Hulk Hogan’s reinstatement into the WWE Hall of Fame still has the professional wrestling world buzzing. On his Conversation With The Big Guy podcast, former WWE superstar Ryback recently weighed in on the situation.
Ryback has previously stated that he believes Hogan would eventually be forgiven for his transgressions, and he was right. Hogan was reinstated this past Sunday before the Extreme Rules pay-per-view following a three-year suspension after being fired in 2015 after a sex tape leaked that included him making anti-black remarks, expressing anger at the thought of his daughter dating a black man and using the n-word multiple times. Ryback said his remarks were indefensible, but he believes Hogan has done enough to prove that he has learned from his mistakes.
“He has done all of the right things. That is not an easy thing to overcome—to deal with all of the scrutiny and criticism, and again, you can’t defend any of that by any means. It was a huge mistake on his part. I think if you take any of us in our private moments and private lives anyone can judge anyone at any given time, and granted that was as bad as it gets,” Ryback said. “There is nothing you can say to defend that, but all you can do is know that you are wrong and realizing your mistakes, and is now going out and helping other people make better decisions to not go that road, so that if somebody has a private conversation you just raise awareness to be a better human being. It was a horrible incident and I think him being back in WWE makes all of the sense in the world.”
Multiple African-American WWE superstars have given their thoughts on Hogan’s reinstatement. Fellow Hall of Famer Mark Henry said he is optimistic that Hogan is willing to learn from his mistakes. The New Day, on the other hand, released a joint statement saying they are “indifferent” when it comes to Hogan and will continue to not associate themselves with him. Titus O’Neil shared a similar sentiment, saying he felt Hogan’s apology on Sunday lacked “true contrition, remorse and a desire to change.” Ryback said he understands that it can be hard for some superstars to forgive Hogan because he was a childhood hero to a lot of them and they are still hurt by his remarks.
“I listened to Mark Henry’s interview on TMZ; Mark is a very intelligent human being. Mark Henry loved and adored Hulk Hogan growing up, as did everyone, and I am sure he was deeply hurt by the situation, and just from the standpoint that it was one of his childhood heroes,” Ryback said. “But as stated, he is a human being, which people tend to forget with wrestling in general, but somebody of that magnitude he has created so many amazing moments in people’s lives, and kids’ lives that are now adults and what not that it is easy to forget when you put these people on pedestals up on higher levels but we forget that at the end of the day they are humans and they do everything as everyone else does, including making mistakes so I think it is a good thing that he is back. That doesn’t mean that everyone is going to forgive him, but all he can do is live a better life for his fans and for everyone that supports him.”
Ryback closed by saying he believes Hogan’s importance to the history of professional wrestling necessitated his return to the WWE. He said he is happy for Hogan and thinks he has shown remorse for his mistakes.
“I think it is only fair to give the man another opportunity because I think he is a big reason WWE is where it is today. No one person made WWE; it was a group efforts with generations of wrestlers, but it is a good thing,” Ryback said. “I am happy for Hulk Hogan personally, and I think he has done his time; again, everyone makes mistakes, and I am glad he is back.”
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