It's been speculated for months, but it appears Hulk Hogan is nailed on to appear at WrestleMania 30 in some fashion, as he is close to signing a deal to return to the WWE.
Per PWInsider (via Marc Middleton of LordsofPain.net), a deal is now in place for Hogan to end his exile from the company where he made his name:
"There is now a deal in place for Hulk Hogan to return to WWE and he's expected to sign any time now. ... Hogan will be appearing at WrestleMania XXX in some fashion."
It adds yet another star name to the billing for the biggest show in the history of the WWE—and they do not come much bigger than Hulk Hogan. He hasn't been seen in the WWE since 2007, so it would be a pretty big deal when his music does hit for the first time in nearly seven years.
The big question is whether the WWE bring him back before Mania to build up a storyline, or use him as a surprise guest at the show. The smart money would surely be on the first option—after all, Roddy Piper has been pitching a match with Hogan at the show for a considerable period of time.
It is also interesting to note that Middleton claims the plan was for WWE to announce Hogan's return alongside the launch of the WWE Network at one point:
As late as last Monday night going into Tuesday night before the Network announcement on Wednesday, officials in WWE's TV department were aware of Hogan's return and were preparing to reveal him along with the Network presentation.
Thankfully, however, that didn't happen. It would have been a bit of a disaster for wrestling fans had the WWE slid such a huge return in with an off-screen announcement. The smart move is for the company to tease it for a short while before doing their best to bring Hogan back completely unannounced.
The potential options for Hogan and WrestleMania are so huge that it is literally anyone's guess as to how Hogan is used at the event. Will he be wrestling? Or will he be a secondary addition to an already active storyline?
That is up in the air. But what we do know is that Hogan is almost certain to appear at the biggest pay-per-view of the year.
How should the WWE use Hogan when he returns to the company? Get involved with the discussion by leaving your comments below.