE’s flagship show was just before WrestleMania 31, where he saved Snoop Dogg from Curtis Axel, who was presenting himself as a parody of Hogan at the time, dubbed “Axelmania.” Since then, Hogan had been all but excommunicated from the WWE family following the leak of a tape where he went on a racist tirade. However, in recent months, the relationship between the Hulkster and the company that made him a household name has thawed — he was reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame, and hosted the contentious Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia back in November.
After Okerlund’s passing, Hogan released a statement on Twitter, calling the late interviewer “the best partner I ever had.”
The best partner I 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. RIP my brother HH pic.twitter.com/OBtn6NxT1E
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 3, 2019
Hogan and Okerlund are inextricably linked. Most of Hogan’s most memorable promos from his original run in WWE were facilitated by the fellow Hall of Famer, and “Let me tell you somethin’, Mean Gene” was every bit a catchphrase as “Whatcha gonna do?”
Hulk Hogan appearing on WWE television in 2019, however, seems at odds with WWE’s recent announcement of a “fresh start” and new era in the company’s programming.