WWE and Hulk Hogan have entered talks for his return to the company for the 25th Anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw to air on Jan. 22, 2018.

WWE will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the longest-running weekly episodic television program in history. A special edition of WWE’s flagship program, Monday Night Raw, will air live from both Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center in New York and features a number of superstars who have not been on WWE TV for quite a while.

WWE announced that The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Kevin Nash — among others — will make special appearances at the Manhattan Center, the site of the first episode of Raw, that Monday. WWE superstars from both the Raw and SmackDown Live brands will be in attendance at Barclays Center for what should be a star-studded edition of the show.

“We look forward to celebrating this unmatched milestone with our fans around the world, but 25 years only marks the beginning of WWE surprising, delighting and entertaining generations to come,” said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement.

WWE held a “Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night” at Madison Square Garden. on February 27, 2015. Hulk Hogan’s last appearance at a WWE event was at WrestleMania 31 on March 29, 2015. This was due to the Hulk Hogan Sex Tape/Racial Slur incident, which resulted in Hogan’s Termination from the company.

The termination coincided with the publication by the National Enquirer and Radar Online of an anti-black rant made by Hogan on his controversial leaked sex tape in which he is heard expressing disgust with the notion of his daughter with any black man, referenced by repeated use of the racial slur “nigger”. Hogan also admitted to being “a racist, to a point”.

Once the recordings went public, it erupted in a media scandal, Hogan apologized for the remarks, which he said is “language that is offensive and inconsistent with [his] own beliefs”. Three black wrestlers who worked in the WWF and WCW with Hogan made supportive comments. Virgil commented, “Hogan has never given me a reason to believe he is a racist” while Dennis Rodman said he “most certainly is not a racist” and Kamala added “I do not think Hogan meant harm by saying that. Hogan is my brother until he decides not to be”. Black wrestlers working in the WWE made different comments. Mark Henry said he was pleased by WWE’s “no tolerance approach to racism” response, and that he was hurt and offended by Hogan’s manner and tone. Booker T said he was shocked and called the statements unfortunate.

In response to the controversy, Mattel stopped producing Hogan action figures, while Hogan’s merchandise was taken down from online stores of Target, Toys “R” Us, and Walmart. On July 28, Radar Online reported that Hogan had also used homophobic slurs on the leaked sex tape. Days later, it was reported that Hogan had used racist language in a 2008 call to his then-imprisoned son, Nick, and also said that he hoped they would not be reincarnated as black males.

On July 24, 2015, WWE terminated their contract with Hogan, stating that they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds”. WWE removed virtually all references to Hogan from their website, including his listing as a judge for Tough Enough, his merchandise from WWE Shop, and his entry from its WWE Hall of Fame page. His DLC appearance from WWE 2K15 was taken down for sale, and his character was cut from the upcoming WWE 2K16 game during development.

Two and a half years later, the WWE and Hogan are hoping that the WWE Universe is willing to forgive and forget on a night of nostalgia and embrace the man who made the WWE a household name.

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WWE and Hulk Hogan have entered talks for his return to the company for the 25th Anniversary episode of Monday Night Raw to air on Jan. 22, 2018. WWE will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the longest-running weekly episodic television program in history. A special edition of WWE's flagship program, Monday...