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10 Times WWE Were Shamelessly Exploitative

Melanie Pillman Vince Raw Interview 1997

The whole wrestling world united in paying tribute to the great 'Mean' Gene Okerlund following the legendary interviewer's passing in early January. Few stars of the business were as intimately associated with Okerlund than arguably its biggest of all time, Hulk Hogan. So it was only natural that The Hulkster led the eulogies.

What was less natural was WWE laying out the red carpet and diverting ten minutes of their flagship programming for him to do so. Appropriate - and deeply affecting - though Hogan's Monday Night Raw encomium towards his close personal friend was, it was difficult to ignore the reality that, once more, as they had with Crown Jewel, WWE had leveraged a real-life situation to sneak Hogan back onto their screens.

In Jeddah, the company hoped those chastising Hogan's comeback would be drowned out by the general tone of disgust. On this occasion, they knew laying into their exploitative practices would be erroneously confused and conflated as criticism towards Hogan's genuine sentiments about the beloved Okerlund.

In other words, they knew they would get away with it. Somehow, they always do.