Hulk Hogan was the biggest star for WWE during its rise to global prominence in the 1980s but, in 2015, the company cut all ties with Hogan after audio surfaced of the Hulkster making a racist tirade 12 years prior. In a rare interview, Hogan said that losing his place in WWE, which included removing him from the company's Hall of Fame, was a real low point.
Hogan discussed the controversy and his eventual reinstatement to the WWE Hall of Fame in the first installment of a two-part interview on the debut episode of Bill Apter's new podcast, The Apter Chat.
During the conversation, Hogan equated his severing of ties with WWE to getting kicked out of the wrestling business altogether, noting that "on a personal level, knocked me so far down it was really hard to get back up like I say and move forward. Wrestling has been my life. I love wrestling. I'm recording SmackDown as we speak. I record everything. I watch the [WWE] Network. I check out all the independent stuff going on. I follow everything. I'm the biggest mark there is."
Hogan also talked about the personal and social consequences he faced after WWE announced its decision.
"I didn't think I could recover. I really didn't," he said. "And what people don't realize, when you get kicked out of the wrestling business like I did, for the racial remarks, there's a huge ripple effect. Your phone doesn't ring. People that you thought were your friends, sometimes, it's a hard time talking to them or seeing them or they just disappear. Getting work or your phone ringing, it just doesn't happen."
WWE reinstated Hogan to its Hall of Fame in July, and the Hulkster traveled to Cleveland for a backstage meeting with the entire main roster, in what he described to Apter as an apology for his racist remarks. He also noted that any wrestlers in WWE who had not accepted his apology or welcomed him back were not grasping the "brotherhood" of pro wrestlers.