Yesterday, we reported that Hulk Hogan had filed a $50 million medical malpractice lawsuit against Tampa's Laser Spine Institute for their allegedly unnecessary and harmful surgeries on his back in 2009 and 2010. According to Hogan's lawyer, Wil Florin, the hefty damages were due to Laser Spine's treatment delaying his return to the ring and keeping him from a lucrative match with top-draw John Cena, which is believed would have taken place at WrestleMania 25 on Apr. 5th, 2009.
Of course, that still doesn't make sense, as Hogan's payoff for such a match would have been at most a few million dollars. The timeline doesn't fit either, as according to the Tampa Bay Times article that broke this story, Hogan first visited a spinal surgeon to seek help for low-back pain and numbness that had grown steadily worse over 11 years in February 2009. This doctor recommended an "open multilevel lumbar laminectomy and fusion", while two other doctors advised Hogan to get "open lumbar spinal fusion surgery". So Hogan booked the latter option, but changed his mind when a neighbour suggested the Laser Spine Institute to him and the clinic told him that they could fix his back much faster using less conventional methods.
The key here is that Hogan's back injury occurred just two months before WrestleMania 25. Clearly, he wouldn't have been able to wrestle Cena when his back was in such a bad state and even if he had spinal fusion surgery straight away, he still wouldn't have recovered in time to work the show. So it's very hard to see how Laser Spine cost him that opportunity.
TMZ had further details on Hogan's side of the story today. Hogan's lawyer told the gossip site that the reason for the massive damages sum is that WWE had offered Hogan a lucrative "phase out contract" that was scuppered by his bad surgeries. This contract outlined a scenario where Hogan would wrestle Cena in his retirement match, which didn't happen due to his failed treatment. Apparently, the contract, along with subsequent appearance opportunities, was worth $50 million. Well, that's Hogan's story anyway.
There's two massive credibility problems with this astonishing claim.
Firstly, only in very exceptional circumstances does WWE offer downside guarantees greater than one million dollars, which would be similar to the money he currently makes in TNA. Even in the unlikely case that Hogan was offered a lifetime contract, I have an extremely hard time believing it would have guaranteed him $50 million in total.
Secondly, during the period he was undergoing these surgeries and afterwards, Hogan still managed to wrestle on a handful of occasions. It was Hogan himself that made a match with John Cena impossible by signing with TNA on October 2009, instead of attempting to cut a deal with Vince McMahon instead.
It seems like Hogan is trying to extort megabucks out of the Laser Spine Institute for Vince's notoriously fickle nature, where a deal that may be on the table one minute, isn't the next. They really can't be blamed for that and maybe if Hogan hadn't walked out on WWE in the past, Vince wouldn't be so wary of doing business with him again.