Love him or hate him, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan may be the biggest icon in professional wrestling history.
However, due to several past controversies, his relationship with the company has been strained. He has appeared sparingly in the promotion over the past several years and went from a proud WWE spokesman to a disgraced former hero.
Having said that, every return The Real American makes gets a huge ovation. The audience is always willing to forgive him, if only for a moment. So the possibility of his return to WWE television at some point is highly likely.
Here's a look at five ways The Immortal Hulk Hogan could return to World Wrestling Entertainment.
#5 - Hulk Hogan could serve as guest host for all the big annual events
This would be akin to his capacity at WrestleMania 37, when he co-hosted The Show of Shows with Titus O'Neil. His work there didn't exactly draw rave reviews, but to be fair, the entire show was down. In the midst of the COVID crisis, things just weren't the same.
What if The Hulkster were to fill that type of role at all four of WWE's major annual events: SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series and WrestleMania? It would be an incredibly unique role. It would also allow the promotion to play off Hogan's star power without the legend risking injury.
#4 - As the victim of a sympathetic beatdown
While this one isn't exactly going to set the world on fire, it could serve a couple purposes. It spares the man the potential embarrassment of having to wrestle in a match. It also eases the blow of the controversial star's return.
It would have to be a massive, menacing heel and someone who the company has special plans for. If someone like Gunther, for example, were to attack the legend, it could set up a save from one of Hogan's fellow babyfaces.
Surely seeing someone who symbolized the Red, White and Blue for so long get taken out by a foreign menace would give that performer a huge rub. It would also be a very non-controversial way to open the door for Hogan's possible future appearances.
#3 - Hogan could return in a special tag team match
This would, of course, have to be a very limited in-ring effort for the 68-year-old Hall of Famer. It would likely consist of a hot tag and then Hogan tearing the house down in the manner he used to.
Beyond his age, he's also had multiple back surgeries that have slowed Hogan's walk down to a hobble. But you can't keep The Real American down, and even being able to work him into some in-ring showdowns would be huge. With his first punch, the arena would be deafening.
#2 - Onscreen Authority Figure
This is one that probably wouldn't sit too well with the WWE Universe, and it has nothing to do with Hulk Hogan at all.
After over 20 years of onscreen GMs, commissioners and vice presidents, the wrestling audience in general has grown weary of the whole authority figure trope. Whether heel or babyface, the idea that there is some ultimate power always looming is pretty well played out.
Having said that? If anyone could pull it off, it would be Hollywood. He has just enough star power that fans might accept someone in that fictional role just one more time. Particularly if it meant he would have some heated exchanges with Vince McMahon.
#1 - As backup for a current WWE Superstar
Any young WWE Superstar would be blessed to have one of the top personalities in the history of sports entertainment standing next to them. Despite his many critics, Hogan's aura remains the same. There's no denying that. Even if it has been tarnished a bit.
On the other hand, he could be the cornerman for a veteran grappler. In keeping with the aforementioned 'patriotic' theme, he could back up someone like Bobby Lashley. With The Almighty's legitimate and decorated military service, the pairing could make for a new version of an old storyline.
No matter what situation causes it to occur, there's a very strong possibility that we will see the immortal Hulk Hogan in WWE once again. The man who once carried the weight of the company on his shoulders will always have some kind of home in WWE.