Hulk Hogan returned to “WWE Raw” on Monday to pay tribute to late announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who passed away last week at age 76.
The WWE confirmed Hogan’s appearance on Saturday, revealing the 65-year-old wrestling icon would be honouring the legendary ring announcer, whom he inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
An emotional Hogan stepped foot in a “WWE Raw” ring for the first time since 2015 to celebrate the life of his longtime friend and former colleague. He introduced a tribute video package for Okerlund before delivering one of his classic “Mean Gene” promos.
Okerlund was a veteran announcer for the WWE, conducting countless interviews with Hogan during the sports entertainment league’s heyday in the 1980s.
While Hogan’s return to “WWE Raw” makes sense due to the rapport he shared with Okerlund, not all fans think having Hogan on the show is a good idea, given the controversy that still lingers over the wrestler’s use of the N-word in a sex tape that hit the Internet in 2015.
In fact, Hogan’s appearance at the WWE’s controversial “Crown Jewel” event in Saudi Arabia led to widespread criticism, and Twitter backlash to his upcoming “Raw” appearance indicates fans are concerned that Hogan will be booed, his controversial presence ruining the tribute to the beloved Okerlund.
However, Hogan was met with a mostly warm reaction from the live crowd in Orlando, Florida, the home of Monday’s “WWE Raw”, and was praised on social media for his heartfelt speech.