WWE confirms it has had discussions with Hogan as director named for “Gawker v. Thiel” movie

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Hulk Hogan (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)


Playing into the theory that there are no accidents in what WWE features on TV, the prominence of Hulk Hogan in the sponsored look-back at WrestleMania 1 this week jumped out as a potential indicator of WWE priming viewers for a potential return of Hogan.

WWE has confirmed, in a statement to PWInsider.com, that there has been communication between WWE and Hogan: “We have had discussions with Terry Bollea (a/k/a Hulk Hogan) about how he can help others learn from his mistakes. However, he is not under any contract with WWE.” That statement doesn’t indicate the talks have been recent or that they’d involve any kind of return to a role on TV, but could instead be limited to an ambassador role off-camera, at least at first.

While newer viewers of WWE aren’t reminded all that often how much Hulk Hogan meant to the WWF’s early WrestleMania years and the NBC Saturday Night’s Main Event network specials, Hogan is the most important on-camera figure in the rise of Vince McMahon as the top dominant promoter of the late 1980s into the early 1990s.

Hogan isn’t without controversy, though. The sex tapes, released in the summer of 2015, were embarrassing, but it was his comments about African-American’s in the sex tapes that greatly damaged the Hulk Hogan brand.

He also had a jailhouse conversation with his son released in 2008, which was transcribed in various media reports including The Daily Mail, that gets less attention, but was no more flattering. During the conversation with his son, Hogan used variations of the n-word repeatedly as he complained about his daughter Brooke sleeping with a black man. Hogan said: “F—– n—–!” He also talked about his friendship with his son Nick, and said: “You know that God gave you this vibe and this, this, energy that you and I are going to live forever, bro. I just hope we don’t come back as a couple of… I don’t want to say it, blizz-ack gizz-uys, you know what I’m saying?'”

Hogan won a $100-plus million judgment in a lawsuit against the now-defunct Gawker media website for leaking the sex tape without permission of those in the movie; he reached a $31 million dollar settlement later. Hogan was backed in the lawsuit by billionaire Peter Thiel, who was motivated by Gawker “outing” him years earlier.

A movie script, written by John Gary, is being pitched about the downfall of the controversial media company that the Hogan lawsuit brought down. Variety reports exclusively today that “Modern Family” director Jason Winer will direct the movie, if it ends up going to production. It’s seeking financing now. Reports Variety: “Sources close to the spec said Gary sourced 23 different people in researching the story in order to get the most accurate depiction of what happened behind the scenes.” The movie would focus more on Gawker’s owner and the journalist who published the story and Thiel than Hogan and the sex tape aspect of the lawsuit.

With speculation about who might be the new Smackdown G.M. to replace Daniel Bryan (and perhaps Shane McMahon), Hogan’s name has come up in fan conversations, in part due to his prior connection to the Smackdown brand during his last full time WWE stint.

Hogan, if he can avoid being a lightning rod of controversy as WWE naming the women’s battle royal at WrestleMania after Fabulous Moolah was last week, can have nostalgic value for WWE as they expand with stadium shows around the world where the Hogan name might have even more value than in the United States. It is a big risk, though, especially with the Warrior Awards coming to New Orleans, La. for WrestleMania weekend considering the vile things Warrior said about New Orleans residents who were victims of Hurricane Katrina.

WWE Network features a lot of Hogan content, but WWE has been limited in how much it touts that content when promoting WWE Network. A return of Hogan would likely lead to a surge of nostalgia for vintage Hogan content.

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