WWE Examiner has just learned from sources close to WWE that the published reports surfacing Monday regarding Hulk Hogan returning to work at TNA and declining an offer from WWE are, in fact, correct. But money was not the root cause of the issue that prevented Hogan from returning "home" to World Wrestling Entertainment.
A source close to individuals in direct talks with Hulk Hogan tells WWE Examiner that creative differences were just as damaging to the negotiations as WWE's "low-ball" offer to get Hogan back in the company.
Although The Rock and Brock Lesnar earn in one match what Hogan would have earned over the course of the 12-month contract he was offered by WWE, Hulk Hogan was reportedly more discouraged by the names of current WWE superstars that the company's creative team had in mind to pit against Hogan for a "farewell run" of matches leading up to April's historic production of WrestleMania XXX.
WWE Examiner learned that Hogan purportedly wanted to work with CM Punk, but WWE felt that Punk's star has now risen so high that the Straight Edge Superstar needs to work a main event, not a nostalgia match with Hogan.
We've also learned that the WWE hasn't given up on a "dream match" scenario that could put CM Punk in the ring with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Industry insiders say Austin would likely prove a much bigger draw than Hogan for WrestleMania XXX because the Texas Rattlesnake has been away from the ring for so long.
Unfortunately for the Hulkster, although WWE definitely wanted Hogan at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, the match WWE had in mind was simply not "good enough" for the aging Real American in red and yellow.
The source was not familiar with who the company pitched to wrestle against Hogan, although the rumor mill says it was either Jack Swagger or Fandango.
As of this writing, neither Hulk Hogan nor the WWE have offered official comment on the matter or why talks ultimately fell apart.
Would you have wanted to see Hulk Hogan square off against CM Punk at WrestleMania XXX?