Just hours before presenting its Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday, WWE announced that it has "reinstated" Hulk Hogan into the WWE Hall of Fame following a "three-year suspension."
Crediting the "second chance" to a string of public apologies and volunteer work from Hogan, WWE appears to be paving the way for Hogan to return to making appearances on behalf of the company, whether on television or otherwise.
WWE confirmed to CBS Sports that it has not signed Hogan to any type of contract at this time.
This announcement by WWE comes one day after multiple fans spotted Hogan at a Cleveland airport. Though the Extreme Rules event is set for Pittsburgh, the short two-hour distance between the cities fueled rumors that Hogan could be making an appearance at the show on Sunday. It is now clear that Hogan is indeed in Pittsburgh as he announced on Twitter that was given the opportunity to speak with the entire WWE main roster before the show.
There was some speculation that Hogan would be brought back into the WWE fold around WrestleMania 34 in April, but that never transpired. Instead, WWE issued a statement at the time noting that it was proud of Hogan's continued efforts to make amends but did not have a formal relationship with him at the time.
Hogan, a six-time WWE world heavyweight champion and six-time WCW world heavyweight champion, was originally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame with the Class of 2005. After departing WWE in 2007, he was last seen with the company for a short run from 2014-15 where he served as host of WrestleMania XXX, inducted "Macho Man" Randy Savage into the hall of fame, made an appearance in a run-in at WrestleMania 31 and served as a judge on the company's "Tough Enough" program. Hogan also made charitable and other public appearances during this time period.
WWE terminated its legends contract with Hogan on July 24, 2015, removing any mention of him from its website, including the hall of fame section. This firing came on the back end of a leaked sex tape involving Hogan. In addition to the salacious nature of the leak, Hogan could be heard on the recording ranting negatively about African-Americans, admitting to being a "racist, to a point" and using the N-word on multiple occasions.
Hogan has since been on an extensive public apology tour in an attempt to make amends. At first, he claimed that it was possible he would never be accepted back into WWE, though he had changed his tune to a more optimistic view recently.
Former WCW champion Bill Goldbergin April that "everybody deserves a second chance [and at some point] I think you put [Hogan] in the locker room and give him the floor and let him speak his mind."
A fellow WWE Hall of Famer, five-time WCW champion and one-time heavyweight champion, Booker T agreed that Hogan deserves a second chance, saying on his radio show that "the only thing Hogan can do is apologize and atone for it and we move forward."
Former world heavyweight champion and 2018 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Mark Henry told TMZ that Hogan could come back after apologizing to the existing African-American talent because "we're a forgiving world."
It remains to be seen what WWE's plans are for Hogan now that he is back in the fold with the company, but it will certainly be interesting to follow in the coming weeks and months now that Hogan appears to have made amends with WWE and its superstars.