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Hulk Hogan Would Be Down to Get Back in the Ring at WrestleMania 40 ... with Steve Austin
Let the WrestleMania 40 rumors begin!
The rumor mill is already working overdrive as the WWE Universe is being teased with the proposition of a never-before-seen one-on-one match between two of the greatest Hall of Famers ever.
The legendary Hulk Hogan recently appeared on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani podcast, and it seems like the Hulkster is not only gunning for one more match – he's reportedly open to a retirement match against none other than Stone Cold Steve Austin! As is second nature for reporters, whenever a retired WWE Superstar agrees to an interview, it's imperative that the Superstar is asked if they have "one more match" left in the tank. In Hogan's case, the answer was a resounding yes, and he specifically mentioned Austin as his preferred opponent.
Hulk Hogan Feels He Never Received a True "Retirement Match"
As it turns out, Hogan has never gotten a proper retirement match in WWE or other promotions, and in the Hulkster's mind, there's no more suitable opponent than Austin. The two Superstars were the unquestioned leaders of their generations, and it remains the one match the WWE Universe has never seen before – the two have squared off against each other in tag team matches in the early 2000s, but never one-on-one.
Interestingly enough, Hogan also revealed he was initially pushing for a match against Austin as far back as 2002, as he was planning on wrestling Austin after he was finished feuding with The Rock!
"That's the reason I went back to wrestle The Rock was to get in the ring was Stone Cold Steve Austin, because me as a bad guy – as Hollywood Hogan – I could have torn the place down with him," Hogan confessed to Helwani. "You know, because he was the ultimate good guy at the time." But I think he was having some physical problems with his legs and nerve damage, and he was about at the end of his run. So if I had one guy to get in there, it would be [Austin]."
Hogan's aforementioned match against The Rock at WrestleMania X8 exceeded all expectations. Every member of the WWE Universe in attendance and watching on pay-per-view reverted to their childhood Hulkamaniac form as they rooted against The Rock, the supposed fan-favorite:
A Hogan/Austin WWE Main Event Would Be 20 Years in the Making
Hogan's timeline checks out – Austin was dealing with multiple nagging injuries throughout 2002. Although he didn't know it then, Austin's full-time status as a WWE was essentially over.
However, over 20 years later, Hogan still regrets that the match with Austin never came to fruition.
"My whole thing was to move on to Steve, but I had no idea that physically he was hurt," he said. "You know, so I don't know, with all this time passing… how it would even make sense. So you have to be crazy to get back in there my age anyway. But I just haven't talked to him about anything like that ever."
Nevertheless, despite stating he hasn't contacted Austin about a possible retirement match yet, Hogan insisted Austin would be the perfect opponent for a match that would turn the pro wrestling industry on its head.
"If he would get in the ring, he would be the guy [for me]," he said.
Will a Match Between Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin Match Ever Happen?
Although we don't recommend getting overly excited about a match of this caliber happening anytime soon, it's undoubtedly fun to fantasy-book an upcoming WrestleMania or SummerSlam, right? Hulk Hogan will turn 70 years old in just a few months, and in all likelihood, his in-ring days are long over, despite the lack of an official retirement match to cap off his legendary career. Plus, as USA Insider has already extensively covered, Steve Austin is currently quite busy, and even Stone Cold himself is still determining when his schedule will clear up, health permitting.
Still, could Hulk Hogan have already set a path to his own personal Road to WrestleMania, where a showdown between two of the biggest Superstars ever could occur? Every story has to start somewhere, and thanks to a few choice words on a podcast, the wheels are already churning. There is now a glimmer of hope that the WWE Universe could see Hogan vs. Austin at a WWE event at some point in the future, making today an infinitely better day for fans than yesterday.