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Hulkster hobbling into 'Slam
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


The match is back on. Hulk Hogan will wrestle Randy Orton in the main event of SummerSlam next weekend.

At least, that's the latest version of the story coming out of WWE HQ -- a final answer which may or may not change a million times by the time the event rolls around.

It all began last Friday, when the not-so-Immortal Hogan announced he was pulling out of the pay-per-view after suffering an injury.

Hogan was the victim of an armchair knee injury, tearing his meniscus -- I kid you not -- while getting up from the sofa with a cup of coffee in his hand.

After an MRI revealed the tear, Hogan spent the entire week yo-yoing back and forth on whether he'd appear at SummerSlam.

He finally decided he would wrestle as promised but behind the scenes, insiders are cynical.

It's not that people doubt Hogan is genuinely injured.

At 53 years of age, after three decades of being dropped on his head for a living, and with an artificial hip and two bad knees, the Hulk isn't anywhere close to 100%.

But Hogan matches were never renowned for their technical finesse or as high-flying spectacles.

Most fans would be happy seeing Hogan sit in some rest holds, hit the big boot and the legdrop, then pose to his music for 25 minutes to end the show.

And since Hogan seemed to be moving around just fine during his TV appearance on Regis & Kelly this week, it's hard to believe WWE couldn't find a creative way to work around the injury for a short gimmick match.

Like most wrestlers, Hogan has worked through injuries, particularly when a high-profile match is at stake.

Heck, the last time he had a scrap in Calgary, the Hulkster hobbled to the ring with such prudence that calling it a run-in was seriously pushing the boundaries of creative licence.

So no matter how bad the injury -- and an even partially torn meniscus would sideline an athlete in any other sport -- insiders are wondering if there's more to the story than meets the eye.

Maybe Hogan wanted more money than Vince McMahon was willing to pay.

Maybe he got cold feet on having his daughter involved in a wrestling storyline, even to plug her blossoming music career.

Maybe the planned finish wasn't quite what the Hulkster had in mind.

Or maybe Hogan just wanted fans to have a believable reason for an impending loss.

Hogan doesn't have the best track record when it comes to using existing injuries as a reason to back out of big-time matches when the money or circumstances aren't to his liking.

But for now, at least, the green light is on for SummerSlam. And, barring political unrest between the McMahon and Hogan camps, it may not even be a one-time-thing.

Reports say the plan is to build toward a second match, with Hogan's daughter Brooke getting involved in a love triangle with Orton and Calgary's newest wrestling prodigy, Harry Smith.