When Gawker leaked a sex tape that featured Hulk Hogan, it was debilitating for his career, both wrestling and otherwise.
Ultimately, Hogan was fired by WWE following the release of the tape, which featured Hogan using the N-word, and Gawker ended up being sunk in the ensuing lawsuit. For Hogan, however, there was no going back -- the damage was irreparable.
Over the weekend, while being featured in the Fox News documentary show "OBJECTified," Hogan found himself in a position to explain himself. Nevertheless, he doesn't sound confident that WWE wants to hear it.
When it was revealed the tape was going to be released, Hogan tried to get ahead of the curve -- to no avail.
"When I heard [the release] was going to happen, I called them on a Thursday or a Friday," Hogan said. "As I hung up the phone that night, they fired me in the morning. It really caught me off guard. I didn't expect it because the WWE knows who I am. I'm not that person, that's not who I am and that's not what I do."
Hogan said the incident has completely changed him both in terms of his thinking and his language.
"As far as the black community and using that word, it's not part of who I am now," he said. "It's not part of my language because I understand how powerful words are. You know, growing up in south Tampa where we came from, it was a situation where when you played baseball and basketball and ran around in south Tampa, it was just common knowledge 45-50 years ago [that people said that word], but it's not that way anymore."
As for whether he'd be welcomed back, Hogan seems unclear but appears to be sympathetic toward their decision to let him go in the first place.
"I'm not sure. ... I think they did what was best for business," he said. "They were worried about losing sponsors and network support."
It's hard to say how bringing Hogan back would affect the WWE or its ratings. The publicly traded company has removed mentions of him from its website and stopped producing or selling any Hogan merchandise long ago.
Undoubtedly a feature on Hogan's redemption would put numbers through the roof, but who knows how bringing him back long-term would end up affecting WWE. Hogan himself seems fully savvy on the business side of things, and based on the documentary, he doesn't seem to harbor ill will toward WWE.