World Wrestling Entertainment, the largest professional wrestling (or sports entertainment, as it prefers to call it) company in the world, made a bold move July 15 when it reinstated Terry Bollea — better known as Hulk Hogan — into the WWE Hall of Fame.

It was reinstatement from a morality suspension. But the fact the WWE handed out a morality suspension in the first place is downright laughable when you look at the rest of the Hall of Fame roster.

This is the same Hall of Fame that has members with a known past of drug addiction (Jake “The Snake” Roberts, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels), steroid use (“Superstar” Billy Graham, Rick Rude) and womanizers (Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who admitted in his book “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling” that he frequently cheated on his now ex-wife, Julie). It’s the same Hall of Fame that has “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who is a column all to himself. Watch his ESPN documentary; it’s must-watch entertainment.

It’s the same Hall of Fame that has a member banned from another Hall of Fame (Major League Baseball’s hit king, Pete Rose). It even has one United States president, Donald J. Trump (insert joke here).

“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, a popular WWE wrestler in the 1980s, was tied to the 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, in an Allentown, Pennsylvania motel room. Snuka entered the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Steve Williams) pleaded no contest to domestic assault on his ex-wife, Debra Marshall, in a 2002 incident. Austin was given a year’s probation and a $1,000 fine later that year. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

Hogan was involved in a sex tape that was released online by Gawker in 2012, where he was allegedly unknowingly taped with the wife of Todd Clem — the radio personality known as “Bubba the Love Sponge.” In that tape, Hogan went on a racist rant about the possibility of African-American men dating his daughter, Brooke.

The WWE — a publicly traded corporation — immediately severed ties with Hogan as soon as the tape went public. In July 2015, Hogan was removed from the organization’s web site, and the company no longer sold his merchandise. He was also removed from the WWE Hall of Fame, an honor he was bestowed in 2005 before Wrestlemania XXI.

Hogan is arguably the greatest star in the company’s history, the Babe Ruth of professional wrestling. He was the man who lit the sports entertainment world on fire in the 1980s with “Hulkamania,” showing himself to be a nearly indestructible good guy, preaching to young children to “say their prayers and take their vitamins” if they wanted to be like him one day. Vince McMahon, the chairman and chief executive officer of the WWE, pushed Hogan to the moon during this time, with his biggest moment coming at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit in 1987 at Wrestlemania III. Hogan was chosen to beat the legendary Andre Roussimoff (Andre the Giant) in the main event, which included body slamming the 500-pound behemoth in the middle of the ring. That match made Hogan an icon. And over the years, he has made the company millions upon millions of dollars.

Hogan has been fairly quiet and controversy-free in the three years since, enough for the company to bring him back into the fold. To sell more T-shirts, to make public appearances. To make the company more money.

All those members, all those pasts, and WWE still tries to break out the morality play from time to time. Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, who is now the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations for WWE, gave an answer during a February 2, 2015 edition of the “Stone Cold Podcast” as to why Joanie Laurer (better known as Chyna, the most successful female wrestler in the company during the “Attitude Era” of the 1990s) was not in the Hall of Fame, stating that he didn’t want his children to look up Chyna on the Internet and find what she did during her post-WWE career.

Levesque was referencing Laurer’s decision to be an adult film star from 2004-2013. That would likely make sense as a reason for her exclusion, except the WWE Hall of Fame has an adult film star in it. Tammy Lynn Sytch — known as “Sunny” during her run in the company in the 1990s — starred in an adult video in 2016. She’s a 2011 inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame. Her name has never been removed from the video.

I’m sure Levesque’s comments have nothing to do with the fact that he once dated Laurer, and broke up with her in order to pursue — and eventually marry — Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of Vince, who is now the Chief Brand Officer of WWE. Unfortunately, Laurer will never be able to defend herself or enjoy the possible day of her enshrinement. She died of a drug overdose in April of 2016.

The fact of the matter is WWE makes decisions not based on morality, but based on business. They dumped Hogan because having a name as big as Hogan’s tied to racism hurt the bottom line. They bring him back three years later, realizing there’s still a generation of wrestling fans that adore Hogan and buy his merchandise. It’s what is “best for business,” to steal a term commonly used in WWE storylines these days. Those other stars who have been in trouble in the past either did not hurt the bottom line, or the company simply ignored it.

Stop insulting the intelligence of wrestling fans, WWE. Be real, for once. You may be able to try re-write your own history, but the fans never forget. Forcing revisionist history is what might eventually hurt your bottom line.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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