Video: Hulk Hogan Gives 'Mean' Gene Okerlund Tribute in WWE Raw Return

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2019

Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan greets the crowd during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
FAYEZ NURELDINE/Getty Images

Hulk Hogan returned to Raw on Monday night as part of WWE's tribute to "Mean" Gene Okerlund.

This was the first edition of Raw since Okerlund died Wednesday. WWE began with a video package that included some of Okerlund's biggest highlights. Hogan then delivered a personal message to the legendary backstage interviewer.

No wrestler was more associated with Okerlund than Hogan. Okerlund played the straight man perfectly during Hogan's over-the-top promos.

WWE's decision to include Hogan as part of its Okerlund tribute wasn't met with universal praise, though.

The company excommunicated Hogan and terminated his legends contract in July 2015 after he was caught on tape making racist remarks about his daughter's then-boyfriend.

In recent months, WWE has slowly brought Hogan back into the fold. It reinstated him to its Hall of Fame in July, and he was the host at Crown Jewel in November, WWE's second event as part of its partnership with Saudi Arabia.

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